5.30.2014

Pura Naturals Body and Face Sponge Review

PR Sample

I would hope we all haven't forgot the BP oil spill. I mean, it was only a few years ago (I'm going somewhere with this-I promise). During the cleanup, I honestly didn't pay much attention (shame on me). I had no idea that a company called Advanced Innovative Recovery Technology, Inc. created BeBetterFoam, a non-toxic plant based material, to clean up the spill in an environmentally friendly way. Since the cleanup, Pura Naturals, found this material to be particularly useful. They have incorporated the BeBetterFoam into their line of skincare products.

A little about the sponges (taken from the label):

Pura Naturals soap-infused sponge attracts oil, resists water and dries quickly to stay fresh. Our sponge is made from renewable resources, contains no petroleum by-products and is infused with 100% vegan, gluten free soap, botanicals and essential oils. SLS, Sulfate, Paraben and BPA free.

Pura Naturals

The sponges can be purchased from their website. They range in price from $5.99-$8.99. There are sponges for face and body. They are available in a variety of scents. Some of the packs include 1 sponge, that are about an inch thick, or 3-packs that are a quarter of an inch thick.

Some of the other claims:
  • Ultra-rich lather
  • Sponges dry quickly
  • Can reload with another cleanser 

I have been using the face sponge and the lavender mist body sponge. The face sponge is infused with charcoal and tea tree oil. I noticed immediately that the Pura Naturals sponges suds up very well. The lavender sponge has a light scent that now is totally gone. I have been using them for a few weeks and the cleanser that is in them has yet to run out. 

The next thing that was on my radar was that my skin was squeaky clean after use-and I mean literally. I wasn't too keen on this because I felt like it was stripping too much oil from my skin. Even though I felt that way, my skin wasn't extremely tight after use. 

Having said that, s surprising discovery from using these are how fantastic they are as an exfoliator before I use sunless tanner. They have become the best product for me to prep my skin for tanning or to buff out spots that got a little dark. 

Pura Naturals also claims the sponges dry quickly. This is dependent on how and where they are stored in the tub. I found if they lay flat, and away from other products, they are dry within a few hours. If they are upright, or too close to other products, the water pools at the bottom of the sponge and never dries. 

Highlights:
  • Love the formulation (chemical free, cruelty-free, vegan)
  • Perfect exfoliator for sunless-tanning prep or for buffing out dark spots
  • A little too stripping for my liking (probably best for people with very oily skin)
  • Must lay flat to dry quickly
  • Cleanser lasts for a while and is ultra foamy
  • Budget friendly price

Do you have a favorite body sponge?

xo, arielle


Disclosure: Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

5.28.2014

One Brand Tutorial: Revlon (Collab)

PR Sample

Last year, during the Allure Beauty Blogger Awards, I created a one brand look using Revlon products. The focus of this was my peacock eye using their Sea Mist palette.

This tutorial is a great example of how products can be multifunctional. The lip butter doubled as blush and the eyeliners became my base.


I'm collaborating with Grace is Pure Beauty on this post today. She has created a one brand tutorial with IT Cosmetics. Be sure to check out her video!

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

5.27.2014

When is Enough, Enough (makeup that is)?


For the past few months I have had something on my mind-why I started this blog. There are several reasons but one underlying piece was that I wanted to find the best products out there-the foundation that made my skin look flawless, the eyeliner that stayed put all day, the perfect eyeshadow palette, etc. As I pondered this, I realized I had found many of those holy grail products but the problem was I hadn't stopped.

When I was in high school, I had a foundation, powder, trio eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. In college, my collection grew into a train case. As of a few weeks ago, I had a floor to ceiling cabinet full of product.

I'm sure you have seen on Pinterest that picture of the girl with 5 shades mint nail polish with the caption "they're not the same, they're similar." Well I had become that way but with eyeshadow. I was a junkie and I knew it.

That all changed when I began reading about chemicals in products. I became  grossed out (kind of like when I watch Food, Inc. for the first time). I made the decision to transition to chemical free, natural and/or organic products. To make this change, I needed to clean out my stash (hence why I'm having a blog sale). As I was taking everything out of the drawers, and laying them out to be cleaned, I become appalled with the amount of product I had. There were things that had been barely touched. I don't even know the last product I actually used up entirely. I rarely hit pan on anything and it's because I had ten of everything. I began to miss when my collection was stored in one little makeup bag.

I also thought about how many products I used in a single day and that disgusted me, too. I mean really, do I need a brow powder, pencil and setting gel?! No, I don't. The cosmetics industry has duped us into believing that a product can only be used for it's intended purpose and it's a load of BS. It's not like that brown eyeshadow in your palette is any different than brown eyebrow powder.

I know entering the blogging world contributed to some of this problem, too. I had a sense of needing to keep up with the joneses. Every time I saw a fabulous review of some new palette, I just had to have it! I'm inundated with blog posts showcasing people's gigantic collections, hear about entire rooms dedicated to products, watch huge makeup hauls or read about people with 3,000 bottles of nail polish. Yes, I know I don't have to read but I enjoy it. The problem was, I adopted a belief that I had to be like that, too. Frankly, it's just not the case and it's a silly belief. I realized I can still successfully blog and not own hundreds of products.

After looking at all of this, I realized I don't need as much as I product as I thought. I'm now down to one makeup bag. I have vowed to myself that if I don't like a product to pass it along to someone else or pitch it. If I like it, I'm not picking up something else until this product is all gone and if it's a holy grail, I'm stopping there. I'm also making a shift to natural products that is going to take some time. Soon, you will see this blog only covering natural beauty products.

All of this been extremely freeing. I have a lot more cabinet space and I don't feel like a slave to my beauty routine anymore.

So, I ask you: when is enough, enough for you?

xo, arielle

5.21.2014

Having a Great Outfit Day!

Do you ever have those days where you put together a look and think, dang I look cute today? I had that with this outfit! Instead of a great hair day, I call it a great outfit day.

In all honesty, I think the necklace was what pulled everything together for me. 

Spring Work Outfit

Spring Work Outfit

The top and necklace were both thrifted from Plato's Closet. The crop pants are Tommy Hilfiger. I have to say, these are the best fitting crop pants I have found yet. I found them on super sale at the Macy's Friends and Family sale. I loved them so much I bought 3 pairs!

Today, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

xo, arielle

5.19.2014

Montagne Jeunesse Mask Review

PR Sample

I'm sure you all know by now that I love my face masks. I mask at least one-two times weekly. Montagne Jeunesse was not a brand I had used before. I have four of their masks to share with you: Creamy Coconut, Super Fruit Mud, Manuka Honey Peel Off and Aloe Vera Face Spa.

These masks come in individual pouches. They retail for $1.99/each. I typically see them at Ulta or Walmart. Their masks are cruelty free and are vegetarian. The pouches are packed full of product. They could potentially be spread out to two uses.

Montagne Jeunesse Mask

Creamy Coconut
This is a mask for dry skin. It is said to hydrate and moisturize the skin. This mask can be left on for 10-15 minutes. I found the application to be very silky smooth. It smelled like a day at the beach. It also tingled a bit. Throughout the week, I felt my skin looked brighter and clearer. 

Super Fruit Mud
This is a pore cleaning mask. It becomes extremely hard. It can be left on for 15-20 minutes. The scent was fruity. The first few minutes, there was a light burning sensation that freaked me out a bit. Luckily, I didn't have any weird reactions. I didn't notice any major differences in my skin from this one.

Manuka Honey Peel Off
For someone who is needing an extra cleansing, this mask is for you. This is a 15-20 minute mask. This one looks just like honey. It's not nearly as sticky but it still tacky. As per usual for peel off masks it was painful to remove. Needless to say, this isn't one for me.

Aloe Vera Face Spa
This is a mask to soothe and cleanse. It is a fabric mask that can be left on for 5 minutes. It is cooling and quite refreshing. I think it would be best for after sun exposure. 

In the end, I was a big fan of Creamy Coconut. I will definitely pick it up again. Especially since it left my skin looking bright. The others were ones I could see myself picking up here and there if I'm having specific skin problem. I appreciate how easy these are to use, the price and the fact that they are vegetarian and cruelty free.

What is your favorite Montagne Jeunesse mask?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

5.16.2014

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse Review

affiliate links

When spring hits, I bust out my self-tanners to give myself a glow. I'm very fair and I find a little color helps boost my complexion.

I have had my eye on St. Tropez for quite some time but never wanted to fork over the cash for it. My friend picked up their Bronzing Mousse but it didn't give her enough color (she is a medium skin tone) so she passed it along to me. Luckily, I had a better experience with it because it did darken me up.

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse is available at Ulta or Sephora for $32. You get 4 oz of product. It comes with a pump applicator that divvies out a bronzed foam.

I applied it with a mitt. I found some difficulties in application in that the first spot it touched became the darkest. This caused a few streaks. However, with some buffing I was able to make it work. The results were fairly immediate and I was about 2 shades darker. 

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse before and after

At first, I thought there wasn't a scent (which I was so happy about) but as it developed into the skin it had the typical terrible smell. It was also sticky. I would suggest using this at night to overcome those issues. It does dry quickly.

What I liked:
  • Perfect tanned color with no orange
  • Immediate results
  • Dries quickly

What I wasn't into:
  • Scent
  • Stickiness
  • Price

In the end, I don't think this works any better than my favorite drugstore option. Sure, it's a good self-tanner but I'm not going to spend 4 x the price to get similar results.

What is your favorite self-tanner?

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.

5.15.2014

Ferrum Professional Styler Review

Sponsored Post

Even though I have straight hair, I have always owned a flat iron. I'm sure there are many fine haired gals out there, like me, who hate that their hair flips out on the ends if you don't heat style.

Over the years, I have owned a number of irons. For me, they have been mostly drugstore brands. A few years ago I picked up a high end one from TJ Maxx. Once I got home with it, I realized it was the budget friendly version and not salon quality one.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to test a salon quality flat iron, the Ferrum Professional Styler. This flat iron runs $169 and is available on their website.

Ferrum Professional Styler

What I found intriguing about this flat iron is that one side is fabric and the other is ceramic (see photos below). This is said to protect the hair from extreme heat.

Ferrum Professional Styler

Ferrum Professional Styler is made with Nano 3 Tech on the ceramic plate to make hair more shiny. It can heat between 140-450 degrees. The fabric side is said to allow hair to breathe for less damage. It also claims to boost volume. The flat iron itself is rounded to be used for curling. The cord is nice and long.

The packaging includes an instruction sheet. With this iron, the fabric side faces the skin (or the underside of the hair). 

Ferrum Professional Styler

Ferrum Professional Styler

Even though I flat iron to get rid of flipped out ends, my current one doesn't hold the style all day. I was very impressed that the Ferrum Professional Styler keeps my hair straight all day. No kinks! I was also very happy that my hair wasn't extremely hot to the touch when using it. I hate when I can see steam rolling from a flat iron because I know I'm about to be fried. 

Ferrum used on the left side of head, other brand on right (from your view of the photo)

Now, this thing has a high price tag that I know would usually deter me. While I like it, I don't know that I would really fork over that much cash for it. Especially since I don't notice much in the way of shine or volume (which it claims to do). However, I am a fan of how quickly it heats up, the protection it provides and that I have straight hair all day long. I think if I had more to tame, I would fork over the dough. 

What I liked:
  • My hair never flipped out on the ends 
  • More protection than with a traditional flat iron
  • Heats up quickly
  • Long cord

What I wasn't into:
  • Price

*Update 5/19/14*
I lent this to my friend with curly hair and my theory proved correctly. She loved it! Like me, she felt like her hair stayed straight for longer. She also noticed that it was less fried. The last thing she mentioned was that even when she sleeps on the ironed hair, she wakes up with straight hair!

xo, arielle

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ferrum and I received monetary compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own. For my full disclosure, click here.

5.13.2014

Busy Girl Nails: Gradient

I cannot believe it's already the end of #BusyGirlNails. It flew by!

This week was gradient. I chose to keep it springy with my favorite mint shade (it's Mint Sorbet from Sally Hansen) topped with a rose gold.

Spring Gradient Nail

Spring Gradient Nail

Stay on the lookout for a summer edition of #BusyGirlNails!

xo, arielle

5.12.2014

Almay Intense I-Color Review

Sponsored Post

I remember many moons ago when Almay launched their product line for specific eye colors. In fact, I used the for brown eyes palette all through high school. I had not sought out the line in a while, so when Refinery29 reached out to me about their Almay campaign I was excited to give it a go again.

Now days, they have several palettes to choose from for your eye shade. The i-color line includes palettes, singles, mascaras and liners. You can view the whole collection here.

Since I'm a brown, I tested out Almay Intense i-Color in Shimmer-i Trousse, Bold Nudes for browns and Smoky-i for browns.

Almay Intense I-Color

The palettes include three shades with a lid, crease and highlight color. They are available at drugstores for around $5.

I was quite happy with the pigmentation of all of the palettes. I found they applied best with a makeup brush. The lasting power is fantastic, too. I didn't experience any creasing throughout my day. I also felt the color combinations were on point for my eye color.

Almay Intense I-Color

Shimmer-i Trousse
A shimmery palette with a rosy base and plumy-brown crease shade. I found the crease shade to beautifully compliment the base. This is a great everyday palette. 

Bold Nudes for Browns
This palette is matte. All three shades are purples which compliment my eyes beautifully.

Smoky-i for Browns
This is my favorite of the bunch solely for the beautiful coppery base shade. It's a bit frosted so if you have lots of lines, I would steer clear. On the eye it's gorgeous. I'm not fond of the crease shade, though. It's not dark enough to blend over the base causing a muddy effect. I also don't think this is appropriately named, as one cannot get much of a smoky effect from it. However, I love it for going out of the norm in color choice.

Overall, I find these little palettes to be a stellar drugstore shadow as the pigmentation, color choices and longevity are right on point. I also appreciate that they have lines that are eye color specific. 

What is your favorite Almay product?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Refinery29 and #Almay. I received monetary compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own. For my full disclosure, click here.

5.09.2014

5 Surprising Uses for A&D Ointment

Do you have product sitting in your cabinet that you don't necessarily use as intended? One of mine is A&D Ointment. Today, I'm sharing my secrets of how I use it!


Scars
I had a few moles removed in January. My doctor decided to cut them off. The result were some big old scars. She suggested keeping them moist with Neosporin. However, through the healing process, I have found A&D work better for healing them. They began to look softer and less noticeable within a few weeks. 

Softening calluses
This has to be my favorite tip. Dab a bit on your callus before you put on your shoes. As you walk around, it will soften it up. Do this a few times a week and you will see improvements.

Dry lips
Whenever my lips are totally chapped, I swipe a little on before bed. By morning, my lips are no longer flaky. 

Dry patches
This past winter was killer on my skin. I had dry patch after dry patch. I rubbed a little of this into those spots and I was good as new in a few days.

Tattoos 
When I got my tattoo, the artist suggested using this daily to keep it moist. That's actually how I learned about the stuff. It helped tremendously in healing the area. Within a few days, my skin was less angry and became softer. 

Have you used A&D ointment in your beauty routine?

xo, arielle

5.07.2014

Busy Girl Nails: Rainbow

I really struggled with what to do for rainbow week of #BusyGirlNails. I scoured Pinterest and didn't come up with much I was into. I'm not particularly happy with what I came up with but it is what it is.


The past two weeks, there have been some very talented nail artists posting their prompts. I loved @jeansaberin's flower nails and @fingerpaintingchronicles' glitter nails!

xo, arielle

5.05.2014

We Went Ziplining

A few weekends ago, I was able to cross another item off my bucket list: ziplining! 

I thought, since I'm going to be skydiving soon, I really needed to do something with heights. Plus, this was something I had wanted to do for a long time.

I wasn't very nervous about this project. This time, I decided to go in with an attitude that it was going to be fun. This really helped the nerves to back off. The only thing that freaked me out a bit was stopping. I mean, someone did almost hit the tree.



There was one platform we stood on that had a line that went straight to the ground. Since I couldn't see the next line, I thought that one was it. I was a bit shaky about that. After the fact, I found it hilarious that I thought they would do that to people.

Overal, ziplining was fun! I would certainly do it again. It's thrilling but not pee your pants thrilling. 

xo, arielle

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo Review

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

I have been on the quest for the perfect dry shampoo for many years now. I have found a few hits but many misses along the way. When I saw many people recommend the new Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo, I decided to give it a try.

This dry shampoo can be found at most drugstores for around $5. The formula has no parabens or colorant. It is made with tapioca that claims to absorb oil.

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

Herbal Essences claims, 

"refresh your strands, water not necessary. with natural tapioca, my formula absorbs oil and rejuvenates dirty hair for a clean feeling. invigorate your strands with the scent of white grapefruit and mint and feel naturally beautiful without parabens or dyes." -HE website

When I first spritzed this in my locks, I loved the scent. It is light and fresh. I also noticed that it added volume to my roots. Unfortunately, I was not happy with the long term results. I was greasy again within an hour or two. I didn't enjoy that it made my hair feel gritty, too.

The good:
  • great scent
  • volumizing
  • didn't add a white cast to my roots

The bad:
  • hair was greasy within a few hours
  • added a gritty feel to my hair

I think this would be better suited for someone with thick hair who experiences minimal oil. For a fine haired greasy gal, I think you will want to pass.

What was your experience with this dry shampoo?

xo, arielle