9.29.2014

Does this Pin Actually Work: Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

Welcome to another Does this Pin Actually Work, where I put popular pins to the test.

This one is all about the Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) toner for acne. When I switched to natural products I was afraid of what it might do to my cystic acne. Unfortunately, it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. After some trial and error (and a major flare up), I looked up DIY toners and found hundreds of pins for the ACV toner.

apple cider vinegar for acne

I read many accounts of it "curing" acne. I learned that ACV works by balancing the pH in your skin. Most people recommended to start out slowly with this by only using it once per day. I also heard of people going through a purging period after they started the ACV toner.

Most of the posts said to do a 1:2 ratio of raw unfiltered ACV to distilled or filtered water. From what I read, the type of ACV is important for this. You need to buy the raw unfiltered type with "the mother" in it for your toner. I found this one from Bragg at Target for $2-3.

I bought a small container and made my 1:2 ratio mix. Depending on your sensitivity level, you will want to modify this ratio. I had no problems with the 1:2. I applied the mixture to a cotton ball and swiped across my face every evening after cleansing.

My first reaction (as well as my husband's) was holy hell this smells awful. Due to this, I never became brave enough to use it in the morning. I was too afraid of smelling like it for hours.

In the first week, I noticed little pimples beginning to clear up. As for the cystic stuff, it didn't do a darn thing. I kept giving it a shot but it never really helped. I didn't go through a purging period or have any difficulties but it also never helped what I needed it to. I also noticed my skin was a bit dryer than I like, it wasn't terrible but I didn't care for it.

I have since stopped using this toner because I did not get the improvements I was hoping for. I can see how this may help someone who gets a few pimples here and there. I think it's worth trying for that type of skin but not for cystic acne.

As a side note, I did find that this mix was very useful for pH balancing armpits when you're switching to natural deodorants. I highly recommend it for this purpose.

Have your tried ACV toner? Did it work for you?

xo, arielle

9.22.2014

Caribbean Cruise 2014

Last week, I took a 7 day cruise with my friend on the MSC Divina. We travelled to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico and the Bahamas.

MSC cruise lines was new to me but it was a very budget friendly option at booking. This was my 6th cruise, so it was hard not to compare them to other lines I have travelled with. I did not know this, but MSC is an Italian cruise line that caters mostly to Europeans. The cruise was far more laid back and a slowed down pace compared to Carnival or Royal. Their shows were top notch. This was by far the newest (first sailing in 2012) and nicest ship I have been on. I would certainly cruise with them again.

We spent the week relaxing by the infinity pool or by the beach. We also booked the dolphin excursion. It was something I had always wanted to do!

Ship's room

Ship's room

Ship's infinity pool

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Dolphinaris, Cozumel, Mexico

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Have you cruised before? Who is your favorite line?

xo, arielle

9.19.2014

Easy & Affordable Ways to Bring Nature into Your Beauty Routine

guest post

Hello my fellow beauty enthusiasts! So nice to be able to join you guys on Arielle's blog today. My name is Carter and while I don't have a blog, I do have a brand spankin' new YouTube channel  where I make inner & outer beauty videos. I am highly intrigued and inspired by Arielle's switch to an all natural beauty routine which is why I decided to post about several "clean" products we can use for our beautification. 


Don't have time for the video? Here's a breakdown of everything mentioned:

1. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: Make sure to get one with "the mother" (aka the weird, floating brown substance at the bottom of the bottle). The acidic nature makes it great for use as a toner, just make sure you dilute it an appropriate amount for your skin type. You can also use it as conditioner, to help with sunburn, as an odor neutralizer (potentially deo for the b.o? The vinegar-y smell is supposed to dissipate once dry). You can find more info about ACV right here.

2. Purified Water: Need I say more? Help hydrate your skin, rid your body of impurities, and FEEL better by getting plenty every day, especially while it's warm out. Another tip: warmer water opens the pores and cooler water closes them. Take advantage of that by starting with warm water when you cleanse and finishing with cool.

3. Lemons: They're refreshing, they're cleansing, super affordable, and good for you from the inside out. I don't know what more we could ask for! I mentioned in the video using organic sugar to create a scrub for the lips and face--incredibly easy, quick, and lets be honest, tasty! You can also drink lemon water--find more about the benefits of doing so here.

4. Coconut Oil: Again, another product that's great for you from the inside out! This is a healthy fat to cook with and it also has a multitude of beauty benefits: a moisturizer, makeup remover, hair treatment, and a plethora of other useful things (like making scrubs).

5. Aloe Vera: Since this is a plant, it is the gift that keeps giving...IF you can keep it alive. After doing all this research, I'm most excited about aloe. I MUST have some immediately. This is known to reduce inflammation and soothe; it's great for skin that's just been treated to a waxing or a shave. Aloe can also be used as a moisturizer and an acne treatment. It has salicylic acid which helps with cell turnover (move out dead cells!).

I forgot to mention number 6 in the video, but it's cornstarch! If you are highly committed to going 100% natural, make sure you get the one labeled "non-GMO". It's a pretty decent dry shampoo (I even manage to get a little volume). I like to toss it through my hair before bed so it absorbs excess oil throughout the night and some of the white tint fades, too. If you have darker hair, check out this really smart tip from Arielle for avoiding looking gray.

As promised, here's is a list of more natural items for creating your own beauty concoctions: 




And here is a link to my Organic Skin Care Recipes board on Pinterest, so you can start making your completely safe, healthy & clean beauty products today. HAVE FUN, beauty alchemists! And definitely post crazy-mask-face-selfies on Instagram!

Xoxo, 
Carter

9.17.2014

Softlips Cube 5-in-1 Lip Care

affiliate link // guest post

I’m obsessed with lip balm!  So when I first came across this Softlips Cube 5-in-1 Lip Care, I knew I had to have it!  This beauty is not only stylishly housed in a sleek, patent pending glass-like cube, but it is super functional.  It is uniquely formulated with lip perfecting technology to blend 5 lip loving benefits in one tiny cube! A few swipes of this lip balm and your lips will feel soft and hydrated as it’s formulated with shea butter.  They will be replenished with antioxidants and vitamins A, C & E to soothe and repair damaged skin.  Your lips will also be protected against the sun’s harmful rays as this beauty contains SPF 15.  Lastly, this little balm will add light-weight shine for a radiant finish! What more could you possibly ask for?!  Seriously, at under $3.50 a pop, you’ve got yourself a new BFF (best balm forever)!

Softlips Cube 5-in-1 Lip Care

Softlips Cube 5-in-1 Lip Care

Thank you Arielle for having me guest post today.  I love your blog and I’m honored to be here sharing one of my current favorite balms with your gorgeous readers!

This post was written by Carla of Fashion Maven Mommy. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: 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.

9.15.2014

Natural Beauty Blogs I'm Loving Right Now

While I'm resting on the beach in the Caribbean, I thought I would do some blog love this week. Today, I'm bringing you a selection of the natural blogs I read.


Logical Harmony is a cruelty free and vegan beauty blog written by Tashina. Her blog is a fantastic resource for anyone who is wanting to go cruelty free as she investigates brands throughly. She also features clean products on her blog in addition to vegan recipes.



No More Dirty Looks is from the same authors who brought you the book by the same name. They feature clean products only. I love their exposed posts where other people share the products they have been loving. The blog has given me some great product suggestions!


The Glamorganic Goddess has a beautiful story about her transition to a clean lifestyle. The blog is written by Danielle, who is a breast cancer survivor. She shares her best finds in the eco-friendly beauty world on her blog.


Well Beauty Blog is written by Cori who is a RD trying to live in a world of organic beauty. She shares her favorite beauty picks as well as eco-living tips.

Who are your favorite clean beauty bloggers?

xo, arielle

9.12.2014

What Are These EWG & GoodGuide Ratings You Keep Talking About?

Since I began blogging about natural products, you may have seen me refer to EWG and GoodGuide ratings. I talked about them a little in my guide to natural products post but I thought it would be better to do a full explanation for y'all.

When I refer to "ratings" I'm talking about how toxic a product is to your health. Currently, I use EWG's Skin Deep and GoodGuide's databases to determine if a product is "safe."

I research every single product I purchase through these websites. I have been surprised by how some products rate well or not so well. I no longer trust a company's claims or labels. I always look up the ratings before I make a decision about how safe a product is for me. I encourage you to look up some of the products in your bathroom. You may be shocked about what you find.

EWG SKIN DEEP
EWG Skin Deep is put out by the Environmental Working Group. They have rated thousands of products and ingredients to provide consumers with safety ratings. They have rated their products based on current research on ingredients. You can search by ingredients, brand, product name or use their app to scan a barcode. EWG only rates beauty products. If you would like more in depth information about them, please refer to this page.

EWG gives a rating of 0-2 (low hazard), 3-6 (moderate hazard) or 7-10 (high hazard). 

I prefer to only purchase products with a rating of 0-2. Sometimes I will buy ones in the 3-6 range but I will never purchase in the 7-10 range. A rating of 4 is as high as I'm comfortable with.

GOODGUIDE
GoodGuide rates products on several factors including health, environment and social factors. They rate household, food and beauty products. Their goal is to give consumers information on the most healthy, environmentally friendly and socially responsible products. They have a team of scientists evaluating products delivering the ratings. GoodGuide also has an app. Here is GoodGuide's info video for more in depth information.

Their rating scale is quite different from EWG. They rate from 0-10, with each having a different meaning. They give a product an average rating based on the three areas (health, environment and social). Their ratings are as follows: 0 (worst), 1 (very poor), 2 (poor), 3 (significantly below average), 4 (below average), 5 (average), 6 (above average), 7 (significantly above average), 8 (good), 9 (very good) and 10 (best). 

I only look at GoodGuide's health ratings when considering products. I prefer products with a health rating of 7-10. The lowest I am comfortable with is a 5.

I have found that you're more likely to find the product by putting the brand, then a description of the product into either of their sites/app. For example, if I write out Giovanni hairspray instead of Giovanni L.A. Hold Hair Spritz, I will get a result. I always whip out the app when I'm purchasing products in store. With EWG, you can look up each ingredient listed (which I often do).

I took some screenshots of a few products to give you an idea at how this looks. I was in store trying to find a pomade. In this search, I looked at American Crew Molding Clay v Sebastian Craft Clay:

Listings go EWG then GoodGuide

Sometimes, EWG and GoodGuide don't match up. When I doubt, I scroll through EWG's ingredients to see how each one rated individually. Then, I make my decision. 

Essentially, both of these websites are giving consumers the ability to look up how toxic or not toxic the ingredients in products are. I think these are powerful tools for anyone who is concerned about the products they are purchasing.

As a side note, I have had some people ask where I am finding EWG or GoodGuide safe products. My best resource has been drugstore.com. I shop at Target and Ulta, too. In those cases, I use the apps and scan barcodes. 

xo, arielle

9.10.2014

Does this Pin Actually Work: Heatless Curls with a Headband

Welcome back to Does this pin actually work! This time, I'm testing heatless curls.


I'm sure you all have seen hundreds of pins about heatless curls. The one I see most often is about using a soft headband to curl your hair while you sleep. 

Basically, you put the band around your head and wrap it in sections around the headband. Here is a fantastic step by step tutorial from The Makeup Chair on the process. 

This is one of those pins that I say works but with some reservations. Unfortunately, the only photo I have of the process is from an old YouTube video (of course I deleted the original!!):


I have tried this method lots of different ways, with different hair lengths and products. 

The best results were last summer when I had medium length hair with a blunt cut. I would spritz some dry shampoo in my hair before bed then add a little bit of serum to the ends. I would then put the headband on and do the method. When I woke up, I had beautiful curls.

As my hair got longer and longer, it worked less and less. I also noticed if I went to bed with a wet head and used this method, it didn't work so well either. When I got layers cut into my hair, it stopped looking as good.

So, in my experience this works but on dry hair that is medium in length with long to no layers.

Have heatless curls worked for you?

xo, arielle

9.08.2014

I Donated My Hair

Last week I donated my hair! I went for a big ole chop. It's the shortest it has been in years.

Of course I forgot to do some before pics, so I took some screenshots of my most recent video. The photo doesn't show all of the length but it was about another 1/2-1 inch longer.


Donating my hair was something I had wanted to do for years. I kept chickening out because of how short I knew I would have to go. Since this is my year of facing my fears, I decided it was time to do it. 

I did some research on the companies to donate to and decided to go with Children With Hair Loss. During my quest, I discovered that some of the well known companies charge in the thousands for their wigs. I wasn't ok with this, so that's why I picked CWHL. They have never charged a child for their wigs. They also take color treated hair, which I had. Their minimum (at the time of writing this) is 8 inches. Their wigs go to children with an array of reasons for hair loss, which was something else I liked.

My new length took several days to get use to but now I'm really enjoying it. I'm becoming a big fan of the 1 minute blow dry time! I'm also happy I finally donated, too. If you're considering, I recommend giving it a go. Hair grows back after all!

xo, arielle

9.05.2014

I Shave My Face

Yes, you read that right...I shave my face.


As a brunette, I get an awesome lady stache -_- that I have been waxing for years. I find waxing to be painful and it's not particularly good for the skin. I was very tired of doing it, so the prospect of trying something that was not painful was very appealing to me.

I saw this video from Michelle Money and was totally convinced:


Until that video, I didn't know that these little razors existed. I then did a massive google search and quickly discovered tons of other women shaving with excellent results. 

I went by Sally after work and found the Touch'n Brown brand (there are lots of available ones out there). Either way, you want a razor that is especially for the face. Don't go using your significant other's Gillette or your leg razor. You want something that looks like this:


Now, before y'all get all "it grows back thicker" on me, please know that's a total myth. Please read this article or this one to educate yourselves. When I posted that I was doing this on my instagram, I received a call from my mom freaking out. She was absolutely convinced I would have a beard.

I have been only shaving my brows and mustache. I leave the rest of my face alone because I really don't see a need to do so. There was one time I decided to clean up my sideburns and the results were good.

I was surprised how easy shaving was. You basically whip them out and go to own. My upper lip was smooth and hair free. When the stubble came in, it was exactly the same as when I would wax (it wasn't thicker or more coarse). I now do it about once per week and am extremely happy with the results. I no longer have to wait for all the hairs to grow out before removing and I don't have that grayish look to my upper lip. 

As for my brows, I use the razors for the little hairs above my brows that look a mess. The rest, I pluck. Doing the brows takes a little more care and precision. 

Either way, shaving my face has been a game changer. The whole process is extremely easy (it takes me seconds) and is absolutely pain free. I will never go back to waxing again, at this point. My hairs are not any thicker, more coarse or darker. They look exactly as they always have but now I rarely have to see them.

Have you shaved your face?


xo, arielle

9.02.2014

Summer '14 Natural Beauty Product Hits & Misses

pr sample

Watch my video to see the natural beauty products that were hits and misses for me this summer!


Products mentioned:
Giovanni Moisture Shave
Preserve Razors
Jason Sea Fresh toothpaste
Clear Conscience Multi-Purpose Solution
JustNatural Peppermint Natural Foot Lotion
L’oreal top coat
EcoTools Kabuki Set
Burt’s Bees Lip Shine in blush
Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream
Physician's Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Mascara
Sante Eyebrow Pencil
Alima Pure Satin Matte Eyeliner
Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap
Vanicream Shave Cream for Sensitive Skin
100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream
Kiss My Face Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer
Tom’s toothpaste
Alima Pure Natural Definition Mascara

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Some products mentioned in this video were 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.