Cult Nail Polish- Belmont Shore

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Intro

If you work with people and do a lot of pointing for a living, then you probably love it when your nails are presentable and coated with color. I have one of those day jobs, and people are looking at my hands ALL DAY. So, my usual polish-free, picked-at cuticles are not something that I enjoy sporting. So, when I get time, I am grateful for the pampering and the boost of pointing confidence. 

Thus, I was excited about snagging this Cult Nail Polish in one of my Vegan Cuts Beauty Boxes. The super fun and bright pastel pink works great to spruce up my nails and match the warm weather. 

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The Company

Cult is a cosmetic company that was created from the nail art scene on Instagram. Their products center around beautiful nail polish colors and nail art. Cult Nail Polishes come from Santa Monica, California, which may be a huge selling point for consumers that are interested in local products. While the company sells single bottles of nail polish, some of the products are for members with a monthly subscription. Cult offers the Blackbox Club, which gives it's patrons two nail polishes and one beauty product for 19.99 per month. Thus, consumers that like to be in the fashion-loop can subscribe and those that know what they want, can get exactly that from their in-stock selection. It should be noted that the company does not have products in stores, yet!

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Product Information

Before I talk about the wear and application of this nail polish, I do want to get into the nitty gritty of ingredients and qualifications. One thing I really like about this nail polish is the fact that it is 5 free. What is 5 free you ask? It simply means that the nail polish is free of some of the most toxic chemicals found in typical nail polish brands. Thus, Cult is free from Dibutyl PhthalateTolueneFormaldehydeFormaldehyde Resin, and Camphor. If you are interested in learning more about these chemicals, you can check out Goddess Huntress's Nail Polish 101Of course, the product is vegan and cruelty-free, which means that making your nails beautiful doesn't have to be a moral struggle.

In regards to cost, each single bottle costs 12 dollars, and shipping is an additional $5. However, the company does offer free shipping if you spend more than 40 dollars. Now, for a girl that used to scoop up $1.99 drug store nail polish like candy, that is a hefty cost. However, compared to a single professional manicure, 12 dollars for an entire bottle is not terrible. So, you will have to weigh the benefits of cruelty-free, vegan, and 5 free against the $17 price tag.

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The Results

Belmont Shore is a beautiful girly color. It is perfect for spring and early summer. As the warmer weather has over taken the country, the color exactly matches my mood. I like the color a lot, and it was a lovely compliment to the season and my outfits. As far a application, Cult's promise to make a single coat nail polish is true. I simply applied a base coat, a single coat of Cult, and a top coat. Quick and Easy. Perfect for a busy individual who still wants to have presentable nails! 

The wear was not as lasting as I would like. It looks great for two days. There were very few chips, and those were so small that you had to look up close to see them. On the third day, I started noticing small chips that were not terrible, but the smooth "professional" look was gone. By the fourth day, I needed to do some touch-ups, which were easy, but it would be nice to have chip-free nails. 

Overall, the polish is pricey, and not overwhelmingly long lasting. However, the cleanliness of the ingredients, the cruelty free aspect, and the fun, flirty color makes it an incredible polish. 

 

The All Natural Face- Diva Stix (Black Kohl)

 

Intro:

What is the one thing you can't leave the house without? Now of course, the real answer to this question is clothes, because unless you live in a very open-minded community, you probably won't make it to your destination. But, barring your garments, maybe it's your trusty glass water bottle(because you are trying to stay hydrated and be green), or a jacket (because some people love to crank their AC), or your phone (how else could you keep up with your twitter feed?).

I do like to bring all of those things, but I rarely ever leave the house without a quick smudge of eyeliner and mascara. I have been wearing makeup for too long to really go without.... In fact, walking out of the house without a little eye makeup feels an awful lot like strolling out of the house with just my undies on. I feel exposed. Of course I know that I don't need to wear makeup to look beautiful. But, come on, who doesn't love a good smoky eye? 

 

The Company:

The All Natural Face is a company devoted to providing it's customers with natural and pure cosmetics and body care. They have an abundance of foundation shades and eyeshadows, which is nice for variety's sake. Also, all of their mineral products are vegan, and as far as I could tell, all of their vegan products were clearly labeled as such. The company claims to be great for people with very sensitive skin, and strives to produce products that are free from chemicals and unnecessary additives.  The founder's mission is to take the "unnecessary evils" out of cosmetics and free makeup from it's chemical laden shackles.

Product Information:

The Black Kohl Diva Stix is both an eyeshadow crayon and eyeliner. This product only has FOUR ingredients!  Let's Compare this with a leading brand:

Diva Stix:

Organic Jojoba Oil, Candelilla Wax, Mica and Oxides

 

Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner

Cyclopentasiloxane, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Ceresin, Isododecane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Caprylyl Methicone, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silica Silylate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Propylene Carbonate, Candelilla Cera/Candelilla Wax/Cire De Candelilla, Caprylyl Glycol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Tin Oxide. [+/- May Contain/Peut Contenir: Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499/Iron Oxides, Mica, Ci 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Ci 77007/Ultramarines, Ci 77510/Ferric Ferrocyanide, Ci 77288/Chromium Oxide Greens, Ci 77289/Chromium Hydroxide Green, Ci 77742/Manganese Violet, Ci 42090/Blue 1 Lake, Ci 19140/Yellow 5 Lake, Ci 77510/Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide.]

The best part about all of this is the comparable pricing. You will pay $4.88 for one Diva Stix. The only downside here is that you will not find these in stores, you have to order from their website:  http://www.theallnaturalface.com/vegan-diva-stix-in-black-kohl/

The Results:

I have enjoyed wearing this as an eyeliner. I do wish it was a little bit darker in color, but it creates a dark charcoal gray line. It goes on really smoothly, and unlike some pencils, you don't have to smoosh it down onto your eye to get the desired effect. It glides on with little pressure. Since this is a dual eyeshadow and eyeliner, it is versatile, but I do love a very precise line, so it is a bit frustrating when the stick becomes dull, but with a little finesse, I can still get the sharpish line that I want. I LOVE this brand for the purity of it's ingredients, because I don't feel bogged down my chemicals, especially close to my eyes! Yikes!

Overall, I do recommend giving this brand a try.  With the affordable price, clean ingredients, and ease of application, what is not to love? So, maybe consider adding it to your "I can't leave the house without it" list!

 

Azalia Spa Goods Refreshing Grapefruit Oil

 
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Ever feel like your feet are straddling a line? You ride that border carefully trying not to fall too far to one side or the other. Of course, there are some things in my life, like my love of animals and veganism, where I am all in. No splits needed. I stand, feet firmly rooted and secure in my position as my personal truth. 

But, I am a dichotomy in one simple area: Traditional Western Medicine and the more Open-minded Spiritual Approach. There are plenty of people that don't straddle this line. This divide has been controversial and fought over since the invention of "modern medicine." And, sometimes, I feel like I am walking the line between one party screaming, "Scientific Method, Medicine, Data !" and other another carrying picket signs that read, "There Are Other Options." Of course, these are dramatizations and exaggerations, but you get the idea.

I grew up in a science household. My mom majored in microbiology, and has worked in various hospital labs since I can remember. Her life, and thus, my upbringing, focused on the POWER OF SCIENCE. ( I would prefer you to read this in your head with a booming and echoing voice.) So, I grew up loving science, how the world worked, biology, and was encouraged to ask why and not except ignorance.

However, as my veganism can attest to,  I am not a follower. Don't get me wrong, I love structure, but I want to build a structure and world that sits right with my personal truth, and my truth is that the natural world is a magical and mysterious place. So, I like to keep an open mind. I believe that when modern science cannot explain something or fix it, there must be another answer. 

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Thus, I come to my review. This might seem a little anticlimactic, and perhaps I should have reviewed the existence of ghosts or an alternative treatment for cancer, but today, I bring you the humble (and to me) mysterious essential oil.

I have heard a lot about essential oils over the years, but my scientific brain did not see the merit in smells. I could not understand how oils could be any better than a candle, which for me the benefits less to do with the smell and more to do with the alluring glow.

So, this month in my Vegan Cuts box, I received Azalia Spa Goods Grapefruit Essential Oil. And in my ignorance, I had to look up how to use it! The only oils I had used were for cooking and moisturizing, not for aromatherapy. 

However, my (lovingly dubbed) "inner-hippie" told my science side to suspend disbelief and expand thinking to see if this oil would fit into my world's personal structure. 

And, I am proud to say, that it does! This Grapefruit Oil is refreshing. If you have ever cut open a grapefruit, which of course you have, you know how that smell has the ability to awaken your senses. It is sweet, bitter, and citrus all at the same time. The same holds true for Azalia Spa Good's oil.

After doing some research on this company, I was happy to see that Azalia Spa Goods are Cruelty Free and Vegan, and in regards to this particular oil, it is organic, non-gmo, gluten free, paraben, mineral oil, and synthetic fragrance free. 

This product is just about as clean as it gets, which for me is insanely important. Our skin absorbs so much of what we apply to it, so I love finding products that I know that I do not need to worry about. In fact, according to Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, the oil received an almost perfect score of 1 (0 being the cleanest and lowest hazard, while 10 is the riskiest for your health). 

The ingredients for this product are as follows:

helianthus annuus oil (sunflower)*, simmondsia chinensis oil (jojoba)* pure essential oils of citrus paradisi (grapefruit)*, citrus reticulata (mandarin)*, kosher certified mixed tocopherols oil (vitamin e). *certified organic

As for uses, I am still learning those. However, I did find out that grapefruit oil, in addition to its refreshing qualities, helps with digestion. And whether it was a placebo effect or not, I rubbed some on my slightly unsettled stomach (actually before I sat down to write this) and I do feel better. If you are looking for more uses, you can check out this link I stumbled upon. However, note that while I am partially scientifically minded, I am no doctor and do not endorse these claims as scientifically or medically based:  http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/grapefruit-essential-oil.html

So whether you are a skeptic, a full-on believer, or you are, like me, somewhere precariously in the middle, you can easily try Azalia's Spa Goods Oils for a very reasonable price. She offers trial sizes (.25 oz) that only cost five dollars. Which is perfect, because you can try their many scents or simply see if essential oils are a fit for your personal truth. If you decide to jump into essential oils with both feet, then she offers 5 ounce bottles for 41 dollars. 

Either way, and regardless of which side you lean towards, I think it is important to try new things. The wonderful thing about playing both fields (Science and Non-Traditional Ideologies) is that nothing is off limits. I can try anything to make myself and the world I live in feel better. So, while I dance and sway between the two, I feel happy to know that my options are open, and because of my new excursion into essential oils, my world and choices have gotten a little bit bigger:)

 




Ellovi Butter

 

It has been a weird crazy winter for us here in the South East. I don't know about you guys, but we had no snow all winter, and, boom, February's weather hit us hard! (Some of you who get lots of snow are scoffing right now, but where we live more than 3 inches is substantial.) Thus, with so many frigid temperatures, my skin has been unhappy with me. Dry skin, which can cause me to break out, has been my enemy over this last month. And, little is worse than itchy, irritated, chapped skin, so to combat this scaly menace, I decided to try Ellovi's Original Butter. Let me tell you, after a soak in the tub (just to get feeling back in your toes), nothing feels nicer than massaging your face with creamy goodness.  

I just have a sample size of Ellovi's Original butter, and because of this, the all-over slathering abilities of product were limited, so I mostly have been using it on my face. I am quite sure though that it would work magnificently on elbows, feet, knees, or anywhere that dry skin frequents.

Perhaps my favorite part of this product is more about what it lacks than anything. What I mean is, the product only use six ingredients. All of these ingredients are clean and totally pronouncable. They are as follows: Macadamia Nut Oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp Oil, Shea Butter, Marula Oil, and Non-gmo Corn Starch. I find it incredible when you can basically eat your beauty products. Since our skin has the ability to soak up so many things (vitamins, chemicals, etc), I am always grateful to saturate my skin with natural products. To push the envelop even further, I would love to see this company use organic oils and ingredients. Then, I would want to swim in this stuff. (Okay, it is pretty creamy, and that would be quite the moisturizing workout.)

Speaking of texture, when I first got this butter, it was one of those cold winter days, and it must have been outside on the porch, after being dropped off by our UPS guy, for a while, because it was rock hard. So, my first impression was, "How am I supposed to slather this stuff and luxuriate in a moisturizing glow?" But, if I would have thought about it, I would have realized that the oils just needed to come to room temperature. (duh.) I recognize that first impressions are not everything, and the second time I went to give it a try, I gave it some pressure, expecting a solid consistency, but my finger went straight in. Opps. Yes, I learned this stuff is creamy. (I'm sure my cuticle appreciated the dip, so no harm done) 

This butter is incredibly silky and is not too thick, like some. It applies very smoothly, and leaves your skin feeling soft.  However, I do not find that it makes my skin feel greasy, but I do use it sparingly on my face. The picture below illustrates the balance of lightness and creaminess. It is both easy to swipe out of the container, but not watery or thin light some lotions.

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On the whole, I love Ellovi's Butter. And, I appreciate that such a small container has lasted over a few weeks and is still going strong. The product boasts a year-long shelf life, but I doubt that it will need to last that long. The size that you can buy from their website is 3.5 oz, which they say will last anywhere from 1-6 months. Considering the long-term usage, the twenty-six dollars per container is not insanely expensive. They also make a vanilla version, which sounds lovely.While this product is one of the cleaner ones available, if you are leaning toward an organic beauty line, you may want to seek other moisturizers. However, while I strive to use clean and organic products for myself, I cannot complain about the lusciousness that is Ellovii's Original Butter. 

 

Red Apple Lipstick

 

This month, in my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, I received a Red Apple lipstick. Needless to say, I was giddy. I love lipstick. I used to be one of those, "I wish I could wear bold lipstick" girls. But, one day, a very wise cousin of mine said, "Just be brave and own it." So, I did! Now, I rock some pretty bright reds! Thus, I love new lipstick. But since I became vegan, the 99 cent lipstick at your local drug store, won't cut it anymore. So, finding a hue that is both natural, vegan, and beautifying, is exciting.

The color I randomly received was Strawberry Lips, so it does not exactly scratch that flamboyant, show-stopping itch, but it is an excellent every day color. The color goes on like a deep pink and is more for accentuating a natural look. 

This lipstick applies very smoothly, and feels wonderful going on. However, I have noticed that it tends to dry out my lips. I find myself needing to put on some kind of chapstick before and after the lipstick application. As for the length of the wear, it is certainly not a stain, so you will need to reapply it multiple times for all-day wear.

In regards to ingredients, Red Apple Lipstick does a pretty decent job at cleanliness. Compared to the average drug store lipstick, which is often not vegan or cruelty-free, it is far superior. This superiority in ingredients will  cost you about 23 dollars per lipstick. In this particular color (Strawberry Lips), the ingredients are listed in the picture below: 

 
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While the majority of the ingredients are very clean and even edible, some are more processed. Personally, I know that I wear lipstick every day, and if we are being honest here, I will eventually eat that lipstick through lip-licking and applications before meal times. So yeah, I really want a lipstick that can match my skin tone and outfit, but also be safe to accidentally consume. Thus, ingredients like titanium dioxide, are a bit worrisome. Titanium dioxide is often used in sunscreens and many anti-aging cosmetics. However,there are some studies which might suggest that it has carcinogenic properties. But, these studies are limited, and perhaps the UV blocking power outweighs any carcinogenicity. Ultimately, you have to decide what works best for you and your body here. Of course, this lipstick has some admirable hypo-allergenic qualities to it, as it is gluten-free, paraben-free, soy-free, and corn-free. To most allergy sufferers, this is a huge plus.

Overall, this lipstick is fun, smooth, and relatively clean. I enjoy wearing it. However, I would love to see this company, which already seems to strive for compassionate clean beauty, to push for even less processed ingredients, while maintaing their classy appeal.