Friday, August 21, 2015

1,000 Mascaras No. 35: Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara

Post by Beth

This mascara was a bit of letdown for me.  The four in one benefits claim to be mascara, volume, curl, length and “complete lash care.”  The complete lash care comes from a lash boost formula that is supposed to provide nutrition, revitalization and fortification.  This sounds like something I should add to my morning smoothie!  My lashes did feel conditioned with this mascara, so this claim worked for me.

Please forgive the horrible eye lining job I did!

I also found it to be mildly curl producing, so I will give them that.  The lengthening was also fine—good, not extraordinary.  I was really let down on volume.  I didn’t feel like this mascara gave me anything in the way lushness and volume.

My biggest beef with this mascara is with the wand. Now, I was using a mini size, and I will give Givenchy the benefit of the doubt that it may work better in a full sized wand.  Anyway, it has these three balls, which I have imperfectly captured in the photo below.

The balls made it really difficult to capture the finer outsize corner lash, dangerous to get inside corner lashes, and an impossible mess on the bottom lashes.  It was just an all around, frustrating wand to use.

Bottom lash line:  Ok formula, but what’s the opposite of a magic wand?

Givenchy claims to be cruelty-free.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Greenwashing: What is it and is it in my La Fresh Eco-Beauty Good Night Cream?

Post by Beth

I wanted to use this La Fresh Eco-Beauty Good Night Cream that I received in my August Ipsy Glam Bag to highlight an example of “green washing.”  Green washing is when a company or product claims to be environmental, as a marketing ploy, but really isn’t.  In the cosmetic industry we usually see this in products that claim to be “clean,” “natural,”  and in this case “eco.”

First, I have to say, I have no beef with Ipsy.  I have no expectation that the products I receive from them will be anything other than conventional, they have never made claimed to provide natural products, and that’s cool.

My issue is with the cream itself.  La Fresh is not my favorite brand, just because I have never found them particularly effective.  I have a taken a live and let live approach to the brand until I saw this.  The cream goes out of its way to convince us of it’s superior goodness.  Lets look at the packaging:

It’s not your tradition jar, tube or bottle.  It comes in a groovy pouch with a nozzle at the top.  It’s different and it must good!  Aside from the nozzle being a hard plastic and not comfortable to use, I see no advantage to the functionality of the packaging.  So I thought it must be recyclable?  I see no such indication on the packaging, neither do I see that the package is made from recycled material.    Not so “eco,” hmmmm?

Next we have these nifty symbols on the back of the pouch:

This product is “highly natural.”  I have no idea how highly is quantified.  But this makes us feel good, doesn’t?  This lotion I am going to sleep in all night is highly natural!  So let’s put aside for the moment that anything produced is, in effect, natural.  Otherwise, it would come from the realm of the supernatural, and while I ain’t afraid of no ghost, I’m not putting supernatural lotion on my face.  We all know though, that what cosmetics mean by natural is that their products are handmade by aged hippies from their garden of loving nurtured herbs and flowers, watered from virgin springs in organically composted soil.  You can, in fact, find such products!  Just not in this pouch.  What we learn from this “highly natural” icon is only that ingredients are not wholly natural.  But, whatever, points for having some naturals in there.

Biodegradable formula:  This is not something I see a lot on cosmetics…recall that the definition of biodegradable is “capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other biological means.” I guess that any of this product you throw away will biodegrade, or if it gets washed off it will maybe somehow biodegrade in the water?  I’m not a chemist, so I can’t really speak to this.  I am not at all confident that the packaging, which really needs to be biodegradable, actually is.  As long as it doesn’t biodegrade on my face, I’m cool.

Blessedly, this has a cruelty-free icon.  No criticism here, only praise for not testing on animals!

Lastly we have an icon that tells us that this night cream is “California Born.”  Ok.  It’s made in the USA.  Cool, cool.  California also has somewhat stricter environmental standards for production than a lot of other states, so, that’s maybe what this icon is all about?  It does leave me thinking that given California’s current water crisis and the fact the first ingredient in this cream is water, that maybe they should move to a state with a better water supply? That would be more “eco.”

These symbols, and their associated bizarre bragging rights serve to give us, the consumer, warm fuzzies about this cream.  And they do, to a certain extent, don’t they?

But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.  The pudding in this case is the ingredient list:

Remember that ingredients are listed in order of strength.  It’s not until we get about halfway down that the natural ingredients really start coming, in the form of botanicals.  We have no way of knowing if these are organic or grown with pesticides, but we can pronounce them, so alright. The packaging goes on to say that this cream is free of baddies like parabens, dyes and animal by-products.  This is good!

I don’t think this a bad cream, really (it is super moisturizing) and I have certainly seen worse in terms of ingredients.  What I am saying, is that La Fresh goes out of their way to make us think this is an “eco” and “natural” product, when in fact it just isn’t.  And that, my friends, is greenwashing.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

REVIVA Nourishing Cream

Post by Rosie

This creamy moisturizer contains oils rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) to add a fuller look to your skin.  It is especially formulated for thinner skins, and adds a plumper look and feel for mature skin.  It goes on very smooth and absorbs readily, with little to no odor. I immediately felt a result; my skin felt hydrated and very soft.

With continued use I have become a fan of how my face looks and feels.  I use it on my hands too!  My skin is sensitive and I did not have any reactions.  I recommend this product.  It is paraben-free, animal products free, and is not tested on animals.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fashion Friday: Stitch Fix Review

Post by Stacy

Stitch Fix
As anyone who knows me will attest, I am a boring dresser. I dress in a wash of jeans and grey or navy t-shirts. I hate shopping, so I tend to have just under a week’s worth of clothing that I actually wear – and this gets predictably shabby due to overuse and overwashing. I drag this sad situation out until the garments fall apart.

Enter StitchFix. A friend of mine told me about it over dinner, and I politely nodded while thinking, “I could never let a stranger pick out my clothes.” But I had been reading about capsule wardrobes, another way of indulging my addiction to simplicity. Except I realized that in order to have a simplified, minimal wardrobe – I would actually have to add to my closet. That’s right, my selection is so pathetic that it doesn’t even qualify as a minimalist collection. So I decided to give StitchFix a shot.

Signing Up
The sign up process was easy and fun. They ask you questions about your size and preferences, and they also have you look at and rate several collections of clothes and accessories. The process was fairly quick and not agonizing, even for a shopping-hater.

How It Works
A stylist reviews your account, and they start shopping. You’ll get five items:  mainly clothes, accessories if you’ve agreed to that, no shoes. You’ll get an email with a tracking number when your order is en route. Once it arrives, you try everything on, and then sign on to let them know which items you’re keeping and which you’re sending back. Returns are super easy – think Netflix – you put returns into the envelope you send and stick it in the mail. The amount of packaging is very low, comparable or less than buying it in the store.

There is a $20 “styling fee” for each order. That fee goes toward the cost of your purchase (if you buy anything); if you send everything back, consider it a membership fee. They ask you up front about what you’re hoping to spend. (I opted for mid range.) There are no shipping and handling fees. If you opt to keep all five items, you get a sizeable discount. You get $25 credits for referrals. I would have sent one item back (the dress), but the “Buy 5” discount covered the cost of the garment – so I’m going to sell it instead. Bottom line: the first shipment (pics below) cost me $260. It’s more than what I would normally spend, but I wouldn’t usually buy stuff this nice – plus, I saved the cost, time, and agita of driving around to find things on my own.

·      You have to let them know within three business days what you’re keeping or returning.
·      You may get several different stylists, but you can request to keep a certain one if their picks are better than others.
·      You can adjust the frequency of shipments. Mine is currently monthly, but I plan to slow it down after my closet reaches a respectable state.


Henley Tank with pattern detail & Bootcut Jeans

Sweater with ¾ sleeve and ruched waist

Maxi Dress

Convertible Cardigan w/ pockets

Overall, I am very pleased with the first shipment. I love, love, love the Henley, the cardigan, and the jeans. I liked the sweater. I liked the dress, too, but it’s a bit long for me. Everything else fit well, and it is all very comfortable to wear – lots of stretchy fabrics. The items feel like a decent quality for what you pay. Lastly, I feel like the stylist did a good job of choosing items that were partly my style, but also stretched my usually narrow boundaries. I’ve worn everything, and it’s wonderful not to feel so shabby!

My next “Fix” is on the way, and I can’t wait!   

Monday, June 1, 2015

ACTION ALERT: Support the Personal Care Products Safety Act!

Do you know if your personal care products are safe?
Right now, cosmetics companies can put just about anything in their products – even chemicals associated with cancer and endocrine disruption.
Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bill that would require cosmetics companies to prove that their products are safe before marketing them. It would give the federal Food and Drug Administration the power to review risky ingredients.
While many cosmetics companies support the bill, Merle Norman and Mary Kay haven’t stepped up yet! EWG needs you to take action today and tell these companies to support the Personal Care Products Safety Act.
What goes on our skin is often absorbed into our bodies, and that's certainly the case with chemicals in personal care products. EWG's Teen Body Burden study found an average of 13 cosmetics chemicals in the bodies of teenage girls. Among the suspect substances were phthalates, triclosan and parabens -- all of which have been found to alter the hormone system. Enough is enough.
The Personal Care Products Safety Act would give the FDA the power it needs to protect consumers from these chemicals. Many cosmetics companies are working with us to get this bill passed and protect their customers. So why are Merle Norman and Mary Kay sitting on the bench?!
Stand with us today as we call on these two cosmetics companies to put consumers like you first and support the Personal Care Products Safety Act!
Thank you for adding your voice – together we can get carcinogens and hormone disruptors out of our products.