Influenster Natural VoxBox. I’m impressed!

It’s a samples box! I’ve reviewed several of these before but this is my first time reviewing one from Influenster and reviewing one that focuses on natural beauty and health. Holla! What’s Influenster? Their website explains it best and chances are that if you are a blogger and/or have a strong online influence, you can be a candidate to receive Influenster boxes.

Okay soooooo…here we go with their first ever Naturals VoxBox!

At first glance I got a bit giddy because I spotted TWO brands that I was familiar with. That’s a good sign. Y’all know how much of a snob I am about skincare and while I love featuring all brands, I really only use natural skincare products on my crazy sensitive skin. Also, keep in mind that this box isn’t necessarily a “beauty” box. I was prepared to see all kinds of goodies up in this box.

Glad to see Influenster included a list of what was in said box…

First up is a single packet of EBOOST ($28 for box of 20 powders).

I don’t use products like these as I’d rather supplement with vitamins or at the very least get the “added”  vitamins in the food that I’m eating. And since I’m pregnant, I don’t want to try anything new. I suppose this would be great for those suffering from colds but I’m the type to sip some echinacea tea. I’m granola like that. :mrgreen:

Next up was the stick of GeoDeo.

What’s that? An all-natural deodorant? So up my alley! In fact, I’ve sworn off of traditional deodorants for quite some time and while it took me some time to find a brand that works, I’m pretty confident knowing that I’ll never go back to traditional deodorants. This brand is new to me and I was happy to see that it was “okay” in terms of natural deodorants.

It’s still not 100% natural because it’s got that Parfum (Fragrance) in it but hey…not bad. However, I tested it for a few days and smelled like a goat each day I used it. Ah well. My feelings aren’t hurt. I’ve tried enough natural deodorants to know that they are tricky. Some works and others don’t. I do like the packaging and concept behind this one though.

CleanWell Individual Hand Sanitizer Wipes ($29.99 for 50 pouches)

I’ve actually purchased and used CleanWell several times and love this alcohol-free hand sanitizer. I didn’t know they made wipes though. I prefer this over alcohol-based hand sanitizers because the ingredients are milder than other hand sanitizers.

Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Baby Eczema Bar Soap.

Popular among the black girl natural hair community, Shea Moisture just happens to be one of my favorite skinare brands on the market. I’ve declared my love for Shea Butter manyyyyy times so I was excited to see this bar of soap. Plus I’m having a baby. And I have eczema. Perfect pick for me! I think I’m going to save this for when Baby Clumps is a little older and I’m hoping her precious skin won’t have to endure eczema. But if she gets it…I’ll be prepared. I’ll be honest though – the chances of me trying this before she is born are extremely likely! Oh, and Shea Moisture always impressed me with their lack of horrible ingredients.

Nectresse Natural No Calorie Sweeteners

Call me a snob but I’ve never been a fan of sweetners because they’ve always tasted artificial to me. Yes, even Splenda. I opt for agave nectar, honey and brown sugar and sometimes white sugar. That said, this isn’t a product that I would ever use. Oh and…what is monk fruit????

LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer

Look! It’s a lip balm. I got all excited when I saw this. As a fan of lip balms, bees and shea butter, I had high hopes for this balm. And it delivered! Ingredients-wise, it’s not too shabby.

The packaging is adorable…

And the product feels great on the lips. It has very light mint-ish scent and it feels nice and smooth on the lips. This is a product that I’d purchase again. In fact, had I seen it in stores, it’s likely that I would have purchased it before receiving this sample.

And lastly…The Original Dish Drying Mat ($4.99)

I’ve never seen anything like this but supposedly this mat helps to conserve energy and the use of paper towels because of its absorbency. Hmm. Okay. I haven’t found a real use for it just yet I like the concept.

Overall, I was VERY impressed with the Influenster Natural VoxBox. I’m more impressed than what I thought I’d be. While every product didn’t woo me, the majority of the did. So much so that I’ll be repurchasing most of them. Not too shabby!

How’s this for a natural centered sample box? Not too bad, uh?

Neosporin Eczema Essentials review

Since getting pregnant, my eczema has gotten 10x worse. Pre-pregnancy, I was always able to keep it under control. The itchies were confined to my lower back and while I had a few patches on my arm and neck, for the most part, it was manageable. Lately though, eczema has taken over my chest, parts of my arm and practically my entire back. It’s starting to hurt my feelings but wearing outfits and up do’s in my hair that show off my neck are virtually impossible.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to try Neosporin Eczema Essentials, I jumped to it. Because after all – what harm could it do? My next step was going to the dermatologist AND allergist. I saw a commercial about these products a few weeks ago and Skeptical B was all like, “Yeah yeah…promises to bring fast relief to eczema suffers. Whatever.” And then I got the products in my hands.

There’s a line-up of 3 Eczema Essentials products. The Daily Body Wash, Daily Moisturizing Cream and the Anti-Itch Cream. I’ll review each product individually and then rap on how they work together. I’ve been using these regularly for approximately 2 weeks time.

First up, the Daily Body Wash ($7.99)…

What it says it will do:
This collodial oatmeal skin protectant is proven gentle and non-irritating even on eczema-prone skin. Effectively cleanses even the most dry, sensitive skin. Contains a lipid, humectant, emollient and botanical blend to help retain moisture essential for healthy looking skin.

Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Cocoglucoside, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/Beheneth 25 Methacrylate Copolymer, PEG 150 Distearate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Mineral Oil, Propylparaben, Polyquaternium 7, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Shea Butter, Glyceryl Oleate, Squalane, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Corn Oil, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylene Brassylate, Cis 3 Hexenyl Salicylate, Dihydrocitronellol, Oat Kernel Extract, Cholecalciferol

What I thought:
Like all of the products in the Eczema Essentials line-up, this body wash is fragrance-free. It’s a creamy cleanser that lathers well and rinses thoroughly but doesn’t dry out the skin too much. I didn’t find it to be particularly moisturizing but it didn’t leave my skin super tight after drying off so that’s always a good thing. The price point is about right for a speciality body care product. I think I’m using too much of it because the bottle seems to be getting emptier after only 2 weeks. These thicker and creamier body washes seem to be better for my skin than the clear ones.

 

Daily Moisturizing Cream (about $11)…

What it says it will do:
Clinically shown to relieve itchy skin due to eczema on contact. Shown in a clinical study to be as effective as the leading prescription* (*vs. the leading barrier emulsion in subjects with mild to moderate eczema with twice daily (or as needed) use.) Contains colloidal oatmeal, a skin protectant that helps relieve dryness, itch and irritation due to eczema.

Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Ceramide NP, Steareth 20, Oat Kernel Oil, Oat Kernel Extract, Benzalkonium Chloride, Sodium Chloride

What I thought:
Packaging-wise, I would have loved to see more product in this cream. Because of the thick consistency of it, you’re likely to go out of product pretty quickly. Especially if you use it daily. Speaking of consistency, it feels nothing like a traditional lotion. In fact, at first glance, it looks like a creamy vaseline but once you rub it in, it feels like a greasy-less body balm.

Crazy description, I know. It turned me off the first time I used it but somehow it works. It takes some serious elbow grease to get it all over but to extend its use, I find myself only using it on my trouble areas and using coconut oil everywhere else. Of all of the products in this line-up, I found this to be the most effective. It kept the ash away and soothed my eczema. My condition of the skin on my lower back went from all alligator-ish to…smooth. Shocking! The eczema on my neck improved quite a bit too. I chuckled at the “Restores visibly healthier skin in 3 days” plug but I don’t know, y’all…by the 3rd day skin saw some serious improvements. WOW!

Hydrocortisone Anti-itch Cream (about $9)

What it says it will do:
Contains a dual-action formula to provide fast relief of itch flare-ups due to eczema while it moisturizes to restore visibly healthier skin. Clinically shown to improve dryness, flaking and the appearance of redness.


Ingredients:

Water, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Ceteareth 6, Dimethicone, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Edetate Disodium, Methylparaben, Sodium Citrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Ethylene Brassylate, Oat Kernel Extract, Dihydrocitronellol, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, Cis 3 Hexenyl Salicylate, Sodium Hydroxide

What I thought:
I didn’t actually use this because I’m not sure if hydrocortisone is okay for pregnant women. I’ve been meaning to ask my midwife if it’s okay but forget every time I see her. Either way, I’m going to err on the side of caution and use this after Bean gets here. It looks promising and I can’t wait to see how well it works in conjunction with the other products.

 

Overall:
Having used 2 of the 3 of these products for 3 weeks, I am geeked! I would still like to visit a dermatologist and allergist to see if my eczema could be alleviated in other ways but for now I’m okay with using these products. Especially the cream. I usually tear apart my skin with itching and haven’t been doing so lately. So yep! As a crazy eczema suffer, I would say that Neosporin’s Eczema Essentials line-up is definitely worth the time and investment.

Giveaway! Softsoap Vineyard Escape Relaxation Package!

Yep, it’s still the giveaway season and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. Hope you beautiful people don’t mind. As y’all know – I am a lover of fragrance-free and naturally-fragranced products. I’ve been this way for a few years and it’s not because I don’t like smelling pretty, because I do. But, I’ve found that heavily scented fragrances not only make me nauseous at times but can contribute to my horrible migraines. And so I got rid of my of bottles of eau de toilette, super smelly lotions and soaps and swapped them for products without scents. Which, okay, is not fun but I’m in a happier place without dealing with overwhelming scents.

However, I know most women enjoy pretty smells and that’s why I continue to review and feature products that I’m sure most ladies would love. Like this Softsoap Vineyard Escape body wash.

I love love LOVE when body washes have a scrub built-in. In this case, this body wash has exfoliating fruit seeds (I wonder what fruit…) and they do a fantastic job at cleansing the skin while exfoliating it. This body wash is all about indulging in the moment. Y’know…forgetting that you’ve got a thousand emails to check, dinner to cook and doggies to walk. The bathtub is a sacred place and I’m all for truly relaxing up in there.

Scent-wise, I don’t have too many aversions to this one. It’s got a sweet smell that doesn’t linger for hours at a time. It’s a refreshing body wash for those who have an affinity towards fruity fragrances.

Softsoap is going to gift one Clumps of Mascara reader with the following:

-Softsoap Vineyard Escape Scrub
-A sweet smellin’ candle
-A plush loofah

Yes girls ‘n guys…it’s a nice little package for you to take a few minutes to indulge yourself. How can you win this? I’ll be choosing one U.S.-based reader who has left a comment on any blog post in the past 2 weeks. It’s that easy! If you’ve been a commentin’, you’re already covered.

I’ll be announcing the winner on Wednesday, August 22nd!

Good lucky, duckies!

 

[Giveaway winner has been selected]

Eucerin Skincare Challenge giveaway – 5 winners!

OMG! OMG! It stopped raining here in Orlando! This is indeed breaking news because it’s been monsoon-ing in Central Florida for a good 5 days now. I’m not complaining because a) we need the rain and b) it’s summertime in Florida and it ALWAYS rains. So yeah.

In non-rain news, I recently had the opportunity to have a skin consultation via Skype with the beautiful and talented Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton of Ingleton Dermatology in New York City. My consultation with her was the official kick-off to my Eucerin Skincare Challenge and I could not have been more excited.

I rambled on and on about my skincare issues (hyperpigmentation, mild acne, eczema, dryness – need I go on?) and she was so patient and kind. She gave me some suggestions and product recommendations. Two of ‘em are here!

Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion with SPF 30 and Eucerin Daily Protection Body Lotion with SPF 15.

Both are Fragrance Free and can I be honest? I much prefer skincare products that don’t have strong fragrances. And I know I’m the minority in that regard but I love that a great deal of Eucerin’s products are free of dyes and fragrances.

I’ve been slacking on slathering sunscreen on my face. I know, I know. I still haven’t found the BEST everyday wear sunscreen for my skin type and hue but I’ve been giving Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion a whirl and it hasn’t been too shabby.

A little goes a looooong way. And by little, I mean you probably need less than a pump. One pump gives you quite a bit of product.

And even after rubbing…

And rubbing…

…it takes sometime before it sinks into my skin. Many brown girls have issues with sunscreens leaving a white film on their faces and I’m no stranger to that issue. Luckily, it took nothing more than some elbow grease to really get this to sink into the skin. Unfortunately the face lotion isn’t without the sunscreen-y smell. It’s something I’ve become used to because I know I HAVE to wear it no matter what.

And when it comes to the zee body, the Eucerin Daily Protection Body Lotion does great at moisturizing even the ashiest skin (ahem…mine) while giving the added protection of SPF 15.

I love that the formula is on the thicker side because nothing sucks more than a watery lotion.

In honor of my Eucerin Skin Challenge, I’ll be hosting a giveaway! FIVE lucky ladies (or guys) will each score 1 bottle of Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion and 1 bottle of Eucerin Daily Protection Body Lotion with SPF 15. Yup!

Enter the Rafflecopter to be eligible to win.
Giveaway is for U.S. residents only.
If you’d rather email me your entry, please do so at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cos Bar now at Target!

Yo yo yo! Where my Target beauty lovers at? I have this ritual. Every Saturday morning after I leave the gym. I go to Target. For no real reason either. It’s own my way home. That’s reason enough, right? I also like to take some peeps at the new additions down the beauty lanes.

If you’re a regular Target beauty shopper, you see some awesome new finds from The Shops of Target. Target has partnered with several business owners of speciality stores to give customers the opportunity to purchase some really cool products. One of those businesses is Cos Bar.

Native to NYC, owner Lily Garfield moved to Aspen and launched Cos Bar. It’s a groovy brand and I’d love to see a boutique with products like these in my streets. The collection includes a ton of beauty baubles including body care products, bath accessories, beauty tools, manicure essentials and cosmetic bags. I’m featuring a few of the goodies from the line.

Oh! And if you’re a budget-conscious gal like moi, each product is under $20. Hollaaaaa!

Skincare wise, Cos Bar has everything from body washes to body butters. This Orange Citrus Body Butter ($6) smells divine…

….a little bit of Cos Bar history.

And ingredient-wise…

I thought this brand would be a little more on the preservative-free side but alas it’s not. :(

But still, it’s a fragrant body butter (and not overly fragrant either) that does a great job at bustin’ ash without the greasy feeling. So that’s good. For zee eyebrows, Cos Bar has these adorable tweezers…

For $4, they do a darn good job at a pluckin’! Careful though…after a few uses, the print started to rub off a bit.

Which made me drop a tear. I get emotional over things like that. Cos Bar also has falsies!

*gulp* I have yet to master the art of applyin’ and rockin’ lashes but I have declared 2012 as the year for when I start rockin’ the falsies. That said, stay tuned for a review of these. A pair of 3 falsies ain’t bad for $9. Am I right?

Cos Bar also has some nail polishes and y’all KNOW I’ve got to check those out. I’m anxious to do some more peering at peering at Cos Bar and since I’m at my neighborhood Target at least twice a week, that’ll be easy. I am so impressed with Target’s ability to show entrepreneurs some love by bringing their products in stores nationwide. As if I needed another reason to love big red. 8)

A Rose Is Still A Rose. And I smell like one!

Remember that song “Roses” the rap group Outkast had back in the day? I used to looooove that song. That whole Speakboxx/The Love Below album was jammin’ in my car the entire year I was in 11th grade. Oh. Don’t even ask me what the Outkast reference has to do with JASON Pure Natural Rosewater Body Wash. I’m random like that.

You’ve heard of the brand JASON, haven’t you? I spot this brand alllll the time at Whole Foods and other natural food stores and shops. This is my first time playing around with one of their body washes.

I’ve never been a gal who likes floral fragrances. I’m more of a woody blend mixed with citrus notes kind of woman. But this wash, dare I say it, ain’t too bad. This ginormous 30 oz bottle retails for $13.99 which means the entire family can use it daily and it will STILL last for a few weeks. Well, months for Esposo and I since we are the only ones who use our bathroom.

And that’s another thing – as nice as this body wash smells, it’s so floral that the same men who don’t mind a little dirt under their fingernails, proooobably won’t like how “girly” it smells. And it definitely smells girly.

Pro’s
-It’s got a pump! Makes for super easy dispensing.
-It has a nice and gentle formula.
-Lathered up nice and foam-y.
-Rinsed with ease and didn’t leave the skin insanely dry. Thanks to the Vitamin E!
-Free from parabens
-Fragrance isn’t too strong after rinsing off. Which I appreciate.

Con’s
-The fragrance is a bit too strong for me. Then again, most fragrances are. I see “Fragrance” on the Ingredients list and I wish the only “fragrance” that was included only came from real roses.
-It definitely isn’t portable. But that may be a good thing.
-The price point may be too much for some.

There’s a first time for everything and while I’ve spritzed rose water in my hair and have used rose water as a toner, I’ve never used an actual rose body wash. The fragrance took a bit to grow on me but now I’ve been using it daily.

Whatcha think? Would you bust suds with rose body wash?

You can get this one from natural retailers and online at JASON-Natural.com.

Vanilla lips, charcoal cheeks and an ocean breeze in a jar – Thanks LUSH!

I don’t think I’ve played around with LUSH alllll year. How lame am I? Ah well. Better late than never. Since summer has rolled around these parts (Florida totally skipped Spring), I’ll be baring more of that skin. Not in a “It’s so hot, I’m just going to go nekkid.” kind of way but have I been struttin’ in my skirts, shorts, bathing suits and strappy tanks? Oooooh yeah. These LUSH goodies are perfect for scrubbin’, exfoilating and moisturizing your skin all while getting it ready for the warmer weather.

Vegan Sweet Lips Lip Scrub in Vanilla
($8.95) – get it here

Oooooh how I love these lip scrubs. Prior to using the ones from LUSH, I was scrubbing my lips with my toothbrush. Which ain’t exactly sexy. But this scrub? Oh my words!

I love that it contains only a few ingredients. Sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa absolute and organic jojoba oil. Short and sweet ingredient lists are the best. LUSH says this scrub tastes like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and I totally agree. And did I mention that it’s edible? Yes girl…if scrubbin’ on the go is your thing, you can dab some of this on your lips and lick it right off.

Oh, one thing though: be sure to close the top nice and tight. For if you don’t, the sugar will harden and become un-usable. Such was the case with my last jar of this scrub. Womp.

Dark Angels Facial Charcoal Cleanser
($11.95) – get it here

While it wouldn’t win the Sexiest Cleanser award, this cleanser is actually pretty effective. Even for those with sensitive skin like meeeee. Yeah. I get super excited when I come across cleansers that don’t make my skin go nuts. This cleanser is for those who have blocked pores and want to combat breakouts. Who knew black sugar and powdered charcoal could be so divine together?

There’s also a dose of rhassoul mud and organic avocado oil, both which do a great job and moisturizing the skin. Fragrance-wise, this stuff is…different. It’s got sandalwood and rosewood oils in it and while I’m a fan of both, the earthiness of this throws me off a bit. The fragrance dissipates after rinsing it off but still…when it’s on there, it smells funnnnyyyyy. But it works. And so I plug my nose and get to slathering.

Ocean Salt Facial and Body Scrub
($19.95 for 4.2 oz/$34.95 for 8.8 oz) – get it here

This Florida girl loves anything that attempts to capture the essence of the ocean. Of course nothing beats actually going to this beach, but this scrub isn’t half bad. Scent-wise, it is amaziiiing. Both refreshing and invigorating, I find that this coarse sea salt scrub is great for the face AND body.

It’s smooth and slick enough to go on the face but still coarse enough to be used on the body. It’s also a great unisex scrub as I find that the fragrance has a bit of a masculine whiff to it. With avocado oil, grapefruit and fresh lime infusion, this scrub gives a darn good job at giving the illusion of being at the beach.

LUSH never steers me wrong….

A great body scrub for when the sand at the beach isn’t available….

Did I tell y’all I went to the Bahamas a few weeks ago? Yep! Esposo and I took a quick 3-day cruise to one of my favorite islands. Too bad we didn’t get to do much because sooooomeone hurt himself after falling off of a scooter. The other someone has been playing nurse ever since. Womp.

I’m a Florida girl who loves beaches. For many reasons but primarily because the sand is so exfoliating. Yep. You heard correctly. I mix sand and water and exfoliate my feet, legs and hands right on the beach. I should probably be embarrassed about admitting this, but I’m not.

Since I couldn’t get my beach scrubbin’ on, I’ve been playin’ around with Pooka Pure & Simple’s Sugar Body Polish.

Oh girl. This is the bomb dot com.

Not all scrubs are the same, ya know. Some are great for exfoliating but in return they can leave the skin a bit rough. Which totally defeats the point of scrubbing, right? Pooka Pure & Simple’s Sugar Body Polish has cane sugar and coconut oil so I can get my scrub on and moisturize at the same time. It’s wonderful. Pomegrante and kiwi are two of my favorite fruits so the fragrance is definitely up my alley. But can I be honest? I’d love this just as much if it was fragrance-free.

Bits of kiwi seed greet me at each handful…

…and after sloughing away the dead skin cells, I am left with super soft and moisturized skin. The 12 oz tub goes for $20 and Pooka Pure & Simple also has Coconut Crunch and Guava Berry scents as well.

Yes girl. Yes. You can pick up a tub here.

A fan of body scrubs are you, darlings?