If there’s one thing a girl can’t have too much of in her arsenal, it’s lipstick.
As we said in the book, it’s gotta be the single most powerful cosmetic going: With just one swipe it can completely change the appearance of your face. I’ve always loved the stuff and cringe to think how often I put it on as a kid to play dress up. As most of you surely know, mainstream lipsticks are usually contaminated with lead, and intentionally filled with a host of unfriendly chemicals—which we absorb and unintentionally ingest off our lips. Blargh.
Which is why it’s such a treat to find a good clean one you love. And when it’s clean, it works double duty, because if it can go on my lips, it can go on my cheeks—and from RMS to Ilia, every lipstick I love does just that.
Enter Vapour Organics. A brand whose breadth, for no apparent reason, I’ve never fully explored beyond foundation. Now I realize there’s a whole world of products to uncover, and I’ve started with their lipstick. The color I’m in love with is called Tempest, but there are others in the palette catching my eye too. Have you tried any of these? (Color recs please!)
Tempest, on this mug anyways—isn’t it weird how differently colors can read from one face to the next?—is hitting that perfect balance between orange and pink. I know orange is all the rage right now, but I can’t wear a real one without feeling like someone’s grandma. But there’s enough pink and red in this one that it doesn’t scream Florida retirement home, but instead feels youthful and peachy. Especially on the cheeks! Such a good find for summer.
The texture also feels good and hydrating, and it’s got impressive lasting power for a natural (some tips on that here).
Are you a Vapour fan? Which products of theirs have you tried?
P.S. We have a deal running on Open Sky of our beloved Kahina Eye Cream. For the next 24 hours you save ten smackers.
As some of you know, every Wednesday we feature new favorite products on Open Sky. Today we’ve added a shampoo and conditioner set from Acure Organics. Siobhan reviewed this line back in November, so we thought we’d repost. Have you tried it?
I’m going to do a Q&A with myself about this new shampoo and conditioner from Acure Organics, because that seems, in this moment, to be a funny and easy break from form, since I’ve reviewed a bunch of shampoos and conditioners lately. Also, easy to read for you guys, right? Heh.
Does the shampoo get your hair clean?
LOL! What? Yes! Obviously.
Is there residue left over?
No, actually. The shampoo has a nice lather—hard to get in naturals—and rinses out pretty easily. Ditto the conditioner, which I typically leave on my hair for a couple of minutes as I shave my legs or sing or something.
Does it smell nice?
I’ve only smelled the argan oil shampoo and conditioner—there are three different kinds, with three different smells and oils, by hair type—and I love the smell so much! Spirit Demerson sent me the duo to sample to try and review (she sells them on her site), and I BBMed her after I first tried it freaking out about how nice is smells. Like almonds, kind of, with a citrusy smell that cuts the sweetness of the almond extract. I love how the smell lingers on my hair too. It makes me feel good about hugging people. (Does everyone think about how their hair smells during hugs?)
Does the conditioner weight down your hair?
Only if it’s opposite day. Which is to say, no, not at all. My hair has a nice bounce to it, no residue (see above) and it’s SHINY, probably thanks to all the oils in there.
Do you like it enough to use it—and only it—every day?
Which means it’s probably prohibitively expensive right? Like all the other stuff you like?
Hey! That’s not true! OK, it’s sometimes true, but no, this one’s totally affordable! 12 oz. for $10.99.
I’m new to Acure. Do you like the rest of the line?
We’re new to it too! I haven’t tried anything else from them, but their price points are amazing, and the ingredients are clean, so I’m thinking this might be the beginning of a love affair.
Finally, is it…clean?
See for yourself:
Shampoo ingredients: Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Fair Trade CertifiedTM Rooibos, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Vera Leaf Juice, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (from Coconut), 100% Naturally-derived Betaine (from Sugar Beets), Vegetable Glycerin, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate (from Coconut + Amino Acids), Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (from Coconut + Amino Acids), Cocoglucosides Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (Sugar Conditioner), Sodium Levulinate (from Corn), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (Guar gum conditioner), Potassium Sorbate (food grade preservative), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Organic Fair- Trade CertifiedTM Olea Europea (Olive) Oil, D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E), Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) seed oil, Organic Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Argania spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, glycerophosphoinositol lysine (from sunflower), Almond Extract, Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia Bark) Oil
Conditioner ingredients: Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Rooibos, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearylkonium Chloride, Vegetable Glycerin, Glucono Delta Lactone (fermented sugar), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside (from corn and glucose), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (guar gum conditioner), Glyceryl Stearate (vegetable-derived), L-Arginine (amino acid), Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Sorbitan Olivate (from olives + sugar), Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5), Cellulose (plant derived), D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin. E), Lactic Acid (vegetable derived), Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) seed oil, Organic Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Argania spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, glycerophosphoinositol lysine (from sunflower), Prunus dulcis (Almond) Extract, Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia Bark) Oil
Have you guys tried this stuff? Or anything else from Acure?
For at least the last five years, and probably longer, Alexandra and I have used an unbelievably inefficient system for tracking our fertility: We send each other text messages when our cycles start. That way, our fuzzy logic goes, we a) Always know how the other person is feeling; b) Can see if we’re still in sync, even though we’re on opposite coasts; and, most important, c) Have a dated record of our last period, lest we forget, which we always do.* It’s a ridiculous system. But until recently, it suited us both just fine.
Then Alexandra discovered the greatest app ever created: It’s called iPeriod, it’s free, and it’s amazing. Here’s why:
It’s an idiot-proof way to track not just your period and/or spotting, but also your mood, your skin, your cramps, your stress level, your sex life, and when you’re ovulating, which is important if you aren’t keen on getting pregnant right now. The app also predicts, with startling accuracy, the date of your next cycle, even if you’re irregular. What more could you want?
There’s also a note-taking section, which I find particularly useful. If you use it as a sort of shorthand diary, you may be able to detect patterns in your own life that sync up with your cycle. For instance, maybe your sleep get better when progesterone spikes, or maybe your skin freaks out right before your cycle, or maybe, just maybe, you have a tendency to pick big stupid fights with your partner in the days leading up to ovulation. This can all be very useful information!
We’ve spoken before about different methods of birth control on the site, and you guys almost broke our commenting record with all your thoughts. And so for those of you who aren’t on the pill, who are interested in tracking their own cycle, we cannot recommend this app highly enough. Of course you still need to use common sense: Having condomless sex if you are anywhere near ovulation is a terrible idea! And you should still educate yourself on the basics. For reasons that are beyond me, this stuff isn’t taught—or at least not taught properly—to young women, which is why it’s hardly surprising that so many women I know think ovulation happens two weeks after their period ends. Not so! In any case, this isn’t sex ed class, and everyone has to take responsibility for their own stuff, but this app takes out a lot of the guesswork.
How do you keep track of your cycle?
If you were to judge me by the current state of my shower caddy you might be inclined to call me a hoarder. Someone even said as much recently. “Aren’t you supposed to have less stuff now, not more?” he asked.
Totally. But I have an issue! I fell a little bit out of love with the shampoo and conditioner I’d been using for the better part of two years and have since been taking others for a whirl. Add to that the fact that sometimes people just send us stuff and you have a very crowded bathroom. You can tell which ones I like by seeing which ones are turned upside down. And the one that’s been turned upside down the longest is on the receiving end of a lot of shaking and slapping every morning as I try to get one more handful out of the bottle.
It’s Andalou Naturals’ Full Volume Conditioner with Lavender and Biotin.
Nothing fancy. A pretty simple ingredient list. Ten bucks at Whole Foods (but it’s on sale right now for $7.99—run!). And it’s totally and completely up my alley right now.
Regulars around here know I take my hair kind of seriously. I have moral crises (yes, plural) about the color thing, I experiment with gross non-naturals (and then freak out when things go awry), I burn it by accident then get heavily invested in my new hairdryer, and yes, I also Brazilianed it that one time.
For years now I’ve splurged on expensive shampoos and conditioners, usually from the same brand—which I’m not knocking; I still love you, John Masters! It’s not you, it’s me! I just needed a change. And of all the things crowding my shower, Andalou’s conditioner is the one I can’t get enough of.
My hair is pretty heavy so I tend to like anything volumizing. I wouldn’t say this is giving me Mad Men volume or anything, but it’s not flat to my head, and has some nice movement and body.
It’s also been very shiny, not at all greasy, and continues to look nice day in day out. In fact, I think my hair is getting nicer with repeated use. Finally, it doesn’t smell like grandma’s lavender. The scent doesn’t linger at all, actually.
Here are the ingredients:
Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Stearylkonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Barley Protein, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba), Linum Usitatissimum (Flax) and Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Oils*, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Extract*, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja (Soy) Protein, Camelina Sativa and Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Oils, Vitamin B Complex (Biotin, Thiamine, Pyridoxine, Niacin, Riboflavin & Panthenol), Malus Domestica (Apple), Solar Vitis (Grape) and Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Stem Cell Cultures and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) and Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Extracts *†, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil*
If I’m being totally honest with myself (and with y’all) I’m not sure I buy that any of these ingredients are especially magical. There’s biotin in there so, in theory… Anyway, aloe works wonders on my hair, and that’s there at the top of the list, followed by oil and a chemical that sounds scary but isn’t. Next you have some more oils, some barley protein, and near the end we have our old nemesis ethylhexylglycerin, which I’m happy to make an exception about in this case.
Between the price, wide availability of the product and, yup, results, makes this totally worth it for me. I like the shampoo a lot, too.
Have you found another affordable conditioner you love? Because there’s still a little room left in my bathroom….
I’m about to do something kinda wrong. I’m about to review a product that I know for a fact isn’t entirely clean. But before I plan my own crucification let me explain why I’m doing this:
Before I went clean, the curl cream was a major staple in my product arsenal. Does anyone remember (or use) Aveda’s Be Curly? Well, that was the creamy crack in my family—we easily went through a bottle a week.
The perfect curl cream is really thick and sometimes a little sticky—it helps hold the curl without making it crunchy, tames frizz, and generally make a woman with curly hair feel like she can leave the house and not come back later looking like an entirely different person. This is a problem that no longer plagues me, mostly because I don’t wash my hair. But I also now live in Los Angeles and every time I take a trip back east I’m reminded what a big role that plays in the manageability of my hair.
These humid summer heat waves taking over the country are beastly for curly hair (and other hair, and skin, and and). This is why I felt compelled to tell you about this Andalou Naturals Styling Cream that showed up in my mail a few weeks ago. I’d kinda skimmed the label and saw things I loved like argan oil, shea and a slew of other hair-loving ingredients—so I tried it a few times. Just from the texture I could tell that it was a winner for curls and I made a mental note to inspect it more closely.
Then last night I spoke at an event at the Soho House hosted by Tata Harper—fancy times! Needless to say I really didn’t want to risk any hair surprises, and Andalou delivered: When I got home, at a shockingly late where-did-the-time-fly 1am, my hair looked exactly as it had when I left the house. It didn’t fall, it didn’t fluff, it didn’t frizz.
But under the loupe this morning I saw that it was a little too good to be true. The product contains bad boy phenoxyethanol and a silicone (Amodimethicone)—granted one that gets a zero on the Skin Deep Database but still not the kind of ingredients we endorse. However, because this is the first cleaner curl cream I’ve come across that really works, and because I know how hard certain transitions can be for women with curly hair, and how especially hard this recent weather has been, I wanted to tell you about it. The end.
Now the million dollar question: Do you have a clean curl cream that you love? Is this a blind spot for me? Say it’s so.