A non-toxic beauty blog focusing on botanical ingredients, honest reviews, affordable options, lifestyle musings, and more than a touch of humor.
"I now look back fondly at those being the most constructive years for preparing me for life in the real world...You have to have pretty thick skin and you have to have big shoulders." - Tom Curley

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Product Review: Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturizer

If you've read my previous posts on Tata Harper products, you may be a little surprised to see this review. To be honest, I'm a little surprised, too. Don't beat yourself up about it. The thing about Tata Harper is that I want to like this brand. They have a lot going for them. The ingredients are stellar (and often organic), they're committed to the environment and sustainability, and they're based in Vermont, which is, like, one of my favorite places ever. I'm also -- despite my best efforts -- not immune to bright, pretty packaging and sparkly little buzzwords like rejuvenating and glowing and pore minimization. Okay, so pore minimization is two words, but you get the picture.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Treat Yo' Self

Sorry to leave you guys hanging for so long! It's been a crazy month, dear readers. I do have some good news, though! After months of hard work and interviews, I have been promoted to a new position within my organization! I'm hoping that this new position will leave me with more time, energy, and funding to continue working on this wonderful blog.

I haven't yet decided how I'm going to treat myself in honor of this new stage in my career. I was originally thinking of getting a new tattoo or piercing, and this is something I still want to do, but it may have to wait, depending on some other factors. Namely -- time, money, availability of the artist I want, and the timing of Burning Flipside next month.

I am a firm believer in treating yourself every now and then, so here are a few items I have my eye on!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Product Review: Madison Street Beauty Eyeshadows & Bronzer + SWATCHES!

Okay guys, here's what you've been waiting for... swatches of all of my beautiful Madison Street Beauty samples! Just an FYI - Madison Street Beauty is doing a freaking AMAZING sale right now -- 60% off everything in the store! Unfortunately, this sale ends tomorrow, April 1st, so jump on that soon.

Now, without further ado, the swatches!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

W3LL People Mascara Launch!

 Oh my gosh, you guys! Did you know that one of my absolute favorite green beauty brands, W3LL People, just launched a new mascara? Be still my heart!

It seems like all sorts of wonderful green brands are putting out mascara these days -- RMS Beauty, ILIA Beauty, Juice Beauty, Kjaer Weis, just to name a few -- and I couldn't be happier! Mascara is a notoriously difficult product to transition to "clean." I've heard complaints from even the greenest beauty mavens, and it's one of those dirty products that many people just can't give up.

I've been lucky enough to find several green mascaras that work fairly well for me, but they're far from perfect. One thing that I would love is a bolder, more voluminous look from my mascara. I have long-ish, medium thickness lashes that are lighter in color, so without mascara, there's really nothing to make my eyes pop. I'm constantly jealous of my wife, who has beautiful lashes that are naturally crazy long, thick, and gorgeous! Of course, she couldn't care less about makeup. Such is life.

While I haven't gotten my hands on this new W3LL People mascara (or any of the aforementioned mascaras... a little out of my price range at the moment), I was gifted a green mascara that I've heard good things about from Honeybee Gardens. I'm looking forward to trying that one out and passing the info on to you fine folks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Revisiting LUSH - Let's Go Shopping!

I know what you're saying. Now Sadie, you threw a lotta shade at LUSH back there, then said that you support it! What gives? Which products are actually safe?

Well, lucky for you, I'm a crazy person and I've compiled a huge list of all of the products at LUSH that I consider clean and safe, plus their ingredient lists!

A couple of notes: in most cases, I don't use products that contain perfume, parfum, fragrance, or flavor, because it's nearly impossible to figure out what's in them and they're notorious for hiding nasty toxins like 1,4-Dioxane. After some research, I've determined that LUSH is trustworthy enough not to do that. Fun fact: LUSH is one of (if not the) largest purchaser of rose essential oil and rose absolute. These are horrifically expensive fragrance and skin care ingredients and there are plenty of cheaper, sometimes toxic synthetics that could be used instead. To me, that speaks volumes. A brand willing to spend more on the better ingredient? Shocking.

Also, several of the products listed contain potentially abrasive botanicals: Geraniol, Eugenol, Limonene, and Linolool. These are components found in some essential and fragrance oils that some people may be sensitive or allergic to. I have never had any trouble with them. They can also have harmful effects when exposed to certain other factors, such as sunlight, but in products that never see the sun and are only used occasionally (masks, bath bombs, etc.), I consider them fine. If you have problems with these ingredients, or are uncertain, just err on the side of caution and don't use them.

Without further ado, here are my picks!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Revisiting LUSH - The Good, the Bad, and the Sort of Questionable

I've noticed more and more green beauty blogs talking about LUSH. You know the place -- it's like a more hippie chic version of Bath and Body Works. Overflowing with (admittedly delectable) scents, quirky packaging, a myriad of bath bombs and soaps stacked like colorful fruit ripe for the picking...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Just checking in...

Howdy, dear readers! Just a quick check-in to apologize for my slight absence. It hasn't been long, I know, but I miss this blog too much to go on without it! There's a lot on my plate at the moment in non-blog land, namely work, some freelance writing, and tinkering around with a very special green beauty project that I'm eager to share with you soon...

I know I gave you a little review yesterday, but here's a sneak peak of what you have to look forward to on the blog in the near future:
As previously mentioned, it's SXSW here in Austin and I'm planning on checking out some new brands at the Renegade Craft Fair tomorrow, plus maybe catching some free shows over the weekend. I'm seriously wondering how my fellow beauty bloggers manage to keep everything together!

But enough about me. What is everyone out there doing with their weekend? How are you dealing with this crazy weather? And most importantly... what would you like to see on the blog next?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Product Review: Claribel Nourishing Eye, Lip & Facial Oil

Howdy folks! Sorry for the lack of posts last week. It's been pretty crazy over here in my world, and now that SXSW has invaded my home city of Austin, TX, I find myself a bit too caught up in all of the excitement to do my usual posts! Psst, I'm going to a secret show tonight, so keep an eye on my Instagram for pics.

As a consolation, here's a quick little review of a lovely facial oil that I've been using:

claribel skin treatments & cosmeceuticals is a small green brand with a wide array of luxurious yet affordable products. I'm a complete Etsy junkie, so I'm constantly on the look-out for up-and-coming indie brands, which is where I originally found claribel's shop. That Etsy shop is still around, but now they have a fancy new website, too! claribel has been on my list for a while and I finally settled on their Nourishing Eye, Lip & Facial Oil.

I originally bought this oil as an eye makeup remover because my usual cleanser wasn't cutting it. Now that I have my amazing ED4OLO Vitamin B Cleansing Oil, I no longer need it for that purpose, but it's still an excellent product.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Product Review: Skin by Ann Webb Peppermint Milk Skin Brightening Cleanser

There are a lot of lovely people out there that can get by in the morning without cleansing.

I'm not one of them.

I guess it's a similar compulsion to my need to wash my hair every single day. If I don't wash my face it the morning, it simply doesn't feel clean to me. I can tell myself all sorts of things about the delicate acid mantle and my skin's need to stay moisturized by its own healing oils, but it makes little difference. If I don't wash my face, it feels greasy and unclean to me. My oiliness is the major problem, but then there's also the fact that I'm a delicate princess and I drool and sweat and flounder around all night long.

I've also found that if I don't wash my face in the mornings, my skin looks greasier throughout the day. It can affect the wear of my makeup. There are a lot of perks to having oily skin: reduced fine lines, less need to moisturize, much fewer signs of aging, and a general glow that many folks have to get from a spritz of hydrosol or some kind of dewy luminizer. I am grateful for all of these things. What I don't like is the feeling and look of greasiness, especially at work or when I'm out somewhere trying to look pretty. So I wash my face every morning.

All that being said, I've become much more cognizant of the need to be careful with my face, especially as I get (gasp) older. I don't want to strip my skin of nutrients and moisture, I just want to remove any sweat, dirt, or grease that's accumulated overnight. I want something gentle and refreshing that will provide the proper base for makeup. I used to use raw, local honey --  which works fantastically, don't get me wrong! -- but I think I've found something even better.

Skin by Ann Webb is a local brand here in Austin that is something of a cult secret. I suspect that it will become less so now that it's being carried in several area Whole Foods. This is a brand that I want to talk more about in a later post, so I won't ruin that for you and I'll just focus on the product that got me started with Ann Webb: Peppermint Cleansing Milk.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Product Review: One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque

I received this adorable little sample from the fab folks at the W3LL People Studio in Austin, TX. If you're ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend you drop by! Not only do they carry the full line of W3LL People makeup, they'll also gladly give you a free mini-makeover ala your typical Sephora, Ulta, or the mall beauty counter. They also offer a wide variety of only the cleanest products for skin care, body care, and a glamorous green lifestyle. I do most of my clean beauty shopping here and I adore the place, as well as everyone who works there. Make sure to get a hug from Christine!

But enough about W3LL People, let's talk about One Love Organics. I'm sure that by now, you're aware of my borderline-inappropriate love affair with their Vitamin B Cleansing Oil. I've been lusting after this brand for a while, and I'm glad that I'm getting the opportunity to try out a few of their products. While their products certainly aren't cheap, the ingredients are pure and high quality, and the price is more mid-range than comparable luxury brands, which I definitely appreciate.

Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque is the epitome of "gentle yet powerful." This phrase -- or similar incarnations -- is thrown around a lot in the green beauty world, but this scrub really takes the cake for me. The main ingredients are simple: corn starch, sweet pea flour, and pineapple extract, providing both manual and enzyme-based exfoliation. This scrub comes in a powder form that is deceptively smooth and silky. But add some water and bam! That same powder becomes a powerhouse of exfoliation. Sensitive- and dry-skinned beauties might take caution, according to reviews, this can be a little too much for your complexion. For oily and blemish-prone skin like mine, though, it works wonders!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Product Review + SWATCHES!: Star Crushed Minerals Eye Shadows

I'm a bad beauty blogger. Bad! You know why? Because I've been hanging on to these shadows for over six months and I still haven't reviewed them!

I guess it's a testament to their longevity that they're still as vibrant, shimmery, and beautiful as the day I got them in the mail.

It's easy to have a bit of sticker shock when transitioning to clean beauty products, especially makeup. There's a lot of really cheap, effective, yet toxic makeup out there in drug stores and groceries. When looking at luxury brands like Kjaer Weis, ILIA, RMS Beauty, and W3LL People, it's easy to find yourself deciding between some eyeshadow and the electric bill. Luckily, a plethora of unique boutiques have popped up online offering more affordable, yet still clean, options for makeup. A number of these independent brands can be found on Etsy, which is where I encountered Star Crushed Minerals.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Product Review: Stark Skincare Cypress Purity + Defense Oil + thoughts on the brand

 FreshFaced samples. Are you excited? I'm excited. Well, a bit melancholy as well, to see all of these little bits of loveliness go away. It does make room for more samples in the future, though. Anyway, on to the review!
All right guys, we're in the home stretch on my

Stark Skincare's Cypress Purity + Defense Oil is a product I've had my eye on for some time, and I have to say that it did not disappoint! This facial oil is light as a feather but supremely nourishing, containing rice bran oil, apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, camellia seed oil, and argan oil, plus some extra oomph with the addition of vitamin E, cypress oil, bergamot oil, and some super-secret essential oils (they're not listed, but I trust Stark to keep me safe from nasties).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sneak Peek at La Bella Figura's new product!

Look guys! I took a shoddy screenshot of an upcoming new lip color from La Bella Figura's Instagram! It's like I don't actually know how to use technology or something...

We don't know much about what kind of magic La Bella Figura Beauty is whipping up there in the great white north, but they did have this to say to me when I asked about the new product:
"We can tell you it's free of soy, gluten, carmine, talc, coconut, parabens, toxic stuff and is vegan. It's definitely luxurious with active ingredients that are plant based and feel luscious."
Can you tell I'm excited?? Because I'm really excited. I mean, look at that color. It's really like nothing I own or have really seen from the non-toxic beauty world. It's a sophisticated dark red lip that I could actually see myself wearing!

I'm watching you, Bella. I got my eye on you.

Product Review: May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt + thoughts on the brand

All right kids, we're coming up on my last couple of FreshFaced sample reviews. It's like some kind of bittersweet victory. This was one of the last products I tried, and for good reason. I'd heard lots of incredibly glowing reviews about this product and I was eager to try something unique.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Product Review: Sweet Anthem Perfume - Annabelle Perfume Oil

Sweet Anthem Perfumes
 While spring hasn't necessarily sprung, it is definitely afoot, and -- I think -- at the forefront of everyone's minds. This has been a wet, cold, nebulous sort of winter for us folks down here in Texas, and it's important to keep your spirits up as those hazy, damp, if slightly warmer, days continue. One way to do that is with scent, and I think that my girls over at Sweet Anthem Perfumes have some decidedly spring-like scents in their repertoire.

As you can probably tell from my previous reviews of Sweet Anthem products, I prefer sweeter, more floral scents, and the next perfume I'd like to share with you is in that same vein. The story of Annabelle Perfume Oil from Sweet Anthem's website speaks of sweltering jasmine and salty sea air, which is just what this delightful oil reminds me of. I've always loved jasmine, as my grandmother and mother both grew heaps of the flowering bush everywhere.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Product Review: Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover

First things first: that name is a mouthful! Second:


Guys, seriously, have you tried this stuff? It is literally flawless. I mean, I hate to say it, but pack up your stuff everybody. One Love Organics has won. I really cannot imagine a more fabulous makeup remover. But I'm going to try and keep my cool here, rather than just gush like a Tiger Beat tween over that androgynously adorable new boy band.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Battle of the BB Creams: Juice Beauty vs. Marie Veronique

Like many green beauty bloggers, Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream is a vital part of my makeup routine. I was turned on to this product after I read about it on one of my favorite blogs, No More Dirty Looks. I'll let you in on a little secret -- on an average day, I wear only this CC cream, some mascara, and a bit of tinted lip balm. I'm lazy like that.

But everyone finds their eyes wandering... right? Well, at least to another BB cream. Specifically, Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage. Both No More Dirty Looks and kimberlyloc have given glowing reviews of this product and I couldn't help being curious.  Given the similar natures of these two products, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to compare the two!

The Mask-ed Crusader aka Sadie Reviews All the Masks!

Today we're having a Very Special Episode on the blog! That's right, three product reviews for the price of one! Just three low monthly payments of zero dollars!

Anyway, in my recent FreshFaced haul, I received three separate masks, all of which are specifically targeted towards drawing out impurities, especially blackheads (my biggest problem) and blemishes (which I also occasionally get). However, beyond their end goals, the masks I got are all very different.

So, without further ado, here are the three masks I'm reviewing: Kahina Giving Beauty's Antioxidant Mask, Stark Skincare's Green Tea Detox Clay Mask, and May Lindstrom Skin's The Problem Solver!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Product Review: Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser + thoughts on the brand

Hellooo rent money
After a somewhat underwhelming experience with Tata Harper's Resurfacing Mask, I was honestly not expecting much from this cleanser. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. This product is a lot of what I look for in a cleanser - non-drying, soap-free, packed with powerful botanical ingredients, and designed to help clear up skin congestion and reduce the appearance of pores.

It's a fluffy, lightly pink cream cleanser with a subtle grittiness from apricot seed powder. I'm a big fan of exfoliation, but it's easy to go overboard in that category. This cleanser provides a gentler form of exfoliation that I feel is more beneficial to the skin. It removed my makeup well and buffed away the bit of flaky dryness that I have right now thanks to wintry winds. It also has a light fruity sort of scent, probably thanks to the neroli water and other various fruit-based ingredients. Like the Resurfacing Mask, a little bit of this goes a long way, as well. A tablespoon-sized sample got me a good 3-4 uses. All in all, I have no real complaints about this cleanser. If I saw it on a shelf at the grocery store, I'd snap it up in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Product Review: Bunny Butt Apothecary Complexion Zen

I'm taking a little break from reviewing my FreshFaced samples to chat about a product that I've been using quite a while now, but completely forgot to review!

Picture from their website

I first came across Bunny Butt Apothecary on Etsy and was intrigued by their Complexion Zen cream. When I visited their booth at the Austin Renegade Craft Fair, I couldn't help but snap up a jar of the stuff.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Product Review: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

As mentioned before, I have quite oily skin. This means I'm usually protected from things like dryness. Alas, this cold winter weather is breaking through even my thick layer of protective juices (did I just write that line?). This, paired with the fact that I was sick for two weeks over the holidays and therefore neglected my usual skincare regimen, means that my skin has been in need of some serious assistance. Luckily, it hasn't been terribly broken out, but there's definitely something to be desired. It's been dull, congested, lacking a certain vitality, and peppered with strange flaky dry spots. Ew.

I've been wanting to try Tata Harper for a while, specifically this mask, so it was the perfect time to break out one of my FreshFaced samples! I'm trying to do this whole product trial thing right for a change, i.e., only trying out one new product at once rather than all of them at the same time like some kind of crazy junkie. This means that I took the time to try this mask twice (with several agonizingly boring days in between) before making the final call. And what is that final call? Success! But... not overwhelmingly so. Let's discuss.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Product Review + SWATCHES!: ILIA Beauty Lip Conditioner in Bang Bang

My first product review of the new year! How exciting! This review is thanks to a sample I received from FreshFaced. (Received as in I bought it and then received it in the mail, not as in received for free. For free would be much preferred. Please send me free things.)

FreshFaced sample haul!

After months of waiting, a shiny little package arrived at my doorstep yesterday! You know who it was from? FreshFaced! I cannot tell you how excited about this I am, and not just because my first order got lost in the mail, hence the months of waiting. Luckily, they sent me a replacement that did not get lost.

FreshFaced is a lovely little online shop that supplies a number of great brands, leaning more towards the luxe end of the price scale. They're headquartered in the Great White North of Canada, so Canadian beauty lovers rejoice! Now you can get fancy brands like Tata Harper and Marie Veronique without having to pay for shipping from California or whatever. I don't really know.

You may be asking yourself, why would an American order from a Canadian website? Blasphemy! There are plenty of shops in the good ol' U S of A to order from! Well, I can sum it up in one word...