Thursday, April 30, 2015

Talk About Cosmetics - Gressa MINIMALIST Glamour

If you're looking for a foundation that glides on like butter, blends seamlessly into your skin, feels weightless but hydrating, and makes your skin look like you just got a really expensive facial then you should look no further than Gressa and their MINIMALIST Corrective Serum Foundation. You might as well add the Contouring Serum Bronzer and Illuminating Serum to your cart as well because this trio is magical. These products never ever make you look like you're wearing a face full of makeup and instead make your complexion look beautifully flawless and healthy. The radiant and dewy finish is something that is absolutely stunning and jaw-dropping.

Okay, before we continue on I'm fully aware that these products are a little pricier than the average cosmetics, but trust me when I tell you they're totally worth it. A single drop of each of these magical elixirs goes a very long way so you won't be using too much too quickly. I fully believe in investing in skincare and these products are skin care with an added cosmetic bonus.

The MINIMALIST Corrective Serum Foundation currently comes in 8 colors and comes in a lovely .5 oz dark glass bottle with a dropper. I would say that this is a light to medium coverage foundation that can be built up. It does a wonderful job evening out skin tone and even conceals blemishes and dark spots. I'm using shade 03 and it's a great match for me. On days when I want more coverage I use 4 drops to cover my entire face but I can get by with 2 on lighter days. Gressa has their own Immaculate Buffing Brush they recommend but I'm currently using my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to apply this foundation. I actually drop the foundation directly onto my brush, although they recommend starting on your hand, and apply to the center of my face blending out.

You know that feeling when you put on foundation but you can't stand how heavy or tacky it feels and you can't wait to be able to wash it off? Well, that doesn't happen with this stuff. After I apply it I forget I'm even wearing it. I have dry skin and this serum to powder foundation glides on easily and doesn't cling to any dry patches. It adds a nice amount of hydration so I never look cakey or dehydrated. I do have to set this with a powder or I've noticed that it transfers fairly easily. I've been using the Pacifica Perfect Lotus Universal Powder in Light to set it (after applying the Contouring Serum and Illuminating Serum) and the combination is really nice.

The MINIMALIST Contouring Serum Bronzer is awesome. It's seriously so good I can't even put it into words. I love bronzer and I love to contour so it sort of seems like this product was created just for me, or at least for people like me. Be careful though because if you use a heavy hand you'll apply way too much, which I have done a couple of times. I've gotten the hang of it though and I now use one single drop on my Real Techniques Sculpting Brush. I dab it onto the back of my hand and then apply to my face and I get the perfect amount to shape and warm up my entire face. It's such a beautiful shade that's not at all orange or muddy. It makes me look makes me look believably bronzed and adds definition to my face. I haven't tried this yet but I bet you can even add it to lotion to make a wash off tan or apply it to foundation to make a darker, more summery shade.

The MINIMALIST Illuminating Serum is a seriously pretty luminous pearly serum that adds a subtle glow to make skin look even more radiant and alive. It's a pink pearlescent shade that adds a hint of something special to the tops of the cheekbones or anywhere else you desire a little highlight. It's not glittery or metallic, nor does it make you look like a disco ball or a little girl who got into her older sisters makeup stash. It's easy to use and I absolutely love the effect. I imagine you could also add this to lotion or foundation to get an all-over glow. My only problem with this is that my dropper seems to not work very well. The other two bottles have droppers that are in perfect working order but this particular one is very difficult to get anything out of.

I'm only wearing the Gressa MINIMALIST Corrective Serum Foundation, Contouring Serum Bronzer (on cheeks and eyes), and the Illuminating Serum in the following photo. I am also wearing mascara and lip balm, but no added concealer. I also did not retouch these at all.

All three of these products have the GRESSA Healing Complex which is a" proprietary powerhouse blend of carefully selected botanical extracts that care for your skin by providing it with overall balance, radiance, and clarity", so not only are these products absolutely beautiful they're also good for your skin. What's not to love? Nothing! I'm seriously in love with these 3 products. Thank you Gressa for making such gorgeous, luxurious, and healthy products that lend themselves to making my skin look as good as it possibly can!

Gressa has also mentioned adding eye tints and cheek colors to their collection and I am SO excited about those. I can't wait to read more about them! I also have my eye on their AUX ROUGE Lip Boost. So pretty!

If you're interested in learning more about Gressa or their products you can visit their website by clicking here. You can also find Gressa on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Talk About Cosmetics - Pacifica

is an excellent natural beauty brand for so many reasons. They are a cruelty free company who specializes in creating affordable and healthy vegan products that are highly effective and luxurious but available in stores like Target and Ulta. I can also find their products at my local Fred Meyer so I often find myself in front of their display trying to pick which products I need to add to my collection. I seem to be constantly adding products from their line into my beauty arsenal so I figured it was time to talk about Pacifica.

My first experience with Pacifica was several years ago when my Mom gave me a Hawaiian Ruby Guava candle and body butter. As many of you might know, I really love unscented things but even then I still fell really hard for the glorious, tropical, fruity fragrance. The candle was particularly awe-inspiring. Fast forward a few years and many of their cosmetics have become beloved treasures in my makeup drawers.

Their products all have a scent but the most surprising thing is that it doesn't bother me at all. If you're a regular reader of my blog than you know how very sensitive to any kind of scent I am but the Pacifica fragrance is something I actually enjoy. I think it's a bit odd to apply strongly scented makeup to my face but I don't mind it, although it is something to be cautious of if you're also very sensitive. Many of their products also pack quite a shimmery punch so if you don't like shimmer keep that in mind.

I am totally obsessed with Pacifica lip products and their Devocean Deeply Devoted Natural Lipsticks in particular. I only have two of their shades but I adore them. I have Tenderness, a lovely and creamy my lips but better shade that makes my lips look lush and full, and Rebel Sol, a bright and cheerful coral color perfect for the warmer months. My lips are incredibly sensitive so I have to be careful about what I apply on them but these lipsticks are gentle, hydrating, and comfortable to wear. The color lasts quite a long time and wears well. I also love the long tube format and how easy they are to apply. I also have one of their Color Quench Lip Tints in the color Sugared Fig. The scent is divine and while it doesn't provide much color it does add a nice touch of something special to the lips. It is a bit on the drier side so I like to layer it with a lip balm but it's a nice, easy go to product for me.

I've talked about the Dreamlit Illuminating Under Eye Brightener in Dreamlight a few times on Beautiful Basics and for good reason – it's a miracle in a tube. Seriously! It's one of my holy grail products and I have a feeling I'll always have a tube on hand. I have some dark and heavy baggage under my eyes and this creamy product leaves me looking bright-eyed, heavy, and well rested. It also never settles into my fine lines so it's a winner all around. I love the Under Eye Brightener so much that I decided to purchase their Transcendent Concentrated Correcting Concealer in Light as well. It's a bit on the drier side so I have to be careful about applying this only to well hydrated skin but it does a fantastic job of concealing and correcting my skin leaving me looking even all over. It's also the perfect color for me!

The Ultra CC Cream Radiant Foundation with SPF 17 provides light coverage and helps even out my skin. It's lightweight, smells great, and wears beautifully all day. I can get away with wearing it on it's own but those of you who prefer heavy coverage should look elsewhere or you can layer it with another foundation.

My latest purchase is the Perfect Lotus Universal Powder in Light and it's another winner. I absolutely love the packaging and the powder itself is so soft and smooth. The Light color is perfect for me! I've been having issues with wearing powder for a few months now but there is something magical about this one because it never looks dry or heavy on the skin and instead is almost hydrating. It's the perfect setting powder!

As for the Smolder Eye Lining Gel in Anchor and the Natural Eye Pencil in Bare (not pictured) I can't say that I'm very smitten with either of them. The Eye Pencil in Bare is a creamy colored pencil that goes on smoothly but tends to irritate my eyes a bit. I chalk it up to the fact that I have extremely sensitive eyes when it comes to liner. I do like using it under my brows though. The Smolder Eye Lining Gel is beyond shimmery, which I don't love, and a bit of an odd color on me so it's not necessarily a bad product but it's not the right product for me.

As for my Pacifica wish list I really want to pick up their Power of Love Coconut Infused Mineral Eye Shadow Palette, Love 3 Natural Mineral Coconut Eye Shadow TrioPower of Love Natural Lipstick in Nudie Red, Coconut Kiss Creamy Lip Butter in Shell, and Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Long Last Mineral Mascara in Black. You read about my favorites and which products I'm coveting and now I want to know which Pacifica products you love or which ones you're interested in trying!

To learn more about Pacifica and their products you can check out their website by clicking here. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you want to find a retailer near you can use this locator.

(FTC: I purchased these products with my own money. I am not being compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own and honest.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Talk About Hair and Body - Acure Organics

I think Acure Organics is such a great brand for affordable and healthy hair, skin, and body products and I'm also a really big fan of bar soap so I was really excited about the brands Argan Oil Bar Soaps. I was sent all 5 scents to try out and today I'll be sharing my thoughts on them as well as my reviews of a couple of their other products that I picked up myself so let's get right into it, shall we?

The Argan Oil Bar Soaps come in the 5 different versions:
Cinnamon Chai Latte
Mint Cookie + Omega 7
Oatmeal + Apple Pie
Pumpkin + Calendula
Superfruit + Citrus

The Mint Cookie + Omega 7, Oatmeal + Apple Pie, and Superfruit + Citrus are my favorites! If I had to pick only one to be declared my absolute favorite it would be the Mint Cookie… no, it would be the Oatmeal + Apple Pie. Okay, so I can't narrow it down because they're really wonderful bars of soap and they smell fantastic! I do recommend finding these near you so you can smell them before you buy them. They're very strongly scented and might not be for everyone. These soaps are made with healthy, safe, and pure organic oils. They're also vegan and cruelty free like all Acure products are and you'll never see any parabens, sulfates or other toxic ingredients listed on the back of the box. This soap is also gluten free! The Oatmeal + Apple Pie soap has the added benefit of exfoliating the skin with gentle bits of oatmeal.

I picked up the Unscented Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes on a pilgrimage to Target a couple of months ago and I'm so glad I did. Side note – I wish I had a Target near me because I love how many green and natural products they're starting to stock. The nearest one to me is an hour and a half away. Bummer, huh? Anyway, I wasn't sure what to expect with these cleansing wipes. I really like products like this but often find them to be too harsh and drying on my skin. I don't have that issue with these handy little guys. They're awesome! These are beyond gentle and very moist. I like using these before I wash my face to remove the bulk of my makeup. They don't remove every trace of makeup but they do a really good job of paving the way for a cleanser to follow. They have absolutely no scent and don't leave my skin looking irritated or red at all. I think these will be a camping staple for me this summer!

The final product I want to talk about is the Moisturizing Root Repair Argan Stem Cell + Mint Deep Conditioning Hair Mask that I received in a Goodebox. This stuff is incredible. I usually don't like deep conditioners but this one blows me away every single time I use it. It leaves my hair and scalp feeling so healthy, strong and nurtured. The scent doesn't linger but it is lovely and minty. I truly love using this product and what it does to my hair. I use it twice a week in place of my regular conditioner and I have been reaping the beautiful hair benefits of adding this to my routine. I have long, fine hair and this leaves my hair silky soft, tangle free, shiny, and strong. I have nothing but love for this gorgeous product.

You can learn more about Acure and their product offerings by visiting their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to know more about what I think about their products you can check out my reviews here, here, and here. Do you have a favorite Acure product or one that you want to try?

(FTC: I purchased the Unscented Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes with my own money. The Argan Oil Bar Soaps were generously provided to me by the company for review consideration. The Deep Conditioner came out of a Goodebox. I am not being compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own and honest.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Talk About It - Face Effects by Spa Sonic

I'm a tool kind of girl, and I don't mean hammers or drills. Skin care and cosmetic tools are some of my favorite things in the world and I know I'm not alone. If you're like me and love a good beauty tool than you're going to love Face Effects by Spa Sonic.

Several of you have asked for my thoughts on Clarisonic and their Skin Cleansing Systems but with cheaper alternatives like this, that work super well, I just can't justify the cost. The Face Effects Face Perfecting Polisher works so well I have no interest in trying any other systems.

This facial cleansing brush makes my skin smoother, clearer, cleaner, and a lot brighter. This system gets my skin really clean, deep down to each pore. It also seems to really help my serums and moisturizers absorb more easily, which I greatly appreciate.

The Spa Sonic Face Effects Face Perfecting Polisher 6 Piece Professional Kit includes:
Cleansing Unit - which comes in several designs: Zebra, Cheetah, Polka Dot and metallic Gold and Silver
Facial Brush – a super soft bristled brush that cleanses the skin
Pore Minimizer – a grooved silicone attachment perfect for deep cleaning and tightening pores
Facial Sponge – a latex head that is great for applying moisturizer
Storage Case
Battery 2-Pack

The Face Effects Polisher is water resistant so you can use it in the shower or at the sink without having to worry about ruining the unit. This tool has two speed settings so you can pick whichever speed you prefer. It also comes with batteries so once you've put it together it's all set to go!

I think one of the coolest extra bits is the hard acse in which the brush and heads comes in. It's perfect for storing in your bathroom to keep it safe and clean. I think the case is the perfect addition!

The Spa Sonic Face Effects Face Perfecting Polisher has a price tag of $59.99. You can purchase this system online here and here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Talk About It - Weleda Toothpaste Comparison and Review

I included the Weleda Salt Toothpaste in my 14 Favorites from 2015 post because it's my absolute favorite toothpaste of all time and I've gone through so many tubes of the stuff but when I suddenly ran out I had to come up with another solution. The Salt Toothpaste isn't sold anywhere in my town so I have to order it online. One of my local grocery stores does, however, carry 2 different formulas of toothpaste from Weleda so I decided to pick them up and try them out while I was waiting for my beloved version to arrive at my doorstep.

I was so excited about finding a toothpaste I could purchase locally and also about doing a comparison review of the 3 Weleda toothpastes that I've tried but, sadly, neither of the new (to me) toothpastes were winners. In one corner of the ring we have my dear Salt Toothpaste and in the other we have the Plant Gel Toothpaste and the Ratanhia Toothpaste.

Before I get into the specifics of the aforementioned fight to be the best toothpaste winner I want to let you all know that I have extremely sensitive lips and mouth. I have to be really careful about lip products and oral care products because I tend to get easily irritated and having an irritated mouth is no fun.

Each Weleda toothpaste has a different purpose and super power. The Ratanhia Toothpaste is meant to cleanse and strengthen the gums. The Plant Gel Toothpaste was made to naturally protect sensitive gums and teeth. The Salt Toothpaste helps protect against plaque and tartar buildup as well as help clean and whiten teeth.

The Weleda Salt Toothpaste is a miracle in a tube. It has helped keep my teeth and gums healthy. It leaves my teeth feeling incredibly clean and my breath smelling fresh for a long time. It takes a little getting used to since it doesn't foam and it tastes quite salty (obviously) but I have purchased multiple tubes and always use every last drop. I'm not sure what it is that makes this formula superior to all other toothpastes I have ever used but it's a wonder product and I can't say enough good things about it.

I simply didn't like the Plant Gel because it instantly bothered my gums and lips. I'm not sure what cause my mouth to rebel against this formula but I just wasn't happy with the results and won't be trying it again. It made my teeth and mouth tingle. Weird, right? It left my breath fresh enough but didn't do enough to make my teeth feel very clean.

The Ratanhia Toothpaste isn't the best thing ever but it leaves my teeth feeling perfectly clean and my gums feeling really tight and healthy. This really does do what it says in that it strengthens my gums and that is something I really appreciate. I don't like the flavor of this toothpaste though and it leaves a bit of an odd scent behind. It's extremely weird because it's a pinkish purple clay-like formula and it takes some getting used to. It also ended up bothering my lips a bit. This is worth a try just for the effects on the gums it provides.

All in all, the Weleda Salt Toothpaste is a must have in my oral care routine and I don't think I'll be straying again. Have you tried any of these or one of their other versions?

(FTC: I purchased these with my own money. I am not being compensated for this post.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Talk About Subscription Boxes - March and April 2015 Goodebox Review

Who here loves a good surprise? If I'm being totally honest (which, let's be real here, I always am with you on Beautiful Basics) I'm not a big fan of surprises. Maybe it's the fact that I have anxiety and I like to know exactly what to expect or maybe it's just not natural for everybody to like surprises.

I'm not sure which it is but either way there is one surprise that I do enjoy. I love getting a box of beauty products (trial sized and even some full sized goodies) delivered directly to my mailbox every single month. Even those of us who don't love surprises can appreciate Goodebox, an eco friendly beauty subscription box. My Mom and I like to share the spoils of beauty boxes and between the two of us we always find things we like. I've reviewed Goodebox in the past (you can check out those reviews by clicking here and here) but today I'll be talking about the March and April 2015 boxes. Before we get into the contents of the boxes let's get the basics out of the way.

Goodebox is a service aimed at introducing subscribers to natural, healthy, and non-toxic beauty and personal care products as well as the occasional health and wellness products. This is directly from the Goodebox FAQ section on their website, "All Goodeboxes will contain some type of skin and/or bodycare products. Most months will have a color item (make-up), and some will have hair care, fragrance, sun care, personal care, hygiene products, accessories, supplements, health & beauty related food or beverage items or sustainable living products." You will also receive special offers from some of the brands included in the box.

With several membership plans (monthly, every other month, or multi-month), the ability to fill out a profile so you're getting personalized products you're bound to like, and the promise of 4-6 trial sized products for under $20 a month green beauty lovers have nothing to lose by signing up. Here is a quick rundown on Goodebox plans and costs. For $102, or $17 per box, you can sign up for a 6-month membership. If you want a shorter membership you can sign up for 3 months with each box will cost $18 for a total of $54. If you're interested in purchasing a single box without having to make commitment you can pay monthly as you go for $19. Whichever option you go for you will receive free shipping. Please know that this subscription only ships to the US, US Territories, and APO Boxes.

Another important thing to note: Goodebox supports cruelty free beauty brands and screens each potential brand to ensure they are not testing on animals or using ingredients that are tested on animals although not all of the products or brands included are certified Cruelty Free by Leaping Bunny. If you're a vegan and mark your profile as such you will not receive any products with ingredients derived from milk, eggs, lanolin, pearl, silk, carmine, or any animal by-products. You may, however, receive products with honey and/or beeswax.

The March 2015 Goodebox is one of the most impressive subscription boxes I have ever encountered. I was ecstatic when I opened the box and discovered so many awesome products inside, including several full sized products! So, what exactly did I find?
Acure Root + Hair Deep Repair – Full size with a value of $14.99
Juice Beauty Defining Eyeliner in Black – Full size with a value of $16
3 Pack Knotted Hair Ties from Poppy and Elle
Eslor Soothing Refiner and Cleanser - .5 oz
Furlesse Lip Sticks, Crows, Rows, and Elevens

Like I said, I was majorly impressed with this box. The value of the Acure and Juice Beauty products alone were worth well over the price of the box itself. I've already used the Acure Root + Hair Deep Repair and absolutely love it. I'm actually planning on giving it its own featured review soon. I gave my Mom the Juice Beauty Eyeliner and she really likes it. The hair ties are adorable and are my favorite type of hair tie so I know I'll get a lot of use out of them. The Eslor Cleanser is a great size and I love the packaging. I'm not sure about the Furlesse though.

I also received the April 2015 Goodebox for review purposes. Here is what was inside:
Preserve Razor – Full size (1 razor and 2 blades) with a value of $8.50
Derma E Evenly Radiant Brightening Day Crème SPF 15 - .5 oz
Gressa Skin Renewing Polish
Kahina Serum
The Seaweed Bath Co, Detox Cellulite Cream

I like this box but it didn't blow me away like the March one did. I completely understand that not every box can have a huge wow factor, though, and some months will be better than others. I think I'm most excited about the Derma E Crème and the Razor. I haven't used either yet but they're both things I think I will really enjoy. My Mom has already tried the Gressa Skin Renewing Polish and couldn't stop telling me how incredible it is. I really like Gressa (and will be posting a review of their Minimalist Glamour line on the blog soon) so I'm happy to see this included in this box.

Also, Goodebox just celebrated their 3rd birthday! Join me in wishing Goodebox congratulations on 3 years of wonderful beauty boxes! Here is to many more years of healthy beauty! If you want to learn more about Goodebox you can visit their website by clicking here. You can also find Goodebox on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

One last thing, I'm considering joining Goodebox in order to provide you all with monthly reviews. What do you think? Is that something you would be interested in?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Talk About Skin Care - Kari Gran

Kari Gran is a self admitted beauty junkie who started looking at exactly what ingredients she was putting on her skin when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in her late twenties. She began searching for natural alternatives and was left wanting more. It wasn't until her forties when she started thinking about developing healthy, simple, and elegant products to meet basic skin needs and nourish a healthy complexion.

Kari, who creates the products, teamed up with her friend Lisa Strain, who runs the business side, to create Kari Gran. Kari Gran is a line of all-natural, cruelty free skin care and cosmetics that are made from natural, wild harvested and non-GMO ingredients that are good for the body and the world. You'll never find any toxic ingredients inside any Kari Gran products. You won't find water either, only natural plant ingredients and essential oils. The line is designed to be gentle and safe for all ages and skin types.

I've heard a lot about Kari Gran in the past and was so excited to be able to try some of their products. I was sent their Starter Kit and two of their popular Lip Whips.

I know that not everyone is a fan of oil based products, but I am and I am so in love with the Kari Gran Cleansing Oil. It's my favorite product of theirs that I have tried and I know a lot of you would like it as well. This cleansing oil is made from Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Castor Seed Oil, Organic Lavender Oil, and Non-GMO Vitamin E from Sunflower. This cleansing oil is simple but so luxurious. The formula is deliciously rich and leaves my skin feeling superbly hydrated and supple. My skin absolutely loves it!

The Hydrating Tonic in Rose (which also comes in Lavender) is also really lovely. It adds the perfect touch of extra moisture to my skin and smells divine. I use it as toner but also as a hydration spray over my makeup to get red of any dry patches and make my skin looks fresh and dewy. The texture is perfect and beautifully fine. It does not leave any stickiness or tackiness behind. The bottle is also perfect!

The Essential Serum feels really great on my skin but I really don't like the smell. The scent is so strong but the actual serum leaves my skin looking and feeling so smooth and luminous. I use it at night and love the results when I can get past the smell.

Their Lip Whips, which comes in 4 colored versions and 1 clear, are extremely popular. I've heard so much about these products from other green beauty bloggers so I was excited to get to try them. I received Naked, their original clean lip balm, and Tinted, a perfectly wearable and adorable sheer pink. Their Lip Whips come in two scents, Peppermint and Cinnamon-Pimenta Berry. I really like both scents and both the tinted and untinted balms. I don't really love potted lip balm because I don't like taking them out into the world with me (I'm a germaphobe) but I don't mind using them at home. They work great alone of layered under other lip products.

Have you tried Kari Gran or do you have any of their products on your beauty wish list? I think their line is definitely worth a look because simple and luxurious products are always worth a try in my book. To learn more about the company or their products you can visit their website by clicking here. You can also find Kari Gran on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

(FTC: These products were sent to me for free for review consideration. I am not being compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)