Category: Skincare

Three beauty/lifestyle subscription boxes I recently tried // Art of Organics, Boxwalla, & Craftly

march 7, 2017 | by: mercedes | filed under: skincare, alternative health + lifestyle

You know Beauty Heroes is my #oneandonly. I love Beauty Heroes not just for the thoughtful curation but the energy behind the brand/service has just always felt a cut above the rest to me. That said, I’m also aware that the beauty subscription market is VAST and has exploded in recent years (remember when Birchbox was super novel? yeah I miss those days too).

Recently I had three different subscription boxes happen into my life at the same time. I intended to do a video but lack of time and other videos I’d rather make instead have relegated this box trifecta flash review to a blog post. One of these I purchased myself, the other two were sent to me as PR.

1 – Art of Organics February Box featuring de Mamiel and Henné Organics

Art of Organics is, in my opinion, probably the closest thing I’ve seen that approximates Beauty Heroes. It’s $39 per month, you get at least one full size eco-beauty product (sometimes more than one, from what I can tell), there’s no minimum subscription plan, you have until the last day of the month to cancel your membership for the next month, and you get 15% off your purchase in their online shop. I’ve known about this box since they started, and honestly they didn’t seem to come out super strong out the gate. Their business model was confusing (I remember there being different “options” to subscribe to, like a “detox box” or a “glow box” or things like that), and the customer service was adequate but not exceptional. It seems like they’ve since remedied some of those issues, and appears to be a good option for those interested in getting to try more luxe eco beauty products at a lower price.

I decided to give the February box a go since I love face mists and it was de Mamiel. It’s a brand I’ve been curious about, and first time subscribers get 10% off, so the box was $34. Overall I’m really happy with the two products in the box, the de Mamiel Dewy Facial Mist and the Henné Organics Rose Diamonds lip scrub. I enjoy the face mist most as a setting spray/during the day refresh, rather than toning step, for whatever reason, though I am using it as part of my skincare routine also. The scent is very earthy and full of complex rose, and it lingers nicely (the scent). I still *slightly* prefer the Amly mist, but this one is beautiful too and I’m happy I went for it. The lip scrub leaves the lips beautifully exfoliated and moisturized, and I look forward to using it. This is a lot for me because I roll my eyes at lip scrubs usually. So, rave!

I was debating whether or not to see what another month of Art of Organics would bring – and decided to give it at least one more month. I might do two more months and then do a 3-month Art of Organics cumulative review or something? On video.

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2 – Boxwalla Secret Garden Beauty Box (this particular box isn’t available, I’m not sure if it was one of the subscription beauty boxes or a one-time beauty box…kind of confused actually)

My YouTube friend Trish (ScentHive Trish) makes regular Boxwalla box reviews on YouTube, and she passed my name along to their team. They graciously offered to send me one of their eco-beauty boxes to try out. From one of the co-founders Lavanya (who is super lovely! lots of positive vibes from her):

“We launched our store last October : https://www.theboxwalla.com and our main goal is to showcase the best artists and artisans across multiple categories (Green BeautyInternational FilmBook and Artisanal Food) using a bimonthly subscription model.

One of our categories is green beauty and we are passionate about featuring the most effective and nourishing beauty products we have experienced along with the stories of the ingredient conscious artisans/formulators behind the products. We are ingredient-junkies and encourage our subscribers to learn more about the ingredients in the products we feature – why they work for their skin (and why they might not). The products we showcase are housed in a keepsake box crafted from tree-free handmade paper – a reminder that beautiful things can also be sustainable.”
The box I received featured two products from a brand I hadn’t heard of, H is for Love – their BARA Balm, and lip glacé; also included was the One Love Organics Love Springs Eternal Youth Preservation Serum. So far the stand out product for me has been the lip balm. It’s tinted but brings just a beautiful natural flush to the lips, I use it ALL the time. The texture is beautiful and it’s really nicely moisturizing. I’m a sucker for lip product in a pot (unlike most!). The face balm is nice but I’m just moving a bit away from balms as part of my regular skincare (I’m using more traditional moisturizers), so I’ve been using this as a hand balm and it’s nice. Not groundbreaking, but nice. It’s reminiscent of the original Mahalo balm. I’ve tried the OLO serum in the past and I remember really liking it. It has a strong neroli scent (in a good way) – so I haven’t decided if I’ll gift this to a friend, do a giveaway, or incorporate it into my own routine. Blogger conundrums : p
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3 – Craftly
Lastly, “Craftly is a bimonthly subscription box that features professionally well-crafted goods (home, grooming, accessories, and more) with a modern, minimalist style. We aim to feature small-to-medium batch brands. The company is founded by Cathy Diep and Adam Montoya.”
This box reached out to me and wanted to see if I wanted to receive a box to test. I said sure, after a quick peruse of their site yielded a modern unisex aesthetic I thought could be interesting. The price of the subscription box “starts at $29.95.”
Items included –
The Rich + Clean New Standard Face Wash, $6
Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Face Scrub Towel, $10.50
Plus Ultra Toothbrush, $6.99
David’s Premium Natural Toothpaste, $7.95
August Uncommon Tea, $4
I’ll be completely honest – this box was kind of a dud. I mean I love David’s toothpaste but it’s been in like EVERYONE’S subscription boxes so it’s just not terribly exciting. I can’t use regular toothbrushes or my gums bleed. I’ll probably try the tea, and I’ll probably tuck the face wash away for travel use but am guessing it’ll probably be too drying on me.
I guess receiving this box made me realize that in general, I don’t advocate boxes that are a lower price point (even though $29.95 isn’t even that low! just doesn’t seem like the value is there with this one), and include “a lot of little things.” This has been a Kimberly Clark (YouTuber) criticism in some of her anti-hauls – that subscription boxes are largely NOT a good use of your money. I think some of the newer models like Beauty Heroes and Art of Organics, where you pay a bit more but are getting a more luxury item at a discounted price CAN be worthy investments, at least for a period of time. So – I appreciate the offer from Craftly but alas don’t think I’d recommend the box based on my own personal preferences and the items I received. Or maybe I’m just really spoiled with Beauty Heroes?
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Updated AM/PM Skincare Routines (Eco/Luxe) + Giveaway!

december 11, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: videos, skincare

Today’s video is my updated AM and PM skincare routines (you ask, I try and deliver! I know you’ve been asking for awhile for this). Along with today’s video, one L’amour viewer will win a set of customized set of Activist Skincare serums (the hyaluronic acid serum and the precious oils serum – both of which I use as part of the morning routine in the video).

To learn more about Activist, please feel free to peek at this activist-skincare-fact-sheet on why Activist is different, and how the products might be able to contribute positively to your skincare goals.

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The giveaway will start on Instagram TODAY and the deadline to enter is Wednesday December 14th at 5PM EST.

In addition to the giveaway, Activist is offering 20% off orders from now through December 24th for L’amour viewers using the code LAMOUR20 – have a peek!

https://activistskincare.com

So I hope you enjoy today’s video, hop over to YouTube to watch it there, leave me a comment, like, subscribe, all that business. I appreciate you guys so much, hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! xoxo.

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Products Used/Mentioned –

AM

Amly Silver-Rich Face Mist http://bit.ly/2eztwMS

Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator* http://bit.ly/2fooNJG

Bottega Organica Illuminate Eye Cream* http://bit.ly/2eUmzpb

Kahina Prickly Pear Seed Oil rollerball http://bit.ly/2ck7V5J

Arcona Eye Dew http://bit.ly/2fsrNpj

Previse Nutrify Level 1-6 Tonic* http://bit.ly/1YofDjG

Activist Skincare Customized Hyaluronic Acid Serum* http://bit.ly/2neESam

Activist Skincare Customized Precious Oils Serum* http://bit.ly/2neESam

In Fiore Fleur Vibrante Solution Botanique http://bit.ly/2aIMiPb

Laurel Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum* http://bit.ly/2cUMbRq

PM

Desert Essence Organic Jojoba Oil (available on Vitacost)

Mahalo Unveil Cleanser* http://bit.ly/2h5ykKc

Mahalo The Petal Mask* http://bit.ly/2hcB5tc

Mahalo Blue Hawaii Nutrient Mist* (not currently available, from what I can see)

Uma Absolute Anti-Aging Eye Oil* http://bit.ly/2gs0LDh

Uma Absolute Anti-Aging Face Oil* http://bit.ly/2gOpDRx

(these Uma products are also available as a Discovery set which I just saw is marked down to $119 from $140! http://bit.ly/2hrFFVI)

In Fiore Complexe de Fleur Cellular Renewal Complex http://bit.ly/2bc6DdD

MyChelle Perfect C Serum http://bit.ly/1YYWJxx

Mahalo Vitality Elixir* http://bit.ly/2cxazIy

May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon (Deluxe Sample) http://bit.ly/2ebxDPd

Lina Hanson Global Treasures Balm* http://bit.ly/2bW8e84

 

*Products marked with an asterix were sent or given to me as PR samples by the company (I don’t denote gifts from friends or subscribers)

*In general I try and link products to where I purchased them from

*Some links may be affiliate links

 

My perpetual striving…again revisited!

september 27, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: videos, skincare

Well guys here we are. So many promises (best laid plans, really) to blog REGULARLY and then life inevitably happens. But…here we go again. I’m feeling re-inspired to create unique content on here to supplement YouTube and Instagram. These are the platforms I want to invest in (I’m deleting my Twitter account, was on Snapchat many years ago and no intentions to go back…also no to IG stories). So, I’m going to do my best! Also my new Bullet Journal undertaking means I can create a dedicated space to plan blog posts (more on THAT in September Faves).

So to get back in the swing of things, I’m quite proud of the Beauty Heroes One Year Retrospective Review video I uploaded on Sunday. I looked back over all the boxes I’ve (generously) received and walk through each month, and give a comprehensive assessment of the products that stood out the most to me (as well as the small number that I couldn’t get to work). Watch on YouTube!

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Be Kind To Your Skin // July Beauty Heroes with Kari Gran Skincare REVIEW [Video]

july 3, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: skincare, videos

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Today’s video is my review of the July Beauty Heroes box featuring “The Little Black Dress” of eco skincare, Kari Gran. She recently released an *exceptionally* cleanly formulated face sunscreen (the first edition to her minimal skincare line in four years), which is this month’s Hero product. The (generous) sidekick is a trio of the other three products in her line, the cleansing oil, hydrating tonic, and essential serum. Absolutely perfect for summer travel, aren’t they?

You can here all my thoughts on YouTube!

To subscribe to Beauty Heroes for the upcoming three months and to receive the July Box featuring Kari Gran-
http://bit.ly/29air2i

To give a Beauty Heroes Gift Subscription-
http://bit.ly/1NDKDZz

To learn more about Beauty Heroes as an eco-beauty subscription box service, here is a playlist of all my past Beauty Heroes reviews –
http://bit.ly/1UAcfS1

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Previse Nutrify Tonic Level 1-6 + Beauty Heroes Gift With Purchase

june 17, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: skincare, videos

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I just posted this photo on Instagram…which got me to thinking, I’m constantly thinking of ways to simultaneously diversify but streamline my social media presence and l’amour “brand” if you will. Lately I’ve started thinking I’d like to somehow synch up my daily IG posts with a daily blog post. SUPER aspirational as I can barely seem to get blog posts up that promote the videos I do on Youtube, let alone unique content, but it’s my unrelenting goal.

Ok waxing poetic on blogging goals aside – I REALLY like this new-to-me skincare product! Not quite a serum, yet definitely not a toner, it sits somewhere in between. I give the full backstory, and my first impressions of the product in my video from yesterday. Watch it here and then subscribe while you’re there so you can keep up with my twice weekly video uploads!

Also, Beauty Heroes is running a Previse gift with purchase promotion from June 15th through July 15th when you shop the Nutrify Tonic Level 1-6 in the shop. Don’t forget Beauty Heroes subscribers save 15%. As a disclaimer, I was sent this product as a PR sample to test out and review for you.

To grab your own: http://bit.ly/1YofDjG

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An evening skincare lineup too good to not share

by: mercedes | may 25, 2016 | filed under: skincare

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As soon as I stepped out of the bathroom, evening skincare routine complete (literally half an hour ago), I knew I had to share it with you. I pretty much feel like a new human. It was just the right magical amalgam  of products in my cabinet to induce insane happiness and bliss. My skin and soul are so happy right now!  So here’s what went down:

1. I removed eye makeup (jojoba oil) and face makeup (One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing) oil [not pictured here because I use those things all the time and they’re not what made this whole routine interesting].

2. I decided to reach for my Earthbody Sacred Skincare (now OmCali) Brighten Mask because I have been doing nothing but alternating between Mahalo’s Petal and True Nature Botanicals’ Protein Exfoliating Mask for my exfoliation since February, neglecting my physical exfoliators. I mixed the powdered mask with a scoop of Wedderspoon manuka honey and a few drops of water, left this on for probably 25 minutes. Then hopped in the shower.

3. Out of the shower I toned with my NEW OBSESSION, the Essential Apothecary Alchemist Hydrate spray for skin/body. I talked about this in a recent video, and my friend Lauren just sent me a birthday gift with a full size of this GEM, along with some other EAA samples to try! Brand overview/review forthcoming.

4. I’ve currently been using the Kahina eye serum both morning AND night since I find my Suki eye balm now too heavy for evening. I’ve been using this Kahina product loyally since it came in a Beauty Heroes box last September, and I really like it. It’s lasted this whole time, and I probably have at least another month of use out of this bottle.

5. After a long mask treatment, my favorite serum to reach for is always Mahalo’s Vitality Elixir. It’s SO freaking nourishing and soothing and calming and brightening and balancing on my skin and soul, it’s literally liquid gold. I used just one pump, employing the Caroline Hirons “therapist swipe” technique! God I want to go to holistic aesthetician school. If such a thing exists, in a credible way.

6. I let that sink in a few minutes because I wasn’t sure I was going to need a balm on top, but after doing my body moisturizing, I opted for a pea-sized amount of the original Mahalo balm – mostly because I love the scent profile of the original paired with the Vitality Elixir, but Mahalo Indigo would have been just as amazing.

Et c’est tout!

I am beyond blissed out now – gonna go watch last Sunday’s Game of Thrones (yeah yeah, I’ve been busy!) and be so grateful that I have the luxury of indulging in skincare that just makes me SO happy.

What does YOUR evening skincare routine look like tonight? TELL! xoxo.

My Two Recent Videos/I’m A Naughty Blogger

april 6, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: videos, skincare, ethos reflections

Someday, hopefully in the not so distant future, I will upload regular, unique blog content. However until that day comes – here are my two recent YouTube videos! I am, in fact, quite pleased that I’ve managed to swing getting two videos a week up recently (it’s a challenge…and once I move, I’m hoping that will ease some of the frustrations and challenges I’ve been facing for oh I don’t know, YEARS? #OkUniverseIGetIt).

This past Sunday’s video was my review of the April Beauty Heroes box:

“You had me at luxury, Beauty Heroes. April’s box is absolutely beautiful, and so appropriate for our transition into spring. I hope you enjoy hearing my (extra wordy) thoughts today. I’d love to hear your impression of the product if you’ve had the chance to try it, and/or any general feedback you have on the boxes. Happy Sunday! xoxo, mercedes and benoit the bunny.”

To subscribe to Beauty Heroes to receive the March Hero product and sidekick from True Nature Botanicals:
http://bit.ly/25DkQa7

To give a Beauty Heroes Gift Subscription:
http://bit.ly/1NDKDZz

To learn more about Beauty Heroes as an eco-beauty subscription box service, here is a playlist of all my past Beauty Heroes reviews –
http://bit.ly/1UAcfS1

And today’s video is a (mostly) Eco Beauty Product Spring Clean, and some musings on minimalism:

“One of my favorite things to do is continually engage in a recursive process of editing my life. Ruthlessly detoxifying things out so that I can make space for what I DO desire. This impulse has become even stronger since I began working with a medical intuitive, which has had the effect of clarifying many facets of my life. I recently did a comprehensive sweep of my beauty stash and thought I’d show you guys what will be leaving chez l’amour – so in a way, this is kind of a disappointing products video too. Thumbs up for aspiring minimalism, and a l’amour makeup collection at 10k subscribers? xoxo, mercedes.”

Some Recent L’amour Loves

march 16, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: alternative health + lifestyle, skincare, spirituality

I couldn’t wait for March Favorites, and wanted to share some of my recent obsessions – things I’ve just been quite taken with, and felt really inspired by.

1 | Suki Ultra-Protect Eye Balm – Night

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I was in need of a new nighttime eye cream, and after sampling the Tata Harper I just decided I didn’t feel like plunking down $90 right now for it. A good girlfriend of mine raves about this and I had sampled it prior, so decided to go for the much lower ~$37 price tag off Vitacost. Suki is an ultra-clean skincare range, and local to Massachusetts. Adoring this.

2 | doTerra Emotional Aromatherapy System

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So I don’t have this full set (YET), but a friend of mine recently sent me a handcrafted homemade body oil using the Motivate and Passion blends from this set and OHMYGOD LIFE = CHANGED. It’s truly the most amazing scent/body product I have ever used. Hands down. No contest. EVEN better than my beloved discontinued (sniff sniff) BijaBody serum. So if those two are any indication, the rest of them are bound to be equally magical – for topical application or diffusing. Plus as someone who is constantly reflecting on her emotional life and the challenges hypersensitive emotional states present – this has my name all over it.

3 | We Are Vibrational Beings Documentary (YouTube)

I’m not finished watching this, but I embarked on it when the medical intuitive I work with spoke about how his measurement of a person’s millivolts is derived from the explanation that begins in this video around the 11 minute mark. As someone who watched What The Bleep Do We Know many years and was like YES – this is along the same vein. Everything is energy. Time to get on board.

4 | WELL / AWARE Podcastwell_aware_podcast_album_art1400x1400

So a) I’m not typically a tremendous podcast listener (I barely have enough time for YouTube and if I’m walking/commuting/whatever I’ll listening to beats) but b) this will in fact be a March Favorites because a lovely viewer sent me a message through YouTube telling me she thought I’d be into this. I AM but since YouTube can be incredibly buggy and irritating, I haven’t been able to reply to her message and thank her! Anyway. Digression. I listened to two episodes of this on my way home from vacation (the interviews with Thyme Herbal and Saipua) and was like yaaassss this is my TRIBE. I want to get the host, Lindsay, to interview Beauty Heroes founder Jeannie Jarnot. I think it would be a perfect fit.

5 | Leah Totten’s “Work” Choreography

We’ll end with a fun one. In line with my many other eclectic interests, j’adore hip-hop choreography, or really any form of dance. The only two I regularly still follow via YouTube are Luam, and Leah Totten. Based out of Vancouver I believe, I love her style – everything feels very connected and looks effortless. Also let it be said I like the song, and like the cover even better because Rihanna’s voice is damn annoying in the original (you know?).

I hope you feel some inspiration from any/all of these finds <3

xoxo.

March Beauty Heroes: SkinOwl’s Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM + Return of the Facial Steam!

march 2, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: skincare, videos

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I really loved getting to try the brand SkinOwl in this month’s Beauty Heroes box – I’ve been curious about them for years, and always felt drawn to the simple formulations with high quality ingredients. I think this is now the largest bottle of face oil I’ve ever had in my skincare drawer, and no complaints – I’ve been using it AM and PM, interchanging it with my other (extensive) slew of products. Hear the rest of my (pretty glowing) thoughts here, and in the description box of the video on YouTube I also link to the video I did last year on how to do an At-Home Facial Steam! Which is life changing, FYI:

To subscribe to Beauty Heroes to receive the March Hero product and sidekick from SkinOwl:
http://bit.ly/1QmsqxW

To give a Beauty Heroes Gift Subscription:
http://bit.ly/1NDKDZz

Mahalo’s You Are Loved Valentine’s Day Set REVIEW | The Petal + The Bean + Attar Onaona Perfume

february 10, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: skincare

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I’m now convinced I was somehow guided to discover Mahalo at A Night For Green Beauty back in August (of 2015). It was the only purchase I made that night, and the only thing I felt really DRAWN to. After a bit of an initial adjustment period to the products (they’re QUITE potent and their scent reflects this) I have come to have the deepest love, adoration, and appreciation for this line. There’s something special both about the ingredients the founder Maryna sources, as well as the love and energy she’s putting into her products. I can’t envision my life without the Vitality Elixir (I used to think this smelled like a sour barn and now I crave putting it on my face at night), and the original Mahalo Balm is the most perfect companion.

But I’m not here to give yet ANOTHER rave to those two – I want to share my experience with their latest release, the You Are Loved set. It features two masks – The Petal and The Bean – and a stunning perfume called the Attar Onaona. This set REALLY exceeded any expectations I didn’t have (I really didn’t have any, receiving this box courtesy of Mahalo was a big happy surprise) and I felt compelled to share everything in a video:

You can use my code “lamouretlamusique” to request generous samples of other products in Mahalo’s range. May I recommend –

The Vitality Elixir
The Mahalo Balm (Original) 

Happy early Valentine’s Day <3