Argan Oil + Radha Beauty Review

Hello my lovelies!

I’ve been at it again…DIY that is πŸ™‚ This time, I wanted to share with you some of the benefits of a product you have undoubtedly heard of from time to time: argan oil! What exactly is argan oil?

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Argan oil is a plant-based oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L). It is often used in many high-end, heart-healthy food and beauty recipes. I first learned of the benefits of argan oil when I received a sample of Josie Maran’s Pure Argan Oil, and have been in love with the product ever since! I’m sure it is a key ingredient in many products I already own, but it touts its own benefits in its purest form: pure oil!

I will be focusing on the cosmetic uses since that is my primary experience with this oil.

Radha Beauty 100% Pure Argan Oil

“Naturally freshens, hydrates and softens dry skin, it also repairs and beautifies hair, from roots to split-ends and improves scalp health”

I know I’m repeating myself to some of my followers, but to anyone who is new here: I have recently decided to make the switch to cruelty-free products. What first drew me to Radha’s Argan Oil is the fact that it is 100% pure, organic, and cruelty-free. There are no added fillers and the product is not tested on animals.

I decided to try this argan oil in some DIY recipes I found in a natural beauty “cook” book:

Argan Oil & Oatmeal Facial Cleanser: “Argan Oil is rich in vitamin E, phenols, carotenes, and essential fatty acids making it the perfect oil for all skin types…” (excerpt from 200 Tips, Techniques, & Recipes for Natural Beauty).

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Rejuvenating Argan Oil & Rose Balm: “Great for all skin types. This hydrating facial balm quickly absorbs into the skin and leaves it smooth, silky, and hydrated” (excerpt from 200 Tips, Techniques, & Recipes for Natural Beauty).

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*The finished product hardens to a balm at room temp.

I also mixed some of the pure oil in with my normal conditioner in the shower and my hair dried so soft and smooth, that I didn’t even need to blow dry/straighten it!

Radha Beauty Fractionated Coconut Oil

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“Odorless…colorless…non-greasy…non-staining”

In addition to the argan oil, I was sent Radha Beauty’s Fractionated Coconut Oil to review as well. This coconut oil is great. I have used two other types of coconut oil and unlike the others, this one has no scent because it is fractionated. Coconut oil comes directly from the meat of the coconut. Unrefined coconut oil in it’s purest form is solid at room temperature, and is a milky-white color. When fractionated or refined, it goes through a process to remove the impurities and maximize the shelf-life of the product. It becomes clear and liquid at room temperature.

I have found coconut oil very easy to work with in DIY beauty/makeup recipes. I used this coconut oil in place of dimethicone as a more natural alternative for my lipstick molds. It helps the lipsticks to slide right out of the mold without sticking, breaking, or losing product. Overall, I highly recommend this product to someone looking for coconut oil who may want to skip on the “smelly” factor.

PS: If you head on over to Radha Beauty’s twitter page, you can find a coupon that will allow you to get the coconut oil for just $5!

What do you think? Have you ever used argan oil/coconut oil before? What did you think?!

XO Ali

This sponsored post was powered by Brandbacker.

InstaNatural Essential Oils + I’m a DIY-er!

Hello lovelies!

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to the warmth of spring! Or maybe just not all this snow and ice πŸ™‚ At least it has been impacted and frozen over enough in our backyard that I can take Yoshi out in my slippers without actually getting them snowy/wet, haha! Win.

I recently partnered up with InstaNatural to try out a few of their essential oils! I was really excited when it was decided that the scents would be peppermint and lemon, because those are some of my favorite scents in beauty products that I use.

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“At present, InstaNatural is a leading online distributor of a collection of nature-inspired beauty and cosmetic products. All of InstaNatural’s products are produced in small batches and packaged in FDA-certified facilities in the USA to ensure freshness and safety for customers. With results-driven products backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, InstaNatural is focused on providing the best collection of beauty products to address a wide variety of skincare needs” (InstaNatural website).

InstaNatural sells its products exclusively online, using their website and Amazon as their sales platforms. In addition, their products are cruelty-free, which is a big yes-yes for me! All of their products are either vegetarian or vegan as well, with the exception of their 100% emu oil. They sell a huge variety of products including retinols, oils, moisturizers, masks, hair treatments, serums, the list goes on.

For the review, we were supposed to get a lavender “sample” (and I use the word sample lightly, as we were sent the full-size products to review which has really helped me to try it in a variety of settings) as well, but there has been a temporary shortage. However, I will say that I loved the lemon and peppermint so much, that I ordered the lavender oil on my own dime when it was back in stock!

My Experience + DIY

I was really excited to try out these essential oils, as ever since I have made the pledge to go cruelty-free, I have been researching DIY beauty products like crazy! I love the idea of researching, obtaining the raw materials, and developing something on your own that you wholeheartedly love and know how it was made πŸ™‚ Essential oils are one of those ingredients that can be used in almost anything you make: soaps, bath bombs, scrubs, candles, etc.

These oils from InstaNatural are cold-pressed which helps increase the longevity of the scent and its elements. There are no added ingredients or fillers, and the bottle comes with a dropper which is perfect for when recipes call for just a small amount of the oil. Although essential oils are safe to apply directly to the skin and for use in room diffusers, I have used mine exclusively for DIY:

IMG_2622Bath bombs using the lavender essential oil & some blue food coloring (I didn’t have red to make purpe). Recipe here.

IMG_2625Peppermint-cocoa lip balm using a recipe from this book.

IMG_2628Terrific tinted lip gloss (w/ added lemon essential oil) using a recipe from this book.

The scent came through quite nicely into the finished product, and I can’t wait to experiment with these oils in the production of hand scrubs, face scrubs, lotions, soaps, masks, conditioners, the list goes on and on and on!

IMG_2561The only somewhat “problem” I can think of is that the bottle has a difficult time containing the smell. Even with Amazon’s excellent packaging of the sealed bottles taped in bubble wrap, separated by air packs, the smell was pervasive in opening the box. I had them stored in a cabinet in the kitchen, but I could smell them every time I was in the kitchen. Nothing had leaked, it’s just 100% pure extracted oil, and with a little going a long way, it’s easy to see how strong the scent is in the entire bottle. I will trying putting them in ziploc bags to see if that helps, as I don’t know if the objects/ingredients around them will absorb the smell.

Overall, I am confident putting my reputation on the line to support these oils. The bottles go a long way, and at a little under $20/piece, the value is extraordinary! If you consider trying some essential oils, give this brand a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Although this is a sponsored post, powered by Brandbacker, I am excited to try more of their products and share what I learn about them with you!

XO Ali

How To: Defuzz and Remove Pills From Clothes

Don’t you hate when you get a new sweater and the first time you wash it, it pills and fuzzes all over itself (and sometimes other garments too if you’re really unlucky)? I certainly do! I recently washed a new, dark-green wool sweater from H&M for the first time, and it pilled everywhere! I was so mad–I thought it was ruined. I folded it on top of the washing machine, and there it sat for (sadly) the last TWO months while I tried to find a solution that didn’t involve picking the pills off one-by-one.

I also noticed that a pair of gloves I received for Christmas started fuzzing pretty terribly after frequent use, and just chalked it up to the low-cost/high-maintenance turn off of H&M’s winter wear. I’ve tried a lot of things: lint brushes, sweater combs, even packing tape repeatedly sticking and unsticking to my clothes, to repel pills…which usually just makes it even fuzzier.

Surprisingly, I had not heard of fabric “shavers” until recently. We decided to buy this Conair Battery Operated Fabric Defuzzer/Shaver from Amazon and test it out. I think the result speaks for itself…

Isn’t that amazing?? Here is a close-up of the defuzzed glove vs. the untouched glove:

IMG_1337Encouraged by my results with my gloves, I grabbed my dark-green H&M sweater off the washing machine, and voila!

Then, I tried to think of the most-used/pilled garment in our house, and I remembered how Ryan just bought a new jacket because of the wear on his old one…

Yes, this is my terrible video-taking ability haha. But talk about results! It is so simple to do, and you can see each of these garment’s results with just one pass of the shaver. It’s very gratifying taking years off a fabric and making it like new again πŸ™‚

The shaver is less than $20, and it’s got 3 distance-control settings to handle different garment types. It also takes 2 AA batteries, and so long as you empty the pills between garments, you shouldn’t have any issues with longevity or motor-issues πŸ™‚

Happy sweater s(h)aving!

XO Ali

Don’t forget to enter my drugstore beauty giveaway HERE πŸ™‚

Planning

Hello pretties!

First of all, 200 followers! WOOT! Thank you all so much ❀

I’ve been thinking about this year and all I’ve accomplished, and I’m already thinking about some goals I want to set for myself next year and in the next couple months as well. I do well with goals that I put in writing on my blog πŸ™‚

Early Riser (starting in November) – I love being up early, it’s just hard to get out of bed. It’s also a lot more work now since I have to snooze my alarm so as not to wake Ryan, and then quietly bait Yoshi out of his kennel to take him outside. That being said, I’m going to challenge myself to get up early every day in November. I’ll be ecstatic if I can pull it off 75% of the month, but I’m going to attempt 100%. Some people doing this challenge get up at 4:30. I’m going to shoot for 5 a.m., 100 minutes before I usually get up. I feel so much more productive when I’m up early, and hopefully that extra time lends a hand to some of my other goals…

^^Anyone else interested in attempting this crazy challenge with me? πŸ™‚

Blog at least 3x Week (ASAP) – I am disappointed at how lazy I’ve become with posting regularly. The goal is simple–make the time to blog at least 3x a week on a regular basis. I would love to do more posts on product reviews, empties, current favorites, outfit planning, etc.

3 Part Beauty PlanΒ (ASAP) – 1. Inventory the beauty products I have (so as to avoid spending $ on things I already own); 2. Spend less on beauty (budget!); 3. Attempt to make my own beauty products (because how awesome would that be?).

Start a Youtube Channel? (maybe) – I’m not sure about this one yet. I don’t really have a desire to become a full-time vlogger, but sometimes when I do beauty/fashion haul posts, it would be so much easier and more fun to just talk to a camera than to write it all out. I think this would definitely force myself out of my comfort zone, as well as requiring an initial investment in setup and learning-to-edit. It would also allow me to connect to my readers a little more personally.

IMG_9946Convince my Biff to Start Her Own (Nail) Blog (ASAP) – Cassie’s nail art is amazeballs. Check out her instagram here and give her some love! She does her nails 3-5 times a week or more and they’re always so interesting. She’s got a following on Instagram, but I would love for her to start a blog focusing on nail art to show the step by step process of how she does her nails as well as recommendations, tips, hauls, even making her own polish (you can do it!). She’s also a beauty junkie like me, and would do so well in the blogging realm.

Work Out Regularly/Train for a Marathon (ASAP and 2015, respectively) – because what list would be complete without some promise to yourself to be more active? I am currently 9/12 races complete for 2014, with my 10th needing completed in the next two weeks. Next year, I want to finally do a marathon. I’ve done 6 halfs, countless 5ks and 10ks, and a triathlon. Doing a full is kind of naturally the next step and has been a life-dream of mine. I would be so proud of myself if I finished one! I prefer races in the spring because training is during the cool months, but I have my eye on the Air Force Full Marathon next September. Stay tuned!

DIY More/Buy Less – this goal is almost too vague to be included in this list. I’m not sure what I even need to DIY/buy right now, but I want to attempt to DIY projects more than the “I’d rather just pay for the convenience” factor.

Declutter My Life/Make House more Home-y – I have a lot of “stuff.” I’d like to start going room-by-room and determining what I need, don’t need, or never use. This is about as minimalist as I get. Sometimes I just get the urge to purge. The holidays are a great time to start on this project, because of the time off and additional “things” that we will accumulate throughout the season. The beginning of the year is just too busy for me to wait.

Record More Dances – I know this is probably randomly related to fashion/beauty blogging, but I want to record and post to YouTube all the different k-pop dances I have learned. Dancing is one of my favorite things in the world to do. ❀ Right now, I’m finishing up “Red Light” by f(x), but I’ve got plenty more completed, yet unrecorded. I’ll need to brush up on those dances first. Can we just talk for a minute about how awesome this song is? Even if you’ve never listened to a Korean pop song before, you can’t deny how incredible the song/beat is, not to mention how uniquely beautiful the video has been presented. It’s been on every playlist I’ve made since it came out in July.

Are you evaluating how your 2014 goals are coming? What are some things you’re looking forward to in 2015–is it too soon to ask that question?

XO Ali