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 🙂 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.

IMG_2562bInstaNatural

“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 🙂 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

The Empties: April Edition

Welcome to my first ever empties post! I’ve been ruthless in my consolidation of items I actually want to pack up and bring to my new apartment this Friday. In doing so, I found several items are almost-empty or just not worth hanging onto, therefore I have collected them for the purpose of deciding: buy it or boot it?

20140419-132810.jpgDove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner | Sephora Felt-Tipped Liquid Eyeliner | Suave Dry Shampoo | Tresemme Heat Protectant-Spray | Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle

Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner: this is my fallback S/C combo. In between all my trials of new products and brands, this one always makes a comeback. Why? Habit and consistency. My hair feels stronger and healthier using these than most others I have tried (which haven’t been a lot). It smells nice w/o being overpowering. Maybe it’s also mental. The word repair seems like a better word choice than some other marketing pitches: blonde-enhancing, scent, color-correcting, etc. My hair is naturally a little course, and I haven’t noticed a complete difference in smoothing texture. Regardless, I’d buy it again and again. My hair loves it.

Sephora Felt-Tipped Liquid Eyeliner in Brown: I have to start off by declaring my love for felt-tipped eyeliners. However, I’m somewhat surprised by my repurchase of this one in the past, because it streaks pretty easily. I have purchased it again in the waterproof version, and I’m hoping that that will make the difference to keep it under my buy it list.

Suave Dry Shampoo: this is the first dry shampoo I have tried. In all honesty, I could go three days without washing my hair before it starts to show–my scalp stays that dry. However, I typically wash my hair ever 1-2 days. On days where I’ve straightened or curled it the night before, I’ll spray some of this at the roots to give it a lift and to absorb oil in one or two spots. I have to say though, I am not a fan of the smell anymore. It has such a distinctive, strong smell, I can tell when complete strangers are using it. I don’t want that to be the case with me, so I am going to go with boot it. There are better options out there, and I just got a bottle of Bumble & Bumble’s Pret-a-Powder I’m excited to try!

Tresemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protectant-Spray: I love this spray. I use it almost every time I straighten or curl my hair. It’s been my rock for years. It smells great w/o being overpowering, somewhat like freshly shampooed hair. It also leaves my hair feeling soft and appearing shiny after the heat application. I’d buy it again, but I also love the following…

Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle: this was my first deluxe sample I got in my Birchbox subscription. If you don’t know what Birchbox is, it’s a $10 monthly subscription where you get a box full (usually 4-6 items) of beauty products. It’s fun if you want to try something new, but don’t know where to start. This protectant spray is actually more of a cream-base, like a leave-in conditioner, than a liquid base (like the Tresemme). It leaves my hair feeling smooth and fresh for days after just one use. Buy it. I promise you won’t be disappointed. This is the main product I was sad to see run out. I plan on ordering a full-sized bottle, but I just got a new deluxe sample from”OI/All In One Milk” from that I plan on trying first.

Have a great week! XO