Remember the other week when I was over on No More Dirty Looks talking about how ten months at Beauty U made my hair and skin so crazy?
Let’s just say that I’m still in recovery. Last Friday’s haircut helped a lot (my lovely friend S. told me I look like a Breck Girl now, which I think is just great as long as you skip over that John Edwards thing). But I’m still fighting my way through some serious scalp irritation/build-up and no small amount of breakouts.
I thought about putting my beauty routine into a full-out detox right after school ended, where I’d go all green, natural, DIY for a few weeks, as a kind of antidote to the highly not-green routine I was following while I was there.
Then I didn’t bother, for several reasons:
A) I’m lazy and also cheap and I still had plenty of half-full and even full products, which I just couldn’t bear to throw out. Because how not green is it to chuck an unused bottle of body lotion straight into the trash? She said self-righteously.
B) The whole idea of the detox (like its kissing cousin, the crash diet) creeps me out. The pressure! What if you fail miserably? Then you have to hate yourself. And here I think I’m so awesome. It can never work.
C) There are a few chemical-y things I’m not so interested in giving up. Like my beloved prescription benzoyl peroxide and Retin-A. I actually did take a few weeks off from the BP, and hi, fourteen-year-old-boy skin, nice to have you back.
So I’ve been muddling on with a more piecemeal kind of approach.
Like, I finally ran out of the fragrance and paraben-containing Repechage face cleanser we used alll the time at Beauty U. So I decided to try mixing baking soda and honey. Verdict: My face feels clean, but sometimes the honey gets caught in the hair around my face and I end up with the odd crunchy spot, like I used way too much hair gel. Oops.
Then, I used up all my Beauty U-purchased Moroccan Oil conditioner, so I started rinsing with apple cider vinegar. Verdict #2: Your hair gets SO soft and shiny, it’s actually kind of ridiculous. (Brazilian Blowout eat your heart out.) But your hair stylist (and sometimes your husband and other people who spend time close to your head) will have to put up with you smelling like a salad.
So now my bathroom cabinets are this weird amalgamation of kitchen supplies, green products, not-green products, and other failed beauty experiment detritus. Just unacceptable. I’ve begun to look longingly at the aisles of tidy products at Sephora, because I’m seriously missing all that lovely packaging that you get with beauty products that are not also effective drain de-cloggers.
And I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with wanting the packaging back. Let’s face it, with beauty manufacturers running around like it’s the Wild West out there (as I have been telling you nonstop lately), pretty packaging is kind of all we’ve got. It’s the only ingredient of your beauty product that you can see with your own eyes and know, without needing a lab analysis, that what you see is what you get. That darling little apothecary bottle is a darling little apothecary bottle. But the unpronounceable ingredient list? The anti-aging claims? What, are we mind readers?
Which means, I’m ready to open up my heart and my bathroom to a few new products. Of course, completely contradicting what I just said, I’m in furious research mode, reading up on companies and products that actually do offer me some transparency in terms of how they source their ingredients and make their products and don’t completely over-hype the benefits. I’m big on getting endorsements from friends (and experts like Alexandra and Siobhan) too and I always try to check things out in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, to make sure they have a relatively low hazard score.
As y’all know, I don’t do product reviews round these parts, both because I think there are loads of folks who do them better and because I don’t really trust myself to be an impartial source (I also don’t trust some of the folks who nevertheless do product reviews, but we’re not talking about them right now). I mean, I just told you how easily swayed I am by packaging! And if I was getting all this sh*t for free, like most beauty magazine editors and bloggers do? Well sigh. We always love free things, right?
So this is a list of Products I Want To Try Because The Aforementioned Furious Research Looks Promising And the Packaging Rocks — But the Jury Is Still Out.
Those of you who might want to buy me Christmas presents, feel free to take note.
Because they grow a lot of their product ingredients on their own biodynamic farm. In Australia. As you do. And this is supposed to be great for breakout-prone skin and see about about fourteen-year-old boys and my face. And, oh, pretty.
I’m actually a little underwhelmed by this packaging. Smoky glass leaves me cold. But I think it would look awfully nice next to the Jurlique cleanser. Plus everyone is excited about coconut oil being amazing for all parts of your body and hair too. And RMS Beauty gets a crazy good report card from Skin Deep.
Why it’s a darling little apothecary bottle! Also, I’ve been using a very non-organic version of argan oil (Moroccan Oil, which comes in a frankly even cuter amber glass bottle, and is everywhere now) in my hair for about a year now, and delight in how it keeps frizz at bay. But this one you can also put on your face. Plus, hello, perfect Skin Deep score.
Okay, I don’t love this packaging either. In fact, I’ve avoided Aubrey Organics in the health food store for years because I think it looks so crunchy and blah. But my scalp issues need reckoning. And this contains retinol (as in vitamin A, as in the same stuff in my Retin-A that works such miracles on my face). Which makes me want to try it out even though it’s also the reason it rates on the low end of “moderate hazard” in Skin Deep. (Most of Aubrey Organics stuff scores better, FYI.)
Obviously, I’ve got a whole minimalist thing going with my package styling right now. Plus the lavender coordinates nicely with my shampoo choice. And I’ve had a longstanding on-again/off-again love affair with John Masters products, particularly this conditioner, and think it might be time for us to hook up again.
So there you have it. A product post that is not really a product post, because I am not saying y’all should rush out and try that stuff.
What I actually want to know is: Has anyone tried anything on this list and can you tell me what you think? Or, do you have any other prettily-packaged beauty favorites that I really should know about right now?
And: What kind of criteria do you use when you’re picking out beauty things for your own self?
Plus! The FCC wants me to tell you: Nobody paid me (in products, cash or heartfelt compliments) to mention these goodies. I mean, as if that wasn’t already abundantly clear.