Favorite Vegan and Cruelty Free Skincare

A big part of my self-care routine lately has been really trying to look after my skin. I am quite fair-skinned with a mild case of rosacea that is always threatening to flare up. I am prone to redness, blotchiness, and the occasional hormonal breakout. My rosacea has been especially active lately, so I try not to go to bed without removing my makeup (hence the makeup wipes on this list). 

I'm always on the lookout for products that work with my sensitive skin and since I've discovered a few favorites, I wanted to share them with you today. Everything that I have listed here is vegan and cruelty free. These are the products that I now use daily to help my skin look and feel its best.

1. Derma-E Sensitive Skin Cleanser- This face wash happened to be on sale at Whole Foods and I was drawn, like a moth to a flame, to the words "gently lifts away makeup and impurities while reducing redness and irritation." SOLD! After a few days of use I was noticing that my skin looked clearer and the redness was definitely fading. I really like that it doesn't make my skin feel tight or dry. I use this along with the sonic face cleanser brush I talk about in more detail below.

2. Shea Moisture African Black Soap Facial Cleansing Wipes- I have tried SO many different brands of makeup removing/face cleansing wipes and this is my current favorite. I use this by itself on those nights where I'm feeling extra lazy (we've all been there) and don't have the energy for a full on face wash. I also use it after a cleanser to remove those last bits of mascara and liner that are trying to be the next day's smokey eye. Shea Moisture is very affordable and can be found at Walgreens, Target, and some grocery stores.

3. Solo MIO Sonic Face Cleanser and Massager Brush- A few years ago, I really wanted to try the "name brand" of this device. (Google "silicone sonic face cleanser" and you will see which device I am talking about.) I couldn't justify the price for something I wasn't sure was going to work for me so I hopped over to Amazon- lo and behold I found what appeared to be an extremely similar product- and for less than $40. I decided to take my chances and I ended up loving it! This leaves my face extra clean without feeling to dry or stripped of natural oils.

4. Josie Maran Argan Oil Skin Drops- I was out shopping with my sister around Christmas and she reminded me that I had a bunch of Sephora points I could redeem for one of their Beauty Insider boxes. I haven't been able to redeem them before because they had not offered a cruelty free brand. This time however, there was a Josie Maran Deluxe Box and I happily spent my points for several deluxe sample products. Included was a bottle of the Argan Oil Skin Drops and I've started using this when I need a little extra moisture, both AM and PM.

5. 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream- One afternoon, after an unsuccessful trip to our local Renaissance Festival, I found myself in a random mall that had a 100% Pure store. I had heard a lot of good things about this brand and really appreciated that all of their products are really clean. This undereye cream is one of their best sellers so I thought I would dip my toes in the 100% Pure water and try it out. First, the smell is amazing-it really does smell just like coffee. Second, it is very moisturizing and sinks right into your skin. Third, it's great for use in the morning under your moisturizer as a way to counteract puffiness. 

6. Pacifica Dreamy Youth Day and Night Face Cream- I discovered this at Ulta and figured I would give it a try after hearing Tashina over at Logical Harmony rave about it. I really love that a little goes a long way and it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. It is very moisturizing and great for both AM and PM use. Pacifica is an extremely affordable brand and the best part is that all of their products are vegan and cruelty free. (It's nice to be able to shop completely within a brand!) Pacifica can be found at Ulta and Target which is great if you want to check out the products at a brick and mortar store.

7. Andalou Purple Carrot + C Luminous Night Cream- This was another Whole Foods purchase. (I think my husband gets nervous every time I walk by the beauty aisle.) I was looking for something I could start using at night and decided to try this cream. (I mean, who doesn't want luminous skin?) I use this product in the evening after washing my face with the Derma-E Sensitive Skin Cleanser. It is very lightweight and doesn't seem to irritate my skin. The cream sinks right in and leaves me with a fresh, glowy face when I wake up in the morning.The only downside is that it comes in a jar ( I would prefer a bottle and pump) but I just make sure that I wash my hands before I use it.

Of course it almost goes without saying that lots of water and a diet fueled by plants will go a long way in supporting your skin!

What are your skin care favorites?

May Favorites 2016

Happy Thursday Wellness Warriors! This week's blog kicks off a monthly series where I share a few of my favorite things with you from the month prior.  Everything in this post is something that I have tried, loved, and would highly recommend.

I've been making the switch to cruelty-free and vegan beauty products, as I run out of certain things and I've been really impressed with the following:

1. Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream
I have a confession to make. I have heard of Jane Iredale over the last few years, in passing, but I made the weird assumption that it was a brand marketed towards older women. (Ugh, I know, such a weird thought!) Of course, to my surprise, Jane Iredale is a mineral based makeup line free of perfume, alcohol, artificial dyes, and nasty chemicals. Luckily for pale people like myself, most of her products also have SPF. During my research, I found a ton of great reviews for the Glow Time BB Cream and decided to give it a go. I was really looking for something that was full coverage to replace my Estee Lauder DoubleWear Foundation (which is, sadly, not cruelty free) and after checking out some color swatches I decided on the color BB 3. I am in LOVE with this BB Cream! It does, indeed, provide a full coverage and great finish. For reference, I am very fair, with a slight case of rosacea/redness, and normal skin. The BB cream retails on the Jane Iredale website for $48.00 US but I actually got mine on Overstock.com for $35.49 US which is comparable to most other mid-priced foundations.

2. Evolvh Leave- In Conditioner
I have recently become a huge fan of  the "green" beauty movement and was perusing Credo Beauty when I came across the Evolvh hair care line. I decided to try the Smart Start Leave-In Conditioner as an introduction to brand. For reference, my hair is colored, a little dry, and prone to tangles, and this product delivered on it's claims to detangle and soften. I love that there are no harsh ingredients and my hair is left silky, shiny, and lightly scented. I bought the full sized (8.5 oz) bottle which may be a little pricey for some at $27.00 US, but I feel like it will last a while. If you want to try it before committing, Credo Beauty does have a 2 oz bottle for $10.00 US.

3. Pacifica Dream Big Mascara
I had some extra time before meeting a friend one day and so what else is a girl to do but check out the local Target? I was browsing the beauty aisles when I came across some new Pacifica products. I was familiar with their perfumes and candles, but recently they have built up their line of beauty products and cosmetics. Let me rave about Pacifica here for a moment. All of their products are vegan, cruelty-free, marketed at a great price point, and can be found at Target and Ulta. I purchased the Dream Big Lash Extending 7 in 1 mascara at Target that day and (full disclosure) perhaps it was partly due to the fact that there were stars and unicorns on the packaging. (It was basically calling my name.) I think this is a fantastic mascara and reasonably priced at $15.99.

I've also been working hard on my personal health and fitness goals so I'd thought I share some of my recent favorites from that category.

4. NuGo Bars
Of course whole foods are best, but when I'm traveling or out for a day, I really like a snack that I can toss in my bag or leave in my car for emergencies. Also, I have a sweet tooth and the fact that these have really nice ingredients (especially considering this is a packaged, grab-and-go snack) and are vegan gives these bars a lot of bonus points! They even passed my husband's taste test and he does not like very many bars.They come in lots of different flavors but my personal favorites are the NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip and the NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt. You can find them by the box on Nugo Nutrition Website for $19.00 or (as with most things) for slightly cheaper on Amazon.com. I also buy them individually at my local Whole Foods.

5. New Rules of Lifting for Women Workout
 I bought this book years ago after it started getting raves in some of the fitness forums I frequented. I tried it for a while and started seeing results so I have no idea why I stopped. I think it's because I didn't belong to the gym at the time and didn't have enough equipment to do the workouts at home. I've tried many other workouts since then, with varying degrees of success, but decided to dust this book off about 2 months ago. I had not lifted in a while so starting this workout program definitely left me struggling to get up the two flights of stairs in my house. As the weeks go by I can definitely feel myself getting stronger and leaning out. Bonus- the Stage 1 workouts are about 30 minutes if you do them at home with the "home workout alternative exercises" that they provide. This book can be purchased on Amazon for $14.00. (I also encourage you to check out your local library.)

6. Vega One Sport Performance Protein Powder
After transitioning to the vegan lifestyle about a month or so ago, I was on the lookout for a tasty plant-based protein powder that I could use in smoothies. The Chocolate flavor tastes like chocolate caramel and I love it! I also like the extra calorie boost that it gives me, especially on days when I'm weight lifting. I usually add this to almond milk, bananas, and spinach for a delicious snack that tastes like a milkshake. I purchased mine at Whole Foods but it is also available at Amazon for $41.00 and comes in Berry, Vanilla, and Chocolate.