Category Archives: Exfoliators

Valentine’s Day Giveaway: Splurge Body Scrub

Posted by:  Jordan


Happy Valentine’s Day!  We have a special giveaway from Splurge Skincare to celebrate this fun, loving holiday today.  We’re giving away a limited edition “Winter” scent body scrub from Splurge Skincare The RubSplurge!  As you know, we adore this body scrub–adore, as in, it’s the best out there, y’all.   What’s so rave-worthy?  The seasonal scents, the perfect texture (not too oily, thereby making your shower a hip-breaking-hazard), and it transforms your rough, flaky skin into glowy, smooth, beach-ready skin (I’ve been using it all week in preparation to get into a bathing suit for my annual Puerto Rico trip!).  The new Winter scent is just beautiful, too.  Lavender, vanilla, and anise essential oils leave your skin smelling subtly sweet and sexy.  Treat your skin to a little love this Valentine’s Day!

Comment below to be entered to win.  Contest ends Wednesday, 2/19/14 at midnight EST and the winner will be notified on 2/20.  Continental US residents only, please!


Filed under Exfoliators, Giveaways/Freebies/Discounts

Splurge on Yourself in the New Year: Splurge Skincare Review PLUS a Giveaway!

Posted by:  Jordan

Splurge Skincare logo

Happy 2013, friends!!  I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than by introducing a favorite new natural skincare line.  Wait, yes I can–a GIVEAWAY!!!!  But first, let me gush about these crazy good products.

Splurge was started in 2010 by two friends in Massachusetts who began making their awesome scrubs for their friends for Christmas gifts.  They were so loved that the hobby turned into a business which now sells three incredible products: the scrubs, lip balms, and their new tinted lip balms.

Splurge Skincare The Rub The scrubs currently come in 4 scents: almond, peppermint, lemon, and Autumn.  Winter will be released soon and if it smells as heavenly as the other four scents, I know it will be a hit.  My personal favorite is the Autumn, which is spicy, sweet (but not too sweet), and warming on your skin.  It has essential oils of orange, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg and I assure you it’s a delightful treat year-round!  Emily’s favorite scent is lemon…or peppermint (it’s too hard to decide!).  These scrubs are really a special treat–a splurge, I suppose at $26 each, but such a worthwhile splurge.  Emily and I agree that they are quite possibly the best body scrubs we’ve ever tried.  If ever there were a time to splurge on a quality gift for yourself, the new year is it.

Splurge Lip Buttah The next product is not a splurge, it’s a necessity.  The Lip Buttahs are hands down the BEST, most moisturizing lip balms we’ve ever tried (and we’ve tried a lot!).  The balms are $7 each and I think I would pay more because they’re that incredible.  They are available in four scents as well: Peppermint, Almond, Lemon, and Orange Chocolate.  It doesn’t matter which scent you choose, they’re all equally soothing on your dry, winter lips.  I also appreciate the shape of the tubes which are oval rather than round, which I think covers more surface area of our lips, so you only need one swipe on each lip.  Emily and I seriously can’t get enough of these superb balms.

Splurge Tinted Lip ButtahNow, on to the fun news–the giveaway!!!  Splurge just recently launched their new tinted Lip Buttahs and we get to give away a set to one lucky reader.  The tinted balms are just as moisturizing as the traditional Lip Buttahs, but with just a slight hint of color (so don’t be afraid if you’re applying it without a mirror–you won’t look like a clown if you go out of the lines!).  The colors are available in three sheer shades: In Love (a soft pink), Fling (a sheer red), and Going Steady (an earthy nude).  Want to try out these incredible lip balms for yourself?  All you have to do is leave a comment below!  For bonus entries, “like” Splurge’s Facebook page and/or follow their Twitter feed (just tell us in the comments what you did and we’ll add those entries for you).  The contest will end a week from today on Tuesday, 1/8/13 at midnight EST.  The winner will receive a set of the new Tinted Lip Buttahs (one of each color) and will be announced on Wednesday morning, 1/9.  Good luck and a happy, healthy new year to everyone!


Filed under Cool Companies We Love, Exfoliators, Giveaways/Freebies/Discounts, Lipstick/gloss/balm, Product Reviews

Quick Fixes and Multi-Taskers: Essentials for a New Mom

Posted by:  Jordan

Apologies for the lack of posts…the end of 2011 has been hectic with a new baby, so not only have I had less time to blog, but I’ve also unfortunately had less time to test out new beauty products.  My daughter is currently napping on my husband’s chest, so I’m taking the gift of a few quiet minutes to updates you guys on a few of my favorite products that I haven’t yet had a chance to report on.

As a new mom, spare time for myself is a luxury.  So any product that is a multi-tasker is a huge plus.  Multi-tasking is what Skin and Bones excels at.  Skin and Bones is a company that sells only two products–a cleanser and a moisturizer–and handy products they are.  The 100% natural and vegan cleanser is a face and body cleanser with just a touch of exfoliating black jojoba beads, so this one product can replace your face cleanser, body cleanser, and exfoliator.  Think of this cleanser as a really glamorous alternative to Dr. Bronner’s.  Note:  Like Dr. Bronner’s, I don’t recommend this product as a shampoo replacement (even though Skin & Bones doesn’t advertise it as a shampoo on their website, I wanted to give it a try for test purposes).  It’s not terrible, and it would do in a pinch, but it left my fine hair too heavy and greasy looking.  However, on the night I tested this cleanser as a shampoo, my husband commented–out of the blue, not knowing I had tested out a new “shampoo”– that my hair looked nice and had a lot of body (I didn’t even know he knew that hair could have “body”).  He doesn’t normally seem to notice things like when I haven’t washed my hair in 3 days, so to have him comment on it said something.  So there you go!  To each his own.

The other Skin and Bones product is their 100% organic all-purpose moisturizing oil.  This oil can be used as a body/face/cuticle/hair moisturizer, a massage oil, an invigorating scalp oil, stretch mark preventer…the list goes on and on.  Really, you can use it on anything that ails you!  The scent of both products is pleasingly unisex and woodsy, so they’re great for the whole family (as long as you’re not against woodsy, spicy scents).  Both of these items are perfect for travel since they replace so many products.  They even sell a TSA-approved travel size of the moisturizer on their website.  For an extra skin-exfoliating boost, just grab a sugar packet from the hotel coffee nook and add it to a handful of the oil to create a perfect travel-friendly exfoliator.

Another product that I’m enjoying in my new-mom beauty routine is a quick 5 minute exfoliating facial mask from Naturopathica.  The Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel is a speedy way to brighten and smooth my sleep-deprived skin.  The cherry scent is just like fresh squeezed cherry juice, and nothing like the artificial cherry scent you know from your childhood “red flavored” popsicles.  Thanks to the lactic acid, wine extract, and salicylic acid, after just 5 minutes of having this mask on my skin (something even I can find time to do a couple of times  a week–I like to put it on in the evening while brushing my teeth), my face more resembles my baby’s super-soft skin, and less like my calloused heels.  Though it’s quick-working, it’s super gentle and doesn’t make my sensitive skin red at all.

Hope everyone has a happy new year.  Here’s to a naturally beautiful 2012!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cleansers, Exfoliators, Masks, Moisturizers, Travel


Posted by: Emily

Hello, world. I’m back.

For 3 months, I have been completely lost in the amazing, all-consuming world of my newborn daughter. She is an absolute delight, and I have been blissfully happy (and, let’s face it, pretty tired! But seriously, REALLY happy.). Until 3 months ago, I had spent my life always thinking ahead, dreaming long-term, setting goals that have nothing to do with “the moment” and everything to do with “the future.” Having a baby has forced me to live in the moment and appreciate each day, and that is the best gift Hallie could ever give me, besides her delicious smiles.

Each day with a newborn is just about moment to moment. It’s impossible to be on any kind of schedule with a brand-new baby (if you’re out there and you have figured out how to make that work, let me know!) so I learned to set smaller goals, and even to enjoy them. For example: at the beginning, my goal for the day may have been “today, I will feed my baby 8-10 times and change her diapers.” And that would be the only thing I had to do in a day. And at the end of that day, as my husband and I sank into bed, exhausted, Hallie swaddled and fed and sleeping peacefully in the co-sleeper attached to our bed, we’d look at each other and think, hey, today was a huge success! She ate, she slept, she’s happy and well. We did it.

It was such a refreshing change from my previous days spent type-A style worrying about the little things on my to-do lists that had, in my mind, huge, long-term implications in my career and life decades into the future. Suddenly, life was a little slower, a little smaller, and a lot happier.

Now, I know it can’t go on like that forever. Hallie will grow and I will have to think about more things than just feeding and changing her. In fact, I think one of the best things I can give her is an example of leading a full life. So I want to return to blogging and writing and acting and seeing friends and being a real grown-up, whatever that means, so that Hallie sees all that. But I hope I can always keep a sense of living in the moment, of defining success as taking care of myself and Hallie and my husband and loving them and enjoying the little things.

Now that I am resurfacing, there’s another surface I have to start thinking about again. My skin could use a little resurfacing. I have been sorely neglecting my skin since giving birth. Bad time to do so, since the huge surges and drops in hormones mean this is a crazy time for my skin. Not that I’ve noticed, or cared, until recently. And even now, I have to say I care a lot less than I used to, and that feels GREAT. But I still do care 🙂 I am still a product junkie!!!

For the first time since my early teens, I have given up moisturizing after every single shower. I know, gasp.  There’s just not time, and also, I don’t want to get moisturizer all over Hallie, and since I’m breastfeeding, we have a lot of skin-to-skin contact. (I do use all-natural and unscented body moisturizers, John Masters Bare and California Baby Super Sensitive Everyday Lotion, but still don’t want to get anything on Hallie’s perfect, untouched skin yet!) (Note: I am talking about giving up moisturizing my whole body after every shower, not my face– that is a “must” twice a day no matter what or I get that tight-skin-feeling).

Anyway, a side-effect of not moisturizing constantly (I’m just happy to get the shower in– forget the moisturizing!) is that I have all these little bumps on my skin in places where it’s really dry. I decided a few weeks ago that I needed a good body exfoliator. Before birth I’d previously been using a fabulous homemade sugar scrub recipe that Jordan taught me, but it can make the tub very slippery, so I decided to try something else that was a little easier to use when one is sleep-deprived and in a hurry. I bought Weleda’s Birch Body Scrub when they had their 50% off sumer sale and gave it a try.

Despite thinking that everything Weleda makes is perfect, I was skeptical at first. You see, the Birch Body Scrub feels so gentle and soft on my skin– I was kind of thinking that in order to be effective, a scrub would have to be really abrasive and harsh, and this one is not; the little scrubbing beads are smooth, not jagged. So to my delight, after a few uses followed by a little Skin Food on the really dry patches, the little bumps are going away! I am so impressed, but not surprised. After all, it’s Weleda. And I love the scent– fresh and woodsy.  Different from any other scents I have, and perfect for summer/fall.

Now I am in the market for a good facial exfoliator! Any suggestions out there? I’m tempted to use the Birch Scrub, but it clearly says “body” on it, and not “face,” so I am looking for something made for the sensitive skin on my face. Please post ideas for me in the comments, and I will try and review the suggestions! Feel free to suggest things you use and love, or suggest something you want me to try out for you so I can tell you how it works 🙂


Filed under Baby, Exfoliators

Bella Lucce’s New African Adventures Collection

Posted by:  Jordan

There are some very exciting things happening at the much-loved natural body care company, Bella Lucce!  First of all, they just launched their brand new African Adventures collection, containing 8 wonderful new products.  Secondly, in honor of both their new collection and their 7th birthday, they’re having a different sale each day of the month of September.  Check it out here while there are still a couple of weeks left of the celebration!

A couple of weeks ago Bella Lucce generously hosted a giveaway-a-day for a week on their Facebook page and because I’m like an 80-year-old woman at a Bingo hall when it comes to giveaways, I was all over it.  And I actually ended up winning a set of the entire new collection!  It was definitely the highlight of my week, and the excitement continues as I try each of these wonderfully scented, moisturizing, natural products.  Here are my findings (and favorites) on the new line!

The shampoo and conditioner, Bella Lucce’s first of each I believe, are simple (in a good way!) and effective–moisturizing yet not so much that it weighs my hair down.  Similarly, the Moringa & Shea Cleansing bar is gentle, moisturizing, and so cool to display in your shower with its graphic black and white design!  If you haven’t noticed, moisturizing is a key term in this new line, and the theme continues to the 100% natural lip balm, which tastes amazing–just like a Dreamsicle!  And my husband likes it too because it’s not shiny at all–just a dose of delicious-tasting moisture for dry lips–something even a guy can appreciate.

Speaking of moisture, the two body creams in this line are going to be well-used this winter.  They’re similar in scent (the scents of most of the products in this line are of a unique citrus note, which I adore) and in their moisturizing capabilities.  The main difference I found, other than the active moisturizing ingredients, is the texture.  From my picture below you can see that the Argan & Acacia Rich Body Crème (on the left) is smooth, dense and creamy, while the Tamanu Whipped Shea Butter (on the right) is a more airy and, as the name implies, whipped!  I love both of them, but I think I prefer the whipped texture more–maybe just because it’s fun and unique!

On to the two products fighting with each other for my top spot–I’m just smitten with both of these products so much that I can’t possibly choose which one is my favorite!  The Avocado & Ootanga Body Scrub is insane.  I’ve mentioned before how the Bella Lucce Chianti & Grapeseed scrub is the best I’ve ever tried, and this new scrub is the slightly prettier twin!  I say prettier just because I prefer the scent of this scrub to the Chianti one.  But when I say it’s the twin I mean it’s just as exfoliating and moisturizing as the other I’ve tried.  I was able to skip my lotion application this morning after using this scrub.  Plus, the pink color with the black flecked kiwi seeds are really festive!

Finally, the Watermelon, Baobab & Banana Conditioning Masque is the ultimate face mask.  Like the Chocolate Masque I’ve already praised, this mask is a 100% natural powder which you mix with water or a customizable mixer, as shown below.  I used the yogurt and loved the results of this mask.  My pores looked smaller, my skin more even and smooth.  And when combined with yogurt it smells like a strawberry pop tart!

Skin Type Suggested Mixer
Combination Yogurt
Mature Carrot Juice
Oily Milk
Dry Heavy Cream

If you’re in the market for a birthday/hostess/new mom gift, anything from this new collection would be a great idea.  Or if you’re just needing to pamper yourself I’d suggest taking advantage of the daily sales Bella Lucce is offering for the rest of September!  You can’t go wrong with anything from this company.


Filed under Cleansers, Cool Companies We Love, Exfoliators, Giveaways/Freebies/Discounts, Hair Care, Lipstick/gloss/balm, Masks, Moisturizers, Product Reviews

Bella Lucce Chianti & Grape Seed Crush

Posted by:  Jordan
 I begin this review by saying that I am a judgemental idiot.  My wise mother gave me this sugar scrub as part of my birthday gift back in December, and I only just tested it out this week.  That’s a regretful 5 months that my skin has been missing out!  This is, I’m not exaggerating one bit here, the best sugar scrub I have ever tried.  I was (wrongfully) hesitant to use it because when I first opened the container, I was turned off by the smell.  It’s supposed to smell like you’re “bathing in red wine.”  My husband agrees that it smells exactly like red wine.  So, maybe I should have my olfactory glands tested or something, because I swear it smells exactly like Grape Bonkers candy.  Remember that candy, and its equally delightful commercial, from the 80’s?
I was a huge fan of Bonkers when I was 7, but can you see how that might have turned me off from immediately testing out this scrub?  The husband thinks something might be wrong with my sniffer (although he does concede that it smells like a sweet, cheap red wine…like Yellowtail).  But down to real business, this scrub makes my skin seriously soft and smooth.  Even days later!  Last night I used this scrub and didn’t put lotion or oil on afterwards (if you’re a devoted follower of this blog, you know that Emily and I both strictly follow the moisturizer-directly-after-shower rule except in cases of product-testing) and my skin still feels soft and moisturized 24 hours later.  In addition to its superior moisturizing and exfoliating properties, this wonder-scrub has a really cool buttery texture. Not super oily (which is normally my preference), and neither whipped, nor dense.  It kind of looks like grainy apple butter.  The buttery texture is perfect because the scrub doesn’t slip through your hands like many scrubs do, yet it’s not harsh like some solidified sugar scrubs can get.  Here’s a picture from my very un high-tech camera so you can get a sense of the texture:
The ingredients listed on the label are all natural with the exception of the vague “fragrance” listing, which can sometimes be either natural or synthetic fragrances.  While I’m not completely certain that this scrub is 100% natural based on that one “fragrance” ingredient, I do know that the owner of this company places a very high emphasis on using only high-quality, good-for-you ingredients.
Even though my weird nose isn’t a huge fan of the scent (but I can overlook that, thanks to the incredibly smooth skin that hasn’t been this soft since I was 17 years old), there are 10 other varieties of body scrubs available on their website.  I’m thinking maybe my next trial will be either the South Seas Body Buff or the Bamboo & Black Sesame Body Rub.  Or, possibly Passionfruit Guava.  They really all sound amazing!  And this is a very high mark of admiration because I usually tell everyone “don’t spend big money on a body scrub, you schmuck…you can easily make your own for about a buck!” (I’ll tell you how to do this in a future post).  But this sugar scrub has changed my mind completely, because it is waaaay superior to my homemade scrub.  Try it, and see if you can get your 17-year-old skin back too (now, if it could just get rid of those stubborn sun spots that weren’t there when I was 17…)


Filed under Exfoliators, Product Reviews

Living Tree Botanicals (Plus a Giveaway!)

Posted by:  Jordan AND Emily

The following is a conversation Emily and I emailed back and forth about the amazing natural beauty products from Living Tree Botanicals.   A very sweet PJR reader, Tiffany, happens to work for this incredible company and offered to send us some samples to test out.  Emily and I both thoroughly put the products to our rigid tests…read below for our thoughts on the 3 items we received!

Jordan: Hey Em!  So, now that we’ve both had a chance to try the Living Tree Botanicals samples, let’s compare notes!

Let’s start with the Limon Vert body scrub.  Now, for me this was something totally new because it’s a “dry scrub”, meaning it’s not oily like most scrubs I’ve used in the past.  Since it wasn’t something I was accustomed to it took me two times of using it before I could form a true opinion because I had to get used to the idea of a dry scrub.  But, as it turns out, I really loved it!  This is a heavy-duty exfoliator (just my style–i like things to “feel” like they’re working!  As my mom used to say, “Beauty is Pain”…not that this scrub is painful by any stretch of the imagination, but you get my drift.  I like to feel like I’m really accomplishing something when I use a beauty product.)  And the smell is very lemongrassy and zesty–again, just my style!  What did you think of it?

Emily: I just have to start out by saying that I am totally obsessed with Living Tree Botanicals. Did I just show my hand? Well, I can’t hide it– I like them. I really like them. I think they’re the next Weleda.  Yeah, I went there. I called them the next Weleda! I’m in love!

So now for the details: Obviously, I loved the Limon Vert body scrub. At first I was disappointed that it was not dripping in excess oil (I have REALLY dry
skin) but once I used it, I realized it was plenty moisturizing. To put it to the ultimate test, the next time I used it, I did not follow my shower with any moisturizer– I just let the oils from the scrub be my moisturizer, toweled off, and went on with my day. Hours later, my skin still felt great. A true test, and a real winner in my book!

Jordan: Whoa, that’s a big statement, sister!  I agree, I’m loving this brand, especially since they’re an upstate New York company!  Local AND natural totally scores big time in my book.

Ok, now on to the Sacred Skin body oil.  I found this to be one of the best body oils I’ve ever tried in terms of its moisturizing properties!  It wasn’t at all watery like some I’ve used.  However, the smell is a very warm, spicy/sweet scent, which is nice–don’t get me wrong, but my personal preference just usually leans towards bright, citrusy scents. A wonderfully rich and nourishing body oil, just not my preferred scent.

Emily: I really enjoyed the scent of the oil. I like most scents other than woody, so I’m easy to please as long as there’s no patchouli around. No idea why, but I just don’t love patchouli.  Anyway, I agree that the oil was incredibly moisturizing. So much so that I put it on my shoulders and then the tips of my hair soaked up a bunch of it and the ends were all greasy! Note to self: keep hair in a bun till oil soaks in next time!!  I love how the Living Tree instructions tell you to apply their oil and/or moisturizers to the whole body, starting at the feet and working your way up towards the heart, to improve circulation! I have been doing that backwards my whole life, and have really enjoyed this change of pace. It makes me think about the oil I’m applying to my body as an almost medicinal ritual– and I love how Living Tree describes all their products as part of a ritual– which reminds me that I am taking care of my body and nurturing it, and at the same time feel like I’m nurturing my spirit as well. I don’t mean to get too touchy-feely on you all, but this really is the point– that what you put on your body (and what you put in it, too!) should be intentional and nourishing. I love Living Tree Botanicals for reminding me to think this way.

Jordan: You are so right about our natural products reminding us daily on why we’re doing this whole beauty overhaul in the first place.  Now instead of just quickly slapping on some lotion when I jump out of the shower, I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy a mini-massage and take a deep, calming breath as I apply my body lotions, thereby not only nourishing my skin but my entire self.  Which is why I absolutely adored the Shea Rosehip Body Butter!  It’s by far my favorite of the three LTB products we tested.  There are shea pearls in the body butter, so when you first touch it, it feels slightly grainy, but then the moment it touches your skin the pearls melts right in.  After I had applied the body butter, my husband walked into the bathroom and, not knowing I was sampling a new product, said, “it smells like lemongrass in here….and chocolate.  That’s an odd combination.”  It is a unique scent–which I don’t think smells at all like lemongrass and chocolate–but I really like it!  I see where he was coming from, though.  It’s a warm fragrance, yet fresh at the same time, making it simultaneously calming and uplifting.  But the real treat of this body butter is that it makes my skin extraordinarily velvety!  And the softness lasted throughout the day.  This product may be my new favorite body moisturizer!

Emily: The Body Butter was my favorite, too! I LOVED the way the little shea butter pearls burst on contact– it’s like the perfect hybrid of lotion and oil, because you get the oil effect with the butter-texture convenience. Brilliant! And it feels so fresh every time, like the oil is being made just for you at the moment you’re putting it on. I’m making it sound like a custom-made sandwich (see, everything comes back to food in my mind!) but it’s nice the way that it feels so natural and not processed. And I agree with what you said about your skin feeling velvety– even hours later, my skin still felt freshly moisturized, but my clothes weren’t greasy at all. It’s like magic!

Magic indeed, readers.  We’re in love with this company!  And what’s even more cool about the super-sweet Living Tree Botanicals women is that they’re willing to give away one of their Daily Ritual Mini Body Kits to one lucky reader!!!!!  These kits are ideal for travel!  All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us which LTB product you’re most intrigued by.  So check out their website and be sure to leave a comment by Tuesday, May 4th at midnight.  We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!

**For bonus entries you can subscribe to our blog or become our friend on Facebook!  Just tell us what you do in the comments and I’ll add you in for multiple entries.  And if you’re already a FB friend or a PJR subscriber, let us know that too–we won’t forget about you!


Filed under Cool Companies We Love, Exfoliators, Moisturizers