Klorane Huile de Mangue

Well, I've just been hit with beauty blogger karma after writing that I'm low maintenance with my hair. I should have known it was coming. In the past few months I've fallen in love with several new products and gadgets for hair, and maybe they're just a wee bit spendier than the $3 per gallon Tresemme conditioner I used for the last decade. Plus, I recently had my hair dyed (barely) for the first time in my life, which means that I've had to change a few things in my routine to protect the color.

Klorane is a brand I've been drawn to for a while - I do tend to favor "botanical" haircare, and the line's appealing packaging and reasonable price point were the icing on the cake. During my semester abroad I picked up a couple of things to try, and I've been impressed with both of them.

Although it's not advertised as such, the Huile de Mangue is really more of a dry oil or a thin serum. It's very lightweight; perfect for taming frizz and adding shine without weighing down your tresses. The expected mango scent is perfectly natural and fruity but not overpowering. I also appreciate the spray nozzle, which means that you don't have to use your hands for application if you can't spare the time to wash them (seriously, the number of things that I've dropped right after using hair serums is ridiculous). One or two spritzes is perfect for my long hair, so I imagine my giant bottle of the stuff will last for ages.

Klorane Mango Oil (4.22 oz/125 ml) is $14.00 at drugstore.com (U.S.) or 11.35e at LeGuideSante (Europe).

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Kukui Nut Body Butter

The amount of satisfaction that my quest to reduce my beauty stash is giving me is, quite frankly, a little embarrassing. Although I'm a beauty nerd, I do believe in moderation, and working my way through things that were sitting unused makes me feel a little less like a "Hoarders" castmember. I'm having fun discovering things that I'd forgotten about and watching finished containers pile up. Plus there's the unabashed fun of planning what to replace the emptied stuff with (I'm actually on my last hand cream! Any recs?).

I did start using it a bit too late in the season - it's more of a summer moisturizer for my dry skin - but Alba Botanica's Kukui Nut Body Butter has been one of the gems I pulled from the pile. I love a good foodie scent, but only ones that smell like actual food, as opposed to dimethylsodiumpolysterateglycolwhatever-3 mimicking the smell of something edible. The Body Butter has a warm, nutty, mildly sweet fragrance that's right up my alley. It's not as moisturizing as I need right now, but few things are in the wintertime.  Anyone with less Saharan skin would be perfectly pleased by its adequate emollient abilities. Kukui nut oil is fairly light, so I didn't expect a heavy duty cream when I bought this anyways. Aloe, arnica, and cucumber extract are great for soothing sensitive skin - yet another reason I think this is great for the sunnier months.

There is one thing that sets Alba Botanica's product apart from every other body butter I've tried: how quickly it sinks in. Literally by the time I'm done applying it to the second arm, it's completely absorbed into the skin on the first. It's a godsend for those times when you're running late and have to step out of the shower right into a pair of skinny jeans. I'm planning on trying Alba Botanica's Very Emollient body lotion once I've finished the others in my stash, but might repurchase this body butter for next summer.

I bought mine at iHerb for $8.74 ($5 off your first purchase with my referral code, BEH289), but I've also seen it in-store at Target/CVS and Whole Foods for around $14 or $15. 

Essie Jazz

essie jazz swatchYou guys, I was played. Totally suckered by cute packaging and those darn ovaries telling me that everything tiny and cute must be adored. Utterly bamboozled by a clearance sticker. I fell prey to the enemy of beauty lovers and moderation everywhere: the dreaded impulse buy.Ok, maybe obviously I've just had too much coffee and am being overdramatic. Still, these Essie minis, adorable as they are, were sorely disappointing  They come in twin sets and the other one, some lilac shade, was unusable because it didn't have a brush. I mean, I assume there was a brush swirling around the bottle somewhere, but it had broken off and I couldn't ever find it in there. I will give Essie credit for making the brush full-sized, so application isn't any harder than it is with a regular bottle.The formula on Jazz was much thicker and stringier than other Essies, which usually have average wear but are often prone to chipping. Essie used to be my favorite polish when I was first getting into nail polish, but I've now discovered other brands with brushes and forumlas that suit me better.I do think that mini polishes are great ways to try out new colors and make darling gifts, but only if the quality is the same as that of the full-sized product. Unfortunately, that wasn't my experience, so I'm hesitant to purchase any more at the moment.Speaking of trying out new colors, though, I'm surprised by how much I love this weird beigey taupe color on my nails - so much that I've decided that Butter London's Yummy Mummy will be my next polish purchase. Essie Jazz is $6.00 shipped on Amazon and around $8.00 in store (both are full-sized bottles. I got mine on clearance last year at Bed Bath & Beyond).

Sinful Colors Cross My Heart

sinful colors nail polish cross my heart swatch
sinful colors nail polish cross my heart swatch
I'm obsessed with this little drugstore gem! I can't decide whether I love the fiery orange-based red shade or the fun jelly finish more. Combining the two has resulted in a gorgeous, distinctive polish that's deliciously retro. The formula isn't superb, but it's good for the price (two bucks!) and I got four or five days without any major chips. 

Here's Cross My Heart compared to some other bright reds and corals in my collection. I apologize for the bad lighting - it's actually raining in L.A. today and I'm no photographer! Even though the background of the picture is dull, the polish colors are all true to life. The closest match I found was Zoya Maura, which is almost an exact dupe when it comes to color, but lacks the jelly finish of Cross My Heart. 

Sinful Colors nail polish is usually $1.99 at Walgreens, but is often on sale for $0.99.

Weleda Wild Rose Facial Smoothing Lotion

Continuing with what seems to be my traditional experience with Weleda products, I found the Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion to be a really good product, but, for a few reasons, not the perfect product for me.

The moisturizing: Although your skin feels soothed while the lotion is on it, there's no deeper moisturization happening, because the feeling goes away as soon as you wash your face. It's a very, very light cream. But that's totally my fault, because the packaging says that this is for "normal to combination" skin, and I have combination to dry skin.

The scent: I do love all things rose; however, this is more of an herbal rose scent as opposed to the garden tea rose one that I prefer. It's a quintessential Weleda smell and isn't objectionable, but be warned that it does stick around.

The smoothing: The Smoothing Facial Lotion makes a great base for makeup, but if you're not applying anything on top of it, it feels a bit tacky - almost as if it hasn't dried completely throughout the day. And although my sensitive skin didn't experience any irritation, there was also no improvement in its condition from using the lotion (and as you can see, I've used the whole tube).

Overall, I think this is a solid and well-formulated facial cream if you've got oily skin, or perhaps for combination skin in the summertime. My friend with less dry skin than me uses it and likes it a lot. I haven't had any problems using up the tube, but I won't repurchase for myself.

Weleda Wild Rose Facial Smoothing Lotion retails for $28.00 in-store but is $18.69 at Lucky Vitamin (unless otherwise noted, I only link to online retailers that I've used successfully in the past). I found mine on sale at Target for around $7 in the beginning of the year, but it was during a clearance sale of Weleda products and I've never seen it priced so low elsewhere.

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