Tuesday, January 27, 2015

**REVIEW* Adovia Dead Sea Bath Salts

Since I have tried (and mostly love) many Adovia products, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one:

INSERT PHOTO

Ta-da! Adovia's Dead Sea Bath Salts.

Nice, big, 1.75lb pouch. At least I could tell that was the weight when I weighed the bag for myself. You see, there was no label indicating the weight on the package. I also had to rely on the product page to get any information on how best to use the salts.

But.

Once I did get the information...
"The mineral rich salts of the Dead Sea are wonderful to use when attempting to naturally soothe aches and pains from dry skin disorders, joint pain disorders, and muscle pain disorders. They're also great to use when unwinding from a long stressful day or week and your body has been overexerted. Salts of the Dead Sea have been used for centuries to provide soothing relief and now you get to enjoy the benefits of the Dead Sea, too! Use them to sooth painfully dry skin due to Psoriasis, Dermatitis, or Eczema. Use them to relax after a long day at work. Use them to sooth overexerted muscles after a long workout at the gym. And you could even use them to sooth pains from Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. This natural muscle soother is even perfect to use when creating a spa like setting in the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is set the mood in the room where you plan on soaking in the Dead Sea salts, fill the tub, pour in the salts, soak and enjoy. Using Dead Sea salts to soothe dry skin, joint and muscle aches and pains is a fast, effective, and natural way to find relief. Did you know that you can soak in a tub full of these natural salts and warm water to find relief from stress and insomnia as well? Directions for Use of Dead Sea Bath Salts 1. To use these natural bath salts, simply pour 1 cup of salts into a bath tub that is filling with warm water or that has already been filled with warm water. 2. Allow the salts to dissolve before getting in to the bath tub. 3. Get into the bath tub, relax and soak for about 20 minutes. 4. Follow-up with a warm rinse. Dip your body into a Dead Sea salt enriched bath tub every evening before retiring to bed, or at the end of a very long week at work. Use them every day or as needed. The choice is yours. One thing's for sure, regardless of how often you use these naturally soothing bath salts you'll never regret their investment thanks to the many rewards you'll discover." (straight from the product page at Amazon)

...I was happy to see that the salts "Contain absolutely zero additives, colors, or scents. Higher Level of Minerals and Relief than Epsom Salts", but I was still curious about the "over 26 essential minerals the body needs for natural soothing and relaxation" and such. I want a list of the minerals.

If something has great ingredients and there are different ways to use a product, I want to know without having to do a lot of research. Basically, with this product, I wish that all the information had been printed on a cheap piece of paper and slipped inside the bag of salts. Or taped to the back. Or stapled to the bag. Something. You know? (I'm having issues lately with products not coming with adequate information included. Just a peeve of mine.)

Anyway, I don't suffer from any serious skin conditions and I don't (thank goodness) have problems such as Arthritis or Fibromyalgia. What I do have is (selfishly) a love of soft skin. And feet that are more high maintenance than a trophy wife.

Now, my feet are doing better (thanks to a nifty little item I found at a local store, but that's for another post), but I decided to treat them with a soak using these salts. (Okay, here's the deal: I already had a shower today and I'm too lazy to do the whole-body bath thing this late at night.)

So... I tested the salts on these troublesome dawgs of mine. Since I was just doing my feet (and using a foot tub), I went with a quarter cup of salts dissolved in very warm water. I soaked my feet for about 15 minutes. I would have gone the whole 20, but my phone battery was going low and I was expecting an important call. Whatever. 15 minutes or so was apparently good enough because, wow. My feet came out so soft. Actually, I got my feet and ankles, which is good because the backs of my ankles get so dry and irritated from my footwear that the skin is always flaky. (And now you know too much.)

I don't know and cannot tell you if these salts work for the more serious issues addressed in the product description but, baby, if you want something to soften your skin - well, these salts will do it. My feet are like the go-to part of my body for testing a product! If these can soften my feet, well...

Another benefit to these salts is that they actually softened the water. When I lived in Arizona (and some parts of Texas), the water was so hard that you could almost beat someone with it. Here in Alaska, we have some of the best water in the world, but these salts did give the water a soft and almost silken feel. That's going to be heavenly when I take a nice, long bath.

If I have one caution, it's this: I know that some people use Epsom salt to get rid of excess water (by ingesting or by soaking). If these salts do the same thing, just take precaution when using. Besides, I'm not sure what all 26 minerals are involved.

Adovia is great about standing behind their products, but I didn't see any kind of guarantee on the product page. However, this is set at a great price (about $12) for such a hefty bag of salts.

Enjoy!

Peace
--Free

P.S.: The temps here have been sticking at single digits here for the past several days. I have a nasty cold and the chills, so I took a nice, hot soak in the tub last night. Added about 1 cup of the bath salts and fell asleep for about 40 minutes. (Yes, 40 minutes. No kidding. When I woke up after the first 25 minutes, I just added more hot water.) The rest of my body love these salts as much as my feet do. One other thing I noticed: when I moisturized right afterwards -and promptly went to bed - my skin stayed better hydrated throughout the whole night. I don't bathe often in really warm water because it's not good for my skin and I have to double-down on the moisturizer. This bath was long and warm, but I made it to late morning before I had to re-moisturize. Last of all, I don't think I slept any better than usual, but the bath was relaxing.

DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

**REVIEW** Shine Whitening

For about a year, I've been wanting to do a treatment to brighten my teeth. I kept backing off because the ones I saw at local stores were too expensive or too complicated looking. And I have a short attention span.

When I got the chance to review this one, via Tomoson, I took the jump. It's Shine Whitening.

www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
Doesn't look anything like me!
If I'd had to purchase this, I don't think $30 is too much to pay. (I've seen ones at the store as high as $50+). This one also didn't sound like it was going to be that complicated. Here's my one gripe as I get ready to try it out: The instructions on the package itself are very general. I mean, just basic. For something that I'm going to be using on my teeth, I expected a little more info included with the product. Instead, I was directed to a website address which didn't load properly. I had to delete the "/zero" part to get started. Minor as far as that goes, but I was already annoyed that I had to go online for the full instruction. (What if I didn't have regular access to the internet?)

Instructions for mouth trays decent. All other instructions were too brief.

By the way, I found the website to be lacking in many ways. For instance, the links to FAQs and other areas went nowhere useful. (Also, the Amazon product site didn't have a list of ingredients for viewers.)

The ingredients: Glycerin, Sodium Bicarbonate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Fluoride, Aloe Barbadensis, Leaf Juice, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Flavor.
Anyway, let me back up to say that I used the package instructions to prepare the mouth trays. How hard could that be, is what my brain was telling me. Well... This is what the trays looked like when I followed the instructions to shape them to my teeth:


www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
My bottom teeth are really this jacked up?

www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
Top teeth... Not so bad. 


~sigh~

Okay. So maybe I should stop listening to my brain since it's kind of sarced out.

By the way, after I shaped the trays, they no longer fit as well into the provided retainer case.


I decided that, yes, I should probably check out the more detailed instructions online (for using the mouth tray because, let's face it, I was going to have to do the re-shaping of them again).

Okay. I got the trays to fit better. I got the "detailed" instructions. I manged to get the light working (had a little run in with the battery cover, which is not easy to grip). I managed to get the trays lubricated with the whitening gel and into my mouth. THEN... I had to get the light into my mouth. I felt like a Cracked Magazine version of a chick imitating Hannibal Lector.


www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
It's pretty awkward having to have the trays and light stuffed in your mouth for fifteen minutes. (It's suggested to use for 15 to 30 minutes per treatment.)

I lasted 13 minutes and 43 seconds before I was drooling all down my shirt. The whole time I was drooling and trying not to lock my jaw up, my little nephew was trying to hold a conversation with me about his new toy car and my sister (who is a little loopy from an infection) was laughing at the both of us. I couldn't wait to get that contraption out of my mouth.

But when I did. Wow.

This is what my teeth looked like pre-whitening:

www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
I didn't even brush with paste before this pic

This is what they looked like after one treatment:
Lips need a scrub, but the teeth are whiter
That's not a trick of the light. I used the kit, rinsed, and then brushed my teeth with a non-whitening paste.

I didn't expect such noticeable results right away. The package label suggests using the kit for 4 weeks. At the rate that this worked, I'll be happy just using it once every few weeks. This stuff really did work. I'm not kidding about using it just every now and then. If I used twice a day, as suggested, I think I'd end up with unnaturally white teeth. I'm pretty impressed. I'm impressed enough that I don't mind the hassle I had to endure to use the kit. I'm impressed enough that I think I'll be purchasing another kit when this one runs out.

This is one of those times that I expected to be kind of ticked off by a product (which has really only happened once before), but come away amazed by the quick results. So, to summarize:

CONS -
  • Instructions are lacking & having to go online for only slightly better "detailed" instructions is annoying. Why not just insert better instructions into the packaging in the first place? Especially when the website you give for more instructions is not there.
  • The trays are difficult to shape to your teeth (or maybe I just have really crazy-to-fit teeth), If my fitted trays indicate the way my teeth are shaped, I'm a little embarrassed.
  • The gel cartridges are a bit awkward also. The instructions to use a "drop" don't really work if what you really have to do is spread the gel along the front of the tray.
  • There will be some drooling involved. This is not the most discreet way to whiten your teeth.
  • There should have been a larger case included to hold the fitted trays. Once you shape them, the case might not be adequate. (I ended up putting my trays into a baggy for storage.)
  • I don't know about you but, in spite of what the website says, I won't be using this "on the go or in the office. Not unless I am President and have Secret Service agents keeping out anyone who might see me with this thing in my mouth and drool wetting my chin. No, ma'am. I have no idea how anyone would even manage to use this "on the go". Where are you going to go looking like a deranged, drooling maniac? With a blue light in your mouth? Huh.)
  • I didn't see any mention of a product guarantee.
  • Though this states that botanical ingredients are used instead of peroxide, I couldn't find a list of those ingredients on the product website. You'd have to see the package for that.
PROS -
  • There really is none of that weird feeling you get with some other whitening products. No numbness or irritation of the gums. It doesn't even taste that icky. That might be because...
  • ...This kit uses botanical ingredients* instead of peroxide.
  • There is a support number listed on the package in case you have questions. (Con: it's not a toll-free number.)
  • You don't have to use the light; it just "speeds up the process". (But the results with the light seem to be pretty awesome.)
  • It works.
  • It works the very first time you use it.
  • It's fifteen minutes per treatment. Now that I know what to expect, I will do my treatments while bathing or having nothing else in the world to do (including possibly being seen by any other human being).
  • It. Works.
Here is what you get all squeezed into that small box:

The mouth trays are inside the white case

www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
You also get the little chart
www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
The light battery cover


If I didn't use this again, I would be happy with the improvement. I drink a lot of coffee, eat a lot of staining berries (and I have cheated with the smoking...), and I drink tons of tea. I don't brush my teeth after every meal. I'm human. If this improved the look of my teeth with one treatment, I imagine it will be amazing for someone motivated enough to use it twice a day for 4 weeks. I imagine you'd be able to use the whiteness of their teeth for a nightlight after 4 weeks.
www.freebeingfree.blogspot.com review of Shine Whitening
This part of light is for your mouth
UPDATE: I realized that I had not removed the tabs from the mouth trays the first time I used the kit. The tabs are there for when you are using hot water to shape the trays. Once I did remove them, the trays (and light) fit much better. It's still not a good look for "on the go" or at the office. Unless you work from home. Behind a locked door. Still, this works so well that, with the trays fitting better, I will be using more often.

Peace
--Free

DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

**REVIEW**Digital Luggage Scale by Gear District


True story:

On one of the trips I've taken in the past 3 years (I can`t remember which trip), I sweated all the way to the airport, worrying that my luggage was going to be too heavy. Since I was being dropped off at such a huge airport, my ride was not going to be able to stick around after tossing me out at the curb (at my own insistence). For the whole ride to the airport, I was toying with the idea of rearranging and unpacking some stuff so that I could just send for it later. I didn't  reorganize or unpack, but I was sure praying that I didn't end up giving away clothes at the airport just so I didn't  have to pay any of the outrageous over-weight luggage fees.

(True-story-inside-a-true-story: a family member once tossed a bunch of cosmetics at the airport. Can`t remember if it was a weight thing or a TSA thing...)

Anyway, on this particular trip, I get to Baggage Check and, thank goodness, I had a super-nice agent. One of my bags was slightly over while the other was lighter. The agent let me rearrange some stuff so that both bags met weight requirements. The only good thing I remember about that trip was that I was too exhausted from the baggage worries to be as nervous as I usually am about actually flying.

Remember when air travel was fun and relaxing? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway. I took you on that little story journey to tell you about this:


Ignore my bad photography. 
 That's the Digital Luggage Scale from Gear District. And I think I'm in love.

Man, I hate flying, but I will sure be loving this the next time I have to go somewhere on a plane. Until now, I`ve used bathroom scales and toddlers to try to get an idea of what my luggage will clock in at. (Yes, toddlers. If you know how much the kid weighs, you try to guess how much heavier or lighter than he/she is than the bag. By the way, neither method works very well.)

This scale is pretty awesome. The only complaint I can come up with (if I dig real deep) is that I struggled with trying to figure out how to put the battery in. On the other hand, I am a little sarc-slow. And, hey, at least they did include the battery. (The battery is one of those flat watch type deals, and I never have any of those around the house. Can`t even dismantle the kid`s toy for one.)

That's the itty bitty battery on the left.
The digital read-out is very clear. You just adjust whether you want lbs or kgs. Hook the scale to the handle of your bag and... well, pick it up and wait for the news. I tested it on some luggage that I still have half-packed from the Thanksgiving trip (don`t dare judge me!) and I would try guess what the weight would read. I was never right. I was never even close.

Um, I should have gotten a photo of a readout, I guess. Oops

This box photo doesn't do it justice, but...
There`s really nothing else I need to tell you about this. It`s just kind of a lifesaver when you travel enough  give yourself ulcers over baggage fees. I`m going to be as arrogant as hell the next time I check bags. Or, at least, I won`t be sweating bullets and playing the game of "Which Pair of Shoes/Jeans/Coat Could I Absolutely Live Without?"


Oh - the scale came with a bonus item: a little combo luggage lock. It`s nice, but I haven`t reset the combination. I might use a lock on my luggage while I am at a hotel or staying with friends who have friends I don't trust, but I`m not trying to dare the TSA to bust into my suitcase. I`m that person who always - ALWAYS - finds that notice inside my bag that it was opened for a "random" check. How random is it when it`s always me? Whatever.

Still, it's nice to have the lock. For hotels & such.

The scale looks nice, too. It`s a brushed stainless steel that feels real sturdy. I mentioned that the readout is clear and easy to read. It`s black numbers on a vibrant blue background. It`s small enough to tuck into your purse or briefcase (and it`s light enough so you don`t add to your worries about its weight.





Yeah, so, if you travel and are not rich (or foolish) enough not to worry about paying overweight bag fees, this is a nifty gadget. The price is good too. When I was sent mine, it was priced at about $15, down from around $40, but I guess that depends on discounts and other changes in prices. It's still cheaper than one payment of an overweight baggage fee. (Trust me, I know from experience.)



Finally, I have to say this: Usually, when a product claims to be a "great gift idea", I wonder if the Marketing crew just ran out of positive things to say and needed to fill some space. With this product, I will say it because it's true: This is a great gift idea. 

And.... the warranty is a Lifetime Hassle-free one.

Peace
--Free

DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

**REVIEW** Majestic Pure Therapeutic Grade Lemon Oil

Yes, I know. I'm getting as wild about essential oils as I've always been about moisturizers. I keep getting to try such good quality oils that I am starting to come up with my own recipes for using them in all kinds of ways.

I LOVE this one by Majestic Pure



http://freebeingfree.blogspot.com/

I am thoroughly enjoying the benefits of their fractionated coconut oil, so I wasn't surprised to be so pleased with this product. It's their Therapeutic grade 100% pure lemon oil.

Okay, so one of the ways that I used this oil (and this is a new use for me) is to moisturize. I know that lemon oil is not the first thing most people might think of as having a moisturizing effect, but... As you know, I've been on a weight-loss journey. I'm really happy to say that I am getting into the best shape I've been in for about 4 years. Like with most people who lose weight, I have to work at keeping toned. Also, I want to keep my skin in good shape, so I moisturize like crazy.

Here is my favorite way to moisturize (and de-stress) using the lemon oil: I put a couple drops of the lemon oil in my palm and add a couple drops of one of my other moisturizing oils (coconut, black castor, argan or rosehip). I rub that mixture onto my belly, the backs of my legs and my thighs just before bedtime. The lemon oil really does seem to give my skin a revitalized look. The fragrance is amazing. And very soothing. Also, it feels so good when my legs are a little sore from any exercise. The whole experience - the massage, the fragrance and moisturizing - is great for relaxing the mind and body after a stressful day. And, whoo! I have had some stressful days recently!


http://freebeingfree.blogspot.com/

Of course, it's no big secret that lemon is a wonderful scent, but this oil is also good at clearing away other smelly odors around the house - where shoes are stored or garbage is collected or where dirty laundry is stored.

The other way I used this oil was by putting a single drop (seriously, just one) onto a damp towel to toss into the dryer with some of my clothes. I'd left some clothes in the washer for a couple hours and  wanted to see how the oil worked as a fabric freshener. It was pretty nice. You get that really clean, fresh scent without having to use dryer sheets.

So, yes, this is another oil I am adding to my "staples" of natural products.

Oh, and, just so I could add to this blog post, I tried using the lemon oil with some raw sugar as a lip scrub. It works great. I went very light on the lemon oil - just a dab onto my finger - and I made sure to use some coconut oil also. Nice.

Finally, I can tell you that the lemon oil makes for a great household cleaner. I haven't gone crazy in the cleaning department yet, but I did try the oil out in the bathroom. What I did was put a couple of drops on a really warm wet cloth to wipe down the sink and counters. It was a little embarrassing that this cleaned some spots that I missed with a regular cleaning just a day or so before. The best thing about using the oil to clean sinks and countertops is the smell that is left. Normally, we use a lot of spray-on products with added bleach for the sinks and counters. The lemon smells way better and is safer.

The dropper is a great way to dispense the oil. I've figured out how many drops to use for most uses. I can add just about 3 or 4 drops to a 6oz spray bottle to use as an air freshener. For moisturizing , I can use about 3 drops mixed with another oil to treat my body from the shoulders down. I am more careful with my face - just using a dab on my finger for my forehead and neck. Also, I only do this at night because I worry about sun exposure. (I haven't gotten up the nerve to use the lemon oil on my hair yet, but I bet I could get some streaking going on! LOL)


http://freebeingfree.blogspot.com/

 As with other products that supply the information, I like knowing what the manufacturing date and shelf-life is.


I love  this oil. I like the good quality, I like the size it comes in, and I like that there are so many ways to use it. My next recipe is to mix a little bit of this lemon oil with some of my peppermint oil into my drinking water...

Majestic Pure will refund your total purchase price if you are not happy with the product.

Peace
--Free


DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will be good for my blog readers.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

**REVIEW** Fractionated Coconut Oil by Majestic Pure

Since I'd never heard of a "fractionated" coconut oil before this one, let me explain what that is. Enter the trusty old copy/paste method of gathering info from the product description:
 Fractionated coconut oil is a fraction of the coconut oil from which almost all the long chain triglycerides are removed, thus leaving mainly the medium-chain triglycerides and making it an absolutely saturated oil. This saturation gives it a very long shelf life and greatly increased stability. In addition, fractionating raises the comparative concentration of Capric acid and Caprylic acid, thus giving it more of antioxidant and disinfecting effect. (my bold emphasis)
If you checked the links I provided for the different triglycerides, you probably were thinking, "Who knew?" (Or who cares, maybe.) If you are like me and always want to know a little bit more than your brain can absorb, you can also check this link that talks about MCTs vs Coconut Oil. I'll leave that right here for you. For now, let's move on to what I found in actually using this particular product.

http://freebeingfree.blogspot.com/

 This is Majestic Pure's Fractionated Coconut Oil (or Cocos Nucifera if you like sounding well-read).

Apparently the whole thing about long shelf life is true. A label was attached showing the manufacture date and the shelf life of my product. I placed my order December 30 so I got a pretty fresh batch.



I got a little tangled up with all the information provided in the links about fractionated oil and maybe you did the same thing. I'm going to point out right now that this particular product is NOT intended for anything but external use. So don't go drinking it or cooking with it.

Since I can't drink or cook with it (heh heh), I have so far used mine in 3 ways: on my freshly washed and conditioned (and damp hair), on my freshly showered body and as a makeup remover. The hair use worked so-so. I think I overdid it. More about that in a moment. First -

As a Body Moisturizer:

When I used this after my shower, I wanted to see which way would work best. First, I used it on my still damp arms and upper body, then I used it on my towel-blotted lower body and legs. I actually like it both ways. Of course, it was a little bit easier to massage in on the dried parts. I have to admit that, when I had to blot after applying the oil to my still-damp skin, I was worried about my towel. No problem. Just as promised, the oil didn't stain the towel and it later washed just as clean as the rest of my laundry.

I love the way this made my skin feel right after showering. It's really, really lightweight, which is a nice change from some heavier oils that tend to sit on this skin and have to be blotted before you can dress. I like this better than cream-like coconut oils I've used because it's much easier to apply. It also is lighter and better absorbing than the jarred coconut oils. I actually liked the way my arms and legs felt after using this.

By the way, when I used this as a sort of lotion/regular moisturizer, it worked well, but it does leave a sheen for the first couple of minutes. I liked it okay, but not on my face just prior to applying makeup.  And this was great as a lip moisturizer!

As a Hair Moisturizer:

Remember that I used this on my hair right after washing and conditioning? Well, that might have worked better if I hadn't gone overboard.

When I put just a little (maybe a dime-sized puddle) in my palms, then rubbed my hands through my hair, I liked that it wasn't greasy. And I should have just stopped right there. I have a suspicion that I might have ended up with soft and moisturized hair, but I can't report that because... I always go one step too far. For some reason, I just had to add another couple "puddles" of oil to my hair. By the time my naps dried, I had a stiff and slightly oily mess. So, yeah, I think next time, I will stick with one "puddle", let my hair dry, then see what the results are. As it happened, I ended up just covering my hair with a scarf until I could re-shampoo. (I haven't had the chance to try the oil again because I just finished reviewing a hair dye and didn't want any more oil in my hair for that...)

I do want to try using this again on my hair because it's supposed to stimulate hair growth.

As a Makeup Remover:

One word for this one: Amazing. Seriously. It's light enough that you don't feel you are gunking up your pores when you slather it on. I generally apply a little to my fingertips and massage into my face, let it sit for a minute, then wipe with a baby wipe. It takes one application for all over and another just for my eye-liner and stuff. Best thing, my face is still moist from the baby wipe so, if I hurry, I can dab a little of the oil on to finish drying with the dampness. That's one way I can use the oil and still apply more makeup within a couple minutes. (Maybe I should always use a little water with the oil when moisturizing???)

The nice thing about removing my makeup with this is, if I'm lazy, I don't even have to apply my nighttime face cream after. The oil doesn't dry out my skin and, so far, it has not clogged my pores.

In Summary:

This oil does lack that delicious coconut fragrance. Of course, that is also a plus in some cases. Sometimes, you just don't want the fragrance.

You can't ingest this oil, so you don't get the "multi-use" factor that you can with "regular" coconut oil. (On the other hand, you can just keep this in your bathroom, dedicated to your skin care use.)

When I ordered this, it was priced at around a dollar an ounce. An ounce will go a long way and, then there's the whole 5-year shelf life thing. That makes it worth it for me. I can keep this in my bathroom without worrying about it spoiling. Then there is the guarantee:

(and the "external use only" warning!)
I like this for body moisturizing and makeup removal because it's not staining sheets and towels. It works great and the price is right. If you are into essential oils (as you know I now am), this is perfect as a carrier oil. I have not yet added it to my existing lotions and creams but I plan to try it. I want to see if it helps me stretch some use out the the ends of my lotions and such.

This is the first product I've tried from Majestic Pure, but I see that they have some other items I might want to check out.

Peace
--Free


DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

2014 Roundup of Favorite Products: Hair Care

To close out the old and enter the new, I spent the last few weeks of 2014 working on this list of some of my favorite products of the year. And, okay, I even included a few of the not-so-favorites.




  • Africa's Best Hair Mayo I adore this stuff. I don't use it all the time but, when my hair has gotten stressed and dried out from over-dyeing or just needs a re-boot, this is the stuff. Less the 12 bucks (online) for 15oz; slightly cheaper at local stores - when you can find it. Little goes a long way.
  • KeraCare Leave-in. Just wish this were more affordable. A little doesn't always go a long way (depends on what shape my hair is in), but I love the non-sticky softness it gives. 
  • Mineral Balsam Conditioner. This is like the Hair Mayo: works best to re-boot my hair from product build-up. Works really well for natural hair care. Seriously hydrates the hair & a little bit does go a long way, making the price well worth it. I cannot find this in any of my local stores or salons, so it's best to order ahead to make sure there's always some on hand. 
  • StaSofFro. I will not ever be without some of this around. If my hair is seriously dry, I will drench it in this and sleep with a scarf on. By morning, the spray has soaked in and my hair has gone from desert to ocean - as far as moisture retention. This is best for natural styles because it does make hair difficult to  heat-style. I think this should be a staple for every natural hair woman, especially when wearing protective styles that will maintained for a while. Also, I would never pay more than $5.00 for it. This can easily be found at Walmart wherever there is any kind of ethnic diversity.
  • Vidal Sassoon Moisture Lock Shampoo & Conditioner. I know that I'm supposed to be concerned with sulfates and blah blah blah. I want to be concerned but I'm broke. I have to use what is cheap and effective. This fits the bill. I think people overlook V.S. products in favor of all that's newer and trendy, but I have to give this top billing for price and effectiveness.  

As far as things that were on my so-so and so-not lists, I won't go into much detail. Let me just say that I have been disappointed in more than a few hair care products for the following reasons:

  1. They get a lot of celebrity endorsement & hype without living up to it. The price is also usually up there with what only a celebrity should be buying... 
  2. They don't work as well as more affordable products, but their prices afford them better marketing.
  3. They are made by companies that obviously don't understand "natural" hair - or any hair that doesn't fit a general mold of needs. 
  4. If they actually do work, they cost so much that it's a shame to use them.
Finally, I save some criticism for all those items that come as part of a hair care kit - hair dyeing kits, hair-relaxing kits, etc. I really hate when they include a shampoo or conditioner that works like voodoo. Until you go out and purchase that shampoo or conditioner as a stand-alone item. Then it never works quite as well. (Kind of like how the $90-a-bottle perfume never smells quite as good as the sample you got. I'm just saying.)



Next time, I will post about some of my favorite skin care products and remedies.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, January 03, 2015

**REVIEW** Seaweed Complex Lotion (with Blue Green Algae)


To tell you why I wanted to try this lotion, I have to explain that I became fascinated with blue-green algae first as a nutritional supplement. That's because I heard that the algae might boost the immune system. I also saw mention of its energizing effects, among other interesting things. However, since I never got around to checking with my own doctors about this, I never tried it as a supplement.  

When I saw that this Seaweed Complex Lotion contained blue-green algae and "ocean minerals" (which sound like the same thing, right?), I wondered if the ingredients would be as good for my outside as claimed for my insides. I still don't know much about the nutritional properties, but I can tell you that I am loving what these ingredients are doing for my skin.

http://freebeingfree.blogspot.com/


By the way, I like Foxbrim as a brand. I've tried many of their products and have never once had any problem with customer service, questions being answered, or anything - regardless of  however I have reviewed their products.

While I don't think that I would use this regularly as a body lotion (it's a bit too pricey for that), I do know that it works better than a few of my facial creams as a moisturizer. For one thing, the texture is perfect for the face.There's no "slick" feeling to it (which also means there is no sheen or shine left behind), and the lotion really blends right into the skin. That sounds weird because I'm trying hard to explain what I mean. When you apply the lotion, it doesn't rub or glide all over your face. It goes on and you can massage it for a few seconds before it's absorbed completely.

Another thing I'll saw about the texture of this lotion is that it's best to apply it in small dabs. Because it does absorb fairly rapidly, I am finding that it's best to apply in small patches - instead of just slathering it on. The moisturizing properties are so good (and this absorbs fast), that it's a waste to use more than you have to. 

Now. As for the smell. (And you all knew I'd get around to this.) I love it. Maybe because of the mention of blue-green algae and "ocean minerals", I detect a really nice "blue" scent that reminds me of those fragrances that mention "cool" and "ocean" and "blue". It's not strong, but it does linger a bit. I find it pleasant so I'm not bothered by it. I just wanted to mention it.

The bottle is nicely sized for use as a facial lotion (and the label directions are to use a dime-sized amount), but I can't justify using this for body care. At the current (moderate, sale) price, I would use it occasionally as a body lotion but, at the non-sale price, I couldn't justify that. The bottle is 1.7 ounces, which works for using dime-sized amounts at a time. (I personally used about 2 dime-sized amounts to treat my face. I applied those amounts by finger-dabbing spots of cream all around my dry spots before rubbing in.)

I like that I can tell the difference in the way my skin feels before and after applying. It leaves my face feeling nice to touch. My favorite thing about this lotion is that I can immediately apply any of my makeup over it. When I used a little, tiny bit of this behind my knee (to test it as a body lotion), the results were just okay. That could be because that part of my skin is drier than my face or (and this is what I'm thinking) I was too stingy to apply enough lotion on my leg... 

I'm going to do more reading up on how blue-green algae benefits the skin but, in the meantime, here are the claims specifically for this product:
  • Age spots fade while filling in existing wrinkles. 
  • Boost collagen production. 
  • Restore firmness and youth to skin elasticity. 
  • Leave your skin clear, smooth and glowing.
  • Restorative and healing agents from ocean 
  • Perfect for all skin types. 
And, as for what the respective ingredients offer (their description, my linkage):
The answer from nature... Ocean Mineral Lotion includes:
+ Phytochemicals - Effectively prevents premature aging of the skin.
+ Polysaccharides - Essential building block for skin repair and renewal.
+ Organic Spirulina (Blue Green Algae) - Reduce skin inflammation while boosting antioxidants and defending against free radicals.
+ Hyaluronic Acid - Unmatched natural moisturizer for plump and smooth skin
Last (and always most important), Foxbrim guarantees a full refund of your money if you are not happy for any reason.

Peace
--Free

DISCLOSURE:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, January 02, 2015

**REVIEW** Organic Rosehip Oil by Valentia

When you think about using natural products - either for health, beauty or nutritional purposes - you start to think of some of those products as staples. Just like you have basic cooking ingredients, you will start to collect basic health and skincare items. Rosehip oil belongs in that collection.

And when you talk about rosehip oil, you have to talk about quality. I pick this one:

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A little goes a looong way

I've done a few posts on Rosehip oil and I'm learning more and more about its benefits. This particular Organic Rosehip Oil by Valentia Skin Care is of the best quality that I've tried so far. That't the good news. Some more good news are highlights of the benefits:
  • Has naturally occurring antioxidants promote healthy cell development (think: help for lines, wrinkling and early aging)
  • The essential fatty acids may reduce appearance of scars and burns and improve damage from acne and other skin issues
  • Hydrates the skin to keep it soft
  • Great for hair and fingernails (and cuticles)
I like this oil so much that I am using it despite the fact that.... I can't stand the smell.
      In general, rosehip oil has a very distinct odor that you're either going to like or hate. Personally, I just don't like the extremely powerful earthy smell. I have read the opinions of other people who really love the scent. Either way, no worries because the scent does not last long. 

      With other brands I tried, I had a hard time even using the oil because of the scent of it. I was determined to use this one because I like it so much more. I think there is a difference if production and, possibly, quality. The absorption for this one is wonderful. At first, I didn't want to use it anywhere near my face (read: nose), but after using it on my nails and feet, I was pretty impressed. 

      Because I wanted to give this a full review (and because I will do a lot for the readers of my blog), I dived in and, smell be damned, tried using this in every way I could think of:  
      • Fingernails. I have only done one hot oil or "glove" treatment so far, but I have applied the oil directly to my nails and cuticles more than once. This works really well if done after using polish remover. It's really quick and easy to rub in a little of this oil on your nails every day. I think I could see a big difference (in shine and feel) after about a week.
      • Hands. If applied (very sparingly) about half an hour before I'm going to be out in the cold, I don't get as much drying - either from my gloves or the weather. I don't like to use too much unless I'm going to have time to massage the oil in really well. 
      • Body. Using it underneath my usual lotion is great. Some of my body lotions are not as moisturizing as others and using the oil with them seems to "boost" their usefulness. Beats tossing out thin lotions. 
      • Knees and elbows. I don't worry about skimping here. I massage in a lot of the oil and let it rest while I moisturize the rest of my body. My elbows are especially dry and just drink this up. After about 2 months us using various rosehip oils (the latest being this one), I am seeing a lot of improvement in the look and feel of my elbows. Before, they used to always feel dry and a little scaly at the end of a day.
      • Feet. I'm working on my feet. That's one of my goals for this new year - to get these dawgs back into sandal-wearing shape. I'm using the rosehip oil at least once a day. This helps because I am regularly using various tools and creams to get rid of calluses.
      • As a makeup remover. I use various oils for this. With the rosehip, I like to apply and let the oil rest for a while (sometimes for 15 minutes or more) to remove any heavy foundation. When I have the heavier makeup off, I will use just 2 or 3 drops of rosehip to massage the "dry" part of my combo skin. It sbsorbs really quick. (And that smell goes away fairly fast!)
      • Hair. I can't use a lot of this on my hair, but I do like rubbing just a couple drops in my palm and smoothing over my hair if I'm going to be tying on a scarf for the day. It helps keep my hair from matting too badly.
      • Booster. The oil is really nice for boosting my other face creams and skin care products. I have a ton of face creams that aren't moisturizing enough. I've already rescued two jars by adding just a little more than one full drop of rosehip. Makes a huge difference. 
      I saw somewhere online where a user suggested applying a bit of rosehip oil on your eyelashes to get them thick and healthy. I haven't tried that one yet because I forgot about it until I was writing this post. If I try that, I'll hopefully remember to let you know how it goes.

      By the way, this bottle is smaller than some of the other brands I've tried, but I have to tell you that a little goes a long way. I use by drops and I don't think that I've had to use more than 3 drops for any application. Sometimes, I just touch the end of the dropper to whatever area I'm treating. 

      Bottom line is, rosehip oil is versatile. I have to hand it to Valentia for producing one of such good quality. And, yes, there are some that don't work as well. I'm going to be adding this one to my "favorites" list of rosehip oil. 

      Peace
      --Free

      DISCLOSURE:
      I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

      Thursday, January 01, 2015

      **REVIEW** Reach it Grab it by Calibre

      This is one of those products that I didn't test myself. In this case, it was my sister who needed exactly this:

      http://freebeingfree.blogspot.com/

      No, not the light or the fan, but this:


      It's the Reach It Grab It Reacher. Other than her slide-transfer board (which is invaluable), this is one of the handiest items my sister now has.

      Transfer board

      You can see why she needed the Reach It Grab It and you can see how it works. And I don't even have to go into a lot of details to tell you any more than that. It's not the first "reacher" device she's had, but it is the sturdiest. The one she had before this one was so hollow and poorly made that it snapped apart one day and we can't even figure out why.

      I can cover the Pluses of this pretty quickly:

      • The grip is as comfortable as promised. My sister has poor hand strength and she doesn't struggle with this one.
      • Picks up even the smallest items (not something that similar devices can do...)
      • The grabbing "claws" are non-slip and sis doesn't have to worry about objects sliding out of them. (That has happened with other devices.)
      • The swivel head is really nice - especially when you use the device to reach for almost everything and everywhere. My sister can use hers around the bedroom, kitchen and even in the shower. 

      Things like that may not seem too important until you depend on a device to do things that the rest of us take for granted. My sister loves this device because she is so independent. I love it because she loves it. (By the way, I have borrowed it to fish things from under furniture. Just because I can be kind of lazy!)

      Calibre Products guarantees you'll be satisfied with this product or you get your money back. By the way, I see that this Seller has a perfect rating on Amazon.

      Peace
      --Free

      DISCLOSURE:

      I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

      Wednesday, December 31, 2014

      **REVIEW** Nutritional Yeast Flakes (by Sari Foods) ****UPDATED****

      What if I told you about an edible product that:
      And, wait. What if I also told you that adding this product to your diet might help:
      • Fight aging, promote cellular repair, and guard against free radicals
      • Curb appetite and promote natural and healthy weight loss
      • Boost immune system, energy levels and overall sense of well-being
      • Increase memory, clarity and mental function; eliminate brain fog
      • Improve sleep; reduce insomnia, depression and ongoing fatigue
      • Balance hormones, improve mood and reduce feelings of irritability
      • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers
      Since this was the first I was hearing of nutritional yeast, I wanted to check out some information. When I saw how it's "often high in B-12" (and could potentially cause some calcium deficiency), I wanted to know more about it. I am still reading what doctors have to say about nutritional yeast flakes, but at least one of them has a positive take.

      But back to the flakes I am getting to try out.

      Okay, so first thing that you could say is that I copied all of that right off the back of the package of the product. I did, yes. This package:


      This is Nutritional Yeast Flakes from Sari Foods. It's the first time I've heard of what I think must be a real "wonder food", but I wanted to give it a try. Let's face it, if the flakes do even half what the packaging claims, it's worth trying out, right?


      I noticed two things right off when I saw the package. First, it was "Ancient Egyptian Superfood", then it was "P.S.: Tastes like cheese!"

      Okay.

      By the way, this is what the flakes look like:



      Ingredients: Large nutritional yeast flakes (deactivated, dried yeast. Free of Candida Albicans.
      They are flaky (obviously) and a little bit powdery. (Once I opened the package, I ended up storing the flakes in a plastic baggie because the original package seal was loose and prone to spilling.)

      Once I got over my irritation with the package's seal, I looked around for something to try the flakes on. Usually, I try stuff by adding it to my coffee but, since I'm not interested in cheese-flavored coffee, I needed to go a different route.

      First, I just dipped a finger into the flakes for a little raw taste test. And, um... No. There was a cheese-like flavor, but "like" yeast-flavored Cheese Puffs dust. Ick.

      So, I moved on to adding the flakes to food. What better food to add something "cheese-like flavored" to than a burrito? Amma rite? Obviously. This way, the flakes weren't half-bad. Usually, for my version of the home-made burrito, I take a flour tortilla, add some seasoned ground beef (or taco meat), lettuce, tomatoes and a quarter to not-quite-half-a-cup of cheese. Just roll that bad boy up and get busy. This time, I used only a sprinkle of cheese and added roughly a tablespoon of the yeast flakes.

      The verdict: Not bad. Not bad at all. I could get used to eating the flakes on the right food - which is great because I'll be get rid of some fatty stuff and (hopefully) benefiting from the flakes.

      So far, all I've found to use it on is the burritos (and I love) those burritos. I think the trick is to use the flakes on any food that is bland and needs some added bang, or on foods that are well-seasoned and compatible with the cheese-like flavor. I have a holiday visitor who made the excellent suggestion for using the flakes on some homemade kale chips. That got me to thinking that the flakes would also be delicious when sprinkled on popcorn (similar to the way I use Parmesan cheese).


      However you decide to use them (and there are plenty of recipes floating around), the flakes are worth checking out. Sari Foods will also email you an ebook of recipes for the yeast flakes and their other products.

      Peace
      --Free

      DISCLOSURE:
      I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I
      only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

      UPDATE: One of my regular (a favorite) blog readers had something to say about nutritional yeast that I want to share with you. The following are her comments/experiences (BTW: Thanks, dollface!)
      I love this you have to be very careful what you choose to put it on...but overall it is delicious and it does taste like cheese especially when used on top of pasta dishes. it is very beneficial to a nursing mother it certainly helps increase your milk supply. I used brewers yeast, ground flax and natural oats to help with my milk supply with J. but the Brewers yeast was the most beneficial! One time while I was nursing I got a flu so terrible I was dehydrated and had to go in for fluids. I was so worried about my milk supply and we were running low on the stored bottles we had. I ate Brewers yeast on 2 meals in one day and the next day it was like everything was back to normal I even had extra. Brewers yeast is just another name for this.

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