Thursday, March 31, 2016

**REVIEW** Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil (Majestic Pure)

Cinnamon essential oil was never on the top of my list of things to try. Then I heard about the benefits and I jumped at the chance to try this one from Majestic Pure. (Also, y'all know I have a thing for M.J. products, so...)























Here's the other thing: I had never paid attention to the fact that there is a cinnamon leaf oil vs cinnamon bark oil. Huh.

I had to get some clarification and this is what I came up with:
Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil - This one is steam distilled from the leaves of cinnamon. This is yellowish in color.
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil - This is steam distilled from the bark of cinnamon. It is slightly reddish in color with a hint of brown.
Both of these essential oils have some differences in their chemical composition, obviously because they come from different parts of the same plant. However, their health benefits can be quite similar... (source: Oil Health Benefits)
Well, now I get it. From what I can tell, EO of the bark is generally more expensive**. Okay.

This one I have from Majestic Pure is Cinnamon Leaf EO. (I'll try later to try some from the cinnamon bark.) While I've heard of Ceylon Cinnamon ("true" cinnamon) and Cassia Cinnamon (common), this bottle is labeledC/O (country of origin) India. 

Majestic Pure pricing and service

I've got a history with this brand. I trust their products, quality and customer service. I've never had problems with M.J. but, if I ever do, they have a full refund policy in place.

This particular item is currently $18.50 with my Amazon Priime. The bottle is a 4 fluid ounce size, which is going to be a good value with the use I'll get from it.

What does the EO smell and feel like?

The fragrance is, of course, cinnamon, but it's not overly "hot" smelling the cinnamon-flavored candies are, if you know what I mean. Because the fragrance was so pleasantly "easy", I almost made the mistake of testing a drop of it (undiluted) on the back of my hand. I always like to know what an EO feels like on the skin. Good thing I followed the rules of diluting this one with a carrier oil. I used 2 drops of castor oil and the barest drop of the cinnamon. At first, there was nothing. Half a second later, I could feel the warmth.

This is some strong stuff! This leads me to the next part.

What are the uses and benefits supposed to be?

When I was young, I heard elders say that cinnamon was good for the circulation. I don't know if they meant the oil or not. I do know that it was common for people I knew to chew on pieces of cinnamon.

I couldn't really find anything science-based on just why cinnamon is supposed to improve circulation. I'll keep looking. For now, here are some of the benefits I see listed all over the Web:
  • Improve the immune system
  • Oral health and hygiene
  • As a massage oil (diluted with other oils!)
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Air freshener
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Antibacterial and anti-fungal
  • High in antioxidants
How I am personally using this.

I have grown to trust the Majestic Pure brand and I'm really enjoying this oil. I do have to take more care in using it because of its potency. (All EOs need to be treated with caution, but something like cinnamon definitely packs natural "heat".)

I added about 3 drops to some of my homemade toothpaste. I already had a batch made with coconut oil, rice powder and clove EO. I replaced the clove with the cinnamon in a new batch before I realized I could have just merged the two. Oh well.

Since cinnamon is supposed to be good for circulation, I decided to try some on my scalp. (I'm still regretting that last hair cut!) This is when I really found outjust how potent this EO is. I mixed up three types of oils - Kukui, Emu, and coconut - and added just ONE full drop of the cinnamon EO. I used an extra dropper I have to apply this blend to different parts of my scalp. Withing a few seconds, I felt that cinnamon warmth. Thank God I used so much carrier oil! The warmth lasted for a good half and hour before it abated to nothing (or I just got used to it), so that tells how little cinnamon oil it takes to get an effect.

I have not (and don't plan to ingest this) because I need to check with my doctors first. I do use it in the humi-diffuser (I should patent that term!) in the evening. It's got a nice scent when I add some grapefruit EO. Seems to aid alertness.

The last way I tried this the first night was for my shower. I put a couple drops in a glass and sat it off to the side while I showered. When I was getting ready to rinse off a body scrub I was using, I poured the EO on the floor of the tub (away from my feet). The fragrance was yummy.


There are a lot of sources online for you to start research on cinnamon benefits. Use your own common sense when you do your research, people. Here's a list to get you going:
UPDATE: I forgot to add my most useful application for this... Duh. Because of my weak immune system, I try to stay clear of both germy thing and  the things normally used to get rid of germs. You know, chemical sprays and cleansers. This EO is great for wiping down surfaces and sterilizing my items. Just be VERY careful to spot test for damage. Also, dilute, dilute, dilute with water first!!!

Peace
--Free

** I did a quick general search and found a variety of prices on Amazon Prime items labeled as "Ceylon" cinnamon bark EO. I didn't find the prices outrageous. The big thing is to find a brand/supplier that you personally trust.

DISCLOSURE:
In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using AMZ Review Trader. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

**REVIEW** Kukui Nut Oil

Kukui Nut Oil is, obviously, from the Kukui nut. It's one of a few oils that I've been wanting to try but knew so little about. One of the first things I learned is that the Kukui nut and Candlenut are one and the same. Wha-???

This is what a kukui nut tree looks like:

And this is what a kukui nut looks like:


Those nuts are, of course, made into a necklace.

At any rate, I did have an idea that Kukui Nut Oil was from an Hawaiian tree. I got a bit of a discount to try this one in exchange for an Amazon review.


I'm trying to be more consistent in the way I present reviews, by the way, so let's get to it.

What is it commonly used for?

Because if its essential fatty acids and antioxidants, this has been used for a long time as a natural moisturizer. It protects that skin against salt and sand (in historical Hawaiian use, I guess) and it feels amazing.

Before I even did any research, I was immediately impressed with how this oil absorbed so fast. My niece and her friend also tried it with me and we all loved how "silky" it felt on the skin. Sure enough, that's one of the first things I read about the effects.

What's it like on the hair and skin?

Unlike argan or olive, this oil has almost no greasy feeling to it while applying. After about a minute of slathering some onto my face and hands, it was completely absorbed.

It's also a great hair moisturizer. The absorbency factor is one reason but, for me, the biggest thing was that it softened my hair. Love that.

If you check out that link I just used, you'll see that it's great for protecting the skin in lots of ways: sunburns, windburns, chapping, etc. My niece used some on her dry elbows and loved that it absorbed so fast and worked so well without staining her clothes. Her friend used some on her scalp in a spot where she has problems with dryness. (I will have to check back with her to see how long the effects lasted.)

I used it on my hair and face right off. This morning, I applied some after cleaning my face with castor oil and a baby wipe. No heaviness to it at all.

This reminds me a lot of Marula oil, but seems a bit more moisturizing.

I have to say that this is one oil that I am going to want to get more of. I really do like it.

Other positives

The oil naturally contains good stuff like:

  • Vitamins A, C, and E, 
  • Fatty acids -  Oleic (25.5%), Palmitic  (6.5%), Alpha-linolenic (25.1%),  and Linoleic  (40%)


5-Star Ratings:

5 of 5 for smell. There is none that I could detect once it was applied. Right out of the bottle, my niece said it had a slight "warm and nutty" odor.
5 of 5 for softening (I'd give it 10 stars!)
5 of 5 for moisturizing (because it can be worn under makeup without shine, stickiness or greasiness
5 of 5 for the pricing. (It's not a cheap oil, but it earns its keep.)
10 stars just for being such a really good oil.

This is so multi-use that I need to do more research on why it works so well. I can't rave enough about the softening effect it had on my skin and hair.

This is also the first time I've tried something from Renewalize, but I now want to try more. I like the way the packaged this so well and I think I can put the quality of this oil up there with some of my favorite brands.

I will update this review when I've gotten the chance to use this over time

Peace
--Free


DISCLOSURE:
In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using AMZ Review Trader. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

**REVIEW** Essential Oil Pocket Doctor (Davina Oils)

The name of this one might throw you, so let's do the visual...




 A collection of 8 EOs (2ml size) on a keychain.

This is called the Essential Oil Pocket Doctor (love the name), and it from Davina Oils.

That is the best concept ever. For someone who loves essential oils as much as I do, it perfect. How perfect? Well, I'll put it this way: after using for the review, I was going to pass this along to a friend. That, uh, won't be happening! LOL (I'll wait til a birthday or other occasion to spread this joy.)

I appreciate that the company didn't use the "cheapest" oils in this set. I love something about most good quality EOs, regardless, but there are some that are so "common" that they sell for a lot less. I love every one of the oils in this collection except for one. I'm not especially crazy for anything with a Eucalyptus scent. However, there is a good use for it. I know this because of the little reference card included in this collection.

By the way, I try not to hang heavy items on my keychain because I once heard that you shouldn't stress your car ignition slot. ~shrug~ However, I do hang this on the inside of my purse. The clip will, of course, attach to just about anything. It would be great for clipping to your gym bag...

Here is what you get in this set:
(all the EOs are in 2ml bottles)

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Rosemary
  • Grapefruit
  • Clary Sage
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Sage
  • 15ml Fractionated Coconut Oil to use as carrier oil
  • A card (also keychain friendly) of reference for oil use
  • A padded & sturdy bag that holds the EOs (not the carrier)
  • The 100% guarantee
This is a handy little collection. As mentioned before, this makes a perfect gift to someone who already loves EOs and for someone new to the game. For instance, I've been letting my friend sample some of my oils and she is really interested in everything about them. She is ready to start ordering her own, but this is a good way for her to try 8 different oils before she commits. (But, uh, I won't be parting with this little item for now! Hahaha!)

I mentioned in my Amazon review that I originally wondered if the price was too high. I backed off of that idea as soon as I priced other bottles of the same size. The cost would be higher for these bought separately, plus it wouldn't include the case and chain. I haven't looked yet at any other keychain type cases, but I will update this with a comparison when I do.

5-star summary:
5 of 5 for concept (I'd give this part 10 stars!)
4.5 of 5 for oils selection (because of Eucalyptus)
5 of 5 for quality and fragrance
5 of 5 for pricing and offered guarantee

Peace
--Free


DISCLOSURE:

In exchange for providing my fair and honest review, I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free or at a discount using AMZ Review Trader. Regardless, I only review products that I have personally used and can give an opinion of.

Ups and Downs of Product Reviews

Image result for product reviewI really love my little hobby of doing product review. I get to use and experiment with different essential oils, natural skin creams and butters, makeup, etc. My favorite items are those used in natural skin and hair care. It's a fun experience that is helping me to learn more and more about things I love.

There's not a whole lot that I don't love about doing these reviews. But there are a few irritating things about it.

When the process is bogged down

For most of the stuff I review, I've used Tomoson in the past few years. I've pretty much given up on SheSpeaks and Bzz Agent (Twitter parties is just not my thing), and the few other places I occasionally use get too bogged down in what I call their own bureaucrazy  and suck all the interest out of the process. (I have not been to SheSpeaks or BzzAgent, or some of these sites, for a while, so things might have changed.)

Image result for product reviewTomoson will always be a favorite, but it's getting tedious because the businesses don't seem to recognize the impact of Google Plus. They rely too heavily on Facebook. Plus, I hate having to "Like" a business page just to get my review verified. That just doesn't feel honest (and I'll talk more about that in a moment).

Of the various sites that make it possible for reviewers and businesses to hook up, some are better at doing that than others.

Tomoson is great about staying mostly out of the way of its users. I like that they are there mostly to referee any problems a business or reviewer might have. Lately, though, it's as if businesses have gotten very slow at responding to reviewers who apply for products. My irritation with that is, they sure don't want the reviewer to be late posting photos and reviews. And, once again, there's the whole forced 'Liking' of a business or product...

Influenster would be good if I could figure out how to gain more favor over there. I've done a couple of promotions with them, but ~shrug~ haven't been over in a while and am in no hurry to go over there.

Image result for product reviewI think I've already mentioned here on the blog how SheSpeaks and BzzAgent lost me a long time ago. I don't know how people find so much time to sit around and do Twitter parties. I sure don't, and I don't even have a full-time job or a spouse to spend time on. Plus, those 2 sites (and Influenster, now that I think of it) are more focused on PR for recognized brands. I like the idea of spreading the word about the new and underpromoted, healthier alternatives to big brand items.

Crowdtap... Well, this one is a little hard for me to grasp, let alone try explaining here. I've gotten a couple of samples from them and coupons for things like sweetener and pantyliners. It requires quite a bit of time to rack up notice there. You have to go over and click on activities and surveys, and look at off-site links... I guess it's a good way to kill some time if you have it.


When a site is almost perfect

My new favorite site (which is going to be replacing Tomoson, maybe) is AMZ Review Trader (ART).

What I like most about ART is that there is a huge variety of items. Reviewers can sort through items by highest or lowest price, expiration of promotion, and newest promos. There's also a pretty decent Search function.

Image result for thumbs upI also like that my individual 'dashboard' of requests is available. I can easily see what I've applied for and, if I want, cancel the application. It's all tied to my Amazon profile, which means that I don't have to fill out a bunch information for each and every item I want to review. (Tomoson's application process can be tedious like this, because businesses have so many choices for what they want verified - video or each of the more popular social media sites.)

So far, the one thing I do wish ART would do is to make the reviewer 'dashboard' better by adding different colors. As of now, I have to scroll through the list of my reviews to see which ones I've ordered/redeemed the code for. To be fair, I get an email when I get accepted for a promotion, but I still have to scroll the screen to find it. The color never changes. On the other hand, once you verify your review, it disappears from the dashboard.

When YOU get bogged down

Image result for product reviewI've done some downright goofy things when juggling a bunch of product reviews. I've tried to use the wrong coupon code for a product. I have used a coupon code correctly but, for some reason, accidentally cancelled the order. That one is a real pain in the butt mistake. Most times, you can never get the coupon code reset. I've had to email businesses and apologize for dropping the ball. One time, I even paid out of my own pocket. No sense in the business getting screwed over because I did something idiotic.

Because I have to really use a product to get a good feel for how someone else might like it, I can get behind. Most businesses want a product reviewed within a certain time period, which can be anywhere from a  week to 30 days. That's great if you're reviewing something that takes one use to test it. Not so great if it's something like a weight-loss product or other items that require time for results.  That's one reason I try sticking to things that I can get a good feel for within, at most, a couple of weeks. Also, I'm famous for updating my Amazon reviews. Thankfully, I haven't had to do that a lot.

When people don't trust you

I hear/read so many people say that they want to read a review from someone who "actually bought the product".

This is a peeve of mine when I feel it's directed at me, but it's also something I can relate to after I read some reviews.

I hate lazy reviewers. Whenever I read a glowing review that doesn't give any good specifics, I do an eye-roll. The same goes for reviews that bash a product in one line, no real reasons given.

When I do a review, I have time before I apply for the product (or while I'm waiting for it to be delivered) to research what the benefits are supposed to be. First of all, most businesses spell that out in general anyway. Second of all, I only apply for products that I have an interest in. If apply for hair stuff that is labeled or reputed to strengthen, grow, or in some way beautify the hair, I write the review to people who want all that from the product. Does it work, or doesn't it?

Because I have an interest in EOs, other oils and butters, I write aim my reviews at people who probably want to know the same things about the product as I do.

When I write a review, I try to be fair to the readers and to the business. If I think a product is trash, I will say that outright. If, on the other hand, I think that a product just doesn't work for me, but might work fine for someone else, I'll say that. That's only fair. There is no need to rip a business that, say makes hair tonic for people with long and fine hair, just because their product didn't work on my short and nappy hair.

Finally, here's the big thing: if I do give a business a review they might not love, all the can do is not send me anything else of theirs to review. I haven't really run into a problem with that. Matter of fact, I not only gave a negative review of one product, I warned other users to avoid it because it caused some hair loss in myself and my niece. Amazon pulled the product after, I guess, other complaints. Guess what, though? That company has  still offered me chances to review other products.

I have nothing to gain, nor do I have anything to lose, by being honest about negative aspects of a product. Not one thing. What can a business do? Not send me any of their other products? Fine. That's cool. But I haven't run into that.

If you want in on reviewing

Image result for product reviewSomeone on Instagram recently asked how to go about getting started with product reviews. Here is basically what I told her (and am expanding on):

  • Remember that you are someone explaining the ups and downs of a product or service to another person just like you. Tell them what you think you'd want to know before putting down money for something.
  • Unless you have a HUGE social media following, or are famous, or can find some other way to pump up your importance, know that you are not going to get rich doing this. You will get to try a lot of stuff free or at a discount. I suggest you pick stuff that you can have an informed opinion about.
  • Most of the sites I use to find products are tied, in some way or another, to Amazon. If you want to use one of these sites, go and review things you have already used. This is one way to figure out what kind of stuff you want to review. Also, this beefs up your Amazon profile so that businesses can tell how good you are at doing reviews. It's great practice. I started out just reviewing the things I bought for myself on Amazon. I didn't even think about beefing up my profile. 
  • Read what other reviewers are writing. Anything I buy (or consider buying something) - whether online or in-store - I go over and read a ton of reviews. I tend to skip those don't give me much information. I don't want to know that something is "wonderful" or "awful", I want to know why. Reading other reviews will make you better at describing your own experiences with purchases.
  • Since there are so many places to apply to review products, first decide where your personal social media influence is. I'm great with Twitter (but don't like the parties); I barely register on YouTube, plus I don't just love doing videos; I have this blog (thought it doesn't get thousands of hits a day); I really like Google Plus and Instagram; and, while I'm not crazy about using Facebook (and don't have much of a following outside family), it's a biggie with businesses. All this can help you decide where you want to go for products. SheSpeaks, like I mentioned, is great if you like Twitter parties. ART is great if you have a nice Amazon profiles (but not a blog); Tomoson varies, depending, since some businesses definitely appreciate YouTube videos.  Tomoson does feature business that only want Amazon reviews - if you don't mind not getting paid as well as receiving a product. I prefer not receiving money. It can get bothersome and it's not worth it in my personal situation.
  • When you do get selected to review something, really put some work into using the product. And, most important, get the review done within a decent time period. Businesses count on you to uphold your end of the deal. They need that feedback and word-of-mouth so that people hear about their product.
  • Another important thing to remember is that you have to not only do a "fair and honest" review for readers/potential customers, but you need to be just as fair and honest with the business. In the case where you are having a problem with a product, give the business a chance to resolve it. This works out well because, no matter what happens, you can then add some words to your review about that brand's customer service. People probably care about that only second to price.

Most of all, you have to enjoy what you're doing. That's so important. I started doing reviews at a time when I was first "disabled' from my usual line of work. For a long time, I was unwell enough (mentally and physically) to even want to leave my house. When I got better and started the process of vocational rehab, I needed something to do to keep myself active.  Now that I am MUCH better (and about to be going back to work, praise God), I just love doing reviews.

By the way, this is what a delivery looks like about once each month:


That photo doesn't include the other box I got earlier in the day. Since I get some stuff completely free and pay at a huge discount for others, I can tell you that today's delivery cost me about $8.50.

So, yeah. I really do enjoy getting stuff for free or at a discount in exchange for doing a review. Besides, there are a lot of items I've reviewed that I've bought for myself. I just like sharing the info and trends.

That's it. I hope that this was informative. If anyone has any good tea on other sites or things that need to be mentioned, be sure to let me know.

Peace
--Free