Sam's Beauty Gift Guide

Whether it's for you or for your loved ones, I've curated a list of my top beauty picks to put in the stocking or under the tree!

I tried to keep as many of these products as clean and non-toxic as possible, at varying price points.  Some I have tried, and some I have my eyes on for myself! 

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1. Flawless in Five Makeup Set - This is a great start if you're looking to makeover your makeup kit!  These are the basics for a solid 5 minute face, using products that don't have any harmful ingredients.  It includes a foundation, concealer, brow pencil, mascara, blush duo, and lip gloss, and you can customize the shades to your liking!

2. Beauty counter No.3 Balancing Spa Set - A holiday set from Beautycounter - the mask is one of my favorites I have ever used, and I use the oil every morning and evening, as a first step before moisturizer and makeup.  The mist is a nice bonus for a mid-day pick me up, especially after workouts.  Great for oily/acne prone skin - but they also have a Brightening and Plumping set if one of those are more appropriate for your skin.

3. Hynt Beauty DUET Perfecting Concealer - This has been one of my favorite finds of the year.  It's vegan AND does an amazing job covering dark circles, scars, and blemishes.  It's creamy but not cakey, and doesn't turn patchy as the day goes on, as so many concealers do.

4. 100% Pure Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder - Also one of my favorite finds, comparable to the Glossier Boy Brow, but without any questionable ingredients.

5. Little Barn Apothecary Facial Cleansing Oil Blue Yarrow + Geranium - I use this cleansing oil for days that my skin needs a gentler, more moisturizing clean.  You rub it on, it takes of makeup and clings to impurities, and then you rub it off with a warm washcloth.  I rinse my face with water a bit more for good measure.

 

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1. My Daughter Perfumes Bloom 23 - a fragrance completely free of parabens and phthalates that smells amazing!  I received a sample in my Petit Vour box and am working through my current fragrance to upgrade to this.

2. The Takesumi Detox Deodorant in Cold Pressed Rose - I have been on the search for the best all-natural deodorant, and though I haven't tried this personally, I am intrigued by the detoxing qualities and scent of this one.

3. Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass - I've tried this, but don't currently own - I'm hoping Santa will bring me some!  It's one of the more luxurious body scrubs I've used, leaving behind a saturating moisture that smells a-maze-ing.  I'd likely keep it in my shower and use a few times a week, especially on my legs in the winter.

4. Body Butter in Citrus Mimosa - Another one I've tried but don't own yet!  My skin gets super duper dry in the winter, especially my hands, middle, and legs, and I'm constantly using body lotion to keep things in check.  This is a super saturated body butter that doesn't feel greasy but still feels substantial.

5. Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish in Rodeo Drive - The perfect holiday red, without harmful chemicals!  I've used Lauren B. for about a year and it lasts about the same as OPI or Essie (5-7 days for me)

6. French Girl Sea Soak bath salts - I am all about the winter bath, since I'm perpetually cold and baths are the only true warming solution!  I prefer bath salts to bubbles since they absorb into the skin, and they look pretty sitting in my bathroom : )

 

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1. Repair & Nourish Collection - My hair also gets super dry in the winter, so I've got my eye on this repairing and nourishing shampoo, conditioner, and split end serum from BC.  The packaging is lovely and I like knowing there are no sulfates, paragons, or wonky fragrances in there.

2. MANGO Gold Hair Ties Pack - A quick way to polish a regular pony!

3. MINU Hair Mask - for when your hair needs an extra amount of moisture, especially for those of us with color-treated hair (it'll help your color last longer!)

 4. R+Co Death Valley Travel Sized Dry Shampoo - I've used Death Valley on my clients and I love the scent and the feel - it's not overpowering.  Plus this little travel size is perfect to keep in your purse for a little pick-me-up as needed!

I hope these suggestions help provide some good ideas for yourself & others this holiday season!  If you have any questions or thoughts, don't hesitate to message or comment!

Love,

Sam

Why I Chose To Sell Beautycounter

Before I get into the details, I want to clarify that the purpose of this post is not to get anyone to buy anything, nor am I trying to get anyone to sell anything.  The purpose is for me to share the reasons why I chose to sell Beautycounter, so it's out in the open!  I have always enjoyed a no-smoke-and-mirrors approach to my business, to makeup, and to hair. Honesty, vulnerability, and natural fits have always felt best for me in my work and art.

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For many years, I made it part of my business practice to specifically not sell any products that I used on my clients.  I wanted to be a safe place where women could get their makeup and hair done, not feel pressured to purchase anything extra or listen to a sales pitch, and get real opinions about different products and lines.  I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable if they felt like I was trying to push a product (because I have been in that position, and I don't like it!)

People would ask me, "Why don't you sell ____ so when people ask you what to buy for themselves, you can get a little kickback!"  And though I knew that made sense financially, I just didn't want that personal temptation to make certain products sound better than they actually were just because I knew I could get a small commission off of them.  

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As I have grown in my business, I have learned a balance between maintaining that safety and honesty for my clients, and also generating income that fits naturally and organically from what I am already doing.  If I am pointing people in a certain direction because I really love a product/it fits what they're looking for, I am generating sales to those brands.  I've made Benefit, NARS, Stila, and Urban Decay so much money from using their products on hundreds of clients, and those clients loving those products and purchasing them for themselves!  I am a connector, knowledgable about products, and honest about my opinions.  If I could make commission from those natural, organic sales based on meeting peoples' needs and honesty, that works for me, my client, and the brand.

Like most women, I don't buy my skincare or makeup all from one brand.  I cherry pick, because different brands do certain things better than others, and rarely is every single product the best of its category all from one line.  That's still true for me personally and professionally!  I won't be all Beautycounter all the time, but I really do believe that they fulfill a need that few other lines have been able to successfully fill.

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In my personal life, I was searching for makeup that would be better for my skin and body.  I kept reading these facts and statistics about the regulations for personal care products in the US, how they hadn't been updated in decades (since 1938), and how the US has chemicals in their products that other countries have banned because of how dangerous they are.  I read that the skin is the body's most absorbent organ, and that the average women puts on 515 synthetic chemicals per day, exposure to which could be linked to cancer, reproductive harm (something close to my heart) and neurotoxicity.

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In the world of bridal hair and makeup, performance is everything.  It has to work, stay put, and have enough pigment to not require a ton of swipes during application (for time's sake).  I know for a fact that there are toxic chemicals required for that kind of staying power.

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So I set out on a quest to find clean, non-toxic makeup (and skincare) that would actually perform well.  I've tried a ton of "natural" makeup from various sources, and though I feel good about their general healthiness, overwhelmingly they don't work very well!  It would run, or not show up, or show up for the first hour and then dissipate into nothingness.  Along the way, I have found a few individual products that perform well, but no more than 1 or 2 great products per "clean" line, if any.

 

I remember first hearing about Beautycounter about two years ago.  They had just hit the scene, and from their mission, the Never List (a list of all the chemicals and ingredients they don't allow into their products), the design of their brand and packaging, and the extensive amount/types of products they offered, I knew that they were doing something really right.  I looked into buying into the business, but it was just too expensive on the back end.

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Over time, friends of mine starting offering the products and buying into the business became more affordable.  I bought my first BC products and gave them a try.  I loved knowing that what I was putting on my skin was safe, looked beautiful, and stayed put.  For full disclosure, I am allergic to a certain oil that is present in the Tint Skin (their main foundation) to the tune of hives, so though it's not the best for me personally, it's one of my main recommendations for others looking to upgrade their makeup routine.  (As with any personal care product, it's best to track reactions after any application to decipher the root of the reaction so it won't happen again, and to choose the very best products for you!)

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As many of you know, I lessened my workload with LULA this year to regain some health, clarity, and love for my work.  This gave me space to follow natural loves and interests, and honestly, Beautycounter was one of those.  I wanted it for myself and for my business.  In 2018, I am attempting to stock my kit with as much non-toxic, clean, luxurious cosmetics as possible so my clients get the best possible experience for what they are paying, with BC at the helm (and other clean-green favorites as well!)

So it just made sense.  I stand with their mission, their products, and their flexibility in how I choose to sell (which I hope will be as not annoying as possible!)  They are clean beauty advocates, and are standing before US legislation RIGHT NOW to get our government to improve regulations for self-care products.  I don't love GMO foods, I don't eat McDonalds, I try to choose ethically sourced clothing, and I don't want a bunch of harmful chemicals getting absorbed into my body every day from my cosmetics and body products.

If you have any questions, thoughts, whatever, you know my inbox is always open!  Email me at sam (at) lulahairandmakeup (dot) com!

Thank you for your continued support, cheering on, and love kindred friends!

All my love,

Sam

My Beauty Box of Choice

Hi gals!  Have you heard of beauty boxes?  You may have seen ads on social media for them - there's Birchbox, Ipsy, Beautyfix... the list goes on and on.  There is a box for every kind of budget, style, and lifestyle.  Essentially it's a subscription you pay per month, and you get this cute little box in the mail filled with goodies for your skin and hair.  It's basically like Christmas every month.

Of course I have been interested, and finally chose to subscribe to a beauty box to help  me discover new brands of skincare, haircare, and cosmetics that are a bit more natural, clean, and ethically made, for personal and professional use.  A beauty box is a great way to try new things without breaking the bank or feeling that committal feeling when you shell out $15 for a new lip gloss that you're not sure you'll even like!

So, I took a cue from HulloSam (one of my fave beauty bloggers) and signed up for Petit Vour - a beauty box that is committed to quality over quantity, and seeks out the highest performing, cleanest, most ethically made products out there.  There are usually 4 products per box, at least one of which is full-size.  They have a pretty strict list of ingredients they will not accept called "The Dirty Thirty" - check those out here.

Pretty pink box on your doorstep once a month - it's like Christmas!

There's always a little card with cute illustrations on it, and on the back it has all of the explanations/ingredients/directions for use for each product.

And here are the goods!

And here are the goods!

Here is the back of the illustrated card - all of the details about each item in the box.  The value is pretty awesome considering it's only $15 per box.  For me, it's the best, most cost-effective way to try different products that will potentially make it into my personal lineup, my pro lineup, or as a suggestion to my clients for their personal use.

Here is the back of the illustrated card - all of the details about each item in the box.  The value is pretty awesome considering it's only $15 per box.  For me, it's the best, most cost-effective way to try different products that will potentially make it into my personal lineup, my pro lineup, or as a suggestion to my clients for their personal use.


When I signed up last summer, I filled out a profile including details about my skin color, type, and special needs (i.e.: acne), my hair color, type, and needs, and how much I spend on different categories (do you tend to spend more on hair products?  cosmetics?  skin care?)

That's how they choose the colors and products for your box.  I love it!  I have found some amazing products that I will definitely re-purchase when I run out.  And the great news is that you do decide to purchase a product that was once featured in a box, you can buy it right off of Petit Vour's website and get 20% back to keep using in the shop.  Pre-tty great if you really like the products you're receiving.


So, here's the lineup for this month's box!

First is Metta Skincare's Intensive Replenishing Face Balm.  I've used this twice now, and really I would recommend it only a couple times a week, at night only, if you have any dry patches or suffer from drier skin.  Plus it smells amazing!  A little goes a long way.

 

Next is this cleansing oil from Little Barn Apothecary.  I've tried it once, and I like it!  I wouldn't use it every day personally, but it's a nice change in the mornings if you feel like your skin needs a little more cleansing than a water-only wash.  You start dry, then rub on the cleansing oil, then wipe with a warm, wet washcloth.  I would recommend following up with a serum or light moisturizer for daytime.

This has to be my favorite product in this month's box!  It's a highlighter for your face, Galaxy Milk by Kani.  It smells SO GOOD and really does a lovely job highlighting!  It's quite a water texture, so a little goes a long way with this as well.  Be sure to shake it up really well prior to using.  I would totally consider repurchasing this.

I haven't tried this yet, but I'm super excited to!  I love masks.  I love the packaging!  I'll let you know how I like it. Formulary 55

Here are some other products I have loved from boxes past!  

  • Meow Meow Tweet's all natural deodorant cream - definitely the best working "natural" deode I've used, although it still doesn't quite get me through the entire day stink free, so I save it for non-client-facing days!  
  • We Love Eyes natural eye makeup remover - it's kind of like a rejuvenating oil for your eyes that also takes off any residual eye makeup.
  • juice Beauty luminous lip crayon in Malibu - LOVE THIS COLOR!  I've been using it non-stop.  It's the perfect nude-pink and I love that it is good for my skin.
  • Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath & Shower oil.  It smells amazing.  You rub it on before you shower in the morning, then enjoy the awakening smell while you wake up!
  • Apoterra Skincare's Tulsi Rejuvenating oil - I love this stuff.  I use it on my legs after I soap it up, before I shave, and again after I shave.  I just pat to dry and it keeps my leg skin supple.  I've also used it in a bath with some epsom salts - super relaxing!
  • This is the weirdest thing I've received in my box, but I have to say, I'm a fan!  It's a Konjac Sponge- it's a potato root!  It's super popular in asia and is becoming more popular here.  You soak it until it becomes supple, and you use it to cleanse and exfoliate with or without soap.  It's filled with antioxidants, balances the acidity of your skin, and clears pores.  Yes please!

Do you use a beauty box?  If so, which one?  Do you prefer more natural, clean products for your skin and hair?  Any favorites you are using?  Lemme know!

With blush & bobby pins,

Sam