Shea Terra Organics Premium Dark Chocolate Sugar Scrub

Shea Terra Organics has some of the best sugar scrubs that are so thick and dense using natural based ingredients that make them almost seem edible. With Chocolate Liquor listed as its second ingredient, it’s no wonder their Premium Dark Chocolate scrub is a total hit. It smells so much like brownie batter I had to convince my husband not to taste it, not that it would be so terrible since it’s made from 99.7% natural ingredients.

Since I have a few scrubs waiting to be used in my shower right now, I’ve got this one where I need (and use) it most – right by the kitchen sink so after washing dishes for the night I give my hands a special treat before slathering on a nice layer of cream. It’s literally like dessert for my skin.

How to Get the Softest Skin Ever

I think I’ve unlocked the secret to super soft skin. You know that freshly shaven out of the shower sort of feeling? It’s literally how my skin feels all the time now. First I started dry brushing (read everything you ever wanted to know about drybrushing HERE), but I used these body gloves (shown below from Body Shop $5) to sweep away flakey for about a week before switching to using them with a body wash in the shower every day.

I’ve been foaming up my gloves using my Aromafloria Kiwi Coconut Foaming Body Wash with Shea Butter $20. it’s a moisture-infused SLS and paraben free wash – important because I don’t think I’d get the same result using a harsh bar soap like an Irish Spring or whatever. With a mild and super hydrating wash like this, I’m scrubbing my skin while infusing it with good stuff to help soften it at the same time.

What I’ve found from this consistent exfoliation is that the texture and feel of my skin has completely changed. It’s always soft – especially during the dead of winter here in dry Colorado. Try it! I promise if you’re consistent you will see a huge, amazing difference.

Apple Cider Hair Treatment

After the success of my Coconut Oil hair treatment I thought I’d tackle another DIY home beauty remedy I’ve been wanting to try for a while – rinsing my hair with Apple Cider vinegar. Gross. I think the idea of pouring warm vinegar all over my hair (and subsequently body) just wasn’t that appealing for obvious reasons, but seeing this John Masters Organics cider vinegar treatment at a recent trip to the store re-ignited my curiosity for what has long been one of the most popular (and easiest) home hair treatments out there. I convinced myself to go for it, but I’d mix my own – the John Masters version was mainly vinegar anyway with just a few natural extracts splashed in there to neutralize the scent, I thought I could get the same results at home for less than the $17 they were asking.

I thought the treatment was only used as a clarifier, something to remove reside from the hair and scalp but I was happy to find out how much more it actually does. I mixed together about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water into a plastic cup. After shampooing twice (as I always do), I slowly poured the cider over my head until I felt it reach my scalp and trickle down the length of my hair. No rubbing or massaging required – just leave it in a few minutes to absorb and give it a quick rinse. This is about the time I started to worry about my thick, coarse hair not being conditioned enough to comb it out. I was sure I’d have giant knots and dried out hair without the usual slab of conditioner I carefully work into my ends – I thought I’d have to jump back into the shower and re-wash and condition to undo the mess I thought I was making.

I was pretty shocked when I was able to comb right through my hair (after my styling products were applied) just like usual. After it dried I could see that this was the best hair treatment I’ve ever used and my hair never looked better. It didn’t leave a squeaky clean feel like most clarifiers do (a good sign that some natural oils were left in) – instead it rinsed out enough reside and build-up to create a really intense shine. Best of all, my hair had a crazy amount of softness which I didn’t expect, it felt like I just left the salon with the kind of bounce and life that typically only happens after my stylist works her magic – but nothing I’ve ever created on my own.

Not knowing if it was just some crazy hair fluke, I did it again a week later. Again, magic. I’m addicted.


After my first treatment. Click to enlarge

I’ve read varying reports on whether it strips color from hair, but I’m not concerned about it since it’s so gentle and the John Master’s version claims to neutralize your hair’s pH that can get out of whack after coloring so it’s actually good to keep your color fresh. One thing of note: I used Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar ($5.50) some of the best around, it’s unpasteurized with a low acidic level. I read that the type of vinegar you use does make a difference since a high acid cotent can actually be too harsh and not deliver the same results, so grab a good quality vinegar – it’s still a fraction of the cost of the store bought treatment and worth every cent.

Melvita Argan Oil and Such

I couldn’t wait to hit up Melvita during our Cali trip, I needed another big bottle of Argan Oil which I picked up last year in their Newport store and used it slowly until I couldn’t milk another drop out of the bottle. Even with all of the argan oils I’ve tried, I still love theirs the very best. It’s so soothing on the skin and you just need a little to really moisturize. You can use it on both skin and hair but since they don’t have a store in Denver, I hoard it like it’s gold and just use it as a body moisturizer. It’s a light, EcoCert (Europe’s organic certification) formula that feels like silk. With help from Moroccian Oil’s popularity, argan is now the ubiquitous ingredient touted as a cure-all for everything from wrinkles to eczema and even healing old scars. I think it’s a miracle for KP- those bumps on the backs of your arms that are so annoying and hard to get rid of. This is the only treatment I’ve used that really clears them up for good. It is pricey ($56 for 6.76 oz or $25 for 1.7oz) but it’s pure – only 100% real Argan Oil not mixed with anything else which is what you’ll want to use to see some type of results.

I tried a little of their Ultra-Nourishing Body Balm and of course loved it. I’m not typically a fan of body balms and heavy creams – they usually feel like lard to me, but this one was so softening and non-greasy that I knew I’d use it all the time. It has the most perfect, thick texture so you just need a little to keep your skin feeling smooth all day. The only caveat? It smells exactly like that pink ‘bubblegum’ flavored antibiotic we took as kids – remember that? Well if you don’t, good – you’ll think it smells just fine.

Nigella Oil (which I never heard of before) is cold pressed from seeds of a flowered plant that has apparently been used for centuries to relax sore muscles and purify the skin so they suggest using it on oily and breakout prone. I’ve used Suki’s face oil (which they also recommend for acne) for a long time and really love it’s ability to reduce sebum production and give just a really light hydration. Suki’s oil is a half ounce for $32, this oil is $19 for 1.7 oz and it’s organic. Face oils rule – they’re so light and without the needless creamy bases of glycerine or whatever else – they’re just pure beneficial ingredients that are great for the skin.

So far, Melivita stores are only in Newport Beach, San Francisco, and Seattle with one coming to New York soon. Subscribe to their newsletter to get sales notifications (which they have often) since you’ll probably need to order online to give it a try. I’d would suggest against the haircare line, which I felt was totally worthless and not worth the money at all. Stick to the oils and hydrosols, two things they’ve perfected making.

Bubble & Bee

I’m literally mid-order for a few things from Bubble & Bee right now which I think says a lot about the line. I don’t buy a lot of products since it’s part of my job to receive stuff so I can review it all for you. And it’s not like I don’t have a body wash or 10 sitting around, but I just love their Squeezed Lime scent made from organic saponified oils (along the lines of Dr. Bronners) with a smell that literally makes my mouth water. It’s so fresh and clean that I just love it.

Also in my order is their Peppermint Vanilla Salt Scrub that I’ve described as feeling a cool, minty tingle long after you use it on your skin. The combo seems like a weird one, but it just works.

Their USDA organic lip balms are hard to beat too for long lasting moisture, so I grabbed a few while they’re on sale today.

I’ve tried dozens of natural deodorants, but always go back to their Geranium Lime Pit Putty which now comes in a cream with added baking soda for more protection. I grabbed a sample size for $4.

But wait. What the hell is a Soap Nut? They also sell these unrelated to bath and body care, but totally fascinating dried berries from the Soapnut Tree (which apparently is a real tree..) that give off natural saponins – basically nature’s way of making a soap that so many labs recreate using harsh chemicals. Check em out HERE along with a short video showing them in action. Apparently you can reuse just 4-5 of them in your washer several times giving your laundry an added boost of natural cleansing.

Sebamed

Now you know I love me some Costco, especially their health and beauty section that rivals most department stores for their high-end products and much lower prices. Next time you’re there pick up some Sebamed, a totally unassuming cult fav for pH balanced skin basics. I prefer their Moisturizing Cream over Cetaphil’s to calm sensitized skin and not just deliver moisture. If Sebamed’s modest packaging makes you a little unsure of its efficacy, browse their glowing reviews at drugstore.com or the ones at amazon.com, which is what I typically do before dive into a line I don’t know much about. But if you really want proof of their popularity, just look at their signature Liquid Face & Body Wash or Everyday Shampoo, both offered in huge 1 Liter sizes. If you have a big family or just really want a good deal, this is one of those perfect all-in-one things that you stick in the shower for all to use (and enjoy.)