Hi! Thanks for visiting. Make yourself at home, look around... but my new digs are way swankier. Check it out here: Makeup Detox.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Digs

Chirp chirp... can you hear them? Crickets. It's been a long time since I blogged here at Michele's Quest and I have a surprise for you: my new blog is up. I'm giving a free 6-month course on going natural, head-to-toe - starting December 1. When you sign up, you get my free guide: The 2-Step Trick to Reveal if Your Beauty Products are Toxic. Check it out here>>>

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm Curious About You

In case you didn't notice... it's Saturday! But instead of doing my regular Saturday Steal! post, I'm doing something a bit different. You see, today is a special day for me; it's my 6-month Blogiversary!

Yes, six months ago I started this blog not really expecting much to come of it. I can't believe how much I've learned about natural beauty and everyday toxins. My life has been enriched by this amazing online community - I truly feel honored that you're taking a moment out of your day to hear what I have to say.

Sniff sniff.

Okay no tearing up just yet.

Today I want to take a moment and learn a little more about you. Some fun changes are coming for Michele's Quest, including a new home (Wordpress here I come), a new name (still working on this one), new contests, giveaways and excitement. As I make these changes I want to know what keeps you coming back and what you want to learn. I've created a little survey, it's four quick questions and I would really appreciate you filling it out. As a thank you, you will receive an extra entry in my next giveaway on the new site.


THANKS YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Steal! Honeybee Gardens Natural Mascara

Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.
Mascara. Any natural lady (or gent who is so inclined) knows mascara is one of the trickier products to switch over. But most mainstream brands contain toxic ingredients- who wants that on our pretty peepers?

I was using Physician's Formula Organic Wear for a while, and while it's cleaner than most mainstream brands, it still has a few nasties in there. After some reading I tried Lavera Volume (21$) which wasn't great, then Zuzu Luxe (16.70$) which was a bit better but still wasn't doing the trick.

On a whim I picked up Honeybee Gardens mascara (10$) at a nearby store. I didn't expect much after the previous mascara disappointments, but I've been pleasantly surprised. While the volume isn't a dream, the hold and lengthening aspects are really good. It never smudges either. I find it works better (and is more affordable) than any other natural mascara I've tried.

I'm still curious to try other options, but in the meantime this is definitely a good bet. To see this mascara on my eyes, go here.

Now I want to hear from you: Is your mascara natural or mainstream? What have been your hits and misses along the way in finding a good safe mascara?

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased this item as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with this product nor do I receive compensation for recommending it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Sales

Hi Guys,
So holiday weekends usually mean... sales! This can be a good time to stock up on your regular faves or try that new item you've been lusting after. I'm posting the sales I've found and will update it if I find any other deals.

100% Pure
Free shipping on all orders until September 3rd (no code).

Aubrey Organics
20% off your entire order, plus place any order of $25 or more, and get FREE standard shipping! (via Beauty Au Natural)

Honeybee Gardens
No special yet but they have new lipstick colors, whoohoo! A much needed addition of coral, fuscia and.. purple?

Madison Street Beauty Friday only!
Friday Frenzy: 1.99$ full-sized eye shadows until midnight Friday.

My Beauty Addiction
20% off, code LABORDAY20 through September 3.
Bonus: free primer and foiling serum with purchase of any shadow collection. 

Natural Joy Beauty
10% off sitewide until September 2, code LD2012.

Real Purity
Choose either Free Shipping, code LD12
or
10% off, code LD2012. Both expire September 4th.

Am I missing any sales?

Be good, stay fabulous,
Michele

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lauren Brooke Lip Glosses + Lipsticks

Remember when I did the post on the Lauren Brooke Lip Glazes? Well Lauren Brooke generously also offered a 10% discount (code: greenbeauty) until August 28th, which is this Tuesday! I figured I would swatch whatever samples and products I have in case you want to take advantage of this already affordable line and get an extra discount.

First The Lip Glosses (tube is Apricot color):
 


Lip Glosses- L to R: Coral, Apricot
I had a 'duh' moment trying to figure out the applicator but you just twist it up. I can't decide if I find it fun and nifty or if I'd prefer a regular wand applicator. Regardless, it's attractive and easy to apply.

And now The Lipsticks (Lip Colours):
Lipsticks- L to R: Frappe, Peche, Chablis, Chianti, Merlot, Cinabre
Cinabre



'




I own Cinabre and love it, I wear it regularly. It's a nice, bronze-y metallic. You can wear it more sheer or apply it full color.
Cinabre close-up
My only suggestion with regards to the lipsticks is about the packaging; they come in a lip balm tube... this detracts in my opinion, because they are full-fledged lipsticks. I think it would be worth it to use more glamorous tubes. But at the end of the day, whatevs. The lipstick is good.

Recap: for 10% discount until August 28th, go to Lauren Brooke's website and use the code GREENBEAUTY at checkout.

Have fun!

*I purchased these items as a regular consumer and receive no compensation for reviewing them.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Steal! Elf Mineral Eyeliners

Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.
For today's Saturday Steal we re-visit Elf... like I mentioned in my last post on Elf, most of their products are not very clean and I wouldn't recommend them. That being said they have a few little gems, which is sort of random, but I'm not fighting it. Their prices are ridiculously low and there are often coupons and specials online, so you can pay practically nothing.

Elf All-Natural Mineral Eyeliners cost 3$ each (yes 3$). The ingredients are as clean as you'd find in any natural brand:
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Rhus Succedanea Cera (Rhus Succedanea Fruit Wax), Mica. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica (CI 77019), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510)
L to R: Brown, Purple, Black
They come in 5 colors; I have them in brown, purple and black.
L to R: Brown, Purple, Black
They don't have the most defined line; if you're looking for that I would suggest checking this out. If you sharpened them you could probably get a more defined look.

Do you have a favorite natural eyeliner?

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased these items as a regular consumer and receive no compensation for recommending them.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Steal! The All Natural Face-Magic Eye Primer

Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.

Before going natural I never thought about my eyelids. Mainstream eyeshadow stayed on just fine (thanks to silicone fillers and whatever else). But once I started using more natural eye makeup, I quickly realized I would need some help. After only a couple hours, I would get a terrible crease line on my eyelids! I realized I have, well, oily eyelids. Weird to say, but it's true.

I tried a couple different options. At first I used pure vegetable glycerin and this helped a little. Then I tried The All Natural Face's Oily Lid Eye Shadow Primer. Sounds perfect, right? Well it did help, but the eye shadow still creased and wore off a bit. So I decided to give their other eye shadow primer a go, the Magic Vegan Eye Shadow Primer. Bingo! It works like a charm. And at 7$, the price is right too.

My one complaint with The All Natural Face is their customer service... if you reach them they're very sweet and helpful, but I've sent several emails that never got responded to. Perhaps the company grew but they haven't hired proportionately? Whatever it is, I hope they improve this aspect as I really like the company otherwise.
The All Natural Face-Magic Primer
Magic Primer-rubbed in
Psst- Until 9/30/2012 if you spend 20$ at The All Natural Face you get 20% off plus a free makeup palette (for mixing, etc). Use code EMMY at checkout. See details here.

Do you use an eye shadow primer? What's your favorite brand?

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased this item as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with this product nor do I receive compensation for recommending it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Natural EOTD (Eye of The Day)

I took this quick shot as I rushed out the door this morning... below is a list of what I used. If I do say so myself my skin is looking clearer; I've been doing oil-cleansing for a few days so I'll write a post about that soon.
LID
Madison Street Beauty eye shadows:
-inner corner and browbone: Nude Shimmer
-lid: Wisteria
-outer corner and crease: Amethyst

BROW
Ecco Bella powder eyeliner in Brown

MASCARA
Honeybee Gardens in Black Magic

The primer and eyeliner are future 'Saturday Steals', so you'll have to stay tuned for that!  ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Pleasure Principle

This blog is about natural beauty and avoiding toxic ingredients in cosmetics and beauty products. But it's also about pleasure. Pleasure can read as joy, fun, frivolity, playfulness... some may see it as inconsequential but I see it as a founding principle of life.

Many people (especially in the U.S.) associate pleasure with guilt. The illicit donut, the Sunday afternoon lazing on the couch. And it's true in some cases (the donut), that pleasure can be bad for us and even dangerous.

So where's the happy medium; is there one? I believe we can not only enjoy healthy, non-toxic ingredients in our food and personal care products, but we can enjoy them more! They can be more delicious, more decadent and more indulgent.

Why? For three reasons:
1) Higher Quality Feels Better
We may be accustomed to the brash sugar and fat in a conventional donut, or the sleek shine of a silicone lip gloss. But higher quality, more refined ingredients invite a more developed experience. Raw cacao truffles? Divine. Lipstick with natural oils and waxes? So creamy and nourishing. Your body and mind know the difference between fake luxe and real luxury.

2) The Challenge
Sure you can go buy a mainstream product- it's much easier. But easy is for sissies. The feeling of accomplishment in baking your first gluten-free bread or discovering your favorite natural eye shadow beats 'easy' any day. Because you worked for it!

3) No Guilt
Nothing curbs the enjoyment like the foreboding feeling of guilt! You can't really enjoy it because you know it's not good for you. With healthy decadence, you know it's good for you and the pleasure gets multiplied by this fact.

What inspired this post? I was just blissfully savoring some homemade ginger ice cream (vegan/sugar-free of course) and thinking about how I enjoy decadence in my day-to-day life, all without compromising my health or my values. I indulge every day and yet I eat a gluten-free, mostly vegan, plant-based diet. I only use personal care products that are free of toxic ingredients and yet I've never been more creative at applying my makeup. Except for the occasional fleeting yearning for pizza, I feel totally satisfied and never restricted.

Here are some awesome recipes to help you feel the same way:

Chocolate Covered Katie's Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Spunky Coconut's Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Elana's Pantry's Banana Walnut Muffins

These are all dairy-free, low/no sugar, gluten-free and absolutely decadent. I highly recommend subscribing to all three websites. You will salivate at the pictures and be amazed by the innocence of the ingredients.

Now I want to hear from you in the comments: What's your healthy indulgence? 

Be good, stay fabulous,
Michele

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Steal! Acure Organics Body Lotion


Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.

Acure Organics is a company I keep returning to. Their ingredients are clean, the prices are pretty good and they're a company with a conscience; they donate a percentage of profits towards fighting breast cancer. They also use fair trade certified ingredients.
One product I particularly enjoy is their body lotion (9.99$). It's rich, creamy, and it smells divine. These lotions score a 1 on the Skin Deep database, which classifies as a 'low hazard'.
Directly from the Acure Organics website: 
  • Each of our products is free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors.
  • Acure Organics wants to help eliminate people's exposure to toxic chemicals in cosmetics and help educate them on the benefits of food-grade, organic ingredients.   
Have you tried Acure products yet? Which body lotion are you using?

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased this item as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with this product nor do I receive compensation for recommending it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Steal! Dr Bronners Soap


Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.

Even if you're new to natural, you'll probably recognize the packaging with a million words on it... it's Dr Bronners! Dr Bronners is a pioneer of natural products and the company continues to fight for transparency when it comes to the labeling of organic products and genetically modified food.

I always have Dr  Bronners bar soap in my shower. I prefer the unscented option because I like bar soap to be as simple as possible. The price is usually about 4.50$ and you can find this at most health food stores, as well as more sophisticated grocery stores. You can use it on your face, your body and probably to wash your dog, etc.

INGREDIENTS:
Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Palm Oil*, Sodium Hydroxide**, Water, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol 
* CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS 
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin


Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased this item as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with this product nor do I receive compensation for recommending it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Exploring Etsy - Madison Street Beauty

Etsy is a site where artisans can sell their wares, including cosmetics! Because most products are handmade, they tend to be (but aren't always) more natural than mass-produced products. Not only that, makeup prices and shipping costs tend to be lower. But are the products any good? The Exploring Etsy series will help us find out.

Madison Street Beauty *60% sale until Tuesday, July 31st at midnight*
I heard about MSB a while ago but with all the other companies I was learning about, it got lost in the shuffle. Then recently I saw they were having a 60% off sale... what?! That is unbelievably awesome. I figured it was overdue time for me to look into this a little more. I'm so glad I did because I love their eye shadows.

As you can see the finishes are quite varied so you may want to try several. Now is a great time because sample eye shadows are 1$, and full-sized are 2$! As you can see below, the sample sizes are quite generous. Shipping is 2.84$ to the U.S. and 6$ anywhere else.

Ingredients are overall very clean, however a select few contain copper powder which ranks a 3 on Skin Deep (3 is on the low end of 'moderate hazard'). Personally I prefer not to use it so the swatches below don't contain it, but it's up to your discretion.

Customer Service has been impeccable; I wrote in twice and they got back to me so quickly with detailed suggestions. The orders were processed and arrived quickly as well.

Below are my swatches (applied without primer). I've put a * next to my favorite colors.

L to R: Green Tea, Emerald*, Golden Olive*, Celestial Silver, Silver Star*
All swatches were taken in sunlight so the sparkles really pop.
L to R: Butterscotch, Honey Brown, Desert Sands*, California Sun*
Desert Sands is such a striking color.
L to R: Moroccan Bronze*, Sierra*, Cacao, Chestnut
I've been wearing Moroccan Bronze almost every day.
L to R: Honey Gold*, Nude Shimmer*, Bare Coral*, Copper*
I took a sauna wearing Nude Shimmer and my eyeshadow didn't budge (I couldn't believe it).
L to R: Wisteria*, Amethyst, Parisian Pink, Redcurrant, Royal Blue
Wisteria is a lovely, soft color; it changes slightly depending on how the light hits it.
Sample size (they don't always have this much but it's usually quite generous)
Samples come without sifters.

So there you have it- even if the sale is over, the prices are still a great bargain. Try them out and let me know how it goes - I'd love to see your own swatches too.

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased these items as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with these products nor do I receive compensation for recommending them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Steal! Lauren Brooke Lip Glazes *Giveaway + Discount*

Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.

*GIVEAWAY and DISCOUNT CODE* (see below)

Lip glosses are a must for me, especially in the hotter months. My old fave was M.A.C. lipglass but after going natural I had a hard time finding lip glosses that met my stringent standards for both ingredient purity and performance. I've tried many samples and found most natural glosses (even the more expensive ones) tend to be too oily and too sheer. Then I discovered Lauren Brooke Cosmetics lip products and they're awesome. They perform well, and Lauren Brooke is a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, so I know I can trust the ingredients. 

I have the lip gloss in Apricot and the lipstick in Cinabre, both of which are great, but my favorites are the lip glazes. These are somewhere between a gloss and a lipstick; just perfect. Guava is a more neutral shade while Pomegranate is a brighter, slightly metallic berry color. They can be applied sheer or more thick. You can't go wrong with the price; they cost 8$, although I have a special surprise discount below...

The ingredients are beautiful; almost all organic and so natural.
Ingredients: Certified Organic Castor Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Certified Organic Coconut Oil, Castor Wax, Stevia Extract, Certified Organic Green Tea Extract, Certified Organic Rosemary Extract, Certified Organic Pomegranate Extract (+/- Certified Organic Fruit Extracts, Ultramarine, Mica, Iron Oxides).
Tubes, L to R: Guava, Pomegranate
Indoors, L to R: Guava, Pomegranate
Outdoors, L to R: Guava, Pomegranate

Now for the fun part! After I decided to feature these glazes I contacted Lauren Brooke Cosmetics and they've generously offered to sponsor a giveaway - whoohoo! They will ship to anywhere in the world via USPS First Class mail. Not only that, they're offering a 10% discount on their entire site until August 28th, code GREENBEAUTY. I'm very grateful they agreed to participate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're unsure or you want to try out other products, you can order samples on the Lauren Brooke website. Have fun! Let me know how it goes.

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased these items as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with these products nor do I receive compensation for recommending them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Dangers of Bee Pollen

 As some of you know, I've been on quite the health kick the past six months. I've read many books, blogs and articles. I've made changes in my diet. After reading several posts where people tout bee pollen as a superfood, I decided to try this natural supplement.

When I got it home I took a heaping teaspoon- yum! It was sweet. I started preparing dinner and noticed a sore throat come on suddenly. What? Could I be getting sick so quickly? Then my throat started to swell and I had trouble swallowing. I panicked and looked online for 'bee pollen' and 'allergy'. A site said some people react to it and to start with only a few granules at a time. Um, oops? I'd never heard that before. I shakily started towards my car to drive to a nearby medical clinic while I called my mom. She said, 'don't drive: call 911'. So I did.

Soon after the medics arrived the symptoms started subsiding and it was clear I'd be okay. I'd frantically taken an anti-histamine as soon as I realized what was happening and it seemed to be working. I drove nearby to my boyfriend's work so I wouldn't be alone. After that it took about five hours before the symptoms went away completely. Wow! A little too much excitement if you ask me.

The weird thing is, I don't have any allergies; I eat honey, I've eaten royal jelly, I've gotten bee stings when I was younger... this came out of nowhere! I barely even have seasonal allergies. 

Please share this information with anyone you know who is health-minded and may take this supplement. Maybe this reaction is rare, but if it can happen to me it can happen to others. Please use caution.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Steal! Alaffia Shower Gel

Every Saturday I post a natural beauty product I've discovered that costs under 10$! Yes it's possible to go natural while on a budget.
 
  Alaffia is a company you can feel good spending your money on. Aside from having clean (no pun intended) ingredients, this company is also fair trade. They support community empowerment  projects in West African communities while putting focus on gender equality

The Authentic African Black Soap in tangerine-citrus scent can be used as a body wash, facial cleanser, shaving soap or shampoo, although I've only used it as a body wash so far. The citrus scent is quite citrus-y, but natural and pleasant smelling. It has a fairly creamy texture and is moisturizing. At around 8$ for a 16oz (475ml) bottle, it's very affordable. It's available at Whole Foods, many health food stores and online.

What is African black soap you may ask? To learn more about it, click here.

Ingredients: African mint (ocimum canum) extract (aqueous), African black soap (saponified shea butter* [butyrospermum parkii] and palm kernel oil [elaeis guineensis]), lauryl glucoside, tangerine essential oil, orange essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, litsea essential oil.
*Certified Fair for Life - Social and Fair Trade by IMO.

Be good, stay fabulous-
Michele

*I purchased this item as a regular consumer. I'm not affiliated with this product nor do I receive compensation for recommending it.
**Photo used with permission from Alaffia.com.