vegansaurus!

05/01/2014

Meow Meow Tweet! vegan skincare to make you look and smell delicious  »

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Meow Meow Tweet is a Brooklyn-based vegan apothecary, and they sent me a pile of samples of their skincare products to try. Much like The Gnarly Whale, everything MMT makes smells absolutely amazing.

I especially loved:

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The cocoa cream, which softens your skin and makes it smell like really expensive chocolate, and I do love to smell edible.

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The rosemary eucalyptus lip balm, which goes with me everywhere because it is perfect protection against this stupid post-winter weather that is wreaking absolute havoc on my poor sensitive lips.

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The walnut oat face exfoliant. It comes as a powder that you make into a paste by adding water, and at first I had a hard time getting the proportions right, but once I got it, I loved it. It thoroughly exfoliates without abrading your delicate face, and after this winter I have about a million layers of dry, dead skin to slough off. Soon, I will have a radiant summer(-adjacent) glow, I’m sure of it.

imageI like to put the relief balm on my temples when I have a headache, and if I were into massages, I imagine I’d like it rubbed into my sore muscles, too. It’s also been pretty nice on the burns I am, as a very careless cook, constantly causing myself.

imageThe repair balm has got myrrh, which I didn’t realize I was super into until I opened this little canister and fell in love. I put this stuff on my cuticles, on (closed!) cuts, and sometimes on my lips when they are especially chapped (seriously, I was not made for this weather), and it smells fancy and feels really great.

You can buy these and all of Meow Meow Tweet’s line (they have a deodorant cream that I wasn’t too crazy about, but a friend of mine and her mom adore it) at these fine brick-and-mortars and online. They also make appearances at the Vegan Shop-Up in Bushwick, and have an adorable blog. Meow Meow Tweet is all natural vegan body care, made with love by vegans. I love their stuff and I bet you will, too.

04/01/2014

Review: Vanessa Elise Skincare in San Francisco! Vegansaurus readers get 20% off!   »

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Vegan skincare is a tricky one, and I often find myself confused by ingredients and labeling when it comes to cosmetics. Thank goodness then for Vanessa Elise Skincare, a one-stop vegan shop for all your facial and waxing needs, based in San Francisco! I’ve known Vanessa for a while and not only is she a dedicated, very knowledgeable and completely professional esthetician, she is a fantastic, thorough and patient teacher at Marinello. She was one of my first roommates and friends in San Francisco, and it’s been so much fun watching her grow within her career!

I don’t trust many people or skin care products with my complexion, but I have no problem surrendering to Vanessa’s expertise. She gave me my very first facial at Marinello School of Beauty in downtown San Francisco, for which I was kind of nervous. I was her “model” and not only had I never had a facial before, I was going to get one in front of her students. Vanessa’s humor, professionalism and demeanor put me completely at ease and it was such a fun experience. I was stoked when she asked me to visit her Style Seat location months later, because my skin looked so impressive after that first facial. I appreciate that Vanessa understands not only the importance of what a vegan lifestyle means to certain members of her clientele, but what food allergies mean in terms of the kind of products she uses. She does her research not only based on cruelty-free products, but for all the various skin types and allergies as well! She has assessed I have sensitive skin, which I never really considered before, but is now so obvious. Vanessa has given me so many valuable tips* about how to care for my particular skin type, for which I am eternally grateful. This second time I went to see her, the stress of making a long-distance move had reared itself on my complexion and I was embarrassed. She assured me that she had my back, as she was in the business of fixing faces. What a relief! Vanessa also tinted my eyebrows, a procedure I had never had done before! She went back and forth about it, worried that tinting my brows would make them too dark against my pale skin and light hair. That is until I cried, “IT’S SO GWEN STEFANI, DO IT!” My friend Britney was in the room and not only laughed at my outburst, she was so impressed by my brows, she had Vanessa shape hers!

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That’s me, getting a facial! Photo by Britney Roque

Enough about my experience, let’s get to know the woman behind Vanessa Elise Skincare a little bit more. Tell us more about yourself, Vanessa!

I’ve been a licensed Esthetician since 2006. I am still teaching the Esthetics program at Marinello, and I’ve been here since last Spring. Previous places I’ve worked were Super/Perricone MD, Sephora, Pure Beauty, Always Tan Skin & Body. The things I consider to be my specialties are brows and treating problem skin (acne/clogged pores, sun damage/hyperpigmentation), but I offer facials for all skin types and ages. I do chemical peels (lactic, glycolic, TCA) and use microcurrent to lift, red LED to stimluate collagen and firm, and ultrasonic technology to exfoliate and infuse products into the skin. My whole concept is that professional skincare should be results-oriented AND cruelty-free, and that people shouldn’t have to compromise on either one of those things. I wanted to create a space where clients could feel confident that they are going to get the results they want, be it clear skin, beautiful eyebrows, or a basic bikini wax, with products that are ethical and luxurious at the same time.

The products I use and sell are from Skin Script and Dawn Lorraine Conscious Skincare. Neither line is 100% vegan, but all of the products I have from them are. I also sell Hurraw! Lip Balms. Dawn Lorraine is made up Nevada City, and the line uses organic ingredients whenever possible (meaning, when it will not compromise the effectiveness of the product), is paraben and pthalate free, uses eco-friendly packaging and supports animal and environmental protection. Plus it smells AMAZING. I use skinscript to fill in the gaps where Dawn didn’t have vegan options, mostly for acne stuff, and my professional enzymes and peels.

Right now, Vanessa is offering vegan facials and waxing treatments a couple days a week in downtown San Francisco, using Style Seat. If you are interested in booking an appointment with Vanessa, you can do so hereShe has generously offered 20% services for Vegansaurus readers’ first visit, so let her know you found out about her here! Be sure to follow her on both Facebook and Twitter, as she is always offering specials to current and future clients! You an learn more about Vanessa and her campaign to open her own skincare studio here

*Valuable tips include the importance of eye cream (the skin around your eyes has no oil glands and needs the extra moisture of eye cream to help keep wrinkles at bay. Drier areas of the body show age quickly) and not using an exfoliator, no matter how gentle, on my sensitive cheeks. 

Full Disclosure: Vanessa did give me my Style Seat facial on the house, but I was so impressed, with both my skin and the products that she used, I purchased the exfoliator and moisturizer, and I have contributed to a past IndieGoGo campaign to get her started. I will definitely be booking an appointment with her during my next visit to San Francisco. I still can’t get over how clean my face feels after visiting Vanessa! 

Images courtesy Vanessa Elise Skincare. 

12/23/2013

Product Review: Own eye cream!   »

A little while ago I wrote a review on Odacité skin care, an organic, vegan line that I think is just marvelous! I did, however, take issue with their eye cream; it was a little too heavy for my combination skin. As I was trying to wean myself off a former, non-cruelty free line, I found myself in a dilemma of epic proportions: WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MY DELICATE AND NEEDY EYE AREA? 
Enter the mastermind behind Logical Harmony (and my personal vegan beauty and lifestyle guru), Tashina Combs. I tweeted at her in a panic, and she was like “GIRL, I got you! Try Own Lifting Eye Cream!” So I did. I had my mom buy me a tube for my birthday and I’ve been smitten since. This summer romance is going the distance! (Unlike the one I had involving a human being, but oh well!)

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I think Tashina does a great job of reviewing this Own eye cream, so I’ll go ahead and direct you over there, as I agree with everything she says about it! I’ll add that it’s perfect for skin that is a bit on the oily side, as it’s quite light, and it’s perfect for someone who wants their eye cream to absorb quickly. Own is a San Francisco based company —  their products are sold all over the place, including Whole Foods, Ulta, Amazon, and as well as little internet marketplaces all over a quick google search. I am also a fan of the fact it won’t cost me an arm and a leg to replace my tube once it runs out (anywhere from $15 - $25, depending on the retailer). I look forward to trying more of their products in the future!

Hey, and while we’re on the subject of Logical Harmony beauty reviews, check out her “October Empties” video. I love this concept — people show off their empty cosmetics, describe them, and tell the viewer whether they’d buy them again or not. So, a vegan doing one? SOLD! (Vitamin E as eye make-up remover? Who knew?)

I’m always on the hunt for new, cruelty-free, beauty products to try, so please, let me know your favorites!

{Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!}

10/01/2012

Giveaway and Product Review: Zen Society Natural Skincare!  »

Zen Society is a line of vegan, natural skincare. It’s made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients, plant botanicals, and fruit extracts. Zen Society is super environmentally friendly; the shipping boxes are made from recycled materials and all the packaging is 100% recyclable. The products are also gluten-free!*

I like this part from their site:

Zen Society takes pride in offering fresh, handcrafted products. We use the highest quality of 100% Natural and USDA Certified Organic ingredients which are cold pressed and unrefined. If our oils are heated, they are never heated above 120° so they retain all vitamins, minerals and nutrients to provide ultimate nourishment to the skin. Each ingredient contains at least 10 vitamins and minerals. We include Fair Trade and locally harvested ingredients whenever possible. No parabens, pesticide sprays, petroleum, silicone, synthetics, artificial fragrances, dyes, GMO, or harmful processed additives.

They are also recognized as a cruelty-free company by PETA and donate a portion of all sales to Friends of the Earth. Kind of sounds perfect, right? Well guess what! Zen Society sent me the rosewater mist and the macadamia body oil on the house and I can say they ARE perfect! The rosewater mist is a nice little astringent or pick-me-up and, well, it smells like roses! Roses smell good.

The macadamia body oil is just about my new favorite thing in the whole world. It absorbs quickly and easily but the best part was when I put it on my elbows! I have rough, ashy elbows and after using this stuff like twice, they were totally better! No body lotion I’ve tried has made any difference and this stuff fixed it overnight. Pretty awesome. I had never even heard of macadamia body oil—now I’m in love! What a difference a day makes. 

OK, now, because I love the macadamia body oil so much, Zen Society has agreed to do a giveaway! To win your own macadamia body oil, leave a comment on this post answering this question: We already care about animals, why should we care about earth-friendly products too?! I’ll pick a winner next Monday.

I also encourage you to follow Zen Society on Twitter and like their FB page because they announce sales, specials, new products, and nice stuff like that. Don’t miss out!

*Is gluten bad for your skin?!

09/21/2012

Product Review and Giveaway: NBW Skincare!  »

Yay! It’s the next giveaway for Vegansaurus Giveaway Week! Check every day this week for more prizes! This is the last one but you still have a chance to win them all!

NBW is a line of natural skincare products with a focus on organic, fair-trade ingredients. Not everything is vegan, but most of the products are, and nothing is tested on animals. Yay!

I tried the Yarrow and Rosemary Light Daily Moisturizer. From the site:

"Yarrow has anti inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties to sooth blemishes and remove excess oil. Yarrow contains high levels of azuline which gives its strong anti-inflammatory effect.

Rosemary contains naturally powerful antioxidants which inhibit the activities of free radicals and slow the effects of aging. In addition, it possesses excellent astringent and antiseptic properties that make it especially suitable for oily and acne prone skin.”

This stuff is lovely. It absorbs nicely, and kept my oily skin moisturized without making it greasy. That’s a difficult combo to find! I’m a fan.

But wait, super-fun news! We are holding a giveaway so you can win your own NBW product!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me which of their products you totally want.

OK? OK! Go! Happy giveaway week!

09/18/2012

CLOSED—Product Review and Giveaway: Think Pretty pure beauty elixir!  »

Yay! It’s the next giveaway for Vegansaurus Giveaway Week! Check every day this week for more prizes!

Think Pretty is a lovely vegan line of “beauty elixirs,” which are antioxidant, nutrient-rich facial serums. They make seven different elixirs; I tried You Make Me Feel So Young. The ingredients are definitely exciting!: Olive Squalane, Olive Leaf Extract, Red and White Tea Extract, Açai Berry Extract, Blackerry Seed Oil, Coenzyme Q-10, Immortelle Oil, Orchid Extract. Oh my! That sounds hella healthy!

After trying this, my official word is that I very much like the stuff! The results weren’t super-drastic, but the elixir went on nicely, absorbed well, and my skin was soft and dewy. I love dewy skin!

So, my little friends, just for you guys we are holding a giveaway, AND I’ve got a discount code for you!

Giveaway: To enter to win your own bottle of Think Pretty beauty elixir, leave a comment on this post telling me why natural skincare products are the bomb. I will pick a winner next Tuesday!

Discount: To get 25 percent off all Think Pretty products, enter “AutumnPretty25” (not case specific) when purchasing. This code is active now until Oct. 31!

OK, get your vegan, organic skincare on!

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