Tarte Makeup Review

As an avid makeup lover, making the transition to “healthier” and synthetic chemical free makeup has been a slow process. I’ve only recently begun wearing makeup again somewhat regularly. The vast majority of my pregnancies I went mostly makeup free to play it safe- I didn’t want my precious unborn babies exposed to pretty much anything questionable. Now that I have only my own bodily self to account for (less nursing), I’m finding myself returning to my typical makeup that I had in my collection before my “green conscious” lifestyle. Ideally I would like to only use products that are superior in chemical content, but such an ideal will require not only a sum of money, but a fair amount of time to accumulate desirable products. Therefore, I shall document and review new products as I  try them at my own pace!

These days, I am finding that makeup is now a fun way to have some relaxing me time while my girls are asleep or otherwise preoccupied. I’ve always been drawn to cosmetology and the application of makeup as art, so I feel as though I’m rediscovering my passion and interest as a natural minded mama. But now, there’s a twist. Find and use exceptional makeup that isn’t terrible for my body to absorb.

Introducing… “TARTE” makeup!!

American made, cruelty free, and formulated without parabens • mineral oil • phthalates • triclosan • sodium lauryl sulfate • synthetic fragrance • and gluten. Additionally, the brand utilizes their patented ‘T5’ formula with five different high antioxidant (free-radical fighting) fruits, vitamins, minerals, and various other plant extracts in their products!

Now to clarify, I don’t claim that this brand is the “best” out there as far as healthy/low risk makeup goes- this is simply a better option than what I have typically used in the past. http://www.ewg.org has a fairly extensive database of 80,000 personal care products that are rated 1-10 based on ingredients. The lower the rating, the higher the quality of ingredients. Tarte products vary on this scale but are mostly mid range (2-7). When I find the ULTIMATE products that get 1’s on that database, I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂

My current Tarte collection includes the following…

Lip stain, Lucky~

I’ve never tried “stain” variants of makeup until now. And I think I’m pretty sold on the idea. Simple concept: “stain” products stay on longer! This particular one is a matte version, so I like to use this lip stain and put a chapstick or clear gloss over it. The color typically stays distinct for several hours.This shade is a fairly light pink (pretty much exactly the color of the tube pictured far left above). This is definitely a great fun-in-the-sun color if you ask me! This is not an every day item for me, but I’m really glad I have it in my stash of makeup now.

Cheek Stain, Loving~

Blush is typically something I have never had much luck with, until now. My typical routine has been to apply some powder for a great look and then without fail, it fades within a few hours. This “cheek stain” gives blush a whole new foothold in my everyday regimen!

This blush is in a push up tube, reminiscent of stick glue (okay, bad analogy). I think it is considered “wet” blush (not a powder), which is new for me. I’d say its similar to using lipstick as rouge in a pinch, but application is much more friendly for cheeks. This particular color has a shimmer to it, too. Loose powder over it helps to blend and seal it. Those who are a fan of the matte look might want to beware, though I’m not sure if the other colors have this also. Personally, I’m all for a faint shimmer, especially on the cheeks where smiles radiate.

To show you the staying power, I documented the proof!

Tarte Before AfterI tried my best to keep the same lighting here. Though my skin tone varies slightly, you can see here how this cheek stain is really potent, without being too overbearing upon first application. Shown is pre-makeup, post-makeup, and then after a long day of chasing babies and running errands!

Rare is the blush that I happen upon and buy again when I run out. This is a keeper! I especially love the slight copper tone it gives my cheeks. It seems much more natural for my skin coloration as opposed to the brighter pinks that I’ve used in the past. I can’t wait to wear this with my peach/coral colored matron of honor dress next month for my friend’s wedding! It compliments my dress quite well. Okay, I LOVE this stuff!!

Amazonian Clay Eyebrow Pencil, Taupe~

What originally hooked me to this brand is the incredible brow pencil! Personally I would rather use no brow definer than one that is very obviously there, so this color is perfect for me to subtly fill in the brows and very slightly extend their length. (See before/after pic above, in reference to my eyebrows). This shade is extremely versatile as well for various skin and hair tones. It gives such a natural look! I’m on my second pencil and it will be a part of my regimen indefinitely. I love that it is “Amazonian” clay but I think this can work against the product (and consumer) if it has been manufactured too long before it gets used. Aka, this can dry out and crumble on you. I didn’t have this experience with the first pencil, but went through about 1/2 inch of my recent one that crumbled out bit by bit with the slightest pressure. To prevent this, I only click it once or twice for the least required amount for usage. I haven’t really had an issue with that since! All in all, I really like what it does for my brows and plan to buy again in the future.

Tarte brand makeup is sold at my local Ulta and Sephora. It’s not a drug store/grocery store brand, but if what you put on your skin and in your body matters to you, it might not be such a bad thing to slowly invest in some better alternatives to the very prevalent synthetic chemical laden products that are offered at most outlets.

Next makeup product review: Origins Under Eye Concealer!

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Diaper Rash Help

Need help with diaper rash? I have a cure-all that works within 24 hours, guaranteed. You might be surprised how simple it is! It’s taken me about a year to figure this one out. And I have paid quite a few bucks testing out expensive “green/earth friendly” tubes of butt paste!

  1. When any amount of poop is present, bring baby directly to the sink and splash warm water on the buns until they are nice and clean. *Do not use soap. Even the mildest soaps will sting that raw bottom and make baby very upset!
  2. Pat dry with a clean, dry cloth. I use either one of my clean cloth wipes or a hand towel/washcloth that is handy. *Pat very gently!
  3. Cuddle baby if he/she is still upset from rash or step 1 or step 2. Or just because.
  4. Lay baby out with no diaper on a pee and poop safe blanket/burp cloth/towel/etc to catch some air. This step is one of the most important parts! While baby has any amount of redness, this step is imperative to do for a minimum of 5 minutes. The longer, the better. Beware though, this step comes with a risk… However, it’s worth it. Personally I’m not too weird about poop getting on blankets/burp cloths since my washer sees its daily dose of baby poops from cloth diapering (more on my adventures in cloth diapering soon)!
  5. If baby pees or poops, go back to step 1.
  6. When you’re tired of anxiously waiting for baby buns to become happy once more, apply Lanolin, very gently to the rash.
  7. Reapply diaper and clothing.
  8. Cuddle baby some more!

*Repeat the process for every poopy diaper until the redness is no longer present.

Wait so, what’s this about Lanolin, you might be wondering? Ah yes, a note about Lanolin. Okay so Lanolin is that stuff that comes in a purple tube that’s for sore or cracked nipples. Woah! For diaper rash!? Here’s how I came to discover this extremely effective product for diaper rashes. When I bought a second hand Medela pump, it came with a big fat tube of this stuff. I also received some tiny sample tubes from the hospital during both of my daughters’ births. I never did need it for nipple issues, but I never had the heart to throw it out. When I had my girls, I found myself washing my hands constantly for countless reasons. And man did my knuckles suffer!! It seems like nothing would relieve the dryness and cracking.

I tried various lotions and coconut oil as well (more on the amazing uses and benefits of coconut oil soon) but I found these to be to thin and some commercial products straight up stung when I put them on my hands! I tried lavender essential oil with coconut as well which helped a little, but I needed something more heavy duty. Then I had an “aha!” moment and remembered this gigantic tube of purple stuff and gave it a go. Not only did it relief the dryness, I swear it did the healing within 2 applications. And actually, it’s on my hands as I type this moment.

One of my favorite parts about this product is that it’s 100% pure. And anyone who knows me, I love it when I see only a small handful of ingredients on the label for ANYthing. Let alone it is rare to find any cosmetic product that literally is made up of just one single thing. So what is it made of then? Well, it is actually an animal product. Lanolin is the naturally occurring wax that animals with wool produce (commercial Lanolin is mostly derived from sheep). It is highly water proof wax that aids sheep in shedding water from their coats and it has been used for centuries for the protection, treatment, and beautification of human skin (according to wikipedia). Lanolin is taken from the harvested wool when it is squeezed between rollers. Therefore, no animals are harmed in the process.

So back to the point here… Lanolin is amazing!!! Once I started using it on the tops of my hands (it’s way too sticky to use anywhere that will touch anything else), I thought ‘hmmm… I wonder if this would be good for a red butt!’ Coconut oil was actually my minimalist first choice, but with diaper rash the goal is to coat the butt to create a buffer between additional poops and pees that actually stays. And with cloth diapers especially, I find that coconut oil is to thin and rubs right off (or absorbs into the skin too soon). Coconut oil is a close runner up though. But Lanolin just blows it out of the water.

When I applied Lanolin to red buns over night, the next morning they were good as new. During the day, it takes maybe 3-4 diaper changes/applications to cure the rash! (Not without rinsing and air drying, of course.) Now I will say that anyone who cloth diapers should be aware that too many applications of this will get on the cloth and can cause build up… which can lead to leaks. Usually when I use Lanolin more than a couple times, I have to strip my diapers. But in my opinion, it’s worth it. Lanolin is also commonly found where other diaper rash pastes are sold, so this is a big plus (look near the nursing pads and other nursing items). I hope you try my method of chasing diaper rash. If you do, please let me know how it works for you! It is my fail-safe and I hope it becomes yours too.

A Recommendation for Feeding the “Fur Children”

About two years ago when our “fur son” Todd (see pics) was coming close to turning a year old, I decided to seek out a new dog food. He was on Purina Pro Plan for puppies… until I noticed that one of the main ingredients was corn! Naturally, as a label reader of almost everything, I became interested in finding a better alternative. When I went to the pet store, I began scouring various bags’ ingredients, hoping to find a winner. I was a bit skeptical about the ones I found when I finally caved and asked a sales associate for some help. She perked up when she realized that I was taking the time to find a superior product with legitimate ingredients. After all, my sweet puppy was my little baby (before my lovely daughters came along) and only deserved the best.

Todd, very happy to be on the chair.

She began to tell me about Bil-Jac. I later realized that she was actually a representative from the company who was at the store to promote their products. So she was obviously biased. She had me convinced within about 5 minutes. She started by showing me the ingredients, as she knew this was my main concern. Turns out, chicken is the #1 ingredient. In fact, 12lbs of fresh chicken goes into every 15 lb bag (and 25lbs of fresh chicken to each 30lb bag). That’s a pretty high ratio if you ask me! One must consider water weight of course but this is already better than most commercial dog foods that contain corn and other grains above meat portions. Also, Todd is a Pomeranian (though my husband hesitates to admit it), albeit the best Pom ever, and smaller breeds tend to be a bit pickier with food. Bil-jac adds quite a variety of tasty additions to flavor it up in their Small Breed Puppy & Adult formulas.

This woman proceeded to tell me some other enticing Bil-jac tidbits. Because Bil-jac is more nutritiously dense, dogs require a physically smaller amount of food per feeding. This makes up a little for a slightly higher cost. She informed me that the darker, smaller, and firmer a dog’s stool, the healthier their diet is. She challenged me to observe my dog’s poops if I switched to Bil-jac… which they did eventually pass that test. Something else that appealed to me was that apparently the food did not need to be gradually introduced. It is generally recommended when switching to a new food to slowly add in the new, starting with a small proportion and increasing each day until the old is completely phased out, over about a week or so. She explained to me that switching to Bil-jac would ultimately be easier on the dog’s digestive systems and therefore there are typically no issues with new food sensitivity, thus, no need to do a gradual change.

In addition to being produced in small batches, the food is produced differently than common commercial pet foods. By the way, have you ever heard of the dog food brand “Beneful”? It’s very popular. I once perceived Beneful to be beneficial and a healthy choice. This is one dog food that really just fails to deliver though. Once I saw through the advertising technique and psychological ploy of this product, it became fairly laughable to me. For starters, the brand is a play on the word beneficial. That’s one big subconscious ploy. Also, the label on the bag of food is full of vibrantly colored vegetables: carrots, corn, wheat, peas, and raw meat cubes. I must confess, it is pretty appealing. However, upon second thought… do dogs really need or even want vegetables? Are those vegetables even contained within the dog food? Well surely corn and probably wheat… but carrots and peas? (Fail!) I have to laugh at this sad, yet effective sales technique.

Todd in his fall attire.

Now where was I? Oh yes. The benefits of Bil-Jac. Here’s a big one, something I was previously unaware of until this one fateful day at Petsmart. Almost all store sold dry dog food is processed through a high heat and high pressure production process that compacts each food pellet into the all too familiar dog food bits. Unfortunately this status-quo process deprives the food of many nutrients it may have contained to begin with. Bil-jac uses a unique to the industry technique known as “Nutri-lock” that slow cooks each batch and vacuum dries the food to get it dehydrated. This, no doubt, is a superior process that help to maintain most starting nutrients. Because the food keeps the nutrients and flavor, Bil-jac contains no rendered (spray-on) fat… something that almost all other dog food has. These lesser quality brands burn all the flavor and nutrition out and then they have to turn around and spray fat on the pebbles, just to make it palatable to the dogs. This high heat/high pressure norm of commercial productions cause the food to be extremely hard, as well. And the sprayed fat often remains on dog’s teeth, causing dental issues over time. Some of my friends and family who have caught glimpse of Todd’s food have joked about how it looks like hamster food! It may look funny, but the texture of the food is very soft in comparison to the alternatives. At the store that day, there was a little table with two cups filled with water. In one was some other commercial brand food pellet and in another were some Bil-jac. They had been sitting out for hours. The difference? The Bil-jac had actually dissolved- the other had not. This shows a clear difference in the ease of digestibility. And, when we switched, we noticed Todd no longer made loud cracking sounds from trying to bite down on those Purina pellets.

So here’s the kicker. As you know, I went home with a bag of Bil-jac that day (and some Bil-Jac liver treats too). Excited to introduce the new food, I thoroughly mixed a small portion of the new Bil-Jac into my dog’s Purina-Pro Plan food and set it down for him. I will have you know that Todd picked out every single piece of Bil-jac and never touched the Purina again. SOLD!!

Bil-jac is clearly a company that tries, and successfully does it right, while providing a great option for conscious pet owners (without an extremely steep cost). I’m not claiming that Bil-jac is the BEST dry dog food on the market, but in my humble opinion, it’s a great option and it’s been our choice since puppy-hood. And I must add that Todd is the softest dog in the world! I’m definitely known to brag on my “fur son” but I don’t think I exaggerate when I say he is as soft as some cats. I suppose that part of that can be attributed to his breed but I am convinced the Bil-jac helps!

*Note: “Introducing Todd” post coming soon with more biographical content. It will be a good read, I promise.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

I had heard of “Dr. Bronner’s” soap here and there but I had never really given it much thought until I noticed there was a documentary on Netflix about the man himself and his soaps. I decided to go ahead and put the documentary on for a few minutes to see how it was and I couldn’t stop watching it. If ever there was a passionate, strange, borderline maniac, yet inspiring person, Dr. Bronner would be it. In fact, he is now on my top 10 people I’d like to meet list although he sadly passed away in 1997 (though the business still remains in the family). Here was a man who had an undying passion for uniting all mankind on God’s “spaceship earth” under an “all-one-God-faith.” He claimed with great enthusiasm that we on earth are “All one, all one, or none!!” Even more interesting, each label on the soap contains thousands of words of Dr. Bronner’s ramblings about his philosophical views with lots of exclamation marks. I can’t help but be drawn to his passion, excitement, and quirkiness.

Needless to say, I had to give it a go. There are many more interesting facts regarding this man and his soaps’ origins but the most pleasing things about the soap, in my opinion, is the simple, organic, natural, and fair trade ingredients. Oh! And just a dash of it lathers like CRAZY! I’ve purchased several different bottles and scents and have also added essential oils to the unscented one. My favorite so far is the Almond version. And what’s even more awesome is that you can dilute over and over to make it go really far. I use Dr. Bronner’s for body wash, I bathe my girls in it from head to toe, and we use it for hand soap around the house. Our little dog even gets baths with Dr. Bronner’s too! It can also be used as: toothpaste, fruit/veggie wash, laundry detergent, dish soap, deodorant, shampoo, surface cleaner, etc. How’s that for versatile?

Here are the ingredients:

Just kidding. Ingredients only account for about 1% of that text. The rest is pure entertainment for whenever you have time to take a 90 minute shower! Haha

The ingredients, less the oils specific to each type (peppermint, almond, lavender, tea trea, citrus, etc)–

Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide (doesn’t remain after actual production), Organic Olive Oil, Organic Fair Trade Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

Natural, simple, legit. And such a breath of fresh air in the midst of countless products containing extended lists of unpronounceable synthetic chemicals. WIN!

I highly recommend watching the documentary “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Box” for entertainment and more information. The more you learn, the more you will want to buy from this company to support their unique production and management methods. Another plus is that they use hemp oil in their products and hugely support the legalization of hemp. I too am a big advocate for this and plan to post about my pro-hemp views in the near future!

For my hometown friends, they sell it in the ‘naturals’ section of H-E-B. Let me know if you decide to try it and I’d love to hear what you think. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed.