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Nota bene: this post contains some affiliate links. I will be compensated for any purchases made through the use of those links below. Thank you!

I’ve always really enjoyed watching “Empties” videos on YouTube, so I thought I’d give it a shot here on the blog. It’s a good opportunity to review some products I might not otherwise get a chance to talk about. It’s also some great motivation for me to focus on using up some of the products I already have, rather than purchasing new ones! What do people call that? Shopping your stash? Something like that. I’ll probably only do these posts every couple months, or perhaps seasonally? We’ll call this the late spring edition.

Here are the products I’ve finished in the last couple months. Have you used any of these? Let me know your thoughts!

As per usual, these products are all cruelty free. ♥

Hurraw! limited edition ChocoMint balm

This was a collaboration with Love Goodly in celebration of the brand’s 1 year anniversary. I got this way back in the August/September 2016 box. I usually go through lip balms a bit faster than this, of course, but I had a few going all at once. Hurraw! is my favorite lip balm of all time, and this flavor/scent combination was divine. How could you go wrong with chocolate and mint, really? I’m sad it was a limited edition (and is currently sold out on the Love Goodly website). I would absolutely buy this again if it was available. This seems more of a cool weather scent/flavor to me, so it seems appropriate that I finally used it up. In the summer all I want to smell is tropical coconut and vanilla.

LUSH Ocean Salt

I go through one or two of these a year, I guess? LUSH’s Ocean Salt is one of my very sporadic “treat yourself” items, and has been for years. I’m certain I’ve talked about it on the blog before! I always hesitate to use that last little bit in the tub. I’m still trying to work my way through a bunch of other shower products, so it’ll be a little while before I buy this again. So sad.

Mullein & Sparrow facial steam

This was another Love Goodly box item from December/January. This was a sample size, but I got about four uses out of it, so I’m choosing to include it here. The full sized herbal blend is available on the Love Goodly website, here. I mentioned this in a Friday Favorites post back in January. The herbal blend includes lavender, chamomile, rose, calendula, chickweed and comfrey, which served to both sooth my skin and relax my mind. When it comes to products like this, I know I could DIY it, so I probably won’t repurchase this. It was a great item to receive in a subscription box, though! Love Goodly has yet to disappoint.

MyChelle Perfect C™ serum

Again, Love Goodly subscription box item! This came in the December/January box, as well. I love getting serums and facial oils in my subscription boxes. It’s always such a pleasant surprise, because those products are typically fairly expensive. For example, this product retails for $44. In addition to being cruelty free, this vitamin C serum is vegan, and is made without the use of GMO’s, parabens, petroleum, phthalates, silicones, sulfates, or artificial fragrances and colors. I typically use a serum at night, but it was nice to have one for daytime use. My only issue with this product is that it smelled very much like alcohol. Also, the fact that it contains citrus oils and is intended for daytime use was somewhat worrying. I experienced no photosensitivity when using this product and going outside, but this does have grapefruit and tangerine oils in it. Use sunscreen!

OGX Weightless Hydration+ Coconut Water shampoo & conditioner

OGX has so many varieties, I can’t really keep track of it all. I bought these at Target the last time I needed new shampoo and conditioner. This brand has been my go to for some time, and I guess I don’t really have a preference. I just try to buy whatever seems appropriate for my hair type, or whatever smells the best at the time of purchase. There wasn’t anything particularly outstanding or noticeably different about these, but they do smell really nice. I always run out of conditioner before I run out of shampoo. Anyone else?

That’s all for now. I’ll return with another Empties post at the end of the summer! Thanks for reading.

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2016 was a year of eco friendly and cruelty free discovery, for me. I thought I’d return from my lengthy and accidental blogging hiatus by sharing some of my new favorite beauty products.

While I am an omnivore, cruelty-free (no animal testing) personal care products are a top priority. The products listed below all happen to be vegan, too, but I do use products that make use of animal ingredients (like beeswax and goat’s milk) fairly regularly. I’d also like to note upfront that this is not a sponsored post. These are just companies that I feel really good about supporting!

  1. Hurraw! Balm Papaya Pineapple 100% natural / certified vegan & cruelty-free / GMO-free / made in the US $4.49

If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, or if you follow me on social media, you are probably familiar with Hurraw! I’ve definitely gushed about them before. This company is good people. The Papaya Pineapple was a new variety to me, this year. It’s a tube of tropical perfection in my snowbound New England. I want to keep one in my purse, and one in the car, and one… you get the idea. Whenever I order from Hurraw!, I order four or five tubes, and they have always included a free balm with my purchase. This time around, because it had been a while, I also received a very sweet handwritten note on my invoice that said, “Naomi’s back!” I can’t say enough good things. If you can’t find Hurraw! balm at a local retailer, it’s absolutely worth ordering through the mail.

  1. Trust Fund Beauty Nail Lacquer  vegan & cruelty-free / 10-free / GMO-free $15

My nail polish collection has been toxin free and animal friendly for about six years, now. It includes a variety of brands in all price ranges (proving that the way you choose to spend your dollar 100% counts, because ten years ago the options were incredibly limited). I discovered Trust Fund Beauty over the summer, and this brand is now at the top of my list when it comes to polishes. My first purchase was Hot in the Hamptons, an ultra bright shimmery pink, perfect for summer. I immediately fell head over heels for the coverage and durability of this product. This is the first polish I’ve used in ages that didn’t just chip off immediately. I’m looking forward to purchasing a couple nude shades (including pictured, Bitches Who Brunch) when I have the budget for it.

  1. Zao Organic Volume Mascara 100% natural / cruelty-free / free of petroleum derivatives and parabens $33.20

I’ve used a few different cruelty-free mascaras, but never anything quite so luxurious. The price point reflects the quality, and for the one cosmetic item I use almost daily, I do think it’s worth it. I love the bamboo packaging. I received this in a Love Goodly subscription box!

  1. OSEA Malibu Atmosphere Protection Cream 100% natural / vegan & cruelty-free / made in the US  $48

Oh my goodness. So. To be honest, the name of this product made me giggle a bit when I first got it (another amazing Love Goodly subscription box item), but it is so, so good. I will never giggle at it again. This is not something I can afford to replace at the moment, and I am incredibly sad to see that my bottle is nearly empty. This is honestly the nicest daily moisturizer I have ever used. It smells great, it feels great on my dry, sensitive, and aging (bwamp bwamp) skin, and it’s full of nourishing ingredients.

  1. Schmidt’s Deodorant Rose + Vanilla Stick certified vegan & cruelty-free / free of aluminum, parabens, and phthalates / made in the US $8.99

I finally found my dream deodorant. I’ve been using strictly natural deodorants for the last four years or so. It’s been a bit of challenge finding the right one for me. Flash forward to the release of this particular scent (in stick form), and I decided to give Schmidt’s another go, after not being 100% in love with their jar formulas. I am so thankful that I did just that. Natural deodorant is tricky, for a lot of people. It’s something that’s really important to me, so I’ve kept at it over the years. The price point is right, I love the ridiculously girly scent, and this product actually works.

  1. Acure Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash certified vegan & cruelty-free / paraben & sulfate-free / $9.99 (price varies)

I discovered this after searching for the “best moisturizing body washes” when it started to get cold. I’m never looking back. I do, admittedly, feel a little guilty about the plastic bottle (because we’ve been really good about using bar soaps with minimal packaging since I moved into the house), but this product really is incredible. And it smells so good.

I’m really pleased that I managed to discover some new things over the last year, even if a couple of them are definitely out of my price range right now. It’s important to me that I continue to support the companies that are ethical and genuine, and that the self care products I use regularly are ones that I can feel good about, in more ways that one.


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Nota bene: Friday Favorites post contain a few affiliate links. I will be compensated for any purchases made through the use of those links. Thanks!

Friday Favorites // 044 ::

  1. Hello, new dream dress.
  2. Rituel de Fille tugs my heart strings in a big way. Have a I found a new signature lip color in Rue? That feels like a big step into adulthood, for me. I’ve discovered that I am definitely more of a pinky-purple girl than a red girl. I know how everyone is apparently supposed to have their “perfect” red, but I have yet to find mine. I am also feeling so very tempted by their Ash & Ember Eye Soot in Sigil (no. 7).
  3. I love this tropical bathing suit. It’s colorful, but makes use of black detailing so it’s a good compromise. I could easily tone it down by pairing it with black solids. These are things I think about. The  top and bottom are sold separately, yay!
  4. Many years ago, at the suggestion of a stylist, I bought a wooden comb. It was the nicest thing I ever did for my hair. Now that I am more or less committed to length, I’d like to once again add one to my beauty arsenal. Wood cuts back on static and breakage, and helps redistribute oils down the follicle.
  5. I’ve had my eye on this his simplistic moon phase calendar for a while.
  6. Rosewater shea butter soap sounds divine. I love Formulary 55’s package design!

Winter is back with a vengeance, fellow northeastern friends. Stay cozy this weekend! Maybe that’s why this Friday Favorites has a somewhat soft, warm weather vibe? Could be. I’m so cold.


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Halloween is upon us (okay, pretty much)! Are you excited? I’m excited. It’s the time of year to let your inner goth shine without anyone pointing at you and laughing. Although, to be perfectly honest, now that I’m an adult I totally don’t care. It’s like I’m a slightly more confident, put together (also wiser and more thoughtful) version of the girl I was as a teenager. And I’m proud. That being said, I very rarely wear a black lip. My day-to-day look, especially  lately, actually involves very little makeup at all. But it’s soon to be October, friends. Magic is afoot. Be bold. Wear black lips with pride, if you don’t already. Don’t wait until last minute, either! Treat yourself to something luxurious. You’ve got plenty of time.

PS. Why is there no bat emoji? Or witch hat?

The following lip products are cruelty-free and/or vegan. I’ve listed them from most indulgent to least, and all (some more than others) are full of natural and nourishing ingredients. I’m serious about treating yourself.

Black Lips for All ::

Axiology/Kat Von D/Nero Cosmetics

  • Axiology / Existential: buy here $28 (cf/v)
  • Kat Von D / Studded Kiss lipstick in Slayer: buy here $21 (cf/many shades vegan, including this one)
  • Zosimos Botanicals / Onyx: buy here $20 (cf/v)
  • Nero / Nevermore: buy here $18 (cf/v)
  • Portland Black Lipstick Co. / Original Black: buy here $14 (cf/contains beeswax)
  • Insomnia Cosmetics / 3am: etsy shop currently down, as creator is recovering from illness $12 (cf/v)
  • Black Widow Balm / Black Magic: buy here $10 (cf/contains beeswax)

Have you noticed that black lip shades always have the coolest names?

Black Lips for All ::

two swipes of product, natural (mid-afternoon) light

Axiology lipsticks make for a totally decadent experience. This is a beautiful, lovingly made product. This is the highest quality lipstick I have ever owned, and it’s one I feel really good about purchasing (plus I got it on sale). Check out the ingredients list here. Existential is highly pigmented and ultra-moisturizing. I prefer to use a lip brush, but the lip color will apply nicely straight from the tube. This goes on smooth, with a light shine. This is a great example of a luxury brand with a wide range of color options. They make non-traditional colors really approachable.

Insomnia Cosmetics lipsticks are all made by hand in small batches. 3am is a semi-matte, highly pigmented black. There is instant gratification with this one. Applies best with a lip brush. I’m hoping this shop re-opens soon, because their products are great, with a lot of character. Moonchild (a bright berry purple) is one of my favorite lipsticks, right now! 3am was originally part of a Halloween collection, but was re-released into regular rotation due to popular demand.

Black Magic wears like a lip balm. It applies sheer and can be built up to your desired level of blackness. What it lacks in instant pigmented coverage, it more than makes up for in texture and scent. This Color Balm is infused with a blend of peppermint, pine, and nutmeg essential oils. I recommend using a lip brush for precise application and color build-up, but if you just want an on-the-go swipe of glossy sheer gray, go straight for the tube. Color Balm is available in a wide range of tints, if black isn’t your thing. This is a good option if you don’t feel 100% comfortable wearing a full-on black lip!

If I’ve missed any of your favorites, please let me know in the comments!

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I try really hard to take good care of my nails. I have some pretty terrible habits (like picking obsessively at my cuticles), so sometimes that takes a little extra work. The products below are my top five nail care product essentials.

My Top Five Nail Care Products ::

  1. Karma Naturals nail polish remover is nontoxic and made in the United States. You can read my full review here. I love this product. It’s nourishing, smells wonderful, and does a great job removing both dark polish and glitters. A remover that can tackle black polish and glitter is an absolute must for me, and I am so happy that I’ve found a natural product that works.
  2. Julep’s lavender tinted Brighter is Better nail treatment helps hide nail discoloration and contains lemon extract that, over time, physically brightens your nails. Lemon peel oil helps add moisture and shine, and hexanal strengthens to prevent peeling and splitting. I received this product in my July Maven box, and once I got used to the neon violet tint, I decided I really liked it. Like all Julep polishes, this one is 5-free and vegan.
  3. ORLY argan cuticle oil is some of the best I’ve ever used. It’s intensely moisturizing and absorbs quickly. I apply this to my cuticles and nails every night. A little bit goes a long way, and I love the drop applicator.

My Top Five Nail Care Products ::

  1. Lemony Flutter was the first LUSH product I ever used, and it got me hooked for life. As always, LUSH products are cruelty-free.

My Top Five Nail Care Products ::

  1. I personally notice a huge difference in the health and condition of my skin, hair, and nails when I take a daily biotin supplement. I am currently trying out Olly Undeniable Beauty, but I’ve also used MegaFood’s Skin, Nails, & Hair blend, which happens to be made close to home. Consult a nutritionist or health care professional if you’re concerned about supplements. Your needs might be different from my own.

Of course, products can only do so much. Your general state of health affects the appearance of your nails and skin so much more than anything you apply externally. I do my best to eat right and stay hydrated, but a little help on the outside is always appreciated.

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