Just Darling Skincare for Teens & Tweens by Darling Naturals

Crunchy Parent review Darling Naturals Just Darling Tween & Teen Non-toxic green Skincare

My natural, non-toxic “ah-ha” moment came as soon as I saw the second line show up on my home pregnancy test. All of a sudden my choices were no longer just having an impact on me; they were influencing the precious being that I was taking responsibility for bringing into the world. This epiphany shifted the way that I ate, what I put on my skin, hair, and nails, how I cleaned my home, and so much more. In the beginning, I had a harder time finding the right products to support this new approach to health. I suspect this was due in part to me not knowing where to look and in part to fewer healthy options being available 13+ years ago than there are now.

Fortunately, I was not the only person to connect the preciousness of babyhood to an enhanced desire to avoid toxins. By the time that Eva was born in 2003, I had discovered some brands and products that I felt good about using on her skin. A handful of soaps and creams, an all-purpose hair and body wash; they got the job done.

As Eva moved through her tween years, I began to see a shift. Her skin and hair were changing. She was more conscious about the clarity of her skin. She was noticing the types of products that I used on my face, and was wanting to emulate some of my skincare routine. I let her peruse my stash of cleansing and skincare products (thanks in large part to my subscription box habit, I have a lot to explore). Unfortunately these forays into my stash yielded few attractive options; my products were not a great fit for her tween/teen skin type, and the packaging often failed to intrigue or compel her.

As a result of these experiences, I am always on the lookout for natural brands and products that target older children and teens. Surprisingly, this product niche has lagged significantly behind natural personal care products marketed for women, babies, and even for men. It can be downright difficult to find natural skincare lines for teens and tweens. If you haven’t yet raised a tween or teen, I can offer this bit of insight; hygiene is often not their greatest strength. Having products that they want to use and that are effective can not only help build good personal habits, but can be a blessing for the whole family.

You can only imagine how pleased I was when I was contacted by Darling Naturals and invited to have Eva (almost 13) and Alina (9 1/2) review their Just Darling Pretty Clear Skin Regimen. The Just Darling line is designed for children ages 10-15 years to serve as an introduction to multi-step skincare regimens and overall good hygiene. The products use many plant-based and organic ingredients and are free from GMOs, petro-chemicals, artificial perfumes and dyes, and parabens. They are also vegan and cruelty free.

Darling Naturals Tween & Teen Girls Pretty Clear Skin Set Review-Crunchy Parent

The products arrived boxed into a kit with three bottles and a palm-sized natural sponge. Each bottle was clearly labeled and numbered to indicate where it should be used in the skincare sequence. I spent a few moments with the girls, explaining how they should use the products. They’ve had years of face-washing experience, but toner and moisturizer were less familiar. I also provided the girls with a stack of organic cotton rounds to use with the toner, and then set the products in their bathroom for them to use at their leisure.

I checked in with the girls periodically over the next week to ask their thoughts about the products.

Consistency of the face wash, toner, & gel moisturizer

Consistency of the face wash, toner, & gel moisturizer

Step 1: Face Wash for Problem Skin (4 oz., $12.95)

Ingredients: Organic aloe vera juice, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium laurel lactylate, kosher vegetable glycerine, calendula distillate, tea tree oil, pink grapefruit oil, black willow bark extract, plantain extract, ethylhexyl-glycerine, phenoxyethanol.

Both girls said that they found the scent of the lightly-foaming, gel face wash to be strong and somewhat medicinal. This makes sense when you consider that it uses ingredients like tea tree and pink grapefruit oil to balance skin and control excess oils. Tea tree oil in particular can have a pronounced and sharp scent. Despite noting this feature, the girls did not find it to be a big deterrent to using the face wash. I however was a bit concerned that the tea tree oil might be too harsh on the girls’ skin. Fortunately the product also includes a host of soothing herbal ingredients such as calendula, plantain, and aloe, which I hoped would provide balance to the formula.

Eva has particularly has sensitive skin and sometimes has reactions to products. She said that with her first use of the face wash, she felt that it burned a bit on her skin. She added that in hindsight she thought that she used too much product at first. She said that on subsequent occasions, she used less product and did not find it irritating to her skin at all; rather it had a mild cooling sensation that faded after a short while.

Both girls were a bit wary of the natural sponge at first and unsure about how to use it. I showed them how a bit of water transformed the mound of crunchy swiss-cheese into a silky soft sponge. Eva continued to prefer using her hands, but Alina delighted in the softness of the sponge and the way that it helped the face wash to lather on her face. The first several nights of using the products, Alina flitted about the house, marveling at her soft skin and inviting us to stroke her cheek.

Step 2: Toner for Problem Skin (4 oz., $10.95)

Ingredients: Organic aloe vera juice, tea tree oil, green tea extract, kosher vegetable glycerine, calendula flower extract, black willow bark extract, polysorbate 80, pink grapefruit oil, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexyglycerin.

I was curious to hear the girls’ thoughts about the toner, and was pleased to discover that the didn’t find it harsh as toners can often be. Unlike most conventional toners, the Just Darling product does not contain any alcohol or witch hazel, which can be irritating to sensitive skin. The toner is an aloe-vera juice base enhanced with plant ingredients such as tea tree oil, calendula flowers, black willow bark, green tea, and pink grapefruit oil. The fragrance is of moderate intensity, but did not seem to stand out to the girls. I think that Eva and Alina both found this new-to-them toner step to be a novel addition to their skincare routine.

Step 3: Moisturizer for Problem Skin (2 oz., $12.95)

Ingredients: Organic aloe vera juice, kosher vegetable glycerine, calendula flower infusion, carbomer, triethanolamine, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexyglycerin

Interestingly, both girls commented that they really liked the smell of the light gel-moisturizer. Reviewing the ingredients, I am not sure what gives the moisturizer it’s scent, but it has a zippy, lime-like, citrus fragrance. The girls agreed that the light moisturizer felt just-right on their skin and was perfect for the dry winter months.

Darling Naturals Just Darling organic, vegan, gluten free skincare for teen & tween girls

Overall Impressions:

I asked the girls for their reviews after a week of using the 3-step Pretty Clear Skin Regimen from Just Darling. Eva said that she didn’t love her first experience with the face wash because she had a difficult time getting the product to create a lather on her face using the dime-size amount on her fingertips as instructed. This led to her using an excessive amount of product which she said made her skin burn. With subsequent applications using less product, Eva said that she liked the face wash despite the strong smell. She indicated that she had a red blemish on her face at the start of the week, and she thought that it faded over time with use of the products. She stated that she very much liked the ritual of the three steps, especially before bedtime; adding that the ritual felt like a nice way to wind down before bed. She said that she felt like she was, “pampering her skin like being at a relaxing spa.”

Alina independently shared that she too liked the multiple steps of the regimen. She very honestly reported that she generally does not like having to wash her face. She felt like the three step ritual elevated the experience, making her feel more, “responsible and important.” As mentioned, she took a great deal of pride and delight in how soft her skin felt when using the products.

Although some of the multi-syllable ingredients rated in the moderate range on EWG’s Skin-Deep Database, I was pleased with the products all being organic aloe gel-based, and they were well tolerated by the girls’ skin. I was thrilled that the girls found the product packaging, texture, and fragrance to be attractive enough to keep using again and again without prompting all throughout the week. Unprompted personal hygiene is not a common thing around here. I know that they will continue to use the products, and I think that they especially like having products that are made just for them. I think that the natural sponge in the kit that we received was a nice option, but not necessary to enjoy and use the products. In Eva’s case she preferred to use her clean hands versus the sponge when working with the face wash. Alina enjoyed using the sponge, so I suppose that it would depend on the preference of the child.

As much as we appreciate that Darling Naturals has developed a line of natural products just for tweens and teens, they also have a Darling Baby line and a Darling Mommy line for new babies and expectant and new mommies. For the time being, I think we’ll continue to focus on the tween and teen needs. I have my eye on the Good Hair Day Detangling Spray. Maybe it will be the answer for Alina’s long, tangle-prone locks.

What do you think about the Darling Naturals line for tweens and teens? Do you have any secrets for keeping older children clean and smelling fresh?

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Beauty Heroes Luxury Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review: January 2016

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes Luxe Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review January 2016

Beauty Heroes is a luxe green beauty subscription service. The Beauty Heroes mission is to provide their customers with products from the very best non-toxic, clean, green beauty brands. Each month Beauty Heroes sends one full size luxury product, sometimes with a smaller bonus item (because every superhero loves a good sidekick). Products are chosen to fit with the season, and are screened to avoid an impressive laundry list of villain ingredients such as parabens, mineral oil, and triclosan; and to include natural superpower ingredients to nurture your skin such as turmeric, reishi mushroom, and sea buckthorn.

Beauty Heroes boxes cost $39.00/month (shipping included) and are less with multi-month subscriptions. In addition, all Beauty Heroes members receive 15% off of any purchase from the Beauty Heroes online clean beauty shop.

I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review, although review may contain affiliate links. This simply means that if you join Beauty Heroes through my links, I may receive a small compensation, which allows be to put more dollars back into the blog. All opinions are my own. To see my other Beauty Heroes unboxings and reviews, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came with a big, bright “Beauty Heroes” label. I opened it to find an enclosure reviewing the brand and products highlighted (more on that in a moment), as well a handy pocket guide listing both villain and superpower ingredients to notice in cosmetic, skincare, and beauty products.

This month’s expert selection comes from the brand Osmia Organics. I had the opportunity to talk a bit with the Osmia Organics founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco at A Night for Green Beauty this past summer. A former ER physician with a passion for healthy skincare, Sarah began making soap before expanding her formulations and her company to include skincare and natural perfumes. Osmia Organics, whose name references the ability to detect scent, places great importance on the quality and function of the ingredients in their products. As mentioned in the video, Sarah’s article about emulsifiers and their environmental impact left a lasting impression; giving me a better appreciation for body oils and healthier emulsifying agents.

Beauty Heroes surprised and delighted me by sending a box packed full of goodies this month. As with the November box, Beauty Heroes sent a pair of Superhero products (which always makes me think of the Wonder Twins because I’m over 40 and these are my reference points for such things). In addition, Beauty Heroes tucked in a helpful sidekick product, and a great accessory item a la Wonder Woman’s invisible jet.

Beauty Heroes January 2016-Osmia Organics face cream

This month’s box contained a full-size bottle of Osmia Organic’s Purely Simple Face Cream (1.7 oz., value $60.00). This aloe juice-based cream is lightweight and designed for those with normal or sensitive skin, in particular those who may have perioral dermatitis, a condition that has inspired many of Sarah’s gentle formulations.

My skin tends toward dryness, especially in the dry winter months so this may be too lightweight for me to use right now. I can see this cream being a good fit for my face during the more humid summer months when my skin needs less added moisture. It might also be a smart choice for Eva, whose almost-teenaged skin could benefit from a lightweight, gentle moisturizer in winter.

Beauty Heroes-Osmia Organics black clay soap and exclusive pre-launch nectar vital rose drops face serum

Partnered with the face cream was a full-size bar of Black Clay Facial Soap (2.25 oz., value $24.00). You can read more about the soap and how it compares to traditional African Black Soap here. Beauty Heroes also included a small soap saver (value $2.00), which is the perfect accessory to protect any bar soap from being softened and prematurely melted away by residual water.

The final treasure tucked into the box was the bonus sidekick item. This extra-special sidekick was an exclusive launch to Beauty Heroes members; a small dropper bottle of the yet-to-be-released Nectar Vital Rose Drops Face Serum (value $10.00). As the product has not yet been made available to the public, I was unable to find much information about the ingredients or the product online. I can say that it smells divine. There is the distinct scent of roses, but based on fragrance alone I would venture to guess that other florals and non-floral botanicals play a role as well. The serum is fairly light and easily absorbed, leaving a silky feeling on the skin. I often add several drops of facial serums or oils to my moisturizer step to enrich my moisturizer, which is precisely how Osmia Organics suggests using this precious product.

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes non-toxic organic green beauty subscription unboxing & review Osmia OrganicsJan 2016 – Version 3

I continue to be impressed with the quality of natural, green brands and products that Beauty Heroes brings to its members each month. There has been such exciting growth in the green beauty industry, especially among small companies driven by knowledgeable, passionate, creative individuals and teams. I so appreciate the extent to which Beauty Heroes researches their brand partners and curates great boxes month-to-month that over time build a high-quality and effective natural beauty collection. The value of this month’s box was an incredible $96.00.

Historically, Beauty Heroes has focused on products for skin, body, and hair. With the new year, Beauty Heroes has announced some new expansion plans to include cosmetic items as well. Beauty Heroes will aim to focus on universally-flattering shades to complement all of their members. I’m excited to see what these changes will bring in the months ahead. What do you think about adding cosmetics to the Beauty Heroes boxes? If you want to be sure to be among the first to see how Beauty Heroes will bring Luxe green beauty cosmetics to their members, be sure to sign up.

If you would like to see my most recent listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to Crunchy Parent and the Crunchy Parent YouTube channel!

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Barganic Alert! 20% off Cosmic Box

Crunchy Parent Barganic Alert! 20% off Cosmic Box-subscription box sale, coupon code

February is right around the corner, and Cosmic Box wants to share the love. They are offering 20% off your first month when you sign up for a subscription using the code COSMICLOVE. There are a few more days to sign up for the February box (which is almost sold out). Once those are gone subscriptions will start with the March box. Cosmic Box has also announced that beginning with the February box, they will now be including goodies to balance your chakras.

If you would like to see my prior reviews to get a sense of what Cosmic Box includes in their spirit-enchancing, cosmically positive subscription, you can check those out here.

Are you going to take advantage of this deal?

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Recipe: Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Aebleskiver

Crunchy Parent Gluten Free Dairy Freen Pumpkin Spice Aebleskiver Recipe

I love autumn and all of warm, rustic colors and flavors. I am grasping to these last few days of fall before the winter solstice rolls around in the weeks ahead; folding a bit of autumn into our lives here and there as I can.

One of our family traditions in to make a big batch of gluten free pancakes from scratch every weekend. Rich generally wields the spatula for these breakfasts. On occasion the kids will ask me to break out the Aebleskiver pan and make various iterations of the Danish filled pancake balls. We love filling them with chocolate chips, homemade jam, or leaving them unfilled and dipping in cinnamon sugar or drizzling with syrup.

The November Raw Spice Bar envelope included a packet of fresh, custom blended pumpkin pie spice and a recipe for round pumpkin ricotta donuts. The recipe was not a good fit for our food sensitivity needs but something about the shape of the donut reminded me of aebleskivers. I happened to have some leftover canned pumpkin around from another recipe and thus, gluten free, dairy free pumpkin aebleskivers were born. They were delicious stuffed with a sprinkle of chocolate chips in the center, but the hands down favorite was a spoonful of pumpkin butter in the middle. If I’d had apple butter around at the time, that would have been my next experimental combo. They were perfect little bites of fall.

The fresh, flavorful spices from Raw Spice Bar were delicious in this recipe, but you can substitute in any Pumpkin Pie spice blend or your own combination of autumnal spices such as cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger. You will need an Aebleskiver pan to make this recipe. I highly recommend using a cast iron pan (I have nothing nice to say about Teflon or its toxic, non-stick, chemical friends). I found mine at a thrift store, but Amazon or kitchenware stores should have them as well. To turn the ableskivers, I often opt for using bamboo and wood skewers. I happened not to have any on hand so toothpicks worked out in a pinch.

 

Ingredients:

2 c. milk substitute

1 T. lemon juice

1 1/2 T. coconut oil, melted (plus additional for frying aebleskivers)

2/3 c. canned pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 c. gluten free flour

1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 T. sugar

goodies for filling aebleskivers such as pumpkin butter or apple butter, chocolate chips, jam or preserves

Directions:

  1.  In a bowl mix together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. In a second bowl, blend together milk substitute, lemon juice, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and egg until well mixed.
  3. Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. IMG_3840
  4. Warm up your aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Brush the inside cavities of the pan with coconut oil to coat.
  5. Fill cavities approximately 1/2 full with batter.
  6. Quickly top with a dollop of your chosen filling, trying to keep filling in the center.

    Pumpkin butter fills the center.

    Pumpkin butter fills the center. (Overfilled the batter on these a bit-oops).

  7. Add another small dollop of batter to the top, covering your filling.
  8. When bottom browned (approximately 1-2 minutes,) carefully flip the aebleskiver and cook the second side until done. pumpkin spice aebleskiver recipe gluten and dairy free
  9. Serve warm aebleskivers sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or syrup and enjoy!
warm and gooey pumpkin butter center-yum!

warm and gooey pumpkin butter center-yum!

 

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La Ritzy Vegan Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Crunchy Parent La Ritzy Vegan Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

La Ritzy is a monthly beauty subscription service that sends 4-5 vegan, cruelty-free cosmetic and skincare items in each box. Although not specifically marketed as a green beauty box, the brands that La Ritzy sends have tended to be non-toxic, natural brands. La Ritzy recently ran a promotion offering one month free with a three month subscription. I knew that it was the right time for me to give this subscription a try.

Boxes cost $24.99 per month, which includes U.S. shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the my very first La Ritzy box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

La Ritzy had released spoilers showing what two of the items would be in the November box. I was excited to get my hands on the box and check out everything inside. The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact.

La Ritzy November vegan green beauty subscription-GlamNatural and Jacq's Organics

La Ritzy included an information card that provided a brief description and valuing information for all items in the box. The first item that caught my eye had been spoiled in the sneak peek. It was a full size of GlamNatural’s Finishing Powder (value $30.00). The natural, super-fine powder is designed to be applied atop one’s makeup to set their look and give lasting wear to cosmetics. I must admit that I tend to neglect this step and then start wish later that I hadn’t. I was glad to be sent this little reminder to take an extra moment to finish off my face in the morning to get more bang for my buck when I do my face.

The next item in the box was a big surprise to me. I was so excited to see the Jacq’s Organics Green Smoothie Scrub and Mask (1 oz., value $17.50). This item has been in other subscription boxes recently but none that I had received and I was coveting it mightily. The mask blends clarifying and detoxifying charcoal, clays, and sea kelp with almond meal for scrubbing and mints, rosemary, geranium and other essential oils to stimulate and cool the skin.

The dry powder is designed to be blended with your liquid(s) of choice, which can be anything from water to honey, yogurt, a hydrating hydrosol, or other nourishing selection. I love dry masks for exactly this reason; they can be catered to your preference and the shelf-stability is prolonged with the absence of liquid, which also eliminates the need for preservatives. I opted for water to try the mask in its purest form. Although I was expecting a green mask based on the name, the charcoal gave it a deep gray/black appearance. I made a relatively thin mix with the water and painted it onto my face with a mask brush (an old, clean foundation brush works well for this step too). Once dried, I rinsed as directed, scrubbing my skin with my hands to get the most out of the almond meal as I rinsed. My skin looked clear, bright, and refreshed after using the mask. I am interested to see how my skin responds to repeated use over time.

La Ritzy vegan beauty box Palmetto Derma and Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques

The next box reveal was the second item from the sneak peek. I was very much looking forward to receiving the full sized Palmetto Derma Collagen Booster & Restoration Serum (value $48.00). The serum is packed with anti-oxidants and hydrating ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid. I was surprised by how light and completely odorless the serum was and yet my skin was noticeably more hydrated immediately after I applied. I think that this product will be an excellent addition to my skincare routine this winter layered beneath my skin oil and moisturizers. For those with combination oily skin, I think that the serum would hydrate and nourish the skin without adding oil or shine. As a tip to those who missed out on the box and want to give the product a try, or who received the box and want to stock up on more Palmetto Derma items, the site is offering 30%-50% off all of their items sitewide throughout the cyber weekend shopping extravaganza.

The last item in the box was a full size Pressed Cheek Colour from Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques (value $14.00). I have been using Lauren Brooke products as a natural cosmetic option for about a year and have been very pleased with their ingredients and formulations. I have not tried the cheek colors yet so I look forward to trying this one out. The Sweet Sixteen shade that I received looks like it will be easy to wear and complement many skin tones. Once again, if you are looking to take advantage of sales this weekend, Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques will be offering 30% off of all of their full-sized products for Cyber Monday.

La Ritzy November 2015 vegan natural cosmetic and skincare subscription box unboxing review

I was very pleased with my first La Ritzy box. I liked the mix of skincare and cosmetic items. I am sometimes wary of cosmetic items in boxes because it can be so difficult to appeal to a wide range of skin tones and color preferences. I thought that the cosmetic items included in the box were useful and flattering for most skin tones. Although La Ritzy markets themselves as a vegan beauty box and not necessarily a green beauty box, all items included were from great green beauty brands and were chock-full of organic, natural, and plant-based ingredients. The overall value for the box was $109.50, which is an exceptional value for the box price. I am looking forward to the December box. La Ritzy has already released a spoiler saying that the box will include a vegan, 7-free polish from Trust Fund Beauty.

I continue to delight in the growth of the green beauty industry and its integration into the subscription box world. Two years ago, when I first began to look into subscription boxes there were only a handful of vegan and green options available. In the last quarterly update to my comprehensive list of crunchy-friendly subscription boxes, there were over twenty boxes geared toward green beauty and cruelty-free beauty enthusiasts. I think that this growth speaks volumes about growing consumer awareness and demand for healthier, safer, more conscious beauty and personal care products. It’s exciting to see.

What do you think about La Ritzy? Are you a fan of their vegan cosmetic and skincare hybrid approach? Are you curious to see what will accompany the Trust Fund Beauty polish in the December box? I know that I am.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Barganic Alert: Holistic Thanksgiving Deals Begin

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter.com / CC BY

I have been enjoying this week of holiday preparation. The house is still a jumble of partially-unpacked moving boxes and I cannot recall where our china, tablecloths, or serving pieces may be. Fortunately our dinner guests are family members and close friends and they are forgiving souls (who also come bearing food so it helps to lighten the cooking load).

I hope that you are enjoying a day of autumn appreciation, gratitude, parades, good food, family, or however the holiday is meaningful for you. Since Thanksgiving, for better or for worse, often kicks of holiday shopping frenzy, I wanted to share some bargains that have come to my attention that may help you to stretch your dollar as you try to embrace healthy and holistic choices during the holiday season and into the new year.

Laurel WPO Winter Radiance Collection and Thankful Sale

I was first introduced to Laurel Whole Plant Organics at the A Night for Green Beauty event this past summer. The handcrafted, herbally-based skincare uses the highest quality whole plant ingredients to enhance and nourish your skin. Thanksgiving is the one time each year that the small company offers a sitewide sale. All items on the site will be 20% using the code THANKFUL20 at checkout. The sale starts Friday at 6:00pm PST and lasts until Monday at midnight PST. All orders over $100 ship for free. Every person who places an order during the sale will be entered in a raffle to win the last remaining Winter Radiance Collection; a seven-item, limited edition collection valued at $360.

Kloverbox holiday sale

As seen on the Ultimate Guide of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, the green lifestyle subscription service Kloverbox is offering daily discounts for the next few days. The subscription is regularly priced at $25.00/month and sends 4-7 sample and full sized products across the categories of beauty, health, nutrition and home. Starting Black Friday and extending through Sunday, Kloverbox will be offering a 20% discount off of subscriptions of varying lengths, bringing the individual box price down to as low as $18.00/month (no code required). Deals will change daily, so be sure to look for the subscription length that you wish to try and check in on that day.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Beauty Heroes Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-November 2015

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes Luxe Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

Beauty Heroes is a luxe green beauty subscription service. The Beauty Heroes mission is to provide their customers with products from the very best non-toxic, clean, green beauty brands. Each month Beauty Heroes sends one full size luxury product, sometimes with a smaller bonus item (because every superhero loves a good sidekick). Products are chosen to fit with the season, and are screened to avoid an impressive laundry list of villain ingredients such as parabens, mineral oil, and triclosan; and to include natural superpower ingredients to nurture your skin such as turmeric, reishi mushroom, and sea buckthorn. Beauty Heroes boxes cost $39.00/month (shipping included) and are less with multi-month subscriptions. Subscribe now and use code HEROLOVE to get $10 off of your first box. Orders placed by November 15th will receive the box reviewed here, while supplies last. Orders placed after the 15th will receive the December box as their first box.

I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review, although review may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. To see my other Beauty Heroes unboxings and reviews, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

Beauty Heroes organic non-toxic green beauty subscription November 2015

The box came with a big, bright “Beauty Heroes” label. I opened it to find an enclosure reviewing the brand and products highlighted (more on that in a moment), as well as one of my favorite quotes from Maya Angalou (“When you know better, you do better.”), and a handy pocket guide listing both villain and superpower ingredients to notice in cosmetic, skincare, and beauty products. The enclosure also featured a cute quote from Rachel Zoe, “You can’t get dressed without good hair.” (In my high school English class, we would have called this foreshadowing.) Beauty Heroes included an additional card announcing an Instagram contest to win your next month’s box free, and a code for 15% off of all products purchased at the Beauty Heroes store. This discount is a monthly perk available to all members.

Beauty Heroes November 2015 box featuring Josh Rosebrook

This month’s expert selection comes from the brand Josh Rosebrook. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and talking with Josh Rosebrook, the brand creator, at A Night for Green Beauty this past summer. Josh, and his company, are driven by a passion for bringing human connection and artisan crafting back to skincare and personal care products. Through a deep understanding and respect for the actions of plant botanicals, Josh infuses his products with ingredients to cleanse, exfoliate, detoxify, hydrate, nourish, and protect skin and hair. Going beyond a mere awareness of a single plant’s action on the hair or skin; Josh strives to create formulas that elevate the individual ingredients through synergistic blends. The ingredients in Josh Rosebrook products are organic or wildcrafted, and designed to provide the very best to your skin and hair.

Beauty Heroes Josh Rosebrook

Beauty Heroes threw a little curve ball this month; featuring two products in addition to a smaller sized “sidekick” product. This month’s box contained a full-size bottle of Josh Rosebrook Balance Shampoo (8 oz., value $30.00) and a full-size bottle of Josh Rosebrook Balance Conditioner (8 oz., value $30.00). As an ever-helpful sidekick, Beauty Heroes included a travel size bottle of Josh Rosebrook Firm Hold Hair Spray (2 oz., value $15.00).

Beauty Heroes luxury green beauty subscription box-Josh Rosebrook natural, organic hair care

The Josh Rosebrook Balance shampoo and conditioner are designed to meet the needs of those with normal to oily scalp conditions. Both products are packed with botanical ingredients to stimulate circulation to the scalp and encourage healthy hair growth. The Beauty Heroes enclosure highlighted alfalfa, burdock, and nettle as superpower ingredients to help clarify the hair and scalp; aloe, rose oil, and coconut oil to hydrate; calendula, and chamomile to calm; and rosehip seed oil to promote overall cellular health. In truth, these ingredients are just the tip of the plant-based iceberg of powerhouse ingredients packed into these formulations.

The ingredients in the hair spray read like a recipe, with a host of herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano mixing with brown rice extract and yucca starch to create a spray that holds without flaking or being sticky. I almost wish that Josh made this product as a perfume. The aromatic and woody herbs blend with citrus and yang yang oils to create a scent that is both refreshing and grounded. Unlike conventional hair sprays, there is no sharp alcohol scent to make the eyes water (or the hair dry).

Of course, as important as the beautiful, balancing herbs included in the products is what the formulas leave out. They are free all from artificial perfumes, dyes, or other toxic ingredients, as well as being gluten-free, GMO-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. In fact, Josh Rosebrook regularly submits his products for testing by third-party labs, and routinely earns a distinction of a “zero-toxicity” rating for his formulations.

Beauty Heroes November subscription box featuring Josh Rpsebrook shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray

As mentioned in the video, I am a bit conflicted about this month’s Beauty Heroes box. I think that Beauty Heroes really shines in their curation not just within each box, but also with their overarching orchestration of the customer’s experience from month-to-month. I was excited to see a focus on haircare this month after last month featured products for cleansing the face, and September’s box provided both an eye serum and a facial moisturizer. Beauty Heroes seems to always deliver the type of product that I am craving, probably because they have stocked me so well in products to meet other needs in the months prior. Their plan to create a total luxury skin, hair, and personal care experience for their customers through their boxes is skillfully executed.

Although the choice of featuring haircare this month was spot-on, and I have been eager to try the Josh Rosebrook hair care line, the particular product formulations included in the box may not be a good fit for my hair. I have thick, wavy, voluminous hair that can be corse and dry (see the unboxing video for a better sense of my hair’s natural personality). My overall constitution, including my skin and scalp tends toward dryness, especially as the fall weather rolls into the Midwest. I would have been over the moon to see Beauty Heroes send Josh Rosebrook’s Nourish shampoo and conditioner, which are made for individuals with normal to dry scalps. The Balance products do contain some hydrating ingredients, but I suspect that the clarifying ingredients targeting excess oil may be overly drying for me.

Even though this box may not have been a complete home run for me, I continue to be a big fan of the Beauty Heroes concept and of the high-quality brands and products that they have represented to date. The boxes always deliver a tremendous value for the price, with this month’s box valuing $75.00. Beauty Heroes allows me to integrate luxury green beauty into my life on a regular basis at a sustainable and affordable price, something that I truly appreciate. It can be difficult at times to squelch the mommy guilt when I purchase or do things for myself. Beauty Heroes takes care of me with the quality of green beauty products that I most want to use without me feeling like the Veruca Salt of the family budget.

I would love to see Beauty Heroes add a short member questionnaire about skin and hair type to allow for some personalization of the products provided, since most lines create formulations for multiple varieties. This would continue to allow for partnership with a single brand and focus on a featured product genre while allowing the customer to experience the product formulation best suited for them. Of course, Beauty Heroes does release their selection on the first of every month. Conservative individuals can wait to see the month’s products and formulations before purchasing the box, but I would still prefer to see a way to make every month’s formulation a perfect fit so that I can be included in the fun of each monthly discovery.

I would welcome hearing from anyone with normal to dry hair who has used the Josh Rosebrook Balance products. Do you think that I should give them a try? On one hand I am very tempted, but on the other hand I would hate to waste good product on the wrong head of hair and be disappointed by the results.

If the November box selection sounds like the right fit for you, be sure to purchase by November 15th. All subscriptions after the 15th of the month will receive the December box as their first delivery. Regardless of when you order, use code HEROLOVE for $10 off of your first box.

If you would like to see my most recent listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to Crunchy Parent.

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Barganic Alert: Yuzen Fall Favorites Sale

Yuzen Fall Favorites Sale Box

As seen in the Crunchy Parent Ultimate Guide to Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, green lifestyle subscription Yuzen offers quarterly boxes of natural and green beauty, snack, and home products to bring zen and mindfulness to your life. On occasion, Yuzen offers special, limited edition boxes at sale prices.

Right now, Yuzen is offering a limited edition Fall Favorites Box. The cost of the box is $24.00. There are six items in the box, including:

ZENTS Mandarin Ultra Rich Shea Butter Soap (5.7 oz bar)
TORIE AND HOWARD Organic Lemon & Raspberry Hard Candies (2 oz)
SHEA MOISTURE Replenish & Rejuvenate Hand Cream (3.2 fl oz)
NUBIAN HERITAGE Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver Body Wash (3 fl oz)
NUBIAN HERITAGE Honey & Black Seed Deodorant (2.25 oz)
COWGIRL Extreme E Serum (.25 fl oz)

This is a single box purchase and will not start a re-billing subscription with Yuzen. So if you want Yuzen to help you embrace fall with some of their favorites, be sure to grab one of these boxes. They are limited edition, so when they are gone, they are gone.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Goddess Provisions NEW Spirit Enhancing Subscription Unboxing and Review: October 2015

Crunchy Parent Goddess Provisions Unboxing & Review October 2015

Goddess Provisions is a new subscription service, just added to the recent fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. Created by the owners of Vegan Cuts, Goddess Provisions is a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Boxes cost $33 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. This box is sold out, but the November box is available for pre-order.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the very first Goddess Provisions box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact. The box was beautifully fragrant, even before being opened. I loved the spicy anise smell and was excited to dig into the box.

Goddess Provisions October first box unboxing Crunchy Parent

Since this is the very first Goddess Provisions Box, I was especially curious to see the box enclosures and get a feeling for how the box was being presented. Goddess Provisions has a bright and visually-appealing enclosure card. The enclosed items were presented in photos and each product was described with valuing information and Twitter and Instagram information for each company. I liked how Goddess Provisions was positioning themselves not just as a box service, but also as a way to build brand awareness and community around companies who make products likely to appeal to their customer base. Looking at the card, the box seemed to be focused around a “Third Eye Chakra” theme with an emphasis on tuning into your intuition. I am interested to see if all Goddess Provisions boxes will have their own unique theme.

The first item was the source of the box’s wonderful fragrance. A full size box of Buddha Teas Third Eye Chakra Tea (value: $10.99; currently on sale for $8.99 through the Buddha Teas website). The third eye chakra is associated with insight, knowledge, and wisdom. This organic herbal tea blends fresh eyebright, jasmine, spearmint, star anise, and passion flower. All of the herbs with infused with sapphire essence before drying and packaging in their bleach-free tea bags and 100% recycled boxes.

I offered Alina and Asher a cup of the new tea and they were both a bit wary at first, worried that if they did not like it they would be stuck. I suggested that I make myself a cup that they could taste before deciding to commit. In both cases, the kids opted for the “new tea” and I had to keep brewing myself a new cup. The next day both children approached me individually asking for tea; each specifying that they would like the “new tea.” Alina even went on to ask if I was planning to buy more of the “new tea” once we finish up the 18 bags. This was high praise. We are a big tea drinking family with an impressive selection of teas, yet we tend to stick with our tried and true favorites. To all embrace a new tea so immediately and wholeheartedly is rare, but this blend just seemed to be a good fit for the four of the five of us who have tried it so far.

After admiring the new box of tea, I spied a “Just Because” candle tin from Pura Botanica in their Tea Garden scent (value $13.00). Candles create such a warm comforting ambiance in the fall, and I love that this candle is made from 100% soy wax, a cotton wick, and is scented with essential oils. I appreciated the soft fragrance, which blends orange, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, & bergamot, yet was decidedly floral. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the travel-sized candle burns for approximately 21 hours. Their other fragrances (chai, citrus, and mint) sounded wonderful as well.

Goddess Provisions unboxing October 2015 Balanced Guru mist Chocolita raw chocolate

After discovering some new-to-me brands, I was happy to see a familiar “face” in the crowd. The Balanced Guru Intuition Energy Mist (value $10.00) is a product that I have used before. The mist is intended to be sprayed above or around you and inhaled to boost your intuition, imagination, and insight. The spray draws upon essential oils of palmarosa, pine, rosemary, lavender, lemon, and Roman chamomile to create its unique and uplifting scent. I like using the mist when I need a little jolt to pull me out of feeling stagnant or tired.

The next item in the box had been released as a teaser by Goddess Provisions through social media. The Chocolita raw white chocolate Blueberry Bliss bar had caught my eye (value $4.95). I was intrigued by the white chocolate aspect, as it was my understanding that white chocolate was a confection and not really a “chocolate” at all and I could not understand how it could be raw. I will sheepishly admit that having tasted the bar, I still don’t really understand the white chocolate descriptor. The chocolate is brown, not white, and certainly tastes rich and chocolaty, which is not the flavor that I associate with super-sweet white chocolate. I gather the white chocolate distinction is because the bar is made with cocoa butter and not actual cacao, but I’m just hypothesizing here. Perhaps someone can enlighten me a bit.

White chocolate aside, the bar was unexpected and delicious. The blueberries and other botanicals were very finely ground. The bar was smooth with only a barely perceptible grainy texture to hint at the inclusion of the plant ingredients. Asher remembered the guided chocolate meditation that I had done using a small artisanal chocolate bar received in another subscription, and thus referred to this bar as “chocolate meditation.” For days he kept asking me if he could have some of the chocolate meditation. I had to stifle a laugh when he said that he had some chocolate meditation on his face, but had licked it off because it was delicious. It makes me happy to see my children learning mindful practices and savoring what they consume. We have grown accustomed to slowly nibbling the rich small-batch chocolate bars that we have received through subscription boxes. Despite the bar’s modest size, it lasted through three days of me sharing bits of it with the children.

Goddess Provisions review Meow Meow Tweet Repair Balm & Amethyst crystal point Crunchy Parent

If you watch the video you can see how excited I was to find a Meow Meow Tweet product in the box. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Tara, the creative spirit behind Meow Meow Tweet at A Night for Green Beauty this past summer. I love the brand’s graphics and packaging. More importantly, I value the knowledge and appreciation for plant ingredients that are reflected in their products. The vegan Repair Balm (value $18.00) included in this month’s Goddess Provisions box blends organic sesame oil and shea butter along with wildcrafted candelilla wax and organic essential oils to create a nourishing multi-purpose balm. The balm can be used on dry skin, cuticles, or lips as needed, and I know that it will be needed often in the cold and windy months ahead of us. I loved the grounded woody scent of the balm, owed largely to the myrrh essential oil, I suspect. The balm glides on smoothly and was moisturizing, but not greasy. It absorbed quickly, leaving a light, protective barrier from the candlelila wax. I can see myself using this a lot on dry hands and feet in particular.

The final item in the box was a tiny drawstring bag that held a small amethyst point inside (value $5.00). Goddess Provisions detailed the history of these precious crystals on their blog. The rare Vera Cruz amethyst points included in the box are purported to be a very special high vibrational crystal; allowing a spiritual connection while also enhancing the protective energy field, and aiding in meditation.

Goddess Provisions first October box review Crunchy Parent

The overall value of the box was $61.94, which I think is a great value relative to the purchase price. Goddess Provisions has curated and presented a beautiful first offering. The products included represented a nice mix of edible treats, body care, home, and spiritual items. The brands all appear to have a strong emphasis on quality of ingredients and mindfulness for the planet and its inhabitants. I was pleased to see that the brands who were familiar to me were ones that I like a great deal, and that there was also a host of new-to-me brands whose products I was happy to discover. One of my favorite aspects of subscription boxes is learning about new companies and products that have already been screened and vetted by the careful curators to be consistent with my values and priorities. I liked everything about this box, and eagerly look forward to watching the subscription as it moves forward.

I am amazed at the transformation and growth in the “green lifestyle” subscription box genre in the two years since I started to explore subscription boxes that are in keeping with the way that I live. I am thrilled that consumers continue to demand healthier, safer products; creating a market for conscious companies and subscription services. Goddess Provisions is a great addition to this mix.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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The Cosmic Box Positive Energy Subscription Unboxing & Review : October 2015

Crunchy Parent The Cosmic Box October Unboxing & Review

The Cosmic Box is an indie subscription service aimed at sending you a cosmically amazing care package for the soul. This lifestyle box is curated by a holistic nurse, and is designed for the free-spirited and eco-conscious. Each box includes a mix of 3-6 trial and full size products, or 1-2 luxury full size items. Every box is hand packed and sent with heaps of love. You will find items ranging from toxin-free skin care, organic/gmo free artisan edibles, unique home goods, gems and more. A portion of the sale from every box goes to support a charity, which varies from month-to-month.

Boxes cost $27 per month, which includes shipping. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own. You can check out my other Cosmic Box reviews here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact.

The Cosmic Box October Box Unboxing Super Moon Harvest Moon

As always, there was a small enclosure card that gave a bit of information about the items in the box and included a little picture of a smiling moon to tie in to the October “Supermoon/Harvest Moon” theme. There was also a short note from Kat, the founder and curator of The Cosmic Box. Kat also runs a sister company, Wild Honey Apothecary that makes small-batch, skincare and body items using wild harvested botanicals. Recently, the website description of The Cosmic Box indicated that each month they will feature a Wild Honey Apothecary product in their box.

The first item that I noticed in the box was a big fizzing detox bath bomb from Cosmic Bombs (value: $4.00). I have been all about bath products since moving into our new home. I have been without a tub in my master bathroom for fourteen years and that was a high priority item when looking for our new home. I have a beautiful tub now and am so grateful. I love seeing bath products in subscription boxes. I also have been quite interested in charcoal in skincare and personal care products, where it is used to bind to, and eliminate toxins. I am excited to give this bomb a try, and I love how it tied into the moon theme.

The next thing to catch my eye was a Zenbunni biodynamic chocolate Moonjuice “microbar” (value: $3.00). I am familiar with Zenbunni bars from other subscription boxes. I have come to appreciate them as decadent nibbling chocolates that are made with great care and of exceptionally high quality ingredients. The Moonjuice bar is made with phycocyanin infused salt, among other ingredients. Having never heard of phycocyanin before, I was intrigued to learn that it is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. I expected the bar to taste “green” as a result, but either I have become desensitized due to excessive green smoothie ingestion, or it didn’t have a strong chlorophyll taste. I enjoyed the deep, rich, chocolatey flavor.

The Cosmic Box October Unboxing- bath salts and agate night light

I couldn’t imagine what might be better than relaxing baths and chocolate, when I found that the answer is clearly, MORE relaxing baths and chocolate. The third item in the box was a packet of Gem Honey’s Cosmic Quartz Infused Bath Salts (value: $3.00) I loved the unusual ingredients in these salts, which included organic honey, quartz charged sea salts, and wild harvested palo santo and blood orange essential oils. According to the instructions, the packet contains enough for two baths. I can’t wait to give them a try.

I was so excited to see the final item in the box, a beautiful pink agate night light from Wild Honey Apothecary (value $22.00). I have been meaning to buy a night light for Alina’s new room for weeks. For some reason it just slipped my mind anytime I was at a store that might sell night lights. I guess it was meant to be because this light is perfect for her. She has been using it in her room since the day that I did the unboxing. It casts a moderate amount of light with a warm pinkish glow. The small switch on the light makes it easy to turn the light off once Alina is blissfully slumbering.

I really loved this month’s Supermoon/Harvest Moon theme. We spent the evening of the recent blood moon full lunar eclipse gazing at the moon as a family and marveling in the cosmic wonder of it all. This box was so well curated to capture some of that moon magic. I especially hope that Alina will look at her lovely new night light and be reminded of us peeking out her window or craning our necks in the back yard to catch a glimpse of the eclipse between the trees and clouds.

The Cosmic Box positive energy lifestyle subscription October 2015 unboxing & review: Crunchy Parent

The overall value of the box was $32.00. It was not a terribly high value relative to the box cost, but I will use every item. I thought that the items included were unusual and fun to discover. I was really struck by the uniqueness and beauty of the night light in particular. The overall appearance of the moon-themed items nestled together in the box was really quite beautiful. I happen to love relaxing baths, so the two bath products were a big win for me.

I am amazed by how significantly the “crunchy, zen, mindful” subscription box market has expanded in recent months. I think that The Cosmic Box is a great option in this genre, with a strong “positive energy” spin. I have found it to be well-curated, and well-rounded. I appreciate having someone like-minded searching out products that are a good fit for my lifestyle and my values, and then sending them to me to discover and enjoy.

Have you tried out The Cosmic Box yet? How do you think it compares to other crunchy, zen lifestyle boxes?

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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