Green Beauty Review: Affordable Skincare Routine Featuring Blissoma, 100% Pure, Andalou Naturals, & The Wonder Seed

Crunchy Parent Green Beauty Review Affordable Skincare Routine Featuring Blissoma, 100% Pure, Andalou Naturals & The Wonder Seed

As I mentioned last week, new research out of University of California-Berkley has shown just how quickly a person’s chemical body burden can be decreased by swapping out conventional beauty and personal care products for greener, healthier choices. Specifically, researchers found that the detected levels of parabens, triclosan, and phthalates in the urine of a sample of teenage girls plummeted within three days of the girls switching to healthier personal care products. As a mother of two girls (and as a human who presumes that the the research findings likely generalize to other people beyond teenage girls,) these findings only serve to reinforce the importance of choosing healthy products to put on our bodies.

Although research supporting the importance of greener personal care and cosmetic items continues to mount, barriers remain when it comes to the average consumer accessing these products. It can be overwhelming to wade through the sea of “green” or “natural” products, some of which may be relying more on marketing hype and lax regulations than on truly beneficial and effective ingredients to sell products.

In addition, product cost can also deter consumers from viewing green products as accessible. The reality is that quality ingredients are often more expensive than fillers and synthetics. On the plus side, many green beauty brands spend relatively smaller amounts on marketing than their conventional counterparts, which can help to control costs.

I’ve talked before about my commitment to trying to break down barriers to living a greener, healthier, crunchier life. I think that if someone wants to make healthier lifestyle choices, cost should be removed as a barrier. Of course, no amount of money is well spent if the product purchased yields disappointing results. To that end, I want to continue my green beauty reviews today with a focus on an affordable, moderately-priced skincare routine.

Any of these products could be rotated into your regimen as your less green product gets used up, or if you are just looking for a new product to try. I am providing my own experience and opinions here, but I am not a dermatologist, herbalist, cosmetologist, etc. Please check out my video review of the products. Below the video you will find more details about ingredients, product pricing, where to buy, and more.

I’ve listed all of the product ingredients for your review. I have also indicated resources where you can purchase the products, sometimes for even less that the full retail price. Of course, everyone’s skin is different. I have tried to indicate the skin type(s) that each product was designed for. If it’s not a perfect match for you, there may be other similar products in the line better suited for your needs. You can also let me know in the comments what types of products you’d like to see reviewed and I’ll work on addressing them in future posts. If you have moderately priced skincare favorites, please mention those as well.

1. Fresh-Mild Rice Facial Cleanser by Blissoma (4 oz., $31.99) This soap-free cleanser is designed for all skin types. In addition to being 100% natural, the product is vegan and cruelty free.

The real magic in the formulation is due to its ingredients. Julie Longyear, the founder and formulator behind Blissoma, has background in chemistry and a passion for the power of plants to support wellness. A host of botanical infusions and oils combine in the Fresh formulation to gently cleanse, hydrate, balance, and detoxify the skin. Skin-soothing and healing herbs like marshmallow, chickweed, plantain, and chamomile lay the foundation for this nourishing product. Despite its bland appearance, the cleanser smells deliciously fresh and citrusy and leaves skin feeling soft.

See the complete list of ingredients below. I have not been able to find the Fresh cleanser for less than full retail price, but it can be ordered through Amazon with Free Prime shipping and is well worth the retail investment in my opinion.

Infusion of Althea officinalis* (marshmallow), Stellaria media* (chickweed), Plantago major* (plantain), Rosa damascena*, Arthemis nobilis* (chamomile), Glycerin*, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) Oil*, Oryza sativa* (brown rice), Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Cocos nucifera (coconut) Oil*, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernal Oil*, Glyceryl Stearate, Salix alba* (willowbark) extract, Cannabis sativa (hemp) Oil*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Gluconolactone, Echinacea purpurea Extract*, Populus tremuloides (aspen) bark extract, Essential Oils of Lavandula angustifolia, Litsea Cubeba, Cymbopogon martini (palmarosa), Canarium luzonicum (elemi), Boswellia carterii (frankincense), Vetiveria zizandoides (vetiver), Xanthan Gum, Rosemary Oleoresin Extract, Grain Alcohol*+
essential oils in this product contain: linalool**, geraniol**, limonene**, citral**
*from Certified Organic Agriculture
**natural components of essential oils

2. 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique (4 oz., $29.00) After I cleanse my skin, I like to hydrate it with a toner or mist. The Jasmine Green Tea Tonique is intended for normal to dry skin types but is gentle enough for use on all types of skin. The product is 100% natural and vegan. Once again, these labels only give us part of a product’s story, for the full details we have to look at the ingredients. Soothing aloe vera juice and rose hydrosol (LINK) lead the way along with green tea extract and calendula hydrosol. Additional plant ingredients help to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, soften and rejuvenate skin. The addition of the wildly popular hyroluronic acid helps the skin retain moisture and appear smoother.

My bottle has a spritz applicator although the current packaging does not. As I mention in the video, the product can either be applied with a cotton pad or cotton ball, or be transferred into a spray bottle if that is your preferred application method.

As of this writing, Amazon is currently selling the product for $28.00 with free shipping. 100% Pure also periodically runs sales through their website which might help you to find the product at a discount. Sign up for email alerts from 100% Pure to be alerted to sales and promotions.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Organic Aloe Juice)*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Extracts of Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula Hydrosol) Flower, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Flower, Echinacea Purpurea (Echinacea), Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Hyssopus Officinalis (Hyssop) and Lonicera Caprifolium Flower and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle), Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine Essential Oil), Hyaluronic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol**, Benzyl Benzoate**, Linalool**
Certified Organic ** Component of Natural Essential Oil

3. 1000 Roses Moroccan Beauty Oil by Andalou Naturals (1 oz., $19.95). I am a huge fan of adding oils to my skincare routine. They give a wonderful boost to my normal-to-dry skin. Individuals with combination-to-oily complexions often focus attention on trying to remove oil from the skin, but stripping the skin of oil can have the opposite effect. The skin’s sebaceous glands can respond by kicking into overdrive, producing even more oil.

Andalou Natural’s 1000 Roses Moroccan Beauty Oil is designed to be gentle enough for sensitive skin. The product is vegan and cruelty-free, in addition to being gluten free and non-GMO certified. As always, I add these certifications as information, but they alone are not guarantees of product quality. The ingredients are the best place to look for clues about product quality and efficacy.

The Moroccan Beauty Oil uses a base of gentle, neutral oils including sunflower oil and jojoba oil. In addition to having many benefits to the skin, these oils are relatively inexpensive, keeping the product cost down. The sunflower and jojoba oils are fortified with a host of other beneficial oils and botanicals including antioxidant-rich rosehip and cranberry oils, as well as pomegranate and argan to help regenerate and balance the skin.

The lightweight oil feels absolutely gorgeous on the skin, and the rich rose scent is lush and beautiful. I love everything about this oil from the packaging and ingredients to the results and the price. The complete ingredients are:

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba), Rosa Canina (Rosehip), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry), Camelina Sativa, Argania Spinsosa (Argan) and Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oils*, Fruit Stem Cells (Alpine Rose, Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Soothing Complex: [Hyaluronic Acid, Magnolia Officinalis Bark, Phoenix Dactylifera (Date) Leaf Cell and Boswellia Serrata (Boswellin) Extracts], Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) and Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos)*^, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) and Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oils*, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Oil

Non-GMO verified *Organic ^Fair Trade

You can purchase the product directly from Andalou Naturals. The $19.95 retail price is very affordable relative to many other skin oils. Of course, if you are looking to stretch your green beauty dollar (and who isn’t?), Amazon is selling the oil for $14.49 with free Prime shipping. Vitacost is currently selling the Moroccan Beauty oil for $15.96. Use this link for $10 off your first Vitacost purchase for more savings. The product is even less through Frontier Co-Op’s Wholesale program, although membership is required to purchase at Wholesale prices. For more about Frontier Co-Op, look here.

4. Hemp Facial Cream, English Daisy by The Wonder Seed (2.4 oz., $16.95). This product is also 100% vegan & cruelty free. The formulation is a reasonably lightweight emulsion of water, hemp and grape seed oils, and aloe vera, boosted by many additional botanicals. Hemp seed oil, which serves as the foundation for all of The Wonder Seed’s products, is very rich in essential fatty acids and can help to address various skin issues like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.

I like that the cream absorbs easily and has a gender-neutral scent, owed to the English daisy essential oil. I have encouraged Rich to use it after shaving. I have been using it on my neck and dellecotage in the evenings and anticipate that I will use it even more in the summer months when my skin benefits from a lighter moisturizer. I think that it is a great option for normal, combination, and oily skin types seeking an economical green option. The complete ingredients list can be seen below.

Purified Water (Aqua), Virgin Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Aloe Vera, English Daisy Essential Oil, Organic Green Tea Extract, Glycerin (Vegetable), Behenic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Ginseng Extract, Mandarin White Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sorbitan Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Soybean Oil, Vegetable Glyceryl Stearate (Natural Plant Based), Chamomile Extract, Borage Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol (Coconut Oil Based), Retinyl Palmitate (Natural Plant Based), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Hyaluronic Acid (Natural Plant Based), Geranium Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Dextrin, Stearyl Alcohol (Natural Plant Based), Lauric Oil Extract, Wolf Berry Extract, Soluble Natural Plant Collagen, Potassium Sorbate (Natural Plant Based), Nutmeg Oil Extract, Sea Salt

This cream seems to be a little-known product at this point. Amazon looked like the most readily-available and fast retail option at $16.95 with free prime shipping.

I love discovering new green beauty products that perform well. I think that the secret is not only avoiding harmful ingredients, but including powerful plant-based ingredients that provide benefits to the skin. As with conventional skin care products, price and performance varies. I hope that the above selections represent a price range that will be accessible to many seeking greener options and will provide a level of performance that is well worth every penny.

To see my other green beauty reviews, take a look here. To discover new products in future reviews, subscribe to Crunchy Parent and the Crunchy Parent YouTube channel, and follow Crunchy Parent at your favorite social media outlet; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. If you have requests or suggestions for future green beauty reviews, please let me know.

All of these products were purchased by me and have been used by me over time with results that I have been pleased with. This post has not been sponsored by any of the brands featured, although it may contain affiliate links.

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The Cosmic Box Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-July 2015 (relaxation)

The Cosmic Box July 2015 Box

The Cosmic Box is a recently launched 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. The July box sales supported the charity Wild Aid, whose mission is to end illegal wildlife trading.

Boxes cost $29 per month, which includes shipping, and are less with multi-month subscriptions. Right now, first time subscribers can use the code FIRSTBOX to receive 20% off of their first month’s subscription.

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 which features my sweet middle child this month, 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 in a small box, distinguished by a cute owl “The Cosmic Box” sticker. Everything arrived to me safe and intact. The July box featured a relaxation theme.
As you can see in the video, one of the first things that I noticed upon opening the box was how wonderful it all smelled. I am very sensitive and responsive to scents. I love subscribing to crunchy-friendly subscription boxes, knowing that the great smells will be all-natural and not headache-inducing for me. I always enjoy taking that first sniff of every box. This one was really fantastic, and did trigger a relaxed and happy vibe. The box smelled like sassafras, lemon grass, and other such deliciousness.
The Cosmic Box July 2015 Free GWP

I had only recently discovered The Cosmic Box, but when I stumbled across them they were advertising a promotion for a free pair of handcrafted earrings with a new subscription. I could not pass it up, and was thrilled when I opened the box and found these beautiful copper lotus petal earrings from Bright Star & Buffalo (value $25.00). They are delicate, nature-themed, and completely my style. This promotion is no longer available and this free gift with purchase was not included in all of the July boxes. What was included in all of the July boxes was an information card describing the box contents and letting you know where you can follow The Cosmic Box on social media.

The Cosmic Box July 2015 sweetgrass and tea

Among the first items that I saw in the box was a long braid of what appeared to be dried grass, but smelled far better than any grass I’ve even encountered. It turns out that it was a 12” braid of Washington grown sweetgrass, something that I had never seen before. According to The Cosmic Box’s website, sweetgrass has been enjoyed historically for it’s calming, clearing and spiritual properties. They describe the scent as sweet, warm, and vanilla-like, although I personally thought that it smelled sweet and mildly woodsy with a hint of licorice. The Cosmic Box recommend using the sweetgrass for smudging, or for just resting in a bowl. I did try lighting the sweetgrass, but did not find the smoke to be as fragrant or pleasant as the dried grass itself. That said, after seeing this Organic Authority article that The Cosmic Box mentioned on their site, I realize that I did not follow the proper sweetgrass smudging instructions. I may have burned a part of the braid that was too dry to provide a fragrant smoke. I will need to try again. I do not know the exact value of the sweetgrass included in the box, but I found this source, suggesting an approximate retail value of $1.30 for a single braid.

Also discovered in the box was a deluxe sample size tin of six pyramid-shaped, compostable tea bags by indie brand Flying Bird Botanicals. The Peaceful Spirit tea is mixed by hand; blending organic and wild crafted herbs such as lemon balm, rosemary, and gotu kola, which is then packaged in a recyclable tin (value, $9.00) The Cosmic Box also included a code for 10% off purchases at Flying Bird Botanicals.

The Cosmic Box July 2015 serum and candle

The next item in the box was Blissoma’s Stress Relief Serum (full size, value $10.99). Packaged in a glass roll-on vial, this blend is perfect to pop in my purse to have on-hand when I need a bit of calm. According to Blissoma, the serum blends three forms of chamomile with peppermint, lavender, and ginger to help cool and calm. It is recommended to ease muscle tension and headaches. I grabbed for it when I was feeling a headache coming on the other day and applied it to my temples and at the base of my head. After rubbing it in a bit, I found the cooling sensation and the uplifting fragrance helpful. As an aside, one of the three forms of chamomile used in the serum is chamomile CO2. If you watched my recent Kings Road Apothecary unboxing, you know that I spied coconut CO2 in the ingredients there. According to the Blissoma site, the CO2 extract is the most true, concentrated, and clean essence of a plant. It seems to be the latest, greatest plant ingredient that is just popping up everywhere.

The final treasure that I again smelled before I saw, was a small tea light candle (approx. .5 oz.; value $2.50) by indie brand House of Good Juju. Handcrafted during the New Moon, the Aura Cleansing candle blends soy wax with dried herbs, crystals, and essential oils. It is designed to help balance and cleanse your aura to allow for better flow of positive energy. This candle was beautiful and smelled divine. I personally recognized the lemongrass scent as a standout as it is one of my favorite scents. I said in the video that I was going to wait to burn the candle until after our move next month but I just couldn’t. I lit the candle while writing this review and enjoyed the scent greatly. I will look forward to using this in our new home when I feel a need for balancing or to prepare for yoga or meditation. Interestingly, this same Aura Cleansing tea light from House of Good Juju was also included as a bonus item in the current BuddhiBox Jewelry subscription box. It is unusual for two identical items to overlap in subscription boxes at the same time, so I thought that was noteworthy, although certainly not a big deal. The Cosmic Box also included a code for 10% off purchases at House of Good Juju.

The Cosmic Box appears to be another option among the growing trend of subscription boxes focused on positive energy, natural healing, and zen. I thought that the box was well curated and represented the relaxation theme, in addition to The Cosmic Box’s overall mission. I like that The Cosmic Box gives a portion of the sale of each box to charity, and would love to see a little information about the chosen charity included in the box. I think that it can be easy to forget the charity piece when unboxing if it is not mentioned, and it is such a nice part of the box’s concept.

The overall value of this month’s box, excluding my free promotional gift was approximately $23.79, which is lower than I’d like to see for the $29.00 purchase price. The free gift promotion more than doubled the value of the box, however so I do feel like I got very good value in that respect. Despite the less-than-impressive dollar value, I really liked everything included in the box and thought that it was a good fit for my lifestyle. I have already put many of the items to use and discovered new brands that I probably would not have found otherwise. Not only is The Cosmic Box an indie subscription box option, but they appear to go out of their way to promote other indie businesses. As with making conscious choices to support small business, indie subscription boxes mean that you are often supporting an individual or family-owned business. The Cosmic Box seems to strive to go a step beyond by paying the small business concept forward to other indie brands and to promote charities as well. I think that this adds “cosmic” value to the purchase. I am curious to learn more about this box in the months ahead. What did you think about the July Cosmic Box?

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!

**Note, item value for the House of Good Juju candle was provided to by Kat, founder of The Cosmic Box, for the purpose of reporting in this review**

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