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

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes Luxury Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review April 2016

About Beauty Heroes

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 from a premier green beauty brand. They often also include a smaller bonus item from the featured brand as well (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 features the best in luxe green beauty skincare, hair, and body care items; occasionally highlighting non-toxic cosmetic items as well.

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. This month’s box is available for purchase through April 20th and while supplies last.

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.

Beauty Heroes: April Unboxed

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 was not the only one in the house drawn to the Beauty Heroes box. The kids were home for spring break when I did the unboxing. Asher popped into the room for a quick photobomb, and watched the unboxing from the wings.

Beauty Heroes April 2016 Asher photobomb

When I opened the box, I found pale silver tissue enveloping this month’s products as well as a sparkly turquoise Beauty Heroes mask. Beauty Heroes also sent a detailed 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 True Nature Botanicals. I had seen True Nature Botanicals and their products at A Night for Green Beauty last summer, and had tried their Lip Treatment in the past, but I still did not know much about the story behind the brand.

True Nature Botanicals was founded by Hillary Peterson, a thyroid cancer and melanoma survivor. Hillary was driven to create a line of skin, hair, and body care products that would be effective, use the highest quality ingredients, and completely avoid toxins. True Nature Botanicals uses independent clinical studies to assess the efficacy of many of their most popular products. With an eye on the purpose and power of high quality botanical ingredients, True Nature Botanicals spends upwards of five times more on their product ingredients than leading luxury skincare and perfume brands. As a cancer survivor with an intense respect for plants and their ability to nourish and support, I was excited to sample more products from this brand.

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes True Nature Botanicals Exfoliating Moisture Mask April 2016

The superhero item featured this month is a full size jar of the Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask (1.7 oz., value $90.00). I adore face masks so I was especially excited to see this selection. The Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask is all about brightening and hydrating the skin. The mask had a lightweight consistency and was almost gel-like on the skin. Meant to be applied as a thin layer and left on for a few minutes or more, this mask offers a quick way to give your skin a real pick-me-up. The formulation is packed with powerful natural ingredients and absolutely no fillers. It uses lactic acid to actively exfoliate and moisturize, as well as a host of natural butters and oils to bathe the skin in vitamins, nutrients, and hydration.

Beauty Heroes April 2016 True Nature Botanicals Exfoliating Moisture Mask Closeup

I’ve used the mask twice in the week since receiving the box and I love the results. It is an active mask; you can really feel the lactic acid working hard to exfoliate the skin. Individuals with sensitive skin may wish to do a small patch test before trying the mask, and may err on the side of caution by leaving the mask on for a shorter period of time. The mask can be used for just a few minutes or as long as fifteen minutes. I tried both longer and shorter durations and my skin was fine with either one. I really loved that the mask provides the option of a facial treatment that can be done even in just a few minutes when you are short on time, but in need of some skin pampering.

The mask itself has a pleasant fragrance. I found the sweet floral smell of the neroli oil to be the most pronounced scent. Of course, what I loved the very most about the mask was the way that my skin felt after its use. The mask left my skin feeling buttery soft and smelling faintly of orange blossoms. It was such a luxurious feeling and I had to stop myself from petting my face (which did not stop me from prompting my other family members to touch it to experience how soft it felt). In the true spirit of the Beauty Heroes pairing, this superhero product was made even better with the help of the sidekick product included this month.

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes April 2016 True Nature Botanicals exfoliating moisture mask & face oil

The sidekick item this month was a trial size bottle of the True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Oil (size not listed, stated value $28.00). The face oil blends together an impressive list of natural ingredients from land and sea. It features familiar skincare botanicals such as argan, hemp, avocado and grapeseed oils, as well as more esoteric ingredients such as watermelon seed, kiwi seed, red pine needle, and passionfruit oils.

Beauty Heroes April 2016 True Nature Botanicals face oil review-closeup

The face oil is exceptionally lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin. My face just wanted to drink in this oil, especially following the use of the Exfoliating Moisture Mask. The oil has a gorgeous lightly floral scent that barely lingers on the skin. True Nature Botanicals’ clinical trial results have shown the face oil to be superior to Creme de La Mer across every aspect measured, from reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size to increases in hydration, smoothness, and elasticity. I’m looking forward to seeing how the oil benefits my skin over time. In the meantime, I will appreciate the incredible scent and feel of the product, and how soft it leaves my skin.

Beauty Heroes April 2016 unboxing & reviewcloseup

April Beauty Heroes Box: Overall Impressions

I think that Beauty Heroes hit it out of the park once again this month. I absolutely adore both of the items that were included in this month’s box and know that I will use every drop of them. I continue to be impressed with Beauty Heroes’s ability to bring some of the absolute best luxury green beauty brands to their subscribers each month, and to deliver such incredible value.

This month’s box featuring two products from True Nature Botanicals had a total value of $118.00 for the $39.00 box price. That represents a savings of over 65% off of the product retail price. I continue to be thrilled by Beauty Heroes’s ability to deliver such high quality products at an absolutely amazing value. Jeannie Jarnot, the founder of Beauty Heroes, has an obvious talent for finding and collaborating with outstanding green beauty brands. As mentioned in the video, she is also an advisor to the Indie Beauty Expo, which is coming to both coasts in the months ahead. If you are a green beauty fan and you want to meet many of these amazing brands, you can learn more about the event here.

Once again, if you are interested in this month’s box it is still available for purchase through April 20th as long as supplies last. Subscription purchases made after April 20th will begin with the May 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. 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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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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Beauty Heroes Luxury Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing and Review: March, 2016 featuring SkinOwl

Crunchy Parent Beauty Heroes Luxury Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review March 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. Beginning with this month’s box, Beauty Heroes will be featuring the best in luxe green beauty cosmetic items in addition to their previous concentration on non-toxic skincare, hair, and body care items. This box is available for purchase through March 20th and while supplies last.

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.

As always, I was thrilled to see the box with the big, bright “Beauty Heroes” label on my doorstep. I opened it to find an enclosure reviewing the brand and products highlighted, as well a handy pocket guide listing both villain and superpower ingredients to notice in cosmetic, skincare, and beauty products.

Beauty Heroes March 2016 Skin Owl Beauty Drops PM

Superhero Product:
This month’s expert selection comes from the brand SkinOwl. SkinOwl was a new brand discovery to me, and a reminder of one of the many reasons why I love receiving Beauty Heroes. I know that when introduced to a new brand through them, Beauty Heroes has already done all of the legwork to ensure that the brand and their products meet exceptionally high standards for using high quality, nourishing ingredients that will not be harmful to my body or my planet.

Beauty Heroes did a fantastic Q&A session with Annie Tevelin, the founder of SkinOwl. Annie began her career as a makeup artist. Frustrated by the lack of results achieved with conventional skincare products, Annie sought out help with her eczema and severe acne education and certification in Cosmetic Chemistry. Through this experience she gained appreciation for the importance of the ingredients in skincare products rather than the marketing spin. Annie appreciates simplicity in her formulations; highlighting one or two star ingredients with a supportive cast as needed. She appreciates a less is more philosophy what it comes to her products. In keeping with a respect for ingredients, SkinOwl is mindful to use only ethically and sustainably harvested ingredients; organic and cold pressed oils; and essential oils of the highest quality.

Having learned more about SkinOwl, I was excited to see the products that Beauty Heroes had selected for its subscribers this month.

This superhero product selection for March is a full-size glass bottle of SkinOwl’s Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM (2 oz., $85.00). The deliciously simple blend of boabab and mangosteen oils works to support skin health by healing free radical damage. The naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral oils also soothe skin and reduce inflammation, working to improve blemished or chronically dry skin. The oil feels exceptionally lightweight on the skin and absorbed very quickly after use. I loved the lightly sweet, fruity scent of the oil and how soft it left my skin. I look forward to seeing how my skin responds to the oil over time and will report back with a more complete green beauty review of this gorgeous product. I must admit that the idea of “beauty sleep in a bottle” is a very appealing one to this mom of three who still sees sleep as a precious, and sometimes elusive, commodity.

Beauty Heroes March 2016 featuring SkinOwl Beauty Drops pm & Heroic Helichrysum Beauty Steam

Sidekick:
Beauty Heroes added another level of skin pampering to this month’s box by including a sample sized bottle of the SkinOwl Heroic Helichrysum Beauty Steam as a sidekick product (.6 oz., $14.40). I could not find the exact product on the SkinOwl site, but they do have this similar, Marigold Glow Beauty Steam in their shop. This absolutely beautiful blend of flower petals and herbs is designed to be added to boiling water and then used to gently steam the face. SkinOwl adds that after steaming, the warm tea can be applied to the face with a cloth, blanketing the skin in a nourishing compress of botanical benefits. Botanical steams and compresses have been emerging as a highly regarded, and nurturing skincare practice. I look forward to trying out this ritual. The sheer gorgeousness of the flower buds, petals, and herbs inspires appreciation for beauty and serenity.

Beauty Heroes March 2016 SkinOwl Heroic Helichrysum Beauty Steam close up

I could not find the Heroic Helichrysum ingredients listed anywhere, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it probably includes helichrysum, a flower believed to help heal wounds, even skin tone, and relieve inflammation (more on helichrysum here). I was also able to identify lavender buds and rose petals in the blend. I hesitate to guess at the other green leafy bits as many dried plants can look the same all chopped up, but I am confident given SkinOwl’s focus on ingredient efficacy that the blend will be a gift to my skin.

Beauty Heroes March 2016 unboxing & Review featuring SkinOwl

Final Thoughts:
This month’s box featuring SkinOwl products had a total value of $99.40. I continue to absolutely amazed by the value that Beauty Heroes provides each month for a $39.00 subscription. Once again, if you are interested in this month’s box it is still available for purchase through March 20th as long as supplies last. Subscription purchases made after March 20th will begin with the April box.

As I mention in the video, I am feeling a great deal of conflict about Beauty Heroes at the moment. They are without question one of my favorite subscription boxes of all time. I think that the work that they do to bring effective, safe, and conscious green beauty to their subscribers is outstanding. Moreover, I love that they educate their customers about ingredients to allow them to become more knowledgeable green beauty consumers. Lastly, the focus on luxury green beauty brands at an accessible price makes me truly feel pampered every month when I open the box, and every day when I use products that have made their way to my home through Beauty Heroes.

The conflict comes from my desire to introduce Crunchy Parent readers and viewers to a range of naturally-oriented subscription boxes across genres such as food, craft, children, green beauty, and more. Although I wish that I had the budget to add more boxes each month, I do not. I need to occasionally discontinue a subscription so that I can add something new. It’s breaking my heart a bit to think about a month without Beauty Heroes, but I think that a hiatus is probably in the near future so that I can focus the “bloggy subscription box budget” elsewhere for a bit.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about SkinOwl and Beauty Heroes. Have you ever tried a beauty steam or facial compress before? If you have any tips please leave them in the comments.

If you would like to see my most recent listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To keep up with all the Crunchy Parent happenings, be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com and the Crunchy Parent YouTube channel and visit me on Facebook Pinterest and Twitter!

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Vegan Cuts Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review: February 2016

Crunchy Parent Vegan Cuts Beauty Box Unboxing & Review February 2016

The Vegan Cuts Beauty Box is a monthly subscription service that sends 4-7 vegan, cruelty-free cosmetic and skincare items in each box. Products are a mix of full and sample sizes. Items are paraben-free and are often organic and natural.

Boxes cost $22.95 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 my February 2016 Vegan Cuts 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.

Each month, Vegan Cuts includes an information card that provides photos, a brief description, and valuing information for all items in the box. The card also included the code FEBBEAUTY for $10 off any purchase of $50 or more at Vegan Cuts Beauty Shop. I think that Vegan Cuts (and their sister subscription company Goddess Provisions) have some of the best looking information cards that I’ve seen.

Vegan cuts beauty subscription February 2016 harvey prince parfum and 100% pure eyeshadow creamstick

The first item that I saw this month was a Harvey Prince Eau de Perfume mini roller in Madagascar Vanilla (8.8 ml, $23.00). Subscribers may have received this scent, or another variety of the Harvey Prince mini rollers. I have received Harvey Prince products from subscription boxes the past. Unfortunately, although I liked the scents that they offered, I tended to get headaches when I used them, which is my typical reaction to artificial fragrances.

In 2015, Harvey Prince re-branded themselves as Harvey Prince Organics. The “Organic” term technically holds no real meaning in the cosmetic industry unless paired with some sort of certification from an established agency. That said, in referencing the rebranding, the Harvey Prince website states,“We take great pride in using only the best essential oils and finest natural ingredients for each note in every scent, with no toxic chemicals still found in many commonly used perfumes.” and “…never compromise our belief that all beauty products should be cruelty free and organic.” Given that information, I am not sure if they have reformulated their products to remove synthetic fragrances. The ingredients still list parfum/fragrance as opposed to essential oils so I’m unclear about how that relates to the above statement about essential oils and finest natural ingredients.

Harvey Prince Eau de Parfum leaked in February Vegan Cuts Beauty Box

As you can see on the video and in the photos, the bottle that I received had leaked significantly during shipping. I reached out the Vegan Cuts through their website and completed a short form about having received a damaged item. Vegan Cuts responded promptly with an offer to send a full replacement box, which I received several days later. I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with this level of customer service.

The next item in the box was one that had been released in the Vegan Cuts preview video for the month; a dual eye creamstick liner from 100% Pure (2.6g, $25.00). Vegan Cuts lists the value of this product as $18.00 on their card, but the product is $25.00 on the 100% Pure site for the same size and colors so I am deferring to that value. Subscribers received one of two color combinations of this dual-purpose product that can be used as an eye-liner or eye shadow. The formulation blends nourishing natural butters and waxes along with sea minerals, minerals, fruit powers, and tea to create these beautiful and natural shades. I typically use powdered mineral eye products, but look forward to trying out this creamstick. The colors are beautiful and very wearable, and I like the idea of a stick application. I often find that despite my steadiest hand, I inevitably drop a speck of mineral powder during application and end up with pigment on my face where it doesn’t belong. I suspect that I will quickly warm up to the ease of application offered in this product.

Vegan Cuts The Wonder Seed Facial Cream and Tara Smith hair serum

The next item to catch my eye was a deluxe sample-sized, pump bottle of Tara Smith Base Coat Serum emblazoned with a bright pink exotic bird (25 ml, $13.00). This serum is designed to smooth and add shine to hair; to control frizz without weighing hair down.

The product is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. The website states, “Every product is free from animal-derived ingredients, parabens, SLES, glycols, phthalates, PEGS, artificial coloring, and synthetic fragrances.” The linked product page as well as the bottle label also boasts botanical ingredients like starflower seed extract and Tegosoft CT coconut oil to smooth and hydrate hair, although I do not see these ingredients listed on the actual product. According to the bottle the ingredients are:

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconal, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Borago (Borage) Seed Oil, Fragrance/Parfum, Linalool, Limonene

I’m guessed that the Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride must be the referenced Tegosoft CT coconut oil, but I had to Google to figure out that borage seed oil is code for starflower seed extract. I’m also surprised to see a second product in the box claiming to not use synthetic fragrance but sampling listing fragrance/parfum on the bottle. I know that I always assume that fragrance in an ingredient list means synthetic. I applaud these brands and their conscious movement to select natural ingredients, but I’d love to see it made clearer on the labels (e.g., natural fragrance, essential oil, etc.)

The final item in the box was a full size tube of The Wonder Seed’s Hemp Facial Cream, English Daisy (2.4 oz. $16.95). I had heard of this brand, built around hemp seed as their signature ingredient. I had been eager to try their products so I was excited to see this one included as a sneak peek item for the February box. The facial cream is absolutely packed with botanical ingredients. I couldn’t pick out just a handful of ingredients to highlight, so here they are in full:

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

The cream is also free from gluten, parabens, synthetic dyes or fragrances, and sulfates in addition to being vegan and cruelty free. I would say that the cream has a clean, almost soap-like scent. It is a lightweight cream that absorbs quickly, yet left my skin feeling noticeably softer and more moisturized. I can see this being a good formulation for me during the spring and summer months. I also might suggest that Rich give it a try. The scent is gender-neutral and I think it would provide a perfect amount of moisture for his skin. The tube is a very generous size at 2.4 oz., especially given the price. I imagine that it will last me a long time.

I was very pleased with this box by Vegan Cuts. I especially liked the well-rounded curation. The box included an item for haircare, skincare, cosmetics, and fragrance. Although I am still a little confused about the synthetic versus natural fragrances used in some of the products, all of the items focused attention on emphasizing more natural ingredients, which is already a step in the right direction. I also need to remind myself that Vegan Cuts is foremost a box for vegan and cruelty-free beauty items. Many of the items also contain natural ingredients, but that is not the primary focus of the box (just a frequent added bonus). Vegan Cuts’ sister company, Goddess Provisions offers a lifestyle box where the beauty items are cruelty-free, vegan, and natural, and I love that box too (see Goddess Provisions reviews here).

The overall value of this month’s box is The value of this month’s box is $77.95. I think that this is an amazing value for the $22.95 box price. I also appreciate that the items were all full size or generous deluxe-sample sizes that will allow me to get a good sense of product performance over an extended period of time. I think that the Wonder Seed cream is my favorite new discovery in the box so far. Did you find a new favorite in this month’s Vegan Cuts? If you would like to see my reviews of past Vegan Cuts Beauty Boxes, look here.

If you are curious to learn about the March Vegan Cuts box, they have released a sneak-peek video that reveals two fantastic spoiler items. Among other items, the box will include a travel size bottle of Dermorganic 8 way Thermal Spray (value $10.00) and a full size rollerball of Pacifica’s new fragrance, Tunisian Jasmine Lime (value $12.00). I love Pacifica rollerballs, and I have been looking forward to trying this new fragrance.

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.

To keep up with all the Crunchy Parent happenings, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com and the Crunchy Parent YouTube channel and visit me on Facebook Pinterest and Twitter!

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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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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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PureBox Indie Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

CrunchyParent PureBox Indie Green Beauty Subscription Unboxing and Review November 2015

PureBox is a recently launched subscription service, just added to the fall update to the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. Created by the owner of the online green beauty shop, Devine Beauty Emporium, PureBox sends a monthly collection of carefully screened and curated handmade, natural, organic, indie products for skin, hair, and body. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full-size and deluxe sample sized items from one or two featured green beauty brands each month (and sometimes some additional samples sneak in too). Retail values for each box will average $60-$80. PureBox strives to introduce subscribers to lesser-known indie brands that are true gems.

Boxes cost $39.00 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions, and all subscribers receive 10% off of any future product purchases from Devine Beauty Emporium. Use the code PURECRUNCHY for $10 off your first box when you sign up for a subscription. As of this writing, about 20 boxes remain for November, so if you want to receive the box reviewed, do not hesitate. Once November boxes are gone, new subscribers will need to wait to receive December’s box.

PureBox kindly sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own.

If you would like to see the live-action PureBox unboxing, featuring my budding, green-beauty-appreciator, Eva 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 cardboard shipping box with the actual PureBox inside. Everything was received intact and leak-free. I liked the PureBox flower stamp on the box lid’s top and underside, as well as on the bright pink tissue. There was definite care taken with the wrapping and presentation; it felt like a special gift waiting to be opened.

PureBox indie natural skincare and beauty subscription box

Purebox included an elegant enclosure card. This month’s box focused on highlighting two brands, and the enclosure card dedicated one side to each brand and their products. As always, I quickly set the card aside so as not to spoil any surprises when unboxing. I was eager to dig in. The card came in handy later when I was all ready to try my new goodies.

PureBox Zabana Essentials natural deodorant & bath soak

The first items that I pulled out of the box came from Zabana Essentials, an indie brand that was new to me. I was so impressed with this brand that I will be reviewing several of their products more extensively in a post to come. The first Zabana Essentials product that I grabbed was a positively adorable mini deodorant stick (value $5.95). In addition to being being precious, the lemongrass nectar deodorant is 100% natural, vegan, and free from baking soda. Some people find that baking soda can throw off the ph-balance of their skin and cause irritation over time, so it is always nice to find effective options that are baking soda-free. I loved the lemongrass scent, and have received several compliments on my deodorant since using this product. I think that is a first for me, and I have to get used to saying “it’s my deodorant!” with pride when strangers sniff me and ask what smells so good.

Bath Soak closeup to show gorgeous rose petal and eucalyptus leaf bits.

Bath Soak closeup to show gorgeous rose petal and eucalyptus leaf bits.

The next discovery was a deluxe sample bottle of Zabana Essentials geranium eucalyptus Bath Soak (4 oz., approximate value $3.25). The bath soak blends dead sea salt and epsom salt to help soothe muscles. The formula is enriched with coconut oil to soften, essential oils to fragrance, and bits of petals and leaves to add beauty to the experience. I was blown away by the gorgeous fragrance. The eucalyptus grounded the sweetness of the geranium, and the geranium softened the assertiveness of the eucalyptus. It was magical.

PureBox Zabana Essentials bath bomb and armpit detox bar

As a lover of relaxing baths, I was thrilled to see the next item, a Zabana Essentials Rose Bath Bomb (value, $4.95). Also made from a mix of salts, oils, and botanicals, the bath bomb supercharges the bathing experience with the addition of citric acid, causing the bomb to fizz and bubble upon being tossed in the tub. Eva was having a rough night the day that we did the unboxing. I offered her the bath bomb, and her whole mood was turned around after a nice hot bath with the flowery, fizzy bomb. As much as I would have loved to horde the bomb for my own use, seeing it bring a smile to her face and ease her spirit was a far better gift for me.

Prior to using the bath products, I was a bit concerned about the pieces of plant material damaging the tub jets or drain. I popped the bomb and the salt into a stocking before putting each one in the tub. Shanell, the creative spirit behind Zabana Essentials, suggested tying the product up within a cotton square or in a muslin drawstring bag if there was desire to minimize cleanup and to protect jets or drains. I thought that these suggestions were brilliant; bathe on everyone!

Coconut Charcoal and Clay Armpit Detox Bar closeup

Coconut Charcoal and Clay Armpit Detox Bar closeup

The final Zabana Essentials item was a product unlike any that I had seen before, their Coconut Charcoal and Clay Armpit Detox Bar (approximately 1 oz., estimated value $1.75). A common complaint heard when people try to make a change from a conventional deodorant/antiperspirant to a more natural deodorant option, is that the natural options just don’t control odor well. Zabana Essentials’ detox bar helps to unclog pores hampered by conventional deodorant use. The coconut charcoal and clay clear out the funk to ease the transition to more natural products, or to provide an armpit refresh whenever needed.

Sweet Sisters sample packets of skincare

I was excited to move onto the second course in my PureBox, but first I delighted in the palette cleanser. PureBox included three foil sample packets from Sweet Sisters, another brand that was a new discovery for me. The value of these was a little tricky to estimate since no size was listed, but Stephanie of PureBox shared that she values these at $6.00 total. She also added that although my preview box had three sample packets, November box recipients will actually receive four sample packets from Sweet Sisters with a total value of $8.00. Although I generally do not like messing around with foil packets, I welcome the chance to have a little taste of a new green beauty product line. I think that these would be great to toss into a travel bag, and I look forward to giving the line a try.

Biodara Travelers Set in PureBox

The final surprise from PureBox was actually a trio of items in the form of the Biodara Traveler Set (value $32.00). Biodara is a luxury green beauty line blending organic and wildcrafted ingredients to create their skincare products. The Traveler Set included their Luminous Cleansing Oil, Immortal Mist, and a muslin cloth to gently cleanse, exfoliate, and hydrate. It took me a little while to adjust to the cleansing oil. It is a bit heavier than most that I have used in the past, presumably due to the castor oil in the blend. That said, after the initial use, I found that my appreciation for the product grew. I prefer using it in the evening when my skin can soak up the benefit of a more moisturizing product overnight. I noticed that it left my skin soft and looking refreshed and bright by the next morning. The gentle, botanical fragrances of the cleansing oil and the of the rejuvenating mist are just beautiful and added to the luxurious sensory experience.

PureBox November Green Beauty Subscription Box Unboxing & Review Crunchy Parent

I calculated the overall value of the box to be $55.90, including the values provided for four foil packets. This is a bit less than the expected average box value suggested on the PureBox site; however I think that the amount, variety, and quality of products received was exceptional. I was actually surprised when I crunched the numbers that the total retail value was not higher. I think that this speaks to the balance that PureBox provides by representing quality green beauty brands at various price points. I am a tremendous appreciator of luxury, high-end green beauty. I love that as a society we are coming to realize that natural can be luxe and decadent and yield gorgeous results just as well or even better than conventional luxury beauty brands. Likewise, I am thrilled to discover brands that have found a way to bring a high quality, effective, natural product to consumers at a price point that is more broadly accessible to any green beauty fan. Biodara and Zabana Essentials are both brands that I was happy to be introduced to in the box, and I know that I have used or will use every item that PureBox included.

I continue to be amazed and grateful for the growth in “green lifestyle” subscription box genre in recent years. PureBox is an exciting new subscription with great potential for people who want to discover and become well-acquainted with several products from lesser-known green beauty brand lines. People often balk at the cost of changing from conventional to green beauty products, and PureBox does a great service by curating boxes that showcase green beauty brands representing different price points for their subscribers. I look forward to seeing how this subscription continues to grow in the months ahead. Are you going to grab one of these November boxes before they sell out? Remember to use code PURECRUNCHY for $10 off if you do.

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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Beauty Heroes Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-September 2015

Beauty Heroes natural, green, subscription box

Beauty Heroes is a recently rebranded subscription service (formerly Spa Heroes). The Beauty Heroes mission is to provide products from the best of the best non-toxic, clean, green beauty brands to their customers. Each month Beauty Heroes sends one full size product, sometimes with a bonus surprise. 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 September 15th will receive the September box reviewed here, while supplies last.

When I first discovered Beauty Heroes, I mistakenly thought that they were based in the UK and did not ship to the US (I have no idea why). I was so happy to learn that I was wrong. Beauty Heroes is based in the US and will ship not only to the US but also to the UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and France (see site for details).

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.

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 announcing this month’s expert selection; listing the ingredients and highlighting why it was chosen (more on that in a moment). The enclosure also included an apropos quote 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. I think that this pocket guide would be great to carry around as a reference when shopping for personal care items.

When I lifted up the puff of protective packing shred, I was delighted to see this month’s product mysteriously shrouded in tissue, and decked out in a bright red bow and matching red superhero mask. I thought that it was just adorable and made a clear and lasting impression that some beauty products can be superheroes for our health and beauty, whereas others may not. Tucked in next to my masked superhero product was a faithful “bonus” sidekick.

The brand being highlighted this month is Kahina Giving Beauty. I had become familiar with the brand when researching for A Night for Green Beauty. I had learned that Kahina is a woman-owned company started Katharine L’Heureux after travels to Morocco introduced her to argan oil, a seemingly wondrous skincare ingredient that the Berber women of Morocco have been using for generations to protect their skin against the rough desert conditions. Katharine brought together her years of experience working in public relations for many natural food and beauty brands, along with her philanthropic nature to develop Kahina Giving Beauty. Kahina partnered with the Berber women to establish cooperatives of women to provide high quality argan oil for the beauty line; providing these women with a fair wages and a sustainable source of income. For more on this incredible brand and the story behind their unique packaging, you can see the video above.

Just prior to A Night for Green Beauty I had cashed in Birchbox points that I had been squirreling away and had ordered a number of green beauty products that I wanted to try, including the Kahina facial cleanser. I have been using the cleanser for the last month or so and have been very happy with its efficacy, and its light, natural scent. My skin has been soft and balanced. When Beauty Heroes released its September pick and announced that it would feature a full size Kahina Giving Beauty product with a travel size sidekick, I was sold.

Beauty Heroes September 2015 subscription bo Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum

When I unwrapped my Beauty Hero product, I was gazing at a full size bottle of the Kahina Eye Serum (15 ml, value $78.00). As mentioned, Beauty Heroes had already revealed the box contents, so I knew that this was on the way to me, and I was very eager to try it. I have been on the lookout for a nourishing eye product. I tend to have a lot of darkness under my eyes, which I do not love. I also am very sensitive to eye products. Many of them have left me with scaly patches under my eyes that take a long time to correct. I was on the prowl for a gentle and effective eye serum that would be green and healthy for me as well. Facial and eye serums can be quite an investment so I was grateful to have the opportunity to try this eye serum from a trusted green beauty brand for a discounted price. I will add that a little drop of the serum is plenty for the area around both of my eyes so I can see this bottle lasting a very long time. The serum in light and non-greasy. It absorbs quickly and has a very gentle, natural scent. I have only been using it for a couple of days so I cannot comment much about efficacy, but I will say that the skin around my eyes is very soft and I have not had any sign of the serum drying out the super-sensitive skin under my eyes.

Beauty Heroes non-toxic Kahina Giving Beauty facial lotion

The sidekick product tucked in next to our hero was a generous travel size bottle of Kahina’s Facial Lotion (30 ml, stated value $37.00). This lightweight moisturizer also has a natural, gentle scent. It spread over my skin easily and absorbed quickly on its own, and I liked that I could enrich it even more for evening or dry weather by adding a drop or two of a facial oil (as I am prone to doing because I like to gild lilies). Moreover, in addition to being natural, mildly scented, and pleasant to use, both products came in Kahina’s beautiful dark glass bottle with pump dispensers, allowing me to use just the right amount of product and avoid contamination from the outside world (basically, my fingers).

Beauty Heroes September subscription box Kahina Giving Beauty

I am beyond thrilled with my first Beauty Heroes experience. The product quality, packaging, information, and value were all excellent. I must admit that I get a bit nervous with subscription services that send only one main product each month because it can be quite a gamble. I feel far safer betting on Beauty Heroes after seeing the brands that they have chosen to work with in the past and the extent to which they scrutinize products to make sure that they are sending out the true heroes of green beauty. Their list of avoided villain ingredients is the most extensive that I have seen of any green beauty subscription to date. In addition, Beauty Heroes releases the contents of their monthly box at the start of the month, allowing the month-to-month subscribers to skip the month for whatever reason if they wish (see Beauty Heroes FAQs for details). Beauty Heroes also maintains a shop of products from many of the brands that they have featured. All Beauty Heroes members are offered a 15% discount off of shop purchases at any time. In addition, the hero theme is carried out so brilliantly through the product inserts, consumer education, and packaging. I was right in my video prediction. That mask did make its way into the children’s hands. The next time I went into Asher’s room, I spied Bongo giving me the side eye.

Beauty Heroes mask finds a new superhero

I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences with Beauty Heroes. If you want to get your hands on this fantastic Kahina box, do not delay. You must order on or before Tuesday September 15th to receive this box. Remember to use the code HEROLOVE for $10 off of your first box. Orders placed September 16 or later will receive the October box as their first shipment.

If you would like to see my most recent listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. It does not have Beauty Heroes on the list, but they will be added to the autumn update very soon. 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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Kings Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-August 2015 (Cactus and Cool)

King’s Road Apothecary is a company owned by California herbalist Rebecca Altman. In addition to selling handcrafted seasonal herbal products through her site, Rebecca offers a monthly indie subscription service. Each monthly box features four herbally-based, small-batch, handcrafted items that center around a theme. Box pricing is $53.50 plus shipping each month when ordered individually, but multi-month subscriptions include shipping. The August theme was “Cactus and Cool.” The August box is sold out, but as of this writing there are still a handful of September Surprise boxes available for purchase (more on those in a bit). To see my other Kings Road Apothecary unboxing and reviews from prior months, look here.

Please enjoy the complete unboxing video, during which you may feel compelled to toss slippery elm lozenges or bags of tea at the screen as you listen to me cough my way through the unboxing with a bothersome cold that still lingers. Sorry about that. If you want to better acquaint yourself with some of the herbalism terms that I use throughout the video you can do that through the Crunchy Parent Herbal 101: Glossary of Common and Unusual Herbalism Terms and 50+ Great Ideas for Using Herbs. If you just want to see closeup photos of what was in the box, scroll on down.

The idea behind the KRA Surprise Box is that each month Rebecca picks the theme for the box, gathers plant material local to her that fits with the theme, and takes the month to reflect on the plants and experiment with new recipes for products. Her four favorites end up in the box. I was very excited for this month’s box as I have been really drawn to prickly pear cactus and its remarkable medicinal and skincare uses over the past several months. I am not sure if it is gaining a stronger foothold in our collective consciousness and consequently being used more, or if I am just so taken by it that I have had my eyes out for it everywhere that I go so I’m noting it more often. In any case, I was looking forward to seeing what Rebecca would create this month and to receiving the goodies.

King's Road Apothecary Subscription Box Unboxing Review August 2015 Cactus and Cool

The box came with the entire contents wrapped in a piece of muslin, hand dyed in beautiful shades of purple, berries, and wine. All items were carefully protected with bubble wrap, individually wrapped in coordinated tissue paper, and tied with kitchen twine. In addition to the four herbal items, the box also came with a copy of a watercolor painting of a prickly pear cactus with beautiful bright pink blooms that was penned by Rebecca exclusively for this box. On the back of the drawing was a recipe for prickly pear fruit syrup and a prickly pear margarita. As luck would have it, a local market was having a sale on prickly pear fruit this week, so I have a bag of them ripening up in my kitchen waiting for their big moment to shine in these recipes. I love when my subscription boxes inspire me to try new things and discover new favorites. In addition to the above, the box included a letter from Rebecca describing the box contents, and an invitation to post box images on instagram to enter to win a little gift.

Kings Road Apothecary August Subscription box-cactus & cool

The first item that I pulled from the box was a bag of Prickly Pear and Hibiscus white tea (approximately 1 oz., maybe 2 oz.? I drank several cups before I could weigh it and also made the bag messy before the photo-op. Forgive me). The KRA site indicates that both prickly pear pads and hibiscus are good for soothing and moistening. At the time that I filmed the video I had an irritated, dry throat and nagging cough. Immediately after finishing the video I brewed myself some of this tea and continued to drink it in the days that followed because it helped my throat feel so much better (hence the reason why the bag looked far more full in the video than when I got around to taking the photo-oops).I do not generally drink caffeinated teas because I am often sensitive to caffeine, but I had no problems with this. Likewise, I am not much of a hibiscus fan, but I found the flavor enjoyable and appreciated the medicinal properties of the plant; accepting what it had to offer me with gratitude.

Next in the box was a 1 oz. bottle of Prickly Pear and Rose After Sun Potion. The lightweight gel combines prickly pear with aloe vera, rose, and calendula to provide quick soothing and cooling relief to skin that has been upset by too much sun. Although I have not spent too much time in the sun since receiving the box, I can say that in testing the product, it smells really good. There is a distinct rose presence but also something astringent and not quite citrusy that I cannot put my finger on. Maybe it’s what the inside of a prickly pear pad smells like. I don’t really know (if you do, please tell me because I’m terribly curious. I’m holding myself back from going downstairs to cut open and sniff a prickly pear paddle right now). The product was exclusive to this box and is not available for purchase through the KRA site.

KRA herbal subscription box cactus and cool-prickly pear summer heat relief elixir & prickly pear and sage wound powder

The next product discovery was a 1 oz. bottle of Prickly Pear and Rose Summer Heat Relief formula. Unfortunately the instructions on this bottle were accidentally mislabeled and the ingredients were incomplete (sometimes small-batch products made by human hands will come with the occasional human error; a small price to pay if you ask me). When I reached out the Rebecca, she offered apologies and clarified that the elixir is to be taken at a dose of “3-30 drops, 3 times a day or whenever you’re feeling extra aggravated.” I may have suggested that as a mom of three young kids/tweens I have occasion to feel extra aggravated that is not even related to the summer heat, but I am sure that it is excellent for heat relief too. I can say that the elixir is delicious. I don’t think that I’ll ever get enough of how wonderful rose tastes in anything and everything. I wish that the elixir had arrived a couple of weeks sooner. We spent a sweltering day at a local Renaissance Faire recently, and by the day’s end all of the children were hot, aggravated, and looking like this.

Hot & sweaty day at the Renaissance Faire. Some Summer Heat Relief elixir would have hit the spot I am sure

Hot & sweaty day at the Renaissance Faire. Some Summer Heat Relief elixir would have hit the spot I am sure.

Bet that potion sure would have come in handy, and I would have felt all Renaissance-y talking about getting my herbal elixir from the apothecary to treat our ailments. I know that I will get good use out of this potion on hot days or whenever that hot aggravated feeling sweeps over us. This product was another box exclusive.

The final item was a 1 oz. bottle of Prickly Pear and White Sage Wound Powder. I have been very intrigued by wound powders. I have just recently become aware of them and they are quite unlike anything that I grew up using to treat cuts, scrapes, or burns. I guess that I was more accustomed to using a salve, cream or ointment to treat wounds, so I am finding herbal powders very novel and fascinating. This wound powder blends prickly pear with yarrow, white sage, rose, plantain, and calendula to help fight potential infection and promote healing. I greatly appreciate being able to build an herbal first aid kit and will be happy to grab this the next time that one of us gets a bit banged up. The powder smells fantastic, but I may be biased because I could sit and sniff white sage happily all day long (more on that in a moment too). This item was yet another box exclusive and is not offered for sale at this time.

King's Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Box Unboxing & Review August 2015 Cactus & Cool

I always look forward to my Kings Road Apothecary boxes. I find Rebecca’s creativity to be inspiring and she shares so much of her process and research through her email newsletter as well (signup for the free newsletter here). I love seeing and using her formulas and find them to be delicious, effective, and they all smell wonderful. As I have been subscribing over several months I see how her products have woven their way into my life from my kitchen to my shower, to my first aid kit. I don’t think that there is any other subscription box out there currently that offers a comparable herbal experience month to month. I really enjoy supporting a small business and feel connected to the process by what Rebecca shares with her subscribers as she works on the items throughout the month. This box feels very luxurious to me; handcrafted products that are created exclusively for a small group of subscribers with wildcrafted ingredients at their peak. I don’t think that I could want for better.

I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of the September box, which focuses on what may be two of my very favorite herbal ingredients, at least based on olfactory delight alone. The September box theme is “Pinion and Sagebrush” and is inspired by the plants one would find walking the pinion flats of southern California in the fall. The box is designed to be a sensory experience, with products intended to delight at least four of the five senses. Among the four herbal products included in the box may be any of the following: pinon, white sage, and sagebrush room and body spray; white sage, juniper, and sagebrush smudge sticks; juniper and sagebrush foot cream; juniper, sage, and pinon digestive bitters; pinon and juniper scented candle (with a hint of white sage); wild pinon pine nut liqueur; pinon flat elixir (for lung health); pinon resin infused body oil; pinon and pinon nut caramel black tea; or pinon oxymel.

As a reminder, the KRA boxes are made using wild crafted ingredients. In an effort to support plant sustainability in harvesting, only a limited number of boxes are available each month. Are you going to grab a September box before they sell out? I can only imagine how the whole room will smell when I open that box. I can hardly wait!

If you would like to see my most recent comprehensive 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!

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