Weekly Cheap Secret:

This soap bar is huge! It is so big that it is dangerous. I picked it up at a “health”/natural grocery for like $4. The weather was slightly warming up at the time (in the PNW, this means that it was sunny high-50’s day) and I wanted something fruity-floral. I wanted something different than my usual creamy or spicy shower products. I’ve never heard of the brand before and it isn’t actually made in the south of France. I have since found out that it is sold by hippie grocers and World Market.

The fragrance is a fruity-floral. It is much more pear than it is magnolia. It is a fresh, fruity fragrance that reminds me of sunny summer days. It is a “gritty” pear, it smells ripe. It is made pretty by a very light dose of white florals. The soap bar is gigantic. It was too large to hold safely for like 3 weeks. It eventually broke down into manageable soap slices after about a month of use and being kept out in the shower. (I did not keep this bar in a “safe” place). The bar is 8.8 oz. That is toe breaking big. The soap was long-lasting, especially considering that I kept it out and it was too big to keep in a covered soap dish. I was impressed that it remained evenly fragrant throughout use. Even the last use was highly fragrant. The color of the soap was a pleasing pale Anjou green. It is supposed to be colored with natural pigments. The soap lathered and rinsed nicely without being drying. I just love vegetable oils.

The scent isn”t my favorite scent, but I did like it at that time. I say to give it a try if you like fruity-florals or scents like Marc Jacobs Apple Splash, Harajuku Lovers Music EDT, True Religion EDP, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie EDT, Victoria’s Secret Pear Glace EDT, and/or Pre de Provence Pomme Poire soap. My only complaint and somehow one thing that I like about it, is the size.

The soap is available at a few places and the company’s website. I have since found out on the website that many of the soaps are available in manageable twin packs.

This is a richly lathering skin conditioning bar soap with a mild coconut aroma. It isn’t as fragrant as the Skin Trip Moisturizer in the family, but it does have a lasting fragrance that lasts on the skin after washing. It also leaves my bathroom smelling nicely after a shower. It’s a basic, rich coconut, much more natural smelling than others on the market. I’m trying to say that it smells like a real coconut vs. a B&BW Piña Colada or a dessert coconut creme fragrance. The coconut fragrance hasn’t faded yet. The entire bar is scented evenly. The bar is pretty heavy and contains lots of nourishing oils. For a natural soap, it hasn’t melted away in the shower yet. I feel that it is dense and lasts in comparison to other natural bar soaps. It lathers nicely, this is a plus in the natural market. It isn’t very moisturizing but it isn’t drying. My skin feels squeaky clean like I’ve used an evil corporate bar soap 🙂 but I’m not dried out. Thank you, coconut oil. I really like the soap. I see myself repurchasing it.

The bar is a bit pricey at just under $5. I think it is a nice product for the money. It lathers nicely and it reminds me of trips to the beach, warm, Floridian beaches. I’ve purchased $12 bars of soap that I like less and that have dissolved instantly. It is available at stores like Whole Foods and drugstore.com.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

Humphrey’s Lilac Witch Hazel is a very nice toner. Sure, it isn’t much different than your regular ole’ witch hazel, but it has an amazing springtime fragrance. It may be more expensive than that regular ole’ witch hazel, but it is still a great deal at about $6 for 8 fluid ounces. I think all of the “extras” make up the difference.

This toner contains no alcohol but it still leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed without being “tight”. It contains lots of antioxidants, every tea extract imaginable, and soothing calendula and cucumber. Plus, it has exfoliating enzymes from pineapple and papaya (these enzymes are known to lighten discolorations as well). So, yes, I like the formula. It is nice for my normal skin and I enjoy seeing all of the grime on the cotton pad than on my face.  It removes makeup and keeps my skin feeling smooth. It is highly fragrant. I like this but it could bug some people. It smells of spring because of the lilac. It’s a plain and simple soliflore. It doesn’t completely mask the odor of witch hazel but somehow that works out. (I actually like the smell of witch hazel). In fact, I like the smell of this so much that I’m thinking of purchasing a bottle to put in a spray bottle to use as spray to freshen up stale closets/rooms and to refresh my skin throughout the day. The fragrance just screams “spring!” which I need right now. (Currently, the weather in Seattle is terrible. It snowed…in the first week of April and it has been cold). I also like the packaging. It comes in a plastic bottle which I don’t have to worry about breaking on my tile bathroom floors. I also like the artwork, the colors and subject matter remind me of turn of the century lithography used in perfume/cosmetic ads.

The product is available at many stores like Whole Foods or Humprehys website.

I think that I have finally found a brand of organic lip balm that I love. Badger USDA Organic Lip Balm is smooth and not gritty. I find that many formulas of natural lip balm get very, very gritty after a few weeks of use. I also find that many brands wear off too easily or they are too thick and apply unevenly. Badger is the perfect texture. It is not heavy or cakey. It is smooth without being greasy. It is the longest wearing natural lip balm that I have tried (and as you know, I’ve tried many). It’s a great everyday lip balm. I also love the Lavender and Orange fragrance. It is a perfect balance of lavender and orange, so it isn’t too medicinal or too citrusy. I know the aroma of lavender, I live in the PNW. This has a genuine lavender aroma that is balanced by the sweetness of orange. At first I think I was a tad disappointed with the aroma. I think that I wanted it to have more lavender and smell like a late summer day. However, after using it for a few days, I realized that the Badger blend was perfect. Just lavender would be too overwhelming in a lip balm. The orange adds a subtle sweetness. So, this reminds me of my favorite summer desserts that contain Meyer lemons and lavender. Delicious and gourmand without smelling like chocolate or cupcakes.

I’ve only tried the Lavender and Orange flavor. Six other flavors are available. I am interested in the Ginger and Lemon but I’ll probably stick with the Lavender and Orange since I know that it is perfect. The lip balm stick is a great price at about $3. It is available from Badger balm’s website or drugstore.com.

I apologize ab out not updating my blog. I’ve been sick and really in no place to trust my sniffer. I’m feeling better and I’m trying to catch up.

Ligne St. Barth Vanilla Body Lotion is really a product for the vanilla lover. This is more of an “oceanic” vanilla. It is sweet and tropical with hints of salt water. This is definitely a vanilla scent. It’s sweet but not as sweet as other vanilla scents on the market that are trying to resemble baked goods. This is a nice tropical vanilla. It reminds me a of a vanilla scented tanning lotion. You get a whiff of salty sea air with this lotion. I think that is what makes it special.

The formula is rich but thin in consistency. It needs  rubbed in throughly. It leaves a shiny residue on the skin that resembles the appearance of oiled skin. (It has a rich avocado oil base and you can tell). This looks amazing on bare legs. I do think when the weather gets warmer that I will use this product as a “leg sheen”. It really adds a nice “glow” to my legs and it smells nice. It makes my legs look like they’ve been “oiled” but it doesn’t leave that kind of mess.

The scent of this lotion mixes well with all vanilla based scents. I’ve worn it with Prada EDP, various La Maison de la Vanille EDTs, Susanne Lang Vanilla Coconut EDP, and even Guerlain Shalimar EDP.  The scent of this lotion “enhances” the vanilla in other fragrances.

It’s a pricey lotion but it is a hard to find luxury product. I’m sure you could find something cheaper like it but I don’t have to explain the luxury market to you. This lotion comes in 2 sizes. It retails for $47 for the 6.8 oz. and $34 for the 4.2 oz. It’s available at beautyhabit.com.

Korres Juniper & Rum Shower Gel smells amazing. It is one of my favorite Korres scents ever. I know that it is marketed for their male audience but I adore it. It is such a sexy woodsy scent. It smells like a mix of dry woods and a sophisticated bay rum. It is “classic cool” in shower gel form. It is like putting a 50’s swooner in a bottle. It’s a blend of dried out woods. It isn’t evergreeny or fresh juniper. It’s just dry woods with a hint of tropical rum. It almost gives an illusion of a piece of wood that has a lacquer finish.

My husband loves this stuff and always says that he wishes he could get a cologne in this fragrance. I wish he could. I love the smell of this stuff. It lingers on his skin after the shower. This is unlike most Korres shower gels. Since I love this scent so, I like to use it to. It mixes so well with “modern” woods women’s fragrances such as Estee Lauder Sensuous, Tom Ford White Patchouli, or TokyoMilk Parfum Dead Sexy.

The shower gel lathers OK without a loofah and doesn’t dry out the skin. I’m mainly in love with it because of the dry woodsy scent that goes with some of my favorite fragrances.

It retails for $13 and is available on beauty.com.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is a fairly simple product that does what it is intended to do: moisturize hands. The formula is very smooth and rubs in easily. It is a white balm that is smooth as butter.  It is smooth and spreads very easily, meaning that you don’t need too much to have soft hands. It is moisturizing and you can tell that it is on your hands. I wouldn’t call it greasy but you can tell that it is there. It isn’t sticky or slippery. The formula doesn’t get all over my steering wheel or on my paperback books. However, I do have super dry hands that go through hell in a work day. As a speech therapist, I wear latex gloves frequently and I use alcohol based hand sanitizers and I use harsh “institution” grade hand soaps so many times throughout the day. My hands are often tight feeling and ashy. I have been having a real problem with “ashiness” during the cold weather.

There is a scent but it is faint. I only smell it while I am rubbing in the cream. I would say that this scent lingers around for about 2-5 minutes on me. I get a super soft aroma of a tropical bouquet of ylang-ylang and jasmine. But, like I said, it doesn’t stay around. I do like this. I am a fragrance nut and I don’t really want my hand cream interfering with my choice of fragrance for the day. And I do love anything jasmine even it is there but only for a short amount of time. This provides a quick fragrance pick-me-up.

The packaging is cute but not very practical. I do wish that it had a flip cap so I could open and close it with one hand. It is no fun dropping that cap and having it roll under the bed.

The formula contains 20% shea butter, vitamin E, sweet almond oil extract and other nourishing ingredients.

It is a nice product but it is expensive at $26 for just over 5 ounces. I know I will buy it again but I won’t be purchasing a tube for my purse, my desk, my car, one for each bathroom, etc. I can’t afford that. Smaller sizes are available and throughout the year gift sets are offered. It is available at DERMAdoctor.