Beauty Counter ~ unbiased review

Beauty Counter is a company that offers safer cosmetics. I decided to give them and try and here is my honest opinion.

The first product I tried was the “clean slate duo” pictured above. It’s one of their best selling products. It comes with a charcoal bar and a charcoal mask. This is a mini set I believe it was $50.

Here is my skin before starting Beauty Counter:

Since I’m being 100% honest here I should mention that my cheeks are quite rosy as this was taken before applying makeup and after the gym. But you can see below the jaw I have quite a few blemishes and large visible pores on my cheeks.

When I got my bar, at the advice of someone I cut it up into 6 pieces so it was easier to use in my hands and it lasted longer. I would suggest doing this. My first impression was that it lathered nicely and after the first use I honestly did find that my face was that squeaky clean. It was really nice! Unlike some people I do find that it dries a bit, it’s nothing like if you were to use a bar of soap (it’s actually soap free) but I live in a super dry climate so if I don’t moisturizers right away afterwards my face feels tight.

The charcoal mask is pretty awesome. It goes a long way and I find using only one finger to spread it avoids wasting it on my hands. It dries very quickly as you can see below. It has a really refreshing peppermint scent. When it dries you can actually see every single pore and that was actually kind of terrifying because it looks gross but made me feel like it was getting in all the necessary places. Skin feels very smooth after using. I’ve used other charcoal masks before and I found this one to be the best. It’s hard to explain but when you wash it off you can totally feel that it’s real charcoal. Like it’s not sticky it basically just melts into black water. It’s like the pure charcoal I’ve used before on my teeth.

I wanted to give it a fair amount of time before I reviewed the product so I could show the results. After a couple weeks I took a progress photo.

Again to be fully transparent this photo I am wearing makeup and the lighting is different. But you can see below the jaw looks improved. Also in the above photo I’m wearing my old Sephora brand makeup.

From there I decided I wanted to the “Flawless in Five” set. It’s basically all the basic makeup essentials you need all safer versions. I asked Rob for the makeup set for Christmas and it came a while ago. It was packaged very nicely.

Included is:

  1. Tint foundation
  2. Concealer pen
  3. Eyebrow pencil
  4. Mascara
  5. Blush/bronzer
  6. Lip gloss

Honestly it does take a few times to adjust to it – mostly because without certain chemicals in typical over the counter makeup, the foundation has slightly different texture. Also I should mention I went from using a 1/2 to a full pump of full coverage Sephora liquid foundation for 3 +years to using a pinky nail sized blob of this safer tint foundation.

I love the concealer pen, I paint it under the eyes and it really brightens my face up. I really like all the products and it truly takes 5-10 minutes to do the whole face.

The photos above are using all the BC products. You can see how the under eye pen really brightens it up. Also my face feels way less cakey without all that foundation piled on. It’s light and really nice. I did find my forehead started feeling a bit shiny but I’m not exactly sure why.

Overall I really like both the clean slate duo and the makeup set. It feels nice to know I’m doing something even a small gesture to lessen my exposure to less than safe stuff.

Sometimes it’s hard to spend a little more upfront, but I’ve found that these products really last a long time. I used to use the twist eyebrow pencil and it got used up fairly quick but the BC pencil hasn’t even needed to be sharpened at all and I use it the same. I also have used the brown eyebrow pencil as a nice subtle eye liner. It works perfectly for elevating a more “done up” look. The charcoal bar is really long lasting too. I would say each of the 6 pieces I cut it into lasts about a month so 6 months worth – it’s also the mini size, so I’m guessing the full sizes would be 8+ months. The mascara seemed slightly dry compared to what I was used to. I always put a drop of lavender and rosemary essential oil to my mascara, it makes it go further and promotes growth.

One thing I was kind of bummed about was recently after I purchased it, the full sized bar and mask came out on sale for the same price I bought the mini set for. Obviously you cannot predict this but I would have definitely bought the full sized set.

Another thing is that I have not been very good to my skin in other aspects lately. I haven’t been eating that great – more sugar and dairy than usual. I know for me that does effect the way my skin looks. Also from my understanding, below the jawline acne is typically hormonal. Therefore I’m not sure that a new external wash would calm the internally caused acne. Either way though I will continue to use the products and will be going back to sugar free in the new year so I’m thinking that will really help my skin. I think it’s something that all works together.

*as a side note I was skeptical to try because to me at first it seemed structured like a pyramid scheme – where you have to buy from a consultant and they make money from your order. I spoke to one of my very health conscious friends and asked if she has ever heard of Beauty Counter and to my surprise she replied that it’s the only makeup she trusts. So I decided it was worth a shot.Overall I’m pleased with these products !

Couldn’t help it, my nails matched.


Pai-shau hair products review

So this post will be a little different. Wanted to just share my thoughts on some new products I tried.

I needed some new shampoo as I recently went back to brunette and didn’t want to use my blonding purple shampoo. I stopped in to a salon that I’ve never been to before but was in the same lot as my grocery store and wanted to find some quality products.

The owner told me his personal favorite was the Pai-shau brand which I had never heard of at all and assumed it was an attempt to upsell me. Being somewhat thrifty, I was at first just looking for the cheaper bottles, which weren’t even that much cheaper at all. I had picked some and went to purchase when the debit machine malfunctioned and gave me just enough time to change my mind. I grabbed some of the Pai-shau shampoo and conditioner and the machine worked…suspicious ahah. I feel like you do get what you pay for and I feel satisfied with this.

$28 each for shampoo and conditioner.

I was actually surprised to see the list of ingredients that these products do not contain like parabans and sulfates etc. After the first wash I did notice my hair felt really nice and after reading some of the reviews I decided I wanted to try two of their other products.

$42 for the mask

Today I went back to the salon and picked up the mask and the oil. The mask is something I would probably use no more than once per week. It says to leave in for 5 minutes but this morning I put it in my hair and left it in for a few hours while I cleaned the whole house. It’s like a really nice deep conditioner.

You want to apply this to damp or wet hair and since I didn’t want to wash mine until after, I just wet it down. It goes further that way and rinses out easily in the shower.

$35 for the infusion

This concentrate is awesome. It’s like the feeling of a hair oil like maroccan oil but without the greasy component. As you can see above it separates and you will want to shake it really well before using. A little goes a long way and I could see this container lasting a LONG time! This can go in towel dried hair or a tiny amount over dry straightened hair to calm any frizz and add shine.

Well over all my hair feels AMAZING today! Soooo soft. It also smells amazing. The scent comes off as a bit masculine at first, almost like a cologne, but it’s already grown on me. It is much more subtle once your hair is dry of course.

Apparently the claim of these products is a concentrated tea blend. Anyway I am really pleased and can’t wait to see how my hair feels going forward!

I think these products will actually last a long time so although it can seem like an investment up front I expect to have these for a few months at least – and I could see the mask and oil lasting significantly longer as they are quite large. There were smaller sizes of both the mask and oil but it was a far better deal to get the bigger ones. for 120 ml of the oil was $35 and for 30ml it was $25 so you can see why paying ten dollars more for 3 times as much was an obvious choice.

I can’t stop touching my hair because it feels SO nice.



Oil treatment for dry and/or itchy scalp

So AB is super dry not to mention beyond any amount of static electricity I’ve ever encountered…My hair has been suffering. It literally flies out in all directions and zaps me when I try to control it. Dryness also leads to itchy skin unfortunately so I made this hair mask to try and tame it!

All I used are these simple ingredients. A base oil to moisturize and carry, and essential oils to treat! I chose Jojoba because I’ve had it for a long time and never really known what to do with it and I read that I can be good for dry hair. I chose these three oils because 1. Peppermint is stimulating and may help to increase circulation to the area. It’s also cooling which I love the feeling of and smells ahhhhmazing. 2. Melaleuca (Tee Tree) is said to treat dandruff and itchiness. 3. Lavender is soothing and calming so naturally good choice for itchy or irritated skin.

2 tbsp of base oil and 5 drops of each essential oil. Swirl and apply. It’s pretty greasy so I wouldn’t do this while wearing your favorite shirt.

Throw on some sweats, grease up your hair, toss it in a bun, put on some gangster rap and handle that shit.

I left this concoction in my hair for 3+ hours while I did stuff around the house, made dinner, homework etc. Then I shampooed twice.

Next day….

Not greasy but just look at that shine ✨

Better yet my scalp was not itchy today and my hair although still had some static, less and super soft 🙂

Hand Sanitizer 

Do you ever look around at work or school and notice that the people on either side of you are hacking and sniffling and it strikes you that you don’t want to catch whatever it is they have!?! Yes, well this is the case for me right now. I have a good collection of essential oils going now so I want to use them for practical things. Below is a few that have antibacterial properties. I got this idea because I wanted to clean my hands during class and wanted to avoid the harshness of store bought sanitizer so I googled essential oil hand sanitizer.

I added 10 drops of lavender

and 5 drops of every other oil pictured above. You can use any combo you like and there are others with antibiotic properties.

Swirl together the oils. Add 1 tbsp vodka, swirl.

add 1/4 tsp of vitamin e oil, swirl. This makes the sanitizer moisturizing, not drying.

8 ounces of aloe. I used aloe juice based on a recommendation from the guy at the store. He said the inside of the plant naturally turns into a juice and that the gel is that with added thickener. Also because I got spray bottles and wanted to make sure it would spray out!

I realized after that I should have mixed directly into the spray bottle. I recommend labeling all your bottles because it is easy to forget what is in each.

TIP!* Pure aloe is actually perishable. This means that you’ll have to store the remaining of the large container of it in the fridge. It also means that eventually your hand sanitizer could be “past it’s prime.” The vitamin e oil and the vodka act as preservatives and should allow you to take it to work or school with no refrigeration, should last a few months. I plan to keep mine in my back pack and spray my hands after we work on the computers. It is not meant to replace hand washing but it is extra help or for when you simply cannot wash your hands.

Suggested Uses

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sanitizer for your electronics (keyboards, phone screens…you know the ones we are attached to and put our faces on…)
  • Yoga Mat Spray – deodorizes and antibacterial
  • Air Spritz – if you’re trying to get a clean fresh feel to your place
  • Bathroom counter spray – wipes away soap marks
  •  Kitchen sink spray
  • Door handle spray
  • Frequently touched services – fridge door handle in my house :p

Makeup remover

I saw this “recipe” shared on fb so I decided to give it a try.

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tbsp “baby soap” but I used peppermint castile soap
1/4 tsp tea tree oil


1 pack of cotton pads and 1 jar. Pour liquid into the jar and put 1/3 of the cotton pads at a time so they evenly soak it up.


Before with Makeup ^

After without

The tea tree oil may cause some irritation if in the eyes if you get it directly in them. I made these with the intention of using them for eye makeup remover but it’s a bit stingy so either just be careful or omit the tea tree.

The coconut oil and tea tree oil are both anti bacterial and are natural so shouldn’t dry out or irritate your face and could even help clear up your skin. I rinsed my face with water afterwards so the soap didn’t dry and get itchy, and then moisturized as usual.



Wait what? Yes, deodorant. This is where it gets weird and I understand if you don’t want to be my friend after this … (haha…)

So a couple of years ago I started looking into the contents of antiperspirants. I came to understand that although we commonly refer to everything as deodorant, there’s a major difference. Deodorants, as they sound de odor. Antiperspirants as they also sound, stop you from perspiring (sweating) by blocking your sweat ducts with aluminum….yes, aluminum the metal.

Now get this, sweating is how our body eliminates toxins and even cools our bodies down on a hot day. If we block that ability, where do the toxins and the sweat go instead? There is definitely some debate about the toxicity of antiperspirants. Some say it’s linked to breast cancer due to the proximity of the underarm, others claim it’s harmless. It’s really hard to say but I wanted to know more.

This is what started my mission to find a natural deodorant, and believe me I tried MANY. The unfortunate thing I found was that “natural” brands were at least $5 or more per stick. I tried so many brands, and each one left me extremely irritated with a fierce burning sensation under my arms. WTF…? Okay so I couldn’t settle for that either. And this is why for the last year and half, maybe longer I’ve made my own, and used nothing but. IMG_9142I apologize for the photo, there was no way to make it appear pretty. For me this was simply the only way to know what was going into the product I was using every day, and that didn’t cause irritation.

  • 6 T coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup aluminum free baking soda (it will clearly state)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • essential oils (optional)

I will be very honest, there is a “transition” period that you will likely experience between conventional store bought deodorants and homemade. BUT if you stick with it (and your friends stick around 😉 ) than I don’t doubt you will eventually love it. (haha) I would never ever go back. I have saved money, as well as my pits. The first batch I ever made I omitted the essential oils as the only one I had was tea tree (way to strong). I have since made multiple batches and my favorite is peppermint (surprise). If you want to you can divide one batch into 2 or 3 glass jars and add a different oil to each, I also enjoy Orange.

Tip: You can recycle an old empty deodorant stick and put your homemade batch into the tube and apply as you would usually, or you can get over the ick factor and put it in a glass jar and apply with your finger…your choice!

Soap and Lotion

My skin is sensitive and dry. Sounds weird but it’s not uncommon. I used to use a whole array of different fun smelling facial lotions that cost me $14 for a tiny bottle. But I decided to try and clean up my routine in regards to what I’m putting on my skin, especially my face. I actually used to work at a non toxic hair salon, and we sold products aimed at people who had severe allergies to toxins or additives. One of the brands we sold was Curelle. At the time I didn’t try it or even sample. A few years later, I sort of discovered it by accident. I was given a bottle of the unscented “hand and body” lotion, and I decided to try it on my face. AMAZING. Seriously I kid you not, it was the only lotion I ever tried that actually moisturized and didn’t leave a greasy film. Not only did it not cause me to break out, it actually completely changed my complexion for the better. My skin became clearer than it has ever been. I even used it twice daily, morning and night and it only got better. To this day I still use it daily. Love.IMG_9151

You can see that the ingredient list is less than 10 items long. Here is another in-depth review of this product that I found. It get’s a bit “sciency” but I got through the positive information and thought I would share.


As for soaps, for me it also traces back to that same job at the salon. I was introduced to Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap. Castile soap means it’s derived from either coconut oil or olive oil.


I hope you can see the tiny writing, but the ingredient list here is also less than 10 items long. And again peppermint my fav 😉 It’s not over yet, the really cool thing about this castile soap is that it claims to have 18 uses!!! That’s ALOT. You can use this one soap to make laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap, etc. I like it as face was because you only need a super tiny amount and it lathers really nicely and it leaves a cool fresh minty sensation that I love.



Okay, so you go to the store and you look at your options; Colgate, Crest, Aquafresh, etc… Do we really know what is in those little tubes that every one buys without a second thought? Well have you ever noticed that every fluoride toothpaste tube contains a warning “If swallowed more than using for toothpaste seek medical attention.” Well you might now. It’s actually required to label the warning due to some health risks associated with ingesting fluoride.

SLS which stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is also a common ingredient in cosmetics like soap, shampoo, and you guessed it; toothpaste! It concerns me when toxins are so casually put into things we use in our MOUTHS!? Anyone else? SLS is a foaming agent which can make you feel nice and sudsy but actually can present risk of neurotoxicity and is a known carcinogen.

So what can we do about it?

Well after experimenting with quite a few different brands, flavors, and types of toothpaste I have found one that I would finally recommend. Jason powerful peppermint toothpaste is both fluoride and SLS free as well as free from preservatives, artificial color, artificial sweeteners, and propylene glycol (which “is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as an antifreeze when leakage might lead to contact with food.”) Nice hey!!! Take a look at a more in depth write up if you wish.


Anyway, this is one of many that I have tried but this is the first that doesn’t leave me wishing for something else. The texture is the same as typical toothpaste, as well as the cleaning ability. I found it bubbled just as nicely and even has a strong peppermint oil flavor – my fav 😉

Shampoo and Conditioner

It’s all really confusing actually because ingredients are really difficult to understand. Pull out some classic beauty products and count how many ingredients down the list it takes until you can no longer pronounce or understand what the heck it’s saying…. I guess 3. Anyways my point is that if I’m going out of my way to avoid harmful ingredients in my food, I also want to be mindful of ingredients on my skin.

I started shopping at Rocky Mountain Soap Company a few years ago. There was a period of time where I kind of let all my standards go but they’re back! ha


I like their brand because I can for the most part understand the ingredient list, even when it’s difficult to pronounce it is usually followed by it’s “common” name, which I know. For example Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut oil). And although when a label says All Natural, there’s seriously no accountability to that and anyone can make that claim, their company swears their products “contain NO sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or any other nasty ingredients.” Those are definitely some main things I am steering clear from so it gives me some peace of mind. Oh and it smells heavenly….