Skincare Saturday: Whole Foods 'Hello Beauty!' Bag

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Before we begin, I've been obsessed with Marina's new album lately. Hit play on this to set the vibe for this post and enrich your day, okay?

Last week I was in Whole Foods picking up my weekly tea fix when I saw their signs for their ~*~first ever~*~ beauty bag. “Well clearly, I can justify buying this if it’s for the blog,” was my thought process. It’s a terrible thought process because I’m not really a fan of “natural skincare”.

For me, the problem with this variety of skincare is not the process of making it (lower environmental impact? Cruelty free? I AM THERE) but rather the fact that every fucking thing from a natural skincare brand has AN OBSCENE AMOUNT OF FRAGRANCE, WHY.

Fragrance is NOT GOOD, okay? It’s not! It’s just not. It’s terrible for your skin. I’m talking mostly for facial skin here; for the body I’m a little more lenient. Fragrance is also acceptable to me if it’s, like, tea tree oil but otherwise save that shit for scented candles, okay? I mean I like scented lotions as much as the next girl but there’s no way that’s going on my face.

In addition to a crapload of fragrance, natural skincare also loves to use ingredients that, like fragrance, are bad for your skin, such as: most citrus oils, lavender, mint, etc. I don’t understand why this keeps happening because it’s not like the scientists making these products don’t know what’s going on. I guess these companies care more about the marketing than the science? Which is disappointing but not surprising, yay capitalism.

I was determined go in with an open mind to this, though. I mean maybe these particular products might not be like this? I could possibly find something cool!

Besides, it’s samples, if I don’t like them at least I didn’t waste too much money.

I tested these products out over the last week because I wanted to get a good feel for how they would work, rather than just swatch or try on and then call it a day.

Here’s a list of products courtesy of Whole Foods:

  • Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub
  • Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask
  • Trilogy Vital Moisturising Cream
  • Gabriel Mascara
  • Giovanni 2chic Blackberry & Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Shampoo
  • Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo

First off, the bag is pretty cool. The company who made it is called RIJI Green. They employ people vulnerable or victimized by human trafficking to make these. From their website: “The women receive fair wages, health care, daycare, literacy and budget training and a support system to help restore and rebuild their lives to thrive.” They also use eco-friendly materials. Awesome, right?!

The bag itself has a pretty crunchy granola vibe, but since I have a very hippie side I’m okay with this. If I were going camping or whatever, this is the bag I would take. It seems like if you got mud or liquids on it then that would actually kind of add to the vibe in a way.

Giovanni 2Chic Blackberry and Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Shampoo

I decided to use the Giovanni shampoo first. Their tea tree shampoo/conditioner is one that I actually like even though it has mint, my mortal enemy, in it. I hadn’t realized they were coming out with new lines so I was pretty psyched! This particular sample was for dry, damaged hair.

My hair is actually not that damaged and is thin and kinda oily. One of the reasons I like the Giovanni tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner is because it’s not heavy and doesn’t weigh my hair down.

Now when I wash I apply shampoo to my scalp, which I know is supposed to make my hair fall out and other horrible things but I’ve done the no-poo thing for the weeks you’re supposed to do it for and it literally made no difference. I use the conditioner to replenish any oils that get stripped out during washing. This works really well and doesn’t weigh my hair down.

Well, this shampoo, despite being pretty awesome, made my hair look kind of oily afterwards. I’m keeping it to the ends of my hair in the future but otherwise I really liked it. I bet it would be awesome for anyone with dry hair!

Verdict: not for me but probably someone else.

Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask

I tried the Acure mask next, because 1) I love masks and 2) it tells me to smear this on my face until I look like a sea monster, which I thought was a pretty cute product description! I smeared it on my face one night after a shower and really just piled it on until I looked like the sea monster goddess I secretly knew myself to be. I may have made faces at myself in the mirror but I ain’t posting those pics.

Then my face started tingling.

Oh nooooo I thought. Please don’t tell me this has mint in it, please don’t- DAMMIT.

Organic Curoxidant™ Blend [(Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Fair Trade Organic Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos)], Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile), Organic Aloe Barbensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, French Green Clay, Organic Lemon Peel Granules, Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Cellulose Gum (Vegetable), Organic Olea Europaea (Olive Oil), Organic Ascophyllum Nodosum (Sea Kelp), Theobromo Cacao (Cocoa) Powder, Organic Chlorella Pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Chlorophyll, Glucono Delta Lactone (Fermented Sugar), Carageenan, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Potassium Sorbate (Food Grade Preservative), Essential Oil Blend of Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and Mentha Spicata (Spearmint), Madonna Lily Stem Cell

(All emphasis mine, also notice that the argan stem cells are wayyyyy at the bottom of the ingredient list along with the chlorella despite those being two of its selling points.)

GODDAMN MINT, GODDAMN. I should have looked online for the ingredients list before smearing this on my face but it’s tooooo laaaaaate. I go to wash my face.


When you wash this mask off it suds up like the sodium lauryl sulfates of your worst nightmares. I like my facial soaps like I like my lotions: gentle and non-drying. I was badly out of practice with something like regular soap. I got it in my eye. It stung and it took forever to get this stuff off my face and when I finally did my skin was so tight that it felt like I’d just stripped all the oil off my face, which I probably did. I instantly grabbed my favorite oil cleanser- Laventine Olive Forte, in case you were wondering- just to get whatever was left of the mask off my face and put some emollients back on there.

It worked okay.

Verdict: Nope, not touching this, never again.

Pacifica Natural Beauty Eyeshadow Duo in Unicorn/Moonbeam

So this is a cruelty-free, vegan eyeshadow duo that I was pretty excited to try because it looked pretty and also: vegan! I decided to swatch it before putting it on my eyes.

Maybe this was a bad idea, because instantly I was NOT IMPRESSED. Let me show you why.

Left pic is Moonbeam, right is Unicorn. Both are with and without primer.

What the shit is this? They barely show up even with primer. What would be the point of wearing them out and about? You can’t even work with them. I’ll keep them around just in case I ever come up with a makeup look that might work with them but otherwise, no.

Verdict: not impressed.

Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream

Holy fragrance Batman. As soon as I opened this up I knew I wasn’t going to put this on my face. Right now I’m keeping it in my purse where it will die a quiet death as a hand cream. For that particular purpose it works okay, but doesn’t hold a candle to my beloved L'Occitane Shea Butter. (I still love you boo, even if you don’t have sunscreen in your formulation. Kisses!)

Verdict: not impressed.

Derma-e Microdermabrasion Scrub

I use tretinoin, I think putting sand on my face would be a bad idea, don’t you agree? I haven’t tried this yet because I honestly can’t think of a time I would. Maybe if I were having skin flakes? I’ll keep this until it expires and then probably toss it. Also it comes in a jar: unsanitary.

Verdict: yeah, no.

Gabriel Mascara

I wore this one day to work and was pleasantly surprised by it. After the disasters the previous products have been I really was expecting this to perform on par with my least favorite mascara, Maybelline Great Lash, which even when waterproof smears down around my bottom lash line and sits there, taunting me. But this did pretty well!

I wasn’t too impressed with the brush but the formula was good. It wasn’t irritating, didn’t smell too fragrant, and didn’t smear. It held up well throughout the day no flaking (hello Tarte Amazonian Clay, I will forever regret the money I spent on your sample). I didn’t think to test if it was waterproof because I took it off before getting in the shower like the genius I am. I can’t say for sure if I will be keeping this around because it’s in black and as a fair-skinned lass I like for my mascaras to be brown and this frankly isn’t exceptional enough for me to want to wear it in black when I have other black mascaras that do the job much better. But I bet for someone else this would be cool.

I do want to buy it because I liked the formula, but: the wand. I like my wands to help me do stuff like keep a curl (an impossible dream with my lashes but one I try for anyway). If it came with a better wand I would probably buy it in brown.

Verdict: Do you like natural mascaras? If so, try it!

Overall impression: there were 6 products + the bag and out of these, 4 I wouldn’t purchase and 2 were good but not for my particular demographic. While I really wanted to be proven wrong with this first beauty venture by Whole Foods, all it did was reinforce my disappointment in the natural skincare and beauty industry. It should not be this fucking hard to find skincare that is scientifically proven to work, isn’t harmful to skin, and supports good causes.

I’m gonna look into RIJI's products though, I bet they have some cool stuff.

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