softhands
Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, vegan lifestyle

3 Steps to Softer Hands: My Experience with Renaud’s Syndrome

I know I’ve talked about this before, but I want to talk about it again! I suffer from terribly, terribly dry hands as a result of Renaud’s Syndrome–my blood circulation is really poor, and the effect of that is most noticeable in the winter time. Being a Cali girl at heart, anything below 60 to me is freezing and my body thinks so too, which is why when winter comes around, it’s like my fingers get frost bites. No joke, I’ve had to wear band-aids just because it gets so cold in my office on a daily basis (winter or not). After years of suffering, I decided to do more than just put a band-aid on the situation (get it?). I sought hand lotion after hand lotion and product and service after another, and this is what works for me! (It may not work for you, but the whole process is kind of like a spa day so make it your own! (Please always consult your physician before starting any new regimen).

Step 1: Get a Regular Manicure

…and not a gel manicure, or acrylics. Just get a regular old fashioned manicure and ask them to pay special attention to your cuticles. Once you get a manicure and your hands feel fresh, free of all hangnails and relaxed after a short hand massage, it’s time to keep up appearances. What I mean is, you need to put lotion on your hands every night and treat your cuticles with some love.

Step 2: Lotion Up! 

I’ve tried nearly every lotion under the sun, and these two have been my holy grails the past couple of months. The Asili Naturals Lavender Shea Body Butter is perfect before bed because of it’s calming lavender scent, and how it sinks into the skin (no messy bedsheets here!). After I wake up and get ready for the day, I then slather on some Green Goo 100% All Natural Hand Goo a few minutes before I head out (so it has time to sink in). My hands definitely drink it in. I bought my Hand Goo from Sierra Trading Post for $10, but you can also find it on Amazon or directly from GreenGooHelps.com. Both products are cruelty-free!

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Green Goo Hand GooANLavender

Step 3: Care for those Cuticles

When I have time to just sit and read or relax, I put on some oil (for the most part, any oil meant for skin will do) and massage the oil into my cuticles for just a few seconds per finger. With Renaud’s my fingertips get really sensitive and makes it hard to do things, like even write sometimes without cringing. Massaging with my rosehip oil really helps my circulation and keeps my hands soft!

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Here are some before and after pictures that prove my method works! You can see that my hands before were peeling, splotchy and red, sometimes also purple due to poor circulation.

Before:

After (posing like a t-rex): 

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Question of the Day

If you have dry hands or skin, or suffer from Renaud’s Syndrome, what works for you?

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, vegan lifestyle

How to Turn a Bath Bomb Into a Cruelty-Free Shower Gel

If you love the idea of taking baths but don’t have a bath tub fit for a queen like you, or want to enjoy your bath bomb without having to take a bath because some of use just don’t have the time to luxuriate (hi!)…then this SUPER EASY DIY is for you! I’m completely devoid of the DIY gene so the fact that I can even do this says something. Without having to film, this would’ve taken me like 5 minutes to do. Watch the video to find out how to turn your favorite bath bomb into shower gel. No surprise that I used one from Asili Naturals, but you can use any you have.

NOTE: One thing I would do after mixing, is to let the solution settle for up to an hour before pouring into your bottle. Enjoy!

Watch the video here:

Bath Bomb DIY
How to turn a bath bomb into a shower gel

Question of the Day

How else do you use your bath bombs? Do you get creative?

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Uncategorized, Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

How to Apply a Clay Mask

If you’re like me, then you slap on a face mask faster than a squirrel to an acorn when you see a pimple on your face. Really–we need to realize that face masks can be just as preventative as they can be reactive. Next time you want to destress (post on destressing coming soon), want to relax, or just want to glow from within, try a clay mask! The one I use is from Asili Naturals. I used to use the one from Glam Glow, but they ain’t VCF (boo!). You can see my comparison of the two here.

Learn how to apply a clay mask and the benefits of using one in under a minute with this super short video:

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Question of the Day

What is your favorite face mask? 

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, vegan lifestyle

5 Steps for Clear & Acne Free Skin Fast

The flu or something like it hit me hard, ya’ll. I’m still only 98% with the remnants of a cough and lingering sniffles and headaches. Now that I got my boo hoos out of the way, it’s time to talk about how to get clear skin and finally enjoy an acne-free complexion. Personally, I struggled (very minimally) with acne as a teenager, but not so much since. Since Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or forget that it’s V-day at all day is a little over a month away, it’s time to show your face some love so you can enjoy a date night at home or out on the town with full confidence. Whether you’re celebrating with Cupid or not, these tips will ensure you get smooth skin fast and keep it that way!

Step 1: Wash Your Face with Natural Cleansers

Simple Skincare is free of all the nasty chemicals you would find in most commercial face washes. They pride themselves on creating, “products [that] have no dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh irritants that can upset skin and contain skin-loving ingredients and added vitamins for natural, healthy-looking skin.” (NOT sponsored!). It’s important to use such chemical-free cleansers so as not to strip the face on your skin of the beneficial things it already does, like turnover skin cells and produce important oils that help prevent wrinkles (hello, natural botox!).

VCF Cleansers

After washing your face, it’s important to exfoliate your face with–and this is important–a GENTLE exfoliator 2-3 times a week when you’re trying to get rid of a pesky pimple, and just once a week to maintain acne-free skin. I’ve been using the Microdelivery Exfoliating Face Wash from Philosophy since my skin had a major breakout from stress in May. I’ve tried a lot of exfoliators and I like this because:

  1. The “beads” are super gentle. If you’ve used the popular St. Ives Apricot Scrub, you know that those are pretty harsh (and hard). While it may feel like it’s more effective, it’s actually causing micro-tears in your skin which can cause premature wrinkles as your skin tries to repair itself.
  2. It includes Vitamin C, which is important for that glowy skin (here we come, JLo).

Step 2: Maintenance Cleanser

Once your skin is clear of acne, it’s important to keep up with a safe cleaner. The cleanest face soap on the market I’ve found (seriously, you should’ve guessed this by now) is from Asili Naturals. The Shea Face Soap is full of nutrient-rich softening oils to help you maintain baby-butt soft skin. The below is the Rose Hip soap I use to help my the skin on my whole body nice and soft.

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Step 3: Moisturize According to Your Skin

If you have oily skin and acne, opt for oil-free serums and lotions. Once your face has cleared up, maintain your skin with the ultimate skincare secret weapon: Rose Hip Oil.

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Step 4: Medicate

This is where the chemicals come in, and the only time it’ll be ok to use them because it will clear your skin fast. Guaranteed. The first thing to do is recognize the type of acne. If your acne is just skin colored or slightly red bumps, you’ll need to treat it definitely than those pesky painful pimples with the little white tops. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pimples with the white tops: treat with salicylic acid, like the Clear days ahead lotion from Philosophy.
  2. Skin-colored or reddish pimples: treat with benzoyl peroxide.

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Step 5: Maintain Clear Skin

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Now that your skin is free and clear of acne, it’s time for upkeep! In addition to washing your face every day and after sweaty workout sessions (at most 3 times a day–more and you’ll strip your face of its natural goodness) and proper moisturization, use a clay mask once a week. This Spirulina clay mask will naturally pull out the impurities and prepare it for all the right moisturization.

Question of the Day

What is your secret to clear skin? Share!

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Vegan Food, vegan lifestyle

5 Tips on How to Become a Vegetarian or Vegan in 2018

There are two theories on setting resolutions for the New Year: 1. Yaaass honey fresh start clean slate I’m gonna slay this year, or 2. Ahem, you shouldn’t have to wait 365 days to start a new resolution. I hear you both. But there is something especially special (redundant?) about January 1st this year…it lands on a Monday. What’s more resolutiony than that? Whether you decided to stop eating meat (yay you!) On November 25th or want to start fresh at the beginning of a new year, more power to you! It never matters when you start, it just matters that you start a change and most importantly, that you stick to it. Here are 5 steps to help you become a vegetarian or vegan so that you can make 2018 better not only for you, but for the plant and all the animals on it.

Step 1: Tell Everyone

There is absolutely zero shame in you wanting to a) better your health and b) better the planet. The latter is pretty much the foundation of every religion, right? And no one will bash you for what you believe in (go away trolls!). And if you do happen to deal with those negative naysayers who make fun of “vegan food” or act negative around you, just shroud it out with your good vibes cause that’s all you’re putting out and lettin’ in sistah. Some show on Blue’s Clue’s (hi, 80s baby here) told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If you’ve tried to nicely explain your way of life or amazing decision to stop eating meat to someone and they just don’t get it…move on. You do you.

Step 2: Expect Bumps In the Road

Giving something up is never easy. If you’ve eaten meat your whole life, it’s hard to go cold turkey. Know that you may have a setback here or there but one setback isn’t the catalyst to failure. Just get back on the buggy.

Step 3: Educate Yourself

Piggybacking on step 2, the main reason most people fail at resolutions, regardless of what it is, is because they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Someone may want to lose weight because they just want to be skinny and may get there the unhealthy way. Setting up a resolution should come from a desire for change. If you want to become vegetarian or vegan, but aren’t sure why or what to say when people ask you why, then it’s time to educate yourself! Once you feel compassionate about your cause, your resolution becomes less of a goal and more of an intrinsic belief. Check out numerous documentaries on Netflix and YouTube, get a vegan starter kit from PETA, and follow inspirational social media influencers to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.

Step 4: Plan for Success

You may be stuck on your daily ham and cheese sandwich for lunch or chicken and broccoli for dinner. As with every resolution, becoming vegetarian does need some work, but minimal at best. Googling vegetarian versions of your favorite recipes, new recipes all together, finding inspirational meal planners on social media or YouTube, these are all things that can help you plan for success.

The easiest way to start is to take a weekend and meal prep 2-3 vegetarian meals or vegan meals you can use for lunch and or dinner. It’s as easy as even preparing the ingredients you need to pull the meal together in minutes once you get home from work or after picking the kids up from school.

I have some What I Ate Wednesday videos on my YouTube channel with ideas to get you going!

Step 5: Enjoy the Journey

This resolution you set to not eat meat shouldn’t be a stressful one. Your body takes about a month to detox all the blood, spirit and chemicals from the meat products you’ve eaten over the years. Expect withdrawals, bad skin (a part of detox) which turns into amazing skin, stress and pressure. But all this in such a small period of time will lead to your best self.

Please always consult your physician before making any drastic physical or dietary changes.

Question of the Day

What is your resolution for the New Year?

I’m giving up processed sugar of any kind for the month of January. If all goes well, then another month after that and so forth.

Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Farsali Elixir and Farsali Serum Review

If you waste half your life on Instagram (hi.), then you will have seen that gorge beauty Farah work her magic. Half the time she uses her own line of products like the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir or her Farsali Unicorn Essence. And if you’ve never seen these products, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to get your hands on these (spoiler alert), mostly because the packaging–and the products–are to die for. I picked up the samples, which are the perfect size as gift toppers and stocking stuffers–hint hint.

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Farsali Unicorn Essence Review

Perhaps one of the most popular Farsali products, this pinky cloudy liquid smells like cotton candy and sinks like a song into your skin. It’s packaging describes it as a Skin Enhancing Antioxidant Serum. It also claims to work as a dual product: it infuses your skin with beneficial skin care and also preps it for putting on moisturizer or makeup. So I did both.

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I washed my face and put a drop each on both my cheeks, my forehead and my chin and patted it in. In almost immediately sinks into your skin but also has a slight sticky feeling, which can feel unwelcome at first. BUT it’s this sticky feeling that makes makeup application a dream.

USE: I DO NOT suggest using this as a stand-alone moisturizer. If you use this, definitely top with moisturizer or top with a moisturizing foundation. I used it alone as well and it made my face feel tight–you know that feeling after you wash your face and don’t moisturize it? That. (yuck).

RESULTS: I waited a while after I got this to review and guys, when used as a primer, it’s amazing. Definitely go with the sample to see if your skin agrees. Even if it doesn’t…you may get addicted to the smell if you like sweet sugary scents. Photo Dec 20, 3 03 00 PM

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: If it was $20 cheaper, yes! If you have a coupon, yes! Otherwise, not so sure TBH.

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir Review

If you guys are into luxe things that are 100% extra (hi again), then you want this, believe me. The Farsali Rose Gold Elixir is marketed as a 24K Gold Infused Beauty Oil and it literally has flecks of 24K gold in it. How’s that for extra?

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While the Unicorn Essence is cloudy in appearance, the beauty oil feels like a true dry oil, not unlike my skincare secret and anti-aging hack: Rosehip Oil. It has Vitamin A (retinol–scientifically known to help fight wrinkles), and Vitamin C, which is why it smells a bit citrusy.

USE: Best used as a moisturizer.

RESULTS: I’ve been using it as a moisturizer before going to sleep and man, I feel like I’ve aged backwards at least like 3 days. But really, I love it.

Photo Dec 20, 3 03 29 PMWhat’s nice about this beauty oil is that it absorbs SO quick. I HATE the feeling of being covered in oil, especially when I sleep with it in. Since I’m extra as all hell I sleep on a (far too expensive) silk and copper-infused pillow case and the last thing I want to do is ruin it with oil. BUT I can put this oil on, let it dry for a hot second and go to sleep knowing my pillowcase wasn’t a total waste of money.

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: Yes! Wait until you get a Sephora coupon then spring for the full 1 OZ. Yo welcome.

VCF? Yes, according to the About Us page, they are cruelty-free!

Question of the Day

Have you tried anything from Farsali Beauty? What are your favorite night serums or moisturizers?

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

The Secret to Soft Skin

…in winter no less! If you’re like me, your lips go dryer than the desert year-round, but in the winter, this condition goes from lips to toes. Thankfully, I found the exact regimen you need to not only get soft, smooth and itch-free skin, but your body will thank you as well…because hello lymphatic drainage! Stick with me…

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I won’t hold back. The secret to skin so soft that you can’t stop touching yourself, is a dry brush (that’s it). Use any cruelty-free dry brush which has thick bristles and helps cure the itch, literally (look carefully to ensure that it’s not a boar bristle dry brush–thanks for the comment reader!). The bristles are rough enough that they feel like you’re scratching your skin, but soft enough that you aren’t.

Step 1: Dry Brush

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Before you take a shower and you’re in all your naked glory, start dry brushing your skin upwards in short strokes from your toes. Continue until you get to your belly button. Then start from your neck and move down in small strokes. The point is to move all the blood to your heart–this is the process of lymphatic drainage. Not only does it slough off all of your dead skin, but it helps move your blood and promote circulation (yay clean blood).

Step 2: Exfoliate

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I know you got to step two and are thinking, well duh. But what’s important is to find an exfoliating body scrub mixed with essential oils. So many scrubs on the market are mixed with soap that tend to dry out your skin even more. This Himalayan Body Scrub has a mix of almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba seed oil, lychee fruit essential oil and other goodness. You can get yours for 50% now at Asili Naturals. Go now!

Step 3: Moisturize

Again, duh. But the key here again is to find a moisturizer that has a dry oil that will easily sink into your skin. Again, Asili Naturals delivers. This Coconut Body Butter smells like lemongrass and makes you feel clean too. It has little scrubbies in it that just sink into your skin. Guys, it’s amazing.

Question of the Day

What do you guys do for smooth skin? Does it work? Share!

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Friday Face Off, Uncategorized

Friday Face-Off: Vegan & Cruelty-Free Foundations for Oily Skin

FFO6-1If your face is a natural oil-slick like mine and you like playing with makeup, then you’re on a never ending hunt for matte foundation. The Clinique Stay Matte Foundation was my holy grail, until I found out that Clinique is NOT VCF (like why?). So my hunt continued and after a lot of research, I caught a new animal. Check out the face off below to see if this new VCF foundation measures up to the Clinique foundation.

Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup

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This is probably my 5th or 6th bottle of the Clinique Stay Matte Foundation, that’s how much I loved it. I tried foundations from Giorgio Armani, Estee Lauder, IT Cosmetics, Pacifica and so many more looking for a VCF foundation and haven’t found one that keeps my oil at bay.

This is a lighter consistency foundation that doesn’t leave a cakey look. Best thing though is that it leaves your skin looking radiant and oh so nice.

Longevity: About half-a day, best when touched up with powder foundation every 4-5 hours.

Price: $26.00 

Quality: Amazing. Goes on smooth, dries nicely and is build-able.

VCF: No 😦

Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation

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The Kat Von D Lock-it Foundation is definitely a thicker foundation. A little bit goes a long way and I found that it’s best applied with a damp beauty blender…I use the orange sponge from Real Techniques. It comes in a lot of colors, so be sure to get color matched to get the right shade, only because it’s a high-coverage foundation. Last thing you want is a face that’s a much different shade than your body.

Longevity: It stays on ALL day–verified. Best when set with a powder.

Price: $35.00 for 1 oz.

Quality: Fantastic! Doesn’t feel cheap, but CAN look a little cakey if too much is applied.

VCF: YES!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite VCF foundation?

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Uncategorized

Sephora & Vegan Beauty Haul

What else do you do when you have a coupon for Sephora? You spend your life savings and withdraw from your 401(k) to spree is what (jk–but am I really). Well I’m on a tight budget (hello dream house), so I really only got the things I need. Come snoop through my cart!

1. Fresh Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm

If you need a new lip balm that smells like divine heavenly angel food cake and caramel on a plate, then you need to get this. Not only that, it feels dang good on the lips–your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, lover, cat will thank you.

Unfortunately guys, I learned some tragic news thanks to Ethical ElephantFresh is NOT CrueltyFree! Sadly, this doesn’t look good for Fresh considering all imported cosmetics into Mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals and by Fresh choosing to sell in these stores, they must consent and agree to have their products/ingredients subject to animal tests.

2. Farsali Beauty

Ya’ll, I am BEYOND excited about these two. I only got the mini sizes of Farsali Beauty Unicorn Essence and the Rose Gold Elixir because I wanted to test them out first, and also because the full-size options are hella expensive (bye bye dream house), so I opted for the little bottles. Also I like Farah, so I had to support her.

From their website:  Our naturally inspired products are always cruelty-free, and made with exceptional-quality in mind. YAY! <– not from their site, only my enthusiasm.

3. Asili Naturals Bath Bomb

I mean, you know I can’t go a couple weeks without talking about my #1 homie, Asili Naturals, my most favorite VCF brand of all time. So of course, this Rosemary Jasmine bath bomb joins the haul party.

4. Fresh Sugar Roll-On

Aside from the fact that Fresh Sugar is NOT VCF (did you hear that noise? That’s my heart breaking), I am most excited to try this product because it’s both an anti-perspirant AND deodorant and most “healthy” deoderants are only the latter. This will most likely go back because it’s not VCF. Womp womp.

P.S. I also got a little sample of the Solid Beauty Blender cleaner because I love my Real Techniques Beauty Blender…is that cheating to us the BB cleaner for my Real Techniques sponge?

Question of the Day

What have you guys picked up lately that you’re loving?? We want to snoop!

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Fashion

11 Affordable Stocking Stuffer Ideas

If stuffing stockings were a hobby, I’d be a freakin’ pro (toot), but as the holidays come around, it can be hard to find vegan and cruelty-free gifts and stocking stuffer ideas without succumbing to throwing boxes of raisins in those oversized socks. That’s why I’ve come up with some ideas (which also happen to be my faves) that make your non-vegan family members and friends not hate you for gifting them with a “meat is murder” sticker, right? So let’s get less political, and a WHOLE lot more fun!

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1. GIFTS FOR THE PERSON ALWAYS ON-THE-GO

If you know someone who is always on-the-go, go, go (hi), then you want to put some travel friendly ideas that scream, hey I’m fashionable, healthy and awesome on to their gift list.

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Hair Invisibobble: For those women or men with long hair, being on the go means throwing your hair into a bun (or man-bun) and getting ish done. My favorite hair tool of all time is the Invisibobble (hello millenial scrunchie). It’s that black ring that looks like a phone cord in the picture above. It doesn’t kink your hair, and pulls out really easily. #gogetsome. Now I look at old hair bands and just wonder…but why. I bought mine at Sephora and it sells for $8. I got it for 20% off woop woop.

Vegan Leather Tassle: This tassle keychain is so boujee, it pretty much screams that you love fashion with an edge. You can get any of these vegan tassles (and pom poms!) pretty much anywhere (i.e Charming Charlie, Forever 21, Discovery, TJ Maxx, Target, pretty much anywhere, maybe even Cracker Barrel?!). I got mine on clearance for $3.00 something at Target. They usually range from $3 – $12.

Coconut Oil Packets: If your person travels a lot, remind them to keep their health in check from the plane to the hotel and anywhere else. Coconut Oil is the perfect solution to almost anything they happen to forget, like moisturizer, hair mask, toothpaste (oil pulling), makeup remover, a whole bunch of stuff. I bought my box of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Packets at Trader Joe’s for $3.99.

A Cute Tray: When they do come back home or take off all of their baubles before a bath, give them a place to put it all, like this cute tray! I got this one at Target on clearance but you can get them virtually anywhere.

2. GIFTS FOR THE BEAUTY LOVER

If you have a friend who loves to primp and prime or is all about self-love (hallelujah), then they’ll love these gifts. Especially if they love to smell amazing. Santa will be jealous you thought of these first, well second I guess 😉

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Native Deodorant: If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I’ve tried every deodorant in the world and after my deodorant review, am now addicted to Native Deodorant. They’ll love that this smells great, and that it leaves them smelling great.

Formula 10.0.6 Pore Strips: With all the big work parties and family dinners or even if you have that hot holiday date (I do every year, hi hubs), you gotta make sure your nose is blackhead free! These Formula 10.0.6 Pore Strips clear out your pores and you’ll be walking with confidence, one nose ahead of everyone else.

Pacifica Perfume: This perfume is both vegan and cruelty-free and comes in a whole bunch of scents. Since perfume is a pretty personal choice, I would give them a fun “coupon” that you drew up yourself for them to go shopping with you and pick their own Pacifica Natural Spray. This means you can give a gift and set-up some time to hang out. Quality time: check!

Bath Bomb: This is a no-brainer. You can wrap this Whole Foods Bath Bomb up with a bottle of some good wine and one of their favorite movies and there you go: spa night! Maybe throw in a face mask too–see the next idea 😉

3. GIFTS FOR THE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO RELAX

Know someone that needs to relax or is always uptight? (um, hi). Then throw all of these into a cute little basket and wrap it up into their stocking and BOOM. I’m falling asleep just thinking about it I’m so relaxed.

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Bath Bomb: This is what I was talking about before! You can get festive and throw in an Asili Naturals holiday-scented bath bomb, like the pumpkin spice one above.

Asili Naturals Clay Mask: On my Friday Face-Off, we compared this clay mask with Glam Glow, and guess who won? You called it–this one is AMAZING! This Spirulina Clay Mask doesn’t smell like dirt like most masks (ahem Glam Glow), but smells amazing like lavender. #treatyofriend Throw in a makeup brush too, which makes applying pretty much any face mask much easier, and far less messy.

Handmade Natural Soap: When soap smells good, it makes a shower even more relaxing, literally feels like it’s melting away your stress.

With all of these ideas, you’ll be stocking stuffer royalty. Might as well buy a tiara when you’re out shopping for presents.

Question of the Day

What kind of stocking stuffers do you like? What is your favorite part of gift-giving? Share, please!

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