Monday, April 25, 2016

Oil Pulling v 2.0: Oil-Pulling Mouthwash Review

By now I'm sure you've all heard of oil-pulling since it's everywhere, I'm sure even the sewer rats in NYC do it. To quickly break it down if you don't know already, oil-pulling is when you take a small amount (usually half a tablespoon is suggested) of oil and swish it around your mouth for 15-20 minutes at the beginning or end of your day and then you spit it out. The point of this process is to pull toxins from your mouth, face, and body, and to leave you with whiter teeth, fresher breath and a healthier complexion.

Whenever I oil pull, which is around 3-4 times a week, I take a half tablespoon of coconut oil and follow the usual procedure of swishing it around for 15-20 minutes and then spitting it out. Afterwards I brush my tongue with my toothbrush I will then take a swish from a mouthwash, gargle to get any leftover oil and spit it out. This completes my oil-pulling process each night. Traditionally oil-pulling is done in the morning but I find it's easier for my gag reflexes at night.

About a week ago I discovered a company who's changing the oil-pulling game, and if you haven't joined the game, well then I tag you in. Right now.

One week ago on discovery day my boyfriend and I were walking around our local Lassens when this really cute girl in celestial-patterned tights asked if I had ever heard of the company The Dirt and their organic toothpaste. I love anything organic, homepathic and/or pretty much covered in dirt, so I of course walked up and tried a sample. Seeing that I wasn't going to buy the toothpaste since I already have toothpaste at home, she then jumped seamlessly into talking about oil-pulling and asking if I had ever done it. Hesitantly I said "Yes", not sure what tricks she had up her nymph-like sleeves. It was at that moment she pulled up a bottle of The Dirt "Oil Pulling Mouthwash" and began to talk about the benefits of this particular bottle of oil over traditional coconut oil and/ or using a different mouth wash.

I was intrigued, partly due to the packaging, partly due to her tights and partly due to the fact that the bottle had a liquid in it and not a solid. Unrefined coconut oil is naturally solid at room temperature. Before I can even begin the process of swishing the product around my mouth, I first have to let it sit in my mouth for a solid 5 minutes+ to let it melt and get to a liquidious state. The process, no matter how beneficial, is time-consuming. The smaller bottle she held before me was $20 for 4oz while the larger bottle on the table went for $40 for 8oz. The girl claimed that the smaller bottle will last for a month while the larger bottle will last for around two if you oil-pull often.

In cost-comparison, a large bottle of unrefined coconut oil retails for $7.95 at Walmart and will last in the 2-3 month range if you oil-pull/smoothie/cook with it relatively often. Many people use oil-pulling in place of mouthwash,however, I actually keep both oil and mouthwash in my bathroom, making my habit a bit more expensive than others. This product is essentially 2-in-1 for people like me who like to use both, but is it actually worth the price?

I take a small swig and immediately begin oil pulling rather than having to wait for it to melt, and I don't have to use a second product afterwards. I also am head-over-heels in love with the taste. It tastes mint-y, clove-y and smells like earthy heaven. This product is also a space saver, rather than having two products, I only have one. Rather than having to wash a spoon every time I oil-pull I just take a swig from the bottle, saving me washing more dishes. Using it as oil-pulling works beautifully, and using it as a mouthwash is amazing too. My breath felt way fresher than using any traditional brand of mouthwash I'd ever used.

For anyone who doesn't use mouthwash, this product isn't worth it due to the price for the smaller quantity, but if you like to use both mouth wash and do oil-pulling, this product is out of this world. If you were to buy coconut oil and mouth wash separately, you would end up paying the same price as this product. This mouthwash will not last you as long as a bottle of coconut oil, but I feel that if you're willing to try this fun, innovative and tasty product that it will be worth the little extra splurge.

Monday, April 11, 2016

MICA Beauty Cosmetics Review: Milky Cleanser + Rose Toner

From where I work everyday I can see the MICA Beauty Cosmetics kiosk and the two stunningly beautiful women that work there, armed with the power to lure makeup lovers in and have them walk away with their hands full and their wallets empty. Every time I have to walk in that direction (AKA - Whenever I have to go to the bathroom, which is often) I have to walk past that stand and those very good makeup artists/saleswomen. So of course it's no surprise that after only a few months I'm on a first-name basis with them and they've gotten more of my money than I'd like to admit.

 MICA Beauty cosmetics is 100% all-natural beauty line that I was introduced to through my previous Ipsy bag subscription. If the name sounds familiar, you might've seen products displayed in your local salon, at a kiosk in your local mall, or in one or a few of your subscription bags/boxes. MICA Beauty has been around since 2001 and has grown out of Los Angeles in into 15 different countries and only continues to expand into new territories and new products.

The two items I'm reviewing are the items that started the MICA Beauty obsession for me: the Milky Cleanser and Refreshing Toner. One day one of the girls had put some of the Milky Cleanser on the back of my hand and wiped it away to reveal, quite embarrassingly, how much dirt I didn't realize was there. I was floored, thinking it must be 10 times worse on my skin, and so I bought a bottle. The next month came the Refreshing Toner. I'm always on the hunt for a good toner, so it was only a matter of time before I had to try this one.

The Reviews

Milk Cleanser: There's something very luxurious-feeling about these products, and I suspect it is one part botanical ingredients and one part price. $59.95 gets you 8.33 oz and while many people like to say "A little bit goes a long way", I like to slather this on and thoroughly massage it into my skin, then take my damped washcloth to wipe it off. This cleanser has a thick, white consistency but with a lovely floral scent. Every time I open the bottle it's as if I was given a gorgeous bouquet with roses, forget-me-nots, lilacs, sunflowers and other assorted flowers. While it may sound like a sensitive-skin nightmare, it is actually perfectly gentle and formulated hypoallergenic. I have very sensitive skin and this doesn't strip my face or cause any irritation - on the contrary; it has helped give my skin less redness and a softer consistency after cleansing. One look at the ingredients list can help anyone understand why; ingredients such as: chamomile, ginseng, cucumber, sunflower and jojoba are all present in this magical cleansing cocktail.

 Refreshing Toner: While the cleanser does it's job beautifully, it's still always good to go after it with the toner just to catch any leftover dirt or makeup. This toner is honestly the most expensive toner I've ever bought retailing for $49.95 for 8.33oz, but while some products cost a lot and don't perform, this toner feels more like $100 rather than $50. Each time I use it my skin feels rejuvenated, hydrated, and smelling like roses. This product has a distinct scent of roses without being overpowering or irritating to my skin, which might have something to do with a few ingredients in this product being: ginseng, chamomile and aloe. For the first time in my life - yes, 28 years of existence, I have finally found scented skincare items that don't irritate my skin and actually work.

The Verdict

These two skincare items work together seamlessly, but they are an expensive pair. If you're on a budget and can splurge on only one item, get the cleanser. While I love the toner in a way that isn't normal, a great cleanser is one of the most important items in your skincare routine and should not be ignored. However, if you can afford both, get both. You won't be sorry.