Saturday, September 5th, 2009

American Grown Hand Soaps & Shower Gels

Bath & Body Works’ American Grown Hand & Body Soapsicon ($7.50 to $12.50) is a limited edition collection of hand soaps and shower gels that has customers clamoring to give this line permanent-status. The collection is based on the concept of hand soaps and shower gels that are inspired by great American destinations with affordability in mine.

American Grown Destinations

  • Washington Apple In the fertile valleys of Washington State in America’s far west, growers tend orchards that produce the world’s most crisp, ripe apples. Formulated with Apple Extract to help nourish skin, Washington Apple instantly evokes your first bite of a shiny red apple, an unmistakably juicy flavor.
  • Napa Grape In the rolling hills of Napa Valley’s wine country, the alluring scent of ripe grapes wafts through the air. Breathe in this irresistible fragrance and experience the intoxicating aroma as grape seed oil conditions and protects skin.
  • Siesta Key Lemon Nothing says summer like fresh-cut Meyer lemons from Florida. Sweeter than other lemons, the plump, smooth-skinned citrus produces a sparklingly fresh fragrance. Take an instant vacation to Siesta Key as Lemon Oil refreshes and brightens the skin.
  • Savannah Mint A frosty glass of iced tea in a hot Savannah summer is twice as refreshing with a cool sprig of mint. Breathe in this invigorating fragrance and experience the romance of southern charm and gentility while Peppermint Oil energizes your skin and your senses.
  • Montana Sky Experience the clear, crisp quality of the mountain air in big sky country with formulas inspired by the vast beauty of an endless blue sky. Bathe your skin in calming spring waters as you inhale a rush of fresh air.

I’ve tried two scents: Napa Grape Hand Soap ($7.50 for 16 oz.) and Siesta Key Lemon Shower Gel ($12.50 for 24 oz.). Napa Grape smells like a lightly sweetened grape, almost like a very fragrance, sweet wine or sangria. As a soap, a little goes a long way (in fact, I find one pump to be too much!) and it lathers up easily. I felt like these didn’t dry my hands out as some soaps are prone to do.

Siseta Key Lemon is exactly that — lemony goodness. I love, love lemon scented stuff, particular for soaps and the like. (I think it was a childhood of growing up with Joy dish soap.) Just like the soap, a little goes a long way and the product lathers up easily and smells amazing–very natural, not a perfume-y lemon, but a freshly squeezed lemon with just a touch of sugar.

The packaging is simple and functional, but the bold colors of the products themselves really make them standout in your shower/counter-top. American Grown is an extremely affordable line of products. No frills packaging and effective products at a low cost? Really? I know these are supposed to disappear in September, so I urge you to check it out next time you’re near Bath & Body Works!

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Love natural scents that aren’t perfume-y, consider American Grown for your hand soap and shower gel needs.

Availability: Bath & Body Worksicon

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Philosophy Cinnamon Hot Dots Shower Gel ($16.00) is a spicy, cinnamon-y infused scented body wash. If you’ve been a reader for a few months, you’ve probably gotten a glimpse of my delight over Philosophy’s Shower Gels. They’ve captured my attention, because I like trying out all of the different scents, and they are always coming out with new ones.

All of their Shower Gels are technically 3-in-1 gels, because they can be used as shampoo, shower gel, or bubble bath. I only use mine as shower gels–mostly out of personal preference–I only take a few baths a year, so I devote those to getting my LUSH on, and shampoo, well — I’m always trying out new shampoos! Thus, I keep my Philosophy gels strictly for body washing.

My most important requirement in a body wash is that I can work up a good lather/foam with it. I just like the feeling of a luxuriously foaming, sudsy body wash, and this is an area where Philosophy excels. (My boyfriend is equally fanatic about the amount of lather a body wash has!) Cinnamon Hot Dots smells very much like sizzling hot cinnamon candies (like Hot Tamales). It’s definitely not a subtle scent when you’re using it, but it doesn’t linger after you’ve dried off. I personally prefer my body wash scents to fade quickly, but if you’re looking for all-day scent, this is definitely not meant for you.

I loved Hot Tamales as a kid (can’t justify eating those nowadays, sigh), so I was all over this scent. I just finished my big ol’ bottle of sudsy goodness this morning, and I’d say it lasted me a solid two months, despite my boyfriend using at least half of it with his overindulgent usage (the term “a little bit will do ya” means nothing to him!).

You can find your favorite Philosophy scents at Sephora.

Sephora.com, Inc.

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Liz Earle Orange Flower Hand Wash (6.7 oz for $19.50) is a low-lather liquid hand soap lightly scented with an herbal/floral blend of notes with a touch of orange.  The hand wash contains orange flower water, as well as seven pure essential oils, and its foaming agents are derived from corn syrup and coconut oil.  Liz Earle has managed to create a more organic/natural product that doesn’t stink of compost nor lacking in quality.  Too often I’ve found brands capitalize on using buzz words like natural or organic, but then the products themselves don’t deliver.

In a household with sixty-pounds of overeager puppy (well, I suppose, he’s just a dog now!), I’m always washing my hands.  It’s really essential for whatever hand cleansing product I use to do everything it can to moisturize or rehydrate my paws throughout the day.  Since using Liz Earle’s hand wash, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my skin’s texture and roughness.  My hands don’t feel dry, and they’re certainly better than they usually are.  This is most likely one of the better hand soaps I’ve used, all things considered.

The only thing that gets me is the price, because the idea of paying just about $20 for hand soap seems ludicrous.  I can appreciate that they’ve designed the pump to only pump out all you need (which is a very small amount), at the very least.  If the price were less, I’d repurchase it without a second thought–as it stands, I’m not entirely sure.  It’ll depend on how long it lasts overall, I suppose!  Get yours at LizEarle.com.

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Philosophy “The Holiday” Cookbook ($35.00) features six 2 oz. bottles of Philosophy’s popular three-in-ones. Each is scented differently, but all can be used as a shampoo, shower gel, or a bubble bath. Who doesn’t appreciate a product that multi-tasks? And in my shower, a product that can do three things will definitely earn a spot to call its own! I’m a huge fan of Philosophy’s shower gels (3-in-1s, whatever!), because they lather SO, SO richly and luxuriously! I’m all about being able to work up a good lather, and any shower gel that can’t do that doesn’t past muster with me. Thankfully, Philosophy has yet to disappoint me when it comes to their formula!

You get to try six scents: Gingerbread, Cinnamon Buns, Spicy Pear, Pumpkin Spice, Red Velvet Cake, and Hot Cocoa. Philosophy does an excellent job of making their scents smell just like their namesake. I can appreciate truth in advertising! My favorites were, well, all of them to be honest. If I had to pick three, I would say Gingerbread, Pumpkin Spice (mmm, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone?), and Hot Cocoa–they’re just supremely holiday-esque scents.  Get one for yourself, or one for a friend (or both!)! :)

Let’s take a peek inside! :) Continue reading →

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Snowcake Soap ($6.95 for 3.5 oz.) is one of Lush’s cult-favorite products that only comes around once a year (the holiday season or winter season, whichever you prefer!). Funny enough, Lush really does know how popular this product is–in their product description, they write, “If we didn’t bring out a fresh batch of Snowcake every Christmas we’d probably be chased down the street by irate LUSH customers.” I wouldn’t be surprised at the truth of that statement! I know the lovely Muse over at Musings of a Muse stocks up on this every year, buying it by the bucket load!

I hope my Lush fans don’t put me on a spit and roast me up, but Snowcake isn’t part of my must-have, very favorite, to-die-for Lush products. But let me explain myself first! I am simply not into soaps. I never liked them growing up as a kid (discovering shower gel/body wash was a dream come true) because there’s this slight “squeaky clean” feeling at the end. It’s difficult to describe, but I just can’t jive with that feeling, which pretty much leaves most soap bars out. This is the only reason why I’m not all over Snowcake like melting snow (oh, that was terrible)–otherwise it is a great product.

So, for the soap lovers out there, Snowcake is a deliciously scented milky white soap bar that smells like marzipan and amaretto with a little almond in it. In the shower, it melts against the body into a creamy lather. The scent fades after an hour or two post-shower, but it’s enjoyable for that hour. I don’t find the majority of soaps, shower gels, body washes, etc. to have prolonged scents after you step out of the shower. For me, it’s not a big deal–if I want to be scented everywhere, I opt for a good body lotion layered over a coordinating (or very lightly scented) shower gel/wash or a spritz of perfume.

Fear not, for those who aren’t so head-over-feet in love with bar soap, the good folks at Lush have bottled up the scent and excellence of Snowcake Soap into Smitten hand cream! (Review is forthcoming, but I’ll tell you I do recommend it!)

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Holiday Bubble Bar ($6.95 for 3.5 oz.) has a lovely spicy, cinnamon-y rose scent that really blooms once the product hits the water, rather than just sitting on your shelf. A huge plus to this holiday bubble bar is how awesomely it bubbles up your bathwater. Sometimes the amount of bubbles you get can vary from okay to fun, and this one is VERY fun. I only used about a third of the bar for a single serving of 5-year-old splashing fun. The glittery red bits are pretty fine, but you can still see them in the water. The water itself turns a pinkish shade (not blood red!) with a little orange in it. Get yours at Lush!