Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MultiV6: Vitamins for your skin!

I knew I was getting older when my fascination with just makeup products gave way to wanting all the quality skin care items I could find. Sure, I used to wash and moisturize my face when I was in my teens and early twenties, but that was it. To top it off, I didn't pay any attention to the quality of the products I was using, and I wasn't giving my skin one iota of attention that I do now! Thankfully, I have seen the error of my ways and now seek out products that give my skin the love and attention it deserves. After all, as the largest organ of the body, doesn't it deserve the best you can give it? Consuming a healthy diet is a good way to start taking care of your skin, but did you know that the vitamins you ingest make not be getting to the tough outer layers of your skin? On one hand, it's good having a tough barrier- it certainly keeps so many nasty things out of our bodies. The flip side is your outer layer may only be getting the minimal amount of nutrients. Thankfully, I can count on the skincare trio by MultiV6 to give my skin the extra boost it needs to look its healthiest!

Press Sample

The MultiV6 line was created by Wayne Beckley, the founder of Merlot Skin Care; all products from Merlot Skin Care, including the MultiV6 line incorporate grape seed extract. The MultiV6 line is aptly named as it contains six important vitamins to nourish the skin in addition to Resveratrol. Many other skin care lines use one or two key ingredients to target one specific need, but this line can address multiple issues as each vitamin addresses a different concern:

Vitamin A: reduces redness and fades brown spots

Vitamin B5: reduces moisture loss and boosts hydration

Vitamin C: smoothes & firms skin and fades sun spots

Vitamin D3: diminishes fine lines

Vitamin E: alleviates dryness and bolsters UV defense

Vitamin K: helps diminish under eye circles.

The addition of Resveratrol protects the skin from free radical damage.

The MultiV6 line consists of three products: a serum, a day cream, and a night cream. I really put this line through the test and have been using it for a full eight weeks now! Let's get a closer look at each of the individual items and then I'll give my final thoughts on the MultiV6 line.

Multivitamin Serum

I use serums after washing my face, so this is the best place to start. The serum is housed in an opaque pump-style container and is meant to be used both morning and night.

This serum is incredibly lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. One pump is enough for me to cover my face, although you can use a little more in your trouble areas if you would like. It smells like nothing, like the rest of this line, and I really appreciate that! The formula has a slight silky feeling although it is quite thin. It does not leave any residue or chemical feeling on the skin once absorbed: all you are left with is smooth skin.

Retail: $50

Multivitamin Day Cream

The MultiV6 Multivitamin Day Cream is packaged in a screw cap jar and contains 1.7oz of product. I am not a fan of this type of packaging as I worry about potential contamination from my fingertips, but I use clean scoopers I have saved from previous products to bypass this issue. Like the serum, this doesn't smell like anything to me. I can appreciate a product that gives me just what I need without the added fragrance!

This lightweight moisturizer applies smoothly to the skin and is absorbed very quickly. When I initially started using this line, I opted to use just these three products (after washing my face, of course). I quickly discovered that this day cream is not moisturizing enough for my combination normal to oily skin. While it made my skin feel great upon application, my skin then felt rather dry within about 10 minutes when I went to apply my makeup. After about a week of just these three products, my skin felt oilier and kind of dry. Once I brought back in some of my other products from other brands (hyaluronic acid prior to applying this cream), my skin went back to a more normal state. If you are wanting to just use this line, the day cream may not be moisturizing enough unless you have particularly oily skin. If you intend to add this in with other products, it may be enough for you. Those with very dry skin would probably be better suited towards a richer moisturizer, like the one coming up next.

Retail: $40

Multivitamin Night Cream

Like its Day Cream counterpart, the Multivitamin Night Cream also comes in a screw lid jar. It also contains 1.7oz of product.

The Multivitamin Night Cream is a richer moisturizer than the day alternative, but it is far from heavy. It absorbs relatively quickly into the skin and leaves it feeling incredibly soft. While the Multivitamin Day Cream left me wanting more, the Multivitamin Night Cream really won me over. It was a rough start the first couple of weeks as my skin was adjusting to not having enough moisturization, but trial and error helped me sort out what products worked best for me. I tend to prefer an even richer cream than this at night, but once I added back in my hyaluronic acid application and topping off with a couple drops of my trusty oil, my skin was a happy camper. I actually like this cream as part of my day application on the days I skipped my hyaluronic acid application, and I found my makeup applied nicely over it. It may be a little too rich for day use for those with oily skin types, but those with drier skin may want to test this out during the day. Ultimately, it depends on your own personal body chemistry and what other products you are using, but this is a great moisturizer to consider adding to your routine!

Retail: $45

Final Thoughts

I had some reservations about the MultiV6 line when I first stated testing it out, especially since it wasn't moisturizing enough in the beginning, resulting in my skin upping its oil production. I still wanted to give it a fair shot and opted to change a few things around, and I am so glad I did! On my skin, I found this trio was not enough on its own, and I really needed to add in extra products to get my skin to its happy place again. As a beauty fan, I'm always eager to use products so this is not a deal breaker for me, but it can be for someone that wants just one or two items and call it a day. The Multivitamin Serum in particular was a favorite for me, and I am likely to pick up another bottle when I finish testing out another I have in my lineup. The Multivitamin Day Cream was a big let down for me as it left my skin feeling dry until it overcompensated with oil production. Adding back in my hyaluronic acid product from another brand helped a lot, but even then I wasn't loving it. The Multivitamin Night Cream, on the other hand, I really enjoyed using, and I actually liked using it as part of my day routine. Using a slightly richer cream during the day has made my overall oil production go down such that my skin is far more normal these days instead of the combination oily it used to be. I started adding back in my two drops of oil as my final step before climbing into bed, and the final result is a more normal, balanced skin that is incredibly soft and looks healthy. I still get my usual hormonal breakouts during certain times of the month, but I've not experienced any addition breakouts beyond the first two weeks while my skin went into crazy oily mode. I would gladly use the serum and night cream again!

Have you tried any of the products in the MultiV6 line or any of the other lines from Merlot Skin Care, for that matter? If so, what are your favorites? What are your main concerns when it comes to your skincare routine? Do you prefer to use as few products as possible, or do you like the process of layering to get the desired effect? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Friday, October 11, 2019

DIY Candles and Lip Balms, Oh My!: Simply Earth October Essential Oil Recipe Box

The past few months, I have done something I never really saw myself doing before: delving into the world of essential oils! Sure, I've picked up a couple years ago for a random craft project, but I wasn't sure what all I could do with them, not to mention they were expensive enough to mostly avoid. A few months ago, I was introduced to a new essential oil concept that caught my attention, and ever since, have blown me away! Let's jump on in!

Press Sample and Affiliate Links

I am definitely a craft person, and generally if you come to my house, you'll see a few projects I have completed out on display or in use, while at least one more is in progress and hiding out in the closet. When I heard about the Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box, my interest was piqued. Each month, Simply Earth designs a series of do-it-yourself projects based on a particular theme. A box of four essential oils plus any necessary extra items is then curated along with the recipes for these projects and shipped out to subscribers. Crafting with essential oils cannot be any easier than this!

October's Essential Oil Recipe Box is about candles and lip balms; the included essential oils get double duty use with included recipes to help with joint and muscle pain as well! I was excited about this box when I first knew I would be making candles and lip balm, but my shoulder and knee are extremely pleased with these other recipes!

This month's Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box comes with the following essential oils:

Balsam Fir
Sweet Orange
Focus (blend of Cardamom, Frankincense, Eucalyptus and Sweet Orange Essential Oils)

There is also a sticker sheet so you can label your products as you make them.

The extra items that will arrive in the October box include

Soy Wax
Lip Balm Tubes
Candle Wick

The Essential Oil Recipe Box is completed with six recipe cards to get you well on your way to a fall scented, natural home! I wanted to try out these recipes to see just how easy there were to use. When you first sign up for a subscription, you also are sent a "Big Bonus Box" that includes the multiple tubes, carrier oils, and other things to suit your crafting needs with the monthly recipe boxes. Between the original Big Bonus Box (check out the details on mine here) and the monthly box, there is little you would have to provide yourself to make the recipes. Let's check out what you'll be making this month!

Fall Diffuser Blend

Every month comes with a recipe for a diffusing blend, and this one smells so inviting and warm! Fall is arguably my favorite season as these types of smells are my favorite; I am currently typing away as my diffuser is filling my house with this blend! I've already made a master blend using this combination in a 5mL bottle so I can enjoy this scent in my house even sooner.

Cassia and Orange Candle

This was my first time making a candle, and I was impressed with how easy Simply Earth made it for me! Simply Earth made sure I had all the items I needed to make a candle between this monthly box and the Bog Bonus Box with one exception- you do have to provide your own jar. The recipe calls out for enough wax to make a votive-sized candle, so keep that in mind when following this recipe. I had saved a couple of these cute ramekin dishes from crème brûlée minis I had bought at Costco, and they were the perfect size! I also appreciate the wider opening to help prevent burning my fingertips when I cannot find my long lighter. This spiced orange combination is heavenly!

Focus Lip Balm

Technically you don't have to provide anything extra when it comes to making this recipe, but the standard recipe makes a fair bit of extra product. I have made my own lip balms before in the past, and I still had two additional tubes available to pour the extra mix. In the end, I ended up with 3 and 3/4 tubes of lip balm. I recommend holding onto those empty chapstick containers for excess melt. If you're a tin lip balm fan, this recipe will not work well as written as the final product dries very firm. I triple checked the amounts I was using, and I think the beeswax to oils ratio is too high for my preference. I personally prefer the recipe I used to follow, but I do like the Focus Essential Oil blend in the lip balm.

Joint Pain Roll On

Getting older is great for some things- you can rent a car, you don't have to pull out your ID while at a restaurant to get a cocktail, you're (hopefully) making more money with your career, and you really stop caring about what other people that don't matter think. The down side: your joints sometimes ache. I badly hurt one of my knees a couple years ago, and it's just never been the same ever since. It's definitely doing better, but after a lot of walking or an intense workout, it can start to bother me again. This Joint Pain Roll On is the perfect solution to help with those aches, and the roller bottle makes it convenient to toss in my bag before going to the gym or on a hike. I actually made two of these- one for myself and one for my mother in law.

DIY Aromatherapy Rice Bag

Now that your joints are covered, you can move on to helping sore muscles! Many year ago, I had made myself a heating bag by filling a knee-high sock with beans and popping it into the microwave to heat. My hubby used to think it was weird, but man did that feel good putting it on the back on my neck! In this month's Simply Earth version, you fill a sock with rice that has been mixed with essential oils. As I always found myself placing my original bean bag on a few specific small spots, I decided to make this rice aromatherapy bag with one of my kids' stray socks whose partner had disappeared long ago. Holding a cup of rice, this baby heats up nicely in my microwave in about 20 seconds. I actually used this earlier today on one of my shoulders (side sleeper, checking in) and then asked the hubby to massage my shoulder. The heat soothes the muscles quickly so he could get at the knot that was bothering me almost immediately. While my rice bag isn't fancy, you can opt to use a fun pattern or solid coloured socks and made a really awesome gift. Alternately, you can sew a fabric tube or go the simpler route of using sleeves from a long sleeve shirt. I always have random fabric extras around the house so I'm probably going to make myself a bigger version to place at the foot of my bed to prewarm the area when the nights are chilly. The Focus Essential Oil Blend is too uplifting for bedtime, but you can easily use different calming essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and/or bergamot.

Cassia and Balsam Fir Candle
(not pictured)

If you're wanted to get a jump start into the holiday season, this candle combination may be the one that appeals the most to you. Because my Essential Oil Recipe Box only came with one candle wick, I opted to skip this one in favor of the citrus option. I'm not sure if the October subscription boxes come with only a single wick, or if mine did because it is a demo box. There was plenty of wax to make two candles, so if your box only comes with one wick, you may need to pick up more at the craft store. Alternately, you can melt your waxes and mix with oils and pour into small silicone molds to create wax melts. A lot of my friends are more into wax melts than candles, so this is a great gift option. I even found my long-missing wax warmer during my move back to Arizona at the end of last year so I can even enjoy melting wax again!

The Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box is a subscription service with two subscription options:

The MONTHLY BOX is $39 per month, and you will receive a box every month.

The QUARTERLY BOX is $45 every three months, and you will receive one box every three months.

There is no additional membership fee for subscribing, and you can skip boxes if a particular monthly theme doesn't suit your needs.

If you decide to subscribe for the Essential Oils Recipe Box, feel free to use the code LAUGHLOVECONTOURFREE . This code will get you a $40 gift card with your first purchased subscription box and a free Big Bonus Box. Please note that this code is not a discount off your first box but an incentive for first time subscribers. The value can be applied to your next monthly box or towards individual items offered by Simply Earth. These boxes are fantastic for yourself, and the monthly themes makes these a fun gift for friends and family. The holidays will be here soon, and what better way to show you care than giving a handmade gift!

If you decide you're not in the market for an essential oils box but still want to pick up a few assorted essential oils, please consider using my referral link. I don't have any special discount codes to share for this type of purchase, but using my referral link helps to support my blog so I can keep bringing you the great content you enjoy!

As always, 13% of every purchase at Simply Earth is donated to help stop human trafficking. This month, donations are going to 5 Stones. This Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization works to raise awareness of sex trafficking as well as prevent victimization and working with other organizations to fight against human trafficking. I love knowing when money generated from my purchases is also doing good; this is just one of so many great things about Simply Earth!

November Essential Oil Recipe Box Sneak Peak

While you are enjoying the October Essential Oil Recipe Box, you can be looking forward to next month's box too! The theme for November is.... Bath & Shower! In addition to your monthly diffuser recipe, you can look forward to recipes for 2 milk baths, chai tea bath, shower steamers, and a roll-on. The spicy aroma of chai tea is one of my favorites, and who doesn't enjoy a good soak in the tub? I've never used shower steamers although I have wanted to try them, especially with cold and flu season coming up! I'm really curious if the roll-on is going to have a therapeutic use or more for the aromatherapy benefits. I guess I'll have to wait to find out!

Are you a DIY crafter? Do you enjoy incorporating essential oils into your every day life? Would you be interested in the Essential Oil Recipe Box, either for yourself or as a gift? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Harmony Proteins: Mixing up a Magic Collagen Brew for your Hair, Skin, and Nails

We already know that what you put inside your body is going to have an effect on the way it behaves, including our skin. We drink our minimum of eight glasses of water a day and are sure to consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but have you given any thought into consuming collagen supplements? As we enter our 20s, our bodies start producing about 1% less collagen each year. This may not sound like a lot, but the effect is cumulative, and that means a lot when it comes to the most abundant protein in your body! Collagen provides strength and structure to your body, and the most obvious is our face as it starts to wrinkle and our joints start to give us issues. What if there was a magical brew to help combat these issues? Even better, what if this wasn't something magical and can be picked up from your local Walmart shelves? This is where Harmony Proteins comes in!

Gifted by the brand

Harmony Proteins offers easy, on-the-go collagen solutions, now in six delicious flavors. I'm partial to Dragon Fruit, although Watermelon and Blackberry come close behind. Dragon Fruit also includes 114mg Green Tea Caffeine Extract, so you can skip your morning cuppa joe in favor of this to help give you the extra boost you need to start your day. Watermelon and Blackberry do not contain caffeine, so those that are sensitive or need to avoid it later in the day (like yours truly), can opt for these options. These are also available in Crisp Apple, Asian Pear (with added probiotics to help those prone to stomach issues), and Honey Lavender (with added melatonin to help you relax and drift off to lala land).

Each Harmony Proteins Collagen Boost package includes either 5 or 6 individual portions that can be ripped open and poured into your water. These are great for adding to water bottles when on the go: pour in and shake; or consume from the comfort of your home by pouring into a glass of water and stirring. You can even add these to your favorite smoothie recipe for a subtle change in flavor and all the added benefits of collagen!

Harmony Proteins isn't the only collagen brand on the market, but they have a few key differences that appeal to me. Their collagen is sourced from cows that are pasture-raised and grass fed. Also, the flavors are all natural- no artificial flavors or sweeteners are found here! Harmony Proteins does not use preservatives or other artificial chemicals in their products, resulting in a clean and natural product to help improve your skin, hair, and nails, and maintain healthy joints.

Bottoms up! I'll drink to that!

I've started drinking the Dragon Fruit flavor with the added caffeine instead of my morning coffee, and my body is thanking me for it! I normally have to add a lot of sugar to my coffee to make it remotely palatable for me, and I really don't need the extra sugar in my diet. Harmony Proteins has made it easy for me to get the extra boost of energy I need in the mornings without the added sugar, all while providing me with the collagen boost my body needs. My mirror appreciates the delayed onset of wrinkles, and my bad knee definitely has noticed an improvement!

If you are interested in added collagen supplements to your diet, Harmony Proteins is a good brand to consider. It offers all the benefits I want from collagen in delicious flavors. If you're not the best at consuming your minimum of eight cups of water, the tasty flavors may even help you get one of those glasses in without issue!

Harmony Proteins are currently available for purchase at Walmart stores. They can be found in either the beauty or tea aisles depending on your particular store. Use the handy Store Locator to find the store closest to you!

Until next time, dear readers, have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Polish Pickup and Literary Lacquers On Why You Shouldn't get Tattoos in a Language you Don't Understand

Urban Legends have taken over the October Polish Pickup, and there are both new-to-me tales in addition to some old favorites. While the exact tale that inspired by Amy of Literary Lacquers isn't one I've heard, I am familiar with the general idea behind it. Let's check it out!

Press Sample

According to the story, a female diner is taken with the Chinese characters on her menu. She loved the characters so much, that in one variant of the story, she knits a sweater containing the characters. The modern version of the tale has her getting a tattoo of the characters. It is some time later she learns that the characters mean "This dish is cheap yet tasty". Inspired by this urban legend and Amy's bff's love of all things magenta, here is This Dish Is Cheap Yet Tasty.

I have loved just about all the polishes released by Literary Lacquers, no matter what the finish may be, but my mind always first goes to holographic nail polishes when I think of the brand. I am so excited to see this rich and vibrant magenta holo join in this month's Polish Pickup.

I know I can always count on the brand to provide great formulas, and This Dish Is Cheap Yet Tasty is no exception to the rule. What does set it aside from many of the others is it is incredibly pigmented, and I only used one coat to reach opacity for these photos. I'm often a two-coater kind of a girl in spite of many brands saying one is enough, but in this case, one coat was definitely enough. I've not yet had the opportunity to use it for stamped nail art yet, but it should fit the bill nicely!

Retail: $13
No cap on the number of bottles available for purchase

This Dish Is Cheap Yet Tasty was created exclusively for the Polish Pickup and will be available for purchase here from Friday, October 4th through Monday, October 7th ONLY. Be sure to mark your calendars so you don't miss out!

As always, purchases made through the Polish Pickup are submitted as a preorder. Please allow three weeks from the close of the October opening for items to be shipped out to you.

Are you excited about the October opening of the Polish Pickup? What are you planning to pick up? Have you heard this particular Urban Legend? While I didn't know this exact one, I did have a friend years ago who had a brother that got a tattoo thinking it meant one thing but it actually translated to something else.

Until next time, dear readers, have a great evening!

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