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bite-sized reviews

1. Astrida Naturals African black soap - TOO DRYING! Bought to use on my face, dried it out; started using on my hands, dried them out too. Won’t buy again.

2. DressGreen rosemary peppermint shampoo bar - Gets hair CLEAN! I also don’t need to use conditioner afterwards, which is totally unprecedented for my traditionally knotty curls.

3. Sycamore Boutique “Winterblend” shea butter skin cream - Light enough for the face, moisturizing enough for the body. Sinks in quickly and provides long-lasting moisture. YES! Only problem: it smells kind of weird.

4. DressGreen Green Thumb hand salve - A little goes a long way. Cleared up the rough, dry spots on my hands that were caused by the aforementioned African black soap. Even my gnarly-handed mom loved it.

5. DressGreen cucumber ginseng eye cream - Very hydrating. Sometimes irritates my eyes a little bit, but probably wouldn’t if I avoided the lids altogether. Probably wouldn’t buy again (but then again, all the eye creams I’ve tried have irritated my eyes).

6. DressGreen shaving soap - Smoothest shave ever! I’m not a fan of the matcha scent, but Damian is. If I get my own, it’ll be the spearmint tangerine one.

what I’m using: bath & beauty

Facial cleansers:
-Lush Angels on Bare Skin - this is my basic everyday cleanser. Gentle but thorough. A little bit scrubby. A perfect medium.
-Lush Ocean Salt - I use this 2-3 times a week for exfoliation.
-Lush Ultrabland - I’ve been using this as a makeup remover and occasional nighttime cleanser. Using it is a bit of a rigamarole so I don’t choose it too often, though it is very moisturizing and nice.
-DressGreen unDressed facial bar - I use this when I’m feeling lazy, because it’s much less messy than any of my Lush cleansers. It’s just a simple, plain, unscented cleansing bar that works.

Facial moisturizers:
-Lush Celestial - great everyday moisturizer for my combination skin.
-DressGreen cucumber and ginseng eye cream - I don’t really know how to tell if eye cream is working or not, but so far, no complaints. Seems to be pretty hydrating.
-Extra virgin olive oil and/or coconut oil - ain’t no better moisturizer when my skin feels super dried out.

Bath/shower soap:
-DressGreen unDressed soap - no artificial fragrances or drying ingredients, just a nice natural bar. I’ll go for some of the scented ones when I run out.

Hair products:
-DressGreen shampoo bars - I just finished up my sample of the chamomile calendula one, which smelled divine; next I’ll be moving on to the rosemary mint one I ordered, which is glorious. They’re very cleansing, make a great lather, and leave my hair soft and conditioned.
-Suave Naturals conditioner - I’ve been using these for years and years because they’re silicone-free, detangle well, and smell awesome. I typically go for the strawberry, tangerine, or coconut kind. These are also light enough that I can use a small amount as a leave-in conditioner if my hair needs extra moisture.

review: DressGreen unDressed Mild and Moisturizing Soap

I bought this bar sort of by accident. I was looking for a mild facial cleansing bar, containing skin-soothing ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. DressGreen makes many kinds of soaps, including ones for your face, but I accidentally bought the one made for body skin. Oh well, no big loss - I’m a bit of a handmade soap junkie so I was excited to try it out nonetheless.

1. Beautiful packaging. DressGreen’s owner, Lauren, has a background in product design, which really shows.
2. More moisturizing than any handmade soap I’ve tried (and, as you know, I’m a Lush customer, so that’s saying something). My skin feels really happy.
3. A really lovely, subtle smell. There are no extra fragrances added to this soap (hence “undressed”), so I think the scent must come from the cocoa butter or almond oil.
4. Lathers pretty damn well for a handmade soap. My last body soap was Lush Candy Cane, which hardly lathers at all.
5. Does what soap is supposed to do, of course. I’m clean!
6. The bar is a great big size, bigger than the drugstore bars my family buys. This will last me months, I’d guess.

1. When I first rinsed it off, my skin felt a bit tight and “squeaky clean,” which is what happens with every other soap. At first I was pretty disappointed, because I thought this meant UnDressed was just as drying as other soaps. Luckily, this effect wore off in a few minutes’ time. (I don’t use a body moisturizer - maybe I should?)
2. Like all handmade soaps, UnDressed needs to be kept out of water - it can’t be left in standing water, nor can it be left in a place where the stream of shower/bath water will hit it, as moisture significantly diminishes the shelf life of handmade soaps. Not a big deal if you’re used to this procedure (especially if you have a draining soap dish!) but maybe kind of annoying for some people.

Overall: UnDressed might be my favorite handmade soap I’ve tried. Definitely recommended to anyone who’s looking for a more natural, less irritating substitute for Ivory or Dove or what have you.

You can buy UnDressed at DressGreen’s Etsy shop or on their website.

minor skin ramblings

I’m sad to report that my attempts at trying out different face soaps have not been successful thus far, so I’ve returned to my mainstay, good old DivaWash - it doesn’t strip my skin of moisture, so I get soft skin without even needing to moisturize.

I tried going back to Lush Coalface, which I used for years and swore by when I was about 13-16. I guess my skin was pretty different back then, because now Coalface makes me break out, and I absolutely have to apply a moisturizer afterward (FYI, the only moisturizer I use, which cures all my skin problems, is virgin coconut oil, bought by the jar at a health food store). I still have quite a large bar of Coalface left; not sure what I’m gonna do with it now.

I also tried out African black soap, which makes a lovely shampoo and body wash but just doesn’t agree with my face. It’s too drying, despite containing shea butter.

I still have some more options I’d like to try. I seem to remember Lush Fresh Farmacy being a nice cleanser (I had a sample once). I found another Etsy seller who claims that her African black soap is heavier on the shea butter than most. And since I know coconut oil agrees with my skin, I might spring for a soap where coconut oil features heavily.

Yeah, I know, that was a super boring blog post. Oh well.