Beauty / Reviews / skincare

The Testing Table \\ Vol. 2

(Products listed clockwise, click product names for links. All products purchased by me or received as a sample with orders I purchased myself unless otherwise indicated.)

Here’s another roundup of the products I’ve been trying out (a small selection among many!) I’ve definitely been on the hunt for a new cleanser and daily moisturizer since I’ve finished and found my staples: Pai Skincare Cleanser and Pai Geranium & Thistle Day Cream. Plus, I’m always curious to try brands that are new to me. Here’s how this volume went:

Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm: I chose this sample with my first Integrity Botanicals order a few months ago. (I love the sample program at Integrity Botanicals: you choose 3 free samples with your order selecting pretty much anything on the website! More here.) Besides having had my eye on Stark Skincare for a while, I’d also not used many cleansing balms before so I was quite curious about this product. First-off, this balm smells AMAZING! Even though this balm features grapefruit extract (an effective cleansing and astringent ingredient), the scent reminds me more of chocolate covered orange peels, which I love! Besides that, this balm was a seriously good cleansing and moisturizing product. I used it to remove heavy eye makeup, minimal face makeup and daily grime. It cleaned everything off perfectly but did leave my skin on the greasier side. This balm is a cleanser and moisturizer in one so really handy for multi-use. I think the hydrating, oil-based ingredients are the reason why this leaves such a greasy residue but it is expectant of a balm. For me, I think it’s great for my dry skin but I probably would love it more for use in the winter.
Ingredients: Cocos nucifera (organic virgin coconut) oil, Glycine soja (non-GMO soybean) butter, Butyrospermum parkii (raw organic Shea) butter, Theobroma cacao (organic cocoa) butter, Mangifera indica (raw mango) seed butter, Euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, Cemellia sinensis (organic green tea) seed oil, Prunus dulcis (organic sweet almond) oil, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate (coconut-derived and ECOCERT approved for organic products)*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Wax, Tocopherol (non-GMO vit. E), Soy lecithin (organic), Rosmarinus officinalis L (natural preservative), pure essential oils. *These are essentially fruit salts and fatty alcohol derived from coconut…sketchy name, but 100% safe and non-irritating.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Eye Balm**: I’m really in love with everything Laurel WPO offers and the samples I received were just further proof of this. The Eye Balm is incredible! It’s very moisturizing, light (but rich in formula) and gentle. The product also easily sinks into skin and has a unique texture that is a slightly grainy balm (grains dissipate when pressed into skin). This product boasts stellar organic ingredients like lavender, grape seed oil, borage seed oil, bilberry and cranberry seed oil– which moisturize, are high in vitamins and antioxidants, de-puffing, promote skin cell regeneration and skin firmness. Although I don’t have serious wrinkles or bags under my eyes yet, this balm is great for keeping the area under my eyes moisturized and less puffy. It’s a great product that I really believe will help keep my undereyes as nourished and healthy as can be. UPDATE: Laurel WPO emailed me to let me know that the granulated texture is not the way the balms should appear. Apparently, my samples had melted in full and re-solidified with warm temperatures during shipping. Laurel WPO now ships their balms with cold ice packs to prevent this from happening! 
Ingredients: Shea Butter˚, Jojoba Oil˚, Borage Seed Oil˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Grape Seed Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Beeswax˚, Pomegranate Seed Oil˚, Rosemary˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Nettle˚, Bilberry˚, Rosehip Fruit˚, Chamomile˚, Licorice˚, Gotu Kola˚, Calendula˚, Comfrey˚, Fennel˚; essential oils of Lavender˚, Bergamot˚, Sandalwood˚, Myrrh˚, Helichrysum˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Daily Balm**: Another home-run for Laurel WPO, I definitely would love to pick up a full-size of this product. I loved using this balm as a daily moisturizer and even at night (though there is a separate Night Balm from Laurel WPO). It is light, smooth and melts into the skin. I love how the Daily Balm is moisturizing enough to keep my dry patches at bay while not being too greasy to wear during the day or under makeup. The balm also has a lovely, fresh scent definitely derived from 29 beneficial active organic ingredients including calendula, comfrey, gotu kola, nettle, chamomile, sandalwood, neroli, carrot seed, and lemon balm. The product appears to have a large grains though is not at all grainy in texture, it is soft and buttery. This balm is gentle and calming on my skin with so many nourishing ingredients. UPDATE: Laurel WPO emailed me to let me know that the granulated texture is not the way the balms should appear. Apparently, my samples had melted in full and re-solidified with warm temperatures during shipping. Laurel WPO now ships their balms with cold ice packs to prevent this from happening! 
Ingredients: Jojoba Oil˚, Shea Butter˚, Rosehip Seed Oil˚, Red Raspberry Seed Oil˚, Borage Seed Oil˚, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Almond Oil˚, Evening Primrose Oil˚, Sesame Oil˚, Beeswax˚, Sea Buckthorn Oil˚, Rosemary Extract˚; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Gotu Kola˚, Calendula˚, Comfrey˚, Nettle˚, Chamomile˚, Licorice˚, Red Clover˚, Lemon Balm˚, Astragalus˚, Yarrow˚, Elderflower˚, Horsetail˚; essential oils of Sandalwood˚, Neroli˚, Carrot Seed˚, Lemon Balm˚ ˚signifies certified organic ingredient

John Masters Organics Linden Blossom Face Creme Cleanser: Believe it or not, I haven’t tried anything from JMO prior to this sample. As an effective, well-known organic hair/skincare brand plus, affordable and easy to find at most retailers, JMO products have been on my “to-try” list. This cleanser was definitely a hit for me. Creamy, smooth and gentle, this cleanser was great for my dry and often irritated skin. I absolutely loved the sweet, muted fragrance and how fresh and revitalized it made my skin feel. This cleanser includes beneficial ingredients such as rose flower oil, linden blossom, ginseng, yang yang and radish root which nourishes, tones, softens and treats dry, sensitive skin like mine. For a small sample I randomly selected to go with a Spirit Beauty Lounge order, I think this was a great choice for me! I’d definitely like to get a full-size of this product.
Ingredient: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower water*, glycerin*, cocoglucoside, coconut alcohol, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil*, lauryl glucoside, calophyllum inophyllum (foraha) seed oil*, sclerotium gum, tilia cordata (linden) flower extract*, panax ginseng (ginseng) root extract*, sambucus canadensis (elder) flower extract*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, melissa officinalis (melissa) flower oil*, xanthan gum, citric acid, potassium sorbate  *Certified Organic

Tom’s of Maine Simply White Fluoride Toothpaste, Clean Mint: I was switching between this natural toothpaste and another one, a clay-based, Zion Health toothpaste (review HERE) for a while. Compared to the Zion Health toothpaste, I didn’t like the Tom’s product as much. Though this still does contains fluoride and SLS unlike other toothpastes claiming to have all natural ingredients, this product made my teeth feel very sensitive and almost weak-feeling. I didn’t quite see any whitening effects and found the mint flavor to be lacking. Not sure if I’m just too used to synthetic toothpaste flavoring, but I did not like how my teeth did not taste and feel fresh. I’m pretty sure most naturally-derived ingredients can pack a “fresh”, minty punch, although this “Clean Mint” flavor did not last at all. I don’t think I’d repurchase this toothpaste and the product actually made me rethink my priority on seeking natural toothpastes. I’m still on the fence about how beneficial it really is to completely remove ingredients in toothpaste that could potentially combat bacteria, serious oral diseases and is recommended by the ADA and dentists.
Active Ingredient: Sodium fluoride 0.24% (0.15% w/v fluoride ion). Inactive Ingredients: hydrated silica, water, sorbitol, glycerin, xylitol, sodium lauryl sulfate, natural flavors, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide, chondrus crispus (carrageenan).

Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream: Kahina is also another brand I haven’t tried yet but is a popular, well-known brand. Being the cautious shopper that I am, I’ve recently stocked up on a few different Kahina samples before I fully commit to such expensive products. Cue the violins coming from my wallet: I loved this night cream. It has a perfectly smooth and soothing formula that gently sinks into the skin and keeps my face moisturized all night long. I loved how my face didn’t feel dry in the morning and stayed just as supple and glowing as the night I applied it. I usually try to save money and amount of daily products used by having a singular multipurpose cream or serum for both day and night. However, I really loved this night cream and saw the immediate benefits on my skin that I think I’d shell out serious money for the small, full-size product. It’s also nice to know that Kahina products are true quality, organic products that also benefit communities in need.
Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, argania spinosa (argan) oil*, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl caprylate, pichia/resveratrol ferment extract, lactobacillus ferment, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, propanediol, vitis vinifera (grape) juice extract, glycerin*, water/aqua/eau, butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter*, sodium hyaluronate, disodium rutinyl disulfate, hordeum distichon extract, melissa officinalis extract, cetyl esters, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, citrus aurantium (petitgrain bigarade) leaf/bud oil, bisabolol, tanacetum annuum flower oil*, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) wood oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, sclerotium gum, p-anisic acid, xanthan gum *Ingredient from Organic Farming, 99.98% of the total ingredients are from natural origin; 78.68% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming, certified natural and Organic by ECOCERT Greenlife

100% Pure Coconut Nourishing Body Cream: I’ve used a fair amount of 100% Pure products yet their body creams have been on my list to try. I love products scented with coconut so I figured I’d enjoy trying this first out of the 3 body cream samples I received with my 100% Pure order. In my opinion, this sample was a bit small for testing out a body cream but I did get a general feel for the product. I loved how natural and pleasant it smelt of coconut and was generally soft and moisturizing to the touch. For me, the cream was a bit chalky and hard to spread, I had to put a bit of effort to rub it into my skin. It did absorb into my skin well and left my dry skin feeling soft and moisturized. I don’t know if I’d purchase a full-size of this body cream, though I loved the scent, it perfectly emulate a tropical, summer destination.
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water (Organic Rose Hydrosol)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip Oil) Seed Extract, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla Wax) Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) and Resveratrol, Extracts of Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit, Coffea Arabica (Organic Kona Green Coffee) Seed*, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Fruit, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Berry) Fruit, Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf*, Garcinia Mangostana (Mangosteen) Peel, Lycium Chinense (Goji Berry) Fruit, Aristotelia Chilensis (Maqui Berry), Sambucus Canadensis (Elderberry), Vitis Vinifera (Muscadine Grape) Skin, Lonicera Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle) and Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Citric Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Water (Witch Hazel), and Alcohol (Grain) * Certified Organic

Have you tried any of these products?What are you currently testing out? See my first Testing Table post here.

*Post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own. **PR Samples provided for consideration.

6 thoughts on “The Testing Table \\ Vol. 2

  1. Thanks for all the informative reviews! Quick question–when you used the Laurel balm, did you use it alone or over a serum? I am so tempted to get it for my winter dry skin, but I haven’t used a balm before and am not sure how I would incorporate it into my current regime! (Right now I am using and loving Laurel’s sun repair or sensitive skin serums). PS have you tried any of her masks? I am eying the brightening mask…

    • I’ve been using the balm alone but I think it would definitely be nice used with a serum as well. It’s definitely easy to work into your regime and with other products. I also have dry skin so sometimes I’ll apply a Laurel Facial Serum or another one of my serums all over my face and then use the balm just on really dry patches. I haven’t tried any of Laurel’s face masks yet but I’m sure they are divine! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Laurel Whole Plant Organics is one that I’ve been really hoping to try, especially their serums and balms. And the 100% Pure Body Cream in Vanilla Bean is my favorite! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these products.

    • Thanks for reading! 🙂 I definitely recommend Laurel Whole Plant Organics, like I said everything I’ve tried is amazing! Mmm the Vanilla Bean flavor sounds like it smells yummy, will have to try that one next.

  3. Thanks for sharing all of these products! Would you mind saying where you bought the sample sizes of laurel products from, I’m really interested to try them – however I’m not sure where it’s possible to get this trial size. Thanks Kasey!

    • Forgot to mention these were press sample trial size products! Laurel WPO does not sell sample products but they do have Travel Sets where you get 5 travel-sized products (I believe 2 of the products are the same ones/sizes I received) and a cute makeup bag:
      In addition, Laurel WPO includes samples with every order and I’m sure you can leave a note specifying which samples you’d like to try as well. Hope that helps! 🙂
      Thank you for reading!

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