"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." -- Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Handmade - Product Endorsements

I thought I would share some of the products that I now almost exclusively buy from handmade sources rather than large commercial vendors/manufacturers. I didn't plan to become this organic, buy from small business only champion - I still buy most things from the big box stores and Amazon.com. But in the past few years there are definitely some specific products that I prefer to buy from handmade sources and because I love them I thought I would share them with you.

First up is soap. I love handmade soap. Aside from the commercial liquid soap in the charming vintage jar turned dispenser at my kitchen sink, I use handmade bar soap for everything - for my hands, in the shower and even for my face (which I will detail later when I talk about the other products I use on my face). (Beau and the kids use the liquid stuff. Beau prefers it. The kids destroy the bars when they insist on playing with them in sinks full of water. I do have bar soap in the powder room, though, so guests are forced to use those lovely soaps.) Here are a few links to my favorite soapers on Etsy. I try to spread the shopping, but I have listed them in order of preference with my favorite at the top:

Sweet Petula - Cordelia's soaps are awesome. Her fragrances are subtle and wonderful and the soap is long-lasting and lovely. Her soaps are a bit spendy when compared to others, but I think they are well worth the price, especially the big bars.

Beautiful Soaps - Heather also has awesome soap. I use one of her soaps for my face. So I will explain my love of it later.

Fairy Bubbles - Amanda has great soap. My favorite is Summer Cottage, which I buy a lot. I also like Apples & Oak, which is in the soap caddy in the shower currently. I have bought a lot of soap from Amanda - her prices are very reasonable.

Anderson Soap Company - Dennis runs one of the largest soap companies on Etsy. And there is a reason why - his soap is fantastic. My favorite of his is the Calendula Wilderness, which is a small bar. I really need to see if he would do some large bars for me. I also have some of his lip balm, which is great. I actually have two of the same kind - one in my bathroom and one in my purse. It is used daily and often.

There are a lot more, but they are the ones I buy from the most. If you like handmade bar soap, please visit their shops and give them a try.

Next up is cosmetics. Yes, I buy handmade cosmetics - mineral. I started with a sample foundation and blush from one seller years ago. I liked them, but they weren't quite right for my skin tone (very pale). So I started hunting around. Yes, I could have tried Bare Minerals, but the rebel in me didn't want to hop that bandwagon and also it is spendy. Now, I realize that I may not be saving money buying my cosmetics from Etsy sellers, but at least I'm helping small businesses. Not all of the cosmetics I use are handmade - I still buy commercial moisturizer (Oil of Olay), mascara (Maybelline), eyebrow pencil (E.L.F), and lip gloss (Mary Kay). But everything else actually is handmade.

I'll start with my skin care. As I said earlier, I use handmade bar soap as my cleanser. When I was diagnosed with rosacia last year, I did some research and discovered that some ingredients in commercial face soap can cause it to flare up. So I decided to see about using a handmade soap that is completely natural and contains no alcohol or SLS. I found Beautiful Soap's Carrot and White Kaolin Clay bar. (She now sells them by the loaf, which works well for me as I buy them in bulk now.) I love this soap. From the first time I used it I could tell a difference in my complexion. My skin was soft, not dried out, and my occasional breakouts were diminished. I loved it so much that I ordered several bars to have in stock. Now, when I unwrap the second to the last bar in my stash, I know it is time to reorder. I actually just received my latest reorder - 6 bars that should last me about 8-9 months. Each bar lasts about 6 weeks, maybe longer, but that seems to be the average.

I do use Oil of Olay as my moisturizer, as I said. I've used it for years. I'll stick with it for now, but I am tempted to switch to a handmade moisturizer because I received a sample of a really lovely one when some other items that I bought recently, but I'll get to that in a second. To my Oil of Olay, I add a Vitamin C powder. I have officially jumped on the anti-aging train. I don't know if this stuff will actually slow the aging in my complextion. What I do know is that I like how my face feels by adding the tiny bit of this powder to the OoO before I apply it. Then before I apply my make-up, I apply a silicone primer. (NOTE: I linked to the sample listings rather than the full size listings.)

I used to use SmashBox Photo Finish (because I read that it helped to smooth out the skin for mineral make-up to adhere to better, which is true. It works.), but then I found Rtisan's primer on Etsy and decided to give it a try. I like it better. A smaller amount works better and I like that it's handmade. Sharon sent me a sample of one of her moisturizers in my last order and I'm so tempted to buy a larger pot. I loved how velvety my skin felt on the days that I used it and like her primer, a very small amount went way further than the dime to quarter size dollop of OoO that I use every day.

Now, let's discuss mineral make-up. I heart mineral make-up. All of my make-up is in loose powder form from my concealer to my eye shadows. I have a lot of eye shadow in lot of fun colors. I buy almost all of my mineral make up from Simplicity Cosmetics. Her foundation is fantastic - great coverage without being cakey and the Ivory shade is perfect for my very light skin tone. I use her Primrose blush. As I said, I have a lot of eye shadows from Sarah, but my nearly daily go-tos are Wheat on the lid and under the brow, Moonlight in the crease, and Espresso as my liner. I also use Plum in the crease on occasion - today I used Plum. Other colors that I use a lot include Blossom, Glimmer, Stone, Ashes, Petal, and Ocean (a great denim blue color). I also have her lip balm in Blossom (love it) and the lip gloss in Blossom (not currently stocked) as well.

Nail Color - I have bought handmade nail polish, too. I bought some awesome polish from a seller who is no more - Doctor Who themed polish that I love - Don't Blink. Recently, I bought a couple polishes from I Love Nail Polish - Animal Cookie and Bella. Yes, I like glitter nail polish. I haven't received them yet, but I'm excited to try them out when I do.

And with that I'll end the product endorsement post. I hope that you'll consider trying handmade. I think it's worth the trying, maybe additional expense, to support small businesses. I know that I appreciate each of my buyers and with every sale I try to improve my products and service. I can attest that each of the sellers mentioned here offer quality products and excellent service.


beth said...

Thanks for this -- I've been dithering about my current cleanser (running low, not loving it, seems to be making my face more red each day) so...I'm trying the soap and the foundation. :)

Jen said...

Woo! I hope the soap works for you as it does for me.

And the foundation, too. I don't know if you use mineral make-up already, but having a good brush makes all the difference. I use the foundation brush from E.L.F (Eye. Lips. Face. website), which are very inexpensive. I think I found some at Target, too.

Kelly said...

Fun post! I've been wanting to try mineral makeup...I'd like to give that brand a try. I use OoO too, and I've been wondering if I should switch to something with antioxidants...I like your vit. C powder idea. :)

Jen said...

Kelly, I really love mineral make-up. Especially as I have gotten older.

And I just reordered the Vit C powder last week. I'm down to the last few applications from my first pot.