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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Favorite Cruelty-Free Hair Products

This post contains products that have been sent to me for review and products I've purchased myself. All opinions are my own.

It's been a long time of me trying and testing hair products but I think I've finally found some great ones I want to share with you all.



Shampoo and Conditioner


Oddly enough I feel like these are the hardest ones to get right. Especially when going cruelty-free and more natural. I feel sometimes maybe my hair just needs silicone to feel soft. But I've stayed strong and found some products that actually make me excited to wash my hair (and that's saying something!).


SheaMoisture

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo

I've been using SheaMoisture products for a while, but I've got to say this shampoo blows everything else out of the water. After one wash my hair felt soft and smooth and free of product build-up. Umm... amazing! I'm shocked and desperately in love now with this shampoo. And at this price, everyone can scoop it up.

Maple Holistics

Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner

This item was sent to me by Maple Holistics to review.
Conditioner has been the hardest product to find. I've found a bunch of average ones and a really pricey one. But finding a cruelty-free, natural conditioner that's afforable and works, forget about it... Well until now. This conditioner was pretty damn good. It makes my hair soft and thick and does some decent detangling. It's not going to make your hair all silky and smooth like a traditional conditioner, but it also doesn't have all those nasty products. And it does make your hair feel healthy, which is the ultimate goal anyway. Am I right?

Also, Maple Holistics has a great option for you to try a free sample before you commit to buying their products. Check it out here!

Christophe Robin

Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt

I got this in a Sephora Play box and was really unsure at first. It literally looks and feels like a salt scrub for your body. But I took a chance and used it on my hair, and wow! The salt bits scrub your scalp which feels amazing and helps with dry scalp. And it gets rid of all the build left in your hair. A little goes a long way, and if you try it you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Other Hair Products


Ok now let's talk about the fun hair stuff; leave-in conditioners, detangles, dry shampoo, and texturizers. You know the heavy lifters that can make or break a good hair day.


EVA NYC

Freshen Up Dry Shampoo


Ever since Batiste started selling in China (and lost it's cruelty-free status) I've been on the hunt for a new dry shampoo. There have been some definite flops (DryBar and Psssst!) but Phyrra recommended this brand so I picked it up at Ulta. Let me tell you, it rocks! It gives volume and de-greases without leaving a heavy white powdery look. All I want in a dry shampoo, and although the scent isn't as nice as the others I listed, it's performance is so good I'll over look that. If you've been searching too, I recommend giving this dry shampoo a shot!

Mane Magic 10-in-1 Primer


Although I've been a fan of the It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product for a long time, it's expensive. And more recently it stopped working for my hair. So again I went out on the search and after another recommendation from Phyrra I bought this product. It's essentially a fine mist of a mixture of oils that you spray on your hair. It smells subtle and sprays really evenly. But the most amazing part is that is softens and detangles my dyed blond hair. And that's a feat let me tell you, my hair has been so knotty and dry since I went blond. And I feel there's finally a product that helps! Also I love that it's a heat protectant too, yay for multi-purpose products!

Drybar

Triple Sec 3-in-1


I finally get the big stink about texturizing sprays, and I'm hooked! I use this after curling my hair in place of hairspray. It helps to hold my curls (more like loose waves) in place and provides some volume. I don't know how it works but my hair goes from good to great after a few sprays of this. And that's ok with me. 


These are all the cruelty-free and natural hair products I've been using and loving over the last few months. I hope this helps you find some new goodies, and if you try any I'd love to hear your opinions.

Join the Discussion:

What are your favorite hair products?
Which hair product has been the hardest for you to find in a cruelty-free version?

Have a wonderful week all!



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fall Wishlist - at Target

Fall Target Wishlist




Every fall I like to do a wishlist (see past posts here and here) because it's my favorite time of year! I love the snuggly sweaters, layering everything, all the boots, and the deeper colors. This year I've been in Target a few times and they're nailing it in fall fashion and all the fall trends for this year. So I've done a store specific wishlist. Keep reading to see what I want for the season and why.

Checkered Blazer

If you've been anywhere in fashion on the internet, you're probably sick of hearing about this trend! Every fall trend report or post I see includes some iteration or another. But I've been suckered in. As I said, I love layering, it just makes me feel so much more put together. And I think a boyfriend-fit blazer like this will be a great outfit addition over sweaters.

A-Line Skirt

Let's put this out there now, I am not a skirt girl. They usually sit on me funny and accentuate my already large hips and stomach. But this summer, on a whim, I tried an a-line skirt on at H&M that I loved (but they didn't have my size). Ever since I've been on the hunt. This one from Target is adorable - there's embroidery, blue, and velvet/corduroy - I love it all!

Statement Sleeves

I can't decide if I love this sweater or if I think it would drive me nuts! But the flowy sillhouette and beautiful sleeves make me happy. I'll be trying this on for sure. And I love the cream white color for this time of year, it breaks up my black & gray wardrobe. 

Buckle Boots

On my fall shopping list this year has been moto or combat boots, and when I saw these...swoon! Now if you follow my Instagram stories you've probably already seen that I bought these and the drama after. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not I was "cool" enough to pull them off. And after trying them on with almost everything I own and much support from family and the online world, I ripped off the tags and decided to keep them. They're so comfy, cool, and add a much needed edge to my minimalistic outfits.

Structured Bag

Finally, I always feel the need to switch out my purse this time of year. I lean towards something more structured and this leopard print steals my heart. I also look for a bag that's easy to carry while wearing all my layers and coats. The handles and long strap would work great for all kinds of weather and clothing. And I would feel so chic wearing it.

Well all, there's my Target Fall Wishlist for this year. I hope these trends inspire you for the fall weather that's right around the corner (or already here depending on where you live). 

Join the Conversation:

What fall trends are you wearing this year?
What gets you most excited for fall?

Take care all! And don't forget to follow me @ Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'

Friday, September 29, 2017

Why I've been MIA & A Life Update

Hi all! I know it's been a long time and I haven't been posting much on here. A few things have happened that are making time a hard-to-find commodity for me. 

So sit back, grab a coffee or some chow and let's chat! Oh and these pictures are my last attempt to hold onto summer, it's getting quite chilly here in Colorado. 



Why I've been MIA


This is mostly because I decided to go back to school for my Masters degree this fall. I've been needing to do this for a long time. My career in higher education  requires a grad degree for me to move up. And I love working in colleges and universities so I needed to get this done. After some research, advice from mentors, and some soul searching, I decided to go to an online school for Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

I've been taking 2 classes for about a month and I'm not going to lie. It's been rough! Between reading and assignments I've had trouble finding time for blogging. I'm hoping to get back into it once I get myself on a better schedule but so far it's not been working.


Other Life Updates

Along with school there have been a few other things going on that I thought I'd tell you all about.

Therapy

I started seeing a therapist. I tell you this because I don't want to feel ashamed about it and want to help others feel comfortable talking about it. I'm going to work on how I am in relationships. After my divorce I've been really introspective and I think I've got some issues to work on before I go into another relationship. I may write more about this process I  the future. But it's been so helpful - though really challenging and emotionally draining.

My Dog

Sage has had some medical issues this summer. He's been getting stiff and sore after playing hard or hiking. I took him to the vet and were having to do x-rays and tests. It's hard on him which is hard on me. He's my baby and it makes me sad.

Writing Goals

I got an amazing writing opportunity here I  Denver. It's for print and something new and outside my comfort zone. I'm really excited, but it's also scary and more work! Haha!

Dating

I've stopped dating apps for the moment. As I'm working on myself in therapy I don't know if I'm ready to be "out there" right now. With the apps I was becoming really anxious; why wasn't I getting matches or why weren't people messaging? It messed with my confidence and I hate that! I want to be secure with myself before adding someone new into the mix. And I'm not 100% sure dating apps are the way I want to meet someone.

Money

And finally money has been a problem lately. I've had some big unexpected expenses and some changes in my monthly income. It sucks, flat out! I was doing so well and now it's one issue after another... So disheartening. I'm trying to be more frugal and stick to a strict budget. And that makes blogging about new and interesting products a challenge!


That's All

I hope you've enjoyed this update, I know I always love reading them. I don't mean to complain or bitch but this is my life and as I wrote about recently, life is hard (see that post here) and that's just a fact. These are the things going on in my world. They're good and bad and just complicating things.
I will try to continue blogging as I love doing it but it might be more sporadic than usual. Also I was thinking of doing more makeup tutorials with my current products. Let me know if you'd like something like that.

Well that's all for now thanks for listening!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

August/September Love Goodly Box Review

I'll be honest, I'm loving the Love Goodly boxes! It's a great cruelty-free and toxin free subscription. The value for money is great, the products are from brands I've never heard of and seem to be high quality, and the variety is pretty awesome. See my last Love Goodly Review here.

And this month (2 months?) was no exception, there was some pretty cool stuff to test out.




Ok enough gushing, let's see what I got in the August/September Love Goodly Box.

Red & Howling

Custom Frenchie Print


Can I just say that when I pulled this print out of the box I literally LOL'd. I don't say that lightly, but it's true, the dog on the end with the rose... adorably hilarious! I will be looking for a frame for this for sure, I need this in my life. The funniest part is that I'm really not all that into french bulldogs. But hey if it's cute and funny who am I to argue?

Garden of Life

Organic Plant Based Protein Bar


Confession time: I ate this bar before I was able to take a picture :( What? I was hungry, you would have done the same. But I can tell you it wasn't bad, though it did have a Cliff Bar taste and texture. I think I'll stick to the RX Bars or Larabars - my faves!

KINDri Los Angeles

Organic Beauty Oil



I love a good oil. I use one religiously at night in place of a moisturizer (at least during the warmer months) my skin just drinks it up. I just bought an oil before I received this box (only if I had known!) so I've been switching back and forth between the two. 

I would say this is a nice oil that sinks into the skin well (not quickly, cause it's an oil) and leaves my skin nice in the morning. I wouldn't say it wows me but it's nice. And I'm not a huge fan of the very citrusy scent.

I do like this oil though for my hair as a mask (do not use on dry hair if you hate oily clumps!). I run it through the ends and put my hair in a bun for a few hours and then shampoo and condition as usual. It left my hair soft and with less frizz. So I think I may turn this into a mask only kind of product.


Johnny Concert Glamour

Eyeshadow - Radioactive



Oh man, I love the duochrome nature of this shadow, it's gorgeous! I just with the product peformed better. The shade is a bronze-green duochrome with a metallic finish. The shadow is very hardly packed though and is hard to get on your brush.

To get it on my lids I first started with a flat brush and swiping it all over my lids. This left a really light wash of color with more of a shine than the duochrome or metallic. Then I tried wetting a brush and using my fingers to pack on a more intense color. I have to say the find works the best, but you have to add a few layers. It is pretty on though still pretty subtle. 

Unfortunately, I have to say I want to love this more than I do.

Z Natural Life

Deodorant



Ah natural deodorants... out there is some mythical unicorn of the deodorants that works, smells nice, is easy to apply, and doesn't break me out. This, however, is not it. But I really want it to be! 

The packaging is genius, take notes every other natural deordorant. The cream product comes out a whole in the top of this oddly phallic packaging and you swipe it on your pits. It also smells pretty nice. But I did find after time out in a hot day I started to smell. I would recommend this for inside, easy-going days. My biggest trouble though, was after a few days of wear I started to break out. Grr... what is in these things?!

Overall, I'm still very happy with this subscription box, even if I wasn't into everything in it. I'm excited every other month to checkout the new products that are coming!

Be sure to watch my InstaStories (@amberbutbetter) for the next Love Goodly unboxing and first impressions!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Life is Hard - An Honest Talk



When I started Amber But Better just over 3 years ago, I just wanted to talk about going cruelty-free with my beauty products. Since then, it's become so much more than that and I've begun opening up more and more about my life. This is really hard to open up on the internet, especially for me as this is a problem for me all around. But because this space is really all about becoming a better version of myself I will continue to talk about my life with you all. We're friends... maybe a little one-sided, but friends none-the-less.

When I have shared in the past though has been only half the truth. I think I've put a positive spin on my stories; I got a divorce but I'm stronger for it, dating is hard but I'm doing it and am successful, etc... Today I want to share the other side of the story, the side many of us hide when we throw that plastic smile on our faces.
























Things Get Tough


And this truth is that things are not always positive and rosey and going to be okay. Sometimes things just suck! They're shit and awful and you want to cry and scream and give up. This is what happens before all of the other stuff and we dismiss it. At least I do, it's the stuff I have to get over to move on. I'm learning that there is so much to learn and gain when you're in these moments. 

After my separation and divorce I felt awful, like an udder failure. I spent days numb and watching sad movies just so I could cry. It was ugly and difficult.

And more recently I've been trying the whole dating thing online (an app) and at first it was exciting, then it was fun, and then it became harder and harder; like work. When I don't get matches, or some guy ghosts on me, or some guy I went on multiple dates disappeared on me I feel like shit. I feel like I am somehow inadequate and not worthy. It's not a good feeling. I've been anxious and depressed and finally had to uninstall the app from my phone to take a break for a while (I may write more about this in the future). 

Sometimes life just sucks and it's hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I would love to tell you all how I'm doing great now and so excited for the future... blah blah, fucking blah. But this is the real real and I'm being honest. Right now I'm not feeling very good about myself. I question my weight, looks, personality, future, everything! And yes, I'll get out of it one day and I know that I'm really a good person and a total catch.





































All the Emotions are Good


But I've also come to realize that these moments of suck are just as important as the moments after. I'm trying to beccome more comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, sad, angry, and frustrated and all that stuff. Because they're emotions that make me human and allow me to feel all that other good stuff too. I'm allowing myself to feel lonely and sad right now, but I also am trying to move beyond it. No dwelling in these feelings, I just feel them as I need to and continue on. I am also analyzing why I feel this way and working to change my focus on dating, from need to want to date (again, let me know if you want a dating update post).

I know this has been a difficult post and not the normal postivity we all have come to expect from bloggers. But I think this kind of honesty is important, especially on the internet. Things aren't all good all the time. And that's ok because we all go through it! We're all down in the shit together, and I don't know about you but that's actually a comforting thought.

Let's Be Honest Together


I will continue with beauty, style, and confidence posts but I hope to use this platform as an honest space for us to discuss life issues. I hope you're all with me!

On this theme I chose pictures that made me feel uncomfortable, exposed, and out of my element. We're tackling it all on Amber But Better today!

For More Honest Confessions Follow Me @ Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'