Heather and I and a few of our friends and family decided to “pretty up” this summer with new products featured in the New Hope Network Blogger Box. We had a blast testing products to which we rarely treat ourselves. Some worked from the outside in and others from the inside out. Of the many selections, we found a few high-performing products from ethical companies that we will continue to use, so we thought we’d share of favorite finds…

Hairy Times

Me before and after using Giovanni 2Chic conditionersYes, I know what you are going to say: “I wish my hair was naturally curly like yours!” Trust me, no you don’t. I have spent my entire life trying to “get along” with my hair. For example, when I was six and about to start school, my mother simply gave up trying to “style” my frizzy locks and sent me with my dad to the barber, where I was given a pixie haircut. There’s even a picture of the occasion in the family photo album. My hair stayed like that for the next four or five years, just short (or long) of a crewcut.

When I was a teenager, Jean Shrimpton was the reigning supermodel—remember her long, straight iconic hair—the signature look of the 60’s? I ironed my hair; I rolled it up in orange juice concentrate cans; I slicked it down with mayonnaise; and I pulled it so tight on top of my head that my eyes became tiny slits. Nothing worked. So, over the years I have accepted ungraceful defeat.

Except, times have changed since my teenage years and so has hair care. Two of my favorite items from the New Hope Network Blogger Box are Giovanni Cosmetics’ Frizz Be Gone Shea Butter & Sweet Almond Oil Hot Hair Treatment and Ultra Revival Treatment for Dry, Unruly Hair. Note the before and after photos!

I have actually used Giovanni’s Leave-In Avocado & Olive Oil Conditioner for years, so this was a pretty “natural” next step for me. I will say that unless you have super-curly, super-frizzy, super-dry hair like mine, the hot oil treatment may be a bit much, but Ultra Revival is great for just about everyone–even my daughter Heather, who is blessed with normal hair like her dad. Now that the Midwest humidity has arrived, we recommend giving it a try. And if you are a super frizz-head like me, be sure to give the Frizz Be Gone a go, too!

Fresh As a Summer Day

Earth Mama Deodorant SelectionsBecause my daughter works in landscaping, she has some real challenges when it comes to maintaining her cool during the long hot summer. While most of Heather’s days are spent with her crew working long hours in private gardens and public spaces, some of her time is spent conversing with high-end clients, who want to discuss their property and how things are being handled. The last thing Heather needs is to arrive at a consultation a sweaty, stinky mess.

Further, Heather has other challenges beyond the environment: she’s gluten free and has sensitivity to many commercial products. So she was thrilled to discover Earth Mama deodorant sticks, which are specially and gently designed for women who are pregnant, nursing or have special sensitivity needs. While Heather isn’t pregnant or nursing, she still appreciates the integrity of this female-focused company. All Earth Mama products are third-party certified organic and are never tested on animals. Heather really liked the Bright Citrus Scent.

Skin Sizzles

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey lotionI will be the first to admit that I spend (probably) too much time at the pool in the sun. We all have our vices, I suppose. So there are times when I pay the price of a nasty sunburn. I was lucky to find Manuka Honey Renewing Body Lotion by Wedderspoon in the Blogger Box. The benefits of pure Manuka honey from New Zealand are well documented. I even have a friend who uses Wedderspoon’s Raw Honey right out of the jar to ease her eczema. According to Wedderspoon’s website, “in addition to the bold flavor profile; world renowned Manuka honey has naturally occurring live enzymes and is taken daily by many consumers including nutritionists and athletes. Wedderspoon Manuka Honey is raw, Non-GMO verified and every jar is sourced, packed and sealed in New Zealand for the ultimate in authentic quality.”

The Manuka Honey Renewing Body Lotion was by far my number-one favorite item of everything we tested. I loved the Aloe and Green Tea scent, which is mild and fresh. But the best part was the hydrating power of this non-greasy, light lotion. What relief on my parched skin! Definitely a repeat buy for me. Also, the story of Wedderspoon is one of sustainability, environmental responsibility and commitment to quality, so happy endings all the way around. Be sure to check them out!


The Magic of Water

Immune Effervescent Supplement DrinkWhile all these products performed well and gave us a “pretty” look and feel, nothing really beats hydration for good looking skin, hair and health. Delicious Living Magazine experts have a great article in their current issue on the importance of getting enough water. There’s even a week’s worth of super-hydration menus, with recipes and shopping list! A fountain of information, right?

In the Blogger Box, we found two helpful products to help maintain healthy hydration. My friend Deb is my best pool buddy. On days when we just need a break, we ride our bikes to the pool and spend the day swimming, laughing and enjoying the peaceful calm of water and sun.

We are smart swimmers and keep water close by, but the ride home in the early evening, which includes quite a few big hills, can be brutal on high temperature days. So Deb decided to try Immune Oxylent, an effervescent supplement drink loaded with vitamins C, D, and zinc and enhanced with raw coconut powder. It comes in handy single-use packets that conveniently turn the water in your bottle from good to high-performance great. The company is pretty great, too.  She’s sold and loves the tangy tangerine-lemon flavor.

flow water with limeFor me, it was all about going with the Flow—a specially formulated alkaline spring water, laced with organic cucumber and mint flavor. When I started drinking it, I could literally feel its hydration working. Plus the super-subtle flavor was just enough to make it special without making me feel I’d just had a ton of sugar. In fact, there’s no sugar involved. But there is one more special thing about Flow: the container. In an effort to be as environmentally responsible as they can, the makers of Flow package their alkaline water in Non-PET and BPA-Free containers that are 100 percent recyclable and made of up to 70 percent recycled materials—no single-use plastic bottles. Even the little cap on the top is made of vegetable matter, not plastic. So easy to go with this Flow!

What are your favorite products for staying pretty all summer long? Please share! And be sure to check out Delicious Living Magazine for recipes, natural beauty suggestions and the latest environmental news.

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