Amaki Skincare Bentonite Clay Mask
If there is one product in my entire life that has made a major difference in my skin, this is it. It's amazing. It comes in powder form, and you mix it up with water (I throw some raw apple cider vinegar in there too), and paint it on your face with the included brush. In 10 minutes or so, it tightens up and draws a serious amount of gunk out of your skin. It gets so tight, I can't move my facial muscles enough to speak! Then, you rinse it off and your face feels like it just did an hour of hot yoga. Bentonite clay is a miraculous natural substance that can be used in a huge variety of ways, and this tub is very generously sized. I got it on Amazon, and it included the brush and a free Konjac sponge (another fantastic natural product that made it into my last round of reviews!)
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Chamomile and Argan Oil Baby Wash and Shampoo
This is absolutely my new favorite shampoo and wash for the boys. First of all, it's free of nasty artificial ingredients and parabens. Secondly, it smells scrumptious. I can't stop sniffing my kids after they get out of the bath. They just smell sweet and delicious and clean. And it doesn't irritate Cole's eczema, which is a major consideration for any product I use on him. I usually grab it on Vitacost or Amazon, but I've seen it in Target and CVS.
I'm not loyal to this particular brand, although I have used it. Any plain Epsom Salt will do. It's fantastic for adding to the bath - both mine and the kids'. When someone is coming down with something, I'll use it to mix up a detox bath, with baking soda, ginger, and sea salt, and it's been very effective at stopping a few would-be viruses in their germy little tracks. It's also great for just a relaxing, weekend soak with some lavender essential oil, or when one of the kids has a sore bottom or rash - very soothing and healing. I threw this bag into an Amazon Pantry order, but Epsom Salt is widely available, even in most grocery stores.
Honest Company Soothing Bottom Wash
No one relishes diaper duty, but at least if you have to deal with #2, you can have this little gem in your arsenal. We use cloth wipes much of the time, and a few sprays of this directly on the bum, or onto a wipe, takes care of any messes and smells heavenly while it's doing so. It's got an Orange Vanilla scent that is super pleasant, but not overpowering, and it doesn't leave behind any sticky residue. It's also excellent for cleaning up hands and faces!
Oh, essential oils, I love you! There are entire books written about what you can use them for, but my very favorites are lavender, which we go through very quickly because it's so versatile, and:
A kid-safe version of the popular "Thieves" oil to support the immune system. I'll rub this on the boys' feet or diffuse it in the house if someone is showing symptoms of something.
Original Thieves oil (so named, by the way, for the spice merchants who were robbing victims of the Black Plague back in Medieval times. When caught, they received a lighter sentence in exchange for sharing why they hadn't caught the plague, even after touching so many of its victims. Turns out they were wearing masks doused with these oils over their faces). This is what I use on Brian and I if we're feeling the need for an immune boost. I've also made roller bottles and given them away to others for this purpose, with good feedback! I like to make homemade foaming hand soap out of this as well.
Kiss My Face Moisture Shave in Cool Mint
Best natural shave cream out there, hands down. I'll never buy any other kind, ever again. My husband loves it, I love it, it smells great and lathers up, and gives you a fantastic shave. Go buy some! You can get it on Vitacost, Amazon, or in many grocery stores (Wegmans for sure, if you're lucky enough to live near one).
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub
This product is another game-changer for my skin. It has super-fine scrubbing granules, and lots of skin-loving ingredients like French green clay and lemon peel. It makes my face feel so refreshed and woken up, without any chemicals or synthetic fragrances. I've even caught my hubby using it ;) Grab it on Vitacost or Amazon (where else?), or Target.
Out the Door Top Coat
Ok, I can't even pretend this product is natural. It isn't. Not even a little bit. But, sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do in the name of beauty ;) I love a nice neat manicure. It's a small way to pamper myself, and claim my femininity in a house full of smelly boy socks and farts. I have a LOT of nail polish. You know what I don't have a lot of? Time. That's why this top coat is seriously my beauty BFF. 5 minutes, people. In 5 minutes, you can have a shiny, cured manicure and return to your regularly-scheduled life. I would never paint my nails if this product didn't exist. Can you guess where I got it....? My old friend Amazon.
So, not a beauty product, but no Favorites of 2015 list of mine would be complete without mentioning my flock. I love the first 6 so much I've got 16 more coming my way in April (I know right, 16? Weird number. The minimum order is 15, plus the free bonus chick, just in case you were wondering ;). They provide us countless hours of entertainment and laughs, wholesome fresh eggs, and lots of learning opportunities. They live outside, they don't shed on my clothes, and they would probably eat me, were I to pass out in their coop, but gosh, we are chicken-obsessed around here. Over breakfast, Jake peruses any of the various poultry catalogs that arrive in the mail these days, and Cole will request to eat his afternoon snack "outside, with 'nicknens?" Plus, how cool is it to have a flock of the closest living relative to T-Rex running around your yard? Right? You know you want some. McMurray Hatchery, my friends. But be warned, you can't have just 6... ;)