desert essence

How I Keep My (Bitch) Face Clear

Like the majority of us, my “resting face” is often misunderstood as a “bitch face”. Whatever. I was born this way.

Anyhoo… over the past couple of months I’ve started suffering from kinda major breakouts, mostly along my jawline and neck. Hot, I know. I went to the dermatologist where I was prescribed Doryx and a topical cream (Epiduo), but after a phototoxic reaction in St. Lucia I’ve stopped using it. (Like my skin would literally burn the second sunlight touched it. Not fun, especially near the equator.)

I was so nervous to stop taking the meds because they really were helping, but with a little internet research I found a GREAT alternative that has been working wonders for me. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil, aka Miracle Worker.

I was a bit skeptical, but after reading all the great reviews on (my favorite website), I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. Plus, for the nominal price of $8.49, how could I pass it up?

I use it twice daily, once after showering and once before bed (both after washing my face). Just put two drops on a wet cotton pad and use as a toner. Also, if I have a pimple forming, I just dab some undiluted oil on it via a Q-Tip and, honest to God, the next day it’s either gone or significantly reduced.

After seeing how well this was working, I decided to give other products in the line a chance:

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash with Organic Tea Tree Oil and Awapuhi

At first this made my face feel a little dry, but my skin has seemed to adjust nicely. The smell isn’t great, but when a product works as well as this does for my complexion, I can overlook that.

In addition, mostly for shits and giggles, I bought the Blemish Touch Stick with Eco-Harvest Tea Tree Oil, because… I’m obviously a fan girl of this brand. Like I mentioned, I sometimes use undiluted tea tree oil as spot treatment, but I’ve found this to work great as well. Plus, it’s in a convenient roll-on stick that you can take anywhere!

So, there ya have it. I hope that in writing this post I don’t jinx myself and I don’t sprout 13 new pimples today (or anytime in the near future), but I didn’t want to leave you all in the dark one more minute if you are suffering from any kind of stubborn adult acne.

P.S. This post is 110% un-sponsored. I just believe in these products so much and wanted to share the wealth.

By Corey Wrenn

I almost bought a product from Desert Essence marked as vegetarian and “cruelty-free,” until I carefully read the ingredients:

Desert Essence - Exfoliating Shea Butter Body Scrub
Water (Aqua), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Pumice, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Cereus Grandiflorus (Vanilla Cactus) Extract, Opuntia Vulgaris Leaf Extract (Prickly Pear Cactus), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Royal Jelly, Honey, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Citric Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Sodium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Natural Fragrance (Parfum)
*Certified Organic

Animals were harmed to obtain ingredients
Animal Testing
Artificial Fragrances/Dyes
Petroleum compounds including mineral oil, petrolatum and paraffin
Parabens, glycols or phthalates

Recyclable, biodegradable and renewable resources
Cruelty free

This item contains at least two animal products, and yet it is falsely marketed as non-harmful to Nonhuman Animals and “Cruelty free.”

I decided to investigate further. From the Desert Essence website:

Are all your products Vegan?

While all our products are 100% vegetarian, not all are vegan. The Organics line, excluding the new Mineral Sunscreen which contains beeswax, is 100% vegan. Although several of our products have small amounts of beeswax and honey in their formulas, no animals are ever harmed to get these ingredients.

But honey and bees’ wax is not cruelty-free; these products do harm animals.

What’s going on here?

First, animal ingredients are cheap. Second, animal-friendly/cruelty-free labeling offers a competitive advantage, an added value for which more can be charged. Instead of switching to vegan ingredients which can be more expensive in a world where animal agriculture is heavily subsidized and animal industries are keen to push their byproducts into the marketplace, “natural” companies simply change their labeling to appease concerned customers.

I documented a similar phenomenon with LUSH Cosmetics and The Body Shop.

This is a tactic also used by the “meat” and dairy industries. Animal flesh and other products inherently entail exploitation and suffering to be obtained, but clever labeling can disguise the process. It can also help a company to stand out  justify a higher markup.

Post-speciesism is a profitable illusion.

The Academic Abolitionist Vegan

Mis 10 Favoritos: Marcas Cruelty Free

Mis 10 Favoritos: Marcas Cruelty Free

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  La cantidad de marcas cruelty free que existen en Chile es bastante amplia,  aunque muchas de mis marcas favoritas no las venden aquí. De todas maneras decidí hacer esta lista con mis favoritos porque sí y porque me imagino que también les servirán los datitos. Aquí vamos: (more…)

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Yay got my iHerb package today~~

Can’t wait to wash my hair with this shampoo and conditioner!! And to try the lotion~~

I’ll probably straighten my hair tomorrow and use the protector.

I’ve been going longer and longer without washing my hair (sounds gross doesn’t it?? But feels great!!). This week I washed it last on Monday and going to wash it today so that’s 5 days. It didn’t look oily or gross at all so I guess my dry shampoo is working! My hair felt really thick this week but I think it’s because I accidentally forgot to completely rinse my hair of the pack. Haha but guess that helps?? Lol!

Any tips on making my hair healthier?

Desert Essence


* Drawn from nutrient-rich desert botanicals (my favorite being Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba oil, and Aloe Vera) known for their healing properties. To support sustainability, they use natural and organic ingredients from around the world and do not use any artificial pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. This is a great company that uses quality ingredients to make very effective beauty products.


Thoroughly Clean Face Wash -

This is one of my favorite cleansers out there, I actually use it on my whole body not just my face. The tea tree oil makes it strong and extremely effective for preventing breakouts/irritated skin after a vigorous sweat session.

The extract of Hawaii’s fragrant awapuhi plant brings additional softening properties to this gentle, but effective cleanser already rich in soothing extract of goldenseal and essential oil of chamomile. Eco-Harvest® Tea Tree Oil leaves a clean that feels oil-free, and with regular use, helps improve your skin’s texture and radiance.

Better Nutrition Best of Beauty Awards, 2009


Organic Jojoba Oil

This is one of my beauty cabinet stables. Jojoba can be used for everything (make-up removal, moisturizer, etc.), but my favorite use is as a hair mask. Once a week I douse my hair in jojoba and sleep with it in (no it will not stain your pillow). Wash it out in the morning and your hair will feel soft, silky and strong… always a plus if trying to grow longer hair.

Pressed from plant seeds native to the American Southwest, USDA-certified organic jojoba oil is a natural, time-honored moisturizer for skin and hair. Suitable for even the most sensitive skin, it penetrates quickly after application, and also makes for an enriching aftershave moisturizer.


Tea Tree Oil Ointment

A blend of soothing essential oils and herbal extracts helps relieve minor skin irritations and dry, chapped skin on face and body. It also provides cooling relief after waxing, and can be used to moisturize damaged cuticles and your hands and feet. Excellent for soothing razor burn.


Cleansing Towelette

A refreshing blend of tea tree oil and lavender and orange extracts helps cleanse and soothe your skin. These wipes are great for the entire family and are convenient enough to keep in your car, purse, or backpack. Use them for a variety of tasks, or any time you want your skin to feel refreshed and revitalized. Great for airplane travel.


Blemish Touch Stick

Powerful botanical extracts of chamomile, lavender, palmarosa, wintergreen and calendula are formulated with tea tree oil in a proprietary blend that works to diminish skin imperfections and give your complexion a fresh, natural radiance. This is perfect size for on-the-go!

Don’t forget to check out their new baby skincare line.

I Think I'm Obsessed with Coconuts

I know this is crazy because, I used to HATE coconuts with every fiber of my being. I don’t remember when it was, but I mustered up the balls to try coconut cream pie this one time and didn’t hate it. 

Then I got a job at Noriega Produce and everything went downhill from there. I was given a jar of this Earth Balance spread for free from my boss because they get free crap from distributers all the time. Big mistake. I have not half the bottle left because I can’t stop eating it OUT OF THE JAR. It continued to chocolate and coconut Larabars, coconut milk, coconut milk yogurt, coconut milk ice cream. Thankfully I haven’t developed a taste for coconut water yet, but just you wait… I’m on my way!

But it doesn’t stop at food. We have a sample bottle of Skin Trip Coconut Moisturizer behind the counter that I used to use on my hands everyday. That is until I got my own bottle along with Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner because I couldn’t fight the temptation to have coconut all over my body anymore.

So here I am. Freshly showered with coconut hair and coconut skin eating coconut and peanut butter spread out of the jar. It’s official.


I’ve missed ordering from you~

decided to order some products for my hair~

got a new shampoo and conditioner, heat protector and hair defrizzer, and hair lotion.

All from the same brand so I hope they work well~ and I will smell amazing!

Here’s what I got: 

Desert Essence: Coconut Shine & Refine Hair Lotion 

Desert Essence: Coconut Shampoo

Desert Essence: Coconut Conditioner

Desert Essence: Coconut Hair Defrizzer & Heat Protector

My hair is gonna smell wonderful~~ ^^

Challenge for the day!

Hi guys! So today I’ve given myself a challenge to avoid processed foods. Now diehard naturalists might scoff at my perhaps flawed understanding or representation of the term “processed,” but my current comprehension of it means that I will not be having items that have been over-processed like your standard cereal products, vegan “fake meat” products, anything pre-made, gum… you get the idea.

I’ve really loved being vegan these past few weeks but I recognize that sometimes with my busy schedule (I know I know, everyone says that) it’s hard to not grab a granola bar or something of the like. It will certainly take me more time to prepare my meals, but I’m honestly enjoying cooking so much lately! I plan on posting some of my favourite vegan recipes soon, complete with low-quality iPhone snapshots, so stay tuned for that ;)

In other news, I’ve finally made the switch to Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. I’ve been pretty vocal in the past to my dentist about refusing fluoride treatments, but for some unknown reason didn’t seek to get it out of my toothpaste. I know it’s probably not the *perfect* toothpaste, but Tooth Soap is a little out of my price range right now. $30 for a bottle!? No can do, I’m afraid. I am also going to go to the store today and pick up some hydrogen peroxide, which I’ve been told is a great option for killing bacteria (and whitening, too. Okay so I’m a bit vain, I suppose). And did you know it’s better to spit into your trash can as opposed to your sink when brushing your teeth? It’s a surprising concept but seems obvious at the same time as it reduces water pollution. Imma try it.

UPDATE: switched from Tom’s to Desert Essence, which has wintergreen essential oil and neem oil. It’s the best!

Best Cleanser For My Oily Skin

This Desert Essence cleanser is my skin’s best friend. Let me preface by saying, I think it would only work for people with oily skin, despite being marketed toward those with oily OR combination skin.

I have very oily skin and it took a few weeks for my skin to adjust to this cleanser. I did not break out, but it dried out my skin a bit and I switched to using it once daily and slowly started using it twice a day.

We have been besties for 7 months now.

Also, it takes a minuscule amount of product to get the job done, which makes this amazing face cleaner even more wallet friendly.

I use this in conjunction with Josie Maran Argan Oil (my all-time favorite all-purpose moisturizer), which has made a huge difference in the appearance and texture of my skin.

The only down side, which has nothing to do with the product itself, is the faulty packaging which causes the cleanser to clog the pump and makes it difficult to dispense.

The simple remedy is to transfer the cleanser into a travel size dispenser.

Best of all, it’s not one of those products that’s marketed as healthy, but crammed with chemicals. As always, read the entire list of ingredients before purchasing.

I can’t emphasize enough how much I love this face wash. If you have sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin…give this natural cleanser a try.