As you may have noticed by now, whenever I'm in town visiting the xoVain offices, Annie and I tend to take beauty-related field trips together. Out in the world, we're basically investigative journalists covering the hard-hitting stories. Except with nicer nails.
During my most recent jaunt to The Large Apple (that's what we call it in Canada), Annie and I headed over to the Union Square LUSH shop to participate in their recycling program. Basically, when you bring in any five of their black product pots (empty), you get a free fresh face mask! Anytime!
That is pretty great. Instead of just tossing the pots after your product runs out, you actually get something in return for being a faithful and earth-conscious customer.
The brand has tons of face masks to choose from, and they are made out of fresh ingredients (like real fruits and veggies) so you have to pick them up in shop for maximum results.
Another great thing is that the masks provide something for everyone with their multitude of varieties. If you've got dry skin, oily skin, mature skin, you name i--you're covered.
After recycling her pots, Annie settled on Love Lettuce, which has calming lavender to soothe cranky skin.
But the trip didn't end there. We were in good spirits because the weather was really nice (sunny with a relaxing breeze) and we were surrounded by beautiful products and scents, so we decided to do a bit of shopping. We each picked up a basket and started to sniff and test out various goods to take home.
After a bit of this, our moods were even better. I was smearing my arms with solid perfume and bouncing around full of glee. Annie even hopped up on a counter at one point and announced that she was suddenly feeling generous and wanted to give away her face mask. What a sweetheart, right?
I was feeling generous too, so I suggested we give away all the stuff we had picked out instead. After all, that face mask was fresh and needed to go in the fridge ASAP, so we figured you guys would rather have non-perishables instead, no?
So this is the part where I tell you that we're giving you a gift. One lucky winner will receive a prize of products chosen specially by Annie and me. We both picked a bunch of our personal, tried-and-true favourites in the shop, and we want you to have them, because you've been so supportive and helpful these past few months.
Here's what we're giving away, and why.
BLOUSEY SHAMPOO: A super-gentle, non-stripping shampoo made with bananas and intended for all kinds of hair that, like a beautiful flower, might be starting to wilt. This is the shampoo I use 90% of the time, and it makes my hair soft and clean while leaving it smelling like an English garden, thanks to the blackcurrant, rose and juniper berries.
BUFFY BODY BUTTER: (and storage tin!): Essentially a body scrub and body butter rolled into one, this little brick of exfoliating goodness works wonders when rubbed over your butt and the backs of thighs. It's got ground rice, beans and almonds to really get skin smooth and help boost circulation, making cellulite appear a little less in your face, and leaves skin smooth thanks to the shea butter it's all packed in. I also love that its original name was BUFFY THE BACKSIDE SLAYER. Cute.
LUST SOLID PERFUME: I love jasmine, and I feel like dudes do, too, because whenever I wear it they get sniffin' and flirtin'. This solid perfume is heavy on the jasmine, along with rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang and vanilla. I like the convenience of the solid for keeping in my bag, too. No spilling, and you can take it on a plane! Just be warned. This is a sexy, sexy perfume. I mean, they named it LUST.
ROSE JAM BUBBLEROON: Everybody likes bubble baths, and everybody especially likes bubble baths when they smell like this delicious thingamajig. It's got loads of rose and is ideal for sensitive skin, plus it's got shea butter and coconut oil so even when your tub is bubbling up, your skin is getting softened and moisturized. And it's weird, because even though this is a very rosy product, it also smells edible. Like, I have to frequently stop myself from biting into it. It doesn't help that it looks like a big ol' ball of fondant.
TISTY TOSTY BATH BOMB: A favourite of mine that I've mentioned more times than I can count, it sweetly scents your tub with a light floral fragrance while filling it with tiny dried rosebuds. Makes me feel like Ophelia/some kind of delightful water nymph.
And now I'm throwing it over to Annie to tell us why she chose her picks.
FEELING YOUNGER: "This is a perfect white highlighter--subtly frosted and not glittery or too shimmery. It brightens your face by catching a bit of light without making you look like a disco ball or just an idiot. I like to swipe some at the tops of my cheeks, right below and out from my eyes and on top of my cupid's bow and around the edges of my nostrils. I used it in my "Wah My Boyfriend Is Famous" post."
COCONUT DEODORANT POWDER: "I don't use this as deodorant--my stench is much too strong for any deodorant, really. BUT I found that this product is AMAZING for my Nike Free's. I don't wear socks with them because socks are for try-hards. But damn, Free's start smelling pretty gnarly after a few summer no-sock sessions. I just sprinkle a little of this in the shoe, tap it around the sole like I'm flouring a cake pan ('sup bakers, you know what I'm talking about), and it keeps my feet from smelling disgusting."
FLYING FOX SHOWER GEL (also with storage tin!): "I love this simply for the smell. It reminds me of honeysuckles, which I used to eat during recess. I was a fat kid." [Note from Hannah: I love this stuff too, and it's been a mainstay in my shower for years. The jasmine in it makes it SUPER-SEXY.]
SHIMMY SHIMMY: "I really love Lush's sparkle solid lotions. I use Silk Stockings, but have mixed feelings about the opalescent pink tone it leaves--I'm olive-toned, QUIT TRYING TO MAKE ME SOMETHING I'M NOT. It is really pretty, though... Anyway, I saw Shimmy Shimmy and thought it was a great non-tinted alternative. I put this stuff on my hands before I do nail shots so I look like a mannequin.
MARILYN HAIR TREATMENT: "I've never believed in blonde-enhancing hair treatments before this. Right after I got my hair highlighted/blonded, people noticed of course. But a couple of weeks later, after I used this stuff for this first time, people REALLY started noticing the blonde in my hair. It was insane, apparently this pre-wash treatment really brightened up the highlights. I tried it again a few days later and same thing, people couldn't stop asking whether or not I'd had my hair done. Crazy stuff, huh?"
GOLDEN SLUMBERS BATH BOMB: "How could I put together a gift bag of LUSH and not include a bath bomb? I don't take baths because of my current bathroom situation, but the smell of this was too good not to give you. I'm actually surprised that it's scented with lavender, usually I'm not even a lavender fan! Anyway, it's supposed to "melt away stress" and help you sleep better."
You probably want to know how to win, right? Well, we want to see you in your bathrooms. Specifically, your bathtubs and showers. No, we're not asking for nudes! We want clothed selfies of you beautiful folks standing or sitting or lounging or dancing or WHATEVER in your (dry) bathtubs and showers, showing us where you'd be using LUSH's lovely products.
SO: upload these photos to Instagram, follow our account @xovain, and mention us in the caption, along with the hashtag #xovainloveslush OR enter the same way using Twitter! Be sure to include the photo, tag, and hashtag.
The contest is open to US and Canadian residents 18 years or older, so even though we love our international friends, we can only have the prizes shipped to these places.
We'll announce a winner Monday, September 2. So you have until midnight on the 1st to take that selfie, follow, and tag us!
Now get entering!