Category Archives: Thoughts & Things

Spring Nails (SS16)

Spring is finally here with temperatures finally increasing and stabilizing.  Out with Fall/Winter vampy shades and in with bright, vibrant, pastel colors for spring.

SS16NailsNaturesPulchritude
(Clockwise from Top) Zoya Daisy, China Glaze Light as Air, Zoya Bevin, China Glaze Peachy Keen, China Glaze For Audrey, Zoya Blu, China Glaze Mimosas Before Mani’s, China Glaze Refresh Mint, Formula X Law of Attraction

Zoya Daisy+ (Creme with Glitter)– A pale yellow with light blue shimmer.

China Glaze Light as Air* (Creme) – A light lavender.

Zoya Bevin+ (Creme) – A muted light blueish green .

China Glaze Peachy Keen* (Creme) – A light peachy orange color.

China Glaze For Audrey* (Creme) – A classic and long time fave.  Similar to Tiffany & Co.’s signature blue boxes. 

Zoya Blu+ (Creme) – Pale light blue, similar to a robin’s egg.

China Glaze Mimosas Before Mani’s* (Creme with Glitter)- Bright Orange/Pink with subtle pink glitter.

China Glaze Refresh Mint* (Creme) – Beautiful Mint Green.

Formula X Law of Attraction (Metallic Gitter)- Ever just sit and stare at your nails as the light reflects on it?  Yes, this polish will have you doing that.  Gorgeous blue contrasts a yellow gold tone.

 
What are your favorite polishes for summer this year?
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Chobani Simply 100 vs. Dannon Light & Fit Greek vs. Yoplait Greek 100

Nature’s Pulchritude is kind of into ingredients. Okay, we are really into ingredients! I thought Chobani’s digs at Yoplait and Dannon were interesting and are a prime example of companies realizing that ingredients and associated perceived quality are a marketing strategy for companies. Of course, you cannot call out other companies if your ingredients are no better. Let’s see how these greek yogurts stack up! All flavors listed are for Peach. I am not affiliated with any brands in any way shape or form, have not received any compensation for this post!

Chobani Simply 100

Copyright Chobani

Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei), Peaches, Chicory Root Fiber, Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract, Fruit And Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color).

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 5.3oz (150g)
Servings per Container 1
Amount per Serving %DV*
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g-
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Potassium 240mg 6%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Total Carbs 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 7g-
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% · Iron 0%

About Chobani Simply 100® Blended Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Only natural non-GMO ingredients
  • 75% less sugar than regular yogurt based on USDA data*
  • Excellent source of protein and fiber
  • Made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth
  • hormones**

  • Includes probiotics and live cultures
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten free
  • Kosher certified
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Less than 5% lactose

Ingredients
One of the first things I noticed about this product was that it was sweetened with Stevia extract. Chobani’s other product lines more or less only use evaporate cane juice. Stevia is used because it provides a sweet taste (150x sweeter than sugar) without the added calories. (Learn more about stevia). That also explains why it is the last ingredient. Pectin is a thickener, typically derived from fruit though it is not specified here. Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum are also thickeners. Monk Fruit Extract is another “natural alternative to sugar” sweetener, that has a similar controversy around it like stevia. I don’t see a preservative listed, Chobani uses salt in their other products.

One drawback is Chobani claims the milk used in their yogurt is non-GMO, however, they are NOT certified by the Non-GMO Project, the most known non-GMO certification in the US. They are instead certified by a european certifier. This could be good or bad. Chobani could have gone with a european certifier (eurofins) because they are more rigorous than the non-GMO Project. Or, Chobani’s products may not meet non-GMO Project standards. Expect a post on this in the near future.

Nutrition
Overall this is good. High in fiber and protein, and much lower in sugar than Chobani’s other products.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek

Copyright Danone

Ingredients
Fructose. Typically naturally derived but not the best ingredient. Corn starch is a thickener. Malic acid is used to enhance flavor. Sucralose was specifically pointed out by Chobani. Sucralose,commonly referred to as Splenda, is a zero calorie sweetener that is 320-1,000 times sweeter than sucrose. Sucralose is the new alternative to aspartame another zero calorie sweetener that has received a significant amount of scrutiny. Sucralose is manufactured from Sucrose. Stevia and Monk Fruit Extracts are the “naturally derived” versions of Sucralose. Potassium Sorbate is a synthetically derived preservative that is commonly used in natural ingredients. Acesulfame Sorbate is another artificial zero calorie sweetener. This product very likely uses GMO milk and peaches.

Nutrition
This product is high in protein, but has no fiber. Sugar is the same amount as Chobani Simply 100 (7 grams).

Yoplait Greek 100

Copyright Yoplait

Ingredients
Not much difference in this product than the Dannon Light & Fit Greek.

Nutrition
Yoplait Greek 100 is high in protein, though 4 grams less than Dannon & Chobani, with no fiber, and 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams more than Chobani and Dannon.

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: Chobani Simply 100 is head and shoulders above Dannon Light & Fit Greek & Yoplait Greek 100. The ingredients in Dannon and Yoplaits yogurts are standard across the mass produced food industry–filled with artificial and synthetic ingredients. Chobani clearly perceives their products to have better ingredients, though the jury is still out on Stevia extract and Monk Fruit extract. They may be naturally derived compared to sucralose and acesulfame sorbate but that does not mean they different on impact on the body. I recently tried the Simply 100 and it was pretty bland, it could have done without the 7 grams of sugar, assuming some of that sugar is not attributed to the peaches. This is coming from someone who eats plain Greek Yogurt, which is quite bland with less sugar.

I encourage you to read labels, and look beyond the nutritional facts. Artificial ingredients may not have fat and calories, but that does not mean it is good for you, better than products that use real ingredients, or most importantly that it is not negatively impacting your body!

Year In Review: 2015

2015 has been a great year! Nature’s Pulchritude wasn’t as active as I would have liked but that will improve in 2016. Nature’s Pulchritude has grown significantly in 2015 and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow in 2016! There were a lot of things I did not get a chance to show this year, mainly recipes and product reviews, but stay tuned for exciting content in 2016.

Top Posts

LabelPoise40

1) How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXX. Are “naturally derived” products as good as they claim? This one in particular checked out to be okay!

2) SheaMoisture & Bain Capital Partnership Controversy. This controversy was and still is a touchy subject for many SheaMoisture fans. I can see the positives and negatives of this partnership, but the old waiting game applies here and we will see how it turns out.

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3) Swatches: Exclusive Zoya Mini Trio. The mini trio featured exclusive colors from NYFW.

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4) How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXXXII. This Label Poise covered a fairly widely available natural hair product that touts being paraben and mineral oil free though it has a host of unfavorable ingredients.

5) Triphenyl phosphate, found in ‘eco-friendly’ nail polish, spurs worries. This was another semi-controversial subject for many nail polish fans. The ingredient in question is most harmful through skin contact not through inhalation, which means with the right precautions you can avoid harm if it is in any of your polishes!

 

My Favorite Products

BraggACVNP

Dr. Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.  Remedy in a Bottle! Internally, Externally. Hair, Skin. Cooking Purposes. This product is all natural (really) and is certified organic! Amazing-ness!

NPInstaNatural1

InstaNatural Peppermint & Lemon Essential Oils.  Ahhh the scent of fresh lemon and peppermint! These are great for aromatherapy and I even use them in a foot soak and a homemade “shampoo!”

Fall Nails!

It has officially been fall for over a month, though the temperatures have been fluctuating between spring and fall.  Fall means goodbye bright, vibrant colors and hello to dark, vampy, smoldering shades.

NPFallNailPolish
(L to R) Zoya Yuna, Zoya Lidia, China Glaze Manhunt (top), Zoya Sansa (middle), Formula X Law of Attraction (bottom), Zoya Ibiza, Zoya Aggie

China Glaze Manhunt*  (Creme)- This is a true royal blue that is simply gorgeous on the nail.  The wear of this polish is terrific!

Zoya Ibiza+(Shimmer)- This color is a deep blue with true blue glitter that gives the polish depth and looks “lit from within.”

Zoya Lidia+ (Creme)-  This is a gorgeous true purple.  Purple nail color has been high on my must have list for a while and this color delivered!

Formula X Law of Attraction (Metallic Glitter)-  Ever just sit and stare at your nails as the light reflects on it?  Yes, this polish will have you doing that.  Gorgeous blue contrasts a yellow gold tone.

Zoya Aggie+ (Metallic)- I have yet to wear this color but the duochrome gold/green goes great with a fall wardrobe palette while still giving a nice pop of color.

Zoya Sansa+ (Creme w/ Glitter)- A deep purple with red and silver glitter.

Zoya Yuna+ (Creme w/ Glitter)-  Muted green with subtle gold shimmer.  Very fall!

+Big 5 Free

*Big 3 Free

What are your favorite fall nail polishes?

First Impression: Honest Beauty

Honest Beauty officially launched their product lines last week.  These are my first impression of the products!

Marketing & Branding

  • The color scheme for the product line is neutral, which is quite different from how many other beauty brands are marketed
  • I am glad the company is showcasing various ethnicities
  • They only offer skin and makeup products.  Hair is the big ‘beauty’ segment that is missing, which will likely follow if the initial product lines are successful.
  • Honest Beauty is really showcasing Jessica Alba in the marketing as she is featured in 80% of the marketing on the site.  Most lines hire models, however, featuring her is clearly strategic and a part of branding.

Our Story

Honest Beauty’s tag line is “…doing beauty differently.  We’re proud to create a comprehensive line of skincare and makeup that celebrates diverse beauty and brings out your best.” 

They are definitely taking a step in the right direction, but their foundation offerings are limited.  I do not have a shade match, but that can somewhat be chalked up to them being new.  Hopefully, a wider variety of colors will launch if this venture is a success.

“Effective as it is safe.”  This is a meaningful statement.  All of the top beauty brands are effective but most are not “safe.”  This is the goal for most brands within the natural/safe/healthy beauty niche. 

Social Goodness

It is commendable that a portion of their proceeds goes to helping young women pursue their dreams.  Unfortunately, it does not disclose what percentage, inclined to believe it is less than 1%.

Beauty Bundle

Customized products?  Up to a 50% discount?  Yes and Yes!  However 3 products for $50?  No thanks!  My only question is how customized are the bundles?  Is it a “skin type, skin tone” auto selected bundle or can customers select which products they want in their bundle?  This is the model they have for their free trial.  However, this seems like a good deal if a customer likes their products and doesn’t mind the price!

Skin Care

Price points are too high.  There are certified organic products that are not as expensive for the same size.

Powder cleanser is very different, it looks like it may be an add water scrub?

Interesting that SPF moisturizers are included considering the scandal over the Honest Company sunscreens not actually providing sun protection.  It is also interesting that they contain non-nano zinc oxide which can leave a white hue on medium to dark skin tones.

Just to reiterate on the prices.  1.7 ounces for $22?  1 ounce of $34 and the product contains Dimethicone?

Makeup

Makeup has a wider offering of products, face, eyes, cheeks, and lips.  The price points of the makeup is also too high.  The price is on par with established prestige beauty brands who have a broader following.  The pricing is presumably because Honest Beauty wants to be held in the same regard as those prestige brands, but those other brands are proven to be effective.

The ingredients of the lip pencil and blush look pretty good.  The colors are the typical variation of pink and red for lip and blush.  The ingredients of the lip gloss are a little concerning.

 

What are your thoughts on Honest Beauty’s product launch?

SheaMoisture & Bain Capital Partnership Controversy

This post is the first of a series called “Thoughts & Things” where Nature’s Pulchritude will weigh in on relevant topics related to natural and organic beauty and food.

Deep. Sigh.  Finding out that one of your favorite indie/small/niche brands has been bought out or funded by a large privately held entity typically causes loyal supporters to let out a collective deep sigh as they often feel the quality of their favorite brand is soon to decline.  It is not always true, but it most definitely is not uncommon. 

I remember the aftermath in the blogosphere after a well known nail polish brand was acquired by a large beauty company (OPI & Coty).  I also cannot help but recollect when a niche hair and skin brand (Carol’s Daughter) had celebrity investors, changed its marketing strategy, abandoned its core customers, and the debacle that occurred when the brand’s quality declined.  Needless to say, many of the brand’s loyal customers jumped ship once they figured out what was happening.  Said brand went bankrupt before being acquired by a major beauty corporation (L’Oreal).  That brings me to the controversy surrounding the announcement of Bain Capital investing in Sundial Brands LLC which produces SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage.  Many on the internet have been abuzz about this and have been vociferous about their discontent with the investment partnership.  We have seen this movie before, or have we?  

The Facts

Copyright Sundial Brands, LLC

SheaMoisture is a beauty company that was founded in 1992 that produces hair and skin products that has until recently been exclusively marketed to women of African decent to meet their unique hair needs.  SheaMoisture uses 4 generations old recipes that date back to 1912, started by the founder’s grandmother.  SheaMoisture became a household name natural hair brand when their Curl Enhancing Smoothie became the go-to product for natural hair gurus.

SheaMoisture is widely available at Walgreen’s, CVS, Walmart, Sally Beauty, Ulta and a host of brick-and-mortar and online retailers. Their hair and body products are sold at an affordable price point (typically $10, $20 for professional series) and can often be found on sale.  SheaMoisture has over 20 different collections (including men’s, kids, men and women’s shave, hair color, and makeup), many of which have been introduced in the last 2 years.  All of the hair and skin products contain fair trade and certified organic ingredients, most notably the namesake ingredient (Shea Butter), which is often one of the first 5 ingredients.

Sundial Brands (SheaMoisture’s parent company) is valued at $700 million , with annual venue’s of $200 million, according to Wall Street Journal (via MarketWatch).  Bain Capital’s investment amount is unknown.

SheaMoisture “Sells Out”

The worst case scenario is that SheaMoisture “sells out.”  What exactly is selling out?  SheaMoisture abandons its core customer base for the sake of becoming a “renaissance brand,” its formulas gradually begin to change and the organic and fair trade ingredients slowly but surely disappear, then silicones, mineral oil and the whole gang begin getting added into formulas, etc.  You get the point.  SheaMoisture will go the route of Carol’s Daughter and will lose the quality and integrity that attracted early and loyal customers in the first place.

Many SheaMoisture fans are greatly concerned about the choice of investment partner, as Bain Capital was founded by a former republican Presidential candidate (in the US).  Frankly, I am not sure why this is an issue for some.  If you look at various different organizations it is not unlikely you will find a senior level executive(s) with “eccentric” world views, or some “questionable” practices.  Yes it is very much possible that this particular investment firm may not “understand” the mission and values of SheaMoisture and its customers, but that is the responsibility of Sundial Brands to be firm in their values and establish investor criteria that support those values.

SheaMoisture Stays True to its Mission (and Customers)

Power.  Move.  The best case scenario is the SheaMoisture will stay true to its loyal customer base and ‘self’ as a brand, though they are persuing means to increase their profits, valuation, and market share.  Or in other words this is just a good business move.  It should be noted that Sundial Brands was receiving offers to be purchased (wholly acquired), so perhaps it should be heartening that they chose a minority stake investor instead.  

Ideally, once SheaMoisture reaches the financial level they desire they will pay back their investment, buy out Bain Capital’s minority stake, and continue to make quality products.  They will continue to offer products that meet the hair and skin needs of their core customer base, but will also have offerings that will suit the hair and skin needs of other demographics.  SheaMoisture is no longer aiming to be a great “niche” brand but is instead looking to become a beauty powerhouse that happens to have “clean/natural” formulas and use organic and fair trade ingredients in their products.

This partnership could go either way, but it is likely to go one of the two.  Sundial Brands CEO has noticed and responded to the backlash, trying to ensure customers that SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage products will retain their integrity.

What are your thoughts on this partnership?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!