And the winner is...! + Details of the next Beauty Giveaway Contest.

Random.org, schmandom.org- some things are more fun done the old-fashioned way! I printed lists of all you lovely people, cut each name out and in they went into a paper lunch bag! After much shaking and one reach of my hand, we have a winner!
Congratulations, Hollie of Georgia, U.S.A! Jane Iredale Circle/Delete Concealer is one of my stable beauty products and I’m getting ready to write a Product-analysis on it in the next week or so!

This was too much fun for me; I absolutely must do more contests! Next up: I'm giving away Smashbox O-GLOW Intuitive Cheek Color, $26 value! Check blog regularly as I will post the contest dates on top of my “follow” index. Good luck, fellow farmgirls!

Thank you sincerely to EVERYONE who visits my blog. There are loyal readers who contact me regularly but are a bit too shy to display their pretty profile on the “follow” index. I just want everyone to know that I am so touched by your support and I will continue to brainstorm for ideas and submit myself as a guinea pig to my wacky experiments. You guys are awesome :D.


Product-analysis: 100% Pure Fruit Pigments Lip Gloss- Sheer Strawberry

This is, hands-down, the BEST lip gloss ever made. I’ve been purposely losing lip glosses just so I can come back to this one. Being extremely picky about the texture, color and ingredients of my lip glosses, this is the only that has satisfied my requirements and more. Granted, there’ll always be flashy, new glosses on the market that flaunt their goods at me. But their lure is short-lived; this gloss is 1 in a million.

100% Pure is exactly that. Breaking down the ingredient list for their lip gloss, it is made of Vitamin E (which helps preserve the product and nourish the skin) and fruit pigments. A few additional nature-derived ingredients, like honey (protects and heals), and that’s it! This product’s short & sweet ingredient list qualifies it as a lip product I would feel safe about ingesting.
100% Pure Fruit Pigments Lip Gloss - Sheer Strawberry is a see-through pink that melds in with your natural lip color for a “your lips but better” shade that lights up your face. I always look more awake when I wear this. While I love that it doesn’t have any shimmer, they have other equally amazing shades that contains shimmer. The texture is non-sticky and gives the most realistic shine I’ve ever come across in a lip gloss (think: baby’s lips). While the color is sheer, it gives coverage that blurs lines away, leaving lips looking plump and positively succulent.

100% Pure is one of the very few brands I’ve found that offers truly natural products that actually WORKS! This is especially important when it comes to lip & eye products. I’m trying out their
Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream right now and I’ll report back on my progress.

Here’s my disclaimer: I write extremely researched reviews after extensive, self-conducted testing. I do not review products I dislike; it's a waste of time and typing skills. This review contains product I purchase and gratis sent by company due to interest in feedbacks. My first priority is to my readers; company gratis does not guarantee placement. Affiliate and non-affiliate links are provided to inform readers of where to purchase products. All in all, you can be sure that items seen on my website are the very few products that qualify for recommendation after rigorous testing.


Farmgirl Beauty Secret #17: Use old moisturizers to naturally style your hair!

Do you have a cabinet full of face lotions & moisturizers that you don’t use anymore? They can be used in lieu of styling products. Simply work moisturizer into the body and ends of your hair, avoiding the roots. Oil-free lotions give a naturally textured, piece-y look that looks sexy and tousled (work extra lotion into separate strands). More emollient moisturizers will provide smoothness, shine and soft control. Both types of moisturizers will help zap frizz and prevent fly-away without that crunchy, sticky texture you often get with hair gels and hairsprays. This is also a great tip for those who don’t use any styling products but would like to try something that naturally styles hair. It’s hard to mess up because you can put a good amount of moisturizer on your hair without feeling any residue. It also washes away easily leaving no build-up!

Why do this? If you breakout easily, avoiding extra hair products is something you want to seriously consider. Styling products are made with harsh, often pore-clogging ingredients and having our hair so close to our face leads to breakouts associated with hair products. You often see this as breakouts along the hairline and on the sides of the face. Another reason to avoid styling products is that these products leave a lot of residue in the hair that is difficult to wash away (even with clarifying shampoos!). Overtime, it dulls the surface of the hair, leaving lackluster locks. Using easy-to-rinse moisturizers will leave your natural hair much cleaner and shinier.

Bonus: it feels good to know you’re finally going to use up that cabinet-full of useless potions and forgettable sample packets!


Product-analysis: DHC Olive Leaf Extract

If you are so acne-prone that you feel like everything breaks you out, you need this. DHC Olive Leaf Extract, housed in a glass pump bottle, is a watery elixir that is basically a concentrate of Olive Leaf, a powerful antioxidant. This product contains only 4 ingredients, which I love.

During the time I first discovered this, my skin was 90% acne-free but still very much acne-prone. Using the wrong products can easily send my skin back to acne hell. I needed something that would moisturize and strengthen my skin, but I still couldn’t use moisturizers at all. I also noticed that my skin had hit a plateau; it had stopped improving at the rate that it was before (during my experimentation with yogurt face pack). DHC
Olive Leaf Extract was what I needed to get through that last 10% of acne.

I used it morning and night, after cleansing. It went on like water and had an herbal scent (although it’s fragrance-free). What I noticed immediately was how calm, smooth and hydrated my skin was. It has an anti-redness effect that lasted half a day, my skin was finally getting the moisture and nourishment it needed. The product left zero residues and my skin felt so soft and clean. After continued usage, I noticed a dramatic effect, my skin stopped breaking out. Sure, I’ll have a pimple once every few months, but I stopped breaking out like I was acne-prone. I used this consistently for about 2.5 years until it started to get expensive ($45/1 oz. I bought 10 bottles once because it miraculously went on sale-
Olive Leaf Extract was my crack). So I began to lessen usage and realized that my skin remained healthy and clear even when I didn’t use it consistently. Now I go months without it. When my skin acts up, I incorporate it back into my regimen for about a month to whip my skin back in shape. It’s been over 4 years, this serum continues to improve my skin and hasn’t lost any of its efficacy.

DHC is a well-known Japanese brand that has an amazing collection of liquid and powder concentrates called “boosters”. They’re interesting to learn about and I would recommend that you look into a few to find your miracle booster. I have researched many Japanese brands and this is the only brand of boosters that have short ingredient lists with excellent ingredients and very little fillers. In my opinion, it justifies the cost.

Here’s my disclaimer: I write extremely researched reviews after extensive, self-conducted testing. I do not review products I dislike; it's a waste of time and typing skills. This review contains products I purchased. I was not paid to write this review. My first priority is to my readers; company gratis does not guarantee placement. Affiliate and non-affiliate links are provided to inform readers of where to purchase products. All in all, you can be sure that items seen on my website are the very few products that qualify for recommendation after rigorous testing.


Farmgirl Beauty Secret #43: Become an ingredient guru.

Whether you like to start learning to decipher between good/bad ingredients or you’re just sick and tired of breaking out, here’s a cheat sheet to take with you on your next skincare and makeup shopping trip. This printable list contains common ingredients and their comedogenicity & irritancy ratings (0 being good; 5 being really bad).

Please keep in mind this is merely a guideline, take it with a grain of salt. I don’t agree with the list 100% but it’s a great starting point if you want to become more aware of what you’re putting on your skin. As you learn to recognize these ingredients, you’ll learn for yourself whether your skin reacts to them. You’ll definitely come across ingredients you don’t see on this list; there are simply way too many ingredients out there. If you are really curious about an unknown ingredient, you can contact me and I’m always happy to put in my $.02.

Try this now: Print the list and use it to “scan” the products currently residing your nightstand and bathroom cabinet!


Must-see: Disney-Pixar's Up

Besides squealing from excitement and fear of height, my eyes welled up an embarrassing number of times. Each tearing up was conveniently concealed by my 3-D glasses, which I’m keeping so I can watch the movie again at the $2 theater (I rarely watch anything a second time). Up is a must-see!

Farmgirl Beauty Secret #52: Johnson & Johnson Head to Toe Baby Wash = Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash.

If you need a great face cleanser that won’t break the bank, look no further than the baby aisle. Years ago, Johnson & Johnson bottled the same, exact ingredients in the famous, dermatologist-recommend Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash as they did in the equally well-known Johnsons Baby Head-to-Toe Baby Wash. The only difference: the price tag.

This discovery caught fire in the “underground” beauty industry and Johnson & Johnson must have caught on because they’ve since changed the formulations. The formula, however, didn’t stray too far from the original; Head-to-Toe Baby Wash remains a great cleanser for all skin types. It removes make-up and impurities as well, if not better, than most cleansers out there, especially if you use it with my cotton ball exfoliating method. It’s great for sensitive skin with its short & sweet ingredient list (my favorite kind of ingredient list). It also doubles as a very gentle yet effective shampoo/body wash while the subtle scent leaves anyone smelling as sweet as a baby.


Farmgirl Beauty Secret #33: Exfoliating with a cotton ball.

Ever experience irritations from using skin exfoliators or scrubs? Exfoliating is an essential skincare step, but for some of us it’s not an easy feat. For those whose skin feels itchy and raw after using conventional scrubs, try exfoliating with 100% cotton balls and your regular cleanser. Not only is it much gentler on the skin, you get baby-smooth skin without having to shell out cash for a separate scrub! Follow these simple steps to transform your daily cleansing routine into a skin-rejuvenating experience:

- Apply your cleanser of choice to wet face, massage for a few seconds.
- Gently Sweep face and décolleté with 100% cotton balls in circular motions.
- Toss cotton ball and rinse face!

Over time, it’ll refine your skin’s texture and decongest all those hard-to reach clogged pores. For those who use wash clothes to exfoliate, switch to this and you may see a reduction in break-outs. Wash clothes are often breeding grounds for bacteria. They simply don’t dry fast enough and they collect residues of oil, impurities and dead skin cells that are difficult to rinse off. A bag of 200 cotton balls (200 uses) costs less than $2 and they can be easily found at your local drugstores. My favorite is the Target brand.

Stay tuned for other great skincare tips by Brilliant Farmgirl!


Must-visit: Tanaka Strawberry Farm, Irvine - Orange County, CA.

For our 1-year anniversary, Boyfriend and I had an adventure that I’ll always remember. In the many years I’ve lived in Orange County, I’ve wondered about this elusive strawberry farm more than just a few times. I finally had a chance to visit this place- it was everything I imagined it’d be and so much more. Farmer Tanaka & family have been farming in Irvine since 1998. Having the farm in the middle of this classic suburbia makes it all the more endearing. Strawberry is just one of the many different vegetations thriving on the Tanaka Farm, they also harvest corn, tomato, spinach, zucchini (yellow and green), radish, purple carrot, bok choy and so much more! To top it off, everything is organically grown.

Timing couldn’t have been better as we decided to visit in time for their third Cookout Tour. Beyond the traditional strawberry tour they conduct weekly, the smart people there have recently started a guided tour around the farm that allows visitors to pick their own veggies from the earth and cook it on the BBQ grill! We definitely earned that meal, collecting the vegetables was both hard work and great fun! The veggie & tofu feast we had was absolutely heavenly. It felt so good to know that we were eating vegetables we picked ourselves, everything tasted so fresh and flavorful. The meal was perfected by the ambiance as we relished our harvest while overlooking hills and fields in many shades of green.

For dessert, the tour guide unleashed us at the strawberry field and we had all-you-can-eat strawberries fresh from the plants. I felt like a kid set free in a candy store! The fresh strawberries were out of this world; I honestly tasted the sunshine and the earth. For $5 extra, I got a box to collect strawberries to-go. It was worth every penny as I got to take a bit of the magic home with me. The most wonderful and smartest man I know (Boyfriend) prepared strawberries, honey & champagne after the field trip. I was tickled that each bite brought me back to the strawberry field. Words cannot do justice to the enchantment we felt at the Tanaka Farm. If you live even remotely close to Orange County, there’s a definite need to visit this place.

If the Tanaka Farm is out of reach for you, visit www.pickyourown.org for your nearest fruit & veggie farm. Not only is it a great way to help local farmers, you’ll have an adventure that’s both invigorating to the senses and easy on the wallet.

Farmgirl Beauty Secret #24: For a naturally brighter smile, eat strawberries! Strawberries contain malic acid, which helps buff away surface stains for whiter teeth!


Farmgirl Beauty Secret #27: Milk of Magnesia as a super oil-controlling serum

YES, Milk of Magnesia as in the laxative! This is a God-send for those who are SUPER oily- I don’t say this lightly because this is serious oil-control. If you experience mid-day shine before mid-day even rolls around, this is the solution for you. I recommend the Original Flavor of Phillips' Milk of Magnesia. Unless you’re also using this for its intended purpose, I would buy the smallest size available because a little of this stuff goes a loooong way. Milk of Magnesia can be used 2 ways:

As a daily serum:
- Shake bottle and lightly soak a cotton ball with the solution.
- Lightly swipe cotton ball on face, concentrating only on oily areas.
- Apply moisturizer and/or cosmetics as usual.

As a weekly mask:
- Shake bottle and carefully pour a small amount of the solution in the cupped palm of your hand.
- Using your other hand, liberally apply the solution to face, concentrating on oily areas.
- Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse clean.
- Repeat 1-2 times per week.

When you use it as a serum, keep in mind that the solution does dry white. It will look chalky if you apply too much. Using a light moisturizer, spf and/or foundation should take care of that issue. If you feel that you’ve O.D.ed on the serum, rinse lightly with water, pat dry and proceed with moisturizer/foundation. There will be enough serum left on the face even after a light rinse. A few trial & errors may be required to figure out your happy medium.

When you use it as a mask, feel free to apply more than you would as a serum. The tightening effect is almost immediate and it really works to draw out excess oils and impurities. Try dabbing it on a popped zit overnight, it’ll help calm the inflammation and bring down the swelling.

Like many things recommend on Brilliant Farmgirl, this is extremely effective yet gentle on the skin. The solution is made to be safe for internal usage and it beats all oil-control lotions out there by a long mile!


Product-analysis: Illuminare All Day Eye Color SPF 15

Illuminare All Day Eye Color Espresso
I’ve been curious about this brand for years but never tried it until now because they finally removed SD Alcohol from their ingredients (yay!). It’s advertised as a cream shadow with a built-in SPF 15 that is water-resistant and budge-proof. I have to say that in this case, the marketing speaks the truth! Once this cream shadow goes on, it lasts all day. This is perfect for oily eyelids. I wear emu oil around my eyes as an eye moisturizer. Despite my oily eyelids, this eye shadow does not budge.

Perhaps the most impressive function of this eye color is that it’s also a sunblock for the eye area. People who don’t wear makeup can also take advantage of this nifty product. I’ve never found an eye shadow that also contains SPF made of Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (natural sunblock ingredients). If you have sensitive skin, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide should be the only 2 sunscreen ingredients you use.

Illuminare All Day Eye Color Latte
Comes in 7 neutral colors ranging from milky Latte to the darkest Espresso. If you love wearing eye makeup, using one of the lighter shades as an eye shadow primer would yield amazing results. The texture of this grabs and holds color as well, if not better, than popular eye primers such as Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The darker shades double as all-day eye liners.

Here’s my disclaimer: I write extremely researched reviews after extensive, self-conducted testing. I do not review products I dislike; it's a waste of time and typing skills. This review contains products I purchased. I was not paid to write this review. My first priority is to my readers; company gratis does not guarantee placement. Affiliate and non-affiliate links are provided to inform readers of where to purchase products. All in all, you can be sure that items seen on my website are the very few products that qualify for recommendation after rigorous testing.


Beauty Myth-busting: Lemon juice and toothpaste for acne?

They are big NO-NOs! I simply cringe when I read a magazine touting these ingredients as pimple treatments. Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which actually exacerbate acne. Lemon juice is much too acidic to dab unto an open wound (yes, a popped zit is an open wound- treat it accordingly!) Lemon juice is phototoxic, which means you shouldn’t go out in the sun when you have this on your skin unless you’re begging for an adverse reaction. Lemon juice does have an exfoliating effect, but it’s much too harsh. If you leave skin unprotected by the sun, it can leave skin vulnerable to sun spots and, god forbid, AGE SPOTS! Age spots are worse than pimples; they are blemishes that never leave your face!

My recommendation: Have a blast brushing your teeth with toothpaste of your choice for minty-fresh breath and healthy teeth. Squeeze half a lemon into a refreshing glass of h20 for a Vitamin C-spiked skin & body quencher!