7.10.2019

A List of my Favorite Beautycounter Skin Care Products I Buy and Use Daily

*This post contains affiliate links

I'm not a beauty blogger and I certainly don't play one on the internet either. In fact, some people may compare me to an old-shoe because I get very brand loyal if I like a product and that is especially true with me when it comes to beauty and skincare lines. I don't switch it up if I like something.

However, it may take a while to find the beauty product that works for you so there is a lot of trial and error.  Skincare is so personal because what works for me may not work you. Our skin, our largest organ, is unique to us. What I choose to pay for skincare lines not be what you choose to pay for products. But, as aging women, we all can agree that we want skincare products that perform well.

Since I'm now 50, my cosmetic bag has been filled with many brands over the years. In the past twenty-five years, I've purchased brands such as Bobbi Brown, MAC, Elizabeth Arden, Lancome, L'oreal, Stila, Avon, Urban Decay, Olay, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Cover Girl, Revlon, Peter Thomas Roth, Smashbox, Tarte and probably many more. Seriously, just take a look at this list of this Nordstrom beauty products and you will see just how many cosmetic and skincare brands are on the market, and this is just the high-end list. Have you been to an Ulta store lately? It can be overwhelming.

Southern Blogger Leigh Powell HInes shares her favorite Beautycounter products. #CleanBeauty #NaturalBeauty #SafeBeauty. Beautycounter has a neverlist of 1500 ingredients that the company will not put in its products.


About four years ago, I started looking into using safe beauty products since I learned that the cosmetic industry is basically unregulated when it comes to product safety. Mainstream companies are now changing their toxic ways and the entire beauty industry as a whole is changing to become safer. That is good news, but there is still a lot of greenwashing of labels these days for marketing for clean beauty products. You may think you are buying a safe beauty product because it's labeled natural, but the reality is that not all cosmetic and skincare ingredients are safe for your body.

The beauty brand that I buy most consistently now is Beautycounter, which was founded by Gregg Renfrow in 2013.  In 2018, this California-based skincare company was the most searched clean beauty product line on google. Is Beautycounter really safe? Yes, it is. The company bans 1500 ingredients in its product line known to cause health issues. The company also lobbies for better legislation.  Is Beautycounter a pyramid scheme?  No, it is not. You can buy Beautycounter directly through the company website,  pop-up markets, or through direct links like mine. It does have direct consultants as well who actively sell products in communities since it an online business only. Can you return Beautycounter products? Absolutely.  Beautycounter has a very liberal return policy.  Regarding what was searched on Google, Beautycounter has created a lot of buzz and industry awareness since its creation.

Southern Blogger Leigh Powell HInes shares her favorite Beautycounter products. #CleanBeauty #NaturalBeauty #SafeBeauty. Beautycounter has a neverlist of 1500 ingredients that the company will not put in its products.



I have tried many products by Beautycounter and I certainly have my favorites. It's also important to note that I'm not one of these people who buys or uses everything natural or organic. I think small steps make a difference toward a cleaner lifestyle. It has taken me years and a lot of reading to actual change my buying habits and even eating habits.

I am also very careful about what my children use when it comes to products. In my fifty years, I've been exposed to many toxins probably. Sometimes I wonder if the cosmetics and skincare I was using in the past had any correlation to my late fertility. We know a lot more today than we did twenty years ago so I owe it to my children to try to give them a  clean start because our knowledge is so much greater.

Beautycounter Countercontrol Products for Acne and Oily Skin for Tween/Teenage Skin


Countercontrol products by Beautycounter for blemish-prone and oily skin.


My teenage son uses a few of the Countercontrol products to help control his acne. I personally think that he may overuse them because he is going through them a little too quickly for my beauty budget,  but he likes it and uses it. That is key for me. He uses it without complaint.  It is also reassuring to know he is using a product that will not impact his hormones. Beautycounter has a NEVER LIST of 1500 products that they feel are questionable to human safety. The countercontrol collection is without harsh chemicals that cause drying and irritation.

The only downside of these Beautycounter skincare products that I see is that I have to order them online and unfortunately, he tells me he is out of the product the day that he is out of the product. I have tried other over the counter products for convenience in between orders, but they were too harsh for him. I always try to keep the Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser and Countercontrol All Over Acne Treatment in stock. Beautycounter has a countercontrol regimen that helps you save in bulk, but I know that my son would not use all the products right now as a routine so I still buy a-la-carte.

Beautycounter Anti-Aging Skincare Line (New Product Launch called Countertime on July 9)


Countertime, a new anti-aging line by Beautycounter with a retinatural complex instead of retinol.


As of July 9, Beautycounter is phasing out its Rejuvenating skincare line and has launched Countertime, an anti-aging line with a retinatural formula instead of retinol. Retinol is a common beauty ingredient that many beauty brands tout as safe. Beautycounter still has retinol on its NeverList though and refuses to use it in its product line. The EWG Skindeep score for retinol is in the red-zone at 9.

Beautycounter has developed a new retinatural formula in the Countertime line, which is plant-derived, featuring bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose. Bakuchiol, used in Chinese skin-care remedies, offers retinol results without irritation. It's also safe to use when pregnant, nursing, and when in the sun. Retinol is not safe according to the EWG.  Even though retinol is not that safe for our bodies, we know it works for anti-aging and it is coveted in many over-the-counter and prescription skin care products.

I am very excited to try the Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream because I have been in this stage of my life where I was not happy with any eye cream I was using at the price point I was willing to pay. There are many eye creams out there for over $100 and I am not paying it. The Rejuvenating eye cream line worked for me for a while, but as I got closer to fifty, I felt I needed more active ingredients. I have floundered for years in this product area and am anxiously awaiting this eye cream to arrive at my home. I will have to follow up at a later date.

Beautycounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Line


Countermatch by Beautycounter. This is a great line for those who are starting to be concerned about aging.


In the past couple of years, Beautycounter launched a special Countermatch line that gives your skin hydration when you need it. I tried it and liked the Countermatch adaptive moisture lotion for daytime use better than the old Beautycounter Rejuvenating line. I recommend this line for those who want to start anti-aging clean beauty, but not spend $75 on a daily moisturizer or night cream. I think this is a good product and does its job. It's lightweight, too. If you do not know where to start with Beautycounter then I recommend purchasing this line. However, I don't really like the cleanser in this line as much as I like the Countercontrol and Essential Nourishing lines.

It is recommended that the milk cleanser be used on a dry face first then rinsed. I prefer to clean my face in the shower so I think that is why I chose not to buy it again plus it is more expensive than the original nourishing line cleanser.  The Countercontrol clear pore cleanser also acts as an exfoliator.

Beautycounter Essential Nourishing Line


The Essential Nourishing Line by Beautycounter is great for those who are interested in making a clean swap in their beauty products for safer beauty.


This is Beautycounter's original skincare line. It's the most inexpensive line by Beautycounter and the least effective for someone my age except for the cleanser and exfoliator, which I do buy.

I love these two cleansing products in this Beautycounter essential nourishing line and still use them four years after first trying them.  I also think the day or night cream can be good for someone my age, especially if used in conjunction with the facial oils. The Beautycounter facial oils are hands down my favorite Beautycounter products on the market. I am never without the No. 1 Brightening Oil which is rich with Vitamin C or the Overnight Resurfacing Peel which I  use two to three times a week.

I sometimes use my beautycounter facial oil as my sole moisturizer.  I have tried the other Beautycounter serums on the market within each line, but I prefer the No.1 facial oil so I use that exclusively.

Overall, I recommend Essential Nourishing Beautycounter skincare line to those who want to go with a clean beauty routine and are used to more drug store prices.  This is a great place to start for that clean swap. At first glance, it looks way more expensive than drug store products, but the products go a very long way.  The essential nourishing skincare line is perfect for the twenty-something or for the person who barely remembers to use a moisturizer. It is a good product, but it has its limits in anti-aging performance but overall, it's a great first line to get into safer beauty.

Beautycounter Lip Conditioner 

I'm just going to say this is the best $22 you will ever spend. I adore the peppermint lip balm, but the calendula is a best-seller. The lip conditioner is by far my very favorite Beautycounter skincare product.I've been talking about the Beautycounter lip balm for years on the blog.  One balm should last up to six months. I buy maybe two a year.

GIVEAWAY

We can all make changes in our lifestyle through small changes. Maybe it is a cleanser, a sunscreen, a lipstick.  Whatever it may be, I'm giving my wonderful readers a chance to make clean swap for Better Beauty. 

Giveaway on @LeighPowellHines on Instagram for $50 in product to help you make the clean beauty switch. The giveaway will last until July 31, 2019, in honor of the new Countertime launch.

Southern Blogger Leigh Powell HInes shares her favorite Beautycounter products. #CleanBeauty #NaturalBeauty #SafeBeauty. Beautycounter has a neverlist of 1500 ingredients that the company will not put in its products.


Disclosure: 

My thanks to HinesSightBlog sponsor Mile High Smiles for being a July sponsor for this month's editorial content. My sponsors keep me at my desk writing and OutaboutNC. Learn more about how dental implants could help you have a beautiful smile.

This post contains affiliate links. Any Beautycounter purchase from this site will generate a commission at no cost to the buyer. This, however, does not alter my opinion about these products. If I did not love them, I would have stopped buying them long ago.



7.02.2019

Why You Should Attend NC's Premier Social Media Conference at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill

The landscape of social media changes daily. One thing that I've learned in my stint as an online digital publisher in the past eight years is that you can never stop learning and connecting.

When the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC invited me to be part of its first-ever social media conference called #Innfluenced2019, I knew I wanted to be there.

NC Blogger Leigh Powell Hines talks Social Media and Blogging
Photo by Curious Notions Photography


In my career as a blogger, I have floundered many times. Sometimes, it seemed like I had more unsuccesses than successes. As a self-employed businesswoman who still works to do this online publishing gig part-time while my primary focus still remains with raising my children, now 13 and 9, I feel as if  I have created a small business that has the workload of a 60-hour week.  But yet, I don't have enough hours to work. I am constantly saying, "Oh, I want to do this or do that story." As a former TV journalist who served as my own assignment editor, I have the ability to find a good story or angle. My years of education in journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill taught me well.

However, I never have enough time to do all that I need to do to make this business grow and raise my family. So, a lot of my story ideas remain in the black hole of "one day I may do this story on the blog."

And of course, it's also nice to write editorial content for my audience, but I do not work for public relations people. I work for myself and I know very few public relations people ( I've been one myself) who will craft story ideas, write news releases and tell a story without being paid anything.

I have to find sponsors to help pay me for my time. Yes, I love to write, share things, but I also value my own time because, like most working people, I want to have some income and have obligations to do things for my family.

I've never really discussed my goals because I rarely ever talk about the business side of blogging, but I know that what I do now with my blog and social media is my passion. Every year,  I want to do more work than the year prior, but I don't want to do it just for my own enjoyment. Money needs to be behind it somehow whether that be through sponsorships, brand posts or advertising.

In five years, I will have more time to run this business, hopefully. We never truly know the future. My son will be in his last year in high school and my daughter will be in her last year of middle school. When Will decides to retire, I hope to kick it up a notch because when I get in my home office to work on my projects, it does not feel like work to me but instead brings me joy.  I imagine an actor feels the same way when he or she does a role. I really do not have any other way to explain it.

The age of 50 has been my year of a reboot after a few years of soul-searching on what is it I want to do. Where do I want to head in the future? Who am I? What story do I have to tell? And the biggest question of all is why would anyone even care? I wrestle with that one a lot especially when it comes to social media because that is new for me. I've had to learn on the job. I also find that it changes just as soon as I learn something I feel like is the right way.

#Innfluenced 2019_Social Media Conference


People like to say social media is for the Millenials. In my opinion, Gen X is going to get more social media savvy each year. More and more people Gen X people or even Baby Boomers will start using Instagram because it's the only way they will be able to see their grandchildren. My own mother-in-law tells me every so often that she needs to break down and get Instagram because she's missing all the action because they never post to Facebook anymore.

Professionally, social media has changed the world's digital landscape. We are connected more than ever. It's changed how events are covered. It gives people professional opportunities. Social media gives every single person a chance to have a voice, a platform and be their own boss.  It's not going anywhere, but it will change from year to year and we will have to learn to grow with it.

With all of this new social media opportunity, however, comes a new wave of blogs, YouTube shows, and social media channels.  Unfortunately,  everyone is out there in this space screaming for attention. Businesses are also looking for your attention as well. What may have started out as something fun for people to do online is now a billion-dollar marketing industry.

If you are a business, blogger, online social media user, join me at #Innfluenced2019 in Chapel Hill, NC at the Carolina Inn August 23-25.  At this conference, we will learn to:

Empower. Expand. Engage

Early Bird Price until July 15 is $299
Admission Price July 16 and after is $349
There is 10% off for groups of more who attend together.
Buy Influenced 2019 Tickets here:

I  look forward to meeting you.

Love Social Media?  NC Carolina will have #Innfluenced2019 at the Carolina Inn August 23-25 in Chapel Hill, NC.




Disclosure: I am a media partner for this Innfluenced2019 Conference. All my fees and hotels lodgings will be covered by the conference.






5.31.2019

Dining with Dogs in Restaurants: What Pet Owners Need to Know

The "dog days of summer" are upon us, literally.  That long-time expression has a couple of meanings, but one thing for sure, this is the time of year that we tend to take our pets more to public places simply because of outdoor dining.

A Guide to Dining with Pets
Photo by Curious Notions Photography



STATE PUBLIC HEALTH LAWS VARY IN EACH STATE

Public Health Laws regarding animals vary from state to state. Just because a restaurant has an outdoor patio does not automatically mean that your pet can dine with you. Service dogs abide by different laws than normal pets. In my home state of North Carolina, only service dogs can dine inside a restaurant with its owner. Normal dogs who are considered like my Andy need to dine on an outdoor patio instead of inside the restaurant.

NOT ALL BREWERIES AND TASTING ROOMS ALLOW DOGS INSIDE

If a restaurant uses glassware and utensils then state health laws put breweries in a restaurant category for public health inspection. If a brewery does not serve food or serves food packaged in individual containers then it may be at the discretion of the brewery or individual city laws on the dog issue.

Dining with Dogs in Outdoor Areas in Restaurants or Breweries


For the past couple of years in North Carolina, it's been confusing to pet owners because breweries started as one of the most-dog-friendly places around. It's great to have a cold one with your best friend around. The North Carolina General Assembly is working on a bill that allows individual breweries to decide if pets can be allowed inside because beverages would no longer be classified with food under state health inspections. Wine tasting rooms already have that freedom. For now, it's a safe bet to keep your dog outside unless you see other dogs inside, too.

SERVICE DOGS ARE ALLOWED EVERYWHERE

There are lots of public debates lately about what qualifies as a working service dog in 2019. There are a lot of dogs licensed now for therapeutic reasons. In the past, service dogs primarily helped people with physical disabilities such as blindness or someone in a wheelchair.  But regardless, of its primary working role, service dogs are like people and can go anywhere, but there are rules and regulations for service dogs, too. Regular pets, on the other hand, are more limited on where they can go.

Dogs at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC


We ran into this issue at Biltmore Estate in Asheville. We were going to ride the bus to the house from the parking lot where we parked our car. As we got ready to board the bus, the driver informed us that dogs were not allowed. The people chanted, "Let the dog ride. Let the dog ride." I mean he is really cute and all, but it was against the rules. We then asked the driver how we could park closer to the house and he easily gave us directions. It was a minor inconvenience, but as new pet travelers, we just were not aware of the limitations. Biltmore Estate does have a kennel nearby that parking lot though to kennel your dog. It is first serve-first come. I personally chose not to do that Andy.

CALL TO SEE IF AN OUTDOOR PATIO ALLOWS PETS BEFORE MAKING THE TRIP

When we first adopted Andy, I could not wait to take him out to eat. It's like, "Oh, I have a dog now. Let's go eat out." Why? I have no idea. I will tell you that it is like taking a toddler to a restaurant. He's good, but it is still a lot of work so I primarily do it when traveling now that I've been a pet owner for awhile now.

Cantina 18 is a pet-friendly restaurant in Raleigh, NC


Our first official dining experience was at a Southwest-inspired with Southern roots restaurant here in Raleigh called Cantina 18 in Cameron Village. It's a favorite lunch spot of mine. Chef Jason Smith uses fresh seasonal ingredients, and I've never been disappointed in all my meals there.


Burrito at Cantina 18 in Cameron Village


I've eaten there more times now than I have fingers. Cantina 18, now with two locations, has a good kid's menu for families. Jason is a parent himself so I believe when chefs have their own children, they really grasp that parents want to dine on great-tasting seasonal fresh food, but be able to supply the simple basics for their children that do not cost them $10 to $15 each child.

Cantina 18 was the first restaurant we dined in with our pet, Andy.


I have only one child that dines off a kid's menu now. Liza loves the chicken nachos at Cantina 18, but she leaves off the chicken every single time and adds a big strawberry sorbet at the end of the meal.

Strawberry Sorbet at Cantina 18


I called the restaurant ahead to make sure their outdoor dining area was pet-friendly. 

Cameron Village is great for dog owners. Most of the patio areas are public sidewalks so it's a natural fit for dogs to dine with their owners outside.

Cantina 18 went the extra mile for Andy. Even though I had brought him water because I had no idea what to expect, the wait staff at Cantina 18 brought him a water bowl when they brought out water for us.

As a first-time dog owner dining with a pet for the first time, I thought that was a really nice perk. 

Now that I've dined a few times impromptu with Andy, I learned that not all restaurants may go out of their way like Cantina 18 did for us, but I've found that overall, most restaurants that allow dogs are very welcoming.

Dogs can dine at Cowfish on the patio at North HIlls


Andy has also been to North Hills in Raleigh which is another outdoor shopping and entertainment area in the area.  He felt welcomed at Cowfish, a local sushi and burger restaurant with locations here and in Charlotte. My biggest gripe is that Andy wants to look at everyone and will not sit down. I've decided that it is easier to keep it at home so I can relax. He is like a third child, although the best one I might add.


DINING WITH DOGS AT A COUNTER-SERVICE RESTAURANT MAY BE MORE CHALLENGING 

What I've learned through trial and error is that it is more challenging to dine at counter-service restaurants with a dog if you are alone or have very young children who cannot be left alone with the dog outside while you go inside to do what you need. 

Even though I have an eight-pound dog that I can carry around like a baby, it is against the law for me to take him inside a restaurant and order food. Someone needs to stay with the dog outside while you order food or request a patio table with the hostess. One may be able to put a dog in a dog purse briefly to do this, but if you have a big dog then it does make it more challenging to abide by the public health laws to order even if you plan to dine outside.

HOTELS THAT ALLOW PETS SHOULD HAVE A LIST OF DOG-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS

There are so many cities in the U.S that are pet-friendly. Raleigh is a pet-friendly city, but Asheville, North Carolina is touted as the most pet-friendly city in the U.S. It has its own doggy-welcome center, a first in the U.S. 

It was not open when we took Andy to Asheville with us last year so I look forward to going this year summer just for doggone curiosity.  But, what's great about this center is that it will give you a guide to pet-friendly attractions and restaurants.

Andy the Poodle at the DoubleTree Biltmore in Asheville, NC


Andy took his dog bed to the Doubletree Biltmore in Biltmore Village in Asheville when we visited last summer.  The staff was excellent with us as first-time pet-travelers. too. Andy was allowed to be in the lobby and the front desk gave us a list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, which was very nice for that first night we checked-in.

NOT ALL OUTDOOR PATIOS HAVE EXTERIOR ENTRANCES WHICH MEANS "NO DOGS ALLOWED"

The Biltmore DoubleTree Hotel has a TGIF restaurant attached to it with a beautiful patio, but dogs are not allowed to dine there because there is not an exterior entrance to the patio. You have to walk through the restaurant to get to the patio. Keep that tidbit in mind when you spot restaurants. A good rule of thumb is that if you see other dogs then you are fine.  

However, if you are the first one to arrive at a restaurant or brewery with a dog in tow then you may want to ask to make sure dogs are allowed.

TRAVELING WITH PETS 

When you are traveling with your dog and staying in a hotel, information about area restaurants are so important and honestly, it does take some planning. Heaven forbid if it rains. What then? Some dogs may bark in a hotel room when crated and then you run the risk of getting called by the hotel with a noise complaint.

Dogs are part of the family


I feared the "barking dog" when I traveled with Andy for the first time in Asheville. As a result, we ate in restaurants where we knew Andy could go easily. Some Asheville establishments even have a doggie menu.

During my time in Asheville, NC,  I sometimes felt as if there are more dogs walking the sidewalks than people. It truly is a dog-friendly city. Raleigh is dog-friendly, too, but it can also be really hot during the "dog days of summer", too.

Do you have a favorite place that you dine with your dog? Continue the conversation on social media on Facebook or Instagram?

A NOTE ABOUT SAFETY WHEN DINING WITH YOUR PET

Pedestrian safety is important. Be mindful at crosswalks with your pets, watch for cars, keep your dogs on a leash at all times. Make sure you have your dog's shots records and that your dog is wearing identification and rabies tag at all times.

Always have water available for your pet, and always be diligent about your safety and other's safety if your dog has been known to bite. When traveling in a car, make sure your dog is safely secured in the vehicle.

DISCLOSURE: My thanks to the Law Office of Hardison and Cochran in North Carolina for being a May HinesSightBlog sponsor. My sponsors enable me to keep writing, travel #outaboutnc and stalk a few houses. Be sure to stay tuned for my new YouTube show, The House Stalkers


Dining with Pets in Restaurants: What Pet Owners Need to Know. #pets #dogs #pettravel


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