This post contains an affiliate link for 100% Pure. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase. Know that I would not support a brand I didn’t 100% believe in. Ever.
Another Disclaimer: This post is not intended to shame or hurt supporters of MLM companies. It’s your life, and if you choose to use or sell these products, I’m completely fine with it! These are just my personal opinions.
Everywhere on the Internet these days, I’m seeing Beautycounter. And everywhere off the Internet, I’m also seeing Beautycounter. Some of my favorite wellness bloggers and other influencers swear by the stuff and promote it all the time. So, I became very intrigued. People I trust who create content that I love are promoting a product that claims to be clean and safer for the skin.
At the same time I began seeing Beautycounter all over Instagram, I began to see local influencers posting about these shake shops that were popping up around Cleveland. The names include: Lakewood Nutrition, Parma Nutrition, Beachwood Nutrition. Again, it was people who I trust that create amazing content promoting these shops.
The shakes look incredible. There is a huge variety of flavors, including birthday cake and peanut butter Oreo. The shakes are always filled to the brim and topped with tasty Oreo chunks or cake crumbles. There are also teas in a variety of interesting flavors, like Skittles and green gusher. On the shops’ Instagram pages, they describe themselves as serving nutritious shakes and energizing tea and coffee. The aesthetic of these shops is also very trendy and clean. And the shakes are under 250 calories. What could be better, honestly! All this being said, I was naturally interested in visiting one of these “nutrition” shops.
I’m still fairly new to the Cleveland area, and I love spending my time driving and driving around to a bunch of different places all around Northeast Ohio. What can I say, I love exploring! So, I decided to go to one of the new shops that opened near where I live, called Heights Nutrition.
My First “Nutrition” Impressions
I was really excited when I arrived at Heights Nutrition. I walked in and immediately was overwhelmed by the huge menu of flavors. Being a vegetarian, I try to avoid whey protein. So, I ordered a vegan peanut butter Oreo shake and a green gusher tea (you have to purchase both a shake and a tea, something I was surprised by). Then, whilst I was waiting for my drinks to be made, I noticed that the whole wall was filled with Herbalife products. And that’s when I realized- this was a Herbalife front.
I’d heard of Herbalife before. Herbalife has been around since the 1980s’, and it is a company that creates and sells dietary supplements, weight loss products, and sports drinks among other various “nutrition” products. This company is structured like LuLaRoe, Mary Kay, Avon, and Beautycounter. In extremely simple terms, these companies rely on having individuals sell products to the public by word of mouth while also recruiting other individuals to sell the products. Typically, the person selling the products makes commission not only on their own sales, but also on the sales of those they have recruited. I’ll talk more about this later.
My problem with these places in Cleveland selling Herbalife products is that nowhere on these shops’ Instagram pages does it straight up say it is a Herbalife store. This is false advertising. And the owners should be more honest! Herbalife has a history of problems. The company has been sued for negligence and fraud and the products have been said to cause liver damage. There have been many more lawsuits other than the one that I have included. So, of course I would want a store to be honest about the products they are using. The shake and tea weren’t even tasty. The shake was watery and the tea didn’t even taste like tea. It tasted more like Splenda mixed with other sugar substitutes. I threw both drinks away immediately, wasting my eight dollars.
So, how does this relate to Beautycounter? It’s the multi-level marketing (MLM) business structure that’s more of a problem for me than the products themselves.
So Beautycounter claims to be “clean” and non-toxic. While Beautycounter’s products are more vigorously tested and contain less heavy metals than products of other beauty companies, they are not 100% organic, non-toxic, or sustainable. Being “all natural” means almost nothing these days. With food products, “all natural”, according to the USDA, only means that the food is minimally processed and does not contain artificial ingredients and preservatives. However, an all natural food may contain growth hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals. The same goes for cosmetics. Like any company Beautycounter has a variety of complaints, many about customer service. I’ve linked other helpful blog posts in this paragraph.
Beautycounter is doing a lot better than other cosmetics companies when it comes to testing and using less harmful ingredients. It’s the structure of the business that is problematic.
Or Pyramid Scheme?
I recently watched an incredible documentary by Vice on the MLM company LuLaRoe. It described the experience of three women who sold product for the company. It described how much money a person had to spend to start selling LuLaRoe, which was $5,000. And many women never earned any of the money back. How LuLaRoe and other MLM companies are structured is that the people at the top, or those with the most recruits, earn the most in commission. They are rewarded with cars, vacations, and other glamorous things. They also earn money from the recruits of their recruits.
It’s a cycle. And this cycle makes it virtually impossible for sellers without recruits or with very few to make back the money spent to start selling the product. LuLaRoe also targets stay-at-home moms as a way to make extra money for their families from home. LuLaRoe had multiple lawsuits filed against them and issues with quality that brought down even the highest making sellers, as described in the documentary.
Many MLM companies are pyramid schemes in disguise. A pyramid scheme is an illegal business structure in the United States and many other countries. Participants make money by recruiting new participants. The business or promoter usually promises high earnings in a short period of time, questionable or illegitimate products or services are sold, and there’s a complex commission structure. The main goal is recruiting. Pyramid schemes are illegal because they will always collapse. It’s impossible to keep gaining participants, which makes the business structure unsustainable.
Beautycounter and Herbalife = Scam?
I can’t flat out say whether Beautycounter or Herbalife are scams, especially Beautycounter because it is fairly new. Herbalife, because of the lawsuits filed against them, is more questionable. But the business structure is why I can’t recommend Beautycounter, though I haven’t 100% completed my research. Beautycounter is much less expensive to join than other MLM companies, which makes it a little more sustainable from a business perspective. There are also many, many positive reviews of the product- meaning that it’s legitimate. However, people do make money from recruiting other sellers and make commission if promoted to a higher consultant level.
Here’s a great post on Beautycounter as a business. I can’t personally speak for the products, but because of the business structure, I can’t recommend Beautycounter and don’t plan on purchasing from them. But all in all, I don’t believe the company and its products are a scam.
Green Beauty Alternatives
Here are some clean beauty companies that I love:
OY-L: luxury skincare products local to Cleveland- they are based in Akron, Ohio. They use all plant-based ingredients, besides honey. I am obsessed with their Face Wash. It is made with Manuka 20+ honey and essential oils, making it great for daily use. And, honestly, it’s the best smelling skincare product I have ever used!
Dr. Bronners: pure-castile soaps and organic lotion, hand sanitizer, lip balm, toothpaste, and other body products. I use their lip balm regularly. I also use the peppermint liquid soap to heal my tattoos and I’m obsessed.
Meow Meow Tweet: a super adorable, whimsical brand that creates small-batch skincare products. All of their products are made with organic vegetable butters and oils and cold-pressed essential oils. The brand is focused on giving back and reducing plastic packaging while also being vegan and cruelty-free! I use their Everyday Sunscreen and I’m smitten; it smells so good! I’ve also heard great things about their deodorant. Here’s another natural deodorant I adore.
And there are my unpopular opinions. Again, I am not trying to put down anyone that supports Beautycounter and other MLMs, or anyone that chooses to sell their products. These are only my personal thoughts!
Thanks for reading! Any thoughts on Beautycounter, Herbalife, or alternative brands? Leave a comment below!
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While this post mentions a product and company that I love, it is not sponsored!
CBD oil. I’m pretty sure that we’ve all heard of it at this point. I first heard about CBD in 2016, during my junior year of college. Some of my classmates were very excited because a local tea house had started carrying CBD-infused tea. They basically saw it as a way to access marijuana legally, since this was in Indiana after all. I was kind of curious about CBD oil, but I decided not to look into it. I always meant to try the local CBD tea, but I never got around to it.
Fast forward a couple years, it’s 2018. And the CBD craze is real, people! I started seeing bloggers and wellness influencers post about it more and more, but I still wasn’t exactly sure what it was. All I knew was that it couldn’t get you high. Meanwhile, I would walk into my local health food stores, like Lucky’s Market and Fresh Thyme, and see CBD all over the supplement section. Finally, after becoming pretty oversaturated in advertisements and Instagram posts about CBD oil, tea, lip balm, and body lotion, I had to start doing some of my own research.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for ‘cannabidiol’. It is one of the naturally occurring compounds extracted from the hemp, or cannabis, flower. Cannabidiol had been known in the past for its therapeutic properties. What CBD oil (or hemp oil) does is stimulate the endocannabinoid system, which helps to promote homeostasis in the body. This is what lends it properties that help with stress, pain, and anxiety. But with the negative opinions currently surrounding marijuana, CBD is just now resurfacing.
CBD is both safe and non-addictive. It has been the subject of extensive scientific research, and has been thought to provide relief for chronic pain, inflammation, depression, and anxiety. It is also being researched for its potential to treat people with many different disorders and illnesses. These include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, autism, ADHD, Crohn’s, colitis, psoriasis, and so on.
So, based on this brief overview of the “powers” of CBD, why would a person with no serious health conditions or disorders (like yours truly) take CBD regularly? The answer is: anxiety.
My Experience with Anxiety
It’s hard for me to write about all of this and throw it all out there, but I need to be transparent and honest with you guys.
I had an inkling that I had anxiety for a long time. I have always had trouble meeting new people or even holding a conversation with classmates and acquaintances. In my childhood and teenage years, I was fearful of answering the phone, sending emails, or even ordering food for myself at a restaurant. My “anxiety” worsened during my years of poor health in high school, and I basically became irrationally concerned when anything “out of the ordinary” was happening with my body. I also developed breathing problems and was prescribed an inhaler that I probably didn’t need (today I don’t need the inhaler, and I think the breathing issues were caused by anxiety).
Most of my anxiety symptoms manifest themselves physically. Shallow breathing, heartburn, headaches, dizziness, fogginess, numbness, chest pain. I’ve experienced all of these things with anxiety.
When I was around 18 years old, I basically self-diagnosed myself with social anxiety. Knowing that such a thing existed (thanks Tumblr!) was very comforting for me. However, I still struggled during my sophomore year of college. I became super anxious about my arms falling asleep at night or that my hands were shaking. I was afraid of having some kind of neurological disease. Eventually these things went away and I was at peace.
During the summer after my sophomore year, I had a, may I say, “mental breakdown” while at a music festival in Colorado. Basically, I was alone, in the woods, in a cabin with no air conditioning or heat. I didn’t have any friends at all, my roommates always left me out of their activities, there was no Internet or cell service, and the bathroom was outside (silly, but walking in a storm just to get in a shower filled with moths and spiders was stressful, ok). Giant moths and wasps kept getting in the cabin, and I was always so worried I could barely sleep.
Camping has never been something I enjoy, but this, with no support from basically anyone, was almost traumatic. I was crying about 24 hours a day (besides when I had orchestra rehearsal). Eventually, I realized that the experience was really destroying my mental health and that I had to go home two weeks early. I do not regret doing that, but I don’t think my parents will ever forgive me.
After that, things were going pretty well in my life (besides a little “postpartum depression” after adopting my cat junior year). Then came the Fall of my senior year of college. This was when anxiety hit me the hardest, and when I knew that I finally had to get help.
The Last Straw
The first semester of my senior year is a blur to me now. I can only really remember that I was obsessed with the fact that I could be going crazy or developing a more serious psychological disorder, particularly schizophrenia. Granted, I was super miseducated about schizophrenia, but I was still completely obsessed with the thought that I could have it. I was so worried that what I was seeing was an illusion, or that I was hearing things that weren’t actually real. I was even worried that my cat wasn’t real! Now, all of these things that I remember thinking about seem silly. But at the time, they were so real to me.
I remember one day, it snowed in Bloomington. I sent a photo of the cars outside my building to my mom. Then, I asked her if she could see the snow.
Racing thoughts were consuming me. I felt miserable almost every second. I knew in my heart that I didn’t have any serious psychological disorder, but that it was just anxiety. But I kept wrestling with myself. I knew the anxiety had to end as soon as possible for me to continue with the two most important semesters of my undergraduate career. Graduation was right around the corner. I had tried almost everything. Drinking less coffee, journalling, moving my body, getting outside more often, taking vitamin D. I tried it all. With the waitlist that my university had to see a therapist, I knew that I had to see a doctor off campus to get medical attention. I was desperate to put an end to my own suffering (cheesy!).
Looking back on this whole situation, I can say that I was experiencing this anxiety because I was about to go through graduate school auditions and a major move and shift in life. But at the time, I was so sad and every day seemed impossible. I finally saw a doctor and was prescribed 50mg of Zoloft.
Managing My Anxiety with Medication
It took a really long time for me to see improvement with Zoloft. I eventually bumped up my dosage to 100mg, and I still take this dosage today. I can confidently say that Zoloft has helped me in more ways that I imagined. Usually, I experienced indigestion and breathing problems, but now I know they were caused by anxiety. I haven’t had either of those problems since I started taking medicine. The obsessive thoughts took until the summer after I graduated college to go away completely, but now I never think about these things unless there is some kind of trigger. I usually feel pretty good! But I still experience a little bit of anxiety with phone calls and emails and social situations. Medication doesn’t solve all problems, and it doesn’t make you a super happy person with no other emotions. It helps me feel more like me.
I do have some problems with Zoloft though. The main thing is that I get really, really crazy dreams. This started happening when I upped my dosage from 50mg to 100, and I have heard that this is pretty common for people on Zoloft. My dreams are so vivid that sometimes I think they actually happened. This gave me even more anxiety at first, but now I know that it’s just a thing that is always going to happen. But this little issue is what initially piqued my interest in CBD.
Finding and Choosing an Oil
The CBD oil that I use today is from the brand Ned, based in Boulder, Colorado. They refer to their product as full-spectrum hemp oil. I first heard about this brand through the blogger (whom I’ve talked about before) Addie Martanovic. She has written similar blog posts on using Ned’s hemp oil. She had a discount code for Ned, so I decided to look into the brand and the benefits of CBD oil.
Before I go on, I want to emphasize that Ned cannot cure any illness or disease. Most of the following information is based on Ned’s FAQ page.
To summarize, I chose to use Ned’s full-spectrum hemp oil because it doesn’t have any unnecessary ingredients in it. The only additive that Ned uses is MCT (coconut) oil. Ned doesn’t use any synthetics or CBD isolates (a lab isolated CBD compound that doesn’t contain other beneficial phytocannabinoids). Ned cold extracts their oil straight from non-GMO hemp flowers, and their oil contains other phytocannabinoids (which are other naturally occurring compounds along with CBD). These include CBG, CBC, CBDV, and hemp terpenes (which are what contributes to the oil’s unmistakable scent). Ned’s full-spectrum hemp oil also contains the smallest trace of THC (less than 0.3%), and it will not get you high.
Ned offers three different concentrations of their hemp oil: 300mg, 750mg, and 1500mg. The difference between these three is the ratio of the hemp oil to the MCT oil. Ned recommends that a new user should start with 10mg of the oil. This is one full dropper of the 300mg as compared to about a fourth of a dropper of the 750 and just a tiny bit of the 1500. So, the bottles with a higher concentration of hemp oil are way more cost effective! I currently use the 750mg.
If you choose to use a different CBD brand than Ned, please do your research! Know what you are putting into your body!
Now, let me delve into my own personal experience taking hemp oil daily for two whole months.
2 Months of CBD
I first started with the 300mg concentrate of Ned. My routine with it was taking one full dropper of the oil in the morning and again right before I went to bed. What I will say was the most shocking about taking the oil for the first time was the smell and the taste! Ned totally smells like pot. Very high quality pot. The taste is also the same, like pot. It takes a little getting used to (and plugging your nose), but I think it’s worth it!
CBD in the Morning
Initially, I didn’t really notice a difference. It definitely took me a few weeks to notice the effects (also I ran out of my 300mg bottle within 2.5 weeks or so! So the higher concentrations that Ned offers are a better deal as you run out less frequently!). Eventually, I began to see that taking the hemp oil made me feel a little more at peace in the mornings. It has helped me feel less panicked while getting ready and thinking about all the things I have to accomplish in the day. Now that I have switched to the 750mg, the same holds true.
CBD for Sleep
In regards to sleep, hemp oil hasn’t helped me very much. Typically, I don’t have any trouble falling or staying asleep, but I think CBD oil can be really effective for people that do have these issues. I was hoping that CBD would help ease my crazy Zoloft dreams, but it hasn’t. I think the only way to make these vivid dreams stop is to eventually wean myself off of Zoloft. It’s a little unfortunate! But of course, this product isn’t a miracle worker!
Now, I take Ned once a day- in the morning. I found that taking it at night made it a little difficult for me to wake up early, as I sometimes have to wake up at 5:30AM for my coffee shop job. Sometimes, I found myself feeling a little groggy in the morning if I took Ned the night before. If I had a lifestyle in which I could wake up later than 8AM every day, I would be fine taking Ned before bed!
Another important thing about CBD is how you take it. Personally, I follow the instructions that Ned provides and drop the oil under my tongue. Then I let it sit for about 30 seconds and swallow. I only put it in my coffee one time, but I have heard from other people that put it in their drinks that it is just as effective! I just wasn’t a fan of oil floating on top of my cold brew, and I wasn’t sure if I was getting the full dosage because of that.
A Summary of My CBD Experience
I think Ned’s full-spectrum hemp oil has been positive addition to my life. Ned is great because they don’t use any additives in their products, which means you can feel good about what is going into your body! While hemp oil hasn’t helped me personally with sleep, it has helped me calm down in the morning and look forward to the work ahead of me rather than panic.
I truly feel like Ned is a great company that is honest about its ingredients and effects of their product. Seriously, I feel that the hemp plant has powerful healing properties to help people in their everyday lives, as well as to possibly assist those with serious illnesses. I am happy to see the CBD “trend” grow, as well as wellness and food brands that are transparent that aim to make a positive impact on the world and people’s health!
I hope this post was helpful to you all! Have you tried Ned or another brand of CBD oil? Let me know below or send me a DM on social media! I’m always curious to and want to hear from you guys!
While this post is about one of my favorite products, it does not contain any affiliate links!
I’m a little bit Shark Tank obsessed. I have watched almost every season on Hulu. Whenever I’m at home for the holidays, my sister and I switch between episodes of Impractical Jokers and Shark Tank. Whenever we’re at a hotel, we have to watch some Shark Tank. We watch it because the world of business is so intriguing to us; it is so different from the more artistic things that we both do. Seeing the inventions and genius of other people is also an incredible part of the show, as well as the success that it brings to small businesses. Also, Mark Cuban graduated from Indiana University and so did I! Go Hoosiers!
There are a lot of Shark Tank products that pique my interest, many that have found success in the natural/health market (Wild Friends, Kodiak Cakes, SouperGirl, Stasher). But this product didn’t only pique my interest; it snatched it and ran off with it. This product is PiperWai Activated Charcoal Deodorant.
The Search for a Quality Natural Deodorant
If you had the attention span to read my incredibly long FAQ section, you would probably have a pretty good idea as to why I would have been searching for a functional, amazing natural deodorant that stood up to the likes of Secret and other brands. If you didn’t read it (which I totally, totally get), I had a staph infection under my right armpit in 2010 that had to be lanced (ew, sorry) and treated with strong antibiotics. This lead to several years of chronic illness and other problems with my health.
After the initial infection, I stopped shaving my armpits. My mom became obsessed with trying to find a natural, aluminum free deodorant during this period. She thought that maybe the antiperspirant qualities of the deodorant I was using at the time could have blocked my pores and caused the infection. While there was no proof that she was right, she had convinced herself. This, paired the fact that aluminum is linked to breast cancer and can cause hormonal (estrogen-like) effects when absorbed into the skin, set my mom out into a natural deodorant quest.
We tried so many different types of natural deodorant. Most of them either didn’t work or made my armpits itchy and red. Although the redness and discomfort is said to be a “detox rash” (which is really not true; it’s usually caused your own sweat or baking soda/other irritating ingredients), I found that I couldn’t handle the irritation. Tube and tube again of deodorant failed, until I discovered PiperWai.
It was a typical Sunday night and I was watching Shark Tank yet again with my cat. I was probably eating Halo Top or something too. All of a sudden, Sarah Ribner and Jess Edelstein appeared on the screen discussing their activated charcoal deodorant. Before they even made a deal with Barbara Corcoran, I was already looking up where I could go buy a jar.
A few days passed and I had kind of forgotten about PiperWai. I was doing my bi-weekly Whole Foods shop when I stopped dead in my tracks in the beauty aisle. There was PiperWai, in its stick form, sitting on the shelf amongst all the other natural deodorants that had failed me. I immediately threw a stick in my cart and later brought it home and used it for the first time. I was more sold than I ever was before!
Why I Love PiperWai
PiperWai is an aluminum-free, natural deodorant that is actually powerful naturally. The main ingredient is active-charcoal, a substance that is know for its toxin-clearing properties. Because of these properties, the charcoal in PiperWai quickly absorbs wetness and neutralizes odors by creating a pH-balanced atmosphere in which bacteria can’t survive long enough to stink. It really works!
When you open a jar or stick of PiperWai, it’s gray in color. It goes on gray at first, but the coloring generally goes away when rubbed in. The stick form that I own glides on easily and leaves no messy residue under the pits! The scent of PiperWai is quite different, but I don’t mind it personally. It smells of essential oils, almost like eucalyptus. My friends haven’t ever noticed the scent on me, it’s very subtle and gender-neutral. After a while, it begins to smell kind of like a weird doctor’s office to me. I think this is because of my extensive experience with armpits and the doctor’s office though. It’s probably just a weird, almost PTSD-like thing! It’s the only natural deodorant that can be applied just once per day. However, I do reapply the deodorant before I work out.
PiperWai is the only, I repeat- only, natural deodorant that works and doesn’t give me a rash! It is super safe for sensitive skin and has ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter. The deodorant contains peppermint oil and tea tree oil, which are known to be drying on sensitive skin. Since this is a deodorant, those drying properties actually benefit the overall result of the deodorant and have no harmful affect on the skin. There is a ton of information on the essential oils used in PiperWai and their benefits on PiperWai’s website.
PiperWai is also vegan, cruelty-free, and made in the USA!
Jar vs Stick
I personally own the stick version of PiperWai. I had intended to buy the jar because I had heard that it is slightly more effective than the stick, but the stick is the only version that my Whole Foods carries. The jar is $11.99 and the stick is $16.99. I can see how the application of the jar version could get a little messy, but the price probably reflects that and the size compared to the stick. The ingredients of the jar and stick are a little different too. According to PiperWai’s website, the jar includes a few different ingredients that aren’t in the formula of the stick, like witch hazel extract, cacao butter, and honeysuckle extract. The stick includes stearyl alcohol and D-alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E) whereas the jar does not. These are things to keep in mind when choosing between the two!
Let’s Wrap it Up
In short: I love PiperWai. It’s the only natural deodorant the works well for me. It causes no rash, is made with no aluminum, parabens, or other harmful chemicals. I think it’s a must-have for anyone looking for more natural alternatives to beauty, skincare, and other more essential body products like deodorant. However, I still have to be realistic about the product. It does not complete with the big brands on the market, like Secret and Degree, in a few specific ways. Because of the absence of harmful chemicals, PiperWai doesn’t come in a large variety of scents or have the same extreme odor, longevity, and sweat fighting power of the big brands. Coming from popular deodorant brands, it can take a little getting used to. But it is totally worth the switch, and now I am smitten!
You can buy PiperWai at Whole Foods, GNC, and local gyms, salons, and apothecary shops in your area. You can use the store locator on their website to find them near you, or you can order directly from their website (where they frequently have sales!).
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have tried PiperWai and what you thought. Also, let me know if there are any other natural deodorants that have worked well for you. I’m always up for trying new things!