Monday, November 26, 2012

My Fair Lady: A Holiday Gift Guide

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As you can see, I take bath time very, very seriously. If you asked me, there is no situation that a nice, hot bath and a cup of tea can't improve. 

So, as the holiday shopping season gets underway, I wanted to share a few of my favorite, fair items for bath and body. Scented candles and luxurious lotions make great gifts, stocking stuffers, and last minute gifts for those unexpected holiday parties and gift exchanges.

Throughout this month and next, I will be adding more holiday shopping guides for her, for him, and maybe even for the kiddos in order to help you shop local, shop made in the USA, and most importantly, shop Fair

Please know that each one of the products in this gift guide are 100% Fair Vanity approved, non-sponsored recommendations that I use on a daily basis.  What's more, each one is made in the USA, fair trade, organic, all-natural, or all of the above. 

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Voluspa Candles
Made in the USA from sustainable ingredients
These are my go-to gifts, not just around the holidays but anytime: house-warming, congratulations, new mother, birthday, you name it.  The tins are reuseable and look just as lovely as each candle smells. My favorite scent by far is French Cade and Lavender, but you can't really go wrong with any of their luxurious scents. Voluspa uses coconut (palm) wax, which is clean-burning, biodegradeable, and higher quality than paraffin, which is petrochemical-based. Plus, coconuts are a sustainable resource, so we can harvest palm wax without harming the environment.

Archipelago Candles
made in the USA
I like this brand because they have really unique scents like Heirloom Vine, Mojito, and Red Amarylis. These are mostly soy-based candles and all of their wicks are pure cotton or wood. Like Voluspa, these candle's always look nice as well as smell nice, so that you can have a wintry-smelling home without sparkles or strange colors.

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Terranova Shea Butter Massage and Bath Oil
made in the USA, organic
This is my favorite bath oil ever. The scent is addictive and with only a few drops added to hot bath water, your skin will feel like silk, I promise. This stuff is a yummy mix of shea oil, certified organic sunflower oil and vitamin E scented with citrus, florals and spice. I've given this one as a gift to several girlfriends and they all love it.

Village Naturals White Tea & Jasmine Body Soak
made in the USA
This soak is really affordable and is easy to find at any local drug store. It contains Dead Sea salts and vitamin E for your skin, but I just use it for the scent.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
made in the USA, fair trade, organic, biodegradeable, magic
This is--hands-down--one of the best products you could ever buy. It's biodegradable, it comes in eight scents, and you can use it for anything. We are a peppermint oil household (we have a giant jug of the stuff), and I use it as body wash, a gentle handwash detergent when traveling, minty bubble bath, and even to wash my hair when I run out of shampoo. It's incredibly gentle, and it comes in cute little mini sizes that make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers.

Biggs and Featherbelle
made in the USA, many vegan products

These guys are super local! They're made right in Baltimore, Maryland, and their whole range of products, from soaps to soaks to lip balm, are awesome. They have really interesting flavors and scents and they also have a refreshingly short list of ingredients in each bar of soap with absolutely no preservatives. Check out this listing for the Bar-chouli Bar, for example: Distilled Water, Saponified Oils (Coconut, Palm, Sunflower, Soybean & Olive), Red Sandalwood Powder, Vitamin E & Essential Oil Blend (Patchouli, Black Pepper & Cedarwood). That's it! Just the good stuff, locally made.

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Nuxe Hair and Body Oil 
98.1% natural ingredients
This dry oil is a combination of  30% Precious Plant Oils (Borage, St. John's Wort, Sweet Almond, Camellia, Hazelnut, and Macadamia) and Vitamin E that will nourish, repair and soften your face, body and hair in a single step. I put it on my face at night after toning or sometimes during the day if I've been in the wind. It's also great to smooth on after blow-drying your hair, or over legs and arms after the shower. Lastly, it's fancy and French, which is always a nice gift, n'est-ce pas?

Duet by 2 Note Perfume
made in the USA, all-natural ingredients
You saw this perfume right here on Fair Vanity last August. It's made in Maine by two very nice women who use music as the inspiration for their unique scents. Comparable to an artisan bakery, they mix, bottle, and label each product by hand. All of their botanicals are therapeutic grade, and they package their products in amber glass (except when the nature of the product requires plastic for safety) to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. Best of all, you know you won't smell like everyone else's department store brand of perfume when you're wearing 2 Note.

Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion
made in the USA
This is one of the best smelling lotions I have ever encountered. A friend of mine received it as a gift from her boss, and after trying some, I ordered it on Amazon. Immediately. Like, from my phone. It smelled and felt that good. Apparently it has a big following from both men and women. Made with nourishing jojoba oil and shea butter, it's paraben free, like all of the products I use. What's more, Thymes lists all of the ingredients for each product on their web site, a level of transparency I wish more companies would adopt.

Origins Drink-Up Intensive Thirst Quenching Mask
made with certified natural and organic ingredients; sustainable manufacturing processes
This mask is a life-saver for dry winter months, but also for traveling anytime of year. My friend and I used copious amounts of it during and after a trip to Jordan, and I had major regrets about not bringing it along on my recent 14-flight-7-country-tour. Airplanes and central heating will suck the moisture right out of you, so this mask is a welcome, soothing treat for any skin type. It also smells so good that I want to eat it. Last but not least, Origins is committed not only to plant-based products but to using wind energy and other renewable resources whenever possible in their manufacturing process, so they are a good company to support.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm
made in the USA, made from 98% natural ingredients

Always a classic. Vitamin E, beeswax and yummy peppermint oil to freshen breath, Burt's Bees is great under lipstick, after meals, before leaving the house, and pretty much every second of the day. 

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