Whole Foods' Whole Body™ 2017 Hello, Beauty Bag

Heads up, this is a longer post.

Dear Reader, this season’s Whole Foods Hello, Beauty Bag was intensely difficult to get my hands on. Periodically (this year it was Friday, March 24), the Whole Foods’ Whole Body department will sell limited edition Hello, Beauty bags, and this time around their social media push was REAL. From what I’ve been able to gather now that I’ve successfully gotten my own bag, each location only received 50 or so for their shelves, and not all locations stuck to the proper release date, so it really would’ve been incredibly difficult for many people to snag one of their own – so unfortunate! Whole Foods Market had been building hype for this bag immensely on their Facebook and Instagram pages with a sweepstakes, so they were spreading the word like wildfire and getting their followers (and more through shares) excited for this bag, of which only a handful of people in each community would’ve been able to get for themselves. Which is really a bit of a bummer.

I [naïvely] believed that each location would have a healthy amount of these to go around (what with the previously stated marketing and hype surrounding this particular bag), so I imagined that my grocery run after lunch would be the perfect time to try to grab one for myself. Boy, was I wrong! When I reached the Whole Body department in one of their southern Orange County locations, I was told that they had actually sold out – at 9:30 that morning. The wonderful team member in the department offered to call around to some other locations for me – what excellent customer service! – and, of course, I accepted and waited while he did so. He’d called three other locations to no avail before finally finding one, and was able to convince the team member on the other end to hold one for me – WAHOOOOOO! Off I went.

As a side note for me, this magical location that still had bag(s) to sell at 2pm in the afternoon on release day also stocks the W3LL People makeup brand, which might make them the only location in Orange County to do so (I definitely took mental note of this).

After making a beeline for the Whole Body department and asking the team member there if there was a bag on hold for me – she said yes, cue happy dance – I went about my mini grocery run before finally heading to checkout and finalizing ownership of the elusive Hello, Beauty bag. The cashier and I had a bit of small talk, him remarking on how they might be close to selling out of the beauty bags, and I’d told him that I’d actually been to another location and, in fact, most (if not all) in the area were sold out! He seemed really surprised at this, telling me that someone that morning had bought TWELVE beauty bags – which really should not be allowed if they only have a handful to sell at all (and most of those will likely show up on eBay, sold at a gross profit). Despite what a great deal this bag is, it really irks me that there really weren’t many of these to go around, and that there wasn’t a limit on how many one person could’ve bought. I hope that Whole Foods remedies this for future seasonal bags.

Now that that unpleasantness is out of the way, this bag really is rather exceptional, and it pains me that it was so hard for people to be able to share in the experience. This bag (valued at $90+) was sold for just $18, and is stuffed with 11 products – some full-size, some travel- and deluxe samples-size, and some sample-sized products – not counting the luxe organic cotton tassel zip-pouch! Because I’ve not had enough time with any of these products, this is really just first impressions, what I know of the products, and what I’m looking forward to about them. I will say up top, though, that I know I will not be keeping some of these.

A word on Whole Foods’ Whole Body selection: I find this awesome service is a really great way to get your hands on more easily accessible, cleaner beauty and skincare products compared to other drugstore and conventional retailers. Some of the products/brands they sell are superior to others on the same shelves but, for accessibility, it really shouldn’t be missed for those on the hunt for cleaner and more natural options, or those looking to transition to cleaner and more natural products. Whole Foods has Quality Standards for their beauty and skincare products, and vet their selection to make sure that they are free of more toxic and harmful ingredients that can normally be found in conventional ones. Another great note, they exclusively sell brands that are cruelty-free – something else you don’t need to worry about! Leaping Bunnies abound! 

The very first product of this season’s Hello, Beauty bag is, of course, the beautiful bag! It. Is. Stunning. The bag, from the brand Piece & Co., is made from organic indigo and white striped cotton, features gussets (so that the base lies flat), and has a gorgeous white and gold tassel attached to the deep blue zip. The bag is approximately 8 ½ x 7” and I know I will definitely get some use out of it – it’s too beautiful to not show it some love! Have makeup, will travel.

I already know that I will not be keeping the full-size Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara (0.57 fl oz, valued $18.99). My eyes are very sensitive and can’t really tolerate eyeliners, eye shadows, and mascara, so I normally just steer clear of these. (I’m sure I will find a home for this guy in no time!)

I also know that I will not be keeping the full-size Pacifica Devocean Lipstick, even though I love the rosy taupe shade, “Tenderness” (0.07 oz, valued $10). I haven’t had the greatest experiences with this brand’s lipsticks in the past, and I already have some great lip products to keep me occupied, but I’m pleased to say that I’ve already found a new home for this one! It will be loved.

Next is a full-size Wild Carrot Nourishing Eye Balm from evanhealy (0.5 oz, valued $19.95). I’ve never tried any products from evanhealy, but I’ve heard some good things about them, and I’m usually down to try new balms. Though this is called an eye balm, the packaging says that it can also be used on lips and body too! I love me a multi-use product.

I’ve not had any experience with the Andalou Naturals, so this travel-size Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk (1.7 fl oz, valued $3.67) will be my introduction! The information says it can remove makeup, but I would probably use this as a second cleanse after removing my makeup. I believe this formula is more geared toward dry skin, but my skin has been pretty dehydrated and out of whack as of late, so I think I will use it all the same. This cleanser smells beautifully of apricot, and I've not had any trouble with it for the few times that I've used it.

There’s also a teeny dropper of the Trilogy CoQ10 Booster oil (0.17 fl oz, valued $11.67). I’ve also never tried Trilogy products, but I’ve always admired how luxurious they seem (and I’ve been very curious about their line of rosehip skincare). This can be used alone or cut in with other moisturizers (which is probably what I would do), and is meant to nourish, recharge, and revitalize skin with its oils and antioxidants. The ingredients sound lovely, and it smells really nice – not strong or potent at all.

I’m very excited that the derma e Hydrating Night Cream (0.5 oz, valued $7.38) features hyaluronic acid, as I’ve heard such wonderful things about this super ingredient. I also love dense moisturizers, and I usually cut mine with a few drops of a luxe face oil for added hydration. I've used this a few times now, and it's not as thick as I would like a night cream to be, but it's very nice and smooth (and the new derma e packaging looks so good)!

I really love this travel-size Whole Foods Market brand Dry Skin Hand Cream in the scent of Peony, Mint & Blackberry (1 fl oz, valued $5.99). I love having hand creams and balms with me when I can, so I love that this is small enough to fit in my little zip pouch. I’ve also had a tough time finding cleaner hand creams that come in a size that is suitable to carry and smell this good (seriously so yummy). I also really appreciate that the packaging says that there is no artificial fragrance, which can be really irritating – not to mention mysterious, as fragrances are usually like cocktails of toxic ingredients.

There is also a very small tube of the Weleda Soothing Facial Lotion (0.23 fl oz, valued $5.64). I’d only heard bits and pieces about the brand Weleda, and I’d seen them featured in an article highlighting beauty products from Germany in the October 2016 issue of Marie Claire, so I’m very pleased that I finally get to try this brand! This facial lotion is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive skin (which my skin has been), and restores and balances moisture thanks to the sweet almond and plum seed oil. It’s a very small sample, so it might be only one or two uses, so I may save it for my trip next month!

I’ve had the opportunity to sample a fair few products from Juice Beauty, both makeup and skincare, with middling results. This Green Apple Peel Sensitive sample (0.26 fl oz, valued $5.46) is a chemical exfoliate that is meant to even skin tone and texture. I believe I’ve tried this product once before to no effect, so I will give it another go to see how it fares this time around. Chemical exfoliation (as opposed to physical exfoliation, like a scrub) has been hit or miss with me, but I will do a bit of research to see how to incorporate it more effectively into my routine and hope that I see results!

Having immersed myself in the green and eco beauty space for a year now, I’ve heard the name Dr Hauschka thrown around quite a lot – they make both skincare and beauty products – but still haven’t tried any of what they have to offer. This deluxe sample of their Facial Toner (1 fl oz, valued $13.99) is such a great size for sampling and traveling, so I think I’ll be able to get quite a lot of use out of it. I love a good toner (and this one smells lovely) so I look forward to how this one works out for me, but my one concern is that it contains alcohol. I’ll definitely have to see how that affects its hydrating properties, but it was nice the couple of times I used it this weekend.

The last product in the bag is Acure’s full-size Pore Clarifying Red Clay Facial Mask (1.7 fl oz, valued $14.99), and I think I may have tried this before in a small sample size (I believe I received a sample at a W3LL People / Acure event at an LA Pharmaca... or maybe that was a scrub?). The smell of this product isn’t the best, but I love the me-time one gets when using a face mask (I usually watch videos or flip through my stacks of magazines when I use them), and this one has some great properties. I think Acure was my introduction to cleaner, ingredient-conscious skincare (I received a sample of the Facial Cleansing Gel in a beauty subscription in 2015), so it will always have a special place in my heart. And I think this brand is an easy one to get into if you’re new or transitioning to cleaner products. And – hello! – full size product to try!

For a seasonal beauty bag that boasts a $90 value, I really think this one is worth a whole lot more – especially because it seems this particular Piece & Co. zip pouch is only available in this limited edition set. As I’ve stated previously, the circumstances surrounding this beauty bag’s release is unfortunate, but it really is a fabulous collection of products. I hope next time Whole Foods more closely regulates date of release and the quantity consumers are able to purchase for their next Hello, Beauty bag selection. Were any of you able to nab one at your local Whole Foods? What was your favorite sample, and which were you most excited to try? Please let me know in the comments below! 

XO genscribbles

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