2010 Etsy Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1: Intro + Skincare/Bath Products


Since the holidays are around the corner, I can finally post my Etsy Holiday 2010 Edition mini-series on some of my favorite Etsy stores!  As much as I like receiving gifts, I also really like buying gifts as well - I love picking out 'just the right thing' for loved ones ^_^ And Etsy is filled to the brim with wonderful handmade, unique items so I thought I might just share some of my favorite shops with you.  There's nothing better than a gift that was not only selected with love but also made with love (if you can't make it yourself ^^).  On top of that it's just great supporting artisans who make quality handmade goodies, especially during the holidays ^^ What better way to spread the cheer?

This will be a three part series:
1.) Skincare/bath products (this post)
2.) Jewelry
3.) Miscellaneous

It's just good to start shopping early before the rush begins~ So I hope you enjoy this mini-series and find something for everyone (including yourself) ^_^  I'll be doing mini-reviews on the products I've tried to give you an idea of what I like from each shop.  Fyi, everything I review is something I have personally purchased with my own money, so you can take it from me that it's worth giving these shops a try.

Skincare & Bath Products

Etsy: DressGreen
Welcome to DressGreen! Here you will find high quality, safe products to enhance and restore even the most sensitive & unruly skin. What you won’t find are petroleum products, parabens, phthalates, silicone-derived products, nor sulfates. DressGreen products are always made fresh from scratch, never from a base!
This is one of my favorite skincare shops on Etsy.  I love the eco-friendly packing, the free samples, the light natural scents and how they list all the ingredients on each page.  This way you can actually track what you are putting on your face - this is what drew me to DressGreen in the first place.

When my skin had a severe allergic reaction to Benzoyl Peroxide a few years ago (as in I had 3rd degree burns), I was afraid to put almost everything on my face because at the time I wasn't sure what I was reacting to.  I also threw out all my lotions and makeup (since the derm indicated it might be contagious/bacteria related >_>) just to be sure and stopped using EVERYTHING (no lotions, makeup, scrubs) for about six months.  But during that time I didn't want my skin to become dry since that would worsen scarring so I started poking around for some essential oils.

I've tried the Purifying & Blemish Control Serum (Tea Tree Oil, Clary Sage & Lemon) and Smoothing and Reparative Facial Serum (Avocado, Evening Primrose & Rosehip Oils).  Both of these serums are lovely, Purifying has a gentle lemon scent and the other a subtle tangerine scent.  The Purifying one is my favorite and when I was still recovering I would dab this on my face everyday.
Ingredients (1oz): Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil , Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
*a vegan product, free of artificial colors, fragrances, & preservatives; and free of petroleum products.
I know that you can buy essential oils and mix it yourself but I think it's a great deal just to be able to buy a little bottle with this variety of wholesome essential oils already packed in.  Now that my skin is back to its normal acne-prone self I use this only at night on "very dry" days for an intense hydrating treatment and to wipe down my face when I have a lot of makeup on (then I take a shower or rinse so I won't have too much oil on my face).    I'm very acne prone and this stuff never ever broke me out and I really do think it helped prevent a lot of scarring considering what my face went through.  I would gently bathe my face in hot water with a wash cloth to loosen scabs then put on the oil and go to sleep.  In the morning there was a light sheen of oil but most of it had soaked into my skin (it couldn't soak in all the way at the time because my skin had so many scabs).  Once I wiped off the excess oil my skin was unbelievably hydrated and soft.  To this day, this serum still works like a charm on me.

I also really recommend the Clarifying Activated Charcoal Soap.  Charcoal is really good for the skin as it draws out impurities; I used this after the lesions on my face had closed.  It actually smells of charcoal (be careful you rinse your face fully or you'll leave ash streaks on your towel ^^) and I can feel the cleanliness of my face after I use it.  It's a tad on drying side since the charcoal literally soaks up sebum and impurities so moisturize afterwards.  But I love this soap and I actually still use this during the summer because it really helps control oil.

The one thing I do not recommend from this shop are the lip lushes (not the balms).  I tried the Lusty Lip Lush and it smells great, is super moisturizing, slick and leaves a gorgeous shine....but it melts way too easily and becomes a little granulated, still usable but not fond of the texture :\  There are a lot of other better things in this shop to try anyway.   I highly recommend this shop for people with sensitive skin who need to carefully track what they are putting on their face.

Laura is super nice so there's excellent customer service and fast shipping.  The packaging is eco-friendly and simple and she always includes free samples.  I'm just so crazy about this shop!  DressGreen also offers bar shampoos, face masks, shaving bars, butter creams, perfumes and lip balms.

Etsy: Sunbasilgarden Soaps
Blog: http://www.sunbasilgarden.blogspot.com/
Handcrafted soaps designed to bring a smile to your face and leave your skin feeling juicy clean. Made with top of the line, all natural, quality ingredients.  Many of my soaps are inlayed using clean lines and whimsical shapes all made from soap. I love this process as the design lasts all the way down to the last piece. Use them in the shower, by the sink and for the ultimate unique gift.
Hands down the cutest soaps ever!  Her soap designs are always changing - lots of seasonal and thematic soaps.  I've bought at least 3 bars of soap from her and actually used them (even though I rarely use body bar soap) because they smell so good and are just FUN - they really make me smile.  Her soaps are all natural and even if they don't have "a lot" of ingredients, glycerin is very gentle and moisturizing.  Plus the scents of her soap are friggin amazing (and accurate...her food soaps speak for themselves)!  They're surprisingly not strongly scented despite their fancy designs ^^ and because of the generous amount of glycerin, these soaps are very slippery (always popping out of my hands ehhe) and moisturizing without being oily.  Of the soaps I've tried my favorite is actually the Rainbow Brite Ruffle soap in Kumquat (I think the scent is OOS right now). It's a tangerine-orange scent and the colors are just so happy :D!

What I really like about her soaps is that the designs "stay" until the last lather since she inlays her designs.  A slight con could be there aren't many "enriching" ingredients in her soaps like say, DressGreen but Sunbasilsoaps doesn't advertise otherwise - the fun cheerfulness of their soaps are obviously their selling point.  Her soaps are still natural and quite simple ingredient-wise so I respect that.  Also another small con is that since her soaps are mostly glycerin, water does wear them down really fast - make sure you keep it out of running water and give it time to dry out to make the bar last.  I think they'd be too drying for winter but the loofah and salt bars would be perfect for summer since you can have soap + exfoliator in one AND can carry it on the plane for vacations.  Likewise, I think her soaps make nice gifts, especially for those with a sense of humor :)

I love the vibe of her shop and her attitude - great customer service and shipping was fast :) She always seems so happy, unsurprising when you look at her shop I guess ^^ Also offers whipped soaps, bath bombs, sugar scrubs and lotion.  I haven't tried anything but the bar soaps but the bath bombs look amazing!

Etsy: Theragenics
Blog: http://theraganics.blogspot.com
Website: http://www.theraganics.com

Doesn't carry many products and I think that shows how she chooses to perfect and specialize instead of having a huge range of mediocre stuff.  I discovered Stephanie when I was looking around for bath bombs.  She was just starting out on Etsy but I was drawn by her story of her skin history (read it on her Etsy profile).  She was only selling bath bombs at the time so I figured I would try those for fun and see how I react to it.  I got the lavender and calendula mini bath bombs and I was pleased enough to go back and purchase the big rose scented bath bomb and Lavender Fields soap.  The lavender soap smells amazing by the way.  If you like lavender this is a must-buy.  My mom keeps a piece of this soap by her bed because it calms her and helps her sleep.  The soap isn't strongly scented but somehow the scent is just so pure it lasts and lingers.   Since my mom liked the lavender soap so much I bought the Carrot Tomato Soap.

...and I highly recommend it!  This is the soap I use daily in the Fall/Winter (the DressGreen Charcoal is only for summer).  I always end up going back to this; sometimes I stop using it for a few weeks while I'm trying something else out but I always end up breaking out.  It does not remove makeup but this is what I use after makeup remover.
This fusion is a match made in heaven! Made with organic tomato puree and organic carrot juice, the smell is naturally reminiscent of a fresh garden.  The use of tomato for skin care is ideal because of its cooling and astringent properties. It is rich in vitamin C making it helpful for acne and brightening dull skin and contains vitamin A needed for building healthy skin. Its naturally acidic properties help it balance the skin and get rid of excessive oil. The lycopene they contain are anti-oxidant in nature. Beta carotene (from carrots) helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as heal acne lesions.
It smells a little odd odd, like a spicy tomato - so it takes some getting used too.  But it really works well on me.  It calms my acne and helps control oil without drying me out.  Also this soap lasts forever; when I bought it I cut it into 3 pieces and I am still using the 2nd piece (I bought this in April, didn't use in July/Aug then started again in Sept).  It dries out quickly so it doesn't "melt away" and even though it feels "hard," it lathers up really well.  This is what I really like about this soap - it lathers up super well without wasting too much soap. I really want to try her Lavender Mint lotion bar but I want to wait on ordering till I finish this soap (which is taking forever ~_~).

My only complaint is that I wish she listed all her ingredients on her website.  However, she sent a handwritten ingredients list the last time I purchased from her. She also uses super eco-friendly packaging and includes free samples.  The shop carries bath bombs, bar soaps, bath salts and a few other things.

 Etsy: SkinJourney
We don’t believe in sacrificing your skin by using cheap fillers often found in commercial products. We use quality ingredients that sooth, condition, and repair your skin. We carefully select all of our ingredients for their unique properties using only the purest ingredients to create our advanced formulas.

We have incorporated luxurious vitamin rich ingredients like Avocado, Jojoba oil, and Shea Butter. We use a cocktail of natural plant extracts including Chamomile, Calendula & Lavender. We also use a blend of five fruits extracts (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) to gentle buff away dead skin. Anti-oxidants like Green Tea and White Peony Tea fight against free radicals which can damage the skin. These are just a few of our key ingredients that makes our skin care line exceptional. Skin Journey has created a diverse range of natural skin care products that are suitable for all skin types.
I really like the professional pictures and how they list the full ingredients on every page.  Everything is just really well-thought out and I like their philosophy of how they believe taking care of you skin is like a journey ^_^  I can't vouch for everything in the store really because I have actually only bought one thing but I love it so much I want to share it with you.  It is the Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub/Polish.  I have used 2 jars of this so far and just started my third jar.  Since I have a lot of rough skin/textured scars, exfoliating is really important to me.  However, scrubs like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub were way too harsh; they reddened my skin and it actually hurt me a bit.   I'm still exploring Vitamin C and lactic acid peels but I haven't come across when I like yet (tho I am so lemming the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel Set).

Meanwhile, this is my exfoliater of choice - this scrub is a perfect balance between a manual scrub and chemical peel to me.  The exfoliating power comes from Microdermabrasion Crystals, the same crystals used in spas and salons for those expensive facial treatments. Now it is brought to you in a cream base formula so it is not too harsh on your skin.   It feels like powdery sand - if you've been to Daytona Beach, the powder fine sand is what it feels like; it's really very, very gentle.    It's also full of healthy (and rather unusual) ingredients to find in a scrub like AHA, glycerin, jojoba oil etc.  It does have some preservatives in it (check the ingredients list) so if you're sensitive to that, double check.  But honestly, you'll be hard pressed to find any facial scrub without preservatives in it (they put preservatives in to keep the scrub from going bad since you usually scoop it out with wet hands). This is unscented there are also little tiny pink extra exfoliating? beads.

Good communication and customer service.  Once the jar's lid cracked a little in transit and when I told her, SkinJourney sent me a new jar totally free of charge.  Like I said, I don't know about the other products but this is my HG exfoliator and until I get to try the Philosophy Microdelivery, it probably will stay that way.  SkinJourney carries a lot of items from body scrubs to serums.


  1. I am so happy you posted about this because i am a VERY beginner to Etsy. These shops that you listed are bookmarked on my browser because I found many great gifts for my friends here. I'm sorry to hear about your allergic reaction to benzoyl perox :( I'm glad the oils you tried did not affect you in a bad way. I was always looking for these type of skincare boutiques but never thought Etsy would have so many people who made them :) My mission is to try the facial cream from Green Envy :D I'm so thrilled you listed these links!! :)

  2. Wow, I love this post! Thanks a lot for it! I'm definitely checking out Sunbasilgarden Soaps =D

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I love ETSY! :)

  4. I loved this post. I love shopping for gifts on Etsy, and your guide was so detailed <3

    My fav. shops:
    (I like the food shops... I also make my own macarons, but it's just DIFFERENT when you buy it, lol)
    ^ Fricken' cute.




  5. Woah great etsy seller and product reviews Elle! I love etsy too and great smelling beauty products. I need to budget better before I can buy awesome unique soap though. T_T LOL

  6. Ohhhh I LOVE Etsy! You can really see how creative someone can be. I get so much inspiration from there when I am crafting.

    I'll have to give one of those bath products a try sometime :D

    Happy holidays!

  7. thanks for the great ideas on gifts! I love etsy myself and am constantly on the site *more than I'd like to admit* just to browse around. I love how most things are hand made and have this "vintage- close to home" feel to them =) due to your review I will probably be purchasing some of those soaps as gifts *and maybe some for self indulgences =P*

    hee hee can't wait to read the seven tings about yourself!

  8. I love Etsy too. Some of my things are from etsy. Vintage i luv, luv..

  9. I'm still very new to etsy and all this info is extremely helpful. I love anything made from scratch and homemade. Nothing beats things that are made with love.

  10. I've been taking a break from etsy but you now you're itching me to visit there again! LOL
    Thanks for the recommendation :)

  11. wow you have an amazing and detailed review =D
    i'm such a sucker for cute designs/ packaging~ && the soaps...? CUTE !!!

  12. Thank you for sharing this! I love ETSY! :)

  13. I am so happy you posted about this because i am a VERY beginner to Etsy. These shops that you listed are bookmarked on my browser because I found many great gifts for my friends here. I'm sorry to hear about your allergic reaction to benzoyl perox :( I'm glad the oils you tried did not affect you in a bad way. I was always looking for these type of skincare boutiques but never thought Etsy would have so many people who made them :) My mission is to try the facial cream from Green Envy :D I'm so thrilled you listed these links!! :)

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