Natural Products Expo West 2015: Best of the Best

“The trick is to grab everything quickly,” Mexican In Chief Gustavo Arellano said. “No discernment. You want to get out of there before someone tries to talk to you.”

He said this with his hands full of reusable swag bags so laden with freebies they were skimming the floor.

We were at the Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center, and because we're writers, not buyers, we were only really there for the freebies. Most conventions offer branded pens and shitty hard candy, but the Natural Products Expo is just booth after booth of free food and beauty products . . . making it the best ever. If you have the chance to visit, go hungry and leave your pride at the door.

Here are my favorite lifestyle finds:

The coconut-water company gets points for giving out an actual product you would buy at the store—none of this “sample size” crap. But it's also a lovely lip balm with a vanilla coconut flavor, a smooth glide, and no artificial additives. It even has 20 grams of protein! Why you would want protein in your lip balm is beyond me, however.

Natracare makes completely biodegradable tampons and pads from organic cotton; its reps handed out slim boxes containing one sample of each product. When it comes to taking care of lady business, these natural, non-irritating tools are choice.

This cooperative supports women in Africa through natural, shea butter products. We loved Shea Yeleen's pint-sized lotion samples and lip balm. Definitely a decadent product.

Free condoms are fun! Sure, it doesn't guarantee any action—but it feels like something! Sir Richard's makes hip, natural latex condoms that are über-thin and carry no odor.

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