Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Lip Saver

I have always been addicted to lip balm. From the age of 12, I've had at least one kind of lip product on my person at all times, from drugstore chapstick to over-priced department store balms. I had still never found anything that really healed and soothed my winter-time chapped and cracked lips... then, I tried Pangea Organics Italian Red Mandarin with Rose Lip Balm and fell in love!! I've been using this about a month now, and my lips have never been so soft and silky, especially during the cold winter months when I usually experience dry, cracked, painful lips. Not anymore!
On top of smelling AMAZING (floral and citrusy - so pretty!), Pangea's all natural lip balm is full of lip-loving ingredients like organic hemp oil and shea butter, essential oils of rose, sweet orange and red mandarin, aloe vera and vitamin e. This is the first lip product I've used that actually heals my lips instead of just providing temporary relief. Plus, it absorbs into the lips without a heavy waxy residue ~ so guys will love it too! I've even used this balm to spot treat dry skin on my face, and as a super-hydrating eye treatment. For $12, this multipurpose balm lasts a long time, adding wallet-friendly to its list of benefits!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NYFW Fall 2010 Beauty Roundup

The runways at this year's Fall 2010 show were as beautiful as ever, full of layered looks in predominantly neutral colors. The makeup and hair were similarly low key, with natural undone hair and fresh-faces being showcased by the majority of the designers. Here's a roundup of my favorite looks from the runways that will look great in reality too!:

Makeup artist Diane Kendal created this look at Proenza Schouler, which had a definite
90's vibe, with clean faces and the emphasis on the lips, and with messy, wavy hair. The models showcased dark red or deep purple lips, filled brows, and sculpted cheeks.

This look is very pretty and wearable on all skin tones. Just even out skin with foundation or concealer as needed, fill in brows with powder, and apply a taupe or brown shadow all over eyes. Sculpt the cheek bones with a slightly darker foundation or powder, or a taupe-y blush or bronzer swept under the cheek bones. For lips, apply a deep red or eggplant and blot to ensure the color lasts. Very chic!
(photo courtesy of

Similar to the look seen above with Proenza Schouler, the look at Rodarte featured a heavy emphasis on the lip, with clean skin and eyes. The lips were very dark purple with an almost metallic finish, and there was a slight highlight on
the eyes with shadow. The hair was polished, with a clean center-part and shiny straight locks. (btw, how GORGEOUS is that necklace?!)

This look is also really pretty, but is much more striking on lighter skin tones. Even out skin with foundation and concealer as needed and set with a translucent powder. Fill in brows and try a shimmery shadow in champagne or gold. Pick a dark purple or wine colored lip liner and fill in lips, paying special attention to having a clean line. Try using an eyeshadow to get the metallic finish.
(photo courtesy of

The hair and makeup at Vera Wang seemed very Brigitte Bardot-esque, with smoky eyes and sexy bed-head hair. The models had clean skin, nude lips, filled brows, and gorgeous, sexy up-dos with big teased crowns and pretty, loose sections framing the face. (I am also in love with this necklace!)

To get this makeup look, follow the foundation application as above, and sweep a light pink blush on the cheekbones and slightly on the apples of the cheeks. Fill the brows and use a dark grey or black liner on the outer edges of the eyes and smudge inward. Follow with dark grey shadow in the crease and slightly on the lid, and finish with two coats of mascara on upper and lower lashes. Apply a pale pink to lips, blending out natural color with concealer if necessary.
(photo courtesy of

I LOVE the orange lip on the Max Azria runway. The models all had clean, soft skin and eyes, sleek pulled back hair, and soft brows. The pop of color came from the orange lip, which is a fun new color for fall. Most fall lips are dark or red, as above, so I really like the orange lip here.

There are many shades of orange and coral, all of which could mimic the look here. Try tapping lip color into the center of the lip and softening out towards the edges for a soft look.
(photo courtesy of

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bridal Beauty

If you're engaged to get married this year, congratulations! This is such an exciting time in your life, so be sure to enjoy it! To make things easier on the bride-to-be, here are some tips and tricks to make sure you are radiant on your big day.

Top 10 Tips to Look Glowing on Your Wedding Day
  1. Follow a good skincare routine, and maintain it!
· Be sure to use a good gentle cleanser in the mornings, and wash with cool to lukewarm water
· At night, use a good make-up remover with your cleanser
· Don’t forget to moisturize and wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) daily
· Gently exfoliate your skin at least once a week

  1. Don’t experiment with makeup and skincare before the wedding. No matter how tempting it is to try all the fabulous new products at the makeup counter, stick with your tried and true favorites. Trying new products on your body or face can trigger allergic reactions, which can leave bumps, redness and irritation, or even dark scarring on your skin; the last thing you want on your big day!
  1. Maintain a healthy diet, and eat at regular intervals. Don’t try to follow a strict diet before the wedding to squeeze into your dress. The lack of nutrients can change the healthy appearance of your hair and skin, and you’ll end up looking weak and pale on the altar.
  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and eat lots of fish, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Water cleanses your body of toxins and makes your skin look healthy and luminous. Eating a nutrient rich diet will keep you healthy and help you maintain a luminous glow. Don’t stress and turn to soda and junk food!
  1. Take ample rest and get your 8 hours in – you need your beauty sleep!
  1. Include yoga and other physical activites to keep you fit and healthy, and to keep that blood flowing (essential for that rosy, healthy glow!). Just don’t overdo it right before the wedding. Stick with a regular schedule of exercise and start sooner rather than later.
  1. Don’t get any facial treatments 2 weeks before the wedding. You want to give your skin time to heal and normalize before your big day, so get any facial work done 3 to 4 weeks before the wedding. Also, don’t try a new facialist right before the wedding; stick with an esthetician you trust and one that uses products you know work well with your skin.
  1. Get any waxing done at latest 3 or 4 days before the wedding, to give any redness and irritation time to heal.
  1. Tell your makeup and hair professionals your vision of your look for your big day, and bring in a picture if possible to make sure you’re on the same page. Be sure get a trial run done for both, so you can be sure it’s the look you’re going for, and there are no last minute surprises. You want to look and feel beautiful and confident, not overdone!
  1. Lastly, relax and enjoy all the little trials and joys leading up to your big day! You deserve it!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Natural Foundation

Q: I was wondering if you have any perspective on foundation? I want to get a new foundation but something organic, easy on my skin, no fillers, wax or perfumes and was wondering if you have any suggestions...?

A: Good for you for looking to include natural/organic products in your daily regimen! The natural makeup movement has become much more mainstream thanks to the popularity of mineral powder foundations, which are now available from almost every cosmetic company. Natural/organic liquid foundations are a bit more difficult to find, but are growing in the market. Here are some of my favorite natural foundations:

NVEY Eco is an Australian cosmetics company that carries a full line of makeup certified as organic by the OFC (Organic Food Chain) and Australian government. These certifications ensure that the ingredients and processes used in creating their products meet a strict organic standard. In addition to being certified organic, NVEY Eco also leaves out the nasty ingredients like parabens, preservatives, genetically modified crops and animal testing. The exclusion of these ingredients makes this line perfect for anyone with skin sensitivities. NVEY Eco offers the following foundation formulations:
  • Organic Moisturizing Fluid Foundation ($45) - this hydrating liquid formula contains soothing plant extracts and provides sheer, natural coverage best suited for normal to dry skin types. It only comes in 6 shades, but because of how sheer it is, most people should be able to find a shade that works for them. It is easy to apply and wears well throughout the day.
  • Organic Creme Deluxe Foundation ($58) - this creme compact foundation contains safflower and jojoba oils plus vitamins and antioxidants, all working to soften and improve the skin. While this foundation is listed as a "full coverage" formula, I found this to also be more of a sheer to natural coverage foundation. It smoothes on easily with the included sponge applicator or with a foundation brush and leaves a soft, dewy finish to the skin. This is a great choice for all skin types, unless you are looking for a matte finish . With a wider range of colors than the liquid formula (available in 10 shades), it might be easier to find an exact match with this formula.
  • Organic Compact Powder $42 - this talc-free powder foundation offers the most coverage out of NVEY Eco's line, but offers the least color choices (6 shades), with one being a translucent powder and one being a bronzer. While it has a nice matte finish and buildable coverage, the powders do contain bismuth oxychloride, which can be very irritating to the skin, resulting in redness and often aggravating acne, so use with caution.
suki® is a Massachusetts-based company that offers a full line of makeup, skin and hair care based on using natural oils, plant, and flower extracts. While not organically certified, they do claim to use organic ingredients when possible. They are also very eco-friendly in their packaging, using recycled materials for their boxes, soy-based ink, and opting for glass containers over plastic (which I love! Glass feels much more luxe and is more earth friendly). suki® offers the following natural foundation options:
  • Tinted Active Moisturizer ($45.95) - This formulation gives you sheer natural coverage with a pretty, dewy finish. This product is really easy to use (just slap on like a moisturizer using your fingers), and is great for those that don't want to fuss with brushes or sponges. It only comes in 3 shades, but is sheer enough to work for most skin tones. It does a good job of evening out skin tone, but a separate concealer will definitely need to be used for any blemishes or dark circles.
This is a great drugstore option from Almay, known for its hypoallergenic ingredients. The SPF 20 foundation ($12.99) offers sheer coverage in 9 shades, and is a good alternative to the more expensive brands listed above. While not organic, this foundation does contain 95% natural ingredients, without talc and parabens. The colors wear a bit lighter than they look because of the SPF (from mineral titanium dioxide), so go one shade darker than your complexion for a natural look. It offers a sheer coverage, and wears like a tinted moisturizer - this is great for people on the go, as it is hydrating and has SPF coverage combined with coverage.

Alima Pure is a mineral makeup company that offers a full line of complexion and color products. I have to admit, after seeing the explosion of mineral makeup on the market, and trying a number of different mineral foundations, I was not a fan. I thought they all left me looking cakey and unnatural, and the powders always settled into my pores. Then I tried Alima Pure and was converted. They have an extensive range of foundations, concealers, setting and camouflage powders in beautiful, natural finishes (not cakey or shimmery!), plus a full range of cheek and eye colors.
They offer a staggering 60 shades of their Satin Matte Foundation ($20), and if you still can't find the shade you're looking for, they will custom blend one for you. The powders take about 20 minutes to settle into the skin when applied dry, and can have a tendency to look lighter than they do in the container once settled (so go a shade or two darker than your complexion). Or, if you prefer liquid formulations, mix a pinch of the powder with a moisturizer or hydrating toner and apply with a brush - a little bit goes a long way and results in a surprisingly full yet natural coverage.

I hope this helps! If you've found a natural formula that you love, tell me about it!

Press samples provided by NVEY Eco and Alima Pure

Saturday, January 2, 2010

5 Healthy Beauty Resolutions for 2010

2010 is upon us! In honor of the new year (and new decade!) I've put together 5 health and beauty resolutions to help make 2010 our best-looking year yet!

1. Use sunblock every day. We've all gotten very good at slathering on the SPF during the summer, but the sun's rays are just as damaging during the winter. Even if you can't see them, those sneaky UVA rays (the ones that damage collagen and cause wrinkling) can penetrate through windows, clouds, and clothing. Be sure the protect yourself daily with an SPF of at least 15, which can be found in most daily moisturizers. Don't rely on your makeup alone to provide adequate protection, because you'd have to spackle on the foundation to get the amount of coverage promised on the bottle. And who wants to walk around with a face caked with makeup in the new year?

2. Wash your face every night. Skin needs to breathe at night in order to repair, so it's very important to wash away the makeup, dirt, and grime of the day before hitting the pillow.
Wearing foundation to bed (even those that say they're safe to sleep in) can lead to clogged pores, breakouts and irritation, and can accelerate aging. Be sure to remove eye makeup too! Aside from leaving you with a black ring around your eyes, sleeping in mascara can really damage your lashes. Most mascaras cover the lashes in a rigid coating, leaving them brittle and easily breakable at night. Be sure to remove all eye makeup with a gentle makeup remover, and wash with an alcohol- and soap-free cleanser. Finish with a treatment or moisturizer with antioxidants to boost skin's overnight repair activities. You'll wake up looking fresh and radiant, without mascara-streaked raccoon eyes!

3. Green your routine. You already recycle and reuse your shopping bags; why not spread that eco-consciousness to your beauty routine? Green beauty products have come a long way; there are now hundreds of products and brands on the market that offer healthy, green alternatives to the products you use everyday, making your routine kinder to you and the environment without sacrificing efficacy. These products do not contain harsh chemical fragrances or preservatives, making them perfect for even the most sensitive skin
types, and use recycled and eco-friendly packaging and operations, making them kinder to the environment. Many of these products also contain organic ingredients, and are even certified by the USDA, among others, which certifies that they contain at least 95% food-grade quality organic ingredients. With products available to fit any budget, it's easy to make the switch. Not sure where to start? Check out to see how your products rate based on the safety of their ingredients. Didn't score so well? Not to worry; it also has a list of safer alternatives.

4. Drink more water. Not much explanation necessary here! Keeping hydrated helps flush your body of toxins and gives your skin a fresh healthy glow. In keeping with your newly greened routine, opt for filtered tap water over bottled water; you'll save money and keep waste to a minimum!

5. Get 30 minutes of exercise every day. Besides helping you reach your weight loss goal this year (I know I've got one!), regular exercise boosts blood and oxygen circulation, which helps important nutrients reach your skin. This helps keep collagen and elastin intact. Sweating during exercise also helps release toxins, giving you a healthy vibrant glow once all that gunk is out of your system. So get your 30 minutes a day to see a youthful new you!!