Category Archives: Cosmetics

Quick and Easy Cat-Eye Liner

“Perfect Eyeliner” by Garann is licensed under CC-BY SA 2.0

 

My favorite way to wear my eyeliner is the “cat-eye.” I find it really opens my eyes, and gives the illusion of larger-looking eyes. I also like that its a more classic and refined look.

In finding a way to create the perfect cat-eye look, there are two major issues:

  1. Finding natural products that actually work (they won’t run or smudge and will hold all day).
  2. Finding the right method to creating the perfect cat-eye that doesn’t take 20 minutes out of your morning routine.

 

Before I switched from using toxic makeup to clean beauty products, I relied on my trusty Maybelline Gel Eyeliner. It was easy to apply using the tiny brush, was waterproof, and lasted all day. Since then, it’s been a challenge to find a natural alternative that works just as well.

 

For a while I was using Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Raven. This eyeliner applies like a traditional liquid eyeliner, so it requires a very steady hand – which I do not have! I almost always had to rely on using a q-tip with a tiny bit of One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil to clean up any mistakes. Although I loved the polished, sleek look of this eyeliner, I found it was taking a very long time to apply it. It also tends to run easily when getting wet. However, I still enjoy using this eyeliner for more special occasions.

 

Which brings me to my new favorite way to create a cat-eye – it’s fast and easy!

Here’s the trick:

  • Black powder eyeliner
  • An angled eyeliner brush.

That’s it! Simple, right? The powder I use is Nvey Eco High Definition Cake Eyeliner. It’s really pigmented, so even though it is a powder, the color still stands out. The angled eyeliner brush I use is from Sephora. You can pick one up at any beauty store.

 

 

Here’s what I do:

  1. I dip the brush into the powder.
  2. Begin applying along the lash-line (where the pupil begins) and work toward the edge of the eyelid, using short quick strokes.
  3. Pull the outer corner of the eyelid taut, and angle the brush so that the long end of the bristles are pointed toward the outer corner of the eye, and the shorter end is pointing toward where the eyebrow ends. 
  4. Use short, quick strokes to create the line of the “wing.” You can make the wing as long as you would like. Sometimes I dip just the tip/pointy part of the brush in the powder and use only the tip to gain more precision.
  5. Lastly, fill in the wing area, making the liner closest to your eye thicker, and gradually thinner as it connects to the tip of the “wing.”

 

It may sound tricky, but trust me, this is the fastest and easiest way to do a cat-eye! The whole process only takes a couple minutes. The benefit of using a powder, is that you don’t need to be as precise. The powder has a softer look, so mistakes aren’t as noticeable compared to using liquid eyeliner. It also has incredible staying-power, and seems to hold up well to humidity. You can even wet the brush and mix it with the powder to get a liquid before applying. I have not tried this method, as I prefer to apply eyeliner as quickly as possible. I only apply eyeliner to my top lash-line, but you could certainly use a smaller eyeliner brush to fill in your bottom lashes as well.

 

Have you tried powder eyeliner? What is your favorite way to achieve the cat-eye look? Please share!

 

 

Five Tips to a Beautiful Bold Lip

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By Camila Zanon. (originally posted to Flickr as Cherry Lips.) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I enjoy a bold lip color during the fall and winter months – colors like deep red, burgundy, and plum are some of my favorites. But pulling off a bold lip can be a little intimidating. What looks good on the runway can come off as clownish in every-day life – especially if you have a fair complexion like myself. Here are a few tips as well as some green, nontoxic product recommendations to making a bold lip part of your look:

Step 1: Exfoliate 

Use a gentle scrub to remove any dead skin cells on your lips and creative a smooth surface prior to applying lipstick. I like One Love Organic Brand New Day Microderma Scrub + Masque. It is a very gentle, yet effective exfoliator and won’t cause any skin abrasions.

Step 2: Lightly Moisturize

Lightly apply your favorite lip moisturizing. I use Meow Meow Tweet Vegan Lip Balm. They are the best lip balms I have ever used! Be careful not to use too much or else it can make your lipstick smear.

Step 3: Apply fine powder

Apply a light dusting of fine powder to your lips such as Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder. This will give the lipstick something to stick to, and prevent lipstick from bleeding or gathering in fine lines. It will also make your lipstick last longer.

Step 4: Choose a bold color

Choose a color based on your skin-tone and complexion. I am fair and cool-toned, so I avoid anything too orangey or bright. My absolute favorite lipsticks are by Ilia Beauty. They have gorgeous colors for all skin-tones and are long-lasting. For natural, nontoxic lipsticks – nothing beats Ilia for me! My favorite colors are Femme Fatale – a berry/burgundy color. It’s the perfect classic red-lip! My other favorite is Lust for Life – a deep mulberry/plum color.

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Step 5: Go light on eyes and cheeks

Avoid using heavy eye shadow or blush. You want the rest of your makeup to be minimal and allow the bold lip to pop. I use eyeliner along my top lash-line and mascara, add some light contouring, and soft blush.

How do you pull off a bold lip? What natural lipsticks do you wear? 

Two Products to Relieve Dark, Puffy Eyes

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Image 322” by Ierdnal is licensed under CC by 2.0

There’s no better remedy for dark, puffy eyes than to eat well, get plenty of sleep, and stay hydrated. However, we all experience those mornings when we didn’t catch enough sleep, indulged in too much sugar or sodium, or had a few too many glasses of wine the prior evening. I have two products to quickly reduce puffiness, dark circles, and give you fresh, bright eyes!

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream:

This eye cream is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as coffee and green tea to quickly reduce puffy eyes on contact. It also contains antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients such as rosehip oil to brighten the eyes and reduce fine lines. Rose hydrosol is another ingredient – one of my all-time favorite moisturizing properties in skincare.

This eye cream is moisturizing without being too greasy, and will work well under makeup. It smells like a vanilla latte! It’s organic, vegan, and safe for sensitive skin. A full-size tube is $25, and they have a smaller size for $13. I typically order the small size – it will last for months! I find 100% Pure’s eye cream to be much more affordable compared to other organic brands without sacrificing quality.

 

100 percent pure eye cream

Studio 78 Paris ‘Off We Go’ Anti-Dark Circles Concealer:

This concealer seems to have become a favorite in the organic beauty industry – and for good reason! This concealer comes in two colors: At Dawn for cooler skin tones, and Moonlight for warmer skin tones. I ordered At Dawn, which matched well for under my eyes. I have very fair skin, so I was surprised that it was a match considering there are only two colors to choose from. This concealer has a way of blending in with the skin to match a variety of skin tones.

The consistency is thicker and seems less creamy compared to other organic concealers I’ve tried. However, it works really well for under the eyes. It will stay put without melting away or gathering in creases or fine lines – yet, it’s not too drying. A little goes a long way. It will last you quite a while. The pigment is perfect for counter-balancing the bluish hues of dark circles. This concealer is vegan and contains antioxidants and anti-free radicals. It comes in a little pot with a mirror – perfect for on the go.

The only drawback for me is that I can’t use this as a concealer for other parts of my face such as on blemishes. It is a little too dark for my fair skin. However, I have read other reviews where women use this as an all-over concealer without any problems. 

 

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Have you tried either of these products? What has worked for your dark, puffy eyes? Please share!

Beauty Tips for Women with Red Hair

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Meet my good friend Idgy (the beauty in the photo above)! She is a lover of natural, cruelty-free beauty products. I have known Idgy for many years, and have adapted several of her beauty methods into my own regimen. Recently, a coworker of mine expressed some frustration in finding beauty products that work for her red hair,  so I referred to Idgy –  who was so gracious to put together some techniques that have worked well for her:

 

“Print and television advertisements for cosmetics invariably feature dramatic looks. Applied to someone with unusual coloring, these palettes can appear garish. There are some guidelines that can make choosing make-up and skin-care easier for redheads. Most of the products mentioned here are natural and/or organic; a few of them are not. NONE of them are from companies that allow testing on animals. To reliably locate cosmetics companies that are cruelty-free, mybeautybunny.com is very helpful. My favorite resource for product reviews is beautypedia.com

Skin Care

Beginning with skin (as all beauty routines should), it can be thin and delicate. There is also a tendency toward warm tones; this combination explains why the entire world knows when you blush or have been crying. The first tenet of skin care is to treat it gently. Look for products with soothing ingredients like green tea, honey, aloe, neem, lavender, and rosemary. Known irritants, such as alcohol, sulfur, cinnamon, and peppermint should be avoided. Keep in mind that any ingredient can potentially be irritating to any individual. If it turns your skin red, it’s not for you. One skin-care line worth consideration is all-natural Lotus Moon. The Amaranth Gentle Cleanse cleanser and the Organic Honey Purifying Mask are soothing for most skin types.

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Sun Protection

You already know sun protection is important, but two things worth mentioning are that many commercial sunscreens contain chemicals you may not want on your skin; and there is some controversy over whether sunscreens themselves are in fact harmful. I won’t enter into a debate, but will say that Lotus Moon makes an excellent, gentle sunscreen; and regardless of your stance on the sunscreen quandary, I advise a hat with a brim, and large sunglasses during the daytime. Sunscreen leads us to the next bone of contention: self-tanner.

A tanned redhead is typically an odd-looking creature; it’s been pointed out to me that a tan makes me rather resemble a large penny. The best approach is to embrace your pallor and eschew the self-tanner – with one exception. Pasty legs can benefit from a little color. There are several tanning products that are relatively easily applied, with some practice. Layering light, even coats over the course of a few days is the best method. The lotion can collect and turn quite dark in creases, but a cotton swab can take care of this. Nature’s Gate Sunless Tanner is an inexpensive option and available at a discount at vitacost.com.

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Make-up

When selecting make-up, the first decision regards foundation. Most do not need a full face of foundation, at least not for the daytime. A little finishing powder can tone down ruddiness. I like to use a powder that can double as foundation and have found natural, mineral-based products to be the most skin-friendly choice. Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation is an elegant and inexpensive option. I dust it on lightly with a large brush most of the time, and press it on with either a dry puff or a dampened sponge for more polish on special occasions. If your skin is quite dry, a liquid option or a BB cream might be a better choice.

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Concealer is an important item to have on hand. NARS Radiant Cream Concealer has a nice texture and is available in many shades. It works well on dark circles. For heavier coverage, or for oily skin, try Kat Von D’s Lock-it Tattoo Concealer. (Which actually won’t obscure a tattoo, but it’s great for imperfections.) Speaking of imperfections, see those broken capillaries at the base of your nostrils? Tap a little concealer there; it makes a difference.

Appropriate make-up colors can be described as warm and soft. Black eyeliner and mascara are not the best options: try brown mascara instead. Choose eyeliner colors to complement, but not match, eye color. Blue eyes are most flattered by browns and coppers. Green eyes benefit from plums and purples. Younique’s mineral eye pencils are a worthy product to try; Passionate is a nice mid-tone purple. Those with brown or gray eyes can opt for some fun colors: teal, violet, green. Keep in mind that the lighter your hair and skin are, the lighter and more blended your make-up palette should be. For example, a strawberry blonde would be better served by golden brown liner than chocolate, grass green over moss, turquoise instead of teal. Use a cotton swab or blending brush to blur the line for a softer effect. Kriss Cosmetics makes gel eyeliners that apply flawlessly. Black Cherry is a deep aubergine, with flecks of copper, that would be too harsh for strawberries, but it’s very flattering to darker auburns. Keep eye shadows warm or neutral: nudes, golds, browns, plums.

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Think about peach-based colors for cheeks and lips, instead of pinks. One of my favorite blushes is Mineral Blush in Kitten from Honeybee Gardens. Flattering lip colors will be peach instead of pink, coral rather than mauve, and tomato instead of burgundy. Do not take these colors too deep if you are paler. Stick to apricot, coral, and lighter red.

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Once you are comfortable with the colors that are best for you, feel free to branch out and have some fun. A bright berry lipstick may work, if the rest of your make-up is warm/neutral and minimal. You can still do a smoky eye design, but use mid-tone brown or plum shadows, instead of gray and black. If it looks harsh, try softer, lighter colors, and blend, blend, blend. Emphasize only one feature at a time: a bold lip OR a smoky eye OR bright blush. Apply muted shades sparingly to the rest of the face.”

 

 

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorite beauty tips for redheads?

 

Best Mascara for Contact Lens Wearers

best mascara

For anyone who has made the transition from wearing mainstream mascara to natural alternatives, you know that finding a mascara that performs as well as it’s toxic-counterparts is no easy task.

To make things even more tricky, I wear contact lenses nearly every day. Because my eyesight is so challenged, I am not able to wear the soft lenses that most people who use contacts are able to wear. Instead I wear rigid, “bitoric” lenses. These are about the size of my fingertip and feel like glass to the touch. Although I am forever thankful to have corrective lenses that allow me to see, wearing eye makeup can be problematic. If mascara flakes or runs into my eye, it literally feels like a needle repeatedly piercing my eye (the worst is when this happens while driving)! I call this a “contact-attack!”

I also cannot rub my eyes, because the contact lenses could potentially tear my cornea. Therefore, I can’t easily wash or wipe away eye makeup without having to take my contacts out.

Here is what I typically look for in mascara:

  • Glides on easily without being too runny
  • Lasts all day without drying up and flaking
  • Extends my lashes while also giving volume and a “feathery” look

I am elated to report that I have finally found a mascara COMBINATION that has worked wonders for me. Ilia Beauty Mascara and Jane Iredale Purelash Lash Extender and Conditioner come to the rescue!

The lash conditioner is the secret to preventing flakes and keeping my lashes soft all day. I apply a couple coats right before I apply mascara. The conditioner thickens my lashes, really enhancing the effects of mascara.

Ilia’s mascara glides on easily over the conditioner, and really separates my lashes, giving great volume! It truly performs just as well as commercial mascaras I have used. With the lash conditioner, there is no need for a second coat. This also helps prevent build-up and flaking.

The best part is that it’s not messy. Some of my other favorite natural mascaras look great, but are really runny and messy to apply. I always needed to use a q-tip to clean up the stray marks around my eyes – but not with Ilia! Less clean up = faster morning routine.

It gives my lashes that thick, feathery look I aim for. Ilia’s mascara comes in several colors as well – all great options for ladies of varying skin tones and eye colors!

Ilia mascara is vegan and gluten-free. Jane Iredale lash conditioner is not contains beeswax and wheat, so those who want a vegan product or are gluten free, may want to seek an alternative product.

There you have it – soft, thick lashes that last all day without any flaking! What is your favorite mascara? Have you tried using a lash conditioner? Please share!

 

 

Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation Review

Gressa

Finding the right foundation can certainly be a challenge. My skin is very fair, so finding a color that is light enough has been a longtime struggle. I prefer a more natural coverage with my foundation that I can wear daily without looking too done-up. I have generally stuck to mineral powder foundations for the last several years. I like how they are easy to apply and do not look too heavy. However, I found my skin looking a little too dry during the winter months. Liquid and stick foundations sometimes feel too thick to wear everyday, so I reserve such foundations for more special occasions. Tinted moisturizers tend to make my face look greasy, and typically don’t provide enough coverage.

Finding an everyday foundation that provides enough coverage without being “cakey,” works for my fair skin, and has organic ingredients is a lot to ask for!

I read some online reviews for Gressa Skin Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation, and decided to give it a try. It seems to be the perfect blend between a powder and liquid foundation. It goes on like liquid, and quickly dries to a powder-finish. The consistency is vey runny (be careful you don’t accidentally spill it like I did – it will run out quickly!). It comes with an eyedropper-applicator. I dab the applicator on my fingertips and blend in circular motions. It feels more like a moisturizing serum than a liquid foundation, yet it provides a surprising amount of pigment. I only use about four or five drops for my entire face. What I like most about this foundation is that it gives the perfect amount of coverage (medium) and yet feels very light and airy on my skin. Not too matte and not too greasy – just a gorgeous glow!

This foundation not only provides impressive coverage, but it is packed with nutrients for your skin: milk thistle, neem, horsetail, barberry, sea buckthorn, elder flower, CoQ10, and vitamin C.

This foundation simply makes me smile! It truly is “Nontoxic Glamour!”

Have you tried Gressa? What is your favorite natural foundation?

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