Green Beauty Grand Openings in D.C.

Be Clean Shop

This month saw the happy opening of not one, but two green beauty shops in D.C. Be Clean opened up on the 3rd floor of 52 O Street NW and Follain permanently launched in Union Market as a pop-up-turned-shop-to-stay. I hiked over from Baltimore to attend both of the shops’ merry grand openings, had a gander around, and ran into friendly faces.

Be Clean Shop
Be Clean is the brainchild of Becky (she’s the one with the cute bob) and is located in a cozy studio. Products lined one wall, refreshments and vegan eats provided by Kate Bakes were nestled on a table adjacent on the other.
 Be Clean Shop Grand Opening
Many familiar faces grace the shelves, such as the pictured Herbivore Botanicals, Captain Blankenship, Aster+Bay, Soul Sunday, and Josh Rosebrook. I took a spritz of Hydrate, slathered myself in the Jasmine body oil,  and admired the beautiful colors of the facial oils (got some Lapis for my sister as part of her birthday present).
Be Clean Shop Grand Opening

A brand in particular that was new to me was Na Nin. Be Clean carries two perfumes and body oils from the line, one of which, Landslide, is quite manly and woodsy, the other, Cedar Creek, quite reminiscent of incense (and my favorite).

Products among Becky’s top 5?
  • Na Nin Perfume
  • Herbivore Sea Mist Hair Texturizer
  • Herbivore Orchid Facial Oil
Follain Grand Opening

I’ve been coming to Boston-native Follain’s pop-ups in Union Market for a few years, and it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first time I stepped offline to say hello to green beauty.

The first Follain pop-up I attended was also where I met my first Insta-to-real-life friend, @ecochicstyle_! We had been oohing and aahing over each other’s feeds for months, and to not only finally put a face on the handle but also have a buddy to rave about green beauty in person was a joy. I’ve always enjoyed my conversations with the formidable Tara, the founder of Follain, who is always so kind and helpful. Needless to say, I’m so glad Follain has a home in D.C. and in a great location like Union Market where people can just wander in for a bite or a juice or a walk and just stumble on healthy beauty.

Follain Grand Opening
Green beauty’s not just for the ladies–there are lots of options for men (lots of new brands to me), mothers, and babies.
Follain Grand Opening
Love the sink details and that Follain’s refillable soap service has come as well.
Follain Grand Opening

The skincare is organized by category (cleanser, toner, etc.) and skin type (oily, dry, etc.), which is very helpful if you’re a green beauty looking for something new or if you’re completely unfamiliar with green beauty and want to get into it. I took a spritz of my favorite Hydrating Accelerator from Josh Rosebrook; tried some Tammy Fender Rose Toner (Yenny says this one is good), Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner (feels nice), Indie Lee Apple Serum (gel-ish kind of serum), and admired the rms Beauty Oil (loooove that vanilla).

Follain Grand Opening
While Yenny and I were chatting, this gorgeous girl tapped my shoulder and said, “I think I Insta-know you…”. It was Jennifer, one half of the Unsullied duo! After dancing around each other for a while (she’s moonlighted before at Follain and I missed her sister at the last ANFGB), I was so happy to finally meet her.

 

Follain Grand Opening

We also ran into another friendly face: Susannah Compton! You may know her from No More Dirty Looks as a contributing writer or from Integrity Botanicals blog, but you may not know that she is also developing her own perfume line which is set to debut at A Night for Green Beauty in Chicago this summer. She gave Yenny and I a sneak peek into some of the scents: one will be rose-y, another citrus-y, and the last (and apparently most controversial among testers) jasmine. I’ve got my eyes on the jasmine.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not being compensated for my words.

Tweet

A Trip to Strange Invisible Perfumes

Strange Invisible Perfumes had always been one of those brands I had seen and passed over on Spirit Beauty Lounge and NuboNau because 1) I was not really into perfumes, 2) I was not really into perfumes at such a price, 3) I was not really into perfumes at such a price when I hadn’t the faintest clue what they smelled like on my skin.

So it was a blessing to banter with SIP at A Night for Green Beauty, get recommendations from a handsome Australian fellow, and walk around smelling like an intoxicating jasmine flower sipping mimosas. By the end of the night, a 15ml Fair Verona was purchased and in my bag of swag.

Having perfumed myself out the night before, I wasn’t expecting to spend too much time at their brick-and-mortar store in Venice the morning after–just to take a peek around their apothecary and gaze lovingly at their beautiful perfumes. And then my mother and I spent most of the morning and afternoon talking with Patrick, getting my mum perfume matched, and falling over their beautifully curated apothecary.

Of course I had to spritz some Fair Verona upon coming in. *swoon. Love this so much.

The beautiful perfume table. In the back is their carefully curated apothecary…

Fun fact: Patrick is a jazz pianist and Mozart greets you when you walk into the store.

Beautiful wall of giant, standard, and mini perfumes.

Truth: This is one of the very few places (probably the only!) where you can see May Lindstrom, YÜLI Skincare, AND Vered Botanicals in the same place. I mentally blew kisses at some favorites (ML Problem Solver, YÜLI Halcyon, YÜLI Cocoon, YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel, YÜLI Pure, Vered Herb-Infused Toner, and Vered Therapeutic Balancing Oil) and peeked at a few I haven’t tried yet. I tried some of YÜLI’s Cellular Lip Conditioner on the back of my hand (have heard great things about this), looked at Vered’s masks, looked at May Lindstrom’s Honey Mud and thank goodness I was full or I could have eaten it, and tried to smell YÜLI’s Mr. Incredible but I couldn’t find a tester.

 

Hello Alexis Smart Flower Remedies in the flesh! I have only started getting into flower remedies (partly inspired by Katey Denno’s story and trip) and attempted taking Ganesh last semester in an effort to enhance confidence, but I didn’t take it as consistently as I should have (my fault).

Amala is another line I have seen and tried samples-with-orders of via Spirit Beauty Lounge, but haven’t purchased. As Patrick told me, Amala is a spa line that actually uses the essential oils that SIP extracts which makes it very easy for them to carry Amala in their store. In addition, they have great clinical results and several dedicated lines such as one to brighten, another to purify, and another to rejuvenate.
Marble & Milkweed on the other hand, as Patrick told me, are totally opposite of Amala. They are very simple, but very organic, natural, and made in small batches in NY. Patrick particularly pointed out their woodsy toner (which I tried a spritz of–it’s super woodsy) and sang praise for the cleansing grains.
I was happy to see a recent love, Odacité, in full force. I have been loving their Pure Elements line, lusting after their Private Collection, and enjoying their cleanser, exfoliant, and toners.

 

Red Flower is another brand I have heard much about for their aromatherapy but have never tried. Patrick loves the rose serum and told us a bit about the arctic berry that is featured in several of their products. It is obtained from the arctic tundra and has an abundance of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and biomedical functions due to their growing conditions (sun and frost all the time!). We tried some of the rose serum on the back of our hands, which was lovely and quite rosy, and took a peek at the arctic berry cloud milk cream–it can be used for face and body, and has a soft, light texture.

 

For fun, I asked Patrick if he could perfume-match my mum, who at first dothly protested she was not a perfume wearer, but then gracefully acquiesced (can you tell I am watching the Tudors). After listening to her general likes and dislikes (respectfully and generally, simple scents and heavy scents), Patrick had her try many of the perfumes on paper, a couple spritzes of each. They were all very strong at first, so he had her smell one first, set the paper aside, and reset her olfactories with coffee beans, before trying another one.

While my mum tried out perfumes, I romped around the store (which is very rompable) and tried out the body lotions on my parched legs (curse you, dry California!). They felt very nourishing and had more subtle scents than the perfumes–I pretty much liked them all.

Despite her initial protest, in the end, she had good fun. While she ranked her top 3 favorites, I asked Patrick, “So what does biodynamic and hydro-distilled mean anyhow?”

He told me, “Well, I’ll tell you about three things that set SIP apart, and they are the terms biodynamic, wildcrafted, and hydro-distilled.”

Biodynamic: Rotate the fields based on the season and don’t force the land to grow something that’s out of season
Wildcrafted: Don’t introduce new plants where they are not meant to grow–instead, get ingredients from the source, in their natural environment
Hydro-distilled: The plant is lightly simmered in water, forming a hydrosol and leaving an additional layer of essential oils at the top. These essential oils are then scooped up

There are three ways of typically extracting essential oils and those are: steaming, pressing, and hydro-distillation. Steaming is inexpensive, pressing is damaging to the plant, and hydro-distillation is more expensive, but the best way to go about it. It is gentle and captures the “the complete aromatic profile of the plant, including the fine aroma chemicals that cannot be captured with steam distillation”, according to SIP’s website (source and further evidence here). What’s great is that SIP uses the hydrosols leftover from the hydro-distillation process in their other products, such as their body lotions and (don’t tell anyone) their possibly upcoming toner (?!).

My mum’s favorites:
1. Aquarian Rose
2. Epic Gardenia
3. L’invisible

My favorites:
1111111111. Fair Verona (or as Patrick says it, Favorana)

My mom ended up purchasing a mini of her top #1, Aquarian Rose, a very elegant rose which I think suits her well, and Patrick graciously gave her a tiny samples of her #2 and #3 (which are slowly becoming my #2 and #3 as well). She asked Patrick a couple of questions while he rung us up.

“Is the goal to be carried in department stores? These perfumes are pretty expensive compared to the ones you find in department stores. Why is that?”

No, he told us. Department stores want a lot of markup, and that is not feasible for SIP especially if they want to preserve integrity–which is what the founder wants to do. They are not willing to stoop to inexpensive distilling processes. The perfumes are indeed expensive, but honestly there isn’t much mark-up.

While SIP is still not the most budget-friendly of products, I walked away impressed with the level of integrity in their apothecary and in their own line of perfumes, body lotions, and body washes. They are very selective with what they carry, and I have no doubt their perfumes are a top-notch product which ingredients that are not going to confuse my hormones, unlike the perfumes you can easily find for cheaper in the department stores today. Patrick was charming and a joy to chat with–if you’re ever in Venice, LA, I absolutely recommend a walk to Strange Invisible Perfumes.

If a physical visit is not feasible, Spirit Beauty Lounge offers samples of their perfumes, via samples-with-orders or in their sample pack. When I smelled all of the perfumes at ANFGB, my initial reaction was these are all beautiful (and have beautiful colors), but they are way too strong for me. The other Aussie fellow at the SIP table recommended I try it on my skin, walk around a bit, and then make my judgement. I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist (and asking other people to sniff too) that whole night. Try it on your skin and consider the processes by which it came about before turning up your nose at the price (and then begin to weep for your wallet).

tl;dr All thoughts and opinions are my own, except for paraphrased content from Patrick and my mum. I have attempted to preserve content gathered from Patrick as best as I could. I was not compensated in any manner for my words.

Have you visited Strange Invisible Perfumes in Venice? If not, would you, and what would you pick up?

Tweet

Shirley Pinkson Did My Makeup

Last Saturday, W3ll People celebrated their Los Angeles launch at Beauty Cirque with good company, facials, makeovers, juice, and BBQ. While my mum and I missed the BBQ to catch the bus home, I couldn’t miss getting made over by Shirley Pinkson, the makeup genius of W3ll People. I came in with a naked face (face oil + Pratima sunscreen) and a bit of winged eyeliner.

My skin was first prepped courtesy of SkinOwl, a brand I know Katie (The Green Product Junkie) loves. While this was my first SkinOwl experience, I was tempted by their seasonal candles last year which are coming back this fall (black currant! Come to me!).

Heather recommended the Argan Infusion Lavender face oil for my oily/combo skin. The benefits, she told me, include controlling/preventing breakouts as well as fading scars. The oil felt really nice as she massaged a couple drops into my skin and neck (shockingly over the sunscreen–once I put on sunscreen, I can’t add anymore skincare on top without feeling like my pores are getting clogged–but she said it was fine. And then she massaged my face more; so I didn’t mind too much). I’m not the biggest fan of lavender, even though I know it has great healing and anti-inflammatory properties, so I appreciated the scent not being so overwhelmingly lavender-y.

The cooling eye gel/cream, eye+, is soooo cooling–and it’s specially formulated to be that way. While Heather gently dabbed it around my eyes, the founder Annie, watching, literally said she could see my eye tightening and sinking in (rad!).

Heather then gave a ballin’ hand/arm massage with the body oil while Shirley was busy giving another makeover, and I literally felt my brain knots become undone (I then asked if they have a spa because she’s awesome and I would totally go–answer: no, but they do this sort of thing at the different events they go to). While the body oil contains the legendarily stinky neem oil, it actually smells quite pleasant, and my arms felt so relaxed and moisturized. She said this even keeps her hands moisturized throughout hand washes during the day.

(Mid-way through foundation application. Shirley probably just said, “Your skin loves mineral foundation” and I’m grinning incredulously/delightfully. The babe in the back with the awesome cheekbones is Annie, the founder of SkinOwl

Before applying makeup, Shirley first gently removed my eyeliner with a tissue + SkinOwl facial oil (both her and Annie’s idea to use the oil since there was no official makeup remover nearby–geniuses).

For my oily/combo skin, Shirley recommended the Altruist mineral foundation for all-over coverage and the Narcissist foundation/concealer stick for concealing. For me, she said, “Use oils in your skincare, but not in your makeup.” I love cream formulas–I love the feel of them, I love they way they melt into my skin, but it’s like she read my skin soul–my skin just doesn’t jive with them the same way it does with mineral formulas (tear. I’m totally still eventually trying Gressa Skin’s new serum foundations).

I had ordered samples of the mineral foundation from W3ll People and Integrity Botanicals before and had matched my skin as a 15, so when she picked 15 for me as well, I gave myself an A+ for guessing what Shirley guessed and Shirley an A+ for guessing what I guessed.

Since there was a lot of mineral foundation already built-up in the pot, she dipped a corner of her kabuki into the powder, swirled the brush in the lid, tapped the excess off, and then used confident downward strokes all over my face to even my complexion (literally what the instructions say for the foundation and literally what she did. A+++++). Totally zen’ed out, I mustered a “This brush is so soft.”

I gave myself and Shirley another A+ as she picked out Narcissist 3 for concealing, which I own. She scraped a little off the stick onto a little artist palette and applied it using a small concealer-ish brush, first concentrating on the inner corners of my eyes and edges of my undereyes, then spreading it over the rosey area between my eyebrows. She also applied some to my eyelids, noting that Narcissist is essential as an eye primer.

(Interesting to note that she did this after the mineral foundation–I had always felt like cream had to go under mineral or at least I had to melt minerals with a facial mist before layering a cream on top. Natural rebel!)

(“Do you like the coverage?” “Yes!”) 
 

“I can tell you’re an eyes person. I’m going to use our bronzer, in fact, I’m even going to use it as your blush.”
“Oh good, I don’t know how to bronze myself.” (Thinking: Why does it look so much easier on YouTube and on Lilly from Genuine Glow?)
“Hold your kabuki like a taco and sweep it over the cheeks, then over the temples to the cheeks like a ‘C’.” (Kabuki taco!! Never forgetting this)

Her reasoning was that you don’t want to deposit all of the color in the front, rather you want to first apply it by your ears, and then blend it towards the front. With what she had left on the kabuki, she dashed a bit down my nose and my chin. She then took a smaller brush and blended a little bronzer on my eyelids for a simple eye look, multi-tasking ftw.

(Note: while the Hedonist Bronzer used to have multiple shades, the new Bio Bronzer seems to come in one shade, which may be good or bad news depending on your skin tone.)

(All bronzed up. Heather, the one with pretty long hair and who is amazing at massages, is laughing in the background)

 

“I probably don’t need to tell you how to do your eyeliner.”
*hearts in eyes. “But but. I would of course love to hear how you do it.”
“I do it pretty much like how you do it. You do a good job!” *now there are rainbows shooting from my closed eyes

Shirley first wiggled the Hypnotist Eyeliner in between my eyelashes, keeping it much closer to my eyelashes than I usually do (because of my monolid, I usually go all out). She then carefully winged the liner out, following the curve of the bottom outline of my eye (this I do).

 

Another departure from my daily eye, Shirley then layered their navy eyeshadow (I’m guessing Elitist Mineral Shadow in Midnight Twinkle?) over the liner to give a slight color pop, and I assume, to also set the liner. While I had my eyes closed in bliss, my mom and the people standing around me gave the thumbs-up on this.

“Have you used our mascara?”
“Yes!” (also own this)
“It’s life-changing! Apply this by wiggling and twirling the mascara through your lashes.”

I can’t for the life of me remember if she applied the Realist X setting powder or highlighter first, but I’m guessing the setting powder came first.
“Set with Realist X to control shine and set eyeliner. If you feel dry, just use it on your T-zone, like I’m doing now. Use a small brush to pat it on your eyelids and your eye makeup will stay all day.”
She then applied the newly dubbed Bio Brightner (previously Universalist in Moonstone Glow) on the inner corners of my eyes, the center part of my nose between my eyes, and on my cupid’s bow.
(The final look. I was probably listening in awe to Shirley.)

She finished with just a tiny dab of a Universalist on the apples of my cheeks, and a mix of a Nudist with their recently released Bio Extreme Lipgloss (sadly don’t remember/didn’t have time to ask which shades). The formula of the lipgloss is pretty thick, but very moisturizing.

It was such a pleasure to have my makeup done by Shirley. I’m a total noob at getting my makeup done by other people, and Shirley made it fun (telling me to look at this one hand or down at my knee while applying this or that–things you don’t hear when models get their makeup done on Youtube. It was like a game to me!) and informational. Since I wear a pretty similar look day-to-day, I love seeing how other people would paint my face, and I loved the very natural look Shirley conjured up for me.

 

While I hadn’t planned on purchasing anything for myself from W3ll People since I do already have and love several products from their line, I had to get that insanely soft kabuki brush. And have another stab at bronzer. And compare their mineral foundation to Alima Pure’s, a long-time favorite. On Shirley’s recommendation, I got the Mineral Complexion Natural Lover Kit in medium neutral which was a deal made even sweeter by the 20% promotion they were running, which includes the Altruist mineral foundation in 15, the Bio Bronzer, and the Kabuki Brush.

If you’re ever in Santa Monica, I definitely recommend checking out the wall of W3ll People at Beauty Cirque as well as their other #greenbeauty offerings including One Love Organics and Sheswai. If you’re not in Santa Monica, Beauty Cirque is also online.

Disclaimer: No compensation was involved. Affilate links are included. I’ve tried to remember Heather’s, Annie’s, and Shirley’s words as closest as I can but am human, so some quotes may be slightly paraphrased. All other thoughts and opinions are mine. My lovely mum helped take pictures on my iPhone. The only pictures I edited (and only for brightness) were the ones of skin prep because they were too dark. All other photos have only been cropped.

Tweet

A Trip to Moon Juice, Café Gratitude, and The Detox Market

I was in LA for a couple days for a piano duo performance last week and luckily had a couple of hours to go on a short #greenbeauty adventure. First stop, Moon Juice in Venice…

I have been drooling over Moon Juice’s juices, tonics, and powders on Instagram for a couple of months and was just about starstruck when I walked in. I fawned over the juice/smoothie/milk menu, the tonics, the powders (add water and they become a tonic/tea–wishlist for when the online apothecary opens!), and the collection of Alexis Smart Remedies. I was totally ready for a juice/smoothie breakfast and was excitedly picking out smoothies for my traditional Chinese parents, but wanting a warm breakfast, they made me quickly choose a drink (Golden Milk, yum!) and skedaddle across the street to…
Café Gratitude! I couldn’t believe I had forgotten that this was a place I wanted to visit in LA! I think my parents were thinking more on the meat and egg side for breakfast, but I was so thrilled and grateful to have stumbled into this beautiful space. We ordered Open-Hearted, Trusting, and Fantastic, and upon saying each one to the server, he responded “You are open-hearted” and “You are trusting” and “You are fantastic.” Gosh, what a beautiful thing to hear in the morning before breakfast.

After cleaning off all the delicious plates, we braved LA traffic to go to The Detox Market in West Hollywood. I have also been following The Detox Market over Twitter, Instagram, and email newsletter for a couple of months, so I was so excited to finally see it in person.

 

treat collection looked just as beautiful in person as they do on Sonja’s (Life in Blush) nails.

I have sample misters of Infinite Love and Inner Peace that I purchased from Spirit Beauty Lounge and have been loving, so I definitely took a quick spritz break passing by Lotus Wei.

Lilly (Genuine Glow) loves mv skincare and I haven’t taken the plunge yet partially because of price point and partially because I don’t know where to start. I tried some of the moisturizers on the back of my hand and they felt and smelled lovely though!

I purchased a small sample pot of the Suntegrity 5-1 Moisturizing Face Sunscreen in Light right before leaving for LA and have also been enjoying it (held off a while because of the dimethicone–it does have that slippy feeling). I considered buying the body sunscreen (Lilly also mentioned/loved this recently on Genuine Glow) as well as the full-sized tinted sunscreen, but I figured I’m well-enough stocked on sunscreen for now…

This was my first time seeing Olìe Biologique in the flesh! I smelled and tried a bit of Huile Claire Calming Oil and it smells, feels, and looks more wonderful than I imagined it would. Also considered buying the Power Trip Trio to properly sample the oils, but also well-enough stocked on facial oils for now.

The Detox Market has a beautiful makeup lineup. This side of the wall includes Vapour (huge line of Vapour), Ilia Beauty (restrained myself from buying Jump, but I did try some on my lips–pretty!), and Kide (this line with really beautifully marbelized pressed powders with diamonds and stuff).

And here’s the reason I chose to go to Detox Market–Odacité. Fun fact: the founders of Odacité opened The Detox Market.

“After overcoming breast cancer, it became my mission to help others adopt a detoxed lifestyle while staying true to their fabulous selves.” Valérie Grandury, co-founder (from their About page)

I’ve been following and humming and aahing over Odacité for a couple of months and at different times have nearly jumped the gun on the discovery kit, the Private Collection oils, and the Pure Elements line. I figured I couldn’t turn down a chance to experience them in real life!

Since I’m growing into a cleanser junkie, I jumped on the Gentle Rejuvenating Cleanser and the girl in the store at the time (beautiful blonde girl with beautiful skin) was kind enough to indulge my questions. Apparently the cleanser can remove makeup, and if you’re acne-ish and dry like me, the combination discovery kit is for you. The difference between the kits are the toners which are catered towards skin type, and since I was straddling the fence, she kindly let me sample the oily toner (Mint & Green Tea) as well as the combo toner (Rose & Neroli) in my discovery kit, though in the process, I think she took out the sample of the Hydrating Masque, which was fair, but sad.

Oh, the Pure Elements line. I came in knowing I was going to walk away with at least one of these, and then I left with two: Black Cumin + Cajeput (for pimples) and Papaya + Geranium (for hyperpigmentation). She recommended Bl + C as a good starting point for the line, saying that she herself had gone through two of these, and she also mentioned Pa + G was also a favorite of hers. Megan (Seed to Serum) had just posted about her love for Green Tea + Lemongrass as a radiance booster, and I nearly got that as well (who doesn’t want to be radiant??). Since I’ve also been on a jasmine kick (blame it on May Lindstrom’s soon-to-be-released Jasmine Garden), I had to smell Blueberry + Jasmine (cell energy), and it was more blueberry than jasmine–more blueberry and less jasmine than I had expected.

You know rms beauty has cult status when a beach babe strolls in and asks, “Do you carry rms ‘un’ cover-up?” Yeah, true story. I’m on a semi-break from coconut oil, so I just tried a bit of the Demure lip2cheek on the back of my hand, swooned, and put it back with a sigh. My mum’s on the search for a new mascara, and the girl and I attempted to talk her into rms beauty defining mascara (recently reviewed here) since its tiny brush would be perfect for her tiny lashes, but my mum didn’t want to deal with smudging.

This was also a first encounter for CV Skinlabs! I know this is a huge favorite of Britanie’s (Beauty By Britanie) and during the past long and dry winter, I nearly purchased the spray as well as Calming Moisture on a whim. I tried some of the Rescue + Relief Spray and it was indeed very calming and soothing. Added that to my toner wishlist…

 

I wish I had had more time to ask questions and poke around, but I had to run to warmup for the performance. I really enjoyed visiting The Detox Market, and I also wish I could’ve had time to visit Evolue Beauty and Strange Invisible Perfumes. Next time! You are lucky to have so many of these beautiful places, LA’ers, but I definitely don’t envy your traffic.

Have you visited any of these places? Any #greenbeauty places you love in LA? Any product faves you spotted?

Tweet

A Trip to Shen Beauty

I was in New York for 24 hours last week for a piano audition and had the luxury of three free hours in my favorite city before my bus home…so I packed my dress and my ballet slippers in my backpack, pulled on my down coat, and hiked my cold, Californian butt on over to Brooklyn to Shen Beauty.

You New Yorkers are so lucky so have a physical store with so much green beauty! Have you seen all the Facebook comments asking Spirit Demerson of Spirit Beauty Lounge if she has a physical location? I mean, I love staring at the little green beauty aisle in Whole Foods which actually has a pretty good selection of Acure Organics, Dr. Hauschka, and more, but let’s just say I planned only spending 20 minutes in Shen Beauty…and spent more like 40 minutes squealing over every green beauty brand I knew, and even then I wanted to stay longer. I have been following Shen Beauty for a bit on social media, but boy, was it a treat to be there in person…

rms beauty and ILIA beauty in real life!! *hands clasped together and hearts in eyes! My collection of rms beauty has been growing as of late, so I just took a peek at the demure lip2cheek (pretty baby pink) before having a swatch party at the ILIA stand. I asked Jillian of Shen Beauty for a comparison of rms beauty and ILIA, and she said in the end, they are really comparable, so it comes down to brand loyalty. Some people prefer the pots of rms beauty, and others the stick applicators of ILIA. She swatched ILIA’s Sway illuminator/bronzer for me, and it has such a pretty golden shine! A lot sparklier than the rms beauty buriti bronzer. She also told me Arabian Knights (beautiful. beautiful violet-burgundy, I bought it for my mum last winter) is so popular, at one point, it was sold out everywhere, even from ILIA themselves! The mascaras are also pretty well-loved for their unique colors.


I’ve been eyeing ILIA’s lip crayons since their launch, but they all look so lovely, I’ve had to resist just putting all of them in my online cart (though I have purchased Come Undone, the nude, which is lovely). From left to right: Dress You Up, 99 Red Balloons, Iko Iko, and Call Me. Jillian was telling me that they are very pigmented out of the tube, and they are! Very creamy as well.


Everyone as of late has been raving about Bang Bang as the red and I have been super curious about getting into orangey-reds. From left to right: Voila, Bang Bang, Wild Child, and Dizzy. Dizzy is really orange, isn’t it? It’s quite light though, and I think it could be very wearable. I think these all would be really lovely in the summer.


Oh, ILIA’s lip glosses! I have The Butterfly And I (the peach) which I love so much for the way the formula feels, looks, and smells (think Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum–vanilla and citrus, yum). I’ve also had to resist just putting all of these in my cart, because all of the colors are so lovely. From left to right: Heartbeat, Love Buzz, and Gypsy. So lovely! After swatching, I actually swiped all of these on my lips from right to left since the wind stripped all the moisture from my face on the walk over, and it the result was a pretty reddish pink. I got Love Buzz as a Christmas present for my sister, but I’ll be sneaking some swipes in here and there while I’m home this winter.

Oh, Kjaer Weis! Jillian was selling me on Kjaer Weis, and I already love them, so we were basically just gushing together. She says Kjaer Weis really has a following because their formulas are so good. The cream formulations look just like skin. She herself was wearing Blossoming, which looked really lovely–lovely light flush of pink, and I was wearing Suntouched, the coral, that day. I’ve been curious about Abundance, the plummy blush, so I asked if I could try it. She applied it with a Bobbi Brown brush from the apples of my cheeks and blending upwards along my cheekbones, and oh my goodness. It was gorgeous. I never thought I’d get into a plum-colored blush, but it was so beautiful, I had to treat myself to this one…

H. Gillerman Organics! I have her Jaw Clenching Remedy since I have a tendency to grind my teeth when I sleep, along with small samples of the Sleep and Sinus Remedy, and they all smell so soothing and wonderful. I wanted to buy the Stress Remedy for my super woman mum since she has the tendency to stress out very easily, but I ended up getting her the Tension Remedy as a present, since she is always running around taking care of the family and being super.

Kahina Giving Beauty! I have been following them since discovering them through No More Dirty Looks, and have yet to try their products (though I did also get the Eye Serum from BeautySage as another present for my mum). I tried a bit of the new Fez Body Serum (super spicy) and their argan oil (very moisturizing).

I’ve seen suti around Spirit Beauty Lounge and a few blogs (Beauty By Britanie, Neiman’s Idealist) but also have not tried any of their products. I took a peek at their cleansing balm (looks nice and a bit grainy).

Annee de Mamiel! She is UK-based, and apparently one of the owners of Shen Beauty really loves de Mamiel’s Altitude Oil for traveling. I tried buying her new cleansing balm during the Thanksgiving sale, but sadly failed to get my order in before it was out of stock! I was hoping it’d be back in stock by the time I was here, but unfortunately it wasn’t (though I did just order it over the phone yesterday, and apparently there are now only two left! Get on it!). I took a whiff of her Winter Facial Oil (also quite spicy) and her Altitude Oil (boy, does it perk you up!).

And here’s a brand I’ve just discovered this past fall: LURK! This is what the display looked like after my frozen hands picked up every single little bottle and smelled every single scent, haha. They all smell lovely, but I was partial to The Green Product Junkie’s favorite RSW005, which smells of roses, and PRJV1, which smells a little more unisex and spicy.

Other brands I spotted were Therapie (heard so much about their detox salts), Indie Lee (almost bought her blemish lotion! Almost!), a bit of Meow Meow Tweet (I loooove their candles), Suntegrity (heard lots about their sunscreen), Skin & Bones (their oil smells sooo sultry-spicy-yum), and Rare Elements haircare (NMDL loves them).

I couldn’t just make a 40-minute subway trip to Brooklyn (not to mention a rare trip to New York!) and leave empty-handed. By luck, I spotted One Love Organic’s Brand New Day scrub in discover size on sale and Lulu Organic’s travel-size dry shampoo in jasmine, which I have been eyeing for forever (and look how tiny it is!).

What’s more, I found a welcome surprise in my mail box in the midst of finals last Friday: a de Mamiel Altitude Oil as a gift for my struggles with the web store during the Thanksgiving sale. Like bam! Customer service! Totally blown away. Thank you so much, Shen…this is exactly what I need for finals and winter.

Basically, I am full of love for Shen Beauty, and if I lived in New York, I’d probably be there every weekend to play. Have you visited Shen? See any of your favorite brands here?