15 #GreenBeauty Favorites from 2015

15 Favorites of 2015

The cleanser with coconut oil that my skin lovesMV Organics Gentle Cream Cleanser

I put off trying this cleanser for years out of fear that the coconut oil would break me out. Until I had a mini MV Organic Skincare facial at a Credo Beauty. The cleanser is mega gentle, and although creamy, leaves no oily residue or breakouts, surprisingly.

The rosey facial oil calms my acneMV Organics Rose Plus Skin Booster

I also put off trying this for years not out of fear, but more out of “meh, rose? Overrated.” My Credo Beauty facialist and MV founder Sharon both recommended I give it a try for my acneic therefore sensitive skin and I have never been more loyal to a facial oil. You may have noticed my posting volume has been way down the past several months which I have been in grad school. Given my insane stress levels (group projects, ugh), my face should have broken out so much more given how sensitive my face is typically to stress. I’m not complaining.

The face mask that is good enough to sleep inTata Harper Resurfacing Mask Continue reading 15 #GreenBeauty Favorites from 2015

Expired #GreenBeauty Products #1

Expired GreenBeauty Products 1

First things first, I chopped my hair. Also, I’ve accumulated quite the stash of products in my collection that have expired on me and rambled about them, why I couldn’t finish them, and other thoughts on the ‘tube. Grab a cuppa, head over to YouTube to watch (for the full service of the info box), or just click play down below.

What products expire on you and which do you finish long before expiring?
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My Signature Summer Look Tag

The gorgeous Pemberley Jones tagged me to do Beautycalypse’s Signature Summer Look Tag (check out their beautiful eye looks!)–the rules are as follows:

  1. Link back to this post so I can include you + and title your post as I have.
  2. Only use make-up products that you own for 6 months minimum. No exceptions! And have a lot of fun creating, as though you were introducing your own collection.
  3. Please tag other 5 to 10 green beauty bloggers, making sure they notice 😉
  4. And the best part: if you’re not a green beauty blogger but like to join the fun, just do it following the rules 1-3!

Before proceeding, I must confess. I have not only used make-up products that I’ve owned for 6 months minimum. This is for several reasons.

  1. I only keep mascaras for 3 months top because I am not a fan of bacteria growing in mascara tubes.
  2. I’ve tossed several products that expired recently and replaced them.
  3. I fell in love with the bronzy look Shirley Pinkson gave me at W3ll People’s Beauty Cirque launch (read more about that here) and have been recreating it almost every day since with my own collection (plus several that I purchased at the event).

Onto the look:

1. I start off with a cleansed and moisturized (and depending on the day, sunscreened) face.

2. I even out my complexion with a tapping of W3ll People Altruist Mineral Foundation in 15 + W3ll People Kabuki Brush + confident downward strokes. I usually go for 1-2 layers of the mineral foundation depending on how much coverage I want–one for when I’m feeling pretty good about my skin or #YOLO about blemishes that peek through, two for when I have a little more blemishes or redness and want a fuller coverage. Here I opted for a lighter coverage.

Despite the hassle of loose powder and brushes, mineral foundation provides me with the best coverage with the lightest feel and the least fear of breakouts. When I sweat (which is a lot in the summer), I feel like my foundation looks even better as the minerals mix with my skin oils.

3. I bronze and blush up my face with a tapping of W3ll People Bio Bronzer + W3ll People Kabuki Brush held like a “kabuki taco” (Shirley, you genius) + brushing from ears to cheek apples along cheek bones + dusting on temples. I am pretty pasty and don’t have much intention of tanning. Bronzer is a nice way for me to add more dimension into my face.
That’s the complexion sans concealer done. The foundation nicely evens out my skintone, and the bronzer adds warmth to my skin without bringing back my ruddy cheeks.

 

4. I curl my eyelashes with my Shiseido eyelash curler to prep for mascara.

5. I apply W3ll People Expressionist Mascara by wiggling the wand at the roots and twirling through the rest of my lashes. My mascara’d lashes usually wilt back to their straight state within a minute after application, so I usually wait 5-15 minutes before re-curling them with my eyelash curler.

6. I conceal with W3ll People Narcissist 3 by warming the stick with my finger + tapping to blend + on the dark outlines of my undereyes + on my eyelids as a primer/conceal redness. I’m not in love with how this looks when I use it all over my face, but it is gold for these sorts of non-blemish spot concealing.

7. I turn myself into a cat with Benecos Natural Eyeliner in Black. Meow.

8. I illuminate my inner corners with Kjaer Weis Highlighter in Radiance which is amazingly and beautifully radiant. Quickly comparing it to rms beauty living luminizer and La Bella Figura Highlighter in Brazilian Denise–this is the most obviously sparkly of these highlighters. I can use less product for more shine, and yet it does not look artificial or tacky at all. I also sometimes take it on the bridge of my nose, under my eyebrows, and on the tops of my cheekbones, but I love it best for my eyes.

9. Even though Altruist is a mineral foundation, I find it gives me a pretty dewy look, so I powder up my T-zone with rms ‘un’ powder because I am a sweaty beast.

10. Every other day when I don’t wash my hair, I tap One Love Organic’s Healthy Locks dry shampoo into my roots, massage it in, wait 5-10 min, and then brush it out. This is probably my favorite product from OLO’s summer collection (get it before September 15th!)–I find it absorbs my grease to the point where I look acceptable in public and it lightly perfumes my hair.

tl;dr And that’s the finished look. A bit bronzey, a bit catty, and very simple. A summary of products used:

I’m tagging:

And anyone else who would like to do the tag. What has been your signature summer look? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: I purchased all of the makeup used in this post. I have not retouched any of the pictures except for the flat lay in order to give a true representation of color. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links are included in this post.

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The Going Green Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Kasey from Plein Vanity and sister duo Jennifer and Kathryne from Unsullied to do the Going Green Tag. As Kasey says, this tag was started by Rachel from All Natural Aspirations in her attempt to learn more about other bloggers’ experiences of “going green”. I never made an introductory post when I started blogging on how my green journey began, so thanks for tagging, ladies!

Pictured: Some cute succulents I picked up at Union Market, DC.

What started it all off for you?
It was a mixture of my on-and-off trench warfare with acne and a growing interest in makeup. In my acne-ful middle school and high school years, my makeup was eyeliner, mascara, eye concealer, done. Sometimes I would use concealer on my face, but a lot of the times I would forgo it (common conversation with myself: “Nah, you don’t need concealer today, that acne scar totally gives your face character”).

In the spring of my freshman year of college, I discovered the wonders of shopping online at Sephora and Asian BB cream. I started experimenting around and started breaking out more. I read that mineral foundation was acne-friendly, so I tried some BareMinerals, kept on breaking out, read that bismuth oxychloride was a skin irritant, aaand returned that in a blink of an eye.

In a flurry of fate, one of the order-with-samples was Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, the Birchbox of that month was the Earth Day Box, and I stumbled upon No More Dirty Looks. I played with the argan oil, checked out the mostly green products from the Birchbox (Juice Beauty, Egyptian Magic, not bad), read No More Dirty Looks, checked the back of my Philosophy Purity cleanser, and dropped it in horror after reading so many ingredient offenders that were poisoning me.

Pictured: No More Dirty Looks, Kindle edition. This book changed everything.

What was the first thing to go? (Ingredient or product)
Face cleanser/moisturizer. My first #greenbeauty products were One Love Organics Skin Savior and coconut oil, and I was so intrigued by products that could be a cleanser and a moisturizer at the same time. To be honest, I broke out even worse for a couple months after switching over, and it wasn’t until I changed to a simpler double-cleansing (jojoba, then honey), ACV-toning, and argan-moisturizing that my skin started to respond positively. Then I discovered Dr. Alkaitis, Vered Botanicals, yoga, eating green, and the rest is history. I’m not sure exactly what freaked my skin out at that time, but I’m attributing it to not double cleansing (*cringe), possibly not pure enough coconut oil (*double cringe), or possibly a sensitivity to coconut oil (*sad).

What are you/did you struggle to let go of?
Luckily, I wasn’t so attached to my skincare and makeup at the time, so I plunged into the world of #greenbeauty with absolute glee. I kind of did what NMDL advised not to do: freak out and throw everything away. Just knowing that there were inefficient or even harmful chemicals in my skincare and makeup repulsed me. I couldn’t put the products on my face after knowing what was inside them.

What has been your best find or change? (i.e. a green product or a tip that you’re really glad you’ve found/learnt)
Face oils!!! After years of oil-free brainwashing, I am now such a lover of face oils. The good ones give an instant glow, moisturize effectively, signal overreactive sebaceous glands to calm down, will often have great ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, omega fatty acids, and/or antioxidants. Also, their ingredients include some of my favorite foods: broccoli (similar feel as silicone), blueberry (antioxidants), raspberry (more antioxidants), and more.

Pictured from left to right: A couple of good face oils, including de Mamiel’s Spring Facial Oil (flower essences and moisturizing oils, smells just like Spring), YÜLI M.E. Skin Fuel (truly anti-inflammatory fuel for the skin, recently reviewed here), ED4OLO Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum (super moisturizing, reviewed here), MUN No. 1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum (have yet to open this, but enjoyed the sample of it I ordered from Spirit Beauty Lounge)

What has been the worst thing about going green? What has been the hardest to transition or find an adequate green replacement of?
A lot of people say mascara, and this is where I have to thank my silly straight Asian lashes–even conventional mascaras never really worked for me. People also say deodorant, and this is where I have to thank my sweat glands–even that “prescriptive-strength anti-perspirant” deodorant didn’t work on me (can’t stop the sweat–stay tuned for a deo post). I think out of all of my products, it’s taken the longest time to find a mascara that works for me, period. The best part is that so many green beauty brands have been coming out with great mascaras made of natural ingredients and free of nasty preservatives, like rms beauty (defining is goooood stuff), W3ll People (@chinoisechic has good things to say about this one), and Alima Pure (tried it on my sis and looks good on her).

The worst thing about going green is watching other people continuing to use non-green products in ignorance. I think the absolute worst thing is when I’m watching a YouTube beauty favorites video, and the YouTuber says, “I don’t know what is in this product, but I love it so much!” (Though it was really funny when one YouTuber was commenting how Philosophy’s Purity cleanser wasn’t very pure, which I agreed with, but not because of the parabens or such, but because of various plant oils that I thought were actually decent. Awkward.) Of course, it is a completely personal choice to go green or not go green at all, and I just have to learn to accept that everyone has different opinions, tastes, and comfort levels. Or I can just slyly give green beauty gifts out for special occasions (and guess what. 100% satisfaction rate so far–booyah).

Pictured from left to right: Kjaer Weis Mascara (lovely rosey scent and nicely defines lashes for a natural look), rms beauty Defining Mascara (really packs on the definition and makes it look like I have eyelashes), Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara (also nicely defines and is layerable for a natural look, recently reviewed here)

Anything else to add? Any tips or tricks to pass on?
Be informed. You don’t have to go green, but as the consumer, you should at least know what is being absorbed into your bloodstream. There are so many great resources (No More Dirty Looks), lots of #greenbbloggers, lots of passionate green beauty store owners (Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain, Clementine Fields, Eco Diva Beauty, Content Beauty, just to name a few), and lots of fabulous green beauty brands with inspiring stories who are committed to bringing healthy beauty to the world.

Being informed will also help you if you are an acne-sufferer like me. I think the knowledge is so empowering–instead of resorting to super full-coverage makeup or using drying and potentially harmful acne treatments, you yourself can try to pinpoint what is causing the acne–is it diet, stress, a product, hormones? You’re not helpless! Of course, if it gets really bad, see a derm, but you have the power to not only heal your skin but also make it as healthy and happy as possible.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how I went green! Now, I would love to hear Marcella’s (Naturally Marcy), Asti’s (Skjonnhet), Kathy’s (Beauty Palette), and your story of how you went green. 

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Liebster Award and Nominations

Back in November, Isabel from frivolous girl (or @vackert on instagram) graciously nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you Isabel! I am honored!

The rules are: Answer ten questions the blogger has for you and then nominate ten other bloggers with less then 200 followers with your own ten questions.

The Questions

1. What’s your morning routine? (Skincare-/Food-wise)

Once I finally get out of bed (it takes some convincing), I begin with 10-20 min of yoga to stretch and then wash my face with two pumps (very small pumps) YÜLI Skincare’s Halycon, a clear gel cleanser that leaves my face soft and refreshed. I then spray YÜLI’s Panacea Elixir over my face, and moisturize with three drops of YÜLI’s M.E. Skin Fuel. This peppery-smelling (acne-fighting black cumin, yeah!) formula is basically my dream breakfast plus flowers: pomegranate, red raspberry, dandelion, jasmine, and on. In the summer, I would stop here, but since winter has come, I have been then applying two pumps of Pai’s Geranium and Thistle moisturizer. I had been unsure of this moisturizer because I was doubtful of cream moisturizers since falling in love with oils and was worried about breaking myself out from overmoisturizing (the evils of simultaneously dry and acenic skin). But since just realizing that I need to moisturize extra in this weather and it will be okay, I’ve been embracing cream moisturizers again. If I have extra time, I’ll apply some Osmia Organics Spot Treatment to any spots, but I’ll always finish with Consonant’s The Perfect Sunscreen which has SPF 30 and a nice tint to start off my makeup. When I’m feeling extra dry and matte (which is often this winter), I’ll sneak in a pump of Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Serum with the sunscreen.

Food depends on where I am. Over the winter break, my sister and I added maca powder, spirulina powder, cocoa powder, and pumpkin seeds to this coconut flour pancake recipe (link here) to make awesome green-colored pancakes that horrified our dad (but tasted awesome with maple syrup!). When I’m at school, I tend to have green smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast. My classic green smoothie: 1 cup almond milk, a bunch of kale (or spinach or chard), 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, bit of spirulina or wheatgrass, good bunch of chia seeds. For oatmeal, I’ll add honey, chia seeds or whatever nuts I have on hand. On the weekend, I fry up eggs with green onions, salt, and pepper (my dad’s secret recipe) and have that with quinoa or rice with kimchi.

2. Favorite natural hair product? What brand and why?

Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell shampoo and conditioner. When I had long hair, this duo left it super soft and clean, but not oily. I could go every other day without washing my hair (with the help of dry shampoo). Acure Organics is also very affordable and accessible from my local Whole Foods, which I appreciate.

3. Do you or have you ever done your own facial mask? What ingredients did/do you use?
I have. I used to DIY my masks and everything else a lot, but at the time, I was so fed up with my acne, I went a bit overboard and masked much too often. I did oatmeal-honey-milk masks, Aztec-Indian-Clay-honey masks, I’d wipe my face with a tomato, nightly honey masks, yeah…honestly much prefer leaving the process of formulating and mixing in the hands of professionals, though DIY is a lot of fun.

4. What’s your favorite beauty food/meal? And why?

I love making juices!! When my mom first got our juicer and started making juices, I did not enjoy them. Then after getting into green beauty, realizing how the diet affects the skin, and getting into green smoothies, I really got into juicing. First, juices are delicious. Second, I love seeing all of those beautiful, colorful fruit and veggies going into my belly and thinking how happy they are making my body and my face. My usual juice: two apples, bunch of carrots, some handfuls of kale, couple stalks of celery (obviously, I am very measured and scientific).

5. What is your preferred exercise?
Yoga! I love how relaxing it is and how it stretches out my body. I don’t like running and being super active. Why put in so much effort when I can get the same body results as running? ;D Yeah, I know, I should do some cardio (or Tara Stiles’ cardio yoga routine).

6. Do you believe in the law of attraction? Share a story of something like it happening to you.
Background from Google: law of attraction is the idea that like attracts like, as in think positively and positive things will happen to you. I am initially a bit skeptical, because it does sound like the confirmation bias, i.e. you will favor information that confirms your beliefs. I suppose it makes sense, because if you have a positive outlook, you will pay more attention to positive things, hopefully, and then probably feel more positive. I don’t have any specific stories, but I know when I start off the day on the wrong foot and feel negative, I tend to only notice the bad things, whereas when I start the day well and feel positive, I tend to notice the good things.

7. Is there any website/blog/app you always turn to for inspiration for healthy ways/recipes?
No More Dirty Looks! Since moving out of dorms into apartments, I’ve been getting more and more into healthy recipes, but don’t have one singular source of inspiration.

8. If you had the chance to move anywhere in the world and work, would you take the chance? And where would you move?
New York! New York is my dream; I am just so in love with New York. But anywhere in the world? Maybe somewhere in Europe. I always thought Europeans were so dapper.

9. What’s your favorite natural product that you always fall back to?

How do I pick a favorite child?? Based on repurchases and the product makes me feel when it is nearly empty: Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Oil Cleanser (repurchased once, easy makeup removal with phenomenal scent), YÜLI Skincare Cell Perfecto PM (repurchased once, goodbye acne scars!), YÜLI Skincare Panacea Elixir (repurchased twice, refreshing anti-blemish spray), Kjaer Weis Mascara (repurchased once, lovely rosey scent plus lovely lashes).

10. Is it important to you to buy organic or recycled clothing?
I want it to be important, but this has not become a priority in my life yet. My love for organic has spread from beauty products to food, so maybe clothing is next on the list.

The Nominations

In no particular order, with love and admiration,
1. Marcella from Naturally Marcy
2. Asti from Skjonnhet
3. Coco Beaute
4. Green Derm
5. Brenda from The Wanderlusting Beauty
6. Alasdair from Something Seed Oil
7. Kathy from Beauty Palette
8. Vivi from Eco Beauty Secrets
9. Neiman’s Idealist
10. Gem from Buff Beauty

My Questions

1. What is your nighttime skincare routine?
2. What do you do to relax or unwind from stress?

3. How did you get into green beauty?
4. A recent good read? If not a read, a recent good TV show or movie?
5. You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. What is it?
6. What is your favorite face oil?
7. All-time green beauty favorites?
8. Your skin is freaking out. What do you do?
9. What is something new (product, brand, experience, anything) you want to try soon?
10. Something(s) (product, experience, anything) essential to you for every day?

I hope you’ll oblige me, my nominees! But even if you are not a nominee, please feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Best of 2013: Makeup

Happy New Year! I am starting off this new year with one more look back at 2013. Wrapping up my Best of 2013 series (skincare and bodycare here, in-the-shower here) are my favorite makeup products of the past year.

The ‘un’ cover-up was my gateway into rms beauty, which led me to the cream eye shadows, lip2cheeks, and lip shines. I love the eyeshadows for how easy they are to apply–just a simple swipe and blend, and there you have a luminous, beautiful, wearable color. Pictured is Solar, my favorite, which is golden (pun intended). I keep falling back in love with the Smile lip2cheek for its beautiful coral color which brings life back into the face, but I also have been loving Rapture, the pictured brick red, on the lips and cheeks for the winter season. The Sublime and Sacred lip shines were favorites over the summer for their glossy, bright colors (fuschia pink and bright pinky red, respectively). I have been keenly missing my living luminizer which I accidentally left at school, which got me addicted to highlighting the inner corners of my eyes. It give such a beautiful, natural glow!

I resisted Kjaer Weis for a while due to its price, but once I tried the mascara, it was an easy tumble down into the eyeshadows, the blushes, and newly, the foundation. First, obsessed with the beautiful, sleek packaging. Second, totally worth it, especially with the refill concept and quality of product. Love the mascara for how it enhances my lashes and mostly holds a curl. So, so, so love the blushes for how easily they blend in and natural they look. Suntouched gives me a peachy pop, Desired Glow is more subtle, and lately Abundance has my heart with its beautiful plummy color. And the foundation. It is a bit drying, yet does not enhance any of my dryness at all. It gives amazing coverage, and is buildable. Huge favorite.

Consonant’s The Perfect Sunscreen is my perfect sunscreen for its slightly tinted formula which is moisturizing and effective. Loved this in the summer, still loving this in the winter. I wear this under my makeup (or as the top layer, if no makeup) everyday.

I have to resist buying all of ILIA beauty’s lip products because they all look so wonderful. My favorite is their lip gloss, which my sister has in Love Buzz (top) and I have in The Butterfly and I (bottom). The formula is so beautiful, so moisturizing, and smells beautifully of citrus and vanilla. Love Buzz is a pretty pinky-purple while Butterfly is more of a nudey peach.

See any of your favorites here? What makeup did you love during 2013?

*Thanks to my gracious sister for hand-modeling for me.

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?

Kjaer Weis Mascara

My hair is very stubbornly straight. And since hair genes are the same across the body (as my fellow straight-haired roommate and I realized in a “duh” moment one late night last year), my eyelashes are also very stubbornly straight. So because of that and the way how my eyelids do an opposite double fold, I have a hard time getting an open-eyed effect with mascara. Even with conventional mascara, my eyelashes would uncurl themselves midday.

But do you see that curl up there*? That’s one reason I love Kjaer Weis’s mascara. It holds a curl quite well with a little bit of droop with double-curling, except for very humid days, and it’s a lost cause on rainy days (blame it on science).

Another reason I love it is for the brush, which easily coats every lash with definition and volume during application since it is so small and precise. It never smudges, never gets clumpy, unless I’m getting close to the 3-month mark, at which point it’s time to refresh the mascara anyways. The packaging is beautiful and a bit pricy at first for $38, but the refill system is both responsible and affordable for $24 (there’s only 3-months worth of formula in each container to avoid bacteria). Switching to a refill is also very easy–I myself am on my first refill.

It washes off very easily, whether with an oil cleanser, tears, or that moment when you put in your contacts after mascara application (don’t do it). Talking about contacts, it’s non-irritating. Unless you knock the wand into your eye, then it’s going to hurt (don’t do this either).

It doesn’t hurt that 99.8% of the ingredients are sourced from organic farming, a few of which are castor seed oil (the star of “this will make your eyebrows and eyelashes thicker overnight!”), jojoba oil (similar to human sebum and moisturizing), and rose oil, which gives this mascara its slight rose scent which is refreshing, not overpowering or irritating at all.

How I apply the mascara:
  1. Curl lashes
  2. Apply mascara by combing on top and on bottom of lashes (trick from the blush store for extra volume). At this point, the formula droops my lashes back into their typically straight state, but this has happened with all mascaras I have used, conventional to green, so I mostly blame it on my very stubborn straight hair genes (I am so jealous of curly hair genes).
  3. Wait 5-10 minutes (do other makeup, make breakfast, pick clothes)
  4. Curl lashes again and bam! Hello eyes!

In summary, if my repurchase hasn’t clued you in, I really love this mascara. It’s impossible for my eyelashes to have a crazy dramatic look, so I am not the one to tell you if that is possible with this mascara. However, I love the ingredients, I love the refill concept, and I love how it makes my lashes look.

Have you tried this mascara? What are your thoughts?

Ingredients: glucose, aqua (water), lavandula angustifolia (lavander) flower water•, mica, cetyl babassuate, theobroma grandiflorum seed butter•, cera alba•, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil•, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax•, glyceryl caprylate, hectorite, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil•, glycerin, chondrus crispus (carrageenen) extract, plantago lanceolata leaf extract•, canola oil, rosa damascena flower oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, CI 77891,CI 77499, silver oxide, citronellol*, geraniol* • organically grown *naturally contained in the used essential oils
(from Kjaer Weis)

*”And what is with that hair? It’s out of control!” I know, I know. It’s fabulous.

Wednesday Wishlist: Head to Toe

Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo & Conditioner Duo
I love my Acure shampoo and conditioner, but tl;dr, this Yarok duo contains marshmallow root in the ingredient list. Marshmallows! Also loving the purity of ingredients, the globally responsible sourcing, and the founder, Mordechai Alvow, is an editorial stylist for celebrities, glossies, and runways. Like a boss.


Kjaer Weis Mascara
I have to stop myself from lusting after the beautiful blushes–curse you, acne scars–but the natural mascara hunt is well on. I love the beautiful packaging, the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful ingredients, and the refill system. Between this just coming back in stock on Spirit Beauty Lounge and fast, free shipping from Eco Diva Beauty, I really might just have to spring for this one before I hit the 3-month mark on my current Zuzu Luxe mascara…

Chocolate Sun Cocoa Lite Sunless Enhancer
I’ve never been a self-tanner, but 1) this smells like chocolate, 2) doubles as moisturizer, and 3) is meant for self-tanning noobs. Okay, you pasty gams, you can come out now, it’s time to glow.

Kure Bazaar Nail Laquer Afrika
I refrain from painting my fingers for piano, but my toes are fair game. Even people not obsessed with green beauty love these polishes. I’m covered on a red, a yellow, and a mint, but I would totally love a bright orange.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts?

*Image credit in links