Wearing makeup again… #UpdatesfromQuarantine

Two makeup posts in a row? It must be a sign my wanderlust is trying to express itself amid my stay-at-home quarantine for what has felt like the longest month. A quick note if you see the above photo and think “we’ve seen many of these products before..”; if you know me, you’ll know that I love to experiment with anything luxurious and promising but that I’m also very loyal where if something works, I’ll keep it. For reviews, this is good because I can provide you all with actual real feedback since I ‘live’ with the products, but for content, where many bloggers cycle through new release after new release without any repetition (where the reviews tend to be more superficial and not that enlightening IMO), you’re likely to see things I might have talked about before and not always the “release of the minute.”

RMS Beauty Signature Set – (in MOD) if you like discovery and options, the RMS Beauty Signature Set is for you as it’s a composite “best of” collection of 5 products in a convenient palette. I opted for the MOD palette which features the Master Mixer, Living Luminizer, Smile Lip2Cheek, Spell Lip2Cheek, and Simply Cocoa Lip & Skin Balm because the selections and colors felt more versatile to me and featured the ‘greatest hits’. This is lovely for basically testing out the entire range and figuring out how to play with the colors, and textures together before buying the stand alone products. I love that the products together cover nearly everything from lip color to blush and highlights. And while most of the makeup featured in this post is very clean, RMS Beauty is known for being as natural and organic as it gets.

Ellis Faas Skin Veil Pen – (in S102) Ellis Faas is a brand that should be more well known than it currently is, at least Stateside. If I were to draw a comparison, Ellis Faas would be Kjaer Weis meets Serge Lutens: the packaging is nothing short of original and innovative with refillable “pens” for every makeup category shaped like a haute couture piece; the colors are rich, lush, and editorial, drawn from human colors that always compliment natural skin tones; and the wear is almost costume makeup grade in endurance with an almost nude second skin feel. The Skin Veil Pen dispenses foundation through a brush tip applicator that gives skin a gorgeous glow up, I’d describe it as ballerina emerging from a dew petal.

Glossier Boy Brow – I’m so glad that full brows are in, but letting them grow out can be unwieldily. Boy Brow is a great tool that fills spots in, and it has a waxy texture that holds brows in place so you have a natural yet clean and streamlined appearance. Unlike brow pencils that rely on a bit of skill to get the shape right, this is really meant to accentuate and fill out your natural brows giving quite an effortless but put-together look where brows don’t look too “artificial,” like you just woke up with fuller, uniformed brows — and isn’t that the best, no wonder this remains one of Glossier’s top-sellers.

Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask – This is the most precious thing. The Kissu Lip Mask is a pot of peachy goodness in a honey jelly texture. Using a combination of Japanese Peach Extract, Camellia Oil, and Squalene to repair and nourish the lips, Kissu is a pleasurable lip mask that you apply with a scooper (provided). It’s just so delightful to put on and “luxuriate.” I love it for mornings after I’ve brushed my teeth and need to give myself that 15 minute window before starting teas or anything else. According to Tatcha’s own studies 100% of women noticed improved texture and overall condition to the lips within 1 week, and 100% of women noticed continued improvement after 2 weeks. I definitely think lip balms have their place, but sometimes you just want to break the cycle of dry/chapped lips, and Kissu mask about 2 times a week has helped me tremendously (and in case it wasn’t clear, it’s SUCH A JOY to use).

Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer – (in Narcissus) Rituel de Fille is a newer organic color cosmetics line, but what made it stick out in a crowded space is their strong branding and product identity, focusing on an occult-like vision of natural cosmetics where rich pigments and stunning shades are the focal point. Enchanted Lip Sheer is smooth and creamy, deeply moisturizing to the lips, the coverage is sheer (as the name suggests) but the color is indeed quite rich and the staying power is impressive. From the consistency and texture to the feel, look and overall performance of the product, it truly doesn’t feel like an “organic product” which I mean in the best way possible in the sense that I was pleasantly surprised by how much organic make-up has really caught up to conventional products even in the color space (which even makeup artist Katey Denno acknowledges can sometimes fall short). Even the scent of rosemary and lavender is quite spellbinding. Narcissus is a nude, buttery color that tends toward a peachy strawberry color, perfect for spring/summer, and for when you want to look together in a more subtle way. The color is more exciting than a typical nude, and more discreet than a statement red, ideal when you want options.

Beautycounter Sheer Lipstick – (in Twig) Perhaps my favorite item from the Beautycounter makeup collection, for the performance and beautiful packaging alone. This has been my “everyday” lip stick. The formula is pure butter, silky smooth and super moisturizing. The color is light and buildable, you can easily go from barely there your-lips-but-better to full glam color. Oh and this buttery lip stick also smells like vanilla from the natural vanilla extract. Unlike many conventional lipsticks, this is not only luxurious but also feels “good for you,” hence its place as my regular go-to.

 


I hope this downtime is giving you time to rediscover, experiment, and just have fun with your products again, for me it’s been with makeup, share yours in the comments!

*This post is not sponsored, though it may contain some affiliate links.

Winter 2018: The Body, Skin, Make-up Prep for that “Holiday Face”


I had overarching intentions of attending to my blog over Christmas but then caught a bug and simultaneously overcommitted to too many dinners. So in between catching up on my magazine subscriptions and Netflix (just finished Sabrina and Bird Box, not very festive, I know), I’ve had to put myself together for holiday dinners with family and friends. So I thought I’d share my “holiday face,” putting on a healthy complexion even when you’re not at your best.

I start with a soak in a hot bath (you’ll be too tired once you get home). It helps to clear the passageways. Afterward, I go over my entire body with In Fiore’s body oil*(the one pictured is discontinued but the current version is the Solution Botanique), which gives me my personal fragrance of green, yet sweet jasmine while helping to keep my legs, elbows, and arms silky soft. Follow with two glides of Agent Nateur’s No.3 Deodorant (they also have this in a sensitive skin version which is baking soda free, here), which mingles well with the body oil, to keep me smelling and feeling fresh. That wraps up my body care.

I move on to skin prep which starts at skincare. A good skincare system sets the tone for how your makeup will settle onto skin and how your skin will “breathe” with the products over time. YÜLI’s Ambrosia Beauty Nectar serum is magic in a bottle, even if I am sick, I’ll look like I just came back from a camp where we just juiced and did IV drips. YÜLI products as many of you know, are serious business and this serum is excellent for plumping the skin and it immediately vanquishes dry, rough spots that can easily become exaggerated by foundation. Ambrosia wears many hats in my routine, in this case, with its flash absorbing, emollient hydrous texture, it works like a hydrating, antioxidant-rich skin primer. I close with MV Organics Rose Soothing Protective Moisturizer, my barrier shield from winter elements. It’s used by makeup artists as a base product for good reason, the smooth yet full-bodied texture creates the perfect canvas and it also balances my skin under makeup so it doesn’t look dry and cakey, nor shiny and oily.

For makeup, I’ve been loyal to Kjaer Weis. I know there are many brands that came out with foundation in the past year, but the Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation feels like a higher quality product to me. The packaging is unrivaled, the colors blend so well, and the texture is so buttery on the skin. The cream wears beautifully in a “your skin but better” way where it compliments your natural tone and evens it out like a perfect real-life filter. The Kjaer Weis Lip Tint is equally wonderful, I layer it on almost like a lip balm because it’s also moisturizing due to the plant oils and butters. In addition to a burst of creamy, intense pigment, the lip tints also nourish lips with shea butter and jojoba oil, how wonderful is that? I dab just a touch of the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer on my cheekbones and under eyes to instantly lift my complexion. It’s the makeup equivalent of Red Bull, you’ll just look awake fresh as a daisy. I finish with Beautycounter’s Lengthening Mascara, which reliably extenuates my lashes without irritating my sensitive eyes. The brush itself is very intuitive and the product applies onto lashes in a very fluid yet direct manner for great control.

Et voilà!

What are the products that pull you together even when you’re under the weather? Have you discovered any great products this Christmas? Leave me a comment!

BeautyCounter: The Future of Green?

BeautyCounter was introduced in 2013 and focused on spearheading the movement for safer cosmetics through legislation and offering greener products. Their philosophy of advocating for legislative change for safer cosmetics while introducing these safe cosmetics were made simple through products that looked beautiful with a price point that was unexpectedly fair – although their prices have systematically increased through the years.

Despite my initial interest, I never pulled the trigger in purchasing any products due in large part to their sales strategy that focused on growing a network of independent consultants which instantly drew comparisons in my mind to pyramid operations such as Amway and Herbalife that leave a bad taste.

Then in late 2016, one of their independent consultants sent me an e-mail to try their products and I thought, why not? Especially as at the time, BeautyCounter was being carried in Target stores which I only later realized was a temporary engagement.

I received sample packs of their Countertime Rejuvenating Collection which includes:
Soothing Face Wash
Radiance Firming Complex
Uplifting Day Cream
Restorative Night Cream
Vibrant Eye Perfector

If you click the links, you’ll see that the names of the products I linked to have all changed, and I actually could not find Soothing Face Wash nor it’s current iteration on their site. I’m not sure why this is, but it is pretty confusing. As I only received small 4ml sample tubes, I also don’t know the ingredients, so if the ingredients or formula has changed as well, my insight on the products may be obsolete.

The first thing I noticed was how all of the 5 products were so similar in texture, consistency, weight, and fragrance. They’re all white-ish creams with a lighter more gel like feel and fragranced ever so subtly with natural essential oils. To the immediate senses, despite the uniformity across what should be 5 different categories, the products all pass the initial impressions test.

Here are my mini run downs of each product:


Soothing Face Wash: a good cleanser very similar to many cream/milk cleansers on the market. It’s good if you’re not wearing a lot of make-up and just want a time saving, simple cleanse, ideally in the morning or when you’re tired in the evening. I like that there is no foaming and the cleanser washes off clean. With that said, I preferred to use this with another cleanser: an oil/balm make-up remover if I wore full make-up during the day as my first cleanse then followed by this, or this as my first cleanser followed by a more in-depth cleanser if I went more bare faced.

I think those with drier skin will especially find this cleanser agreeable, if it even currently exists in the line?

Radiance Firming Complex: This is the serum of the collection. It combines Vitamin C, fruit acids, algae and marine extract to tackle wrinkles, skin tone and improve hydration. Looking at the ingredients list which includes lots of plant oils that provide antioxidants and good amounts of algae (first ingredient), I definitely think that it is a pretty solid all-around serum. I don’t know if it has the high concentration corrective ingredients to really turn over wrinkles and skin tone, but I think for someone in their 20s to 40s, this will be a solid standard serum at a very reasonable $63 for 1 oz. The only caveat is that there are citrus oils so I recommend it for night time use. This would be my top pick of the collection.

Uplifting Day Cream: First thing to note is that the uplifting day cream doesn’t contain any ingredients that make it especially advantageous for day time use other than a lighter weight than the night cream. The good news is that it also doesn’t contain anything that makes it unsuitable for night time use either. I’d recommend picking between the two day/night moisturizers based on your skin type (choose the heavier night cream if you’re dry, or the lighter day cream if you’re oily, and try out both if you can’t decide). I’m not taking any points away for not including things like SPF which I actually prefer as a separate product, but what I will call to attention is that many of the beneficial ingredients are listed after phenoxyethanol, which as a preservative is either too concentrated in here or the beneficial ingredients are not concentrated enough to actually do any “uplifting”. I think that at $73, for a ‘meh’ ingredients list, there are better moisturizer options out there.

Restorative Night Cream: See note on day cream above. The Night Cream is thicker, and contains more emollients such as shea butter and heavier plant oils. For a restorative product, there aren’t actually that many anti-aging ingredients as one might assume given the very promising marketing language. You’re pretty much getting a heavier moisturizer that has good antioxidants, which isn’t bad but in a similar vein to the aforementioned products, probably won’t deliver top performance for the fanciful “lifting/firming/restoring” results that are promised.

A strike against this cream is the jar packaging which I wouldn’t mind (especially as it looks beautiful in the photos), but will accelerate the antioxidant breakdown which is unfortunate since that is the main source of the “restoration”. Again, as a general moisturizer, I’m not sure that I’d spend $75 on it but if you can score one of the day/night creams for around $40-$50, it might be worth it to try as long as your expectations of performance are aligned because they are good, solid moisturizers, just don’t count of them for too much anti-aging performance.

Vibrant Eye Perfector: This is a great eye cream that feels very emollient and disperses quite beautifully. Similar to the night cream, the jar packaging is problematic which may explain why the phenoxyethanol preservative is listed so uncomfortably high in the ingredients list again *sigh*. I probably sound like a broken record but the truth is that the limitations of the products are all very similar since the products themselves as I explained at the beginning are so similar to one another. I still enjoy using this eye cream but I know that there are better options out there both in terms of efficacy and formula.

For some of you, the fact that Beautycounter advocates for safe cosmetics but uses phenoxyethanol in their formulas might be a turn off. I try to steer away from phenoxyethanol in my products but do not consider it a deal breaker. For others, the independent consultant sales strategy might be a detractor for you as it was for me, which can easily be mitigated through purchasing directly through their website.

I found the samples a pleasure to use, and while I do not think there are enough good ingredients to back up the proposed benefits of many of the products, I do think that if you’re currently spending your money on products like Origins/REN, it would be worthwhile to give this line a try as well.