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Oct 24, 2019

Halloween makeup necessities, no matter your costume

Ok y'all! It's my favorite time of year. We are well into Spooky Season, just started Scorpio Season, and are a stone's throw from HALLOWEEN. As a makeup artist, I am absolutely obsessed with this holiday. It's the perfect time to throw on huge fake lashes, sparkly glitter eyeshadows, smokey eyes, you name it. Even if you're not super skilled with makeup, you can totally pull off popular looks this season, like Euphoria makeup.
I'm personally super inspired by the makeup that Jo Baker has been doing on Lucy Boynton lately. While Miss Baker is an incredibly skilled artist, you don't have to be to do your own spin on some of these looks for Halloween this year (or for Pride).  
Photo from Jo Baker's Instagram. She is a MUST FOLLOW for makeup inspo! 

I might try to recreate some of these makeup looks this year using Lime Crime Venus Vivid eyeshadow palette ($38). The pigments are outstanding, and I'm particularly enamored with the sparkly orangey-peach shade, Superbloom.

Since Euphoria makeup is all the rage, I'll probably be using the HipDot Crystals eyeshadow palette on a ton of clients this weekend! A lot more on Hipdot later, because I now have several of their palettes in my possession, but can we discuss how their palettes are only $30? Or you can buy multiple palettes for an even lower price. The pigments are so incredible that you don't even need a glitter primer to apply these. I swatched them below on my arm with zero primer and zero brushes. These swatches were just using my fingers to swipe them on my arm. There are so many cool, multi-faceted colors in the palette. I'm utterly smitten.  

Sep 13, 2019

Today's the day! The New Urban Decay Naked Honey palette is available now!

If you're anything like me, you lose your mind when a new Urban Decay eyeshadow palette comes out. Ok, anything Urban Decay really. But especially the palettes. As a makeup artist, I find them ESSENTIAL for my kit. But more than anything, I'm just a junkie for their color ranges and the creamy texture of their shadows (even though they are powders).
The newest launch is the Naked Honey palette, and it's a combo of the most delicious warm neutrals, shimmers, and metallics I think I've ever laid eyes on. These shades are super complementary for most skin tones, in my opinion.
Let's have a look at this gorgeousness!

Taken inside 

Outside in indirect light

Outside in direct sunlight

I can't get enough of these shades. You have your perfect matte base shades that will get tons of use, like Flyby, Sweet, and Swarm. Then these beautiful shimmers and metallics like Golden, Honey, and HBIC. And then of course Sting is the perfect warm matte chocolate to smoke any of the looks out or to use as a liner. I have literally bought all of the Naked palettes that have ever been made (yes, even the specialized ones like Naked Cherry and Naked Heat), but... I know it's early to say this... but this may be my favorite one they've ever done!

Sep 1, 2019

New Makeup From Ilia

One of my favorite brands ever, Ilia, has some new launches that are blowing my mind. They're too good not to talk about, so let's dive right in.  
Ilia's Limitless Lash mascara is my go-to mascara. I simply can't live without it. It's clean, it doesn't hurt my super sensitive eyes, and it doesn't move ALL DAY. So when I heard they were coming out with the first-ever clean felt tip liner, I was ecstatic. Other sensitive-eyed gals will feel me on this. This is a felt tip liquid liner with NO carbon black (aka no coal tar or petroleum byproducts that can be frequently found in mascaras and eyeliners). But never fear, they didn't compromise quality for integrity. This lasts all day, just like the mascara! I have super oily lids that require primer for any look to stay, but I always like to try out new eye products without the primer first so I can really test their durability. I'm happy to report that even without primer, this didn't move on me. I'm so happy to finally have a liner that helps me execute a flawless cat eye without having to worry about sensitivities. 

They also came out with 2 new gel liners, in pencil form. The gel-pencil hybrid comes in Dusk (brown) and Twilight (black) and is a super creamy formula. It's basically fool-proof for those folks who are scared of the conventional gel liners in a pot that you have to apply with a brush. If you're ever picked up a pencil, then you can use this liner. Bonus: You have a minute to manipulate/smudge/smoke it out before it sets, but I'm happy to report that once it's on there, it's on there. 

The Necessary Palette in Warm Nude
The Necessary Palette in Cool Nude

In my opinion, their new eyeshadow palettes are a total steal for 6 colors at $38 each. There's a Warm Nude and a Cool Nude palette, and the colors are talc-free. The pigment is super impressive on these colors, and I like that each palette has a blend of matte, satin and metallic finishes. There's nothing worse than getting a palette where you only use 2 shades. I own the Cool Nude and genuinely feel like I'll be able to use all the colors. I'm sure I'll end up with the Warm Nude in my makeup kit before long! 
Swatches of the Cool Nude palette from left to right: Undo, Infinity, Teardrop, Just, Overcome, Unravel

I continue to be super impressed by Ilia. It's clean makeup, but the quality is impeccable. It's one of the first clean brands out there that I can do a full face of makeup with on a client, and not have to supplement with any of my conventional beauty brands. I stock a ton of their products in my pro kit, as well as use them personally in my daily life. I can't wait to see what they come out with next! 

Sep 11, 2017

Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream

Few things in life rival my love for blue tansy or anything in balm form.  Cleansing balms, moisturizing balms, eye balms: put anything in a balm form and I'll buy it.  Maybe if you talk to me about wiener dogs and fancy cheese, you'll get the same excited reaction out of me, but if you're talking about skincare nothing elicits such a strong reaction from me as a face balm does.  So Josh Rosebrook has introduced his Vital Balm Cream and it has blue tansy in it.  Be still my beating heart. It's a moisturizing balm-cream hybrid, so people who are a little scared of the very dense oil-based balms might like this version better.  Life is now complete for me.

I recently took this puppy on a trip to Maui with me thinking it would be too heavy for everyday use, but would come in handy if I got too much sun.  Little did I know when packing it that I would use it twice a day while I was there and for the first few weeks that I was back home.  I'm now back to using it just once a day, but I swear it's the reason that my skin didn't become a peely dry mess once I got back.  It's intensely hydrating, but doesn't feel super heavy on my skin.  I'm sure you could easily overdo it since it's a rich cream, and I'm generally one to overdo everything in life, but I've found that a pea-sized amount is enough for my whole face.

So let's talk about all the things I love about it, besides the whipped balm-like texture.  Blue tansy is incredibly soothing, which we know and love already.  This product is great for people with skin sensitivities.  It also has broccoli seed oil in it, which is becoming a superstar ingredient for me.  I first discovered broccoli seed oil in Gressa's foundation (more on that unique and awesome formula later!) and have been a fan ever since.  It's balancing and healing for people who may have acne-prone skin or various redness-related problems.  Rosebrook's Vital Balm Cream also has a form of hyaluronic that I haven't seen in the natural world yet, which comes from Senna seeds.  So far in the natural world, the hyaluronic I've seen have come from other sources (like sweet potatoes, which I've also been eating for the skin-plumping benefits).  It's beautifully nourishing with mango seed butter, avocado and borage seed oil, yet somehow isn't too much.  Beyond that, Rosebrook is a wiz at super herbaceous formulas; using adaptogens like Ashwagandha in his products.  But the best part is the price.  At $45, this cream is a serious value.  I know $45 is a lot to most people, but you only need the tiniest little bit of this cream.  And the results are SO worth it.        

Jun 28, 2017

My Favorite Eye Creams For Sensitive Eyes

My eye sensitivities have become a nightmare, frankly.  It's been almost exactly a year since I started tossing my mascaras and replacing them with "non-toxic" versions, but I still seemed to be having problems with my eyes.  Could I be allergic to mascara?  That is a fate that I don't know if my pale, anemic lashes could bear.
In the grand scheme of eye sensitivities, I admit that mine are not THAT bad.  For the most part I'm not getting rashy or swollen eyes, but I have my fair share of itchy, watery annoyances that make my makeup run down my face.  I've had a few instances that I'd call scary where mascaras ran into my eyes and it burned intensely.  I've had to run into bathrooms and scrub the makeup off my face in order to open my eyes again without them burning.  This trend continued, though, even after I'd switched to non-toxic mascaras.  And then I found my current favorite mascara (Lily Lolo's) but was still having problems with itchy eyes.  I couldn't figure out what was going on, when suddenly, thanks to an eye cream I was trying that was super high in concentration in rosemary, I realized I just have good old-fashion sensitive eyes.  Bottom line.  It's not a specific allergy to an ingredient, whether it's a green beauty product or not.  It's just super lame sensitivities to things like essential oils or really active ingredients in the delicate eye area.  SIGH.  While it's nice to have narrowed down my problem and figure out I don't have an allergy to anything, it narrows down the field of what I can use near my eyes quite a bit.
Not one to give up and allow my eye wrinkles to take over my life, I set out on a hunt to find eye creams gentle enough for me, but still getting some good anti-aging ingredients in there.  I've actually found 3 that I'm really loving, that I can wear for very long work days without irritating my eyes in the slightest.

Goldfaden Bright Eyes ($55) 
If I'm being honest, this is my ride-or-die eye cream. It's the perfect size and pump to travel with. I can wear it morning, noon, and night with no sensitivities. It's got hyaluronic acid in there to plump up the fine lines I'm developing around my eyes. Arnica works to soothe and keep dark circles at bay, which is important because, while I'm not genetically prone to dark circles, they can still happen to the best of us. It has soy peptides in there, and red tea to decrease puffiness.

African Botanics Resurrection Eye Cream ($95)
This cream also contains the majesty that is Arnica. It's a little more spendy of an eye cream, but in the world of eye creams it's really a pretty average price. You don't need much of any eye cream, and they're usually packed with anti-aging ingredients, so I don't mind spending this on a product that I know will last months and months.  I will use every last morsel of this jar.  Also, I basically think everything African Botanics does is the Holy Grail. Their Neroli-Infused Marula oil has basically saved my skin, but I digress. Back to the eye cream. It's got peptides for anti-aging, Baobab (one of my fave ingredients that we can probably dedicate an entire blog post to), and Green Rooibos tea to combat puffiness.

Youth To The People Age Prevention Superfood Eye Cream ($35) 
YTTP is a super-affordable option in the eye cream arena. The fragrance-free, synthetic color-free, and vegan formula checks off a lot of boxes for me. Aloe and chamomile keep the formula nice and soothing for my eye area, but it's also got anti-aging peptides in it. It's chock-full of various vitamins, as you can imagine since it's a superfood formula with spinach, alfalfa, and kale in it (It contains Vitamins A, C, & E). I got this while I was looking for a more affordable option to travel with, but ended up falling in love with the gentle, yet effective, formula.  

Jan 31, 2017

My Journey With Clean Beauty + My Favorite Face Oils

I've been quiet on here for a little while now.  It's not that I've stopped caring about beauty products all of a sudden. Let's be serious, that would never happen.  But I've been on a journey with clean beauty for a little while and I've been trying to think about how to tell everyone without being all high-and-mighty about it.
I want everyone to know about how amazing clean/green/non-toxic beauty products are, but I don't want to seem preachy.  I've used mainstream beauty products my whole life, but in the past 6 months or so, I've been using only cleaner beauty products and my skin has never looked better.  So, in the interest of not sounding preachy, I'm not going to lecture about bad ingredients or why people should stop using them (but if you want more information you can check out this article I wrote for ClassPass). I'm going to keep the site super positive and just talk about the beauty products I like, and why I like them!
So, with all that being said, I feel it's only appropriate to discuss some of my favorite beauty products in the whole world: OILS!  I've been using oils on my face, body, and hair since before I even cared about them being "green", so it's only natural that we start there.
Oils are the easiest way to transition over to a cleaner beauty routine.  They can replace body lotions, face moisturizers and/or cleansers, and frizz-fighters for the hair.  Or, in the case of Argan Oil, they can do all of the above. As someone with combination skin, I can attest that oils are great to use on all skin types, you just have to find the right one that works for you. These are my favorite balancing skin care oils.

Herbivore Lapis Oil 
I fell in love with this oil, long before I cared about natural beauty products.  That right there should tell you that natural can be just as effective as conventional products, but if you need further reassurances, I have plenty more.  It's super lightweight and smells terrific. It's balancing. It's gentle.  It looks as good on your bathroom shelf as it feels on your face.  What else can I tell you?  The brilliance behind it is that it's made with Blue Tansy (aka Blue Chamomile) so it's majorly healing for anyone with irritation or breakouts.  It'll help take down a big, swollen breakout in a flash.

Maya Chia Supercritical Omega-3 Chia Face Oil 
This product is made up of 98% chia seed oil, and 2% essential oils.  Chia is one of those superfoods that is great both inside, and used topically on the skin.  It's got the omega fatty acids that the skin wants to feel moisturized, but it's unbelievably lightweight and great for balancing sebum production.  It's great for anyone who needs moisture (which is EVERYONE) but doesn't want to feel like they're wearing an oil-slick on their face.  It personally helped my skin cope with moving across the country and the stress breakouts that ensued.

African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil 
This is a total luxury for me, but worth every penny.  This is my liquid gold.  My skin drinks the omega-rich marula oil without leaving greasy residue behind, and the Neroli helps balance out any hormonal acne situations I have going on. Nary a blemish in sight. I was a tad nervous about the cost at first, but I hardly have to use any product to get amazing results.  If you don't have combo-to-dry skin like myself, the Pure Marula version without Neroli is fabulous for normal or dry skin.  I just need the Neroli to balance my skin and, frankly, I need the smell in my life to balance my emotions.

Jan 30, 2017

Get The Look: Taraji P. Henson at the 2017 SAG Awards

Ok, I'm still sniffling from Taraji's amazing acceptance speech at last night's SAG Awards.  Was that not the most beautiful and humbling speech?  This woman can do no wrong in my eyes.  The Hidden Figures star looked beyond pretty from head to toe.  Her hair stylist, Tym Wallace, tells us how he styled her bad-ass undercut style.
Photo courtesy of Tym Wallace 

-Wallace cleansed Henson's natural hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, and followed up with a leave-in conditioner.
-Next, he sectioned the hair and blew it out with his favorite tool: the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer.
-Once the hair was dry he sectioned the hair off, and created the undercut using some Wahl Hair Clippers.
-After he created the undercut, Wallace went in with a Harry Josh ProTools Ceramic Styling Iron to create large waves in the hair, which he then brushed out with a Mason Pearson brush.
-Wallace finished the look with a beach wave & shine spray.

Oct 28, 2016

Drink Recipes: Spooky Halloween Cocktails!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year for so many reasons.  Candy is a big one, and I may or may not think I am part witch. But mostly I just love getting together with friends and celebrating with spooky Halloween cocktails and snacks. Check out these spooky and easy-to-make Halloween cocktails for your upcoming parties this weekend. 

Corazón Diablo
  • 2 parts 901® Tequila
  • 1 part Crème de cassis
  • 1 shot espresso
  • 1 part coffee liqueur
  • ½  part simple syrup
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Shake vigorously over ice. Strain over ice into martini glass. Garnish with sliced fig to mimic an “evil heart.”

Bewitching Berry
  • 2 parts Sauza® Signature Blue Silver Tequila
  • 1/2 parts peach juice
  • 1/2 parts blackberry puree
  • 1/2 parts lemon juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain over ice into a coupe glass. Garnish by skewering a fresh blackberry and a slice of peach with a knot stick.

Spider’s Kiss 
  • 1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka
  • 1 part Midori® Melon Liqueur
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Orange Slice
Preparation: Draw a chocolate web into a martini glass and place in the refrigerator to chill. Combine Midori®, Pinnacle® Vodka, and lemon juice in a shaker and strain into glass. Garnish with a chocolate-dipped orange slice (a regular orange slice will do just fine if you can't find a chocolate-dipped).

  • 1 ½  parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
  • 1 part canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • ¾ part fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ part unsweetened almond milk
  • Pumpkin pie spice for garnish
  • Club soda 
Preparation: Mix all ingredients except club soda. Pour over ice, top with club soda and garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Black Cauldron
·         1 ½ parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila
·         ¾ part fresh lemon juice
·         ¼ part agave syrup
·         ¼ part sage simple syrup
·         2 dashes Angostura® bitters
·         1 capsule activated charcoal

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Aug 28, 2016

Recipe: Matcha and Fig Smoothie Bowl

Matcha and Fig Smoothie Bowl
It's fig season! I love these fruity little nuggets so much and get seriously upset when I can't get them for my smoothie bowls. They're sweet, but not too sweet, so they really can go in so many different types of smoothie bowls. I figured why not mix them with my favorite superfood of life: MATCHA. Now if you're not acquainted with the taste of matcha already, err on the side of caution when making your first one. Start with a half a tablespoon of the highly-concentrated powder if you're not sure if it's for you. I am in love with the stuff so I can get wild and do almost a tbsp and a half without flinching, but that's just me.

1 cup Almond Milk (or favorite nut milk)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon Matcha Powder
1/4 cup Coconut Yogurt

Optional Toppings:
Green Figs
Black Figs
Golden Raspberries
Coconut Chips
Sweetener, such as honey or agave

Directions: Mix coconut yogurt, almond milk, and matcha powder in a mason jar or tupperware.  Leave in fridge overnight.  In the morning, when you're ready to eat, top with fresh fruit and/or some honey to sweeten.  I find that I don't need much sweetener when I top with fresh fruit, but this is because I'm quite accustomed to the taste of matcha and I love it.  I realize not everyone likes their matcha without sweetener.  Sub the honey for agave if you're vegan. Since this is a soft smoothie bowl, with pretty soft fruits, I like to add a little crunchy contrast to it with some coconut chips or homemade granola.  

Bite Beauty Multistick

Christmas came early this year.  Bite Beauty's new Multisticks ($24 each at Sephora) are here and there are 18 glorious shades to use on your lips, cheeks, or eyes.  Even better news: the shades are silicone, sulfate, and paraben-free.  They're great for your skin because they contain ingredients like resveratrol, coconut, shea butter, vitamin E, and jojoba.  The really fun part is the consistency, though.  Though they're so lightweight that it feels like next-to-nothing on the skin, and they're moisturizing, you certainly won't feel greasy wearing these. They dry down to a satin-like finish: AKA not matte, but not dewy either.  I must admit, it's pretty impressive for a silicone-free formula to have such a great finish to it.  And since it IS silicone-free, it won't clog my pores, so I am psyched for these. The little adorable bullets are just perfect for travel, and between all the shades I can definitely travel with about 3 or 4 of these for a full face of makeup. Honeywheat makes for a great bronzer shade for me, and Blondie is so close to my skin tone, I wonder if I can't use it in a pinch in place of foundation or cover-up.  I'm all about that TSA-approved lifestyle so these little guys are going to be well-used.  
From left to right: Nectar, Macaroon, Papaya, Brioche, Gelato, and Praline

From left to right: Nectar, Macaroon, Papaya, Brioche, Gelato, and Praline

From left to right: Créme Caramel, Blondie, Lotus, Anise, Cocoa, and Cerise

From left to right: Créme Caramel, Blondie, Lotus, Anise, Cocoa, and Cerise

From left to right: Mochi, Biscotti, Honeywheat, Mascarpone, Almond, and Cashew

From left to right: Mochi, Biscotti, Honeywheat, Mascarpone, Almond, and Cashew

Buy The Lipstick, Save The Chimps

Hi there, friends. You may have noticed I've been in a bit of a blogging hiatus as of late. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area I decided to, besides my freelance writing, work for a green beauty company. It's been amazing, and we'll discuss this in further detail later, but I've been pondering what it's all going to mean for my blog. I have no intentions of quitting the blog (EVER), but I have been having an internal struggle over whether or not I will be posting only natural/clean/green beauty content, or if I'm going to be doing a little of everything. I think knowing a little of everything makes me great at my job, because I can recommend great clean beauty swaps for people since I'm "in the know" about all the new products coming out, but personally I certainly prefer to wear more natural products on my own body. I've always been a huge fan of brands like Urban Decay and Kat Von D who are proudly cruelty-free, so I will absolutely be focusing stronger efforts on content surrounding brands that take a stand against animal testing.  

So, again, more on that later, but I wanted to let y'all know where I've been lately. 
So what glorious product was enough for me to come out of my blogging hiatus to write about? Of course, because I'm a crazy dog mom, it had to be a product that is about saving the animals! This is not a natural product, but it is paraben-free and vegan, and I will certainly support any product line that cares about animals. 
Kat Von D has come out with a limited edition color for her Everlasting Liquid Lipstick called Project Chimps ($20). Miss Von D is an outspoken animal activist that wants to end animal testing in the beauty industry, so she created this shade to further the cause.  Project Chimps is a nonprofit organization that works to stop the use of chimps in biomedical research, and retire them to a chimp sanctuary. 20% of the retail price of every one of these lipsticks will go to that charity. Let's not forget to mention that the matte brick shade is stunning and long-lasting!  This shade is available at Sephora right now, so head over there if you feel like supporting a great cause. 

Jun 10, 2016

Benz On A Budget: Garnier Whole Blends

It's Real Talk time.  I'm having hair issues since moving from NYC to San Francisco.  They're mostly my own fault, but they are issues nonetheless.  First and foremost, I refuse to get new hair stylists even though I know there are plenty of excellent and qualified people out here.  I've been going to my colorist in New York for about 6 years now I think.  That's a long time to be with anyone.  She's given me chocolates, reds, blondes, peaches.  She's given me all the colors I've ever desired so how am I supposed to go to someone else now?  And forget about the major girl crush I have on the lovely lady that cuts my hair.  SHE IS FROM SCOTLAND, first of all, so I hang on every word she says in that amazing accent.  Not to mention she just gets me and all my random requests I walk in with.  She's funny.  I mean what more can I say?
So yeah.  While I'm not sad AT ALL to move to the best coast, I miss my hair girls.  So I haven't had a cut or color now in... months.  Not weeks.  Months.  My sister-in-law is an incredible hairstylist, but she's in LA and I have to figure out how to get down there and see her face.  (Plus my brother's face, and the sweet faces of their cute dachshunds).  I'm getting into a bit of a tangent here.  My point is my hair is toast.  My color is faded from the sun.  And the roots are too much... it hurts to even talk about them.  The ends are totally fried.  I'm in bad shape here.
Cue my budget-friendly saviors that are helping me until I can either get down to LA to see my sissy or find a suitable replacement for my stylists from New York.  Garner Whole Blends hair masks are saving my hair and my sanity at the moment.  There are 4 deep conditioning masks in the Whole Blends lineup, and they're all good.  I like the Color Care mask with Argan oil & cranberry, but since my color is totally shot at the moment, I'm really just focused on nourishing my ends.  These bad boys are RICH.  There's no dry hair situation in my life right now that these can't fix.  Best way to spend $7 that I can think of.      

Honey Treasures Repairing Mask
This is all about the honey, honey.  If you don't know about all the moisturizing (and delicious smelling) benefits of honey and royal jelly, this is a great foray into that world.  I would be lying to you if I didn't tell you I own tons of honey products, from affordable masks like this, to super expensive honey face masks.  I've never met a honey product I don't like.  

Nourishing Mask with Avocado & Shea Butter      
As you can imagine from the name, this mask is already incredibly hydrating.  Avocado also happens to be my favorite food in the whole world.  I used to try and put avocado in my hair at home but ended up just eating it all the time and not saving any for my hair... so this really is a problem solver for me.  Not to mention how expensive avocados are these days.  Why waste it in my hair when I can just eat it, and use this cheap mask in my hair?  Problem solved.    

Side note, I found this fun hair color on Insta and think this is going to be my new color.  Stay tuned for updates on all my hair trials and tribulations.  


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