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

Dr. Hauschka Liquid Eyeliner

I was on the last legs of my third (fourth? Fifth? Millionth?) repurchase of the ZuZu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner when I spotted the Dr. Hauschka Liquid Eyeliner, usually $20-something, on sale for $14-something, at my local Whole Foods. Unable to resist a sale, especially since it was around the same price as ZuZu, and for the sake of science, I grabbed this instead of another ZuZu.

I pretty solidly love ZuZu (you can read more here), its brush is fairly stiff so it gives the user lots of control. That is the only place where I think Dr. Hauschka’s liquid eyeliner fails. The brush is very thin and flexible, which if you want to create a very thin line, is possibly ideal. Unfortunately, because of my monolids, I usually make a pretty thick line of catty eyeliner (see me on the right in second picture) so that it is actually visible on my eye, and I find it a bit difficult to precisely draw a thick flick with the fairly flimsy brush. For a couple weeks, I initially made an outline of my desired eyeliner shape with an angled eyeliner brush + rms beauty cream eyeshadow in Karma and then followed over with the eyeliner since I had trouble maneuvering the brush. But after streamlining my kit, leaving the brush at school for break, and practice, I am able to apply my eyeliner almost as fast as I can with the Zuzu, so issues with the brush are overcome-able. A reward for my effort? A friend commenting, “Wow…such a deliberate, precise line…I am amazed…” #win

Besides the brush, the formulation is awesome. The failing of ZuZu is the smudging that gradually gathers over the day, and this is where the Dr. Hauschka rocks. I never get any smudging on my lower lid throughout the day. Or on my upper lid where the eyeliner folds over. The formula, as per its description, glides very easily on thanks to the rose wax, and mostly stays in place all day. Because of the constant eroding of my eyelid folding over, my eyeliner in the middle tends to look a bit crackly after 12 hours (see awkward winking eye in third picture), similarly to the ZuZu, but if your eye doesn’t fold monolid, then it will probably wear much better on you.

My eyes never get irritated by the formula, on the contrary, there are some side benefits, like eyebright which soothes the eye area and neem extract which conditions the lash area. The formula is pleasantly surprisingly resistant to water and contact lens solution. Example: this morning I decided, of course, after I applied eyeliner that I wanted to wear contacts, and after I put in my contacts, moisture/contact lens solution coats the surrounding of my eye and lashes for a couple minutes afterwards–and normally this totally obliterates any eye makeup I have put on previously. The eyeliner was completely in place after putting in my contacts. I’ve also put it to the rain test plenty of times as well as the crying test (both unintentionally) and it’s retained its shape. (Though during the irritated-eye-with-contact-lenses-in-while-driving test, all but the outline of the eyeliner disappeared, so as long as I didn’t blink, my eyeliner looked good.)

tl;dr Love the formula, hate the brush, but no smudging ever, now if only Dr. Hauschka and ZuZu Luxe could come together and have an eyeliner baby with Hauschka’s formula and ZuZu Luxe’s brush, I’d be on that in a flash.

Have you tried this eyeliner? If not, have any liquid eyeliner favorites?

Naked Eyes

The subtitle of this should be “The month I went without eyeshadow, mascara, and black eyeliner,” because that is what happened. With the end of school and all the teachers assigning all the projects and all the exams, along with my black eyeliner and mascara drying out simultaneously–how did they know–I found myself much more in need of a 5-minute makeup routine. The eyeshadow part is pretty simple–I got lazy so I cut it out entirely. The mascara part is that my Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara dried out and was starting to irritate my eyes, so that was reduced to simply just eyelash curling. Eyeliner is a bit of a longer story. Since I had been using the Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner for some time (and liquid eyeliner for 6 years straight!), I wanted to try something different, hence the Nvey Eco High Definition Cake Eyeliner in brown. I love black eyeliner, so brown was a victim of chance–the black was sold out wherever I looked. So with all the talk of “brown eyeliner is less harsh than black” and “brown eyeliner gives a more natural look,” I thought I’d give it a try.

The rumors are true. With a damp Ecotools Angled Eyeliner Brush, I can make the craziest cat-eyes without making myself look crazy. I can make a sheer line, I can layer it to make an opaque, dark brown line. Staying power is pretty great, though it can fade out in humid weather. No significant smudging even when I pop it on my lower lid. Even though the packaging is terribly tiny, the product is well-pigmented and each application uses barely any product.

Now that I have restocked on black eyeliner and mascara, and can afford a 5-minute+ morning routine, I double the Cake Eyeliner as an eyeshadow sometimes, but for the days where I’m going for a softer look or a crazier cat-eye, I know what I’ll be reaching for…

April showers bring April Empties


Clockwise from Burt’s Bees:
Burt’s Bee’s Tinted Lip Balm in Rose: An easy, moisturizing swipe of sheer red that makes me look more alive while blurring over my vaguely cracked lips. This was my 2nd or 3rd repurchase, so I may take a break on another repurchase to try something new, but I know this one is a good’un. Ingredients include coconut oil, olive oil, beeswax, and shea butter. ($7 on Burt’s Bees)

Hurraw! Green Tea Lip Balm: Smells like matcha green tea because…it has hemp oil infused with matcha green tea in it! Loved that (I mean, omega fatty acids for my lips is pretty ballin’) and also the moisturizing powers. Kept this at my desk for moisturizing when I didn’t want/need color. I have two more of these left in Vanilla Bean and Earl Grey. ($3.79 on Hurraw!)
Acure Argan Oil: I have used this as a makeup remover, face moisturizer, and a body moisturizer. This was good as a face moisturizer, but now that I’m getting fancy with facial oil blends, I have delegated this more towards makeup remover and body moisturizer. It is a little pricier than jojoba oil or sweet almond oil, but let’s just say my mother took advantage of an Acure sale at our local health store a bit back. Easily takes off all makeup and leaves my body even softer than jojoba or sweet almond ever did. Also, 100% certified organic. ($12.99 on Vitacost, $14.50 on Amazon, $14.99 on Acure)
Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Black Pearl: Stays put with minimal smudging even with my monolid eroding away at it all day. Makes a great cat-eye, and Black Pearl is black + sparkles. I’ve had this in Raven (just black) before, so I am also taking a break on repurchasing this to try something new, but again, this is also a good one. ($14.85 on Gabriel Cosmetics)
Konjac Sponge Co. Konjac Sponge with French Green Clay: This little guy has unfortunately developed a tear at the 3 month mark (average lifetime of a Konjac sponge), so I will be searching for a plant that will serve as its final resting place. A nice, gentle sponge that I enjoyed using in the morning or post-makeup removal at night. Always left my face soft. ($9 on Spirit Beauty Lounge)

Exam Week Essentials

It’s been a long week leading up to a very welcome spring break. Along with the “spring forward” time change, all of my teachers decided to give out all of the exams. As far as sleep and brain function, I was verging on zombie status. But, looking like one? Never.
Clockwise: RMS Beauty ‘un’ cover-up in 22, Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow in Venus, Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadow in Aphrodite

For the past couple of weeks, Rose-Marie Swift of RMS Beauty‘s philosophy has really been ringing with me. She believes in enhancing the skin, not covering it up. Aka, full coverage is out and spot concealing with a touch of healing is in. Her ‘un’ cover-up was my first foray into natural concealers and I did have a bit of a long learning curve leading up to: I love it. It really is concentrated, so really only the smallest amount plus a bit of tapping for blending is needed on the under-eye area, blemishes, and/or redness to even out the skin tone. As everyone else says, it melts into the skin and looks exactly like it. I admit I was nervous at first with not trying to achieve full-coverage because of post-acne hyperpigmentation, but the lightweight coverage plus coconut oil plus other goodies calms the crazy redness, and I have come to somewhat affectionately call the marks that still show through as my freckles. Love yourself guys, don’t forget it.

Even if my eyes aren’t sparkling with the joy of studying, I can fake it with Alima Pure‘s Luminous Shimmer Eyeshadows in Venus (the peachy) and Aphrodite (the sultry brown). I take Venus in the inner half for some illuminating and then Aphrodite in the outer edges for contour and definition. Blend out edges and done. Very easy nudey eyes. Let’s just say I’ve done it in the dark before and inspected myself later to find I didn’t look crazy. Good sign.

Top to bottom: Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Black Pearl, Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose, Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara
On top of that goes Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Black Pearl, which is blackest black plus a bit of sparkle, and then Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara. I’m really liking this mascara–at first I thought the formula was too wet and heavy for my little lashes, but I’ve found with a curling before application and a curling after, my eyelashes are awesomely curly and defined all day. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose goes on lips and in my backpack for on-the-go balm and hint of color.
Now that exams are done, I will just hibernate in my cave room so good night, everyone.

Cat-Eyes and Review: ZuZu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner

(read: I hope you’re ready for more awkward eye shots.)
From left to right: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea, Shiseido
Eyelash Curler
, RMS “un” cover-up in 11, ZuZu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Black Pearl

To properly show how the ZuZu performs on a given day for me, I present to you, dear reader, my daily cat-eyes. (Disclaimer: I am no makeup artist and this is just what I have found to work for me.)

For undereye darkness and eyelids priming/evening out


Then, +


I’ve mentioned my monolid before, and basically, my eyes have a built-in hood to shield from the rain. Yeah, just kidding, it’s not very effective against rain. But because of the hood, I can get away with (rather, I need to have) a thicker line of eyeliner on my top lid if I want it to make any difference for my eyes. I usually make it thick enough so it barely peeks out when my eyes are open, but the thickness depends on my mood for a given day (aka, it depends on how steady my hand is and how early I have woken up). To wing out the liner into an everyday cat-eye, I just finish off the end with a curve that is a small extension of the bottom curve of my eye. And then I walk around with my eyes almost closed for a couple minutes to let the eyeliner dry or else it’ll smudge into something crazy (fixable with jojoba oil on a Q-tip).
When my eyes are closed, you can see a bit of the sparkles that are present in this Black Pearl version. I actually didn’t mean to get sparkles; I was just looking for plain black (which is the Raven version) and accidentally grabbed this instead (This seems to becoming a daily theme because today I grabbed pudding but I was looking for yogurt instead..)–but I don’t mind the extra sparkle and it performs about the same as my previous Raven version.
The official description by ZuZu Luxe: “6 gentle and non irritating liners designed to create a dramatic finish to make eyes sparkle and shine day or night.  .1oz/3ml
Enriched with vitamins and herbal extracts to gently smooth and protect the delicate eye area. Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. Our Liquid Eye Liner is Ophthalmologist Tested, Hypo Allergenic, Fragrance Free and Water Resistant.”

8 hours later…


So, suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers? From a long-time hard contact lens wearer, yes. I don’t get any irritation from this at all in my eye or on my eyelid. Given, I haven’t intentionally put it in my eye, and I never put liquid eyeliner on my waterline, so I don’t know how that is (probably a bad idea and possibly painful, I would imagine).

Water resistant? Well…I turned into a panda the last time I cried with this (and I ate all the bamboo within a 1-mile radius. Okay, okay there was no bamboo). I was also wearing the 100% Pure mascara, but then another time I cried only wearing the mascara, and I had barely any black streaks down my cheeks, so I’m blaming the eyeliner for the panda eyes… (Do you like how I test water resistance with crying? I’m such a good scientist.)

For all the rubbing that goes on with the hood from my eyes opening and closing, the eyeliner wears pretty well. From more of a distance (aka if you’re not 5 inches from my face), it looks about the same as the morning (even those silly eyelashes that I accidentally coated with the eyeliner during application), and you can’t really tell that the middle of it has worn off a bit. There is a bit of smudging up on the eyelid from my funny folding and usually some of it ends up on my undereye area as well, but it’s nothing that I can’t fix with a quick swipe of a Q-tip. If you don’t have a hooded eyelid, I would probably guess that it would wear better on you since you don’t have that constant eyelid hood action eroding away at the eyeliner. Since my eyes are small enough, I don’t usually wear liner on my lower lashline, so I can’t comment on smudging on that front.

In my last post, I promised picture evidence of how the 100% Pure mascara wears throughout the day, and these pictures are a pretty good representation of an average day for me. When my eyes are closed, you can see the curl has worn off a bit but it’s still better than my naturally super straight lashes.

In conclusion, while I wish the eyeliner would stay in perfect shape all day, with my eyelid hooding, it still wears quite well. It’s a straightforward liquid formulation with a straightforward little brush, which I do appreciate, and it easily comes off with jojoba oil, which I also appreciate.

Ingredients: Water, Sorbitol, Cetyl Alcohol, Iron Oxides, Mica, Jojoba Oil, Bentonite, Bisabolol, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Eyebright Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Cellulose Gum, Hectorite, Grapeseed Extract.