March – April 2015 #GreenBeauty Haul

GreenBeauty Haul


I ran out of all of my second cleansers, so I went shopping and bought more than just cleansers. Head on over to the ‘tube (search “Nephriticus”) or watch it right here for a chatty summary and some mini-reviews. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the products I picked up or if there is anything you’d like to see featured on the blog!

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rms beauty Lip2Cheek in Curious

rms beauty lip2cheek in Curious

I’ve been lusting after an orange blush and lippie since the Revlon Lip Butters came out, and was simultaneously ecstatic and hesitant when rms beauty came out with an orange lip2cheek as part of their Wearable Brights collection. Ecstatic because, ORANGE! In the green beauty world! What a fun color to combat the thinking that green beauty can’t be vibrant! But hesitant because I wasn’t too sure if my skin could take the coconut oil (which is essentially the core of the rms line).


Fast forward months later, I’m at the James Corbett Studio pop-up in New York, this wonderfully kind makeup artist is teaching me tricks with rms, and I ask for Curious for my cheeks.

I fall in love.

rms beauty lip2cheek in Curious (in action)

It’s bright, but it’s totally wearable on both cheeks and lips.

On my cheeks, it takes on a bit of redness, giving me a warm flush that isn’t clown-like (unless I pile on the color–two rubs in the pot plus light patting motions are usually enough). On my lips, it turns into an orange pastel over my natural rosiness. The formula is gold–I tend to stay away from it if I’m wearing powder foundation or am breaking out, but when I layer it over ‘un’ cover-up, there is no funky cakiness on my cheeks nor any crackly business on my lips (given that I have taken proper care of my lips).

tl;dr A super wearable orange blush and lippie that gives me a warm, non-clown-like flush.

And a bonus: here is Curious in real life. Enjoy~


Disclaimer: I purchased this product myself from The Detox Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I attempted to preserve the true coloring through the photos–I fiddled with lighting and contrast on the first photo since it was previously too dark and increased sharpness in the second photo. The first photo shows the coloring just slightly more intense than it is in real life.

Ingredients: *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, * Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit (Buriti) Oil, Tocopherol (non-GMO), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) seed Oil, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain: [+/-Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxide CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019, Red 30 CI 73360, Red 6 Lake CI 15850]
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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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A Trip to Moon Juice, Café Gratitude, and The Detox Market

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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rms beauty Defining Mascara

 

Good early impressions. They’re great. Like how Thai Iced Tea is this really beautiful orange color and surprise it also tastes beautiful or how in the early days of rms beauty Defining Mascara, I went in for a 2nd coat and my eyelashes became a mile long. Not even kidding.

First impressions can be kind of a mixed bag though. For the first couple of weeks, this mascara was sopping wet. It would take at least 10-15 minutes to dry before I could re-curl, something I hadn’t encountered before (Juice Beauty and KW were pretty fast-drying), and it would often transfer to my contacts during the day and I would walk around half-blind. I found if I didn’t clean the minuscule mascara brush, while I could get seriously dramatic lashes, I would also get serious clumps (read: wipe the brush off often, unless you dig spidery lashes, which is okay).

Early impressions don’t say everything, of course. With time, the formula dried out and didn’t transfer to my contacts, though it sadly continued to smudge on me (more when applied to upper + lower lashes, less when only upper). I learned to apply my mascara before eating breakfast so I could give it time to dry before another curling, and the best part: I still get the most dramatic effect from this mascara out of any green mascara I’ve tried.

Post mascara, post-curling, I can actually see my lashes above my eyeliner (Insta-proof here). This never happens with my monolids. The crazy, tiny brush coats, thickens, lengthens, volumizes my stick-straight, Asian lashes and makes them look awesome. Of course, #StraightHairGeneProblems, the curl tends to droop during the day, but hey, genes are genes. I’m just glad for a couple of hours, I look like I actually have eyelashes when people look at me face-on.

Things I like about the ingredients: certified organic beeswax and carnauba wax + sunflower seed oil (conditioning and nourishing) – phenoxyethanol (ewg score of 4). Looks like dehydroacetic acid (ewg score of 1) serves as a preservative.

tl;dr I am definitely okay with sometimes looking a bit panda for the dramatic effect this mascara gives me. Lashes a mile long.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Stearic Acid, *Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Castor Isostearate Beeswax Succinate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Geraniol, Limonene, Parfum (Natural Fragrance). May Contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499
*Certified Organic
Gluten Free Formula

Have you tried this mascara? If not, what mascara are you loving right now?

Disclaimer: I purchased this myself from Spirit Beauty Lounge about three months ago. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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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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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?

Sublimely Sacred

My gracious sister, Jolie, wearing Sublime and yours truly wearing Sacred
rms beauty lip shines in Sublime and Sacred

I’m usually a tinted lip balm girl with that one odd lip gloss floating around, but that’s like saying I’m usually a blue skinny jeans girl with that one odd pair of black skinny jeans. Now, I have grass-green jeans, peachy-pink jeans, teal jeans, red jeans, and rms beauty lip shines in two of their punchiest colors. I was initially afraid that Sublime, the fuschia, would not go with my skin tone, but the color just melts beautifully into the context of the wearer’s lip color. It’s bright pink, it’s playful, it’s cute, and it works on both pale me and my tanned sister. As for Sacred, the punchy red, when I first un-ironically wore it to sing Verdi’s sacred Requiem for a conservatory chorus concert, a friend and fellow bright-lip lover commented, “It looks so natural! Where did you get it?” Innocent red, Kool-aid red, popsicle red–it’s a classy, fun pop of red that instantly ups the glam level.


Both shades can be layered for desired opacity. Sacred leans more on the stain side while Sublime is more sheer. The texture sits between a lip balm and a lip gloss–moisturizing enough to skip the lip balm base in a hurry, glossy enough to glide over mildly chapped lips, but without any gloop. I apply with clean fingers for convenience and bonus: any excess leftover can double as a blush–see my sister’s pinky cheeks above.

P.s. No photo editing was done on either photo. 🙂

Wednesday Wishlist: Face Oils

There are certain words and phrases in life that just instantly grab you. Like “free food” (you should see me when a cafeteria puts out free fruit), or “fire”(FIRE! Goodness, no need to shout), or, if you were me a year ago (you weren’t): “oil-free”. A year ago, the world was my word search and “oil-free” was the word bank. Then argan oil happened, and No More Dirty Looks happened, and now I can’t put on moisturizer without looking longingly at my facial oil. Wait. My moisturizer is my facial oil.

rms beauty beauty oil
I have a sample of this, and my, does it scream vanilla and nourishing in the best way. You would never guess that scar-fighting (and slightly stinky) tamanu is hiding underneath.


La Bella Figura Daily Elements Defense Face Oil
I have held off for months in fear that this holds much more power than I need (after all, with great power comes great responsibility). But fighting free radicals with the sword of antioxidants can’t be a bad thing, right? Prevention is key, right? I’ll probably get this fatty acid boy (have you heard of sacha inchi?) for my mum and sneak a couple drops here and there…or everywhere…

Yuli M.E. Skin Fuel
Speaking of the sword of antioxidants, this one is laced with Pomegranate Seed and Apricot Kernel, fighting against “environmental and stress-induced damage while repairing, renewing, and stimulating skin on a cellular level.” And Broccoli Seed oil, hello, I love broccoli. Talk about food for the skin. Also recommended as a light oil for acne-prone skin by neimansidealist.

What oils are you coveting?