My Mama’s Green Beauty Picks

Mama's Green Beauty Picks

In honor of Mother’s Day, I bring you my mama’s picks from the green beauty world. She was slightly resistant to greening her routine at first since she long developed her own groove, but graciously opened up to my obsession with healthy beauty. What started with me pushing products onto her to try has turned into her purchasing them herself or requesting suggestions from me. I’m a proud mama hen of a mama hen.

La Bella Figura | Découverte Under Eye Repair Serum
It makes my eyes look nice. My eyes look less baggy. Also, the smell is really good and even though it is an oil, it doesn’t feel oily because the skin absorbs it in. I think it definitely tightens up the skin around my eye and makes the skin tone better. I really see a difference.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Healing Balm 

Remember, my neck, it’s very sensitive; I get allergic reactions. It can get very itchy and red, but this healing balm repairs my skin. I haven’t had [reactions] for a long time. So I love this one. Also sometimes I use the leftover from my neck on my face after I apply the Antioxidant Serum because sometimes my face is sometimes a little itchy, just a very little amount. (Ed. note: she’s repurchased this probably three times by now)
Laurel Whole Plant Organics | Antioxidant Serum 
It’s an oil but it doesn’t make skin oily (Ed. note: this is especially important to her because she uses powder foundation, and powder foundation on an oily face looks no bueno). It smells really good. It makes me feel good because it’s made up of plants. (Ed. note: she’s on her first repurchase of this)
It cleanses your face pretty well and removes makeup too. Sometimes, when I wash my face, every other day, I put a little of the scrub in while I’m washing. (Ed. note: when Whole Foods has this on sale, she buys them in bulk)
I like to use it to wash my [makeup off] even though it’s expensive. (*laughs) (Ed. note: I left a sample of this at time, and to my delight, she went out on her own and purchased it. And then used it on her face as a makeup remover to my dismay. Oh well. At least she found a way to enjoy it.)
Josh Rosebrook | Hair Spray Firm Hold
If I tease my hair and spray it, it holds hair in place really well. (Ed. note: my mom is a huge hairspray snob and she uses hairspray all the time to keep hair out of her face and in a neat bun. Before this one, she used the same brand for years and years and years, so this is actually a big deal.)
Usually when you wear sunscreen under makeup, the makeup really does not look very good. Usually sunscreen is very greasy. But this one is not. It wears really nicely under makeup because it’s very smooth and silky. (Ed. note: she buys this one in bulk too.)
Disclaimer: I queried my mom and she graciously provided answers. Only editing was for grammar and editorial notes. All products purchased by her, images screenshotted from each respective brand’s website. Image of the two of us was from A Night From Green Beauty last summer in Los Angeles. Affiliate links are included.


14 Favorites from 2014

Happy 2015, all! While there were some favorites from 2013 that remained stapes throughout 2014 (YÜLI Halcyon and #ED4OLO Cleansing Oil, looking at you, reviews here and here), there were also many delightful new discoveries in 2014, including new friends, new shops, and new products. Let’s take a look:

Oils that keep my skin healthy and hydrated – tie between YÜLI and Roiel
YÜLI’s Liquid Courage is like a healthy shot of vitamins for my face. There is at least a month straight in the fall where I was using this that is legendarily burned into my mind where I had exceptionally clear and healthy skin. Roiel Cosmetics’ Marula Oil has been wonderful as a heavier oil as the weather has sunk into winter. (YÜLI: Spirit Beauty Lounge, YÜLI; Roiel: Roiel Cosmetics)

Quick and delightful treatment for post-acne marks – Odacite
Here is another legendary several weeks burned into my mind where one day, I had some pretty red post-acne marks (popping may have been involved) and a week or two later, I was squinting in the mirror wondering, “Where did they go?” Pa+G Serum Concentrate, you rock. (The Detox Market, Odacite)

Extraordinary eye-depuffing gel – SkinOwl
I yearned for Eye+ months after this was applied on me during skin prep at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque (recap here). When I finally got my hands on it (birthday present from mum, as requested from me, thanks mum!), I thought, “Why did I wait so long?!” The cooling sensation feels incroyable and these puffy eyes that see many a late night are nearly instantly depuffed upon application. (Pemberley Jones, SkinOwl)

Intoxicating perfumes that won’t alter my hormones – tie between Strange Invisible Perfumes and Lotus Wei
This was the year I got into perfumes. On a whim, I asked the fellows at the SIP table at #ANFG to perfume match me to something jasmine-y (May Lindstrom’s Jasmine Garden got me hooked)–they sprayed Fair Verona on me and I walked around for the rest of the night telling people to smell me and then bought the perfume (my visit to their flagship store recapped here). Another one that’s really grown on me (just as it’s run out, too) is Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love Perfume. Small but mighty, I never fail to get comments on it whenever I wear it out, from girls and guys. Intoxicating, I tell you. (SIP: Spirit Beauty Lounge, Integrity Botanicals, SIP; LW: The Detox Market)

Highlighters that give my eyes a glow and make my cheekbones pop – tie between Kjaer Weis and La Bella Figura
Move over, Living Luminizer, there’s new boys in town. Kjaer Weis’s Radiance highlighter is gorgeous. It’s the most obviously sparkly highlighter I’ve used, but it makes my eyes sparkle and cheekbones pop like no other. For something a little more subtler (think twinkles when lights shine) plus a little sensory experience, I’ve enjoyed La Bella Figura’s Brazilian Denise highlighter, whose rose flower wax sometimes has been dabbing it on my wrists as a perfume. (KW: The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty; LBF: The Detox Market, La Bella Figura, Eco Diva Beauty)

Softest kabuki brush that makes putting on foundation a joy – W3ll People
After Shirley Pinkson applied the Altruist mineral foundation using this brush at the W3ll People Launch at Beauty Cirque, I was like, boom, need to have this. I semi-liked Altruist before, but after this I really liked Altruist. Awesome brushes, i.e. incredibly soft kabuki brushes, make a difference. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Eco Diva Beauty, Integrity Botanicals)

The nail polish I won’t take off – Aila x BeauTeaBar
I’m not allowed to wear nail polish on my fingernails because of piano. Or rather, if I wear nail polish, other pianists will severely judge me for being flippant/not-serious/ridiculously whimsical. So after lessons finished for the semester, I doused my fingernails and toenails in this. Now, several weeks later, it’s slowly chipping off but I don’t want to take it off completely…the rose gold is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. And I shine like a diamond. (BeauTeaBar)

Revolutionary serum foundation that dries to a powdery finish – Gressa Skin
I’ve had this annoying problem with foundations where after application, my skin looks dry–like it seems like there are flakes on my skin but I’m not always feeling as dry as I look. (Now that I think about it, sounds like pilling.) I don’t get that with Gressa’s Corrective Serum Foundation. Also I don’t break out with this, which before only happened with mineral foundations. And it dries to a powdery finish even though it starts out like a serum. What? Yeah. For reference, I wear shade 03. (Gressa Skin)

Go-to blemish eradicator – Indie Lee
Go to bed looking like you have pink chicken pox, wake up, wash it off, and blemishes will have shrunken down. I ran out of the Blemish Lotion before #ANFGB, bantered with the delightful Indie Lee at #ANFGB, thought about buying it there, didn’t, severely regretted it, and caved in and bought another several months later with no regrets. (Follain, Indie Lee)

Delicious, buttery cleansing balm with a sensory experience – de Mamiel
Softer than butter, smells like a bouquet of flowers, works perfectly with a massage to wipe away makeup, and makes my skin happy. Restorative Cleansing Balm: wins all around. (Seed to Serum)

Best-smelling and volume-inducing dry shampoo – One Love Organics
Because second-day hair actually smells pretty bad. Healthy Locks dry shampoo gives my gravity-loving Asian hair some grit and volume while also a nice smell. (Integrity Botanicals, Eco Diva Beauty, One Love Organics)

The gel that scares away dry skin – Osmia
Active Gel Toner is, I think, exactly what my skin needed last winter, instead of futile different layering combinations of oils and moisturizers. The skin feels miles more hydrated this year. (The Detox Market, Osmia Organics)

Favorite as an SPF AND a day cream – Josh Rosebrook
This has got me hooked with its amazing scent (a common factor for all of Josh’s skincare products), its complete lack of white cast and all that makes sunscreen abominable, and its really awesome performance as a cream moisturizer. I don’t typically like cream moisturizers, but I love the Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30. (The Detox Market, Follain, Josh Rosebrook)

What changed my mind about setting powders – Ilia
I am a sweaty person and I used to let my oil run free. Then I dotted Fade Into You over my T-zone and realized what a mistake that was. The very convenient application doesn’t hurt either. (The Detox Market, Spirit Beauty Lounge, Follain)

What were some of your favorites from 2014? See any here?

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All products were purchased by myself except for YÜLI Liquid Courage and Roiel Cosmetics Marula Oil, which were both kindly sent to me.

Pratima Neem Rose Sunscreen SPF 30

Consider this post as one giant #FBF (#FlashBackFriday, if you will) to a sunny Labor Day Weekend.

People seem to think that the non-chalky, non-white-cast-leaving, non-thick, non-greasy sunscreen is like a mythical creature. A unicorn. I was doing some finger-wagging over the summer, scolding some very browned Asian teenage boys for not wearing sunscreen during water polo practice, and they complained that sunscreen was too thick, too greasy, and they’d rather tan than wear it. Besides, laziness/they can’t think far ahead enough to even comprehend what sun damage can do/boys will be boys.

But guys, this unicorn has been tamed! The days of white-cast-leaving, thick, greasy sunscreen have long been over! The summer before this last summer, I was ready to call it quits with Consonant’s Perfect Sunscreen. Indeed, according to its name, I thought it was perfect. I thought it was light, unoffensive, and provided sun protection without making my face a shade lighter or adding an extra layer of thickness.

And then this past summer, I took a stab at Pratima’s Neem Rose Sunscreen with SPF 30 without sampling beforehand, it having been long on my wish list since it was incepted into my mind how good it was (could have sworn I saw it from NMDL, but can’t find the source) and seeing it recommended by other #greenbbloggers like Sarita of Edible Facial and Nancy of Glossed in Brooklyn. And unfortunately I have to revise my previous statement. After emptying this bottle, I went back to a fresh bottle of Perfect Sunscreen and realized actually how much lighter Pratima’s Neem Rose Sunscreen was. This sunscreen is truly the perfect, perfect sunscreen.

There are several winning points.

First, towards the end of the summer, my mother began borrowing my sunscreen and eventually requested I help her purchase her own + backups and additionally the body sunscreen. My mother has graciously and lovingly hopped aboard the #greenbeauty train to the realm of green skincare. She is a picky, picky woman with high expectations who still has not liked any green foundation I have given her to try and yet, she requested this sunscreen. #MomApproved

Second, this sunscreen has an extremely light texture that even rivals the texture of some moisturizers. This was the first thing I realized after going back to Consonant’s sunscreen–Consonant’s sunscreen made Pratima’s feel like a cloud! Pratima’s sunscreen does not feel like the stereotypical, villainous sunscreen–it feels like a moisturizer. And even lighter than cream moisturizers like Pai’s Geranium and Thistle Cream. A pump and a half over my moisturizing routine patted in with my fingers feels unnoticeable. Also I never got any weird pilling effects after applying foundation or breakouts while using this sunscreen.

Stunning moisturizer-like texture aside, while this never left me feeling any drier or tighter (ironically have had this tendency with some moisturizers), I always used an oil or oil + cream under this to provide my face with ample moisture. Also to be noted is that the sunscreen comes in a food grade container + a pump which conveniently dispenses the product up until the very end, where you may need to unscrew the cap to get out the last bits.

Third, a non-offensive scent. I have tried some of Pratima’s other skincare (Pearl Cream) and bodycare (Vata Body Oil) offerings through sample with orders and noticed the scents of those products came off pretty strong. The sunscreen, however, smells lightly of rose–which is a twofold benefit, I think: a therapeutic scent with regenerative and harmonizing effects. Also you’d never guess that the stinky yet powerfully antibacterial/fungal/everything bad and healing neem would be hiding in the folds.

Fourth, the complete absence of any white cast. None. Nada. You’ll forget that you’ve applied it.

Lastly, I’ve never sunburned where I have applied it and once–just once–I sunburned in the one place where I forgot to apply it. On a typical day, I will apply sunscreen under my makeup once, and then cautiously measure my time out in the sun and take preventative measures (hiding in the shade, wearing a hat, etc.) On said Labor Day weekend, I dutifully skipped makeup in order to reapply every two hours on my face and body. Except I forgot my lower legs, which I carelessly dangled outside the protective shady sphere of the umbrella. The result: sad sunburned calves and an otherwise impeccably unsunburned body. The lesson: practice safe sun!

A+ performance aside, a look at the surprisingly simple list of ingredients that make this sunscreen a winner. Water, okay. Non-nano zinc oxide–a physical sun blocker. Organic extracts of neem (anti-bad, anti-acne), brahmi (aka gotu kola aka vitamin C, anti-inflammatoryantioxidant land), shatavari (antioxidants, antidepressant, antibacterial, toning) and licorice (healing, anti-inflammatory)–very nice. And add rose, also therapeutic and healing.

All in all, a soothing, inflammatory, anti-bad, and antioxidant-ful combination of ingredients that result in a silky sunscreen that given blind, you would never guess to be a sunscreen due to its wonderfully light texture that also performs.

tl;dr Truly a perfect sunscreen with a texture lighter than even some moisturizers, non-offensive scent, no white cast, and no sunburns. Also, mom-approved.

Have you tried this sunscreen? What are your thoughts? Even though the weather is getting chillier, are you still slathering up the SPF? (I am). If so, what have you been using?


Disclaimer: I’ve purchased this sunscreen myself at least once or twice, and I helped my mom purchase several for herself and my sister all from Shipping costs will make you sad. But they worth the product, so stock up.

Additional Sources: 

Singla, Ramit, and Vikas Jaitak. “Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus Wild): A Review On Its Cultivation, Morphology, Phytochemistry And Pharmacological Importance.” International Journal Of Pharmacy & Life Sciences 5.3 (2014): 742-757. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.

Takhshid, M. A., Mehrabani, D., Ai, J., & Zarepoor, M. (2012). The healing effect of licorice extract in acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis in rat model. Comparative Clinical Pathology, 21(6), 1139-1144. doi:


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.

Summer Sunscreens


I am obsessed with practicing safe sun all year round, but especially when the sun is so blazing hot that you feel like the heat itself could give you a sunburn, I believe a pair of awesome shorts and sunscreen are more essential than ever. 

I may be a California girl, and home may be where the sun is, but sun damage ain’t pretty. Neither are chemical sunscreens containing ingredients like oxybenzone, which scores an 8 on the Skin Deep Database for biochemical or cellular level changes and endocrine disruption. Luckily, there are physical sunscreens containing ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are much safer for the skin. While Prevention Mag says sunscreen is the ultimate anti-aging cream, and Rose Marie Swift of RMS beauty prefers the sun sunscreen-less*, I will slather on my SPF 30’s just to be safe and balance sun exposure with sun protection the best I can.

Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen SPF 30
The name sets it up too well because this is a perfect sunscreen. It’s hydrating without leaving any white cast, irritation, or greasiness. It has a slight aloe scent and a slight tint–just enough to barely even out skin tone, but not too much to feel heavy or classify it as a tinted moisturizer. On good skin days, I have gone out of the house with just this and the beautiful Kjaer Weis mascara–a very natural and glowing look. As far as application goes, one pump dispenses enough for my face and neck post-moisturizing and pre-makeup. I’ve used sunscreens from Badger and Devita before, both of which had their upsides and downsides, but this one from Consonant is my favorite–every point about it is lovely! Also, I bought two more during their recent flash sale celebrating their newly redesigned site to give to my mum and sis.

Star ingredients: non-nano zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, aloe juice, rice bran oil, grape seed oil.

Badger Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
While I am zealous about applying sunscreen to my face, I am not as responsible with my body, even though, ironically, a larger amount of skin covers my body than my face. When my watch tan started becoming obvious and even my manager commented how I was getting tanner**, I knew I had to get on a proper, daily body sunscreen. I’ve used Badger sunscreen on my face and body in the past, and while the ingredients were stellar, I had to take more time with application to pat pat away the white cast. Their newer formulation with aloe makes the formula much more manageable with minimal to no white cast. I still find that if I’m not properly moisturized, I will look a bit flaky, so I manage that by mixing the sunscreen with a moisturizer, rosewater mist, or body oil (coconut is my favorite). I apply to all the body areas I know will be exposed once I take off my long-sleeve layers after work–it’s fall/winter all year long in there–and try to reapply after I get in the car to go home. The chamomile and calendula scent isn’t too overwhelming, and I’ve heard the orange and vanilla scent smells like orange creamsicles. I have the baby version since Whole Foods was out of the normal version at the time, but hey, I want baby-soft, protected skin too!

Star ingredients: non-nano uncoated zinc oxide, aloe juice, sunflower oil, calendula extract.

Tl;dr Not a burn in sight with these two sunscreens. What sunscreens are you loving this summer?

* See EWG’s “9 Surprising Facts about Sunscreen” and NaturalNew’s “7 Surprising Things You’re Not Supposed to Know About Sunscreen and Sunlight Exposure” if you want more on the sunscreen debate.

** I replied it was from driving the car to work. Who goes to the beach? Also, my left side is slightly tanner than my right side. Awkward.

June Empties


Badger Balm for Hardworking Hands
My post-shower, hand and foot massage balm while winding down for bed with some Sherlock Holmes. It may seem greasy at first, but the moisture settles in and smooths away any rough, wintered patches.

Heritage Rosewater & Glycerin
This has been my inexpensive tone-when-I-don’t-have-a-toner (great), set-mineral-makeup-or-any-makeup (great), and my-face-is-so-dry-in-my-cubicle-help-me spray (not so great). I’m working on another bottle of this that I discovered in my bathroom (bless you, past Jade, for leaving behind goods), and while I won’t rush out to repurchase it, I’d pick this up in a pinch.

Vered Botanicals Herb-Infused Toner
I’ve missed this so much since I shook out the last drop. It’s sexy-smelling, it’s refreshing, it has loads of beneficial herbs, and its counterpart, the Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil, feels lost without it. I’m taking a break from the cotton round ritual for spray toners, but I’ll come back to this one for its balancing, blemish-banishing powers for sure.

Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+
It’s a sunscreen but with the texture of a moisturizer? Brilliant. My qualms with it? Sometimes it leaves behind strange white flakes (Lonely Kiwee has witnessed it as well) and my face feeling a bit too matte and dry. I’ve massaged it in, patted it in, worn nothing underneath, worn oils underneath, same results. The white flakes are no big deal–you can just wipe them away–but being dry is no fun. If you’re not too dry and don’t mind random white flakes, this is your wonder I-can’t-believe-it-doesn’t-leave-a-white-cast sunscreen.

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

Badger Sunscreen

This is a great sunscreen that I’ve used in the summer and now transitioning into the fall. It starts out pretty thick, but once you pat it gently into the skin and let it sink in for a minute or two, it is a good base for makeup and it’s awesome for your skin with lovelies such as aloe (redness calming), shea butter (mega moisturizing), and seabuckthorn oil (nourishing/regenerative/restorative). Great for the rest of the body as well (0 sunburns this summer!). However it does kind of emphasize any flakiness so do make sure you are adequately exfoliated and moisturized beforehand. ($15.99 – 2.9 oz)