Category Archives: Beauty

bang season.

The air is getting crisper, sweaters are coming out of storage and the change of seasons has me eager for a change of hair. Every year when fall rolls around I start craving a new style and it always comes back to — you guessed it — bangs. They’re great because they give a whole new look but are easy enough to grow out or twist off to the side once you get sick of them.

With that being said, here are some bang looks I’m loving for fall:






{all images taken from here}

And on that note… I’m off to the hair salon!

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trending tresses: mid-length waves

elizabeth olsenvia


jessica albavia

essie buttonvia


Don’t you wish you could just try out a hairstyle for a week and then go back to what you originally had if you don’t like it? I’m due for a trim and have been battling with the idea of biting the bullet and doing something other than the usual, “Just an inch or so off, please.” The pics above are what my fearless side is craving, while the cowardice in my head is saying, “Don’t do it!!

So the question remains, to cut or not to cut… what do you think?

Have a great weekend!


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tarte haul.

When I recently received Tarte’s newsletter announcing their friends & family sale (30% off all items), I reached for my credit card without hesitation. The combination of my ongoing Tarte “want list” plus my weakness for a sale could only mean one thing – it was game on. While I didn’t get everything I wanted (I had to draw the line somewhere or else I’d have bought everything off the dang website), my money was well spent on what I did allow myself to buy. Here’s what I purchased and my [brief] impressions on each item:

1) Maracuja Creaseless Waterproof ConcealerLong-lasting. Full coverage. Natural. Need I say more?

2) Amazonian Clay 12-hour Foundation — You can read my full review about this fab foundation here. And let me just say – you know it’s gotta be good if I, the forever frugalista, have purchased this pricey product three times now.

3) Bambeautiful Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette in ‘Shades of Clay’ — The shades in this palette (shimmering buff, shimmering sable, shimmering cocoa and matte coffee bean) are even more beautiful in person than they are in picture. Each shade is perfect for everyday wear (oh, and I’ve literally been wearing it everyday) plus the color payoff is exceptional. And just how can you overlook that chic and  sustainable bamboo packaging?! Gorgeous and green – I’m all for it.

4) ‘Lights, Camera, Lashes!’ Mascara — In addition to Tarte’s foundation mentioned above, this is yet another repeat purchase for me that you can read more about here! (Seriously, if you haven’t tried this stuff yet, you’re missing out!)

5) EmpasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner  in ‘brown’ — I initially wanted to buy this item for my wedding-day makeup look (waterproof Adele-inspired cat eye, anyone?) but have surprisingly started using it for my brows with my trusty Sigma E75 brush to add a bit of intensity. So I guess you could say this item doubles as a  two-for-one and that’s what I call a money-worthy purchase!

6) LipSurgance Matte Lip Tint in ‘Envy’ — With fall just around the corner, how could I say no to a product promising a deep berry lip? All self-justifications aside, I now want to buy every shade in the line – no joke. It’s moisturizing, long-lasting, rich in color, and peppermint-infused — far from that of your typical drugstore lip tint/stain. Now how’s that for pigment-perfect pout, people!?

What Tarte items have exceeded your expectations?

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review: wen hair care

I’m not one to easily fall into the allure of infomercials, but recently I caved. The combination of Chaz Dean’s speech about the wonders of his revolutionary hair care product alongside a clip of a woman with unbelievably shiny and flowy locks got me to bite the bullet and purchase – wait for it – Wen hair care.

With that, it’s time for a review!

The claim is that this 5-in-1 formula (shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler, leave-in conditioner) will leave hair moisturized, manageable and looking sheen as ever without the use of harsh chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oil. I love the idea of using a product that was developed using all natural ingredients rather than the unnecessary junk (detergents, sulfates, ect.) that the everyday shampoo and conditioner all too often contain. Being the eco-friendly activist I am, I had no choice but to give it a go, right?! ;) Insufficient justifaction, anyone?

I know what you’re wondering – has my hair magically transformed into that of a Disney princess, ultra voluminous and impeccably shiny (like girl pictured below, for example) since using Wen? Well, no. However, it has become less prone to breakage and feels extremely smooth after each use. But I don’t want to lead you astray and make it seem as though I don’t know how I was living before I was introduced to this product, so let’s get to the downfalls…

Because Wen does not contain sodium laureth sulfate (a foaming agent), there is no lathering to be had and is similiar in consistancy to that of a thick hand cream (coincidentally, the main ingredient is glycerin.) This means you have to use a great deal of product, especially if you have medium to long hair like me, in order to cover the scalp and all ends of the hair. Even the bottle discloses that you will need 10-15 pumps per application (how ironic that the website says much less, by the way.) This leads me to two things to note: 1) you are going to go through the bottle quite fast if you shampoo everyday and therefore will have to repurchase again soon (good selling strategy on their part, I suppose) and 2) in order to coat your hair in that much product, it gets time consuming.

In addition to the tedious application process, it is also suggested on the bottle that you leave the product on your hair for 3-5 minutes+ before rinsing. This task alone tacked on an extra seven minutes to my shower routine. So not only have I wasted my time, but a great deal of water as well. Not very green if you ask me!

One last gripe about this product: the 30-day starter kit comes with 5 items (3 of which I did not want nor need – yet another waste): the cleansing conditioner, style cream, texture balm stick, intensive moisture treatment, and a comb. I really only wanted the main item – the cleansing conditioner, and maybe the intensive treatment, but there was no way to control the specific items I received – you simply get what comes in the starter kit. However, it is news to me that Sephora just started selling the Wen line and you can buy a selection of the items separate. For that reason, I would definitely recommend buying it from their website rather than the Wen website.

Alright, so based on all of the information above, I am giving this product 3 out of 5 stars. How about you – have you tried Wen or is this something you’d consider trying?


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brush up your skills.

Now that I’ve talked a lot about slowly updating my beauty bag to include various eco-friendly products, why not also mention the same in regards to cosmetic brushes? Here are my top five favorites that are one or more of the following: cruelty-free, made from sustainable and/or recycled materials, won’t break the bank, comes in sustainable packaging. Check it out:

1 – Most affordable + most sustainable: EcoTools. Not only are these brushes easily accessible (find ’em at Target, Walmart and Walgreens), but they’re also extremely affordable! The various EcoTools’ brushes and kits range from $6.99-$15.99, all of which contain 100% cruelty-free brushes made of synthetic taklon bristles, recycled aluminum ferrules and bamboo handles. In addition, the company packages every product in an eco-conscious way by using reusable pouches, post-consumer recycled plastic and/or recyclable packaging. Also good to know – EcoTools is a member of 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that support environmental initiatives!

2 – Best sample: RAW Natural Beauty via Sircle Samples. If you’re looking to test-drive a few eco-friendly brushes (or other natural beauty products) to see how you like them before draining your wallet, I highly recommend Sircle Samples! Sircle Samples is a fun and easy way to try out samples of various beauty and personal care products custom to your specific beauty needs, preferences, and style. I recently received this trio of sustainable brushes and must say that the flat-top foundation is a real winner!

3 – Best multi-purpose: Sigma Synthetic Precision Kit. The brushes in this kit were created with a unique design made to mimic your fingertips featuring Sigma’s exclusive synthetic Sigmax fibers. I love this kit for its ability to serve a variety of purposes – you can use the brushes for concealing blemishes, stippling product onto sun spots, applying foundation onto those hard-to-reach areas (around the nose, under the eyes), blending out shadow, highlighting the browbone, plus more! For all of the makeup mavens out there, this kit is a must-have for creating a truly flawless face! (You can read my brief review on the Sigma Synthetic Essential Kit that I wrote a while back here.)

4 – Best complete kit: Sigma Mrs. Bunny Essential Kit. When it comes to this particular Sigma brush kit, I always say they didn’t put the word “essential” in the title for nothing! Containing 12 professional makeup brushes, this kit includes every brush you could possibly need to create a complete makeup look. Whatsmore, the bristles are vegan-friendly and ultra-soft (hence the name “bunny” perhaps?! hehe) Bonus – the brushes come in a container that turns into two brush cup holders for organized storage. And just how can you say no to those pretty colors?

5 – Best for travel: Sonia Kashuk “Out of the Woods” collection. This makeup brush collection features handles made from wood, ferrules produced from recycled aluminum, and a sustainable cork bag perfect for holding your brushes and other small beauty items for travel.  (I’m also in love with the Sonia Kashuk limited edition “Straight from Nature” collection which gets the award for most unique design in my book!)

What are your go-to cosmetic brushes?


Filed under Beauty, Eco-friendly, Reviews

[all natural] summer beauty.

While the seasons are changing, so are my beauty products! Check out some of my favorite all-natural picks for the summer months:

{ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 }

  1. SPF lip balm to leave lips moisturized and protected
  2. Body polish to keep dry and dull skin at bay
  3. Protective hair veil to prevent damage and color fading
  4. SPF sun screen (this is a no brainer people!)
  5. Bronzer for a golden glow sans sun
  6. Waterproof mascara for all those outdoor and water-related activities
  7. Cucumber face wipes for a refreshing way to remove makeup
  8. Sea salt spray to get that tousled “fresh-out-the-beach” hair look

What are your must-have beauty products for summer?


Filed under Beauty, Eco-friendly

eco-friendly birchbox alternatives.

Does anyone else feel as though Birchbox is all the rage right now? I love the idea of paying only $10 a month to receive a wide variety of brand name beauty samples, however, I cringe at the thought of many of those items being more than likely laced with a copious amount of not-so-natural ingredients. While I recognize that a Tarte or Juice Beauty product might randomly end up in a monthly box, it’s not enough to entice me to join. Luckily there are some similar eco-friendly alternatives to Birchbox for all of those green peeps out there such as myself! (Bonus – all of the following are always wrapped in earth-friendly packaging!)

Green Grab Bag
Cost: $15/month or $145/year (a 20% discount) + free shipping
What you get: A minimum of six natural, organic and vegan beauty samples including skincare products, makeup or fragrances.
Check it out:

Cost: $16/month + free shipping
What you get: Six or more trial-size healthy, eco-sensitive beauty and personal care products, along with occasional samples of natural & organic health and wellness products from brands that are committed to creating products that respect people, animals and planet. Bonus – you can gear the products toward your specific concerns and skin type.
Check it out:

Eco-Emi Box
Cost: $15/month + free shipping
What you get: Five to ten samples of natural, organic, eco-friendly, cruelty free, vegan, vegetarian or Fair Trade products. The items can be everything from animal-friendly makeup, to organic herbal tea, to all natural perfume, to sustainable laundry detergent, to vegan chocolates, etc!
Check it out: http://ecoemi.comConscious Box –
Cost: $12/month; $33/3 months; or $64/6 months (+ shipping for all)
What you get: A wide variety of products and samples focusing on “sustainability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility” – anything from organic food to green household items to vegan beauty products.
Check it out:

What are your thoughts on a more eco-friendly alternative to Birchbox? Which one sounds the most appealing to you?


Filed under Beauty, Eco-friendly

green beauty buys #3

My gradual switch to as many “green” beauty and body products that I can should come as no secret by this point. As I make this slow transition, I am sharing with you some of my favorites. (You can see past posts here & here). Without further ado, here is segment numero tres showcasing a few eco-friendly products I’ve picked up this past month that I am adoring! Check it out:


The low-down:

  • Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion – Don’t let the title fool you – this is actually a face moisturizer, not a body lotion. Since the seasons are changing, I decided to switch over to a light-weight moisturizer. This one is just the right consistency and gives a pleasant, spa-like scent that is not overpowering or feminine, so I would recommend this for men as well. Just like all Aveda products, this one if made from naturally-derived ingredients. The only down side? No SPF. Wah, wah, wah.
  • Essie Nail Polish in “Go Overboard” – I picked this bottle of beautiful brightness a few weeks back as an impulse buy – hey, the increased temperatures and emerging spring colors got the best of me! So you might be wondering why this falls into the category of a ‘green’ beauty product. Unlike many other nail polish brands, Essie is formulated without DBP, toluene, and is formaldehyde-free!
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation – I can’t say keen on the price of this foundation (a whopping $38), however, I can say that I’m ecstatic over the wear of it. After reading several positive reviews and testing out a sample from my local Sephora, I was ultimately sold and shelled out the 38 bucks without a mere second thought. Despite its light, mousse-like texture, it’s a ‘12-hour full-coverage’ foundation that gives skin a flawless finish – just what a foundation should do. Added bonuses – it’s SPF 15, cruelty-free and is formulated without mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Coconut Oil – Although this is a cooking oil and baking ingredient, it also serves as a great makeup remover and moisturizer! You can read my recent “kitchen cabinet beauty” blog post to learn more about this multi-purpose oil and why you should consider adding it to your daily skincare regimen.
  • Gud Shampoo in “Vanilla Flame” – I recently bought this on a whim when I saw it was on sale at the Whole Foods Market, plus it just so happened that I needed a new shampoo at the time. ‘Gud’ is Burt’s Bees latest product line featuring hair and body products in three scents: Vanilla Flame, Orange Petalooza and Floral Cherrynova. All of these scents smell fantastic but the vanilla one stands out from the rest, in my opinion. One thing is for sure – I’m definitely tempted to buy the rest of the products after using the shampoo! Not to mention this line doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates or petrochemicals. (You can ‘like’ their FB page for a free lotion sample!)


Filed under Beauty, Eco-friendly, Reviews

kitchen cabinet beauty.

Today I am featuring some of my favorite ways to green your beauty routine by using things you can often find in your kitchen! Check it out…

Baking Soda = Face wash! Yes, I said it – face wash! Simply mix a quarter-size amount of baking soda with water in your hands to form a paste. Cleanse your face with this simple concoction for just the right amount of exfoliation. The best part? It’s probably the cheapest face wash you’ll ever buy!

Coconut Oil = Makeup remover, moisturizer, hair conditioner! This oil isn’t just for baking but also a multi-purpose item for your beauty regimen. Apply all over face and remove with a soft wash cloth to take off makeup; rub on rough areas of skin such as cuticles or feet for intense hydration; or use it on ends of hair for a deep-conditioning treatment (make sure to rinse)!

Cucumbers = Eye de-puffers – one of the oldest tricks in the book! Chilled, sliced cucumbers work wonders to decrease puffiness on the eyes as well as help in temporarily diminishing under-eye bags. Plus you can’t beat the refreshing smell! (Other great kitchen options: cooled tea bags or cold spoons).

Honey = Soothing face mask! Honey is known as natural humectant, meaning it has the ability to attract moisture and hold it. Simply apply a thin layer of honey onto your face, letting sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove honey with a warm, damp washcloth to reveal soft and smooth skin.

Oatmeal = Cleanser/gentle exfoliant! Oatmeal is known to relieve itchiness, redness, dryness and minor irritations. That being said, it is the perfect ingredient to add to your everyday face cleanser for added gentle exfoliation, or it can be used as a cleanser alone. Just mix it with water for a 100% natural face wash that is just as easy on sensitive skin as it is on the wallet!

Olive Oil = Hair and cuticle treatment! Coat hair in olive oil and cover with a shower cap. After 30 minutes, shampoo and condition your hair as normal. Once dry, you’ll notice added shine and softness to hair. To soothe dry or cracked cuticles, simply rub olive oil on them for a quick smoothing solution!

Yogurt = Cooling face mask! Yogurt contains lactic acid, which can help to exfoliate and smooth out the skin. To use, liberally apply plain yogurt all over the face. (This might be a good time to use the cucumber slices on eyes as well)! Rinse off with warm water after about 20 minutes. Immediately your face will feel clean and refreshed. Yogurt is also a go-to item for reducing redness and pain associated with sunburn.

What are your thoughts on incorporating everyday cooking and baking items into your beauty routine?

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a company with a cause.

I had heard of LUSH before and knew they were a green company with a specialty for “bath bombs” and all-natural soaps, but didn’t realize just how awesome they were until I recently visited one of their stores and found out for myself!

So what makes this company so great?

All of their products are handmade using safe ingredients. What do I mean by safe? I mean they don’t contain synthetics (only quality organic ingredients) and none of their products are tested on animals nor contain any animal ingredients. Speaking of vegetarian ingredients, LUSH has a strict no animal testing policy and refuses to buy any of their ingredients from companies that test on animals.   

They also have a strong sense of sustainability by striving to make the lowest impact on the environment possible. In doing so, they use very little packaging to prevent filling up landfills with unnecessary garbage, among many other green acts. (Read more about their green policy here).

Last but not least, they support grassroot charities and ethical campaigns that focus on environmental conservation, animal protection, and human rights. A percentage of LUSH’s proceeds go directly to assisting these charities.

I could honestly go on and on about all of this but I’ll spare you feeling as though you’re reading a report.

So to conclude, if you haven’t checked out this company before, I highly suggest you do! Not only do they sell fabulous products, but they do so with a cause. And now just how cool is that?


Filed under Beauty, Reviews