True Nature Botanicals - Pacific Face Oil

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NARS Pro Palettes

NARS devotees everywhere are rejoicing with the arrival of the Pro Palettes. Available in two sizes, you can customize your entire makeup collection with 64 popular shades of blush, highlighting blush, contour blush, eyeshadow (single and duo), pressed powder and bronzing powder.

The small palette is perfect for travel and can fit about 10 product shades; the large one can fill up to 18, less if you get lots of blush or bronzer. I got to build my own custom palette, which you can see below. I filled mine with neutral and wearable shades that I can use for any occasion. I can't wait to bring this along on my trips! 

Can't decide on which colors to get? You can also get the curated Artist Palettes. I'm swooning over the Cheek Palette ($203) from NARS International Makeup Artist Uzo. I was lucky enough to meet her in San Francisco many years ago and I LOVE her amazing energy and talent. 

Uzo's Cheek Palette ($203).

The Pro Palettes are available for $14-$18. Color refills are $18-$30. To purchase:

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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REBBL Herbal Elixirs

I've been on a hunt for dairy-free drinks and REBBL Super Herb Elixirs are the perfect pick-me-up. Containing potent levels of adaptogenic herbs, each coconut milk-based beverage is designed to energize and nourish the body without the bad stuff. They're also relatively low in calories, which makes this a no-brainer. 

Being a chocoholic, Maca Mocha and Reishi Chocolate are the obvious favorites. It's like drinking organic chocolate milk! The creamy coconut milk retains the rich mouthfeel of milk, but you won't taste any coconut flavor. They give me enough energy to power through the day without the coffee jitters. I also enjoyed the Ashwagandha Chai but I detected a bitter aftertaste.

REBBL just launched three new elixir flavors: Matcha Latte, Maca Cold-Brew and Turmeric Golden-Milk. The Matcha Latte is not too sweet and has a mild tea flavor; the texture isn't as decadent as Maca Mocha or Reishi Chocolate but it's still lovely. The Maca Cold-Brew coffee is a great option if you're going dairy-free with your caffeine fix. Alas, the gingery Turmeric Golden-Milk has great potential but the bottle I got had an unusually gummy texture. 

Available for $3.99 at Whole Foods, PCC and Central Co-op. For more info:

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Eminence VitaSkin Exfoliating Peels

Exfoliation fiends, you're in luck. Eminence just launched a line of VitaSkin Exfoliating Peels for at-home use. Each results-oriented kit comes with a packet of cotton pads and a specific formula to address all skin conditions (mature, pigmentation, acne, and sensitive).

I got to try the Calm Skin Chamomile Exfoliating Peel, which is really soothing for my over-exposed skin. Just pump the solution twice with a cotton pad, then gently swipe it all over. No need to rinse! I didn't get any tingling or redness so this will be my go-to peel. I often get lazy about traditional exfoliating products so the no-rinse formula is really convenient. 

The Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel is excellent. I do get a bit of redness from using this one but my skin feels soooo smooth and soft. Like the Calm formula, it contains lactic and mandelic acids to promote cellular turnover while licorice root, daisy blossom, and their Natural Hydroquinone Alternative (tara tree and African potato) help brighten the complexion. I would probably use this once a week but normal skin can use it 2-3 times per week. Since these peels contain AHAs, definitely use sunscreen and try to limit sun exposure! 

Each kit retails for $79. For product availability:

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Mascara & Universalist Multi-Sticks

After months of hearing about the buzz on W3LL PEOPLE I finally got to try their famous Expressionist Bio-Extreme Mascara ($23.50). Free of petroleum, parabens, coal tar and aluminum, this gentle mascara could be a game changer if you're looking for something with less chemicals. 

I saw great volume and length for a natural day look. Three coats seem to be the max to avoid clumping. The wand can smear the eyelid if you're not careful (I have short Asian lashes) but you can clean it off easily if you act quickly. It stayed on for over 12 hrs with minimal flaking and smudging, which is way awesome. It also removes easily with cleansing oil and can hold a curl quite well. In essence, this is the best result I've had so far from testing natural mascaras. 

Universalist Multi-Stickin 1 Creamy Pink, luminous finish.

I also tried a few shades of the Universalist Multi-Sticks ($34.50). Shade 7 (Creamy Peony, matte finish) is a highly pigmented warm pink so I'd use it sparingly on the cheeks. I also like to mix it with the flattering number 8 (Dusty Rose, matte) for a custom lip color. Universalist 1 (Creamy Pink, luminous finish) seemed a tad easier to blend out and has a luminous, more sheer texture.
Universalist in 8 Dusty Rose.

These color sticks are non-drying on the lips and you only need 1-2 swipes on the cheeks for a natural flush. It seriously STAYS PUT for 10-12 hrs. My skin is on the dry side so the fade factor is also quite low. Overall, these products are an impressive alternative within the green beauty market.

Available at San Francisco makeup lovers can also find W3LL PEOPLE at Credo Beauty. 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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True Nature Botanicals Shampoo & Conditioner

True Nature Botanicals is starting early fall with their much-welcomed foray into the eco-luxe hair care world. The TNB Shampoo ($30; 8oz) contains an unusually high concentration of mild coconut surfactants, which means you get an instantaneous lather. This in itself is already an exceptional trait as many natural shampoos don't foam up enough and you end up with a not-so-clean feeling. Worse still, you might even end up with a yucky coarse texture that requires a lot of conditioner. 

This awesome shampoo is strengthened with green tea oil, meadowfoam seed oil and organic aloe leaf powder to soothe, protect and balance the scalp. It's so moisturizing that I can get away without conditioner if I'm feeling lazy. Free of SLS and synthetic fragrances, it's perfect for all hair types, including color-treated hair. Needless to say, I'm in love. 

Devoid of silicone and mineral oil, the True Nature Botanicals Conditioner ($32; 8 oz) has a naturally rich texture. The addition of shea butter, coconut oil, macadamia seed and green tea oil result in an extremely nourishing formula. Even with my long thick hair, I'd use only 1-2 light pumps max. My hair ends up feeling luxuriously silky, not weighed down. As with the shampoo, the fresh citrus floral scent reminds me of their beautiful perfume solids. If you're picky about hair care as I am, you should seriously consider checking these new products out!

Available at

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Clarins Mission Perfection Serum

I always get excited whenever Clarins launches new skincare and the Mission Perfection Serum ($72; 1 fl oz) is going to be an instant hit with beauty mavens. As my friend Natalie at Coquette says, it always seems to work.

The formula features acerola extract (from wild cherries), which is becoming a more popular beauty ingredient. Other supporting ingredients include hexylresorcinol, ginkgo biloba and tamarind fruit (AHA). The serum aims to correct dark spots, shadows and discoloration without affecting your natural skin tone. Suitable for all ages and skin types, you don't have to worry about your skin bleaching out in a strange way, which is a lot safer than using other controversial ingredients in the market (hello, hydroquinone). 

I've used this for over three weeks (day and night) and I can attest to its efficacy. My acne scars and sun spots seem to have faded and there's an overall glowy look. According to the brand's satisfaction test, 266 multi-ethnic women reported a 72% reduction in dark spot size and quantity after 4 weeks of usage. 

Available exclusively at Nordstrom and Available at all Clarins counters starting October 1. 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Dark Days Chocolate Confections

Dark Days Chocolate Moon Patties founder Wren McMurdo is a born chocoholic. A passionate confectioner by day, she is also a talented comic illustrator. I just love meeting highly creative artisans so I was really excited to try her dark chocolate coconut treats.

Dark Days Sea Salted Lemon Moon Patties. (Credit: Dark Days Chocolate)

Tied to sacred moon cycles, these delicately sweet vegan confections are infused with nourishing herbs like red raspberry leaf, lady's mantle, nettle and motherwort. It's a gourmet healing experience that doesn't feel heavy on your system. Perfect for any occasion, you won't feel guilty about indulging in one...or two, like I did! They're especially awesome for PMS or whenever you're feeling low energy or need sweet sustenance.

Mini Baby Moon Patties.

The seasonal Sea Salted Lemon ($4; 1.25 oz) is my favorite. The lemon isn't strong but it stood up well against the salt's brininess. I also loved the Date Bourbon Vanilla—that one's slightly sweeter. I would prefer the Peppermint to be more punchy but that's because I enjoy bold mint flavor. Wren's handcrafted creations are made with organic, fair trade ingredients (locally sourced when possible) and are gluten-free.


Seattle chocolate lovers can get Dark Days Moon Patties at Central Co-op, Sugarpill and Oddfellows Cafe. They're also available on Etsy. You can also custom order for weddings and gifts. For more info:

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Clarins Joli Rouge Moisturizing Long-Wearing Lipstick

Clarins is back with the new Joli Rouge Moisturizing Long-Wearing Lipstick and it rocks. The satin finish offers semi-opaque coverage, beautiful pigments and a featherweight texture. Housed in a new gold metal tube, you get to choose from 16 gorgeous shades. It's one of the biggest fall launches from the Parisian beauty brand and it doesn't disappoint. 

Mango oil, vitamin E, peptides and organic marsh samphire extract really amped up the moisture factor—I didn't experience any chapping when I wear it. In fact, my lips felt softer when I remove it. It's also bleed-resistant and has a 6-hour hold. I love how it doesn't stain my lips despite the strong pigment...there's no need to scrub it off! 

Joli Rouge Moisturizing Long-Wearing Lipstick in 751 Tea Rose, 753 Pink Ginger and 715 Candy Rose.

751 Tea Rose wears like a beige nude. 731 Rose Berry is a pink nude; 752 Rosewood is more like a tea rose while 753 Pink Ginger is a light rosewood. 715 Candy Rose is a cool pink with a hint of violet and 723 Raspberry is a warm pink with a touch of brown. 732 Grenadine resembles a dark raspberry in the tube but resulted in a flattering red-orange on the lips. It could be the lighting in my bathroom so definitely test out the shades at the makeup counter before buying.

Joli Rouge in 732 Grenadine.

The Joli Rouge Moisturizing Long-Wearing collection ($27 each) is available at

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Kypris Mini Beauty Elixirs

Kypris recently rolled out miniature versions of their gorgeous face oils. I was already in love with their Inflorescence Body Elixir so naturally I had to try these lovelies out! The smaller 14 ml size is perfect for travel and since the formulas use wild-crafted and organic ingredients, it's best to use these up within six months.

All three oils absorb easily. In fact, they almost feel like a dry oil. If you love Bulgarian roses the Mini Beauty Elixir I - 1,000 Roses ($90) will seduce you and your beauty budget. The rose scent is actually on the subtle end as it's tempered by the healing oils of tamanu, baobab, prickly pear, pumpkin seed and kukui. Kaneka CoQ10, a stable form of vitamin C, and pomegranate and black raspberry seed oils help boost the antioxidant power of this formula. 

Designed for combination skin, the earthy Mini Beauty Elixir II - Healing Bouquet ($80) feature Indian jasmine, rose geranium, aged patchouli and sweet lavender. Again, the scent is not overwhelming and doesn't scream essential oil. If you struggle with acne this one's for you. 

Extremely sensitive folks will appreciate the pared down Mini Beauty Elixir III - Prismatic Array ($70). It doesn't contain essential oils and the delicious nutty scent makes it a pleasure to use. It contains all the base ingredients of Beauty Elixir I, without the precious rose oil. If you do try these elixirs, I'd like to know which one you prefer!

Available at

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited & Drawing Pencil

It's been a while since I tried the awesome lip glosses from Shu Uemura. Their signature Gloss Unlimited ($25) collection offers fantastic colors for a natural, polished look.

Gloss Unlimited in Pink 70 C.

The PK 70 C is a sheer candy pink that flatters and enhances my natural lip tone. The 3D shape-memory gel technology contours lips in a subtle, not-too-shiny way. I just adore BG 20 G, a champagne beige with a hint of iridescence. Non-sticky and moisturizing, both options are great when you want a pale lip to pair with a dramatic winged eye or tons of false lashies. I also like the new applicator as it picks up the right amount of product. 

Gloss Unlimited in BG 20 G.

I also got to test drive the long-wearing Drawing Pencil ($24) in M Dark Brown 83. True to its reputation, the smooth texture doesn't drag along the delicate eyelid and doesn't smudge. It really stays put until you remove it with cleansing oil. It's a quicker alternative for when you're in a hurry or when you don't want to fuss over liquid eyeliner.  

Available at

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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