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Tuesday
Sep082015

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 w3llpeople.com. 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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Thursday
Sep032015

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 tnbotanicals.com

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

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Wednesday
Sep022015

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 www.clarinsusa.com. Available at all Clarins counters starting October 1. 

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

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Thursday
Aug272015

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: www.darkdayschocolate.com.

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

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Tuesday
Aug252015

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 www.clarinsusa.com.

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

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Thursday
Aug202015

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 www.kyprisbeauty.com.

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

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Monday
Aug172015

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 www.shuuemura-usa.com.

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

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Thursday
Aug132015

Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+ 

Kiehl's recently updated their popular Super Fluid UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+ to make it lighter than ever. The non-greasy matte finish is quite similar to the Clarins UV Plus but it's offered at a slightly lower price point. It's non-tinted so you won't worry about a white cast showing under makeup and it's water resistant for up to 80 minutes. I'd consider this as part of a sun care regimen if you want ample protection without a thick layer on your pretty face!

 

Available for $38 (1.7 oz) at www.kiehls.com.

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

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Monday
Aug102015

Kypris Inflorescence Body Elixir

Kypris is a relative newcomer to the green beauty world, but founder Chase Polan is already taking the eco skincare market by storm. Polan fuses her cosmetic chemistry background with organic, wildcrafted, and sustainably grown ingredients to create luxurious, high-performance skincare. 

Inflorescence, the brand's new body care elixir, is aimed at softening, toning and protecting the largest organ. Potent botanical seed oils (moringa, tamanu, prickly pear) are used in this concentrated formula to give an antioxidant boost to your SPF regimen while iris stem cells and vitamin C ester help stimulate collagen production. The heady sweet orange and neroli fragrance is reminiscent of a dreamy afternoon picnic in an Italian orange grove. You won't need perfume after using this oil!

The texture feels rich at first but spreads and absorbs easily. I use a small amount on my arms and legs right after a shower to nourish sun-exposed skin. The gorgeous deep emerald glass bottle is a pleasure to look at and Polan's strong yet feminine design aesthetic is evident in the product packaging. I just adore the white lace motif, don't you? Makes me want to keep the bottle long after the oil is used up.

Available for $95 (100ml) at www.kyprisbeauty.com and Beautyhabit.com.

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

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Thursday
Aug062015

Giorgio Armani Eclipse Collection Eye Tints

The new Eye Tints ($38) from Giorgio Armani Beauty's summer Eclipse Collection are quite fun to use. The buildable formula looks concentrated but the first layer is actually quite sheer. Plus, the comfy texture feels like a cooling gel eyeshadow. Gold (13 Zenith), copper (14 Sunrise) and plum (15 Sunset) are featured as the seasonal shades; Zenith is fantastic with either Sunrise or Sunset. 

One layer results in a gorgeous shimmery wash that can be work appropriate; add another layer and you'll get runway-ready effects. There's a tiny bit of fallout at the 6-7 hour mark but I haven't seen any creasing and staying power is pretty strong. 

To complete the look the Black Ecstasy Mascara ($32) is offered in 2 Navy Blue as an elegant alternative for those who don't want to wear black 24/7. The lightweight formula defines and lengthens lashes very well and holds a curl. It's also easy to layer, doesn't clump and cleans easily. I have to say, that red lacquered wand makes the application process pretty darn sexy!

Bronzer fans need to check out the Maestro Liquid Summer ($64). It's extremely concentrated so only 1-2 drops is enough for most bronzing purposes. You can also mix it into your preferred foundation or BB cream for a natural sun-kissed glow. Like their foundations, this one feels absolutely amazing on the skin and the 1 oz. bottle will last a long time. 

To purchase: www.giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.

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

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