beauty products


Let’s discuss and share our favorite summertime beauty looks and products with each other. Let me start it off: we all want to look pretty, but it should not be at the expense of harsh chemicals and synthetics that can clog and ultimately age your skin.

Particularly in the summer’s heat, there’s already a lot on the surface of your skin, what with sunscreen, serums, excessive natural oils, etc. and you don’t need chemicals baking into your pores.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this prior post where I discuss the chemicals and additives in makeup in depth. The short of it is that in your makeup, there may be copious amounts of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.

There aren’t regulations restricting heavy metals in cosmetics in the U.S. There’s also tons of chemicals that comprise fragrances that make these products smell nice, but can unfortunately can lead to hormone disruption, neurotoxic effects and allergic reactions.

Then there’s nanoparticles, which are created by technologies now used in the cosmetics industry. Nanoparticles have the potential to penetrate the brain-blood barrier and can lead to health issues like DNA mutation and certain cancers.

According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2007, products containing petroleum-based ingredients may be contaminated with a cancer causing chemical called 1,4-dioxane.

In fact, the study showed nearly ¼ of all cosmetic products may be contaminated with this ingredient. Additionally, the most commonly found petroleum product in makeup is phthalates, which are linked to endocrine disruption and certain cancers.

Yikes! Not what you were bargaining for when you wanted to just smooth out some under-eye circles right? Well that’s why I wanted to share my favorite products with you, most of which are completely non-toxic, to show that we don’t need to use the chemicals to boost your natural beauty.

1. Overall complexion.

It’s true I don’t wear foundation on a daily basis. I don’t think it is necessary. But when you do want to wear it, the Vapour Organic brand Soft Focus Foundation is super awesome- and that includes being compared to natural or non-natural brands! It is made of 70% certified organic ingredients and 30% natural mineral pigments & vitamins. It contains nourishing ingredients such as organic pumpkin and papaya complex, lysine (an essential amino acid), and the mineral silica.

It makes your skin really dewey and radiant, without all the petrochemicals and other scary crap. It’s my fave.

2. Eyebrows

For neat brows try the Brow Set by Mac. I like my brows to not be super skinny. I get them done occasionally at the Benefit Brow Bar in Bloomingdales. I say occasionally because the intent of getting them shaped every 3 weeks never happens in actuality.

I always seem to get sidetracked, or end up traveling somewhere. Whatever! In between I tweeze them myself, to the best of my ability, and I also use and like the Brow Set by Mac.

Mac is definitely not a natural makeup line, but for this product I don’t really mind because it only brushes the top of my brows and never touches the skin!

3. Skin just underneath eyebrow

Highlight the brow bone with Vapour’s Eye Shimmer in Cinder.

I’m also not a daily eye shadow person. But when I go out, I’ll add Vapour’s natural Eye Shimmer in Cinder, just on the brow bone below my brows. It is-of course, or course!- non-toxic, and adds a great highlight.

Another great way to perk up your whole face and add a girly elegance to the eye region without bright flashy colors. Maybe you are a daily eye shadow girl, in which case check this out as well as their other colors!

4. Underneath eyes:

For an undereye and blemish concealer, try the Vapour’s Natural Illusionist Concealer. This is a super smooth concealer that provides great coverage. I use a bit under my eyes when I’ve been up late (which happens more that I like), and if I get an (annoying), zit!

5. Lips

I love the Vapour Siren Lipstick in Desire, toped with Sally B’s Skin Yummies B Glossy lip gloss in Ruby Red. This my friends, is a biggie. You want to keep your lips looking youthful and healthy, and unfortunately, many of the aforementioned petro and other chemicals in lip products can really be a doozey on your lips, and even work to break down the collagen.

There is no reason to use unnatural lipstick. I repeat- none! There are such great options now. I love these lip products, and they work great.

6. Hair

Get a great bouncy haircut for under $100! I firmly believe that an awesome haircut is a must to make your hair look great every day with minimal styling. I have some layers cut all around my hair, so it bounces and so as to avoid the dreaded “Chrystal Gale” one-length look.

I pretty much wash and go, and I rub coconut oil into the dips, a few inches up from the bottom, to keep it from getting dry.

Great hair cuts don’t have to cut hundreds of dollars. New York ladies, my stylist Dee in the East Village is my go-to guy. I get a great cut for under $100 in his adorable three-chair salon called “3”, located at 90 East 3rd Street in the East Village. You can reach him at 646.385.6002.

7. Eyes

My go-to eye makeup: Vapour’s non-toxic Mesmerize Eyeliner in Black, and Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Mascara (available at any drugstore). I love the Vapour offers a natural eyeliner that works so great.

It also has a spongy blender tip on the opposite end of the pencil end, which I find indispensable for avoiding an unattractively harsh pencil line. At night, it’s easy to bump up more of a line for a more dramatic look.

I haven’t found a great natural mascara that I love, so I use good old Voluminous Mascara from CVS. I love the wand and how it separates the eyelashes.

I talk to most of the makeup artists on the film sets I too work on, and many say this it is a great mascara, that is pretty close to the $36 mascaras out there you’ll find at Bloomies.

I for one, will not spend north of $30 bucks on a mascara! I’d rather buy some organic groceries.

8. Cheeks

My all-time favorite blush ever: Vapour’s Multi-Use Blush in Courtesan. While I don’t use foundation every day, I will usually put a tiny dab of blush on.

I think a hint of cheek color is super feminine and brightens your whole look. And when you find an amazing one like this which is non-toxic, why not? I find the Courtesan color will really work great for most of us ladies’ skin tones, but they have other colors too.

9. Nose

Stay shine free with Sally B Skin Yummies Get Even Powder. If you have oily skin like me, then you’ll need a powder to keep your nose and T-zone area from looking like a localized oil-spill.

In the summer especially, I do often wear powder daily. This one is my fave. It really works to control shine, it doesn’t clog your skin and cause acne (the way many other mineral makeups ironically do), and it is non-toxic.

10. Neck:

If you’re feeling a bit pale, try the Solar Bronzer in Simmer. I try to get a little regular sun time, in safe, moderate amounts, so I don’t need the bronzer at the moment. But for my fair-skinned beauties, a little bronzer might add some nice, warming color.



Photo by Ylva Erevall