Vintner's Daughter

One of the hallmarks of the clean beauty revolution are the overwhelming roster of facial oils. In some ways, it's an easy hack to get measurable results from relatively easy to access ingredients. Because oils penetrate the layers of the skin efficiently, infusing the skin with antioxidants and plumping up the complexion with moisture restored, i's a lo-fi way of doing skincare right. Rose hip oil, for example, isn't all that expensive. And there are brands that are basically DIY kitchen projects with brilliant marketing and packaging for those not inclined to mix their own products.

That said, along comes Vintner's Daughter, a bottle that irrefutably ups the facial oil game with serious cred, a sensory experience followed by jaw dropping (and quick!) results. I was eager to test it out after hearing miraculous testimonies about this sleek black bottle. It's not inexpensive – it's as luxe as clean skincare gets –  but if you're after results, you will be smitten after the first application. 

Several drops pressed and patted into the skin for 30 seconds, and you're done. Minutes to hours later, skin looks satiated, well rested and glowing. I used this religiously throughout the latter weeks of my pregnancy, even pausing for a moment to pat some more on during labor while packing and rushing to the hospital to deliver my daughter. It's been the only thing to keep bumps from surfacing, calm patches of irritation, and keep the summer swollen pores and post-partum dry skin that usually plagues me at bay. I was going to pick up an eye cream, then realized I really didn't need one given this does the job so well.

Minimalists will appreciate that not only is this holy grail bottle versatile, – deemed a "desert island" product by it's creator, April Gargiulo – is the sole offering from the line. Gargiulo, a winemaker following her family's tradition, applied the stringent processes for creating wine towards creating her cocktail of 22 oils. She spent years sorting through a dizzying amount of research and experimentation before landing on the perfect combination, including standbys like Avocado and Carrot Seed Oil with more exotic additions like Frankincense and Tumeric Root Oils. Gargiulo wanted a high end product that ticked all the boxes for skincare woes (hormonal, dry, itchy, acne, wrinkles...), and now proudly goes makeup-free. Vintner's Daughter is definitely worth checking out if you'd like to see just how good your skin is capable of getting.

W3ll People

Awhile back, I had an educational conversation with Kelly Curtis, brand manager at W3LL People. This line of high performing, natural makeup knocks it out of the park with every launch. It's no surprise, given a make up artist (formerly with NARS) and a dermatologist are amongst the founders. 

Here's the line in a nutshell:

  • Everything is mineral based.

  • Just about everything (mascara and lipgloss excluded) is really versatile. They optimize for products performing a multitude of options as opposed to their clientele carrying a bunch of products.

  • No nano particles.

  • Nearly everything is infused with aloe.

  • It’s an artists' line. They encourage folks to play, get creative and get fingers messy. Mixing and matching is paramount.

And below are the product-specific tips I learned from Kelly:

Universalist Color Stick

  • #1 is the sheerest color. (Personally, I'm on my 3rd tube of this gold flecked, pinked up rose that works very well and lips and cheeks – thus securing it's place as a purse staple.)

  • #3 is also highly recommended.

Expressionist Mascara

  • W3ll People's mascara is their top seller (my favorite one in rotation yet).

  • It now comes in neon blue, plus less statement making purple and chocolate shades.

Bio Brightener Invisible Powder and Stick

  • Use the stick underneath your make up, or as a highlighter on the cheekbones, bridge of nose and cupid's bow.

  • The Bio Brightener Powder is for those who don't want a powdered look. It gives a soft focus, photoshopped glow, as opposed to traditional matte powders. 

  • The Bio Brightener Powder can also be used to set eye shadows.

Altruist Powder Foundations

  • They're big on spraying a mist over powder foundations to kickstart the aloe infused in it.

Narcisisst Foundation Sticks.

  • Go with a darker concealer underneath the eyes.

  • Narcissist #1 and #4 are the two pinkiest shades.

  • They recommend using fingers to apply the Narcissist stick as a concealer, but the brush is best when you’re using it as a foundation.

Elitist Eye Shadows

  • Pat loose color on, don’t sweep it.

  • Matte brown in the crease no matter what. Capitalist pigment in #912 (unless you’re super dark, then use #913).

  • If there is shimmer in the crease, it will make your eye look puffy.

  • Look straight ahead, eyes open when doing the crease.

  • Do #836 on the lid, and a pop of color as a liner down below.)

  • #833 or (Narcissist 0) in the brow bone.)

Hypnotist Eyeliner

  • After lining the lower lash line, squint the eye really hard to deposit color evenly.

  • If you have smaller upper eye lids, don’t take up real estate with a thick eyeliner. Instead, tight-line the lower and upper lids.

  • A lot of women think they need a waterproof line, but because their water line is already damp, the pigment rolls. Waterproof pencils won't stick to a moist rim, and will instead consolidate in the tear duct.


Swatches of Elitist Eye Shadows

Swatches of Elitist Eye Shadows

Tiny Japanese stickers help me identify the shades, though their new packaging solves the problem with windows in their caps.

Tiny Japanese stickers help me identify the shades, though their new packaging solves the problem with windows in their caps.

Vapour Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation

That seriously glowing, lit from within, complexion we all aspire to takes a lot of work. Genetics does play a role, but to get there, most of us need a combination of sleep, adequate hydration and nutrition, exercise, fresh air, sun protection, regular exfoliation, and a steady stream of nourishment to the skin through an involved skin care program.

Or an easier hack is to use Vapour Beauty's foundations. Their Atmosphere Luminous foundation, which comes in a stick, and their Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation comes in a pump bottle and the more light weight option. It behaves like a tinted moisturizer with a whipped consistency, and is incredibly easy to apply and blend in. This manages to smooth out discoloration and uneven texture (large pores, slacking skin, dry patches) while looking like you're now wearing any make up. The effect is dewy, well-rested skin. If there was a foundation that could turn back the clock, this would be it.

Earth Tu Face Voyage! Travel Kit

Earth Tu Face, the creation of two herbalists hailing from Oakland has been a darling of the minimalist set. Similar to more simple lines, like S.W. Basics and Soapwalla, in that the list of ingredients are sparse and effective, they are stringent about their safety of their ingredients and responsible packaging. However, one thing that is unusual about them – and that I love – is that their products are formulated to last 3.5 years without the use of traditional preservatives. 

The face wash is gentle and lightly nourishing with the addition of coconut, jojoba and olive oils. The serum is similarly lightweight with natural skin refiners like carrot seed oil, rose geranium and Vitamin E. My favorite of the trio was the cardamon laced coconut oil body butter. This was unlike another coconut balm I tried, the scent was delicate but intriguing. And it worked wonders on my perpetually parched elbows, which is a testament to its efficacy.