RMS Beauty Volumizing Mascara

rmsvolumizingmascara

Mascara is tricky and not a one-size-fits-all product. Luckily, Rose Marie Swift came out with two formulations of non-toxic mascaras: volumizing and lengthening.

Length isn't so much a concern for me,  give me virtually any formula and I can build length with enough coats. However, a volumizing mascara that offers both separation and thickness is paramount. This mascara does that, and dries to a soft and flexible consistency. There are no brittle lashes. However, because of it's consistency is glossy and dense, the weight can cancel out a curl after application, making this mascara a great one for touch ups.

Ingredients:

Water (Aqua), *Cera Alba (Beeswax), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Glycerin, *Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Stearic Acid, *Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch, Glyceryl Stearate, *Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil,  *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene, Geranoil, Parfum (Natural Fragrance)
*Certified Organic

$28 / Anthropologie.com

Acorelle Vanille Ambreé Perfume

Fragrance is a pretty big deal to me. My father would travel on business and bring back bottles from the duty free stores to our home in the middle east, where fragrance holds significant cultural clout. My father splashed cologne regularly, and a tiny gilded army of bottles of Arpegé, Dior, and Cacharel stood proudly on my mother's vanity. As wonderful as these olfactory memories and rituals are, the sad thing is that perfume can be toxic, and these bottles contain ingredients like phalates (well documented as a hormone disrupter). There is virtually zero regulation on these things, plus the FDA does not require companies to post all the ingredients on their labels. How does this affect us? On the lighter end of the spectrum, wheezing and headaches can happen, and on the more menacing end, abnormalities in baby development. 

Sometimes a bottle of clary sage essential oil doesn't illicit the same thrill as a bottle of Comme des Garcon, but there's good news! The EU cares enough to pose restrictions on beauty manufacturing within its borders, and some companies there go beyond the requirements to produce luxe and eco-friendly options. Case in point: Acorelle.

Born out of southwest France, Acorelle employs established "noses" and perfumers to construct their fragrances. Acorelle functions like an aromatherapy line, but the fragrances are much more complex. I've purchased a few of their sample kits, and the dry down on all of their fragrances is lasting and varied. The one pictured, Vanille Ambreé is my favorite. It's a gourmand scent, but not too juvenile nor sugar-y. At first spritz, it's an oriental concoction with mimosa top notes. The heft of amber, spiked with patchouli is pronounced. Warm and woody but more muted than sandlewood. The earthiness gives way a few hours later to a lasting, milky and comforting scent. It's velvety perfection, and sadly being discontinued. However, Acorelle is coming out with many more new scents (like this pepper one!), which I'm eager to experiment with.

Ingredients: Organic Alcohol 80% vol., water, fragrance.

$25-55 / baudelairsoaps.com or drugstore.com

Dr. Haushka Rose Day Cream

I was first introduced to the Dr. Hauschka line—strangely enough—in a Sephora fourteen years ago. The salesperson was baffled by its at stringent and out-there manufacturing standards. "All the employees have to pray before they start work," she explained, wide-eyed. "They go out to this rose garden and pick rose petals and bless the bowls they mix their formulas in with a ceremonial feather." I kid you not. I have no idea of knowing whether this was an apocryphal rumor started by an overzealous brand rep or if they indeed go that far.

What I do know is that the ingredients are top notch, and that Germans have a heritage of bathing, spas, and clean simple skincare. This cream by Dr. Hauschka is akin to Weleda's Skin Food in how relentlessly nourishing it is, it's thick and white and takes a bit of effort to work into the skin. But put it on in the morning and you'll still be feeling dewy by the afternoon. It's rich, but not oily. And the rose scent is really special.

Dr. Haushka Rose Day Cream

Because there's no SPF in it, I use something else in the mornings, but stash a tube of this in my handbag during winter months. I love this cream for traveling and cocooning my face against dry airplane cabin air, and for touch ups during the day—particularly when I was pregnant and would get incredibly dry in the afternoon. I love dabbing this on the cheekbones to impart a little glow, or to take down my makeup down a notch if I'm feeling too done up. (Kind of like that Chanel adage, where you look in the mirror and take off one accessory before heading out the door.)

What's in it? Rose hips and rose petals. And not from your average roses, but Ethiopia's famed Damask roses (apparently, the quality of roses there is on par with Bulgaria and Turkey). The hydrating ingredients are shea butter, avocado oil and rose petal wax. Plus, holistic ingredients like St. John's wort and marshmallow extracts to calm inflammation and soothe.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bentonite, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Lysolecithin, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Bran Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Fragrance (Parfum), Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Linalool*, Limonene*, Citral*, Farnesol*, Eugenol*, Xanthan Gum, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax.

$42.95 / Pharmaca

 

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

During a stint at MAC Cosmetics, I had the fortune of an all-day training onsite at one of their stores. We spent a lot of time discussing eye makeup—MAC's eyeshadows are legendary both in color range and color payoff—but towards the end, I was growing overwhelmed with the sheer number of color choices. Decision fatigue is the aptly coined termed for the ambivalent, I want it all, I don't know what I want, someone help me decide, it all looks good stream of thought that renders me hapless when getting ready in the morning.

"All these eye looks are great," I ventured to the training manager, "but what about lips and cheeks? Some of us look sickly without some color, but how do we pull off lip, cheek and eye makeup without looking like clowns?" She nodded knowingly. "It's really easy. The trick is to—no matter what—make sure that your lips and cheeks match. You can pull off any combination of eyes, lips and cheeks, as long as the latter two are the same shade."

And she's right, of course. But powder blushes render this very hard to maintain, and in the spirit of less is more, using one product to satisfy both needs makes much more sense. And after becoming wise about what's actually in it, who wants to ingest their blush?

Demure: a soft pink rose with a hint of mauve

Demure: a soft pink rose with a hint of mauve

lip2cheek

Here's where the clean beauty industry makes things very easy. There are a few brands out there with color that are safe enough to use on the lips, including RMS Beauty, Vapour Organics Li, and Tata Harper. RMS's Lip2Cheek is buttery and sheer. Its principle ingredient is coconut oil, so there's no stickiness, but it does soften upon application once it hits the skin and warms up.  RMS Beauty has gone mainstream, now offered at both J.Crew and Anthropologie (yaaay!). I've added the latter's impeccable swatches, which are very true to life. 

Here's to looking pulled together, easily and with minimal effort. 

Smile: a sheer coral with a retro feel

Smile: a sheer coral with a retro feel

Demure (also used just on the cheeks) Used on a fresh day look on the wonderful website, sophiedahl.com

Demure (also used just on the cheeks) Used on a fresh day look on the wonderful website, sophiedahl.com

Beloved: a true red with just a hint of poppy

Beloved: a true red with just a hint of poppy

Demure (used just on the cheeks) from a J.Crew shoot. Photo by Brian Derballa.

Demure (used just on the cheeks) from a J.Crew shoot. Photo by Brian Derballa.

Here, on Miranda Kerr, Rose-Marie Swift used Lip2Cheek in Rapture on her lips, with a slight bit added over the apple of her cheeks. (Photo from Vogue Australia.)

Here, on Miranda Kerr, Rose-Marie Swift used Lip2Cheek in Rapture on her lips, with a slight bit added over the apple of her cheeks. (Photo from Vogue Australia.)

 Here, Lip2Cheek in Promise is used as a blush on the cheeks. (All products used here are by RMS Beauty, check out their blog here for details on what else was used.)

 Here, Lip2Cheek in Promise is used as a blush on the cheeks. (All products used here are by RMS Beauty, check out their blog here for details on what else was used.)

Ingredients:

*Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, * Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit (Buriti) Oil, Tocopherol (non-GMO), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) seed Oil, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain: [+/-Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxide CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Mica CI 77019] 

*CERTIFIED ORGANIC 

$36 RMS Beauty, The Detox Market, or Anthropologie. 

ISUN - Carnelian Body Oil

Three years ago, my (incredibly intense about traveling—don't worry, this part is relevant later) husband and I were in Maui for business. It was a busy time, with precious little lounging on the beach. Between work obligations, we rented a small car and drove along the fabled "Road to Hana," where we met some eccentric local personalities, ate a breakfast of freshly picked starfruit and pineapples on the side of the road, and got the wind knocked out of ourselves by waves on the black sand beach, all before joining a very long, loud party until early the next morning. Our flight was leaving at noon the next day, and I scheduled a massage at the Maui Four Seasons just before we needed to leave for the airport. To say I was tired would be an understatement, but I happily lay in a dream state while the masseuse worked each limb over with this incredible bottle of oil, while recounting her fascinating stories of traveling and living in Goa and Afghanistan during the '70s.

ISUN Carnelian Body Oil

So this oil... it's at once familiar and exciting. The gourmand in me loves the vanilla and citrus notes, but it's not too sweet or pedestrian. Ginger and cardamom gives it an earthy, middle-eastern heft, while powdery and feminine ylang ylang diffuses the incensey-ness. The oil is a blend of apricot oil and sesame oil, so it dries fairly quickly, but leaves the skin feeling nourished throughout the day. I don't do chakras, crystals or anything along those lines, but I love that there's a carnelian stone in the oil. Not that I think it's going to give me any sort of protection, but because Isun is that detailed and thoughtful of a company.

After the massage, I sat in the locker room in my robe, sipping a sweet cup of fresh hot lemon and ginger tea. My cell phone was in my locker, on vibrate, and I could hear my husband repeatedly calling me. I sat there, literally thinking that I felt so wonderful, so healthy—despite so little sleep—that it would be okay if we missed the plane. That a few more hours on this island would warrant the mammoth upheaval of missing our flight. Needless to say, I returned to my senses and ended up on the plane. When we landed back in Seattle, after five hours in a parched airplane cabin, my skin was still glowing and dewy and scented like the spa. Withstanding a cross timezone flight? I can't think of a better testament to the tenacity of a body oil.

Ingredients:
Safflower oil*; sunflower oil*; herb oil (sesame oil*, apricot oil*, ginger root*, cardamom seeds*, licorice root*, orange peel*, sarsaparilla root*, hibiscus flower*, goji berry*); passion fruit oil*; jojoba oil*; rice bran oil*; vitamin E tocopherols; bergamot oil*; clementine oil*; green mandarin oil*; lemon oil*, grapefruit oil*; patchouli oil*; vetiver oil*; sandalwood oil*; ylang ylang oil*; vanilla oil*; jasmine oil*; rosemary oleoresin*; carnelian gemstone.
*Organic or Wildcrafted 

$40 / Beautyhabit