Ellis Faas Red (and decidedly, not green)

Ellis Faas–an Amsterdam based makeup artist–is hands down, the most talented one alive. Her raw, exciting aesthetic is both dreamy and visceral. And her work never gets stale; like a David Lynch film or Alexander McQueen film, it always resonates on some level. 

Sadly, her make up line is far from natural. But the shades are all based on naturally occurring colors in the human spectrum. She pulls inspiration from the fleck of teal in an iris, a tawny freckle, or the off-white milkiness of a tooth, which makes her neutrals universally flattering and her avant garde colors wearable. 

I so wish more natural make up lines exercised this much thoughtfulness and restraint when creating their colors! Plus, her Creamy Eyes collection is on the less toxic end of the spectrum and I can vouch that they are very long lasting.

Has anyone ever had trouble finding the perfect red lipstick? One without irony, that doesn't sway too orange, too blue or too retro? Then you'll find the below video very helpful:

New(er) shades from RMS Beauty

Rose Marie Swift is spot on with her wearable neutrals, but I was fascinated by the more daring colors she's recently released. Out of the below, I picked up a pot on Inspire, this mermaid-y blue cream shadow laced with some serious silver shimmer. It blends out to an ambiguous metallic shade, so it's not strictly a blue eye shadow. But definitely the brightest eye polish RMS Beauty has put out yet.

RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Royal

RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Royal

RMS Lip Shine in Honest

RMS Lip Shine in Honest

Swatch of RMS Lipshine in Honest (Isn't it gorgeous?!?)

Swatch of RMS Lipshine in Honest (Isn't it gorgeous?!?)

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Curious

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Curious

RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Imagine

RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Imagine

Swatches of RMS Beauty Eye Polishes in Inspire and Imagine.

Swatches of RMS Beauty Eye Polishes in Inspire and Imagine.

Vert Beauty (Part II)

Folks in Colorado have it so good. Not only does this health conscious state boast more local stores with natural soaps than I could shake a bouquet of dried sage at, but they also have Vert Beauty, a little beauty emporium nestled in an adorable Denver neighborhood.

This visit, I met Amanda (the owner of Vert Beauty, which I didn't know until after we parted ways), who freshened up my eye shadow with a stunning combination of Alima Pure shadows in Breathless and Cypress, layered over RMS Beauty's Myth cream shadow.

The workstation. 

The workstation. 

Red Flower

Red Flower

 I, and the others I was visiting the store with, all got time in the chair with individualized recommendations. Pots of loose bronzer, Ilia coral lip tints and gold Alima shadows were pulled out,  all three of which are easy ways to update for summer.

When my toddler daughter grew ornery and wanted to start finger painting with the RMS pots, I was able to whisk her away to a quiet garden through the back of the store to regroup.

We all left swinging little bags of newfound treasures, but not before surveying the well curated offerings. Behold...

Zoe Organics

Zoe Organics

Ilia Beauty

Ilia Beauty

Just a fractuib of their myriad shades of Alima Pure eyes shadows.

Just a fractuib of their myriad shades of Alima Pure eyes shadows.

Ecobrow Defining Wax

When it comes to brow products, I prefer wax based formulas because they look more natural. The wax has a soft sheen and reflects light like hair, versus powders or pencils which can look flat. I hadn't yet found a non-toxic wax based product to phone home about, so I was excited to try Ecobrow. This small line was developed by a makeup artist and made up of stellar, clean ingredients.

I picked up a pot of "Penelope" and the accompanying brush. However, designed for a brunette, I found the shade was way too red to be natural. Plus, the formula was a bit slippery and took too more effort to control. Eyeshadow, lipstick, eyeliner - it's okay if those products are obvious. But brow products – much like foundation and concealer – should be nearly impossible to detect. This one was a slight disappointment for me, but I think the other colors (Marilyn, in particular) may have potential.

Detox Market / $26

Pratima Skincare

I've been on the fence about Ayurvedic medicine, particularly there being specific health suggestions for whichever of the three categoric Doshas you fall on. Only three? And how applicable is this to a heterogeneous population? But Ayurvedic medicine does allow for caveats and an ebb and flow for gradual shifts in your Dosha.  And the beauty industry is no stranger to stringent classifications, when it comes to skincare, most lines offer you a specialized regimen based on whichever skin type you come up as, (dry, oily, sensitive or normal/combination.) So there's that. 

I've heard about Pratima for years, and heard enough about it from friends on Instagram to reach out to the company to learn more. The founder, Dr. Pratima Raichur, is an Ayurvedic doctor, chemist, botanist and doctor of Naturopathy. The pioneer of Ayurvedic skincare, she began creating formulas to alleviate skin conditions based on her Ayurvedic education, and has been practicing for over 40 years. Even more impressive, Dr. Raichur creates all of her products by hand in her lab just celebrated her 75th birthday last September. Certainly a resounding affirmation that she's doing something right.

It turns out my Dosha is Pitta, and they offer a Pitta tailored regimen for my combination, sensitive skin that breakout very easily. For once, I've found a prescribed (or suggested) regiment to soothe sensitive, reactive skin that breaks out. I'm of the opinion that both sensitive and acne prone complexions are symptomatic of the same underlying problem, inflammation.

PITTA ESSENTIALS STARTER SET (For Combination/Sensitive Skin)

PITTA ESSENTIALS STARTER SET (For Combination/Sensitive Skin)

I received a beautifully packaged starter kit for Pitta complexions, along with their highly lauded Rose Neem Sunscreen SPF 30, a turmeric laced facial mask and  a lightly aromatic body oil. I was in love upon first whiff, and am already planning to purchase refills once I'm down to the dregs.

The herbal cleanser reminds me of One Love Organic's powder cleanser, but it doesn't remove makeup and I prefer it in the morning. Plus, I learned that washing with tepid water is best, especially for reactive skin like mine.

I mixed 3 drops each of the Liposomes antioxidant serum with the Pitta Essential Oil, which smells amazing and is made up of jasmine, sandalwood and rose essential oils, and patted them all over morning and night. My breakouts were quelled, balance was restored and my skin was glowing. The botanical moisture cream was lovely as well, but for me, the oil and liposome concoction ended up being the hero products.

The Pitta Balancing body oil has a touch of jasmine, rose and sandalwood as well, but is much less fragranced than the Pitta Essential Oil and includes two Ayurvedic herbs, Brahmi and Shatavari to promote balance. It's deeply nourishing, and one of the most longest lasting body oils I've found yet.

PITTA BALANCING BODY OIL

PITTA BALANCING BODY OIL

The turmeric mask is potent! It dries quickly, and helps sooth breakouts and mop up excess oiliness without tipping the balance on drier areas. This one I found to be most effective when swiped on minutes before the shower, to allow it to dry before the steam would open my pores to further it's magic. 

SANDALWOOD ROSE MASK

SANDALWOOD ROSE MASK

SANDALWOOD ROSE MASK

SANDALWOOD ROSE MASK

And the Neem Rose Sunscreen SPF 30... I'm hooked. It doesn't give that ghostly glow zinc based sunscreens often have, it's perfectly hydrating but still lightweight enough not to smother my pores in the summer humidity. Neem oil is used extensively within Ayurvedic medicine and beyond for everything from leprosy and malaria to acne and insect bites. And it's widely used in the west as a natural pesticide. This is a top seller for Pratima, and slated to be a staple in my bathroom going forward.

NEEM ROSE FACE SUNSCREEN SPF30

NEEM ROSE FACE SUNSCREEN SPF30

I'm so excited to try out the rest of this line, this indie beauty line is well deserving of the hype.  I've recommended this line to friends who've reported immediate and glowing results soon after. For those who find Tata Harper to be too much (both in active ingredients, fragrance or cost), this line fits the bill. And for those curious about clean, indie skincare brands, I cannot think of a better introduction.

Pratima Skincare / Sunscreen $28 / Starter Set $60 / Mask $40 / Body Oil $28