NYR Organic Wild Rose Beauty Balm

Neal's Yard Remedies, from the U.K., is one of the oldest clean beauty lines, with an extensive catalogue of skincare and makeup with a strong botanical bend. A fantastic introduction to the line is their one pot wonder, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm, a glass pot filled with a golden oil that melts upon contact into a versatile skincare task force. It works as a balancing mask (I love putting this on after a workout and before hopping into a shower; the warm steam really helps this balm absorb and work it's magic), a melting cleanser, or a moisturizer. This balm has been particularly healing for my nose after a succession of autumnal colds, and (don't laugh) I've used this on my infant daughter's dry patches, which has been the only thing to clear them up. Plus, it comes with a white muslin cloth to lightly polish off the treatment, to further up the Downton Abbey vibe.

It's a great addition to a minimalist's top shelf, but what makes this balm stand apart is the elegant wild rose scent (think clean garden rose, not the dated musky variety), which veers decidedly spa-like with the inclusion of Geranium and Patchouli–both of which offer balancing and skin strengthening properties. Plus, it's high in Rosehip Seed Oil—nature's Vitamin A—to help boost elasticity and cell turnover, and Borage, a darling of aestheticians due to its proven inflammatory and nourishing effects.

One bonus method of using this is to melt a small amount in the palm of your hand with a loose foundation for a smoothing, winter-ready glow. I'm particularly fond of this effect when paired with the red lips or smokey eyes seen during the holidays; it's much more modern than a powdery matte face.

Ilia Beauty's New Fall Tools

Ilia Beauty recently launched a pretty exciting Fall collection – so thrilling, in fact, that their limited edition lipsticks completely sold out and only recently were replenished. Amongst the collection, are three serious brush staples that like the tinted lip conditioners and lipsticks that put Ilia Beauty on the map, are game changers in your beauty routine that you didn't realize you needed.

Unlike ephemeral color trends, really good quality brushes are investment pieces to last you years. No squirrel or goat hair here, there brushes are made with durable Teklon fibers.  And yes, there another brushes with synthetic brush hairs on the market that are inexpensive, but they won't perform nearly as well. A makeup artist is only as good as the tools they use, and good brushes will save time in applying and blending. Behold, the (clean) beauty equivalent to a Birken bag. 

The Defining Lip Brush has a metal cap that converts into a long handle. The metal isn't flimsy, but weighted enough to leverage a precise application while not enough to be a burden to tote around in one's purse. Most lip brushes have a flat paddle tip, this has a nice sturdy point so one can first apply the lipstick as a lipliner before filling in. This is a must-have particularly darker lip colors. Precision is critical, so you're not rocking an Alexander McQueen Fall of 2009 Horn of Plenty vibe.

One trick I've done when going out in the evening to formal events is to generously load up my lip brush with lipstick and only bring that for touch ups. 

The Perfecting Buff Brush is a short handled brush designed for stippling cream blushes into the skin. Working the product into the skin is key here for blushes, as it not only gives that glow from within effect, but also helps keep the blush last longer throughout the day. I also like this brush for my cream bronzer or powder blushes as it's thankfully soft – unlike many flat top cream blush brushes. Plus the diameter is perfect for nailing that bloom of blush precisely on the apples of the cheeks.


Lastly, the Finishing Powder Brush is a seriously elegant all over powder brush. I've used it with transparent powders to set, as well as loose and pressed powder foundations. The genius here is that the brush is engineered to pick up just enough product. You won't need to double-dip, or conversely pick up too much product and over powder your face. The domed tip aids in precise application in tricky places like the sides of the nose, and seamlessly blends everything together. Just like all good books need a great editor, every well done makeup look requires great blending. Using this gorgeous brush both nails the job, and feels indulgent.