An Interview with Meow Meow Tweet's Co-Founder Tara Pelletier

You’ve heard me rave about small-batch, vegan apothecary Meow Meow Tweet before, and my love for their lip balm and other products has only grown in the last few months. Now, we’re getting a little peek inside the brand’s process and background from co-founder Tara Pelletier (keep reading for a sneak peek at a #FridayDeal too…).

How did you get interested in green beauty? 
I got interested in green beauty when I was living in Southern California between my undergraduate and graduate school years. I was cooking in restaurants and helped to open a restaurant that was based on farm-to-table food. It was the first time I’d ever been introduced to seasonal menus, ethical ingredient sourcing and the slow food movement. It made me question a lot of what I was doing and how I was participating in the world.

I wasn’t an especially beauty conscious kid. I barely wore makeup except for a few “gothic” years in high school. But maybe that was more like face paint? When I was little I liked to get dressed up in my mother’s clothes and pretend that I was a witch. We joke that I’m living that dream now with all of my potions.

What’s your superhero origin story?

I grew up in Northeastern Connecticut, in a then rural town (my house was on a  dirt road until I left for college). I went to art school in Baltimore and cooked in restaurants to pay my way through school. After graduating, I moved to San Diego and worked in a handful of restaurants there. When I got into grad school for art, I vowed never to cook in restaurants again. I thought that I couldn’t be an artist and have anything else that I was passionate about. Obviously I’ve learned that isn’t true, since I now run this business and also maintain a studio art practice.

How was MMT born?
Meow Meow Tweet was born out of a dissatisfaction with the part time work that Jeff and I were doing in the art industry. We wanted to have more control over our time and to feel like the work we were doing to sustain our lifestyle was important in some way. We were also urban homesteading, with an indoor garden and a vermicompost.

“When we made our first batch of bar soap and it was a success, we thought of this hare-brained idea that became MMT. I still can’t believe that a company called Meow Meow Tweet exists.”
Meow Meow Tweet Co-Founder Tara

MMT has become a successful cult favorite. What makes it unique?
Meow Meow Tweet’s uniqueness comes from its attitude. It’s fun and playful on the outside but serious about what’s on the inside. From the beginning, Jeff and I never wanted to follow design trends and approached the packaging like little gifts that we make for our customers. Additionally, we wanted to make a completely natural vegan line that was just as effective and pleasurable as other non-vegan natural brands. At the time we were having a hard time finding a company that made sophisticated products with all of our ideals. Also, as I mentioned, I’m a child of the slow food movement and so we’ve taken that approach to skincare and to how we function as a company. We believe in little gestures making a large impact.

What’s next for MMT?
We are in the process of developing a new product line which is almost finished and very exciting. Stay tuned for that next Spring! And more immediately, I’m coming out with a side project of my own natural perfumes under another name. You’ll see that later this Fall.

What are your current top five beauty must-haves that you use every day? Fashion/style pieces?
My top five beauty must-haves are my amazing partner, my cats, some leisure time, a good book and a gorgeous meal; because it doesn’t matter what amazing oils and creams I use, I’ll never feel beautiful if I don’t live a good life. In terms of fashion, a well-fitting pair of pants is very important, as many woman would probably agree.

I couldn’t be more excited about a perfume line from Tara, given how much thought goes into MMT. Haven’t tried the fab line yet? Come back tomorrow for a little Friday Deal incentive to stock up!

How to Mater the Fall 2014 Colored Eyeliner Trend

I can’t, for one second, say that I’m glad to be past Labor Day, letting go of the true days of summer. What I can say is that I’m completely excited about a few of the fall 2014 makeup trends. I’ve always been a makeup junkie and if ushering in colder temps gives me a reason to snag some new beauty products, I’m in.

One makeup trend that seemed to really gain footing in spring 2014 is colored eyeliner. Yes, people, it’s coming back around—bright blue eyeliner. But, like any refreshed trend, this one has a bit of a new twist. Read on for an easy step-by-step how to for making this bold look work for you, thanks to my lovely friend Samjahana Shrestha, founder of Embody Beauty. P.S. That opening photo might be the biggest my head has ever been on the Internet.

Step 1: Foundation + Concealer

Like any classy makeup look, you gotta start with a good base. I love love love INIKA’s Mineral Foundation—it has the best coverage of a mineral makeup that I’ve ever used, it doesn’t settle into creases and it somehow leaves you with a glowing, creamy look, even though it’s a powder. It’s been my go-to foundation since I discovered my beeswax allergy, and the only thing that’s displaced it is a liquid foundation that we’ll talk about another time (promise).

Step 1: Start with a good base, like INIKA Mineral Foundation.

We started by prepping my skin with RMS Beauty’s Beauty Oil, which is a great combo of lightweight oils that easily penetrate skin, leaving it glowing. Next, we used the INIKA Kabuki Brush to buff on the mineral foundation in Unity (though Patience has been my summer color, so think about that). We finished the I-just-woke-up-like-this skin look with INIKA’s Concealer in Light, which Sammy applied under my eyes and on a few angry blemishes.

Step 1: Concealer

Step 2: Contour

Most people usually avoid this nebulous of a term and step we call “contouring,” amiright? I know for a long time I was way more comfortable with adding blush to the apples of my cheeks than I was trying to add definition to my face (what am I, a face body builder? Come on.). Well, for this particular makeup tutorial, you want to bring a little natural depth back to your skin, and you don’t want to go very heavy on the blush, since the color is going to be in the eyeliner. So I challenge you: Try a little contouring with a matte, only-slightly-darker-than-your-skintone bronzer like the Satin Matte one in Mauna Loa from Alima Pure. Just use a foundation brush like INIKA’s to brush on a little bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks, like below.

Step 2: Contour

Then, blend it in really well, so you just end up with soft definition. Start with just a teeeeeensy bit and build if you need more. If for some reason you add too much bronzer, grab your kabuki brush and buff it out, adding a little bit of your mineral foundation to lighten things up. See? Totally contoured, just like a blonde Kardashian.

Step 2: Bronzer Contouring

Step 3: Black Eyeliner + Colored Eyeliner

This is the money maker right here. In order to define your eyes without going overboard, we only lined the waterline of my top lashes with a dark pencil to bring out my greenies without overpowering the colored liner. For this, we used INIKA’s Organic Eyeliner in Black Caviar (which I have previously declared as one of my fave vegan liners, and own in four colors). To tight-line those peepers, look up while gently holding your eyelashes against your brow bone. See that inner rim on the top of your eye, right at your upper lashline? That’s where we lined my eyes, to make my lashes look thicker, therefore defining my eye without a heavy line on my eyelid.

Step 3: Eyeliner

Onto the blue! To complement my green eyes, we chose INIKA’s Organic Eyeliner in Peacock for my colored liner. This is the hallmark of this look, so you want to create a thick line on that bottom lid. We lined both the inner rim and the lashline of my lower lid. The formula of this pencil is really creamy, so it doesn’t tug at your delicate eye skin (ew, eye skin). It does smudge a bit over the course of the day, but that only lends itself to a really lovely, lived-in, trendy look.

Step 4: MascaraStep 4: Mascara

The last bit of definition on your eyes is a few coats of mascara on both the bottom and top lashes. Gorgeous. Mascara is always my favorite step. We used INIKA’s Mineral Mascara in Truly Black.

Step 5: Lips

To keep the focus on your eyes, choose a lippy that only enhances your natural lip color by slightly punching it up. For this tutorial, we used RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine in Bloom, but beware, if anyone is following along in my Vegan Makeup Diaries: This is NOT a vegan, beeswax-free product. I just used it for 27 seconds for this photo, as all the other colors we had at our disposal weren’t a match for my natural lips. If you need a great vegan bare or nude lip color, try Gressa Skin’s Lip Boost in Bare or ILIA Beauty’s Lipgloss in Peek A Boo.

Step 5: Lips

And once you do all of that, you end up looking less like a teenager and more like you could actually buy your own alcohol if you wanted to.

Fall 2014 Makeup Tutorial: Colored Liner

Easy peasy, right? Right. So, since it’s so easy, will you try it? Or will you knock out a different fall makeup trend?

 

 

 

Product Review: Laurel Whole Plant Organics

One of my favorite things about the green beauty world as I’ve experienced it is the camaraderie that you feel when you hear the story of how a brand was founded and it aligns closely with your own story of switching to natural products. This is what initially drew me to Laurel Whole Plant Organics (formerly Sequoia Beauty): Laurel, the line’s crafter, started her clean journey when a series of health issues arose. Nothing except natural medicine helped, which inspired her to go back to school to study herbs—and Laurel Whole Plant Organics was born, touting the belief that flower and herb-based skincare from biodynamic, raw, unrefined whole plant ingredients is the secret to glowing, healthy skin.

My story starts similarly, with digestive and lymphatic systems issues that no doctors could solve. So, I took matters into my own hands with lots of research, lots of label reading and lots of annoying soliloquies to friends, family, strangers and anyone within earshot.

Because our paths feel parallel, I had an affinity for Laurel and her line before I got a chance to try it. Then I got my hands on it and it was love at first sight and sniff. That’s why I’m so happy to help welcome Laurel WPO to the A Night For Green Beauty brand lineup! Now, onto the review…

I got to try a number of things from the line, but I want to regale you with my top three favorites, the ones I’ve been using religiously and the ones I’m already scared to run out of:

  1. Facial Elixir for Normal/Mature Skin—This hydrosol contains amazing, hydrating, soothing ingredients that my skin can’t get enough of. My favorite part of the blend is the helichrysum hydrosol, which my skin has been craving lately (it’s in my current face wash too, but more on that later). Helichrysum is a known anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, antiseptic and more. It’s great for healing scars, open wounds and sensitivities. Pair that with powerhouses like rose, calendula, frankincense and licorice and you’ve got a must-have elixir.
  2. Facial Mask: Brighten—I’m having a really hard time not just raving about all these products. This mask is incredible. It’s really gentle on my sensitive skin and I can see it working to repair my scars and dark spots. It has a distinct carrot smell that I find really invigorating in the morning, and it doesn’t contain any clays, which can be drying and stressful to my skin when overused. Comfrey, calendula and gotu kola boost aging skin and provide a glow.
  3. Healing Balm for Face and Body—If every skincare line has a holy-grail product, this is Laurel WPO’s. This balm is magic in a jar. It heals cuts, scrapes, blemishes, bug bites, eczema, dermatitis and more. I recently got a severe underarm rash from who-knows-what and this balm fixed it nearly overnight. Lavender, yarrow and marshmallow combine with, you guessed it, calendula,  comfrey and helichrysum for anti-inflammatory and super healing powers that are unrivaled for me in other healing balms I’ve tried. And, no beeswax!! My skin is healthier and happier.

If you’re looking for a new line to try, this should go to the top of your list. I can’t say enough about the loveliness of its blends, its scents and its performance. Get thyself to their website!

Oh, and did I mention that the first 20 people to the A Night For Green Beauty event on August 7 in LA will snag a treat from Laurel WPO? No? Well, now you know to get there on time! Have you tried Laurel’s line? What do you think of it?

Victoria's Morning Skin and Hair Routine... Exposed!

 

We’re just a lucky bunch of blog readers to get a glimpse inside the beauty mind of La Bella Figura co-founder Victoria Fantauzzi. We’ve raved about LBF’s products before and if you’ve tried them yourself, you know that they’re all winners. Victoria is also a co-founder of A Night For Green Beauty (she’s leading the organizing charge with her team, Goodebox, Pressed Juicery and The Chalkboard Mag!), and we’re so excited to celebrate with her come August 7 in LA (you’ll be there too, right?). But to tide us over, here’s her nighttime skin, hair and makeup routine (including a peek at LBF’s new makeup line!)—exposed!

Name: Victoria
Age: 45
Hometown:  Chicago currently, Barcelona in my heart.
Current Weather: Warm, humid and sunny
Hair: Medium length, wavy, dark brown and virgin. I’ve never dyed or colored my hair.
Skin: Medium, olive complexion
Favorite star from the past: Rita Moreno (and she is still gorgeous, smart and superactive)

Nighttime Routine:

I’m going to be really honest here, these days I’ll would much rather take a nice bath over going out on a Saturday night any time! Alone time, good music and a bath is pure heaven for me. I play a little bossanova or old school jazz and light a gorgeous candle. My favorite is called Yucatan Peninsula by Coqui Coqui and it really sets the mood for relaxation and indulging. I like to infuse my bath water with essential oils or if I’m really needing it some scented bath salts. I then saturate my hair with a DIY mix of coconut vinegar, rose water, a dash of baking soda and hibiscus tea and put it in a bun. My hair, I recently found out is thin and prone to limping much faster these days so a little baking soda boost for volume is much needed plus it cleanses well so I don’t need to wash everyday. I love using Strange Invisible Body Wash in Frankincense and Coriander or Sage and Rose. It’s not too sudsy, feels silky and smells delicious. I also love Osmia Organic soap bars. They lather so well are not drying and smell amazing. My favorite is the Juniper Shea Soap, but you pretty much can’t go wrong with Osmia. Once in a while I scrub down with a Turkish washcloth and Odacite’s Jasmine and Mimosa Body Scrub or May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt. They both smell so good and are gentle enough on my skin.

I rinse my hair outside of the bath in my sink with fresh cool water then wash my hair with either John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo, which is so rich and good for dry hair or my most favorite, International Orange Restore Hair Wash, it’s from a Spa in San Francisco.  I’ve been using their hair products for years and used to buy it from Vert, but when they closed just ordered online. After I wash my hair, I condition with John Masters Organics Rose and Apricot Hair Milk (which I do rinse out although you don’t need to) or Broo IPA conditioner, it has beer in it and it makes hair shine like crazy!

Out of the bath… the first thing I do outside of the tub is moisturize my entire body with our Skin Aficionado Body Oil or during cold winters I’ll use a little coconut oil on my legs and feet while I heat up socks in the microwave so they are well conditioned and warm me up. Then I detangle my hair with another DIY spray of coconut water, rose, neroli and lavender waters with a few drops of Bohemia Verde. I use a comb to detangle and leave my hair to air dry. I hardly ever use a blowdryer. I then cleanse my face with either our Gentle Enzyme Cleanser or raw manuka honey and use night treatments on my skin, a little LBF eye serum and done. If it really is a Saturday night and I’m alone I’ll have a glass of cava and a bit of Vosges Matcha Green Tea and Spirulina Dark Chocolate (superfood chocolate that is amazing and good for you) while reading through the latest fashion magazines otherwise I brew a cup of my favorite Kusmi tea and eat fruit. I have a theory that eating antioxidant rich fruit at night makes your skin look glow in the am. Anyone else do this?

Finishing Touches…

While my hair is drying and I’m drinking tea or wine, I apply another DIY blend of barbary fig seed oil, organic olive and lavender oils to my naked eyebrows and eyelashes for nourishment. I think its important to nourish your eyelashes and brows so they don’t fall out so easily. You can use a cleaned out mascara tube for this. I like to text a few friends or my Mom and sisters funny messages before the day is done. I’m very anxiety filled about death so I make sure to tell the people I love that I love them as often as I can just in case. Then when my hair is finally dry and I’m ready to fall sleep I apply a little perfume on. I really love Aftelier’s Tango and Wildflowers perfumes, Lurk’s RSW005 is another incredible scent and of course the one I created myself called Buenos Aires which is smoky with a hint of mate, roses and violet leaf. This routine puts me to bed instantly.

Nighttime Makeup Routine

When I was little my favorite thing in the world was to watch my Mom get dressed for a night out. She would lay her outfit on her bed and pick her shade of pantyhose (remember pantyhose?) and then decide what color nail polish and makeup she was going to wear. It was the 70′s and everyone was into glamour big time and liked overdone makeup, but my Mom was just so chic with how she applied her products. I just couldn’t wait to grow up and do my makeup at night. I have a lot of fun with evening makeup much more than daytime because I don’t wear much other than mascara, blush, concealer and eyebrow powder. (I have unusually light eyebrows that don’t match my naturally dark hair, so do my sisters. It’s weird.)

Right now since it’s summer I like to show off happy, clear skin and focus on my big brown eyes. I like a tinted moisturizer with a little concealer. I mix up my own tinted moisturizer with a few different colors and an organic moisturizer cream made for babies. I really like the concealer by Studio 78 Paris, it isn’t too chalky, waxy or creamy.

I tend to choose a lot of earth tones like biege and browns for eye color, but at night I go violet or all out with a sultry, smoky eye. I’ve really been loving Studio 78 Paris Tea Time or Mulberry by Modern Minerals. I also like to apply our Brazilian Denise Golden Highlighter right over for a modern disco look. There is just something about violet and gold that looks so good together, especially if you have dark skin and brown eyes.

I’ve also been playing around with our Damn Elvia Eye Shadow which is a silver-black metallic with a bit of violet and looks spectacular as a smoky eye. Very soft and chic and not so raccoon-like for me. I always looked like a crazy raccoon with smoky eyes when I had them professionally done and I’ve never been good with doing my own, but I’m learning. Less is more and using fingers is a great tip and q-tips for underneath your bottom lashline is another good trick.

I’ve also been curling my eyelashes I try not to poke my eyeballs out, but I do notice my eyes look spectacular with thick curled lashes. I really like the Kjaer Weis mascara. It smells amazing, holds well and doesn’t flake and I use it all the time, but if I’m being completely truthful my favorite mascara is not a clean one at all. I don’t use it anymore, but I really do miss it.

If I wear dark smoky eyes I like a toned down look for my blush. Mimosa by Modern Minerals or the gorgeous Demure by RMS are both so pretty. If I wear a violet eye I like our Just Jenna Creme Blush because it’s fun and orchid hued without looking harsh then I apply a little Brazilian Denise highlighter to the top of my cheekbones, forehead and inside my eyes. Suddenly I have magic cheekbones, which is a big deal for me since I have really round cheeks. Then I use a little balm and just a touch of nude lip color and done.

Deluxe Beauty Box 3

Another Monday, another Deluxe Beauty Box from Goodebox and A Night for Green Beauty! We wanted you to be some of the first to get the deets on the next round of amazingness from some of the #ANFGB participating brands. The boxes go on sale at 9  a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET so sign up NOW to receive notice and get on the list to snag one for yourself!

The box features six full-size products from natural beauty brands that are participating in A Night For Green Beauty (August 7 in LA! Be there!). The third box in a series of four, these products are worth more than $350—and you can snag them for only $110 (includes shipping + handling). And, just like with boxes 1 + 2, #ANFGB and Goodebox are donating all the proceeds to Baby2Baby. Kind of the best of all worlds, right?

So, what magical products grace this box? Let us tell you:

  1. La Bella Figura’s Modern Radiance Concentrate
  2. Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap
  3. Beautycounter’s Lustro Face Oil 2
  4. Strange Invisibles Body Wash
  5. Indie Lee’s Calendula Eye Balm
  6. S.W. Basics’ Exfoliant

Don’t forget to take photos of your Deluxe Beauty Box and tag #ANFGB, #Baby2Baby, or #Goodebox. A few lucky lovelies will be selected as winners in upcoming contests to celebrate #ANFGB. And, don’t give this too much thought—the second Deluxe Beauty Box sold out in 19 minutes! Make sure you don’t miss out on this awesome offer.

Buy it now on Goodebox’s site! But hurry!