When I first read No More Dirty Looks and was enlightened to all the toxic things in cosmetics, I immediately swore off of nail polish. I was abstaining from painting my nails for, like, ever, because any kind of polish was suffocating my natural nails, getting into my bloodstream and killing me softly with its colorful song.
This was not a decision I took lightly: Much like my long-standing obsession with lip balm, I was a nail-painting fanatic. I loved how relaxing it was to carefully, meticulously swipe color on my fingernails and toenails, and I did it as a weekly self-care ritual. So, vowing to keep my nails natural was no small feat. And I only lasted about two months before succumbing to the tantalizing stash of rainbow polishes hidden in my bathroom cabinet.
Since I couldn’t contain my nail polish fetish, I decided to go as clean as I could with it. I switched my whole nail polish collection over to three or five-free (meaning free of the five most toxic chemicals found in traditional polish) brands, choosing only classic colors (cause who has cash to re-buy all the trendy colors I only wore a few times?) to restock my kit with. Slowly, over time, I’ve purchased other colors here and there (like an emerald green for my wedding last summer, or a cobalt blue last winter), but I hadn’t found a great base coat or natural polish remover that I could really get behind.
Then I got introduced to AILA Cosmetics. Sound the alarm, people: We have a winner when it comes to natural base coats and polish removers, as well as color selection and staying power!
I started using this line about three weeks ago, and I kind of already want to buy the whole color wheel. Let me break it down for you: Not only is the entire line five-free, gluten-free and vegan, but it also contains ingredients that are actually GOOD for your nails and cuticles! It’s a mini-miracle akin to finding high-performing vegan cream concealers. AILA is formulated by physicians, with the desire to create healthy products for your nails in beautifully curated colors. Here’s what I tried and here’s why I’m in love:
- Prime Base Coat: This bad boy is garlic-infused, which means it’s anti-fungal and nail-strengthening. The base coat might be my favorite part of the line currently—my nails have never felt stronger. It’s weird how just a few times of using it stopped any weakness my nails had as they grew, as well as curbed any peeling or cracking. If you buy one thing from AILA, buy this base coat.
- PFFF UGGGH: If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this color is my spirit animal. It’s like a greige, olive-y, warm-toned stone, and if you could tattoo nail polish on your fingers permanently, this is the color I’d choose. Plus—THAT NAME. And really, all the names of all the colors in the line. Founders Dr. Cary and Sonny were inspired by real-life situations when they named their polish colors and here’s where PFFF UGGGH came from: “Pffff Ugghh is named after Aila (co-founder Cary’s daughter). Pffff Ugghh is what Aila says when she is expressing dissatisfaction or a perceived inequality. The Pfff Ugghh sound is made by first making a motorboat sound with the lips then deeply growling. Use it today to express your dismay (don’t worry we won’t judge), or maybe just do it because it’s fun to say hehe.” Amazing, right? All the other colors have just as cheeky a story—you should probably go read them all, now. (Go ahead; I’ll wait.)
- Shine Top Coat: Until now, my natural polish top-coat testing had left me wanting. Anything that said it was supposed to extend the life of my mani failed miserably by day three. Not this bugger—he holds on for dear life, and my done nails last six to seven full days before chipping, peeling or otherwise coming off. Plus, it lives up to its “shiny” name: It brings a brilliant sheen to my nails, and can be reapplied to enhance the shine.
- Coconut Nail and Cuticle Therapy: This was the product about which I was most skeptical. I mean, it’s just coconut oil—or so I thought. It’s the most soothing, creamy, hydrating coconut oil I’ve ever used. It eliminated a persistent dry spot on my toe in ONE USE, and it softened cuticles, helping get rid of hangnails and peeling dry skin. The proof is in the process by which they extract the oil from the coconut. While most processes leave coconut oils with between 46 and 49 percent lauric acid, the process AILA’s coconut oil goes through leaves 57 percent lauric acid, meaning its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties are higher. And that leaves you with a better, healthier nail bed from which to work.
- 3-in-1 Nail Polish Remover with Argan Oil: Ok, so I may have lied before: This could be my favorite product from the line (or it’s at least tied with the base coat). I have hate hate hated all the natural polish removers I’ve tried. Either they still smell horrible or they still contain toxic ingredients I don’t like or they just plain suck at removing my polish. The last one I had took me an entire episode of The Good Wife to remove. Gross. I don’t know how they did it, but AILA’s polish remover is practically better at removing polish than the toxic brands I’ve used. Plus, it has virtually NO SMELL: My husband doesn’t walk into the room and cough from the scent. It doesn’t leave an oily film after you remove it, and it doesn’t sting any accidental wounds you have on your fingers (I’m looking at you, slightly bloody hangnail). Last, but not least, it has argan oil, which actually moisturizes your hands. If you buy one thing from AILA, buy this polish remover (I know, I already said that about the base coat—you need them both).
Phew! That was a long review (but worth it, right?). I can’t say enough good things about AILA Cosmetics—I’m itching to try all the colors—and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you check it out. Have you tried it? Are there other natch brands that are your favorites?
Today we welcome Munemi, the founder of MUN and the superstar No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum, which she developed to counteract the affects of sun and aging (holy cow it works!). Munemi is also a makeup artist and uses her gorgeous oil on set. Maybe you’ve seen her work in the likes of Vogue, Elle, or Harper’s Bazaar. When we meet her at ANFGB, she’s getting a big hug from us!
Name: Munemi Imai
City: New York City
Current Weather: Summer. Hot and humid.
Skin: Very sensitive. Combination. Dry with oily nose
Hair: Pretty full. Currently no hair dyes. Color – black.
Favorite Star From the Past: Audrey Hepburn
I am a freelance makeup artist in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries. This allowed me to try out many beauty products over the course of my career. And I love and believe in juicing.
In The Shower…
I have a bit of problematic scalp that if I use just anything, I’d have to scratch my head like crazy later. So I am careful when I select my shampoo to make sure it is gentle enough. I’ve tried fair amount of shampoo in the past and currently I have two in my bathroom, John Master’s Organics Spearmint & Meadowsweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo, which leaves my scalp very refreshing feeling, and Rahua Shampoo that is also very gentle for my scalp and do a good job. After rinsing off the shampoo, currently I am using John Master’s Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner and let it sit while I wash my body.
I use a loofah to wash my body. This is something I’ve always used since my childhood in Japan. I like that it’s natural, simple and gentle to skin. I love all the kind of natural soaps. I often buy them during my travels when I find something nice. Also I like Ayurvedic natural soaps too. Currently, I am being very basic and using Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Lavender Castile Bar Soap. After rinsing off my body, I rinse lightly the hair conditioner. Once or twice a week, I use Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant to exfoliate my face, and about once a week a gommage from Morocco using an exfoliating glove for my body.
Outside the shower…
After I come out the shower and dry my skin with a towel, I use a testing formula of MUN face toner with an organic cotton pad to wipe all over my face then put MUN – No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum as a moisturizer. I brush my teeth with natural toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride in it. I’ve been using TheraNeem Organix Neem Toothpaste with Mint for sometime now.
Then I do skin brushing. I use a mitt from my aromatherapy teacher, Michael Scholes. I use a few drops of essential oils on the mitt. When I feel like focusing on detox then I like to use Juniper berry and Grapefruit mix, but during the summer time I’d be careful with Grapefruit due to photosensitivity. Other wise, mix of Lavender, Frankincense and Marjoram is fantastic for both calming mind and stimulating the cells. Most of my essential oils are from him as well. After that I put on a testing formula of body oil that I’ve been working on.
It’s summer time here and sun is strong, so if I am spending a good amount of time outside during a day, I use Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Suncreen & Primer before putting base makeup on. I am not a fan of the scent this one but it gives skin nice matte finish for the humid summer and good base before your foundation. If I know I am going straight into an inside studio all day then I skip this. I use RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-up 22 all over my face as a light foundation then “Un” Cover-up 44 under the cheekbones as light shading. I don’t usually use face powder, as I like my skin with a healthy glow and shine, not matte. It’s more youthful looking.
I curl my eyelashes with shu uemula eyelash curler. This has been the best one for a long time. I recently started using Kjaer Weis Eye Shadows and on my upper lids, I mix Magnetic and Charmed, under-eye just Charmed using a small eye shadow brush. Then I use Tarte Skinny Smolder EYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Onyx to line upper lash line and outer corner of lower lash line and fade it with a cotton swab.
For mascara, I recently started using W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara. It gives lashes a nice volume, length and separates the lashes well, but because I smile a lot, it smudges under my eyes and I could have panda eyes, so I still use this Japanese mascara Heat Jewel to coat this to prevent smudging. It’s a film type mascara to coat the lashes and comes off easily with lukewarm water.Then I fill out my eyebrow with Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in Taupe.
I put Bite Beauty Lush lip tint in Black Currant on my lips to give a hint of color and hydration. It’s a nice berry natural looking shade. I reapply as needed throughout the day.
Thank you Munemi! Ok everyone, raise your hand if you’ve tried MUN No.1 Aknari and share your thoughts about it or Munemi’s beauty routine in the comments.
Join us at A Night For Green Beauty in L.A. on August 7th. You’ll get to try the products mentioned below and more!
Africa Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil — This oil feels rich on contact, but it absorbs quickly and leaves a gorgeous glow in its wake. You know that soft sheen you see on models’ legs or clavicles in the fashion magazines? I’m pretty sure African Botanics Marula Oil is how you get that look. I love applying it to the neck, shoulders, and chest in this summer weather because the finish perfectly accentuates bare skin and provides a natural, uplifting aroma that stays close to your body. Marula oil is fragrant and sweet on its own, but infused with neroli it becomes soothing and lilting. Imagine an orange blossom creamsicle, floral and green but sugary, too. The Neroli Infused Marula Oil is versatile facial oil. It’s perfect for layering under sunscreen during the day or as a nighttime moisturizer. African Botanics branding and packaging gets an A+, don’t you think?
Osmia Organics Water Lily Body Oil — Quite simply, every Osmia Organics body oil I’ve tried is a knockout, and the oil base is perfect for year-round application. As you’ve probably heard before, it’s best to apply body oils to damp—if not wet—skin so that it spreads effortlessly and absorbs better. If you want to apply an oil and haven’t just emerged from a bath, spritz a floral hydrosol on and then apply the oil. Works pretty well! Why am I telling you this? Because when you smell my favorite Osmia Organics body oil — Water Lily — you won’t want to limit its use to post-shower, trust me. Vetiver, juniper, and ginger lily make this a deeply grounding scent with a gentle spicy woods note that is sensual, empowering, and addictive. The scent has amazing staying power for a body oil, and the formula includes some of the great healing oils — borage, sea buckthorn berry, evening primrose, and rosehip seed.
LURK RSW005 — LURK perfume oils really do it for me. From the elegant, minimalist and oh so portable packaging to the incredible scents, I’m collecting them all. These are personal scents that stay close to the body and don’t interfere with others in public. Lucky is the person who nuzzles close to you while you’re wearing LURK RSW005, or the friend who leans in for a hug. The perfume opens with a hint of pepper and a gust of rose. This is not that super antique rose but the soapy, green rose that smells clean and just clipped from the bush. Rose stays present throughout the opening but softens and opens up before settling into sandalwood, romantic as hell, with a little citrus edge. RSW005 is such a turn-on I don’t know if I should apply it to my husband or myself. It makes my heart feel open and sensuous every time.
Zoe Organics Mama’s Ritual — First thing’s first—I’m not a mom, but I’m here to tell you that Mama’s Ritual is for anyone who needs a little TLC. Taking an aromatherapy time out is the perfect way to administer a healthy dose of love to yourself. It’s one of those simple self-care habits that really pays off, and it takes less than two minutes. Here’s how: apply Mama’s Ritual to your pulse points on the inside of your wrists and on the palms of your hands. Cup your hands over your face and breath deeply and slowly in and out for at least ten breathes. Lavender, bergamot, petitgrain, sandalwood, and chamomile elevate your mood and calm your senses. While chamomile and lavender are standards, you don’t often see sandalwood in aromatherapy oils for stress and anxiety, and the inclusion of it here really makes the blend special. It adds rich, woody warmth that balances the sweetness of the chamomile and the herbaceous tenacity of lavender. Inhale. Relax.
What have you tried from these ANFGB brands in the smells-divine category? Tell us how you incorporate scent into your rituals!
This one is for the moms, the mom-lovers, and the practical minded multitasking ladies. We’re sharing the founder of Zoe Organics makeup bag today. This natural skincare line is gentle enough for moms and babies, and you can tell from Heather’s mom/makeup bag that she’s a pro at caring for herself and all the little hands, feet, and faces who call her Mom. Zoe Organics will be at A Night For Green Beauty on August 7th.
Name: Heather Hamilton
Where I live: North Bay Area, California
My relationship with makeup: Minimalist. Most days, my goal is a clean, fresh face. My makeup essentials are those I can keep in my day bag and apply on the run. As mom of 3; ages 8, 6 and 3 years, I am lucky to shower and get out the door on time – so my routine has to be low maintenance. My essentials are those that pack the most punch and help me to look refreshed, whether I’m feelin’ it or not.
My (mom) bag contains my make-up + personal care essentials, a few natural remedies and some on-the-go essentials for my family. Here’s what’s in my mom bag:
W3LL PEOPLE Luminist Mineral Glow – I’m newly addicted to this product. The name says it all. I apply to my cheeks, eyes, shoulders and décolleté and…glow!
W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara – I love the coverage, color and how it goes on. I’m also a sucker for the pretty white tube.
VAPOUR BEAUTY Siren Lipstick in Saucy or Ravish – lip color is one of the products that I feel can transform my look from drab, tired mom to alive and with it! I love the shape and size of these sticks and how they feel on my lips. Often I will layer over Zoe Organics Everything Balm for more sheer color.
SOAPWALLA Deo Cream – fortunately, I’m blessed with my mom’s non-stinky body chemistry. I rarely wear deo, but I like to keep this little sample size with me in case of emergency.
ZOE ORGANICS Everything Balm – the name says it all. This multi-purpose stick gets passed around my family for chapped lips and cheeks, scrapes, rashes, burns, bug bites, cuticles, patches of dry, itchy skin…you name it.
BABO Clear Zinc Sport Stick – I apply face moisturizer with SPF every morning, but there are times when we unexpectedly need some quick coverage. This sport stick is wonderful for lips and faces, ears, necks, and other small areas. It is the clearest zinc formula I have found in a sport stick, so it doesn’t leave you with a white mask.
ZOE ORGANICS Insect Repellent – two of my kids are mosquito magnets and during the summer months, I keep this trial size bottle of Zoe Organics Insect Repellent with me. It smells lovely and works like a charm.
ONE LOVE ORGANICS Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder – this is another mom-on-the-run life saver. I don’t have time every day to wash and style my hair, nor do I feel like I need to. This product is great for the in-between days. I am new to dry shampoo, but so far, so good. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to use and it works! My favorite thing about this product: the fresh gardenia scent!
FIT CHIC HEADBANDS – my cousin gave me a few of these headbands and they are super comfy, come in fun prints and add some extra color to the ponytail days.
ZOE ORGANICS Refresh Oil – this little miracle in a bottle is a product I never leave home without. It’s a perfect pick-me-up when I’m tired or need help focusing and it comes in handy as a motion sickness, morning sickness or nausea remedy.
ZOE ORGANICS Mama’s Ritual Aromatherapy Oil – I developed this product for myself and other busy moms who need a quick remedy for grounding, relaxing and feeling less anxious. This pretty little bottle of aromatherapy makes for a delightful little ritual that can happen wherever you are.
Other on-the-go essentials…
CLEANWELL All Natural Hand Sanitizer – I’m a bit of a germaphobe. I can obsess about hand washing and rant about not touching everything in public places. I prefer this spray cleanser over foam or gel and like the functional, compact container.
BKR water bottle – Drinking a lot of water is something I have to work at – but I know how important it is, so I do it. Having a pretty bottle in one of my favorite colors makes it easier…and if I ‘m not drinking it, there is always a little one who’s thirsty.
**Carryall by FRESHLY PICKED and gold dot cosmetic bag available FALL/WINTER at zoeorganics.com.
Have you tried Zoe Organics? Rebecca loves their Cream!
Look at that gorgeous store. Imagine walking into a brick and mortar shop to find all your favorite natural skincare and makeup lines. Imagine! (Ok some of you lucky birds don’t have to imagine, but until the rest of the country catches up, we can dream…) This is a snapshot of Citrine Natural Beauty Bar in Phoenix, Arizona. While some of you readers are probably lucky enough to have this real-life shop at your disposal, the founder of Citrine wants the rest of you to know you can shop at their online store, and she’s offering you a sweet Friday Deal as a little get-to-know-Citrine perk.
So here’s the deal: Citrine is offering 15% off your purchase through August 1st! Just use the code NMDL at checkout.
We’ve been getting to know a little bit about Citrine Natural Beauty, and we thought it would be great to have the founder, Melissa, tell you in her own words what her business stands for and why she loves green beauty:
Citrine Natural Beauty Bar is the premier destination for natural and organic products, it is home to the most luxe brands in the industry; such as Tata Harper, May Lindstrom, Kjaer Weis, RMS, jane iredale, and many more. Citrine Natural Beauty Bar is where natural and glamour collide in the ultimate supernova of green beauty shopping experiences.
There you have it—a fab Friday Deal with a fun new green beauty retailer. Let us know what catches your eye in the shop!