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!


Today is Pratima’s 75th birthday! This woman is a true pioneer of Ayurvedic beauty. Her eponymous natural skincare line, NYC spa, and book Absolute Beauty are not to be missed. Anyone who appreciates the healing powers of herbs, wholesome botanical ingredients, and soothing self care practices could benefit from a dose of Pratima. In honor of her 75th birthday, we’re celebrating Pratima with this special Morning Routine feature. Enjoy!

Name: Pratima Raichur

Age: 75

City: NYC

Current Weather: We’re at the end of Pitta season heading into Vata, low 70’s a bit cooler and hazy.

Skin: Oily & smooth but now that I am a bit older its more combination

Hair: black and wavy

Favorite Star From the Past: Sophia Loren, she’s timeless. (Note: We love Sophia, too, but featured a photo of the beautiful Pratima instead!)

First thing in the morning upon waking…

I look at my hands, say thanks, and ask that whatever will be done through my hands on this day will only go towards helping and serving whomever comes into my life. I learned this from my mother and I’ve been doing it for 60 years. I finish my morning prayers by sending love to my children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, my entire staff, everyone I have known and have yet to meet. I send my unconditional love. loka samasta sukhino bhavantu

Next step in my morning is to clean all the 5 senses.

Mouth: Rinsing and washing mouth, I use Tates Organic Toothpaste and Healthy Gums powder.

Eyes: Splashing cold water at least 21 times with eyes open, this stimulates the optic nerve.

Nose: Neti pot (with warm water and a pinch of salt) I was recently introduced to this beautiful line from Pursoma, which has a great solution for this, sea spray nasal rinse.

Skin: Cleanse with fresh herbs & massage with oil. I use my Vata herbal cleanser and Vata Essential Oil, Age Delay Serum and Amla Collagen Cream.

Sound: I already cleansed by saying the mantras when I woke up.

Then I have black tea with a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom to awaken me.

Next, I perform breathing exercises. I start with kapalbhati for about 10 minutes. I have additional kriyas that I do. Then I always finish with alternate nostril breathing for about 10 minutes. I do about 5 sun salutations, then walk around my house gently singing my mantras. I walk and chant until I am ready to move on. If I have a really busy day and with not as much morning time, I sit on my favorite chair and do the alternate nostril breathing for 5 minutes, this helps to ground me so my mind remains strong and balanced throughout the day.  I never am hard on myself if the proper time doesn’t allow, I give myself the time I need. A lot of these things can also be performed throughout the day with just a few moments of alone time. Even closing the bathroom door in your office and breathing deeply for a few minutes can make a positive difference.

Then I take a shower and use my Organic Herbal Body Cleanser. After I step out of the shower I massage by entire body with Vata Rejuvenating Body Oil and add additional oils on my neck and décolletage for strength and nourishment. I love Shiva Rose’s Rose Face Oil for this, the smell of rose is so delicious on my pulse points in combination with my stress oil.  Its a lovely natural fragrance.

We’re so lucky now, when I was growing up and at the age to start wearing makeup, there were hardly any natural makeup companies. I actually have DIY makeup recipes that have been passed down to me from my grandmother that create natural pigment from herbs and roots. It has been wonderful to see such beautiful and innovative lines come into the market to give women small tools to help them look their best. I support all of them and am excited how the natural beauty industry has come alive especially in the past few years. My staff brings me different ones to try a lot from ABC Home, one of my favorite stores. Some of the brands I am using now and wear most days are, RMS Un-Coverup, in 44 to conceal. W3ll People Creamy Crimson Universalist and Bronzed Rose, such pretty colors! I love playing up the lips, so I use Ilia Lip Conditioner in Lust for Life and Vapour Bold, their Siren Lipsticks have such great pigment. For the eyes I use RMS mascara and just discovered W3ll People Hypnotist Eye Liner, which is beautiful.

I drink warm water and tea throughout the day to help with digestion, detoxify the body, and keep everything in a state of flow. I have fruits and nuts in afternoon for an energy boost.

For me, the most important beauty ritual is talking to people, listening to them, and trying to make a change in their life. Just knowing that I am still able to help people, the joy I get from that is the most important thing for beauty. A lot of people become very sad and stressed because they are unhappy at work; I am lucky that this is not my situation. I am very fulfilled at work, it gives me energy, which comes from joy. That’s what I am able to offer, I receive the grateful energy from other people and I give it right back. It rejuvenates me. It’s the purpose of my life. Before I know it, the day flies by.

In the evening…

I revisit the 5 senses ritual. First thing, I wash my face, cleanse with herbs, and massage my face with Rejuvenating Essential Oil, then apply my Rejuvenating Pearl Cream. I use organic castor oil almost nightly. It is an amazing eye treatment and really hydrates the eye area. I also apply it to my lashes, it helps them grow and become stronger. I then take my Vata Rejuvenating Body Oil and massage my feet, ears and hands. I also massage my scalp with Brahmi Oil to nourish my hair and calm my mind. Before I go to sleep, I boil some organic milk (about ¼ cup) and strain out the fat which is hard to digest and add ½  tsp of organic ghee (you can also substitute almond milk), and a pinch of cardamom powder. This beauty tonic is great for overall digestion, nourishment of the tissues and cells, helps calm the mind to promote deeper and reparative sleep.

When I get into bed, I take some time massaging the bottom of my feet with herbal oil which I keep next to the side of my bed,  which nurtures all the nerves in the body, gets rid of toxins, improves circulation, and is good for brain cells. This also helps me feel peaceful and sleep much better. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. You can do this with any natural body oil you have at home.

Looking at my hands again, I say thank you and give gratitude. I try and let go of any worries in my mind as it is best not to carry burden with you at nightime. Sleeping is a sacred time for whole body rejuvenation — the more peaceful and calm you are, the better your body can repair itself. This is the most important step in true rejuvenation, take advantage of this precious time and give yourself the gift of self care.

These are all simple rituals that everyone can follow, in the beginning start with what resonates with you most and what your time allows.  As you start to implement and see positive changes both inside and out,  you will actually end up having more time as other pieces in your life start to shift and open.

Happy birthday Pratima, and thank you for your contributions to natural beauty and wellness!

22

Help! When Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

Do you exfoliate your face? Do you use a physical exfoliator that scrubs your skin clean with ingredients that grab ahold of and sweep away goop? Or do you use a chemical exfoliator that contains something like fruit enzymes or naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, which dissolve and eat away the dead skin cells? Most of you who practice exfoliation will likely have strong opinions about what type is best for skin (some of you may shun it entirely), but what about the best time of day to exfoliate? That’s what one of our readers, Christine, wants to know. Here’s her question:

I am wondering if you all have an opinion on when to exfoliate your face. I have always heard that your skin is more sensitive in the morning so it is better to exfoliate at night, however I find that in most of your “Morning Routines Exposed” people seem to exfoliate in the morning. Do you have thoughts on this?

Personally, I am a morning exfoliator, and I tend to exfoliate every other day. That may be too much for sensitive skin types, but I find a light, gentle exfoliation really preps my skin for the day and gets my blood flowing. It creates a smooth canvas, so to speak, so that everything I apply afterword—from sunscreen to foundation or powder—goes on without a hitch. Three exfoliating products that are in constant rotation at my house include One Love Organics Brand New Day, May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt, and Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator. I’ve listed these from the most gentle to the most intense. Another reason I exfoliate in the morning is because I oil cleanse in the evening. Exfoliating in the evening would probably invigorate my senses at a time when I’m trying to wind down.

So when do you exfoliate? Does it matter to you what time of day you do it? Why? Tell us in the comments!

19

The New Highlighters In Town

IMG_3248I’m a big fan of the highlighter/illuminator category of cosmetics, as you may have noticed way back in this post.  Both of these new kids are from well known clean beauty brands and are gluten free.  One is vegan.  They are quite different from one another, and different from any other highlighter I’ve tried as well.  I think they will both work on a variety of skin tones, though to different effect.

One of my favorite uses for a highlighter is to press it gently into my un-mascaraed lashes and all around the eyes, close to the lash line.  On its own it makes me feel polished and standard workday appropriate, adding brightness to the eyes and making me look awake, even when that’s barely true.

IMG_3236

KW on top, LBF on the bottom (both applied very heavy so they show up for the pic!)

Kjaer Weis Radiance:  This is my first Kjaer Weis product.  I’ve been wanting to try the brand for a long time (I drool for the packaging alone), but the presence of carmine in the cheek and lip colors held me back.  The highlighter does have beeswax, but is otherwise vegan.  When I heard that there was a new highlighter on the market with a little lavender to it, I knew I had to have it.  Radiance is very creamy and feels nice on the skin, and that pearly beige and lavender undertone is really unique.  It is the most shimmery highlighter I own, and that makes it more of an evening or special day treat for me.  But it is gorgeous and a worthwhile purchase.  ($56)

La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise:  This is part of LBF’s new “more than makeup” line, and is versatile addition to a brand I already love.  It is more gold than the other highlighters I’ve tried, so if you desire that warm honey look, I highly recommend it.  It also stays on the best of any highlighter I’ve used, with its drier texture, and remained nearly unchanged at the end of the day.  It does have what I would consider a strong scent, from the flower wax that keeps it vegan, so be aware of that if you are sensitive.  Keep in mind, I’m practically the scent police – most people probably wouldn’t think much of it.  ($38)

Have you tried these?  How do you use a highlighter?

Whether I’m heading to out for an evening with friends or an important business meeting, I inevitably reach for the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask as part of my preparation. This beta-hydroxy mask is like a reset button for my skin, but it is gentle and calming, so I don’t need any down time between removing the mask and walking out the door. It isn’t the least bit messy, so I can wear it while donning nice clothes or styling my hair. The unique jelly-like texture dries clear and wipes clean with minimal effort. While application and removal is a dream, it’s the effect on my skin that keeps me coming back. Time and time again, the Resurfacing Mask gives my skin the perfect boost — a little glow and fresh, refined features. While it’s equally lovely in the context of an at home spa treatment, this little baby is my going out into the world quick skin fix.

To my delight, Tata Harper has begun to make limited edition versions of the classic Resurfacing Mask that incorporate seasonal ingredients. Last fall it was the Wild Plum Resurfacing Mask, which I reviewed along with the original. The latest edition is the Soothing Apricot Resurfacing Mask, and this may be my favorite one yet. Apricot stem cells are the star ingredient, which helps reduce redness and promote an even skin tone. Ultra hydrating coconut water is also included, which helps lock in moisture and keep skin smooth and soft. I would eat this mask if I didn’t know better, and the calming, slightly sweet scent of apricot is the icing on the cake.

We want you to experience this treat, too! So guess what? Tata Harper is giving one No More Dirty Looks reader the chance to win the Limited Edition Soothing Apricot Resurfacing Mask!

The details: From now until midnight next Friday (like when the clock changes from Thursday to Friday) you can enter to win. You have a few options for how to enter, but the more you complete, the more chances you have to win: follow Tata Harper or No More Dirty Looks on Twitter or like Tata Harper or No More Dirty Looks on Facebook, or tweet about it. You’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win. Good luck!

U.S. residents only

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