Let’s Talk Eye Makeup

I’ve never really liked eye shadow. It’s always made me think of either young girls trying to look older, or older women just trying to do too much. Because of this admittedly unfair Tammy-Faye-Baker bias, it’s the one product category I’ve never played with. Until now.

Call it the holidays, or boredom, or the fact that lately I only want to dress in black and white, but I’ve been feeling that familiar ache to change up, and amp up, my makeup look. So a few weeks ago I took a trip to my friend Jean’s store, Evolue—it had been ages since I made the journey across town for a visit—and had a little makeup shopping spree.

First I stocked up on old faves, like my Jane Iredale’s Active Light Concealer in both number 2 and 5. Then I decided to buy some brushes. Siobhan has one at her place that I use when we have sleepovers a few times a year—and because we usually stay up late into the night gabbing (OK, and drinking), I tend to need the extra concealing help. So I got one like hers: mid-size, a bit stiff, great for spot applying Laura Mercier mineral powder. Still a fave, as her new routine attests.

Then I surprised myself. For the first time ever I tried RMS’s karma shadow. I love RMS—who doesn’t here?—but I’d never given those eye pots a second glance despite the fact that S reviewed karma here, and many a Morning Routine has mentioned it.

At first I used it (with my other new small flat brush) more like a smokey eyeliner, which is no departure for me at all. But this past week I’ve been throwing caution to the wind and straight up covering my lid with it! And I love it. It’s more intense than what I’m used to, but it’s not in the least bit garish.

Are you adventurous with your eye makeup?

My next big move is going to be to try a cat eye with it—as demo’d here by Spirit of Spirit Beauty Lounge. I also came across this Refinery 29 video of Kate Moss’s makeup artist showing how to do a cat eye with a regular old pencil—has anyone tried this? Just as soon as I find a pencil sharpener I’m going to…


Product Review: Greenbody Greenplanet

When I went clean, it was a real challenge for me to find hair products that are vegan, gluten free and unscented, so I was very happy to hear about this sweet little company in a morning routine a while back.  I really, really love their products.

As their website says, “Never again will you sacrifice fabulous hair days for a desire to live a ‘greener’ lifestyle.”  I have to say I agree!

Greenbody Greenplanet: They have two lines of shampoos and conditioners, and both come in scented and unscented versions.  Revitalizing is for dry/distressed hair, and Energy is meant for normal/fine hair.  I’ve tried both lines, and smelled the scented versions, but have not tried them because the scent is too strong for me.  If you like ylang ylang and geranium you may love them though.  With my thick, curly/wavy hair, my personal faves are the Revitalizing unscented products.  What many people miss in clean shampoos is the lathering.  These shampoos really do lather, and yet don’t irritate me like SLS-containing products. The shampoo does its job so gently, I often don’t need to use the conditioner in the shower.  Actually, my favorite use for the conditioner is as a leave-in.  It’s one of my all time favorite leave-ins, clean or not.  I also like the conditioner on its own in the shower for no-shampoo days.  The products aren’t cheap ($24/8oz bottle), but you only need a little product for each use, and there’s free shipping on orders over $40.  Plus, the company offers sample/travel sizes, so it’s super easy to try them out.

Have you tried this brand?  Are you tempted?

It’s been well over a year since we started the morning routine series. They began on a “really hot, muggy, humid, generally gross” August morning in 2011, because we thought it would be fun to share with all of you the products that we use every day before we leave the house. Now, you guys send us yours, and they’re consistently inspiring to this vibrant community of natural beauty lovers, am I right?

Since it’s December 2012, and my life, as well as my routine, has changed, I thought I’d give it another go. I’m a Scorpio, which, among other things, means I’m fiercely loyal and I like what I like. It’s fun, looking back, to see which products I’m still using. Still, some were traded out for products I like even better. (Warning: This post is long, because it’s doubling as a gang of new product reviews. You might want to skim—or grab a snack.)

Name: Siobhan

Age: 34

Current weather: It’s been a mild, climate-changey winter so far, with some rare chillier days.

Hair: Blonde, long, wavy when air dried.

Skin: Irish. Which is to say, reactive, sensitive, pale, a little freckly, and pale. Did I mention pale? Oh, and reactive.

In the shower…

Most days, I shower rather speedily. Since I don’t typically wash my face in the morning, my shower routine is pretty straightforward: I dry brush before I get in the shower, then I wash my hair. My new go-tos are Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe shampoo and conditioner. I’ve run out and repurchased them several times because they leave my hair super shiny, manageable and smelling great. I don’t have overly dry hair but I live in fear of it, and these two products give just the right amount of moisture, without feeling greasy. A couple of times a week, I swap out IN for the Seaweed Bath Company’s argan oil conditioner. It has wax pretty high up on the ingredient list, and I find it reliable on days when I want my hair to hold a style.

If I wash my face, I use Kahina‘s or Marie Veronique Organics’ (new obsession—I love the whole line), which is slippery and cleansing without being overly drying. If I’m too lazy to make my own body scrub, which is most days, I use a squeaky-clean new one by the Brooklyn-based Metropolis Soap Company in honeysuckle and violet. My new go-to bar cleanser is the Activated Charcoal Soap by Soapwalla. It’s technically a face wash but I’ve been using it on my body. It contains activated charcoal and tea tree oil, and it’s also made in Brooklyn, which is neither here nor there, but kind of neat.

If I’m feeling under the weather or if I’m showering before bed, I massage my chest with Hope Gillerman’s Travel Remedy. The essential oils support immunity, promote restful sleep and make my tiny apartment smell like a spa. Which is nice.

Outside the shower…

Very few things I hate more than applying moisturizer on my body, but I do it almost every day. These days I alternate between Weleda’s New Rose Pampering Body Lotion (I love this stuff) and Vered’s Muscle Soothing Massage and Body Oil, which has been especially helpful since I bit it on the subway stairs the other night, had to get stitches, and seriously bruised up both my calves. (Pro tip: Don’t fall in the subway. It hurts.)

Once this tiresome step is done, I apply Soapwalla Deodorant, spray my face with either Kahina’s Toning Mist or Marie-Veronique Organic’s Anti-Aging Mist, and rub in a touch of Kahina’s Brightening Serum. Sometimes, I apply a dab of Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm, which I still swear by for night. If I look tired, I apply a Rejuvenating Eye Cream by Amala. It’s cocoa bean-based, which helps constrict blood vessels to reduce puffiness, and works almost as if by miracle to eliminate undereye bags. (Before bed it’s still La Bella Figura.)

Next, I apply Suntegrity Sunscreen, which got the #1 rating from the EWG this year for lotions with SPF. Who wants to shoot me first? Because the stuff contains (mineral-based) dimethicone. I have decided I can deal with it in this product because the ingredient deck is otherwise very clean, and because it’s the most effective, versatile and cosmetically appealing sunscreen I have ever tried. And I have tried many. It works kind of like a BB cream. I’ve finally found one I want to use every day, and this is it. You’re welcome? I’m sorry? Whatever? I love this product.

Finishing touches…

If I have meetings, which I usually do, I will follow with Suki Tinted Active Face Moisturizer in Porcelain, for an overall evening-out effect. I’ll set that with Laura Mercier loose minerals in Sand, line my eyes with Bare Minerals’ (unfortunately very messy) loose eyeliner in black, applied with a stiff damp brush. I keep my face simple for day, so that means I might swipe some RMS Beauty lip2cheek in Smile on cheeks and lips or some W3LL People Universalist in the peachy color, and dab on some Living Luminizer. I also love Ilia in a bunch of different colors. If I feel like a very bold lip, I’m probably cheating with non-naturals from Bite or Chanel.

For mascara, it’s either 100% Pure or the new thick-as-hell “Fake Out” one from Organic Wear (the pink tube) or both. Some days, I fill in my super-pale eyebrows with NVey Eco Eye Shadow Palette in No. 3. It’s not meant for brows, but it works. If I’m really going for it, I apply a touch of color to my lids, too. Makeup tends to scream on my face, though, so I use a light touch.

Finally, my perfumes of choice are still Lotus Wei Infinite Love or Tata Harper Irritability Treatment (as a perfume), or both!

Couple things, before I go: First, I don’t always follow all these steps. Second, I now fear I sound way more high-maintenance than I actually am. Any products here that you love too? Anything new to you?

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Name: Katie Drummond

Home: Brooklyn, NY

My dietary leanings: After following a strict vegan diet for around 12 years, I’ve spent the past 16 months embracing all the food out there—from Greek yogurt and smoked gouda cheese to shrimp and (yes!) hamburgers. It’s been a wild, delicious, and overall very healthy (for me) transition. That said, my boyfriend and I tend to keep things vegetarian at home. For us, that includes cheese, eggs, yogurt, and milk. And my meat consumption is still fairly limited (although I’m open and eager to try anything, and really should eat more fish, because that stuff is good for you!). In previous years, I’ve struggled to eat enough for my active lifestyle, so I now make a conscious effort to eat regular, well-rounded meals.

My favorite vegetable:
It depends what we’re talking about here. For easy, after-work meals or packed lunches, my go-to veggies are raw carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. All delicious plain, or dipped in hummus, guacamole, and even nut butters. If I’m actually preparing a vegetable, or enjoying some at a restaurant, I can never say no to Brussels sprouts, kale, or a big plate of roasted vegetables.

For breakfast…

I get up pretty early to go to the gym before work (assuming I’ve slept enough the night before, and limited my wine consumption to a reasonable level) so I try to eat a small breakfast around 6AM even if I’m not hungry. Today’s was a sandwich on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread: Mixed greens, sliced tomato, two hardboiled eggs (from Trader Joe’s, because if I’m gonna turn on the stove…I’d rather cook something more interesting), and a generous slather of hummus. Of course, washed down with the requisite cup (okay, three cups) of coffee.

For a snack..

Ravenous by 10 AM, as usual, so I opted for a 2% Greek yogurt and a Honeycrisp apple. I’ve been eating this snack since I departed from veganism, and it’s my favorite, hands down. Something about the combination of apple and rich, plain yogurt…magic. Plus a ton of protein; can’t go wrong.

For lunch…

Today’s lunch was brought to you by the Indian place down the street from my apartment. A tupperware container of cauliflower-potato curry, chickpea curry, and a few Tandoori vegetables, polished off with a piece of whole-wheat roti. Okay, a little bit spicy for a midday meal at work (sorry, co-workers, about the breath thing) but totally worth it.

For dinner…

Dinner at home is usually where things get lazy. I’ve been up since 6, already packed a snack and a lunch for work that day, I’m tired, and I just really want to sit around and watch TV. Enter Trader Joe’s, where you can buy bags of shredded Brussels sprouts (among other wondrous convenience foods). Tonight, I decided to experiment: Sauteed the Brussels in olive oil, added mushrooms, a few handfuls of crushed walnuts, cubes of extra-firm tofu, the spices I had on hand, and some salt and pepper. A Brussels sprout stir-fry, I guess? Actually very good. Washed it down with two large glasses of wine, because it was Monday and because I love wine.

For dessert…

A homemade peanut butter and jelly bar (the recipe is from an old vegan cookbook of mine, and has been a family favorite for years). This is basically a crust made from flour, sugar, peanut butter, baking soda, and salt, a layer of strawberry preserves, and a chunky peanut butter topping. SO. GOOD.

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Do You Take Anything To Help You Sleep?

If we don’t get our Z’s in these parts we turn into pretty unhappy girls. Neither of us struggle too badly, luckily. A little chamomile tea and Siobhan is out like a light. As for me, I very occasionally take some magnesium if I’m having trouble cooling my jets. It seems to work. How bout you—any natural (or other) sleep supplements?

Today Well+Good takes us through five natural remedies that are proven to work, with expert input from the likes of Dr. Lipman and Dr. Weil. Enjoy!

Ambien and other prescription sleep aids have become a stressed-out New Yorker’s best friend (and a $14 billion business). But they’re not necessarily the solution for green-juice-drinking healthy types who prefer a drug-free route to seven solid hours of shut eye.
Because it’s also exhausting trying to find an herbal remedy that actually works, we got recommendations from Jim Nicolai, MD, Medical Director of the Andrew Weil, MD, Integrative Wellness Program at Miraval in Tucson, and functional medicine expert, Dr. Frank Lipman, MD.

Here are the effective, herbal sleep supplements they say will gently help you doze off and get your beauty sleep without a drug-addled hangover.


If you’re someone who has trouble falling asleep (rather than waking in the middle of the night), melatonin is the best option. This is a big one for anyone who lives in a city, travels a lot, or has an abnormal sleep-wake cycle (AKA parents of young children).

“Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s released in cycles throughout the day. It keeps us alert during the day and at rest during the night, and it is what our body needs to in order to sleep,” Dr. Lipman explains.

How it works: “Many people don’t have high enough levels of melatonin at night, so adding the supplement can help you fall asleep,” explains Dr. Lipman.

2. Holy Basil

If you’re under a lot of stress (or going through something emotional) and consistently wake up in the middle of the night, holy basil’s for you. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and “creates a sense of calm by lowering anxiety and depression.”

How it works: Stress disrupts cortisol’s regular rhythm, Dr. Nicolai explains. “Often cortisol spikes between 6 and 8 a.m. to wake us up, but stress causes this spike to go backwards, waking us at 3 or 4 a.m. and holy basil can moderate this cortisol response.”

3. Valerian Root

If your racing mind causes you to wake up in the middle of the night so often that you’re considering medication for help staying asleep, Valerian root is your friend.

It helps calm the nervous system, says Dr. Nicolai. “It can be very helpful in creating a low level of calm without causing a major hangover or histamine coma or fog.”

How it works: “It’s a mild sedative that lowers the anxiety response and promotes relaxation and sleep,” explains Dr. Nicolai.

4. 5-Hydroxytryptophane (5-HTP)

If you struggle with the winter blues and depression, mood-boosting 5-HTP might help add some extra hours of Zzzs. A more modern supplement, for decades Europeans have used 5-HTP to treat sleep and depression.

How it works: This amino acid is the building block of melatonin and it converts to serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, says Dr. Lipman. “Because 5-HTP is the precursor of serotonin and necessary for melatonin formation, it’s very beneficial for mood and sleep.”

See the last recommendation here.