Where I live: Oakland, CA (across the Bay from San Francisco)
My relationship with makeup: Reformed. I’ve been in a love/hate relationship with makeup since puberty. I grew up wishing I could wear makeup like my older sisters did, but I wasn’t allowed until I was sixteen. For a while, I would sneak my sisters’ old and discarded eye makeup and blushes (gross, and so not the right shades for me) and apply them on the school bus, wiping it all off on the way home. When I was finally allowed to wear makeup, I was in a phase of not wearing much. I went back and forth several times over the years, with periods of wearing or not wearing color. But I always had some type of concealer. For many years, I only used makeup to cover up my real or perceived imperfections. As if the circles under my eyes or big zits were less noticeable with makeup. When I discovered mineral makeup in my thirties things took a positive turn, and I was also taking better care of myself, which showed in my skin. Then when I went clean a few years ago, I learned to love makeup. I still use it partly for concealing, but mostly for enhancing now.
I have a ton of stuff, though I don’t wear much all at once. I always use a light, protective base. Color wise, I’ve been doing two looks lately:
1. Illuminator for lashes, lids, cheekbones, and just a touch under the eye, plus cheek and lip color.
2. Mascara, illuminator for eyes and cheeks (sometimes it’s good to embrace the pale), and maybe a subtle lip color.
Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation: I apply this under eyes, on lids, and any blemishes with their Concealer Brush. It covers perfectly, and only requires a light touch to do its job, which means no creasing. My shade is Olive 1, and they have such a variety I think anyone could find a match.
DIY Finishing Powder: Equal parts Alima foundation, kaolin clay, arrowroot powder, and rice powder applied all over (including around eyes) with a flat kabuki brush gives a nice finish, retaining the look of bare skin that’s neither dry nor oily.
RMS unpowder: The teensiest bit of this gem applied to just my forehead with a Lili Lolo baby buki brush means absolutely no excess shine, ever. No matter what. I’m pretty dry at my age, so I wouldn’t use this on the rest of my face, but I highly recommend experimenting with this if shine is ever an issue for you.
Ilia Illuminator: Polka Dots & Moonbeams is my standard, but the slightly more golden, limited edition Cosmic Dancer is lighting up my eyes and cheekbones lately. The Ilia illuminators are perfect for lashes on no mascara days.
RMS Buriti Bronzer and RMS Lip-to-Cheek in Diabolique: I am obsessed with these right now. They compliment each other and also layer amazingly well (either work on cheeks or lips). I have never been into bronzers, but when Buriti launched I had to try it. On cheeks, it doesn’t look like I’m faking a tan, just like I’m not my typical True Blood vampire pale. On lips, it is the perfect nude-ish, almost-shimmer shade. And I love Diabolique so much, I had to buy a second jar since it’s a limited edition. It’s my current favorite for a bolder lip. I find the color stays on cheeks the full day when layered over Buriti, otherwise it will fade somewhat over the course of the day, as with most cream blush.
Ilia mascaras: I was so excited about Ilia’s mascaras when the new phenoxy free formula came out that I was wearing mascara every day for a while (when I had gone months/years without). It’s fun to change up the color, and Asphalt Jungle and Macao are both lovely.
Afterglow’s Perfecting Under Eye Concealer: I’m experimenting with this a bit lately, using the palest shade, Meringue. I like just a touch under the eyes, and a light brush of my usual Alima foundation over it. It’s a good option for brightening without the finish of an illuminator, and I love that it has de-puffing and anti-aging ingredients.
Some long-standing faves that will eventually be back in the rotation are Alima blushes (like Apple Blossom), Juice Beauty’s Irresistable Glow Highlighter and RMS eye shadows (like Karma, Magnetic, and Solar). My other Ilia lipsticks/conditioners/crayons make occasional appearances too (Ink Pot, Lust For Life, Femme Fatale, Desert Angel, These Days, Come Undone, Dress You Up). Huh. I think I may have an addiction there.
What’s in your makeup bag this time of year?
It’s December, people. And though some of us maybe finished our holiday shopping over the long, sale-filled holiday weekend, others of us may not be that on top of things. Enter this gift guide.
I love gift-giving. I have an entire secret Pinterest board dedicated to gifts for others so when my husband or sister or best friend mentions something they’ve been coveting, I have a safe place to stash the idea for later. This year, I’m doing beauty-related gifts for many friends, so I wanted to share a few of my fave pressies. Check them out below (for all budgets, for all kinds of beauty gals).
For the clean beauty skeptic: Since swapping clean products into my whole beauty caboodle, I’ve tried to convert as many friends as possible to the clean beauty movement. Some are more hesitant than others, and the ones who I have the hardest time convincing are the ones most concerned about cost. So I point them to a multi-tasker that usually woos them to trying more clean products: Acure Organics’ Argan Oil. It’s a hair-smoother, a cuticle oil, a face moisturizer. And it has a friendly price point if they want to repurchase for themselves.
For the beauty aficionado: The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Winter Glow Gift Set. I’ve talked before about how much I love the Vitamin D Mist, and this set boasts that toner, plus a yummy Vitamin C serum that even my mom loves (and she used to use only Vaseline to moisturize her face). Top those off with a colorless face powder and angled kabuki brush help you hit this season’s matte face look and you’ve got a great combo for a girlfriend who’s a tad more in-the-know.
For the makeup maven: I can’t say enough about loving Alima Pure’s wide range of mineral foundations, but now I love their eyeshadows and mascara as well. Their holiday set, Me Encanta, comes from a collaboration with green makeup artist Kristen Arnett. I love love love the navy shadow included in the kit (I used it as a liner) and the blush is my all-time favorite color (I wore it for my wedding, for Pete’s sake). There’s even a how-to video on creating a subtle look with the liner, contour powder and blush. Fool proof. And a perfectly well-rounded present.
For the jet-setter: This Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster from La Bella Figura Beauty is one of those things I’m not sure how to make it through the day without. It smells like sunshine, it sticks around for a looooong time and I’ve gotten dozens (not exaggerating) compliments on how I smell, even after not showering for four days, when I’m wearing this puppy. It calms me—and anyone who smells me—down and makes every hurried day, full of airplane travel or just regular old commuting, better.
If you’re on a budget: Much like I am. Alexandra once blogged about why she loves gifting aromatherapy, but let me add to her points by saying it’s a super easy way to customize gifts and to not have to pick out makeup colors. You know your best friends; you know what’s bugging them. Therefore, you know what aromatherapy might benefit them. (Plus, we have a kick-ass deal going on with Essence of Vali until the end of the year. Save your dollar bills and give gifts your peeps will love.)
Or, do a little DIY for the holidays. Get some cute plastic bottles and fill them with a DIY dry shampoo. Or a body scrub. Or a lip balm. The thought goes a long way (and if your friends are like mine, they’ll be thrilled you took time to make them something, not just swipe your credit card.)
For the boy: Olie Biologique JUST released a Whisker Oil for before and after shaving. It smells manly and helps reduce redness and irritation. Or check out the body soaps from Osmia Organics. I only got my husband to switch from Dove when he smelled these babies. (Get a body oil for yourself while you’re at it—Water Lily is my fave and I started wearing it as a perfume.)
What did I miss? What are you snagging for friends, family or S.O.s?
In the shower…
Outside the shower…
I then put on my cozy plaid robe and have some oatmeal and green tea while snuggling with my cat before doing my hair and makeup. It’s my time to relax before my hectic workday begins.
Thanks for sharing Ariel! Love the sound of the Midnight Honey Body Oil and cuddling with cats, too.
Meet Carla! She has a lovely routine, but got there the hard way. Can anyone relate to her experience with facials? We love her tips, especially her lazy girl version of oil cleansing—sounds so relaxing!
Hometown: San Jose, California
Weather: Crisp, dry and sunny
Skin: Pale with yellow undertones
Hair: Thick, long and brown
Starlet: Lupe Vélez – the Mexican spitfire
I became obsessed with skincare when I had a bout of hormonal acne after getting on and off the pill in college. I tried everything from micro-dermabrasion to eating salmon everyday all in hopes of having clear skin. The more I visited my esthetician for glycolic acid peels and deep pore facials the worse my skin looked. I always felt horrible after a facial and resigned myself to hide for a week in its aftermath. There had to be a better, cheaper and more natural way.
The silver lining of unemployment is how inventive one can get on a budget. I ditched all the products with harsh, stripping ingredients, sugar and dairy and embraced simple skincare products and vegetables. My skin has never looked better. It’s been six years now but I no longer get facials or peels, use face wash or hide because of a break out. So for any girl out there suffering with hormonal acne, I hope my daily routine helps.
On a winter morning, I splash my face with lemon water. I found that using filtered water on my face has made it smoother and less dry. Then I spray it with some Evan Healy rose water tonic and apply DeVita Solar Protective in SPF 30 with Hyaluronic Acid on my face and neck. This brand is light, doesn’t leave a white mask and keeps skin plump and moist. If the weather is very dry, I use a moisturizer as well. I still haven’t found an ultimate winner but my fall back is MyChelle’s Unscented Pumpkin Renew Cream. It leaves skin moisturized all day and absorbs well for make up. Finally I apply MyChelle Magnolia Fresh Eyes. It’s more for those with puffy eyes than those who need something to combat wrinkles. After I have a warm cup of lemon water with a bit of cayenne. I make some blend of green juice like celery, cucumber, beet, lemon, fennel and cilantro. I also take Udo’s Choice probiotic and Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Blend capsule. In combination, both have done wonders for my skin tone and healing of old scars.
I don’t use make up everyday but when I do I use Well People Foundation Concealer around the eyes and nose, very natural coverage that blends easily. Then I apply Mineral Fusion Loose powder. It does have Phenoxyethanol but it has such a beautiful creamy coverage, so I use it anyway. I use Alima loose matte blush in Mimosa year round, a lovely pink that brings a natural flush to your cheeks. Alima makes the nicest make up brushes too. My favorite black eye pencil is Mineral Fusion in Coal. It goes on smoothly and is super dark. Most days I just curl my lashes and leave it at that but when I want to be fancy I use the Kjaer Weis mascara. I also use Kjaer Weis Cloud Nine as an eyeshadow base and am very happy with the subtle sparkle. Finally for lips, my new favorite color is Well People Universalist multi-use colorstick in No.6. It’s a golden red and looks perfect topped with Well People Paganist 2 Gold Twinkle. My lip balm is Acure Dark Chocolate and Mint argan oil lip balm, it does its job, is affordable and clean.
I never got into bathing in the morning so when my day is over I dry brush. Then I take a mineral bath with Dead Sea salt for magnesium and Aztec Secret Healing bentonite clay. These ingredients balance the tap water so it is not so harsh on the skin. I use a very diluted mixture of Dr. Bronners soap and wash with an Ayate fiber body cloth. I have skin that likes to be exfoliated often because I have keratosis pilaris on the back my arms and legs. I wash my hair 1 to 2 times a week with Acure Argan oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve tried other expensive brands and this one is still the best for my thick and wavy hair that tangles easily. If I have had a pretty chill day, I don’t shower or bathe save the necessary places, a whore bath they call it. It has helped my skin retain moisture.
I do a lazy girl version of oil cleansing. I pour some olive or coconut oil in my hands and massage my face while filtered water is boiling in the kettle. Sometimes I add lemon juice or baking soda to the oil for gentle exfoliation. Then I pour the water onto a face towel and steam twice then wipe off the excess. I leave a little to moisturize and I am done. If I don’t use make up I sometimes don’t wash my face at all. Since I fuss with my skin less it’s clearer and calmer than it has ever been. About three times a week I massage a jojoba oil frankincense blend or Evan Healy Pomegranate Repair Serum with Sea Buckthorn oil. Always making sure to massage up and out and a circular motion around my mouth. When I camp or go on a trip I only take coconut oil for my beauty needs. A miracle.
Thank you Carla and everyone else who submitted routines over the last week! We can’t wait to share them all!
It’s Makeup Monday time again! This week, I reveal my lip color obsession to the world. Opening up my makeup bag feels a little like walking down a runway in my swim suit—what will people think of me? Thankfully, this loving community is the perfect place to spill the powder. Oh, and let me clarify: This is just my everyday makeup bag. I didn’t dig into special occasion shadows and liners.
Name: Nicolle Mackinnon (I just got married, y’all, so sorry if it’s been confusing on my last name—formerly Westlund)
Where I live: Minneapolis
My relationship with makeup: Consistent. I’ve been a makeup lover and hoarder since middle school when I started copying popular-girl Jamie’s white liner routine. In high school, I scoured beauty magazine lists for the best drugstore makeup (what ninth-grader can afford Dior unless their parents pay for it?) and matched my eyeliner to my outfit every day (no, I’m not exaggerating—I even had a lime-green liner for pairing with my favorite lime-green tee). Lipgloss has always been my jam and I had one makeup bag fully devoted to the colored stuff all through college. Now, I’ve refined my tastes and spend a little more dough on each product I use to ensure my face is as happy as I am. My magazine-editor-from-home work situation gives me flexibility to wear basically no makeup daily, though I rarely go anywhere without at least powder and mascara. I like to punch it up with liner and shadow for special occasions but mostly, I just want to look fresh-faced.
What’s in my makeup bag:
Tinted moisturizer: All the NMDL girls have raved about the Juice Beauty CC Cream and that’s my daily go-to because it works and it has sunscreen in it. I use my Jane Iredale The Handi brush for putting this on. On days when I’m feeling a little more blemish-y or am going out at night, I go with 100% Pure’s Healthy Skin Foundation.
Powder: I use Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation (powder mineral) with a retractable EcoTools Kabuki Brush. Alima is the best I’ve found because of its many shades and tones and its coverage (plus, it’s got a lovely price point). I also top myself off with W3LL PEOPLE’s Realist X: HD Matte Mineral Setting powder when I’m feeling a little shiny (not every day).
Concealer: I use Jane Iredale Active Light Under-eye Concealer under my eyes every day. I love its smoothness and creaminess for that delicate area. I also use an old, too-light-for-my-whole-face Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation as a powder concealer on any spots that stick out even after my tinted moisturizer (my old Bare Minerals Concealer Brush is perfect for those pesky guys).
Eyeliner: Jane Iredale strikes again—I use her liner in black/brown, topped off with an espresso-colored powder liner from Modern Minerals. That combo has been my go-to for about two years, but I recently bought RMS Beauty’s Cream Eyeshadown in Karma, and that, with a stiff liner brush from Sonja Kashuk, has usurped liner duty from Jane and Modern.
Eyeshadow: I don’t wear eyeshadow daily, but for special occasions, I was using a palette from Bobbi Brown (cheater!). I gave that up last month for RMS Beauty’s Solar+Karma Cream Eyeshadows and haven’t looked back.
Mascara: After mineral powder, this is probably what I’m most picky about. Yes, it was me who started the clean-mascara email chain a few weeks ago that led to a post on this site, and yes, since then, I’ve bought five new mascaras. Five. Gross. I have really long lashes already but need thickness, which clean mascaras have a hard time doing. I was loving 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Mascara, but I was bored. I tried Zulu’s, Reviva Labs and ILIA Beauty’s, all which fell very short (too liquid-y or only barely boosted volume). Then I went back to 100% Pure, plus Josie Moran’s GOGO Argan Mascara. Still unhappy, I was ecstatic when Pure Anada’s mascara arrived in the mail the very next day (review to come!). It’s my new fave clean mascara with lots of volume-boosting power. It’s almost like it’s dirty.
Luminizer: Yep, I’m on the RMS Beauty bandwagon–nothing beats the Living Luminizer for me.
Lips: My babies. I loooove lip color. I love how you can enhance your look with just a touch of lippy—and I love not having to do up my eyes when I can swipe on a good red. My makeup bag carries three of RMS Beauty’s Lip Shines (Sacred, Sublime and Bloom); an ILIA Beauty Lip Crayon in Call Me, plus an ILIA Beauty Lip Conditioner in Nobody’s Baby (like my natural lip color but better); a Kajer Weis Lip Tint in Dream State (gorg nude); and Rodin Olio Lusso’s Lip Balm (it smells like roses).
Etc.: My actual makeup bag only carries one in this category (my others rest on my nightstand). Tatcha Blotting Papers saved my face from looking sweaty on my wedding day and now I use them a couple of times a week.
So, thoughts? Any new lip wear I need to try? Any favorites that overlap with yours?