This past January, I bought my first pair of red shoes*.  I quickly realized that I needed more.  Fortunately, I love to shop for a bargain.  With spring fully in gear, I have hunted and gathered my way to a few pairs.  For casual days, I love them with faded ankle-length skinny jeans.  And red lips.

The Red Shoes: I am insanely in love with my pointy-toe red flats and ankle boots (not pictured) from Frye.  The only eco-fashion thing I can say about them is they last for freaking ever.  Not cheap, but if you are patient you can find them on sale.  And this pair of Converse canvas sneakers does the red shoe thing in playground casual (more support than the standard Chucks, too).

The Skinny Jeans: I’ve long been a Levi’s kind of gal, but I recently discovered Henry & Belle jeans.  They make super soft, super stretchy, comfortable jeans, in lots of colors and styles.  And – bonus – a portion of every sale goes to a variety of good causes, such as Every Mother Counts and Girls on the Run.  I like to order from Melange, which has great sales, a cute blog, free shipping and superior customer service.  To top those jeans, they also carry great organic cotton brands like Prairie Underground and Raw Earth Wild Sky.

The Red Lips: Still working for spring are my fall reds – RMS Diabolique and Ilia Femme Fatale.  I’ve also recently discovered Alima Pure’s Lip Tints, which are immense chocolately improvements on the old peppermint formula.  I can’t tolerate peppermint on my lips, so I was thrilled to try the new tints.  Cranberry is a warm burgundy that really has enough pigment to wear as a lipstick, though it feels like a balm.  The glossier Holly Berry is a spiced rose that is super subtle.  I’m loving wearing the RMS or Ilia pressed into well-moisturized lips like a stain, with one of the Alima tints over as a balm.  I generally like to put a balm over my lipstick, but sometimes a clear balm kind of sucks the color away.  These tints are a perfect topper, and can handle a touch-up on their own when I don’t have time for a full reapplication.

Just some Ilia illuminator around my eyes and RMS bronzer on my cheeks finishes my barely-made-up spring face.

One More Thing: Those exposed ankles are going to need some glow…easily provided by my old favorite, May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff, and my new favorite, Yuli’s Harmony.  Or, try one of my other favorite body oils.

What are your spring inspirations?

*actually, my first was a pair of Adidas sneakers in the mid-nineties, but I’m not counting that right now

One of our readers recently included BijaBody’s Beauty Tea in her morning routine. Have you tried it? This line is new to us, and we’re excited to share the founder of BijaBody’s makeup bag with you. Here’s Melissa:

Please know I’m a “naturalish” girl. I go 80/20. 80% best I can, 20% when it’s something I think simply works better. I’m savvy enough that nothing is ever total crap, but I did want to be fully honest below. Also, I won’t touch products which contain Palm Oil, as I think it’s more destructive than synthetic counterparts on a social/environmental level, so it limits a lot of the make-up lines that are all natural. As long as decisions are made conscientiously, that still equals responsible and working towards change. Oh, TMI. Read on.

Name: Melissa Picoli

Age: 35

Home: Whitefish, Montana. I’m from Brazil, and spent most of my twenties traveling around the world before settling in lovely Montana.

Your relationship with makeup: I adore it. I use bits even when on crazy adventures and 19 day Grand Canyon river trips. It’s not so much a crutch for me as it is fun. I definitely claim being a woman and enjoy every bit of it. When I was younger, I thought being feminine made me somehow less badass. As I’ve grown into myself, I realize I’m as badass as I want to be, with or without lip gloss and mascara. And if that touch makes me feel prettier, well, more power to me! Oddly enough, a lot of people think I don’t really wear make-up. I rarely leave home without it.  Turns out, I rock at the natural look.

What’s in my makeup bag…

Worker-B Honey Face Wash: I love this product, and use it daily. I carry it with me in case I need to do a refresh in the afternoon. I’m less of a touch-up girl and more of a do-it-all-over type. With honey, you can wash your face as often as you want. You can easily make your own honey wash, or use just honey, but theirs is pretty amazing, and it’s an incredibly cool company.

DIY Face Oil: I combine Rosehip Seed, Rice Bran and Carrot Seed Oil with a touch of rose and geranium essential oil. Best face oil combination I’ve ever used, plus it contains naturally occurring sunscreen. These three botanical oils are some of the most researched and documented beauty oils. We use them in all BijaBody products.

Suntegrity Tinted Sunscreen: I have a really funky relationship with sunscreen, and usually don’t trust it, but I really like Suntegrity when the sun starts shining, trust these guys, and the coverage is perfect. Just enough. When I do want more coverage, and you’ll kind of hate me for this, but the best foundation I’ve ever found simply for the look/feel (not ingredients) is CoverGirl FitMe. It’s my going out foundation. 80/20 rule right? I’ve spent lots of money looking for foundation I really like. Somehow, I keep going back to that one. I do have my eye on W3LL People’s Stick Foundation….Tried it in their store in Austin, TX and I might end up really liking it.

Mineral Fusion Bronzer + Powder: Light coverage, not cakey. The bronzer has a non-glittery side that is perfect for contouring. I’m not a big powder girl, and the older I get the less I want it. But a touch seems pretty important. I definitely love bronzer. I live in Montana. We see sun for a few weeks a year. The rest of the time, we have to fake it.

Flower Makeup Mascara + Cream Blush in Primrose & Proper: I really like these two products from Flower. Got turned on to them by someone whose makeup always looks impeccable and now they’re go-tos. I hope Drew Barrymore cleans up the ingredients a bit. But hopefully, the color/texture remains similar. Their foundation is nice too, again, just on a look/feel level.

Osmosis Concealer in Silk: I have a tendency towards dark circles. Always have, since I was a kid. I put the tiniest dab of this just in the inner corners and on the little cupid’s bow spot above the lip, then foundation. It brightens everything up. I also have some hyper-pigmentation from a few past products that contained citrus oils that I strongly dislike so try to cover up.

Jane Iredale: Cake Liner in Dawn + Lip Gloss in Tourmaline: This shadow/cake liner stays put most of the day, and can be re-applied easily without caking. And I really like the lip gloss consistency. It layers perfectly over BijaBody’s BedsideManner.

Alima Pure Shadow in Prossecco: Just a hint of shimmer, and so pretty. I also dust a bit along my collarbone. This is a great company out of Oregon, and everything they make is lovely.

Bobbi Brown Liner: When I want a liquid liner look, this one does the job.

Random Eyebrow Pencil in Taupe: Rarely leave the house without filing in eyebrows a bit. I think it pulls everything together.

BijaBody: BedsideManner goes on lips every morning and night. I dab a bit of Daily Body Serum on upper cheek bones throughout the day to refresh and give skin a dewy finish, and always apply the Anti-Aging Body Treatment to my neck and decollate when I’m finishing my make-up, followed by a light touch of bronzer. I know I’m biased because I created these products. But it’s a very well earned bias.

Bag: I’m a bit spoiled because I have several of our Jet Set Bags. I use the ones that have little button/zipper issues that we can’t sell. One of my favorite make-up bag tricks is to have a strong magnet inside it. Anything metal clings to it so you never have to dig for bobby pins or tweezers. They all bunch up together.

Name: Rebecca

Age: 45

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.

The products:

Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular CC Cream: Daily SPF is critical in my skin brightening routine, and CC in Natural Glow is perfection for me.

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?

10

Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts Galore

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.

Me Encanta in practice.

Me, wearing the Me Encanta, no filter.

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?

Need a break from preparing for the holidays? Relax with this lovely routine from Ariel. It’s delicious.
Name: Ariel
Age: 27
City: Portland, Maine
Current weather: Frosty with snow flurries
Skin: Sensitive, combination skin. Fair and freckled.
Hair: Light brunette, chin-length bob
Favorite star: Georgia O’Keeffe. I admire her creativity and connection to the natural world.
In the shower…
Here in Maine where we have such frigid winters, I especially like to start my day with a hot shower. Although I adore my John Masters hair products, on most days I use Shikai Volumizing Shampoo and Everyday Conditioner because it’s easier on my wallet. For soap, my favorite is Leap Organics Lavender — smells like a lavender field! I cleanse my face with Origins Checks and Balances, which is frothy and gentle. For years I have been using Kiss My Face unscented shave cream. It doesn’t bother my sensitive skin and creates a smooth glide for my razor.
Outside the shower…
Lately I’ve been moisturizing with Farmaesthetics Midnight Honey Body Oil when I get out of the shower. It has a subtle scent and leaves my dry winter legs feeling soft.  On my face, I use Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Toner and Pai Geranium & Thistle Cream, which both smell like a greenhouse and get me in a good mood.

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.

To do my hair, I spray it with Yarok Feed Your Ends, which reminds me of mint and lemon drops. Then I work through a small drop of Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair from roots to ends. This smooths my hair and makes it more manageable before blowdrying and brushing.
Makeup…
Each season I find products I’m gaga over and then get into a routine where I wear almost the same thing every day for a few months. This fall and winter, I start with Dr. Hauschka Translucent Makeup. This evens out my complexion, but isn’t heavy at all, and I love the herbal scent of it. Most days I top this off with a dusting of Laura Mercier’s loose powder, and pat on some RMS Uncoverup under my eyes. My blush is Mineral Fusion in the color Pale, which is a flattering way to give natural-looking color to a pasty face! On my lashes I wear Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Mascara. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll put on a wash of Bare Minerals eyeshadow in Vanilla Sugar on my lids and line my eyes with Alima Pure’s Denali, which is the perfect color for hazel eyes. On my lips I wear Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Arabian Knights, a lovely berry red for the holiday season.
Thanks for sharing Ariel! Love the sound of the Midnight Honey Body Oil and cuddling with cats, too.