Vegan Eyeliners

It seems as though Fridays are turning into vegan makeup round-up days, mostly because I’m currently obsessed with finding makeup that is beeswax-free and doesn’t make my skin break out, flake off and generally look incredibly angry at me. Last week, we talked about vegan bronzers, a couple weeks ago, it was a vegan dupe for RMS’ Living Luminizer and before that, we discussed vegan cream concealers. So, what’s next?

Vegan eyeliners. Much like concealers, eyeliners often contain beeswax to help hold their formulas together. Unfortunately, that also means it makes my eyes get red and puffy, sometimes causes styes (ew) and gives me a why-yes-I-only-got-three-hours-of-sleep squinty eye look. Not pretty for anyone.

And so my search for vegan eyeliners began. I immediately realized that  few of my long-standing favorites already fell into the beeswax-free category, which explains why they didn’t give me a reaction + made my wallet really happy. Here are the five vegan eyeliners I’m currently over-the-moon about.

  1. Zuzu Luxe Liquid Liner: I have never been a liquid eyeliner gal, despite my years as a competitive dancer, piling on sweat-proof makeup for every performance. It seemed so unforgiving and soooo hard to fix if you made a mistake. Plus, I’m quite awful at drawing a straight line on any surface, let alone my eye. But, I ventured into the world last fall for my wedding because I wanted something that was for sure not going to smudge. This liquid liner from Zuzu is long-lasting, highly pigmented and easy to swipe on (trust me). I used it on myself and other bridesmaids for a wedding I was in a couple weeks ago and even outlasted MAC’s liquid version. Get yourself this beauty.
  2.  Alima Pure Satin Matte or Shimmer Eyeliner: I never thought I could jump on the bandwagon of powdered eyeliner either, but it’s shockingly easy to get a straight, smudgy line with this number from Alima. I have the navy shimmer that came in one of their limited edition makeup kits, but any of the colors will do. You definitely need a good eyeliner brush (I like this one from Sigma Beauty) to make this powder to liner thing a reality, but it’s worth it. I get my brush wet, dip it in the liner and then brush on. The wetness sets it and makes it last nearly as long as the Zuzu one.
  3. INIKA Cosmetics Organic Eyeliner: These pencils are my current favorite because they’re vegan, certified organic and just the right amount of smudgy. This is the first eyeliner that I feel like I can actually use to line the inner rims of my eyes, or waterline without irritating my peepers. Plus, it takes a lot for them to bleed, even though they’re super creamy and easy to apply. I’m into the brightly colored lower-liner right now, and INIKA is feeding my habit—I have the liner in Black Caviar, Peacock, Green Lagoon and Purple Minx. (Sheepish grin.)
  4. Benecos Natural Eyeliner: When The Chalkboard Mag featured Susannah and I (I nearly died—dream come true) in their Green Goddess Guide for A Night For Green Beauty, I mentioned that white eyeliner helps perk up my eyes when I haven’t had quite the amount of beauty sleep I need. My favorite one is from Benecos because it’s an off-white and doesn’t look so artificial on the inner rims of my eyes. This is another incredibly creamy, soft pencil with a good amount of smudge. The grey is lovely cool tone too, which is a nice switch up from black or brown.
  5. Jane Iredale Eye Pencil: This friend has been with me from the beginning of my green journey. It was the first clean eye pencil I ever bought (sniff, sniff) and I keep going back to it. It’s a tad drier than the INIKA or Benecos varieties, but it still doesn’t pull on my eyelids and also has buildable, smudgeable, long-lasting wear. See makeup gods? Beeswax isn’t a necessary ingredient! I have the JI pencil in brown black and it’s really lovely for when I want added definition to my eyes without the punch of a black eyeliner.

Have you tried any of my faves? And, per usual, I’m sure I’m missing some cult faves. What vegan eyeliners are you obsessed with (or coveting)?




Image courtesy of

I’m not one of those girls who’s dreamed of getting married since she was old enough to understand the words “bride” and “groom.” I never fantasized wedding dresses or centerpieces. I didn’t wish for a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet (sorry, fiancé, if you’re reading this).

But what I did dream about was a legit excuse to buy as many beauty products as I wanted. A reason to try 13 different eye shadows. An excuse to spend three hours searching the Internet for the perfect shade of lip gloss. A reason to splurge a little.

My pending nuptials seem like the perfect excuse. I gave myself a little longer of a leash than usual, and went all out. Here’s a few tips that I learned along the way, plus the products that I think will give me the natural-me-but-better look for my big day.


One thing I don’t want to have to worry about on my wedding day is my makeup melting. In order to stay off the sweaty train, two things are key: a good primer and a layering of different types of makeup.

I start with ARCONA’s Desert Mist, a daily primer and skin protectant. It seals in moisture and helps create a smooth base for all your subsequent blending. I’ve also heard Amala’s Purifying Mattifier is a good one.

  1. Liquid foundation: I already gave this puppy its due on the blog last week, but I can’t say enough how excited I am to have found 100% Pure Healthy Skin Foundation. It has silky coverage without making me look like I’m in a theatre production of “Cats,” it doesn’t melt off and it doesn’t give me too much of a “glow” (I’m not really a dewy-skin lover). I stipple it on with a Beauty Blender because it’s awesome and works better than a sponge or a brush or my fingers (I’ve tried them all, people) to get even, not-cakey coverage.
  2. Sticky-ish liquid concealer: I do this concealer from Mineral Fusion* (which comes with two colors so you can mix a custom for your skintone) OVER my foundation. Otherwise the stippling takes it all off.
  3. Mineral foundation: Something to remember, which will come up later when we talk about eyeshadow—you want to avoid shimmer and glitter and sparkly-ness on your wedding day. They create bounce-back when your photog snaps glamour shots of you and your S.O., which can wreck the images and make you look older than you actually are. And NO ONE wants that. So, the mineral foundation I use is a totally matte one that we’ve recommended on the blog before: Alima Pure. So many colors. So much lovely, soft coverage. It’s the The only thing I’ve ever loved as much as it was Jane Iredale’s PurePressed Foundation, which is a bit pricier.
  4. Blush: I am NOT a rosy girl. I much prefer a little color in the form of a bronzer (no shimmer) but for the wedding-day, I want to look more polished than usual. So, I went back a tried-and-true matte blush (remember how I said to avoid shimmer? Blush is included here.): Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush in Pink, a literally universally flattering shade.
  5. Luminizer: Now, I said before shimmer is baaaad. And I stand by that statement… until photos are through. Then I’m going to dab a little of (the best beauty product in the world) RMS’ Living Luminizer in the inner corners of my eyes, down the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow. Glow-ing.


This was where most of my searching, researching and testing happened. I just had a tricky time finding a matte (are you sick of that word yet?) eyeshadow palette that was flattering and contouring enough. So, I mixed my own.

  1. Eyeshadow: I bought a load of samples from W3LL PEOPLE (thank you to any and all clean lines that offer this service—it is the best thing ever) and ended up finding my perfect shade in a slightly unlikely place—the mineral brow pigment. I use a medium shade on my lid (Matte Taupe) and a darker shade in my crease (Matte Espresso).
  2. Eyeliner: For all-day wear, liquid liner is your best bet. I haven’t found a clean one that I lurve, so I improvise by creating my own. I do a thin line on my top lid only (don’t want any bleeding under my eyes on my big day) of Jane Iredale’s Eye Pencil in Black Brown. Then, I dip a stiff eyeliner brush in water before dabbing it in Modern Minerals’ loose mineral eyeliner in Cocoa. I gently enhance the Jane Iredale line with this deep chocolate shade, thickening the line a bit.
  3. Mascara: I looove me some mascara. I already have long, curled lashes (my hair stylist asked me last week if I’d gotten eyelash extensions after I swiped on one coat of black-brown mascara) but I need some additional thickening. To get the look I want, I use two mascaras in sequence: a) 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Dark Chocolate (it actually smells like I’m swiping melted dark chocolate on my lashes, which is just an added bonus to its lengthening power). b) Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara in Pitch Black. This baby thickens and darkens, giving me almost-falsies.


My lips are SENSITIVE, so I’ve tried many a balm, stick, gloss and stain in order to find the perfect one that doesn’t make my lips swell and flake. I also didn’t want one with too much color, as I’m doing a heavier eye than I normally would. In order to get that my-lips-but-better look, I’m using two products:

  1. Dr. Hauschka’s Lip Liner in Soft, Muted Rose. It’s almost exactly the shade of my natural lips, so I’m only using it to help my real color stay on longer. Creating a base of a stickier substance, like the liner, helps hold color in place (since I’m not jumping on the 14-hour dirty lip color train).
  2. My holy grail of lip color and gloss: RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine in Bloom. Confession: I own ALL the colors of the Lip Shine. I love them so much – they go on sheer but can be layered for more color. They leave a light stain so even once the gloss wears off, I still have a little color. And Bloom is the perfect shade to make me look super put together on a no-makeup day or enhance my lips for a  special occasion (aka, my wedding).

That’s it peeps. Seems like a lot, but I think it’ll all help me feel confident about looking my best on wedding day (t minus three days…). What products did you use for your wedding? What did I miss?

Guys! I have four new favorite makeup items!

I’m going to review them all at once, since they’re all from W3LL People.

1. Universalist 1 and 2 as a duo pot—or as separate sticks. I have the sticks, and I love them. Now, the internet has a serious makeup-color-showing problem (which is why we need more brick and mortars, please, especially in New York), so I’m going to politely ask you to ignore the colors you see on your screen and indulge me as I try to describe them instead.

The colored stick you see here on the left, Universalist 1, looks in person more like a bronzey, dusty rose. It’s got a lot of glow to it without being sparkly, and it has become my go-to everyday blush. It’s literally impossible to mess up, and it’s flattering on every skin color I’ve seen it on. You can dab it on lightly for a super subtle healthy glow or layer it on a little thicker for evening, if you want the color to pop more. Little trick Shirley from W3LL People taught me: Apply a tiny amount under the edge of your eyebrow arch—just a dab, guys—and you won’t really be able to see it, but it makes your eyes really pop!

The 2, meanwhile, is not a solid color at all, as it appears in some pictures. It’s actually a luminizer/highlighter, and it works great on cheekbones, cupids bow, eyelids and even under the outside edge off eye. Just be sure to blend it well. Looks so great! You can see me dorking out about it, and see Shirley explaining how to apply them in the video over here.

(Because we only hawk the stuff we love, you can also currently get both in our little deal. If you want.)

2. The black eyeliner. Also wild about their new eyeliner! Because it’s not technically waterproof I was warned against under eye lash lining but I find it works great and lasts—even at cry-inducing weddings and on hot days. At the same time, it washes off easily with my Kahina cleanser, which is a nice plus. I’ve been into tight-lining my upper lash line and the outside of my lower lash line with it for a nice sharp pop. Fun!

3. The shimmery eyeshadow. I have Elitist 814, which you can see over here. Shirley applied it on me when she did my makeup for that video (confidential to Shirley: Can you do my makeup every day? Thank you) and I’ve since been using it for day and night. For night I layer it with a darker browny bronze. For day I wear it solo when I’m feeling a little less than spiritely, like today! It doesn’t look cakey or teenybopper at all—it’s quite subtle, but makes a huge difference. The color, which is a warm salmony gold, is just so pretty.

Have you tried any new makeup you love?


Do You Do DIY Makeup?

If you’ve read the book (and if you haven’t: tsk! tsk!) you know that we did our share of experimenting with DIY makeup.

It takes a committed kind of girl to make her face from scratch—a girl both of us admire, but that neither of us naturally is. (And click the link at the bottom for some recipes we wrote for ReadyMade magazine!)

So instead of pretending, we boiled our DIY makeup section down to simple ingredients that translate into great makeup. I’d venture to say that the two most successful were beet juice as a lip and cheek stain (truly amazing) and activated charcoal as an eyeliner.

What’s activated charcoal, you ask? It’s the stuff they used to give people for food poisoning that you can buy OTC for tummy aches—it’s also the stuff in your Brita filter. Given my sensitive stomach, I always keep these capsules (pictured above) around the house, and one fine day decided to open one up. What I found inside was the purest, darkest, most perfect black powder. Hello smokey eye.

Now, is this substance the most perfect clean eyeliner? Arguable. The texture is a little rough and I’ve heard that it can dry-slash-irritate the skin—which would make sense because its tremendously porous. I never had any problems with it myself but I’d be very careful not to get it in my eyes either—a rule that applies to most things. Eyes don’t tend to like foreign substances so much, clean or not. The results are lovely though, and it sure beats some of the toxic potions out there, not to mention the eye charcoal out of India that I so adore (but that used to be contaminated with lead and still makes me nervous). Just look at Kathryn (left), one of our readers who tried it on her eyes. Rarr!

Have you ever attempted making your own makeup? Did you try our suggestions in the book, or are you the girl who cooks up magic potions in her kitchen? (Total badass moves.) Either way, we’d love to add some recipes to our repertoire or hear about your experience in the comments. We’re smelling a challenge coming on…

Image via a ReadyMade article, where we shared some DIY tricks