I’ve always been an avid lip balm, gloss and stick wearer—as a high schooler, I had an arsenal of both eye shadows and lip glosses to match my closet full of colorful clothes (yes, that included lilac gloss and lime green eyeliner). But as I’ve gotten older and seemingly more sensitive to ingredients and essential oils, I’ve found it nearly impossible to find hardy, moisturizing lip balms that don’t make my lips break out in itchy, swollen red bumps that take a week to heal and then turn into dry flakes that have to be gently exfoliated.

In college, my five-times-a-day use of Burt’s Bees informed me that I was allergic to peppermint as my lips swelled up to twice their size and became itchy, dry and beet-red. As recently as two weeks ago, a new overnight balm with all clean ingredients brought me back to those peppermint-infused days when my kisser blew up, covered with tiny, red, inflamed bumps.

At this point, I feel like I’ve tried everything and nothing works as well or as fast as Aquaphor (I know, I KNOW. It’s the worst thing I could put on my lips and possibly ingest. But nothing else helps!). But, I need a new, thick balm and I’m at a loss for how to find one that doesn’t make my lips look like an “after” picture in a “Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong” blog post.

Here’s what I’ve tried and what I’ve discovered during my search:

  • Coconut oil is too thin and doesn’t stick around long enough for my lips to be hydrated in the morning.
  • Straight shea butter worked for a few weeks, then my lips reacted as they usually do (same goes for straight mango butter).
  • I can’t use traditional Burt’s Bees BUT the Burt’s Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter is totally fine, though not moisturizing enough overnight.
  • This, this, this, this, this, this and this all make my lips protest.
  • Lip colors don’t seem to have the same effect (RMS Beaty’s Lip Shines, ILIA Beauty’s Lip Tints+Sticks+Crayons and Kjaer Weis’ Lip Shines are fine—they could contain similar ingredients that cause a reaction, but I never wear them long enough or repeatedly enough daily to see).
  • Squalene oil and barbary fig seed oil, along with the scary-ingredient-ed Aquaphor are the only things that calm my lips down after a breakout. But the oils are too thin to wear overnight.

Complicated, right? That’s why I need your help.

So tell me, trusty NMDL community and clean beauty experts: What’s your holy grail, overnight, super moisturizing and hydrating, only-have-to-apply-once lip treatment? Share in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter and help a natch girl out!

Image courtesy of OneWed.com

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 bomb.com. 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?


What the Boys Like

Well, looky here, MSN Lifestyle (via Real Beauty) is telling us 10 things that men think are sexy—and, despite myself, I’m kind of liking what they have to say. Ok fine, some of these are pretty dumb: Guys like legs! Guys like long lashes and can’t tell when you’re wearing fake ones!

But their top pick? Despite all of our efforts, the sample men just prefer a woman without makeup. According to these dudes, lip gloss is gross and women look best when they first wake up or right out of the shower.

There also appears to be a general confusion around how their girlfriends look with a lot of makeup on. As one guy says: “She still looks good, but she just doesn’t look as much like herself.”

Also in their top four favorites is your squishy tummy (that you probably hate) and—oh hello—when you ditch your hair dryer and flat iron, leaving your natural wave or curl. I guess it’s no wonder then that our guy friends were fawning over the hair challenge results. Oh, and they much prefer your natural color to a bad dye job too.

If you have some time to kill, you can read all ten “sexy moves” on Real Beauty. Any shockers here, or have you ladies heard this all before? Do any of you go out with a naked face?

To see more supermodels without makeup go here