IMG_3179This is going to be a great makeup season for me, and all you lovelies that dig on orange and purple.  Even if you don’t think they are for you, give something a shot.  Two of my fave super clean companies are at the forefront of this color extravaganza.

These are not the drugstore makeup colors of my 70s childhood.  They are fresh and hip, and will make you feel that way, too.

top to bottom: Curious, Royal, Perfect Day, Around the World

top to bottom: Curious, Royal, Perfect Day, Around the World

RMS Beauty:  The “wearable brights” are now available from their website, but I was so intrigued I nabbed them up in the preview launch on net-a-porter.  Curious (lip2cheek) is a very buildable orange, so you can go subtle or all out as desired.  It has a very slight shimmer to it, but wears like a semi-matte when applied lightly.  The lip2cheek designation is a true one for me.  It is a fresh alternative to pink.  Royal (lip shine) is a purple with a pink base, maybe not quite as much shine as some of the other lip shine shades (a good thing in my book).  It has more shimmer than I was expecting or desired, but I still think I can carry it off.  If you like shimmer, this is the one to go for.  I can see this as a good one to layer on top of your other favorite lip colors.

Ilia Beauty:  Ilia lipsticks are buildable and have my favorite semi-matte finish.  These colors are less obvious versions of orange and purple on me – more of a suggestion, really.  Perfect Day is advertised as a toned down coral red, but I feel its orangey tones.  This is a great one if you don’t want take the full orange leap (if you do, try Ilia’s Voila).  I actually had to rescue it from my pretty-but-not-me bag that I take to parties to share with friends.  On a blah day I dug it out and added it to my small collection of colors that travelled with me on a recent trip.  When I got up at 3am to make a 6am flight, I blearily dabbed on some Perfect Day, and it brightened my attitude.  Around The World (exclusive to net-a-porter) is described as rose with a bold lavender undertone.  For me, it works as a more summery version of Ink Pot, a personal favorite (and the one to try if you are going full purple jacket).

These colors are taking me seamlessly from summer into fall.  Will you be working orange and purple into your transition?

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!

Back in 2007 the now well-known “Poison Kiss” report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that some of the most popular lipsticks on the market contain varying amounts of lead. Lead, of course, is a heavy metal that wreaks all sorts of horrible havoc when it’s in the body; it’s been associated with everything from infertility to learning disabilities, muscular problems, and death. As such it’s been legally banned from products we’re exposed to in our daily lives, like paint.

But not lipstick. Even though we put lipstick on multiple times a day, and can accidentally eat  the stuff—you know, when it hasn’t already been absorbed into our bodies on its own. Lipstick. Not a great place for lead.

But new research being reported in this New York Times article has found that lipsticks host a whole bunch of other metals—from cadmium to aluminum. The study, published in the May issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found traces of cadmium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel in 24 lip glosses and eight lipstick brands. They chose these specific lipsticks because they were the most popular among a set of teenage girls at a community health center in Oakland, Calif.

What’s more: The teenagers in the study reported reapplying lipstick and glosses as often as 24 times a day!

Aluminum, chromium and manganese registered the highest concentrations over all. Because metals tend to accumulate in the body, even trace amounts can still be a problem.

Then there’s this: While definitely much safer, it might be hard to know if some of the clean brands are totally free of metals. According to the article, mica—which is found in many of our favorite natural lipsticks—can sometimes be contaminated with metals. So just how crazy careful do we need to be?

I wear natural lipstick pretty regularly, though I don’t reapply it nearly as often as the young women in the study. If I’m being honest, a little mica is probably not going to keep me away from my favorite clean brands—but maybe I would feel differently if I was pregnant or had a small child getting into my stuff? TBD on that… What about you?

What lipsticks do you wear? How often do you reapply?

If there’s one thing a girl can’t have too much of in her arsenal, it’s lipstick.

As we said in the book, it’s gotta be the single most powerful cosmetic going: With just one swipe it can completely change the appearance of your face. I’ve always loved the stuff and cringe to think how often I put it on as a kid to play dress up. As most of you surely know, mainstream lipsticks are usually contaminated with lead, and intentionally filled with a host of unfriendly chemicals—which we absorb and unintentionally ingest off our lips. Blargh.

Which is why it’s such a treat to find a good clean one you love. And when it’s clean, it works double duty, because if it can go on my lips, it can go on my cheeks—and from RMS to Ilia, every lipstick I love does just that.

Enter Vapour Organics. A brand whose breadth, for no apparent reason, I’ve never fully explored beyond foundation. Now I realize there’s a whole world of products to uncover, and I’ve started with their lipstick. The color I’m in love with is called Tempest, but there are others in the palette catching my eye too. Have you tried any of these? (Color recs please!)

Tempest, on this mug anyways—isn’t it weird how differently colors can read from one face to the next?—is hitting that perfect balance between orange and pink. I know orange is all the rage right now, but I can’t wear a real one without feeling like someone’s grandma. But there’s enough pink and red in this one that it doesn’t scream Florida retirement home, but instead feels youthful and peachy. Especially on the cheeks! Such a good find for summer.

The texture also feels good and hydrating, and it’s got impressive lasting power for a natural (some tips on that here).

Are you a Vapour fan? Which products of theirs have you tried?

P.S. We have a deal running on Open Sky of our beloved Kahina Eye Cream. For the next 24 hours you save ten smackers.


Help! I Need A Beauty Pick-Me-UP

I’m having a small case of the beauty blahs and I don’t know what to do… I want to feel fresh and new for spring but I’m a bit stumped on ideas. Who has done something totally drastic—but not totally chemy—in the last little while? Hair cuts, new makeup colors, awesome discoveries?

Here are my ideas so far…

1. White eye liner. Has anybody tried this? Word is that it really makes eyes pop.

2. A bold new lip color. Maybe coral? Suggestions?

3. More semi-natch highlights. Do I? Don’t I? I’ve trimmed off a lot of my golden pieces from last summer, but can I put myself through all that hair washing again?

One thing I’ve never gotten into at all is eye shadow. Maybe it’s time. I know there are some really fun colors right now, even among naturals. I just feel like shadow looks a little silly on me—even though I often love it on others. Is there a trick to wearing? Help!

Image of bored beauty via