For years, I opted for bronzer over blush because I didn't trust myself to apply it without looking like a Broadway performer. It didn't help that my mom referred to it as "rouge" growing up.
But it's winter now and bronzer seems unseasonal. At a Sephora recently, I let a sales associate apply 1 of 18 shades of Bare Escentuals' mineral blush to the apples of my cheeks (shade Golden Gate)—and it looked so natural, so healthy! BE understands that, with blush, the more color options, the better.
Pretty factor: Talc-free and ultra-pure (the only ingredients are bismuth oxychloride, mica, and iron oxides), these blushes won't irritate even the most sensitive skin.
Eco factor: No talc, mineral oil or chemical dyes and fragrance.
To buy: $18 at Ulta and Sephora
December 27, 2007
December 19, 2007
In many parts of the country, winter has gusted in mercilessly. In addition to upgrading your moisturizer from a lotion to cream (or using one if you don't the rest of the year!), it's time to switch from a foaming to a creamy cleanser if you have combo, normal or, especially, dry skin. This season, every other beauty editor has been gushing about designer Stella McCartney's Care Gentle Cleansing Milk.
Pretty factor: This creamy wash soothes and conditions the skin while thoroughly removing grime and makeup. Apricot kernel oil, rich in vitamins A and E, revitalizes the skin, while sesame seed oil, full of fatty acids, protects and plumps. The result is a smooth, hydrated face as fresh as first-fallen snow. Ideal for normal, dry and mature skin
Eco factor: Care by Stella McCartney contains organic, bio-active ingredients certified by ECOCERT® and zero petrochemicals, silicones or parabens—"everything your skin needs and nothing it doesn't."
To buy: $35 at sephora.com
December 17, 2007
This time of year, few of us are getting our recommended eight hours of nightly shut-eye. Throw in booze from holiday parties and you have ragged personified. A quick, simple solution? Bare Escentuals Well Rested concealer.
Pretty factor: This talc-free mineral shadow is yellow-hued, which neutralizes blues, e.g. dark circles and capillaries on lids. Give this a quick sweep on your lids and under-eye circles and you instantly appear bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Eco factor: No chemical dyes or fragrance. The only ingredients are mica (CI 77019), bismuth oxychloride, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, ultramarines and and kaolin.
To buy: $18—but it comes in a big pot and will likely last you an entire year; Sephora stores and sephora.com
December 14, 2007
I've been high-energy since birth and often require a trinity of soft music, mug of tea, and candles—my natural Xanax, if you will—to wind down at night. At Whole Foods recently, searching for an earth-friendly replacement to a candle that had burned to a stump, I spotted Paddywax, a sleek line of soy-based illuminations with the loveliest, freshest scents.
It was a tie between Olive Tree and Chamomile. I chose the latter for its soothing blend of linden blossoms, sandalwood oil, and chamomile flowers.
Eco factor: Paddywax candles are 100% natural, made from a soy blend and essential oils. They burn clean which equals better for your lungs and better for the environment. In September 2008, the environmentally committed company went carbon-neutral, teaming up with Verus Carbon Neutral, to measure its CO2 footprint and monetarily give the green debt to the Chicago Climate Exchange, which funds fund carbon-reducing projects.
To buy: $15.99 at paddywax.com and Whole Foods
December 10, 2007
Ah, winter. It's the season of both delights—time with family and friends at the holidays, crystal-clear January sunsets—as well as annoyances: cranked up heat that zaps hair and blistery wind that punishes the face. Though I'm addicted to them year-round, I'm especially endowed to hydrating sprays from December through February.
Hydrating sprays are facial spritzes that contain myriad soothing and moisturizing ingredients plus antioxidants. They can be used to:
- tone the skin after cleansing
- set makeup
- freshen and moisturize the face throughout the day
My favorite (and I've tried many) is Mineral Fusion's Hydration Mist
Pretty factor: A large amount of allantoin soothes and hydrates the face, while chamomile calms redness. Green tea lends free radical protection, and myrrh kills surface bacteria and regenerates skin tissue.
Eco factor: No parabens or chemical dyes and fragrance
To buy: $17.50 at Whole Foods and mineralfusioncosmetics.com.
Full Ingredient list
December 8, 2007
You won't find Laura Mercier makeup on the shelves at Whole Foods, but this first-rate company does have a few all-natural goods, including this stand-out mineral powder.
Pretty factor: Micro-milled minerals give inconspicuous coverage and pearl powder illuminates. A whopping 20% zinc oxide provides natural sunscreen and calms any redness. (It's the main ingredients in diaper rash creams.) And, like most mineral makeup, this powder won't clog pores. Available in 6 shades.
Eco factor: No harsh chemicals or parabens. The only ingredients are active zinc oxide and pearl powder, mica, bismuth oxychloride, titanium dioxide and iron oxides.
To Buy: $35 at higher-end department stores, Sephora and sephora.com
December 2, 2007
Aveda's Pure Abundance Hair Potion is a newish product that has quickly become a best-selling must-have. The $22 price sticker is a bit outrageous, but it gives my locks Dolly Parton heights when lightly rubbed around my roots. I definitely recommend it to fine-haired women.
Pretty factor: This magical powder thickens hair "up to 17%" according to Aveda thanks to acacia gum and kaolin clay, which coat hair and add thickness. It also contains moisturizing aloe juice and honey, and it doesn't dry hair at all. Distribute a small amount around your scalp and rub in evenly.
Eco factor: Aveda's been dedicated to environmental responsibility long before "green" entered the public vernacular and celebs rolled up to the red carpet in little black hybrids instead of gas-guzzling limousines. Aveda's manufacturing facility in Minnesota is powered entirely by wind energy, and its cosmetics contain organic, sustainably sourced, fair trade ingredients. ("Fair trade" means that workers were paid decently and worked in humane conditions.) Finally, most of its products come in containers made of post-consumer recycled material.
To buy: $22 at Aveda concept salons and spas nationwide