August 22, 2008

NEW DuWop Pure Venom Plumping Lip Stain

A few years ago, after going through three tubes of DuWop's infamous Lip Venom (I was obsessed with its tingly, tasty blend of cinnamon and ginger oils), I decided that I absolutely could no longer pay $16 for a tiny tube of gloss. Shortly after this decision, I came across a display of essential oils at a small health foods stores in Indianapolis. The cinnamon one grabbed my eye. Eureka! I could add a few drops of cinnamon oil to my regular lip gloss and instantly transform it to a plumper! "Look at me, being all cost-effective chemist," I proudly thought.

Ha. I apparently dded one too many drops because every nostril in the state seemed to know when I applied it. "What is that smell??" I heard from family and friends nearly every time I whipped it out. After a couple weeks, my mom and brother pleaded, "For the love of God, will you throw that crap away?!" Okay, okay. But you know what? It worked. My lips instantly become plumper and brighter.

Now I have an excuse to shell out the big bucks again for DuWop: Lip Venom not only comes in a longer-lasting stain...but it's organic and paraben-free: DuWop Pure Venom Plumping Lip Stain.

Pretty factor:
Organic shea butter, safflower oil, and jojoba oil thoroughly moisturize, while sugar cane extract (the natural source of glycolic acid) exfoliates to keep lips young. And, of course, the classic cinnamon and peppermint leaf oils stimulate circulation, increasing lips' fullness and color. It has to be the perfect lip product.

Eco factor: Organic ingredients, no parabens, petrochemicals, or synthetic colors and fragrances

To buy: $24 at Sephora

August 18, 2008

NEW Tarte Lash Hugger Natural Mascara

Until now, finding a great eco-friendly mascara was like trying to find a natural blonde at a Texas beauty pageant. I've tried many and have found either the formulas to be too runny (thanks to moisturizing oils like jojoba) or the brushes to be too skinny (not volumizing enough).

Leave it to Tarte Cosmetics to develop the perfect one (and in such a pretty tube). Tarte was my favorite makeup line at Sephora when I worked there a couple years ago because of the numerous healthy ingredients in its high-performing products. Last year, this cool company went green, making its goods free of parabens, mineral oil, propylene glycol, or synthetic dyes and fragrance.

Pretty factor:
Olive esters—not oilcondition without runiness. Rice bran wax and acacia gum adhere to and naturally thicken lashes. A fat brush with ample-spaced bristles perfectly separates and gives va-voom volume.

Eco factor: No parabens, propylene or butyelene glycol, mineral oil, or synthetic fragrance. The tube is made from recycled aluminum.

To buy: $18 at Sephora and

August 15, 2008

Evan Healy Sea Algae Serum Review

Each Friday this summer, nearly everyone in my Manhattan office has wisked off to the Hamptons. For those of you who, like me, have been doing more day-dreaming than jet-setting since Memorial Day, bring home the beach—and get a gorgeous glow—with Evan Healy's Sea Algae Serum.

I was lured to purchase my first Evan Healy product by its minimalist packaging that whispered "purity, cleanliness." Evan Healy is a San Diego-based esthetician who trained at Dr. Hauschka and holistic doctors in Europe and California. Her philosophy is "the skin breathes" and her line is nutrient-packed and ultra-pure.

Pretty factor:
This lightweight serum—which quickly absorbs into the skin—contains marine botanicals, which feed the skin numerous vitamins and minerals. Seabuckthorn oil revitalizes with naturally occurring beta carotene and vitamin E, while antioxidant CoQ10 renews skin cells from free radical damage.

Eco factor: Evan Healy product contain organic ingredients and pure essential oils.  No parabens, petrochemicals, propylene glycol, filler/thickener ingredients, sulfates, or synthetic colors and fragrances.

Ideal for: all skin types. Really.

To buy: $37 for .5oz at select Whole Foods and at

August 11, 2008

Thinking About Eco-Eating after a Michael Pollan Lecture

This post strays a bit off topic.  But if we are what we eat—if what we put into our bodies eventually affects our skin, hair and nails—then I'm not wandering too far.

Friday evening, a foodie friend and I sojourned to Long Island City, Queens (just across the East River from Manhattan) to hear a standing-room-only talk by food writer-superstar Michael Pollan.

I've been interested in nutrition and healthy eating as long as I have cosmetics, and have followed Pollan's work since reading an excerpt from his recent book
, In Defense of Food, in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

A professor of journalism at UC Berkeley, Pollan advocates via prolific research for eating locally (e.g. from farmers' markets) and organically. 
Here's why:

  • Local food has a lower carbon footprint.  Lettuce voyaging from Salinas, California to a Whole Foods in New York uses significantly more gas than lettuce traveling from a Long Island farm to that same Whole Foods.  Industrial beef farms generate obscene amounts of manure that, instead of fertilizing grass as nature intended, release pollution-causing methane into the air.  (Buy grass-fed beef, which has been found to contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids!)
  • Organic produce is thought to be more nutrient-rich than its conventionally grown counterparts.  Scientists theorize that when produce is sprayed with pesticide/herbicide/insecticide, it becomes "lazy."  Organic fruits and vegetables have to fight harder to survive and thus produces more protective antioxidants. 
  • Organic farming prevents tons of fertilizer from polluting waterways and killing marine life.  Earlier this summer, I came across one of many recent articles about how fertilizer runoff from Midwestern farms causes the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Buying "free-range" meat from a local farmer doesn't support industrial farms or CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)—where animals are packed almost on top of each other, standing in their own excrement, without access to the outdoors.  In these conditions, the distressed animals become sick and are pumped with antibiotics to strengthen their immune systems.  We then ingest these antibiotics, which is thought to cause the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that scientists are discovering. 
Some important things to think about.  Thank you for letting me proselytize!

August 1, 2008

Whole Foods Video Series with John Masters

After a couple months of using an eco-friendly hair line that wasn't doing much for me, I finally finished the bottle and switched back to John Masters Organics. This past winter, I lathered my locks in JM's amazing Honey & Hibiscus Reconstructing shampoo and conditioner and received numerous compliments. Since it's summer, I wanted something lighter, but not too light because I have high-lighted hair and dry ends that need moisture. I opted for JMO's Evening Primrose Shampoo for Dry Hair.

Well, after a week of use, what do ya know? My hair is again smoother, softer and more vibrant. (Evening primrose oil is loaded with rejuvenating essential fatty acids.) Better yet, while doing research, I found these new Whole Foods video interviews with John himself about ingredients to look for in natural haircare. Check 'em out—they're enlightening!