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Sweet Tarte by Celebrity Stylist and Writer, Michelle Brookhurst

21 Dec

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When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, we went into a research frenzy; culling articles about hormones in poultry, aluminum in deodorants, and parabens in cosmetics. In the decade since her diagnosis, we have made a lot of environmental and nutritional changes. I checked out options for paraben free cosmetics, and after a life of cheery bright happy lipsticks, and colorful packaging filled with promises and allure, I found the “natural” options to be a bit blah, and rather depressing. Well, natural is nice, but I think make-up should be about fantasy and fun, drama, seduction, getting to play the red-lipped femme fatale, or the apple cheeked girl next door. I am well aware of the harsh role chemicals and toxins play in our current state of health, but I don’t want to lose my five minutes of fun in the morning, where I get to “put on my face”. I enjoy being in touch with my feminine girly side, reminding myself I can be sexy and sweet, before I walk out my front door to go kick some butt.

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I found the perfect solution in Tarte Cosmetics. All their packaging is super flirty and fun, it is a pick me up to look at, the colors are fantastic, and that’s before I even put it on! All Tarte products are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and synthetic fragrances, and I also appreciate that they don’t spend money on advertising, they spend it on research. The company is eco-friendly, and I highly suggest reading about the values of both the company and the cosmetics- you will be amazed at the amount of research and care that goes into every product; even the cheek stain, which is a water based gel blush, is packed with vitamins for your skin. There are some natural beauty lines that are all about health, but do absolutely nothing for either your face or sense of fun- Tarte delivers the true “whole package.” I have never been asked by so many make-up artists about my mascara, had friends borrowing my lipstick, or given away so many tubes of the tinted moisturizer.

Tarte-Lights-Camera-Lashes

Tarte Cosmetics was created by someone who loves make-up, and you can tell. Everyone I have turned on to the Lights Camera Lashes mascara has never gone back to the itchy, overly fragranced mascaras of other companies, and it even comes in a purple snakeskin tube! That’s my kind of “natural.” There is never a new product I don’t like, and every color is flattering. I swear by their cheek stain, all the Lipsurgence lip pencil/gloss sticks (i don’t even know what to call them except tubes of perfect textured heaven), and my biggest secret weapon is the Smooth Operator waterproof concealer, which easily outperforms Touche Eclat..

Smooth-Op-Clay-Concealer-ALL-mdn-70191227I don’t know if it’s the Amazonian clay, or the Marajuca oil that is used to create such perfect textures, but the foundations are never cakey, all pencils glide on smooth, and the cheek stains are so user friendy. This is what I was looking for in a “natural” beauty line: fun packaging, great results, and 5 minutes in the morning where I get to feel good about what I put on my skin, and beautiful when I look in the mirror. (And with this sale, my wallet is looking good too!)

Available from:

Tarte

Sephora

 

Michelle Brookhurst

Michelle Brookhurst is a former teen actress (Can’t Hardly Wait, Charmed, Foxfire), turned celebrity stylist (clients include George Lopez and Baron Davis) turned writer. She has written a television series based on her life called “Certain Something”, and is currently based in Los Angeles.

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A More Natural & Still Effective Mascara: CoverGirl NatureLuxe Water Resistant Mousse Mascara

20 Dec

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I was drawn to this mascara when I noticed a subtle light green tube amongst the many brightly colored CoverGirl Lash Blast mascaras on the shelf. Hmmm, why the change of packaging and branding, what was in this CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara?

Well, what makes this product a little different is that although NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara is not an all-natural product, CoverGirl has swapped out a heavy synthetic ingredient commonly found in mascara which gives the product lightness. By incorporating naturally-derived ingredients like beeswax, tapioca polymers, and carnauba wax— the hope is to deliver a more luxurious product that performs just as well more costly products, but with a “luxury touched by nature” feel. I wouldn’t go so far to say it performs as well as other mascara’s in terms of volume and drama. BUT, it does create a nice clump-less effect that feels light and is great for daily day time use. It’s not as water resistant as other more synthetic water resistant mascara’s either but again a great balance for a more natural look that doesn’t smudge or flake!

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I would say for what it is, this mascara is brilliant! I feel like my lashes can breathe a little easier and I prefer a softer look for day time use. It’s easy to apply and with 2-3 coats gives me just enough drama and yet natural-looking clean volume. The wand is fantastic, not stiff hard but not floppy either. And, the shape of the brush and bristles were so that I could reach all lashes, including bottom ones, easily. If you are looking for high volume this probably isn’t the product for you. In other words if you’re looking for result akin to Taylor Swifts ad for the product which was banned, good luck. The ad was banned for excessive photoshop enhancement. But, if you want light and luxurious lashes that have volume without being vampy, give this a try! Your lashes will thank you.

CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara $7.99

Available in regular and water resistance formulas. Four shades – Very Black, Black, Black Brown, and Brown.

Holiday Beauty Gift Guide Part 2: $100 and Under

11 Dec

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Beauty Bar Sample Society Gift Membership  3 Months for $45.00/ 6 months for $90.00  Join the SOCIETY and give a gift that keeps on giving with Deluxe-size samples from luxury brands (such as DDF and Oscar de la Renta) delivered to your door every month, $15 a month. Plus your giftee also gets a $15 gift code each month if they include any product from the brands sampled. This is the ultimate for a beauty junkie!

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Kiehl’s ‘Kenny Scharf Creme de Corps’ Limited Edition Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter $38.00 This is a doubly meaningful gift as it’s a gift that gives back, 100% of net profits up to $200,000 from worldwide sales of the Limited Edition Creme de Corps will support children’s charities around the world. And, whipped body butter is the perfect name for this luxe nourishing creme which has a rich clean scent. A classic gift of an item that has been a classic in Kiehl’s collection for over 4 decades.

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Chloé Rollerball Trio $55.00 I personally use 2 of these 3 fragrances and adore them, they have a beautiful kind essence. Each rollerball is 0.2 oz, is easy to pack, or great to throw in your bag as an on the go lady-like touch up scent.

From the Sephora website: Chloé Eau de Parfum captures the spirit of women—not about one singular woman, but rather about the rich and varied personalities of all Chloé women. Love, Chloé is a celebration of radiant, generous, and spontaneous femininity. Its fine, powdery scent is contagious, a beauty that is free and graceful.
L’Eau de Chloé is elegance injected with a modern twist. It’s an utterly innate sense of chic with the fresh feeling of springtime pastels, light dresses, and rose petals.


Screen shot 2012-12-10 at 6.30.00 PMJosie Maran Moroccan Scented Oil Trio $80.00 ($105 value) plus free shipping from Sephora
An all natural trio of luxuriously rich oils created with Josie Maran’s signature Argan Oil, an organic ingredient known to help prevent dehydration, inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and sebum production. Argan oil is produced from the argan tree in the semi deserts of Morocco and is the natural answer to maintaining healthy, youthful, radiant skin and hair. Additionally, these oils feature an exclusive blend of nourishing vitamins and essential fatty acids to infuse the skin with enriched hydration and encourage a healthy elasticity. Massage them into your skin for a calming effect or pour them into the bath for an aroma therapeutic experience, my favorite.

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Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful: Beauty Stories to Inspire Confidence $29.95 Inspire beauty from the inside out, our motto at Glow + Tell. All the product in the world won’t make up for a bad attitude or a nasty spirit. So get in the right spirit as this book is a new kind of makeup manual that starts with who you are, rather than how you look. From the Bobbi Brown site “In this book, Bobbi interviews dozens of real women, celebrities, and athletes about what beauty means to them and shows, step-by-step, how to achieve each look. Along the way, she shares her trade secrets for striking eyes, youthfulskin, pretty lips, and perfect brows for any age, skin color, or beauty type. Brimming with personal and inspiring beauty stories from Blythe Danner, Alexa Ray Joel, Gabourey Sidibe and many others.” Bobbi Brown also has another beauty book manual classic called Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual $32.00 if you are looked for tried and true ‘how to’!

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Jo Malone London Pine & Eucalyptus Diffuser $75.00 This reed diffuser is a perfect gift for the Holiday season. Pine & Eucalyptus is the scent of Christmas morning and this collection is the ultimate way to have a lush lingering reminder of the warmth we surround ourselves with during the Holidays. It’s also a great gift for a friend who has everything because let’s face it who doesn’t love beautiful things that make your space smell beautiful… can you really get enough of them?

Tata Harper 100% Natural Organic Skin Rejuvenating Serum

27 Sep

Tata Harper’s renowned line has become one of my favorite 100% natural product skincare lines in the market. I was introduced to the line by my sister who sells the Tata Harper line in her NYC salons, tenoverten. Having recently had her 1st baby she has become more aware of the chemicals in our daily use products and thus started carrying and using Tata Harper.

I’ve seen a lot press recently on the line and although it is 100% natural there is some dispute about the terminology ‘non-toxic’. This is because essentially all products in the market are technically safe for use. Most ingredients, including parabens and petrolatum, are not dangerous in the concentrations that they are used in skin care products. This is an ongoing debate that I myself struggle with in my personal use and review of products.  The subject warrants a dedicated entry. However, for the moment regardless of the actual scientifically proven benefits, I can’t help but feel we’re doing our body good by not absorbing any additional chemicals than needed. This applies to every facet of our lives from beauty products, to food, to paint we use, household products, and many more. Do what you can and if it does the job without them I say carry on!

So, when it comes to doing the job, one of my top picks from the Tata Harper line is the Skin Rejuvenating Serum, it is a stunning product! The serum is packed with 29 natural active ingredients of which 74.82% of the Ingredients are Certified Organic, and 100% of the Ingredients are 100% All-Natural.

The serum used daily definitely improves the appearance of my skin. It gives my skin a dewy look and it feels more nourished which is always key in smoothing out fine lines and having a glow to your skin. That and of course staying hydrated from the inside out.  I then use the Tata Harper rebuilding moisturizer or June Jacobs intensive age defying hydrating complex moisturizer, another one of my natural botanical skincare favorites, on top of the serum.

What ingredients do what?

Menyanthes Flower is a powerful skin tonic helping maintain healthy skin cells

Narcissus Bulb extract increases skin cell durability, stimulating the skin to defend itself against environmental damage.

Date Extract Minimize lines and wrinkles with this anti-aging extract.

Alfalfa Extract. Restore a natural glow with nutrient & vitamin rich extract.

Meadowsweet Extract Keeps skin looking dewy and youthful.

Jasmine, Chamomile, Lavender and Immortelle essential oils blend together creating a rich floral fragrance and add their unique skin hydrating, nourishing and balancing qualities to this wonder serum.

My only qualm with the product is it doesn’t have a very long shelf life. Considering the price and how many of the products you use that can be painful. It lasts 1-3 months with daily & nightly use.  The short shelf life is attributed to the natural ingredients. All-natural products may contain a preponderance of plant-derived substances conducive to all kinds of unhealthy microbial growth and/or contain nontraditional preservatives or no preservatives at all. Meaning, pay attention to the shelf life and throw it out when it’s time. It’s usually not dangerous but likely the active ingredients will no longer have the same impact if any at all.

One more tip for if you’re acne prone.  I would also suggest trying the resurfacing mask. It has a natural source of betahydroxy to reduce surface issues like inflamation, even out redness, and bring glow to the skin.

From the Tata Harper website:

TATA HARPER Skincare was founded by Tata Harper on the essential idea that women no longer have to sacrifice their health to look and feel beautiful. In Vermont on a 1,200 acre farm, she manufactures 100% natural and non-toxic, premium skincare products made from the World’s most sought after ingredients. Some of the ingredients are sourced from around the World, but many are grown on the farm.  All research and development, formulations, packaging, marketing and distribution are done in-house, allowing Tata to control every step of the process, from formulation to shipment to a customer.

Great article to read on the Tata Harper blog about organic vs. non-organic food – http://blog.tataharperskincare.com/we-discuss-stanfords-organic-vs-non-organic-food-health-claims/

Price: $150.00 for 1.7 oz

The price is high but understand why here – http://blog.tataharperskincare.com/our-pricing-philosophy/

Available at: http://www.tataharperskincare.com/

“The Skin I’m In” by Celebrity Stylist and Writer, Michelle Brookhurst

14 Sep

I’m the person that “sensitive skin” labels were made for. Unfortunately, most products aren’t “sensitive” enough. I am allergic to every synthetic fragrance, every bubble bath, every laundry detergent, every make-up, every self-tanner, every everything.

I have horror stories of getting on a plane and using a beautiful, “healthy” cucumber hand lotion from an extremely reputable brand, known for it’s true to nature philosophy, and breaking out in hives 20 minutes into a 5 hour flight. When I go to a hotel, I have to bring my own towel, so I don’t get a red itchy rash all over my torso from the hotel bathrobe and towel sets. I have to pack my own blanket plus full length pajamas and socks, to keep me protected from the hotel linens. So much for a romantic getaway when you are covered head to toe, in the hopes of protecting yourself from a blanket. I am terrified of the Snuggle bear, and the wrath his scented dryer sheets can inflict on my skin.

So needless to say, I am extremely paranoid and picky when it comes to my skin care. For a long time I used Olay sensitive skin face wash, and moisturizer with sunblock, but when I wanted to make the switch to paraben-free skin care, I was lost in a sea of essential oils. I am always nervous to try anything new on my skin, I patch test everything, with a dime size scoop of any new product on my inner wrist for 24 hours before it goes anywhere near my face. So when a friend suggested DeVita skin care, I took her advice with a grain of salt; everyone always thinks they can outsmart my skin allergies, but my puffy eyes and swollen lips the morning after a “I swear it’s all natural” lotion test have always told me the truth. However, I started paying attention to her repeated suggestion, not because I necessarily believed the line wouldn’t affect my skin, but because her skin looked so fantastic.

My patch testing began on a summer afternoon, after reading everything I could on paraben-free allergy safe skincare. DeVita was the clear winner. It’s sold at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and they have their own website, http://www.devitaskincare.com. It’s a little more expensive than the average drugstore skin care products, but for someone like me, it’s truly priceless. The packaging is beautiful, and not only is it paraben free, it’s vegan safe, gluten sensitive safe, never tested on animals, and the products are fantastic! My personal favorites are the Aloe Vera Moisture Cleanser, the Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30, the DeVita-C Serum, the Perfecting Time Age Defying Moisturizer, the Hyaluronic Serugel, and the super duper High Performance Glycolic Acid Blend. I am way too sensitive to use Retin-A, but this glycolic acid serum does the trick! My skin has never been calmer, clearer, brighter, and happier. The line has every kind of troubleshooting product you can imagine, from under eye cream to capillary support. DeVita has “try-me” kits on their website, which are also ideal for travel- because the bottles are a beautiful thick glass, some of the full-size products are not great for squishing into a suitcase.

I don’t feel lost or embarrassed about my skin anymore, I’m just a sensitive gal in general. As I have matured, I am grateful for my emotional sensitivity, it makes me a better friend, daughter, parent, sister. And I am thankful, for every hotel towel, and well-intentioned bubble bath, for all the itchy and red days and nights, because they brought me to a safe, healthy skin care line, that looks beautiful in my home, and even better on my skin.

 

Michelle Brookhurst is a former teen actress (Can’t Hardly Wait, Charmed, Foxfire),  turned celebrity stylist (clients include George Lopez and Baron Davis) turned writer.  She has written a television series based on her life called “Certain Something”, and is currently based in Los Angeles.

Devita Skincare & Cosmetics Available at:
DeVita

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