Polished, Naturally

 

It’s hard to ignore the impact we, as humans, are having on our environment, and even though I wouldn’t consider myself a full-on Greenie, I do try to do my part to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. I’m a big believer in making small changes that can add up to a big impact – recycling, switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs, shopping with eco-totes rather than using plastic grocery bags, etc. – and those small changes can sometimes be made in my beauty routine. I’ve tried all-natural moisturizers, exfoliators, body washes and shampoos. Some have been keepers and some have been duds. But by far the most delightful “green” product I’ve encountered has come in the form of nail polish.

 

Zoya Nail Polish is natural, non-toxic, and comes in a huge selection of colorful and quirky shades that are dripping with chicness and sass. My favorite shades are playful neutrals: Pandora, a creamy beige-pink, and Dove, an ultra cool soft gray.

 

A word of caution when using natural nail colors – they are just as gorgeous as traditional high-end nail colors, but they simply do not have the staying power that classic polishes do. Zoya boasts that it is the world’s longest wearing natural nail polish, and that may very well be the case, but you definitely don’t want to scrimp on top coat when wearing one of these sassy shades.

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Pretty in Pink

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make you feel transformed from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. Sometimes all it takes is the right eye shadow.

Over the course of the past couple of months, I’ve kind of felt like life has gotten in the way of me taking care of myself. It’s no secret that grooming myself is one of my favorite pastimes (vain, but true). Yet when other, more pressing matters arise, my grooming time is the first thing to go. This, of course, has the spiraling-out-of-control effect of making me feel worse and worse about myself, the situation at hand, and my ability to cope with stress.

Not good.

Last week I woke up one morning and realized that my head of hair had actually turned into a wild, frizzy mane. I desperately needed a cut. I went to work, cringing every time I passed a mirror or caught a glimpse of my reflection in a computer screen.  I checked my email, where a spam message urged me to get a great haircut. That settles it, I thought, and called my beloved hairdresser. She could fit me in that afternoon. God bless her.

So, after lopping a good six inches off my hair, I started to remember what it’s like to feel pretty! I continuously ran my fingers through my hair, admiring my new look in the mirrors at home. But my transformation from duckling to swan was not complete. I decided it was time for new eyeshadow.

While perusing the shelves at my local Rite Aid, I remembered an article I had read a few months back about Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow. It’s made with 98.2% natural ingredients, and is packaged in 58% recycled materials. (I must be on a going green kick lately; I recently became obsessed with the new BIC ECOlutions ReAction Ball Pens, which are made with 74% recycled materials and write SO smoothly.) So I headed to the Almay section, where my eyes immediately locked onto the Pure Blends shadow, in a lovely pale pink shade.

Almay Pure Blends Eyeshadow in Petal is my new favorite thing. It’s subtle and light, and doesn’t irritate my eyes at all. The light color helps brighten up tired eyes and helps to put a sparkle back into mine. And it’s cute little recycled package is adorable and eco-friendly.

What more could a beautiful swan ask for?

Five Steps to Pretty

On America’s Next Top Model last week, the would-be models were given a makeup lesson. They were told that all they needed to enhance their natural beauty and finish with a pretty face were four essentials: concealer, bronzer, mascara, and gloss.

While I agree that these are all great tools in creating a pretty, natural look, I’d like to add something to the list, if I may.

Ladies, don’t forget your eyelash curler.

In college my very un-makeup-y roommate would watch in horror as I curled my lashes every day before class.

“That looks like a medieval torture device,” she’d say.

In all honesty, lash curlers do look a little intimidating, but they don’t hurt at all, and they make a world of difference. Even when I’m too lazy to put on anything other than moisturizer and lip balm, I still curl my lashes. It opens the eyes, and your mascara will pack a more powerful punch when applied to curled lashes.

My favorite trick for bright eyes/big lashes? After curling lashes and applying mascara, I blink my lashes against the side of the mascara tube. This not only gets rid of clumps, it helps reinforce your curl.

Eyelash curlers range in price from really cheap (I’ve seen 99 cent versions) to pretty pricey (my favorite, Shu Uemura’s lash curler, is between 19 and 24 dollars). In my experience the high-end ones are worth the money; they curl instead of crimp, and the curl tends to be longer lasting.

So ladies, conceal your blemishes, gloss your lips, bronze your cheeks, and do your lashes. You’ll look naturally pretty. I promise.