Spring Favorites: Green Beauty, Part 1!

Hi – and happy Spring!! I recently had a spring cleaning-type purge of some old and unloved makeup and skincare products (I’m aiming to be more minimalistic and conscious of my purchases) but I also acquired a few new things that have brought me a lot of joy since they came into my life. I’ve got quite a lot to share with you, so consider this blog ‘part 1.’ More to come soon! Now, without further ado, let’s get started.

RMS Beauty Lip Shine in “Sacred.” ($25.00)

I’d heard a lot of buzz about this lip product in the green beauty vlogosphere, so I was keen to try it. I have to say, I really like it. The ingredients are organic and apart from some artificial pigments they’re stellar: castor oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, buriti oil, beeswax, vitamin E and rosemary. What makes it so special is how highly pigmented is…a beautiful reddish pink that on my lips pulls pretty pink. It’s also beautifully shiny and even once the shine wears off what remains is a light stain. I like the fact that it doesn’t dry out my lips, and that I can also wear it on my cheeks: whilst it’s not part of the lip2cheek line, it’s certainly wearable on the cheeks, and just gives a more dewy finish than the matt lip2cheeks. If you’re looking for a lovely Springtime lip color, this might just float your boat.


Whilst we’re on the topic of lovely lips, I’ve really been enjoying Hurraw! Lip balm in the flavor ‘Vata.’ ($4.19 on Vitacost). I don’t know if you’ve heard of this lip balm brand, but it’s popular in the vegan beauty community, and the ingredients are organic as well as vegan. I was SUPER excited to learn about this lip balm flavor because recently I’ve become interested in Ayurveda, and my particular dosha type is Vata (air). Vata’s need earthy grounding scents, and this one is specifically designed with Vata types in mind – it smells of cardamom and very faintly of almonds and rose. It also contains the tridoshic (good for all doshas) herb ashwanganda, which is commonly used in Ayurvedic practices for maintaining general health. The ingredients are just so thoughtful – sesame oil is the main oil, which is perfect for Vatas as it’s heavy and grounding. And I love the formula – it’s shiny but not too shiny, and honestly it makes my Burt’s Bees balms feel waxy and sticky in comparison. Of course, this lip balm is available in tons of other flavors, including ones for the other dosha types – kapha (earth) and pitta (fire). Hooray for Hurraw!

Another two favorites this month have been my Fig + Yarrow Complexion Water ($18.50 on Amazon – I can’t remember the vlogger who raved about this, but I was sold) which is on a par with the Little Barn Apothecary Geranium and White Tea Beauty Mist ($8.00, exclusive to Petit Vour) which I received in my most recent Petit Vour box. I think I actually prefer the scent of the Little Barn product, BUT the fig + yarrow spray wins in the spray department because it’s a lot lighter and finer. It might be the bottle nozzle, in which case I’ll use up the fig + yarrow first and decant the Little Barn one into it. Score!

The scent of the fig + yarrow is lovely if less intensely floral – sandalwood and neroli. I have to admit, I’ve heard a lot about hydrosols, setting sprays, beauty mists and so forth. I really felt that this was something I didn’t need in my life – or that I could just use aloe water or rosewater as so many people do. But I’m ever willing to give things a go, and now I think I will always have a beauty mist on my shelf. It has a myriad of uses, contain good-for-your-skin ingredients, smell amazing, and I love their versatility…

  • When I’m stressed, I just spray a bit around my head. The scent is relaxing and energizing. Apparently the Little Barn beauty mist contains healing plant energies 😉
  • Toner (before putting on serum)
  • Make up setter
  • Refresher during the day
  • Hair scent (just spray on my hair)
  • Add moisture to my face before applying makeup
  • Awesome when traveling and needing a pick-me-up

I hope you enjoyed my Spring favorites so far. Be on the lookout for Part 2, coming soon!






Minimal Makeup Mondays Tag!

Minimal Makeup MondaysHey friends!

I’m so excited to share with you my personal goal/challenge to wear minimal makeup, every Monday. Hopefully, you know me and my site well enough by now to know that I am a bit of a feminist, and one of my reasons for starting this green beauty journey was that I couldn’t stand the thought of all these big cosmetics companies duping us about what’s in our products, and selling us a lie of glamor, health, and happiness knowing all the while that their cosmetics are chock-full of toxic chemicals.  Check out my Why page for more on this!

Anyway, I was thinking this weekend….how AMAZING would it be if, for one day a week, we women weren’t all so ‘judgey’ of ourselves and of others? If we weren’t worrying so much about how we looked? If we felt confident enough to ditch the eyeliner and the bronzer, and show off our natural beauty to the world? If we felt more united in our efforts to just, well, look like ourselves?

Everyone’s version of minimal is different, of course. If you wear false lashes every day then just wearing mascara is YOUR minimal. For me, minimal would be not wearing face powder or lipstick or eyeshadow. Take it to your comfort level!

Feeling inspired? Join me every Monday for a month of Minimal Makeup Mondays!! Spread the word; if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged!

I’ll be posting a piccie of myself with (relatively) bare face each Monday, and will keep you updated as to how it goes, and if I can ever wean myself off of mascara (doubtful).

If you’re feeling brave you can email me a pic of YOU, and I’ll put it on my website! Just email me, along with your name and website if applicable, at:


I really hope you join me, and that together we can drop a pebble in the pool of change…it doesn’t matter how small it is; every ripple counts 🙂

And here is my Minimal Makeup Monday picture, complete with my beautiful cat, Pudding 🙂

me minimal

Every Woman Should Learn to Love Art…

First off, I was nominated for a Liebster Award! Woot! However, I need time to construct a half-decent, non-garbled response, so I’m going to save that for another day.

Today I am in a garbling mood, so I’m going to have a little blather…about natural beauty, and how art can inspire us on this front.

Some of you may know that I have another blog. It’s called Dial the Lobster, and it’s about art, life, and philosophical musings. Before I became a teacher I was an art historian, with a PhD and everything (!). I didn’t love it too much, but I do love art, and I still love to write about it.

For women, art can be especially useful. It’s a wonderful antidote to all of those awful air-brushed images of perfect beauty that appear in magazines, not to mention the gorgeously made-up ladies that grace our TV screens. Great artists have a way of capturing a woman’s inner beauty that photography (IMHO) struggles to do – even really good photography. And whilst it’s true that the history of art is generally also a history of the male gaze, I feel that the selection I’m presenting today depicts women in a truthful, sensitive light, compared to many contemporary, ‘promotional’ images (and isn’t that half the problem? That so many images of women today are promotional, be they on instagram feeds, or billboards?) So I’m taking a break from product reviews (because I also want this blog to be a support system for women in a more general way) to present to you a few paintings of women who are beautiful in ways which have nothing to do with their ‘outer’ beauty and everything to do with character, strength, grace, vulnerability…in essence, their humanity. If you like this post, let me know…I’m happy to do more like it!

self portrait with monkey

Frida Kahlo “Self-Portrait with Monkey.” I love the bold, almost arrogant gaze Frida projects in the painting. And the monkey suggests a touch of mischief as well.

seated woman with bent knee

Egon Schiele “Seated Woman With Bent Knee.” The title says it all: this isn’t a woman to be ‘adored’ or objectified; this is simply a ‘seated woman’ in control of her own image. I love the contrast of the boldness of her opened legs with her slightly protective, hunched over posture. It captures so well the confusion all women have regarding how we wish to be viewed.


John Singer Sargent “Ena and Betty: Daughters of Asher and Mrs. Wertheimer.” I love the way Sargent captures the haughty elegance of these sisters, and the differences in their personalities. The lady in white seems more extroverted and self-assured than her sister in red, but they both exude quiet confidence and elegance.

young woman with a water pitcher

Johannes Vermeer ‘Young Woman with a Water Pitcher.” Vermeer was a master of light and interior space, but here the young woman is clearly the focus of the scene. Vermeer sought to elevate the humble to a spiritual level, and I think he captures perfectly the grace and beauty of this servant’s devotion to duty, offset by her very natural desire to gaze out the window at the world beyond.


Michelangelo. “Pieta.” Now in the Vatican, this incredible sculpture perfectly captures the sense of loss and grief Mary feels, holding her dead son. Her body verges on the brink of collapse, the body seemingly about to slide from her lap, yet she has the strength to cradle him in her arms for a moment.


Pablo Picasso I love this portrait of Picasso’s model (and lover), Marie, which is sensual in its curviness, yet also portrays Marie as distant and far away from the artist himself; head tilted to one side, eyes closed, as if locked in a private reverie.

woman in a chemise

Pablo Picasso, “Woman In a Chemise.” A very different image here, yet this ghostly woman’s determined face and the stark lines of her body afford her a kind of ‘strength under fire’ beauty which could be consoling in difficult times.

yes to…yes to cucumber soothing daily calming moisturizer!

My quest to replace my old chemical-laden beauty products continues! I have tried a bunch of things recently, and will post reviews of them soon, PLUS (very excited) my Vegan Cuts beauty subscription should be arriving in the next couple of days. EEK! Stay tuned! Not only this, but I’ve been accumulating recipes for DIY beauty products, and will be experimenting with some next weekend when I have more time. This weekend was largely eaten up by work, and blogging at my other site. It’s about art and life (my PhD is in art history) and if you love either of those things, do check it out! http://www.dialthelobster.wordpress.com

Anyway, let’s get to the point, shall we?

My stand-by daily moisturizer for years has been Clinique’s. It’s a weird banana yellow color, and you’d think that would have put me off, but no, because up until now I’ve been a foolish sausage when it comes to buying things. I’m not blaming past-Liv. It’s just that once you’ve peeked behind the curtain, there’s no going back to Kansas! Do any of you folks get weird urges to go up to people in the make-up aisles and proselytize at them? I know – it’s bad!

Anyway, Yes to Carrots may not be the most exciting brand in the world, but it’s readily available, and not too expensive. After checking out the ingredients labels of all their moisturizers (which took a while; I did get some funny looks from a Target employee) I decided to get the cucumber soothing daily calming. I don’t have sensitive skin, but the ingredients really appealed to me. Here’s some info, shamefully plagiarized from the Yes to Carrots website…

Organic Cucumbers are packed with rejuvenating vitamins which soothe and soften the skin, Cucumbers also having cooling properties which help keep your skin supple and fresh.
Aloe Vera is a highly effective, naturally gentle moisturizer that is known to refresh and sooth skin.
Sweet Almond Oil is an excellent natural moisturizer that lends a soft beautiful glowing touch to your skin.

Also includes: Shea Butter, Cocoa Seed Butter, Broccoli Extract, Spinach Leaf Extract, Olive Leaf Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Olive Fruit Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Vitamin E.

Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Fruit Extract*, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract*, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract*, Sea Salt (Maris Sal), Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol, Glyceryl Laurate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum).
*Certified Organic Ingredient
O.K. me again.
Other than the smell of cucumbers, my favorite thing about this product is that a) it contains my beauty favorite, jojoba oil (seriously, no more redness, no more blackheads – it’s a miracle!) and b) aloe vera makes it feel very cooling and soothing to put on. It’s a light, thinnish cream, which is perfect for the mornings.
I bought it at Target for about 15 bucks. Definitely worth it!
Stay tuned for some great upcoming reviews (I hope) and make sure to check back next week to see how my first DIY beauty experiments go!! And forgive my not including a picture today. I’m kind of in a rush, because the family is coming over in, like, T-minus ten minutes 🙂

feminist ramblings about beauty products #1

This is a blog about beauty. It’s also a manifesto against the fetishization of beauty products.

I enjoy beauty. I enjoy getting ready in the morning, and sharing my finds and reviews with others online. The beauty community is supportive, female (not exclusively, but the majority are) and has thus become an empowering space for women. That’s probably why beauty blogs and vlogs are so incredibly popular.

Alongside this, though, we’ve seen a rise in the fetishization of beauty and beauty products. In my opinion, it’s getting out of control. People ‘airbrush’ their lives and instagram their pictures to create a sense of themselves online as living the ‘perfect’ life. Reading beauty blogs can, at times, feel more like an escape from than an extension of reality. Which would be fine, if we acknowledged it as such- just a bit of fun. But more and more of us are taking it uber seriously, to the point where I have actually felt anxious because I don’t have, say, the amazing blusher everyone is raving about (as if that’s going to change my life!). I have a friend who admitted she was obsessed about one particular product to the point where she couldn’t sleep and had to go buy it online. Is that healthy?

People, we have to stop! I want this beauty blog to be different. Dare I say, sensible? So here is my manifesto.

  • No annoying or indecipherable jargony acronyms. The first one I heard as a regular in the beauty community was “HG” which stands for “Holy Grail.” As in, “this blusher is my holy grail.” Folks, isn’t this just a bit over the top? It sounds innocuous enough, but I truly believe that this kind of language just perpetuates a certain kind of semi-religious intensity about beauty products that distorts their real-world value. I love enthusiasm in all its forms- it’s kind of inspiring. I just don’t like raves about a product to the point where the person feels like they NEED it.
  • No overly-stagey pictures of the downward-angle-with-Starbucks-cup variety.
  • No reviews of stuff that only supermodels can pull off- i.e. blue lipstick.
  • No pages and pages of swatches, thoughts on packaging, or other minutiae. I will just review the product, and tell you plainly what you need to know.
  • I hope to build a sense of community here, where people can be supportive of real issues that women face today, particularly with regard to beauty and body image.
  • Beauty products should celebrate, pamper, and honor our selves AS WE ARE. I don’t believe products/blogs etc. should be tapping into our aspirational selves, which is what they often do. Do we really believe that buying that a certain hyped up product will change us, or bring us closer to a certain self-image we’re trying to achieve? Deep down, we all know the answer…
  • Beauty should be fun and playful. We know something is wrong when we feel anxiety, worry, guilt or envy around beauty and beauty products.
  • Beauty should be healthy. This is why I got into eco-beauty in the first place (read my ‘why’ page to learn more).

I could go on. I have more to say. But I’d love to hear more from YOU in the comments. It’s a pretty controversial issue, and I’m sure there will be those who agree and those who disagree.

I don’t claim to be some big difference-maker, but having said that: please vote with your mouse and follow milk & honey!