By Friday, my brain is usually fried. I’m almost always behind on email, too, so if I owe you one — it’s coming! In the spirit of keeping things fresh around here, I’m rolling out a new Friday feature. One that matches my overloaded state of mind (and inbox). Before we head in to the glorious days called Saturday and Sunday, may I inform you on the one thing you need to know about. Let’s all have a moment over this adorable portable powder from ILIA. It’s brand spanking new and I’m certain I need it in my purse like yesterday. Called ‘Fade Into You’ (the name is even cute), it is more than just your average translucent powder but chock full of oils, minerals and vitamins, like aloe, leaf extract, passion fruit and rosemary oils. The idea is it doesn’t mask oil or take away your dewy glow but melts, sorry fades, into skin. It is so ILIA chic and looks just like her incredible line of organic lipsticks, which are the best of the rest. Now you know.
P.S. Did you see that DailyCandy is shutting down next week? I’m pretty emo about this as I’ve been a reader for 10 years. The internet is wild.
The Pantone powers that be have decided that a vibrant pastel with equal parts pink and purple is the color of 2014. And I’m completely on board with that decision. Radiant Orchid is fresh and springy, the latter of which can’t come soon enough. It’s also one of those colors that looks really good on cheeks and lips. It can look a little bright and borderline neon at times, but it translates so well once you actually put it on your face. It does very awakening things. Promise.
I’ve never met a Benefit stain I didn’t love and it’s a serious moment when a new one comes out. Lollitint is radiant orchid to a T. If you think you can’t pull it off, try anyway. It is the perfect hybrid lilac and pink blush.
Dr. Sponge comes in all colors of the rainbow, but this lavender edition is so 2014. My fascination with konjac sponges is still going strong. They’re completely gentle to massage on your skin daily and I can’t help but watch in awe as my skin gets smoother with each use.
I’ll take my radiant orchid with a side of purple on the eyes. These cute little Laura Mercier baked eyeshadows are just the right price, too.
I just want more ILIA Lip Gloss in my makeup bag. Love Buzz, your number is up. For the sake of radiant orchid.
My iPhone would look good in the color of the year.
Clinique’s floral printed cheek pops are so spring it hurts.
I love this Laqa & Co nail pen and appreciate that the brand works with young artists to design all of their packaging (and then donates a proceed of the profits to each artist). They’re just cool people, ya know?
Tiny radiant orchid polka dots on this makeup bag, from Forever 21 of all places.
I’m not good with goodbyes, but I’m ready to give 2013 its final sendoff. The promise a brand new one holds is pretty thrilling, especially when this year has been so good to me. I hit publish on my very first 312 Beauty post in January, the start of a wild and crazy ride! There was the time Refinery29 included me in a list of bloggers “you need to be reading,” the reminiscing I did on wedding day beauty for POPSUGAR and the segment I did on Chicago’s FOX 32 on Memorial Day. I’m still awestruck from meeting so many incredible women at A Night for Green Beauty and honored I got to interview Butter LONDON’s global colour ambassador Katie Hughes, Space NK founder Nicky Kinniard and Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston when they came to Chicago. Most of all, I’ve had the best time talking beauty and getting to know so many of you (on the internet and in real life!) Let’s do more of that next year, k?
I can’t wait to see what the next year in beauty will bring. It’s fitting that my last post of 2013 is all about the products I loved most this year. I give you, my top 10!
Deborah Lippmann Glitter and Be Gay is hands down, the best nail polish I bought all year. I wore this constantly! The sparkling yellow gold and bits of blue holographic glitter are killer.
I used to think that salt sprays were drying until I tried Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray. It’s the best styling aid for my type of hair (stick straight). I spray on dry hair before I curl and get the softest waves that last all day. No small miracle.
Everything I thought about natural mascara changed thanks to Kjaer Weis. The 99.8% organic mascara is better than most others (natural or otherwise). Plus, it smells like roses!
I tried at least a dozen facial oils this year and Lina Hanson’s Global Face Serum was easily my fav. It plumps up my skin and makeup looks better when I apply this first. The scent, from a blend of 11+ exotic plant oils, is intoxicatingly good.
ILIA Cosmic Danceris the most flattering gold highlighter. It’s soft and brightening and not the least bit brassy. Word is that it’s limited edition for the holidays, which I’m not ready to accept.
Katie Hughes herself introduced me to Butter London Cheeky Crème Blush in Pistol Pink. It’s a bright pop of color and you can dab it on your lips, too.
This year will go down as the year of MAC RiRi Woo. It was released several times with all of Rihanna’s MAC collections and it sold out quickly with each one. Worth the hype.
My mornings were greatly improved after discovering R.L. Linden & Co Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist, which is like a blast of floral adrenaline. Plus, I want to be friends with the owners. They seem like such cool chicks!
Washing my face will never be the same. Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oilexfoliates with plant extracts as it breaks down all of your makeup. Two thumbs up.
I’ll never be Camilla Belle, but at least I have Benefit Gimme Brow to get me a little closer in the brow department. It’s part brow filler part volumizer and takes 2.5 seconds to apply. I’m already on my second tube!
Behold, tis the season for gift giving. But we’re all friends here, so it’s OK if I admit that I’m shopping for me, too, right? The holidays really test my self-control. I’m kicking off gift guides today and each is filled with the most incredible prezzies. For yourself, for others or both — I’m not judging. Or, in this case, gilt-ing you.
Sasha told me about the Gold Box at A Night for Green Beauty back in September and I have been eagerly awaiting! It’s so pretty in its special box and it’s Ilia, so you know it’s going to wear beautifully.
This ‘lip tease’ mug is the cutest. I’d couple this with a box of tea and a nice handwritten note.
The Threshold jewelry boxes are such a great Target find. I actually got the smaller size for my nieces and I can’t wait to see them fill it with their most special things.
I love how this bib necklace has a delicate and feminine feel.
This Jonathan Adler Metallic Zebra Dish is begging to be on top of my a dresser, holding tiny treasures.
Every girl deserves a little RMS Beauty in her life. The Solar Cream Eyeshadow is a beautiful golden beige hue.
P.S. Since it is Cyber Monday and all…worth noting that Net-a-Porter has 15% with code HOLIDAYBEAUTY (I already snagged an Ilia Gold Box for moi!) and Tatcha has a 20% Friends & Family sale through December 11. Go for the gold leaf!
Formaldehyde in hair salons, lead in lipstick, toxins in your supposedly non-toxic nail polish. The attention on chemicals hiding in our personal care products is only growing stronger. And now, mercury in your mascara? Well, maybe. The UN got the conversation started this month after 140 countries signed a new treaty to ban mercury in cosmetics and soaps. All good, but the kicker? Mascara and eye makeup are exempt. Currently in the U.S., the FDA permits the use of mercury in eye cosmetics in a tiny concentration and doesn’t require ingredients that make up less than 1 percent of a cosmetic product to be divulged on a label. Does mercury have any business as a preservative in your mascara? Of course not and it likely isn’t in your favorite tube. The bigger question is what is? Preservatives are prevalent – gotta keep the product on the shelf and prevent it from building bacteria that could infect your eye – but are they doing more harm than good? With more attention on the bad stuff, more natural options are cropping up. There’s the 99.8% organically-sourced Kjaer Weis, which is one of my favorite mascaras –natural or otherwise. It does wonderful volumizing things for lashes and smells of lavender and roses. ILIA also launched a new formula that bears no sketchy ingredients (and check out that brush!) In this case, knowledge is power (Scientific American has the full skinny.)
I’m back from a quick 36-hour jaunt to NYC for A Night for Green Beauty. You know what happens when you bring together a group of fanatical beauty bloggers, makeup artists, editors, brands and juice-spiked cocktails? Really amazing discussions on things like, which natural deodorant did you wear to the party? For the record, the answers were really interesting – the Green Product Junkie even whipped out a roll-on tube of Milk of Magnesia on the spot. And the proof is in the pudding, ladies. Take a good look at the glowing skin of these green gurus and you will be an instant natural skincare convert. Lina Hanson is so beautiful you almost can’t look at her directly and I really just can’t EVEN with May Lindstrom. Stunning.
While breaking down an entire night of green beauty goodness will be tough, I’ll give it a go!
Pretty little Lurk fragrance oils
One of the stylists at James Corbett Salon sat me down in his chair for a much-needed refresh with Tela Organics hair care. I usually give the stank eye to stylists who come at me with a paste but I’m glad I was feeling risky or I never would have discovered the Tela Beach Hair. The oomph it gave to my roots was pure sexpot. I now know never to doubt when shea butter is involved. This won’t be the last you hear from me on this product!
ILIA’s Sasha Plavsic and me
ILIA Founder Sasha Plavsic shared some deets on new launches. Look out for a new gold highlighter to come this holiday and reformulated mascaras. Also, you need to try the ILIA Lipstick Crayon in Call Me. It’s the perfect girly pink I’ve been searching for like ever.
La Bella Figura is at it again with exotic travel-inspired fragrance oils. This time, they brought to scent their experiences from San Miguel, Istanbul and Positano. I’m partial to San Miguel, which Victoria will vividly paint the picture of how it came to be based on her experiences in the city during Dia De Los Muertos and how the streets smelled of fresh bread, cocoa, cinnamon, wildflowers and incense.
Lina Hanson is also working on taking the fresh grapefruit and vanilla aroma of her new Global Body Serum and turning it into a fragrance. And, for moms of wee ones, she is also launching a Baby Serum this fall.
I chatted with team Kjaer Weis, pressing for details on the new foundation coming and getting in some physical exercise by doing reps with the weighty compacts! I’d be one happy gal if my makeup bag was filled to the brim, even if it caused lower back pain! I need to get on the taupe eye shadow Wisdom stat.
Alexandra of Revolution Organics touching up Katie of the Green Product Junkie
Summer may be fleeting but bronzer is here to stay. Revolution Organics Co-founder Alexandra Zanella showed me how to use the Bronzed Freedom Glow to bring life to the face. A fun and easy trick that actually makes you look like you were in the sun? Blending ever so slightly a dab on the tip of your nose.
After standing in my four-inch booties for hours, I was feeling the burn and onset of blisters. First time in boots all season is killer! It was fate that at that very moment I struck a conversation with Britta Aragon, founder of CV Skinlabs, who spritzed me down with her Rescue + Relief Spray. Instant cooling effect. I can see myself getting a little trigger happy with this mist!
Gotta love how this event all started with my Chicago ladies of La Bella Figura! Thanks for being such wonderful hosts.
Welcome, September. While I’m already mourning the demise of summer Fridays, I am excited for the first signs of fall. Plus, football Saturdays are a fair trade-off. I think I might have had my last hurrah of summer over Labor Day weekend at a Brewer’s game sweating it out in the hot sun for three hours to near delirium. It was a good reminder that September can actually be one of the hotter summer months. With that in mind, my list for September is ‘fall light.’ I’m treading lightly with boots, resisting cozy knits and just starting to dip my manicured nails and pedicured toes into deeper colors. Consider ‘the list’ a favorites/wish list all wrapped in one. Here’s what September is all about for me!
Tassel necklaces. It started when I picked up this trio of tassels from Ann Taylor and has now expanded to several more from Bauble Bar (help, I can’t stop ordering!) The gemstone chain and blue pendant necklace is especially amazing with a white tee, blazer and skinny jeans. We’ll just call it the September uniform.
A classic red nail polish. Every fall needs one and Essie Twin Sweater Set is it. I gave myself a pedi with it over the weekend. It’s crimson perfection.
Neutral blush. I’m taking a seasonal break from my corals in favor of something softer. The new Benefit Rockateur is a shimmery rose gold that has just enough pink to still perk up your face. I’ve been layering it over bronzer these past few weeks with this big fluffy brush brush.
Off-black eyeliner. Fall means the return of the smoky eye! It just doesn’t feel as natural to do a heavy eye when it’s hot. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Mahogany and butter LONDON Wink Eye Pencil in Brown Sugar are two not-black options that I love for a softer take on the usually dramatic look.
Boyfriend jeans. These are hands-down the hardest pair of jeans to shop for. I want them to be baggy and loose but still be fitted where it counts. Who wants baggy butt, really? The GAP’s version has never fit me right, but they have a new ‘deconstructed’ fit that is looser and longer AND PERFECT. I love the dark rinse.
Matte lips. I’m not ready for full-on berry lips per the usual fall beauty looks, but am craving a matte finish. I’m wishing for the ILIA Lipstick Crayons in every color – especially the berry Dress Me Up and pinky coral Karma Chameleon. Aren’t they just the chicest lip pencil you’ve ever laid eyes on?
Cutout booties. These are the greatest idea for people (like me) who want to wear boots but know it is just too hot still. Compromise footwear at its best! This pair by Steve Madden is calling my name. The only question: taupe or black?
Chicago is a shopping destination and beauty boutiques are plentiful. 312 Shops features my favorite places to shop in the city and explores new territory as well. Consider this your guide to Chicago, by way of beauty. If unique and hard-to-find is your flavor, you’re going to love space519.
Tucked away in the Bloomingdale’s building off of north Michigan Ave. is one of my favorite shops in the city, space519. It’s uber-curated with something special for everyone. Men’s and women’s apparel, beautiful jewels, books just screaming for a place on your coffee table, home décor, furniture and…you guessed it, a killer beauty section. The apothecary housed in space519 is well-stocked with organic beauty that you almost never see in brick & mortar locations. Frankly, we need more places like space519 who have a unique POV in the very crowded Magnificent Mile.
Well-stocked RMS display. I picked up the Lip Shine in Sacred during my last visit!
It’s really tempting to just order up this entire display
The Look… Not your average boutique, there’s quite a bit of square footage here. It’s open and airy with a modern feel. Products are housed on glass and stainless counters and inside brass cabinetry. Nearly everything is for sale inside – even the furniture, props and art used for décor and merchandising.
My second favorite area of the store
The Brands… Natural beauties, prepare yourself. space519 stocks RMS Beauty, Kjaer Weis, Jin Soon, HippxRGB, ILIA and Rahua. Oh, and that’s just to name a few. There’s also an excellent selection of fragrances to sniff – Strange Invisible, MCMC and Apothia.
I’m obsessed with that light fixture
Accessories tucked around every corner
The Perks… Look for guest appearances of brand owners from time to time. Kirsten Kjaer Weis made an appearance last year and Astro Wifey (a.k.a. her royal nail art highness) is working her genius artwork to create one-of-a-kind manicures one Saturday each month.
The Experience… Take your time here. There’s nothing cookie cutter about this store, so you might find yourself getting lost in a sea of books about Paris and other travels.
Like clockwork, the vamped-up plum pout reappears every fall. It’s like the falling temps signal that it’s OK to go dark again. It’s a look I associate with that season, which is why I wanted to wear it instead in the smack dab of summer. What makes this look so powerful (and feel so comforting) in October and November has the opposite effect in the heat. The bright sun and exposed limbs somehow lend a more vibrant look to one that is usually dark and broody.
If trying this out during peak sweat season just doesn’t feel right, follow these steps. I promise you, it will be way more interesting than you think!
Go matte. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the more matte your lipstick, the more seasonally appropriate it actually is. I find I don’t need any help with the glow or dew in the summer, and a glossy vamp lip can feel a little one dimensional. I’m loving the BECCA Ultimate Matte Lip Colour in Antoinette. It’s ultra matte but somehow hydrating, too.
Shimmer on the lids. A statement lip can carry itself, but to soften the look even more, I’ve been wearing a shimmery bronze on the eyelids. Nothing smoky or extreme, just a soft wash of color that balances out the matte texture on the lips.
Bronze away. I skip blush altogether a lot in the summer but especially when I’m wearing a dark lip. It feels more natural to be bronzed to all get out this time of year and definitely isn’t the way I’d wear this in chilly weather.
Go berry vs. brown. I think the undertone of the lipstick increases the wearabiility. Opt for something with more berry or red undertones versus brown or black. If it’s too dark, it may wash you out or make the look dated.
Are you ready for eco everywhere today? Honestly, you can’t not love Earth Day. Because even though every day should be eco-minded, every day is not Earth Day. So let’s cheers to the official with a chat about green beauty! Admittedly, I am not 100 percent clean with my beauty routine but I am very ingredient-conscious and the balance is tipping more and more green for me. Especially with skin and body care. There’s no excuse for mineral oil and parabens anymore, ya know? The green beauty industry has majorly upped its game. And many other brands are cleaning up their formulas as well. The paradigm is shifting. In addition to spending some of Earth Day with nature, make it your mission to check out some of my favorite clean products and brands below! An Earth Day clean-up doesn’t necessarily have to be about planting trees and picking up trash…
RMS “Un” Cover-Up. An incredibly effective concealer, made with coconut oil and a blend of cocoa seed butter, jojoba and beeswax. This can be used all over the face on the areas that need a little coverage. Blend with your fingers to warm up the product and watch it melt into your skin. Don’t underestimate the magical powers housed in this tiny little pot. And also don’t fear the oils. Promise! It works wonders (even on oily complexions!)
ILIA Lipstick. The company responsible for making my favorite lipstick. In My Room is my perfect neutral. It’s pinky, with a hint of peach, and enough brown tones to balance it out.
Kahina Toning Mist. I’m in the middle of testing a few Kahina products, and in the process have become reliant on this moisturizing mist. It’s made with more than 90% organic ingredients and smells ever so slightly of roses. It calms skin, tones and replenishes moisture throughout the day. And, 25% of profits of this product are set aside to the women in Morocco who harvest and produce Kahina’s organic argan oil.
Vapour. Oh, just everything from this line. Seriously, it’s one of the best all-around organic beauty lines I’ve tried. Everything is consistently good, and made from organic plant-based ingredients, minerals and vitamins. This foundation rivals many of my “unclean” favs as do the Aura Multi-Use Blushes. Oh, and I adore the Siren Lipstick in ‘Au Pair’ — it’s definitely getting some use this spring as I can’t enough of rosy pinks.
Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm.A brand I’m interested in getting to know more of, based on my positive experience with the Freedom Glow in ‘Blushed’ – a super hot pink that is sheer and dewy on cheeks. The ingredient list makes me smile — coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera and it goes on. The more I embrace these nourishing oils in my beauty routine, the more my skin behaves.
For more Earth Day fun, the ladies at La Bella Figura will be hosting an #EarthBeauty Twitter chat tonight at 7pm central. I’ll be joining in and hope you can tweet along as well!
*note: I received a sample of the Kahina Toning Mist.
Talk about a build of anticipation! I first caught wind of ILIA’s plans to launch a Lipstick Crayon back in January, and was counting down the days to the product’s April launch. I’m not alone either — there have been many a Google searches on this product that have led people to my corner of the blogosphere. (Oh, hi!) And…finally, details have emerged. The ILIA Lipstick Crayon will finally be available for sale next week!
First, for those of you who are all, who is ILIA and why should I care? ILIA was founded by a savvy designer, Sasha Plavsic, who wanted to create organic beauty products that weren’t just clean in ingredients but highly effective and modern. She makes one of the best lipsticks I’ve ever used. Not “best organic” but best overall. So yeah, an entirely new category launch for ILIA fans is big.
The packaging is sleek and modern and the colors all look beyond wearable! The Lip Crayon formula is packed with a blend of sesame, rose hip and papaya oils. Flattering colors and healing ingredients? Done and done. The only question is which color(s?) to try first?
99 Red Balloons. A real red with a touch of blue. A straight forward classic with a recognizable, slightly irresistible name.
Call Me. Inspired by the cult film classic Pretty In Pink, this youthful shade embodies a free-spirited innocence with hints of sweet sixteen.
Come Undone. A quiet nude with a motto of less is more. The perfect complement to a sultry eye.
Dress You Up. Our first true mauve that will suite most skin tones. This rose-berry hue is just enough color to take your lips from a day to night look.
Iko Iko.Brighten and blend with our other shades for a sheer bronze shimmer. “Talk-in’ ’bout, Hey now! Hey now! Hey now!…”
Karma Chameleon.Take it up a notch with one of our brighter shades bathed in fiery coral hues.
The names slay me. Call Me, Dress You Up and Karma Chameleon are at the top of my list. Full details and collection available at ILIA Beauty.