REALNESS Paula Begoun (Beauty Genius) on Acne

if you haven't heard of paula begoun...check her out! she is the "cosmetics cop" and i love her! she is FO' REALS about skincare & beauty and it's serious!


My Favorite Beauty Products from Whole Foods

i frequent whole foods for many of my skincare products and spend a shameless amount of time in their beauty aisles reading product ingredients (and otherwise looking like a weirdo) because I like to buy products that aren't tested on animals and that are free of controversial ingredients like parabens and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates. i don't necessarily believe parabens cause cancer, i have read much scientific literature from both sides that is ultimately inconclusive. i just try to avoid parabens (it's hard to do by the way!) as a precautionary principle and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates (also known as SLS/SLES) are extremely irritating ingredients - i try to avoid sls/sles because i have sensitive skin and color-treated hair. sulfates strip your hair incessantly causing your color to fade quicker. 
i find a good bit of the beauty products at whole foods to be crap for anyone without genetically blessed skin. take Dr. Hauschka for example, almost all the products are loaded with oils, butters, fragrances and plant extracts which are horrible for anyone with acne-prone or sensitive skin. i think all skin should be treated as "sensitive" as repeatedly irritating your skin is a leading cause of aging. furthermore, "natural" and "organic" products are not any better for the skin than synthetic ones. many of the lines at whole foods are similar (and just as crappy) to Dr. Hauschka - just take a minute to read ingredients.
cosmetics ingredients database if you are interested here
anyhoo, there are some very good products (some i couldn't live without) at this organic shopper's paradise that are great for sensitive skin and as an added bonus are also good for the environment. some are cheap, and some others not so much!
 here goes...
Whole Foods brand 365 Shower Gel- Unscented $3 - This stuff is great and CHEAP! I use it to wash my face and body. it is fagrance-free, artificial color-free, no sls/sles or parabens. it foams well too. it does not irritate whatsoever. my body & face loves this stuff...but my nose doesn't. :( it smells, well, weird. a slightly chemically smell that is pretty faint. it does not make your body smell this way though, don't worry! i wish it smelled better, but for the greatness of the product i will deal with the smell. you could add a Wyndmere essential oil -see below- so it's not so weird smelling but be careful cuz fragrance can irritate. they also have versions with lavender, herbal and citrus scents
not all whole foods carry the red elements line. find it here
Avalon Organics Aloe-Unscented Hand and Body Lotion $8 for 8 oz. my "eco-chic" alternative to Cetaphil lotion
Avalon Organics Baby Gentle Tear-Free Body Wash the body wash i use most of the time, it has some citrus oils in it but they don't irritate. this one smells great!!
Desert Essence Organics Shampoos & Conditioners around $6 for 8 oz. i love the green apple and ginger thickening and volume versions of the shampoo and conditioner. they leave my fine, color treated hair silky, shiny and smelling like fresh green apples!
Wyndmere Essential Oils around $6 for 1/3 oz. (instead of perfume) the scent lasts all day! a great and cheaper alternative to expensive fragrances. i like grapefruit & mandarin
Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk and Shea Butter Body Bar $4 smells creamy, lathers well and soothes

Burt's Bees Super Shiny Lipgloss $6 tube. these glosses are super emoillent and aren't sticky. these glosses won a Natural Health Beauty Award. the colors are VERY sheer.
Mineral Fusion makeup - they have really great glosses, mineral foundations and blushes with great colors. a little pricey though.

the whole foods 365 brand of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion...ew!
Bur't Bees shampoos..gross!


MAC Viva Glam GaGa Knockoff!

I just discovered an NYX shade similar to MAC's new Viva Glam GaGa
it is called Narcissus (perfect!) Narcissus on my top lip, MAC Gaga on bottom lip. NYX is slightly pinker while gaga is milkier but you can barely notice.
UPDATE (2.27.10): NYX.com is sold out of Narcissus
go here or to your local ULTA store

do with this information what you will...

YES! Revlon Colorstay Lipliner

For about 7 bucks at wal-mart you can have a great lipliner that really stays on and doesn't bleed or feather. there are good neutrals and a variety of colors. i like "blush" and "natural" (similar to subculture by MAC). i put it to the test. all day. it passed. it's cheap. just do it.

Green Nailpolish. So Hot Right Now

CHANEL Jade - The shade that started it all back in fall. sold out everywhere. I saw this the other day selling on ebay for $135 SERIOUSLY!!

OPI Jade Is The New Black Hong Kong Collection 2010 $8.50

OPI Hey! Get in Lime $8.50 

Orly Mint Mojito $5

             ESSIE Mint Candy Apple $8          me w/ ESSIE Mint Candy Apple...looks more like a tiffany blue

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics/Skincare List

so i like to be an informed consumer and buy products from companies who have ethics that meet my standards (which involved a certain amount of research...i do my best!) they are: 1. must not be crappy- they have to benefit me in some great way like remove my waterproof eyeliner, cleanse my skin without overdrying, make me have really long eyelashes or cover up my zits effectively 2. must not contain an overload of controversial ingredients that might cause cancer someday or irritate my insanely sensitive skin (parabens/sls, ect.) and last but not least 3. must not stick their products in fluffy bunnies/cats/gerbils/dogs eyes or whatever twisted ways of testing products evildoers come up with.
i have done a fair amount of research on products that test on animals and i try to avoid buying those products.. but i can't possibly know the history of all the skincare/cosmetics companies out there. like i said, i do my best.

it disturbs me that the FDA does not even require animal testing on non-perscription cosmetic/skincare products.

Quote from the FDA website:

"The FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety, nor does the Act subject cosmetics to FDA premarket approval. However, the agency has consistently advised cosmetic manufacturers to employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products. It remains the responsibility of the manufacturer to substantiate the safety of both ingredients and finished cosmetic products prior to marketing."

(Read more from the FDA's website here)

I am not a makeup saint...i have bought and currently use (neutrogena sensitive skin sunblock) some products that test on animals but they are few and far between. i don't get fanatical about anything in life.

my point is:


I know it's annoying and takes some effort but

to help make it easier to navigate cruelty-free products here are some easy resources:

*Get a free pocket shopping guide from PETA here. i love this thing! i keep it in my purse

(I generally use this guideline but sometimes a product isn't listed so i have to do some xtra research)

*Search Companies that DO and DO NOT Test on Animals here

*I have made my own lists of common companies that DO and DO NOT test on animals BELOW
(You can download the PDF file or print it from Scribd - 8 pages)
THIS TOOK A LOT OF WORK! but i am happy to help :)
Common Companies That DO and DO NOT Test on Animals


NYX cosmetics - my new favorite makeup line and it's CHEAP! YAY!

you might have heard of NYX cosmetics before, but i have just discovered them...well, i have seen the line in ULTA stores before but passed by thinking it was just another cheapy makeup line. i recently tried the line b/c a lot of makeup artists rave about them and... WOW! impressive! especially the powder eyeshadows, lipglosses and powder blushes. the eyeshadows and blushes come in an ENORMOUS array of colors-matte & shimmer, which i love. i am not a big fan of shimmer blush as far as makeup for photography is concerned b/c it looks bad on camera. there are 2 types of lipglosses that have almost identical packaging. the one that says "Goddess of the Night" on the tube is fragrance free, which i think smells gross so i opted for the other lipglosses that just had NYX on the tube. they have a much better smell. paula begoun - my favorite "cosmetics cop" rated their eyeshadows, doll eye mascara & lipglosses as paula's picks. it's so wonderful to find quality makeup for cheapo!! you don't even know! coincidentally, after this great discovery ULTA decided to have a BOGO on NYX so i drove deliriously happy to my nearest store and went a little crazy. i can't say so much for the eye pencils and lipliners, they, well, sorta sucked. anyhoo the "round" lipsticks are AWESOME, pigmented and a great creamy consistency that wasn't smelly. i wasn't too fond of any of the shimmery colors (overly shimmery gloss doesn't look good on anyone over 28)  and picked up a bunch of non shimmery ones. to further add to my excitement, the nice people at NYX gave me a pro discount so i just placed an huge order for some 10 eyeshadow palettes!! check out the line at nyxcosmetics.com

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