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Beauty How To: A Fresh Face for Spring

vmac spring makeup shot detail

vmac spring makeup before copy

vmac spring makeup before after

Today I’m excited to welcome back Erin Gerlach, who previously wrote this fab post on how to contour and highlight your face. Erin’s a professional makeup artist and beauty consultant, and I asked her to whip up a fresh, simple look that is perfect for any gal this spring.

A new makeup routine to kick off spring is exactly what warmer weather is calling for! There are definitely tricks to achieving that soft, pretty and polished look with flushed cheeks, glowing skin, amped up eyes. As a makeup artist, your best tools are your fingertips, and they can go where sponges and brushes can’t, so don’t be afraid to get in there with your fingers to apply your makeup. Especially with cream products, your fingers blend like nothing else.

For this look, we’ve used a lot of creamy, hydrating and nourishing products that will leave you looking fresh, bright and natural. As I always say, great makeup should make a woman look like the best version of herself, and this makeup definitely hits that mark.

Working on the skin is huge factor in the outcome of your overall makeup and starting out with hydrated, nurtured skin makes for the most ideal canvas for foundation. Once you have glowing and healthy skin, you don’t need to use as much to ‘cover it up’ – enhancing the skin is what we’re after, especially for this fresh look. Here’s how to re-create this gorgeous, natural look at home: Read more »

Gimme Some Lip: 5 tips for lip care

5 tips to care for your lips

Keeping my lips hydrated and moisturized sometimes feels like a constant battle. For one thing, I’m often bad about remembering to put on lip balm anyway. I’m at my desk, working away for hours, and before I know it I’ve both forgotten to drink water or re-apply a balm (both sure-fire ways to end up with chapped lips). And for another thing — newsflash! — this winter has sucked. It’s been nothing but a one-way ticket to cracked lip town (gross).

Recently, the kind folks at Marie Veronique reached out and were generous enough to send me a few samples from Marie’s line of natural, non-toxic skincare (which is also based in Marin County!). I was especially intrigued by a pot of Marie’s Pacific Lip Treatment they sent, which comes in this little jar which after a few weeks I can already tell will last for months and months. I’ve kept it right next to my monitor as a reminder to reapply, and my lips have never been softer. Not only does the chic packaging catch my eye more often, but the ingredients are wonderful. Even more importantly, Marie sent along some really great tips for lip care, many of which are very handy to keep in mind the older we get. These nuggets of info were so good, I asked if I could share them here with you today!

Some quick background on Marie that I thought was really cool: Marie started Marie Veronique Organics over 10 years ago, and works with her daughter (who is a physicist and biomedical engineer) to choose ingredients in the products. Marie herself has degrees in math and chemistry, as well as an esthetics license from Paris Beauty College. Clearly, science and math result in beautiful, beautiful things. Here are Marie’s tips:

TIP#1: Lip skin needs a different treatment than other types of skin

It’s obvious when you stop and think about it, but lip skin is not the same as the skin on the rest of your face. “It’s thinner, and contains fewer melanocytes, which produce pigment,” says Marie, and more importantly, the lips have “no sebaceous glands to provide lubrication.” That means while the skin on the rest of your face churns out sebum as a natural lubricant, lips don’t have that same natural protection. “They become dry and chapped, especially in cold weather. Treatments that help retain moisture will keep your lips soft and supple.”

TIP #2: You can’t hide a thin upper lip

This one is a little complicated, so I’ll just let Marie explain:

“The skin of the lips contains 3 layers of skin — the stratum corneum, the epidermis, and the dermis, which contains collagen for plumpness. The stratum corneum is thinner on the lips than it is elsewhere. Unfortunately, as you age, the upper lip gets even thinner, flattens, and appears to fold over the teeth. Decreased collagen production is one of the main culprits behind the upper lip’s vanishing act.” To combat? “Look for lip treatments that boost collagen production and increase epidermal water content.” In other words, caring for your lips properly now can help you keep that stiff (and plump!) upper lip later in life.

TIP #3: You are what you eat  Read more »

Budget Friendlier Natural Beauty Brands

11 budget friendlier natural and non-toxic beauty brands - via vmac+cheese

After finishing up my natural beauty series with Tata Harper, I got lots of wonderful feedback — thank you! It’s gratifying to learn how many of you are interested in natural/non-toxic beauty, and hear about what changes you have made to your routine to eliminate potentially harsh chemicals and toxins. One excellent reader request I received (hi, Julie!) was to compile a list of other great natural beauty brands that were budget friendly. Understandable — I absolutely know swapping out conventional products for natural ones gets expensive. So today, I thought I’d round up a list of other great brands you can check out with prices that are a bit lower.

One caveat here though: I do have to tell you that when it comes to natural, non-toxic and (often) organic beauty products like this, it’s rare to find dirt cheap prices. It’s just a function of the ingredients used — kind of like in food, how organic fruits and veggies usually cost more than conventional, so to is it true with cosmetics. It’s just much cheaper to use man-made chemicals in things than it is to use something like pure, organic argan oil. So for a few of these options, some of their items might not be budget friendly, but they’re at least budget friendlier, especially compared with some of the other luxury beauty brands. With that in mind, along with each brand, I’ve included the price ranges for their cleansers, moisturizers, and specialty products like serums, so you can get a sense for where they lie on the price spectrum. I’ve also included recs for products I’ve tried and loved, and/or products that I think sound wonderful and suspect would be a great place to start! Check it out:  Read more »