Stacy B here! Despite the fact that I'm a suburban mom (ugh, that even sounds depressing), I am far more city than country. My husband and I have this dream of retiring - independently weathly of course - to a brownstone in Boston with a doorman, a personal shopper and a heated garage for the winter. And maybe a little beach condo somewhere warm for winter getaways.
I have no desire to live off the land, or retire to some field somewhere where I can feed birds out back or listen to the crickets while I churn butter or whatever. Bugs are gross, butter isn't all that good for you and peace and quiet make me restless. If that's your thing, then good for you, enjoy it! But, give me city lights, shops within walking distance, excitement and entertainment and good food....made to order and served to me on demand. I like more excitement and action and feel more comfortable when there are lots of options, things to do, things to talk about, things to explore. I don't even like country music or cute, farm-y decor. So, I was really suprised when my mom introduced me to a product made by hand from the backwoods of Maine and I fell totally in love.
I'm taking a break from my normal drugstore product because you can't get this stuff in a drugstore. In fact there are only about 10 stores on the East Coast that sell this brand, so you're better off ordering on line. This place started out with jams, jellies and other country-esque gifts and recently branched out into things like body lotions, cleaning supplies, cookware and gift soaps, all natural, of course.
My parents (who are a little more into this stuff than I am) always grabbed some of their jams and jellies whenever they were up near our vacation home in New Hampshire (which I don't go to very often, way too remote!!) The Red Pepper Jelly is a favorite, and so is the Apple Cranberry Chutney. I have no idea what chutney is, but it's great on a cracker. I never thought twice about this stuff until she came home with this amazing Grapefruit Thyme lotion.
This has saved me from grossly cracked and paper-cut-up hands this winter. This lotion is the perfect product to keep right by your sink so when you finish the dishes, you can slab some on and avoid dry and cracked skin and knuckles. It starts out really liquid and oily and when my mom insisted I try it, and practically poured it on me herself, I instantly said how slimy and wet it was and how it would never soak in. She just looked at me and said, 'just wait'. I did, and in less than 30 seconds, I was hooked. My skin was completely moisutrized, felt smooth, soft, silky and touchable. Every bit had soaked in. My mom just looked at me with that knowing motherly smile and said, "I know. I'll get you some next time we go to New Hampshire". Moms always know.
Well, isn't this wonderful! Thanks China. China has never been high on human rights issues so really, why would I think that animals would even stand a chance? Before we get to whats happening with your hard earned cosmetic dollars. Let's look at how the Chinese treat women, then we'll get to the treatment of animals and how, unknowingly, your cosmetic choices are supporting this behavior.
1. Wife Abuse is a "family matter." You think? Thanks genius. I thought that was implied with the term "wife." Once you add the word "beatings" I would imagine a third party would step in. However, I'm only a woman so what do I know?
In some parts of China, it is acceptable to beat your wife. If you want to leave? Well, good luck with that, there are zero shelters to go to.
2. Abduction and Trafficking of Women. Buy one and get a marriage license. Yes! Win, Win! Men that can provide a marriage license do not get prosecuted for abuse because, duh, they're your owner.
3. Have a baby girl? Poor you. China's practice allows urban dwellers one child. Guess how high a baby girl ranks? Yup, forget abortion. Just get rid of it. Even after it is born. The more industrious Chinese couple can make a quick buck. The going rate to foreigners for a Chinese baby girl? Less than a Chanel bag. If you have $3,000 you can have one.
I'm not hating on the residents. I'm hating on the government. I'm also thanking my lucky stars I was born in America. Knowing that they have such high regard for human life is, it any wonder there is zero regard for animal life? Suspend your disbelief, the cruelty that China shows animals is jaw dropping. So jaw dropping that no self respecting American company would tolerate it. No established, money making conglomerate, would knowingly be a part of this culture. A mentality where women's rights are questionable and animals are abused. Be ready to check your cosmetics bag because I have some bad news for you.
Courtesy of a new article on Take Part- Avon, Mary Kay and Estee Lauder have resumed testing on LIVE animals in China. Yup, I guess you go where the labor is cheap. Think about how many brands Estee Lauder carries? It's not just rats people, it's also dogs. Dogs and cats and bunnies that are put through torture to make sure your mascara chemicals wont irritate. Let's shoot it into the pupils of this strapped down beagle and see how he feels after two weeks. We'll then torture him some more with tests that we wouldn't perform on the most violent terrorist. Once he's no good to our cruel experiments we'll kill him. So much for man's best friend. Gives new meaning to "the price of beauty"
I'm going to ask you to pay a little bit more to not support this type of behavior. I'm going to really hurt my pocketbook but really help my karma. I, Megan O'Brien, of somewhat sound mind, refuses to write about, push or endorse ANY PRODUCT that tests on animals. You can only hurt these companies where it makes sense. You have to hurt their bottom line. That scream you just heard was from my accountant. It's probably going to go away in 5 minutes, unlike the puppy with acid on its head.
My favorite companies that actually respect life? The stand out items I completely stand behind? Well, here you go.
Suki This entire line is wonderful but if I had one Holy Grail it is the Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser. it's grainy so it has strong exfoliating power but it's not rough on delicate skin. It lathers up beautifully and the scent? The scent is absolutely delish! It's the freshest burst of lemons. As this scrub exfoliates it also nourishes. Once you hop out of the shower your skin will be refereshed and moisturized, not to mention smooth. It leaves my legs baby skin soft. The downside? You may have to hide it. I've had it in my shower and everytime I pick up the jar there is a lot less in there then I've last remembered. It seems as though I'm not the only fan in my house. Try it once and you will be addicted!
Michael Todd True Organics Welcome the new kids on the block! Made in the USA and ultra organic! These fabulous products have just hit the market and people are going crazy for them. Not just "people" but top beauty editors are raving. MTTO doesn't use cheap water filler in the line. The base is ultra soothing Aloe Vera Juice. They use all natural ingredients and unlike some other organic companies, they smell so yummy you'll be tempted to eath them!
There's 3 I can't live without. The Organic Lemon AHA + DMAE Toner doesn't just refresh my skin, it's a work horse (but not like literally because we're giving animals a break.) The Alpha Hydroxy Acid doesn't dry out my skin, but I feel it working. It's not a placebo effect, the overall tone of my face has evened out. I used to get a little red around the nose area, since I've been faithfully comitted to my toner, the redness has dissappeared. It's not just me that is raving over this item, everyone I know that has it is obsessed! Again, the scent is completely fabulous. The lemon is so yummy it's like dessert, but without calories. Yes, this is definitely dessert for your face.
The Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Cleanser Really absorbs oil! I have an oily T-zone but this deep pore cleanser has completely balanced me out. It's amazing. I have heart palpitations when I can't find it. It dispenses so creamy but once I start massaging it on my face, I feel some secret buffing beads! I don't know how they managed that but I'm not complaining! My pores look smaller and my blackheads how found their new, worst enemy. As if that wasn't enough, at the end of the day it removes every trace of my makeup! I love when a product has tons of uses and actually delivers on all of them-don't you?
Michael Todd True Organics Pearl and Silk Hydrating Mask is livening up my skin on its dryest days and every beauty editor is in awe! It smells clean and gentle, it's luxury wrapped up with silk protein and pearl powder. This mask is safe enough for the most sensitive skin. The mask itself is pure glamour once you pump. The creamy consistency of the product is only second to the look of it! An iridescent shimmer glows onto your skin as you apply the velvety smooth mask. All of us "oohed" and "awed" over the results. Our skin looked healthier and felt amazing. We all agreed, it was like we sent our face on the most relaxing spa vacation known to man. Nevermind that it was just us on the couch!
Juice Beauty Alicia Silverstone Purely Kissable Lip Color This collaboration came as a surprise to no one. Silverstone has long been extremely active in animal rights. Her cookbook The Kind Diet featured her vegan recipes and quickly became a bestseller. Juice Beauty has been green and earth conscious since they hit the shelves showing us that natural can work just as effective as harmful chemicals.
Vegan lipsticks can be tricky to pull off! Sometimes they leave your lips feeling more than a little dry! I am happy to report that is not the case here. The lipstick feels hydrating and Alicia was completely hands on in everything from the pale pink package to the color. "I like a natural looking lip." Silverstone told me, and she has created one with this subtle pink. It's most flattering, natural and sexy come hither bare! Not only is the color all hotness but the application is smooth. A staple. For anyone.
Classified Cosmetics Aero Mineral Hydrating Spray Foundation Creator Yolanda Halston lives in Malibu with her family and her horses. She's sweet, beautiful and probably a genius. The woman spits out patents in her sleep. Of course a lady like this is never going to test on animals. Why would she need to? I would gladly be her guinea pig. She invented spray on foundation.
(I LOVE BUFF) it's easy, it covers. It doesn't clog pores. The makeup artist on Twilight ordered 1,000 cans to be used on the cast. It's that amazing! I love that it also acts as a concealer. It's just about layers! I spray a little on my finger and apply under my eye. I tap it into place. Next step, a shake and spray. I like to do this while my hair is still wet and up in my towel turban. It is east and I don't get any foundation in my hairline that I have just sprayed .I just use a sponge (and in a pinch have used my fingers-that works just as well) and blend it. The whole process tkes 2 minutes and a can lasts a long time! Oh, did I mention it's at the drugstore for under $15.
Leonor Greyl For over 40 years Leonor Greyl has been practicing responsible and ethical business. This natural hair care line is anything but hippy. This is the Rolls Royce of haircare. Long established in Europe they are now making their presence known in the US. Once, just a secret for celebrities and VIP's, the word is getting out. The products are absolutely decadent, gorgeous and deliver amazing results!
The Reviviscence Shampoo is a celebrity cult fave. Never has such luxury been on my head. It is a favorite of those "in the know" the one time both Angie and Jen can agree. My lackluster locks look like a bazillion bucks! I guess that is what you would expect from an award winning shampoo. "The Reviviscence reconditons and restructures the most damaged hair, thus regaining strenght and vitality." My hair feels so soft and smooth, the products look amazing on your vanity and as my roomie said "I don't feel like I even need to use my flat iron anymore." Leonor Greyl has changed my relationship with my hair.
Not to be outdone is the amazing Leonor Greyl Lait Luminescence de-tangling styling product. My stylist has told me that the best way to keep my extensions tangle free was to put a braid in my hair before I go to sleep at night. I try but I forget to do it more than I actually do. After a night of restless sleep my hair looks like I've moved into a wind tunnel. Lait Luninescence has saved me. I've given this item to many of my beauty editor friends (all with different hair types) and they all agree. It is a hero product that really works amazing on every type of tress. It de-tangles and smoothes, it adds shine and it protects from UV Rays.
All of Leonor Greyl's products are phenom. There is a reason that those with every single option available keep taking this one.
Meg here! It's a cool and crisp 50 degrees in NYC. This is where I've been for the past week. This is where I'm thinking the unthinkable, I have to stop running around the city in heels. I currently have really attractive band-aids on my scraped up knees. Last night I went for a cocktail at the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Lincoln Center...In sneakers. It's come to this.
I love heels. Love them. I've also never had too much of a problem scooting around the city in them. It's just so strange, my feet and legs have decided to revolt. I've given up. I'm not putting them back on unless I'm doing direct car door to door service and knowing that I'll have a seat saved for me once I get where I'm going.
Last night was alright, after I had my cocktail I made my way over to the movie theater and got home without hitting the pavement once. My shoes? No they're no longer Prada, they're Puma.
My actual tootsies? They're still in recovery mode. At the beginning of the week, I shoved them into a pair of fabulous sky high boots to run through the streets. I'm pretty sure I've shifted bones in there at this point. My entire body is sore. It's with great pleasure I can review Heal My Sole!
Since I have been globe trotting this year, I have become an expert packer! No, not a light packer, but an "expert" one. I packed Heal My Sole's Yuzu Lotion. thinking "this may come in handy." Maybe I had a premonition my sole was going to be screaming for a cure?
I've been breaking out this bottle and it's been fabulous! The Yuzu scent is refreshing and gives a recharged feel. It's helping my tired and weary bones relax. It's like Heal My Sole was made custom, just for me! The good news is that they're also custom-just for you!
Stylemama here! I bet you ladies would be surprised at how often I think about you. You are a unique, intelligent, hilarious group of women. Words are powerful and yours really make their mark. In a nutshell, I'm grateful to Meg, the writers, and every single Meghead out there that brings truth and insight to Megsmakeup.com. I didn't want one more day to pass in 2010 without putting that out there.
On to the goods...
Sometimes the best things in life come in pairs or in this case come from LUSH. I'm excited to share two of my all time favorite, skin-loving, yummy-smelling bath products.
The first layer of YUM is a delightful massage bar aptly named Strawberry Feels Forever. Call me crazy, but I use it as a daily moisturizer. And, since I am a repeat title-holder for, Driest Skin On The Planet Lady, I can say with total confidence that this is the best defense, dare I say, cure for dry skin out there. Plus, it's all natural and filled to the brim with all the greatest ingredients. I'm talking about Shea and Cocoa Butters, Coconut and Bergamot Oils and of course fresh strawberries, just to name a few! According to LUSH, using this "Is like rolling in a field of strawberries without the sticky mess..." Yeah, that about covers it.
Stylemama here! When I was 10 years old my dad had the coolest little Pygmy Goat. We called him B.A., short for Bad Attitude. B.A. was fearless, loving and rambunctious all at the same time. Our horses adored him. He also brought an element of peace to whatever animal he happened to be grazing near. But, if B.A. didn’t get enough attention, or if you didn’t rub him in just the right spot he would just head but you until you got the point. It was impressive; I’m considering trying the same technique the next time I don’t get my way. I hadn’t thought of B.A. in years, until the Shumway Family at Creamery Creek brought it all back with one bar of their Goat Milk Soap.
The Shumways have been raising goats for 25 years and have specialized in cold processed, handcrafted soaps for the past 12. Creamery Creek is a small independent company that was kind enough to send us 20 full size bars for us to try. Their generosity is much appreciated by the entire Megs Makeup Family.
Stylemama here! I have to admit, I get just as excited about package deliveries as Riley, my German Shepherd does. Picture this: The doorbell rings and my dog charges the front door, determined to break it down and get at the UPS man. All while I pretend to walk calmly towards that same door, holding my breath until I can get at my freshly delivered package. Secretly admitting that Riley is living in truth and I’m totally faking it.
This time, Meg sent the LORAC Croc Palette…… total proof that my neurotic reaction to the doorbell was completely justified. As soon as I opened it, I lost all restraint and used my pinky to swipe the beautiful shadows across my lids. You know it’s a great product when you can make your eyes pop with nothing more than the shadow and your little finger. It proved even more amazing after multiple uses and actual eye shadow brushes. Like many of us, on Thanksgiving I spent the entire day in and out of the kitchen, cooking, cleaning, eating, eating, eating, and my earthy smoky eyes held up throughout the entire day. No creasing, no melting and no disappearing. I was impressed, especially since I forgot to use a primer that morning. I’ve reached for this palette everyday since I got it. Whether you want a sexy smoky eye or a muted day look, you’ll get it. The combinations are endless and super easy to achieve. There are four shadows and one blush. Moonstone (soft champagne shimmer), Serenity (peachy champagne bronze shimmer), Garnet (bronze shimmer), and Suede (chocolate matte). The blush is called Soul, and it’s a slightly shimmered, burnished rose color, perfect for this time of year.
Stylemama here! Did you know that studies show that a woman's appearance becomes more beautiful and alluring during times of ovulation? We also release a more desirable, come-hither pheromone during this phase of our cycle. Yep, it's true. It's all part of our Grand Design, something to do with hormones and the propagation of our species.
I think I've noticed this in my own cycle, have you? You know those days when you just look a little brighter, a little better without having changed anything in your beauty routine. I don't know about you but I don't like having to wait around for my cycle to produce that special natural glow. I'd much rather find a way to manufacture it on my own.... without looking manufactured of course!
Enter Classified Cosmetics affordable luxury line: Aero Minerale. I see it as affordable perfection from the Aerobrush experts. Meg sent me the Hydrating Mineral Shimmer in golden and it really surprised me. (Sometimes, I think she knows my beauty needs better than I do!) Because I have issues with texture and tone, shimmer has always been less friend, more foe. I normally only use it from the neck down, but not anymore!
For my first application, I followed the instructions and held the can ten inches from my face, closed my eyes and employed small zig zagging motions. Unfortunately, this approach didn't do much for me. (I can only do a few things well with my eyes closed and this isn't one of them.) Aha! Once I opened my eyes and chose a different means of application the results were stunning.
Stylemama here! "Reveal the skin Mother Nature intended you to have." Exactly. That’s what we really want and Moon’s Harvest Bath & Body Shop is determined we get it. I love that, I really do.
If I could give every single one of our beloved Megheads a little love it would be a Moon’s Harvest Sweetheart Cupcake. This is the most adorable yet totally sophisticated bubbling bath bomb I’ve ever had the privilege of using. This life size cupcake is made up of both a Bath Bomb and a Bubble Bar.
I was very impressed with the design, the quality, and the attention to detail of this product. Imagine old school quality coupled with modern creativity and flair. But, before I delve into all of the details, I must brag about the unique aesthetics. The box alone arrives beautifully gift wrapped, complete with ribbons, hearts and pretty pink tissue paper.
Stylemama here! Behind every independent beauty company is at least one person that had a passion for something that simply could not be ignored. Whether it began in childhood or was discovered as an adult, you can always pick up on the “it” factor that makes their product different and authentic.
Rochel Roland founder and Chief Bath Mixologist of Joyful Bath Co. has that special something and I am in LOVE with her bath salts. Roland shares how her penchant for mixing and creating things gave birth to her company, “In kindergarten I collected rocks, leaves and other treasures in a Band-Aid tin and used my cool metal chemistry kit to see what I could create.” Many years later, the dream became a reality. How can you not adore a company with a philosophy that reads: We’d like to make your life a little more joyful and a little less complicated with the simple joy of a bath.
After the most FANTASTIC Labor Day Weekend ever, my day-to-day life seemed a little more stressful than usual. (I miss my sisters!) By the end of the week I was desperate for a long, hot soak in the tub. With the right products, lighting and partner, a nice bath can cure whatever ails you. I couldn’t wait to indulge in Joyful Bath’s ‘Nilla Buttermilk scented bath salts. It had the tastiest scent. Imagine the most delicious white chocolate laced with the perfect amount of vanilla. Two words: Yumm Meee!