Natural, organic BB creams

I recently purchased two BB creams from brands marketed as natural, organic, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free–all huge pluses in my opinion. I have only swatched these and will post a review later. In the meantime, here are my first impressions.

The first product is the derma e Evenly Radiant BB Creme in light ($39.50 for 2 oz.). It is also available in a medium tint. Advertised as offering SPF 25 (thanks to zinc oxide and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) and flawless coverage, it is a light to medium beige with a thick cream consistency. Initially, it took quite a few pumps of the dispenser to get the cream out. The coverage level is medium based on how well it covered up the veins on my inner arm. The color is strongly beige, so I’m curious how the color will turn out on my face, which is quite pale with yellow undertones. Some beige BB creams turn out to adjust to normal skin tones quite well.

Up next is Andalou Naturals All in One Beauty Balm Sheer Tint, which comes in a single shade and offers SPF 30 (thanks to zinc oxide). It advertises a “natural mineral-tint color” that “warms to complement most skin tones.” Now that perhaps should have been my first clue that the color would not suit me; I’m fair-skinned and most products in a supposedly universal shade are way too dark. I was really surprised to see a light orange–yes, orange–cream squeeze out of the tube. Even when blended in, it leaves a distinct orangey tone. I imagine this would be a great cream to mix into a foundation that needs more warmth or darkening, but I’m honestly scared to try this one out. Perhaps it won’t look orange when blended out on my face, but then it probably won’t cover flaws either.

In the swatches, the derma e is on the left and the top and the Andalou Naturals on the right and the bottom. The last two photos show the BB creams partly blended.

Beige or orange? Not great options, but I’ll give them a try.





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Matchbox Up Close


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Loving Luminous Lilac

At Target, I picked up Pixi nail polish in Luminous Lilac. The original price was $8, but it’s on clearance for $2.40, and until tomorrow 8am PST, it’s $3 on Hautelook.

Luminous Lilac is a soft lilac (what’s the difference between lilac and lavender?) with a touch of warm pink–very much appreciated when your hands are warm-toned and bluish purples give you zombie hands! Trust me, I have a drawer full of light purple polishes that are gathering dust.

The color is also very soft. I would describe it as having a gray base; not that there is any gray in the color, but rather it does not have a pastel or electric intensity to it, which a pure white base would cause. Your tips will not scream Easter eggs.

Although there are the tiniest silver shimmers, they are almost invisible on the nail and I would describe the finish as a cream.

The formula applied easily, two coats was enough for opacity, and the brush is standard. After three days, there were no chips, but I did remove it because the polish had started to shrink, a common consequence of using Seche Vite and not the fault of the polish.

To sum up, I highly recommend Pixi Luminous Lilac if you enjoy warm, light purple polish.


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Saturday night manicure

Saturday Night Manicure


Cuticle remover

Base coat

Nail polish

Top coat


Apply cuticle remover to cuticles. Wait 3 minutes. Push back cuticles with fingernails. Wash and dry hands.

Apply base coat. By the time you’re done with both hands, the base coat should be dry.

Apply a thin layer of nail polish. By the time you’re done with both hands, the polish should be dry enough to apply another layer. Wait 1 minute if not yet dry.

Apply another thin layer of nail polish. Repeat as needed until you reach the desired opacity. Allow to dry for 5 minutes (unless you’re using a fast-drying top coat like Seche Vite–read below).

Apply top coat. If using a fast-drying top coat, first let each nail “set” for 30-60 seconds after the last layer of nail polish but no longer than that. The fast-drying top coat works by melding with the wet nail polish, soaking through to the bottom layer, to harden all the polish quicker than you can say “cinnamon sugar cake donut.” (That’s an exaggeration; but I would say it hardens the polish quicker than I can eat a cinnamon sugar cake donut.

Let dry. With Seche Vite, 3-5 minutes are enough to dry your nails to the touch and avoid smudges from the lightest ding to your nail. Big dings are another matter.

Orly Cutique, Orly Bonder, Pixi Luminous Lilac, and Seche Vite

Orly Cutique, Orly Bonder, Pixi Luminous Lilac, and Seche Vite



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I’m melting! Mellllting!!

I just re-purchased Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser ($8.49 at Target and  This cleanser is unlike anything I’ve come across before and probably unlike anything you’ve come across before, too!

Aimed at normal and dry skin (my skin’s on the dry side right now), this cleanser starts off as a translucent gel.  Massage into your skin and it thins out into a light oil.  Add water (or use wet hands) and continue massaging and the oil emulsifies into a milky water.  Rinse and you’re done!  You’re left with soft, clean skin.  It rinses off easily and cleanly without drying out your skin the way foaming cleansers can.

I’ve used this with my fingers and with my Clarisonic Mia.  This cleanser starts off thick and cushiony, which is great when using a hard-core exfoliator like the Clarisonic.

When I’ve used this at night, I’ve only used it after using a cleansing wipe and removing my eye makeup with a bi-phase makeup remover, so I don’t know how well it will do if it’s the only cleanser used.  Musings of a Muse reported that it doesn’t remove waterproof makeup well, which, since this isn’t a true cleansing oil, makes sense.

The one negative is that I go through this pretty quickly.  A little does not go a long way.  I use a little glob each for my forehead, nose, chin, each cheek, and each eyelid.  If I used this twice a day every day, I would expect it to last no more than a month.  But I love the gentleness, silkiness, cushyness so much that I can overlook that.

By the way, nail polish is Pixi Luminous Lilac.  Look for my review soon.

Yes, I have a thing for purple.

Yes, I have a thing for purple.

Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser

Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser 3

Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser 4

Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser 5

Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser 6

Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser 7

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Packing list

I fly every couple of months–for business or vacation–so I keep a checklist in the form of a Word file that lists my usual packing essentials.  In addition to essentials such as an iPhone charger, Blackberry charger, and noise-canceling headphones, I list my makeup essentials.

This came about after one too many trips where I had to run to the drugstore because I had forgotten my brow powder or foundation or lash curler or [insert absolutely necessary item to avoid looking like a zombie/young boy].  Since most of my makeup essentials are not drugstore products and it’s expensive to buy the exact item when I’ll be reunited with it in a few days, I’d end up with a barely adequate product in a color that might or might not  suit me.  This is how I ended up with a dark brown Revlon eyeshadow (forgot my Anastasia brow powder) and a Revlon powder compact (forgot my Laura Mercier loose mineral foundation)–items that have barely seen the light of day since purchase because they didn’t perform well.

So what’s on the list?

A few days before my trip, I like to print out the checklist and write out the exact product to bring next to each item.  After all, when you’re scrambling the night before, it’s easier to pack “Tarte Exposed” than to figure out which blush would complement your probably-still-unpacked travel wardrobe.  The bracketed items above are examples of what I’ve actually brought with me on recent work trips where I also expected to have some free time.  I’ve learned that I don’t need a lot of products to amp up my look during my free time; one statement lip color or one colored eyeliner will suffice (hence the bright pink Revlon lip stain).

There are also ways to really slim down your makeup case, such as using a blush, bronzer, or face highlighter as an eyeshadow or using an eyeshadow as a brow powder.  Luckily, I’ve never been so cramped for space that I couldn’t spare room for all my essentials.

What are your travel essentials?

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