Archive for ‘Beauty + Health’

February 11, 2012

Wilde Wellen

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

 Magdalena Frackowiak by Ben Hassett for Vogue Germany January 2012

Magdalena’s gloriously out-of-control diva curls are utterly fabulous.  And I love how her curls are creating new silhouettes all on their own.  I always find Ben Hassett silhouette-focused photography gorgeous, and he certainly has plenty of material to work with here.  [To see what I'm talking about, see the ever stunning Cameron Russell in "Equinox."]  Beauty editorials are tough.  The numerous close-ups mean that a model must look flawless, and Magdalena certainly does.  Even behind her wild curtain of hair, she has such presence.  She gives some serious face in this and looks stunning all-around.  Moreover, I love the amount of texture and depth her curls have in this.  The way the light plays off of them is fantastic.  Absolutely. Gorgeous.

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February 6, 2012

Twisted Sister

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

Josephine Skriver by Hasse Nielsen for Bon International F/W 2011

Her hair looks so smooth and shiny *_*  No one’s hair is probably this spectacular on a day-to-day basis, but it’s nice to dream, non?  I love the different mood to every shot; each type of twist is a character all unto itself.  And the perspective is interesting to look, putting all the focus on her hair.  The starkness of the set and minimalist styling complement each other nicely, making for a picture of classic elegance.

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February 8, 2011

Force of Nature

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

Kemp Muhl by Jason Hetherington for Marie Claire UK March 2011

I’ve been really happy with the Marie Claire UK beauty editorials lately.  First Leighton Meester looked amazing in the January edition one; now Kemp Muhl wows me with that pout of hers.  No wonder Sean Lennon couldn’t resist stealing a kiss!  I especially love the blatant sensuality written across her face.  She positively owns the beauty looks.  Instead of the makeup inducing a frame of mind, she already has all this intensity to begin with.  The makeup’s just happens to enhance that quality.  Better yet, the deep color contrasts really nicely with her pale skin.  This is really lovely sultry beauty shoot.

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January 2, 2011

Part of My 2011 Beauty Manifesto – The Big List of Things That Suck

Credit: Earth Take

I feel like that at times: where life feels like a delicate balancing act.  In this case, I’m trying to balance out my product usage to get the most effective, non-toxic ingredients possible.  Along with my current obsession with essential oils, Style.com’s Beauty Counter has some surprisingly interesting posts on green beauty.  One of which led me to Alicia Silverstone’s lovely little blog.  Many remember her as the lovable Cher in Clueless, but she’s also a fantastic advocate for going vegan and living green–not that I’d personally go vegan. Sorry cute animals but you’re delicious–without giving up taste, style, or creature comforts.  A follower of her own advice and “The Kind Diet”, she looks fantastic at 34 years old (she totally looks like she’s in her early twenties).  And I thought it best to let her explain the premise behind her blog:

But that’s not what I really want to post about. On thekindlife.com, I discovered EcoStiletto which is this lovely site by journalist Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff that embraces style and beauty without leaving a carbon footprint.  And it was there that I discovered this lovely little list: The Big List of Things That Suck.  It both informs the reader on common things we use everday and how to make it suck a little less :)  Here are a couple bits that I liked:

CASHMERE

Forget vintage. These days it seems that newly minted cashmere is everywhere: Americans bought 10.5 million sweaters in 2005—15 times more than 10 years prior, according to the Seattle Times, which asserts that the increase in cashmere production, primarily in China, is wreaking environmental havoc. As the herds of cashmere-producing goats grow, the grasslands are disappearing, leading to dust storms and a “plume of pollution” that reaches as far as Washington state.

Where you find it: Everywhere from Sam’s Club to Club Monaco.

Suck less: Vintage, upcycled vintage by designers like Deborah Lindquist, or Mongolian cashmere cultivated by traditional nomadic herders who laugh in the face of over-production. Mongolian cashmere is ridiculously soft yet incredibly durable—which will become immeasurably important when you watch that cheap cashmere wrap from Target start to pill up and lose its shape after one washing. See WOOL.

DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA)

Not to scare you or anything, but we absorb 60 percent of what we put onto our skin. And, according to the Organic Consumers Association, the average woman
absorbs five pounds of toxic chemicals each year just from her beauty products. With that in mind, flip over your favorite concealer and take a look at the laundry list of unpronounceable ingredients like DEA—also known as diethanolamine (say that five times fast)—which disrupts hormones and can lead to birth defects.

These chemicals enter your body where they interact with the hundreds of other chemicals contained in the plethora of beauty products that you slather on each day.

Where to find it: Conventional beauty products.

Suck less: Read your labels, and look for “USDA Certified Organic” and “ECOCERT,” which means a product is government certified as 95 percent food-grade organic—zero chemicals or synthetics in it manufacturing or ingredients—in America and Europe, respectively. See ORGANIC (NOT).

FAST FASHION

So-called “fast fashion” has outsourced our $3 trillion a year apparel industry to countries like China, which exports ridiculous amounts of pollution—along with “disposable” clothing—to the United States. According to the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, the United States has established a $35 billion trade deficit with China by buying goods despite the fact that the country undervalues its currency, underpays its workers and utilizes the least expensive (and most toxic) means of production in order to provide the American consumer cheap and disposable goods. Why does this matter? Economically, it’s bad business: U.S. government statistics show that since 2002, China’s textile and apparel imports to the U.S. have increased 263 percent while the textile sector in the U.S. lost 433,000 jobs.

Environmentally, it’s worse. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, when it comes to environmental pollutants in our air and water, the United States is directly in China’s line of fire. “Scientists estimate that thirty percent of California’s particulate air pollution comes from across the Pacific,” said Linda Greer, director of the Health Program at NRDC and creator of its Clean by Design program, in a recent video. “China’s textile industry’s contribution to this soot is more than three billion tons per year [causing] cities across America to be in violation of air quality standards. In addition, “more than half the mercury contaminating the fish that we catch off our shores and in our freshwater lakes comes from China,” she said. When it comes to the environmental impact of our biggest trade partner, “America is, unfortunately, downwind.”

Where to find it: Your closet.

Suck less: If you’re buying new, look for fair trade, sustainable frocks and frivolities that actually support the workers that make them—and don’t pollute the communities in which they were made. We also are interested to see what impact Clean by Design has on participating companies like Walmart, H&M, Gap, Levi and Nike. Clean by Design has set its sights on cleaning up the Chinese textile and apparel industry by establishing business practices that reduce water pollution and energy use to help plants run more efficiently. The logic behind this program, as well as the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, is that if multi-national companies like these won’t pull out, then manufacturing in China must become more like that which takes place in the United States, with accurate currency valuation, fair wages for workers and environmentally conscious manufacturing. By enforcing these practices, the cost of doing business in China becomes more competitive. And manufacturing starts to come home. Sounds good to us.

SUNSCREENS

Chemical sunscreens like PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) and oxybenzone are absorbed into the bloodstream, break down in the sun and offer far less protection than their labels declare, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Where to find them: On the beach; at the pool.

Suck less: Zinc (best) and titanium dioxide (better) provide a physical barrier to the sun, and no longer leave you with big white splotches on your nose. See NANO.

While the list is not enough to make me stop wearing leather or flushing toilets, it does make me think twice about where everything I use and wear comes from.  Moreover, I’m glad that she is calling attention to the state of our clothes and the materials used.  I have been seeing cashmere everywhere this season.  And it’s appalling because it is now scratchy cheap low quality shit that ruins easily as opposed to the luxurious durable material it used to represent (I had to search very hard for the Italian cashmere that I do own).  I do not like to the see the deterioration of clothes as well as food and beauty & cleaning products.  So now that my rant is over, check out the blogs and maybe it will make you reconsider things as well.

December 11, 2010

Life and Beauty

Not Washing Your Face at NightOverexfoliating

I’ve been on somewhat of a beauty cleanse lately.  I always thought that I was meticulous about the ingredients in my beauty products as I am about the fabric of my clothing.  Clearly I’ve been mistaken.  Products (of any sort) today are appalling.  And if boys think they are exempt, they have another thing coming.  They use soap, wash their hair, use moisturizer, etc. just like we do.  And guess what? None of it is good for you.  All these products are full of synthetics, petrochemicals, and carcinogens (synthetics have unknown long-term effects let alone the current short-term issues; petrochemicals are by-products of gasoline; and carcinogens directly cause cancer) among other things, but that’s the gist of it.  That may sound like a whole lot of gibberish to many people, but trust me, those aren’t things you want as they absorb into your body through your skin.  So better to address this now before I, along with everyone else, become set in my ways and use products that essentially are poisoning me.

No More Dirty Looks (by the lovely Siobhan O’Connor & Alexandra Spunt) has really opened my eyes to just how dirty the beauty industry actually is.  [Read their blog as well] I really shouldn’t be surprised considering it is a multi-billion dollar industry that operates under its own set of rules, its own product review panel, and its own testing process.  And to be blunt: FDA does jack shit.  It does not have the power (or budget) to regulate anything; not to mention, many of these companies will release these products at will.  They will go through cursory testing for rashes and whatnot, but could honestly care less if there is–say formaldehyde (nothing like a little embalming fluid to make one really feel good right?)–in it as long as it, I don’t know, goes on smoothly.  And most of the time, these products don’t even work.  They are so pumped of fillers to mask the heaviness of the toxins embedded in the product that the active ingredient does not work.  And about that ingredient list…; “fragrance” could mean absolutely anything.  For all you know, it could (and probably does) contain hundreds of chemicals in that one little word.  But worse, companies are not required to reveal the full ingredient list for the sake of trade secrets.  Bull shit.  Complete and utter bull shit.  Consumers have a right to know what they are putting on/in their bodies, and moreover, companies need to be held accountable.

Overloading on Products

[This is how I feel sometimes with the constant changing trends and advice]

I am a chemical engineer in the making that wants to work in the beauty industry.  This has distorted my entire world view.  I still want to work in the beauty industry, but more importantly, I want to change it.   I am extremely angry about the status quo when it comes to consumer products, particularly health and beauty products.  There is nothing remotely healthy about this.  I believe others should be angry as well.  These companies are deliberating taking advantage by catering to our vanity, and we’re buying into it for the sake of instant gratification.   We should ask for better.  We should know to ask for better.  This culture of instant gratification will lead to nowhere, but the deterioration of quality and safety standards.  I want to make better, more effective products.  But something needs to change.  People need to be made aware of the lack of regulation for everyday products we use and what happens because of it.

Now, I’m not the stereotypical crunchy eco-obsessed hippy who doesn’t wash her hair or shave her legs–because for one, I freely admit that I could care less about finding renewable energy and two, because I most certainly do those things–but I do not find it unreasonable to expect more of an industry I love.  To expect more of the FDA.  As in it actually does what it’s meant to.  And to expect products that aren’t willingly contaminated with poisonous chemicals.  To ask for products that are effective, relatively inexpensive, and moreover, safe for human consumption.  Is that really so hard to ask for?

But all is not lost.  There are some brands out there that are conscious of the mark they leave on consumers and on the earth.  REN, for one, is absolutely amazing.  It is a UK based company invented started by Robert Calcraft and Antony Buck ever since Antony’s wife had adverse reactions to practically every single skincare product while pregnant.  They operate under 5 principles:  Right Ingredients, Right Science, Right Product Experience, Right Environmental Impact, and Right Attitude.

Right Ingredients: To make Clean Products that don’t contain skin-unfriendly ingredients such a synthetic fragrance, petrochemicals, sulfate detergents, synthetic colours, animal ingredients, and parabens et al.

 

Right Science: To pioneer new ways of applying the latest discoveries in bio active technology to product skincare formulations that boost the skin’s natural processes of protection, repair, and renewal.

 

Right Product Experience: REN believes gorgeous products can make the world a slightly nicer place to be and make us feel just a little nicer being here.

 

Right Environmental Impact: They try to minimize their use of the world’s limited natural resources and donates a minimum of 2.5% of their profits to campaigns that promote better environment and a better life for those less fortunate

 

Right Attitude [This one I'm typing verbatim cuz it's good]: We believe a principle is a principle even if it costs money.  We believe we reap what we sow.  We prefer goodwill to suspicion, humor to gravitas, informality to formality.  We welcome difference.

Moreover, their products work.  Beauty magazines have tested their wares for their annual best of “[year]” lists, and consumers have spoken immensely about them.  REN products keep appearing time and time again.  I personally use REN products; I will attest that they are the real deal.  They feel fantastic and keep my skin clear and well-balanced.  I will always endorse REN because of its transparency on what’s actually in the products, its premise of the creation effective clean gorgeous products that make a person feel good, its sophisticated cutting edge science, and its willingness to ask for more of itself as company.

Other approved brands include NUDE Skincare, Josie Maran, Dr. Hauschka, and John Masters (which you can find in your drugstore!).  My last advice is to always look at the ingredient list, be patient, and do take the time to fully explore your options and what you want for your lifestyle.  It can be intimidating to be hit with extensive ingredients lists and product choices, but hopefully I’ve shed some light on the topic.  And No More Dirty Looks should help as well.  Just remember to read up on company premises.  Knowing what they do and what ingredients are commonly used will go a long way in convincing you to trust them.

*All beauty images courtesy of Allure*

December 8, 2010

Some New Tips

Credit: Fashion Gone Rogue

Alexandra Tretter by Eric Maillet for Vogue Nippon Beauty January 2011

Helloooooo tips.  And very clever on the title there.  I certainly like these new tips; perfect for the holiday season.  Also, does anyone else think Alexandra Tretter sort of looks like Dianna Agron?  Because the resemblance is a little uncanny.  In any case, this is a cute little beauty supplement to Vogue Nippon.  I always enjoy new nail ideas, and this has certainly given me some food for thought.  This makes me really want to paint each nail a different color :) And I love that her hair is used as the setting template for her nails.  I always find it best to contrast nails against skin color, but that’s certainly a refreshing way to showcase nails.

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November 15, 2010

Down to the Basics


For all I talk about beauty products, I don’t actually wear that much makeup at one time.  The right moisturizer (usually tinted moisturizer with SPF), a little mascara, and perhaps some concealer if tinted moisturizer isn’t enough get me through for day-to-day.  After all, clear glowing skin is the foundation to all beauty.  The problem with tinted moisturizers and concealers is that they tend to fade throughout the day as one’s face tends to sweat, get wet, and/or get oily.  And it’s a bit irritating to carry around the tube as they tend to explode when you open it.  Not to mention, no one wants to cake on makeup in an effort to make it durable.

While I get by just fine with my Dior HydrAction (discontinued but they have a replacement supposedly), finding the right accompanying concealer has proven a bit more difficult.  But I have prevailed! :)  Kat Von D. tattoo concealer (available at Sephora for $25) has my pick.  For one, it has no parabens or phlates (I know that there hasn’t been enough to study to be certain but best to take out all potential hazards that may, even in the slightest, cause cancer).  And it has this silky texture thanks to the silicon so it requires no primer to go on smoothly.  But moreover, this stuff absolutely does not budge.  It’s waterproof, sweatproof, and fairly resistant to oil buildup on one’s face.  It conceals blemishes, red marks, under-eye bags, and as advertised, tattoos until it is washed off (I recommend using a little pressure and some baby oil or a waterproof makeup remover).

It may be a little pricey for a little tube, but if there’s anything one should splurge on beauty-wise, it is foundation/tinted moisturizer/concealer because they can be matched exactly to one’s skin tone.   Nothing is worse than seeing someone’s face not match their neck.  Not to mention, the texture, durability, and consistency to high end is also significantly better.   A little goes a long way so it will last you.   So if you like liquid concealers (if you like stick/cake concealers, I can’t really help you there.  My best rec is Cle de Peau beauty stick), I definitely recommend giving this one a try.  Sephora even lets you take a sample home to see if you like it.

I couldn’t resist a last shot of Frida from Calvin Klein Spring 2011.  This is just a more heightened blueprint for the natural look.

November 14, 2010

Apologies

I realize that this blog has shifted in a direction that I had never anticipated.  While I have been posting editorials for quite some time now, I never thought that it would be all that I post about.  And I apologize.  Looking back on it, I used to do a lot more beauty finds, musings, and inspiration posts.  I feel that there should be a bit more variety to this blog because while this is largely a fashion blog, I do not have to confine it solely to fashion.  So thus, I will strive to do more beauty finds, musings, and inspiration posts.

~T

October 2, 2010

Nina Ricci Spring 2011

Credit: Vogue.com

Peter Copping presents a beautiful romantic collection.  He crafts chiffon, tulle, and raw silk into romantic ruffles and feminine silhouettes.  Blush pink, vibrant pink, cream, and sepia contribute to a romantic palette, but what really impresses is the beauty.  Pat McGrath has outdone herself with this cattish in-your-face deep magenta eyeshadow with bleached brows.  Instead of making the girls look like they’ve been punched in both eyes, they appear mysterious and sophisticatedly sensual.  And utterly knowing.  The beauty truly offsets the clothes without making it too cutely girlish.  Peter Copping’s idea of femininity is all woman.

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September 29, 2010

Nails of the Month: Birds of Flight

I thought I’d do something summery for this nice weather we’ve been having.  And it’s the first day of university! :) Remember that gorgeous turquoise color I had posted up a while back?  I decided to paint white flying birds this time.  Cute right?  They were really hard to curve right using my right hand (I’m left-handed); I kept making the curve to fat hahaha.  If you want to try them yourself (since they’re not terribly difficult), have a steady flat surface at hand and buy a thin long brush (or pick up a bottle of nail art).

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