Tag Archives: makeup

The Best Makeup for Sensitive Skin


Having sensitive skin means taking special care to notice the ingredients in anything you use on your face. Using the wrong cleanser, moisturizer, toner, or foundation on sensitive skin can lead to breakouts, redness, and flakiness. Picking the right products from start to finish can help keep your skin clear and healthy looking.

Picking a Foundation for Sensitive Skin

For those of us who deal with sensitive skin, picking a foundation can be difficult. Many foundations are loaded with harsh ingredients that do more harm than good. Opting for a more natural formula can help you to avoid these ingredients and keep your skin looking flawless. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best natural and acne-fighting foundations on the market, with options for every budget (all prices listed are for US only, other countries may vary). Continue reading

About Face: Why Some Women Can’t Go Without Makeup

Most women can probably attest to knowing at least one friend or family member who absolutely refuses to leave the house until she’s “put her face on.” Many women will not consider going anywhere, whether to the grocery store, the gym, or even the beach, without first putting on a little bit of mascara or lipstick. More often than not, we probably just consider this person to be high-maintenance and laugh it off; but what we may not realize is that this may not be a random compulsive habit or even a question of vanity, but instead a real question of self-confidence.

The 2004 Real Truth About Beauty study, conducted by Dr. Nancy Etcoff, Dr. Susie Orbach, Dr. Jennifer Scott, and Heidi D’Agostino, looked at 3,200 women, aged eighteen to sixty-four, across ten countries, and found that 68 percent of women used makeup products to feel more physically attractive. A 2008 study commissioned by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund studied girls aged eight to seventeen and discovered that 62 percent feel insecure or not sure of themselves. Seventy-one percent of girls with low self-esteem felt their appearance did not measure up and felt they were pretty enough.

Insecurity knows no boundaries; it affects not just the average woman but also famous celebrities, many of whom would be considered beautiful by any standards. Most recently, pop artist Katy Perry told Seventeen magazine, “I don’t really feel pretty ever. Without makeup, I feel ugly.”

Buying What the Media Sells Us
Let’s face it: the cosmetic companies are profiting from our insecurities. In August 2010, MarketWatch reported that L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetic company, saw a 21 percent increase in their net profits for the first half of the year. Part of that profitability comes from their successful marketing toward women. A woman’s world is saturated with television and magazine advertisements selling youth in a jar, line-smoothing foundations, lip-plumping lipsticks, and lash-thickening mascaras, as well as myriad beauty guides and makeup “must-haves.” When it comes to cosmetics advertising, companies leave no stone unturned. We’re told that makeup can transform our faces—even when it seems only natural not to be wearing any makeup, like when we’re at the beach. On Allure magazine’s Web site, they offer a story entitled, “Insiders’ Guide: How to Wear Beach Makeup,” which includes information on waterproof products and general tips on how to get your beach look to last. I suppose this means a day at the beach means not getting in the water.

Cultural Influences
While we can certainly trace our decision to wear makeup in part to our willingness to buy what the cosmetic companies are selling, the use of makeup and more generally the need to alter our physical appearance can also be examined from a cultural perspective. San Francisco psychiatrist and psychotherapist Janice E. Cohen, MD, is quick to point out that the use of makeup is actually part of a very universal cultural behavior. Cohen explains, “Every culture has standards and particular ways in which people change or enhance their appearance to feel and appear more attractive or maintain their status within their society or culture.”

History tells us that Cohen is right. Inpiduals who alter their physical appearance are nothing new. Archaeological evidence from ancient Egypt around 3500 BC proves that Egyptian Queen Nefertiti may have used makeup. Women in the South African Ndebele tribeswear metal rings around their necks to elongate them. Indians practice a pre-wedding Mehndi (henna) ritual in which the bride and groom are painted, signifying the strength of love in the marriage. And the Arioi, a class of professional entertainers in Tahiti, use tattoos to signify the various ranks and status within their troupes. These practices are completely normal and, in many instances, are used to carry on decades-old cultural traditions.

However, when a person feels downright uncomfortable or insecure about leaving the house without having makeup on, there may be a larger underlying problem. If the makeup usage turns into more compulsive behavior, it could be an early sign of body dysmorphic disorder. The Mayo Clinic defines this disease as “a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance, a flaw that is either minor or that you imagine.” Some of the symptoms include a general preoccupation with appearance and excessive makeup application to camouflage the perceived flaw.

The Fear Beneath the Foundation
The extent to which a person feels the need to alter her face can be as simple as wearing lipstick or as complex as undergoing plastic surgery. A recent example of an extreme case of this can be found in television star Heidi Montag, who underwent ten different procedures and confessed that she planned to have more. The twenty-three-year-old starlet admitted to People magazine in November 2009 that she had plastic surgery to “feel more confident,” and said she “was an ugly duckling” before.

This behavior is also not gender specific. Cohen explains, “Distorted body image and obsessions with various aspects of one’s appearance (e.g., hair thickness and texture, body color, weight) are not exclusive to women. A smaller, but significant, number of men have similar issues with negative self-body image. Regardless of sex, whenever an attractive person feels ugly and disgusting, there is something besides his or her appearance that’s causing the distorted negative body image.”

Looking Good = Feeling Good
But wearing cosmetics can also have a positive effect. A 1982 study published in the International Journal of Dermatologylooked at women aged eighteen to sixty. Researchers asked the women to discuss any changes they experienced with wearing makeup, in terms of its effect on how they felt; this included their self-image, their attitudes toward others, and the impression they ultimately hoped to make upon others. Their findings indicated that “normal daily use of cosmetics can fulfill important psychological functions in that it promotes social and psychological well-being.” The researchers found that women do experience certain self-perceived psychological benefits from using cosmetics; the benefits are pervasive across all age groups. The more attractive you feel you are, the more highly you think of yourself. And many women would agree that wearing makeup does affect how they feel. Denise Bomba, a Los Angeles resident who works as a wardrobe supervisor for films and designs her own denim line, worked as a makeup artist for seven years and admits she still enjoys wearing makeup. “It took me a while to get comfortable to leave the house without any on. I believe this is because I know what I can look like with it on, and it does give me the certain confidence to feel good about myself.”

While wearing makeup can significantly affect the way we view ourselves and in some instances the way others view us, it’s critical to understand that no amount of powder or blush or eyeliner is going to fill the void left from a lack of self-confidence. If a person truly feels uncomfortable leaving the house without a certain amount of makeup on, there’s most likely a bigger problem that should not be ignored. Cohen points out, “When there are underlying core negative beliefs about oneself, cosmetics and surgical alterations cannot typically provide any permanent or meaningful relief.”

Originally published in 2010

photo by: re_

Intent Video of the Day: 90-year-old model is new face of real women in ads

M.A.C. Cosmetics used 90-year-old Iris Apfel to promote its January collection, the makeup sold out in a few days. Media mogul Donny Deutsh and author Valerie Ramsey discuss why companies are celebrating “real” women in ads. (via MSNBC)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy 

Everyday we spotlight one remarkable video to inspire you to fulfill your intentions and improve your life. Do you have a video you’d like to suggest? Send it to us at editor [at] intent.com.

What’s in your lipstick? Poison. (infographic)

All morning, my Facebook feed has been inundated with links to a disturbing new infographic about the toxic ingredients in our personal care products. Lead. Aluminum. Heavy metals. In baby shampoo.

FACT: Adults are exposed to an average 126 chemical ingredients daily through the use of personal care products. 61% of top-brand lipsticks contain cancer-causing heavy metals, 82% of children’s shampoos contain formaldehyde, and 89% of ingredients in products currently sold on the market have never been tested for safety.

Surprised? Not me. I stumbled into this information on the web a couple years ago, on a blog called No More Dirty Looks. I was so aghast at the findings of those clinical studies when I read them that I tossed out every make-up product I owned. I wondered why it wasn’t being talked about on Good Morning America, in the New York Times, on Capitol Hill for heaven’s sake. I thought of all the women in my family who had died of cancer. I felt betrayed. Why hadn’t I been told?

As a woman, I feel like I’ve been taught my entire life that first appearances are everything: You have to wear mascara to be professional, lip gloss to make you feel sexy, a mask on your face to be beautiful. I remember as a young child sitting inside my mother’s bathroom sink, watching her apply thick black coats of paint to her long lashes. “Whatcha doing, momma?” She smiled. “Putting on my face.”

This issue isn’t just relevant to women, either. If you wear deodorant, use shaving cream, wash you hands with soap… sorry guys, it effects you too. Without regulation, companies can to some extent put whatever cheap, nasty preservatives into personal care products they want (the FDA requires testing on the products, not ingredients). This especially important for parents to know, as the developing bodies of children are even more susceptible to the negative effects of ingesting these toxins.

The first step in making any significant personal or societal change, in my opinion, is awareness. Become aware of your own beliefs about beauty, about the ingredients in products you purchase, about the ways companies treat the workers they employ. And then take action, choose a path that will bestow greater health and wellbeing to yourself (first) and the community at large. Maybe that means purchasing organic, fair-trade personal care products. Maybe it means reducing the number of products you use to a bare (pun intended) minimum.

I’m struck by the fact that this topic is very much a 1st world issue. What a luxury it is that we even be outraged about the toxic ingredients in our personal care products, that we can afford to lather body creams and eye shadows on our skin to begin with. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to acknowledge that and consider how the development of the products impact people who aren’t so lucky. It’s not just what’s in those products that matters. I’m more concerned with how they’re produced (forced labor, toxic work environments, etc) and the cultural conditioning that tells us they’re necessary to begin with.

I began this blog with a fact, I leave you with a suggestion for action. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

ACTION: Read through the infographic below, then check out Skin Deep, a website that provides safety ratings for 63,509 products on the market. Know what’s in the products you’re using, then let your dollars be your vote.

Thanks to Mind Body GreenDr. Frank Lipman for sharing this informative infographic from cosmetologyschool.org

Are Your Cosmetics Toxic? Probably.

All us women have some sort of beauty regiment, no matter if you’re the type to throw on Kardashian-esque eyes or just a cold cream and a little bit of blush. But could those products that we turn to daily, actually be turning against us? Are our cosmetics toxic?

The answer is more than likely, yes. But we never really think twice about it because cosmetics are not required to list their ingredients. And many of the products that do list their ingredients use phrases such as "organic", "natural" or "cruelty free" but the truth is, the marketing claims are not defined by law and the companies can basically stick whatever ploy they want on their product without any proof. And it’s not like the cosmetic industry isn’t above tricking women into buying things. Wherever there is big manufacturing money involved, any shortcut is usually game and the self-care industry is no different. 

Luckily for all us ladies, the government has designed a new bill after many cosmetics taken to labs were found to have disturbingly high levels of toxins such as carcinogens and mercury (which, is banned by the way).

In Congress, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced a bill on Tuesday calling for cosmetics makers to register with the federal government and for larger cosmetics firms to pay user fees to enforce the regulation. The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 also would require all ingredients in a cosmetic product to be listed on the product’s label and would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services two years to develop a list of prohibited or restricted ingredients.

Cosmetics manufacturers would be required to notify the federal government of consumers who reported experiencing adverse health effects from their cosmetics and to use alternatives to animal testing of products.


The bill would require all cosmetic companies to submit not only their ingredient lists to the FDA but also submit their products to the FDA for scientific analyzing. 

And if you think you’re safe because you’ve been buying your makeup at department store counters, think again. Whether you’re wearing Revlon or Yves Saint Laurent, you have the same chance of getting harmful chemicals.

The Cosmetic Data Base is chalk full of safety assessments on all cosmetic products in which they review the soundness of self-care products, from blush to baby oil. A 7-10 rating is high for toxicity, 3-6 is moderate and 0-2 is for low hazards.

Only 32 of the 733 mascaras reviewed have a low toxic hazard. While only 127 were marked for high toxicity, boasting familiar names like Cover Girl and Christian Dior, that still leaves 574 of the top selling mascaras with moderate toxic levels in them. 

Good thing I’ve been shoving that dip stick of poison in my eyes all these years! 

Not to say we all shouldn’t know better. Of course, cosmetics can be harmful, just like vegetables with pesticides can be harmful or the preservatives in your food can be harmful. The truth is we all need to be aware of what we are consuming and how it is affecting our bodies. Hopefully in this era where light is being shed on all of the major industries in the world and the destruction their products have on humans and the Earth in the acquisition of money and power, we will one day soon be able to trust the products that are being sold to us in the market, at the department store and on the billboard I have to look out my window at every day. 

Photo: CC Flickr//Jacklyn DL

Clear Skin, Clear Conscience: Eco-Effective Acne Fighters for Every Age and Stage

The British refer to them, rather charmingly, as “spots.” We call them, somewhat less charmingly, “zits.” Either way, those blackheads, whiteheads, blemishes, bumps and breakouts—which attack us at the most self-conscious stages of young adulthood, flare up during hormonal fluctuations and basically just sabotage us any time they see fit—suck.

Unfortunately, what sucks even more are the intensely harsh and harmful chemicals that go into the most widely used topical acne treatment products. Like triclosan, an antibacterial agent associated with endocrine disruption, organ-system toxicity and, ironically, skin irritation. And polyethylene, a binding and bulking agent that’s also a known organ-system toxin and skin irritant. As for parabens and fragrance—two of the biggest baddies on our Big List—there’s hardly a conventional acne wash, scrub or topical treatment that isn’t loaded with ‘em.

It just doesn’t make sense to us that clear, blemish-free, healthy skin would come from products laden with known skin and organ irritants and toxins. Or maybe it does, if you’re selling products to consumers that create the exact problem you’re claiming to solve, thus creating a perpetual market for what you’re selling. This process is also known as “manufactured demand,” as our hero Annie Leonard so aptly points out in her new “The Story of Bottled Water.”

But we digress.

Fortunately, we’ve found plenty of skin-care experts who share our view, and are creating kinder, gentler acne-control and treatment products that actually work! Here are our top picks, categorized to help you choose the ones most suited to the skin you’re in.


A lucky handful of us get to kiss acne good-bye forever when we grow up. The rest of us, not so much. Particularly during periods (pun intended) of hormonal flux, we suddenly find ourselves beset by breakouts. For PMS and perimenopausal (the 10 years or so preceding menopause) pimples, there’s The Answer, a vitamin- and antioxidant-rich skincare line that responds specifically to hormonal blemishes, which tend to be deeper than adolescent zits and require intense detoxifying to defeat. The Answer’s PMS products include a non-drying Face Wash, organic-argan-oil-infused Balance Lotion and organic licorice root Detox spot treatment for stubborn bumps.



Gluten Free Beauty founder Kristen Campbell didn’t overcome her acne problems until a diagnosis of gluten intolerance made her realize that it wasn’t just the gluten in her food, but in her hair and skin products, that was sabotaging her complexion. Her Gluten-Free Facial Moisture Serum is designed to help others who share her plight. Oil-based and pH-balanced (with no added fragrance or color of any kind), it restores elasticity and retrains skin to quit overproducing oil, which is the single best way to beat breakouts.



We here at EcoStiletto love our honey. We love it in our organic rooibos tea, we love it on our whole-grain toast, we love it to lick it off our sweetie’s fresh-washed skin (oops, did we say that out loud?), and now we love it as an acne fighter. One of the oldest known acne treatments, honey is a natural and powerful antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal and exfoliant. And one of our newest blemish-busting faves is Rand Hill Naturals’ Deep Cleansing Honey Mask, which blends raw orange blossom honey with oat powder and essential oils such as rose geranium and neroli. This mask is super thick (soaking the container in hot water will soften it), and takes a little work to apply smoothly, but it’s worth the effort for the soft, smooth, noticeably clearer skin that results.


Honey may be tastier, but as an acne-preventer, clay, too is sweet. We especially love Kimberly Sayer of London’s Deep Cleansing French Clay Mask, with French Montmorillonite green clay, which contains magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper to detoxify, purify and balance our blemish-prone skin. Use this lightweight mask once or twice a week for spa-beautiful skin, or dab directly on blemishes before bedtime to dry them up overnight.


The Yoruban descendants of ancient Egypt first formulated so-called “black soap” to fight off common skin infections. Now Shea Terra Organics continues that tradition with its Fair Trade, African artisan-made skincare products. For skin that easily succumbs to breakouts, the Anti-Acne Facial Cleanser & Mask, with black soap, antibacterial aloe ferox and honey, is effective but gentle enough for daily use.


At Marie Veronique Organics, acne treatment is all about using fatty acids to restore antimicrobial activity on the skin’s surface. That’s why its oh-so-fabulous Acne Relief Kit includes not just an Exfoliating Cleanser and hydrating Gentle Mist, but also a replenishing Treatment Oil (with jojoba, apricot kernel and red raspberry seed oils) to break up congestion at the surface and stabilize the skin’s lipid barrier. Trust them (and us)—treating oil with oil really does work.


There’s lots to love about the many great acne-fighting tools in the Arcona arsenal. Our favorites include the antibacterial Raspberry Acne Bar, which combats breakouts while reducing inflammation with raspberry extract. We like to follow up our cleansing with a swipe of an Arcona Raspberry Clarifying Pad—a blemish-reducing toner pad that beats breakouts with totara and tea tree extracts, shrinks enlarged pores with witch hazel, and clarifies difficult skin with flavonoid-filled raspberry extract.


Using ingredients from its Colorado organic farm (pictured below), veteran natural skincare maker Lily Organics crafts gentle, powerfully antibacterial cleansers, toners and moisturizers that are an acne-prone ecoista’s dream come true. We swear by the Seaweed Balancing Facial Cleanser, which uses tea tree and rosemary to banish blemish-causing impurities, and seaweed to hydrate and nourish troubled skin. And nothing heals our problem skin better than a once- or twice-weekly slathering of Lily’s Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask, with papaya and pineapple to dissolve dead skin cells, mint to draw blood to the skin, and antioxidant vitamins to kick free-radicals where they count.



There’s hardly a face that escapes adolescence without acne of some kind or another. That’s partly due to hormones, but often exacerbated by the, shall we say, less-than-meticulous hygiene habits of most teens. Do the teen in your life a favor and start her skincare routine off right. We recommend Good For You Girls, because, well, it really is. GFYG’s own list of “Yuck!” ingredients is right in line with ours, and its’ eco-packaged, teen-friendly washes, toners and moisturizers exfoliate and unclog pores with organic botanical extracts and natural astringents like black tea and witch hazel.


Also expressly for blemish-prone teens, MyChelle Dermaceuticals Clear Skin Teen Anthology Kit reduces oil and unclogs pores with totarol (a natural antimicrobial and antioxidant) and soothes irritation with willow bark. A daisy-and-willow balancing cream leaves teen skin baby-smooth.



Nourish your body properly and your skin will show its appreciation. Even acne-prone skin. Especially acne-prone skin. Studies have shown that a diet high in protein and in carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (including legumes and whole grains) can reduce the frequency and severity of acne breakouts. Add to that the skin-nurturing properties of antioxidants, which destroy collagen-damaging free radicals, and you’ve got a recipe for a clear, healthy complexion. Get yourself a copy of Elizabeth TenHouten’s “Cooking Well: Beautiful Skin” (Hatherleigh, 2009), and you’ve got more than 75 recipes for great skin, along with more than 75 “Beauty Bytes,” handy DIY remedies and topical treatments for many skin problems, including—you guessed it—acne.




Tarte’s 3 Carat Cheek Stain…a MUST Have This Holiday Season!

Angie here today with another fabuloso Green Chi Tuesdays!  Fabulous is a word that gets thrown around a LOT these days.  What sets the fabulous apart from the UBER-fabulous?  Well it’s all about the "oohhh" factor wrapped up in super shiny and super HOT packaging.  There is nothing wrong with falling a little in love with packaging…the kind that appears before you all sparkly and shining, with the light gleaming off of every facet and your eyes dancing with delight!  The kind that is bejeweled and glittering and makes you squeal like a school girl.  I’m talking about the SUPER adorable silver and rhinestone packaging of the new Limited Edition Tarte 3 Carats Mini Cheek Stain! 


But let’s not be too quick to assume its beauty is only rhinestone deep.  This pretty little cheek stain comes a’ trois with scrumptious shimmering Brilliant Champagne, Princess Rose and Cushion Apricot colors.  All together as a mini-limited edition set to stuff stockings or keep for yourself depending on the occasion.  The champagne would be GORGEOUS on deeper toned skin giving you a beautiful golden holiday glow, the rose GREAT for those who like the pink kissed tone of a brisk cold day and the apricot is perfect for warming up your cheeks and giving you a healthy shimmer for us paler girls who need a little OOMPH in the colder months.  I tried the Cushion Apricot out with barely any face makeup on and it gave the prettiest wearable glow.  Not overly made up and obvious.  Just a warm flush and sheer sparkle to the apples of her cheeks and with very little effort you are out the door and looking fresh faced and pretty! (side note…apply with fingertips and dab…this works best for application)

Lots of beauty guru’s have their "top tricks" for quick beauty routines and in the winter months I’d have to say adding Tarte’s 3 Carat Mini Cheek Stains to your repertoire is a sure fire winner.  A dusting of powder or base, a little mascara, hit the cheeks with your choice in stain colors and a swipe of your favorite gloss will have you looking polished and glowing.  Very French, very fabuleux, very scarf and chic boots sexy! 

And more things to mention which should NOT be passed over…these smell INCREDIBLE!  Incredible like if you were a kid and mom gave you one of those clear candy cane stocking stuffers filled with flavored lip balms you’d consider eating them first and blame it on your little brother later!  And of course, as always, Tarte is infused with great natural skinvigorating ingredients such as Acai and Gogi berry, Pomegranate and Acerola and Maracuja known for reducing redness. 

This beautiful three color set is available for the holiday season and as I’ve mentioned…perfect for sharing or being the Grinch Who Stole Tarte and keeping them all to yourselves!  A special thanks to


www.megsmakeup.com for blessing me with this great find this holiday season!  GLAM ON!




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...