You know, I thought this would be an easy post, but it took me a long time to narrow my selection down to just 5 items. In fact, since we started this blog, I’ve really gotten into product testing and discovery and I’ve come to believe that it’s a fabulous time to be green!
Since we’re just getting to know each other, here’s a little background. I admit that I wasn’t always eager to “play” with makeup. I’ve gone through phases in my life (especially when I worked in television) where I didn’t do much experimenting. I found a look I liked and then really perfected it.
My signature look involved dark brown or black liquid liner swept across my lids in a cat’s eye look, kohl on my lower lid, mascara, foundation, blush, loose powder and lipstick (all usually Jane Iredale). At one point I could put on full TV makeup in a moving vehicle (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving) in under 10 minutes!
There’s a definite up-side to simplicity. I didn’t experiment much, so I only ever bought fresh makeup when I ran out. This definitely cut down my makeup bills (no more $20 jaunts at the pharmacy; they really add up!). But after a while, I did miss “playing” a bit.
Now that I have the blog as an excuse, I’m really out there trying new stuff. New looks, new brands. And I plan to post detailed reviews, tutorials and any other tips I glean along the way.
So, you ready for my Top 5?
1. Shahnaz Husain kajal stick: This, my friends, is the secret of those gorgeous, smouldering South Asian eyes. I think kajal has the same cult power in the east as mascara does in the west. I consider mascara optional. But kajal? Never leave home without it!
There are many things I love about this particular brand:
- It’s ayurvedic, which means it follows the ancient principles of Indian traditional medicine. I have sensitive eyes and have to be careful what I put on them (and kajal or kohl is actually applied to the inner rim of the lower eyelid). Never had a problem with Shahnaz Husain.
- It literally lasts forever (I replace mine once a year and always have some left over).
- It never requires sharpening.
- It smudges just enough (I like that) and gives me a mysterious, smoky look without me having to do anything special.
- The outer case has a mirror on its side which makes it the most useful item in my kit.
2. Bare Minerals Shimmer Shadow: This is a pretty recent discovery. I am a HUGE fan of shimmer eyeshadow– it totally makes my day. In fact, one of my fave non-green makeup products is Lise Watier’s glitter eye liner (which I smudge all over my lids after applying shadow). Bare Minerals is more sparkly than glittery (smaller particles) and therefore more appropriate for year-round use. I have several shades and the one I reach for most is “summer” (pictured at the top of this post)
Tip: My favourite way to use Bare Minerals eyeshadow is to wet my brush and swirl a little colour in the lid of the box. This really intensifies colour, stops the sparkles from getting all over everything and gives the shadow incredible (but lightweight) staying power. WIN!
3. Dr Hauschka Volume Mascara: I must admit that when I tried Dr Hauschka’s regular mascara, I was less than impressed. But when I tried the volume version (with silk protein), ooh la la! Mucho volume. Verrry sultry.
Of course, it’s not waterproof. I have a love-hate relationship with waterproof mascara. It’s definitely useful in Montreal’s snow storms and when I go to the gym after work, but I freakin’ hate taking it off. Arrgh!
My other fave (and also washable) natural mascara is Josie Maran’s GO-GO (that’s Get One- Give One. So, each full-size mascara you buy means that an underprivileged sister gets one free!). Also gives me extremely voluptuous lashes. And no heartache over preservatives or animal-testing.
4. Dr Hauschka kajal pencil: Because I have dark skin and dark brows, I actually use the Hauschka kajal pencil as a brow pencil as well as eye-liner. It’s a fabulous, multi-purpose item to have on one’s kit.
I find the pencil soft and easy to apply (and remove). You might find that you need to reapply your eyeliner around 4pm if you like the line defined. Brows require no touchup and removal is a breeze!
I use this in #04: Espresso Bean. Highly recommended for sultry Latin, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or light African complexions.
5. Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt: This item truly IS magic! If you’re using mineral makeup, this microfibre mitten will remove all traces of it without need for any other makeup removal product! All you need is warm water and voila!
The mitt costs about $20 here in Canada, which may seem pricey at first, but I’ve had mine for 4 years now and it’s still in perfect condition. It’s my favourite prezzie for girlfriends who like makeup.
- Because you’re only using warm water, you aren’t chemically stripping your skin of oils. Especially in the winter. My chronic cheek dry patches totally disappeared once I switched to the mitt.
- You’re gently exfoliating your face every day. This might be too much for some, but I find that my skin has really benefitted. And I didn’t need to buy an extra product to reap the rewards!
So there you go. These are some of my favourite (green) things. I’d love to get your feedback and any suggestions for products I should be trying.