Entries from February 28th, 2012

February 28, 2012

natural beauty buff | cecilia wong, cecilia wong skincare

One of the best parts of my freelance beauty editing gig is testing new, niche products that hit the market. One of my favorite new lines is Cecilia Wong Skincare, a holistic collection with a small but mighty lineup of good-for-you products.

Created by Hong Kong-born, New York/New Jersey-raised skincare expert Cecilia Wong, this line reflects Cecilia’s belief in a clean beauty regimen that harnesses the power of organic ingredients. You won’t find parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals or artificial colors in her pared-down line of superb products. What you will find are organic herbs, oils, seeds and botanical blends that smooth, brighten and firm the skin, leaving you glowing.

cecilia wong skincare natural beauty buff

{Cecilia Wong offers signature facials at her skincare salon across from Madison Square Park in New York City. Photo Courtesy Cecilia Wong}

Cecilia and I connected so I could find out a little more about what she uses to achieve a radiant appearance. Here’s a peek at what she keeps in the travel kit inside her Gucci Sukey purse as well as in her bathroom vanity area. (The items I’ve starred indicate items I also use and love as well.)

cecilia wong skincare travel kit

{Cecilia keeps the essentials in her travel bag inside her purse: Jurlique hand cream; L'Occitane lip gloss; her own black currant serum; and her own toner mist. Photo Courtesy Cecilia Wong}

Inside Cecilia’s Purse

*Cecilia Wong Skincare Rejuvenating Toner Mist

“My Rejuvenating Toner Mist hydrates and cleanses my skin throughout the day. I have acne-prone skin and since the toner was designed with probiotics, it kills all bacteria on the skin. I carry it in my handbag and also have one in my bathroom.”

*Cecilia Wong Skincare Reviving Black Currant Serum

“My Black Currant Serum is supremely hydrating, has anti-aging properties and is chock-full of antioxidants. I carry a travel size in my handbag that I use for my cuticles. I have one in the shower, which I use for my body and hair, and of course, one in my bathroom which I use on my face.”

L’Occitane Pivoine Flora Lip Shine Brun Lip Gloss

“I love the subtle scent of this lip gloss. It’s hydrating and creamy, and doesn’t taste like chemicals. Also, the color is just beautiful!”

Jurlique Rose Hand Cream

“I wash and sanitize my hands a lot, so they get very dry. I make sure to moisturize after washing my hands — every single time. And this hand cream is perfect. It’s super hydrating, not sticky and has an amazing subtle scent. I carry this is in my handbag and keep one next to the sinks in my kitchen and bathroom.”

Inside Cecilia’s Bathroom

Jo Malone Wild Bluebell

“The subtle, clean floral scent is amazing. I carry a sample in my handbag and keep one in my bathroom.”

Korres Wild Rose Compact Powder

“Light and natural, this face powder never looks cakey! I love that it has anti-aging properties!”

Tarte multiplEYE lash enhancing liquid eyeliner

“It doesn’t smudge! The color is vibrant and I know it’s full of good-for-me properties.”

February 27, 2012

beauty scoop | jing ai organic & natural cosmetics masquerade concealer

I started using Jing Ai’s Masquerade Concealer in November 2011 and have not once reached for my toxic tube of former concealer for better coverage or easier application.

jing ai masquerade concealer

{I received a sample of Jing Ai Masquerade Concealer in Vanilla Cream and Indian Princess. I've been wearing Vanilla Cream and will probably transition to Indian Princess this summer. Photo Courtesy Jing Ai}

Jing Ai natural concealer has certified organic coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, wild rose flower oil and Champagne grape oil as well as beeswax and shea butter.

This means that in addition to providing amazing coverage (I think it’s better than Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage), it is treating my skin with beneficial oils and butters to soften the delicate undereye area and blemish spots.

I like to apply it with my ring finger by lightly dabbing it on to the dark circles under my eyes and directly onto problem areas. I start small, working up the layers of coverage depending on how little sleep I got the night before, until my skin appears flawless, never cakey. I dust a bit of loose powder to set the concealer and look well-rested and ready to go!

My only gripe about Jing Ai’s Masquerade Concealer is that currently, it’s only available in two shades, Vanilla Cream and Indian Princess. However, because Jing Ai founder Donna Cristino is showcasing her line at an exclusive Henri Bendel trunk show this week before jetting off to the CEW Beauty Awards, I imagine she will need to expand her line and color options very soon — I predict Jing Ai is going to be the buzz in natural cosmetics this year!

A pot of Jing Ai Masquerade Concealer costs $25 — comparable to popular luxury brands’ prices without the parabens, petrochemicals and nasty preservatives. If you’re going to splurge on a good concealer, why not spend your money on ingredients that actually do something great for your skin? I’ll take roses and grapes over chemicals and coal derivatives any day.

What concealer do you use? Do you like trying new products when it comes to important staples such as concealer, foundation and mascara? Tell me what you know in the comments section.

February 22, 2012

holland: opi spring 2012 nail polish

When I think of Holland, coloring-book images of vivid tulips, windmill-dotted hillsides and wooden shoes come to mind.

When I look at OPI’s spring 2012 nail polish collection, the mix of sophisticated neutrals and saturated brights paint the images in my mind.

opi holland spring 2012 polish collection

{Top row, from left to right: Gouda Gouda Two Shoes, Wooden Shoe Like to Know, I Don’t Give a Rotterdam, A Roll in The Hague, Pedal Faster Suzi, Dutch 'Ya Just Love OPI. Second row, left to right: Thanks a WindMillion, Red Lights Ahead…Where?, Kiss Me On My Tulips, Vampsterdam, I Have a Herring Problem, Did You 'ear About Van Gogh? Photo Courtesy OPI}

“Holland has a very unique, vibrant beauty to match its open-minded nature,” says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI’s executive vice president and artistic director. “Spring is the season of color, and the Holland Collection provides an array of pink, coral and orange hues that capture this energy. The bright lacquers are married with neutrals in new variations like red clay and sea green.”

I’ve swatched all of the shades from this collection and have sported two full OPI Holland mani/pedis so far. My picks to date? “A Roll in The Hague,” a frisky little orange, on my toenails, and “Red Lights Ahead…Where?,” a coral-red, on my fingernails a few weeks ago.

I did my own mani/pedi, and what I love most about these polishes are 1) the color payoff is amazing — so vibrant!; 2) the “ProWide” brush makes polish application a snap — no streaking!; and 3) OPI nail polishes do not contain DBP, toluene or formaldehyde.

The drawbacks? Well, with such vibrant colors, sometimes your nails stain. I’ve been polish-free on my fingernails for a few days now since removing “Red Lights Ahead…Where?” and am just now seeing a return to a normal, non-red-tinted nail bed.

So, do you need every polish in the Holland collection? Maybe. Maybe not. In addition to the two I’ve already worn, my other personal favorites from the collection include “Kiss Me on My Tulips,” a sassy hot pink; “Thanks a WindMillion,” a breezy sea green; and “Wooden Shoe Like to Know?,” a shimmery chocolate-brown.

Which ones do you like? Are you willing to throw down $8.50 a pop for some dreamy Dutch polish? Tell me your faves in the comments section.

February 21, 2012

natural beauty buff | spirit demerson, spirit beauty lounge

I have a pretty big girl crush on Spirit Demerson. She’s the brains and beauty behind online natural product retailer Spirit Beauty Lounge, and I’ve been privileged to work with her and her team for the past five years in both my past career and my current freelance gig.

spirit demerson spirit beauty lounge

{Isn't she gorgeous? Photo Courtesy Spirit Demerson}

Everything Spirit curates for her site has to pass a vigorous test, and it makes me feel eco-confident about shopping on her site. I don’t have to worry too much about anything I put in my shopping basket because I know Spirit’s standards meet my own for natural and organic beauty products.

Even though I can peruse Spirit’s site anytime of the day, it’s only every once in a while when you can actually peek inside someone’s purse and see all the beauty loot. I asked Spirit to snap some pics so I could share with you just what this natural beauty expert keeps in her purse, dopp kit and apartment. The items I’ve starred indicate items I also use and love as well. Enjoy!

beauty products inside spirit demerson's purse

{Spirit's purse is way cleaner than mine, but stuffed with just as many beauty products! Photo Courtesy Spirit Demerson}

Inside Spirit’s Purse

*Widu Wooden Bristle Brush Travel Modern

“Beautifully designed, great for your hair and scalp, sweatshop-free and entirely FSC-certified wood!

Baby Baggu Reusable Shopping Bag Magenta

“Always BYOB!

Apt 5 Go Green Facial Tissue Pocket Pack

“I stock up on these at Duane Reade and stuff them in every coat pocket and purse.

*Apple iPad 

“I get maybe 20-30 different magazines and rags every month that I can now read on my iPad! SO much less paper!”

Kjaer Weis Lip Tint Compact in Goddess

“The most beautiful cherry color — if I need to go from day to evening in a flash, all I need is this.”

*Ilia Pure Lip Care in Arabian Nights

“I can apply this 20 times a day and still my lips will never feel dry like they can with other lipsticks and tinted lip balms!


RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm

“I use this for anything from lips to hair to nails.”

Amala Hydrating Hand Cream

“The unfortunate washing-of-hands-with-public-restroom-soap never fails to leave my hands dry. This is the best non-greasy hand soother.”

Priti Crystal Glass Nail File 

“I’ve always had fragile nails. I love that this doesn’t rip them to shreds — I can even use it while they’re painted.”

Vive Sana Solar To Polar Ultra

“Sunscreen is totally non-negotiable for me. I simply won’t go without it. This is the highest natural/organic SPF you can get without looking like a geisha.”

*Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence 

“I use this as a cleanser, toner, moisturizer or anytime-refresher as needed!”

Raaka Chocolate

“Pretty little delicious organic virgin chocolate. For two reasons: 1. Personal chocolate emergencies. 2. I discovered these make great little gifts on the fly — for a hostess you didn’t expect to visit or an especially charming server. It’s nice to always have a small gift you can give.”

Tata Harper Aromatic Irritability Treatment

“I often wear this as a perfume, but I really do whip it out whenever I get stuck in a long line or am getting frazzled, and it works! There’s no way to be crabby when you’re smelling something this good.”

spirit demerson spirit beauty lounge dopp kit

{When Spirit's on the go, she stashes these essentials in her Hammocks & High Tea dopp kit. Photo Courtesy Spirit Demerson}

Inside Spirit’s Dopp Kit

“I actually often think of travel as a time to take a break from my normal beauty routine. I usually only bring my essentials, which is probably less than a quarter of what I use every day at home.”

Acure Organics Travel Size Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Hair Care Duo

“My hair isn’t very cooperative when I don’t have all my tools and products and shower filter. I have to at least bring my own shampoo and conditioner or I’ll be a mess.”

Vive Sana Solar To Polar Ultra


*Kahina Giving Beauty Cleanser and Argan Oil 

“A gentle cleanser and a little argan oil go a long way. I use the facial cleanser as a non-drying body cleanser, too.


Aromatherapy Personals Jet Lag Relief

“Thank goodness for this! I use it every day when I go back to Cali (from New York) to keep me normal.”

*Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence 

“Always great for travel.


Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Cream

“I simply don’t find that anything else works for me as well as this does. I love it and wont go anywhere without it.”

*Pukka Teas

“I’ll have one on the plane or steep them overnight in plain water. It’s such a comfort.”

Hydrea London FSC-Certified Rubber Grip Bath & Massage Brush

“The one beauty regimen I always try to keep while traveling is daily dry brushing. It’s even more important while traveling as the lymph and circulation can become so congested.”

spirit demerson spirit beauty lounge at home

{This is the next best thing to snooping through Spirit's New York bathroom. Photo Courtesy Spirit Demerson}

Inside Spirit’s Apartment

I collect rare and vintage fragrances. You might be surprised how much they resemble the beautiful organic fragrances we carry today, from Honore des Pres, Tsi-La Organics and A Perfume Organic.

I love my Crystal Quest shower filter! I actually had to go a day without it recently while I was waiting on a replacement, and my skin shriveled up and my hair frizzed like I haven’t seen it for so long. I was itchy all day. The thing really does improve the water.

For my daily skin care I use Tata Harper’s entire line with the Intelligent Nutrients Plant Stem Cell Science booster.

I keep the Lotus Wei Infinite Love Trio on my nightstand. Every bedroom needs infinite love, right?!

February 8, 2012

water | sparitual spring 2012 nail polish

Tonight, I’m heading to the spa at Lifetime Fitness to experience a bona fide SpaRitual manicure and pedicure.

SpaRitual founder Shel Pink arranged for me to experience a mini spa night as a thank you for the recent piece I wrote for Organic Spa magazine. I’m beyond thrilled at her offer, and am even more excited to have my nails painted with one of SpaRitual’s new polishes from its spring 2012 “Water” collection.

sparitual spring 2012 water nail polish collection

{SpaRitual's spring 2012 "Water" collection, from left: Hidden Reef; Deep; Ripple Effect; Ebb and Flow; Lucid; Undercurrent. Photo Courtesy SpaRitual}

Not only is this collection stellar because of all the gorgeous colors in it (I am really loving the blues!), but it’s special because SpaRitual is donating 20 percent of the profits from this collection to Surge, a nonprofit that improves access to clean, safe drinking water to communities around the world.

“The Water Collection represents the importance it has for our physical wellbeing (up to 70 percent of the human body is composed of water) and our emotional health (it’s a proven fact that water provides soothing benefits). Sadly, communities around the world lack access to clean drinking water,” SpaRitual founder Shel Pink. said in a press release. “We’re pleased to be involved with Surge and to support the foundation’s efforts to help provide clean, safe drinking water worldwide.”

This is just another reason that I’m smitten for this brand. SpaRitual has its head and heart right when it comes to serving the true needs of the global community as well as the being the healthier nail polish brand for conscientious fashionistas.

Are you familiar with SpaRitual? Ever tried any of the polishes? My favorite from the spring 2012 collection is “Ebb and Flow,” which will probably end up on my nails tonight! Tell me your favorite color from the collection in the comments section.


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