Why I Threw Out Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Makeup

toxic makeup chanel laura mercier nars tested on animals

Have I lost my mind? No, I have done some research and learned some shocking truths about the ingredients in makeup & cosmetics a few years back!

Yes, this is not a recent event, as many of you know: I am a natural, organic & cruelty-free makeup artist, owning a huge selection of only the best green beauty brands from across the globe and love working with these beautiful products. Supporting boutique businesses with quality cosmetics has been so rewarding. But it's not always been this way. (see picture above, my kit many years ago)

I know first hand how the so-called "high-end", "luxury" brands use their marketing and packaging to make you believe you are buying something good!

I too had a professional makeup kit boasting with Chanel, Nars, MAC, Dior, Laura Mercier, Stila, Make Up Forever etc... but not only DO THEY ALL TEST ON ANIMALS!!!! The ingredients are also very cheap and nasty, nothing luxurious is found inside those formulas once you do your homework!

So into the bin, it all went. Thousands of dollars of makeup & cosmetics. Well, to be totally honest I did pass a lot of it on to other artists, who are still happy to use these conventional products.
As it wouldn't really be green to just throw them out...

I thought it was important to mention that I do know all these products too well myself and have worked with them for many years in my career. It was a conscious choice to get rid of them and to find products that perform, yet are truly luxurious! Products that actually are benefitting your skin, as well as the environment and also don't harm any animals. It wasn't the easiest journey to find replacements for all the trusted products I used to own, but time, lot's of trial and error and determination got me there!

Are you ready to change to healthier, better makeup?

If you are curious and want to make the change to healthier & better beauty products, follow my steps & tips on How To Become A Green Queen here! (Of course, you don't need to throw everything out at once...)

And please feel free to comment and engage and ask for advice! I am more than happy to help :)
I thought of working on a little blog post series about my best natural beauty swaps if you are interested...?!
 

 

Discovering Mádara Organic Skincare

Madara Skincare Review 03.jpg

It makes me so happy how there is an abundance of natural and organic skincare popping up everywhere, so much choice and beautiful products, something for everyone yet all toxin free.
Have you tried Mádara yet?

On our trip to Europe, I discovered Mádara skincare for the first time. It was stocked in most pharmacies in Stockholm & Copenhagen and I learned to love their PEEL mask, which quickly sorted out my skin which was breaking out from all the travels & changes. As the brand is a nordic company from Latvia, it makes sense that it was so widely available over there.

Back in Australia I didn't see it anywhere for a while and almost forgot about it.
BUT there are stockists here now, which got me to dive into the brand and try out a little more variety from their brand.
The range is actually huge, from Skincare to Haircare, Babycare and body products...
Everything is certified organic and the formulations are certainly very premium.
The packaging doesn't give away that the products are natural, which is a plus, they look like any other upmarket cosmetics, so if you are not into hippy-dippy bottles you probably love how simple, sleek and "normal" the products look.

As a makeup artist I am mostly interested in skincare, so that's what I have started with but I am still excited to try the other ranges.


So here is what I have tried & tested:

 

Micellar Water
(vegan!)
Micellar Water is a staple in my makeup kit this one is possibly my new favourite. I wish I could buy huge bottles of it! They should make a pro-size (hint-hint!) If you haven't heard of this type of cleanser yet, it is a makeup removing water, super easy to use and therefore used by all makeup artists, but it's also great to have on hand for a super quick and gentle cleanse at home.
It removes makeup with ease, smells wonderful and is gentle yet hydrating.
Natural oil micelles dispersed in a soothing aloe vera juice remove makeup whilst providing a toning effect. Antioxidant-rich Northern peony root extract and hyaluronic acid soften, protect and hydrate the skin.

PLUM PLUM
Lip Perfection Balm

(not vegan/contains beeswax & propolis)
A luxurious lip treatment & primer that leaves a slight sheen. Feels very nice on the lips and reminds of the expensive department store balms, yet this one is toxin free and filled with organic goodness. If they could work out how to make it vegan it would become another makeup kit staple.

Superseed Soothing Hydration
(vegan)
As the name suggests this is a very soothing oil perfect for dry and irritated skin. Isn't the simple bottle just so beautiful? Like with any face oils, a few drops are enough to quench the skin. Perfect for Winter.


SOS HYDRA mask Moisture+Radiance
(vegan)
Instant Moisture for dehydrated skin. Perfect as an in-flight mask too ( I always wear hydrating masks on planes, I know, it might sound weird and I sure get some looks of fellow passengers, BUT I get off fresh as a daisy) Your skin will really drink this one up. You can wipe any excess after 15-min with a warm cloth or cotton pad!

Exfoliating Oil-To-Milk scrub
(not vegan/contains beeswax)
It's a gentle hydrating scrub suitable for all skin types. This product is not vegan.

Ultra purifying mud mask
(vegan)
This mask is a deep cleanse, that decongests the skin. Really great for blemishes, clogged pores, oily and dull skin. I will keep mine for troublesome times, everyone needs a good mud mask in their skincare regime. If you have dry skin they are different and better options, though. This is a winner for oily skins.

Third trimester Survival Tips & Essentials

liv lundelius pregnancy maternity shoot belly shot

Photo by Gabriela Fearn from our Maternity Session

The third trimester will get uncomfortable everyone warned me.

Mine was pretty fine.
No major symptoms. A few sleepless nights here and there, a few leg cramps but overall I have felt energised and was able to exercise and enjoy my days. Now in my final days, I do feel the weight and pressure of our baby girl and definitely feel some discomfort, but nothing so major that it would keep me from walking.

I do feel that my vegan plant-based diet has contributed to this a lot! When you eat well, you feel well, your body does have energy naturally and you feel emotionally more balanced too.

I made a big commitment to myself to really look after myself during this special time, no matter how busy life and work got, I made my health and wellbeing a priority. And trust me, I know it's not always easy, but at the same time, there is nothing more important to do.

I am by no means an expert and this is my first pregnancy, yet all the things below have made my life so much easier and helped me feeling great during this final trimester:

Body Products / Cosmetics For The Third Trimester

Magnesium Spray & Bath Salts
Read my review about them here. If I ever got sore after too much exercise or just from too much standing or baby pressing on my lower back and pelvis a bath in these sorted me out real quick.
It also really helps with sleep, which is another common problem for many in the third trimester, as it can get a little harder to get comfy with this big belly. A warm bath in these at the end of the day really helped to knock me out and get the best sleep.

Face Tan Water
I have been raving about it before. It just helps my skin look more even and glowing without using makeup, which I kinda got too lazy for lately.
Read my review here

Perineum Massage Oil
I got myself a bottle of the Weleda Perineum Massage Oil. I will keep you updated after birth if it helped at all.
I thought it won't hurt to try it. It's developed by midwives and absolutely safe.
The idea is to keep the area well hydrated and elastic to help stretch the skin and prevent any tearing during birth.

Favourite Exercises During The Third Trimester

Gurmukhs Prenatal Kundalini Yoga
I did a class I found on Youtube over and over, as I missed out to get myself the official DVD's earlier. So: My hot tip is on getting your hands on these in time at the beginning of pregnancy. She is such an amazing teacher and I always feel great after this class.

Walking
It's probably not really news to you, but I still wanted to mention that walking has been great. Not comfortable at all days, but always worth it. Walking lots during pregnancy is recommended everywhere, helps the baby into a good position and has countless other benefits.

Swimming
I envisioned myself being able to swim every day in this third trimester, but the weather in March this year was rather horrendous and lead to too much pollution in the harbour beaches around my house on most days. I still managed to swim as much as possible and it always made me SO happy. I just doing normal breaststroke laps, nothing that looks like an olympic sport. ( I am not that sporty!) But even these simple movements and the water supporting the weight, just felt magical every time.

Favourite Meditations During The Third Trimester

I also thought I would meditate every morning during the last trimester since being off work for the last weeks. I am usually quite committed to my practice, but I also wanted to enjoy my sleep. So I did do regular meditations, but not every morning.

Kundalini Meditations from Gurmukhs book Bountiful Beautiful Blissful
Meditations from the Calmbirth Course
(If your partner is up for it, it's really great doing meditations together, Dave and I have been doing some of the partner meditations in Gurmukhs book and also listened to the Calmbirth meditations together)

My fit ball, or also called labour ball by the midwives. I just got myself a cheapy one from Kmart and used it to sit on when working on my desk. It really helps with posture. And posture is kind of a big deal when the growing belly & boobs are pulling you forward. Exercise, of course, helps to open up the chest and to stretch out the shoulders, but I still catch myself in the mirror slouching a lot. The ball is also great for little labour prep exercises and apparently an amazing tool in labour too. We will see...

My Favourite Foods & Superfoods During the Third Trimester

Raw Protein Powder
Dave always tells me I don't need it, but since you DO need more protein during pregnancy and it fills me up, stops cravings and also helps me with exercise plus makes my smoothie bowls taste extra creamy and tasty I have been loving it! It's true though that you won't NEED isolated proteins to your diet. This one , which I have also used in my Bliss Ball recipe, is a very healthy, balanced, organic, wholefoods one though and again, I have been loving it!

Everything that is fermented and probiotic!
As baby inherits your gut flora, which is the base for all good health and a healthy immune system, it's important to load up on these foods during pregnancy. Besides that it helps to keep you regular and keeps you overall happy and healthy.
I incorporated the following:

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother
I use it in salad dressings, but also like to drink a tablespoon mixed in a glass of water.
It also helps to stabilise blood sugar and to avoid sweet cravings.


Kimchi (which also has garlic and spices that work as prebiotics!)
I am addicted to the one that About Life makes, they have it in their fresh food bar and also sell their own jars of it, although it's often sold out. If you live in Sydney, you have to try this one! Husband is a fan as well.


Coconut Water Kefir, I really love the taste. It reminds me of Champagne. (Yeah, I am weird!)
This is a watery sparkling drink, I am NOT talking about Coconut Kefir, which is a rich yoghurt like food, which is made from Coconut Milk. It's healthy too, but I much prefer just taking a sip of the Water Kefir and found the other one too creamy tasting.


Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
It's an old natural herbal remedy to tone the uterus and prepare it for birth. There are so many different recommendations on when to start and how much to drink. I checked with our doula and recommend you ask your providers for approval and do your own research. I really enjoy the taste, but I know many don't and mixes it with other herbs, drink it as iced tea etc.

Lots of fresh food and veggies!
Duh... You have heard this one before, I bet!
Starting every day with a smoothie bowl gives me a portion of greens already right when I wake up. I will share my favourite recipe on the blog soon! I have had salads for lunch and steamed, grilled or baked veggies for dinner...Veggies, veggies, veggies. And fruit snacks ofcourse! If I really wanted something sweet I had a Bliss Ball or made myself a Dandelion Chai Latte with Soy Milk. Sometimes also a Tumeric Latte, yum....

That's it! I hope you enjoyed it. Again, these are just things that have worked for me. Everyone is different and so is every pregnancy, always check with your providers about exercise, foods and supplements that are suitable for you.

 

 

 

The get beautiful quick scheme by Edible Beauty

Edible Beauty Face Mask Review Vegan Organic Face Mask

Express! We all want quick results, don't we? While the truth is that great results and changes require a little effort and time and to change your skin for the better in the long run you probably need to change your nutrition, lifestyle and whole skin care regime... Sometimes a quick fix just does the trick! Especially if you are already on the right track.

My skin, for example, I am really happy with! I eat well, sleep well, I exercise, I am mostly happy and balanced and keep up with a good skin care regime.

But what if I just want a BOOST?

If I haven't had time for a beautiful at-home facial or work has been more time-consuming? What if there is a special event to go to and I just feel a teensy bit tired? My skin has lost it's it's glow?

THEN ITS TIME FOR:
Express Bloom Of Youth Infusion Mask.

I bet you, I will use up quite a few packs of these once baby girl is here.

This sheet mask is like an instant lift and hydration boost. It feels amazing on the skin! If you have used sheet masks before, you know what I am talking about! They are the best!
(except that they look a little scary while they are on...so don't open the door for the postman or similar during treatment!) Instead, find yourself a cosy place and unwind for 15-20min.

The mask goes right onto the cleansed the skin and does not need to be washed off!
I like to use mine after a long day just before bed while relaxing. Or in the bathtub!
I use the excess liquid and rub it over my neck and decolletage, highly recommended.
Don't waste a precious drop of this!

This one stands out from the crowd, though by using only the purest, cleanest ingredients, while really giving results!
So what's in it you might ask? A true cocktail of active botanicals. The two most powerful ones in here are Ribose & Swertia Chirata who are boosting cell renewal and have wonderful anti-aging properties.

As ALL Edible Beauty Products, this is Vegan, Organic and leaves all nasties behind!

The green beauty journey - Become A Green Queen

(updated version, originally published on 29th of August 2015)


Do you want to live a greener life? Not sure how and where to start? Do you feel overwhelmed and confused about certifications and green washing? Maybe it's just me, but that's how I felt many times. You can do it, and baby steps are the answer! Be kind and patient with yourself, while doing your own research and learning more. I have listed some tips I found useful when I made the transition to green beauty, this will make it a breeze to change, trust me!

I feel living a green lifestyle is a journey. There are always ways to improve, learn more and change for the better. It's important not to judge people for their choices and to just try and your best with the knowledge you have. I think it can be daunting at first and many feel it's either all or nothing when it comes to sustainable lifestyles, personally, I feel the opposite is true. Every little step makes a difference and if you can't commit to changing everything up all at once and quitting everything cold turkey that's absolutely fine. I have been vegetarian all my life and have been experimenting with a vegan diet from my early twenties. I then went what is called Parisian Vegan. Sounds fancy, huh? It basically means to avoid animal products at home, yet when I am going out to a restaurant or with friends I do go for vegetarian options, which may contain dairy or eggs. Now my husband is Parisian Vegan but I am 100% vegan and have never felt better! When I was living in NYC I found it a lot easier to eat out and find delicious vegan options than in Sydney. In Sydney it can even be a challenge just being vegetarian, depending on where you go.
But now that I have lived here almost five years a lot has improved and the movement is growing and growing and growing! So yes, I am not perfect I have stumbled and gone back and forth in the beginning. But finally my professional makeup kit and personal beauty routine is: clean, luxurious, cruelty-free and organic! (and so is my diet!)

Today I wanted to share with you how to detox your beauty bag and find new holy grail products that are better for you and the environment.

Step By Step
Don't feel like you have to throw away everything you own, just because you have finally learned how to decode the ingredient list, of your favourite beauty products. Replace products as you use them up. Replace products that you use daily and on wide areas of your face/body (body lotion/moisturiser/foundation) first, while small products that you only use on special occasion (bright lip colour, eyeliner etc.) can wait a little longer. This way you won't break the bank either.

Samples are your best friend In all my years as a professional makeup artist I have learned one thing for sure: Everyone's skin is different. What works wonders for one, does not suit another. You will always have to try products for yourself. Especially when it comes to changing your skincare and foundation, it's a good idea to get samples before you buy. Most companies are happy to provide samples either free or for a small fee. You can save yourself a lot of $$$ and hassle by sampling.

Research Research Research It can still be helpful to read reviews online (but keep in mind everyone is different, so even raving reviews don't mean that you will love the product!) You can get a general idea of the strengths and weaknesses of a product and also read through the ingredients. Try to only research one product group at a time, to not get overwhelmed. It can also help to shop at stores that have already done a lot of the leg work for you. If you buy your cosmetics in a health food store instead of a supermarket, chances are you find toxin-free beauty more easily. There also many great online stores that have selected products that are safe and truly natural. Many cities have exclusive green beauty stores as well.

Don't give up Just because you have tried a natural product and it has not worked for you, or you even got an allergic reaction or had any other bad experience: DO NOT GIVE UP ON IT ALL TOGETHER. I am under no illusion that there are many natural beauty products out there, that are simply not great. This is the same for conventional products. It sometimes takes some time to find the perfect product that you love to the moon and back. I had to try several natural deodorants and had many bad experiences before I found "the one". The same goes for finding the right foundation. There are many incredible products out there and it's worth looking for them!
Watch my video on my favourite body products including deodorant here.

Beware of Greenwashing Last but not least: There is also a lot of "greenwashing" going on. This means that many companies try to market their products to be natural or organic and use misleading terms to make you think, their products are natural when really they are not at all. There is a great list of companies using this practice over here at the Green Beauty Team Blog.

Share & Treat Your Feet Besides all your effort you ended up with a new beautiful product that just isn't right for you? If you did buy a product that you did not like, do not throw it away! Unless you have an allergic reaction you can still use most products for a different purpose. I regularly use up face products on my body. If a face cream or oil is too rich for me, I use it on my hands/feet or hair. A real treat! A shampoo or body wash that you don't like might work well as hand wash or you could use it to clean your makeup brushes? Have a think: Is there anyone else that would like it? My man keeps using up products that don't work for me, as his skin is not as sensitive as mine. You might have a friend or relative that loves the product.