Browsing Tag

Cruelty free beauty

Beauty Cosmetics

Red Apple Lipstick Review

April 28, 2017

Red Apple Lipstick happened to be one of the first brands I found on the internet webs when I started looking into “cleaner” beauty. I’ve always been curious about Red Apple Lipstick’s lipsticks since I’ve never seen gluten-free beauty products, only pastries at that given time. I was such a “clean” beauty newb.

Fast forward a year later, I’ve been given the opportunity to try Red Apple Lipstick products after applying to their blogger program after showing some credentials and credibility in my review abilities. That said, everything was provided to me based on my selection and all my opinions will be kind, tactful, and honest. So, let’s get this show on the road.

Extra super long review here because I’m reviewing FOUR products, please bare with me!




I’ve been eyeing this RAL Lipstick in the shade Hibiscus since the dawn of my clean beauty time. I naturally gravitate towards berries, pinks, and sometimes, I will dabble in dark shades since life is too short to play it safe.


The lipstick is encased in a sturdy, matte black case. The cap comes off with ease and has a nice “click” that’s reminiscent of childhood memories of Mom closing her lipstick tube. The bullet that holds the actual lip product has a nice texture meant for grip and minimal aesthetics. And obviously, the outside packaging itself is cutely made of paper and completely recyclable.

Swatch of RAL Lipstick in Hibiscus


At First Swipe

This lipstick is 100% opaque upon first swipe applied with the least amount of pressure. It is described as a true, vibrant raspberry. On me, because my lips aren’t naturally that pink, the color definitely raspberry but with a touch of mauve. It’s not outrageously bright as other raspberry shades you might have used in the past, so it is definitely wearable for day time, at the office, at Trader Joes, or like me, to go pick up my child from preschool without looking weird being paired with sweats.

The consistency is not like a balm, so there’s no shine or sheen. It’s the most matte lipstick that I’ve tried, yet it’s not in the least bit drying. When I rub my lips together, there’s no grittiness or tugging, but there’s no gliding sensation either like you would expect from a balm-like formulation.

The weight of the lip product is something that I always seem to notice. If it feels goopy or heavy or just disgusting on, I can’t deal with it even for the sake of beauty. With this particular RAL lipstick (since it’s the only one I have lol!) is pretty much weightless and Vaseline (yeah yeah I know I shouldn’t be using it because cancer or whatever, but I like it for overnight because I wake up with soft lips. Also, huge tub for like 50 cents) feels heavier on.

The taste of lip products is also something else. I don’t want to taste it nor do I want to have it taste like anything. I’m ok with balms tasting like coffee or having some kind of faint flower-like aroma, but gag me should it be that overpowering vanilla scent. Being devoid of that lipstick taste is key and if it should taste like something, that’s just gross. RAL Hibiscus lipstick is tasteless, practically odorless, and that’s how I like it. There’s a *hint* of lipstick scent that is associated with any lipstick.

I do have to warn you that if your lips are chapped in any way, no lipstick will actually look good on them, not even this one, and not even the balm-like ones. Take care of that pout with some sugar scrub (or drink more water), then apply your lipstick, and then give it a fair evaluation.

Overall Wear

My lips have a knack for reacting to all lip products by immediately burning or eventually becoming super chapped within a few hours. That’s when I know the lip product needs to go back. That said, I have only been able to wear very few brands comfortably all day without even noticing it on my lips. I wholeheartedly recommend you try this lipstick color and this particular brand. It’s on par with other brands that you might be more familiar with like Bite Beauty and Axiology.


RAL Lip liner in Blush



Lip liners are a new thing for me. I literally only have two in my entire hoarding collection of makeup. I know its purpose but I also don’t see it’s purpose? I hate to use that lame excuse of being lazy (because with makeup, I refuse to be), but I guess it’s more like I’ve never had any interest in them. I don’t want to overline my lips and I don’t think I experience feathering because I am picky about the lipsticks I use. I think it’s an unnecessary step if you are already using a stellar lipstick. I kind of think it’s a scam if you don’t actually need it? More on how my thoughts have been corrected in a second.


Clean, sleek, matte black that doesn’t get greasy if you touch it with greasy fingers. The product comes out smoothly with the twist top. I love that you don’t have to sharpen it because of how the product is housed.

RAL Lip Liner in Blush swatch


At First Swipe

Given that I only have one other lip liner to compare this to (the new Bite Beauty Lip liner pencils), I’ll say that it’s comparable. The product applies very smoothly and doesn’t tug at your lips. It has a great opacity at the first swipe that’s not too overpowering.

Overall Wear

I tried to pick a shade that would be the perfect your-lips-but-better but alas, I’ve failed again. I have a weird color to my lips that I can’t quite explain. It’s not very pink, nor very red, but this weird berry shade naturally. However, I think this Blush shade came pretty close to achieving a suitable nude if I wanted to wear it by itself underneath a clear gloss.

It is not drying and it definitely stayed on an entire day after drinking coffee and eating. It didn’t become uncomfortable to wear throughout the day. I think if this is how lip liners are supposed to perform, it did an excellent job. I now enjoy lining my lips before and even after applying lipstick. I can absolutely see its purpose now and see what a difference it really makes in the overall look for crisper, cleaner lines. I’d definitely get more lip liners from RAL as I want crisp, clean lines for when I wear darker shades of lipstick.


RAL Eye Liner in Black



I have a cautionary tale about pencil eyeliners here. Everything smudges on me, even if it’s waterproof. My skin is dry but my eyelids apparently produce enough oils to sufficiently fry bacon on. I don’t understand. With that said, I don’t think I can really give a fair assessment for this eyeliner. I’ve tried Urban Decay in the past, smudged. I’ve tried the new Marc Jacobs waterproof eyeliner and that thing smudged within 30 minutes. So, please take this section of the review for what it is based on my eye lids.


Standard black eyeliner pencil packaging. You will need to sharpen this over time.

RAL Eye Liner in Black Swatch


At First Swipe

If you’ve ever used Urban Decay eyeliner at any given point in your life, then you will know what I’m talking about when I say this is your answer to the all natural, gluten-free, vegan-friendly dupe. It doesn’t tug on your lash line, it’s opaque, and has potential (for the right eyelids) to wear all day.

RAL eyeliner in Black Closeup

Overall Wear

The biggest thing for me is that with oily lids, I also have very sensitive eyes so I can only really use one eye product right now (Physician’s Formula Eye Booster Eyeliner in Black). My eyes are easily irritated, turn red, and itchy with mostly ever single eyeliner on the market (lucky me). That said, the RAL eyeliner did NOT irritate my eyes whatsoever.

Even though everything smudges like I said earlier, the RAL wore on my eyes for a good 2 hours before the Panda eyes started showing up. I was able to wash this off easily with my Nooni cleanser and it came off completely clean. I didn’t need to clean it again after I got out of the shower.

I honestly feel like if you don’t generally have a problem with eyeliners that this would be a stellar choice for you. I believe that because of it’s cleaner ingredients, even the most sensitive eyes like mine will feel comfortable all day long. Having red, itchy eyes isn’t the best look for anyone.

I am giving this a 5-star rating based on how the eyeliner did not irritate my eyes, didn’t pull on my eyelids, and was as opaque as the Marc Jacobs liner. This 5-star rating applies to someone who typically doesn’t have problems with smudging, smearing, and irritation. However, because I have finicky eyelids and everything on earth smudges, I am disappointed to say that I cannot use this product. This translates into the fact that it is NOT the products fault, it’s really my eyelids fault because I would use this daily in a heartbeat.


RAL The Lash Project wand in Black



If you’ve made it this far, bless you. I’ve saved the best for last as there’s no mascara like this that make my lashes look amazing. I’ve already given away the direction of this review, so please continue for the rave.


The packaging is like any other mascara you’ve seen so I don’t have any special adjectives to use to describe it other than nice, black, matte packaging.

At First Swipe

The formulation is on the drier side meaning that your lashes don’t stay wet for years while you’re waiting for it to dry. That said, if you are a double-applier, then you can apply it again almost the second you’re done applying the first coat on your second eye.

The wand and the formulation must be magical because, at first swipe, it separates my lashes and lengthens them immediately. It is as black as you can get without feeling like you’re applying smoke ashes to your lashes.

The real test was in the overall wear because just like my eyelids, my eyelashes also don’t like very many products resulting in smudging, tearing, and regretting I even tried to make my lashes look decent.

Overall Wear

In short, WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY ENTIRE LIFE?!!?!??! I have ceased to look for the next mascara that might work kind of well for my eyelashes. I’ve found the one, the #LOML right here. I feel like every girl is always searching for the one and praise the Lord when you’ve finally found it after 15 years! Let me tell you right now, this gets a 10-star out of 5-star rating. If you have eyelashes like mine, short, sparse, and thin (apparently, typical “Asian” lashes), then this mascara needs to be buried with you so that you can look amazing in the afterlife. It is that amazing.

The claim with this RAL mascara is that it’ll strengthen your lashes over time and improve the health of them. I’ve tried tons of lash products promising the same thing and I’ve never seen any great come out of it. With RAL mascara, my lashes don’t fall out as much if, at all since using this product and OMG, my lashes look amazing. My bare lash line on top even looks “fuller” in the mornings. The craziest thing is that I don’t really have bottom eyelashes (read microscopic), but this mascara is able to pick it up anyway and suddenly, I have a full set of lashes like everyone else!

There’s absolutely NO smudging, smearing, irritation, and the level of curl that my lashes are able to keep with this mascara is unbelievable! Wearing the mascara by itself, I look like I have “natural” false lashes. When I use it with the Jane Iredale eyelash primer (another holy grail to bring with my in the afterlife), my lashes practically reach the top of my eyebrows. Remember how I said I have the typical Asian eyelashes? Well, this kind of eyelashes doesn’t reach anything anywhere close to even showing up even being thisclose to a magnifying mirror.

You won’t be disappointed if you have lashes like mine by grabbing this product. You needed to get this like yesterday. It needs to be in your makeup arsenal. Actually, it needs to be in your life arsenal. Quit spending money on the stuff that just doesn’t work. I’m absolutely and thoroughly floored by how stellar this is especially for being a product with “cleaner” ingredients. It seriously just doesn’t happen this way. I’ve tried 100% Pure Mascara and that smeared in 3 seconds. Seriously, thank you to whoever made this formulation and picked this wand over at RAL, you need to win the Nobel Prize for this.



Ok, it looks I literally gave everything a 5-star rating and obviously, I need to narrow some things down here. Here’s my overall ranking of things in the order of “you must try right now or you’ll really be so sad forever”.

1. Mascara
2. Lipstick
3. Lip Liner
4. Eye Liner

I hope this review was helpful! There are many, many choices out there for great makeup that’s natural and cleaner if you are in the market for such items. It can be inundating and intimidating. I can tell you that my communications with RAL have been very kind and enjoyable. They seem very helpful and interested in making sure their customers are happy with their products. They also have a great money back guarantee! Again, the mascara, there’s nothing like it!!!

If you’ve tried anything and loved it, please share with me! If there’s something I haven’t tried but must, please let me know! I’m absolutely impressed by the quality and performance of RAL products and believe you will be, too!

Thank you for reading!


Mother’s Day 2016 Gift Guide

May 4, 2016

My first annual Mother’s Day Gift Guide up 4 days before Mother’s Day 2016. Great job, Kate.

Seriously, what do you give a human being who gave you life, birthed you DRUG FREE because she didn’t want her 1 second old newborn to be groggy, then took care of you and all you probably did was cry and poop for a good 2 months of life, and then you tried to give her an aneurysm when you were a teenager because were you rebelling?? As that wasn’t enough, she gave up her flourishing nursing career to take care of you because she wanted to see you grow up, she wanted to see you be a jerk to her, and she still loved you for all of it anyway? Seriously.

Well, if I put it that way, my gift guide actually is mediocre. Like what I can’t afford to get her is obviously isn’t this picture. This human who endured so much pain because of me is my mom. And she deserves the world and all I can give her is some notebook with my psychopathic looking writing and some really good skin care and makeup. Of course, she’s going to say “Too much, what is this? Just give me that notebook.” Then this is going to happen:

Mom: *Calls Kate because I can’t read this angry chicken scratch* Kate, what’s this say on page 6?
Kate: Uh, I don’t remember. Can you send a picture?
Mom: *sends picture and calls again* What is that?
Kate: Oh it says I’m sorry for all the crap I made you go through and then I spilled some water on it.
Mom: *click*
Kate: Hello?

So, I chose the items below for a few reasons:
* I REALLY like this stuff and I’m like 95% sure my mom would love it, too.
* I ACTUALLY use these products so I’m not giving it to her so she can be my guinea pig.
* I can’t give my mom stuff from companies that are just bad people. I like these companies. The people behind these brands are just so nice, kind, and cool humans. I mean, they owe nothing to me. I am just a little blogger with like 8.5 followers. But, they treat me with so much respect & kindness that I am proud to share their products with my family. They care what they put into their products and are honest. So, I can assure you, the consumer, that they will appreciate you.

Let’s not forget people who raised us who may not be our biological moms. They may be an aunt, a grandmother, a sister, a cousin, a lady from church, or a woman who adopted you which then makes this lady your mom, people. Moms don’t necessarily have to be someone who birthed you, they are someone who took care of you for your whole life and never asked for anything in return. Cherish these women.

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2016

1. What I Love About You, Mom: This journal is everything. It makes you go back all the way to your first memory of your “mom”. It has you write about your favorite things and makes you really think about all. the. times. she was there for you. My mom, she was always, always there. Never was there a time she wasn’t there. OMG, MY EYES ARE SWEATY. Just get this book and fill it out. Trust me. You’re gonna get brownie points and maybe even real brownies. P.S. Mom, as of May 4th, I’m still filling this out, Um you may get it after Mother’s Day.

2. Maya Chia The Super Couple Ultra Luxe Face Oil: This oil smells like my mom. I love my mom so much so I just won’t live without this serum oil. Like how I can’t live without my mom. It’s easy as that. Plus, it’s a really amazing oil that honestly improves skin tone, brightens, and just makes you look like a baby’s butt.

3. Jewelry: Moms like shiny things. Like, really shiny things. My mom doesn’t really and so maybe I lucked out at how simple she is. I didn’t get this trait from her, I like shiny things.

4. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick: OH MAN, if you haven’t tried this brand and this line, you need to before you leave this world. The best lipstick I’ve ever tried!!! The color payoff and moisturizing level is out of this world. ALL the colors. But, this one here is called Jam. It’s become my Jam! #badjoke

5. Natural Face Moisturizer Cream 4oz Advanced Healing 10-in-1 Non Greasy Formula with Organic Aloe Vera, Manuka Honey, Coconut Oil & More. Best Face Cream for Oily, Dry, Damaged & Sensitive Skin: I am a huge fan of the Era Organics line that I found on Amazon. Great company and amazing products. They are such a hidden gem. I’ve turned many mom friends over to this brand. This cream is so amazing for dry, sensitive skin. Every time I stop using this, my skin dies. Highly recommended and this is why my mom looks 40.

6. Clean Living Collection Whipped Body Butter in Citrus Blossom: Remember those companies who have nice people behind the brand and all that? This is one of them. I’ve been “stalking” this company for some time, trying to feel out the brand, the person, before I went and spent money on them. Confession: In the past as an eager blogger, I went and bought stuff from brands and though I have no regrets of my few purchases I made, I am now more aware of where I spend my money. Ariel is the creator here and she’s really become a friend I’d like to have coffee with. We interact and chat albiet on Instagram. But, we have a good thing and I don’t foresee her pushing sales and then unfollowing me on social media because she decided I wasn’t of any value to her. So, I respect her and her company. But more so, I appreciate her real humility and is a good human being. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to introduce her to my mom. Not that my mom is scary but I don’t want my mom to think I make horrible friends. Anyway, This particular item is just delicious and when I put it on my dry patch on my face, overnight it went away. I love the smell- uplifting and peaceful. What I love best is that I see real results and Ariel likes to drink coffee, too.

7. Pure Rose Water Mist Toner ? The Best Moisturizer for Acne Prone Skin ? Reduce Blackheads, Pimples & Adult Acne While Restoring Hydration Even to Overly Dry Skin ? Preps Your Face for Serums & Other Anti Aging Treatments: I really like Amaki Skin Care! They are affordable and every time I have used, the bath salts, body oil, and this rose water has been such a pleasant experience! Sure I got sent these items, but the thing is I am actually using them, daily, for weeks now. No inflated review here and they have a wonderful package going on for Mother’s Day:

Mother’s Day Gift Set $37 plus free shipping, valued at $51, includes:
Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil 4 fl oz
Rose Water Hydrating Mist Toner 4 fl oz
Konjac Facial Wash Sponge 2 pieces – charcoal sponge + green tea sponge
Gift Package with hang tag

8. Eye Cream Chlorella Edelweiss Stem Cell Acure Organics 1.0 oz Cream: Ok, I am a true Acure Fan. When they were available at Target, I bought everything. #damnyoutarget I have used this eyecream and this is my second bottle. I’ve called my mom and told her “BUY THIS…and also the night cream and day cream.” Another big but great company to talk to. I’ve called them and there’s a real person on the line who actually cared what my feedback was. They also are so pleasant on social media and I’d really be happy to have coffee with them.

9. Gressa Skin Minimalist Illuminating Serum: Ah, Gressa. She makes really great products. My mom is a no fuss, no heavy makeup, actually no makeup kind of gal. And this is serum is something I think a simple kind of mom would like. It has enough bling to brighten up your face but is so simple to use that it takes 0.5 seconds for application. It’s healthy, it’s good for skin, and it’s from a company with kind, good people. I like that Svetlana is a real cool mom, the kind who keeps it real and doesn’t pass judgements as moms sometimes do. She’s fun to talk to and has a good heart. I mean geez, she’s famous and she takes time to read my texts about coffee. So, of course, Gressa all the way.

What’s on our gift list for your mom, aunt, grandma, sister, cousin, lady at church this Mother’s Day? Oh yeah, don’t forget those I’m sorry cards.

P.S. I bought everything myself except Amaki Skin Care and Maya Chia. I used all the products at length. All my opinions are honest and my experience has not been shaped unbiasedly by bribes, money, or photo likes/follows on Instagram by the company.
P.P.S. This specific post is supported by adverts and affiliate marketing links. This means if you click a link and/or buy a product, I could possibly earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Regardless of this, all opinions are my own. Swear on Charlie.
P.P.P.S. As per the Amazon Operating Agreement I have to state that I (Makeupbrew) am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. These are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Beauty Cosmetics

Five Minute Makeup Look

March 14, 2016

My good friend who has twins requested that I discuss a “Five minute makeup look”. There are a ton of these out there and mine may not be any different, but I feel it could be achieved in probably 3.75 minutes once you get the hang of it!

Five Minute Makeup Look

Step 1: Clean and prep your skin with your choice of skin care products. I like to use oil cleansers and then I follow a 78-step Korean skincare regimen that I will go into length in another post.

Step 2: Once your skin is prepped, I urge you to apply sunscreen. I don’t care if you’re inside all day or if it’s cloudy. At least, SPF 15 of whatever sunscreen you like to use. My skin care is a combination of Japanese and Korean products, so my sunscreen is also from these lines.

Gressa Foundation

Step 3: Apply your choice tinted moisturizer/foundation. I’ve selected the Gressa Skin Foundation. I like this step to be EASY as possible! I don’t want to sit there and blend for five days, but I also don’t want to go bare face. Yikes, no one wants that, trust me. I have 4-5 I rotate between and for no particular reason other than “I just feel like this one today.” This step really takes about 45 seconds because I like a light coverage that just evens out the skin. Going to Target doesn’t need my face to be full coverage.

Step 4: I like to apply a little under eye concealer because I have two little children. I also use the Gressa Skin foundation to add a little more coverage here.

Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Happy

Step 5: BLUSH. Don’t ever forget blush in my opinion. I would even skip the tinted moisturizer because I can’t go outside my bedroom without blush. Cream or powder, it doesn’t matter, just get that blush on there.

Step 6: Eye brows. Here I use the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. If you have good browns, groom them a bit and you’re done. If you need more brow power, then apply your brows but only fill them in where the hair is sparse. Think Trader Joe’s face, not Oscar night.

Step 7: Curl the lashes and apply mascara. This should take 5 seconds and honestly, some days, if I wear my glasses, I don’t do anything to my eyes.

Zabana Essentials deoderant

Step 8: Deodorant, always deodorant. I loooove Zabana Essentials for all my personal odor care.

Hope this was helpful!!

What’s  your 5 minute look?


Gressa Skin Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation Review

February 12, 2016


This has been a long review in the making. I feel I’m always “late in the game” when it comes to posting a review. I’m generally not the first one to know about new releases either. I think it’s natural and easy to say that a product works really well after the first try within the first 26 minutes. But, things change- the weather, skin, hormones, diet, water intake, skin care, sleep, Instagram filters, and all of this affects how the product performs.

I have been testing the Gressa Skin Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation for seven weeks now (check my IG to see my first pic with Gressa, that was 7 weeks ago). When I test a product, it’s almost like a dating game. I want to get to know the product, test it under different skin conditions, and application methods before I can really speak about it. My friends always call BS when they know I don’t have a lot to say about something and they ask me, “Dude, you got this last night right?” Anyway, they keep me in check and thus, at this time, I feel confident in bringing this product home to my parents. *wink-was that a bad joke-wink*

So, who and what is Gressa Skin all about? Ok, here’s the part where I will quote directly from the Gressa website. This is only done to be as unbiased as possible. You will soon see why in the conclusions.

I often say that GRESSA is a fusion of science, love and art all bottled up in a beautiful violet glass bottle. And it really is just that: years of formal education, tradition of ancient medicine, and my heart and soul poured into it creating the beauty behind each formula.

When creating the GRESSA concept my intention was to transcend green beauty. I wanted to take the stigma and stereotypes out of the word ‘green’. I wanted my product to represent what every woman deserves: an efficacious line that is couture yet remains uncompromising of purity.

What ingredients are in her makeup line?

*Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Coconut Alkanes (and) Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Silica, GRESSA Healing ComplexTM *Silymarin, *Neem (Azadirachta indica) Extract,*Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Extract, *Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis) Extract, *Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) Extract, *Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Seed Extract, *Elder Flower (Sambucus nigra) Extract, *Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Extract, Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate Non-GMO, Coenzyme Q10, Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, (Vitamin C), *lecithin, *glycerin, mica, iron oxides, titanium oxide. *CERTIFIED ORGANIC

PRODUCT: Minialist Corrective Serum Foundation in Shade 1.5. Made in USA. Net wt. 15 ml. $54

Gressa Foundation

PACKAGING: Black bottle with a drop applicator carefully thought out for those who value and need sanitary application. Clean, classic logo in white clear font with a black background. Simplicity and minimalistic packaging at its best.

Gressa Foundation Swatch

SHADE: The shade I use is 1.5 which is described as “Fair to light, with warm undertones”. This is an accurate description in my opinion as I am light with generally neutral undertones according to most makeup lines. But, I do lean a tad towards warm rather than cool undertones.

Gressa Foundation Swatch 2

INITIAL SWATCH: In the initial swatch, there are a few things you need to do before you get the product out of the bottle. As instructed by Ms. Svetlana herself, you must 1. shake the bottle, 2. squeeze the dropper to get any product out first, 3. squeeze the product back in, 4. then dispense 2-3 drops for the first level of application. Once I took these steps, the initial swatch out of the dropper onto my hand and wrist needed fast action. The consistency is runny like a an oil-serum. The viscosity is similar to that like a very light oil such as rosehip. There’s also a cushion-like feel to it, reminiscent of a soft goose down pillow.

Gressa Swatch
APPLICATION: As depicted in the swatch, one can already assume that with the consistency being like a lighter oil, that the application would be effortless. You know those chocolate fountains at weddings or Bellagio buffet in Vegas? Imagine your face being a strawberry and coating that strawberry with that silky, warm chocolate. That is Gressa Skin Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation.

EFFICACY: The claims are the following:

It’s a serum. It’s a foundation. It’s a multivitamin for your face. Perfect your face with long-term benefits of this revolutionary serum to powder foundation.

Let’s break this down one point at a time.
1. A serum: Most serums I’ve tried have a specific consistency to it. Gel-like and a thicker viscosity than your runniest oil. They are generally quick to absorb into the skin and very light weight. Does this foundation FEEL like a serum? Yes. And most serums, generally over time, improve the condition of your skin with consistent use. Did this improve my skin? Yes. I had dry patches prior to using this product and  I am happy to say I am no longer the owner of dry patches. Please note that using this foundation in combination with two more face oils may have improved my skin simultaneously. This is promising in that this foundation also works beautifully with face oils, so there a positive compounding effect happening here. Level 1 efficacy: Check.
2. A foundation: A foundation at its most basic level is supposed to even out your skin to some degree of coverage. That’s it. Not make you look unrecognizable or transformed into Beyonce. Did this foundation even out my skin? Absolutely. Level 2 efficacy: Check.
3. A multivitamin for your face: If you ingest a multivitamin, the expected outcome is that you should “feel better” in some way or “see” some level improvement in your health whether it be: physical, emotional, or mental. If you take a prenatal, you shouldn’t gag. But rather, it “should” keep you and your unborn child healthy and nurture you all the way through pregnancy and beyond. If you take biotin, it “should” grow your hair and nails like wildfire. Given this product is applied to your face and claims that it is also a multivitamin, then one should see some level of physical improvement in one’s skin’s condition- be it texture, complexion, elasticity, or so forth. Did I see an improvement in my skin’s physical appearance on some level? Yes. Level 3 efficacy: Check.

I am confident in concluding that the Gressa Skin Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation is efficacious on all levels of what they claim their foundation should be doing for your skin. Furthermore, talk about a really effective title. Minimalist- yes in the packaging and application. Corrective- absolutely it evens out your skin to give a very fresh, natural glow. Serum Foundation- yes, in how it has great potential to help your skin while providing a beautiful base for your canvas.

IS IT WORTH SHARING OVER COFEE?: Based on my 7 weeks of testing, I will say absolutely YES this is worth sharing over coffee -like so much coffee that you end up feeling light-headed and sleepy. This foundation is so perfect for the everyday- no fuss-no full coverage wanted-kind of woman or man. For the busy mom or dad who has 1.5 minutes each morning, you pretty much needed this foundation yesterday. Given that the application is really seamless whether you use a brush or your fingers, you will get the same outcome every time. The product is consistent in its performance and you can be confident walking out the door knowing you are well blended with very little effort.

In terms of how the product builds, it is light coverage at first swipe. But, wait for that to dry a little and you can continue building up to medium-medium not medium-full coverage. Because the product has a serum-luxe oil consistency, I don’t think you will get full coverage. However, I feel that is not the goal of this product nor any other “green” product. Brands generally want your skin to improve so you can wear less and show more of your natural face with a little help from some good ingredients. You want your skin to breathe while having even, clear skin. If you want full coverage, you will need a different product or oodles of powder to cover up this foundation. Honestly, that would basically go against the very meaning of what Gressa wants you to do with your face and she definitely wants you to smile.

Just with Kjaer Weis, another beautiful luxe organic product, or any other facial cosmetic product from any brand, you will need to take care of your skin. That bare skin needs to be in somewhat decent shape if you want ANY type of foundation- organic, mainstream, light coverage, full coverage- to even work well. It’s the simple truth of the matter. I can’t wake up with 500 dry patches and cystic acne the size of my SUV and expect a product to make me look like I have perfect skin, especially products that are geared for “natural beauty”. We have amazing lines in this day and age such as Makeup Forever and MAC that have cultivated the technology to meet such challenges. But even then, you need to at least moisturize/prime. With Gressa, you should prep a little bit so that the product performs to your satisfaction. If you are dry, oil up. If you are oily, prime. If you are normal, moisturize. If you’re going outside, sunscreen I beg of you.

I mentioned dry patches when I first had this applied to my face by Svetlana herself. *OMG SHE TOUCHED MY FACE.* *OK, STOP.* She topped the foundation with some of her purifying oil while tapping, not buffing the brush onto my face. I walked out of her apothecary looking like I had a great facial. I love that I can spritz some oil on my face if I am super dry halfway into the day and the foundation stays in place. This product wants to be friends with everything- oils and mists, that it ends up working beautifully with these products without ruining your foundation. My skin has improved significantly and I didn’t really change my diet, read: did not reduce coffee intake. I can almost go pretty bare faced most days now. We are our own harshest critic but I am 86% confident running to Target without makeup these days. Ok, I lie, I still need my brows and blush.

I completely recommend this product for everyone and anyone. I think Gressa Skin Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation has the potential to improve your life in several ways- less time spent on your face since most likely, it could very well improve your skin over continued use and will inadvertently give you more time to do other things in your day, e.g. blend eye shadow, do those brows, or brush some hair.

Continue reading on your own accord:

Let me just rave about Gressa’s creator, Svetlana Sanchez. I mean look at me, I’m just a kid who likes makeup. A kid with 2 kids. I’m kidding, I’m old and need help with my face. Anyway, I met her by chance, and then next thing you know, she’s making time for me amidst her busy schedule to have coffee and brownies. The first two times I met her, I was like crazy fan girl and she was completely like “OMG, please, STOP this SH*T immediately.” When we had coffee, I was secretly sweating, trying to play it cool, but then I actually felt cool with her. She’s a normal, down to earth person who like donuts, laughs at my jokes, listens to my feedback, asks about my family, tells me about her life, talks about breastfeeding. I was thinking, OMG, I think..I think she really wants to be my friend? Fangirl moment: SVETLANA IS MY FRIEND!

Anyway, calming down now… some people might look at her products and think, “OH. Another green thing” or “What? $54? Why?”. I see none of this because I know the intention and heart behind this brand. I will forever support Svetlana in all her endeavors because she’s a good, wholesome person. I’m not one for throwing my money at the next popular thing. My husband works hard for my makeup problem, so I am adamant on finding those brands with a heart. Svetlana talks passionately about her craft, she doesn’t push her products and she doesn’t say anything bad about other products. People, she worked so hard on Gressa, she lost her eyesight!!! That’s dedication and passion of the utmost degree. I have to say it is a privilege of unimaginable levels that I am friends with a creator of a makeup brand. I’m talking like, I can text her some weird b.s. and she’ll send me a bunch of LOL emoticons back with a heart. Who does that even happen to? Only very popular people and I’m not popular! But, Svetlana would tell me to shut my mouth if I continue to talk like this and then she’d give me a brownie. So, if you are in doubt about Gressa Skin, trust me when I say the PERSON behind the brand is one big walking beating heart of a woman who wants you to basically feel confident, beautiful, and most of all loved. How can you not support and love that?

Rating Scale:



WHERE TO PURCHASE: Directly at Gressa Skin


Valentine’s 2016 Gift Guide

February 9, 2016

Here is my first annual Valentine’s Day gift guide. I will try to keep it succinct as much as possible. I personally love every single item here and use it daily. Starting from left to right…

Valentines 16 gift guide

1. Amaki Skin Care Flowers & Salts Bath Soak: Just perfect for a long day to ease your achy muscles. And the scent is intoxicating!

2. Amaki Skin Care Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil: If all oils were this beautiful and in this quantity. I am absolutely impressed by this oil. I use it on my face, body, and hair. I even put this on my children and no one has yet to have any kind of adverse reaction to this amazing oil.

3. Tatcha Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder for Dry Skin: This. is. everything. If you’ve been using St. Ives or something with plastic beads, please, I beg you, switch to this. My skin has transformed after using Tatcha. I wholeheartedly believe in their products and will be a customer for life.

4. Gressa Skin Lip Boost in Radiant: One of my favorite colors of all time and the formulation is truly moisturizing. I really love my berry shades!!! I will have a full review of this up shortly. In the meantime, I implore you, this is a must have!

5. Zabana Essentials Baking Soda Free Deodorant Stick in Lime Berry Basil: ZOMG. I cannot use any deodorant without breaking out in painful cysts. Then enter Zabana. I’m telling you, everything is amazing from this company. Try all the things. Immediately.

6. Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Crimson & Clover: If this isn’t the most moisturizing vibrant red on earth, I don’t know what is.

7. Aila Nail Lacquers: LOOK AT THE COLORS. These are 8-free and as “safe” as you can get from conventional nail polish without going completely vegan-water based.

8. Pearl Earrings from Etsy: These are hypoallergenic and made with surgical steel. Frankly, these are the only earrings I can wear comfortably.

9. What I love About You Journal: So cute but so. extensive. Seriously, start this 6 months before you need to give it to someone. Really fun and thoughtful gift!

10. Kjaer Weis: If you search through my blog, you will know my love for Kjaer Weis. Get everything.

11. Honest Beauty Eyeshadow Trio: So fun. So fun. Very pigmented, affordable, coming to Ulta Feb 28th! I love the Smokey Grey one!

12. Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation: If there’s one Asian makeup line you should invest in, this is it. It’s not 250% organic, but it’s formulated without a lot of the bad things, parabens, mineral oil, artificial color and fragrance. It’s cruelty free also. It’s amazing. Just amazing.

13. Hourglass Blush/Bronzer: AH, I love Hourglass!!! Again, it’s a great upgrade from mainstream makeup because they formulate without parabens, cruelty free, etc., but not organic. Fine with me. Such amazing, beautiful products!!! You can’t go wrong with their powders!

14. Brushes:
A. Sonia Kashuk (glittery one): If you live in the U.S., if you are a girl, you’ve been to Target. And you’ve seen Sonia. Her brush are really amazing for the price. They are cruelty free and depending on which one you get, they are synthetic so that “could” quality for vegan I suppose. Super soft, never sheds, washes well, and great investment since they will last you a very long time. Also, soo cute and luxe!

B. Furless Cosmetics: These are vegan and cruelty free. Perfect for the green beauty purist. These are soft, efficacious, and the sets are so well priced. These are similar to Real Techniques!

C. Wayne Goss Brushes: Wayne is my boyfriend but he doesn’t even know it. Anyway, I’ve been following this amazing MUA since 2005 and he’s really an awesome person. He funded his brush set himself, they are cruelty free but made with animal hair. So soft. So amazing. The investment is worth. every. penny. The most luxurious brushes my face has every had the honor of meeting.

15. West Elm Candle Holder: (That white thing to the right of Hourglass) You need candles if you’re taking a bath right? West Elm has all the cutest everything. West Elm, here, take my money.

Beauty Cosmetics

Kjaer Weis Eyeshadow in Divine Review

January 18, 2016

You guessed it! Another Kjaer Weis review! You must be wondering if this is the only makeup I own- no it’s not. And if I was sent these products- no, I’m pretty sure Kjaer Weis and her staff don’t even know I exist. But, if they one day discover my reviews- HI TEAM KJAER WEIS!!!!

Anywho, today, I want to showcase her eyeshadow. These are the most expensive singular shadows I own. But for some things, it’s a moot point as to how much they cost because it’s a necessity, for life. A little background about my eyelids and eyeballs- they are sensitive and quite temperamental. Sometimes, even the most organic, clean eyeshadows can make my eyes red, watery, and puffy by the end of the day. Thus, I’ve become accustomed to not wearing any shadow but great at obsessively collecting them. So, when I purchased Divine after I purchased her foundation, I was 99.92% sure that this shadow was going to change my life. And, after testing this out for 5 months now, I am thrilled to finally report that this is my holy grail.

What ingredients are in this eyeshadow?

Please refer to this link to review all her ingredients.

PRODUCT: Eye Shadow in Divine. Made in Italy. Net wt. 0.043 oz./ 1.2g. $45 (with compact) /$27 (refill only)

Kjaer Weis Divine

PACKAGING: Just as stunning as the foundation and blush compacts, albiet a different shape of course. Shiny, heavy weighted, solid feeling, and a perfect encasement to the precious shadows.

Kjaer Weis Divine eyeshadow

SHADE: As described on their site: ““Divine is a beautiful gray that will shade the eye and give the illusion of not wearing make-up. A classic, neutral grey.”” If any of you are like me, there was a point in time where you wanted to be the smokey eye queen and bought all the shades that made a smokey eye look easy. However, probably NOT like me is that you mastered it and for some reason, I can only do it on other people. At least to me, mine never look the right kind of smokey. That “smudge” on the lower lash line never looks smokey-classy, just smokey like I fell in a chimney. So, I gave up and decided to adopt the one color wash all over the lid with a cat eye and never looked back. Then along came Divine and thanks to Lily at Genuine Glow, after reading her review, it gave me those hopeful smokey eye feelings all over again.

Kjaer Weis named this shadow so correctly as it is soo divine. It is a heaven sent for those less apt to using jet black for smoke. It is great and appropriate for the perfect day time smokey eye. Add a little more and you’re ready for night time. And that dreaded smudge under the lash line? This shade was made to marry your lower lash line!!!! It absolutely gives depth, adds a shade to the eyes that looks so wonderfully clean and classy!

Kjaer Weis Divine swatch

INITIAL SWATCH: If the shade wasn’t already perfect, at first swatch, this was fully decadent. The color you see in the pan is perfectly translated onto the lid. There are no shimmers, however not absolutely matte. To me, there’s an ever so slight satin finish that takes this shadow to the next level of perfection. I love satin finishes as opposed to extremely matte or extremely glittery because I feel like it just adds dimension. And, a simple glean of health that a matte finish doesn’t provide.

APPLICATION: Seamless. Dip your little brush in the pan and whether you do a light sweep all over the lid or concentrate over the crease, it glides effortlessly anywhere you want to place it. Have you ever gotten a shadow where you dipped your brush into it a little too enthusiastically, then placed it on your lid with the same emotion, and instantly you regretted that emotion? Well, with this shade, you don’t have to worry about regretting anything. The first layer applies like a nice clean slate. The second layer appears evenly layered and equally seamless. You can build as much as you need to and it will never look too overdone, muddy, or sloppy.

EFFICACY: Did this give the illusion of not wearing makeup? Yes. Did this create subtle depth but also perform well enough to provide a dramatic look? Absolutely. Everything Kjaer Weis promises in this eye shadow, she delivers!

IS IT WORTH SHARING OVER COFEE?: All I can say is now I’m going to look really good drinking coffee with my really good looking smokey eye. It looks like I mastered the smokey eye look years ago with this shade. There’s always one aspect that makeup lovers have a secret struggle with, be it the cat eye, taming the brows, finding the right shade of something. Well, thank you Kjaer Weis, now I can scratch the I-love-makeup-but-why-does-my-smokey-eye-look-like-it’s-on-bad-coffee off my list forever! I’m genuinely excited for this divine product she has blessed us with! I love being able to do the cat eye with this shadow and I am surprised at how the look can last for a good 9 hours without fading or slowly trying to meet my blush.

Like I said with the blush compacts, the price is also very steep for one eye shadow. But, for the sake of just having one compact in case you want to travel with one shade, I vote absolutely yes to this luxe goodness. Again, my recommendation would be to procure all the eye shadows and simply place them in a Z-palette. I have personally enjoyed looking at my collection daily sitting my z-palette daily and find that many other green beauty enthusiasts are quite happy going in this direction as well.

In closing, if you want a smokey eye but feel that they are too hard to master, too much for a daytime look, ends up looking less than classy- RUN to your closest stockist right now. Divine will solve all your smokey eye problems!

Rating Scale:



WHERE TO PURCHASE: Directly at their website, or Beautylish, Spirit Beauty Lounge, BeautyBar, The Detox Market, and Citrine Natural Beauty Bar. Each of these sites have enormously generous and kind customer service. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact them. They are all generally free shipping after $50/$75. For the fastest shipping, literally 48 hours, is the place to go. They also have free U.S. shipping for orders over $35.