Om SHE Aromatherapy

Om SHE Aromatherapy

IMG_7817

Nail varnish in “Galaxy”

$10 AUS

This was the first Aussie gift I bought for someone in my travels, and it was so perfect that I had to buy one for myself and one for my sister and best friend, so we can all match and be chic together. I was initially drawn to the brand’s packaging – the rounded bottle and soft golden cap are quite alluring in comparison with the black color. “Galaxy” is a strong black with subtle blue undertones and a silver shimmer that only shows up in the sunlight. Indoors, you are dark, mysterious, and edgy. Outside, you are girly again. It is the perfect liminality for a fashionista’s multiple personality. Om She Aromatherapy is a natural line, and their nail varnish is non-toxic, without toluene or formaldehyde…so you can apply this polish in unventilated tight quarters without suffering from toxic exposure!

When I left Hawaii for my travels in the outback, I was firmly advised NOT to bring any nail polish with me, and that I could survive for 6 weeks without painted nails, especially if I was to be camping. It was to be excessive and unnecessary.  Well, I lasted 3 weeks before I saw this in the shop and began to obsessively paint my nails with it. Since I was “roughing it” without my usual beauty brigade of supplies, I had no base coat, top coat, quick-dry drops – nada. Two coats later, quickly applied in a 100km an hour moving vehicle, I had black nailpolish perfection. It lasted about 3-4 days without chipping and dried very quickly in the car without smooshing or smudging. Now reunited with my proper setup, with a good base coat and top coat, it lasts about 5 days without chipping. The color applies very smooth and evenly, so you can touch up the edges if it does. Plus, shimmer helps diffuse the appearance of chips a lot better than a matte shade, so it doesn’t show up as much.

Red-rice exfoliating powder

$20 AUS

I love to mix and match various beauty potions to acquire the perfect texture, scent, or color. So when I discovered SHE’s red-rice exfoliating powder, I was delighted. Simply sprinkle a small amount into your facial cleanser and, voila, you have your very own custom blended facial exfoliant! SHE recommends adding a teaspoon to a few drops of water in your hand before applying, but I enjoy the luxury and foam of a cleanser mixed with the powder. Made with a base of corn starch and red rice, it has a very fine grain that is gentle yet effective. Based on ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese traditions, red rice is thought to be very balancing and help blood circulation. It is targeted towards combination/oily skin, with kaolin clay to absorb excess oil, but not too much to make it drying. The ylang-ylang and lemon oil add a fresh floral scent and are also very balancing ingredients for oil production and to help brighten skin tone. I would recommend using this 3-4 times a week, but when you really need an extra boost of exfoliation, using it daily in the evenings and it will not turn your cheeks red from scrubbing! The packaging is paper based, so I would keep this out of the shower, but the simplicity of its shaker method makes it easy to pour into your hand.

Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment

Aesop
Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment

I knew what Aesop was long before I wandered into an official Aesop shop. Every eco-conscious, high-end, or fancy shop, restaurant or home I walked into had a beautiful brown glass bottle of handwash in the bathroom (or toilet, as they say in Australia) by Aesop, so I had a constant yet subtle exposure to the brand. In the Fitzroy district, on Gertrude Street by Smith Street, I set foot in my first Aesop shop and spent nearly an hour discussing every product with an impressively knowledgeable shopgirl. We talked bizarre ingredients, I had various products massaged into my hand, and was informed of things I have never heard of before. The whole shop was covered in perfect brown glass bottles and smelled of an apothecary for queens. They carried everything from skincare to shampoo to something called “Post-Poo Drops.” Yes, you read that right. For the record, they are botanical drops that you add to the toilet bowl after certain “occurrences” have happened.

Due to product overwhelm, I tried to focus on the line meant for combination skin – the Parsley Seed line! I originally sought after the Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum but quickly fell in love with the Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment, which is kind of a concentrated booster with a fancy glass dropper application. The treatment includes, obviously, parsley seed, as well as blue chamomile (soothing and calming), and blackcurrant seed (antioxidant, full of vitamin C and anthocyanins). While I am obsessed with the concept of Aesop, I am not happy with the brand as a whole. They still use some questionable ingredients, such as propolyne glycol (a crude oil derivative) and sodium laurel sulfate (a harsh detergent used in dish soap), but some products stand alone in pure quality, such as the Parsley Seed treatment. This would be a great anti-aging serum to add at night or as an antioxidant shield to wear under your sunscreen during the day. It dissolves right into the skin and smells subtly herbal.

Good news, American shoppers! Aesop is expanding to US locations and currently have shop locations in NY and San Francisco!

Wotnot – Natural Organic Facial Wipes

Wotnot’s Natural Organic Facial Wipes

IMG_7826

When you are constantly on the go, staying out late, or traversing multiple time zones, sometimes you have absolutely no desire to wash your face. Well, that is not acceptable! Now that I know about Wotnot’s facial wipes, there are no more excuses for going to sleep with a dirty face. This Australian Certified organic brand boasts moisturizing rosehip and sweet almond oil and has absolutely no synthetic ingredients or even fragrance. Even Yes to Cucumbers! Face wipes, my go-to face wipe for the last few years, has fragrance, which can be a blanket term for over 4000 different chemicals that don’t have to be listed in the ingredients! Scary, but it’s the truth. These are made of biodegradable cloth and feel very soft and gentle, yet easily remove black eyeliner and mascara. So next time you roll into bed at 3am with a full face of makeup, grab one of these off your bedside table, and in 20 seconds you will have a clean (and slightly moisturized) face again. Fabulous.

Trilogy

Trilogy

Age Proof CoQ10 eye recovery concentrate

trilogy

The Auckland International Airport in New Zealand is top notch for beauty mavens. In addition to their full service MAC counter (perfect for emergency mascara applications – which I utilized in advance of meeting my impending dream date when I majorly needed it), they have a beauty product emporium, filled with local brands I had never seen before. I was in heaven. After weeks of hiking, switching from a humid Hawaiian climate to a country in one of the longest droughts of all time, and NOT MOISTURIZING, I decided I deserved an eye cream.

After scouring various exciting eye creams touting New Zealand prized ingredients such as lanolin (really?), kiwi seed extract, and bee venom (that sounds scary), I settled on the CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate. It comes in a roller ball application, which means no product gets wasted when you apply! Co-enzyme Q10 is a strong anti-aging component (fight those lurking fine lines!), caffeine from coffee and green tea is a proven de-puffing, free-radical destroying, skin cell turnover ingredient, and jojoba esters smooth and moisturize.

The consultant behind the counter kept insisting that this was a kind of a “booster” to be applied OVER your eye cream. I just wanted to stop the feeling that my eyelids had turned into crispy potato chips due to the lack of moisture in the air. So, while this is not necessarily promoted as a moisturizer, it was perfectly sufficient enough for someone in their 20’s-30’s who wants to protect their delicate eye area from aging but doesn’t need a heavy eye cream.

I love that it is a lip-gloss sized case, so I can stash this in my bag and re-apply any time. The back recommends applying “morning and night or whenever you need an instant eye pick-me-up,” so I took the latter instructions very seriously and began to randomly apply it whenever I remembered it in my bag. In fact, I became quite obsessed. The light concentrate feels cooling, soothing, and lifting, which was absolute perfection in the heat or on a long flight. This is the ultimate hot weather, de-puffing eye concentrate. And if you need extra moisture, roll some on and add eye cream on top!

Want it? Find it here.