January 24, 2019

Get The Glow – Part III – Make Your Skin Glow With These 5 Tips!

Glow – when the light reflects off the high points of the face highlighting the cheekbones, chin, brow bone, and bridge of the nose; the kind of brilliance your face exudes after a good workout or a steamy bath.

This "glow" can give a face the appearance of youthfulness and health. And if you've been following my "GET THE GLOW" series, this is the look that I aspire to recreate on a daily basis though a clean skincare regimen and make-up routine.

Now, with that being said, you're hearing these tips from someone with a genetic inclination for normal to dry-ish skin. Not all is lost, [sigh] but I really need all the help I can get to create and retain that coveted dewy look.

I got lucky with this photo here [wink], but to give an example of "glow," can we check out how the light bounces off and high points of my face and chest?

Make Your Skin Glow With These 5 Tips!

Here are a couple things I started doing with my make-up routine that really up-ed my glow this past year and I hope these tips and tricks will take your glow to the next level!

1. Start Dewy

Skin care first, right? Toss the expensive silicone based primer and invest in a set of clean, nourishing and hydrating skin care products. If your skin is illuminated from the inside out, there's less we have to do to enhance the dew. 

If you have any questions regarding non-toxic skin care products, please let me know in the comments below. I'm not a professional in any way but I've tried a handful [more accurately] a cart-load of products already so I might be able to guide you in the right direction.[wink] Also, I've shared some reviews of skin care sets on Instagram that I have yet to mention on Beauty Cleanse, if you'd like to take a look.

2. Stick With Cream Products 

In general, powder-based makeup tends to sit on top of the skin – making the skin look cakey, powdery & dry, and accentuating wrinkles as the powder sets into fine lines.

More often than not I'll prefer the look and feel of a creamy foundation, concealer, highlighter, and blush on my skin. Also, as the day goes on, I find that cream based makeup fades away more gracefully and forgiving-ly rather than creasing or separating on the skin.

Don't have a cream blush on hand? No worries! Here's a demo of my lipstick hack! All you need is a tube of your favorite lippie for a fun pop of color on your cheeks, eye, and [of course] lips!

And, in case you missed Part II of the "GET THE GLOW" series, here are all the cream products that currently play a major role in my daily "glow-up" make-up routine.

3. Facial Oil + Foundation 

Mix the tiniest amount of your favorite lightweight facial oil to your liquid foundation. [By "tiny," I mean less than one drop of oil.] I like to mix the foundation and oil into a rich emulsion in the palm of my hand before applying. This will immediately enhance your glow by 100% and infuse your make-up with skin nourishing oils too!

This trick is also helpful if you currently have a full-coverage foundation that you want to thin out a bit for a more natural, day-time look.

With that being said, depending on your skin care products, this may cause product pilling [when the layers of product start rolling up into grainy bits]. So do experiment with the "facial oil + foundation" method when you have a bit of extra time – just in case you have to wash your face and start over.

*Troubleshooting – and if pilling does occur, play around with your morning skin care routine to switch out heavier moisturizers or silicone based products for more lightweight ones, or just wait slightly longer for the layers of products to absorb into the skin before applying the foundation layer.

4. Choose An Appropriate Finishing Powder

So far, we did all this "work" and put in the effort to maintain the dewy-ness of our skin! Good job, team! Next, let's look into setting our makeup with a light coat of a mineral based illuminating finishing powder instead of a skin-mattifying setting powder.

A lot of clean setting powders, as you'll discover, are plant based. And many of them are formulated with cornstarch. I made the regretful mistake of purchasing one of these [ahem...] from Beautycounter for a lot of $$$ and now it just sits there unused on my vanity.

Cornstarch, a cheap, plant based ingredient that easily festers bacteria, tends to suck up natural oils and gives my skin a dull and dry finish. Cornstarch-based setting powders are best used by very oily skin types, or strategically on the T-zone for those with combo skin, and lightly around the eyes to set eye make-up.

Instead, nowadays, I use Alima Pure's Satin Matte Foundation in Warm 2 and A'del Natural Cosmetic Loose Eyeshadow in Dusk to lightly set/finish my make-up. Mineral based foundations and eye-shadows are great to adopt as an option for an illuminating finishing powder because the mineral particles actually reflect light!

This plays out in my makeup routine in 2 ways – depending on if I'm wearing all powder based makeup or cream based products – because you typically don't want to apply cream on top of powder:

  • POWDER based make-up routine, order of application – cream foundation, the ALIMA PURE FOUNDATION to set my foundation, then contour, bronzer, blush, and everything else. Brush on A'DEL'S EYESHADOW in dusk as a highlight. 
  • CREAM based make-up routine, order of application – cream foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow and everything else, then finish with the ALIMA PURE FOUNDATION to set everything. Then I'll lightly brush on A'DEL'S EYESHADOW in dusk as as highlighter or lightly tap on TATA HARPER's CREAM HIGHLIGHTER.

5. Finish With A Mist

Last but not least,[!] cap your make-up routine with a refreshing mist of H20!

This will not only help set/bind your make-up to the skin – helping it to look fresh for longer – it feels A-MAZING, and adds immediate hydration and dewy-ness to your skin!

In terms of product recommendation, it really doesn't matter which particular mist you use. Really, if you have a misting apparatus, you can just fill it with plain ol' water and use that. I purchased a huge jug of Aloe Vera distilled water from Amazon that I've put into a glass mist-er to use for this purpose. 

Everyone's skin is unique [like a fingerprint] so these tips might be best used as a flexible guide, especially for those of you with dry, aging skin. I hope this gets your creative juices flowing, though, on how to get the most out of your current make-up set. Have fun trying new things! Especially with clean/green make-up products, you can safely experiment and interchange cheek, lip, eye colors!

So with that, I leave you with five new and easy ways to get your glow on! 

Wishing you all a BEAUTY-FULL Day!



Get The Glow – Part II – Makeup as Skincare

Hi Ya'll!

I wanted to hop on quickly to give you an update on my foundation situation these days. It's been almost 6 months since my last review/update on foundations and, oh boy, have I got some fun tips to share with you all today!

I turns out that I had so much saved up to share that I've split it up into 2 posts!

Before we dive in though, I want to acknowledge and respect the fact that everyone has an individual make-up aesthetic. The spectrum can run from a flawless full-coverage stage/performance make-up to a barely-there look, with a hint of lipstick added.

I don't know about you, but on a day-to-day basis, when I put on make-up, I want to make my skin look radiant, dewy and "naturally" beautiful. I want the make-up to feel and look like my own skin but... better. Kind of like, if you were to lightly blur out blemishes, enhance facial features, and smooth out skin tone on a post processing program like Photoshop, but in real life.

And my goal is for someone to see me and think, "wow, she has such lovely skin even without make-up." Similar to if you were to eat a  cookie so delicious that you couldn't believe it was vegan & gluten free! I'll stop myself there with the examples... [haha]

Well, if you're into the naturally beautiful, "no-make-up" kind of look, these products and "tricks" might just be the thing that will take your make-up game to the next level!

Here are some staples that I couldn't do without in my daily foundation routine - [from left to right] Beautycounter's Tint Skin in Linen, Beautycounter's Touchup Skin Concealer Pen in Fair, Uniful's Creamy Concealer in Fair, Alima Pure's Satin Matte Foundation in Warm 2, and A'del Natural Cosmetics' Loose Eyeshadow in Dusk


I fully advocate having better skincare and using less make-up. I'm sure we can all agree that radiant skin starts first and foremost through caring for your skin – by means of a healthy diet and a mindful skincare routine.

But a little make up to give the face a boost of “natural” glow never hurts either. [hehe] Even on "good days," my skin is far from perfect – with random breakouts, freckles/dark spots on my cheekbones, redness around the nose, etc etc [the list continues...] – and I do appreciate a little extra coverage to even out the skin tone.

here's my bare, untouched and uncovered face with all its imperfections...

Well, one of the benefits of clean make-up is that you can have both[!] – skin care AND make-up! How? Because many clean foundations are infused with skin nourishing and skin protecting ingredients.

Hip hip hooray! Celebratory cartwheels are in order here!

For example, one of the ingredients in Beautycounter's Tint Skin Foundation is a big player in anti-aging skin-care, Sodium Hyaluronate. It works similarly to Hyaluronic Acid, and attracts and retains the water deep in your skin. "it can reach deep down into the dermis to combine with, maintain and attract water... Thanks to its super-sized hydrating properties, sodium hyaluronate will result in smoother, softer skin with decreased wrinkles and an all-around fuller appearance...the intense moisturization does allow for the skin to operate at higher capacity to provide a better defense against environmental assaults and other aging effects" [www.truthinaging.com]

Uniful's Creamy Concealer is formulated with a "blend of natural and organic oils and waxes [to] nourish and moisturize your skin, giving it a natural glow while protecting against water loss."

Two other major players in my daily make-up routine are Tata Harper's Luminous Cream Highlighter and A'del Natural Cosmetics Cream Blushes. Not only do these products enhance a dewy radiance that evokes a healthy youthfulness, both of them are formulated with all natural ingredients that condition, soothe, and soften skin [oils from coconut/sunflower/castor seed], colored with Iron Oxides and safe minerals like mica and carmine [versus talc] and plant extracts to nourish the skin all the while! 

I love these clean, green, cream based products that do double duty to beautify the skin on the outside yet also condition the skin, underneath, for long lasting benefits. 

Also, to save you some research time, here are several clean foundation options below that incorporate skincare into their formulas. [in alphabetical order]

  • 100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Healthy Foundation
  • au Natural – Zero Gravity C2P Foundation
  • Beautycounter – Tint Skin 
  • Jane Iredale – Dream Tint® Tinted Moisturizer
  • Juice Beauty – Phyto Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation
  • Kosas – Tinted Face Oil
  • Mineral Fusion – Liquid Mineral Foundation

When I'm on the search to swap out my conventional make-up with clean/green products, I look for specific products that not only work to visually enhance facial features, but ones that also nourish my skin all day long! Since I have normal to dry-ish skin, I personally lean towards favoring cream products that gives me a radiant glow all day long. 

If you have a moment, scroll through part III of the "GET THE GLOW" series where I reveal more tips and tricks for making your skin glow with make-up, even in the driest of winters! P.S. I took some "glowing" beauty shots of the products too. [wink wink]

And as always,
I wish all of you a BEAUTY-FULL Day!


All images © 2019 Grace Song Photography

January 5, 2019

January Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics – One Love Organics & Henne Organics–

Happy New Year Friends!

Here's a glimpse of my desk space during a typical research day. Doesn't the January Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics fit right in with the art and design books?

Looking back at my previous unboxing post of the Clean Beauty Box from early December, I remember thinking that Christmas came early. The quality of the enclosed skin care products, artful cover design, and the value of the monthly subscription box [only retailing at $39-$41 for a box that was worth $168] – set the Clean Beauty Box apart from the rest and really blew me out of the water!

Well... they've done it again!

This month's collaboration with two luxurious, safe, and completely natural brands – HENNE Organics & One Love Organics – offers skincare products that will protect and nourish our lips and face to keep them soft, supple and plump, even in the thick of winter.


"The Clean Beauty Box by Art of Organics is a wonderful way to discover and experience high-quality, ethically sourced, and [most importantly] consumer-safe self-care products. Each month, they collaborate with skin care and beauty brands to provide a themed and curated collection of 2 to 4, full sized products, right to your front door. Their beauty discovery service... helps us in navigating the ever-growing skin care market by researching for us in advance products that are "clean" – non-toxic and cruelty-free. " December's Box Review

There are some new and exciting changes happening with Art of Organics and their monthly subscription box this year! They've decided to adopt "Clean Beauty Box" as their official name to better reflect the contents of their monthly subscription box and will be revealing their face-lifted website on January 10th. The new url will be www.thecleanbeautybox.com. "It was a tough decision to make, one that we have been debating for over a year! Art of Organics has been our moniker for 4 years and we love the name. However, it is important for us to declare our support of clean beauty, not just certified organic and feel our new name best describes exactly who we are."  Art of Organics IG


The theme of the January Clean Beauty Box is "RESCUE." 

The "RESCUE" box included three full-size products from this month's featured brands One Love Organics & Henne Organics – a total retail price of $131.


The Clean Beauty Box collaborates with a visual artist each month to design their inner pamphlet and outer slip cover. January's Andy-Warhol-like pop art design is brought to us by Christina Hart's paper goods company based in Pennsylvania, Wild Hart Paper. The simplicity and rawness of Ms. Hart's illustration directs a spotlight on something as normal and ordinary as blinking eyes. 

Doesn't it look like something you'd find hanging on the walls of NYC's MOMA?


Let’s be honest [I probably have it easier than most], it’s still a luke-warm 75 degrees in Florida and somewhat humid. But I don’t deny that, compared to Florida’s summer and fall, it’s noticeably drier in the winter-time than usual. For me, the first things that suffer from this steady dip in humidity are my hands and lips. Winter skincare takes a bit more thought and care – drinking plenty of water, swapping to heavier-duty skincare products, upping the frequency of their application, and dutiful masking and exfoliating – to maintain the moisture and supple level of the skin.

I love masking and encourage everyone to be masking at all times of the year. I can't stress enough how masking regularly has the power to condition and nourish – to heal and recover cracked, dull, and dry facial skin, hair and lips. I oil mask my hair at least twice a week nowadays and I've been masking with HENNE's Lip Mask overnight since I got this in the mail. It's made a world of a difference in the way my lips look and feel during the day. 

This luxurious black jar of golden goodness contains 100% natural and 96% organic ingredients. This Lip Mask is formulated with plant extracted oils that are high in antioxidants, with soothing and anti-aging properties. It only takes a tiny amount of product [about the size of a grain of rice] to indulgently cover the surface of my lips. When I wake up and gently wipe this lush concoction off my lips, they look plumped, soft and ever so supple. This helps even my most matte lipstick glide on my nourished lips like butter.  

Simplified Ingredient list of HENNE Organic's Lip Mask: Rosehip Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Seed Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Black Cumin Seed Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Vitamin E, Sweet Orange Peel Oil, Peppermint Oil


This beautifully designed Lip Balm blends in elegantly with the rest of my lipstick collection and comes in a convenient tube form to carry in my purse for mid-day lip pick-me-ups. Personally, I like the texture and overall results of HENNE's Lip Mask better than the Lip Balm but the Lip Mask has citrus peel oils in its formula, which I usually avoid in the daytime due to possible photo-sensitivity

HENNE's Luxurious Lip Balm is, as it's named, très luxurious. The feel of the sleek metal packaging, the texture of the balm as it glides on the lips, the high quality ingredients that make up its content is all very elegant and classy – very Audrey Hepburn. $19 a pop might seem a little pricey for just a 0.17 fl oz of lip balm, but, if you can believe it, I have seen and actually purchased lip moisturizers that are more expensive and yet full of ingredients you probably wouldn't want anywhere near your lips [ahem... sugar fresh]

What sets this one from HENNE above the rest and makes it worth every penny is how each ingredient has been carefully selected for the safest of formulas. It's also unscented and free of essential oils, making it suitable for even the most sensitive of lips. I don't have little ones yet but this would be my balm of choice to give to kids and apply on a baby. 

Simplified Ingredient list of HENNE Organic's Luxurious Lip Balm V2: Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter Fruit, Cocoa Seed Butter, Jojoba Seed Oil, Vitamin E


Last but not least, January's Clean Beauty Box gave me the lovely opportunity to get acquainted with One Love Organics and their Vitamin C Facial Serum.

In terms of what this "serum"/facial oil can do for your skin, if you've been around the skin care scene, "Vitamin C" might trigger in your mind words like "brightening agent," "collagen booster," and "anti-aging antioxidants." That's what I'm hoping this serum will be doing to my skin overtime [fingers-crossed]. To be honest, I need a couple more months to see visibly apparent changes to my skin but, according to One Love Organic's website, this serum is said to "increase luminosity and nourish skin for a more radiant, even-toned complexion." That sounds good to me, [raising my hands] count me in. Can I take a double dose of radiant skin?!

The Vitamin C Facial Serum is almost scent-less, and lightweight on the spectrum of facial oils. This one, especially when applied with a little bit of facial moisturizer or water and pressed gently into the pores, absorbs into the epidermis quickly while still leaving a thin layer of protective oil, giving my face an immediate, healthy glow. 100% natural and 88.4% organic certified by Ecocert Greenlife, this could be just what your skin has been thirsting for this winter season.

In acquainting myself with the ingredients list and and researching this facial oil's contents, I'm fascinated by how Art of Organics included such a variety of natural sources of Vitamin C from plants that I didn't even know existed [like the acerola fruit]! Moreover, most Vitamin C serums, due to its instability, will oxidize and lose potency pretty quickly. But One Love Organics utilizes a natural emollient,  Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, to stabilize their formula and employs a pump design to slow down oxidization, thus adding to the oil's shelf-life – Genius.

I am curious about a couple ingredients they include in their formula like the Haematococcus Pluvialis (freshwater, unicellular green microalga) Extract & Hops Strobile (used for beer preservation, used medicinally as a sedative). 

Simplified Ingredient list of the Vitamin C Facial Serum by One Love:
Jojoba Seed Oil, Shea Oil, Green Tea Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, Baobab Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Rosehip Oil, Acerola Fruit Extract, Seabuckthorn Berries Extract, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Hops Strobile, Vitamin E, Rose Extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil.


Perhaps this blinking eye design by illustrator Christina Hart is meant to send us a subconscious message – "blink, and these boxes just might be gone." Not to scare anyone, but December's Clean Beauty Box sold out in record time – on the fourth day of the month  – even before the box content's reveal. I'd say, if you have an itching thought that these products might be what you were missing in your current skin care routine, I wouldn't take too long to jump on the Art of Organic's bandwagon!

Wishing you a BEAUTY-full DAY!


*The Clean Beauty Box was kindly gifted by Art of Organics

All images © 2018 Grace Song Photography

January 1, 2019

Why I Switched Toothpastes and Why You Should Too, Today

I wanted to title this post "How Your Tooth Paste Could be Killing You" but didn't want to sound over-dramatic. But I've got some serious news for you. If you're using Colgate Total, it's not too far from the truth.

Perhaps the subject of tooth-brushing is not quite as romantic as a self-pampering skin care routine or a fun make-up review but I couldn't help sharing about such an neglected yet critical component to our everyday habits for a safe and healthy life.

Assuming that all of us brush our teeth at least once or twice a day, this well ingrained habit could actually be killing us... slowly. And it's all due to our obsession with hygiene and our efforts to obliterate all bacterium from our lives.


You'll find Triclosan in Colgate Total's toothpaste, a common antibacterial compound banned in all other soaps by the FDA since 2016. Triclosan was first introduced to the public in mass amounts when the popularly sought after antibacterial products flooded our market – in the form of body soap, plastic containers, house cleansers, chopping boards, etc.

“Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections” 
– Statement by the FDA for NBC news

What's scary about Triclosan is that it doesn’t just wash off – it "permeates our bodies. It can be found in human fat tissue, in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, in human breast-milk, and in significant quantities in the urine of 75% of people on any given day." [A. Collen] This chemical messes with our hormones [testosterone and estrogen], pollutes the freshwater ecosystem, disrupts the natural balance of good/bad bacterium living in and on our bodies, and when it comes in contact with chlorinated tap water, it turns into a carcinogen – chloroform – especially during the process of tooth brushing, “chemicals get rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.” [NYTimes]

Then why is this toxin still in use in our day to day household items, and how is this compound allowed in Colgate Total’s toothpaste?!

I'm just brushing the tip of the iceberg here but I hope this quick look at Triclosan will encourage you to glance at the ingredient lists when purchasing antibacterial products – advertised as “killing 99.9% of all viruses and bacteria” – for your home. So far the FDA has banned 19 chemicals used in antibacterial soaps but “like many chemicals in our everyday lives, the safety of the antibacterical chemicals has never really been scrutinized. Rather than requiring chemicals to be proven safe and effective before they are sold, like pharmaceutical drugs, it's up to the regulatory agencies to prove after they have been unleashed on the public that they are dangerous, in order to get them banned. Of the 50,000 or more chemicals in use in the West, just 300 or so have actually been tested for safety. " [A. Collen]

My hubby and I have switched over to different toothpastes and have replaced all of our tooth brushes as well – as the “ brushes accumulate[s] about seven to 12.5 times the amount of triclosan a person comes in contact with while brushing.” [TIME] And thankfully and finally, I’ll soon be done using my bulk sized purchase of Lysol wipes from Costco and be switching over to a natural option to clean surfaces in the near future.


If you have 5 min, I found that these articles worth taking a quick scroll through – all three are pithy and informative.

Why a Chemical Banned From Soap Is Still in Your Toothpaste – New York Times

Triclosan Is Still Allowed In Toothpaste. Here's What You Should Know – TIME

FDA Orders Antibacterials Removed From Consumer Soaps – NBC

Also, I highly recommend 10% Human by Alanna Collen to... everyone! In this thought provoking book, Ms. Collens communicates, in a way we can all understand, the intriguing and complex matters of microbes and how they are impacting almost every aspect of the human body.

10% Human by Alanna Collen [pg. 168-178]

Photos for this post showcase tree details 
of our recent trip to Sequoia Nation Park, CA!
All images © 2019 Grace Song Photography

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