Category: face

Bio Beauty in Brooklyn

A movement in brooklyn can be detected – organic skincare made by beauty lovers themselves with the least amount of ingredients possible.  Counteracting the synthetic, science driven skincare are mavericks who are going back to basics and discovering essential ingredients and techniques which deliver high quality organic skincare.

SWBasics of Brooklyn (formerly known as Sprout)

Small batches are produced in a communical space on the Greenpoint waterfront by Adine Grigore and her fiancee. Originally, the  products were just for herself as she has sensitive skin. Other people soon loved them and bigger batches were produced. Her vision is that if you want great skin you should not want to hurt yourself or the planet to get it. All the products are made from scratch using only whole, high-potency ingredients. Less isn’t just more; less is everything. Using fewer ingredients means more potent skincare. No cheap synthetics or exotic fillers are used which makes the product more likely to be safe on senstive skin. That’s why everything we sell only has 5 ingredients or less. And they still make you look amazing and smell pretty. SW Basics support sustainable agriculture by buying only from organic, Fair Trade, or small-farm sources. The victorian style black and white packaging makes for a beautiful bathroom staple.

Jiva Apoha

Inspired by holistic healing Angela Shore studied at Kerala Ayurveda Academy and the School of Ayurveda & Panchakarma in Kerala, India. This together with Ayurvedic principles and Native American shamanism she createred Jiva Apoha, her line of all-natural face and body oils that she blends and ships out of her Brooklyn Heights apartment. All products ar made with herbs, flowers and essential oils. The packaging is stunning too and reminds me of Navaho indians rummaging around in the wild.


Soapwalla creator Rachel Winard is super passionate about natural skin care. “If I can’t create a product that’s safe and effective with only natural ingredients, I won’t release the product,” she says. She crafts her line of soaps, body oils, and more—including an ingenius cream deodorant —at Gowanus’ Old American Can Factory, a communal building filled with artists and artisans. “I adore Brooklyn. It’s home,” she says. “I love walking to work; I love running into neighbours every time I’m out and about.” Their fragrances are really fresh and invigorating.


Skinnyskinny started from a strong belief that organic and eco friendly bath & body products should work as well (if not better) than conventional products. The philosphy is to keep the products simple where they need to be simple (no synthetics, no sulfates, no artificial preservatives) and not skimping on certified organic ingredients. Packaging is recycled, reclaimed, and sustainable. And with very few exceptions every single product is made by them in their Brooklyn, NY workshop. Skinnskinny’s facility and products have been registered with the FDA are members of the Organic Trade Association. Most of the products are vegan, and all of our products are cruelty-free. I am a big fan of their dry shampoo.

Phoenix herbal skincare

Phoenix herbal skincare is formulated from the healing energy of plants, their fragrance, and beneficial properties. Handmade with fresh local plants of the northeast and organically grown herbs. All ingredients are organic and locally sourced when possible. Irina Adam is the founder and creator. She started Phoenix Botanicals in 2005, after apprenticing several years with local herbalists Robin Rose Bennett and Lata Kennedy and working at NYC’s Flower Power Herbs & Roots. Irina also worked for much of a decade in ethnobotany research and indigenous culture preservation, which exposed her to many cultural and therapeutic uses of plants. I especially like their lip balms which you squeeze up out of a carton tube.

MCMC Fragrances

A boutique fragrance brand and studio based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, created by Anne McClain, a graduate of the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in southern France. They specialise in perfumes, oil roll-ons and candles. Their products are composed of the highest quality natural and synthetic ingredients in bases of organic carrier oils, pure alcohol, and distilled water. All of their products are carefully crafted in small batches and bottled by hand by our in-house production team.


Graves is a beauty product formulator, a star facialist, a herbalist and a natural beauty entrepreneur. She works with the Triangulator diagnostic method. Her website reads: “Other skin-care lines that are holistic or organic don’t necessarily follow herbalist principles. And not every herbalist sees skin as their primary focus, so that’s where I come in,” she says. She is known in New York as the “Pimple Whisperer.”


Get your liploss fix with this organic brand set up by rocker/model and new mommy Theo Kogan. As the singer for bands including the legendary all-female Lunachicks and Theo And The Skyscrapers, Theo is known for her over-the-top makeup styles. She has modeled for Calvin Klein, Burberry and Kenneth Cole (to name a few) and has acted in film, television and continues to perform in avant-garde theater all over the world. Armour’s moisturising formula is long wearing, cruelty free and environmentally friendly, with a beautiful range of colors. Formulated to stay on and moisturise with a base of: Shea Butter, Avocado, Mango and Olive  butters and oils, Grape seed oil, Vitamin E and is paraben free.

If you find yourself in NYC good shops to visi are Miomia in Williamsburg, Homebody Boutique and Diana Kane in Park Sope, and Shen Beauty in Carroll Gardens.


Face Architecture with the Sculptor

Sculpting has been trending for a while;  more and more products are coming out to help achieve this look. It a way of defining the face to give more depth, accents and highlights. It can transform the face (creating cheekbones for example) without heavy make up being required. Some people call it (cosmetic) Face Architecture. Tom Ford’s sculpting pallet is legendary and used by many make up artists. The sheer, light shade can be used on the upper cheekbones to reflect the light, which in turn brightens and lifts the face. The dark shade, used under your cheekbones, defines and contours cheekbones while staying invisible to the naked eye. But not being a pro make up artist myself I find it difficult to use as find I either use too much colour or don’t get the effect I am after. I love applying make up with my fingertips, but this formula definitely needs a pro synthetic make up brush for application. Synthetic make up brushes don’t absorb the formula like a natural brush would do, hence they are best for foundations/sculpting products. You also need to have well moisturised skin beforehand. The pallets I prefer to use have a light (& forgivingly) creamy formula more like the Nars multiple, which you can really blend into the skin. Benefit and Sleek make up have even brought out products which combine contouring, highlighting and blush.

See pics of my favourite sculpting products by Topshop, & Other Stories, Tom Ford, Nars and Sleek. Below 2 videos by  Charlotte Tilbury. The first is a guest video for Lisa Eldridge’s website in which she explains how to achieve a beautiful sculpted look at the shoot for French Vogue on Kate Moss. In the second video  she highlights how to get the look created for Tom Ford AW13 show.


Bowie inspiration

glitter bowie

bowie inspired metallic eyes

Obviously super excited about the Bowie exhibition in London at the V&A museum. I am still in the gorgeous snowy mountains but I am already looking forward to being back in the big smoke and visiting this very special exhibition.  The exhibition runs from 23 March – 11 August 2013. It’s the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie featuring . David Bowie more than 300 objects that include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs and Bowie’s own instruments. Bowie inspired many people all over the globe with his forward thinking amazing designs, music and looks. So here are some pics to get you inspired!

Cotton Wool Deluxe

I’m one of those people who has a special vintage jar for her cotton wool and who loves to experiment with different brands. Whenever I am travelling I will pick up a new brand just because of the packaging (Muji!) or shape. I especially love square cotton wool and have been loving this brand I bought in Asia, Suzuran Lily Bell. Did you know even Chanel do cotton wool? Need it right?! Another great brand is Shiseido. Their cotton wool is square and of very high quality. I actually bought tons of cotton wool when I was a beauty buyer and interestingly enough a fair amount of it is made in Israel. The price moves with the cotton market and beauty brands negotiate long period contracts to fix the price. To bump up the volume they usually promote cotton wool on promotions (Boots!). If you want a cheaper version just go the baby isle as this is the exact same product, just in different packaging.

The eye are is really delicate and the rougher you are with it the more this will come to light later in life. So be delicate, gentle and use lovey cotton wool and really good cleansers (best one on the market is Bioderma Micellair Water – this is what all the make up artists use, now finally for sale in the UK at and for the rest of the world you can get it at Sephora).

Top 10 active ingredients in skincare


This week the Edit – net-a-porter’s weekly online magazine – recaps the 10 most important active ingredients in skincare. Obviously there are so many other really good ingredients, but I think it is a good starting point. When you go to the beauty department all the choices can seem really daunting, this at least gives a rough guide what to look out  for. Read it here or see below.

Top 10 skin ingredients:


Best for: sensitive skin

Traditionally used in medicine for its antibacterial properties, these nano-particles of silver simultaneously calm inflammation, fight free radicals and boost tissue regeneration. The silver acts as a balancer to irritated cells – think of it as a probiotic yogurt for skin. An anti-aging godsend to anyone with sensitive skin that is prone to occasional breakouts.
TRY: Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie;


Best for: firming and
toning enlarged pores

These plant-derived natural acids are second to none when it comes to unclogging pores and encouraging younger-looking skin. Serums and peels packed with AHAs will firm, as the acids eat away dead skin cells and tighten pores. Great for anyone with enlarged pores or dull, unrefined skin.
TRY: Elizabeth Arden Intervene Peel & Reveal Revitalizing Treatment;



Best for: fighting wrinkles and dull skin

Most world-renowned dermatologists swear these vitamin-A derivatives are the most effective skincare ingredients – a fact that speaks volumes. Free radicals, sun damage and lifestyle factors prompt your cells to inflame, which leads to lines and pigmentation. An extra benefit? Retinoids also tackle the production of melanin, prompting the skin to resume healthy, youthful turnover, resulting in brighter skin. TRY: REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Concentrate;


Best for: puffy eyes and fine lines

An old favorite and with good reason, these proteins stimulate the cells, promoting collagen growth and boosting circulation. This is good news for anyone suffering from puffy, sluggish skin around the under-eye area, as it is bad circulation that stops the blood from moving around and keeping your eyes line free.

TRY: Perricone MD Neuropeptide Eye Contour;



Best for: brightening dull skin

If it is radiance you’re after, vitamin C is integral to your skincare. Known as ascorbic acid in the ingredients list, it acts as the engine to collagen production, boosts cell growth and increases circulation. When it comes to fighting dull, sun-damaged skin, this ingredient has the power you need. It is best applied in a serum at night to tackle skin at its most receptive.

TRY: Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream;


Best for: sensitive skin with sun damage

Years of sun-worshipping in your teens can really catch up with you – thankfully there are some power ingredients out there that will do an impressive job of reversing the signs of sun damage. Niacinamide is actually a form of vitamin B that acts as a catalyst to the enzymes within your skin, prompting them to work faster at repairing cell deterioration.
TRY: La Roche-Posay Skin Perfecting Anti-Redness Moisturizer;


Best for: pigmentation

A powerful antioxidant derived from apples, phloretin is unrivaled when it comes to fighting the formation of melanin and inhibiting further dark pigmentation from appearing on your skin. It encourages cellular renewal, prompting healthier cells to come through.

TRY: SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF;


Best for: dry skin with fine lines

This is the “moisture holder” – a sugar protein that sinks into the skin and stimulates cells to build a matrix that acts as a webbing, clinging onto any anti-agers and moisturizers you apply, increasing their benefit. Pro-Xylane is also a channel for other

cell-repairing ingredients, helping them to reach the lower levels of the dermis faster. An all-round winner.

TRY: Astalift Jelly Aquarysta;


Best for: instantly
improving fine lines

A moisturizer with plenty of active anti-aging properties, this really can offer instant results. Silicone sits on the top of your skin rather than sinking in, which gives it the ability to smooth and improve its appearance instantly.

TRY: Indeed Laboratories Nanoblur;


Best for: sluggish, dull-textured skin

These are not as scary as they sound. In fact, they are proteins that boost not only collagen production but also blood-vessel formation – a godsend for those with skin that needs plumping. The slowing down of circulation in the dermis is one of the contributors to dull, aging skin.

TRY: BioEffect EGF Serum;

Blush it up

Watching the excellent Diana Vreeland documentary the other day I noticed her passion for blusher. Diana used it across her cheekbones onto her ears. This was inspired by Japanese Geisha ladies. In Tokyo last year I saw lots of girls do blush in innovative ways. They put is right under their yes to get an even more ‘doll like’ appearance. My favourite blush is the Topshop Head over heels cream blush – but I am biased towards this as I used to work there. I have converted many of my friends, as the formula is a perfect cream to powder. I once found these amazing vintage blushes from a shop in Ashbury Heights in San Francisco which looked a bit like the Besame blushes, so beautiful in their old round gold compacts with mirrors and a flower design. The bit of blush left in was vivid red. I wondered if this had discoloured over time but more likely than not the they loved a bit of red blush aka ‘Rouge’  just like Diana Vreeland did in the old days!

A modern take on blush is two tone blush, using an soft pink and peach or a highlight colour and coral. Good products for this look are the Topshop Sculpting Palette or the Benefit Fine on one Blush Stick or Nars multiple sticks.

BB tea!


Are you a fond BB cream addict? I know I am! The famous formula from Korea is an all-in-one:  lightweight  to medium coverage tinted moisturiser, primer, evens out blemishes and lastly – but for me actually the most important factor – has a high SPF – what’s not to love right? Thats what Detox Kusmi tea must have been thinking as they have brought out a first beauty inspired tea: BB Detox. Inspired by BB creams , the BB Detox is an ally of beauty “all-in-one.” Composed of green tea, yerba mate, rooibos and dandelion, BB Detox combines three effects beautiful skin since detoxifies, protects and moisturizes. It  has a fresh grapefruit taste. For a spring inspired clear and bright complexion which is what we all want right?