Greener Beauty Products


Over a year ago, Laura and I recorded an episode of the podcast about green beauty and skincare products. At the time I was doing pretty good in the shower department, using Live Clean shampoo and conditioner and Dr. Bronner’s as body wash. I still love both products but just haven’t been able to find them in Korea.

Unfortunately back then I wasn’t doing so great in the makeup and skincare department, and I still wasn’t until a couple months ago. I found it harder to make switches with my makeup, mostly because I buy new makeup so rarely and because I didn’t know where to start. It seemed like all drugstore makeup was icky and full of chemicals and that all potentially eco- and body-friendly makeup was expensive and hard to find. Poor excuses, I know, but they still managed to hold me back.

When I moved to Korea and started using iHerb, I realized that in addition to great pantry staples, I could also use the website to buy healthy beauty products at drugstore prices. It had always bugged me that I wasn’t avoiding putting certain toxins onto my face and body, but I just hadn’t made the jump. Happily, I now have and I don’t see any reason why I’d go back.


If you’re considering transitioning to a greener skincare or beauty routine, make it just that: a transition. You don’t have to overhaul your entire collection of products overnight – you can start small. The next time you run out of something, try replacing it with something greener! In our blog post, we linked to the above graphic as seen on Elise’s blog. It’s such a great resource for these kinds of changes because it makes it simple to check labels for the worst toxins when you’re looking for new products. If it doesn’t have one of those bad guys listed on the package, you’re probably safe.

We also linked to EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, which rates products based on their safety in a number of categories. I’ve since learned that the database uses an imperfect rating system with many inconsistencies (read more here and here) but nonetheless I think it can be worth a check as well before you make a new purchase, as long as you take the information with a grain of salt.

And of course you needn’t go to iHerb to get these products. A lot of companies are aware that customers are starting to want products free from parabens and SLS, so more than ever you will probably be able to find great options at the drugstore!


I’m happy to say that I’ve switched out lots of my beauty products and now most of the things I use on a daily basis are free from the most harmful toxins, but they still work wonderfully! I’m still currently in the market for a greener concealer and liquid eyeliner.

Physician’s Formula Super BB Cream: I’d fallen for BB creams last year because I loved the all-in-one nature of them, but had been using a not-so-green one. I recently switched to this one and I’m pretty satisfied overall! It’s not a very heavy coverage but it does what it’s supposed to and it’s a good green option.

Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Powder: I’d never really used powder before, but I’m liking this one. For days that I don’t feel like using the BB cream, this gives me a (very) light coverage option. I’ve never been one for foundations, but I like that this makes me look just a little more polished.

E.L.F. Cosmetics Mellow Mauve Blush: This blush does unfortunately contain one toxin, talc, but it’s very cheap and works pretty well. I would probably choose another colour next time because this one doesn’t show up very well on my face.

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara: I love this stuff. It works exactly like a mascara should, but it’s free of all those yucky chemicals. This is a really great product.

Sierra Bees Organic Mint Burst Lip Balm, Alba Botanical Terra Tints, LUSH Santa Baby Lip Tint: I don’t often use lip balm, but I keep the first two in my bag and I’ll use those if my lips are feeling chapped. The LUSH tint I got as a Christmas gift -it’s very pigmented and good to use as a lipstick.



As it stands now my shower products aren’t overly green, but my next purchases will be. I’m using Tresemmé shampoo and conditioner and a Korean brand of lavender body wash. I use Johnson’s Baby Bedtime lotion and my own homemade, completely natural deodorant. Depending on the day I wash my face either just with water or with a Korean brand face wash. I’m planning to start washing my face with oil (learn more about that here) soon.

Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel toner: I just started using toner for the first time about a month ago and haven’t noticed any real changes in my skin. But it helps me get off all my makeup and the smell is nice, and it makes me feel like my face is very clean after I use it. I’ve been using it with these organic cotton rounds.

Queen Helene Mint Julep mask: I didn’t realize this had methylparaben in it, so I probably won’t be buying it again. I’ve also never used a mask in my life, but this product had gotten such good reviews and is very cheap so I gave it a try. Overall I don’t think it did much for me, but I’ll keep doing the treatment every once in a while.


I’m planning to keep exploring greener options and incorporating the good ones into my daily routines. It’s fun, and it’s good for me and my body!

Do you make an effort to use greener beauty and skincare products? Do you have any tips for choosing them or specific products to recommend? I’d love to hear which ones you like in the comments.

Note: while this post contains a couple of affiliate links, mostly I linked to the iHerb product listings (which I am not currently an affiliate for) so that you can find out more information about the products.

Ignore Your But(t)

This time of year makes it incredibly easy to be negative.

Think about it, we’re totally in limbo. Past the good parts of Winter – namely Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/awesome time with food, family & friends – and waiting for the beginnings of Spring. We stay inside most of the time, it’s difficult to find motivation to go to class, let alone to see friends. We’re marooned on a snowy island, waiting for a rescue boat! No, this isn’t exactly the time of year we tend to be optimistic and cheery.

Which is why it’s the perfect time for this message I’ve been ruminating on for a couple weeks. (Keep in mind, these ‘advice’ articles are just as much [if not more] written to remind myself of things as they are to ‘advise’ you). And the message is:

Focus on the wells, forget about the buts.

I will give you a few examples:

  • Well, I love most of my body, but my butt is too big”
  • Well, it’s bright and sunny outside, but it’s -20 degrees”
  • Well, my boots keep the slush out, but they’re kind of ugly”
  • Well, I love my boyfriend, but he works too hard”

I’m not saying that ignoring the buts is easy, because it’s not. The buts are the things that stubbornly invade our “otherwise happy” days. They shout out for our attention, distract us from the positive, and seem to constantly take up more of our thoughts than the wells. But I would venture to say that happiness is in the wells. Think of it this way: most of the time, the buts are things we can’t control. They’re constant. You can’t change them. So what’s the point of fixating on them? They’re not going away. You can’t alter the weather, no matter how much you try, and your body will always have the same basic shape, no matter how much you work out. So why waste so much time and energy focusing on the buts and ignoring the wells?

Another way of putting it: practice gratitude. It may sound all hippie and new-agey, but I honestly think one of the very best ways to find happiness is to learn to be grateful for what you have right now. Sure, you may strive to achieve a better life for yourself, more cash money, more clothes, etc, and that’s all well and fine – it’s great to have goals. But the real happiness comes with acknowledging every day how great your life already is. Focusing on the sweet spots of your day, reminding yourself to be positive, diverting your attention from buts to wells.

For a ton of perspective, please read this amazing article from Danielle Laporte on why you’re privileged. Two of my favourite quotes from it:

Really, what’s the worst of your problems?

We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?

As much as possible, we should try to pull ourselves out from under the rubble of negative thoughts that crowd our minds. The way I see it, if the negative things are there to stay, and so are the positive ones, I’d much rather expend my energy stubbornly reminding myself to stay positive, stay grateful, stay happy. And no, I’m not being happy-go-lucky about this, it’s not always going to work, and there’s no such thing as being happy all the time. You can’t have light without dark after all! But in those everyday situations where we have a choice between acting/thinking/speaking negatively or positively, I think we should always try to choose positive.

  • “Well, I love most of my body!”
  • “Well, it’s bright and sunny today!”
  • “Well, my boots keep the slush out!”
  • “Well, I love my boyfriend!”

Some of you are sitting there thinking: “Wow, how naive! She is being so unrealistic. The world is a tough place, after all.” I know it is. We all do. But I don’t think that being realistic (read: pessimistic) about the state of the world is going to help us achieve any happiness. I’m well aware of the dangers, horrors, and terrors of our world. Yet I’m also aware of the wonders, loves, and beauty of it. And when given the choice of what to focus on, I think it will bring me a great deal more happiness to stay positive.

I’d love to know what you think! How often do you find yourself “but-ing” the heck out of your day, getting pulled into a spiral of negative thinking? Or do you try and make a conscious effort to be grateful every day? Any tips or tricks for us newbs about how to stay positive?



There is nothing I love more than infusing a sprinkling of glamour and luxury into daily life. Whether you consider it luxurious to buy a new lipstick, linger with a cup of tea, sleep in, curl up with a stack of books or surround yourself with beautiful trinkets, there is quite literally something for everyone in the field of glamour. See my post on how to live a cozier life for more inspiration!

One of my favourite websites for additional inspiration is {this is glamourous}. It posts almost every day, simply with beautiful pictures of fashion, home decor and things that are simply so..well, glamourous. Definitely check it out, it will sweep you away with its champagne pink ruffles and gold trim.

Today I thought I’d share some photos I’ve taken of glamourosity in my own life/friends. There’s so much beauty everywhere, you just have to stop and look!

Decadent puff pastry pizza with Boursin soft cheese, caramelized onions and basil.

Treating myself to a delicious dark chocolate bar and cozy movie..
Freshly picked flowers from the garden
A favourite photo
A collection of Harrod's products
Isabelle's high fashion bag a little sunflower friend!
Isabelle's beautifully french-looking framed poster
Seeing a rainbow on a beautiful afternoon
Buying fruity martinis..

Dressing up in my favourite old-fashioned polka dots for a fancy birthday dinner!

So? What are your favourite luxuries? Where do you find the most beauty around you on a day-to-day basis? I’d love to know!

xoxo, S.

Macbook Pro

Something keeping me happy recently: my brand new Macbook Pro. 13 inches of beautiful, glossy glassy crystal clear screen, a trackpad so smooth its ridiculous, a keyboard that feels delicious on my fingers and lights up my world, smooth finish, amazing technology, quick on all programs and startup. It’s just one little box of wonderful.


Here’s what I love:

1. The Screen: as I mentioned, it is a gorgeous display, made of glass and super clear and detailed. It’s sharp.

2. The Technology: Mac is wonderful, and I already knew this. But it’s something special to be able to open your computer and have it start up in one minute with your preferences locked in, to have your computer so easy to use and set up and open right out of the box as beautiful as ever. I love being able to personalize my computer 100%. I’ve had it one day and it’s almost exactly as I want it. Everything is so easy to establish. Plus it’s super quick. Definitely a powerful machine.

3. The Keyboard: bouncy, yummy on the fingers, delicious. They’re not kidding when they say on the website that your fingers will like typing on it. No problems yet with this full keyboard, even with a keyboard cover on it it types beautifully and I forget about the cover entirely. I do think the backlight comes on a little bit quickly when not needed, but you can turn it down or off whenever you want.

4. The Gorgeous: the little aspects of the computer that make it so gorgeous. For example, being the administrator and downloading whatsoever I love, uber quick downloads, lightening fast everything, easyness of setting up folders, copying pictures, starting up and using programs, picking and choosing, personalizing the trackpad to change from actually clicking the trackpad to tapping instead..everything is gorgeous.

Originally, I had intended to talk about what I dislike..but there’s not much and I couldn’t be bothered. The only problems I’ve had are with my home wireless internet connection and my Windows Home software that I installed. Also I couldn’t register my AppleCare yesterday, but I’m going to try again today.

All in all: I could not be happier. It is so beautiful, I am in love. I love the mobility, the beauty of the machine, everything. It is lovely. :)