Beauty, Uncategorized

The Petite Yogini Tries Natural Lipsticks

Like many women I love makeup, and lipstick is my absolute favorite. However, a quick google search on this particular product might make you want to kiss it good bye. The FDA does not regulate cosmetics, many lipsticks contain dangerous ingredients such as lead and heavy minerals, and by some accounts we swallow between three to seven POUNDS of lipstick in our life time (realistically it’s probably much less, but holy!). Luckily there are more and more natural and even organic products. But how well do these products work? I tested a few out and share my thoughts below.


Burt’s Bees Lipstick

Color: 14 available. Tested: 532 Russet River; 502 Suede Splash

Key Claims: 8 hour wear, 100% natural, smooth satin finish.

Packaging: Recyclable. Made of 100% #5 plastic and 60% PCR content.

Featured Ingredients: Beeswax, Moringa Oil, Raspberry Seed Oil and Vitamin E.

EWG Skin Deep Rating: Not rated.

The trial: This product has a light delightful smell and goes on smooth. I loved both of the colors I tried out, they were very natural, vivid and super long lasting. The packaging is interesting and unlike any I’ve seen before. I found my lips dried slightly with repeated wear, but I have the same reaction to Burt’s Bee lip balm; overall a great product.

Vapor Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick

Color: 26 available. Tested: 401 Tempt.

Key Claims:  Industry’s healthiest lipstick, full coverage, cruelty free, made with wind power, no nano particles, no irradiation.

Packaging: Blue and silver skinny tube. Inner and outer packaging recyclable.

Featured ingredients: Castor seed oil, beeswax, Jojoba seed oil.

EWG Skin Deep Rating: 4

The trial: This product has a light, pleasant smell and taste. The shape of the lipstick itself is squared, but is thin enough to apply smoothly. My lips felt great wearing this product and after. The shade I chose is the perfect my lips but better color for me. I was impressed that the color was true to the swatches on the website, it looks the same on as in the tube and lasts and lasts. I would definitely buy more of this product and would try more of the awesome colors.

Jane Iredale PureMoist Lipstick

Color: 25 available. Tested: Margi and Liz.

Key Claims:  Vegan/Gluten free, cruelty free, moisturizing, antioxidant protection, vivid pigments and luscious flavors.

Packaging: Gold tube.

Featured ingredients: Triiosterayl citrate, mooring oil, avocado and sunflower seed oils, coffee seed extract, blackberry and pomegranate extracts.

EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 (tested color not found but all available colors have this rating).

The trial: Both of the products I tried had a pleasant fruity smell/taste, probably due to the blackberry and pomegranate extracts. The colors were both bright (much more so than they looked online) but were long lasting and had a great feel.

Logona Naturkosmetik

Color: 11 available. Tested: 05 Almond

Key Claims: German personal care product, many certified organically grown ingredients, eaves out the synthetic preservatives, colors, and petrochemical derivatives, no animal testing, deliciously silky and soft texture.

Packaging: Gold and clear tube

Featured ingredients: vegetable oils, waxes, natural Vitamin E

EWG Skin Deep Rating: 4 (tested color not found but all available colors have this rating)

The trial: While this product had a slightly mineral smell, it didn’t have an off-putting taste. I really liked how this product went on, and the color was super wearable with a shiny finish.

Ilia Beauty

Color: 15 available (in the lip conditioner). Tested: 365 Bang Bang

Key Claims: Certified organic ingredients, best selling red

Packaging: gold tube

Featured ingredients: Castor seed oil, jojoba seed oil, beeswax, candelilla wax, fruit oils

EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (tested color not found, but the one available for Ilia’s lipstick had this rating)

The trial: While this is a lip conditioner not a lipstick, I wanted to include it in the trial as it is highly pigmented and this color is fairly well known. I really liked the sheer color and it feels delightful on the lips both while wearing it and it leaves your lips soft and comfortable, though the mineral smell/taste did bother me a little bit.

The Bottom Line: There are lots of great natural lipsticks out there, and the few I tried hold up against mainstream lipsticks I’ve used. If I had to choose, I think the Vapor Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick was my favorite but I liked all of them. While it should be noted that natural lipsticks are not perfect and some still contain ingredients that may cause concern, they may be a safer option. When choosing a lipstick whether mainstream or natural check the ingredients, make use of tools like the EWG Skin Deep Data Base  and like anything please use in moderation.



My experience with box braids

On a recent trip to the Dominican for a family wedding I kept noticing a woman walking down the beach offering hair braiding. I’ve always loved braids and was really drawn to the beautiful photos in the woman’s book (I later found out my aunt braided my hair with beads when I was young so this may have something to do with it). The second day, I stopped the woman and once we agreed upon what would be done and the price she whisked me off to a chair at the edge of the beach. She handed me two containers, one full of beads and one with precut strips of foil which I was to hand her when she asked (first foil, then 3 beads the color combination of which was up to me to decide) and in a remarkably short amount of time my thick, long tresses were transformed into box braids.


The immediate reactions to my new hairstyle varied. Much of the family I was traveling with did not particularly like my new look at first, but many people who didn’t know me gave me compliments.  There was a knowing smile whenever I crossed path with someone else who had braids. I found myself enjoying my new braids more and more every day, particularly their easy care during all the sun and salt water on the beach.

As my trip neared an end I began to wonder how my hair would be viewed back home. After all, it made since on the island but what would people thinking of a French professor/yoga teacher from Maine in braids in the middle of winter?

Waiting in the airport on the return trip









On the trip home people’s heads turned as I traveled from Punta Cana to Atlanta to New York and finally back to Maine, but to my pleasant surprise most of them smiled as they did so. Strangers stopped me to compliment me, ask me questions (was it really my hair?) or to touch my hair. Once back home, I prepared to return to the classroom. My dress clothes seemed a somber contrast to the bright beads and braids, and I wondered if my students would think me silly or worse mocking cultures who wear braids, but my students absolutely loved my hair and being the second week of class and still determining if they liked me, they decided I was the “coolest professor ever.” Most of my colleagues liked my hair as well, or thought it was interesting that I tried it. Some of my more traditional colleagues gave me disapproving looks, which I had of course expected. At the Y, my yoga students loved the braids, and I have to say they were really fun and easy to deal with during my practice and dealing with my hair had never been easier.

Unfortunately, since I did not have proper products to take care of my hair while I was on my trip combined with the fact I have very fine hair led to my hair becoming frizzy and I decided it was time to remove my braids.


Whether people loved or hated them, my braids certainly garnered a reaction. I truly enjoyed my time in braids and I’m grateful for the experience. I liked it so much that I would definitely try them again- perhaps this summer!


5 Reasons I Love Jamberry Nail Wraps

Jamberry wraps are all the rage these days. But with all the dangerous ingredients in beauty products today, you may be wondering if they are safe before jumping on the band wagon. I am happy to say that these wraps are safe, fun, and easy to apply and remove. Here are a few reasons I love them, and you may too.

1. They are non-toxic. Jamboree nail wraps and nail lacquers are 5-free, meaning they contain no toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate or camphorso you can rest easy knowing you are not exposing your body to these chemicals and they are even safe for kids. And the wraps easily remove when reheated so there is no need for dangerous polish removers.

2. They are latex free. People with allergies to latex can safely wear these, and those who work or live with people who have latex sensitivities can rest easy knowing they are not putting their patients/clients/family/friends/etc. at risk.

3. They are gluten free. Unlike many nail polishes, Jamberry wraps are gluten free, so gluten sensitive friends you can safely enjoy these, too.

4. No chipping!  They are made out of a non-chip vinyl, so once you apply them you have beautiful nails that will last about two weeks on your fingers and six weeks on your toes and will look just as good on they day you remove them as the day you applied them, without any harmful chemicals or UV light.

5. They are made in the USA. Jamberry products are 100% made in the USA so you can feel good knowing you are supporting American business.