Monday, June 23, 2014

Beauty Q + A: Many Shades of Green

Q: Are there any readily available, commercial beauty brands that have safer and more natural ingredients? If so, which would you recommend?
A: Thankfully, yes! I always tell my clients there are “many shades of green” when it comes to safer cosmetics, meaning there is a wide range of options to choose from. Some will be free of the most widely recognized toxic ingredients, such as parabens and fragrance, while others will be certified organic and free of all irritants and toxins. Many of the cleaner options easy to find online, which can may be considered accessible if you don’t mind online shopping.
However, if you need moisturizer ASAP or like to sample your beauty buys in person, you’re in luck! Today more than ever, safer and more sustainable beauty brands are popping up in major nationwide chains such as Target, Walgreens, Whole Foods and Sephora. Many of these lines are at least free of parabens, petrochemicals, fragrance and sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a fantastic start to your green beauty routine. Be sure to read the ingredient labels of each product to see if there are any other undesirable ingredients you may wish to avoid.
Curious about the better brands you can find in your local drugstore or health food store? 
Visit Serene Social to see my recommendations!

Green Your Beauty Routine: Lip Balm & Lipgloss

Article on Organic Spa Magazine
Summer is almost here! You have probably already started to change your beauty products and rituals to suit the season. More time outdoors in the warm weather can inspire a fresher, more minimal look, which may include swapping lipstick for a tinted lip balm or lip gloss.

They’re just so easy to apply, and they compliment everything from a sexy summer frock to a sarong. A sheer pop of color also looks fantastic paired with dewy, sun-kissed skin (created with natural bronzer, of course!). But what exactly is in this beauty staple that we apply to our pretty pouts several times a day? Lip balm and lip gloss are up next on Green Your Beauty Routine!
You may have heard the statistic that the average woman ingests anywhere from four to seven pounds of lipstick in their lifetime, which is pretty disturbing. While studies on these numbers are varied, I think it’s reasonable to say that if you wear lip balm, gloss or lipstick, you unintentionally consume small amounts of it with each application. Over time and with regular use, this can add up to a lot, especially when it comes to our bodies’ toxic burden. So if you are conscious about the ingredients you put in your mouth, you will definitely want to know about the ingredients you put on your mouth!
Visit Organic Spa to learn about a few of the ingredients we want to avoid in our lip gloss and lip balm and see my picks for safe, sustainable (and summer-chic) choices!

Beauty Q + A: Acne & Scarring

Photo by Wendy Hope
Q: After a breakout, I scar very easily. I am looking for a natural product and/or ingredient to help speed up skin cell turnover. Can you recommend anything? Also, what’s the best technique for covering the scars? -Molly, 29, NYC
A: As someone with acne-prone skin, I’m all too familiar with the undesirable after-effects of scarring, so I totally understand! While pimples are certainly annoying, they are short-lived. The scars they can leave behind however, may take months to disappear, or even cause permanent damage. A scar is simply the result of injury to the skin, which in the case of acne, happens when bacteria and sebum build up in the sebaceous gland. In some instances, even after the infection heals, the skin does not return to its former state of clarity. There more inflammation present, such as with severe acne, the more likely a scar will remain. Also, skin with more melanin has a greater chance of scarring. 
Get my recommendations for some of my favorite products for acne and scarring, plus makeup tips to conceal scars while they are healing, here on SERENE Social!

Spring Beauty Renewal: Recap

After the long, cold winter in NYC, I was really excited to celebrate the arrival of spring and summer by hosting a 3-hour Beauty + Wellness workshop at the lovely Yarok Beauty Kitchen. I was so inspired by the sun, flowers, trees and feeling of renewal and knew that others must be feeling it too! 



As always, my goal was to help women tap into the connection between our inner health and outer beauty. I began the event by asking everyone to share what they appreciate about their beauty as well as something new that they're excited about in their lives. This got everybody talking and laughing and before long, glowing from the inside out!

I spoke a bit about the importance of choosing healthy beauty products and practical ways to go about it. We discussed my top ingredients to avoid and include, as well as some of my favorite natural brands, which I also used for a spring/summer makeup demo. 

I designed 2 simple looks using all W3ll People makeup - "Sun Goddess" and "Night Queen". Check out my inspiration board, step-by-step instructions and the final look at the post below! 

I want to thank W3ll People, Yarok, Blissoma, Lotus Wei, Kahina and Kaia Naturals, who sent their green beauty goodness for my demo and the fabulous gift bags! Attendees were thrilled to take this home for their very own Spring Beauty Renewal. Also, thanks to The Juice Shop, who provided us with delicious, fresh-pressed juices to enjoy during the event! Click on the links to learn more about these awesome companies...

Last but not least, thanks to all the natural beauties that attended, Yarok Beauty Kitchen and Photography by Parris. Hope to see YOU at my next event, coming very soon (date TBA)!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Inspiration: Spring/Summer '14 Makeup

In case you missed my last event, Spring Beauty Renewal, here's a peek at the inspiration board and how-to for the looks I demonstrated. The "Sun Goddess" features golden lids, vibrant coral lips and cheeks. The "Night Queen" is all about sleek, black cat-eye liner with bronzed, glowy skin. I showed them as day-to-evening makeup looks, but they could be worn anytime of day and are perfect for summer, too!

Makeup sponsored by W3ll People, skincare by Blissoma and Kahina 


1) After washing face, spritz with Blissoma Hydrating Tonique.

2) Apply Blissoma Awake Firming Facial Moisture and  Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum.

3) Apply Nudist Colorbalm No.1 (coral) to lips.

1) With clean fingers or a foundation brush, apply Narcissist Foundation + Concealer and blend well.

2) Add another layer under eyes and/or any areas of the face where you would like extra coverage.

3) With your fingers or a paddle brush, dot Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick No. 6 (satin blood orange) on the apples of the cheek, then blend along the cheekbone towards the hairline.

4) To maximize wearability and minimize shine, dust with Realist Mineral Setting Powder.

1) With Capitalist Brow Pigment and a small, angled brush, draw short, hairlike strokes to fill in sparse areas or holes. Taper the tail of the brow to a point, extending just beyond the outer corner of your eye. 

1) Apply Elitist 833 (matte ivory) or 86 (satin apricot) Mineral Eyeshadow from brow bone to lash line with a flat, firm eyeshadow brush.

3) With a similar brush, apply Elitist 814 (sparkling salmon) or 83 (luminous copper) over the lid, from lash to crease.

4) Line your lower lash line with Elitist 825 (golden mocha) and an angled brush.

5) Finish with a few coats of Expressionist mascara on top and bottom lashes.

1) Apply Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick No. 6 to lips complete the golden look!


Begin with steps for "Sun Goddess" and simply add the following steps for look #2!

1) Apply Universalist Colorstick No.2 to highlight the top of cheek bones, brow bones, bridge of nose and cupid's bow..

2) Contour cheekbones with Hedonist Mineral Bronzer. 

3) Trace upper lash line with Hypnotist Eyeliner. Draw the line just past the outer corner of the eye, at a slightly upwards angle. Taper to a point. 

4) Add a fresh coat of mascara to upper and lower lashes.

5) Keep lips natural with Colorbalm No.1 or try  No.8 (poppy) or No.3 (cherry) for a pop of color.

Here's my adorable model Jennifer wearing "Night Queen" at Spring Beauty Renewal.

 Visit W3ll PeopleBlissoma and Kahina Giving Beauty to get the look- have fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Beauty Column with Serene Social

I am so excited to share my first ever Q+A beauty column with you. I love that it's happening on Serene Social - a women's wellness community that curates thoughtful workshops, retreats and other experiences for women who are passionate about living purposeful lives. Founders Erin Ralph and Millana Snow (pictured below) are amazing women whose mission is to connect and uplift all women across the globe. I was honored to speak at the launch of their "Beauty 360 Series" last year and I'm so happy to be a contributor to their gorgeous and inspiring online community. 

We are thrilled to launch our Q&A beauty column with green beauty expert, make-up artist and wellness coach Rebecca Casciano. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she has trained with mind-body medicine visionaries such as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Marianne Nestle, and David Wolfe. Guided by her mother’s words “When you look good, you feel good” Rebecca has been a fashion/celebrity make-up artist for over 12 years. As a make-up artist, she only uses products that are safe, sustainable and effective. As a green beauty and wellness coach, she passionately educates women on the benefits of a nourishing, plant-based lifestyle and beauty routine. Got a burning beauty question? Email
To kick-off the column, our first question is simply: Why Green Beauty?
Rebecca: In short, green beauty is better for your health, your appearance, and the planet. The foods you eat, your self-care practices and a healthy beauty routine are all important aspects of a conscious lifestyle. Read on to learn more about my top 3 reasons to ‘green your beauty routine’:
Your Health
Our skin is our largest organ and its functions include protection, detoxification and absorption. It can absorb up to 70% of what we put on it. On a daily basis, the average woman applies about twelve products, containing over a hundred different ingredients.
Europe has banned over a thousand ingredients for use in cosmetics. The US has banned under a dozen. Almost shockingly, the Food and Drug Administration does not review or approve the majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. Countless studies show many chemical ingredients used in our cosmetics, such as parabens and ethanolamines (ETA, DEA, TEA) are linked to health issues such as cancer, hormone disruption, developmental problems and unfortunately, much more.
Your Looks
Synthetic chemicals may seem to provide immediate benefits, but they are short-term and do not nourish the appearance of skin or hair over time. Harsh ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, deplete the natural pH balance of skin and hair, which would require you to continue using the product to maintain the benefits. They may also contribute to signs of aging, such as wrinkles, dryness and hyper-pigmentation, as well as skin issues like acne and rashes.
Our Environment
The more toxins we use in our cosmetics, the more we pollute the air, land and water. When we wash products down the drain and back into our water supply, this has a negative impact not only our own health, but that of the entire ecosystem. Petrolatum, a common ingredient used in various types of cosmetics, is a non-renewable resource. Animal derivatives such as lanolin (sheep sebum) and carmine (crushed beetles) are often used in cosmetics. Makeup brushes are made from goat, squirrel, sable and horse hair. The methods in which the hair is obtained is often unknown and may be inhumane.
I invite you to further educate yourself by visiting The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. There you can learn more about the studies behind the statistics and even look up your current cosmetics to see how safe (or toxic) they are. I would also love to work with you one-on-one in my signature “Green Your Beauty Routine” makeup lesson. You will learn all about my favorite natural makeup brands and how to apply them in a way that complements your unique beauty and style. For more information please email me at

Beauty + Wellness Day #11

Welcome to our 11th Beauty + Wellness Day at Coler Hospital! I am so very grateful for the opportunity to bring healing hands, hearts and smiles to the people who reside at Coler Hospital, a long-term medical facility for people who have been disabled due to accident or illness and need assistance with daily living. 

My team and I provide makeup, hair styling/cuts, manicures and reiki for a day of beauty and healing. It's always so wonderful to witness the connection of inner and outer beauty take place before our eyes. After spending time in the care of a stylist and/or healer, people are visibly and energetically uplifted in such a powerful way!

Photographer Zach Melick captured all the happy moments of the day. Thank you Zach!

Reiki healers Raquel Griffin and friend working their magic in the healing atrium.

This resident had been growing her hair for 2+ years and was thrilled about this haircut!

DJ Deepu turned Beauty + Wellness Day into a full-blown dance party! 

Thank you to our sponsors, jane iredaleKahina Giving Beauty and CV Skinlabs for donating their beautiful products to Coler's Beauty + Wellness Day. The residents were so grateful for your generosity!

So many thanks to the wonderful cosmetology students of Carsten Institute, makeup artists Marijana Zivanovic and Meghan Hilliard and the Angelica Foundation for helping to make this day possible! Feel free to email me at if you would like to be a part of our next Beauty + Wellness Day or if you would like to bring the event to a hospital, school or organization you know.

Green Your Beauty Routine on Organic Spa

I'm so thrilled to announce, I am now a contributor to Organic Spa magazine! One of the only magazines to focus on eco beauty, style, travel and wellness, Organic Spa and it's editor Rona Berg are true visionaries. It's such an honor to be a part of this team. My column, Green Your Beauty Routine, will walk you through the process of finding the best in safe, sustainable cosmetics, one area at a time. Read on to learn about the first place to start...

Finding the right products for our unique beauty needs can be hard, so when we find ones that work for us, we stay loyal to them for years. Yet, if you are reading this, you are probably interested in choosing the healthiest cosmetics. But where should you start? Should you change all of your products at once? This may seem like a daunting task, but I am here to tell you, you can take it slow! Start with one product at a time, or wait until you’re finished with what you’re currently using to try something new. I also tell my clients that the best place to begin is with the products you use daily, or most frequently, and over the largest areas of your body. For many of us, this is our skincare.
Blissoma Skincare
We often apply skincare 1 to 2 times daily, morning and night, with the purpose of it healing and restoring our skin over several hours. Our skincare regimen may include several different products, such as cleansers, moisturizers, toners and exfoliators. Each of these products contains multiple ingredients, so when you add it all up, we may be applying dozens of chemicals to our bodies through our skincare alone. Commercial products tout benefits such as hydrating, plumping and anti-aging, and yet often use a cocktail of synthetic chemicals that may be harmful to our health and environment.
Learn 3 ingredients to avoid in your skincare, plus a few of my favorite natural skincare brands in the full Organic Spa article!

Thorbjorg's NY Book Launch

When Scandinavian celebrity vitality expert Thorbjorg recently launched her best-selling book, "10 Years Younger in 10 Weeks" here in New York City, I was honored to join her for an evening of beauty from the inside out. Thorbjorg is a trained nurse and certified coach with 25 years experience in nutritional therapy, sought after speaker and star of the television show "Botox or Broccoli". 

This is her at 54 years young!
Thorbjorg's philosophy for sustainable beauty and wellness are based on a nutrient-dense diet, active lifestyle and healthy cosmetics- very much aligned with my own! So it was such a pleasure to meet her and help support the launch of her book with a wonderful event at Great Jones Space in the East Village. 

Thorbjorg sharing her wisdom and powerful story of transformation.

I shared my age-defying makeup must-haves, top ingredients for sustainable beauty 
and ingredients to avoid. So much fun!

Yoga, Spirit + Lifestyle Coach Raquel Griffin showed us simple yoga poses 
for life-long beauty and vitality.

All the women (and a few men!) who attended were inspired that night...

I loved doing Thorbjorg's makeup with my all-natural goodies, including the Revolution Organics Freedom Balm in Blushed, which I used on both her cheeks and lips. Thorbjorg paid me the highest compliment when she said being worked on by me was "almost as scared as being in a church!" Wow!

Photos by Rene F. Hansen