How to Be Naturally Beautiful

Making the switch to vegan cosmetics, just like adopting a vegan diet, can be initially very labor intensive, but the outcome will reward all your hard work. You will look better, feel better, and know you’ve made good decisions for our animal friends.

The best place to start is to do your homework. Regardless of how you feel about their practices, the PETA website has two great resources to help you start off; a list of cruelty-free companies and an extensive list of animal-based ingredients, with some alternatives. From those two lists, you can check your favorite brands’ ingredient listing to make a judgment call about whether you want to keep using it, or you can research new makeup favorites with the cruelty-free list. This may seem daunting at first, as modern cosmetics can contain dozens of complex and not immediately identifiable components. The internet has made such research fairly easy, if a little time consuming, but once you have begun to identify the more common problematic ingredients you’ll be able to make decisions much faster. While you’re researching animal ingredients to avoid, you can simultaneously look out for synthetic ingredients that you may want to avoid; diazolidinyl urea, for example, is a lab-made preservative commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products. It is a common allergen and can be hard on sensitive skin.

The other approach is much more fun, but considerably harder on your wallet, and that is to ditch anything you’re currently unsure of a start fresh with companies you know are vegan or cruelty-free. Once again there are a couple of good resources online; the PETA list, a similar recent list from Sephora, and the Google search for ‘best vegan cosmetics’ top result: tarte cosmetics. The Sephora list is very extensive, it lists companies according to their animal testing stance, vegan adherence and even gluten content. Another good list is from cruelty-free organization Leaping Bunny, whose adorable bunny in motion logo can be seen on companies certified cruelty-free. Lastly, if you want to just dive in and start checking out products, the aforementioned tarte cosmetics has a shop page dedicated to its vegan line, which is a really great place to start!

Falsies in a Tube: Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara

Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, it seems like you can't go to beauty blog, log on social media sites, namely Facebook and Instagram; or sift through a women's magazine without the mention of Younique Fiber Lash Mascara ($29). Many tout that this mascara transforms your natural lashes by adding length and volume by up to 300%, giving you the look of falsies without the potential damage. Taking in consideration that many that claimed this were representatives for this direct sales company, I couldn't help but be the least bit of leery.

That was until I tried Younique's 3D Fiber Lash Mascara myself.

My lashes are so sparse that they're practically non-existent, yet this mascara gives them the definition that they lack. I'm usually good to go after the necessary swipes of my favorite mascara, the Ecco Bella Mascara; transplanting gel, and the fibers. I have a tendency of going for more of a dramatic look by adding a "cat eye" look, with my favorite liquid eyeliners, such as Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Push-Up Liner ($24) or Tarte Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes™ Precision Longwear Liquid Eyeliner ($20).

I can't but mention that this mascara is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and doesn't contain any harsh chemicals. It is also water resistant, thus removal wasn't the easiest at times when I used something simple as cleanser and water. I was even losing lashes in the process! I found that using coconut oil to remove the eye make-up made the process much easier! Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Younique 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. So pleased that I'll shamelessly admit that I prefer it over regular mascara. This mascara is basically falsies in the form of mascara!

Before: No Mascara

After: Ecco Bella Mascara with Younique Fiber Lash Mascara

Tips & Tricks for Applying 3D Fiber Lash
1. Make sure to do one eye at a time. Having both tubes open in one hand will make application quicker and more effective.

2. Apply the fibers while the first coat of transplanting gel is still wet.

3. Do no apply too close to the water line. The fibers can possibly get into the eye, causing irritation.

4. Apply a layer of transplanting gel over the fibers to lock them in.

5. Use a lash comb as the last step if you see any clumping.

6. When using over regular mascara, choose that is lengthening vs volume to avoid clumping or spider eyes.

7. Personally, my go-to mascara is the mascara by Ecco Bella, yet it's said that cheaper mascaras will yield better results.

8. Focus the fibers on the tips and the outer corns of the eyes.

9. The fiber lashes can be layered more than once, but seal them with the transplanting gel.

10. If you apply too much fiber, you will have fibers fall onto your cheeks or they can cause irritation. It's best to apply with a light touch and reapply if you need a more dramatic effect.

Reveal Radiant Skin with Karin Herzog + Giveaway

Nobel Institute honoree, Dr. Paul Herzog, and his wife, Karin, founded the world leading skincare line more than 40 years ago in Switzerland.

Dr. Herzog developed the first, and only, formula to successfully stabilize active oxygen in a cream that can be applied to the skin. The oxygen acts as a rocket booster, propelling essential nutrients deep into the epidermis to nourish the collagen producing cells below the skins surface. It helps to boost the skin’s own replenishment and recovery systems to revolutionize it from the inside, out.

After being awarded the global patent for his unique discovery, Paul and Karin, integrated his breakthrough technology into a unique skincare line. As a trained esthetician, Karin worked with her husband to develop a range of products that help to restore natural vitality, prevent the signs of aging and treat problematic skin conditions.

They invite you to discover the unique qualities of the Karin Herzog skincare philosophy; the only skincare line to deliver the transformative effects of active oxygen directly into the skin.

Karin Herzog is somewhat of a best-kept secret among estheticians and has grown its popularity via word of mouth, resulting in a cult celebrity following and loyal customer base. In June, Molly Sims revealed to Byrdie that she is “addicted to Karin Herzog’s Additional Sweet Cream”, and also using the Vita-A-Kombi Oil for her daily skincare routine. It is also said that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is a fan of the Karin Herzog line, namely the Vita-A-Kombi 1 ($75). Her usage of Karin Herzog Products is well covered in the press, as recently in Beauty Style Living and US Weekly. Karin Herzog is also covered by ELLE, Vanity Fair, Elite Wedding, Bella, New Beauty and Redbook, among others. Molly Sims and and Kate Middleton both have practically flawless, gorgeous skin, thus this line had piqued my curisoity! I didn't try their standby products, but I opted for the Oxygen Hyalu Lift ($130).

I was half-tempted to review the Oxygen Hyalu Lift sooner than I usually review skincare products, but I wanted to take my time as I always do in order to give an accurate review. It's true for many that one isn't normally going to experience instant results with skincare products, as they take time to work. Skincare products may take a month before seeing results, while others may take a few months.

Thanks to combination skin and genetics, I don't have any wrinkles. However, there were a few areas in my facial area that needed to be addressed, such as the slight laugh lines. My skin also needed some firming up. The Oxygen Hyalu Lift made my skin soft, smooth, and touchable, yet firm after the first application. I was sold! It was a little over a month when I noticed that it had lessened my laugh lines remarkably.

Note: For an added boost of radiance, apply only at night and switch to Vita-A-Kombi AHA in the mornings. For best results, apply with a brush in order to avoid absorption of active ingredients through the fingertips.

Lastly, I also received their Eye Cream ($55). Their Eye Cream is enriched with nourishing vitamins and 0.5% active oxygen to help fight dark circles and signs of aging. I thought I'd be the last one to ever get dark circles since I get the required amount of sleep, yet I have been experiencing slight dark circles for a little over two years. I have tried several eye creams to help diminish the appearance of dark circles. Some had somewhat helped, but not enough to make them completely disappear. I have also tried, tried, and tried the cucumber method, to no avail. The only thing that seems to temporarily "help" is swipe some concealer underneath my eyes. This Eye Cream may have not been any different than the others in regards of diminishing the appearance of dark circles, but I love that it left the eye area smooth and soft.

Connect with Karin Herzog

The Beauty Counter Giveaway

One winner will receive the Oxygen Hyalu Lift and Eye Cream (a $185 value).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Introducing Pevonia's Stem Cell Phyto-Elite Intensive Cream #PevoniaLife

This post was created in partnership with Pevonia. I have been compensated and/or given product for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

As an influencer for Pevonia, I had the opportunity to try their latest anti-aging formula, the Stem Cell Phyto-Elite Intensive Cream ($159). Their Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cream is a revolutionary formula that was created to brighten, protect, hydrate, and rejuvenate the skin. Although it's mostly targeted for those who have mature skin and are showing severe signs of aging, it's also ideal for those who want to use it as a preventive. I fall into the latter. I normally get apprehensive about using anti-aging skincare products that I've never used before, considering how unpredictable my skin can be. There are some days that it's dry, while other days it is out of control: oily and acne prone. Then there are the days that my skin is seemingly perfect. I believe that Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cream has been bringing the balance that it needs, as I haven't experiencd any breakouts lately. Even though the hydrating benefits are instantaneous, I know that it takes weeks, sometimes months, to see true results. In my upcoming review, I'll touch more base about the Intensive Cream. I'll also review two other products from the Stem Cell line, the Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Serum ($159) and Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cleanser ($43.50). To top it off, I'll also be hosting a giveaway for 5 Pevonia Stem Cell Phyto-Elite sample kits.

In the meantime, join their Pevonia Life Advocate Experience to learn more about their products. It's also a good way to accumulate rewards and samples!

Share the Health Event at The Vitamin Shoppe

The Vitamin Shoppe® will host its latest “Share the Health” Expo this Saturday, August 16, in more than 600 stores nationwide from 11 AM – 2 PM (local time). As part of this event, each store will offer its own specialized festivities, such as free product samples and consultations with local wellness partners. Health Enthusiasts, who strive to be the most knowledgeable associates in the industry, will also be on-hand to help answer any product-related questions. This marks the 9th Share the Health Expo hosted by the Vitamin Shoppe since 2012.

During the Share the Health Expo, the first 50 shoppers at each location will be treated to a complimentary gift bag full of samples of a number of health and wellness products from popular brands, such as Coromega®, Nature’s Way®, NeoCellTM and more.

“Part of our mission is to ensure our customers have a personalized shopping experience to fit their health and wellness needs, which includes providing them with the knowledge they need to pursue their goals,” said Doug Henson, Senior Vice President Retail, the Vitamin Shoppe. “During our Share the Health Expo, we are proud to make it even easier for customers to explore the variety of products we offer and learn how to easily incorporate them into their everyday lives.”

The Vitamin Shoppe stores will host wellness partners from their communities throughout the day, ranging from local gyms and spas to chiropractors and product representatives. For information on the specific wellness partners attending “Share the Health,” customers are encouraged to contact their local store.

While supplies last. Samples will vary be region/store location.