Random Advice


Consumers are always waiting to jump on the bandwagon of social awareness regarding potentially dangerous ingredients. At this point in time “Parabens”, “GMO” and “Sulfates” are commonly known words that inflict instant fear. What is is all about? All these things are believed to harm reproductive health and lead to cancer .

One thing I’ve been reading about lately is “Phenoxyethanol”. I had to share what I’ve learned because it’s literally in just about every single cosmetic and skincare product I own.

I’ve read many lists online of “Ingredients to avoid” but this is rarely listed.

What is “Phenoxyethanol”?

In the cosmetics industry, Phenoxyethanol is used as a stabiliser in perfumes and as a preservative. (paiskincare.com)

There are many mixed reviews online, but coincidentally many of the positive reviews are coming from companies that use the product themselves and would lose profit if people boycotted the ingredient (such as Paula’s Choice and The Honest Company).

While it’s true that full testing results have been inconclusive, here are some facts (taken from sourced articles via Wiki):

Phenoxyethanol is an alternative to standard, potentially harmful formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.[7]

In 2005–06, methyldibromoglutaronitrile/ phenoxyethanol was the ninth-most-prevalent allergen in patch tests(5.8%).[8]

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the chemical is toxic to infants via ingestion, and “can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea.” Combined with Chlorphenesin, these two chemicals can cause respiratory depression in infants.[9] Since these chemicals are often present in cosmetics and lotions applied to the hands and are easily ingested, caution should be exercised.

German research in 1999, concluded that it had neurotoxin potential, but in a concentration-dependent manner.[10]

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data sheets show chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy and interference with reproductivity in mice for other Glycol Ethers, although Phenoxyethanol is not mentioned in the abstract. [11]

What you should be aware of:

1. It has dangerous neurotoxin properties only in high concentrations. If your product contains Phenoxyethanol but it is one of the very last ingredients listed you’re probably fine, it’s in a very low concentration.

2. Something can be labeled hypoallergenic and all natural but still contain Phenoxyethanol.

3. It’s equally as dangerous as parabens (which are not all that dangerous to be quite honest). Seeing a product boast about being “paraben-free” while containing Phenoxyethanol is a total oxymoron.

4. Many companies are looking to find an alternative ingredient that can also kill bacteria and mold.

5. It’s bad enough to be banned from European ECOCERT companies.

6. You’re not going to die if you use it, but try to avoid it if you can and especially if it’s high on the ingredient list.

Phenoxyethanol as last ingredient in Creme De La Mer

Whole Foods 365 uses a larger amount of Phenoxyethanol

Why so much?


Read your product labels like you do for food. Also, don’t be a jerk and warn about dangers of ingredients while eating Kraft food and drinking Diet Coke.

Cancer is so prevalent now because of our lifestyles and what we are ingesting. It’s nearly impossible to be completely green but try to stay informed and make the best decisions you can.



Personalize your Brushes

When I started carrying my brushes to sites I realized quickly that they would need some sort of identifying mark. As a MAC artist I chose nail lacquer in a sparkly silver color that was unique to me. I carefully dotted the bottoms of all my brushes so that they could be easily identified when working with a group of artists who were all using so many of the same brushes. It worked out just fine but I was pretty indifferent to it.

Fast forward to the present where I work as a Tarte educator and artist and I have theses gorgeous bamboo handled brushes. I was inspired by all the beautiful patterns and decorative colors on the Tarte bags and products and I wanted to personalize my sets with something a bit more exciting. I found this fabulous Duck Tape brand tape from Target. I wrapped the handles of each of my sets differently to keep them cute, organized, and easily identifiable in events and trainings! I hope you like this trick. I included the amazon link so you can peek at the tape I used in the photo plus the other fun patterns polka dots, stripes, all different sizes even.

Cheers XO

zig zag decorative tape

EPILATORS: The Newest Beauty Device I’m Torturing Myself With!

Maybe you’ve heard of an epilator maybe not.. maybe your grandma has one of these crazy devices and you’ve been curious as to what it is. I bought one after my waxer recommended it for my thighs (barely any hair and not worth the cost of waxing) and in my style of curiously causing immense pain to myself in the name of beauty I decided to use it over my entire body. Check it out!


I actually love it. The hair stays away as long as waxing and it’s a fraction of a percent of the price of waxing. Maybe pick up a RX for some Vicodin while you’re at it!

You can order if you dare:

My Epilator

The shinier model with all the attachments (recommended by my friend) 




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How to Correct Dark Circles Using Lipstick!

Here’s a trick I learned years ago and still use from time to time. Makeup artists take note! For most of you, if you’re only doing your own makeup it may be easier to just purchase a corrector in your tone. I like this trick because my skin tone fluctuates and I can mix with any shade concealer for a custom blend.

So Chaud by MAC is my all time favorite lipstick for doing this trick- I just couldn’t think of the name while recording. Any red/orange lipstick should do the trick. Make sure it’s an orange red vs a pink red.

Happy blending, bright eyes!

Products Used and Reviewed:

VueSet Lip Palette: http://www.naimies.com/vueset-tahiti-palette.html
Dymo Label Maker: http://amzn.to/1kzW3go
Paw Palette: http://www.beautylish.com/b/paw-palette
Japonesque Foundation: http://japonesque.com/luminous-foundation
Beauty So Clean – YOU NEED THIS – http://amzn.to/1kzWVkY
The Balm Concealer: http://amzn.to/1jIuMs7
La Prarie Flamme/MAC So Chaud: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/mac-lipstick/3022868

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What does “Cakey” mean to you?

I feel like there’s a revolution going on in beauty right now. Everyone wants to cream contour themselves (STOP.) and everyone wants something “that’s not cakey”. What the hell? What does that even mean?

Cake makeup was coined from the MAX FACTOR Pan-Cake makeup originally introduced in the 1950’s. Cake makeup is still sold for theatre today. It was called cake because it came in a round disc and resembled.. a cake! Cake makeup is a powder that can be applied wet for more coverage and has a truly disgusting finish in person. It looked good on the kind of film used back then.

Ad for Max Factor Pan-Cake makeup starring Judy Garland

Ad for Max Factor Pan-Cake makeup starring Judy Garland

Cakey does not mean what you think it means, I assure you. I have done a perfectly blended beautiful finish with TINTED MOISTURIZER on someone not used to makeup and was told “well it’s kind of cakey”. Powder was not even applied to the face. I can assure you, just because you can see you are wearing makeup does not mean that you have a cakey face.

I just spent the last 5 20 minutes on Google images and found one picture… ONE… that represents cakey makeup, and it’s a very drastic example. Behold…

Scary. That, my friends is cakey.

This also came up when I googled “cakey makeup”…

That is not cake, that’s getting your makeup done at a certain makeup counter when you can afford a professional artist that knows how to do makeup on women of color, and throwing a sh*t load of loose powder on without buffing it in. So unless you think cakey makeup is supposed to mean throwing flour on your face, you’re using the term wrong.

“Cakey Makeup” also drew these results:

All of those are beautiful makeup jobs that are not cakey. So this makes me curious… what does cakey even mean when you’re describing it? Is is the fact you can see that you were once not wearing makeup and now you are? Is it a full coverage, and if so what do you not like about it other than “it’s cakey” (wtf?? lol)?

As a professional makeup artist, I’ll let you know what “cakey” means to me. Cakey is something that happens after a liquid or cream product such as foundation or concealer is applied or touched up over the top of already set makeup. It kind of cracks the surface. Learning makeup technique over the years it has happened to all of us. I remember a time years ago when a client wanted extreme coverage under her eyes, and even though a minimal amount of corrector and concealer covered the darkness, she wanted more. I had already set the eyes and made the mistake of adding more concealer. It cracked the entire thing and became very tacky and thick and looked like total crap. I learned my lesson that day and starting all over was the only thing I could do. It was a humbling but necessary experience every makeup artist has learned.

The only other time I use the word cakey is when the makeup looks very dry and emphasizes pores, dry skin and wrinkles.

There is a new trend emerging because of a youtube blogger (Gossmakeupartist- whom I adore). He is out there telling everyone to put powder on their face and then foundation. O M G. I CANT. The video has 429,000 views at the time of this post. That means potentially 429,000 people are walking around like a hot mess if this isn’t done Exactly the way he is saying to do it (which is very likely). As someone who loves his videos and has learned lots of savvy tips from him, I’m disappointed as he should know better now that he has that much influence over viewers. That said.. I tried Goss’ tip and my makeup stayed well .. but was a bit cakey 😉

Let’s use the word “heavy” from now on when you think it’s too much coverage. Let’s use the word “dry” when you think it’s too dry looking. Let’s retire “cakey” and expand our beauty vocabularies together shall we?