eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday 2012 Gift Guide: Natural Beauty

This feeling of giddiness I'm experiencing at the moment could only mean one thing-- it's holiday gift guide time again! I have made many new discoveries over the past year and have found some beauty products that not only perform well, but are natural and/or organic, are pleasurable to use and have high quality ingredients. On this list you will find simply beautiful gifts for the discerning beauty junkies in your life. Without further ado, release the list!

[Gorgeous natural gift wrapping using burlap and organic cotton by The Ribbon Lady at May Arts: step-by-step instructions & free download-able tutorial  HERE]

Aroma M Camellia Hair and Face Oil Set $145
This beauty duo is inspired by the traditional formulas used by Japanese Geishas, and somehow it seems all the more luxurious for it. The hair oil delivers gorgeous shine and hydration and imparts the scent of tuberose with an earthy touch, while the face oil charms with a geranium-based floral blend. Best of all, camellia oil features prominently in both, which means  all types of skin and hair will benefit due to its versatility. A hardcore skin/hair care enthusiast's dream.

In Fiore Veloutee- $58
Veloutee is a gorgeous jasmine-scented natural balm for lips and under eyes that has an incredible number of anti-aging constituents, such as black current seed oil, calendula, carrot seed oil and marula. Loaded up with In Fiore's signature floral essence blend and housed in a chic metal compact, this is one sexy balm that will give anyone on your gift list a thrill.

ILIA Beauty Limited Edition Lips & Eyes
Inkpot Lipstick and These Days Tinted Lip Conditioner $24 each
Mascara in Asphalt Jungle $24
I am in love/lust with ILIA Beauty. Their colors range from everyday-wearable to wild and wonderful. Their newest limited edition collection is to die for. Inkpot Lipstick is richly pigmented and can be dabbed on as a purplish-berry stain or applied right from the tube for serious pop. They've recently launched a new mascara line that offers the same diversity that their lip products do. My favorite one is pictured below- Asphalt Jungle, a gorgeous charcoal grey for those who like to swim in the cool side of the pool. I love that ILIA's products are all organic, which is a huge comfort when faced with the statistic that a woman, on average, consumes about 2 pounds of lipstick/lip balm in their lifetime.

Holistic Silk eye mask with lavender $65
Holistic Silk makes these luxurious silk and velvet eye masks filled with organic lavender, and they come in a bunch of colors. Treat the frequent traveler on your list with one of these, and they'll be thanking you all year long.

Pai Sea Buckthorn Hand and Nail Collection $32
The gift sets that Pai has on offer this year are really amazing and well-priced. This hand and nail duo is the kind of thing you'd do well to buy a few of, because it will make everyone happy, including yourself. All organic, anti-aging and seriously moisturizing without greasiness, the Sea Buckthorm Hand Cream is the best and most effective hand cream I've used in some time. The Sea Buckthorn Cuticle Balm is exclusive to this gift set, and is a bedside-table must-have. Treat yourself every night before bed.

REN Trio Set for Men $85
This all-natural and organic trio for men contains Tamanu High-Glide Shaving Oil, High-Glide Cooling Shaving Cream and Multi-Tasking After Shave Balm. Once the man or men in your life try this once and realize that shaving doesn't have to be semi-painful drudgery, they will need no more convincing. Want to kick up your gift-giving prowess a few notches? Add a gorgeous silver Edwin Jagger shaving set for $125 (not pictured).

Kjaer Weis Beauty Reborn Gift Trio $140
Green make-up artist Kjaer Weis has created one of the most highly coveted lines of natural and organic cosmetics, complete with sexy, refillable metal packaging that lasts a lifetime. Each product even comes with a polishing cloth for the case, so it can double as a mirror. Spirit Beauty Lounge has a fabulous gift set available where you can choose your colors of Lip Tint (my fave is Bliss Full, shown below gift pic), Cream Blush and Eyeshadow. Weis has mastered the art of eco-luxe, and this stuff is just too good not to share.

Aftelier Ancient Resins body oil $40 for 50ml bottle
As you drink deeply from the sultry well of resins and spices present in Mandy Aftel's newest body oil, you soon realize that it's no small wonder that the ancient Egyptians would literally get high by enclosing themselves in spaces filled with frankincense smoke. It makes an ideal gift for anyone who loves intense, earthy fragrances, has chronically sore joints or muscles, or those who worship at the altar of Frankincense, one of the most perfect natural substances on Earth. The scent profile is rounded out by Balm of Gilead, benzoin, elemi and labdanum. This is the real deal, and it will blow your mind.

LUSH Emotional Brilliance Cosmetics: Liquid Lipstick in Perspective ($22.95), Liquid Eyeliner in Independent ($22.95), Eyes Right Mascara in Black (18.95), Liquid Eyeshadow in Intuitive ($22.95)
Makeup hasn't been this much fun in... well, ever. Whether you're in the store or online, you can spin a wheel with a different colored dots on the outside and the wheel will decree what mood you are in, and which colors you should be wearing. It is a gimmick, yes, but it's cute. Less corny are the cosmetics themselves. The liquid lipsticks are satiny and ultra-comfortable to wear, the liquid eyeliner comes in all kinds of fantasy colors and stays put indefinitely until removed, and the mascara is rich and gorgeous (and boasts a wheatgrass base). The colors I chose below are just a few of my faves, and at this time, the mascara only comes in black. The wide range of colors in the Emotional Brilliance line make it easy to customize your selections for the natural beauty-lovers on your list.

Vered Organic Botanicals Introductory Set $68
Vered Back is a master aesthetician and herbalist who makes a whole slew of wonderful face and body products. From her cult favorite, Le Chocolat Citrus Foaming Face Scrub (yes, it smells as gorgeous as it sounds) to my personal favorites, Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil and Herb Infused Toner, the array of trial sizes packed into this adorable kit are what I consider to be mandatory testing. If you buy this for someone on your holiday gift list, I highly suggest you do not pick through the contents prior to wrapping, or it will never reach its intended recipient. Or, you could just buy two.

This year, I feel I could have made my list three times as long as in prior years, there has just been so much brilliant beauty products that have hit the market in recent past. Oils are finally hitting the mainstream, thanks to tireless champions such as Nav Mundi, the woman behind Beauty Huile blog. Consumers are starting to realize that there are alternatives to what they've been using for so long-- ones that are healthier, natural, organic and in so many cases, far better than their synthetic counterparts.

This is why I love the small boutique lines. Some are made and bottled by hand by individuals and teams with vast amounts of knowledge and experience with botanicals, beauty and natural healing. They are in touch with their customer and possess a profound chicness that informs the ingenuity, integrity and quality of their products. My list represents beauty with brains and a lot of heart... I won't settle for less than that, and now that this sector of the beauty industry is steadily growing, I won't ever have to think of settling.


  1. Thank you Carrie for your evocative portrait of Ancient Resins – I’m thrilled that you chose it for your wonderful gift guide!
    xo Mandy

  2. Gorgeous compilation of giftables! And, from some of my fave brands! What no candle, Carrie? I picked up two Red Flower candles today thanks to your reviews...

    1. Ah, but candles do not go on the beauty list! The fragrance list is coming soon.

      I love Red Flower's candles, they are so cool! I need to try the jasmine and I def. want an Ocean candle, and of course, you know how I feel about their lavender. It's juicy! I just wish candles would last forever so wouldn't have to keep buying them. Heck, while I'm being irrational, add perfume to the list. I'd like to never see the waterline go down. :)

  3. Great gift ideas! I may have to put that Ancient Resins oil on my own list. I can't get enough of oils especially in the winter.

  4. Ah, got it! Can't wait to see the scent list! I scored the Indian Jasmine (of course!) and Moroccan Rose candles...a purist, what can I say?