I don’t understand women who don’t like lipstick.  I will notice a beautiful woman with makeup on, but nothing on her lips.  Quel dommage!  (What a pity!)  As I’ve stated here before, my no makeup look is lipstick and big sunglasses.  I  never leave the house without my keys and lipstick.  NEVER!   And if I did, I would do what a recent customer did and immediately go into a store and buy one.  A woman stopped by my shop and headed right for the lipstick display.  While she checked out the colors, her husband (male companion?) explained that she forgot her lipstick at home, they were out for the day, it was only noon and she was feeling pale and miserable without it.  I completely get it.  I assisted her in picking out the perfect Sunday afternoon shade of lipstick and she was on her way, happy once again.

At any given time, I have 6-8 tubes of lipstick in use.  The time of day, occasion, what I’m wearing or how frisky I’m feeling determines which color I’ll wear that day. However, I do have my perfect go-to, natural lipstick that I can throw on anytime with or without other makeup and know that it will look good.  The color is maybe 2 shades darker than my natural, bare lip color. It’s a medium, pinky-brown.  Perfect!! 

If you’re opposed to wearing lipstick, start with a tinted lip balm.  It will not only keep your lips smooth and moisturized (nothing worse than dry, chapped lips) but will also brighten up your face giving a healthy look.  Then you can graduate to lipgloss and lipstick.  Visit me at IF A GODDESS WORE MAKEUP and allow me to help you pick out your perfect color.  Of course, it will be chemical-free, lead-free and organic.

"If I have a date, give me a push-up bra and a tube of lipstick and I’m set to go."
-Sandra Bullock, 1998.  Don’t take him back, Sandra.  Start dating.

To your health and beauty!!


TOXIC BEAUTY: How cosmetics and personal care products endanger your health and what you can do about it! Lecture by Dr. Samuel Epstein

 Dr. Epstein began his talk with a quote from the late Senator Edward Kennedy: “The cosmetics industry has borrowed a page from the playbook of the tobacco industry by putting profits ahead of public health.”  He pointed out that cigarettes come with a warning label, but cosmetics don’t and they definitely should.

The doctor is an expert on the topic of the dangers of commercial personal care products.  Many of the things he talked about are in his book, Toxic Beauty, which I’ve read and re-read, often referring to it to make a point when talking with my clients.

Here are some of the highlights from the evening:

Americans have a naive faith in our government.  We think that they are protecting us, but they’re not.  We’re basically on our own when it comes to figuring out what personal care products are safe to use and which ones may cause  health risks.  This is in part due to the fact that the cosmetics industry is highly unregulated allowing big companies to put whatever ingredients they want into their products.  Dr. Epstein referred to the FDA as reckless and irresponsible and called CEOs of big cosmetics companies criminals that should be put in front of a firing squad!  Many of the synthetic chemicals in products that we use on a daily basis are potentially cancer-causing, hormone distrupting and at the very least contribute to allergies and sensitivities.  Allergies have increased dramatically in the last 50-70 years as well as certain cancers since the introduction of these chemicals into our environment. 

One of the stories he told was about the “Look good, feel better” campaign that the big cosmetics companies started in the 80s for women undergoing cancer treatment.  The thought was to bring makeup artists and goody bags of cosmetics into the hospitals to lift the spirits of these women by showing them how to apply makeup, look prettier and perhaps feel better in the process.  The ironic part is that the makeup being used and gifted  (Chanel, Revlon, Estee Lauder and others) contained some of the very chemicals that may have contributed to their cancer.

I could feel the passionate doctor’s anger.  He told his audience that this should be a wake-up call to become more aware of what we’re buying, read labels, consume less personal care products, write letters to the FDA and big cosmetics companies voicing our concerns.  He encouraged us to get petitions together and start a grass-roots movement.  It’s up to us to educate ourselves so we can protect our health.  In the mean time, he suggested buying organic products to be safe.

A big thank you goes out to Healthy Green Goods of Evanston IL for sponsoring this event.  

Recommended websites for further education:
To your health and beauty!


"Toxic Beauty" by Dr. Samuel S. Epstein

The American Nutrition Association is sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, author of Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Endanger your Health (2009).  This was the first book that I read about toxic chemicals in cosmetics and it hit me hard.  Dr. Epstein is the leading expert on this topic.  I have my ticket already and for those of you who cannot attend, I’ll be writing a full report on a future blog.

  • Lecture by Dr. Samuel S. Epstein
  • Wednesday, March 24
  • 7pm meet and greet/7:30pm lecture
  • Dominican University, Parmer Hall, 7900 Division Street, River Forest  IL
  • for tickets: call 708-246-3663 or email

To your health and beauty!



Vegan Makeup Brushes

It occurred to me as I was researching and ordering products for my store and website that I would love to offer vegan makeup brushes.  It’s a natural (even though they’re synthetic) with mineral makeup.

When I worked in the department stores selling cosmetics, we were trained by the companies to tell customers that no pony, goat, squirrel or badger were ever killed or harmed in any way to acquire the hair used for the makeup brushes.  We were told that the animals were shaved or hairs were cut from their tails, end of story.  I have to be honest, back then I really didn’t question that information.  But now I think that even well-meaning cosmetic companies can’t really be sure about the welfare of the animals and the conditions in which they are kept.  Many companies purchase the fur from foreign distributors and are they really checking up on them?  I don’t want to have to worry about how the animals are really being treated.

The best alternative is to use cruelty-free, vegan approved makeup brushes.  Look for 100% synthetic fibers, nylon or taklon.  It’s the only way to be sure that no animal was harmed or used in the making of the brushes.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the performance I was going to get from the vegan brushes.  But I can tell you that I like working with them as well as those made from animal hair and in some cases even better.

Here’s other good stuff about vegan brushes:

  • safe for sensitive skin
  • dye-free
  • odor-free
  • do not shed even after washing
  • soft and gentle on the skin
  • do not smell after washing
  • considered to be hypoallergenic
  • synthetic fibers do not harbor bacteria like fur brushes can

The handles of the brushes that I carry at my store come from managed wood reforestation programs in the US.

Think about making the switch from natural to synthetic which in this case is a good thing.

To your health and beauty!


Beauty from the Inside Out

Yesterday I met sisters with the most beautiful, glowing complexions I’ve seen in awhile. Their lovely presence reminded me that beautiful skin is more about what we put in our bodies than what we put on them.  Although I already knew the answer, I asked them if they ate a healthy diet, and without a moment’s hesitation, they said YES!

They start their day with vegetable juice that they make themselves.  I used to do the same, but have gotten away from it.  The sisters have inspired me to begin juicing again.

As soon as I’m finished writing this, I’m heading over to our local fruit and vegetable market to pick up my beauty food.

The following is Dr. Oz’s “green drink” recipe.  The sister’s drink is very similar.

2 cups spinach, 2 cups cucumber, several stalks of celery, small piece of peeled ginger root, 1 bunch parsley, 1-2 apples and 1 peeled lime or lemon.  Organic is best if you can get it.

If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a blender and thin the mixture with filtered water to your desired consistency.

To your health and beauty!



Please don’t ever take my exfoliating scrub away.  I just wouldn’t look or feel the same.  I’ve been using the OHA Facial Sugar Scrub 2-3 times a week in the morning in place of my regular cleanser.  WOW!!  What a difference.  A good scrub clears out oil-clogged pores making them appear smaller, sloughs away dead skin cells, gets rid of flakes, improves the texture and color of the skin by increasing circulation and produces a softer, smoother complexion making fine lines look less visible. Instant gratification and a big bang for your buck!

Without proper exfoliation, you’re just gluing down dead skin cells every day with your moisturizer.  Yuck!  Free of these cells, your skin will look healthier and be more receptive to the active ingredients in the skincare products you’ll be following with.

Here’s another reason to exfoliate - the irregular surface created by these flaking cells reflects light differently, so skin appears dull and sallow and fine lines stand out.

And here’s another great reason - the best foundation in the world will look bad if it’s applied on top of skin that is dull, dry and flaky, but will look beautiful on properly prepared skin.

So ………..

  • Exfoliate both face and throat 2-3 times a week.
  • Most exfoliating scrubs are also cleansers.
  • Always start with a clean, free of makeup face.
  • Avoid the eye area.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure.
  • Never scrub directly on a pimple.  It may open and spread the infection.
  • Always follow with the appropriate moisturizer.
  • This skincare step is a must for all ages.
  • Those with super sensitive skin may have to skip it.

To your health and beauty!


Time to rethink an old favorite - Cetaphil

I was talking to a friend the other day who has the most beautiful skin.  She buys various skincare products from me, but made it clear that she likes her Cetaphil to cleanse with and was going to stick with that, thank you very much.  This conversation prompted me to run into my local drug store to revisit Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and take a look at the ingredient list.  Maybe my friend was on to something.

I used Cetaphil for years, but it’s been awhile.  It’s the #1 recommended cleanser by dermatologists and pediatricians. In fact, that’s how I originally started using the product - a doctor suggested it as a mild cleanser for my sensitive skin.

Well ……… here are the ingredients:  water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.

  • cetyl alcohol - a fatty alcohol used as a skin-softening ingredient - often a skin and eye irritant
  • propylene glycol - a preservative, a derivitive of mineral oil which is a petrochemical - shown to aggravate skin conditions such as eczema
  • sodium lauryl sulfate - a detergent known to be highly irritating - considered to be a potential cause of cancer
  • stearyl alcohol - often comes from sperm whales - but rather benign
  • parabens - not one, not two, but three of them in this product - parabens are synthetic preservatives that can disrupt the endocrine system (that’s our hormones) and are linked to breast and ovarian cancer - also an environmental contaminant

Other disturbing information I discovered is that Cetaphil is all over the internet as a treatment for lice.  But the most off-putting news is that pediatricians recommend this cleanser for babies!!

My advice is to seek out safe alternatives.

Check my website for non-toxic cleansing products for all skin types.

To your health and beauty!



I love my job.  It’s fun, allows me to be creative, and can be very rewarding.

I had the most pleasant experience the other day with a new client.  A young woman shyly started looking around my shop.  I started a conversation and found out that she had never worn makeup before but was interested in looking more professional and in her words, at least her age.  What a pretty girl, blonde and blue-eyed.  I thought she was 16 or 17, but it turns out she’s 23 and looking for a job.  The only thing she knew about makeup was that she was sure she wanted non-toxic, natural/organic products.

So I offered to show her a few things.  The makeup application took all of 15 minutes and that included instruction about what I was applying, why and how. What I did will take her 5 minutes at home.

I only used 5 products on her - powder foundation, concealer, eyeliner, mascara and a lipstick that can also be used as a blush.

When we were finished, she looked in the mirror and was thrilled.  So was I. She looked polished, put together and a bit prettier, but still like herself.  Hopefully the makeup will add to her confidence when she’s out there looking for employment.

Erica left that day with a small bag of the makeup I used on her and my contact information.

Thanks, Erica, for making my day.

products:  Gabriel Cosmetics and Perfect Organics Lip and Cheek Shimmer

To your health and beauty!