And so it begins. We'd barely taken the sweet potatoes off the table before it was time to head out to the farm to cut down our tree. (We can debate the eco-friendliness of this practice until the end of time: My kids would disown me if I outlawed the Tannenbaum.)
But between cutting out recycled newspaper-comic snowflakes for our windows and explaining to the Barnacle (read: baby) that glass ornaments really aren't that good to eat, there wasn't a lot of "me time" in the mix.
By this morning when I got the kids off to school, I was feeling--and looking--pretty haggard. Where was my shine! My sparkle! That come-hither glance that got me into the three-kid business in the first place?
Apparently it's contained in a few jars and tubes in a bathroom cabinet that I should visit more regularly. So I made a pre-New Year's resolution. This holiday season, I'm taking "me time" for these beauty essentials:
1. Josie Maran Cosmetics mascara
I chopped onions, watched "Beaches" and just about broke up with my husband trying to get this mascara to run while I cried. It's super thick and luxurious but really doesn't budge or flake! Eco-reason to try: paraben, petrochemical and synthetic-fragrance free, no animal testing, formulated with jojoba and argan oil and the packaging is recyclable. Did you know some mascaras still contain mercury, a known bio-hazard? Test it: Wearing clean mascara on one eye and synthetic on the other, chop onions while wearing mascara to see which runs first.
2. Intelligent Nutrients Hair Spray
This hair spray is so safe that you can drink it-and I have. But it works amazingly, totally holding your style without stiffness. Eco-reason to try: paraben, petrochemical and synthetic-fragrance free, no animal testing, vegan, food-grade, organic ingredients like aloe and lavender essential oil. Did you know that some hair sprays state on their labels that the product can be fatal if inhaled? Test it: Curl your hair on one side with regular hair spray and on the other with chemical free, then drink a shot of hair spray and call me in the morning. Kidding!
3. La Bella Donna Compressed Mineral Foundation
I love minerals because they provide even coverage but don't clog pores, and they offer built-in, natural sunscreen protection. Loose powder makes a mess, but this compact is absolutely perfect! Swirl your brush around to coat it, then brush it all over your face for the most even coverage and no chance of getting powder all over your bathroom. Eco-reason to try: paraben, petrochemical and synthetic-fragrance free, no animal testing, including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Did you know that many mainstream companies that claim to produce mineral makeups are, in fact, filling their products with a whole host of other ingredients including chemicals? True minerals adhere to the surface of your skin; they don't penetrate into the pores. Test it: Sprinkle your loose mineral makeup on the top of a glass of water. If it's pure minerals, the substance will float on the surface of the water; it there are fillers, they'll sink. Now put your finger in the water and wait a few minutes. If the substance clings to your finger, it's pure minerals; if they disappear, they're not.
4. SpaRitual Nail Polish
Manufactured without formaldehyde, touluene and DBP-three known carcinogens-this polish stays on as long as any other brand. Did you know that DBP is actually banned in Europe because it's been linked to birth defects? Test it: Polish one hand with "big 3" free and the other with conventional polish, then wash dishes to see which chips first.
5. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
It's like getting a facial twice a day. The cleanser is creamy and the cloth is the perfect texture to get into all the nooks and crannies, plus even without water you can use it to take off makeup. This is the best selling cleanser in Britain, now available stateside. Eco-reason to try: paraben, petrochemical and synthetic-fragrance free, no animal testing, formulated with chamomile and eucalyptus essential oil, in packaging made from post consumer waste plastic that is, in turn, recylable. Did you know parabens, the most common preservatives in beauty products, have been found in breast cancer tissue? Test it: Just try it! You will be amazed!
6. Verabella Kiss Zit Goodbye
Forget otc pimple creams. This little roll-on dispenses the best pimple-fighter that's invisible both under and over makeup; it fights blemishes, kills bacteria and reduces redness without chemicals.
Eco-reason to try: paraben, petrochemical and synthetic-fragrance free, no animal testing, formulated with camphor, tea tree oil and witch hazel, in recyclable glass. Did you know that the term "fragrance" on product labels is often used to mask the presence of parabens? Test it: Roll it over makeup and watch the product--and your pimple--disappear.
7. Perfect Organics Vegan Lip and Cheek Shimmer
This is every girl's secret weapon, small enough to stow in a pocket or clutch, but so many applications: On lips, it's gloss, on eyes, it's highlighter, on cheeks, it's blush. I challenge you to find a cosmetic that delivers more! Eco-reason to try: paraben, petrochemical and synthetic-fragrance free, no animal testing, vegan, all organic ingredients including macadamia nut and argan oils. Did you know the average woman swallows four pounds of petroleum in her lifetime just from licking the lipstick on her lips? Test it: Apply on lips, cheeks and eyes for a quick glow fix!
8. The Healing Seed Body Lotion
Made with virgin organic hempseed oil, which is the most nutritious oil known to man, this lotion is incredibly hydrating but non greasy and it has the most amazing smell of warm jasmine. Did you know that despite the fact that our first flag was sewn from it, the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was written on paper made from it, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it and it was one of America's founding crops, it's still illegal to grow hemp in the United States-even though the plant contains no THC? Test it: Rub on hands, then type, like I'm doing right now.
Feeling pretty? Go light a soy candle or something!
p.s. No, that's not my super-stocked beauty cabinet pictured above. It belongs to mama Sofia Coppola, according to the Starbucks and Jane Austen blogspot.