March 16, 2015

Passive Aggressively Wears Bright Colors Despite the Absence of Summer--Review of Ilia Beauty Lipsticks

I mean, if there was a brand that's dedicated to lip products and an eco oriented aesthetic, ya know Ima have to jump on it. 

Ilia lipsticks are housed in recycled aluminium and are around 80% organic. After my incident with the KIDE highlighter, I decided to try out a few of these pretty buggers and let me tell ya, NOT DISAPPOINTED.

Since converting to CF brands and slowly into eco conscious brands, I've been surprised at how many products live up to or even exceed the quality of my old synthetic counterparts. Not only is the packaging luxe, but the colors are vibrant and conceal the look of lip imperfections. Not too shabby! They have a demi-matte finish and wore fine. They have buildable and a flattering amount of pigmentation meaning you can make a statement with these easily but also wear something really flattering. 

Neon Angel is a blue based fuchsia that leans a bit more on the matte side

Violá is a muted tangerine

Ugh, nothing gets me like a clean swatch photo.
Anyway, definitely obsession worthy and now I get why every natural blogger on the damn internet raves about this line. All I'm saying is don't be surprised when I have 10 by the end of the month (youthinkimkiddingbutimnot)

Anyway, here's an overly dramatic makeup look I did; because, why not?

shout out to my mess of a bed #makeupevenonmybed

March 4, 2015

Beautification--Connected Ideals, Color Perception and the Omo Valley Tribes

Morals and beauty are indefinite but when you really break it down, everything is indefinite. 
Today on lilting-grace we're still talking about beauty, but we're also talking about altered perceptions in relation to culture. From bias, to something as fundamental as color perception. So get ready for some psycholinguistic theories but also peeks into one of the most contrasting,stunning cultures in the world. 

While doing some research on Indigenous Knowledge in contrast to Western Knowledge, I came across articles about the Omo Valley People. A network of tribes surrounding the Omo Valley, the Omo people are considered one of the most isolated civilizations and also one that still relies on very ancient techniques. 

Unlike many civilizations, they lack religion and are rich with intriguing ,and from a western perspective, bizarre practices. From the perception of a self proclaimed beauty enthusiast, the most intriguing aspect of the Omo Valley People was their heavy emphasis on beauty. Both boys and girls are taught that a big component of their self is reflected in the way they choose to present themselves. 

Scarring, lip plates, body paint are adorning with anything available are aspects of a daily routine for the Omo Valley People. It's so intriguing to realize that even a civilization as vastly different as the Omo Valley People still place an emphasis on beautification. It reminds me how fundamental this is for a society; it sets us apart from others and reminds ourselves as well as others what we stand for. 

While beauty standards are so different in comparison, the intricacy of their daily appearances stuns me; each person displaying themselves as a work of their own art. 

Boy from the Karo tribe in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Photo and caption by Linda Brandi
Piper Mackay Photography

But more on color and cultural variations pertaining to color perception. I think we all question how others perceive color, ''Is your blue my blue?''. We're told that our three rods allow us to perceive light and color the same as other humans and after the disastrous dress situation last week, it's evident that this isn't entirely true. I'm not going to be explaining the significance of the dress, but rather how cultural implications of language affects our color perception. 

Image from

The Whorf Hypothesis purposes that language affects cultural perception and this psycho-linguistic study back this up. This is relatively new, but still interesting. 

MRI's show that children who just begin to start language use the left hemisphere of their brain (associated with language) when categorizing color even if they don't know words for the colors. We try to categorize these colors and our language/culture determines how detailed we are. For example, English has 11 color categories (red, orange, yellow, etc.) but some languages have more or less.

Russian for example has 12. What we consider a lighter blue they categorize as 'Goluboy' and dark blue as 'Siniy' . Forcing Russian speakers to categorize shades of blue early on allows them to be more specific when distinguishing shades of blue because in the Russian language, they are not considered the same. Therefore, they were more proficient at distinguishing slight tonal differences in comparison to native English speakers. 

Boys and Girls from the Himba Tribe
The coolest example was when comparing English to the Himba People. Located in Namibia, their language only has 6 color categories and is determined by practical use rather than tonal differences; i.e dark, light, mid-tone, and earthy. In each category is some sort of 'green' shade. Meaning, they are able to distinguish slight differences in green effortlessly while we cannot. Their language permits them to be specific and therefore are more detailed. Interestingly, they could not tell the difference between blue and green because they use the same word to describe the two. Since they are in the same color category, they were perceived as the same.

Neat, huh? (maybe not)

So I leave you with this look and the thought of color perception and beautification; the fundamental and indefinite aspects of culture. 

March 3, 2015

Not Too Shabby-- Feb Favorites

I miss February already. The Snow and Ice Storms, the chocolate on sale for 75% off.... yep.. Ima miss it. BUT LET'S NOT DWELL ON THE PAST, well, actually yeah... here's what I enjoyed in the month of February. 

First off was the Lipstick Queen lipsticks in 'Let them Eat Cake' and 'See Me'. The quintessential spring lipsticks if you weren't aware.  

Another month passed and the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor in Playa Del Pink is still very much *cough* my main bitch. 

What's different this time around is that I use this as a sheer wash of color more than an intense metallic look. STILL GORGEOUS

Blusher in Abundance, Blissful
Eyeshadow in Divine, Cloud Nine
Lip tints in Rapture, Goddess

Kjaer Weis as a brand is my current bar also has some great coupons
Also, I have the lip tint in passionate (not pictured) and I had lost my purse with it inside... AND SOMEONE RETURNED IT TO ME TODAY, PRAISE. I lost that purse 3 weeks ago so I was certain it was gone for good. 

I feel like most of my purchases these last few months were towards Kjaer Weis and let me tell ya, it was worth it. 

Well this photo is unsettling. 

Anyway, Bite Beauty's Cin Cin is the bomb for fighting that Winter Depression

The Anavita Creme and Amara Serum here reviewed HERE, so let's not talk about them much more. On the other hand, I'm digging the pura d'or argan oil. I use this on my face as a nighttime moisturizer in conjunction with the Anavita creme (go big or go home) and my skin isn't half bad. 

I was also sent the pura d'or Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. The conditioner is scented with lavender and vanilla...which is very much appreciated. Overall, a great moisturizing, volumizing line without weighing my hair down. 

This is shameful.

I was offered to try some candles from Old Factory and... I wasn't paying attention to the label. I accidently bought the 50 shades of Grey trio, okay? While I really don't agree with the book or movie...the candles were nice. While small, they only needed to burn for a couple of minutes before my entire room was scented. Although, I find the price point still a bit high and the overall aesthetic behind the brand to be a bit unoriginal.

Still, what they lack in originality they make up for with quality candles and you can check it out HERE

February 28, 2015

Oh no-- Review of KIDE Highlighter in Silver

Something about Nordic and Scandinavian anything intrigues me, so the Finnish Brand KIDE got me goin like--

I believe this brand is being discontinued and currently the only place you can get it in the US is at the Detox Market.  Let's get down to the nitty gritty... this retails for $85 (whatdaworld)

I paid around $40, but still.

These are the ingredients: 

¨Mica, Octyldodecylstearoyl Stearate, Isononylisononanoate, Hectorite, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Water (Aqua), Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Diamond Powder, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Zea Maysgerm Oil. May contain [+/– CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 15850 (Red 6, Red 7 Lake), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet)]. ¨

I don't know about you, but nothing here screams 'I'm worth $85'. Yeah there's diamond powder, but there are plenty of brands that include the powder at a lower price point. 

While this brand is free of parabens, talc and perfume it's not the most pure line out there either. They do have a pretty pretensious description though:

 ¨KIDE was created in search of something pure. High quality in the product and design come with green & healthy thinking in the core. KIDE has a contemporary-classic aesthetic with a Finnish wabi-sabi twist. At KIDE we see aesthetics as an integral part of a daily life: traditional, modern and influenced by different cultures. We value contemporary, sustainable, timeless things that can be put on display and we take pride in creating pure cosmetics that are good for your skin.¨

Oh YEAH, IT BROKE TOO. Luckily Detox Market was super chill and gave a refund without asking too many questions. Plus they were quick to respond! 

So starting off, I was already a bit irritated but still intrigued and in love with the photos I saw online

And then I saw it in person.

It's a beige powder with silver, sporadic shimmer that's two shades deeper than my skin tone. I love a subtle highlighter, but this is non existent. It did nothing and any slight shimmer I had going on was gone within a matter of minutes. 


Short story, I see how this brand is getting phased out. Over priced, pretentious and with products that don't live up to the claims. Granted, I've only tried one product and I think I'll leave it at that. Still, I'm really happy at how the Detox Market handled this and I'm glad they gave me store credit to pick out something else! Click here to check out their website

February 26, 2015

Spring 2015: New Kjaer Weis Lip Tints

This is Rapture.
Rapture's pretty.
Rapture and I are in love.

WOW, A KJAER WEIS POST. BET YA DIDN'T SEE THIS ONE COMING! I can't help it folks, I'm in love-

Also, I think my infatuation with lip products is apparent to everyone here... homegirl likes a lipstick. Homegirl also happens to love a good fuchsia. 

I've  been pleasantly surprised at how pigmented and nice these lip tints are (yeah, I've already bought a few). I would say medium/buildable opacity and a natural/demi-matte finish. I thought these were going to be glorified lip tints, but they really aren't. 

Like most Kjaer Weis Products, they are 96% organic and include the following ingredients: 

¨Beeswax: Nourishes and moisturizes, wonderful for drier complexions .
Jojoba Seed Oil: Adds moisture to the skin .
Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil: Excellent tissue regeneration properties; fights signs of aging.
Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract: Antioxidant; works as a natural preservative¨

Although, some shades include a small amount of artificial coloring to achieve that brighter shade which doesn't bother me, obviously.

The other shades Amazed and Beloved had me interested, but Amazed was too pale and Beloved looked too dupable. 

Just being impatient per usual. I have no self control honestly; have to play with my makeup as soon as I open it. 

This was one thin layer with a lip brush. You could use your finger or layer the product to get more pigmentation. 

So what's the verdict? I dig these, but I'm also insane/cosmetic obsessed so who knows if my word is valid. You can get these at Spirit Beauty Lounge, Net-A-Porter, and I believe the Detox Market (click for links)

with a pretentious, nasally accent

February 24, 2015

Barbara Hulanicki and the Incomparable Biba

When Lisa Eldridge completed her vintage inspired series, I was in awe. Especially when she began working with Vintage Biba Makeup and described the bizarre textures and colors.  Blues and greens on the lips, mustard and green tones on the eye and drooping, doll like eyes. The Biba look is not only iconic and mesmerizing, but rather the product of a strong woman and her imagination. So today we're talking about not only the iconic fashion label, but the revolutionary makeup looks and the visionary, Barbara Hulanicki.

Leading Up:

Barbara was born in Poland, Warsaw (1936) and grew up in Jerusalem until 1948. Her family moved here due to her parent's scandalous marriage; her mother was 20 years younger and had pursued a married man. While happy in Jerusalem, her father was assassinated by the Stern Gang. Devastated, she and her mother moved to Brighton, England to live with her aunt.

Inspired by the fashionable women in her life, she attended art school (Brighton School of Art). While a creative and talented individual, she felt dictated by her courses and dropped out after two years. She decided to pursue fashion design and eventually took a job at an illustrating studio in Covent Garden. While only serving tea at the time, she eventually got into sketching. In little time, she would be involved in editorials and create a name for herself.

During this time she met the love of her life, husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, an accountant.  He encouraged her to pursue her own career and would help open up the first Biba shop in Kensington. The two would open four shops within the 10 years Biba stores were open. 
Barbara, Fitz and son Witold
¨Mum made me a feminist. I was in awe of how she juggled the work-life balance so expertly. She was empowered and valued by all. When things with Biba fell apart, their world came crashing down. I was seven and couldn't do anything about it. I put my arms round her, but felt it wasn't enough.¨

One Couple Changes London Fashion:

One of the first dresses she sold is what would define the Biba aesthetic indefinitely. While a dress from a designer like Barbara would usually sell for 25 pounds, she sold it for 25 pence. This was the precursor to a fashion brand that would remain affordable; the first of its kind in London. 
However, what really put the mail order company over the edge was in May 1964 when they designed a pink gingham dress to readers of the Daily Mirror. It was similar to a Brigitte Bardot dress and was so popular, it sold 17,000 copies. Their first store opened four months later. 

The Biba look is remarkable because it was so affordable, but also fashionable. Again, brands like Topshop and H&M would fall suit. The Biba look was a hodge podge of old and new. Elements of victorian fashion, art deco, mod and gender neutral clothing defined the iconic look. Not only was the combination bizarre and new, but the color palette as well. She used 'Auntie Colors' (inspired by her Aunt)  which were deep, rich earthy tones. It really contrasted with bright, pastel shades of the mod look. Barbara felt the rusty tones suited the grey, London environment better. 

The Biba line was not gender or age specific and with it's affordable price point, it attracted groups of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Posh conversing with Cockney; there had never been anything quite like it. The Biba store became so widely popular that icons like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Marianne Faithfull and Cathy McGowan were often spotted in Biba stores. 

Another interesting fact about Biba was their marketing. They refused to put out designs in the windows, the buildings alone were enough to lure in a crowd. They also decided to include one large changing room as opposed to individual ones. As an entirety, it was a interesting scene.

The makeup was particularly interesting as it was one of the first companies to embrace alternative colors and vintage ideals. While very reminiscent of the flapper look, the Biba look incorporated those 'Auntie Colors' and other obscure tones. Blue and green lipstick, lavender blusher and mustard eyeshadow; nothing quite like it then and now. 

Like all legendary things, the Biba company closed within a decade. London was experiencing an economic recession and many of Biba's partners were bought out by larger corporations. Entrepreneurs like  Dorothy Perkins and Dennis Day bought most of the company attempting to preserve it. With the Board trying to take over creative input, Barbara closed the clothing empire. Others had tried to relaunch it, but were never successful. Barbara herself reflectively preferred that the company had closed in its high day so that the legend could live on. 

Afterwards, her and Fitz traveled and did designs in various countries. Eventually, the two settled in Miami  and this is where Barbara lives today. She pursued a new career as an interior designer and has tackled many projects like designing hotels for Chris Blackwell,  designed wallpaper for the Habitat store  and is launching a fashion and home range in India. 

My own take from this research session of mine. I feel like I could have included so much more information on the topic and maybe I will at a later date. I can't imagine anyone not being overwhelmingly inspired by the intelligent maverick that is Barbara Hulanicki. 

I also find comfort in knowing that nothing will ever quite live up to the social scene of the Biba stores; it remains legendary.