Beauty

15
Jul
2017

Milk + Honey Spa (More Animal-Friendly Than It Sounds) | Austin, TX

You might have noticed, if you follow me on Instagram, that I often spend time in Austin, Texas. Can you blame me? Its the most fun, musical, vegan-friendly place in Texas!  I kept hearing about this “super cool, cruelty-free, premier day spa” in town, so of course I had to go check it out.  That’s when I discovered the pure magic of Milk + Honey spa, in the heart of Austin’s downtown.  The interior is uniquely beautiful, the services are spectacular, but most importantly– the spa owners vet the hell out of any product line before carrying it.  Cruelty-free is their bottom line– none of their products for sale or used at the spa have been tested on animals (let me repeat!!! NONE of the products!) and most are 100% vegan (with the exception of an occasional product in their signature line with beeswax and/or honey).

Let me start by telling you about MY experience at Milk + Honey spa (there is also a location in Houston, FYI).  I come in early and spend extra time in the light-filled, modern reception area, because it is filled with fun products that you can shop– from SpaRitual nail polish, to locally-made soy candles. to their signature brand’s delicious-smelling, plant-based body lotion.   The two skincare lines they carry and use in their treatments are: a) my longtime FAVORITE brand, Osea Malibu (you might remember me raving about them back in this post 6 months ago) and b) Cosmedix (another cruelty-free brand!).

So after I spent way too much time and money in the lobby (I maintain that I truly needed a foot massager ball and 5 new colors of nail polish!), I head from the reception area to the locker room.  This area is also super fabulous and stocked with everything you might need to get relaxed or to get ready.  I put my things in a locker, resist the temptation to stay in their steam room for the rest of the evening, and go instead into their super zen, fruit-and-nut-and-cucumber-water-filled waiting area. It is beautiful and cavernous and I feel the stress of the day slipping away while I wait for my aesthetician to come and get me for my hour-long Signature Facial.

milk + honey spa

The girl in charge of giving me the facial of a lifetime is named Bridget.  She is amazing and I love her immediately… You can really tell that she is passionate about what she does, and she has a very calming energy about her.  She uses all natural, organic Osea Malibu products on my face, which I love.  She also does extractions with her sterilized instrument, which is pretty much the most satisfying thing EVER to watch. I thought I already knew everything about the Osea line (because I’m a fangirl), but she coaches me on each products nuances as we go through each step, and I walk away from the facial not only feeling like a new woman… but also like a true expert.  Bonus:  I was able to grab some of my favorite products on my way out, since they sell Osea on site!

Bottom line:  I would HIGHLY recommend this premier day spa to anyone in the Austin or Houston area.  5 star rating, hands down my favorite. You will not be disappointed!

Milk + Honey Spa

 

(photos: Casey Dunn)

10
Jul
2017

the importance of professional skincare, featuring: McGuiness Dermatology

Who’s your dermatologist?

(If you couldn’t answer that question right away… Houston, we have a problem.)

As for me, I go see McGuiness Dermatology in the DFW area.  If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’re familiar with them– I go somewhat frequently because I love the procedures the perform on my skin, and because frankly I love the atmosphere and staff so much!  They also have 7 locations around Dallas & Fort Worth, so there is always one nearby.

I used to see them twice per year for skin checks and general maintenance (FYI: this is basically the bare minimum of what you should be doing)– I have moles on my stomach and neck and need to check them regularly to make sure that they don’t change in shape/size/coloration. Truly, guys, I cannot emphasize the importance of mole checks enough… It could be the difference between life and death!!! And make sure your man does this, too, by the way– statistically, men tend to forget to have their skin looked at.  Anways, needless to say, I started going to the dermatologist much more frequently once I opened my eyes to ALL that they can do for you, and am now in there just about every other month.

I’ll cut to the chase… This is what I’ve done, want to do, and won’t do. (*all procedures I’ve done are vegan!)

I’m addicted to:

  • Hydrafacial
    • No downtime, super quick procedure (under 30 min),
    • NO pain.
    • Relatively inexpensive.
    • Immediate results.  Makes you feel like a goddess for about 10 days.  The day after Hydrafacial you literally feel like a supermodel; your skin glows.
    • I get this done about once per month.  Done regularly, it keeps your skin super clear and you won’t get breakouts in between treatments.
  • Microneedling
    • Long term results!!!  Super quick procedure (under 30 min).
    • Minimal discomfort, no big deal.
    • Fights wrinkles, uneven texture, scarring, stretch marks.
    • Basically, little micro needles will cause tiny wounds to the skin, which will then initiate the skin’s natural healing process, improving the skin’s texture and appearance.
    • Minimal downtime.  I usually will hide out for a day afterwards because your face is red and a tiny bit puffy, so I will normally get this on a friday.  Pro tip: Don’t put makeup on afterwards for about 24 hours.
  • Ultherapy
    • Basically, this is like a non-invasive face/neck lift, using ultrasound!! The results are TRULY amazing.
    • Notable discomfort, I’m not going to lie. Especially on the chest.  But hey… Sometimes, beauty is pain.
    • No downtime! But it does take a few months for to see maximum results, so be patient.
    • Save up for this one ($$), but girllll it is worth it.
  • Skincare/ at-home-upkeep
    • Bonus if you go to the McGuiness group… The staff and providers are all huge animal-lovers AND simply like to keep informed about their products, and 90% of the products they recommend & sell are cruelty-free!!!!  This is huge.
    • Skincare that you can take home and use every morning/night is key to longterm skin youthfulness, clarity, and health.
    • Karen Adams, the (plant-based!) PA I see pretty frequently, is PASSIONATE about putting together skincare regimens for people based on their specific skin type, wants, and needs.  For me, she uses cruelty-free, anti-aging products that won’t break me out! This is so important, guys.
    • Don’t forget sunscreen daily! So crucial.  I like to get a separate facial sunscreen so it won’t block my pores.  I picked up the Elta MD brand at McGuiness Dermatology, because it is cruelty-free, vegan, won’t break you out and is meant for the face.  Super luxurious-feeling, too.

What I want to do:

  • Dermaplaning
    • I will probably spring for this right before the wedding. Makes your makeup go on really smoothly.
    • Uses a sterile blade to remove the top layer of your skin, along with “peach fuzz.” (No, the hair won’t grow back dark and/or coarse!)
    • Inexpensive and quick.

What I’m not into:

  • Fillers
    • I’m just personally not ready for this!
    • Iffy animal-friendly statuses even on those who claim to be cruelty-free… I don’t want to risk it.
    • If you ARE into this, it is SO important to find a good health care professional to execute.  It can be done beautifully (Karen Adams‘ patient photos are very impressive and natural-looking) or not-so-much (poor Meg Ryan, for instance).

Lastly,  as promised, I will close this little post out with an FAQ, featuring the most popular questions you guys sent me via email or IG.  Answers are from my own skincare guru Karen Adams.  I trust her with my face and my health, because she is animal-friendly, does very thorough research, is very careful and natural, and is a well trained, highly-educated perfectionist. Enjoy!  Learn!

1) What procedure would you recommend for acne scarred skin? SkinPen by far, since microneedling devices help to stimulate collagen production (to even out texture of skin) and results in little to no downtime.
2) What would you recommend for Melasma? Melasma is a tricky condition to treat because usually when melasma has occurred, there is already a dysfunction of melanocytes – the pigment producing cells – and it is caused by or made worse by UV radiation and hormonal changes, including birth control and pregnancy. I typically pair a non-hydroquinone cream with a 4% hydroquinone cream for a boost in lightening pigment, then add on a topical antioxidant like SkinBetter Alto Defense with infrared protection, and definitely mandate sunscreen or SPF 30+ that has broad spectrum coverage. At night, a retinoid is needed as well. And that’s just to start!
3) Are extractions using a metal tool good or bad? I thought we weren’t supposed to pop zits? Even metal extractors can cause damage to the skin, especially if too much pressure is applied or if the skin OR tool is not properly cleansed before use. Always better to have extractions done by a trained medical professional!
4) How often should I come see my dermatologist? It depends on the skin condition and risk. Skin cancer screenings should be performed every 6-12 months whereas individuals with acne may need to visit the dermatologist every 4-6 weeks until the acne is under control.
5) Why is picking the right dermatologist important? It’s important to find someone who will listen and address your specific needs and desires. (Molly’s note: Beware of docs who rush you in and out of the room in under a couple of minutes.  Find someone who cares!!)
6) Favorite animal-friendly skincare line? SkinBetter!
7) What procedure makes the biggest difference in overall appearance? Microneedling is a fan favorite by far. Usually 3-4 treatments are needed and after each, you get a nice “glowy” look for a few days that makes you look so refreshed. Long term benefits are: a decrease in acne scars, reduction in fine and etched in lines, and just an overall boost in the firmness of skin.
8) Most common mistake you see as a dermatologist? Most common problem? Many times I’ll see patients give up on medications or products before they’ve been given enough time to work. Patience is important, good things will come if given enough time!
10) If you could give one piece of advice, it would be: Always, always, always use a good sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage and spf 30+ (EltaMD is a great start) and a retinoid. There are many prescription retinoids and retinoids sold in dermatology offices to pick from, so finding one that is perfect for your individual skin type is doable!

 

I hope this post has inspired you to call your dermatologist and make an appointment– or to call mine, who I obviously love. Remember: our skin is our largest organ, and it is so important that we take care of it.

 

(Featuring: McGuiness Dermatology. You can schedule your appointment online!)

 

30
Jun
2017

organic, cruelty-free skincare brand LALOGY

“It is liquid gold in a jar.” – Story of Mar

lalogy skincare
Oooooh man, you know how I feel about some vegan, cruelty-free, organic skincare.

Meet: one of my new very favorite products from one of my new favorite brands! “The Hangover” by LALOGY is a super intensive, firming, peptide-rich moisturizer that is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of facial expression lines. Real talk: at first I was not sure about the super yellow tint to the moisturizer. But once I rubbed it alllll in (and realized that moderation is key when it comes to this product), I found that the subtle hue actually evens out your skin tone and helps hide pimples. I L-O-V-E the scent, too, which comes from the lavender and chamomile essential oils. Lastly– I keep this product in the refrigerator. WHY, you ask? Because the ingredients come from small USDA approved farms across North America, so it helps keep the product fresh and extends the shelf-life. Also, because it just feels better when you put it on!

  • Some great news: Lalogy generously gave me a discount code to share with you guys! Enter FASHIONVEGGIE at checkout. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think! Thanks in advance for supporting cruelty-free products… After this week’s unfortunate NARS animal testing scandal, I extra-appreciate ethical beauty brands like Lalogy who have decided to choose life over profits.

8
May
2017

list of recommended products from our instagram live sesh

Hey guys!  Thank you to the couple hundred of you who joined in for an impromptu, early morning “live session” with me yesterday on Instagram!  It was fun to discuss all of the cruelty-free products in my bathroom and to be super honest with you without there being any sponsorship involved.  Extra thanks to those who contributed to the conversation with your own favorite, cruelty-free beauty products… I have ordered a couple of them to try!

I am going to keep this post short and sweet– but as promised, I wanted to provide you with links to all of the best products that we discussed, along with a “Cliff’s Notes” type reminder of what it is, how much it costs, and why I like it.   Let me know if you have any additional questions or if you need help deciding between products based on your skin type, etc… I am ALWAYS here to help!  Thanks for being ethical and caring about animals, beauties.

XOX- M

Haircare:

Eva NYC shampoo and conditioner:  $… comes in big bottles with a pump, I keep this in my bathroom for guests because it gets the job done and doesn’t break the bank.

Paul Mitchell thermal protectant: $… I try to support products by by them because they pulled out the plan to retail in China in order to retain their cruelty-free status. I put this product in my hair before using a blow dryer or curling iron.

Living Proof “perfect hair day” trio:  $$… Makes your blowout last all week long, seriously. Its a splurge but worth it when you know you’re about to have a busy, important week. You need to use the shampoo, conditioner, and then once you’re out of the shower you follow it up with the styling treatment.

Olaplex at home treatment: $$… The only reason my hair hasn’t all fried off after all of my color changes!  I sleep with it in my hair about once every couple of weeks.

Tressa Watercolors color deposit shampoo: $.. Great for color maintenance! I never had to touch up my red color while using this product. Whatever your color is, there is a match for you. I mixed it 1 to 1 with my preferred shampoo.

Colure Hair Care: $$… Use this brand if you have tape-in extensions!  They will never make your “weave” slide out 🙂

Fragrance: 

Le Labo: $$$ pricey but stays on ALL day and you can name your own fragrance. I keep mine in the fridge so it’s extra refreshing to put on, and I wear LYS 41.

Nail polish: 

Zoya: $, take awhile to chip off, almost 350 colors to choose from!

Nail polish remover: 

LA Color pads: $, fruit-scented, super easy and portable. I like the lemon-scent.

Body Lotion: 

Kiss My Face: $… Super moisturizing, love the coconut smell the most, huge bottle and lasts forever.

OZ Naturals: $$… Has macadamia nut oil.. Really doesn’t have a scent, so it’s ideal if you want your perfume to be a standalone.

Deodorant:

Crystal: $… THE ONLY NATURAL DEO THAT HAS WORKED FOR ME… It comes in lots of scent options, but I prefer the unscented.  Quick note: it does contain “potassium alum” which is a natural mineral salt, but still a type of aluminum. However, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of science, the molecules are too large to penetrate the skin, so this type of alum does not put you at risk. I wanted to mention it anyhow!

Piper Wei: $$… So many of my friends love this, but it just didn’t work for me anymore after using it for a week or so.  Could be my specific body chemistry, though, because like I mentioned, so many people love it!  You apply with your fingertips, though… Which also wasn’t my fave.

Handsoap: 

Meyer’s… $… I love the lemon scent, and the bottle lasts a long time.  Very affordable.

Sun protection: 

Elta MD: $$… I am addicted to their facial sunscreen. It won’t break you out, and is a good base for makeup. The dermatologists I work with LOVE this product.

Kiss My face oil spray: $… Good for body.

Sun Bum sticks: good to keep in your handbags/beach bags, tiny, can easily take on an airplane. Can go on the face, but I still recommend Elta MD if you have acne-prone skin. 

Dry Shampoo:

Eva NYC: $… I prefer it to Psssst brand because it is less expensive and has a better scent.

Skincare for face:

Osea Malibu: $$… My ride-or-die products, I especially cannot live without their facial cleanser or their advanced protection cream (anti-aging night cream!). Makes my skin look and feel so youthful and fresh and clean. ADDICTED. WORTH EVERY PENNY. I so appreciate the glass, eco-friendly packaging, as well. Great for acne prone or sensitive skin.

LXMI: $$… If you’re into mega hydration, get this luxury product that starts as a balm and then turns to facial oil. Helps marginalized women earn a decent wage, fair-trade, organic.

Beauty Counter: $$… This company prides themselves on products without dangerous chemicals and additives. I love their rose water facial mist and their plumping + jasmine facial oil. PS: if you have a kid, their stuff for children is evidently great!

Body Soap: 

Everyone Soap: $$… Comes in a huge container or 2 pack, so it lasts a long time…My main use for this is as a bubble bath, but it can also be a shower gel… Lavender scent is my favorite

Shea Moisture “african black” body wash: $… I like this for the shower, luxurious-feeling and a good scent for men, too, in case you are co-habitating.

Beauty Counter charcoal body bar: I keep this next to the bath, has detoxing qualities, cool minimal look. Good for men, too.

Everything, from makeup to soaps to shampoos:

LUSH!!!!!  I am particularly obsessed with their bath bombs, but I basically treat this store as a one-stop-shop for everything cruelty-free.

 

**Quick reminder: you can always check on the cruelty-free status of a brand by referring to Logical Harmony’s list, which is updated weekly!

29
Apr
2017

LXMI : vegan, fair trade, and luxurious skincare

Spoiler alert:  LXMI is a game changer.

I remember when I first decided to cut out all products which had been tested on animals, I was pretty sad about losing certain luxury skincare products.  La Mer moisturizer, for instance, while outrageously expensive, had never failed to made me look and feel like a million bucks.  Until now, I had chalked that loss up to an “oh well, nothing else will be quite THAT good, but being cruelty-free is obviously way more important.”   But now, things have changed.

Meet : your old favorite skincare product’s more beautiful, more ethical, AND more affordable counterpart!  LXMI, now available at Sephora. I can barely contain my excitement as I write to tell you guys about her.

LXMI secret weapon:  Nilotica Reserve.  This is an “organic, cold pressed skin superfood” which achieves incredible results without all the synthetic gunk.  If you want to get more detailed about it– it is a butter extracted from the fruits of East Africa’s nilotica tree nuts, which goes on velvety soft and then transforms into a vitamin A & E-rich oil.  It penetrates deeply into the skin and prevents signs of aging– fine lines are greatly deducted, and your skin feels and appears amazingly hydrated. This is due to LXMI’s nilotica reserve having +25% more essential fatty acids than traditional beauty oils. A more rare and exotic relative of shea, it is harvested seasonally from 20-year-old trees at the Nile.  For more info on this luxurious, hard-to-get ingredient, go HERE

lxmi vegan skincare nilotica ingredient

LXMI ethics: the Nilotica Reserve is harvested by marginalized women in the Nile Valley.  LXMI prioritizes health and is 100% organic.  A very transparent company, they take pride in being fair-trade– if you’d like to meet some of the LXMI harvesters, click HERE. The products are 100% vegan and never animal-tested.

LXMI vegan skincare fashionveggie

LXMI on you: These products truly smell incredible.  My fiancé asked me what is was that I had on, and said he really loved the scent.  My favorite product is their Pure Nilotica Melt Nourishing Balm-to-Oil I apply it and leave it on overnight, but I also add touchups throughout the day to my chin and under my eyes… basically, anywhere that feels dry and could use some extra hydration.  It leaves your skin looking luminous and youthful, not oily.

LXMI fashionveggie vegan skincare

Shop LXMI:

7
Apr
2017

subscription box : vegan cuts

Subscription boxes are all the rage these days, obviously.   People order these in order to have a new monthly stash of bows for their kid, toys for their dog, makeup for their face, plants for their garden– you name it.   I’ve never gotten very involved in all of that, as I’m trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to live a bit more minimalistic, material-wise.  However,  I am discovering that I cannot say no to the monthly Vegan Cuts boxes.

They have the snack box, which is what I tried this month.  It contained drinks, cookies, snacks… You name it.  ALL vegan, mostly fair-trade and organic.  I especially love this because my fiancé is slowly going more and more vegan, and I really love to have as much variety around the house as possible for him to snack on, which shows him how totally unrestrictive the lifestyle can be.  Additionally, the box has introduced me to some of my very favorite pantry staples!   So, whether you are new-ish to being vegan or vegetarian, whether you are an omnivore who simply likes snacks, or whether you’ve been vegan for years and just want to add new and fun snack items to your rotation, I highly recommend this monthly box.

(Pssst!  They also offer a beauty/cosmetics/skincare box!

Go check them out, let me know what you think!

VEGAN CUTS

 

17
Mar
2017

my cruelty-free products picks! plus, what you can do to help.

You gotta be careful out there.  I remember when I first went animal-friendly/cruelty-free…  I was at the mall and approached the Estée Lauder makeup counter.  “Hi!  Y’all have a foundation I’m obsessed with and I just ran out, but I need to please speak with someone who knows if you test on animals.”

The saleswoman’s eye’s widened and she gasped “Oh, my God! Do people even still do that, test on animals?! So barbaric.  We haven’t done that since the ’80s, and we never would.”

“Ok!” Happy with her emphatic answer, I paid an exorbitant amount of money for my favorite foundation, and went on my way.

Fast forward a few months where I had become more savvy navigating the vegan/cruelty-free world, and I was SHOCKED to learn how sneaky (and sometimes just flat out uninformed) cosmetics companies and their workers can be.  Straight up: I was duped.  Estée Lauder’s official statement regarding their animal testing policy reads as follows: The Estée Lauder Companies does not test on animals and we never ask others to do so on our behalf. If a regulatory body demands it for its safety or regulatory assessment, an exception can be made.”  The red flag lies in the second sentence.  The most profitable market to sell makeup is China, and guess what? In order to retail in China, by Chinese law you HAVE to test on animals.  So most big-name cosmetics/hygiene brands do, in fact, choose to test on animals.  And just so everyone is on the same page– and this will matter to some people more or less than others– contrary to popular belief, animal testing does not involve a mouse in a cage.  Beagles… Yes, the dogs… And cats, and bunnies, and monkeys are typically the victims.  They will pour laundry detergent in a dog’s mouth, for instance, so see how much he/she can ingest without dying.  Or they’ll blind a cat so see how much mascara you can shove into your eye.  It’s INSANE and heartbreaking and so, so archaic.

The bright side?? You can be a part of the SOLUTION! 

How?

  1. Download the Cruelty Cutter app!  It is a handy tool you can use while shopping to determine which products/ brands are animal-friendly.  Simply scan the barcode and the info pops up!  Here’s the deal… Every time you shop you cast a vote, via every dollar you spend, for what kind of world you want to live in.  This app helps you vote kindly and wisely.
  2. Do your research! I choose to follow cruelty-free makeup bloggers to get my facts straight.  The most thorough blogger is Logical Harmony (@logicalharmony on IG)– she checks up on the brands every single week and updates her cruelty-free list!  You’d be surprised how often these companies change their verbiage on their testing policies.
  3. Check out and give your support to organizations who set out to rescue and rehabilitate these victimized animals, as well as those organizations who work to expose the cruelty involved in animal testing.  One of my very favorites is the Beagle Freedom Project.

Hopefully you feel at least slightly empowered now… You really can make a difference.  The world is changing right now more than every before, as it pertains to animal rights and welfare… I feel it and see it every day and it gives me goosebumps. Won’t it be cool, when animal testing is abolished for good, to look back say “I helped. I was on the right side of history.”

 

In the meantime, I’m going to list some of my favorite cruelty-free products here.  Enjoy!

Makeup:

Budget: e.l.f

Splurge: Kat Von D (LOVE all her products! And I love to support her, because KVD is a celebrity who has really used her platform to make change for animals.  She has heroically decided not to retail in China, and has reformulated her lipsticks to be completely vegan.)

Nail polish:

Zoya

Deodorant: 

This was a hard one for me to figure out, not going to lie.  But I finally found a product I’m in love with an that works for me: Crystal Roll-on. 

Facial/skincare: 

Budget: Kiss My Face (especially for face wash, moisturizer, and sunscreen)

Splurge: Osea Malibu (OBSESSEDDDDDD WITH THEM!!!!!!!!!! Fav products are the gel cleanser and their advanced protection creme… I wear it every night.)

Body wash:

Shea Moisure African Black (good scent for both men and women)

Shampoo/Conditioner:

Budget: On major sale right now is Eve NYC… Very clean smell, makes my hair feel soft.

Splurge: Living Proof products (I like to buy the “Perfect Hair Day trio… Your hairstyle will be in place for days, it is CRAZY! But the other formulations, like their anti-frizz, are great, too.)

Detergent (dish and laundry) and cleaning supplies:

Seventh Generation! I live and die by this brand and their eco-friendly mission.

 

As always, friends, never hesitate to contact me with any questions!! I love to help. XO have a fun weekend!  Thank you for caring about animals.

 

-Molly