Rimmel Vinyl Outslumps PeaceBang!

I must admit to you, Beauty Bangers, that I had a post-Easter slump where I could not be depended upon to bother with eyeliner, let alone styled hair and accessorized outfits. This happens very rarely during the church program year, but it did happen. Perhaps it’s a by-product of having turned 40 and spending a lot more time saying, “Oh for heaven’s sake, no one cares.”

It’s been Pants-And-A-Shirt, and Pants-And-A-Shirt, and little silver hoops and just my regular lipcolor (you know what it is: say it all together now… Cover Girl AllStay Outlast in Blush Pearl! I bought six last week so let me know if you need me to send you one).
I even decided to cut all my nails off since I’m taking BANJO lessons and I just can’t have nails. I guess if all the girls from “Sex and the City” don’t bother with manicures — and have you seen Sarah Jessica Parker’s positively mannish hands? — I can let my stubby grubbies go unpolished, too.

Speaking of which, a French polish is NEVER NEVER EVER okay on your toenails. Not even on your wedding day. Okay? French manicures are outre as it is, but I still like them as they’re pretty and so clean looking, but NEVER on the toes. I applaud your desire for a pedicure, but you want a nice neutral like Samoan Sand or Bubble Bath by O.P.I., and believe me, every nail shop in America has it in stock. If you’re pastoring a liberal congregation, by all means get Dutch Tulip or Chick Flick Cherry or Kennebunk-port. I think “I’m Not Really A Waitress” is too racy for a minister of any denomination, although you can get away with it on your nails at Christmastime, if you keep your nails short.

So where was I?
Oh, yes.
Well, I was slogging along in my grey sweatjacket and jeans and grey Merrill moccasins today having just frumped off the train after a five hour ride, and I stopped at the store for some kitty litter. They just happened to have Rimmel products in the cosmetics section (PeaceBang NEVER foregos a visit to the cosmetics section!) and I got four Rimmel lip glosses from the Vinyl Lip line.
They’re less then $4 each, and they make me happy. So there.

I just have to say that the shade “Fantastic” is the cutest ever, shiny and peachy and with enough coverage to just brighten up your face. You’ll be all smiles, and who wouldn’t want that?

PeaceBang recommends: Rimmel Vinyl Lip Color in “Fantastic”
O.P.I. nail polish in Samoan Sand or Bubble Bath

Sister Sarah On Safe(r) Cosmetics

The Reverend PeaceBang has kindly invited me to write to her gentle readers about safe cosmetics. It’s a subject I happened upon during my ministerial internship, when the congregation I served hosted a film about a breast cancer survivor (One in Eight: Janice’s Journey). From the panelists afterward I learned about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. (Sadly for my meager intern pocketbook, this occurred just after I’d just invested a bunch of money I didn’t have in “trying to look more professional” with new cosmetics products that turned out not to be too good for me.) At the panel, I learned that in the US, ingredients in beauty products are not regulated in the same way that our food and drugs are. There is no FDA that makes sure your eye shadow’s ingredients won’t give you cancer, or guarantees that ingredients in your anti-aging crème won’t mimic hormones and cause you reproductive harm. Our skin absorbs so much of what we put on to it. If you’ve ever used those menthol pain patches, a nicoderm patch, or the birth control patch you know this. What I put on my skin is of great concern to me. I’ve lost too many members of my extended family to cancer. I know that we can only control so much in this regard, but I do try to take control of what I can.

Fortunately, thanks to the Environmental Working Group, you can find out what’s in the products you use and you can switch to less harmful ones. I advise looking up products before buying them. Labeling can be deceptive—things that say “natural” and “organic” are not necessarily any more free of toxic ingredients. And things that don’t say “natural” aren’t necessarily any more bad. And some products that people tend to think are harmful—aluminum-based antiperspirant, for example—actually aren’t as harmful as rumored. It’s other stuff in deodorant—like “perfume” containing phthalates—that you have to look out for.

Here are some of the products I’ve used and recommend:

Body Moisturizer: Avalon Organics Hand and Body Lotion – Lavender, enriched withBetaGlucan – it’s better at treating my super-dry skin than the more toxic Lubriderm or Aveeno ever were. Avalon Organics has recently reformulated nearly all their products to meet Safe Cosmetics guidelines.

Facial Moisturizer: Aubrey Organics Green Tea & Ginkgo Moisturizer SPF 15 or Avalon Organics Moisture Plus Lotion with SPF 18 – These are both good but slightly greasy on my skin. They don’t contain the toxic “penetration enhancers” that my old facial moisturizer did—I think that’s why they’re greasier, so I just live with it.

Deodorant: Ban – Original Formula Roll-On, unscented. One of the safest on the market, and works well under those clergy robes on hot days!

Sun Block: Bull Frog – Surfer Formula Gel SPF 36. It’s ironic that so many people wear sunblock to avoid skin cancer, yet sunblock so often contains ingredients that can make a person more likely to get cancer. Scary! Bull Frog isn’t the absolute safest sunblock, but it’s safer than most on the market and it rubs in to my skin. (Many of the safer sunblocks I’ve tried make me—dry skin woman—look like a pasty Goth, but they work better for an oily skinned friend of mine.)

Shaving Cream: Nature’s Gate Organics Creamy Shave Gel. Good stuff. Nature’s Gate is not a safe brand overall, but their line of “Organics” is quite safe in general.

Shampoo & Conditioner: Nature’s Gate Organics or Avalon Organics

Shower Gel: Avalon Organics

Styling Products: Aveda “Be Curly” and Aveda Brilliant Forming Gel Light Hold. Though Aveda portrays itself as “green” and “natural,” not all of their products are good for you. These two products are OK. They represent a compromise between choosing the safest products and choosing products that actually work in my hair. Some of the safest stuff (like Kiss My Face “Upper Management” hair gel) just didn’t agree with my tresses. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is trying to get Aveda to sign their pledge—they haven’t yet.

Makeup: Sorry, I can’t help you there… When I started wearing makeup to look “professional” last year I got comments from many folks that they liked my look better without makeup. I think it was because of the particular makeup I chose and my lack of experience in makeup application techniques (I haven’t worn it regularly since Junior High.) This is why I read “Beauty Tips for Ministers” ;-). I’m planning to venture out into the realm of makeup again one of these days, and I’ll be sure to consult Skin Deep to find safe(r) products.

I’ll be interested to hear others’ recommendations for high quality, safe, beauty-enhancing practices and products. Inner beauty always works well, and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Peace & health to all,
Rev. Sarah in California

[PeaceBang here, darlings, who knows Sister Sarah and can attest to the fact that she is one of those extra cute, shiningly beautiful young thangs who can get by with a bare face and a slick of lipgloss. Thank you, Sarah! I like Aubrey Organics a whole lot and will be buying more of their products in the future, thanks to you. – P.B.]

Is Your Mascara Toxic?

Sister Sarah in California alerts all the beautiful readers of this blog to research their cosmetics on this site:


You may find that your blush is full of harmful chemicals. You may learn that your hair conditioner is less about making your head all shiny and more about making the water supply unsafe. Of course I exaggerate, but considering how many products PeaceBang personally uses, and how many she is encouraging you to use, do consider this other perspective.

PeaceBang just learned that Physician’s Formula blush is listed as high risk for icky ingredients. Just goes to show, ya can’t tell anything from a name.

Let’s be careful out there!

Fresh and Young

I just found the most darling blush and lipstick and wanted to tell you about it:

The brand is Lola (slogan: Lust Often, Love Always) and the blush is just the softest pink I’ve found, and I’ve been looking for years. This is the kind of pink a pale-skinned girl wears when she wants to feel like a character in a Jane Austen novel who has just gone walking on the heath in a beautiful empire-waist dress. It doesn’t matter that in real life, she’s walking over to church to polish the Communion silver and to make Xerox copies of the order of service, she feels romantic anyway.

Lola powder blush in One Night Stand (not that PeaceBang condones such behavior, of course, she just likes the blush), which comes in the most adorable red compact with the most cunning little powder puff applicator! I’m sure a blush brush would work, too. You need a very light hand with this stuff, and it’s got to be blended like mad or you wind up looking eccentric rather than romantic, with two crazy clown apple cheeks.

If you’re into pale pink lipsticks — and I am, when a bit tan* and well-rested, as it looks great with a dramatic black eyeliner — Lola makes several and one of them is bound to work on you. I bought Tea Rose, and squealed when I found the mirror on the side of the lipstick case!

*by that I mean, “tan by the magic of Trish McEvoy bronzer” not “baked to a nice pre-cancerous condition by the actual sun”

PeaceBang Recommends:

Lola powder blush in One Night Stand
Lola lipstick in Tea Rose
Available at Sephora.com

Your Easter Eyes

Darlings, I’ve been noticing that many of us d’un certain age (French for “don’t ask me how old I am”) are suffering the unnecessary effects of heavily shadowed eyes, and I don’t mean shadowed by Max Factor, but by stress, sleeplessness, and the burdens of serving the Lord. Some of us look like we’ve spent more time in the tomb than Lazarus, but not to worry, dear and reverend friends, PeaceBang is here to help!

Just put a wee pump of L’Oreal’s Infallible Make-Up, which is just genius at creating a nice, even complexion and staying on all day, onto your hand. Make sure your face is clean and moisturized, and that the moisurizer has had a minute or two to soak in (and you know that moisturizer should have an SPF, right? Don’t count on your make-up’s SPF — it’s dinky and doesn’t provide the necessary UVA/UVB protection, no matter what it says).

Dot the make-up on your face and blend, blend, blend but here’s the important tip: DON’T forget to put the merest amount ON your eyelids and under them, and all the way into the corner of the eye. That’s where all the shadows are! Erase them! Don’t feel you have to slap the foundation on every inch of your face. The idea is to get a shade that matches perfectly (Classic Ivory is PeaceBang’s perfect match) and to even out the skin tone, not make you look like a china doll.

Now, if you’re over 25 and you want to protect your eyes from developing crow’s feet (which are a charming sign of character, of course, but charming in moderation), you want to have also applied Kiehl’s Ultra Protection Moisturizing Eye Gel SPF 15 under your eye. Dab, dab, dab, don’t rub. Men, you too. The lovely side effect of using this particular product is that it gives your skin the merest hint of a glow that stays and stays all day. This eye cream is inexpensive enough that I keep one in my bag for touch-ups and between that and my big sunglasses, I swear my crow’s feet are much diminished from a few years ago. Of course I also use a heavier eye cream at night. Find one and use it. Religiously.

If you’re not devoted to eye shadow (and I’m not as of late — too creasy), a dusting of illuminating powder will brighten the area nicely and set off your eyeliner, if you wear it. I do. MAC black liquid, which I don’t recommend if you’re not dramatic and steady of hand.

Clinique makes a nifty shadow duo that comes in a cunning silver case with a sponge applicator AND a little brush (and a mirror that is large enough to actually use! O joy of joys!) that seems to me would work with most complexions. It’s very sheer and it’s called Rose Wine. The Rose is a lovely soft powder color to wear all over your lid, and the Wine is a lovely very light brown/purple shade that works as a contrast color or to smudge on as eyeliner. This is the kind of make-up that women who don’t want to wear make-up can handle. Heavens, I’ve got it on now and you can hardly tell anything’s there.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think mascara is optional. I’m very orthodox that way. I’m devoted to CoverGirl Remarkable in black, because it washes off with gentle soap and you don’t have to slather on a bunch of pore-clogging mineral oil to get it off.

Don’t forget to find that eyebrow pencil we were talking about. Frame the face! Frame the face! Don’t overpluck! Get professional help if you need it! Every decent salon nowadays has an eyebrow specialist and it’s a $10 investment, once or twice a year.

PeaceBang Recommends:

Kiehl’s Ultra Protection Moisturizing Eye Gel SPF 15
L’Oreal Infallible Never Fail Make-Up
Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo in Rose Wine
CoverGirl Remarkable Washable Mascara