Ecco Bella Lipstick – Merlot, Rosewood Review

Nowadays I definitely see more and more vegan lipstick options coming out. But I am a picky girl. It’s gotta be cruelty-free, vegan and with nice natural ingredients. Then my choices would become limited again. The good news is that it’s not a big deal for a minimalist. I estimate I probably need only 3 to 4 lipsticks per year even if I make up every single day, and lipstick’s shelf life is about 1 to 2 years anyway.

This time I decided to give Ecco Bella a try. Unfortunately not all of their lipsticks are vegan. Some pretty shades (such as this REDvelation that I would love to try) are formulated with carmine, which is a non-vegetarian ingredients.

Ingredients: Castor oil, isopropyl palmitate (from coconut), candelilla wax, 100iu Vitamin E, organic calendula oil, organic chamomile oil, organic jojoba oil, flower wax coated iron oxides.
Cruelty-Free. Vegan. (Except certain shades such as Pink Rose, Mauve Rose, Claret Rose, Tuscany Rose and REDvelation, but the ones I picked are vegan.)

The package is made in black matte plastic material, with their logo in shiny film. I found it simple and elegant., definitely my type of package. Compared to other lipsticks it might be a bit small, but I somehow prefer smaller lipsticks, which means we could try more colors at the same time before they run out of their prime (If you’re one of those girls who don’t like to waste things!). The smell is not very attractive, as many of those fragrance-free products, although they’re not noticeable once you apply it. The texture feels a bit dry first, but I don’t particularly feel it dries out my lips. The advantage is that the color stays and doesn’t really bleed, which is tricky for a lot of red lipsticks. The layer could be built on, so you can have a more sheer shade or fuller shade.

Merlot – this is a cold toned, purplish plum color. It’s a perfect color for the fall season. I imagine it goes well with gothic style too. Although I found it works better with cool toned skin as it’s a bit too much on the purple side, which makes warm toned skin a bit sick if the rest of make up isn’t well matched. It has slight shimmer.

Rosewood – this is a neutral red tone in a slightly darker shade. It’s a rather conservative shade of red that is not flaunting. I definitely love the color. It is matte.

Physician’s Formula Happy Booster Blush – Natural Review

When I wanted to try a new blush I got recommendation from a friend in the US, so here it is. Physician’s Formula is one of the popular drugstore brands in the US, which uses comparatively nice ingredients in their products at affordable price. They do have a lot of blush lines to choose from, so it could be a bit difficult, lol. In the end I picked one blush – Natural from the Happy Booster line.

Talc. Zea Mays (Corn) Starch. Dimethicone. Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate. Zinc Stearate. Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate. Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter. Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil. Lecithin. Phytosteryl Canolate. Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil. Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract. Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract. Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter. Schinus Terebinthifolius Seed Extract. Palm Alcohol. Phenoxyethanol. Potassium Sorbate. Fragrance. May Contain: Carmine. Iron Oxides. Manganese Violet. Mica. Red 6. Red 7 Lake. Red 28 Lake. Red 30 Lake. Titanium Dioxide. Ultramarines. Yellow 5 Lake.
Cruelty-free. NOT VEGETARIAN. (Unfortunately I only found the product might contain carmine after I purchased it. I have written to inquire whether all Happy Booster line products contain it, or only some of the shades do, but nobody replied so far by the time of writing. Therefore, to err on the side of caution, I mark it as NOT VEGETARIAN. )

The package is super girly in its shiny fuchsia color. It’s not my type of package as I like minimal and professional looking ones. It comes with a small round mirror in the bottom of the blush tray, and a small brush. Since I usually don’t take blush with me when I go out, I don’t think it’s useful, although for people who do want to have a bit touch up, this might be of a bit help. Just a bit touch up, don’t expect too much. I eventually decided to use it as a cleaning brush in my Z-palette since I still have some space there lol.

The blush has a natural pink color to the cheek with a bit shiny glow. The powder is very fine and silky. The Natural shade is not super pigmented, so don’t worry about getting too much. The color is lovely and makes you feel young. The smell is rather pleasant, although I don’t think it really has therapeutic power to make you feel happier as they claim, lol. Like all PF products, the surface of the blush is pressed in cute pink hearts in different shades. When you use it, simply swipe the brush over it, then apply to your cheek.

Although I don’t like the product package, the problem can be solved by moving it to my Z-palette. However, the most disappointing point is that it contains carmine, which is a non-vegetarian ingredient that I prefer not to use. So unfortunately this would be my last purchase unless the formula changes one day and it becomes vegan. If this doesn’t bother you, this blush is definitely worth its price.

Z-palette: How to Depot Makeup and Review

I had heard of Z-palette long before I even purchased my first piece of makeup product. I loved the idea immediately, although I never thought I would use it as I thought I probably wouldn’t have that many products, lol. Now I did start to have a bit more, get a bit annoying at some packaging so I wanted to give Z-palette a try.

I chose the most popular large size. I think this is a perfect one to take when you’re traveling or use it daily. I decided to depot all the current ones I have to fit into this one.

Tools: makeup mixing palette’s spatula, tweezer, hand sanitizer, q-tips, tissue

How to depot makeup:
1. First inspect the product packaging. Some products aren’t solidly glued, you can simply use the metal spatula to dig the tray out. I did that to ELF St.Lucia blush and bronzer and they both came out easily. Some products are heavily glued, then this might not work. I tried on Physician’s Formula blush and ended up breaking it while trying to get it out. 🙁
2. When it’s difficult to depot using only spatula, consider the oven method. Preheat the oven at 100 C. Place a piece of baking paper, then lay out the makeup and bake for 4-6 minutes. Note if it’s a plastic tray inside the makeup case (such as ELF Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette), dig out the ultimate plastic tray containing only your eyeshadow first.
3. After baking, carefully take them out. At this time the glue is melted so it should be easier to dig the trays out. Some trays (such as the ELF eyeshadow I mentioned) requires you to push a bit through the two holes on the bottom.
4. Drip hand sanitizer with q tip and clean the bottoms of trays.
5. If the trays aren’t magnetic, stick one metal piece that comes with Z-palette on the bottom.
6. To keep the Z-palette relatively clean I also cut out a piece of baking paper to line the inside.
7. The whole process could be messy, so make sure you have a piece of tissue under.

Now it’s finished. I can say goodbye to all the other cases and mirrors! (I took out the mirrors so they could be recycled properly. Although this could be tricky, if you want to do that, be extremely careful removing the mirrors). I also kept the mini brush I got from Physician’s Formula blush as a cleaning brush as the broken ones turn to shed a bit power here and there.

Z-palette is indeed very neat and space-saving. It’s also minimal, professional looking and easy to travel with. If you can be patient depotting your make up, I definitely recommend it!

Oliva by CCS Body Lotion Review

Living in Sweden body lotion is a necessary item for me. The winter is cold, dry and long, our body needs a lot of nourishing and protection. For me, without a layer of lotion, my skin gets very dry and itchy, making the long winter harder to endure.

Ingredients: (perfumed version)
Aqua, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Canola Oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Dicitrate/Stearate, Butyrospermum, Parkii Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Olive Oil Decyl Esters, Betaine, Shea Butter Oleyl, Esters, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Squalene, Parfum , Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Citric Acid.
98% content of natural origin
Organic olive oil.
Cruelty-free. MIGHT be vegan. (I said “might” because some ingredients can be extracted from both animal and plant sources. However judging from the price I would say it’s largely from plant source. I have inquired the company on this but didn’t get any reply by the time of writing.)

Oliva by CCS is one of the local drug store brand that I tried and loved. It’s available in two kinds, one is perfumed and another unperfumed for those with sensitive skin. I used the unperfumed one first. Although as you might know, all of those unperfumed products still have a smell of their original materials, some might not be to your liking. The solution is to add essential oil of your choice to make them smell and function better. I usually add quite some lavender essential oil to this one. Then I also tried the perfumed one and loved the light and fresh fragrance. Since then I have stuck to this one.

Where to buy: available both online and in actual store so it’s easy to buy when you live or travel in Sweden.
Price: relatively inexpensive.
Texture: it is not very thick, so it’s silky and easy to spread over. It’s very easy to absorb into skin and works very well.

The only downside of those 500ml bottles is that the last 10-15% of lotion won’t be reached by the pump tube, so you have to cut it open, scoop out the remaining lotion and put them into a jar to finish. Or you can try 250ml tubes, which is easier to squeeze out the last bits. Other than that I quite like this one and recommend it for those who live or travel in Sweden, want to find a relatively inexpensive, easy to buy lotion with organic ingredients.

Estelle and Thild All in One Tinted Moisturizer Review

Estelle and Thild is one of the best brands that feature organic, natural, non-toxic ingredients in their skincare products. And it’s from Sweden. While a small country, in recent few years I definitely see that Sweden is following the organic food and skincare trends. There are more and more imported products available here, although not as varied as those in the USA when it comes to brands and budgets, it’s still better than nothing. However, Estelle and Thild is a local brand from Stockholm, which you can easily order online, or buy in local pharmacies or makeup stores if you live in Sweden.

The first one I decided to try is the All in One Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t have particular skin problems so I don’t always want to wear full coverage foundation. (Not to mention I still haven’t found the right shade for myself yet). This moisturizer with a bit sheer coverage is just perfect for me.

Estelle and Thild All in One Tinted Moisturizer – LIGHT
Ingredients: aqua, titanium dioxide, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, rosa damascena flower water*, glycerin**, prunus armeniaca kernel oil*, coco-caprylate/caprate, simmondsia chinensis seed oil*, butyrospermum parkii butter*, glyceryl stearate citrate, lecithin*, gluconolactone, sodium hyaluronate, glyceryl caprylate, tocopherol, cetearyl olivate, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, sorbitan olivate, parfum, limonene, linalool, sodium gluconate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, CI 77491,CI 77492, CI 77499.* Ingredient from Organic Farming **Made using organic ingredients.
99,87% of the total ingredients are from natural origin. 24,976% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming. Natural and Organic Cosmetic certified by ECOCERT Greenlife according to ECOCERT Standard available at

Although I normally prefer glass bottle to plastic one, I found this one light and convenient to travel with. It’s not slippery so it’s easy to hold and apply. The pump works perfectly so the liquid has less contact with the air to keep it fresh longer. It is also easy to control the amount you apply on your face.

It feels silky and light on my skin. I usually feel a bit heavy when I use foundation. It’s available in two shades: light and medium. I used the light shade and it works alright. It’s only sheer coverage, so my skin color is not altered but skin texture is smoother. It also smells nice from the rose water. I normally try to use fragrance-free products, but those usually smell a bit weird. So recently I started to use some products that add natural fragrance such as from essential oil or floral water as the flavor. Believe me, that makes your skin care or make up routine more enjoyable. 😉

It’s the first product from Estelle&Thild I tried, and I definitely fell in love with it. I think it would be perfect for summer when you absolutely need something lighter on your face. If you need a sheer coverage for your face, and can find it online or in your local health store, I urge you to try it!