Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cult Beauty Brands With Positive Messages

[As published on HERE]
Good skincare brands, like good friends, are kind of hard to come by. Sometimes they’re superficial, and sometimes they’re toxic for you. Some require your constant attention. Some don’t make any difference, you wonder why you spent so much time trying to convince yourself to think otherwise.
I’ll readily admit that I don’t have that many friends. You could probably count them with one hand and still have fingers left over. But over the years, I’ve learned to whittle away the things/people that don’t matter, so that I can make space for those who do.
It’s the same with beauty products. If something isn’t working, why stick with it? Why not change for the better? Here are some brands that send positive messages, so you can get started on your way to a beauty rehaul:

Not Soap, Radio
When I first heard about the brand, I was like, ‘Uhhh…. what? Soap? Radio?’ Not Soap, Radio is actually a US-born brand, helmed by sisters Laura and Suzanne Cabot. The brand make comes from a punch line of a nonsense joke Laura and her friends used to tell each other when they were younger.
There are two polar bears taking a bath.
One polar bear says to the other, “Please pass the soap.”
The other bear turns to him and says, “Not Soap, Radio.”
After that, they’d laugh hysterically. Ever since they were kids, the Cabot sisters were always spending time creating bath oils and gels out of anything they could get their hands on. As frequent travelers, they’d experience skincare mishaps where things would get messy, so they decided to create a travel-hardy line.
We love how un-serious the names of the products are, because if someone asks you what you’re using, you get to befuddle them and still be smug about it.
Our fave part:
The Originals collection.
Seven aromatherapeutic scents, each designed to address a specific problem, so that your woes don’t seem so big after all. Some weird but ‘totally-makes-sense’ names include:
Bubbles, not carbs (where there is willpower there is less to weigh) – for temptation resistance
The Phoenix (when you need to rise from the ashes – yet again) – for instant optimism
Awash in a field of four-leaf clover (when you need good things to happen – yesterday) – for intensive positive luck
Long names aside, they impart positive messages to the user, and lift your mood using a blend of essential oils. They also make meaningful gifts for anyone who’s in a funk.

Urban Decay
Back in the day when foreign brands were just wishful thinking (that was before Sephora, you lucky people you!), one of my favourite pastimes was to go on the Urban Decay website and spend hours browsing. For a 16-year-old teenager with limited choices, it was a dream come true to look at such a dazzling array of colours with rebellious names, like Gunmetal and Shattered, so that I could feed the desires of my inner rebel (but in real life, I was a nerd). I’d make a mental note of what I’d buy if I had the means, then close the window and continue with my normal life.
Today, the Urban Decay website has grown into a huge umbrella, encompassing not just the products, but also a self-sustainable social circle. But for us die-hard fans, the essence of Urban Decay remains. In every girl, there is a bada$$ yearning to come out. It doesn’t matter if I was 16, or if I’m 28 this year. My idea of rebelliousness: wearing Naked eyeliner with S&M eyeshadow.
Our fave part:
The Back Door.
I don’t like websites that are impersonal, the kind where they just show you their products and are done with it. With Urban Decay’s The Back Door, you are connected to what goes on behind and beyond the brand, so you get a sense of belonging. There’s a blog, videos, tutorials and even events which UD fans can join. In a world where Internet trolls reign supreme (anonymously, of course, behind computer screens), it’s important to establish a healthy community where girls can interact without being bitchy/snarky/negative about each other.

Les Floralies
This Kiwi brand prides itself in producing quintessentially New Zealand products, using the resources readily available to them on their local soil. For example, the extra virgin olive oil is produced and pressed at Matakana, the Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil from Great Barrier Island and the lavender is from a farm near Lake Taupo. The family-owned company is lovingly managed by Danvers Devereux, and was established by his mother, Colyn Devereux-Kay, in the basement of her house in 1988. The brand is big on sustainability – they practice green habits in the workplace – but we like how they work hard to empower and encourage its users too.
Our fave part:
The Apothecary Sniff Boxes.
sniff box
These little plastic jars, called Sniff Boxes, are filled with beads infused with a blend of essential oils, each designed to soothe the mind and soul in different ways. For instance, there’s the Recovery one, which is ‘a special blend to ease sorrow and sadness and comfort the heart’, specially made for those suffering from fear, anxiety or disappointment. Simply open the lid and take a few deep breaths. For those seeking clarity of thought, there’s the Focus Sniff Box, while the Balance Sniff Box helps to calm and alleviate tense emotions. If you’re always travelling, Emirates Airlines first class passengers also get to enjoy two mini Sniff Boxes in their care package. How thoughtful!

VMV Hypoallergenics
You’ll be surprised to find out that this brand is from the Philippines! The founder, Dr. Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell, is not only a certified dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon and clinical researcher, but has also successfully published books and numerous journals based on her extensive expertise on the sciences of skin. To call itself ‘the safest, most proven effective care on the planet’ is no small feat, and if you have a look at the website, you’ll understand what we’re talking about. If you have really serious concerns, you can even create a custom order and request for them to omit the ingredient. Wow!
Our fave part:
The spinoff site, Skintelligencenter
Run-of-the-mill skincare brands rarely invest this much effort into maintaining a website so comprehensive, especially if it’s not directly related to the products! That’s why we’re very impressed with VMV Hypoallergenic’s sister site, Skintelligencenter, which shares a WHOLE LOT OF information with the public about general skin health. They even have a magazine, INSKIN, which is a fun (and free!) read for bookworms trawling the Internet for goodies to read up on. The best part is that the website doesn’t name-drop (or product-drop, in this case) like nobody’s business, so it’s a pretty enjoyable read as you learn a lot about your skin, even when you don’t buy anything. Now that’s what a good skincare brand should be like.

(Images: and respective brand websites)

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