mica-free and why

Why did we leave the ‘all-natural’, beautiful Mica frosts out of our makeup? I know that over ninety percent of mineral makeup companies use Mica as their base, especially in their eye shadows, blushes, bronzers and lip glosses. It has always irritated my skin and what is worse, made my oily skin type even shinier. Ugh. So over the years I have done my own independent research on this particular ingredient. Pure Mica is a mineral pulled from the earth in sheets or rock form. Once mica is mined, it is transported to a manufacturing facility where it is processed and treated for a number of applications. Mica is almost everywhere, it is used in literally all paints, used in the processing of metals, lots of crafts use and tons of use in the cosmetics industry.

A surprising discovery I found is that Mica in its manufactured pure form is flat, iridescent (has no color) with very sharp edges. It reminds me of what fine broken glass looks like under a microscope. I do believe that it is the flat sharp edges of mica. existent no matter what size of the Mica particle is used, that indeed is what caused my own skin’s irritation as well as the ladies in my life. We all had problems with itching, burning and redness. I have to say, not only did I not miss it when I stopped using it half a decade ago, I noticed the tones of our products have much more dramatic brightness to them. The Mica seemed to really dull them and create a frosty, 80’s look. I also wonder, if the edges of the mica are sharp enough to tear at the skin and cause irritation, what does it do to our insides when ingested via lip gloss?

For mature clients, which I feel is me included, it is clever to go with Mica-free blends as they are ‘matte’ color and do not create a crepey look to the eyes and lips, or accentuate fine lines. I could get away with the texture when I was in my teens but not anymore. Mica and I just do not seem to get along!


From an ethical stand point, Mica is linked to child labour and even worse, children being trapped and dying in India’s Mica mines (www.hindustantimes.com). The Guardian posted an article online in 2014 (www.theguardian.com) that stated how most of the Mica in cosmetics is mined by children in India’s mines. It is dangerous and illegal. And yet, children are forced to work in these mines as soon as they are able to walk. Some experience snake bites and breathing problems. Some do not make it out alive. It is the darker side of the beauty industry we do not see. Sadly, not a lot has changed in the last two years, as it is difficult for consumers to know where the origin of their Mica comes from.

To make matters worse, there are concerns that Mica products are often tested on animals. So PETA has issued a warning about products containing Mica and their potential animal testing policies (CosmeticsDatabase.com).So I encourage you to turn over the packaging if you are having any kind of reaction to your cosmetics. In minimal amounts it may be cosmetically safe but I decided to err on the side of caution and keep this shimmery filler from contributing to child labor, animal cruelty, and possibly damaging skin’s surface.

With Care,



Dunkin’ Donuts & Haut Cosmetics have something in common….

I try to spend at least an hour a day reading about plant based ingredients that have been newly discovered. I also do my best to stay on top of any new information that surfaces on the ingredients that I already use in my products, just to be safe. When these products are applied every day, even if the quantity is small, they can have a cumulative effect over time in our bodies.

Titanium Dioxide is an ingredient I have consistently been looking for new research on as it is not only in cosmetics and skincare, it is in literally everything. It is in almost every white consumer product, including sunscreen, toothpaste, powdered sugar and various sweets, as well as children’s toys, other plastics, and even our CLOTHING. Food manufacturers use food grade Titanium Dioxide to make white items appear brighter. However, in 2012, researchers at Arizona State University found that much of the food-grade Titanium Dioxide on the market includes nanoparticles. While Titanium Dioxide has been deemed safe for human consumption, the safety of Nano Titanium Dioxide has not been studied, and activists are concerned that nanoparticles are now essentially being TESTED on the public.


The ‘nano’ effect is where some particles are smaller than 100 nanometers and seem to be more ‘potent’ – or capable of doing more damage in the body – than larger particles of the same material. It’s an effect that is particularly clear when particles like Titanium Dioxide deposit in the lungs. But it can also occur elsewhere in the body. Depending on what they are made of and what shape they are, research has shown that some nanoparticles are capable of getting into parts of the body that are inaccessible to larger particles. And some particles are more chemically reactive because of their small size. Some may cause unexpected harm simply because they are small enough to throw a nano-wrench into the nano-workings of our cells.

Researchers have found that children have the highest concentrations of Titanium Dioxide and that it persists in the environment. “Although several of these product classes contained low amounts of Titanium, their widespread use and disposal down the drain and eventually to wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) deserves attention,” the ASU report said. Something that has frustrated me lately is that Titanium Dioxide has actually been showing up in ‘healthy’ vegan foods too. When digging deeper I discovered that if it is added at 1% or lower it does not even have to be included in the ingredients.

So this year Dunkin’ Donuts announced that its powdered sugar would no longer feature Titanium Dioxide — after an environmental nonprofit requested its removal from the chain’s baked goods. Dunkin’ Donuts reformulated its powdered sugar following advice from As You Sow, which raised fears regarding the toxicity of Titanium Dioxide when ingested as a ‘nanomaterial.’

 The American Cancer Society has listed Titanium Dioxide among the five most carcinogenic substances on the planet. It is considered a cause of asthma, cancer, kidney disease,  Alzheimer’s and fertility loss. Peer-reviewed research available on PubMed reveals that Titanium Dioxide has been linked to a number of conditions including DNA damage. Through sourcing GreenMedInfo on the subject, a database which indexes available research on toxic substances and beneficial ones alike, you can find that seven pieces of peer-reviewed research has linked Titanium Dioxide to DNA damaging effects.

Like Dunkin’ Donuts, we have gone 100% Titanium Dioxide Free. Removal of the ingredient all together means that for those stumbling upon Haut for the first time, concerns about nano-sized Titanium Dioxide are removed too. Not only has the quality and sun protection of our products been maintained, it is better. When a foundation (even a 100% natural one) is made with Titanium Dioxide in the base, the finish tends have a more pastel pink tone on the surface of the skin, even though the particles appear white. Many have olive undertones and when coverage is used that contains TD, you need more yellow-based products to counteract the pastel tone in natural lighting. When added to powder foundations, TD can make skin look ghostly white in photos, which can make a makeup artist’s job that much more challenging. Though there are benefits to the ingredient, like sun protection, all this confusion that surrounds this one single ingredient seems to outweigh anything positive. I feel good about this decision. I hope more detailed research is underway on Titanium Dioxide and that if it is truly harmful, that investors will pressure more food and beauty companies to remove it and find a safe alternative.


customize your foundation shade perfectly

With Spring comes all kinds of bright hues, both in nature and in fashion! Without the right skincare prepping, primers and the perfect foundation shade, you may find the fun Spring colors are not as bright as you would like them to be on your skin. I do a lot of i-CONSULTATIONS with the help of my makeup artists and I want to properly address one very common frustration when it comes to foundation.


Even if you are used to reaching for our Pink or Beige Brightener for under your eyes, this makeup tip calls for a different shade of brightener, even on the lightest and the coolest of skin tones. Most of us are needing to brighten ruddiness or hyperpigmentation that, over time, show up around our nose, cheeks and sometimes neck. When you are able to brighten these areas it gives a smooth look to the skin and a natural ‘lift’ to the face. The most common mistake I come across is that when someone wants brightening, they reach for a concealer or foundation that is one or two shades lighter than their skin tone. Often, the result they get is not at all what they had hoped for. Instead of a healthy, bright complexion, their skin looks grey and ashy. Often there is noticeable demarcation on the jawline, creating a mask-like effect. I know how frustrating this is and that is why I have created a solution that is simple. For all of you world travelers with changing skin tones – you will be very pleased when you try this simple step….


After an application of our Coconut Cream or Purifying Primer to prep skin, apply a feather-light application of our Yellow Brightener if you are Vanilla, Almond, Burnt Almond, or Macadamia (or first four celebrity boxes in i-CUSTOM BLENDS). If you are Raw Agave, Warm Agave, Almond Cocoa, or Cocoa (or last four celebrity boxes in i-CUSTOM BLENDS), our new Deep Yellow Brightener will be better-suited to your skin tone. You will want to use our Fresh Start Brush and not your fingers. The brightener will go on much too thick with fingers and you do not have the same control. Just light sweeps of the brush toward the hairline will create dramatic brightening. Follow with your BB Cream/HDD Cream/Bio-Foundation and then step back from the mirror and see if the brightening is even and where you most need it. This makeup trick allows you to create the perfect foundation shade for YOU in the comfort of your own bathroom! If you have the opposite problem and are finding your foundation seems a little light as the days are getting warmer, try a light sweep of our Almond Cocoa HDD with our Work It Out Brush to add color to the perimeter of face, forehead, nose, and cheek bones. This creates a sun-kissed look. {I learned this trick from Danielle of FACED!} The key is to always blend well. By finishing with our Bio-Foundation your brightening and color will have all-day longevity.

Q: I need some brightening around my eyes but I am not sure which brightener would do the trick.

A: For moderate darkness around eyes on light skin tones, the Pink Brightener does wonders. If you have a light to medium but very olive skin tone, our Beige Brightener does the trick. For medium to dark skin tones we have just created our Deep Yellow Brightener. Pair it with your HDD Cream if needed. If you have extreme darkness, you will need to pair two HDD shades. The first one applied should be one shade darker than your skin tone and the second HDD shade, one that matches your jaw line, should be feathered lightly over it. You are basically covering up a bruise so anything too light will create a grey tinge to the skin. Also, try blending your cheek color a little higher and brighter to shift the focus. Purchase our samples first to see which tip works best for you.

Q: I would like to even out my skin. I have a lot of redness and hyperpigmentation. What products will provide full coverage?

A: If you want to pair two products together that have incredible coverage, try our HDD and our Bio-Foundation. This duo covers cystic acne and scarring completely while still allowing skin to breathe. Depending on the type of brush you use, the SPF is approximately 26SPF and it is full spectrum. Our Raspberry Elixir is even higher in SPF, 35-50SPF. It is best applied before your primer and makeup. By making sure you have enough natural SPF on your face every day, your hyperpigmentation will slowly fade instead of getting darker. Also, do not forget the above custom-brightening tip as well!

Do you have a makeup question? Send us an email {iartists@hautcosmetics.ca}! Or book a consultation with FACED. Being makeup artists ourselves, we are always eager to help.



Have a fun playing!

jo xo






vegan toxin-free custom tan


Do you want to know one of my most favorite things to do when doing makeup? It is giving color to more pale skin. Every shade of  skin is beautiful in its own way and pale skin is no different. It has its own unique characteristics. If you give a little bit of contour or color in just the right places it highlights the rest – simple ageless beauty. This goes for the whole body. Color creates curves, highlighting lifts.  As a somewhat pale Canadian, one reason I have always liked self-tanning creams is that you could wake up and feel like you had a bit of coverage on your skin when you have some color, as opposed to having that transparent-white skin that glows in the dark and shows every little blemish. Or you could risk getting sun damage. I opted for sunless tanning and looking back at photos, I definitely took fake tanning a tad too far in my teens…hello orange palms! In my own defense, I don’t think companies had quite perfected the color of the tint at that time (hence-the famous ‘oompa-loompa’ look). I remember not being sure of all the ingredients I read on the back of the packaging, but in my desperation to be tan I threw caution to the wind. A few years later I got really into the fitness scene and again, there was the self-tanner, like a secret weapon. Everyone preparing for a competition used it. It accentuated toned muscle and created a leaner look on stage. Even just for fun, it was like wearing your favorite black dress, a definite confidence-booster.

The ingredient under scrutiny in self tanning creams has always been the DHA because it is known to create free radicals. Now I find I err on the side of caution when it comes to sunless tanners. I slowly weaned myself off of the self-tanner over the years. Yet, in the back of my mind, I always thought, if I could somehow take that one questionable ingredient out and still have the same results, I could keep up my sun-kissed look all year without any guilt!


What I love about this creation most is that it only has a very light, fresh coconut scent, no weird odor. It also is not drying like most self-tanning creams seem to be. This formula is infused with Red Rasberry Seed Oil, which is equal to Titanium Dioxide when it comes to SPF coverage. It also contains a unique blend of tocopherols and essential fatty acids, which have super-powers when it comes to improving skin tone. There is zero alcohol and it is in a base of Certified Organic Coconut Oil which gives skin an all-day glow, just like our bb creams! Beyond that, I love that I do not have to worry about staining clothing, and the formula is so easy to apply. Not only does it give a nice bronzed color to skin, it is a richly-nourishing, anti-aging body cream. My skin has never looked or felt better. You have to try it to get the full experience!



Apply following a thorough full body exfoliation and re-apply each morning after a shower until the right amount of customized color is achieved. Blend completely into skin for an even, all-over-tint. Mix with our Coconut Cream to create the perfect sun-kissed color for the face! Once color is achieved, apply our Skin Elixir each morning after shower to lengthen life of tan and deeply hydrate for glowing skin.



5-minute brightening makeup

Beauty is about being vulnerable.  It is about being open to change.  For me it is now extremely removed from glossy faces in magazines.  I am finding that staying young is much more of an inside job.  It is amazing how much attention we pay to the outside of our bodies when most of it really comes from inside.  It would be a good thing to make over our minds every now and then, don’t you think?

Brightening Makeup


It is always fun to purchase a new shade of gloss.  However, if I had to pick one product that most dramatically improves one’s appearance it would be our BRIGHTENERS.  Sometimes you will need to change to a different shade because of factors like a change in seasons, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, or stress. I have provided an easy skin-tone guide below. A 100% dimethicone-free primer like our COCONUT CREAM is also essential to pair with your brightener as it hydrates the eye area and gives it a fresh look.  It will also ensure that your BRIGHTENER goes on smoothly. For mature skin, try a few drops of our SKIN ELIXIR tapped lightly around eyes with fingers. IT gives extra hydration without clogging pores.


Use a fine-tipped brush with firm, synthetic bristles like our NEED A LIFT BRUSH to apply the perfect amount under the eye, along the lash line, and innermost corner of the eye.  Gently blend the BRIGHTENER up and out.  Try to apply as little pressure as possible. It is important not to tug too much at delicate skin around the eyes so this is why I prefer a vegan makeup brush rather than using a finger. Our products are not diluted so a little goes a very long way with this product and a finger can often apply a little too much. If you still see darkness, custom apply to areas where a little more is needed.

Brightening Makeup

There are times when what works for me in the morning doesn’t work for me in late afternoon.  If you have under-eye darkness or even just puffiness, do not line the lower lash line with dark color or apply mascara to the lower lashes as it can bring attention to that area and pull everything down.  If you are looking to ‘conceal’ an area of your face, not brighten, that is where our HDD CREAMS come in handy! It’s worth it to have one of each. A friend of mine calls her PINK BRIGHTENER her ‘deserted island product’. Containing approximately 15 SPF naturally, these stackable pots are wonderful eye primers for our Aloe Cream Tints too. We feel that every time a product multitasks and does what two or three products are made to do, it allows you to be a conscious consumer.;)

  • WHITE BRIGHTENER: highlighter for just under brows, inner corner of eye and cheekbones
  • PINK BRIGHTENER: great for extra-light to medium skin tones
  • BEIGE BRIGHTENER: great for medium skin tones
  • YELLOW BRIGHTENER: for medium to dark and lighter olive skin tones to brighten around nose, mouth and jaw
  • HE’S THE ONE ALOE CREAM TINT AS BRIGHTENER: for medium to dark skin tones around eye area


Follow our girls at FACED MAKEUP on social media for fresh new looks with a variety of shades to welcome in the new season!


my secrets to truly anti-aging makeup!


First of all, I recommend you forget everything you think you know about anti-aging beauty and start fresh.

I find that 90% of my clients email me with the same two goals:

  1. They need some intense personal training for their skin to solve a variety of skin issues.
  2. They want their skin to look smooth and even-toned with the least amount of effort.

These two goals are not difficult to achieve but as a makeup artist I have seen many of my clients trying to do far too much to achieve these goals.  It is just not realistic to keep up a 5-step skincare ritual, nor is it productive when your skin is already reacting to something.  Women come to me with very frustrating adult acne, rosacea, and some unexplained conditions.  It is heartbreaking for me to see because I too had bad breakouts when I was younger and watched my sister go through it as an adult.  It is easy to become consumed with trying to find a cure and becoming somewhat of a skincare junkie.  I cannot recommend our skincare and makeup as a cure for acne, or any skin condition.  But if nothing else, it helps your skin detoxify and re-balance so that it can better heal itself.

The second thing I find is very important is to just give your skin a rest.

I point out to my clients often how well men age.  The average male does not invest in a lot of skincare products and yet, not only do they have a lot less issues with their skin, but they seem to age quite gracefully.  It is true, they do not deal with all the hormonal fluctuations women do but still, it is something to think about.  In my own search for truly anti-aging beauty, I have not found one product that does it all.  I do, however, see the most incredible results with my clients who have embraced a more holistic approach to life as a whole.  I encourage everyone to give it a try.  I work with holistic allergists, personal trainers, and naturopaths as well as psychologists and massage therapists because everything plays a part when it comes to your body’s largest organ.

Back away from the frost.

Frost was fun for awhile.  Then I started to notice it enhanced everything from scars, to fine lines and large pores. It seemed strange to me that as a makeup artist I was trying to enhance that glow-from-within look that you get from a great workout or an amazing weekend detox, by putting chunky shimmer particles on my mature-skinned clients.  So now when someone tells me they are feeling like they need some ‘shimmer’, I recommend they try the BALANCING MIST and the COCONUT CREAM.  Both are not only hydrating but they bring back that pretty, youthful sheen on the upper cheekbone and smooth away any fine lines.  Staying well-hydrated and eating lots of plant-based, healthy fats also makes a noticeable difference.

It is a daily choice that accumulates over a lifetime.

In the documentary Food Matters, David Wolfe points out how we can choose to eat the most toxic cocktail of food-like substance or we can choose to eat the most nourishing, healing, super foods in the world and it takes the same amount of effort each day.  For a natural beauty consultant like me, I automatically want to translate that statement to say, “We could choose to put the most toxic blend of synthetic chemicals on our skin each morning or we could choose to apply the purest, most organic, super-powered plant extracts and oils, and it takes the same amount of effort.” I have three ingredients I have found to be incredibly remarkable.  Glacial clay, Organic Coconut and Organic Aloe work synergistically with the skin to bring it back to life and maintain natural radiance..  Because of the dramatic results I have seen on mature skin, I have infused these ‘super foods for skin’ into all my formulas.

Women seem to focus so much on wrinkles when it is actually a lack of ‘contrast’ that can make skin look aged.

Our lips, eyelids, cheeks, and eyebrows lighten a little more each year.  But hold on, before you slap on the brightest red lipstick and smokiest grey eyeshadow, there is actually a delicate balance that must be achieved.  Too much contrast can look heavy and put an even brighter spotlight on fine lines and wrinkles.  This is why I have incorporated custom-made vegan tools to accompany our makeup products.  You can only get one type of coverage when using your fingers and quite often it is a little too much.  With the right brush you can get the lightest, smoothest and quickest application and feel like your own professional makeup artist.  Even my clients who have come to me never wearing makeup before in their lives and being ‘minimalists’ see the importance of the brushes I recommend.  Using a vegan brush also prevents product waste and the transporting of bacteria that can cause breakouts.

 The key is blending everything well with the appropriate brush.

This means no harsh lines and no demarcation (that 80’s looking makeup mask around the jawline).  When it come to color on lips, cheeks and eyes, choose a color that compliments your skin tone and apply it to lips, eyes, and cheeks with the appropriate brush.  Because the skin tone on these three areas varies, it will not look like exactly the same shade, just in the same realm of color.  If you are not sure of the right color, just ask a professional!  It makes the most dramatic difference when you have the perfect pop of this monochramatic color.  You can achieve this with just one or two of my products instead of four or five conventional makeup colors because all of our ingredients are safe for the lips, cheeks and eyes.

The no makeup makeup look.

You know that heavier type of makeup application that can take hours, make skin look perfect, but also look an odd color, and seem so caked on that there is no freckle, no sign of life?  Well, our classic HAUT LOOK is the opposite of that and takes about 10 minutes.  Less is more as we get older!  Here is an example:

In the above photo I have chosen only two Aloe Cream Tint shades:


FACE: Apply our COCONUT CREAM MOISTURIZER (A FRESH START BRUSH) to prime skin, followed by BB CREAM (A FRESH START BRUSH) and BIO-MINERALS (PLUSH KABUKI BRUSH) for the smoothest, most long-lasting coverage.  If you need extra brightening, your BB cream application should be followed by our CUSTOM BRIGHTENERS to eyelid and all around eyes, all around nose, and a touch to corners of mouth to create a lifting effect.

EYES: Apply MARTINI ALOE CREAM TINT (DEFINING MOMENT BRUSH) to thicken and define brows and hold brow hairs in place.  Apply HE’S THE ONE ALOE CREAM TINT (BRUSH WITH GREATNESS BRUSH)  to eyelid from lash line to brow bone.  Follow with a light dusting of BIO-MINERALS (BRUSH WITH GREATNESS BRUSH) for staying power.  Blend MARTINI ALOE CREAM TINT (THE ICING ON THE CAKE BRUSH) into upper and lower lashl ine, start with inner water line, upper and lower and blend into lashes for a soft smokey effect.  Apply MARTINI ALOE CREAM TINT (BRUSH WITH GREATNESS BRUSH) to crease area to create some dimension to eye, softly blending out. Curl lashes, apply a coat of your favorite black mascara, two coats if necessary.

CHEEKS: Apply HE’S THE ONE ALOE CREAM TINT (SMOOTH THINGS OVER BRUSH) to fullest part of cheek and blend out like you are tracing a cinnamon bun’s layers.  If needed, apply a touch of MARTINI ALOE CREAM TINT to outer cheekbone to sculpt the face.

LIPS: Apply HE’S THE ONE ALOE CREAM TINT (SMOOTH THINGS OVER BRUSH) to lips and line lips softly with MARTINI ALOE CREAM TINT (THE ICING ON THE CAKE BRUSH) and blend all over lip if you would like a darker but still neutral lip than just the HE’S THE ONE ALOE CREAM TINT alone.

FOR ADDED GLOW: Apply a touch of COCONUT CREAM to upper cheekbones and temples (SMOOTH THINGS OVER BRUSH) .