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,



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






asian eye makeup video tutorial

Portrait of asian young beauty

One thing that always amazes me as a makeup artist is all the different ways you can make your eyes stand out. Shade combinations and placement variations keep us on the edge of our seats as we enter a new season of trends. I was inspired to write this blog post with the help of Danielle of Faced Makeup when I read an article “What Being Korean Taught Me About Self-image” by Juhea Kim on one of my FAVORITE blogs, Peaceful Dumpling. Here are six important points to keep in mind when choosing how you will apply your eye makeup in the morning or evening:


1. The shape of your eyes.

2. What colors and brushes you have.

3. Your hair, makeup, and clothing together.

4. How much time you have.

5. The longevity of your makeup.

6. Your age.


If it is a gym morning or casual day I like to do what we called in makeup school ‘corrective makeup’. To me it is just a light brightening around the eyes and face as well as highlight/ contour that could be referred to also as ‘no makeup makeup’. It is really fun to play with contouring colors around the eyes. The more you blend, the more natural the effect will be. Softly bended definition around the lash line and into the crease looks pretty on all ages. Smokey eyes can take a little more time. I know personally as an artist I will devote the most time to a clean ‘liquid liner’ with lots of mascara or even false lashes to enhance the eyes. If your eye makeup is going to be more dramatic, your brows should be just as dramatic so that there is balance.

Try something different every so often. Sometimes a trick you never thought would work for you for a daytime look is perfect for evening. Lately, I have noticed a lot of our artists using our White or Yellow Brighteners on the water line of the eyes to widen the look of eyes. If your focus is going to be the eyes, the rest of your makeup can be more understated. As Danielle of Faced Makeup points out in the tutorial video below, it is about bringing out our unique features and, most of all, having fun with our makeup. Even after doing others’ makeup for over twenty years, I learning new things every day.








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) .



surviving progress

I will always be a country girl at heart. I am proud to say I have been able to witness intimately what happens in the wilderness between live organisms. For me, growing up on a Canadian prairie farm opened the door to a perspective on life few no longer can find, even if they want to. What I often wonder these days is why more is not being done to curb climate change? Is it just all about corporate profits? I think that a lot of people believe carbon emissions from vehicles and fuel consumption are the main culprits, and that they can buy a hybrid car and rest easy that they’re doing their part.

Except then there’s this:


This quote came from a United Nations report. Not from Greenpeace, not from PETA, and not from Mercy for Animals. The United Nations.

Most people will agree that they’re concerned about climate change, and are happy to see an increasing number of “green” products on the market. We feel good buying the bags made from recycled material, using energy efficient light bulbs, and even driving electric cars. If you were renovating your bathroom, you might feel good installing one of those water saving toilets. So, each time you flush, you use a gallon or so less of water. And you feel good about that gallon of water saved per flush. And then you go off to meet your friends at a bar for a few locally brewed beers, and order a burger. But what if on the menu next to the burger there was fine print stating, “FYI: 1,300 gallons of water were consumed to produce this quarter pound of beef, and on top of that a **** load of methane and CO2 was released into the atmosphere, and oh-also fifty-five square feet of rainforest was used up for it too. Enjoy!”



“We collectively raise, feed, water, kill, and eat over 65 billion animals each year for food. That number again: 65 billion, which is ten times as many people as we have on the entire earth.” -The Wall Street Journal

That’s kind of staggering to think about. We already have a population density problem and here we’re adding ten times the number of farmed animals to the mix. So how is this related to climate change? The bullet points below (all taken from pages 11 and 12 of Dr. Oppenlander’s book, Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet) explain:

• Global warming (“climate change”) is caused by the production of methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide, not by carbon dioxide alone.

• Global warming is also caused by destroying trees and vegetation that regulate carbon dioxide and oxygen.

• Global warming is just one small component of global depletion.

• Methane is 23 times as powerful as carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide is 310 times as powerful as carbon dioxide for their global warming potential.

• Forty percent of methane and 65 percent of nitrous oxide produced by all human activities are from livestock.

• Rainforests are the lungs of our planet, producing over 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen.

• Rainforests take millions of tons of CO2 out of our atmosphere and store it in the soil.

• Seventy percent of our rainforests have been slashed and burned in order to raise livestock.

• Fifty-five percent of our fresh water is being given to livestock.

• Over 70 percent of the grain the United States is fed to livestock.

• It takes 10 to 20 gallons of water to produce one pound of vegetables, fruit, soybeans, or grain.

• It takes over 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.

• One pound of vegetables, fruit, soybeans, or grain is healthier for you to eat than one pound of meat.

• During every one second of time, just in the United States alone, 89,000 pounds of excrement is produced by the chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, and cows raised for us to kill and eat.

• One acre of land, if used for vegetables, grain, and/or legumes, produces ten to fifteen times more protein than if devoted to meat production.

• Over 30 percent of all usable total land mass on earth is used by livestock.

• Over 80 percent of all arable (agricultural) land in the United States is used for or by livestock.

• Six million children in the world will die from starvation this year.

• 1.1 billion people in the world are considered malnourished or suffering from hunger.

There you go. Information like the above is, I think, probably what led James Cameron (that guy who produced the movie Titanic) to say in a video online, “You can’t be an environmentalist, you can’t be an ocean steward without truly walking the walk and you can’t walk the walk in the world of the future, the world ahead of us, the world of our children, not eating a plant-based diet.”

I think he’s right. And I know that the idea of going “vegan” is totally scary to a lot of people, or offensive to people who eat out a lot or are in the restaurant business, and it can also be extra challenging depending on where you live and your resources. That’s why I like that James Cameron used the words “plant based” and it’s why I use those words a lot myself. Eat mostly plants. Ideally, eat all plants. But if that’s too scary or difficult, just work on eating less meat and animal products. Then even less. And still less. It’s good for your health too. And fish? Yes maybe cut way back on that too. When I see people I know instagramming giant platters of sushi they’re about to eat, I want to put the following in the comments section:

“An ongoing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found that an alarming 100 percent of freshwater fish samples from the United States contain mercury, and a large percentage of certain fish caught from the ocean contain heavy metals and/or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are highly toxic cancer-causing chemicals.”

Add to that the general over-fishing and ocean depletion issue, which is a whole other story. Those Red Lobster commercials on TV promoting the all-you-can-eat shrimp deals really upset me because, “for every one pound of shrimp sold and consumed, more than twenty pounds of other sea creatures are caught and killed in the process.” If only they’d add that to the menu in fine (or not so fine) print. What then? Would people still eat all they can?

I’ve always thought: if only people knew.

In addition to choosing to create luxury, high-performance, natural products, I am committed to using only 100% vegan, cruelty-free ingredients. Our ingredients are entirely and completely free of animal derivatives, and those raw ingredients and the products we create from them, are absolutely not tested on animals. We also choose not to work with companies who do support or produce animal-related products.

The health of our environment, and our responsibility towards it, has prompted me to use sustainable ingredients and practices.

With Care,

Surviving Progress by Harold Crooks & by Mathieu Roy, National Film Board of Canada