Why It’s Time to Give Natural Makeup a Try

Sure, we’ve all heard that we need to be cautious about what we put in, on or even near our bodies, but how seriously do you ever really pay attention? Yes, I switched my water bottle to glass, I eat organic and I stopped buying things made with parabens. All that made me feel pretty dang good about myself. Then I got pregnant.


Suddenly the stakes became a lot higher. When I saw that little pea during the first ultrasound I began to wonder how anything even slightly toxic might affect something so tiny. Turns out I was right to become a lot more concerned! Did you know that 60 percent of what you put on your skin reaches your bloodstream?? Needless to say, I went on a mad beauty product purging spree when I learned that, ditching all the offensive lotions, hair products, cleansers, sprays, body washes, gels, nail polish, nail polish remover – everything I could think of. Again I was feeling really good about myself. But I skipped one important step. I just couldn’t quit my tried and true makeup products. Having to give up wine, chocolate and my favorite concealer?? That just felt like too much.


Until I started doing even more reading. I was rather dismayed to discover that the European Union currently bans 1,328 chemicals from its cosmetics but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned or restricted only 11! Cosmetics made in the US include lovely things like plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Petroleum-extracted cosmetics ingredients, commonly found in mascara, may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN recently released a report calling endocrine disruptors a “global threat” to fertility and the environment. propylene glycol, methylparaben, and propylparaben, all of which are considered endocrine disruptors and are often found in foundations. They say women eat 7lbs of lipstick in their lifetime. Most of that is filled with parabens, harmful dyes and petroleum. Joy.

Even though I loved the bag of makeup tricks I’ve gotten comfortable with over all these years, now that I’m breast feeding, I realized the easy way out is just not worth it. Thankfully, no less than three people recommended the natural, organic makeup line W3ll People. I’ve been taking the line for a test run these last few weeks and have to say I’m pretty happy with the results!


What I ditched:

> Mascara
> Tinted moisturizer / BB cream
> Lipstick
> Cream & Powder Blush
> Eyeliner
> Concealer

PICK0271 (1)w3ll-people

W3ll People is made of a botanical complex of aloe, chamomile and green tea intended to move and breathe on the skin and eliminate the creasing you get with a lot of makeups. It doesn’t contain any of the baddies; fillers, parabens or petroleum-derived ingredients. But enough about all that – I know you’re asking does the stuff work??


I give the line an enthusiastic two thumbs up! There are a few products I’m particularly smitten with. I’m far from a makeup aficionado so I like anything that’s fool proof – and that describes the Narcissist Foundation Stick to a tee. It offers just enough coverage but in that subtle, no makeup kind of way. It also doesn’t crease! For a mama with her fair share of exhaustion lines I really appreciate that. Similarly, the Brightener Stick offers its only little magic touch. A swipe across the check bones and down the bridge of the nose offer just the right amount of glow to make you look refreshed – not overly sparkly.


The Multi Sticks for Eyes, Cheeks & Lips are super convenient – no need to carry a ton of products. The Hypnotist Eye Pencil goes on really easily and stayed put pretty well. But if I had to pick, my favorite item out of the whole line is  Expressionist Mascara. Mascara is part of my daily uniform. I feel naked without it. The W3LL PEOPLE mascara still gives me the thick, dark lashes I crave. They also give you a nice little curl – love that. Sure, it might smudge a bit more than my old chemical laden waterproof mascara but the inconvenience of double checking the mirror once or twice a day is worth the peace of mind.

So I say to all of you holding onto your favorite makeup products for fear of not finding something “good enough,” consider your fears assuaged. You can get “eco makeup” that makes you feel just as lovely as the stuff stuffed with “baddies” as W3LL PEOPLE calls them. And because you’re doing something good for your health you’re going to feel and look good inside as well as out. That alone is worth making the switch!

How about you guys? Have you tried “natural” or organic makeup products? Have you found any clear winners? Now that I’m on this bandwagon I want to build out my entire makeup bag!


images 1 and 2 via here // original photography for apartment 34 by aubrie pick // styling by bianca sotelo

This post is in partnership with Target Style. I received product and compensation in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinion are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open.

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Retail Therapy: {Social Studies, Berkeley}

If you’re one of those people that continues to associate Berkeley, CA with dreadlocks, hacky sacks and patchouli, you’re actually missing out. Not only is Berkeley one of the warmer micro-climates in the Bay Area, it’s also a design lover’s dream. Aside from the tried and true block of 4th Street filled with some of my go-to design stores (such as CB2, The Gardener and the Crate and Barrel Outlet), there’s lots of excitement happening a few blocks up on San Pablo Ave. Case in point: Social Studies.


The boutique Social Studies was opened towards the end of 2014 by Lauren Woodward and has since expanded with the recent debut, a men’s store (also located nearby on San Pablo). In addition to the two shops, Lauren and her husband Shawn Weiland recently launched Form + Matter—an all-natural skincare line being carried in their stores as well as online! 


As a former gallery curator, Lauren has an innate eye for good design. Social Studies carries an array of gorgeous goods, including some of my favorites like Riudavets sandals, Wary Meyers candles, Hasami Porcelain and goods from Yield Design Co.

Insider Tip: If you’re a former Southern Californian like myself and sometimes find yourself nostalgic for lazy beach days, this candle basically transports you to the beach. I’m serious. It’s the perfect antidote to “Fogust”. 


On top of the incredible product mix, the retail presentation is truly one of a kind at Social Studies. Putting their architectural and design backgrounds to work, Lauren and Shawn handcrafted all of the display structures from scratch. Suspended tables are hung from the rafters while custom wood fixtures create eye-catching product displays—making the ambiance of the shops as equally alluring as the products inside!


And as if there’s not already enough reason to pay Social Studies a visit, Lauren, Shawn and the rest of the staff could not be nicer. They cheerfully engage with anyone that walks into the shop and won’t hesitate to recommend other local businesses to check out in the neighborhood (ahem, Flowerland). True to Berkeley form, the folks at Social Studies are some of the most humble and down to earth people you’ll encounter in the Bay Area.


In the end, what I love most about this shop is that it gives off a totally Modern California vibe while still paying tribute to its Berkeley roots and the surrounding neighborhood. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to pay a visit to Social Studies (and then follow it with a drink and a bite at Bartavelle).

Copy and photography by Ali Hartwell for Apartment 34

Finally Talkin’ About Being a Mama

Today I’m so excited to launch a new series with a group of seriously rad mamas. As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t wanted to inundate you with mom content, but when Jen Pinkston, the wonder-mom behind the lovely lifestyle blog The Effortless Chic, asked me to join a seriously cool group of mamas talking about the issues we face, I jumped at the chance. I knew this would be an interesting series with a wonderful group of blogger babes. The concept? We’ll all wax poetic on a specific mama-hood related topic, thereby giving you the opportunity to see a wide variety of perspectives, weigh in and hopefully add some new blogs to your reader in the process. As one of the newest members of the blogger mama club, I’m personally very intrigued to see what this diverse group of women has to say about each issue.

We’re starting off with a topic that could not be more relevant to my current reality: SLEEP!


Or in my case, the complete lack thereof. When you’re pregnant everyone warns you to sleep as much as possible. I certainly did my best. At the end of my pregnancy I was sleeping in until 11AM on Saturdays like a teenager! It was glorious. Now I know what you think I’m going to say next. The baby was born and all hell broke loose. Well, sure, the first couple of weeks were rough, I won’t lie. But then our little stud began sleeping 8-10 hours a night. It was bliss. Other mothers hated me. I loved it. I could totally handle one 4:00 am feeding and feel like a nearly functioning human {save the recovering from a 27-hour natural labor, but that is another story for another day!}.


But then the 4-month sleep regression hit. Yes, it’s predictable. Yes, we were warned. But no, I was not prepared for how brutal three, four or even five awakenings a night would be. Let alone the taking an hour+ to get our little terror angel down to bed each evening. Now I truly see the value of sleep because you start to go rather insane without it! I feel like I’m living in that hangry Snickers commercial, but no amount of candy bars is going to cure my sleep deprivation rage. And then there’s the memory loss. And the inability to stay awake past 9:00 pm. Or have a social life. Or a functioning relationship. You get my point – this isn’t good!

But I’m at a bit of an impasse. I’m on week five of basically no sleep with no end in sight. Yes, everyone has told me to sleep train at this point. Carter is four months old, he’s 16lbs, he’s ready yada yada yada. So after hearing so many stories of triumph I bit the bullet and tried it this week. I lasted one night. I threw in the towel when Carter started throwing up out of his nose after less than 15 minutes! I’m sorry, but cry it out is not my jam.

So now I’m turning to you, dear readers. Do you have magic elixirs to cure the no sleep disease? Secret tips and tricks that turned your child into a sleeping wonder? Any words of advice about how to survive through this period? I know it will get better. I know I will remember my own name again, but the future seems bleak when you’re in the thick of it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to comment here or join the conversation with the hashtag #realmomseries. I’m also thinking about taking my mama-musings to Snapchat. Would you be interested in some more off the cuff thoughts and a little behind the scenes of life with le bebe?? If so, check it out at apartment34.

Here are the rest of the fabulous mamas who are talking about their trials and tribulations with sleep. You should be sure to check them out today!

> The Effortless Chic

> Parker Etc

> Smitten Studio

> The Refined Woman

> Could I Have That

> Ave Styles

> The Daily Something