New Zealand Cruelty Free Beauty Brands

60cc6f698efa317df7fbcdb98d5b8316.jpgNew Zealand has many amazing cruelty free, vegan and organic skincare brands. For the sake of this article, I will focus on cruelty free brands (although many of these are vegan and organic too). When I was living in Australia, there was also an awareness of ethical brands and the ability to choose cruelty free and eco-friendly options.

There are many beauty and skin care products that promote ethical production. As we have increasingly more access to information online, there is more awareness about the brands we use. I’ve listed below just some of the cruelty free brands. However, if you have any that you know, please feel free to comment them down below!

Makeup Apotheka |Belle & Sage | Karen Murrell | Living Nature | World Organics

Haircare Belle & Sage | Earthwise | Ecostore | Essano  | Evolu | Lust | SavarThe Herb Farm

Skincare  Antipodes | Apheleia | ApicareApotheka | BeautousBelle & Sage |BestowBlue Earth | Bon Bon Vegan | Do No Harm | Ecostore | Essano | Ethique | Evolu | Geo Skincare Goodness | La’bonicLinden LeavesLiving Nature | Moana | Nellie Tier |OasisOlive |Only Good Orania | OxygenPlantae Sansceuticals | Skinfood |Snowberry | Stella For Cruelty FreeSurmanti | Tailor  | Tonic RoomTrilogy |Tribeca|  The Herb Farm | The Cruelty Free Shop | World Organics | You Are Loved

Washing Earthwise | Ecostore

Photography by Elias and Theresa Carlson

Taiwanese Beauty And Fashion Youtubers

15390784_1379251005432540_3797534437254400477_n.jpgFor those who are curious or would like to discover some Taiwanese beauty and fashion youtubers, I’ve researched and compiled a list of several bloggers from Taiwan. Many of them share their views on beauty and skincare products, review the latest products, give snippets of their daily lives, shoot fashion look books, travel videos, styling, hair tutorials, advice videos and try on hauls.

newapplearial My favourite recent video from Arial is the 范冰冰 makeup look here. She is one of the only Taiwanese beauty youtubers that I watch regularly, as I find her relatable and appreciate her natural and minimal makeup looks.  F | I | B

Dolly 守屋幸慈 Dolly is one of the first Taiwanese bloggers I discovered, when I was searching for a wavy hair tutorial here. As well as her makeup and hair tutorials, she is also a talented artist. F | I | B

Its Jcnana Joanna’s channel has makeup tutorials, haul videos and travel vlog videos. She is based in Toronto. Watch her 20問答 video here to get to know more about her!  F | I | B

朱綺綺 朱綺綺 is a model, actress and beauty youtuber. Her channel features makeup tutorials, monthly favourites, hair styling, vlog, skincare and fashion videos. F | I | B

Hello Catie Catie posts product reviews, monthly favourites, hauls, makeup tutorials and shares her views and opinions on the featured productsF || B

Mii 黃小米 Mii is a fashion blogger who shares her videos on fashion, beauty, look books, skincare and travel. F | I | B

Astor 街頭時尚 Astor is a freelance model and beauty youtuber. She shares videos on products, makeup tutorials and beauty looks. F | I | B

Selina Beauty  Selina posts first impressions, makeup reviews, vlogs, everyday makeup and monthly favourites videos. | I

EVALIN Eva posts monthly favourites, vlogs, fashion lookbooks, essentials, travelling and skincare videos. F | I | B

GINA HELLO! Gina loves Cats, Fashion, Beauty and Travel. She makes fashion and beauty related videos with product reviews, try on hauls and makeup tutorials. F| I | B

I’m Charlie 查理 shares beauty reviews, tutorials, advice, vlogs and sit down chat videos. F | I | B

夢露 MONROE 夢露 posts makeup tutorials, skincare routine, vlogs, hauls, fashion try on videos and monthly favourites videos. I love her minimalist fashion styleF | I | B

TheKellyYang Kelly posts a range of videos from travel vlogs, monthly favourites, makeup tutorials, fashion outfits and try on hauls. F | I | B

I AM SINSIN 陳欣欣 is the Brand Director of LOVEBABYTWINS here. She posts fashion and beauty related videos, from look books, outfit of the day, styling and vlogs. F | I | B 

If you have a favourite Taiwanese youtuber not listed here, feel free to comment them below :)

Image via 陳佩佩Arial Chen

Beautiful Things Don’t Ask For Attention

artThe most beautiful things in life can’t be seen. It reminds me of an interview I watched, where they spoke to several elderly people, and asked what were some of the happiest memories in their life. No one would say money, appearances, status or materials. It’s always the relationships they had with people. The happiness that is a life time and can only be felt in your heart. That’s the kind of happiness that is long lasting. A lot of beauty is what is left for the imagination. It doesn’t reveal itself, but it unfolds over time the way each chapter of a book does. Sometimes, it doesn’t realise that it’s beautiful, like the way a tree flows in the wind, the roaming green and mountainous hills or the way a bird flies across the blue skies.

Last night, I was watching a film and at one point the words beautiful things don’t ask for attention was said, and it stayed in my mind. To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. -Thich Nhat Hanh. Sometimes it’s the things that are just there. It makes me think back to living in the country side, with the flowers in springtime and the lambs running around. The odd butterfly stopping by and the way the dew looks during wintertime, when the sun rises and it shines against the spider webs. Those are special moments that you capture inside your mind. They’re the gift of nature. Then the kind of beautiful is the one from our heart and the things God gave us.

I still remember a person who had these bright green hazel eyes and dark brown hair. The fact that she wasn’t aware of her natural beauty, was what made her more beautiful. She didn’t try to look beautiful. She was just being herself. Beauty isn’t something that says “Look at me, I’m here”. It’s something that speaks for itself. The way a smile that lights up the eyes or the fresh air in the early morning. When I was younger, I would go to the bakery with my father, and I’d often pick a ginger bread man. From that memory, every time I eat a ginger bread man, I get a feeling of warmth. I believe it’s often those small moments that sound unimportant that are the most significant.

One of my favourite times is the time when the sun is about to set. The light just seeps through the window and reflects all the dancing leaves as shadows against the walls. There’s this golden light that is just one of the simple things during the day that always makes me feel peaceful. It makes me pause for a moment to soak it in. As much as it can be lovely to share a moment to ones friends, there are moments where you want to capture it in your mind without having to share it on social media. When I hear or see the words “You look good without makeup”, there’s something about it that doesn’t sound right. When I think of the most beautiful part of people, it’s often something in their character and appearances that sets them apart.

It’s the way someone is cheeky, passionate, funny or the way they might naturally talk. The way someone laughs and their eyes sparkle or how they are an understanding and caring person. If it’s a physical aspect, it’s usually the colour of someones eyes, the way their hair sits, the way they hold themselves and their mannerisms. Perhaps the makeup may emphasise their natural beauty, but it’s not long lasting. At the end of the day it’s taken off. We’re all born into the world as a bare being and beautifully so.  The world we live in is so vastly different to the last generation. Nearly everything is documented by millions of people around the world.

Beauty cannot be defined. It’s within those moments that teach us to be patient, and just enjoy the moment. It’s the good parts of ourselves that shine through. There are many people in the world who help others, but we may never know it. They don’t feel the need to tell others. They do it out of their heart. Before I left Sydney, there was a little ginger cat who was homeless. He looked so hungry, I wish I could of taken him home. A lady came over and asked me if it was mine, and then she told me that she was feeding him everyday. It was that simple action, that made me feel she had a good heart for the well being of the cat.

Art by Monica Barengo

The Most Beautiful Things In Life Can’t Be Seen

tumblr_oi38ymKEwM1rvgw6io2_1280.jpgThe best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller. A beautiful reminder that reminds us to place more value on how we can become a better person through our mind and heart. Everything that is important to us in our lives are never materials or appearances. They tend to be our loved ones, the world we live in and the relationships and memories we have in our lives. “I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince. 

“There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.” ― Audrey Hepburn. Women in the media are constantly seen only by their physicality. They’re judged by their appearances which can cause many people to put more self worth in the way they look. Women should be seen through their wisdom, intelligence, abilities and strength. A women is more than a pretty face. There is no amount of makeup or amount of clothes that can hide an ugly heart.

I have to express that, because it seems strange to me when people are more often celebrated for their body and appearances than what is inside. I read an article titled The Beauty In Real Sex Appeal, which unfolds the quote in more detail: “Audrey Hepburn. The woman of her time. She was the face of classiness in Hollywood during the Sixties but she did not succumb to allowing herself to be viewed as a mere sex-object. Rather she was esteemed as a legend in the realm of wholesome beauty and class…What does this mean? She is so eloquently saying that just by being created a woman that she is sexy.”

This explains how much our society needs to really grasp the message of true beauty. In the article, Leonhardt also writes: “Audrey Hepburn celebrated her womanliness, her sex appeal, not in some minuscule attempt by unveiling the mystery of who she is in the bedroom to the entire world but instead by showing her grace, class and wholesome beauty through the way she conducted herself. She showed the extraordinaire of her body through ordinary things like simply standing in the rain. That inner confidence of beauty is real sex appeal.” Social Media is now a common example of millions of people who receive attention for showing their body and face.

“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.” ― Audrey Hepburn. You can tell a lot about someones heart, from what they say to other people. This is extremely true, as this often shows our true nature. You can also tell a lot from how someone treats other people. A person that only speaks about other people by gossiping, is likely to be untrustworthy and focused on others lives. A person that doesn’t go into others business, but speaks words of kindness and truth, reflects a lot about themselves.

When we look with the heart, we remember what is important in life. “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince. It’s those moments we laugh that give us the greatest joy in life. It’s the feeling of helping others and bringing a smile to their face. The most simple things like being surrounded by nature, can give us the feeling of great peace and appreciation. Think of the feeling when you wake up to look at a sunrise, listen to a song that moves you or that feeling of embracing someone you haven’t seen in a long time. That kind of beauty touches our heart.

Audrey Hepburn photographed by Sam Shaw in Paris,1957

Thoughts On Beauty Ideals In East Asia

allure.jpgThere tends to be a certain definition of beauty in the media, even though Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On one hand, I do believe this to be ultimately true, and on the other I feel many people want to attain the beauty ideals they are presented with. These beauty standards are commonly seen in areas such as Japan, China, Taiwan & Korea. As a child, one of the first times I realised being tanned was considered unattractive by some Asians, was when my Sister and I traveled back to Taiwan one year. Two elderly ladies said very loudly as they stared at us  “They are so black!” Baring in mind, we were tanned from the country side sun, and grew up living on a farm. From that moment, I realised that it is very prevalent in East Asia that having white skin is very often seen as beautiful.

I watched an interesting video on How Attractive Is Tanning: Asia vs West, which you can watch here. I do know that generally in Australia and America, most Asians that have been brought up in a Western country aren’t too concerned with getting slightly tanned or maintaining light skin. However, in Asia most people want to maintain lighter skin. Although, this may not apply for everyone. I know for myself that I prefer to not get any tanner, and therefore I use more Asian products (eg. face masks, moisturisers) and always put on sunscreen throughout the day. There are also many Asians during the Summertime who will use umbrellas (even myself when it gets very hot), as the sun can be very harsh.

It’s not surprising in Asia to see many beauty products that have the word whitening or brightening on them. Just as I’ve seen many products in Australia for tanning or makeup products that help achieve a sun kissed look. From the magazine covers above, it instantly shows the value that Asian culture tends to place on having more porcelain like skin. It goes a long way back in history, in terms of why Asians prefer white skin over darker tones. The whitening products can be seen in many advertisements. Many famous models in Asia, have a very distinct look. For example Fei Fei Sun has beautiful monolids, which are often seen as an ‘exotic’ look in the Western fashion world. Yet in Asia most people prefer to have double eyelids. That’s why it is common to see products such as double eyelid tapes.

It is considered beautiful to have an oval face shape, or an upside down egg as I like to call it. The lower part of your face has a more defined chin and has a v-line shape. A good example is Fan Bing Bing’s face shape (which you can see in the 3rd photo from the left). Most Asians commonly have a more flatter face and a more rounder nose. For many who may have plastic surgery, most are usually looking to make their nose more defined, straight and not too wide. If you grew up in a Western country, you may or may not have been called skinny, and told that it’s because you’re an Asian. Not all Asians have a petite figure, but we are genetically smaller in stature and being slender and thin is commonly seen as the beauty ideal in Asia.

In countries such as South Korea, the emphasis to have a ‘beautiful face’ is very apparent. Some parents gift their children plastic surgery as a graduation gift. Many jobs that they apply must be attached with a photo. The way you look is equally competitive with the work experience and education you have. The beauty ideal in Asia is often a cute or very feminine women with soft features. The definition of fat in Asia is vastly different to that in Western countries. Most families are very open in telling you straight away if they feel you have gotten fatter, or if you have gotten skinnier, in which they will often say “Eat more!” In this example, you may be at a perfectly healthy weight, but may have put on more weight since you last saw your family.

I find the topic on having larger eyes and brighter skin ties in with the films and animations we watch. Many of the Studio Ghibli or Anime characters tend to have big eyes and more lighter skin. I do think that sun care is important. By exposing oneself to the sun for long periods for tanning, will age the skin much faster. Getting Vitamin D is important, but long term exposure in the sun is not healthy for the skin. On the other hand, it’s not good to completely avoid the sun. Whether you have big or small eyes shouldn’t dictate your beauty, nor should the shade of your skin or the figure of your body. Wearing false lashes, circle lenses and double eye lids tape, baring your natural face or wearing minimal makeup is sort of like choosing what kind of clothes we want to wear. They are all part of our physical identity of how we want to present ourselves.

image: After School NanaAllure Magazine June Issue ’14

5 Skincare Beauty Secrets From Taiwan

art.jpgMany people will relate to the need to protect the skin from the sun, rather than exposing it in the sun during long periods. It’s a general beauty standard in Taiwan to keep the skin clear and bright. I do think a good balance of Vitamin D is important too. However, taking good care of the skin will keep it young and healthy. This is why during the Summer, you will see many Asians carrying umbrellas. I never thought I would be one of the people carrying them, but I found I really needed it to escape from the glaring sun. Sydney’s sun is extremely harsh and with my dark Asian black hair, it attracts the heat intensely. I don’t tan because my skin type tans easily, and after long periods in the sun it will sunburn. Not to mention the rate of skin cancer in Australia is quite high.

There are many articles that talk about skincare secrets from Japan and Korea. They both have some of the best skincare products out there. A good daily skincare routine is very important. Generally, many Asian makeup looks try to achieve a softer and natural look to appear more youthful. I do believe that drinking water, exercising and having a good diet plays a large role in taking good care of the skin. There are certain products and skincare routines that are extremely popular in Taiwan. Many of the skincare products I purchase are often from Taiwan, because they are more affordable and effective on my skin. They have a wide range of Korean, Japanese & Taiwanese Brands.

1) Face Masks. Taiwan has an amazing range of Face Masks. You can find a huge range in Watsons, Cosmed or any beauty shop. There are ones for whitening, anti-aging, soothing, moisturising, firming and more. There are masks with snail extract, fruit extract and all kinds of ingredients that keep your skin soft and supple.

2) Wear Sunscreen Everyday. No doubt you should still have a little bit of sun, but for those who want to maintain their skin and keep it as healthy as possible, sunscreen should always be part of ones daily routine. Long exposure directly in the sun can cause early signs of aging, risk of skin cancer and sun burns.

3) Don’t Cake the skin. In Asia, it’s more common to use BB and CC creams than foundation. Heavy layers of foundation will cause more breakouts to happen. Allow the skin to breathe by using a hydrating sunscreen or a light BB cream that includes SPF.

4) A Healthy Food Diet. It seems obvious that what you put in will reflect on your skin. In Taiwan, there are certain foods that are healthy, particularly for your skin. Aloe vera, black sesame, ginger, jujube, white fungus, goji berries, green beans and green tea are good for the skin.

5) Face Tapping Exercises. The skin around your eyes are very delicate, and there are certain muscles that can tense up. By massaging, tapping and relaxing those areas, your blood will circulate more smoothly. There are certain pressure points that relieve stress from the muscles. Eye creams are also effective for keeping the skin healthy and firm.

Sleeping well, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and eating healthy are all the basic factors for healthy skin. If you wear makeup, make sure to gently remove all of it before sleeping. Use warm water to wash your face and pat dry the skin, rather than rubbing it dry. Our skin is the largest organ of the human body, which means what we put inside of our body, also affects what’s outside :)

art by Hsiao Ron Cheng

You Are Such A Beautiful Person

44575b227cc69deaa4d5cb3adb21674f.jpgWe see the world differently through our own eyes everyday. I feel like there is this part of myself, that wishes I could tell anyone who has ever felt alone, left out, worthless, ugly, hurt or question what their purpose in life is, I wish I could tell them how beautiful they are as a person. Not in the superficial way. Not in the surface leveled way, but the kind of goodness that goes far far deeper. I truly believe every person is born with goodness in their heart, and every person has the ability to be kind to others. There is a certain beauty we all have that is so different, and that’s what makes us who we are. You are capable of so much more than you know. We all share the same thing in that we were all born into this world, and we will all die on this Earth. I hope this can speak to anyone, on their best days and on their worse days.

You are beautiful through your kindness and heart. It radiates warmth and light into others life and brings a smile to their face.

You are beautiful the way you smile and the way you cry. Your honesty in expressing your emotions, and feeling the raw feelings straight from your heart is beautiful.

You are beautiful the way you respect your body and feed your soul with good words. Your mind and body is thankful for the kind words and good food.

You are beautiful for sharing love in this world. For helping other people and praying for those in need. For not judging but opening your heart to try understand.

You are beautiful with your bare face in the morning. Your inner self shines through and your personality surpasses any physical beauty.

You are beautiful for treating those as your friend. You do not feel better or higher than the person beside you, but you treat them as your neighbour.

You are beautiful because even when you face failure, you keep trying. Life is not perfect, but you always keep trying and you pick up your feet even when you fall down. You learn from the mistakes to keep improving.

You are beautiful in your honesty and faith. Self belief and truth are two beautiful characteristics. When you believe in yourself, you can do anything you set your mind to. You don’t build the walls in your mind that stop you in life.

You are beautiful when you help others without expecting anything in return. You help because you truly care from the bottom of your heart. You have good intentions.

You are beautiful because you are compassionate. Compassion makes us human. You have empathy and sensitivity towards others.

You are beautiful because of your abilities and intelligence. You are amazing in your own ways, with more potential than you give yourself credit for. You are so beautiful through your intelligence and wisdom.

If you are the sort of person who tells yourself that you are not beautiful, I really pray that you could try tell yourself once a day in the mirror, and say “I’m a beautiful person.” because you really are. Everyone is going through their own struggles in life and living their daily challenges. We are all walking on the Earth on our own journey. When I tell you you are a beautiful person, I hope you can understand that your beauty comes straight from your heart. Your experiences make you stronger, and the strive to live a positive life and bring light into the world makes you such a beautiful person!

photo via