Meet the Luxe Lounge Ladies: Product-loving women who are invested in the idea of healthy living, plant-based eating, and cruelty-free beauty. They hereby swear to only offer their honest, unbiased reviews, and to only recommend products that they themselves would purchase and use on their own bodies.
Jacqui grew up in Latin America surrounded by beautiful landscapes, gorgeous beaches, and lovely people. She learned at a young age that you can make your own beauty products with simple ingredients like lemon, vinegar, papaya, and raw sugar. Her mom is well known for her perfectly arched Liz Taylor eyebrows, a skill Jacqui did not inherit and has yet to perfect.
Product Obsession: I have two--one I pay for: Sonage's Harmony, botanical glycol. Skin looks brighter and smoother! The other is free: An inner smile, which I'm convinced will keep you wrinkle-free longer!
Melissa gets a thrill every time she enters a Sephora, duty-free cosmetics shop, or even the local drug store (and in her current neighborhood, that just happens to be a super chic Pharmaca). She can spend hours perusing nail polish (the sparklier the better) and eyeshadow (she's always on the quest for the perfect shade of purple). Moisturizer with SPF, liquid liner, mascara, and lip gloss are her beauty essentials.
Product obsession: My oil-blotting papers from Yojiya. They come in the tiniest little package so they're super portable, but instantly tame any shiny spots.
Aurelia has been crazy about skin creams since the age of 12, when she began reading fashion magazines and fretting about future wrinkles. Today, she's still a sucker for serums, moisturizers, and anti-wrinkle creams, which she uses alongside adult-acne ointments (no magazines touched that subject!) and hyperpigmentation treatments (all-natural, of course).
Product Obsession Definitely perfume. I never leave home without a spritz of my signature scent, Diorella.
Product: Benecos “Happy Nails” Nail Polish in Vintage Red
What I Love: The name of this vegan, cruelty-free polish is 100% accurate—this “Vintage Red” hue conjures up images of a classic Corvette, a ‘50s pin-up’s heart-shaped lips, a classic movie star’s manicure (and now mine, too!)
Benecos bears the “International Organic and Natural Cosmetics Corporation” seal and its products are free of parabens, silicones, petrochemicals, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. I’m not going to lie—for better or worse it smells exactly like unnatural, synthetic polishes. (But at least you can use it with a clear conscience… I’d just recommend opening a window, too.)
The texture is a little thin going on, and the large cap can be slightly unwieldy at first, but the good news is that two coats was all it took to achieve a lacquered, shiny, rich look. After several days, this polish still looks as luxe as it did the first day I applied it—no chips or fading.
I’m also excited about some of the other colors in the series like the fun and flirty “oh la la” hot pink and the slightly more sophisticated dusty pink “Sharp Rose.”
Luxe Lounge Reviewer: Aurelia
Product: Holistix Rose & Frankincense Moisturizing Cream
What I Love: I met Laura, the owner of this natural, 100-percent vegan skincare company, at the annual VegFest event in London this past September. Within a few minutes of talking to her and explaining how I've been searching for a really effective moisturizer that doesn't contain beeswax, Laura took the time to ask me about my skin and issues I was experiencing. I liked that. After assessing my needs, she pointed me toward her delicious-smelling Rose and Frankincense cream. While I didn't like hearing that I was a good match for a product aimed at "maturing, blemish-prone" skin, facts are facts (!), so I bought a jar and took it home to try.
For the past two weeks, I've been using this cream every morning and evening. It glides on smoothly and melts right into my skin, leaving it soft and supple but not at all greasy. While I don't think it actually prevents breakouts, it seems like it helps my skin heal faster than normal, and with less obvious red marks. I really, really like the smell, and would slather it all over my entire body if it was sold by the liter. It is actually sold by the small, 60 ml. jar,, and costs the equivalent of $16 US.
Luxe Lounge Reviewer: Aurelia
Product: Color & Soin Hair Dye by 3 Chenes
What I Love: Like clockwork, about every three weeks, I’ll catch a glimpse of something shiny in my hair mid-comb stroke. It takes roughly two seconds for me to realize the shiny thing isn’t in my hair, it is my hair.
The gray: It kind of sneaks up on you before it takes over. Then you’re left with agonizing decision-making. How do you grow it if you wanted to? Is shaving your head necessary, or are there people out there who actually suffer through months and even years of half-and-half head, before ultimately deciding that they don’t look good in gray anyway?
While mulling over these and other very important questions, I do what I always do: Tackle the roots. My new favorite hair dye for the job is French drugstore brand 3 Chenes (also sold in American natural food stores and online.) Besides matching my original hair color (medium golden brown), I love that it doesn’t contain ammonia or any animal products, and isn’t tested on animals.
Luxe Lounge Reviewer: Jacqui
Product: Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm
What I Love: I can spend hours exfoliating, extracting, moisturizing, and primping my face, neck, and chest. But the rest of my body?! Truth is I'm super lazy and often neglect any body lotions, opting to pour naturally scented oils in my bath, which keep my skin soft and hydrated.
I use my fancy body lotions maybe (?) three times a week. I can honestly say, none of them compared to my experience with this body balm. This is my first time trying a body product with "anti-aging" in its name, and the quick results amazed me!
At first I thought, ooh that’s a small bottle for a body lotion, and I have a lot of body to cover. But this product melts in your hands and very little goes a long way! I’ve been using it every day for three weeks, and I still have half the bottle left.
I have to mention the scent. It’s very unique, and not like anything I’ve ever smelled before in a body lotion. I know it’s a very natural (marine) smell, I just don’t recognize it. What I can be sure about, though, is that if you’re looking for a perfume-y scented lotion, this is not for you. OSEA uses marine ingredients, like gigartina algae and alaria esculents, and the scent is reflective of that.
Side note: are "Gigartina" and "Alaria" not the cutest names for my next pets?
I was excited to try the product right away, not only is it beauty from the sea, but did you hear it’s also anti-aging!? Wink wink! So I lotion up and let the magic happen. There is a bit of a sensation when you first apply, not enough to call it tingling, but there is definitely a sensation on your skin. It’s magic!
I have sun damage on my chest from years of neglect and it’s amazing how smooth it looks after 3 weeks. I love this body balm and so happy to recommend it.
Luxe Lounge Reviewer: Aurelia
Product: DeVita Moroccan Rose Toner
What I Love: I was so excited when fellow Luxe Lounge lady and product-loving fiend (I mean friend!), Jacqui, surprised me with a bottle of this lovely smelling facial toner.
I'm not sure whether Jacqui knew it or not, but I'd been wanting to try DeVita products ever since interviewing the company founder, Cherylanne DeVita, for a beauty feature a couple of years back. I loved her personal story, and am always stoked to discover a company that reflects my cruelty-free vegan values.
My favorite way to use this product is to give my face a few spritzes of this stuff after applying my makeup. It instantly imparts a youthful, post-work out kind of glow. If you're a fan of the dewy look, you'll likely love it, too. It smells of roses and the bottle is made from a heavy, solid glass. Quality all around!
Do you have a cruelty-free vegan product you'd like the Luxe Lounge ladies to review? Send details to our New Products Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.