Black Eyeliner for Less Than Steady Hands

Black Eyeliner for Less Than Steady Hands

I’ve always been lover of black eyeliner. Ever since I started wearing makeup back in junior high, I was rarely seen without it. Sure there are certain looks I wear today that are eyeliner-free, like my version of the Five Minute Face, but most often when I wear makeup, the look is defined by black liner on the top lid.

Why the fascination with black eyeliner?

I think it started when I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn. She’s one of my favorite role models of all time. I did a book report on a biography of her in junior high and to this day I have yet to find a lady who exemplifies true class, glamour, elegance, kindness, and humanity like Audrey. Plus she was a wonderful actress and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (as politically incorrect as it was) is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Breakfast_at_TiffanysBlack eyeliner of course didn’t begin with Audrey–Cleopatra was known for her signature overdrawn kohl-rimmed eyes–and in the 20th century, black eyeliner wasn’t seen on everyday women until the roaring ’20s and then again in

rachael-headshot-lgthe ’40s through the ’60s. While the typical “bombshell” look associated with Marilyn Monroe included black eyeliner (and of course her signature red lips), my favorite black eyeliner look is the early ’60s look with a more neutral/light pink lip (as seen in my photo below) and with the super contoured, neutral palette seen on the more mod Audrey.

Black eyeliner can be a challenge.

Since I’ve been rocking black eyeliner for the greater part of my life, I’ve gotten a pretty steady hand over the years. I can do a great line with a pencil, liquid liner, or cream/cake liner with one of those teeny tiny brushes; but my absolute favorite technique involves a flat tipped eyeliner brush, water, and black eyeshadow.

eyeliner brush and eyeshadow

This is actually how I was taught to apply black eyeliner correctly for the first time at a makeup counter at Nordstrom when I was a young teenager. Instead of trying to draw on a perfectly straight line with the correct thickness with a pencil or teeny tiny pointy brush filled with cream or liquid liner with shaky hands, all you do is load up either side of the dampened flat-tipped, square eyeliner brush, and simply tap it on. I was shocked with how simple this was and how little hand-eye coordination was actually needed!

Check out the video below for my black eyeliner tutorial:

Another benefit with this technique is that you can use any color eyeshadow you want. While I prefer black, I’ve been known to wear a deep plum, hunter green, navy, or brown line; albeit rarely.

Vintage black eyeliner lookMy main suggestions are to use a brush made with synthetic fibers and a high quality, triple-milled eyeshadow. My brush is the GloTools – Eye Liner/ Brow Brush from GloMinerals, and the eyeshadow I used is the black one in Youngblood’s Pressed Mineral Eye Shadow in Starlet. See this quad in action in this post.

Triple-milled shadows will stay on the best and be less likely top flake off. Speaking of flaking off, it’s helpful to dust some translucent powder under your eyes to “catch” any loose liner that might fall during the application process–you simply brush it away when you’re done.

Now it’s your turn!

Watch the video above and go out and try this technique yourself. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Holistically Haute Nail Polish from Philly Loves Lacquer!

Holistically Haute Nail Polish from Philly Loves Lacquer!

Holistically Haute nail polish by Philly Loves Lacquer!

Holistically Haute nail polish by Philly Loves Lacquer!

I don’t do many product reviews anymore, but I had to make an exception for Philly Loves Lacquer (PhLL) for three reasons:

  1. I love supporting other Philadelphia-based small businesses
  2. I love promoting safer options for tricky product categories like nail polish
  3. They made a nail polish color called Holistically Haute!!!!!

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love how it matches my logo so perfectly and also has a subtle holographic effect with coral micro-glitter throughout. I think it’s wearable and classy, and still fun and original. I love nail polish and I’ve written about “How to Have Holistically Haute Natural Nails” in the past, and while I still love some of the other safer nail polish brands on the market, I have to say I think I like PhLL’s polishes even more.

I was first attracted to the PhLL brand when photos of the polishes appeared in my Facebook feed from some of the nail blogs I follow. While I’m fairly conservative with my hair, makeup, and clothing, I LOVE expressing myself with fun, sparkly, and creative nail colors so when I saw images of glitter, holographic effects, and unexpected color combinations I wanted to learn more.

Milk Was A Bad Choice, photo from Accio Lacquer

Milk Was A Bad Choice, photo from Accio Lacquer

When I learned that these fabulous polishes were made just minutes from my home, I was even more excited, so I reached out to Esther Renee, the owner, to learn more about her polishes. When she mentioned that she creates custom lacquers I just knew I wanted a Holistically Haute nail polish–not necessarily to sell–just to have for fun, and, of course for giveaways–which is one of the reasons for today’s post.

HH nail polish by PhLL giveaway info:

I’m really excited that *this close* to 2,000 Likes on the Holistically Haute Facebook page. How awesome is that! So I decided to celebrate by giving away a bottle of Holistically Haute nail polish by PhLL. All you need to do to enter is Like the page and the post below, share it with your friends, and leave a comment telling me your favorite nail polish color. Once the HH Facebook page reaches 2,000 likes, I’ll randomly choose a winner.

HH PhLL giveaway

Back to the nail polish.

Philly Loves Lacquer makes a great nail polish. The polishes are 5-free, meaning they are free of the 5 most toxic nail polish ingredients: dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor which is a huge plus because most mainstream brands still contain some or all five of these ingredients. The polish goes on smoothly and dries super-fast, which I wasn’t expecting.

When I used to have artificial nails, polish dried very quickly. It takes longer on natural nails because there’s no synthetic polymers for the polish to bond with and natural nails contain natural oils which also slow down the drying process. When I realized that two coats of this polish, between coats of base coat and top coat, had dried in about 5 minutes I actually emailed Esther to tell her how cool that was and ask her if that was normal! She responded yes, she hears that often about her polishes.

The brains behind the nail polish:

For this post and giveaway, I also wanted to share a little “behind the scenes” information about Esther and her fabulous nail lacquers so I asked her some questions which she was kind enough to answer. Here are her responses:

Golden Crown and the Pirates photo from Lacquer: The Best Medicine

Golden Crown and the Pirates photo from Lacquer: The Best Medicine

Rachael Pontillo: How did you get into making nail polish?

Esther Renee: I have always loved nail polish, going back since I was around 5 or 6, but I always bit my nails. My much older sister was a nail tech at the time and she refused to do my nails until I stopped biting them. Needless to say, she never did my nails LOL! Fast forward to November 2012, and one of my friends told me about a nail polish subscription box by a brand called Julep. The same friend also made indie nail polish, so I decided to try both Julep AND her brand, and it was a downward spiral (but in a good way haha) from there. Around February 2013, I began learning more about indie nail polish and decided that I wanted to try my hand at making my own. I did tons of research and bought some supplies, and it just clicked from there. I never thought that PhLL would make this far, but it’s been such a fun ride!

RP: Why did you choose to make them 5-free?

ER: The decision to become 5-free was actually sort of a fluke. Not that I didn’t want to be 5-free in the first place, but there seemed to be some sort of disconnect between 5-free suspension bases (the base for the nail polish) and big heavy glitters, so a lot of the 5-free indie brands had issues with the bigger glitter sinking. So, I did the next best thing and sought out a 4-free base, which is free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde resin. The base I’ve used has amazing suspension properties and works wonderfully for both glitter based polish and cream based. As luck would have it, a few months ago, my base supplier identified a mistake that the manufacturer had made in the MSDS for the base; a good one, in fact! It turns out that my suspension base was 5-free all along. So in addition to the 4 big no-no’s, PhLL is also free of camphor. I’m currently working to update my logo, website, and other materials to reflect this exciting change.

RP: Did you encounter any challenges in making 5-free polishes?

ER: I don’t think I’ve run into any issues thus far, in terms of being 5-free. For about a month after my base supplier announced the mixup, I was hesitant to advertise the fact that we were now 5-free instead of 4-free, but we were able to have it tested and verified. I think the only issues, in terms of polish making, that I’ve run into are just issues with certain glitters. Everything I use goes through an extensive testing period, and some of the things I have high hopes for don’t always make the cut. That always makes me a little sad, but it is what it is! I just see it as a way to find something else equally awesome or even better to use.

RP: Other than your custom polishes, how do you get inspired for new colors and names?

Star Barn photo from Paint those Piggies

Star Barn photo from Paint those Piggies

ER: Since PhLL is homegrown in Philadelphia, my main inspiration is of course the City of Brotherly Love. Since I grew up here, I have a lot of memories here. I try and pour (pardon the pun, haha) as much nostalgia as I can into PhLL, and I am always researching neighborhoods and landmarks for future collections. In fact, I am working on a collection right now for the summer, and the inspiration is coming from all my summer vacations spent down the shore with my family. I know that Wildwood isn’t in Philly, but it’s pretty much a standard vacation spot for most natives here.

RP: What’s your vision for PhLL?

ER: When I first started PhLL, I didn’t know where it would go. Since I started just a little more than a year ago, it’s grown into this amazing awesome colorful beast, and I cannot wait for what’s to come. I would love to see PhLL be carried in some more local shops, and maybe eventually expand into other cosmetics. I am working on so many things, my mind can barely handle it all! But it’s going to be fun, and what was once pretty scary, is now becoming my life. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that!
I personally think PhLL is destined for greatness–Esther’s original colors and amazing formulations need to be shared with the nail polish-loving world!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on Facebook–I think it will be over very quickly!

For another chance to win a free bottle of Holistically Haute nail polish from PhLL, sign up for free email updates–I’m doing a private giveaway just for my subscribers over email! Good luck!

A Natural Beauty Buff…Who, Me?

A Natural Beauty Buff…Who, Me?

natural beauty buff kimberly locI’ve been doing my work for quite a few years now, and I’ve done quite a few interviews and guest features for other blogs and publications. I’m always flattered when I’m asked for an interview or to contribute to an article, and I’m especially tickled when it’s a site that I really love and already read like Kim talks about natural beauty and skincare products, sure, but she also talks about fun topics like food and style and has a great writing style. So when she asked to read my book and if I’d like to be featured as one of her Natural Beauty Buffs, it was a no-brainer.

I used to do a lot of product reviews on HH, but since my business has taken off I hardly do them. Plus I really prefer talking about products I love that I already buy and use regularly, so when Kim asked for 8 of my go-to favorite holistic products, why I love them, and how/when I use them I was excited to oblige!

Here are the natural beauty products I selected:


  1. minerals™ softLINES™ eyeliner pencil by DeVita Skin Care
  2. Lavera Naturkosmetik’s Trend Sensitiv Natural Liquid Foundation
  3. doTERRA® Pepperment Beadlets
  4. Eco Tints tinted lip balm:
  5. Dr. Bronner’s Magic “All-One” Organic Fair Trade Hair Crème
  6. Body Ecology™ CocoBiotic Natural Probiotic with Coconut Water
  7. NeoCell’s Super Collagen Types 1&3 powder
  8. NeoCell’s Hyaluronic Acid Blueberry liquid 

To find out why I love them as well as how and when I use them, click on over to my feature on Kim’s blog:

Natural Beauty Buff, Rachael Pontillo, Holistically Haute

LYS final front coverOn another note, I was extremely touched by Kim’s comments about my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself. She liked my “girlfriend to girlfriend” writing style and said “I felt like I was having a conversation with a best friend while reading her book!” That warms my heart because that’s exactly how I hope all readers feel about the book. She also also referred to me as a “pioneer within the broader green beauty industry whom I admire and must reach know more about.” …which I have to say leaves me a bit speechless, I’m so humbled and touched.

I want to extend a huge thank you to Kim Wallace of and I encourage you to browse through her blog…it’s so much fun and has such great information!

Did You Miss Expo West? Here's My Recap…and A Giveaway!

Did You Miss Expo West? Here's My Recap…and A Giveaway!

Kettlebell Bombshell, Lisa Balash and I with our awesome event sign

Kettlebell Bombshell, Lisa Balash and I with our awesome event sign

I just got back from the Mecca of the holistic health and wellness industry–Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. I spoke and did a book signing at the east coast version of this show in Baltimore last fall, which was AMAZING–but this show was just unreal. It was like Expo East on steroids…that is, an all-natural drug-free version of steroids 🙂 I was extremely fortunate and am very grateful to NeoCell for giving me the opportunity to attend, speak at, and sign books at this incredible event. I know not everyone who wanted to go had the opportunity to go so I thought I’d share some of my experience and photos with you.

By the way, I put a larger assortment of photos on my Facebook page, and I know my friends Steph Hendel, Lisa Balash, and of course NeoCell have lots of great photos on their pages too. So enjoy this recap and stick with me to the end because I’m doing a giveaway and the details are at the end of this post.

It was like pilgrims flocking to their holy shrine…

IMG_0132First of all the Anaheim Convention Center is the biggest convention center I’ve ever seen…and there were just people everywhere enjoying the outdoor sample tents and gourmet food trucks lining the streets before even entering the show. Everywhere I looked I saw excited people and vendors giving out goodies. The weather was beautiful–clear skies and warm–but not hot–weather–although it was a bit freezing in most of the exhibit halls. Because of this the exhibitors who were sampling hot tea, soup, and other warm foods had quite a crowd.

There were 5+ exhibit halls filled with 2600+ exhibitors and more 67,000+ attendees. I was there as NeoCell‘s Beauty Brand Ambassador (which I was given a shiny award for!), and I also gave a talk called “Love Your NeoCell Skin” and gave away signed copies of my bestselling book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself.

Giving my #LoveYourNeoCellSkin talk at the booth

Giving my #LoveYourNeoCellSkin talk at the booth

I also got to talk about the benefits of collagen, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and other nutrients to curious NeoCell booth visitors, and had the pleasure of listening to truly amazing stories of how these products have improved lives. Many people associate the use of collagen and other nutriceutical ingredients with superficial goals like smoother, plumper, firmer skin (and there’s NOTHING wrong with that!) but truly, the difference the products made to people with joint and muscle issues, eye health issues, and thinning hair due to certain health conditions and medical treatments was inspiring. NeoCell also presented the charity Vitamin Angels with a donation of $192,000.00 which was much appreciated! Vitamin Angels is a wonderful national and international organization that provides at-risk individuals and families with life-saving and life-changing vitamins and minerals.

On this trip to Expo West, I also had a different mission–to truly focus on gratitude and blessings.

As you may know, I’m currently going for my PhD in metaphysics and holistic life counseling and I’m a huge believer in The Law of Attraction and other Universal Laws. One of the books I read on my flight was E-Squared: Nine Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments to Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout. I know–deep stuff! My fellow NeoCell ambassador and my new dear friend, Lisa , the Kettlebell Bombshell, Balash and I spent a lot of time together all weekend and decided to try the first experiment together since it only required 48 hours. Steph Hendel joined in the fun as well.

The experiment is called: “The Dude Abides: There is an Invisible Energy Force or Field of Infinite Possibilities,” and the task is to simply ask this force/field/source/light/God/whatever word you like to use to give a blessing–and to make it clear so you KNOW it’s the one–within 48 hours. And you can’t just sit idly back or play on your phone all day waiting for the blessing to come–Grout says you have to actually look for it in the same way you’d look for lost car keys when you’re running late–under cushions, in drawers, closets, everywhere–because you expect the keys are there somewhere–they didn’t just vanish. Don’t you usually find the keys? Of course you do–because they’re real–they were just somewhere you weren’t looking.

Lisa, Steph and I having some fun and enjoying some Enlightened Ice Cream while on the hunt for our blessings.

Lisa, Steph and I having some fun and enjoying some Enlightened Ice Cream while on the hunt for our blessings.

Well Lisa, Steph and I decided to give it a go and we began to look for blessings everywhere at the show–on the floor, in the booths, in the crowd, etc–and we found many. Each time, we asked each other “Is this my blessing?” We agreed that yes, it was a blessing…but was it the blessing? Well we both received our blessings–and both times we knew it it was the blessing with every sense of our beings. But we also realized that on those two days we received more than our share of wonderful blessings and had we not looked for them, we likely would not have received them. Which of course got us thinking…what if we looked for blessings–and gave thanks for them–on a daily basis? Aha! Well done, Pam Grout.

Expressing gratitude for blessings received…as well as those which have yet to manifest is important, and one of the ways I like to do that is to give.

So I decided to do a big giveaway of some of the amazing natural products from NeoCell and other natural product companies I brought home from the show. And I brought home a lot…enough to add 20 lbs of weight to my suitcase! Here’s a sampling of what I brought home–some of which isn’t even available in stores yet!

IMG_0198I already gave away not one but THREE sample prize packs to my email subscribers last night. I send them an email, similar to this post, about the show and said that the first three to respond to the email would win. Guess how long it took for me to give away three prizes? A whopping 30 seconds. And after that I was flooded with enthusiastic emails not just from those who wanted to win a prize, but from those who simply wanted to express how much they value my emails and share their own passions for holistic skincare, health, wellness, and natural products. THAT was a beautiful blessing, for which I’m incredibly grateful!

Grateful for my Best Beauty Ambassador Award from NeoCell! Lisa won for Best Fitness Ambassador.

Grateful for my Best Beauty Ambassador Award from NeoCell! Lisa won for Best Fitness Ambassador.

The subscriber-only giveaway is over, but I wanted to give more goodies away too–so I decided to do a public giveaway with only one prize–and this one’s happening on my Facebook page. We’re going to do another “Like, Guess, and Share” contest–to enter, all you have to do is Like the Holistically Haute Facebook page, Guess which single NeoCell product I recommend the most to my clients, and Share the post with your friends. I’ll have it pinned to the top of my page so you won’t miss it–but the giveaway will end soon so act quickly! I’ll randomly select ONE winner from the list of readers who Like, Guess correctly, and Share and that winner will be notified on Facebook. Neocell product giveaway

By the way…

My subscribers get exclusive giveaways, advance notice of new projects and announcements, and a whole bunch of other goodies in addition to personal insights and my best tips for how to truly achieve beauty, health, and vitality from the inside out and outside in–many of which I don’t share here! If you’d like to be on the list, subscribe HERE–it’s totally free.

**The giveaway has ended. Subscribe for updates for info on future giveaways and bonuses.

Great News: HH is Now A Brand Ambassador of Bulu Box!

Great News: HH is Now A Brand Ambassador of Bulu Box!

Bulu Box Co-Founder and CEO and I at Natural Products Expo East 2013

Bulu Box Co-Founder and CEO and I at Natural Products Expo East 2013

I have something very cool to share with you today. You know my good friends at NeoCell, right? Well they introduced me to a very cool company called Bulu Box because they thought our philosophies were a good fit for each other. I got to meet their CEO and Co-Founder, Paul Jarrett at Natural Products Expo East when I was there with NeoCell giving a talk and signing copies of my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself and got a very good vibe. They invited me to become a Brand Ambassador of Bulu Box and after getting to know the company and their team a bit better I accepted. I’m so excited about this…I’m officially a “Bulugan.”

What’s a Bulu Box?

It’s more than just a fun-sounding name. Bulu Box is a way to try out different supplements and natural health product samples from top quality companies (like NeoCell) without having to commit to buying a full sized product at full price that you don’t know if you’ll like.

Here's an example of what comes inside a Bulu Box...

Here’s an example of what comes inside a Bulu Box…

It’s only $10 a month, and what I really like is that while you have the option to commit to a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription, you don’t have to–you can try it out on a month-to-month basis if you don’t like committing to a monthly autoship. The $10 fee covers everything–you pay nothing extra for shipping, there are no hidden fees, and you can cancel anytime. Cool, right?

Bulu Box offers subscribers more than just great product samples.

They also offer a supportive and informative social media community of Bulugans, a blog with excellent free resources and articles, and reward system where subscribers earn points on purchases, for taking brief surveys, for getting involved in the community, and for sharing Bulu Box. Points can be used to purchase full-sized versions of any of the sample products from the Bulu Box online store.

Bulu Box makes a great gift too…you can send someone a gift subscription.

Click HERE and use code BULUGAN541 at checkout!

Click HERE and use code BULUGAN541 at checkout!

You can find out all about Bulu Box by clicking HERE, and since I’m a brand ambassador, I get to offer YOU a 50% discount on a 3 month subscription–just use the code BULUGAN541 at checkout! The code works on either the regular or weight loss box subscriptions. I’m so excited to be able to offer you this fun new way to try natural products and supplements before you buy–enjoy!





Love Your Skin, Love Yourself is on A Girl's Gotta Spa!

Love Your Skin, Love Yourself is on A Girl's Gotta Spa!

a-girls-gotta-spa-beauty-blog1This past week has been amazing…not only has my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, been published, but it’s already become a #1 bestseller in the skin care category on Amazon! To top it all off, the fabulous Shannon Smyth of one of my favorite beauty blogs, A Girl’s Gotta Spa interviewed me about the book and has published the interview on A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

I’m extremely honored to be on A Girl’s Gotta Spa. Back when I was a wee newbie blogger, I found A Girl’s Gotta Spa and got hooked. I loved commenting on the different product reviews and even purchased some of the natural/holistic featured products after reading her posts. I also really respect Shannon as a fellow busy working mom, and really appreciate the support and guidance she gave me early on when I was still learning the ropes (not that I’ve learned them all…there are just too many ropes in the blogosphere!). So to be featured on A Girl’s Gotta Spa is a humbling experience for which I am extremely grateful, and I am so excited to share it with you.

Check out my Q & A on A Girl’s Gotta Spa:

Love Your Skin Love Yourself Q and A with Rachael Pontillo

And if that wasn’t enough excitement…I have a special invitation for you!

toastingOn Tuesday, September 3, I’m celebrating the launch of Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, in a big, fun, live, virtual party on the Holistically Haute Facebook page and on Google Hangouts! Let’s toast to that!

I’d love for you to join me for the following events:

  • 1:00-2:00pm EDT: LIVE chat and Q & A with me on the Holistically Haute Facebook page
  • BSIAW4:00-6:00pm EDT: LIVE Virtual Bestseller Author Spotlight with Alicia Dunams: I’m so excited to have been selected to be featured in Alicia’s Author Spotlight. I did her Bestseller In A Weekend Program which not only helped me get my book finished and published, but also was instrumental in helping it reach the #1 spot in Amazon’s competitive Skin Care category. Alicia’s taught me so muchand I’m tickled that she chose to feature me and Love Your Skin, Love Yourself in this amazing Google Hangout event. Register HERE–it’s free and all attendees who purchase the book will qualify to win amazing free prizes and exclusive bonuses!
  • ALL DAY LONG: I’ll be giving away 5 signed copies of Love Your Skin, Love Yourself to my loyal fans and readers. To enter to win, all you have to do is “Like” the Holistically Haute Facebook page and share the event with your friends or in groups. Click HERE for more information.

Thank you so much for celebrating my book’s launch with me! I hope to see you at one or all of the festivities on 9/3.

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