Lockdowns and ZOOM gave us the opportunity to connect virtually, but also made many of us much more conscious of our faces. For some facial surgery might be the answer or solution, but for me make-up was just the tonic to experiment with colours and textures, as well as reassemble my features depending on the mood of the day. It also reignited the desire to discover new make-up brands emerging into the spotlight, at the time when skincare took a significant lead in consumer preference. TOK Beauty is a young Canadian brand that I want to spotlight for you, whether you are in your 20s or in your 40s, as it’s appeal lies in its simplicity. I just wish I discovered EYES That TOK mascara at the height of pandemic .)
Tara O’Kelly, the founder of TOK Beauty, is as creative, as she is passionate about nature & sports. But like most of the young girls she loved and appreciated make-up from the early age too. She used to play with her mother’s makeup, using her sister as the model after receiving Estée Lauder and Clinique gift packs from her Grandma (to whom she is still very close) every Christmas. Not surprisingly she I fell in love with textures, colours, scents and….the experiments with the application of various products.
But there was an underlying problem, as throughout the years Tara experienced product sensitivities, which were compounded by her dry skin. Add severe forms of eczema and rosacea, at the time when not many people talked or queried ingredients in skincare and ‘solution’ came…. in the form of medical prescription creams. As time went by, Tara started focussing more on her lifestyle choices, especially after being diagnosed with epilepsy. She started to explore nutrition and fitness as a career path, but her creativity and desire to help others in similar circumstances with their skin led her to training as a make-up artist, while talking to other women, researching the ingredients and discussions with chemists. The result of all those efforts can be seen and experienced through TOK Beauty.
Tara formulated the products with plant-based benefits, making sure that they provide women with performance driven visual results. TOK Beauty aims not only to provide simple and high quality beauty products, but is committed as a brand to package and ship their products sustainably. Tara made a conscious business decision to use both aluminum packaging and recyclable plastics where she can.
“Aluminum is a sustainable material and is 100% recyclable. It can be endlessly reprocessed without loss of the metal quality. The recycling process uses only 5% of the energy required for production. It is also lightweight and can be transported easily, which also equates to a lower carbon footprint”.TOK Beauty website
TOK Beauty packaging can also be recycled through TerraCycle, which is a globally recognized company that is able to properly seperate recyclable components. Tara also send orders out in compostable mailers (I shared mine via the Insta stories & have already placed it into the recycle bin that my local council collects weekly) or recycled unit cartons and shipper boxes, which are protected with 100% recyclable, reusable and biodegradable packaging. There are also packing peanuts that are included with the larger orders, which are made from organic starch and decompose in water, leaving no waste behind.
As Tara says, as a brand founder she “recognises that using more sustainable packaging options won’t solve our planet’s plastic challenge, but at least we as a brand can do our small part to take a step in the right direction”.
Now, to another important topic – ingredients. Tara and TOK Beauty strive to use “the best quality ingredients, while excluding over 2700 ingredients known to cause potential harm” and the brand is proud to be both cruelty-free and Leaping Bunny certified.
Eyes That Tok, Length Enhancing Mascara, US$23
Since W3LL People pulled out of the UK (well before Brexit), I have been looking for a more natural mascara formula that is effective, smudge-proof and cost-effective. There are some credible options in terms of ingredients and coverage, but the ones that I tried…. smudged. So when Tara sent me her mascara I was curious, but kept my expectations neutral.
A natural formula that promises to volumise & lengthen your lashes, while also conditioning and strengthening them? That’s quite a bold and ambitious promise for an everyday mascara. Yet it does leave my lashes looking ‘bushier’ and helps to enhance the eyelashes that in turn frame my eyes with a bit more visual impact. It actually took Tara two years of packaging ( I really like TOK packaging – something that many brands simply get wrong. It’s simple, but elegant and is pleasing on the eye for customers of different ages, not just young or mature ones – it really does have universal age appeal I think ) and formula changes before she was satisfied that the mascara was ready to be launched into the world.
- Horsetail Plant – naturally rich in silica, horsetail plant strengthens lashes and promotes growth.
- Pea Protein – plant based protein with a complete source of essential amino acids to condition, strengthen and prevent breakage in your lashes.
- Bayberry Fruit Wax – Conditions lashes and provides lasting all day hold.
Starting at the roots of your lashes, apply the mascara in a wiggle motion and sweep the brush outward. I really enjoy the "wiggle" and flexibility of the thick brush and how well it applies mascara to the top lashes - I tend to leave my bottom lashes just as they are, mascara-free. The black colour is subtle, which personally is much to my liking. Best of all, it doesn't smudge - even though so far my face haven't been caught out in the rain. I also appreciate that this mascara contains ingredients like peptides & Horsetail extract that you typically found in lash serums that help stimulate lash growth. Thus far I might have fallen under the TOK Mascara Spell .)
INCI: Aqua, CI 77499, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Stearyl Esters, Stearic Acid, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Myrica Pubescens (Bayberry) Fruit Wax, Pullulan, Glyceryl Caprylate, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Peptide, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Galactoarabinan.
Tok Beauty Lip Tonic, four shades, US$21
Filled with plant-based ingredients like Avocado Oil to nourish and moisturize your lips, Grapefruit and Zinc Oxide to help protect thinner lip skin from harmful rays, Hyaluronic Acid to lock in moisture, Lysine for the formation of collagen and protection against infections, as well as plant-based peptides for a natural, plumping effect without the irritation, you can expect the lips to appreciate this product.
I am currently using the neutral/beige lip tonic in GLOW and enjoy the non-sticky feel and lightly-pigmented effect. Tara choose the shade for me and we were perfectly matched – I wear this shade during the day with pleasure. I like the feel of the lip tonic, but on occasion found my lips feeling a little drier than usual after an hour, yet I can’t say that the product itself feels drying when I first apply it. A little bit of a mystery, yet my hands reach for that tonic every morning before the school run .)
INCI: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cocos Nucifera (Fractionated Coconut) Oil, Aroma (Natural Flavor), Lysine, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Silica, Zinc Oxide & Coco-Caprylate/Caprate & Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate & Isostearic Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract & Lactobacillus/Capsicum Frutescens Fruit Ferment Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil & Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, May Contain (+/-): CI 15850 (Red 7), CI 45410 (Red 28), CI19140 (Yellow 5), CI77499 (Black Oxide), CI77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI177019 (Mica)
Curl Tok Eyelash Curlers, US$ 8
While I cherish my timeless Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers (I have had mine for a couple of decades I think?), I was girlishly excited when I laid my eyes on TOK’s rose gold curler. Slightly springy – make sure your hands are dry when using them, they do the job of adding an ‘extra’ curl to the eyelashes before mascara application. While some experts say that regular use of the combination of mascara and curlers can compound the damage done to the lashes, I think that it depends on the ingredients and technique that you use. Choose your mascara with thought, don’t over-do it, don’t curl the eyelashes too close to the roots and I think your eyelashes will be on good form.
To find out more about TOK Beauty please click here