This past January, I bought my first pair of red shoes*.  I quickly realized that I needed more.  Fortunately, I love to shop for a bargain.  With spring fully in gear, I have hunted and gathered my way to a few pairs.  For casual days, I love them with faded ankle-length skinny jeans.  And red lips.

The Red Shoes: I am insanely in love with my pointy-toe red flats and ankle boots (not pictured) from Frye.  The only eco-fashion thing I can say about them is they last for freaking ever.  Not cheap, but if you are patient you can find them on sale.  And this pair of Converse canvas sneakers does the red shoe thing in playground casual (more support than the standard Chucks, too).

The Skinny Jeans: I’ve long been a Levi’s kind of gal, but I recently discovered Henry & Belle jeans.  They make super soft, super stretchy, comfortable jeans, in lots of colors and styles.  And – bonus – a portion of every sale goes to a variety of good causes, such as Every Mother Counts and Girls on the Run.  I like to order from Melange, which has great sales, a cute blog, free shipping and superior customer service.  To top those jeans, they also carry great organic cotton brands like Prairie Underground and Raw Earth Wild Sky.

The Red Lips: Still working for spring are my fall reds – RMS Diabolique and Ilia Femme Fatale.  I’ve also recently discovered Alima Pure’s Lip Tints, which are immense chocolately improvements on the old peppermint formula.  I can’t tolerate peppermint on my lips, so I was thrilled to try the new tints.  Cranberry is a warm burgundy that really has enough pigment to wear as a lipstick, though it feels like a balm.  The glossier Holly Berry is a spiced rose that is super subtle.  I’m loving wearing the RMS or Ilia pressed into well-moisturized lips like a stain, with one of the Alima tints over as a balm.  I generally like to put a balm over my lipstick, but sometimes a clear balm kind of sucks the color away.  These tints are a perfect topper, and can handle a touch-up on their own when I don’t have time for a full reapplication.

Just some Ilia illuminator around my eyes and RMS bronzer on my cheeks finishes my barely-made-up spring face.

One More Thing: Those exposed ankles are going to need some glow…easily provided by my old favorite, May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff, and my new favorite, Yuli’s Harmony.  Or, try one of my other favorite body oils.

What are your spring inspirations?

*actually, my first was a pair of Adidas sneakers in the mid-nineties, but I’m not counting that right now

A spring routine! This one makes us want to hop on a bike and let the breeze run through our hair. So fresh.

Name: Erin Gibbs

Age: 35

City: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Current Weather: Springy, mix of rain and beautiful sunny days with lots of pink cherry blossoms in bloom!

Skin: Fair, combination, oily and acne-prone during hormonal times, recurring eczema on my right eyelid

Hair: Fine, dry and curly, mousy brown with a few ‘natural highlights’, almost shoulder-length

Favourite Star from the past: Lillian Gish’s soft curls and fair skin are mesmerizing and any of the women from Rides are Bike are great:

First thing…

Try to take a few deep breaths and will myself out from under the cosy covers.

In the shower…

From time to time I dry brush, but usually I just hop in the shower right away. I’m a pretty basic lady, so Dr. Bronners mint liquid soap and an exfoliating cloth for my body are my jam. I wash my hair fairly infrequently, alternating between shampooing with Dr. Bronners or using conditioner to clean my scalp. I rinse and then finger comb conditioner through my hair without rinsing. It’s either left to air dry or lightly diffused. I’m interested in trying henna to make my mousy hair colour a bit more rich—any suggestions are welcome.

I use a bulk conditioner from The Soap Dispensary, a wonderful natural personal care and home cleaning shop here in Vancouver. Conditioner doubles as shaving cream or I’ll sometimes swap in bulk coconut oil from The Soap Dispensary.

I’ve recently become hooked on Dr. Sponge konjac sponges and bring one into the shower with me each morning for a short but sweet spa-like face massage. My feet get a scrub with a dual sided pumice paddle thingy (technical term!).

Out of the shower…

If I’m feeling motivated, I moisturize my body either with some coconut oil, hemp seed oil, rosehip oil, shea butter or a mix (all bulk from The Soap Dispensary!). Most days I don’t bother as it’s quite humid in Vancouver. I do pay attention to my right hand that has a patch of eczema on the pinkie finger that just won’t quit. It gets special treatment with some Weleda Skin Food, Egyptian Magic or other concoction.

Deodorant has always been a challenge and my personal fave, Aromarant is now discontinued at Lush. I’ve been using the Aromaco solid deodorant, but I’m not a big fan of patchouli (despite living on the west coast) and I haven’t checked how green the ingredients are. Other deodorants give me the dreaded red, rashy pit!

Pearly whites get a brush with Jason Seafresh toothpaste. During my period I rely on the miraculous Diva Cup. It’s changed my life and I love it. Easy for everyday and great for travel. Discreet, clean and zero waste!

If I haven’t showered, I use one of several facial cleansers: Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Balm, Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening cleanser, or rosehip/hemp oil. That’s followed up by a spritzing of homemade toner of alcohol-free witch hazel (from The Soap Dispensary), with a few drops of lavender and tea tree oil mixed into the bottle. I moisturize either with a few drops of the aforementioned rosehip or hemp seed oil.

Sunscreen seems silly for three-quarters of the year when it’s overcast and raining, however I recently picked up MyChelle Sun Shield Unscented SPF 28, so we’ll see how that goes once the sun makes an appearance.


Since going green and clean have accumulated a lot of makeup through the trials and tribulations shipping international items to Canada. My daily look is quite natural in any case.

I start out with Lavera Natural Liquid Foundation (Porcelain 01). I am trying out bareMinerals Original foundation (Light W15), but it seems to make my pores look bigger, my eczema show more and my skin itch!  Any suggestions for a foundation/tinted moisturizer available in Canada with a bit more coverage than Lavera would be great.

For concealer, I was using Jose Maran Argan Creamy Concealer (Light 1) and have since stopped as it collected in the creases below my eyes. I just picked up the bareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener, and am underwhelmed with its ability to cover my very dark under eye circles. I would love some suggestions for a concealer that stays put, covers dark circles and is available in Canada. RMS “Un”coverup was a slippery mess on my face.

My brows are filled in with a sample of Capitalism 913 from W3ll People. Eyelids get a sweep of Sway from Ilia. Eyeliner like W3ll People Hypnotist tends to migrate under my eyes in no time, so often a bit of Capitalism 913 along my lash line applied with an angled brush is safer. I would love to achieve the cat eye look with a natural product.

For mascara, I’ve been pretty happy with Benecos Natural Mascara Maximum Volume in Deep Black. Cheeks get some love from RMS Lip2Cheek in Modest. Some experiments using beet root powder (from The Soap Dispensary, of course) to make cheek tint are in the works now. Brow bones, cheek bones and cupid’s bow get a dab of RMS Living Luminizer or W3ll People Universalist 2. My lips get a swipe of coconut oil or Arabian Nights by Ilia.


I try to drink a mug of warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar each morning. For mental and physical health, I ride my bicycle for fun and to get around this beautiful city. Occasional Yamuna Body Rolling helps stretch out my muscles and keep chronic back issues at bay. Most importantly, I do my best to make time for my husband so we can laugh at/with each other, at a movie or out watching an improv show. We made 2014 The Year of Funny in our home and it has already made such a difference!

Green and Clean Focus…

My ongoing challenge with developing a green and clean beauty regime is packaging.  As a designer, I LOVE pretty packaging. As a lover of the earth, I get huge pangs of guilt when buying new beauty and personal care products, even if the packaging is recyclable or reusable. Bea over at Zero Waste Home has her routine down pat, however I’m not quite ready to be as minimal as she is. I’m also quite inspired by Dawn Michelle of Minimalist Beauty. What I want to know is, how do NMDL community members deal physically (and emotionally!) with all of the containers and shipping materials from these wonderful, but waste-producing products? What mutli-use products do you use while maintaining your beauty routine and looking pulled together?

Great question, Erin! Let us know your favorite eco-friendly multi-use products in the comments.


Happy Earth Day Deal From Osmia Organics!

For those of you already familiar with Osmia Organics, you know exactly why this natural skincare line out of Colorado is the perfect fit for an Earth Day deal. If you haven’t experienced Osmia for yourself, here’s your golden opportunity.

We’ve loved Osmia’s body oils, perfume oils, soaps, hand creams, spot treatment, restoration serum—oh my gosh what don’t we love? Heavenly natural active ingredients plus heavenly scents made Osmia girls out of all of us. Osmia curated a limited edition Earth Day box with their most earth-a-licious products, and they’re giving NMDL readers a special deal on this otherwise $65 box.

NMDL Readers can use the code NMDL422 and get the Osmia Earth Day box for $49! The code is good through 4/23 while supplies last. Purchases over $150 include a free Osmia Girl bag!

Included in the Osmia Earth Day Box:

  • Full size Protein Exfoliating Mask with ceramic dish and mixing spatula
  • Samples of Osmia Organic Tea Bath and Salt Bath
  • Samples of 3 of body oils — Stream, Flower, and Forest
  • A 4.5-ounce bar of the limited edition Stracciatella Soap — It’s a combination of Oh So Soap and Black Clay Facial Soap (their best-selling body soap and best-selling face soap). It is basically unscented, divinely creamy, and perfect as an all-in-one travel soap.  It’s vegan and only available as part of this set.
  • Muslin soap travel bag

All products are vegan, packaged in earth-conscious packaging — glass bottles, biodegradable sample bags, recycled watercolor paper soap wrap, and 100% recycled box and crinkle paper, etc. Every day is Earth Day with Osmia Organics!

Osmia sent us the Protein Exfoliating Mask to try out in advance of the Earth Day deal, and now we understand why she was so eager to feature it as the star of the box. It’s a dry mask that gets its pretty pink color from red sandalwood powder. You mix it with a dash of water in the ceramic bowl provided. Like all Osmia products the scent is fresh from the earth and cleansing. Here’s what we think:

“I love the earthy bean scent — it makes me feel like I’m gleaning Mother Earth’s knowledge and using it to improve my face. It also give a great manual exfoliation when I remove it, which is always so gratifying (and leaves my skin smooth as a seal).” Nicolle

“Straight out of the bottle the dry powder gives me an immediate lift with its woody, yet warm and sweet scent. I considered bathing in it for that reason, but then it would be gone! Once mixed with water, the mask comes alive—literally—and the change in scent is your clue. It’s the ground adzuki beans and quinoa being stimulated by the water. I love to put this enzyme and protein rich mask on ten minutes before a shower, let it dry, and then exfoliate off. It has more texture than I’m used to, but it isn’t rough—just very satisfying.” Susannah

Osmia Organics made 220 of these Earth Day boxes. Hike on over and get yours before they disappear. But first, tell us how you plan to honor Earth Day!

Oh to be Lola’s friend so we could play makeup together! Rest assured, we would never fault you for your RMS habit, darling.

Name: Lola

Age: 36

Where I live: Brooklyn

My relationship with makeup: evolved with time. My parents didn’t let me wear makeup, so I would wait until my mother left for work and sneak a swipe of her khaki-gold eye pencil before leaving for school (I’m still a little obsessed with that color). I started college at 16 and became a club kid, which meant lots of glitter everything. Then, an absolutely remarkable makeup artist at the very first MAC store on Gay Street taught me the art of the eye makeup and I became the girl who would spend 40 minutes and use 5 eye shadows to achieve the “no makeup” look. These days, I’m a busy working mother and can’t be bothered with any makeup at all on a daily basis, but I still love a dramatic eye for a night out. I also love to experiment with color—mostly on my eyes. My mother (who has amazing skin) instilled in me a hatred of foundation, so I’m a big fan of the bare-skinned look and limit myself to concealer and tinted moisturizer. Whatever happens in my own life, though, I love the artistry of makeup and its transformative power.

I clearly have a bit of an RMS habit. I use the un-coverup in 22 as concealer/spot-foundation, the living luminizer, a bunch of the shadows (solar, karma and magnetic), the buriti bronzer, the lip shine in Sublime and the Lip-to-Cheek in Diabolique, which is a perfect and much more wearable dupe for my old dirty fave Armani lipstick, which I offloaded on my mum. I also use the Un-powder, but it doesn’t fit into my makeup bag.

Eyes: I love the RMS shadows—they are just so easy. I either do a smokey eye using karma and magnetic, alone or together or load up on solar and the Luminizer for a soft, glowing look. I still use my dirty Armani eyeliner and Eyes to Kill mascara. I’m anxiously awaiting some reviews of the new RMS mascara because I’m hoping it might replace the Armani. The little black tool on the right of the Luminizer is my Japonesque travel eyelash curler. I can’t live without that thing. I used to be a Shu Uemura curler acolyte, but this little thing is sooo much better and easier to control, plus it’s super-portable.

Skin: I just ordered the Ilia powder (that’s the fat metallic tube) and I’m so thrilled with it. I love brushes preloaded with powder. It’s perfect for getting rid of excess shine, yet leaves my skin soft, dewy and not-at-all dry. It’s colorless, just like the Un-powder, so I imagine it would suit most complexions. I do still like the Un-powder as well, so I tend to alternate between the two. The Suntegrity 5-in-1 is the only bit of makeup I wear every day. I love the texture and the color and it’s loaded with fabulous ingredients. It provides light coverage, but I really don’t need anything much heavier and it never settles into fine lines or looks dry. Finally, the Buriti bronzer is something I use on special occasions (unlike the Luminizer, which is my night out staple) and I love how subtle it is.

Lips: For lips, aside from the RMS, I mostly use Hurraw balms, but I love the Yuli Lip Treatment (it makes a great moisturizing base for the somewhat drying Diabolique) and the Ilia White Rabbit lip gloss (it’s perfectly sparkly and makes me happy).

The last parts of my makeup bag are my natural fragrances and essential oils. Here I have the Leilani Bishop Lilac roll-on, the Essence of Vali perfume, the H. Gillerman tension remedy (awesome for headaches and I get tons of compliments on the smell) and the EoV Calm Spray. I’ve a lot more oils in my arsenal, so I rotate them depending on where I’m going and how I’m feeling. Oh, and the pretty, floral makeup bag is from Liberty in London. I have a matching, larger toiletries bag and I am obsessed with them. Having a nice cosmetic bag really does make packing so much ore pleasant!


Product Review: Green Body Deodorant

I’m going to keep this big announcement short and sweet: I’ve discovered my Holy Grail natural deodorant. For serious. I’m committing. #ThisShitWorksYouGuys

The discovery at hand is called Green Body Deodorant (not supes original—but who cares!) and as far as I can tell its only available here. It’s made in Oregon. Its founder is a pretty lady named Kristin. It’s vegan. It’s super clean. And it showed up in the mail one day. Thank you mail.

Here are the three reasons I’m wild about it.

  1. It comes in a stick, no fingers required. While Soapwalla will always have a place in my heart and my cabinet—and I’m still a big fan of the cedar goodness of Schmidts—it’s hard to beat the ease of application that a stick offers. I missed that from the dirty days, not going to lie.
  2. It also smells amazing. I have the Ylang-Ylang Jasmine combo (aka clarity) which happen to be two of my favorite scents. But the other ones sound pretty awesome too.
  3. It works. As good (maybe better?) than the best I’ve tried, including our first love, Lavanila, which used to cost 20 smackers (looks like they lowered the price to $14). Green Body costs $9. Oh, and it like reallyreallyreally works.

Here are the three ways I’ve put it to the test.

  1. In a 95 degree photo studio where I did the following: moved equipment, steamed clothing, fanned a model with a foam board, and other important things people do when they work in fashion.
  2. In a sweaty Piloxing class. Yes I still go to this ridiculously-named workout, and I haven’t stopped loving it.
  3. Through a day of travel. I don’t know what happens on airplanes, but they get me every time. Stinky! Not with this stuff.

Now the big question: What’s your Holy Grail natural deodorant?? Don’t hold back.