Meet Briana—a.k.a. Pepper—and her amazing morning routine. We love seeing a clean girl who really knows, loves, and finishes her products to the last drop. Honestly, this routine reads like a best-of list (and then some) of our absolute favorite clean brands. Bookmark this routine, ladies! It’s a serious resource. (Also, hilarious choice on Kimmy Gibbler, Briana.)
Name: Briana (I comment here as “Pepper”)
Age: 29 (30 in July!)
Current weather: Starting to get hot, lately it’s been humid, and rainy rainy rainy!
Hair: Bra-strap length, thick, wavy, frizz town. Every few months I go have my auburn color enhanced with dirty dye. I want to try henna but I’m waffling out of fear of clown-color red. I only have a few grays, I just really love having red hair! My roots come in all ashy and sad.
Skin: Pale, sensitive, prone to hormonal acne but mostly pretty clear.
Favorite star or icon from the past: Kimmy Gibbler
Before/In the shower at bedtime…
I usually shower at night and I wash my hair every other day or every two days. I do shower daily though – I can’t get comfy in my bed if I’m not clean! I take off my makeup with Stark GF balm and a wash cloth (I’m on the bottom of my third tub – can’t live without it!) If I think about it I’ll do some half-assed dry brushing before I get in the shower, sometimes with some Manuka on my face that I’ll rinse off in the shower. I wash my hair with John Masters Bare Shampoo, a henna shampoo bar I bought from Etsy, or my new favorite, Rahua. I also have a sample of Yarok because I want to see what the fuss is about! I can’t wait to try it. Once a week I’ll do an ACV rinse. For conditioner, I use Intelligent Nutrients Pure Luxe or John Masters Citrus & Neroli Detangler (love this JM conditioner so much!). I comb my conditioner through my hair and roll it up & clip it. Then I wash myself with Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap on a sea sponge from Spirit Beauty Lounge. This is just the most refreshing soap ever! It makes me feel so tingly & clean, I can’t get enough of it! I also adore the Almond scented one. I rinse my conditioner out last, and I’ll try to rinse it with a shot of cold water. If I’m shaving (when I’m too lazy to use my epilator!), I’ll use a mix of the Dr. B’s & some coconut oil or some of my Pure Luxe.
Outside the shower…
I rotate around between coconut, sweet almond, Weleda Baby Calendula & Stark MF oils. Body oils are my jam! In the winter I also used Acure’s Lavender lotion, but I’m not needing much extra moisture these days. I spray my face with Evan Healy Immortelle Hydrosol http://www.evanhealy.com/products/show/67, and press in some serum or oil. I’ve recently been using Dr. Alkaitis Treatment Oil, and I also love Tata Harper Regenerating Serum & Kahina Giving Beauty Serum. I add a little swipe of Kahina Argan oil over the top. Once that absorbs, if I feel like a need a little more moisture I use Weleda Baby Calendula Face Cream and if I have a pimple it gets a dab of tea tree oil. Sometimes before a shower I’ll do a clay mask too. I’ve tried a bunch but right now I’m using Aztec Secret and mix it with a little ACV or manuka. While it’s not quite as classy as its pricier counterparts, the tub is huge and crazy cheap – if there’s a huge difference between that and other expensive clay masks my face can’t tell. I also use Hurraw! Moon Balm at bedtime.
For hair, if it’s air drying I’ll spray in some Yarok Feed Your Ends Conditioner (on my third bottle!) and use a little Rahua Finishing Cream on the ends. I twirl pieces with my fingers to control it a little, scrunch it with a t-shirt & leave it be. Now that my hair’s pretty long, being able to do this is just beyond amazing. My hair is so much healthier now that I’m mostly letting it do it’s thing. When it’s dry/mostly dry I go to sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent breakage.
If I am blow-drying, which is maybe once a week, I use all of the above plus some Yarok mousse at the roots. I’ll smooth a little more Rahua cream over my frizzies once it’s dry, and spray on some Yarok Feed your Hold Hairspray. Also worth noting, I have two Widu brushes that are just the best! The wood paddle one & the mixed bristle one. I am a former hair product junkie. Junk-ie. Paring down to what I have now & using things until I run out of them is a massive accomplishment for me and I’m weirdly proud of it!
In the Morning…..
In the morning, I wash my face first thing. I love using Tata Harper Refreshing face wash or Acure Sensitive face wash with my Konjac Sponge (in total, mad, lifelong love with those weird little things) and a couple days a week I use May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt. I’m also working on a sample of Kahina face wash now. After that it’s a few sprays of Evan Healy Rose Geranium Hydrosol, then Stark CY oil. I stopped using this oil for a bit in a sampling frenzy and I actively missed it. I was so happy when my new bottle arrived!
My hair will go into a pony tail or a bun (I love my trusty Goody bun donut!), or I’ll use some Beautiful Curls Curl Reviving Tonic, which I’m on my second bottle of because this stuff is awesome, mixed with a little of Beautiful Curls’ curl gel to revive my waves/curls. If it’s a little flat, I’ll rub a bit of Yarok mousse into my roots and hit it with the blowdryer for a second. I’ll finish it with a tiny bit of John Masters Salt Spray or Yarok Hairspray & maybe smooth some Rahua cream over it. For deodorant, I use a homemade one. Equal parts arrowroot, aluminum free baking soda & coconut oil with tea tree, lavender & patchouli essential oils. Works like a freaking charm. I also keep a travel-sized Weleda Rose deodorant in my bag, just in case of a sweat-related emergency.
For our teeth, we use Jason Powersmile in peppermint.
I am one of those gals who rarely leaves the house with a bare face. Why? I don’t know. I just like feeling a little polished and I love makeup! My minimum is concealer and and couple dabs of blush, a sweep of mascara & some tinted lip balm. And while my routine seems full I apply everything with a very light hand.
I use Jane Iredale tinted moisturizer on my face & neck. Then it’s Vapour Illusionist Concealer for my under-eye area & RMS Un Cover up for my red splotches & any blemishes. I had to switch to a different concealer for my eye area, because the RMS was giving me little red bumps. It’s fine on the rest of my face, so I have no clue why it affected my eyes. Weird. But I love the Vapour concealer! I do a sweep of W3LL People Altruist Mineral Foundation or just Dr. Hauschka Body Silk Powder & then W3LL People Hedonist Mineral Bronzer in Light.
For blush, I rotate around a little between 100 Percent Pure blush in Healthy, or their Pot Rouge in Ballerina. I also love Vapour Aura Multi Use Stain in Impulse & their Blush in Courtesan. I top that off with some RMS Living Luminizer patted on my cheek bones, the bridge of my nose and around my orbital bone.
For eyes, sometimes I use my W3LL People bronzer as eyeshadow, or I’ll use a Korres one in Nude. For nighttime, I have RMS eyeshadow in Seduce and I like to use that as an eyeliner – I don’t use it often enough to notice if it give me the same bumps the un cover up does! I’ll also sometimes use a dark brown Korres eyeshadow with a wet brush to make a winged line. I fill in my brows with a little of Jane Iredale’s Pure Brow Gel in Brunette and then use some Tarte Lash Primer followed by Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara Lash Boosting Mascara for day & Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing mascara at night.
And then there’s lip color! I have an arsenal. My every day go-to is Tata Harper Be Adored, which is a tinted lip balm in a beautiful rosy shade. I also love Hurraw! tinted lip balms in cinnamon and black cherry. For something more dramatic, like when my hair is up, I go for Ilia Bang Bang or RMS Lip Shine in Sacred. I have W3LL People’s lip gloss in gold too, which looks gorgeous over my Ilia lipstick. I also keep a John Masters lip balm in my bag, but mostly for my husband. He is a balm black hole – I have no idea what happens with all the ones I give him, but they just seem to vanish!
That’s it! Whew..
Honey (and honey face wash in particular) has been addressed numerous times on NMDL, and deservedly so. It’s awesome. But lately I’ve been pondering…
Does it matter what kind you use to cleanse your face? I’d say yes, generally, it does matter. The basic rule is to use raw, unfiltered honey, so it retains all the good stuff the bees put in there. Processed honey really isn’t any better than any other processed product, in my opinion – for eating, or for your skin.
The honey quality situation can get pretty scandalous, too (learn about it here, here, here, and here). If you are reading this post, it’s likely you care about things like keeping antibiotics and pesticides out of the products you put on your skin. So, your source is important, and buying organic and from small retailers or farmer’s markets is your best bet for quality honey. But beyond getting a high quality, unprocessed honey, is there any difference between using local wildflower, manuka, or orange blossom?
There’s evidence that the darker honeys have more antioxidants, so that’s a good attribute to seek. Honey can be named for the primary type of blossom the bees were feeding on – like sage honey, for example, is made by bees feeding on sage blossoms. Certainly the flavor of these single floral source varietals is different, and I’ve noticed different effects on my skin as well (more on that in a moment). One might expect the honey retains some of the properties of the plant, so if you like the effect of thyme on your skin, you might try thyme honey. You can also find infused honeys, where something (like lavender blossom) is combined with honey once the bees have finished their job. This affects flavor, but also may add useful properties to benefit your skin.
I’ve tried many different kinds of honey, gravitating toward thick types that are dark and/or opaque. Here are a few I love…
Manuka honey: Made by bees feeding on New Zealand manuka bush, it has well-studied (and fantastic) anti-bacterial properties. Because the manuka bush is also called the tea tree, it’s often confused with a related plant, with similar properties, from which we get tea tree oil. But, they aren’t exactly the same plant (admittedly, right up until I researched this post, I didn’t know the difference). In any case, all quality honey is anti-bacterial, which is one reason it can be so great for skin issues – but manuka is particularly good. If I’m looking to fight off or prevent a blemish, this is my go-to. It is not as moisturizing for me as some other honeys, so I switch it up sometimes, or just skip the manuka on drier areas of my face. You’ll often see manuka graded as “12+” or “16+,” which refers to the amount of good healing stuff in it, so higher numbers are better (and more expensive). For me, if I’m going to bother with manuka at all, I may as well get the highest grade I can find. I love Wedderspoon’s, because I can choose the grade I want and they have a glass container option (plus it smells and tastes wonderful). It’s thick and caramel-colored, quite opaque (cuz it’s filled with goodness) and spreads over the skin well.
Buckwheat honey: This is probably the darkest honey I’ve ever tried. I love a really deep honey smell and taste, and this is a favorite for when I need moisture. It’s thick and not super sweet (for honey) and spreads nicely on skin. Of course, honeys are going to have a season, and currently it’s buckwheat season, so I’ve stocked up from Marshall’s Farm. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area you can find this at many stores and farmer’s markets, and some things are available for order online. Look for your local farm’s version near you!
Pumpkin honey: This is thick, not super sweet, wonderfully moisturizing, and I love the way it spreads. It has a short season, though, and next year I’ll remember to stock up.
Thyme honey: I haven’t used this enough to fully differentiate it from the others yet, but I wanted to mention it for those of you who like to use thyme EO/infusion/hydrosol. Wedderspoon sells a nice version.
You might be wondering what exactly it is I do with honey. I use it almost every morning as a mask/wash, choosing which type based on the skin concern of the moment. I feel consistent use (no matter the specific type) has made my skin feel softer, thicker (in a good way), and behave in a more resilient fashion. I’m not super fond of using honey for makeup removal It works for that, but I’d rather let it sit on cleanish skin before my morning shower and do its thing. I put it on cuts, scrapes, and blemishes to speed healing. A new thing I like quite a lot for blemishes is to put a drop of lavender EO in my hand, and mix with a tiny bit of manuka. I spread a thin layer of this over a troubled area, and sometimes leave on overnight. The EO thins out the honey so it’s not quite as sticky, but I mostly sleep on my back anyway. This is a great option when I have a blemish, or strong suspicion one’s waiting to pounce, but an overnight application of clay would be too drying.
Do you use your honey on your face? What kind?
Here’s our new M.O. on MMs: If we have great ones in the inbox, we’re gonna share them! And this one is bomb. Packed with healthy, yummy-sounding recipes… this is exactly the kind of menu we love to get! (hint, hint, send) Enjoy!
Dietary Leanings: This has been in flux recently. For 5 years I was 100% vegan, now I’m more ovo-vegetarian with an occasional serving of wild-caught, sustainable fish (once every 1-2 months or so). I don’t want to support factory egg production so I only eat eggs as I get them from family, friends or co-workers with (happy) chickens!
My Favorite Vegetable: Beets & carrots! So sweet and flavorful—I love them steamed in the summer, or roasted in the winter. Their greens are delicious too!
Breakfast is very seasonally determined for me. Where I live in California the summers are very hot (100 degrees) and the coconut oil on my counter is perma-liquefied. So when I wake up I want something cold and refreshing! First is a tall glass of water and a citracel pill (I was recently diagnosed with spastic intestines and this has helped immensely). Then I usually make either a protein-smoothie or a “Backyard-bowl” inspired puree. Anyone live in SoCal? My husband and I recently were in Santa Barbara and had the pleasure of eating at Backyard Bowl—so delicious! I wish they would open up a location in Northern California. My version of their “Diego Bowl” is to pour 1 cup of frozen blueberries into the blender, followed by ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons hemp protein, a spash of honey, 2 tblsp of peanut butter—and blend away! Add a tiny bit more water if you need to but you want the puree thick. Serve in bowl with a sliced banana on top—yum!
If I’m in more of a rush, I whip up a carob protein smoothie. 1.5 cups water (or almond milk) in a blender followed by 2 tblsp carob powder, 2 tblsp chia seeds, 2.5 tblsp hemp protein powder, 1 tblsp almond butter and 1-2 tblsp hemp seeds, ½ frozen banana and for extra sweetness— one pitted date. Blend and pour—and run out the door.
I usually munch on whatever fruits I have or if I’ve recently made almond milk—these tasty almond-pulp crackers (best use the pulp I’ve found! Recipe here.) To curb a sweet-tooth: 1 or 2 dates split in half and filled with either almond butter or P.B. If you sprinkle the top with cocoa nibs it tastes like a Reeses p.b. cup. :)
For lunch it’s…
I usually pack whatever I made for dinner the night before. Lately I’ve been enjoying these as mid-day meals:
California Summer Wrap with quinoa & tempeh. I also like these portobello mushroom burgers with cauliflower buns or this delicious pea hummus + steamed carrots, beets, recipe.
Since it’s definitely hot in the house in the evening I try to use as little heat as possible—steaming or light stovetop action is usually my routine.
Or if I want something heartier and don’t mind the heat, I whip up Sarah’s sunshine split-pea soup. Just make sure to soak those split peas overnight or it will take for-e-v-er (2+ hours) to cook!!
And for dessert…
Hey guys, happy almost-weekend! Here’s a rando Friday night post for you. :)
As you’ve probably noticed we haven’t been doing a whole lot of “syndicated” content on the site of late. There were some groans about it, yes, but truth be told it wasn’t feeling entirely authentic to us either. That doesn’t mean we’re not interested in what other people are saying, though!
So I’m trying this on for size: Just sharing some of the interesting articles I came across this week that relate to our two favorite topics: health and beauty.
Did you read anything cool this week?
OK, here’s what I learned…
—Just a little yoga goes a long way for your brain. No big surprises here really but a new yoga study reveals that just twenty minutes of hatha practice improved brain function, as compared to regular old aerobic activity.
More about the study here: Well & Good NYC
—Coffee does a brain good too. I enjoy most things Gretchen Reynolds writes but I enjoy coffee even more. I don’t drink a ton, and rarely in the afternoon, but I get in my solid 2 cups. So I’m happy to hear about the studies that link moderate coffee drinking to positive things like reduced risk of diabetes or certain types of cancer. But this is new:
“Animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia.”
Reynolds explains it more here: NY Times Well Blog
—A medium avocado has 10 grams of fiber. I was actually thinking of doing a listy post about fiber, but Blisstree beat me to it. See, I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with blackberries (with my morning coffee, no less) and I noticed on the label that one serving has a whopping 8 grams of fiber. Why does fiber matter? Well, the claim is that when you’re moving toxins out of your body they are less likely to come through your skin. Makes sense to us!
See the full fiber-packed list of yummy foods here: Blisstree.com
—Sunscreen really, really, matters. If you’ve been on this site for a while, you may know that I’m a bit of a bad girl when it comes to sunscreen. Siobhan? That Irish lass is on it. Me: The sun doesn’t do a whole lot to my skin (I barely tan and rarely burn) so I tend to forget it exists. But the latest research is really compelling if you have light skin and any vanity. As in, wearing it everyday, rain or shine, actually STOPS aging.
Read more about it here: Prevention.com
P.S. In other site updates… We’re going to have a sweet Friday Deal from Kahina next week, so get ready! AND we still have not hired our assistant yet! Honestly, the applicants are SO GOOD, it’s just a slooooow process. We’re on it though. It’s gonna make this site so much more awesome.
P.P.S. Lots of you already do this, but feel free to email us interesting articles you’ve come across during the week and maybe this can be, like, a thing?
Young Lisette needs our help!
While we talk a lot about natural curls on this site, for obvious reasons we haven’t gotten into the specifics around African-American hair. So it’s time for our readers to step in here and talk about what you’ve tried.
That said, Lisette, here are three brands we think are worth testing out. All three smell good, and are super hydrating for thick/coarse/curly hair.
1. Andalou: We haven’t tried their shampoos, but the conditioners and the styling cream are great.
3. Intelligent Nutrients: And old favorite, the leave-in conditioner and volumizing spray are two great styling product for thick and/or curly hair. (Smell might take getting used to but it grows on you!)
What products would you recommend Lisette try?
Here’s her note.
My name is Lisette and I am an avid reader of your blog. I have learned so much from other readers input and have come to view your site as a resource for many of my clean questions. Ever since I learned about the types of chemicals that the beauty industry puts into our products I have been on a clean crusade. So here is my question. What products would you or your readers recommend for someone with ethnic hair.
I am a 19-year-old African American woman and I have thick natural hair. As much as I love clean products the one area that I have been struggling in is hair care. It has been so hard to find a shampoo and conditioner that works for my type of hair texture. I have being trying products left and right and I find that the ones that work decently smell terrible and the ones that do smell good don’t really work. I am desperately trying to find a set that not only smells decent but also works well. Price really isn’t an issue at this point because I am willing to try anything (I am that desperate).
Right now I wouldn’ say that I am at the point of giving up but if I can’t find something I fear I might have to resort back to conventional hair care products until this area develops for people with my type of hair.
I know that you guys have tons of expertise in the area and would really really appreciate any recommendations you or your readers could give to me.
Don’t give up! Natural products (and less frequent washing) can be a real boon for curls.
The above image is from this awesome photo series called The Coiffure Project.