Meet Tracy, a NMDL reader with a fierce love for Marie Veronique (us too!) and hot epsom salt baths (ditto again). This routine is short but sweet, and her morning sounds so peaceful. French press coffee, baby and kitties, eggs and veggies — a lovely scene. Read on for a glimpse into this clean beauty’s morning…

Name: Tracy
City: Los Angeles
Age: 35
Skin type: Fair and lightly freckled, normal/combination, clear but with super-annoying psoriasis on one eyelid.
Hair type: Dark brown and curly. It was very thick and frizz-prone until I had a baby. Now thanks to post-baby hormones, my curls are looser and shinier and not as thick, but I have little forehead wisps from post-partum regrowth.
Favorite Star From the Past: Madeline Kahn. My love for her started early when she dueted with Grover on Sesame Street, and then of course there’s Young Frankenstein and Clue.

I wake up each day at 6, make a pot of French Press coffee, feed my two kitties, and hopefully enjoy a bit of coffee before my baby wakes. I take him for a brisk walk and we eat breakfast together, usually eggs with veggies and maybe a bit of cheese for me. If I remember, I’ll take a multivitamin and a probiotic.

In the shower, I’ll use a konjac sponge and a natural shower gel like Acure Organics and then moisturize my body with jojoba oil. Every few days I’ll wash my hair with Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Stem Cell and condition with their Moisturizing Root Repair. I’ll add a few drops of Argan oil after towel-drying and lightly diffuse my curls or blow-dry straight if I feel like it.

For my face, I’m pretty devoted to Marie Veronique, which I discovered through this blog. My skin became so clear and glowing after I switched to her products. In the morning I splash my face with water and spritz her MV Mist, then follow with a few drops of MV Face Oil and Everyday Coverage tinted moisturizer. I’ve recently been trying Wild Naturals psoriasis cream on my problem spot.
I don’t wear makeup every day, but if I do, it’s mostly RMS Beauty and Tarte. I’ll use RMS Beauty Uncover-Up for casual days, and if I want to be more made up, I’ll use Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation, concealer, and bronzer. I add a touch of RMS Beauty cream blush in Smile. I curl my lashes and use whatever mascara my mom gave me from her department store gift-with-purchase, usually Lancôme. For a special occasion, I might swipe some RMS Beauty Living Luminizer on my browbones, cheekbones, and inner lids, and I’ll use RMS Beauty eyeshadow in Magnetic as liner and in the creases. I also use an eye primer by Too Faced under the shadow to prevent so much creasing. I never met a lipstick I liked until I tried Ilia Beauty Lip Conditioner. I love Nobody’s Baby, Dizzy, and Arabian Knights.

At night I remove makeup with jojoba oil and I wash with Marie Veronique cleanser. I use the MV Mist and Face Oil, and add an eye product from Dr. Alkaitis. I drink a big glass of water and use Weleda Skin Food on my hands whenever I think of it. I also love taking hot baths with epsom salts and oils and a good magazine, but with a baby, that’s more of a rare treat these days!

Lovely, right? Has anyone tried the Wild Naturals psoriasis cream or another option that has helped? Shout it out in the comments.


Meatless Monday: Rediscovering Popcorn

Popcorn, the snack that became ubiquitous in American households everywhere thanks to the quick and easy microwavable bags, is one of the most familiar and comforting tastes I know. Memories of stringing popcorn and fresh cranberries for our Christmas tree, popcorn fights during girlhood sleepovers, and of course popcorn at the movies — all very festive associations. At some point around college, I gave up on popcorn. The microwave versions lost their appeal and just tasted fake. I stopped buying popcorn at the movies because of health concerns and high prices, and my attempts to make it from scratch bombed every time. So while health magazines touted popcorn as the healthy snack choice, I shrugged it off as bland and dry. Enter coconut oil.

Like so many of you, I began to get quite cozy with coconut oil in my kitchen a few years ago. When I stumbled on a recipe for popcorn using coconut oil, I got nostalgic for the smell and taste of the popcorn of my youth and decided to give it a whirl. I had no idea that this would surpass all my expectations and revive a hardcore love of this snack, but that’s what happened. The coconut oil lends a rich, savory flavor to every kernel. You get a crisp pop that isn’t greasy but is far from dry and bland. Tossed with sea salt and maybe some other dried herbs (I love thyme), and you’ve got a seriously delicious and healthy snack on your hands.

Homemade Popcorn + Coconut Oil

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. You know your stovetop best, but I don’t recommend going over medium or the popcorn can burn or become chewy.
  • Add 1 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil to the pot and allow it to melt completely.
  • Drop 1 or 2 kernels of popcorn into the pot and wait for them to pop. Once they pop, your oil is at the right temperature.
  • Add ½ cup organic popcorn to the pot and cover.
  • Shake the pot over the heat every 10-15 seconds to keep the kernels from burning.
  • The majority of the kernels should pop within 1-3 minutes depending on your pot, heat, and popcorn. When the popping slows to just a pop every few seconds, remove the pan from the heat and continue to shake for 10 more seconds.
  • Uncover the pot, add sea salt and herbs to taste, cover the pot, and toss well.
  • Pour into a bowl and enjoy!

This is the most economical and delicious way I know to make popcorn. If you’re still eating popcorn from microwavable bags, I’d urge you to try this version instead. Most microwave popcorn bags are coated with perfluorochemicals (PFCs), a class of chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive system damage. PFCs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the scary things found in standard microwave popcorn. There are now a few versions on the market that are all natural and free of harmful chemicals, but they are pricey and I haven’t had the best results in terms of texture and flavor.

Have you made popcorn with coconut oil? What are your favorite seasoning ideas?


image via Recipe Runner


Happy Friday Deal from CAP Beauty!


Have you shopped with CAP Beauty? This natural beauty retailer has an incredible selection of brands that you don’t find everywhere, such as In Fiore, de Mamiel, Living Libations, and so much more. If you live in New York City you’re in luck because CAP Beauty is opening their flagship brick and mortar store in the West Village in January 2015. In addition to stocking the most luxurious natural lines available (over 50 brands!), they will offer a range of treatments including facials, acupuncture, massages, nutritional counseling and even baby massage — all utilizing the brands they carry. Every city deserves something like this, don’t you think? But enough daydreaming, back to this Friday Deal!

CAP Beauty is giving you The CAPtivator — their special energy mist developed by Lotus Wei — for FREE with any purchase over $150. Just use the code NMDLLOVE at checkout. This gift with purchase is available until 11:59 pm EST 12/14 while supplies last.

When we heard that CAP Beauty collaborated with Lotus Wei to create their own energizing mist, we knew they weren’t messing around. You know how much we adore Lotus Wei, and The CAPtivator is a radiant example of her work with flower essences and essential oils. Notes of sandalwood, neroli, and clary sage transport you to a blissful headspace while gardenia, crown flower, and lotus work on an energetic level to promote love from within. Bottom line: The CAPtivaor is a beautiful addition to any day. In fact, I’m using it now while writing this post. Wish I could spritz through the screen to your pretty faces.

We know you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect items to add to your cart at CAP Beauty, but we wanted to mention some special gift boxes that are available for the holidays — The CAP Beauty CAPsules — a selection of 5 curated, themed boxes. There’s something for everyone — The Freshman Five includes five of CAP Beauty’s favorite basics, The Superfoodie includes a powerful quartet of healthy edibles, The Natural Newbie includes a great starter kit for anyone new to natural (including the No More Dirty Looks book!!), the Health Is Wealth CAPsule is a gold mine of little helpers to get you through the new year, and The Natural High CAPsule contains the most decadent treasures of them all.

If you are in NYC, be sure to check out CAP Beauty’s Holiday Pop Up Shop, which will be open December 13-24. While you should totally visit, please note that the Friday Deal is available online only.

Are you shopping this Friday Deal? What’s going on your shopping list?

Say hello to Annable, a reader (she blogs, too!) with fantastic taste in natural skincare and makeup. Like the rest of us, she has her share of skincare issues that she’s doing her best to treat naturally. If you have suggestions, help her out! Otherwise, enjoy the suggestions she has for you.

Name: Annabel

Age: 23

City: Preston, England

Skin: Oh boy me and my skin are very much enemies, I cannot get a handle on that thing even though I treat it with such love! I suffer from milia and have never found anything to really, truly help them go away and also very painful deep hormonal blemishes just on my jaw that last weeks and scar my skin terribly.

Hair: My hair is not very thick and just above shoulder length but there is a LOT of it, my hairdresser always comments how long it takes to cut my hair because she has to create so many sections.

Favourite star from the past: She’s not from the past (I’m just a young bean, gosh!) but I love Maggie Smith.

I’m not a morning person in any way, shape or form. I prefer to shower at night, so first things first I oil pull with coconut oil a few times a week. I used to do it everyday but I admit I got a little bored of that or go straight into brushing my teeth with a regular store bought toothpaste. I haven’t yet found a natural toothpaste to take the pain away when my teeth are sensitive.

I don’t feel human until I’ve washed my face in a morning, I prefer gel cleansers but am without one at the minute (I’m thinking of trying Yuli Halycon) so I’ve been using the Mel Millis Phytonutri Qi Plankton Skin Remedy (quite the name), it’s a powder similar to May L, but not as gritty and feels very cooling with spirulina and hyaluronic acid. It really helps calm my skin when things aren’t going my way. Toning is my favourite step and I buy and go through them so quickly. At the moment I’m using the Zk’in Clear Skin Toner on a cotton pad followed by a spritz of Yuli Cocoon, a little birthday treat to myself that I hope never ends. I then follow with a simple moisturiser such as the Herbfarmacy Starweed Face Cream, I avoid anything too rich or with shea butter as this makes my milia worse. I let this sink in while I make a fresh juice and take a bunch of supplements for my skin and balancing hormones with a big glass of water.

I don’t wear makeup everyday as I work from home but I like to cover up my blemishes a little to feel better about myself. When I’m leaving the house I use a little more, I really like the Jane Iredale BB cream. The coverage is really good and the pale shades are perfect for me. You just have to remember to use a tiny amount and blend like crazy! I use the RMS Un Cover Up under my eyes and on scars or blemishes in 11 but I will purchase the new 00 next time, I also like the Vapour Illusionist Concealer or W3LL People’s stick foundation as a concealer. They don’t fully hide the marks but it’s better than nothing. I then set my makeup with a little mineral foundation from Jane Iredale or the RMS Un Powder. I like ILIA Tenderly as a blush or RMS Beloved, and ILIA Jump on my lips is a firm favourite. I wear glasses so I like to draw attention to my eyes with lots of Lily Lolo eyeliner and a smidge of RMS Defining Mascara. I skip eyeshadow 99% of the time and move to brows, I really like the 100% Pure Brow Gel as it’s a great colour match.

Skip to the evening and it’s time to take care of my skin! I remove makeup with the OLO Vitamin B Cleansing Oil and a warm flannel before jumping in the shower. I don’t wash my hair everyday but when I do I use Avalon Organics Scalp Shampoo or the Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic shampoo. I condition with 100% Pure Scalp Conditioner and also use this as a shaving cream occasionally. It’s so good. I wash my body with Dr. Bronners Almond Soap and wash my face again with The Body Deli Almond Milk Cleanser. It’s not my favourite but it smells like cake.

Out of the shower I apply either the Indie Lee Vanilla Citrus Body Oil or the Aurelia Skincare Firm & Revitalise Body Oil. I don’t always remember to do this but my skin thanks me when I do. I like to apply a facemask once or twice a week when I’ve just got out of the shower. My go-to is MLS The Problem Solver of course (but I have quite the collection). It really helps ease the pain of cystic acne. If you have any suggestions for clearing cystic blemishes with natural products, I’m all ears! Though my options are limited in the UK and I know you’ll all suggest some fab American brands I can’t get hold of without paying a fortune in shipping & customs. ;) I then apply Yarok Feed Your Ends and let my hair air dry right up until bed where I will blast it with a hairdryer on cool if it’s still damp.

I love facial oils at night, my favourites are Kahina Argan Oil — simple but so good — and the True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Oil which I was lucky enough to be sent to review. This stuff leaves me glowing on good skin months! I’ve also been using the new Pai Blemish serum the past few weeks but it hasn’t helped my skin much at all which I’m very sad about. I also like the Odacite Pa + G serum which I apply just on my scars, I really notice a difference in them fading quicker.

Do you have a favorite product or DIY remedy for cystic acne or milia? Let us have it in the comments!


5 Easy Ways To Avoid Getting Sick

Are you sitting in an office right now? When’s the last time you heard someone cough or sneeze—like 5 seconds ago? Exactly!
It kinda bums me out that we live in a culture where folks feel so riddled with guilt that they are unwilling to take a day or two off when they’re feeling sick. Even millenials—who are always accused of being sooooo entitled (no offense to any of our readers, I’m not accusing!)—still don’t seem to feel entitled to sick days. Le sigh. So everyone keeps passing around variations on the same nasty little bugs in office buildings across America.
The whole thing has turned me into something of a prevention obsessive—and the good news is that I’ve had mostly great results with my methods. The key is to ramp up before you actually have any symptoms and jump in with self-care at the slightest indication.
Here’s what I recommend.
1. Shower with Hope Gillerman.
Not like that, you guys! But in all seriousness, as soon as I feel the tiniest tickle in my throat or subtle ache in my bones, I cover myself in Hope Gillerman oils and hop in a hot shower to steam them through my system. The sinus one is especially great for that natch-vicks-vapor-feel. I like to dab it under my nostrils, and then rub it on my throat, neck, and chest area as well as my shoulders and upper back.
2. Take turmeric pills.
Turmeric has shown promise in all kinds of disease prevention, if not necessarily for the common cold (yet!). My layman’s logic for taking it? Inflammation is at the root of all problems—including sinus stuff—and turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. In India, they make a turmeric tea to combat colds, but when I feel like I might be vulnerable I just start popping capsules to ensure I’m really getting enough.
3. Try propolis throat spray. 
Propolis is a sticky substance collected by bees from botanical sources, used it their hive construction. It is believed that they employ it, among other things, to prevent fungal and bacterial growth. (They also use it to embalm carcasses of dead animals, like lizards, to make them odorless and harmless. So yeah, powerful stuff.) That’s because propolis is highly antibacterial. I spray it right on my throat because that’s where I usually start feeling trouble.
4. Drink your greens.
 No matter how much kale you eat, it’s hard to get all the nutrients and phytochemicals that are available in just one freshly pressed green juice. It’s the fastest way to supercharge your body with veggie health.
5. Fake it to make it.
Go to a party. Have a few cocktails. Sounds weird but if I’m worried about getting sick, sometimes the best thing for me to do is go out and have a few drinks with pals so that I forget about it. I don’t have any studies to support this, but often the next morning I feel as good as new (I said a few drinks, not five).
What do you do if you think you might be coming down with something?