Nicolle’s Morning Skin and Hair Routine… Exposed!

Nicolle's Morning Skin and Hair Routine... Exposed!

Though I’ve been writing for NMDL for more than a year and a half, I have yet to submit my morning routine! It’s changed a lot in the last year, as I struggled with some health complications and skin reactions, but I’m happy to report that my current routine has my skin looking better than ever. Whoo!

Name: Nicolle

Age: 27

Current weather: Ha. It’s snowing, and the temperature is well below zero.

City: Minneapolis, #Minnesnowta

Hair: Long-ish, ombre light brown to blonde, dry and thin.

Skin: Sensitive and dry—I’m allergic to a multitude of things, including beeswax, which is in SO. MANY. THINGS. (can we stop with that, brands?), so I’m pretty careful about my choices.

Favorite star or icon from the past: I’ve loved Grace Kelly since I did a report on her in third grade.

I’m not a morning person nor a shower-lover, so I’m a night shower-er when at all possible and I only wash my hair twice a week (dry shampoo is my best friend and the one from Tabitha James Kraan is my current love). Before I get into my night shower, I remove my makeup with an e-cloth because too many products messes with my sensitive skin and this gives a gentle exfoliation + removes all my foundation and mascara. Then I use Absolution’s Cleansing Water, which is fab because it’s really gentle and removes any remnants of makeup.

In the shower…

I wash my hair with Avalon Organics’ Itch and Flake Therapy Shampoo, which is the only thing that’s helped rid my scalp of the dry skin I was left with after a bad infection last spring. Then I use Rare E’lements’ Lite Conditioner, which is more moisturizing and volume-boosting than any hair product I’ve ever used. While that’s in, I lather up the same shampoo to shave my legs, pits + bits—the salicylic acid in the shampoo has helped prevent ingrown hairs during the winter and the pH-balanced shampoo doesn’t dry out my sensitive areas.

Outside the shower…

When I step out of the shower, I drench my still-wet skin in body oil. Right now, I’m using FIG + YARROW’s Bath + Body Oil in Woods, African Botanics’ Marula Firming Botanical Body Oil or Skin & Bones’ Luxurious Moisturizer. They all have wintery scents (read: musky and deep and multi-faceted).

I spot treat any blemishes with Osmia Organics’ Spot Treatment (best EVER—this is a desert-island product for me), then spritz on Graydon Clinical Luxury’s Face Food Mineral Mist, with copper, zinc and colloidal silver, which I think has really helped my breakouts. ARCONA’s Chamomile Balm goes on while my face is still damp (read my full review to know how much I love this balm) and then ED4OLO’s Vitamin E Eye Balm gets gentle patter under my eyes (another desert-island product for me). Oh and every other night, I switch up my moisturizer, using ARCONA’s The Gentle Solution (the product I’d say has done the most to change my skin) and True Nature Botanicals’ Pacific Night Serum with Retinol (just on my forehead + neck) instead, as an overnight anti-aging and exfoliation treatment.

I detangle my hair with Acure Organics’ Leave-In Conditioner and a Tangle Teezer, which is genius if you haven’t heard of it, and great for kids’ long hair. Then I use Dr. Haushka’s Neem Hair Oil to further moisturizer my scalp and to help my hair grow back from when some of it fell out last spring. I love this dry oil that you can put on when your hair is wet or dry (it’s more of a liquid than an oil and there’s no grease) and I’ll be repurchasing—it’s helped heal my scalp immensely. Then I use YAROK Hair’s Volumizing Foam and Rahua’s Voluminous Spray to give my limp hair lift. If you’re a thin-haired gal like myself, I highly recommend these two products if you want thicker hair that lasts til your next shampoo. I rough blowdry (bad for my hair, I KNOW) and twist it into a high bun for sleeping (keeps that volume up! I do this every night, as it maintains my curling-wand waves so I don’t have to use heat on my hair daily).

In the morning…

I have a slew of supplements I take to help build my nutrient levels back up after my celiac disease went undiagnosed for so long, so I start with a big glass of room-temperature water and my probiotics before I do anything. Then a warm mug of lemon water and Hope Gillerman’s Sinus Remedy help me wake up for the day and I fill up a bkr water bottle with 15 drops of Lotus Wei’s Inner Peace Flower Elixir to sip on while I get ready.

On mornings after using the anti-aging treatments, I exfoliate with ARCONA’s Brightening Gommage or some kind of mask, like Osmia Organics’ Detox Exfoliating Mask mixed with Kahina Giving Beauty’s Toning Mist. I also love Laurel Skin’s and Dr. Alkaitis’ masks and The Problem Solver from May Lindstrom Skin. If I’ve not used my anti-aging treatment, then I just use the Absolution Cleansing Water again and repeat the spot-treat/mist/moisturize routine from the night before, minus the eye balm and plus the Skin Owl Eye Concentrate (great for depuffing, though it does have phenoxyethanol, so be aware).

Before I touch my hair or makeup, I dry brush with an essential oil lymph tonic that Susannah created. Part of my health complications have to do with my body not clearing infection properly, and Susannah’s tonic + dry brushing helps flush everything out—and prevent those ingrown hairs I mentioned.

Then I take my hair out of its high bun and use a curling wand on it to get some beachy waves while my skincare settles. I only have to do this the morning after I’ve showered, which is super nice and saves my ends from splitting. I finish with Onesta’s Finish Hair Spray.

Finishing touches…

I work from home or from a coffee shop most days, so if I don’t have meetings, I keep makeup to a minimum. HAUT Cosmetics’ Brightener concealer in pink is my favorite, vegan under-eye highlighter. If you haven’t tried this, you’re missing out. INIKA Cosmetics’ Mineral Foundation is my current everyday foundation—it’s so easy, covers blemishes and doesn’t require adding blush, highlighter or bronzer to my skin on top of it. Oh, and if you wear mineral foundation of any kind, you have to watch (or re-watch) this application video that Kim Wallace shared on her blog a few weeks ago—saves you product and gives you flawless skin.

Once foundation is done, I do my brows with Zuzu Luxe’s Cream Brow Pencil in Russet (vegan, again, because anything with beeswax gives me little whiteheads), swiping Zuzu Luxe’s Clear Mascara on top of the pencil to hold brows in place. Mascara is the last official step, and I rarely skip it. 100% Pure’s Dark Chocolate Mascara is great for daily use, but I also love RMS Beauty’s Defining Mascara and W3LL People’s Expressionist Bio Extreme Mascara. And I just got the Antonym Cosmetics Mascara, which is rivaling all of the above. Yes, I have four mascaras in my makeup bag—and I just gave away two.

While I don’t wear a lip color every day, I am obsessed with sticks, glosses, stains and balms (though finding vegan formulas in as many shades and finishes as their beeswax-filled counterparts has been more of a task than I anticipated…). ILIA Beauty’s Lip Crayons, in all colors, are fab, cream/satin finishes. Red Apple Lipstick in Audrey is a fave, as is local Aromi Beauty’s Poppy. I heart Gressa Skin’s Lip Boosts, all shades, and Beautycounter’s Lip Sheers are perfect for everyday wear (Petal is my go-to). Oh, and my all-time-favorite balm is S.W. Basics’ Vegan Lip Balm. Please, Adina, never stop making that.

You’ll notice that deodorant is missing… I’ve had the hardest time switching this over! Everything irritates my sensitive skin—and I’ve tried them all! Any tips? I’m also all ears for new, beeswax-free makeup… Share! Share!

41 Responses to “Nicolle’s Morning Skin and Hair Routine… Exposed!”
  1. Brianna says:

    Have you tried Blissoma’s Deodorant Spray? I have it in Lavender but it also comes in Citrus, which I’m going to try next. I really like it – so easy to just spray on and it doesn’t irritate my underarms at all. I too have had issues with natural deodorants – some have resulted in painful rashes, so I have to be really careful.

  2. I’m glad to see we’re not the only ones doing the Acure leave in & Tangle Teaser combo! It’s great!
    If your conventional natural paste deodorants aren’t doing it for you try Blissoma’s new spray (baking soda free), FreshBod (is a spray-has baking soda but has colloidal silver & magnesium!). Neither of those have caused any irritation. I also want to try the new Meow Meow Tweet baking soda free deodorant.

  3. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    @Brianna + @Naturall Paula: Thanks for those recs! I’ve got the Blissoma spray + new stick, but I’ve been hesitant to try them because I’ve had so many irritations! I’ll have to dig into them. And Fresh Bod is a new one – I’m going to put it on my list! Thanks!

  4. Hey Nicole! I always enjoying reading your posts on NMDL and your routine is lovely. I also am a fan of the Osmia Organics Spot Treatment, Dr. Alkaitis, and the W3LL PEOPLE mascara. I am also lusting over Laurel Whole Plant Organics, Gressa Skin, FIG + YARROW, Skin & Bones, SkinOwl, and Zuzu Luxe.

  5. Robyn says:

    Lovely routine….I always like to hear people’s desert island products :)
    I’m curious about your curling wand…which one do you use? I’ve been thinking about getting one so I’m asking around. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    @Dream & Scheme: Thank you! I enjoy hearing that someone likes my posts. :) Definitely go for Laurel and Gressa and the lot next time you run out of something! They’re all so so lovely!

    @Robyn: I know! When someone I trust says this is a must-buy product, I listen. :) Curling wand: I have a fairly cheap one from Target, the Remington Pearl Ceramic. I love it and would have a hard time living without it! It did take a little getting used to, but now I like it way better than a curling iron – more natural waves. Here’s the one I have:

  7. Jennifer says:

    I’m so glad you posted your routine, Nicolle! I’d actually been wanting to request you put it all together for us. I just purchased the Chamomile Balm the other day based on your review. I’m excited to see if it works as well for me. Thanks for sharing your skin journey! I hope Susannah and Rebecca share too ; )

  8. Debbie says:

    You should try Meow Meow Tweets baking soda FREE grapefruit deo! I was using soapwalla and loved it but noticed it was giving me some irritation from the baking soda. Then I tried MMT and it not only works just as well, but it smells amazing (and I hate grapefruit), has the cutest packaging, and has just a bit more product
    In the jar than soapwalla. Keeps me fresh literally all day!

  9. kimberlyloc says:

    Mmmm, I love the Skin & Bones Body Oil. So luscious! The ED4OLO eye balm is also fantastic for winter! I’m sure the Minnie weather is having you applying that over and over! Sure is cold here in KC, too!

    Thanks for referencing me and the post! That video is so helpful. We really don’t need that much of our precious mineral foundations to get the job done.

    As for deodorants, my favorites are from Organic Essence, Meow Meow Tweet, Primal Pit Paste and LoveFresh. I have a lot more on my ultimate guide (, but those are the four that stick out to me for being creamy, soothing and actually working. I don’t know off the top of my head if they contain beeswax, though. I hate that you have that sensitivity to it!

    Osmia’s Spot Treatment is also a desert island product for me. As is Zum Rub, of course. I would also take a big bottle of jojoba oil (and pray that my island also had coconuts on it for the oil!) :)

    Great routine, Nicolle!

  10. Katrina says:

    Have you tried FreshBod deodorant? It’s the only clean deodorant I’ve found to work and, more importantly, not irritate my skin. Or stain my clothes! It’s a spray with just five ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, purified water, hydrogen peroxide, colloidal silver. Usually baking soda is an irritant, but this never even makes my freshly shaved pits sting. It’s available from Hope this helps! I loved reading your routine. My wishlist grows everyday! ;)

  11. Tori says:

    Real purity deodorant, the best!!

  12. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    Ok, so it looks like I need to check our Fresh Bod + MMT’s baking-soda free version + Real Purity… you guys are the best! @tori @katrina @debbie

  13. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    @kimberlyloc: Yes! I looooved that mineral makeup application review! Thanks for posting it! And for sharing about your deos…. gonna have to do some more reading of your blog!

  14. Kevin says:

    So happy to hear you are still enjoying our Night Serum with Retinol! We are thrilled to be a part of your routine with so many like minded brands! ~Kevin, True Nature Botanicals

  15. Marci says:

    Love that you are using Beautycounter’s Lip Sheers! Scarlet, our newest Red just launched this week. It’s the perfect shade for all skin tones. At Beautycounter, we are all about getting SAFE products into the hands of everyone. Each ingredient is tested for the safety of your human health & is also safe for the environment. I referenced our Ingredient Glossary and Beeswax can also be called Cera Alba. We have plenty of products, including our new color cosmetics that do not contain Beeswax that I know you would love.

    Thanks for sharing your routine. I will definitely be checking out some products that we do not have in our collection at Beautycounter.


  16. Valerie says:

    Thanks for sharing your routine! I also have sensitive pits and the one deodorant I keep on going back to is Silver Shield deodorant by Silver Botanicals. Their sensitive skin formula works really well for me and doesn’t cause me irritation. The ingredients are: Distilled water, sodium carbonate, aloe vera, guar gum, essential oil blend, grapefruit seed extract, nanosilver. It’s sold on Amazon and on their own website. After trying a bunch of natural deodorants with baking soda and breaking out every time, I just thought I wouldn’t be able to use deodorants that contain baking soda. But this one doesn’t bother me– it appears to be the quantity of baking soda that matters for me and the fact that it’s dissolved and not gritty.

    I know you didn’t ask for hair care recommendations, but I really feel for you for your hair & scalp troubles! While my problems have not been near as bad as yours, I do have a very sensitive scalp and the only hair care products I seem to be able to use are by Morrocco Method. I can’t recommend them enough as a natural hair care brand! They seem to be really effective for scalp issues and I recommend for anyone to check them out. They clean effectively & I don’t even need to use conditioner with their shampoos because they’re not harsh and they don’t strip your hair.

    Hope this helps! Stay warm in Minnesota!

  17. Love being a part of your day, Nicolle. Thanks for taking us to the island with you – we are honored!! Tip of the day: If you DO get an ingrown hair, which would be a rawther desperate situation on a desert island where you will undoubtedly be wearing a bikini all day, put Spot Treatment on it! XOXO, Sarah.

  18. Julia says:

    Hey Nicole :]

    I second Kimberly’s deo recommendation: Primal Pit Paste all the way baby. I use and love the regular unscented deodorant. It contains baking soda which can be an irritant to some people so the company came out with a baking soda free deo called “Happy Pits” which I also use and love.

    @Valerie: Mprrocco Method…YES!!!! I’m surprised this company has not been mentioned on NMDL. I’ve been using Morrocco Method’s hair care products for almost a year and am completely satisfied (this coming from a girl who’s tried: Intelligent Nutrients, Rahua, Yarok, and no-poo).

  19. Katrina says:

    @nicolle: I’m intrigued by the e-cloth. Which one do you use?

  20. Annette says:

    Nicolle~you have a lot of products in your routine I’ve never tried. I’m especially interested in the Absolution Cleansing Water. Where do you get it?

    I also like the idea of the Dr. Haushka’s Neem Oil. I seem to be losing a lot of hair right now and I’d like that to stop!

    I’ve made a list. Be sure to post when you find that holy grail natural deodorant.

  21. So great to read your morning routine! I’ve been meaning to submit mine for SUCH a long time. If you like the Tabitha James Kraan dry shampoo you need to try her hair perfume, it’s actually amazing.

    I rate Desert Essence’s deodorant in Tropical Breeze for something easy when I’m not going to get super sweaty, and the Lippy Girl vegan lipstick are pretty awesome if you haven’t yet tried them!

    Mayah x

  22. Marissa says:

    Looooooove all of your fabulous choices Nicolle :)

    Have you tried the Piperwai Deodorant? Seriously… BEST EVER!!!!! The day I discovered it I fell madly in love (which is kind of awkward given its gray and goes in your pits… but what’s a gym addicted girl to do???).

  23. Jaime says:

    Thank you thank you! I have some new brands to check out. Hopefully it will help heal my red and sensitive skin.

  24. Debra says:

    I use Schmidt’s deodorant but the BEST tip ever is to put a swipe of coconut oil on and then put on the deodorant! acts as a buffer and works like a dream!! :)

  25. Annie says:

    Nicole, amazing article! I love so many of the same products. So happy these companies exist so that we look as good as we feel.

    Just to note SkinOwl’s use of Phenoxyethanol in Eye+: When used in quantities of under 2.2% (our amount is actually less than 1%) the ingredient is stable, nontoxic, and non irritating. Ours is also plant derived which removes all ethylene oxide contamination (one of the main concerns with this ingredient).We tested the product’s toxicity and allergenic nature for close to a year before launching it and it wasn’t linked to neurotoxicity, skin toxicity or hormonal and endocrine disruption. Just wanted to put that out there in case anyone was hesitant to try it!

    Thanks again for including us! xo

  26. Rebecca Bailey says:

    Great routine, Nicolle! Is the brightener all the Haut you use? I love them for vegan/gluten free makeup, and have switched over almost everything. My brightener is the yellow, I also use white to highlight (I don’t recommend the pink for olive skin but it’s great for other tones).

    Definitely get into that Blissoma stick deo. It’s as good as my DIY w/baking soda for stink, and even when combined with friction does not irritate me. I think the zinc addition to the formula makes a huge difference.

  27. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Debra, I’ve used the coconut oil layer too. It’s especially great when I travel to drier climates and I’m more likely to experience irritation.

  28. Peony says:

    This was so fun to read and I’ve taken notes on things to try. I was particularly keen to read your recommendations for scalp-related products because mine has been itchy and occasionally broken out for the first time ever during this past year. Also, I bought Arcona’s Gentle Solution after reading your review so you are on my list of very trustworthy sources. It helps that you are a great writer. Thanks for sharing your routine.

  29. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    @Katrina: Thanks for the recs! I got my e-cloth at, literally, I tried the one specifically for faces, but didn’t like it, so I just use a general purpose one on my skin now:

    @Valerie: Thanks for that deo + hair rec! You and @Julie are convincing me to try Morocco Method!

    @Sarah: Oh, I use it for ingrown hairs and all sorts of small ailments. It’s a perfect product!

    @Annette: I get mine at a local spa, but Dermstore has it (and free shipping!):

    @Call It Vanity: Submit, submit! :) And I’ll have to check out Lippy Girl – thanks for the rec! I do love Tabitha James’ hair perfume – I reviewed it a while back. It’s so lovely!

    @Marissa: I did try Piper Wai and no luck. :( Maybe I should give it another shot… I gave it to my sister, the gym rat!

    @Debra: Oooh, I love the coconut oil tip! I used to love Schmidt’s too, but alas, after about a week I got irritation. Gonna try the oil tip now!

    @Annie: Thanks for letting readers know! I know some people have had reactions to even that small amount, so I wanted to make sure people had all the info. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

    @Rebecca: I have a sample of their loose mineral foundation, which I love. I didn’t love the BB cream, but the aloe cream tints are lovely. I want to try their mascara and lip colors. Oh, and you’re DIY deo is actually working for me right now…. fingers crossed!!

    @Peony: Awh, shucks, you’re making me blush! Thank you! My ultimate goal in all my beauty hoarding is to help others find products that are safe and work for them, so you comment is so sweet and much appreciated. I hope to be a trustworthy source when it comes to products – I get to try a lot of them and I think all of us at NMDL are tough critics, so it’s really nice to hear that our testing is helpful! Thanks for reading! Mwah. <3

    @Marci: I had my eye on that new Beautycounter color! I'll have to check it out. Love love love that your Lip Sheers are beeswax-free. :)

  30. Brigid says:

    I’m from Minneapolis too!! What coffee shops do you like to go to? There’s so many good ones around Minneapolis!! xo

  31. Sara says:

    @Nicolle, Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous routine. I added about 8 products to me must try list! I always look forward to the morning routine posts, but even more so, I love and trust the feedback from you and the other NMDL “Admin’s”! Can’t say enough about how much I love this blog.

    Since everyone is talking about deod…after many trials Lafes (bought on Vitacost) has been my favorite with no residue (I am a stick/roll on girl) and surprisingly enough, I don’t mind that it is a liquid. I have yet to be smelly from it (and I am quite active!) . My second favorite (but can leave a bit of residue if you put too much on) is the brand Nourish in Vanilla Almond scent.

  32. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    @Brigid: Hello! So fun that you’re a Minneapolite too! We should grab coffee sometime… I’m a Spyhouse lover, though it’s gotten soo busy lately. Five Watts is a current fave, though Starbucks is closet to my house so I often find myself walking there. :)

    @Sara: Haha – so glad I can help add to your wishlist! I find myself doing that every time I read a morning routine too… I love your deo recs! Pinning them to my Clean Beauty board now. Thanks!

  33. fern says:

    I love that video for mineral foundation application – it totally helped mine to look less cakey and more natural (my main issue with mineral foundation). Your skin discoveries have helped me to clear up my skin – since paying more attention, I have discovered beeswax and coconut oil clog my pores. It was like a revelation! I think I’m going to have to try that Chamomile Balm, though, and the ecloths look intriguing. I, too, live in Minneapolis and winter just sucks the moisture right out of my skin (but if I use too many oils I break out…silliness). I feel like this time of year people start to get cabin fever, so more people may be spending time in coffee shops just to get out of the house!

  34. Brigid says:

    I would agree!! Spyhouse over northeast has gotten crazy busy lately! I’ve never heard of five watts before!! Coffee sounds wonderful:)

  35. Fiona says:

    Hi Nicole super natural lipstick is beeswax free and a blend of essential oils in jojoba works well as a deodorant! Love & lipstick fiona

  36. Charly says:

    Your routine sounds awesome! i love that you use different products in the morning and evening depending on your skin’s needs! You mentioned a few face masks, all of which sound lovely – i’m wondering, how often do you do them?

  37. Hi! I’m new to this blog; I searched “Rauha Minneapolis” and you came up! Simple question: do you buy your Rahua in town (I live in Minneapolis too) or order it online? If it’s possible to buy it here, I’d rather do that….

  38. Nicolle Mackinnon says:

    @Charly: Thanks, lovely! I only use the Osmia or May Lindstrom mask once or twice a week. Then I use the ARCONA Gommage every other day (not on the days I use a mask). Helpful?

    @Kathryn Ansley: Hello, friend! Welcome to NMDL and hello from Minneapolis! I love meeting locals. As for Rahua, I haven’t bought it in the city, unfortunately. I do a lot of my shopping online (hello, discounts!), save for what I can pick up at Spot Spa or Whole Foods. I know a couple of local-based online shops (Storm Sister carry the brand, but I haven’t seen it in person here.

  39. Molly Medvedoff says:

    Hi Nicolle,

    I’ve been trying to find out if Osmia Organics is wheat free… so I mainly need to know what their vitamin E is derived from. I tried contacting the company but have not gotten a response. The products sound great and I’d really love to use them, so, do you or any of you gluten free ladies on this site happen to know if Osmia’s products are wheat free?


  40. Martha says:

    Hi Nicolle,
    I have fine hair too. It always gets so tangled, so I can’t wait to try the detangle teaser. I’m from Minneapolis too. Where do you buy your beauty products locally, or do you buy online? Also, any recommendations for local hair salons that don’t use toxic products?

  41. Michell says:

    Hi Nicolle,
    Great feature! What’s the best way to reach you.
    I’d like to send you some goodies :)

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