Here’s a lovely routine from one of our readers, who also happens to have her own blog called Well Beauty. We love her range of choice and her description of the konjac sponge—like washing with fluffy clouds. Yes! Read on.

Name: Cori

Age: 30

City: Phoenix, Arizona

Current Weather: warm and sunny, highs in the low to mid 80s

Skin: fair and neutral-toned. I’m dry in the winter and combo in the summer, so my skin is transitioning into being a little more oily but still pretty dry on my cheeks.

Hair: Naturally blond and curly. Since making the switch to let my curls run free, it is a lot healthier and softer!

Favorite star from the past: It has to be Marilyn Monroe, Some Like it Hot is one of my favorite movies

Every day starts with Greens First! While it’s not a beauty product, I believe that beauty starts from within and I have to start my day with a healthy drink. I just whisk it with some water, add a couple of ice cubes and its ready. For breakfast, it’s usually just two eggs.

After breakfast (and Greens First), I brush my teeth with Earthpaste in Cinnamon. I was hesitant to give up the traditional foaming toothpastes (even the all-natural kind), but I LOVE Earthpaste. I’m on my 4th or 5th tube of it. Since cinnamon oil is naturally antimicrobial, I have been sticking with it rather than the other flavors.

In the shower, I have been alternating between two shampoo/conditioner combos: Rahua and Surya Brasil Color Fixation line. They are both great, so I alternate back and forth to keep my hair from getting bored. After shampooing, I apply the conditioner and let it sit a few minutes while I finish the rest of my shower routine. While I’m a big fan of bar soap, lately I have been using Gabriel’s Seaweed Body Wash—it has a really clean, green smell to it (NOT seaweed-y at all). It cleanses well and doesn’t dry out my skin. It works really well for shaving too! Since discovering the Natural Konjac Sponge company, I’ve been loving body washes because I get a ton of suds and the konjac sponges are like washing my body with little puffy clouds. They are WAY better than the traditional plastic shower poofs (or whatever you call them). After rinsing out my conditioner, I wash my face with ARCONA’s berry bar and will use the face wash to also wash my neck, chest and upper back to prevent any breakouts. A few times a week, I’ll use the Clarisonic with the sensitive head on my nose, chin and forehead.

Once I’m out of the shower, I’ll towel dry my body but I use the DevaCurl towel to lightly dry my hair. Since going curly, I have to be sure to not be too rough with drying my hair. Using the DevaCurl will prevent it from being dripping wet, but not more than that. I then spray my hair with Surface’s Trinity Protein Cream and comb my hair with a wide toothcomb. I’ll then loosen it from my scalp a little with my fingers, being gentle not to disrupt my hair too much.

While my hair is air-drying, I apply Blissoma’s Smooth A+ serum all over my face and then ilike’s age defense bioflavanoid moisturizer, focusing on my drier parts of my face.

With my face taken care of, I apply Farmaesthetics Midnight Honey Oil to my arms and legs and anywhere else that needs some extra moisture. While it says midnight, I have been using this every morning and love it. The soft, rich honey scent is calming and not too heavy and the oil is really moisturizing and sinks in quickly. I then apply deodorant, which lately I have been alternating with Schmidt’s Lavender+Sage, Colorado’s Pit Stick or Primal Pit Paste in Thyme & Lemongrass, all three work great.With my hair having a little time to let the protein cream sink in, I gently scrunch it using the DevaCurl towel again and then don’t touch it until it is dry. I found that to be the best way to get great curls—touching my hair as little as possible.

Now for the makeup! I have to start with mascara because I make a complete mess with it! I like Jane Iredale’s Longest Lash mascara, it adds a lot of thickness to my lashes. After applying (and cleaning up) my mascara, I apply foundation. My go-to foundation is Jane Iredale’s BB Cream, I use BB3. I usually prep my skin with Jane Iredale’s Smooth Affair primer than apply the BB cream with a beauty blender sponge. The beauty blender sponge is seriously the best invention ever; it makes my makeup look flawless. With my fair skin, I need blush to put some color on my face. I really love Nvey Eco’s blush in 957—it’s a great neutral pink that gives me natural color.

If I’m in a hurry, I will just leave it at that, but if I have some extra time I will apply eye shadow and liner. If I do wear eye shadow, I apply Tarte’s Clean Slate eye primer. While not the most ‘green,’ it is better than some others and works really well (and if you have any recs for more natural eye primers—I’m all ears!). I’m always changing up which eye shadows I wear (because I own a LOT and am getting new ones all the time), but my go-to ones are Silk Naturals. My favorite colors are Purrr, Naughty and Fete. For eyeliner, I use Au Naturale’s in Coco if I want to use a brown or Living Nature’s midnight if I want a black. They are both great eye pencils.

I usually don’t wear lipstick to work, unless I have an important meeting, so I just swipe with some lip balm. I have been using MVO’s Pacific Lip Treatment and it is seriously amazing. Super moisturizing and I swear has even plumped up my lips a little too! For perfume, I have been reaching for Honore Des Pres Love Coconut lately. It’s a great scent for spring, very fresh with a true, just opened coconut—not the fake coconut smell like suntan lotions can have.

Then it’s off to work! Once I get to work, my hair is all dry so I use Max Green Alchemy Pomade to define my curls and add shine, and then spritz with Intelligent Nutrients Hairspray to keep my curls all day.And voila! I’m set for the day.

Here’s a fun makeup bag from a fellow blogger. She’s a lot like us (and you!) in her focus on a clean, healthy lifestyle. Enjoy!

Name: Sara Jane Mercer

Age: 32

Home: TriBeCa, New York City.

My relationship with makeup:

I have loved makeup since I was a pre-teen. I grew up in NYC and have vivid memories of going to the makeup counters at Bergdorfs and Barney’s and trying slews of products.  I have never been very good at doing my own makeup but have always loved having it done for me for events, parties and photo shoots for my website.  My products choices have evolved over the years and now I only use clean, non-toxic, safe products. There are so many amazing clean makeup brands now that there is no reason to compromise my health and safety.

Nowadays my everyday makeup routine is very, very simple. I have a baby daughter and spend my time either working from home or taking her to the playground and music classes so no need to “put my face on.” Plus I think I natural look, glowing look is much more appealing.

Baggu Pouch: My makeup bag is a Baggu black leather pouch that my amazing friend Stephanie had monogramed for me. I am more than slightly obsessed with it.

NveyEco Concealer: I have always had persistent dark circles under my eyes and having a baby has just exacerbated to the problem. This concealer makes me look more rested than I am!

RMS Living Luminzer: To be honest I have not really slept well since before I was pregnant. This is like 8 hours of sleep in a pretty little jar. A little on my cheekbones, under my eyebrows, and down the bridge of my nose makes me feel and look awake and alive.

JCrew Metallic Hair Tie: I am constantly pulling my hair pack so my daughter does not pull or chew on it. These super cute hair ties look much better on my wrist than a plain black one!

Givescent: I am not a scent person at all. I don’t burn candles in my house, or use any type of room spray. Also because I am still nursing my daughter I need to be super careful what is on my skin. Givescent is the only scent I like, ok love and because it is made from all essential oils I feel safe wearing it.

W3LL People Hypnotist Eyeliner: When I want a little more of a made up look for dinner with my hubby or drinks with friends I use a little of this eyeliner on my top and bottom lash line.

Ilia Lip Gloss in Peek-a Boo: I have basically no upper lip and have never really worn dark lip colors or lip stick. This super hydrating lip gloss  is the perfect everyday nude color.

Beautycounter Lip Shine: This ultra shiny clear gloss reminds me of a clean version of a certain sticky, shiny gloss that was uber popular when I was in college.

Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Petal: This lightly pigmented lip color works just as well on my cheeks as it does on my lips. I am all about multitasking!

Kjaer Weis Mascara: A few years ago it was almost impossible to find clean mascara that was also effective at darkening and lengthening lashes. I love Kjaer Weis’s mascara and their packaging is super gorgeous- an added bonus.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler: The only “conventional” brand in my makeup bag but no one makes a better eyelash curler.  Makes my eyes look huge!

What do you have in common with Sara’s makeup collection? Let us know!


Help! Steph’s Skincare Woes

We get it. Going clean is full of challenges. It can be frustrating and disheartening to have the best intentions but the worst results. Our hearts go out to Steph, a reader who wrote in seeking your advice. Take a look at her letter:

“I think I’m probably the only person in this community who, since going natural, organic, and “clean” with everything from diet to cosmetics and skincare products, has reacted badly and not actually seen an improvement. It leaves me feeling so deflated because in the beginning I was so excited to move into this world of clean beauty and sift through my products and routine to find better, healthier alternatives for myself.

I started by visiting a naturopath and then consequently, coming off of birth control (I’d been on Nuva Ring for the past couple of years) and even though I was never on birth control to help with acne, when I finally came off it, my skin went haywire. I got horrible cystic acne, redness and horrible inflammation—my skin was brutal.

Ever since then I’ve been fighting against my skin and my body and more symptoms have come up. I now have a near constant flaking scalp, flaking skin, itchiness, and my face is still a mess. I have lost so much confidence and feel myself getting more and more depressed over this.

I have pretty much tried everything—you name it—diet changes (gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, etc.); changing all my products—haircare, skincare, makeup, etc.; supplements (specialized for hormones, zinc, vitamins a-d, omega 3s); I’ve visited doctors, aestheticians, nutritionists, anything and everything! I’m now writing to you because as I said in the beginning of my email I feel like I’m the only person who since changing everything has gone from okay to worse!

I don’t want to go back to using items that have so many chemicals, so many things I cannot pronounce. Your book and the wonderful community at NMDL is so enlightening and amazing to read. I’m just hoping that maybe someone could offer any suggestions for anything else that I may not have heard or known about or have any similar situations they went through themselves. I would really appreciate any feedback you and this lovely community may have!”

We know that health and skin issues are very personal and it can be difficult to get to the root cause. We’re interested in knowing whether you’ve had a similar experience. What worked for you? Did you give up your clean routine? Let’s show Steph some love and support!

We could play in this reader’s makeup bag and skincare collection all day long. So many fantastic choices. Enjoy!

Name: Charissa

Age: 35

Hometown: Singapore

Weather: Summer all year round, very humid and these days, hazy and muggy too…

Hair: Naturally straight but permed once a year, black, fine and long
Skin:  Combination, with dehydration lines from use of harsh acne treatment in the past, tends toward congestion and dullness but otherwise.. I’m pretty happy with it now!

Star of the past: No favourites, really, but let’s go with Dita Von Teese (who isn’t from the past).  I just saw a video of her teaching about the Art of Seduction on Into The Gloss and it made me laugh out loud :)

The night before in the Shower…

My showers are really short and sharp.  I wash my hair about twice a week (for most people living in Singapore, that would be totally gross), but it took a long time for me to get here.  I went through greasy days of looking like I lived in the streets, until I got pregnant and then BAM!  I suddenly had normal hair!  Since then, my oily scalp has been more or less normal.  Barring my postpartum “bangs” which are all my baby hairs growing out, I quite like my hair now.  Oh, sorry forgot —so I use Yarok’s shampoo and usually no conditioner because my hair doesn’t seem to need it.  But if I feel like I have some extra time, I’ll use Yarok’s conditioner (weird smell, though) or the Marigold conditioner from an Australian brand called Perfect Potion.  This is my dream conditioner — it detangles, makes my hair soft but not limp.  I’ve recently also purchased an ACV hair rinse from The All Natural Face (a company I am new to, but very excited about) and it makes my hair very soft too!

For my body, I use Dr. Wood’s Castile soap in Lavender with some scrubby gloves.  Once every two weeks, I’ve now started using this crazy amazing mitt by Dermasuri.  I kept reading about these Korean spas and Turkish Hammans where they would scrub your skin right off.  Well, I thought that was a brilliant idea and found this mitt in a local beauty shop called Beauty Candy.  It’s awesome.  Is it crazy to like seeing my skin fall off in the shower?  Probably, but I like it!

Outside the Shower…

I only moisturize when I exfoliate with my Dermasuri.  Right now, I use either a sample of Osmia Organics’s Night oil, or my Acure Lemongrass moisturizer.  Osmia smells lovely, but it might be just a tad heavy for our weather.  Today, I tried Tata Harper’s Revitalising Body Oil at Beauty Candy and it feels pretty good.  So, maybe.  But I tend not to spend on body lotions or oils because I hardly use them, and thankfully, don’t seem to need them too often!

For my face, if I’m wearing makeup, I’ll take it off with pure coconut oil or jojoba oil and a washcloth.  Then do a second cleanse with Blissoma’s Mild Rice Cleanser.  Every 2 or 3 days I’ll use May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt instead for the second cleanse.  This stuff really makes a difference to how quickly my oils absorb.

Then, I’ll spritz a little rose-geranium hydrosol from Mountain Rose Herbs, or Tata Harper’s Floral Essence (sample… almost gone… sad).  If I have any breakouts, I will apply a thin layer of Blissoma’s Smooth A+ serum.  Otherwise, I will use just a drop of my latest obsession… Skin Owl’s Clary Sage Argan Infusion.  This stuff is like nothing I’ve ever used.  It is lush, super hydrating, smells so so good, and absorbs like a dream.  But I live in Asia, after all, so a drop is all I need.  Then I’ll use Osmia’s Spot Treatment (heaven-sent) on any breakouts.

In the morning…

My daughter, who’s nearly 14 months old, will wake me up and we nurse.  I tried oil pulling with coconut oil for a few weeks, but one morning I actually sneezed before I could get to the bathroom in time.  This may be an over-share, but basically that “hazmat” oil (according to some oil pulling literature) got all over everywhere and that pretty much turned me off for awhile.  Moving on.

Then I’ll run off to brush my teeth with Tom of Maine’s toothpaste, or whatever I managed to buy off iherb, and wash my face with Blissoma’s Mild Rice Facial Cleanser.  This is my second bottle and it still smells so gorgeous.  I have a bottle of Pollen & Wax’s Apollo cleanser on its way, and I’m excited to try that!  If I woke up particularly greasy that morning, I’ll use a bit of my Dr Alkaitis cleanser instead.    I also have a bottle of George’s Aloe Spray on its way from iherb.  Then I’ll spread a thin layer of La Bella Figura’s Modern Radiance Concentrate all over my face.  This stuff is amazing.  No, seriously.  If you have any discoloration or acne scars etc. that you want gone, you need this.  And because the texture is so light yet hydrating, I could actually just get away with using this alone.

However, because I’m a recovering product junkie, I will also use a single drop of my other latest discovery — Skin Owl’s Geranium Argan Infusion.   It is as amazing as its Clary Sage counterpart.  And Annie, the founder of Skin Owl, is lovely.  If I’m going out that day, I will also use another drop of my other dream facial oil, La Bella Figura’s Daily Elements Defense Oil.  This light, hydrating oil smells so great (I’m all about the smell) and I feel so protected.  I mean, it’s all in the name right??

After that, I’m basically racing to the kitchen to make myself a big ol’ cup of coffee.  I long to be one of you ladies who drink caffeine-free herbal tea or lemon water in the morning, but without my coffee, I. Just. Can’t.

Finishing Touches…

If I’m going out that day, I’ll use Soapwalla’s deodorant.  I’ve tried a few but this is the only one so far that works for me.  I’d prefer a stick applicator, but this is ok for now.  I’m also looking at Meow Meow Tweet, Schmidt’s, and after the post by you NMDL ladies, the R. L. Linden one.

I love makeup.  But I don’t usually look like I use a lot of it.  My basic routine if I was going to the supermarket or pick my son from preschool, it’s usually concealer, blush and lipbalm.  I now use The All Natural Face’s cream foundation in Almond Goddess as a concealer — works really well, and I only need a tiny bit.  Pop that under my eyes, around my nose and on any discoloration.  Some days, I use RMS’s Uncover up in 22 instead.  As for blush, I have Vapour’s Torch, and RMS Beauty’s Smile.  I alternate the two, depending on my mood but I find Vapour’s slightly more natural for my coloring.  If I remember, I’ll dust a little RMS Un-Powder on my T-Zone.  As for lipbalm, I have Hurraw! in Chai, Sierra Bees Honey Lipbalm, and Burt’s Bees in several colours.  I also have a couple from French Girl Organics on Etsy.  But recently, I’ve been enjoying Tata Harper’s Be Adored.

If I want to be slightly fancier, I will use RMS’s Living Luminizer.  Then I might use a little eyeshadow — RMS’s solar is my favorite, or Magnetic, or one of the many I have from Silk Naturals.  I honestly prefer cream shadows because I worry about breathing in some bits when I use the loose minerals, but creams just don’t hold up very well in our weather.  I also have Studio 78’s eyeshadow in Art Gallery (a nice, deep navy) but I reserve that for when I want to do a smokey eye.  Navy makes me look fairer.  My brows are permanently colored and I also have a thin line colored on my upper lids so I can skip brow makeup and eyeliner.

I’ve only recently started using lipstick, and it’s only because I discovered Ilia Beauty.  Their lip conditioners are out of this world.  I have Bang Bang, Arabian Nights and Blossom Lady.  I’m also looking at Shell Shock and Voila, which is one of their lipsticks.  I’ve never used lipsticks before Ilia, but that doesn’t mean I don’t buy them.  I will settle on something, then proceed to store them on my beauty shelf and never ever use them.  My lips are naturally very red and with most lipsticks I look like I’m in drag.  I’d like to use glosses again some day… but I’m trying to exercise some self-control here.

So this sounds like a lot but my typical makeup routine takes about 10 minutes.  And I can do this while my little ones play catch with something in my makeup pouch.  Ha!

As for perfume, I have just splurged on Tata Harper’s Anti Irritability Treatment.  I hankered after it for nearly 2 years, and finally purchased it because I just feel it’s one of the very few natural perfumes that last on my skin and don’t morph into a weird after-smell.  (Shh… I also have La Bella Figura’s Travel Therapy on its way).

Lucky Ingrid founded one of our favorite kind of businesses… a natural beauty boutique! We love indie shops like hers. Ever wondered what someone with the best products at her fingertips would choose to use? Look no further than this routine.

Name: Ingrid Doucet

Age: 45

City: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Current Weather: Cold, Freezing, Chilly, Cold, etc. Make it stop!

Skin: Good when it’s good but very sensitive and reactive.

Hair: Fine and straight. I have been highlighting it for years but I have cut way down on how often and how many. I have had it darker a few times in the last few years but I always miss the blonde.

Favourite Star from the past: She’s not an old movie star but no less amazing. love love love Diane Keaton.

First thing…

I splash my face with cold water and then spritz with CV Skinlabs Rescue and Relief Spray. Sometimes I wake up with a bit of redness and this spray always refreshes and calms my skin. I then drink a tall glass of water and then have warm lemon and water… and then it’s green tea. I am a manic hydrator; I notice a big difference in my skin when I am not drinking enough water so I am a bit obsessed!

In the shower…

I WANT to dry brush but I have been so cold recently that I usually jump in the shower before I can manage it. I love scrubs and lately I have been using Solas Orange and Ginger Sea Salt Body Scrub. The scent is invigorating and it’s extremely moisturizing. If it’s a shaving day I use Dr. Bonners Unscented Shaving Gel, it’s a bit runny but it does the trick. If I am washing my hair I use Yarok Shampoo and Conditioner, our whole little family uses this line and we all adore it. I know most of my gal pals can’t believe I do this but most of the time I wash my hair at night and go to bed with it wet!! Because my hair is fine I wake up with it kind of messy but with lots of body. I can usually go two or three days without washing my hair with the help of Lulu Organics Hair Powder.

Out of the shower…

I am a body oil fiend. I go between May Lindstrom, La Bella Figura and organic coconut oil. I am really digging the grassy, exotic scent of La Bella’s Skin Aficionado the last few weeks. It brings me back to running through fields in Nova Scotia when I was kid, and that makes me supremely happy.

If I have washed my hair I use Yarok Feed Your Ends as my hair tangles and then use a wide toothed comb to comb it out. I then blow dry my hair upside down, massaging my head in little circles, which helps to give my hair volume, it’s also great for your scalp.

My skin needs very gentle products, I was on a med a few years ago that really did a number on my skin and it hasn’t fully recovered.  Subsequently, it has had a hard time this winter. I’ve been battling rosacea and dry patches.  Cleansing wise, I love Pai’s Camellia and Rose Gentle Cleanser or raw honey. I alternate between the two.

I find changing up my oils, moisturizers and serums every few months really helps with my reactive skin. As long as they are gentle and very moisturizing my skin actually likes the change. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it seems to keep my skin refreshed and happy. So lately I have been using La Bella Figura’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil and CV Skinlabs Calming Moisture. I also love One Love Organics Vitamin C Serum and always use it on my neck and chest. It leaves my skin with a beautiful sheen and it’s perfect for dehydrated, sensitive skin.  Mask wise, I use One Love Organics Brand New Day and Osmia Detox Mask, both are gentle exfoliators and nourishing.


I am a bit of a makeup minimalist. I love being able to see healthy skin so I try to keep my skin as nourished and glowy as possible and hopefully use less makeup to look good! I use Kjaer Weis Paper Thin under my eyes and on any redness that needs covering and then Kjaer Weis Desired Glow on my cheeks. I love this color!! It gives my skin a ‘been to the beach look’, which kinda rocks. I use an eyelash curler and then a few coats of Ilia Nightfall. I then sweep Kjaer Weis Cloud Nine from lash to brow line. My eyebrows seem to grow downwards so I will put a bit of Yarok Feed Your Do paste on my fingers and push them upwards.

I do have a thing for lip colours, for day I go between Tata Harper Be Adored and Ilia Bang Bang, and if I am going out at night I use Kjaer Weis Goddess or Ilia Lip Crayon 99 Red Ballons. I love Osmia Honey Myrrh Lip Treatment and I always have it or a S.W. Basics lip balm on me.

I use a toner to set my makeup and to give my skin some added moisture. I find them to be a wonderful way to refresh my skin, calm any irritation and to give skin that ‘just went for a 15 minute run’ look, I especially find them great for midway though the day when my skin needs a boost. I am currently using Graydon’s Face Food Mist; this toner is unscented and wonderful for fighting blemishes.

Some Extras: I love aromatherapy and I find La Bella Figura’s Travel Therapy and Lotus Wei’s Quiet Mind very helpful. I am also an actress and I love using these at auditions or anytime I am feeling anxious.

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