Self care. It’s a buzzy term among the wellness set—but what’s the difference between that and just taking care of oneself? The way I see it, choosing clean products and healthy whole foods is great—but following health rules is not enough on its own to feel our best (in fact, sometimes being too strict has a negative impact on our health). True self-care means creating dedicated time for rituals that you do absolutely and only for you. Read, and repeat. Only for you.
Most of us have a tendency to prioritize other people’s needs over our own. And we think we’re doing the world a big fat favor by being so generous. But if you don’t fill your own tank, you’re not as helpful as you might think. In truth, if your own energy is low you’re probably unconsciously pulling other people down. C’est le truth.
I for one, have spent most of my life sucking at self-care in the way that I’m describing. But, ever the work in progress, over time I’ve incorporated certain rituals into my life that are just for me. I want to build out this list out though, so be sure to share yours!
What delightful things do you do just for yourself? Here are my top 5.
1. Airplane Mode: Bless this little button. That one simple swipe can give me a deep sense of relief (I’d shut my phone entirely, but I read my Kindle on it!). I think allowing oneself the luxury of being unreachable, even just for a short period, sends a message to the brain to chill. And amazingly, the world goes on without us when we disconnect.
2. Massages: Early research on the health benefits of massage therapy suggests that it helps with everything from anxiety to insomnia. I have never needed much convincing though, and living in LA makes regular massages accessible and affordable. But after years of trying out different spots, I finally found my holy-grail masseur deep in the Valley. While he looks like he could be in a K-pop band, this guy has some crazy healing hands.
3.Manicures: Bad for my nail beds but good for my soul. While never a totally clean practice, I have a salon that has none of the headachy odors with all of the trashy magazines. I go about twice a month and love the ladies there; it’s even started to give me that warm fuzzy feeling of community so often lacking in city life.
4. Home Yoga: I love going to a good yoga class with an inspiring teacher and a room full of sweaty practitioners. But there’s something about doing a home practice that just feels more inward and less fitness-goal-oriented.
5. Ashram Weekends: This is probably my most extravagant self-care ritual, and also my favorite. Despite the fact that I already travel on a weekly basis for work—and don’t see my husband nearly as much as I want to—I make almost-monthly weekend pilgrimages to the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley where I did my teacher training. Just stepping foot on that property instantly hits the reset button for me, and ultimately makes me a better person (wife, employee, boss…). What I lose in time with loved ones, I am convinced I gain in quality.
What do you do just for you?
Who is psyched for the Labor Day weekend? What do you have planned? Do you savor the last bits of summer with an epic garden party or close out the beach season on the shore? Maybe you just take the holiday to relax quietly and get a little organized, making way for the seasonal shift in your life. Whatever you do, don’t miss this hot hot hot Labor Day sale from La Bella Figura!
La Bella Figura is giving No More Dirty Looks readers 20% off all orders over $75 and $4 holiday shipping on U.S. orders. Just enter the code NMDLLDS at check out! This exclusive offer ends Monday at 6pm CST. Run and get your favs or something new.
You know, it’s kinda crazy how much we love La Bella Figura products. If you haven’t tried this line before, we suggest you read our reviews of their new makeup line, the Barbary Fig Seed Oil and Bio-Active Healing Mask, the Decouverte Eye Serum, or the Modern Radiance Treatment. P.S. Do NOT miss everyone’s favorite, the Travel Therapy. Blue tansy, Italian blood orange, and rose delight in this blend.
What’s going in your shopping cart? And what are you doing for the holiday? Tell us everything!
You may recognize Carol from the NMDL community. Her sweet and positive vibe in the comments section reminds us why we love doing what we do. Carol has some serious green beauty wisdom to share, so grab a cup of herbal tea and settle in for a lovely routine.
City: Indian Wells, CA
Current weather: Sunny & dry, dry, dry! Around 110 degrees daily with a/c running 24/7 (summer in the desert!)
Skin: Dry, Aging, Sensitive
Hair: Dry, Wavy/Curly, Shoulder-Length, Color my grey (with as chemical-free color as I can find)
Favorite Star From The Past: tie between Leslie Caron & Jaclyn Smith during her “Charlie’s Angels” era
How I start each day…
I start each day with equal measures of love & hydration. The love part is a generous misting of Lotus Wei Infinite Love Mist as soon as my eyes open, a big hug from my lovely daughter who runs in to greet me each morning, followed by giving our sweet golden retriever his morning Ark Natural dog treat — he gets SO excited about it (not realizing it’s really to clean his teeth) that it melts my heart, and I make my dear husband a big mug of coffee. The hydration part is brewing 2 cups of Organic India Tulsi Tea. (I have those big over-sized Fiestaware mugs in assorted cheerful colors to wake up to). I rotate between their Tulsi Vanilla (my favorite one) or Tulsi Cinnamon Rose or Tulsi Guta Kola and I make sure to let it seep for at least 10 minutes, all of which I learned from the lovely Susannah on NMDL. I also add 5 drops of Lotus Wei Joy Juice Elixer to my morning tea to help with being cheerful.
The hydration continues while I’m waiting for my Tulsi tea to brew, I hold a warm washcloth to my face and then follow with a generous mist of Kari Gran Hydrating Tonic in the rose scent (it’s so fresh, like sticking my face into a bouquet of fresh-cut roses from the garden) and I follow that with several pumps of her ah-mazing Serum which has this luscious ylang-ylang scent. I also hydrate my lips with Kari Gran cinnamon lip whip (shout out to Alexandra for mentioning this on NMDL — that’s how I discovered it). Back to the love part, I also swish my mouth with Tom’s of Maine natural mouth-wash and follow with a spritz of Lotus Wei Infinite Love perfume on my hair, wrists, and my heart (as Katie from Lotus Wei suggests) so that I smell nice for my family as we are preparing breakfast. While I drink my tea, I sit quietly for 20 minutes or so and read my favorite blogs, starting with NMDL.
After tea is finished, we always make healthy breakfast smoothies — sometimes green smoothies (lots of coconut water, baby spinach, frozen berries) and sometimes tropical (unsweetened coconut milk, fresh pineapple chunks, frozen banana, splash of orange juice). If anyone is being cranky, I keep a bottle of Lotus Wei Joy Juice Mist on the kitchen counter and mist it around to keep us cheerful (neither myself or my daughter are morning folk). I then fill a large glass with half Zico coconut water and half Perrier water. I find the straight coconut water a little hard to take, but I also desperately need the hydration while I exercise and feel so much better sipping coconut water throughout the day here in the desert. I add 5 more drops of Joy Juice Elixer to my water glass and walk for 30 minutes on my treadmill. I like to mist my face again with my Kari Gran Hydrating Tonic just before I step on the treadmill, it feels so refreshing.
In the Shower…
Right before I step in, I roll Tata Harper Automatic Stress all over my hands and do 8-10 slow deep breaths. The amazing combo of scents really calms me down. Then I wash my hair with Rahua Shampoo & Conditioner — the regular one. I much prefer the scent of their Volumizing shampoo & conditioner, but they make my scalp itch and dry out my hair too much. The regular Rahua combo makes me have perfect hair days so I hang in there with the scent. I know a lot of people love the Palo Santo scent, so I feel badly saying I don’t care for it, but I’m a fruity, floral or citrus gal. For body wash & shaving my legs I use John Masters Organics Bourbon Vanilla & Blood Orange body wash — it smells so fabulous. I exfoliate with an Osmia coffee & mint soap bar that I keep in the shower on their ingenious little soap saver stand. I step out of the shower and leave my skin dripping wet (as I learned from reading the Osmia blog) and slather my legs & arms with Osmia Body Oil in Sunset. I also wrap my hair up in an old t-shirt so it won’t drip down my back.
Out of the Shower…
For deodorant, I am now using and loving In Love With Body Care deodorant in unscented (I have my husband using their Morocco scent — spearmint) that I discovered thanks to the samples sent to me by the exceedingly kind Terri at Integrity Botanicals. Just upgraded to a full-size tube of it and love it so much more than my former deodorant — Nourish Organic — which worked but was scratchy feeling going on. This deodorant has coconut oil in it, so it is very creamy and feels very gentle on my skin. Love it! I mist my face with my Kari Gran rose mist again, followed by her glorious serum (side note: most normal people don’t have to apply Kari Gran mist & serum several times a day, but my skin is crazy dry with the desert air and a/c going so I do a mid-day hydration too). I brush my teeth with The Honest Company toothpaste in mint — it’s SLS & fluoride-free and the only mint toothpaste that doesn’t sting my tongue when I use it. I floss my teeth with Reach woven soft floss in mint. Now I unwrap my hair from the t-shirt and scrunch it all over with Rahua hair wax. This is a life-changing product that keeps my dry hair curly and not frizzy and has completely replaced my previous “cocktail” of multiple other products that drove me crazy.
Most days at home, I just opt for 3 things: combing my eyebrows with Jane Iredale clear brow gel, my Kjaer Weiss mascara & Osmia lip gloss in Whisper. If I’m headed into the California sunshine, I put John Masters Organics SPF 30 sunscreen all over my face & neck and top it off with RMS lip to cheek in Demure on the apples of my cheeks. I’ve read so much praise for the Josh Rosebrook SPF 30 day cream that I’ve gotten some samples and am considering the switch, the skin on my face is very dry and sensitive and the John Masters sunblock works well but tends to dry out my skin even more. I use Hurraw SPF 15 lip balm (love the tangerine/vanilla scent and it goes on clear!) then put my Osmia lip gloss over the top. On my arms & hands I slather on Erbaviva SPF 30 which smells so nice…. light lavender scent.
Throughout the Day…
Every time after washing my hands, I love putting on my Osmia Linden Rose Hand Cream (shout-out to Rebecca on NMDL for recommending) mixed with a few drops of Lotus Wei Infinite Love for a nice boost of rose and positive energy. I also try at least twice a day to take a mini-break by closing my eyes for 2 minutes and letting a Wei of Chocolate dark chocolate melt in my mouth. Heaven.
Just wanted to share that the ultimate de-stresser is taking a warm bath with Zoe Organic’s Mama’s Ritual Bath Salts. Even if you aren’t a mom, we all need to find healthy ways to relax and there is something magical in this mix that is so calming I almost pass out in the bathtub — it’s that relaxing. If I don’t have time for a bath, I agree 100% with a post on NMDL a few months ago that Susannah wrote about how the warm cloth & facial oil cleansing ritual (using Kari Gran cleansing oil) is as relaxing as a bath. The combo of the warm cloth and the lavender scent is an ultra-relaxing way to end the day. I also like rolling on Tsi-La Fleur Sauvage and breathing it in right after I finish caring for my face at bedtime. Tata Harper’s Bedtime aromatherapy and a big mug of Organic India Rose tea is a lovely way to end my day.
After writing all this out, I kinda feel like I use a lot of products (high-maintenance?) but I’ve come to learn that little bits of self-care scattered throughout the day culminates in feeling so much better and more calmer about life…
We want to hear from you! Leave comments below and send us your routine. firstname.lastname@example.org
Coup of all coups, La Bella Figura has formulated a small makeup collection with ingredient lists that read like high performing skincare products. We’ve all been hip to makeup that multitasks like BB creams and blushes, and it’s not uncommon to see some stellar botanical ingredients in some of our favorites. But what if makeup was truly made to nourish as much as adorn? Like, nourish in the same way that your night cream or treatment serums do? Look no further, ladies. The ingredients in LBF’s new collection tell the story.
La Bella Figura designed their 100% vegan and gluten free More Than Makeup collection on the premise that getting gussied up doesn’t have to be a surface-level endeavor. Each piece in the collection is naturally enhanced with vitamins, minerals, omegas, and breathable waxes. Ingredients include some of the most antioxidant-rich, glow-inducing botanicals around, like Acai, Kakadu Plum, and Rooibos extracts. A blend of hydrating butters and oils (hello again, wondrous Barbary Fig seed oil) allow the makeup to spread and melt into the skin for a dewy affect, while rose flower wax keeps the formulas petal-soft and ethereal. The highlighter even contains arnica and watermelon seed oil. Bonus: it’s also free from some ingredients we frequently see in clean cosmetics that can be troublesome for some skin types, like coconut oil and beeswax. Are you getting the picture? This isn’t just makeup!
Let’s get real, though, because if we want to wear it like makeup, it needs to work as such. Here are my thoughts on two items from the collection that I’ve dubbed my “cheeks for days” look thanks to the fresh-faced effect of the duo.
Radiant Crème Blush – Just Jenna: Described as an orchid pink hue, this color leaves the most natural flush on my cheeks—not too purple or pink, just fresh. The blend is emollient, almost like a balm, but never waxy or too shiny. It applies sheer but builds for more intense color without becoming heavy on the skin. In fact, this blush is really hard to screw up thanks to how easily it blends into skin. With its gorgeous color and texture, I am 100% in love with Just Jenna and carry it everywhere for touch ups throughout the day. Touch ups are necessary, but I love reapplying something so effortless and nourishing to my cheeks. I also dab Just Jenna on my lips, which brings them to life instantly, again without looking too made-up.
Golden Corrective Highlighter – Brazilian Denise: The effect of this highlighter is so subtle yet transformative. Of all the highlighters I’ve tried, the Brazilian Denise gives the most lit-from-within glow, like a softening halo for the face. Highlighters have not played much of a role in my makeup routine until now because the colors I’ve tried are usually too obvious or shimmery and shiny, which makes me feel more glaring than glam. To be honest, the first time I applied Brazilian Denise, I almost couldn’t see it. Then I stepped back and compared my highlighted cheek with the un-highlighted cheek, and I finally realized what this highlighting business is all about. Like the Just Jenna blush, Brazilian Denise feels gorgeous going on and blends seamlessly with whatever it sits atop. I swipe it over my blush and dab it around my orbital area. I also love to use it on bare eyelids, which really enlivens the eyes.
La Bella Figura’s Radiant Crème Blush and Golden Corrective Highlighter are super portable and go from day to night without a hitch. The formulas are gentle, nutrient-dense, and elegant. The colors are made to work on any skin tone and go from sheer to bold with ease. Never fussy, always fun. There’s one more thing that makes the LBF More Than Makeup collection stand out. Each compact has a light fragrance that’s fresh and subtle — a bit powdery, floral, and green. Maybe I smell the rose flower wax, and maybe a little of the lavender extract. I love that I’m creating olfactory memories with every application. The scent is already familiar and comforting, like a favorite scarf or the scent of your best friend’s hair when you hug.
Have you tried something from the More Than Makeup collection? Do you plan to? We’re featuring La Bella Figura in a special deal this Friday!
This is going to be a great makeup season for me, and all you lovelies that dig on orange and purple. Even if you don’t think they are for you, give something a shot. Two of my fave super clean companies are at the forefront of this color extravaganza.
These are not the drugstore makeup colors of my 70s childhood. They are fresh and hip, and will make you feel that way, too.
RMS Beauty: The “wearable brights” are now available from their website, but I was so intrigued I nabbed them up in the preview launch on net-a-porter. Curious (lip2cheek) is a very buildable orange, so you can go subtle or all out as desired. It has a very slight shimmer to it, but wears like a semi-matte when applied lightly. The lip2cheek designation is a true one for me. It is a fresh alternative to pink. Royal (lip shine) is a purple with a pink base, maybe not quite as much shine as some of the other lip shine shades (a good thing in my book). It has more shimmer than I was expecting or desired, but I still think I can carry it off. If you like shimmer, this is the one to go for. I can see this as a good one to layer on top of your other favorite lip colors.
Ilia Beauty: Ilia lipsticks are buildable and have my favorite semi-matte finish. These colors are less obvious versions of orange and purple on me – more of a suggestion, really. Perfect Day is advertised as a toned down coral red, but I feel its orangey tones. This is a great one if you don’t want take the full orange leap (if you do, try Ilia’s Voila). I actually had to rescue it from my pretty-but-not-me bag that I take to parties to share with friends. On a blah day I dug it out and added it to my small collection of colors that travelled with me on a recent trip. When I got up at 3am to make a 6am flight, I blearily dabbed on some Perfect Day, and it brightened my attitude. Around The World (exclusive to net-a-porter) is described as rose with a bold lavender undertone. For me, it works as a more summery version of Ink Pot, a personal favorite (and the one to try if you are going full purple jacket).
These colors are taking me seamlessly from summer into fall. Will you be working orange and purple into your transition?