Ever since my most beloved face cleanser underwent a formula change, I’ve been searching. See, I was one of those who practically cried when Kahina changed. Yeah, I know. Not a world-shattering problem, right? But when you rely on a product to do an important function for you every day, and you love every single thing about it, it’s a serious bummer when you can’t get it anymore. I don’t mean to dis the updated Kahina cleanser formula, it’s nice—but it’s not perfect for me. I want my cleanser to wash off all my makeup at the end of the day, including eye makeup, in one step. It needs to leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated, not squeaky or tight. It has to be unscented, or only have the mildest scent, which I love, and that does not stick around. It must suit my sensitive countenance, and of course be super clean, vegan, and gluten free. Dang, I am demanding.
I looked high and low, in brick-and-mortars and online boutiques, studying reviews and the recommendations of natural beauty bloggers. I bought lots of things, and thought I came close a couple of times.
I tried both soap-based and detergent-based cleansers. I became determined to hone my DIY skills and create a complicated brew, but in the time I had to spend on this, was unable to find success. I ended up revisiting the oil cleansing method, and was quite pleased with using coconut oil all through the winter. But the weather change made me yearn for a nice, light cleanser.
And then, as if by magical convergence of all things clean and gluten free, Julie Longyear posted some brilliant comments on this blog, with links. Who is this free-spirited chemistry goddess, I wondered? I followed the links to some very helpful information on her blog, and discovered she is the founder of Blissoma Solutions. The brand name rang a bell, and I located several very favorable reviews on Fig + Sage, which I recalled reading. I hadn’t tried the brand at the time, because I thought the essential oils would be too much for my skin. Recently, though, Julie created a new group of products for ultra sensitive/reactive skin. I immediately ordered the set, and (cue the rising music) found the Holy Grail.
Free – Rejuvenating Herbal Gel Cleanser and Makeup Remover: In short, it meets all my demands. While the instructions say to moisten skin first, I prefer to just put it right on my skin and massage it in, as with oil cleansing, then wipe it off. It takes off all makeup with ease and gentleness. If I don’t have any makeup to take off, I follow the instructions and use it like you’d typically use a cleanser, splashing it off with water. The scent is unusual, and I really love it. It just smells like its ingredients, not like it’s trying to smell like anything. My skin feels wonderful afterward, ready for the rest of my routine of hydrosol, serum and oil. If you have oily or combo skin, you might not even need to do any other moisturizing at night, but I’m the dry/mature sort. I wouldn’t call it a gel exactly, maybe something between a gel and a cream cleanser. I love the pump container, not a typical pump but basically a giant serum bottle. I’d call the price mid-range, at $26.99 for 4 oz.
I’m also loving the Amend serum, and I’ll do a thorough review after I’ve used it a bit longer to really see the effects—and I have a few honorable-mention face cleansers that are great enough to post about soon. But for now…
Have you tried Blissoma? What do you love?
Oh god. Are seasonal allergies contagious?
The answer, obviously, is, “Of course not,” (thanks, Yahoo Questions) but it’s been looping around my monkey mind all week. For about a month, I’ve been hearing people say this is the worst allergy season in ages, and I’ve seen up close how it’s been affecting my Claritin-cloudy friends, my colleagues, my guy. About a week ago I started feeling kind of crappy: runny nose, sneezy, headaches. Naturally, I thought it was either contact allergitis (this is not actually a thing) or, more plausibly, adult-onset—which would make sense since they hit my brother when he was in his early 30s. My dad has terrible allergies, t00. Ask him how he’s doing this time of year and the answers tend to be along the lines of “I can breathe today” or “I could smell a little this morning.” Suffice to say, and sorry to all you allergy sufferers out there, I was horrified at the idea of staring down the next 50 years in your camp.
Turns out, lucky for me, I just have a cold.
But what about all these poor suckers I care about? There’s got to be something other than a daily Allegra or Claritin that can help, right?
I’ve seen some interesting research about acupuncture helping with seasonal allergy symptoms (see here, here, and here), but it requires frequent visits, which is inconvenient and can be prohibitively expensive if your insurance doesn’t cover complementary medicine. (Course, if you compare the cost of thrice-weekly acupuncture for four weeks with a daily pill for four months, for years on end, the needles would probably win, but whatever—I know it’s not for everyone.) Over at Prevention, where I work, we have a neat piece about yoga poses that alleviate allergies, as well as a “Problem Solved” column with 10 solutions, many of them natural, and all of them science-backed. A woman I work with told me the other day that her husband started putting a teaspoon of raw local honey in his coffee every morning and is happy to report this is his first symptoms-free allergy season in years. Of course, there’s research debunking the effectiveness of local honey for allergies, but if you do what I do for a living, you learn that there’s a study for and against pretty much everything under the sun.
So we turn to you. We know y’all are a crafty bunch, and we’d like to know what, other than neti pots, you’ve tried with some success. Or, if you don’t have allergies yourself (high five!), what have you heard works well? Share, share. Our friends need us!
Image of my favorite flower, which is conveniently allergies-friendly, via
Dear readers, help! We are seeking an awesome (smart, independent, energetic) assistant to help us manage this site and take it to the next level!
If you’ve ever sent us an email you know that we are spotty on response at best, totally MIA at worst. Well, here’s why: Other than the addition of Rebecca’s awesome posts we have nobody helping us run this site. No interns, no generous pals (well, OK, we have generous pals, just not ones who work on our site for free).
So we finally want to hire someone to help us get our s***t together and make this site a more awesome place to hang out. The job would be very part time—about 5 hours a week to start—and wouldn’t pay a whole lot at the beginning. So if you think this is you, it’s probably best that you have a second job or school and are excited at the prospect of helping this grow. The more competent the individual, the more likely this could one day turn into a full-time gig—and then some!
The person we’re looking for is:
—A total self-starter with a passion for connecting with people and growing communities
—Experienced or interested in marketing/PR/social media and writing
—Tech-savvy; Wordpress, Photoshop and social media skills a must
—Energetic with a positive attitude
—Loves to socialize both on and off the web
—Passionate about clean beauty!
The job would involve:
—Checking and responding to NMDL emails daily
—Fielding our interview requests and pestering us to meet deadlines
—Managing relationships with brands and making new connections
—Exploring ways to monetize the site that don’t sacrifice its integrity
—Setting up community-content morning posts daily, copy editing and formatting as needed
—Helping with our Facebook/Twitter and beyond
—Organizing deals and contests as needed
—Possibly contributing to the site as a writer
Sounds fun, right? There’s much to do! If you are this person or know someone who would be perfect please email: nomoredirtylooks at gmail dot com with a subject that gets our attention. :) But if we don’t get back to you, please don’t be offended! Given our current bandwidth, this could be a slow process…
Somehow we missed Mercedes’ first routine in our inbox (guh!). But like many a clean girl, hers keeps evolving and we’re thrilled she sent in this new one because, well, it’s awesome. Now, can someone tell us what “stippling with a beauty blender” is? Because this makeup technique sounds amazing!
Age: 30 (on the cusp of 31, Gemini love)
Current weather: New England spring – holding steady in the low 60s, not a ton of humidity yet.
Hair: Naturally wavy, relatively fine but I have a lot of it, past my shoulders, very dark brown. I wear it in loose waves (from a large barrel curling iron) all the time.
Favorite icon: Not from the past, but Kate Winslet has been one of my beauty icons since I was young. She is such a truly beautiful, real woman and she inspires me to accept my own natural beauty.
Skin: I’ve always had a problem with dryness, but since going natural it really is more towards the “normal” side of things. Occasional cycle-related pimples, and a bit of redness here and there, but overall no major skin complaints. I’m happy! I don’t really ever wash my face with cleanser – I either use Jane Iredale’s magic mitt with warm water, or an oil cleansing method with macadamia nut oil (what I use to take off my eye makeup) and a hot washcloth. A few time a week I exfoliate with May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt.
In the shower…
I usually shower in the evenings, and as much as I would like to was my hair infrequently, I cannot stand the smell of scalp and with hot yoga classes and the lack of fragrance potency of most green hair products, I end up washing every other day. Shampoo and condish are my one true love Yarok, sometimes switched up with John Master’s Organics Zinc and Sage, which my boyfriend says makes me smell like “swiss miss” (the marshmallow, I guess). I suds up with either Dr. Bronner’s (the baby formula one) or a charcoal shower gel, and have been using up old bottles of Acure shampoo and condish to shave with (didn’t like it for my hair). Also, I’ve been using Rare El’ements pre-shampoo treatment a few times a week before I wash. I’ll usually put in, go to a yoga class, and then wash out. Once a month I’ll do a coconut oil deep conditioning. This has all transformed the condition of my formally pretty fried hair. I also like to do face masks once a week or do – my fave is the Pangea Oraganics seaweed one.
Outside the shower…
On the face it’s a spritz of some kind of toner (right now it’s the Acure one for dry skin – meh about it, next up will be In Fiore which I’m dyyyyying to get my paws on), and argan oil all over, and Kahina eye cream. My newest find is Bija Body…and I.love.it. I use the daily serum and lotion all over. It smells divine and lasts for a good long while. Sometimes I use Chocolate Sun self tanning lotion on my legs. I try and let my hair air dry as much as possible, and use Intelligent Nutrients leave in condish as a heat protectant. Then I use a large barrel curling iron to create large waves, do a little backcombing for volume, and set with some Intelligent Nutrients hairspray.
I love love love makeup. I have a separate everyday routine, and weekend/going out routine (which unfortunately still utilizes some dirty stuff). My current go-to day routine includes a layer of Vive Sana sunscreen, and RMS un-cover up in 22 applied with a beauty blender. This is my new FAVORITE discovery. The un-cover up didn’t work for me as an undereye concealer and I was lamenting the money I spent on something I couldn’t use. But then, inspired by posts on here about different ways to use products, I started playing around. To use all over the face for light coverage I discovered I need to use some kind of primer (the sunscreen, or sometimes I’ll just Vapour’s Skin perfector if it’s going to be overcast all day), and stippling with a damp beauty blender makes it blend in so well. Then I use a very light shade of Jane Iredale’s concealer click pen under my eyes, a contour-ish dusting of Studio 78’s bronzing powder (new discovery, love! Almost a dupe for NARS Laguna), a dab on the cheeks of Revolution Organics cream blush (the hot pink one!), sometimes a bit of RMS living luminizer on the cheekbones and cupid’s bow, fill in the brows with Jane Iredale brow gel, even out the eyelids with Nvey Eco concealer, curl lashes, apply some Jane Iredale basic black eye pencil on my waterline (top and bottom), apply a coat of Tarte’s lash primer (also a relatively new discovery, and it noticeably prevents mascara from flaking), and a few coats of Josie Maran’s GoGo mascara. Lips right now is Ilia’s tinted lip conditioner in Blossom Lady. It may sound like a lot but this takes me less than 10 minutes and I feel like me but better. Now, going out makeup is another story! It tends to include lots of black liquid liner, fake lashes, and bright lips <3
So glad to be part of the NMDL community. Green beauty is a huge passion, and I learn so much constantly from all of you.
Right back at ya, Mercedes!
A few readers have requested more on this topic, and once I started reading about it I really wanted to find a solution. I can’t say I’ve found one, but I hope this helps and leads to some great comments that will help those suffering. Though I have not had the condition myself, I’ve had numerous skin issues in my life, including psoriasis on my face. Not pretty. Anything right out there, front and center on your face, can degrade quality of life. Let’s see if we can come up with a natural solution.
The good news is that there are stories out there of people who have significantly reduced or eliminated their PD. The bad news is many report it gets worse before it gets better. Anecdotally, natural treatments seem to take a few days to a few weeks to make a difference. So, how do you know if a new treatment is in the “worse-before-better” stage, or if it really is a bad idea? I have a hard time with that one, because my skin doesn’t really do “worse-before-better.” It does “hmm-I-think-this-is-working” or “OMG-my-skin-is-on-fire.” Can anyone help with how to know if you should tough it out, or move on?
Since there may be different triggers for PD in different people, there is no one solution. But a good place to start is to eliminate common triggers. Eliminate topical and nasal steroids, fluoride, SLS*, isopropyl myristate**, and petrolatum/paraffin based products. Try to eliminate ALL sources of these ingredients, not just from the obvious things like face cleanser and toothpaste. Your shampoo may get on your face, and anything you touch can spread around. Minimize exposure to UV light, wind and heat. Oral contraceptives and gastrointestinal issues may also be at the root of the problem for some. Whenever I see skin issues, the first things I think about are hormonal and digestive system imbalances. I’m not going to try to cover those aspects in this post, but look at those possibilities if topical treatments don’t help you.
Many people are prescribed antibiotics and/or antifungals for perioral dermatitis, and they seem to work for a while, though the problem typically returns. As I was reading about a potential fungal problem in PD, I immediately thought of my go-tos for yeast issues: dilute apple cider vinegar and coconut oil***. Turns out there are people out there using these successfully. I know what some of you are thinking – I’ve heard it advised not to use oils on PD, so perhaps it’s not the solution for everyone. Some people don’t like the ACV, but prefer a yogurt mask. Based on what I’ve read, if I had PD I’d be trying to eliminate the common triggers I mentioned above, eating healthy unprocessed foods and anti-inflammatory herbs/spices like turmeric and ginger, and experimenting with these topical treatments:
- ACV (experiment with the dilution, try something like 1 part ACV to 2-3 parts water)
- Coconut oil (unrefined and organic if possible)
- Calendula oil (here’s one from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- Zinc soap (here’s one to try that also contains calendula)
- Yogurt mask (leave on 15-20 minutes once or twice per day)
Have you successfully tried any of the above remedies for PD? What has worked for you?
*sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant, detergent and emulsifier commonly used in cosmetic products like shampoo and toothpaste
** a synthetic oil used in many cosmetics to create a slick, non-greasy feel and allow other ingredients to penetrate the skin
*** it might seem like antifungal creams would help, but those typically have a mineral oil/paraffin base and isopropyl myristate