Before I went all clean on my old beauty regime’s sorry arse, I hated multipurpose products (it likely has something to do with my innate need for rules and systems and a place for everything). A pot o’ color that I could put on my cheeks AND my lips? No, thank you. A dry powder that could be a daily cleanser or a mask? Someone’s just pulling a marketing trick on me.
Man, was I missing out.
Now that I’ve successfully converted my entire skincare system, I realize the glory, power and holy-grail-ness that comes with a product that can be used multiple ways. Dot a little pink lippy on the apples of my cheeks? Yes, please. Mix my cleanser with a little yogurt or honey to make a mask? Genius!
Such genius is exactly what’s been found in one of my favorite lil scrubs: The Brand New Day scrub from One Love Organics. You may remember the beauty orgasm I’ve gotten from this line before, but let me tell you why this guy deserves a spot on your to-try list.
Exfoliating has always been a bit of a touch-and-go thing for me. Do it too often (or use a Clarisonic) and exponentially increase the number of zits and amount of redness my face answers with. Avoid it for too long and risk dry flakes caking up my foundation and making me look like I’ve attempted a full face of stage makeup for a run to the grocery store. (Tell me you’ve all been through the same thing? Please?)
So, I’ve been hesitant about manual and chemical (fruit) exfoliants in any capacity. I’ve used and loved Arcona’s Brightening Gommage and found that an every other day usage didn’t irritate my skin. While I also love May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt, I abide by Rebecca’s tips for a sensitive-skinned gal, and I don’t use it daily.
Got the background and my trepidation around exfoliants? On to the review: When I opened the Brand New Day scrub, I was immediately in olfactory heaven—the pineapple enzymes make the scent totally intoxicating, and as I once told OLO founder Suzanne, I want to slather myself in it. What’s even better is that those same enzymes make for gentle and super effective exfoliation that’s sensitive enough for the most redness-prone of us.
The organic sweet pea flour that helps create the base of this scrub is also crazy gentle. It’s so gentle that I was initially worried I wouldn’t see a difference after I washed it off (when it makes this lovely, light, gentle foaming consistency that I’m in love with and satisfies my old, dirty self who still thinks anything foam=super clean=better skin). I was totally wrong: My face is brighter and smoother and BETTER after using this. My treatments and oils and moisturizers absorb more easily. My makeup goes on smoother.
But what makes this scrub a powerhouse is the fact that it’s one of those multi-use products I was referring to earlier. Mix it with a little water for a scrub. Switch up the water for yogurt or honey and you’ve got a light mask that brightens and leaves a glow when you wash it off. Oh, and it still foams and exfoliates when you remove the mask. (Maybe you can tell that that’s my favorite part, after the scent.)
Basically, this is an all-around home run of a product. Lovely scent, lovely ingredients, lovely effects. Bonuses: I can use it every day without fear of redness or blemish increases and it travels well (Powder! Cardboard container!).
I’m sure loads of you have tried and loved this baby, so tell us why. Oh, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting BND or OLO yet, you should plan a trip back to our site tomorrow for a little deal… (wink, nudge).
Hello, hello! We love hearing from clean beauties around the world. This morning routine comes from Sonal in Ell-Oh-En-Dee-Oh-En. Enjoy!
Hometown: London, UK
Current weather: Wet and windy, with what appears to be the occasional peak of spring sunshine.
Hair: Dark and long (halfway down my back), naturally curly but fine and dry.
Skin: I’m lucky enough to have been blessed with relatively problem-free skin. It can get a bit dull when I’m not taking enough care of myself and I do get the occasional spot, but when I eat well, sleep enough and exercise my skin is happy.
Favourite star: Zooey Deschanel — not exactly from the past but I absolutely adore her quirkiness and individuality.
So what’s my clean story? Well, I’ve been using clean products for a couple of years now and it all started when a lovely friend of mine told me all about why she only uses natural products. I was curious to find out more so I did some Googling and came across NMDL and a couple of other natural beauty blogs. I purchased the NMDL book which was a real eye opener, I was both shocked and disappointed that these products that I trusted contained such harmful ingredients. I always thought natural products were better for you, but I never realised that the chemicals in unnatural products were actually toxic. The first thing I wanted to do was throw out every single product in my cupboard! But instead, I slowly started giving away/using up my dirty products and replacing them with clean ones, although I haven’t quite managed to do the same for my make-up products yet.
I absolutely love reading NMDL, it’s given me a lot of inspiration and encouragement in my ongoing transition to cleanhoodness, although sadly for me a lot of the products mentioned aren’t available here in the UK. I’ve recently come across a brand called Balance Me which I’m totally obsessed with, I’ve tried a few products and I have to say, they’ve been absolutely amazing. Like most clean kids, I’ve fallen in love with coconut oil and I make sure I’ve always got a couple of jars handy. I use it to moisturise my skin, hair and eyelashes; in my eyes when they feel dry or irritated; for oil pulling; to remove my make-up and I even eat the stuff (seriously, a teaspoon a day is meant to do wonders — you know, healthy fats and all of that hoo-ha). I enjoy experimenting with easy homemade items like scrubs (e.g. honey and bicarbonate of soda) and masks (see below for my gram flour mask). I once tried to make my own deodorant but that didn’t turn out too well, unfortunately I only realised after I’d applied it and the stinging started!
In the morning…
In early January I mustered up the courage to start oil pulling – an ancient Ayurvedic practise which involves swishing oil around in your mouth to help remove toxins. I do it first thing in the morning every day for 20 minutes using a heaped teaspoon of Biona Virgin Coconut Oil. It did feel a little strange in the beginning but then a few amazing things started happening — my teeth became whiter and less sensitive, my mouth felt cleaner (and I mean a different kind of clean to when I brush my teeth), my skin became clearer and my cravings for sugar were magically reduced — and this is coming from someone who had a severe case of the mid-afternoon chocolate craving! After oil pulling, I give my mouth a good rinse and brush my teeth with Green People Minty Cool Toothpaste. I have my showers in the evening so next I wash my face with Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash. While my face is still damp, I massage in 3 drops of Balance Me Radiance Oil. I cannot praise this oil enough, it’s a little pricey at £30 a bottle but it is worth every penny — it has become my absolute HG facial oil. It sinks in like a dream and makes my skin glow like no other oil or moisturiser has before. In terms of deodorant, I haven’t been able to find a clean one that works for me yet so for now I’m using one by Dove. I travel on the tube in London daily so having my personal space invaded while I’m on a packed train for two hours a day means I need something that’ll keep me fresh all day long!
Now on to the shameful part of my routine, my make-up: Firstly I use MAC Studio Finish concealer to cover up my dark circles. After years of experimenting with all sorts of remedies (from eye massages to applying grated potato under my eyes) I’ve come to accept that my dark circles are hereditary and cannot be cured. Next I line my waterline with Bourjois Khol and Contour eyeliner and apply a little blush to my cheeks. I’m currently using MAC Powder Blush in Peaches which is a lovely colour, but once it runs out I’m going to find something cleaner to replace it with. I’m on the lookout for a natural cream blush so if anyone has any recommendations, please do comment. If I’m attempting to look a little bit nicer I’ll put on some L’Oreal Telescopic mascara and Bourjois Intuitive liquid eyeliner on my upper lash line. Lastly, I apply a dab of lip balm to my lips — I’m a lip balm addict so I have a few lying around, either Burts Bees (the original), Badger Balm Vanilla Madagascar, Neal’s Yard Bee Lovely or a homemade one. I have a friend (the same one who introduced me to natural products) who makes amazing natural cosmetics and I’m lucky enough to be one of her testers.
In the shower…
I take my showers in the evenings and I wash my hair 2-3 times a week. I’m currently using a lavender shower gel by Organic Surge. I lather up my Soap and Glory exfoliating gloves with a squidge of shower gel and give my skin a gentle scrub. Twice a week I exfoliate my face by mixing honey and a little bicarbonate of soda in my palm with a few drops of water and lightly scrubbing it on my face. If I’m washing my hair I use the A’kin Lemongrass shampoo and A’kin Avocado and Calendula conditioner. After a lot of trial and error with various other natural shampoos and conditioners, I’ve found A’kin is definitely the one for me — it doesn’t leave any sort of residue in my hair and it doesn’t make my hair too dry or oily. It’s perfect! It’s also the first time I’ve ever continuously used one brand of hair products for so long without changing which is certainly something.
Outside the shower…
While my skin is still damp I moisturise my body with either coconut oil, olive oil or Weleda Calendula oil. If I’ve washed my hair, I blow dry and straighten it with my ghd. I’m aware this is somewhat frowned upon in the clean community and I do wish I was able to let my hair air dry like all the cool clean girls do, but it just looks nicer when it’s straight. Also when it’s winter (which is around 70% of the time in London) it takes about 3-4 hours to air dry which is far too long for me to sit around with freezing cold hair!
When I have time I massage either coconut, almond, olive or avocado oil in my hair and leave it in for an hour or overnight before washing it out. It does mean that I need to give my hair an extra bit of shampooing to rinse it out, but it’s well worth the trouble because it makes my dry hair super soft and shiny.
Occasionally I make a face mask by blending together gram flour (also known as chickpea flour), oats, rice flour, almonds, turmeric and mixing it with honey and yogurt. I smear it on my face and leave it on for an hour, by which point it hardens. I then wet my face and scrub the mask off. This is rather time consuming so I don’t do it very often, however this mask is totally worth it, it makes my skin incredibly luminous, super baby soft and helps to clear up any skin issues I’m having. Sometimes I just throw some good old raw, organic un-heated honey on my face and leave it there between 10-30 minutes which also works wonders.
A few extra bits…
Since January I’ve been trying to exercise more (at least 160 minutes a week) and eat better — more veggies, less naughty carbs and lots of water. After watching a documentary called Food Matters I’ve really come to realise how important a healthy diet is. We need to be putting in the right “fuel” into our bodies for it to run effectively and to look and feel our best. I make a green monster smoothie every morning before work with almond milk, spinach or kale, banana, wheatgrass powder, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and cinnamon which gives me a great start to the day. It wakes me up and makes me feel amazing, and being a vegetarian means I need all the iron I can get.
I’ve also started taking blackstrap molasses and apple cider vinegar every day. I mix a tablespoon of each in hot water and drink this at some point during the day. It isn’t the most pleasant tasting drink, but both of these ingredients pack some serious heath benefits for skin, hair and health and provide me with a much needed energy boost.
Thank you for sharing, Sonal! Want to share your routine? Email us at email@example.com — we want to hear from you!
Ready for some new makeup recommendations? Check out this sweet little number from Erica in Portland. She has her own blog, too!
Name: Erica W.
Where I Live: Portland, Oregon
Relationship to Make-Up: Although I grew up with a fabulously made-up mother and her extensive make-up collection, I’ve kept it pretty simple most of my life—the biggest exception being an unfortunate year or two in middle school where I wore dark brown lipstick or lined my lips with dark brown lipliner and filled it in with frosty, nude lipstick. I’ve increasingly become a minimalist with age, though. I think moving to Portland eight years ago has probably influenced me, as women in general here tend to go with the understated look. Also, I realized that I have one of those faces that just can’t carry a great deal of make-up without looking garish! But I do have a tender spot in my heart for a good cat-eye and red and orange lipstick and wear it on occasion when I’m feeling bolder. Despite the fact I don’t use much make-up myself, I LOVE watching Lisa Eldrige videos, browsing through beauty stores and applying make-up on other people.
Face: I’m a fan Wild Carrot’s Borage Butter Cream in the winter. It’s pretty thick and luscious and has wonderfully clean ingredients. And it’s made here in Oregon. Sometimes, I’ll apply Josie Maran’s Argan Tinted Moisturizer where needed.
Cheeks: Blush is probably the one thing I have to wear everyday. All these dark, rainy days in Portland can really make you look equally dreary, so having a little pink or peach on my cheeks helps keep me looking like one of the living! My favorites are cream blushes: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip and Cheek Tints in Cranberry Glow and Grapefruit Glow and Ilia’s I Put a Spell on You.
Lips: Everyone once in a while, I use some Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Tannin (my current favorite), Ilia Lipstick in Wild Child, or Obsessive Compulsive Lip Tar in Radiate (not the cleanest kid on the block, but significantly cleaner than most of the other brands at Sephora. It’s highly pigmented, so you only need a little, and it’s very long-lasting!). I also use Zuzu Luxe lipliner in Cherry. Not shown is my small collection of MAC and Nars lipsticks in the bathroom I use for special occasions!
Eyes: I’ve been using Organic Wear’s Fake Out mascara in Black, which has been pretty good to me, but I think I’m gonna try out Ilia’s mascara now. I just got reacquainted with Gabriel Color eyeliner in Chocolate Brown, and I think I’ll be upping my eyeliner use now. I also use it to fill out certain spots in my eyebrows.
Fragrances: I mostly wear Pacifica’s Tahitian Vanilla for casual, everyday use. And Chymia Moisturizing Body Spray in Soleil is a convenient little thing to carry around for freshening up clothing, coats and cars with a citrusy scent!
Snap a photo of your makeup bag and send it to us! Tell us what you use and why. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hold the phone, everyone, because we have an awesome surprise in store for you. Our friends at NuboNau just told us that they are moving to a lovely new, and more centralized, distribution center soon. As such, they’re looking to move out some inventory. Lucky for us, we were their first call.
And it’s a blowout, y’all! They’re offering NMDL readers 25% off of EVERYTHING (even sale items!) for an entire week. But don’t tardy because popular lines will move fast! Just use the code NMDL25 at checkout and the discount will be applied.
We know we’ll be stocking up on favorites like Juice Beauty’s CC cream, PAI, Ilia, Studio 78 and and and! What are you going to get?
Special note: All brands will be restocked in April when NuboNau is at their new location—and word is that they’re going to be adding some exciting new brands to the mix too.
As per usual, you will still be awarded the regular loyalty points and free shipping will also apply to all orders over $95. Happy natural beauty bonanza!
We’re going to take a time out from a rather lively few days on the site and say thank you to a guy who helped us get here.
Horst Rechelbacher, as most of you likely know, founded the Ayurveda-inspired Aveda many moons ago, in 1978. He went on to become a kind of patron saint of truly-natural beauty long after that, with the launch of Intelligent Nutrients. He was also an activist and an advocate, a researcher and a provocateur, and this week he passed away at the age of 72.
Horst started his first line with the goal of bringing to the rest of us a holistic, natural and luxurious approach to beauty. His formulas were playful. They smelled amazing. They worked. The line was borne by a philosophy that was ahead of its time, taking naturals out of the stinky health food store and giving women an excuse to feel sexy and indulgent in their rituals of personal care—while still doing something ostensibly good for herself and the planet.
I got really into the stuff as a teenager. I wouldn’t have said it at the time, but looking back, it made a scared-of-being-girlie me (don’t ask, I just was) feel like I was kind of becoming a woman. It made me think it was OK to take a little longer in the shower. And for someone who has a nervous hair-smelling tick that tends to present, even to this day, on dates, it also assured me my hair would smell rosemary-mint amazing if someone went in for the kiss.
Yes, the formulas changed when the line got sold, and yes, what I’m saying is extremely earnest right now, but back in the day that line really stirred me. And when I met its founder a couple of years ago, that stirred me even more.
When Alexandra and I were reporting the book, Intelligent Nutrients was already on store shelves, but it was new. We were dying to interview him, and after a few phone calls I’d landed an hour with the guy at his house (an hour! his house!). Day of, I showed up on time but grew concerned when, 20 minutes after I’d arrived, his wife offered to grab me some soup from around the corner. It was going to be a while—Horst was meditating—but the last thing I wanted was soup. I was busy trying to count how many angel statues there were in the room I was sitting in. I was worried about what I’d ask him. I was distracted by how pretty his wife was.
A little bit later, Horst emerged from his roof deck with the bright eyes of a person who’s gone inside for a bit. A couple of minutes after that, he offered me a sip of hairspray.
I took him up on it—”beauty so clean you can drink it!”—and I was bummed when I later learned this was a kind of parlor trick he pulled out on reporters from time to time. But no matter; the stuff tasted pretty good, like a few drops of bitters in some fizzy water, neat. Plus, as far as gimmicks go, this one, at least, got a point across.
What struck me most about my meeting with him, though, wasn’t that it he made me drink hair products. It’s that no matter how much I tried to talk to him about the industry or even the ingredients in his products, he turned the conversation back to the two things that really actually matter in this whole thing: First, how our actions impact the planet as well as our resilient but ultimately human forms; and second, what it means to feel beautiful.
There’s no doubt in my mind Horst cared about the products and the formulas and what works and what doesn’t. But that’s not what he wanted to talk about. He wanted to talk about biodynamic farming and soil integrity, and he wanted to talk (not in a creepy way) about why love and sex make people beautiful, and why happiness and health make us more gorgeous than anything else. These are things that have continued to inform my ideas about health and beauty, and they’re what stood out for me when I met him.
It’s a rare and lucky thing to have a memorable and perspective-shifting conversation with anyone. I feel especially lucky to have had one with him.
So let’s all please wish his family well, and his own spirit well wherever it goes. And as for me, I want to give a little thanks. Great guy. Great-tasting hairspray. And a life that made a big, big difference.
Please feel free to share any thoughts you have about his legacy, or really anything else inspired by what you’ve read here. Just keep it civil, please. Thanks, everyone, and thanks, Horst.