Today is Pratima’s 75th birthday! This woman is a true pioneer of Ayurvedic beauty. Her eponymous natural skincare line, NYC spa, and book Absolute Beauty are not to be missed. Anyone who appreciates the healing powers of herbs, wholesome botanical ingredients, and soothing self care practices could benefit from a dose of Pratima. In honor of her 75th birthday, we’re celebrating Pratima with this special Morning Routine feature. Enjoy!

Name: Pratima Raichur

Age: 75

City: NYC

Current Weather: We’re at the end of Pitta season heading into Vata, low 70’s a bit cooler and hazy.

Skin: Oily & smooth but now that I am a bit older its more combination

Hair: black and wavy

Favorite Star From the Past: Sophia Loren, she’s timeless. (Note: We love Sophia, too, but featured a photo of the beautiful Pratima instead!)

First thing in the morning upon waking…

I look at my hands, say thanks, and ask that whatever will be done through my hands on this day will only go towards helping and serving whomever comes into my life. I learned this from my mother and I’ve been doing it for 60 years. I finish my morning prayers by sending love to my children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, my entire staff, everyone I have known and have yet to meet. I send my unconditional love. loka samasta sukhino bhavantu

Next step in my morning is to clean all the 5 senses.

Mouth: Rinsing and washing mouth, I use Tates Organic Toothpaste and Healthy Gums powder.

Eyes: Splashing cold water at least 21 times with eyes open, this stimulates the optic nerve.

Nose: Neti pot (with warm water and a pinch of salt) I was recently introduced to this beautiful line from Pursoma, which has a great solution for this, sea spray nasal rinse.

Skin: Cleanse with fresh herbs & massage with oil. I use my Vata herbal cleanser and Vata Essential Oil, Age Delay Serum and Amla Collagen Cream.

Sound: I already cleansed by saying the mantras when I woke up.

Then I have black tea with a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom to awaken me.

Next, I perform breathing exercises. I start with kapalbhati for about 10 minutes. I have additional kriyas that I do. Then I always finish with alternate nostril breathing for about 10 minutes. I do about 5 sun salutations, then walk around my house gently singing my mantras. I walk and chant until I am ready to move on. If I have a really busy day and with not as much morning time, I sit on my favorite chair and do the alternate nostril breathing for 5 minutes, this helps to ground me so my mind remains strong and balanced throughout the day.  I never am hard on myself if the proper time doesn’t allow, I give myself the time I need. A lot of these things can also be performed throughout the day with just a few moments of alone time. Even closing the bathroom door in your office and breathing deeply for a few minutes can make a positive difference.

Then I take a shower and use my Organic Herbal Body Cleanser. After I step out of the shower I massage by entire body with Vata Rejuvenating Body Oil and add additional oils on my neck and décolletage for strength and nourishment. I love Shiva Rose’s Rose Face Oil for this, the smell of rose is so delicious on my pulse points in combination with my stress oil.  Its a lovely natural fragrance.

We’re so lucky now, when I was growing up and at the age to start wearing makeup, there were hardly any natural makeup companies. I actually have DIY makeup recipes that have been passed down to me from my grandmother that create natural pigment from herbs and roots. It has been wonderful to see such beautiful and innovative lines come into the market to give women small tools to help them look their best. I support all of them and am excited how the natural beauty industry has come alive especially in the past few years. My staff brings me different ones to try a lot from ABC Home, one of my favorite stores. Some of the brands I am using now and wear most days are, RMS Un-Coverup, in 44 to conceal. W3ll People Creamy Crimson Universalist and Bronzed Rose, such pretty colors! I love playing up the lips, so I use Ilia Lip Conditioner in Lust for Life and Vapour Bold, their Siren Lipsticks have such great pigment. For the eyes I use RMS mascara and just discovered W3ll People Hypnotist Eye Liner, which is beautiful.

I drink warm water and tea throughout the day to help with digestion, detoxify the body, and keep everything in a state of flow. I have fruits and nuts in afternoon for an energy boost.

For me, the most important beauty ritual is talking to people, listening to them, and trying to make a change in their life. Just knowing that I am still able to help people, the joy I get from that is the most important thing for beauty. A lot of people become very sad and stressed because they are unhappy at work; I am lucky that this is not my situation. I am very fulfilled at work, it gives me energy, which comes from joy. That’s what I am able to offer, I receive the grateful energy from other people and I give it right back. It rejuvenates me. It’s the purpose of my life. Before I know it, the day flies by.

In the evening…

I revisit the 5 senses ritual. First thing, I wash my face, cleanse with herbs, and massage my face with Rejuvenating Essential Oil, then apply my Rejuvenating Pearl Cream. I use organic castor oil almost nightly. It is an amazing eye treatment and really hydrates the eye area. I also apply it to my lashes, it helps them grow and become stronger. I then take my Vata Rejuvenating Body Oil and massage my feet, ears and hands. I also massage my scalp with Brahmi Oil to nourish my hair and calm my mind. Before I go to sleep, I boil some organic milk (about ¼ cup) and strain out the fat which is hard to digest and add ½  tsp of organic ghee (you can also substitute almond milk), and a pinch of cardamom powder. This beauty tonic is great for overall digestion, nourishment of the tissues and cells, helps calm the mind to promote deeper and reparative sleep.

When I get into bed, I take some time massaging the bottom of my feet with herbal oil which I keep next to the side of my bed,  which nurtures all the nerves in the body, gets rid of toxins, improves circulation, and is good for brain cells. This also helps me feel peaceful and sleep much better. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. You can do this with any natural body oil you have at home.

Looking at my hands again, I say thank you and give gratitude. I try and let go of any worries in my mind as it is best not to carry burden with you at nightime. Sleeping is a sacred time for whole body rejuvenation — the more peaceful and calm you are, the better your body can repair itself. This is the most important step in true rejuvenation, take advantage of this precious time and give yourself the gift of self care.

These are all simple rituals that everyone can follow, in the beginning start with what resonates with you most and what your time allows.  As you start to implement and see positive changes both inside and out,  you will actually end up having more time as other pieces in your life start to shift and open.

Happy birthday Pratima, and thank you for your contributions to natural beauty and wellness!


Help! When Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

Do you exfoliate your face? Do you use a physical exfoliator that scrubs your skin clean with ingredients that grab ahold of and sweep away goop? Or do you use a chemical exfoliator that contains something like fruit enzymes or naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, which dissolve and eat away the dead skin cells? Most of you who practice exfoliation will likely have strong opinions about what type is best for skin (some of you may shun it entirely), but what about the best time of day to exfoliate? That’s what one of our readers, Christine, wants to know. Here’s her question:

I am wondering if you all have an opinion on when to exfoliate your face. I have always heard that your skin is more sensitive in the morning so it is better to exfoliate at night, however I find that in most of your “Morning Routines Exposed” people seem to exfoliate in the morning. Do you have thoughts on this?

Personally, I am a morning exfoliator, and I tend to exfoliate every other day. That may be too much for sensitive skin types, but I find a light, gentle exfoliation really preps my skin for the day and gets my blood flowing. It creates a smooth canvas, so to speak, so that everything I apply afterword—from sunscreen to foundation or powder—goes on without a hitch. Three exfoliating products that are in constant rotation at my house include One Love Organics Brand New Day, May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt, and Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator. I’ve listed these from the most gentle to the most intense. Another reason I exfoliate in the morning is because I oil cleanse in the evening. Exfoliating in the evening would probably invigorate my senses at a time when I’m trying to wind down.

So when do you exfoliate? Does it matter to you what time of day you do it? Why? Tell us in the comments!


The New Highlighters In Town

IMG_3248I’m a big fan of the highlighter/illuminator category of cosmetics, as you may have noticed way back in this post.  Both of these new kids are from well known clean beauty brands and are gluten free.  One is vegan.  They are quite different from one another, and different from any other highlighter I’ve tried as well.  I think they will both work on a variety of skin tones, though to different effect.

One of my favorite uses for a highlighter is to press it gently into my un-mascaraed lashes and all around the eyes, close to the lash line.  On its own it makes me feel polished and standard workday appropriate, adding brightness to the eyes and making me look awake, even when that’s barely true.


KW on top, LBF on the bottom (both applied very heavy so they show up for the pic!)

Kjaer Weis Radiance:  This is my first Kjaer Weis product.  I’ve been wanting to try the brand for a long time (I drool for the packaging alone), but the presence of carmine in the cheek and lip colors held me back.  The highlighter does have beeswax, but is otherwise vegan.  When I heard that there was a new highlighter on the market with a little lavender to it, I knew I had to have it.  Radiance is very creamy and feels nice on the skin, and that pearly beige and lavender undertone is really unique.  It is the most shimmery highlighter I own, and that makes it more of an evening or special day treat for me.  But it is gorgeous and a worthwhile purchase.  ($56)

La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise:  This is part of LBF’s new “more than makeup” line, and is versatile addition to a brand I already love.  It is more gold than the other highlighters I’ve tried, so if you desire that warm honey look, I highly recommend it.  It also stays on the best of any highlighter I’ve used, with its drier texture, and remained nearly unchanged at the end of the day.  It does have what I would consider a strong scent, from the flower wax that keeps it vegan, so be aware of that if you are sensitive.  Keep in mind, I’m practically the scent police – most people probably wouldn’t think much of it.  ($38)

Have you tried these?  How do you use a highlighter?

Whether I’m heading to out for an evening with friends or an important business meeting, I inevitably reach for the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask as part of my preparation. This beta-hydroxy mask is like a reset button for my skin, but it is gentle and calming, so I don’t need any down time between removing the mask and walking out the door. It isn’t the least bit messy, so I can wear it while donning nice clothes or styling my hair. The unique jelly-like texture dries clear and wipes clean with minimal effort. While application and removal is a dream, it’s the effect on my skin that keeps me coming back. Time and time again, the Resurfacing Mask gives my skin the perfect boost — a little glow and fresh, refined features. While it’s equally lovely in the context of an at home spa treatment, this little baby is my going out into the world quick skin fix.

To my delight, Tata Harper has begun to make limited edition versions of the classic Resurfacing Mask that incorporate seasonal ingredients. Last fall it was the Wild Plum Resurfacing Mask, which I reviewed along with the original. The latest edition is the Soothing Apricot Resurfacing Mask, and this may be my favorite one yet. Apricot stem cells are the star ingredient, which helps reduce redness and promote an even skin tone. Ultra hydrating coconut water is also included, which helps lock in moisture and keep skin smooth and soft. I would eat this mask if I didn’t know better, and the calming, slightly sweet scent of apricot is the icing on the cake.

We want you to experience this treat, too! So guess what? Tata Harper is giving one No More Dirty Looks reader the chance to win the Limited Edition Soothing Apricot Resurfacing Mask!

The details: From now until midnight next Friday (like when the clock changes from Thursday to Friday) you can enter to win. You have a few options for how to enter, but the more you complete, the more chances you have to win: follow Tata Harper or No More Dirty Looks on Twitter or like Tata Harper or No More Dirty Looks on Facebook, or tweet about it. You’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win. Good luck!

U.S. residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Mater the Fall 2014 Colored Eyeliner Trend

I can’t, for one second, say that I’m glad to be past Labor Day, letting go of the true days of summer. What I can say is that I’m completely excited about a few of the fall 2014 makeup trends. I’ve always been a makeup junkie and if ushering in colder temps gives me a reason to snag some new beauty products, I’m in.

One makeup trend that seemed to really gain footing in spring 2014 is colored eyeliner. Yes, people, it’s coming back around—bright blue eyeliner. But, like any refreshed trend, this one has a bit of a new twist. Read on for an easy step-by-step how to for making this bold look work for you, thanks to my lovely friend Samjahana Shrestha, founder of Embody Beauty. P.S. That opening photo might be the biggest my head has ever been on the Internet.

Step 1: Foundation + Concealer

Like any classy makeup look, you gotta start with a good base. I love love love INIKA’s Mineral Foundation—it has the best coverage of a mineral makeup that I’ve ever used, it doesn’t settle into creases and it somehow leaves you with a glowing, creamy look, even though it’s a powder. It’s been my go-to foundation since I discovered my beeswax allergy, and the only thing that’s displaced it is a liquid foundation that we’ll talk about another time (promise).

Step 1: Start with a good base, like INIKA Mineral Foundation.

We started by prepping my skin with RMS Beauty’s Beauty Oil, which is a great combo of lightweight oils that easily penetrate skin, leaving it glowing. Next, we used the INIKA Kabuki Brush to buff on the mineral foundation in Unity (though Patience has been my summer color, so think about that). We finished the I-just-woke-up-like-this skin look with INIKA’s Concealer in Light, which Sammy applied under my eyes and on a few angry blemishes.

Step 1: Concealer

Step 2: Contour

Most people usually avoid this nebulous of a term and step we call “contouring,” amiright? I know for a long time I was way more comfortable with adding blush to the apples of my cheeks than I was trying to add definition to my face (what am I, a face body builder? Come on.). Well, for this particular makeup tutorial, you want to bring a little natural depth back to your skin, and you don’t want to go very heavy on the blush, since the color is going to be in the eyeliner. So I challenge you: Try a little contouring with a matte, only-slightly-darker-than-your-skintone bronzer like the Satin Matte one in Mauna Loa from Alima Pure. Just use a foundation brush like INIKA’s to brush on a little bronzer in the hollows of your cheeks, like below.

Step 2: Contour

Then, blend it in really well, so you just end up with soft definition. Start with just a teeeeeensy bit and build if you need more. If for some reason you add too much bronzer, grab your kabuki brush and buff it out, adding a little bit of your mineral foundation to lighten things up. See? Totally contoured, just like a blonde Kardashian.

Step 2: Bronzer Contouring

Step 3: Black Eyeliner + Colored Eyeliner

This is the money maker right here. In order to define your eyes without going overboard, we only lined the waterline of my top lashes with a dark pencil to bring out my greenies without overpowering the colored liner. For this, we used INIKA’s Organic Eyeliner in Black Caviar (which I have previously declared as one of my fave vegan liners, and own in four colors). To tight-line those peepers, look up while gently holding your eyelashes against your brow bone. See that inner rim on the top of your eye, right at your upper lashline? That’s where we lined my eyes, to make my lashes look thicker, therefore defining my eye without a heavy line on my eyelid.

Step 3: Eyeliner

Onto the blue! To complement my green eyes, we chose INIKA’s Organic Eyeliner in Peacock for my colored liner. This is the hallmark of this look, so you want to create a thick line on that bottom lid. We lined both the inner rim and the lashline of my lower lid. The formula of this pencil is really creamy, so it doesn’t tug at your delicate eye skin (ew, eye skin). It does smudge a bit over the course of the day, but that only lends itself to a really lovely, lived-in, trendy look.

Step 4: MascaraStep 4: Mascara

The last bit of definition on your eyes is a few coats of mascara on both the bottom and top lashes. Gorgeous. Mascara is always my favorite step. We used INIKA’s Mineral Mascara in Truly Black.

Step 5: Lips

To keep the focus on your eyes, choose a lippy that only enhances your natural lip color by slightly punching it up. For this tutorial, we used RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine in Bloom, but beware, if anyone is following along in my Vegan Makeup Diaries: This is NOT a vegan, beeswax-free product. I just used it for 27 seconds for this photo, as all the other colors we had at our disposal weren’t a match for my natural lips. If you need a great vegan bare or nude lip color, try Gressa Skin’s Lip Boost in Bare or ILIA Beauty’s Lipgloss in Peek A Boo.

Step 5: Lips

And once you do all of that, you end up looking less like a teenager and more like you could actually buy your own alcohol if you wanted to.

Fall 2014 Makeup Tutorial: Colored Liner

Easy peasy, right? Right. So, since it’s so easy, will you try it? Or will you knock out a different fall makeup trend?