Say hello to Annable, a reader (she blogs, too!) with fantastic taste in natural skincare and makeup. Like the rest of us, she has her share of skincare issues that she’s doing her best to treat naturally. If you have suggestions, help her out! Otherwise, enjoy the suggestions she has for you.

Name: Annabel

Age: 23

City: Preston, England

Skin: Oh boy me and my skin are very much enemies, I cannot get a handle on that thing even though I treat it with such love! I suffer from milia and have never found anything to really, truly help them go away and also very painful deep hormonal blemishes just on my jaw that last weeks and scar my skin terribly.

Hair: My hair is not very thick and just above shoulder length but there is a LOT of it, my hairdresser always comments how long it takes to cut my hair because she has to create so many sections.

Favourite star from the past: She’s not from the past (I’m just a young bean, gosh!) but I love Maggie Smith.

I’m not a morning person in any way, shape or form. I prefer to shower at night, so first things first I oil pull with coconut oil a few times a week. I used to do it everyday but I admit I got a little bored of that or go straight into brushing my teeth with a regular store bought toothpaste. I haven’t yet found a natural toothpaste to take the pain away when my teeth are sensitive.

I don’t feel human until I’ve washed my face in a morning, I prefer gel cleansers but am without one at the minute (I’m thinking of trying Yuli Halycon) so I’ve been using the Mel Millis Phytonutri Qi Plankton Skin Remedy (quite the name), it’s a powder similar to May L, but not as gritty and feels very cooling with spirulina and hyaluronic acid. It really helps calm my skin when things aren’t going my way. Toning is my favourite step and I buy and go through them so quickly. At the moment I’m using the Zk’in Clear Skin Toner on a cotton pad followed by a spritz of Yuli Cocoon, a little birthday treat to myself that I hope never ends. I then follow with a simple moisturiser such as the Herbfarmacy Starweed Face Cream, I avoid anything too rich or with shea butter as this makes my milia worse. I let this sink in while I make a fresh juice and take a bunch of supplements for my skin and balancing hormones with a big glass of water.

I don’t wear makeup everyday as I work from home but I like to cover up my blemishes a little to feel better about myself. When I’m leaving the house I use a little more, I really like the Jane Iredale BB cream. The coverage is really good and the pale shades are perfect for me. You just have to remember to use a tiny amount and blend like crazy! I use the RMS Un Cover Up under my eyes and on scars or blemishes in 11 but I will purchase the new 00 next time, I also like the Vapour Illusionist Concealer or W3LL People’s stick foundation as a concealer. They don’t fully hide the marks but it’s better than nothing. I then set my makeup with a little mineral foundation from Jane Iredale or the RMS Un Powder. I like ILIA Tenderly as a blush or RMS Beloved, and ILIA Jump on my lips is a firm favourite. I wear glasses so I like to draw attention to my eyes with lots of Lily Lolo eyeliner and a smidge of RMS Defining Mascara. I skip eyeshadow 99% of the time and move to brows, I really like the 100% Pure Brow Gel as it’s a great colour match.

Skip to the evening and it’s time to take care of my skin! I remove makeup with the OLO Vitamin B Cleansing Oil and a warm flannel before jumping in the shower. I don’t wash my hair everyday but when I do I use Avalon Organics Scalp Shampoo or the Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic shampoo. I condition with 100% Pure Scalp Conditioner and also use this as a shaving cream occasionally. It’s so good. I wash my body with Dr. Bronners Almond Soap and wash my face again with The Body Deli Almond Milk Cleanser. It’s not my favourite but it smells like cake.

Out of the shower I apply either the Indie Lee Vanilla Citrus Body Oil or the Aurelia Skincare Firm & Revitalise Body Oil. I don’t always remember to do this but my skin thanks me when I do. I like to apply a facemask once or twice a week when I’ve just got out of the shower. My go-to is MLS The Problem Solver of course (but I have quite the collection). It really helps ease the pain of cystic acne. If you have any suggestions for clearing cystic blemishes with natural products, I’m all ears! Though my options are limited in the UK and I know you’ll all suggest some fab American brands I can’t get hold of without paying a fortune in shipping & customs. ;) I then apply Yarok Feed Your Ends and let my hair air dry right up until bed where I will blast it with a hairdryer on cool if it’s still damp.

I love facial oils at night, my favourites are Kahina Argan Oil — simple but so good — and the True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Oil which I was lucky enough to be sent to review. This stuff leaves me glowing on good skin months! I’ve also been using the new Pai Blemish serum the past few weeks but it hasn’t helped my skin much at all which I’m very sad about. I also like the Odacite Pa + G serum which I apply just on my scars, I really notice a difference in them fading quicker.

Do you have a favorite product or DIY remedy for cystic acne or milia? Let us have it in the comments!

18

5 Easy Ways To Avoid Getting Sick

kleenex-prevention-infection
Are you sitting in an office right now? When’s the last time you heard someone cough or sneeze—like 5 seconds ago? Exactly!
It kinda bums me out that we live in a culture where folks feel so riddled with guilt that they are unwilling to take a day or two off when they’re feeling sick. Even millenials—who are always accused of being sooooo entitled (no offense to any of our readers, I’m not accusing!)—still don’t seem to feel entitled to sick days. Le sigh. So everyone keeps passing around variations on the same nasty little bugs in office buildings across America.
The whole thing has turned me into something of a prevention obsessive—and the good news is that I’ve had mostly great results with my methods. The key is to ramp up before you actually have any symptoms and jump in with self-care at the slightest indication.
Here’s what I recommend.
1. Shower with Hope Gillerman.
Not like that, you guys! But in all seriousness, as soon as I feel the tiniest tickle in my throat or subtle ache in my bones, I cover myself in Hope Gillerman oils and hop in a hot shower to steam them through my system. The sinus one is especially great for that natch-vicks-vapor-feel. I like to dab it under my nostrils, and then rub it on my throat, neck, and chest area as well as my shoulders and upper back.
2. Take turmeric pills.
Turmeric has shown promise in all kinds of disease prevention, if not necessarily for the common cold (yet!). My layman’s logic for taking it? Inflammation is at the root of all problems—including sinus stuff—and turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. In India, they make a turmeric tea to combat colds, but when I feel like I might be vulnerable I just start popping capsules to ensure I’m really getting enough.
3. Try propolis throat spray. 
Propolis is a sticky substance collected by bees from botanical sources, used it their hive construction. It is believed that they employ it, among other things, to prevent fungal and bacterial growth. (They also use it to embalm carcasses of dead animals, like lizards, to make them odorless and harmless. So yeah, powerful stuff.) That’s because propolis is highly antibacterial. I spray it right on my throat because that’s where I usually start feeling trouble.
4. Drink your greens.
 No matter how much kale you eat, it’s hard to get all the nutrients and phytochemicals that are available in just one freshly pressed green juice. It’s the fastest way to supercharge your body with veggie health.
5. Fake it to make it.
Go to a party. Have a few cocktails. Sounds weird but if I’m worried about getting sick, sometimes the best thing for me to do is go out and have a few drinks with pals so that I forget about it. I don’t have any studies to support this, but often the next morning I feel as good as new (I said a few drinks, not five).
What do you do if you think you might be coming down with something?
14

Happy Friday Deal from R.L. Linden & Co!

This Friday Deal has been in the works since the summertime and the wait has been long. Well worth it though, because in addition to bringing you an excellent deal, we have additional good news to share. R.L. Linden & Co. is releasing their seasonal Yuletide Box today along with their new perfume collection! Happy dance! Before we get into the new goodies, here’s what you need to know to get this Friday Deal…

R.L. Linden & Co. is giving No More Dirty Looks readers 15% off plus free shipping in the US! Just use the code NMDL15! at checkout. The promotion lasts until the end of this Monday 12/8.

The ladies behind R.L. Linden & Co. have a gift for creating scent. You can pretty much wear the Close To Me Deodorant as a perfume, and the Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist offers as much for the senses as it does for the skin. As for the real perfumes, Ironwood #1 already has a NMDL following. Rebecca wrote about it in her Palo Santo post. We also got a sneak peak of Ritual #2 in the gorgeous R.L. Linden Autumn Box. Now there are 7 perfumes available. Each one is a tribute to a Denver-based artisan business — kindred spirits, if you will. R.L. Linden has even created a gift set of all 7 perfumes that includes directions for a Sensory Tour of Denver. How cool is that? Say hello to the new perfume collection:

  • Ironwood #1 – A hypnotic and woody sacred anointing oil with notes of copal resin, frankincense tears and palo santo sticks; inspired by Ironwood Collection.
  • Ritual #2 – A sexy and warm gourmand scent with notes of cacao nibs, bitter almond shells, spiced cardamom and aged cognac; inspired by Ritual Chocolate.
  • Dram #3 – A native woodland scent with notes of fresh juniper berries, foraged rose hips, wild sage bitters and evergreen needles; inspired by Dram Apothecary.
  • Beet & Yarrow #4 – A Victorian floral scent with notes of sweet violets, tuberose, fresh cut stems, broken twigs and muddled green leaves; inspired by Beet & Yarrow.
  • R.L. Linden & Co #5 – A feminine, sweet rose scent with notes of antique roses, pink peppercorns, vanilla bourbon and pink grapefruit peels; inspired by the aromas created when we blend at the R.L.Linden & Co studio.
  • Winter Session #6 – A rich and dignified scent with notes of cold pressed coffee, tanned leather, pipe tobacco and cedar pencils; inspired by Winter Session.
  • Western Daughters #7 – A lush grassy scent with notes of freshly mown hay, cottonwood tree buds, sun-warmed prairie wildflowers and sweetgrass; inspired by Western Daughters.

Also not to be missed — the Limited Edition Seasonal Yuletide Box ($48). It’s here just in time for Yuletide, and hop on it because these seasonal boxes tend to sell out quickly. The Yuletide Box includes these special edition products all handmade by R.L. Linden: Lavender + Frankincense Moisture Milk, Yuletide Incense, Healing Mulling Spices, and Sick & Tired (of being sick and tired) Soothing Sinus Salve. Doesn’t that sound perfect for this time of year?

P.S. If you’re not in the US, you can still get this promotion and shipping charges will be half the normal rate. Woot!

13

4 Ways to Cope With Holiday Stress

4 Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because I’m now married, and two people’s schedules make life more complicated. Maybe it’s because I consider my friends part of my family and I want to celebrate with them. Maybe it’s that I live in Minnesota and the cold plus the limited hours of daylight are weighing on me.

Whatever it is, December already seems like an effort. With a different holiday event (or two) every week from now until New Year’s, I’m feeling the stress and tiredness of the season even though we’re just a few days into the last month of the year.

Regardless of the reason, the truth is that I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through all the expectations, the busyness and the sweets that accompany this month. And because of that realization, I’m going to fight back. I’m too young to dread waking up every day and I’m too fortunate not to be celebratory this time of year (or any time of year, for that matter). I’m taking matters into my own hands with four seemingly obvious routines (but it’s always good to have a reminder, right?):

  1. Sleep. I’ve been drained for the last few months. Like, more tired than I’ve ever been in my life and it’s been hard to pinpoint why. I’ve probably been working and worrying a little too much, but I’ve also been getting up earlier—and not adjusting my bedtime appropriately. My husband sent me this article yesterday and it kind of hit me upside the head. Getting up earlier is only successful when we adjust our whole awake-asleep routines to fill the gap. And because we know sleep is super important (stress management, digestion, weight, headaches, our ability to make sound choices—they’re all impacted by sleep, or lack thereof), I’m making it a priority this month. Even if that means my evenings consist of dinner and a mere half hour of reading before I hit the hay.
  2. Essential oils. I think we here at NMDL tout the benefits of EOs pretty frequently, but it’s only been in the last nine months that I’ve really experienced their potency. EOs have the best chance of doing their jobs when you inhale them, and I used to find that kind of annoying. Like I’m supposed to carry them around with me and awkwardly sniff them while working at a coffee shop? Yes, yes I am. And it works. Thanks to Susannah’s recommendation, I’ve been carrying a little bottle of my own EO blend (lavender + eucalyptus have been my favorite recently—uplifting, focusing and stress-relieving) with me wherever I go. I feel a little like a crack addict, trying to covertly inhale my concoction in public, and much like when I wear my hair in a topknot, my husband knows I’m stressed when my little bottle comes out, but who cares?
  3. Avoid sugar. Because of some complications with celiac disease, I’m currently on a no-sugar-including-fruit-and-alcohol diet. And it’s reeeeaaaalllllly hard this time of year. Or when I’m feeling overwhelmed. So then I sneak a piece of dark chocolate… and wake up with a headache and small-eye syndrome (does anyone else get this? It’s not puffy eyes, it’s just the intense feeling that my eyes have shrunk and I’m convinced that the whole world can tell I suddenly have beady, rat eyes. No? Just me and my sister?). So, even though this feels like the season to indulge, I’m doing my best to restrain, replacing those sugar cravings with lemon water and peppermint essential oil. I know I’ll feel more awake, more balanced and more able to tackle the world of holiday parties when I do.
  4. Indulge in self-care. Another thing I think we do well here at NMDL is self-care. Well, we do a good job of talking about self-care and its necessity. Usually, when stress levels are high and schedules are busy, the first thing to go from my life is taking care of myself. This month, instead of cutting those precious moments of relaxation out of day, I’m deliberately putting more time into my self-care routine, even if that’s just taking an extra 10 minutes to do a face mask in the morning before work. But usually it’s doing a face mask while taking a bath (after doing a long round of dry brushing and self-massage) and watching Gilmore Girls.

That’s it. Those are the four things I’m declaring to do to keep myself sane this year. What do you do to cope with holiday stressors?

 

Meryl Streep

Green beauty has a way of making you feel very cared for, don’t you think? For example, skincare is Rebecca’s favorite part of her routine (and we can totally identify with that!). Honestly, though — skincare used to feel like a chore. We’re happy we’re not the only ones who take great delight in our clean routines.

Name: Rebecca

Age: 19

City: Monterey, California

Skin: Light-medium, with yellow undertones. Combination, very acne-prone, and still recovering from a slew of breakouts from last summer.

Hair: Naturally dark blonde and wavy, but I’ve been dying it chestnut for a couple of years now thanks to Morrocco Method Henna.

Favorite star from the past: She isn’t from the past, but I have to pick Meryl Streep. I just watched August: Osage County recently, and my god she is an amazing actress. I know we already knew that, but it’s true. She carries herself so well, and is one of the few stars left that have built a career based on talent, not just looks.

First thing each morning, I put my contacts in (I am blind as a bat), do some stretches, then drink a glass of water with apple cider vinegar. For breakfast, I typically have a green or berry smoothie with tons of superfoods blended in, and I try to stick to a Paleo diet most days. After breakfast, I brush my teeth with Desert Essence Toothpaste in Wintergreen. Tastes perfectly minty, and so much better than the sweetened, chemical-laden stuff from the drugstore.

Before I shower, I dry body brush with the GingerChi Meridian Body Dry Brush. In the shower, I’ll shampoo with Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo (which lathers SO well for being so natural), and condition with either John Masters Organics Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler, or their Citrus & Neroli Detangler, which both smell amazing. I try to only wash my hair every three days, and I definitely recommend that for anyone. Many people say that their hair just gets greasy too fast, but I swear, once you go a couple times waiting between washes, it will balance out and stay clean much longer. I recently started using the Acure Organics Exfoliating Mint Body Wash too, and it’s super refreshing. After my shower, I just let my hair air dry and then straighten it. The one thing I haven’t found yet is a great all-natural heat protectant (or leave-in conditioner with the same effect), so if anyone has suggestions, I will love you.

Skincare is my favorite step. In the mornings when I haven’t been wearing makeup, I’ll steam my face with a hot washcloth, then use a combination of raw honey and Acure Organics Brightening Scrub to wash it. If I’ve been wearing makeup, I massage a mix of castor oil and jojoba oil into my skin for awhile, then gently scrub it away using the Acure Organics Cleansing Gel on a Konjac Sponge. I cannot believe how soft and clean my skin feels after this. Then, I’ll tone with some Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel and George’s Aloe Spray on a cotton pad. Lastly, I spot-treat with Desert Essence Lavender Tea Tree Oil, and use a combination of Origins Make A Difference Plus Rejuvenating Treatment and Antipodes Avocado Pear Night Cream for some moisture. When my skin is especially angry, I have a few facemasks on rotation. My favorites are Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask when my skin is dry and irritated, REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask when it’s clogged, and my own mask I mix using the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, MSM, ACV, and yoghurt. I am always looking for new products that will heal my acne-prone skin without clogging my pores, as they clog super easily and my skin is quite sensitive. Even organic plant-based oils can give me lots of little under-the-skin bumps.

After my skincare has absorbed, I’ll apply some makeup. I absolutely hate wearing face makeup (aka foundation) and never really did until my skin flipped out last summer, so I try to get by with as little as possible. I use RMS Beauty Un-cover Up in the shade 33 under my eyes and I apply it like a foundation in problem areas. It’s slightly darker than my skin but it’s more yellow-toned than 22, so I let it melt into my skin and it looks fine. For my eyes, I’ll quickly swipe some bareMinerals Concealer over my eyelids to even them out and brighten the area, then lightly smudge a plum-y brown bareMinerals Eyeshadow along my top and bottom lash line to lengthen my eyes and thicken the look of my lashes.

I luckily have pretty long eyelashes but they stick straight out, so I’ll put about two swipes of Maybelline The Rocket Mascara on each eye, then comb that through with a dried out Maybelline One by One Mascara wand. It sounds strange, but this gives them the most natural and fluttery look, without looking wet or clumped at all. I know Maybelline is nowhere near natural, but I hardly use any and just love the wands. I have my eye on the W3LL People Expressionist Mascara, though. Lastly, I spritz the Caudalie Beauty Elixir all over my face, which gives it a fresh and dewy feel. I’m way too lazy to experiment and switch up my makeup look each day, so I stick to this routine pretty much every day.

Lastly, I just wear a clear lip balm most of the time because I haven’t ventured into the world of natural lipsticks much yet and I can’t stand dry lips. I’ll put on some Burt’s Bees Lip Balm or my EOS Lip Balm in Sweet Mint, then I’m done! I really want to try out the ILIA Beauty Lip Conditioners, and R.L. Linden & Co.’s La Balmba Rose Healing Balm sounds so lovely. Let me know if you’ve tried them!

Share your suggestions for a  hair styling product that helps prevent heat damage or your favorite lipsticks in the comments! And hey, Rebecca, you’re in luck… we have a special Friday Deal with R.L. Linden & Co. this week, so you can check out La Balmba Rose Healing Balm for yourself!