Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Let’s show a little love to the boys today and help this reader out. Have any of you found a clean men’s cologne? Or made one yourself? From our inbox…

Hi ladies,

I’m having an extremely difficult time finding a good cologne for my husband! He used to wear Polo Blue, and while it smelled wonderful I won’t let him wear it anymore. I was buying him the Herban Cowboy one from Whole Foods for a bit, but I read somewhere that it might not be any better for him. I got him a sample of Honore de Pres Nu Green, and his response to whether or not he liked it was a shrug. I think it was a bit too feminine. Most websites, like SBL just have a unisex fragrance section, and the scents aren’t quite “manly” enough. Could you tell me, or ask our lovely community, whether they have any suggestions? Or maybe someone has a good recipe using EOs and vodka or something that I could whip up for him. The rest of his routine is clean as a whistle, but there are just so few options to fill this void. Poor guy needs to smell nice too!

Thanks!

Meet Alicia, a young mom who keeps her routine clean and simple! We love it.

Name: Alicia

Age: 29

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Current Weather: Cool one day, hot the next – humid

Hair: Just past the shoulders, wavy, fine

Skin: Fair, Combination

Favorite Actress: ‪Ava Gardner

Working mother, and almost 30!

Before I had my daughter I had no idea that there were clean products out there because I didn’t know my products were dirty! After reading No More Dirty Looks, I really started to change things up for my 6 year old daughter as well as myself.  (I’ve even got my husband to change a few things)

In my teens I had acne and have some scaring on my temples. After I had my daughter it all seemed to just clear up on its own.  I will have a few break outs here and there but nothing like the past.  I love Hylunia’s Grape Seed Exfoliating Scrub. I used it once and week and it makes my skin feel great! I am also a fan of pretty much anything Badger.  Ok, on to the routine!

In the shower…

I normally only wash my hair once a week and when I do I use Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell shampoo and conditioner.  I wash my parts with Dr. Bronner’s sometimes lavender other times citrus.  When I need to shave I use coconut oil and wash my face with Hylunia Cleansing Lotion.  Sometimes I use Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt to clean my face if I am in a hurry.

Out of the shower…

I spritz my face with Hylunia Colloidal Silver Spray and apply their day lotion.  I then rub my entire body down with grape seed oil + sweet orange. After that I take my hair out of the towel and put a drop of the grape seed oil then about half a pump of Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Lavender Hair Cream.  I am sorry to say that I dry my hair on a low heat setting because if not it’s just out of control.  Oh, and I brushed my teeth at some point with some type of Tom’s toothpaste.

Finishing touches…

I use baking soda on my pits. Then apply Iredale Pressed Powder in Bisque, Jane Iredale Blush, Physicians Formula Organics mascara, and sometimes I fill in my eyebrows a bit with Silk Naturals Brown Cream.  I use Acure Organics Lip Balm occasionally, if I remember.

Then, it’s time to wake up my daughter, wait for her to get dressed (this can take a while), fix her hair, and help her get ready for her day. (She loves Badger Body Oil when her eczema is bothering her)

Well that’s it!

Many a Morning Routine has mentioned it, and several readers have been left wondering: “What is this dry brushing thing all about?” So here goes.

There are many sources of information on dry brushing out there, like Spirit Beauty Lounge’s blog, Indigo+Canary, and the one that got me started – Evan Healy’s blog.  I’ve seen many claims about the benefits of dry brushing, from exfoliation to detox to reduction of cellulite.  There are also some “official” ways it ought to be done, including techniques, how long to brush, etc.  My aim here is to cover my personal reasons for doing it and the method that works well for me.*

Along with some of the helpful information I’ve read about dry brushing, I’ve seen dubious claims of the benefits, and some misleading information about how the body works, but I do think there are real benefits to the practice.  Plus it just feels really good.  I typically spend 5 minutes a day brushing, mostly right before showering.  Overall, I think my dryish skin is healthier.  I don’t have flakiness anymore, or need to use body moisturizer on a regular basis, and I see far fewer blemishes on my back.  Brushing works much better for me than loofahs or exfoliating gloves.  Those are just too harsh on my sensitive skin – they leave me drier and with more irritation.  Sorry to disappoint, but after two years of brushing quite consistently, I have not seen any changes in cellulite.  I guess it hasn’t gotten any worse, though.  I do feel like brushing helps to get the body fluids moving if I feel bloated or puffy.

The general recommendation is that natural bristle brushes should be used for dry brushing.  The brushes I use are vegan, although there are boar bristle brushes that are likely to say “natural bristle” on the label, so read carefully if that matters to you. My favorite brush by Hydrea London has a hand loop but no handle, and I use it for most of my body.  To get my upper back I switch to this one, which I buy at Whole Foods.  There are also brushes with a hand loop plus a removable handle, and firmer bristled ones too.  The brushing should feel pleasant and invigorating, and while you should feel energized and have a bit of a glow afterward, the skin should not be inflamed – if it is, your brush is too firm.  I’ve seen recommendations to wash the brush every week or two, but I am terrible about washing, and I’ll often let it go for a several weeks or a few months (sorry if I’m grossing you out).  By then my soft bristled brushes are often too soft, and I buy a new one.  I’ve gone through a few brushes!

When brushing, use however many strokes it takes based on your body size, size of the brush, and what feels good.  Honestly, there are only two things I think are of great consequence in regard to technique:

1. Brush toward the heart, to help your body fluids move in the right direction.

2. Use a brush that’s stimulating but doesn’t leave you red and inflamed.

This is the pattern I prefer, starting with the hand-loop brush:

  • elbow to shoulder
  • hand to elbow
  • hand to shoulder
  • same on other arm
  • along collar bones down toward breasts
  • from shoulder, around bottom of breast and up to mid-chest, circling a few times
  • same on other side
  • belly, starting at belly button and make ever widening circles in the same direction your intestines coil (right to left)
  • upper thigh/hip up over butt toward waist, both sides
  • continuing with upward strokes, from waist as far up back as I can reach
  • (switch to handled brush) up back to shoulders and neck
  • (switch back to hand-loop brush) knee to hip
  • foot to knee
  • foot to hip
  • same on other side

So that’s it!  Do you dry brush?  What’s your technique?

*your mileage may vary

29

My MM: Maddie’s Meatless Monday Menu

Holy moly Maddie, this is one heck of a clean meatless menu. We’re curious to know how the no-gluten-or-sugar eating (and no caffeine) is feeling? We love a lot about the Body Ecology Diet—but have a hard time sticking to something so restrictive. For those who have followed similar plans, was this level of disciplined eating sustainable longterm?

In other news, we are low on meatless menus! If you want this sometimes-controversial series to continue, please email yours to nomoredirtylooks@gmail.com with “My MM” in the subject.

Name: Maddie

Home: Brooklyn, NY

Dietary Leanings: Right now, I am (trying to be) gluten- and sugar-free, per my naturopath’s suggestion. I avoid meat but I’ll make exceptions for special events or if I’m really craving it. I also recently read the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates and I now try to follow the food-combining principles explained in the book (and feel better for it!).

My favorite vegetable: Tomatoes and avocados when the weather’s warm; right now, roasted turnips.

This morning I…

First, had a glass of water with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. On my way out the door, I had some decaf coffee with almond milk. (I’m about to cave and go back to fully-caffeinated coffee soon… I miss it too much!)

A few hours later…

That’s usually when hunger kids in for me. Today’s breakfast was Greek yogurt with cinnamon and almonds.

Then for lunch…

I had a big bowl of leftover soup. Over the weekend, I had roasted two butternut squash, a turnip, and a radish from my CSA, along with a little garlic… then pureed all the veggies with some organic butter (my favorite food item, ever!), homemade vegetable stock, sage, nutmeg, and S&P.

For a mid-afternoon snack…

I had some orange-spiced hot tea and two helpings of delicious spinach saag that was brought in to the office!

Then for dinner…

First I had more ACV with water and a bit of the kimchi I made yesterday (to check on the flavors/fermentation, but also because I just really wanted a taste!). Then I steamed fingerling potatoes, purple carrot, and some baby kale from my CSA, along with some white onion—all seasoned with sage and S&P and drizzled with melted organic butter. I topped it all off with some fresh scallions.

If I’m hungry later, I’ll have a few spoonfuls of organic peanut butter with cinnamon (my sweet tooth is now non-existent, so this is plenty dessert-y for me!). Finally, I’ll have a cup of hot herbal tea before bed to help me sleep.

It was SO great to read everyone’s comments last week on the Friday Deals. We’re still parsing the feedback and planning our next moves, but! This week we happen to have an incredible site-wide deal from two of our favorite partners in crime, the Wei ladies: Lisa and Katie. These two create both our favorite vegan chocolate, and our most loved scents. No small order.

The deal is in anticipation of Valentines—can you believe it’s already that time??—and whether or not you’re into the holiday, this is a special treat from two very special brands. So without further ado…

Buy ANYTHING from Lotus Wei’s incredible selection of scents and get a 20% discount. Equally, purchase ANY chocolates from Wei of Chocolate‘s selection of vegan deliciousness and you’ll get 20% off there two. Just use the promo code LOVE on both or either of the sites to get their respective deals. YUM!

And there’s big news from both these brands…

First: Wei of Chocolate has added Peanut and Almond Butter Cremes, and they are simply to die for. Seriously, Lisa sent us some to try over the holidays and they were gone in a flash. They’re featured here on her special V-day page.

Second: Lotus Wei has expanded their perfume collection!! (Katie, how did we not know?!) Anyways, dreams come true sometimes… How to choose? No worries, there’s a sampler pack.

We’re super excited after this long deal pause to be bringing you guys such an awesome deal! Happy Friday. We lovelovelove you. xx