Hometown: London, England…now Phoenix, Arizona
Current weather: It’s a dry desert pretty much all the time, unless it’s winter and then it’s freezing in the morning.
Hair: Collar-bone length, uber-thick natural hair with some chemically straightened ends.
Favorite star: I don’t really have one. Maybe Oprah, I have her hair, but shorter.
I have two routines one for the AM and one for the PM. My AM one is pretty stark, so here’s what I do both in the morning and at night. I like to take shallow baths, basically I use the same amount of water as a shower but in the tub. OK, for reals, here it is:
In the shower/bath (PM)…
Before I get into the bath I use coconut oil on my face to remove any dirt and makeup, I’ll wash that off with plain warm water or African black soap and a muslin. I tone with rose water or orange water, then follow up with Pai’s Rosehip oil mixed with sea buckthorn oil (1:1). In the bath I use Dr. Hauschka lemon bath, it’s creamy and non-foaming, I apply it to my under arms with my hands. I use whatever is left to cleanse the rest of my body. Every “shower” I use a few drops or a pump of oil, homemade mix of borage/wheatgerm/camellia (2:1:1). I find it more relaxing to “shower” before before bed and it gives me more time in the morning. Once a week I’ll use a sugar and oil scrub on my legs and chest (to ward off the occasional chest pimple). I’ll also exfoliate with a small 100% Pure brush and follow up with a mask, right now it’s Juara’s banana and avocado leave on mask, which I rinse off. I just finished Kahina’s antioxidant mask and it’s divine.
I wash my hair only once a week, as I don’t produce much sebum, I can get away with it. I precondition (or dry condition) my hair with powders: hibiscus, rose, neem, brahmi and amla powders; oils: castor, jojoba avocado or almond oils; mix all of that with some Shea Moisture shea butter masque and Tresemme naturals conditioner, I keep that on for hours on a Sunday while I do chores, if I don’t have time to do all of that 30 minutes is enough. I shampoo and condition with the Acure argan duo. As a leave in I use Acure’s detangler and coconut oil. Then I blow dry with Nubian Heritage honey and black seed cream for protection, I also flat iron on medium heat with only one pass on heat.
AM – I just apply some more toner and more oil to my face and that’s it.
Outside the shower (PM)…
Due to the gentle cleansing and oils in the bath I don’t have to use much lotion or cream. At the moment I use John Masters Organics blood orange and vanilla body milk. I previously used Pai’s cream mixed with any oil I had, not that it needed supplementing, I just wanted it to last longer so I diluted it with oil without diluting it (makes sense to me). I use deodorant at night, a few sprays of Weleda’s sage deodorant, if I just shaved my pits then plain old rosewater topped off with Soapwalla. I floss and brush with a neem toothpaste.
AM – I use some more deodorant in the morning. That’s it, well apart from brushing my teeth and all that.
I don’t wear much makeup, due to many colors not being flattering on me and me not being super girly. Day to day I wear 100% Pure’s fruit pigmented mascara in blueberry on the top lashes. I pair that with Honeybee Gardens eye liner on the lower lash line, not the water line, in Passion (a deep smokey plum). If I need something extra I’ll use some high lighter, This Works shimmer balm and some cream blush by either Revolution Organics or Josie Maran.
That’s it for the most part, not too complicated.
This winter has had some bitter cold days, even in my beloved and typically mild Bay Area. Sitting next to my portable heater while working/blogging on my laptop was really doing a number on my skin. I started to incorporate some oils that are heavier than my usual argan, but still it wasn’t quite enough, even with plenty of hydrating on the inside. Although I had previously rejected the oil cleansing method as not the right thing for me, I thought maybe it was time for a seasonal change in my regimen. I took a short trip to the ultra-dry Lake Tahoe for my son’s hockey tournament, and between the outdoors and the cold/dry rink, the life was getting sucked right out of my face. But I was prepared, and came home looking better than when I left.
So what’s making the difference? Three things: coconut oil, a new balm, and a cream I’d forgotten about.
There’s been plenty of mention of the oil cleansing method (OCM) on this blog – where instead of using a regular cleanser, you rub in an oil and wipe it off using a warm washcloth*. I started by trying coconut oil, and had some success. It feels wonderfully soothing on my skin, and easily takes off the mineral makeup I wear on a typical day. But I still needed something more…
100% Pure Brightening Night Balm to the rescue. It has some of the same brightening ingredients I use in my DIY (bearberry, licorice) plus kojic acid and vitamin C in a base of avocado and shea butters. I use it as a cleansing balm (works great!) and also put on a little extra after cleansing. Some days I put on a bit in the morning too, after a honey cleanse. I’ve been able to skip my DIY brightener when I’m using it, with no noticeable return of my sun damaged brown patches. It might even be making improvements – it’s hard to tell, I may need a few more weeks of use to know for sure. It’s very thick as the balm designation suggests, and the scent is a light citrus, which is pleasant but does not stick around.
Zoe Organics Extreme Cream goes on over the balm when the weather is severely dry. I’ve been able to ease up on this the past few days of warmer weather, but it makes a perfect extra layer of soothing protection for super dry times. I tried it a while back, but kind of forgot about it with all my body butter experiments. I remembered it recently when a reader was looking for an eczema solution – this is considered by some to be a skin miracle for the super dry and sensitive set. It’s another shea-based product with jojoba, rosehip, and coconut oils, plus soothing calendula and marshmallow. It has a light marshmallowy smell and a frosting consistency.
I know I’ll back off from these somewhat as the weather warms up, but they’ll still have their uses, and I’m ready for all the winters to come. I highly recommend these products for hands too. In spite of my devotion to hand care, my hands were like sandpaper as soon as I got to Tahoe. Just one day of layering the products, plus wearing light wool liner gloves, got me back to smooth. I haven’t had any pore clogging problems. My standard monthly hormonal breakouts happen and heal, maybe a little faster than usual with the soothing ingredients.
Have you tried these products? Are you an oil cleanser? What’s giving life back to your winter skin?
*I’ve actually been using mostly paper towels made from 100% recycled materials. A washcloth is usually a little too rough on my sensitive skin, plus I’m using fewer laundry-related resources so I feel like it evens out.
It’s been well over a year since we started the morning routine series. They began on a “really hot, muggy, humid, generally gross” August morning in 2011, because we thought it would be fun to share with all of you the products that we use every day before we leave the house. Now, you guys send us yours, and they’re consistently inspiring to this vibrant community of natural beauty lovers, am I right?
Since it’s December 2012, and my life, as well as my routine, has changed, I thought I’d give it another go. I’m a Scorpio, which, among other things, means I’m fiercely loyal and I like what I like. It’s fun, looking back, to see which products I’m still using. Still, some were traded out for products I like even better. (Warning: This post is long, because it’s doubling as a gang of new product reviews. You might want to skim—or grab a snack.)
Current weather: It’s been a mild, climate-changey winter so far, with some rare chillier days.
Hair: Blonde, long, wavy when air dried.
Skin: Irish. Which is to say, reactive, sensitive, pale, a little freckly, and pale. Did I mention pale? Oh, and reactive.
In the shower…
Most days, I shower rather speedily. Since I don’t typically wash my face in the morning, my shower routine is pretty straightforward: I dry brush before I get in the shower, then I wash my hair. My new go-tos are Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe shampoo and conditioner. I’ve run out and repurchased them several times because they leave my hair super shiny, manageable and smelling great. I don’t have overly dry hair but I live in fear of it, and these two products give just the right amount of moisture, without feeling greasy. A couple of times a week, I swap out IN for the Seaweed Bath Company’s argan oil conditioner. It has wax pretty high up on the ingredient list, and I find it reliable on days when I want my hair to hold a style.
If I wash my face, I use Kahina’s or Marie Veronique Organics’ (new obsession—I love the whole line), which is slippery and cleansing without being overly drying. If I’m too lazy to make my own body scrub, which is most days, I use a squeaky-clean new one by the Brooklyn-based Metropolis Soap Company in honeysuckle and violet. My new go-to bar cleanser is the Activated Charcoal Soap by Soapwalla. It’s technically a face wash but I’ve been using it on my body. It contains activated charcoal and tea tree oil, and it’s also made in Brooklyn, which is neither here nor there, but kind of neat.
If I’m feeling under the weather or if I’m showering before bed, I massage my chest with Hope Gillerman’s Travel Remedy. The essential oils support immunity, promote restful sleep and make my tiny apartment smell like a spa. Which is nice.
Outside the shower…
Very few things I hate more than applying moisturizer on my body, but I do it almost every day. These days I alternate between Weleda’s New Rose Pampering Body Lotion (I love this stuff) and Vered’s Muscle Soothing Massage and Body Oil, which has been especially helpful since I bit it on the subway stairs the other night, had to get stitches, and seriously bruised up both my calves. (Pro tip: Don’t fall in the subway. It hurts.)
Once this tiresome step is done, I apply Soapwalla Deodorant, spray my face with either Kahina’s Toning Mist or Marie-Veronique Organic’s Anti-Aging Mist, and rub in a touch of Kahina’s Brightening Serum. Sometimes, I apply a dab of Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm, which I still swear by for night. If I look tired, I apply a Rejuvenating Eye Cream by Amala. It’s cocoa bean-based, which helps constrict blood vessels to reduce puffiness, and works almost as if by miracle to eliminate undereye bags. (Before bed it’s still La Bella Figura.)
Next, I apply Suntegrity Sunscreen, which got the #1 rating from the EWG this year for lotions with SPF. Who wants to shoot me first? Because the stuff contains (mineral-based) dimethicone. I have decided I can deal with it in this product because the ingredient deck is otherwise very clean, and because it’s the most effective, versatile and cosmetically appealing sunscreen I have ever tried. And I have tried many. It works kind of like a BB cream. I’ve finally found one I want to use every day, and this is it. You’re welcome? I’m sorry? Whatever? I love this product.
If I have meetings, which I usually do, I will follow with Suki Tinted Active Face Moisturizer in Porcelain, for an overall evening-out effect. I’ll set that with Laura Mercier loose minerals in Sand, line my eyes with Bare Minerals’ (unfortunately very messy) loose eyeliner in black, applied with a stiff damp brush. I keep my face simple for day, so that means I might swipe some RMS Beauty lip2cheek in Smile on cheeks and lips or some W3LL People Universalist in the peachy color, and dab on some Living Luminizer. I also love Ilia in a bunch of different colors. If I feel like a very bold lip, I’m probably cheating with non-naturals from Bite or Chanel.
For mascara, it’s either 100% Pure or the new thick-as-hell “Fake Out” one from Organic Wear (the pink tube) or both. Some days, I fill in my super-pale eyebrows with NVey Eco Eye Shadow Palette in No. 3. It’s not meant for brows, but it works. If I’m really going for it, I apply a touch of color to my lids, too. Makeup tends to scream on my face, though, so I use a light touch.
Finally, my perfumes of choice are still Lotus Wei Infinite Love or Tata Harper Irritability Treatment (as a perfume), or both!
Couple things, before I go: First, I don’t always follow all these steps. Second, I now fear I sound way more high-maintenance than I actually am. Any products here that you love too? Anything new to you?
From Siobhan and Alexandra: Guys, get excited: No More Dirty Looks has its first permanent outside contributor!
You all know her already. Her name is Rebecca Bailey and she’s been beasting in the comments section for ages. As such, she’s become a super important part of this community. We have a hard time imagining the site without her and we (like you) always want more, more, more. So we asked her to start a column.
Here’s why: She’s incredibly knowledgeable and is always quick to help out readers with their conundrums. She’s smart about beauty, and thoughtful about lifestyle, and her candor and insight sort of…keeps us going! When we aren’t sure if a post was too off-topic or weird, there’s Rebecca weighing in thoughtfully. Plus, she’s a product whiz and a DIY woman with so much to share. So please join us in welcoming her.
Here’s her first amazing post, featuring 5 products we have not yet tried—but now want to. She’ll be here every two weeks.
Since childhood, I’ve had sensitive skin. My lips in particular are a mess if I try to use conventional products. Do you want to hear about the pain and the oozing? No, you don’t. I spent decades thinking I simply could not wear lip color. Enter the NMDL girls and my introduction to truly clean cosmetics. Now, anyone can be sensitive to any ingredient, even clean stuff.
But if the brands I’m about to review are OK for me they will probably be OK for 99% of people.
In addition to being sensitive, I’m super picky about smell/taste/texture, and I like my products to add something nourishing to my skin. These don’t taste all “lipsticky,” they feel nice on, wear well, and have healthy plant oils, antioxidants and many organic ingredients. I also like packaging to be both pretty and functional. Check.
I love my RMS, and I own just about every lip product they make. But the brand has been discussed often here so I wanted to review a few brands that I don’t see much about. Everything I’m covering is super clean, gluten free, and mostly vegan (a couple products have beeswax). For reference, I have a very pale olive complexion, but I think most of these colors would work for many skin tones.
- Real Purity Lipstick Great price ($13), gorgeous and functional packaging, and the color selection is spectacular. My favorites this time of year are Dusty Mauve and Tangerine. Dusty Mauve is a really unique color with a bit of purple and some luminosity, and it wears longer than any lip color I’ve ever tried. The shimmer makes it look fairly pale in bright light, but in dim light it looks darker. If, like me, you are both intrigued by and fear orange, then try Tangerine. It is shimmery sheer, subtle and lovely. Into reds? Try Regal Red (looks bright pink on me) and Clover Red (bam! red with a touch of orange). The sample program makes it fun and easy to try them out.
- 100% Pure Lip Glaze These are something between a gloss and a lipstick, somewhat shiny but not too much, enough color but not super saturated. Only $15 and adorably packaged, silver-bullet style. This company uses fruit pigments, so their stuff tastes and smells fruity at first, but it wears off to neutral pretty fast. They are local for me so I tried almost everything in their Oakland boutique, and bought Fig. Nice and creamy, kind of gives a little something extra to my natural lip color, with a bit of shine.
- 100% Pure Lip Creamsticks These are big, fat pencils with creamy color ($15). They are dual function, liners or all-over color. I like that you can be precise in application if you keep it sharp. I have Perfect Naked Berry. It’s so pretty.
- INIKA Mineral Lipstick This one is more expensive ($27), but I could not resist. I have Tuscan Tales, which is a terra cotta shade I’ve not seen elsewhere. It’s in a simple, elegant tube, and feels moisturizing even though it has a more matte finish than most lipsticks. I sense something special here, I think it’s made by fairies.* I’d love to try more from this brand but I haven’t found a way to do samples yet.
- Afterglow Lip Love Lipstick This is another brand that I wish had a good sample program so I could try more colors ($24 for a tube). I bought Autumn, a very pretty auburn red, which I love. I also have Merlot, which is an altogether different thing from the rest on this list. It looks crazy dark in the tube. I find I really must blot with a tissue and then it turns out much like a beet stain, but with more staying power.
Have you tried any lesser known brands that are fabulous?
*I have no actual evidence that it is made by fairies.
Happy 4th of July everyone! I’m actually celebrating it in Canada—I know, not exactly patriotic, but very enjoyable nonetheless. How are you making the most of this midweek break? We have some ideas…
1. Don’t do any work.
Says the girl writing a blog post, I know. But really, when I moved stateside I discovered that the 4th is second only to Christmas and Thanksgiving in its holiday holiness. Everybody takes today off. So whether or not you have big plans for the day, we think you should do exactly what pleases you.
2. Turn off your phone…
And maybe your computer too (when you’re done reading this post). We’re big advocates of unplugging, and most of us don’t do it nearly as much as we should. So if you’re not coordinating today, give it a whirl. And if you need extra convincing, you can revisit this WHO report.
3. Check your veggie burgers.
Grassfed hamburgers were my gateway drug into eating meat again, but I know that we have many vegetarians in the audience who just won’t go there. Good thing veggie burgers taste so darn good, but don’t just grab any brand: You may recall a study from a few years ago revealing that many popular veggie burgers contained the neurotoxin hexane. Avoid that scary stuff by making your own burgers from scratch, or find out here which are safer than others.
4. Wear a good sunscreen.
Sunscreen continues to be a hotly debated issue here on the site. But one thing we can all agree upon: If you’re planning to spend a day cooking in the sun, you need the stuff. You can revisit some of our clean favorites here.
5. Don’t get too drunk…
But if you do, remember these natural hangover remedies tomorrow morning.