It’s December, people. And though some of us maybe finished our holiday shopping over the long, sale-filled holiday weekend, others of us may not be that on top of things. Enter this gift guide.
I love gift-giving. I have an entire secret Pinterest board dedicated to gifts for others so when my husband or sister or best friend mentions something they’ve been coveting, I have a safe place to stash the idea for later. This year, I’m doing beauty-related gifts for many friends, so I wanted to share a few of my fave pressies. Check them out below (for all budgets, for all kinds of beauty gals).
For the clean beauty skeptic: Since swapping clean products into my whole beauty caboodle, I’ve tried to convert as many friends as possible to the clean beauty movement. Some are more hesitant than others, and the ones who I have the hardest time convincing are the ones most concerned about cost. So I point them to a multi-tasker that usually woos them to trying more clean products: Acure Organics’ Argan Oil. It’s a hair-smoother, a cuticle oil, a face moisturizer. And it has a friendly price point if they want to repurchase for themselves.
For the beauty aficionado: The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Winter Glow Gift Set. I’ve talked before about how much I love the Vitamin D Mist, and this set boasts that toner, plus a yummy Vitamin C serum that even my mom loves (and she used to use only Vaseline to moisturize her face). Top those off with a colorless face powder and angled kabuki brush help you hit this season’s matte face look and you’ve got a great combo for a girlfriend who’s a tad more in-the-know.
For the makeup maven: I can’t say enough about loving Alima Pure’s wide range of mineral foundations, but now I love their eyeshadows and mascara as well. Their holiday set, Me Encanta, comes from a collaboration with green makeup artist Kristen Arnett. I love love love the navy shadow included in the kit (I used it as a liner) and the blush is my all-time favorite color (I wore it for my wedding, for Pete’s sake). There’s even a how-to video on creating a subtle look with the liner, contour powder and blush. Fool proof. And a perfectly well-rounded present.
For the jet-setter: This Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster from La Bella Figura Beauty is one of those things I’m not sure how to make it through the day without. It smells like sunshine, it sticks around for a looooong time and I’ve gotten dozens (not exaggerating) compliments on how I smell, even after not showering for four days, when I’m wearing this puppy. It calms me—and anyone who smells me—down and makes every hurried day, full of airplane travel or just regular old commuting, better.
If you’re on a budget: Much like I am. Alexandra once blogged about why she loves gifting aromatherapy, but let me add to her points by saying it’s a super easy way to customize gifts and to not have to pick out makeup colors. You know your best friends; you know what’s bugging them. Therefore, you know what aromatherapy might benefit them. (Plus, we have a kick-ass deal going on with Essence of Vali until the end of the year. Save your dollar bills and give gifts your peeps will love.)
Or, do a little DIY for the holidays. Get some cute plastic bottles and fill them with a DIY dry shampoo. Or a body scrub. Or a lip balm. The thought goes a long way (and if your friends are like mine, they’ll be thrilled you took time to make them something, not just swipe your credit card.)
For the boy: Olie Biologique JUST released a Whisker Oil for before and after shaving. It smells manly and helps reduce redness and irritation. Or check out the body soaps from Osmia Organics. I only got my husband to switch from Dove when he smelled these babies. (Get a body oil for yourself while you’re at it—Water Lily is my fave and I started wearing it as a perfume.)
What did I miss? What are you snagging for friends, family or S.O.s?
Meet Carla! She has a lovely routine, but got there the hard way. Can anyone relate to her experience with facials? We love her tips, especially her lazy girl version of oil cleansing—sounds so relaxing!
Hometown: San Jose, California
Weather: Crisp, dry and sunny
Skin: Pale with yellow undertones
Hair: Thick, long and brown
Starlet: Lupe Vélez – the Mexican spitfire
I became obsessed with skincare when I had a bout of hormonal acne after getting on and off the pill in college. I tried everything from micro-dermabrasion to eating salmon everyday all in hopes of having clear skin. The more I visited my esthetician for glycolic acid peels and deep pore facials the worse my skin looked. I always felt horrible after a facial and resigned myself to hide for a week in its aftermath. There had to be a better, cheaper and more natural way.
The silver lining of unemployment is how inventive one can get on a budget. I ditched all the products with harsh, stripping ingredients, sugar and dairy and embraced simple skincare products and vegetables. My skin has never looked better. It’s been six years now but I no longer get facials or peels, use face wash or hide because of a break out. So for any girl out there suffering with hormonal acne, I hope my daily routine helps.
On a winter morning, I splash my face with lemon water. I found that using filtered water on my face has made it smoother and less dry. Then I spray it with some Evan Healy rose water tonic and apply DeVita Solar Protective in SPF 30 with Hyaluronic Acid on my face and neck. This brand is light, doesn’t leave a white mask and keeps skin plump and moist. If the weather is very dry, I use a moisturizer as well. I still haven’t found an ultimate winner but my fall back is MyChelle’s Unscented Pumpkin Renew Cream. It leaves skin moisturized all day and absorbs well for make up. Finally I apply MyChelle Magnolia Fresh Eyes. It’s more for those with puffy eyes than those who need something to combat wrinkles. After I have a warm cup of lemon water with a bit of cayenne. I make some blend of green juice like celery, cucumber, beet, lemon, fennel and cilantro. I also take Udo’s Choice probiotic and Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Blend capsule. In combination, both have done wonders for my skin tone and healing of old scars.
I don’t use make up everyday but when I do I use Well People Foundation Concealer around the eyes and nose, very natural coverage that blends easily. Then I apply Mineral Fusion Loose powder. It does have Phenoxyethanol but it has such a beautiful creamy coverage, so I use it anyway. I use Alima loose matte blush in Mimosa year round, a lovely pink that brings a natural flush to your cheeks. Alima makes the nicest make up brushes too. My favorite black eye pencil is Mineral Fusion in Coal. It goes on smoothly and is super dark. Most days I just curl my lashes and leave it at that but when I want to be fancy I use the Kjaer Weis mascara. I also use Kjaer Weis Cloud Nine as an eyeshadow base and am very happy with the subtle sparkle. Finally for lips, my new favorite color is Well People Universalist multi-use colorstick in No.6. It’s a golden red and looks perfect topped with Well People Paganist 2 Gold Twinkle. My lip balm is Acure Dark Chocolate and Mint argan oil lip balm, it does its job, is affordable and clean.
I never got into bathing in the morning so when my day is over I dry brush. Then I take a mineral bath with Dead Sea salt for magnesium and Aztec Secret Healing bentonite clay. These ingredients balance the tap water so it is not so harsh on the skin. I use a very diluted mixture of Dr. Bronners soap and wash with an Ayate fiber body cloth. I have skin that likes to be exfoliated often because I have keratosis pilaris on the back my arms and legs. I wash my hair 1 to 2 times a week with Acure Argan oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve tried other expensive brands and this one is still the best for my thick and wavy hair that tangles easily. If I have had a pretty chill day, I don’t shower or bathe save the necessary places, a whore bath they call it. It has helped my skin retain moisture.
I do a lazy girl version of oil cleansing. I pour some olive or coconut oil in my hands and massage my face while filtered water is boiling in the kettle. Sometimes I add lemon juice or baking soda to the oil for gentle exfoliation. Then I pour the water onto a face towel and steam twice then wipe off the excess. I leave a little to moisturize and I am done. If I don’t use make up I sometimes don’t wash my face at all. Since I fuss with my skin less it’s clearer and calmer than it has ever been. About three times a week I massage a jojoba oil frankincense blend or Evan Healy Pomegranate Repair Serum with Sea Buckthorn oil. Always making sure to massage up and out and a circular motion around my mouth. When I camp or go on a trip I only take coconut oil for my beauty needs. A miracle.
Thank you Carla and everyone else who submitted routines over the last week! We can’t wait to share them all!
You probably already know the star of today’s Morning Routine, either from her comments here, or her lovely natural beauty blog. Say hello to Kim! Her routine is full of items we’ve never tried (love new recommendations!) and we totally share her passion for OILS!
Age: 28 in November
Current weather: Hot and muggy in the heart of America — Kansas City!
Hair: Fine, naturally straight brunette with hints of auburn in a fresh pixie cut
Skin: Oily with olive undertones; breakouts are hormonal or due to hair styling products
Favorite star or icon from the past: People tell me I look like Phoebe Cates … but I keep my bikini top on at all times.
In the shower…
I’ve got my shower routine down pat, but I rotate products a lot because I’m also a natural beauty blogger (kimberlyloc.com).
First, I shampoo my hair, really focusing on massaging the scalp (I’m super oily). I’m a repeat-buyer of Acure Organics Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell shampoo and conditioner. It’s a great price point and easily accessible at my local Whole Foods. I used to only use conditioner on my ends, but with a shorter haircut and a scalp that tends to get reactive, I’ve learned to also massage in my conditioner to give my oily scalp the balancing moisture it needs. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it works.
After massaging in the conditioner, I let it sit and really penetrate while I cleanse my face with a gentle cream cleanser. I rotate these a lot, too, but another repeat-buy for me is Juice Organics Cleansing Milk. I like a thick cleanser like this in the morning because my face isn’t really dirty in the morning; it just needs a little boost of moisture to get the day going.
Once I’m done cleansing, I rinse my face and hair and then wash my body with Beecology Natural Honey and Peppermint Body Wash. I love the extra jolt of peppermint to wake me up! If I’m showering at night, I like Skin and Bones Luxurious Cleanser — it’s a soft, sexy scent that’s sort of woodsy yet feminine. I think it’s the frankincense that turns me on!
Outside the shower…
I’m the biggest body oil fan out there (bold statement for this community, huh?). I stockpile the stuff, and I always get so many compliments on how soft my skin is (not that people are constantly touching me — think best friends and boyfriend). Before I towel off in the morning, I use either African Botanics Marula Body Oil, Osmia Organics Stream or Sunset Body Oil or my beloved Comfort Zone Sacred Nature Body Oil.
For evening showers (before going out or after a workout), I opt for May Lindstrom Skin The Good Stuff. The cocoa scent is so sexy, and layered on my body after a peppermint wash makes for one mouthwatering scent.
On my face, I like a light mist of toner before applying any serums, oils or sunscreens. I’m a bit obsessed with finding the perfect toner; my favorite for controlling acne breakouts is Evan Healy’s Immortelle Facial Tonic HydroSoul. I noticed an improvement in my skin when I used this for a month straight, and I’ve repurchased it several times. It works like a charm at night right before layering on my natural acne fighter, Zum Rub in Frankincense and Myrrh (if you haven’t heard my testimonial on this stuff, Google it!).
For day, though, I like a light primer-like oil underneath my makeup. I rotate these so much that it’s unfair to name just one (big facial oil fanatic over here!), though I prefer lighter oil blends with carriers such as jojoba, camellia or meadowfoam that have a dry finish.
Also good to note that in the evening, I’m devoted to oil cleansing. I used to be a jojoba oil cleanser, but switched to coconut oil about a year ago and have found that it’s just more economical (I was going through several small bottles of jojoba!) with the same lovely outcomes — purged pores, softened skin, and multipurpose use.
I keep my makeup simple, and I’m still on the hunt for the best natural cosmetics. RMS concealer is on my staples list; I like to brush it all over my face to even out my skin before applying a light layer of Alima Pure mineral makeup. I wear a touch of blush or bronzer for a flush of color — love Alima Pure here, too.
For eyes, I curl my lashes with a Shu Uemura eyelash curler and lock the curl with Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara (still searching for a cleaner, high-performance alternative — Kjaer Weis is on my list to try). I typically don a cat eye thanks to Eyeko London’s Skinny Liquid Eyeliner — love this stuff.
On my lips, I love a simple gloss, balm or tinted moisturizer. I usually keep about 17 lippies in my bag (exaggeration, but you get my drift) for touch-ups throughout the day. Most of the time, though, I reach for my favorites from ILIA, Jane Iredale, Hurraw!, Bite Beauty … the list goes on. Bottom line here is I like zero-fuss when it comes to lip color. I need to swipe and go!
Thanks for sharing Kim! How about the rest of you oil lovers? Have you tried some of Kim’s favorites?
Meet Caitie, a natural beauty blogger who shares our passion for great clean products!
Hometown: Toronto, ON, Canada
Current Weather: Moody—hot and humid one day, cool the next.
Hair: Curly and very prone to frizz. I’ve happily found products that keep it under control, but when I deviate, bad, pouffy things happen!
Skin: Pretty normal. I struggled with acne until about 21, but since then, my skin has been fairly easygoing. It can be a little sensitive at times, but generally my biggest skin concerns are pores that I wish were less visible, and a couple fine lines on my forehead.
Icon: I’m not sure I have one! But, let’s go with Amanda Seyfried. I don’t see it, but ever since Mamma Mia came out, I regularly have strangers come up to me and tell me how much I look like her. It’s very strange…
The night before…
I take my makeup off with jojoba oil and then double cleanse with some kind of cleanser. I’ve been looking for a new one and trying out a few different ones in the meantime, but none seem quite right. I like Pretty’s Black Tea and Raw Cocoa Cleansing Grains and Weleda’s Soothing Almond Cleansing Lotion, but I’m not convinced either of them gets my skin clean enough to use just it, all the time. After cleansing, I use a homemade witch hazel toner, and follow with KYI’s Argan + Vitamin C Serum, which is a light oil, but still very hydrating. I’ve actually noticed an improvement in the lines on my forehead in the two months or so I’ve been using it. I also use Pure + Simple’s Eye Brightening Cream, which is great for dark circles, but not quite as effective for puffiness.
In the morning…
About once a week, I mix up a homemade clay mask and apply that about 10 minutes before jumping in the shower. When I remember, I’ll also do a quick dry brush. On days when I don’t do a mask, I like to use a face scrub in the shower – either Devita’s Gentle Aloe Scrub or Sukin’s Revitalizing Facial Scrub (which contains phenoxyethanol but is otherwise very clean). Next, I wash my hair with Acure’s Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and leave the matching conditioner on until the very end of my shower. I change body washes all the time, but right now I’m using Nourish’s Almond Vanilla, which is lovely and creamy, and smells like decadent cake batter. On shaving days, I use Desert Essence’s Fragrance Free Conditioner, which I hated on my hair, but which works surprisingly well as a shaving cream.
Outside of the shower…
If I don’t deal with my hair while it’s very wet, it frizzes up, so after quickly toweling off, the first thing I do is apply Aura Cacia’s Organic Argan Oil, focusing it mainly on my ends. Then, I scrunch with either Yarok’s Feed Your Roots Mousse or Intelligent Nutrients’ Styling Gel. Both control frizz and define my curls, without leaving my hair sticky or crunchy. Both also have mild scents, which I love since scented hair products usually start to drive me crazy midway through the day. The Intelligent Nutrients gives a little more hold and makes for better second day hair, but either one is fine day to day.
On my face, I use my homemade witch hazel toner again, followed by Skin Essence’s Nourish Serum/Moisturizer and Pure + Simple’s Eye Brightening Cream. I also moisturize my body with an unscented lotion. Right now I’m using Seed’s Nourishing Body Lotion, but my favorite is Acure’s Cocoa Butter + CoQ10.
I enjoy playing around with makeup, but my everyday look is pretty neutral. Eye shadow varies day to day, but it’s usually a light, shimmery beige or gold on the lid and a medium brown or plum in the crease. My favorite mascara is Zuzu Luxe’s Onyx, and while I don’t wear liner every day, when I do, it’s a pencil from either Honeybee Gardens or Benecos. Lips are usually pretty subtle. I like Badger’s lip balms (particularly the cocoa butter ones), Yes to Carrot’s Tinted Colorbalms, Vapour’s lip glosses, and a recent discovery, Ecco Bella’s FlowerColor lipsticks (Tuscany Rose is my favorite). Most days I wear a powder foundation, either Honeybee Gardens’ Pressed Mineral Foundation or Lucy Minerals’ Lucy Light Foundation. For a cream/liquid product, I’m a big fan of The All Natural Face’s Cream Foundation. I also use Une’s Skin Glow Pencil and Silk Naturals’ Sleep in a Jar Concealer under my eyes. My blush is usually from one of my homemade pressed palettes, which I made a couple months ago when I was feeling especially adventurous. I top everything off with Lucy Minerals’ Light Finishing Powder, which blurs fine lines and imperfections and helps my makeup last longer.
Whew, sounds like a lot when you write it all out! Overall, I’m pretty happy with my routine, but I’m still searching for a perfect cleanser and eye cream. Any suggestions are very welcome!
Hometown: Midland Park, NJ but currently in southern California
Hair: shoulder length, naturally wavy but frizzy, color treated blonde.
Skin: aging, combination
Starlet: When I was not into toxic free beauty it was Marilyn Monroe. Now that I am into healthy products, I love Francoise Hardy for her simple style and seemingly effortless beauty. She’s gorgeous as a young woman and has aged well.
Brush teeth with Tom’s of Maine whitening toothpaste. Some gentle stretches, coffee with coconut milk, Brown Rice bread with coconut oil and a little organic Peanut Butter. If I have time I drink my coffee while watching the previous nights BRAVO TV show. I have to ease into my day, I’m not a morning person. If I have pimples, I apply May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver and leave it on for forty minutes.
In the shower…
Oh how times have changed. Before going natural, I was using all kinds of random products that I received to review on my beauty site Hello Dollface. Now I keep it super simple with Osmia Organics Black Clay facial soap for my face. I use a muslin cloth sprinkled with lavender oil to gently remove the face oil or serum from the night before. On my body I either use Osmia Organics Milky Rose soap, or Dr. Woods black soap. I wash my hair with Acure Organics Shampoo and follow up with their conditioner.
Out of the shower…
I apply Skin & Bones Luxurious Moisturizer. I love the scent of this and use it sparingly! I apply The Honest Company sunscreen on my arms, neck and chest. For the face, I use Marie Veronique’s Everyday Coverage Spf 30, followed by Pur Minerals Dark Spot Corrector and if I need extra help, I dab on Vapour Organic foundation (I like the liquid one). I cover dark eye circles with Afterglow Eye Treatment Concealer. Additional eye cream (from Acure Organics) as needed.
For blush, I love W3ll People Universalist color stick and RMS Beauty Lip 2 Cheek. Sometimes I use one from Tarte but that’s not as clean as I’d like it to be. Eyes are lined with W3ll People black eyeliner. Eyeshadow is BareMinerals—recently I’ve been using their new READY palette. I never leave home without mascara! A good natural one is Zuzu Luxe, it works so well! So does 100% Pure.
For lips, I like the strawberry gloss from Bee Naturals or lipstick from DeVita, Red Apple or Afterglow.
I use Trader Joe’s deodorant with a little baking soda over my arm pits which do an A+ job of keeping me sweat and smell free. I keep the baking soda in a round container, sprinkle in lavender or rose essential oil and apply with a kabuki brush.
Back when I was oblivious to the toxins in personal care products, I’d liberally spray perfume. Now I have a natural sandalwood fragrance I dab on pulse points. I also like Ava Anderson’s perfume oil, Joy.
I use the curly girl method of doing my hair—dab with a cotton tee shirt, allow to air dry a little. I spray in some Acure Leave-in Conditioner, blow dry a little then add John Masters Dry Hair Nourisher and De-frizzer. I haven’t found an all natural hairspray yet so I use Redken.
It sounds like a lot but I can be out the door in about thirty minutes! You should see my night time routine…
Thank you Cindy and thank you readers for responding to our call for more routines! We have more great ones the way!