Where I live: Oakland, CA (across the Bay from San Francisco)
My relationship with makeup: Reformed. I’ve been in a love/hate relationship with makeup since puberty. I grew up wishing I could wear makeup like my older sisters did, but I wasn’t allowed until I was sixteen. For a while, I would sneak my sisters’ old and discarded eye makeup and blushes (gross, and so not the right shades for me) and apply them on the school bus, wiping it all off on the way home. When I was finally allowed to wear makeup, I was in a phase of not wearing much. I went back and forth several times over the years, with periods of wearing or not wearing color. But I always had some type of concealer. For many years, I only used makeup to cover up my real or perceived imperfections. As if the circles under my eyes or big zits were less noticeable with makeup. When I discovered mineral makeup in my thirties things took a positive turn, and I was also taking better care of myself, which showed in my skin. Then when I went clean a few years ago, I learned to love makeup. I still use it partly for concealing, but mostly for enhancing now.
I have a ton of stuff, though I don’t wear much all at once. I always use a light, protective base. Color wise, I’ve been doing two looks lately:
1. Illuminator for lashes, lids, cheekbones, and just a touch under the eye, plus cheek and lip color.
2. Mascara, illuminator for eyes and cheeks (sometimes it’s good to embrace the pale), and maybe a subtle lip color.
Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation: I apply this under eyes, on lids, and any blemishes with their Concealer Brush. It covers perfectly, and only requires a light touch to do its job, which means no creasing. My shade is Olive 1, and they have such a variety I think anyone could find a match.
DIY Finishing Powder: Equal parts Alima foundation, kaolin clay, arrowroot powder, and rice powder applied all over (including around eyes) with a flat kabuki brush gives a nice finish, retaining the look of bare skin that’s neither dry nor oily.
RMS unpowder: The teensiest bit of this gem applied to just my forehead with a Lili Lolo baby buki brush means absolutely no excess shine, ever. No matter what. I’m pretty dry at my age, so I wouldn’t use this on the rest of my face, but I highly recommend experimenting with this if shine is ever an issue for you.
Ilia Illuminator: Polka Dots & Moonbeams is my standard, but the slightly more golden, limited edition Cosmic Dancer is lighting up my eyes and cheekbones lately. The Ilia illuminators are perfect for lashes on no mascara days.
RMS Buriti Bronzer and RMS Lip-to-Cheek in Diabolique: I am obsessed with these right now. They compliment each other and also layer amazingly well (either work on cheeks or lips). I have never been into bronzers, but when Buriti launched I had to try it. On cheeks, it doesn’t look like I’m faking a tan, just like I’m not my typical True Blood vampire pale. On lips, it is the perfect nude-ish, almost-shimmer shade. And I love Diabolique so much, I had to buy a second jar since it’s a limited edition. It’s my current favorite for a bolder lip. I find the color stays on cheeks the full day when layered over Buriti, otherwise it will fade somewhat over the course of the day, as with most cream blush.
Ilia mascaras: I was so excited about Ilia’s mascaras when the new phenoxy free formula came out that I was wearing mascara every day for a while (when I had gone months/years without). It’s fun to change up the color, and Asphalt Jungle and Macao are both lovely.
Afterglow’s Perfecting Under Eye Concealer: I’m experimenting with this a bit lately, using the palest shade, Meringue. I like just a touch under the eyes, and a light brush of my usual Alima foundation over it. It’s a good option for brightening without the finish of an illuminator, and I love that it has de-puffing and anti-aging ingredients.
Some long-standing faves that will eventually be back in the rotation are Alima blushes (like Apple Blossom), Juice Beauty’s Irresistable Glow Highlighter and RMS eye shadows (like Karma, Magnetic, and Solar). My other Ilia lipsticks/conditioners/crayons make occasional appearances too (Ink Pot, Lust For Life, Femme Fatale, Desert Angel, These Days, Come Undone, Dress You Up). Huh. I think I may have an addiction there.
What’s in your makeup bag this time of year?
Meet Melissa! Her routine is full of NMDL faves and then some.
Hometown: Halifax, NS, Canada
Current Weather: Fairly humid and 30 degrees Celsius, but there’s always a cool ocean breeze.
Hair: Dark, I mean virtually black (au natural), shoulder length with a natural wave. I normally blow it out and if I have the time to care enough I will straighten it. One thing about my hair is that it’s crazy oily – I have to wash it everyday unless I want the “wet look” (Suggestions anyone?).
Skin: Fair, oily with the odd dry patch through the winter, and subject to outbursts of acne thanks to hormones and food sensitivities. I’ll go months with hardly a blemish and then it will all turn upside down out of the blue.
Icon: Audrey Hepburn. I’ve always aspired to have eyebrows as amazing as hers.
The night before…
I usually take my makeup off with virgin coconut oil, but lately I’ve been using Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanser for a light cleanse at night (a great Canadian brand too!!). It’s a great all in one and it even gets waterproof mascara off! I also put on my Kahina Giving Beauty eye cream before bed. Once, or twice a week, depending on the state of my complexion, I do a mask using Stark’s Green Tea Detox Clay Mask which I love, love, love. It smells so amazing and it works!
In the morning…
I always do a quick dry brush before the shower. I forget how I got turned onto this, but after a month of solid commitment I’m amazed how much better my skin (especially the backs of my arms) looks. I can’t go a day without it. I also take Omega-3 oil, pro-biotic and B12 first thing.
I wash my hair usually with John Masters Bare Shampoo and Conditioner, though very recently I’ve added Rahua’s Volumizing Shampoo into the mix. I read it was good for oily hair, but the jury is out on that one for me still. Once I’ve got my conditioner on, I lather up with Dr. Bronners Peppermint or Rose soap depending on my mood. My Husband spent a lot of time convincing me to use Dr Bronner’s and I wasn’t a lover at first use, but I’m definitely a convert. Once I’m all rinsed off, I wash my conditioner out and move onto my face. I’ve tried everything for my cleanser – everything. After using Eminence for over a year to mixed results, I’ve simplified to Kahina Giving Beauty’s Facial Cleanser. Quite simply, it’s my favourite ever. Not only is my skin incredibly soft, the quality of my skin has improved ten fold since adding this amazing cleanser to my regime. A bottle lasts forever too! I rinse my cleanser off with my trusty konjac sponge – I tell all my friends about these little beauties.
Outside of the shower…
I put a couple of drops of Kahina’s Argan Oil on my fingers and massage into my face while it’s still a little damp. After it’s all absorbed on goes my Consonant Perfect Sunscreen (more Canadian brand love). I love the texture of their sunscreen and its non greasy formula. I find it especially great because of the mica tint it has – perfect for evening out my skin tone just enough. Makeup wise, I love the natural beauty look. I start with RMS Beauty Uncover Up here and there for any blemishes and then use Afterglow Cosmetics Triple Eye Treatment to brighten up under my eyes. For my cheeks I flip-flop between RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek in Smile and Ilia Beauty’s Multistick in Tenderly. I love the natural flush that these two cheek colours offer. Lately my preference has been Ilia – it’s lovely and subtle for daytime. I do a light sweep of RMS Beauty’s Unpowder across my t-zone and then it’s onto eyes. Most days I just do liner and mascara, but I will also dab a little of RMS Beauty’s Cream Eye Shadow in Seduce on mixed with Lip2Cheek in Muse for fun too. I line the bottom of my eyes with Afterglow’s eyeliner in black and Ilia Beauty’s Mascara. Admittedly, for climate reasons (rainy rainy Halifax reasons) there are days when the L’Oreal waterproof mascara comes out – I would look like a Raccoon otherwise. Burts Bees is my day to day lip savior, but I love my Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Nobody’s Baby almost as much.
Once I’ve got my makeup all done, I massage in a small dab of Rahua’s Finishing Treatment into the ends of my still damp hair. I was lucky to receive a jar of this stuff as a gift to start, and have quickly become obsessed. While I’ve always had crazy oily roots, the ends of my hair are on the dry side but this wonderful cream has totally changed that. It’s pricey as all get out, but a jar does last deceptively long and the results have been worth every penny. After a quick blow dry, I’m all set!
Has anyone out there tamed their oily roots? Is daily shampoo a must?
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!
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.
We have a tough question to ask you, one that we’ve been asking ourselves.
If you could only use 5 products—total—what would they be? Yep, it’s that childhood game, and we’re gearing up to make it a challenge, so think carefully: What would you take with you on a desert island?
Alexandra would probably take Rare Elements Conditioner, Tammy Fender Repair Balm, RMS lip-to-cheek in Rapture (though she’d shed a big tear for Ilia’s Bang Bang), Afterglow Concealer in Praline, and a good bar of soap. Or no soap—the ocean will clean her!—and her Laura Mercier waterproof mascara instead? Ugh, tough decisions.
Siobhan would take her Acure Shampoo (hydrating enough for her to forgo conditioner), Tata Harper’s Refreshing Cleanser, Laura Mercier Minerals (they’re clean!), 100% Pure Mascara and, like her pal, the Tammy Fender Repair Balm.
Now, tell us in the comments what you would take, and begin to mentally gear up for one of our most exciting (and challenging) challenges yet!