Meet Kayla—she’s always been a product enthusiast, only now she’s gone clean. Lucky for us, because she has a TON of great recs here including some makeup application tips. Enjoy!

Name: Kayla

Age: 25

Hometown: San Luis Obispo, CA

Current Weather: Sunny and cool.

Hair: Long, wavy, thick — I was a chronic hair-dyer but its mostly my natural color now.

Skin: I started getting acne in my early 20s, which was extremely frustrating after being blemish-free in my teen years, when I was expecting it! Guess I’m a late bloomer… Now I’m mostly clear with the occasional blemish or two, thanks to my mostly-clean beauty routine and avoidance of sugar.

Favorite star: Gwen Stefani

In the Shower…

In regards to my face, I’ve tried a few different products — including Proactiv which was DISASTROUS as one use made my face puff up like a blow fish. That was that! Now I use Dr. Alkaitis’ line of products – the cleanser, toner, soothing gel, nourishing treatment oil, and universal mask. The products are fantastic and my skin is much happier, but since the line is quite pricey I sometimes sub in plain ol’ Trader Joe’s tea tree cleanser, which seems to be working for me. On my body, I simply use Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap (especially the mint or rose scents, yum!) and a nice scrub brush to exfoliate. I love how soft my skin feels from the brush and how sudsy Dr. B’s gets.  For my hair, I try not to wash it too often, but I exercise and get sweaty almost every day, so every-other-day washing is the least I can do. It’s softest with the Acure argan shampoo and conditioner, but the waves form the best with Rahua’s volumizing shampoo and conditioner, so I go back and forth with those. I shave with Trader Joe’s shaving cream (again, it offsets the price of my Dr. Alkaitis loves, plus I it makes the razor glide smooth, but itsn’t too thick like some other shaving creams). Finally, I use a pumice stone to attack my feet. I’m a long-distance runner, so that skin can get extremely rough if not tended to!

Outside the Shower…

I moisturize my body with plain coconut oil, which has been affordable, great on my skin, and I LOVE the tropical scent (as does my boyfriend). Like I said, I Dr. Alkaitis’ toner, gel, and a TINY drop of the nourishing oil on my face. I use the Dr. Alkaitis eye cream as well (even though I’m only 25, I think about wrinkles a lot and am taking precautions). After the shower and throughout the day, I use Weleda’s pomegranite hand moisturizer – also delicious smelling. And finally, a spritz of Honoré de Pres perfume — either Love Coconut or Vamp à NY, if I’m feelin’ sexy.

Finishing Touches…

I LOVE makeup. Putting it on is one of my favorite parts of the day, and I never run out of products I want to try. I’ve always been a product whore, but now I try my best to be a natural product whore ;). I usually wear makeup every day, so I try to keep the products as clean as possible. One of my favorite beauty looks is strong eyebrows — unfortunately, I was gifted with naturally sparse eyebrows. So I fill them in with a medium-brown powder eyeshadow from Alima Pure. For some reason, my eyelids can get VERY oily. I never put oil around my eyes, and the rest of my face will be fine throughout the day, but my eyelids….ugh. I’ve tried applying powder before eyeshadow, I’ve tried a natural oil-fighting white tea gel, I’ve tried just about every primer out there… the ONLY thing that’s worked for me at all is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. So I use that, and then either the Blonde shade of eyeshadow from Alima Pure, which is my “no-makeup” looking eyeshadow, or Onyx from Kjaer Weiss, which applied gently is a nice light grey, applied more heavily creates a sulty, smokey eye. I have an array of other shadows as well from Alima, Kjaer, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Urban Decay…but those are the ones I use most frequently. I like Elizabeth Arden’s powder eyeliner, which I apply with small slanted brush. It goes on extremely black, and the powder stays on my eyes. With the brush, I can make the perfect kitten eye (like a cat eye, but less dramatic). I still use a dirty mascara… Cover Girl Lash Blast. I’ve tried many a natural mascara, but my eyelashes are about as sparse as my eyebrows, and I love a thick row of femme fatale lashes. For my face, I adore RMS un-cover up. It melts into the skin, and covers up red areas around my nose, small blemishes around my chin, and dark shades under my eyes wonderfully. However, if I get a REALLY scary blemish, which unfortunately does happen now and again….like when I visit my family for the holidays, of course…I use a tiny dab of Makeup Forever’s full cover concealer. After spot-correcting with concealer, I lightly buff on Alima Pure’s loose powder foundation. It evens out skin really well, but doesn’t have that I’m-wearing-foundation look and lets my freckles show. On my cheeks, I use either a tiny bit of Revolution Organic’s bright pink freedom glow beauty balm or RMS lip-to-cheek in smile. Then, on top of that, I might do a light dusting of Alima’s shimmering pink blush — but that’s only if I’m having a big night out, or if I know I’m going to have pictures taken of me, since powder blush is better for pictures than cream. Finally, I usually just use some natural balm on my lips, but every once in a while I’ll be feeling a Old Hollywood-style red lip. For that, I love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic’s lip tar in NSFW. It’s a great, neutral red that really stands out and stays put — but you have to use a TINY dab with a lip brush, otherwise it will bleed. Trust me, a little goes a long way. And I might do one more final touch – RMS living luminizer on the top of my cheeks, under the brow bone, and on my ‘cupid’s bow.’

For my hair, I again use Dr. Alkaitis’ nourishing oil – one little pump is enough to smooth and soften my abundant, long hair. Then, after years of fighting them with a straightening iron, I’ve fallen in love with my natural waves, so I lightly spritz on Josie Maran’s Bohemian Waves Argan Hair Mist for the perfect beach-y texture. I dry my roots with the diffuser on the blow dryer to keep my waves in tact while giving my hair a little lift. The rest of my hair air dries. I think letting my hair air dry, along with the bit of natural oil I use, has been the biggest difference in transforming my formerly dyed, dry, overprocessed hair into the soft, healthy hair I have now. My hair dresser is very impressed! (Seriously, between the bleaching and the straight iron, sections of my hair were downright CRISPY a few years ago). I pretty much try to touch my hair as little as possible: no dying, minimal products, minimal drying, and then I don’t brush it or really try to touch it at all during the day — which helps keep the waves nice.

…I think that’s it!

Meet Rachel and her eclectic routine that mixes DIY with off-the-shelf, and a lot of clean with a little dirty. She also blogs about clean beauty! Woot. (PS you guys, it’s supposed to be stars from the distant past, but these Canadian twins are pretty adorable so we’re letting it slide… :)

Name: Rachel

Age: 31

Hometown: St. Paul, MN

Weather: Winter. It’s mostly been below zero, but we’ve had a few warmer days. Mother Nature can’t make up her mind!

Hair: Shoulder length, henna-ed, limp and fine

Skin: Mostly clear, thanks to an 8-month round of low-dose Accutane I did about a year and a half ago (I know, I know… I hope you can trust me when I say I had previously tried everything and nothing helped. It truly was a last resort). After Accutane, my dermatologist put me on a prescription anti-acne topical cream to keep things clear. I stopped using it a few weeks ago, and I recently switched from the pill to a copper IUD, so I do have a few blemishes right now. Nothing serious. I do have some scarring and general sensitivity, and I blush easily (oh, the joys of being a fair-skinned redhead).

Favorite star: Tegan and Sara (sorry, I had to pick both, they’re kind of a package deal…)

In the shower…

I start out with a DIY sugar/argan oil/honey scrub and I tackle my face, pits, knees and elbows. I shampoo and condition with Acure (the mint version for fine/limp hair). While the conditioner works its magic, I exfoliate the rest of my body with a Shoba exfoliating cloth. I only use bar soap on my pits, feet, and nethers (right now it’s Shea Moisture Frankincense and Myrrh but I switch soaps after each bar). For shaving my pits, there’s usually enough oil leftover from the scrub for a smooth shave. Everywhere else, I just use soap.

I usually only shower every other day. On my off-days, I cleanse my pits and nethers with a hot washcloth, rinse my face with warm water, and use Acure dry shampoo in my hair. I really can’t get away with washing my hair less than every other day. It’s just too fine and it starts to look pretty greasy, especially in the bang area.

Outside the shower…

I moisturize my entire body with whatever carrier oil I’m in the mood for (I tend to rotate between grapeseed, apricot kernel, and just this week I started using coconut oil, which I LOVE). I make sure to moisturize my pits, either with coconut oil or a DIY cream I whipped up (made of shea butter, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and essential oils). Using one of these each morning seems to boost the effectiveness of deodorant. I use Soapwalla cream deodorant most days, and on shaving days I use one of those salt crystals you wet down. On my face, I use Pangea Organics Rose/White tea eye cream and 3 drops of argan oil all over my face. I do need to start incorporating sunscreen into my daily routine; I’m not getting any younger, and besides, I burn pretty easily. That will be my next project!

Finishing touches…

This is where my routine takes a turn for the dirty. I can’t seem to give up perfume or make-up. I enjoy them too much! I have switched some of my make-up products to slightly cleaner brands, but I know I can probably do better.

I use Tarte for most of my make-up products (undereye concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, eyelid primer, eyeshadow, and mascara). For eyeliner, I tend to alternate between Physician’s Formula, Urban Decay (both pencil), and Eyeko (liquid). To fill in my brows I use Alima Pure loose eyeshadow. I use S.W. Basics of Brooklyn (formerly Sprout) lip balm like it’s going out of style — it is hands-down the best lip balm I’ve ever used.

I don’t put any other product in my hair, I just blow it dry and go. On days/nights when I plan on going out or looking fancier, I use a bit of hairspray and gentle teasing to try and boost volume at the roots.

At night I remove my make-up with S.W. Basics make-up remover and a cotton ball and I wash with local raw organic honey. I just started mixing coconut oil with the honey before applying it to my face (it smells so good!) and I find that is a very nice touch for winter. Then I use eye cream and argan oil and I call it a night.

There you have it!

Meet Regina, the kind of woman you’d like to have a sleepover party with because her morning routine starts the night before, when she brews strange and wonderful herbal concoctions before hitting the hay. Also, she had this to say, which kind of made us want to cry (in a good way):

“Before your book, I used to feel like a total freak-monster-hippie for making a lot of my own products. I would cave to the peer pressure of having a fancy tube of something from Sephora to set on my counter or throw in my purse. You guys made me feel totally empowered to keep whipping up my potions!”

Nothing really to say about that other than: Awesome, and screw Sephora with its fancy bottles.

Name: Regina
Age: 25
Current weather: Not as hot, but still humid in NYC
Hair: My hair cycles between a pixie cut and waist length. I cut it off, I donate it, I grow it out again. It’s grazing my shoulders now and is pretty thick and oily but prone to weird little frizzies on top.
Skin: Combination/oily, prone to acne. Oh, the great acne migration. At age 12 I had acne all over my forehead (so bad that when I went to my doctor for something entirely different, he gave me a prescription for acne medication), then it moved to my cheeks in my late teens, and now it’s migrated to my chin. It’s WAY better since I stopped using the benzoyl peroxide and started actually moisturizing my skin instead of trying to make it a desert.

Before the shower…

My morning routine starts the night before, when I make my herbal infusion, lately a mixture of nettles, oats, algalfa, rose hips, slippery elm, and marshmallow. It’s your full spectrum of vitamins! I put about 2 tablespoons of my mix in a jar, pour the water over, and cap it tight, leaving it to sit overnight. I get my herbs from NYC’s Flower Power. They’re super friendly and helpful and it’s a great resource for people who are interested in making their own products, from lip balm to medicine. I try to wake up around 4:45 am (my daily commute takes almost an hour and a half, so I try to maximize my time at home) and roll out my mat for an hour of yoga. I’m currently obsessed with classes from yogadownload.com. I pop my headphones in and do my class before anything else. After my yoga, I strain and drink my herbal infusion, while running the water for my shower.

In the shower…

I make my own face cleanser with a mixture of orange peel, ground rose petals, and clay (whatever I have around, currently green clay). I keep it in a jar on the counter and pour out about a tablespoon into my palm. I step into the shower and mix enough water with my cleanser to make it a paste and then clean my face. It is gently exfoliating and seems to be helping my acne. I wash my pits and bits with Dr. Bronners, usually peppermint. If it’s a shaving day, I’ll shave with my Preserve razor and Dr. B’s. I wash my hair about 2x per week, sometimes more if it’s been really gross outside. I have used natural shampoos (Acure Organics lemongrass is my favorite) and the no ‘poo method and straight Dr. Bronners. Currently I’m making my own shampoo with a decoction of black walnut husks, sage leaves, and comfrey leaf, a teaspoon of argan oil, some liquid Dr. Bronner’s and a generous sprinkling of rosemary essential oil. So far, I really like it! My hair feels clean, soft, and smells pretty great too. The black walnut makes the brew dark (for dark-haired ladies like myself) but you can use chamomile if your hair is lighter. Can you tell I’m in love with herbs?

Outside the shower…

I towel off and then brush my teeth with Nature’s Gate toothpaste and my Preserve toothbrush. I comb through my hair right away because I have short, thick bangs and they’ll stick straight out from my head if I don’t coax them down as soon as I get out of the shower. Then I apply my deodorant (also homemade). I tried the various natural deodorants, like Burt’s Bee’s Herbal Deodorant, Tom’s (not sure if that’s clean really), Weleda, etc but none really worked on me. I sweat a LOT and CONSTANTLY. My current deodorant recipe is a mix of shea butter, beeswax, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, arrowroot powder, a TEENY bit of baking soda (any more than a teaspoon causes angry red skin), a few essential oils, and a dash of shelf stable probiotics. So far it works but I have a feeling I’m going to reformulate when this batch is done and the weather gets even hotter. I make a shea butter based lotion but I only use it if my skin feels dry. I tone my face with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, willow bark tincture, and rose essential oils splashed on my reusable face pads. I was using argan oil for a while as my moisturizer, but lately I’ve been using calendula-infused olive oil.

Finishing touches…

I tried going barefaced for a while, but the recovering goth kid in me can’t seem to leave the house without eyeliner. So I use Alima Pure Black Matte eyeliner, which is a powder and black, like my soul [Ed's note: LOL!]. I dip my brush in water, mix it with the powder and draw on my signature cat eye. Sometimes I dab on some RMS Beauty un-coverup, most of the time I just use the eyeliner. I don’t do anything to my hair, just comb it and let it dry (mostly because I’m lazy about blow-drying and styling, but partly because no matter how I try to tame it, it does whatever it wants anyway). I put on some lip balm (homemade, again) and that’s it. I love lipstick and I have quite a collection of Ilia lipsticks (love this stuff!) but for some reason I can’t ever remember to reapply, so I only use it if I’m going out somewhere; otherwise the only people who see my lipstick are my fellow early morning commuters.

We’re speechless except to say, again: Awesome. And how do you infuse olive oil with calendula? Do you just stuff it in a jar together and wait?

This is a super fun (and funny) one, you guys. Mairin is the right hand woman over at Kahina Giving Beauty, so yes, expect some Kahina listed here. But before anyone gets their panties in a pinch, Mairin has ALL kinds of recs here: from hair to makeup to DIY and some internal tricks too. Not to mention a few dirty secrets!

Name: Mairin Cipolla

Age: 24

Current Weather: Beautiful, sunny, crisp NYC morning

Hair: Long, wavy, dense, thick

Skin: Been a roller coaster ever since moving to New York two years ago. Things are finally balanced now, which I credit mostly to fish oil/omega supplements, multivitamins, probiotics, and being happier.  Taking good care of skin is essential (no sleeping in makeup, please!) but topicals can take you only so far, depending on the (many!) causes of your breakouts.

Before the shower…

My mornings are rushed- I like sleeping way too much, especially in the winter.  Coffee (espresso, French press, whatever) is a must; I’ll take it black and I’ll take it immediately.  I’m so bad about that “drink one glass of water immediately upon waking” thing. New Year’s resolution, perhaps?

In the shower…

If I have time to shower (usually I shower at night because my hair takes forever to dry), I use bar soap for body washing. I came across these two small brands at Brooklyn’s Renegade Craft Fair & love them: Possum Hollow Farm Soap and Volta Organics.  I also really like The Beer Soap Co.  That soap lasts forever.

Face wash alternates between Kahina Giving Beauty Cleanser or Simply Divine Botanicals You Can’t Zit Here. The Simply Divine smells, uh, different, and it’s this muddy black/brown liquid that semi-stains your sink, but I am convinced it really helps to keep breakouts at bay.

I use coconut oil to shave my legs—it’s the best, and so inexpensive. In a pinch, jojoba or olive oil work too. When I use a body scrub, I make my own out of coffee grounds, olive oil, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.  Sometimes I’ll add sugar. It smells sort of amazing; you should try it.

Just recently I’ve been introduced to Essence of Vali aromatherapy—thanks NMDL!—and I use their Relief massage oil on the back of my neck and massage it in during my shower. It helps to relieve tension and muscle tightness.

Outside the shower…

I really dislike applying body lotion or anything after a shower. There’s no time! There’s never any time! If I’ve shaved, then the coconut oil stays on my legs and voila. I will however apply a spritz of Essence of Vali, depending on how I’m feeling that day. Calm smells amazing.  I also like Uplift.

Perfume, like coffee, is a must; I have some “clean” (EOV by Essence of Vali—I know, I went a little nuts on that Friday deal), some less clean… like D.S. & Durga in Coriander.  Deodorant is either Tom’s of Maine (unscented, though I hear Lemongrass is great) or Soapwalla.  Soapwalla, please make a stick so I don’t have to get my fingers dirty. Please! Pretty please!

Finishing Touches…

Next up is makeup and skincare.  I use a mist every single morning.  It’s non-negotiable. I switch it up between Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist and Evan Healy mists (Immortelle and Rose Geranium).  I dab on eye treatment of choice—either Kahina Eye Serum or Kahina Eye Cream—Eye Cream if I’m dry, Eye Serum if I have serious dark circles or bags. I never use eye products from another brand: Kahina’s are perfection.

After that I blend liquid foundation (mine’s not clean: Lancome Teint Idole) with a facial oil or moisturizer.  I use anything from aloe vera gel (cheapcheapcheap!) to Evan Healy pomegranate or rose hip to Kahina Argan Oil or Lotion… sort of depends on how I feel and what the weather is like. I swipe RMS unCoverup (either 11 or 22) on any blemishes or scars and set with Alima Pure powder if I need extra coverage.

My makeup routine is mostly clean.  I’ve yet to try or buy a clean mascara. I use Julie Hewett liner in Smudge. I put different things on my lids: RMS Living Luminizer, RMS Cream Eye Shadow in Magnetic, Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer in Stone (smokey eye!) or even W3LL People mineral shadow in this light gold tone. If I’m super lazy (often), I’ll just use my blush as eye shadow, or go without.

Blush or bronzer is another must for definition and some color. I have Vapour in Spicy or Torch, Alima Pure in Lotus (sheer, lovely pink!), a pink W3LL People stick, or, most often, Nvey Eco powder compact in Natural. (Is this discontinued? It gives flawless coverage!) My brush was given to me by my mom probably eight years ago; it’s from the Body Shop and it has held up amazingly. I also have a half moon brush from Alima Pure that I am liking.

The only thing I’ll put on my lips is moisturizer—whatever I just put on my face.

I wash my hair at night, so in the morning I just style the front layers with a flatiron and put in a little product if I feel like it.  I’ll use whatever moisturizer (aloe vera gel, for instance) or Kahina Argan Oil on the tips. Two decidedly unclean yet fantastic hair products are Sachajuan Volume Powder for when I’ve gone 2 or, um, 4 days without washing my hair, and also Moroccanoil Hydratings Styling Cream to smooth frizz and define waves.  I also sometimes use SkinnySkinny Hair Powder in Jasmine to refresh oily roots.


Weekly! We said weekly! And we meant it. So now, here is the latest in our weekly series of women sharing exactly what products they use to start the day. This time, we asked the amazing Rebecca B. to share hers. You no doubt know her from the comments. She’s an early and loyal reader who shares her insane breadth of knowledge and experience with all of you, all the time. We learn from her, we think she’s sassy and funny, and we imagine you all do too. Also, she uses great products—and some we’ve never even heard of! Read on, read on…

Name: Rebecca
Age:
43
Current weather:
sunny, warm, dry
Hair:
multi-texture, thick but not so much as it used to be, lots of grey covered with henna/indigo, growing out the toxic dye
Skin:
pale, super sensitive and perimenopause ravaged, but pretty good with optimal care

Before the shower…

100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream goes on first thing when I get out of bed if I have puffiness. The puffy is usually gone by the time I get into the shower. Every day there’s yoga, a healthy nutrient-packed but light breakfast, and add a walk, run or bike a few days a week.

I love my products, truly, but I know that my fitness and nutrition do more for beauty than anything else.  I also love to dry brush my skin but lately it’s been sporadic.

In the shower…

I brush my teeth with Miessence toothpaste in anise or lemon (is it weird that I brush in the shower?).  If it’s a shampoo day, I use Griffin Remedy Daily Shampoo and the matching conditioner, or Elava Botanik Avocado Shampoo (conditioner typically not needed with that one).  Choice of soap for the essential-to-wash parts based on mood or need: Rose of Sharon Acres Coconut Milk Shampoo and Body Bar (great for shaving), skinnyskinny Organic Real Cocoa, One With Nature Dead Sea Mud Soap, or Dr. Bronner’sKahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser is my go-to, all time fave for face. Sometimes I use honey, and lately I’ve added some dead sea mud soap for the hormonal break-out areas (too drying for my whole face on a regular basis).  For exfoliating, I use a Pai muslin cloth or gluten-free steel cut oats.

Outside the shower…

For my face/neck/chest, I pick a toner from my ever-expanding collection.  Lately it’s likely to be John Masters Lavender Hydrating Mist or Evan Healy Immortelle Facial Tonic Hydrosol. I massage in Kahina Argan Oil with my DIY skin lightening actives mix.  This has drastically helped my sun damaged areas, and the massaging part (I heard of it as “face yoga”) is to help with muscle tone—I think it’s working, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.  If my eyes need something extra, it’s more 100% Pure Coffee Bean, or Pai Rejuvenating Echium Eye Cream.  Hair gets Kahina argan and/or John Masters Bourbon Vanilla and Tangerine Texturizer (oh, yeah, baby), usually after a blow-dry and sometimes a flat iron.  If it’s a curly day I use a DIY sea salt spray.  If I didn’t shampoo but need a refresher, I go for Lulu Organics Hair Powder. I use straight lavender essential oil patted all over my body (it’s the only thing that keeps me from getting daily bug bites). Lavender also goes on any inflamed face spots, and it’s a nice blast of fragrance for underarms too, on days I want scent.  I love Soapwalla deodorant, but lately I’ve been using my own unscented mix of shea/arrowroot/kaolin/baking soda.  I always have some sort of body butter for whatever needs it, like elbows or feet.  Currently I’m using my favorite Sprout cream.  My lips love Meadowlake Farm Hive Isolates Renewing Salve.

Finishing touches…

RMS Beauty uncover-up on spots, with Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation over that and also under my eyes.  My finishing powder is a DIY mix of my foundation with arrowroot, kaolin and rice powder.  Sometimes I use Alima blush and Real Purity mascaraRMS Living Luminizer goes on upper lids, on lips and/or cupid’s bow, and whatever’s left I pat onto my collar bones.  If it’s a no mascara day the luminizer goes on lashes too.  Then body butter for hands and I’m out the door.

Boom! How’s that for a morning routine? Weigh in with your favorites from her routine, or what you learned about and can’t wait to try, in the comments.

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