Happy Friday, everyone! Meet Elena, whose nice-and-simple routine kind of made me feel a little bit calmer just by reading it. She would kick ass at the desert island challenge. Her routine strikes a great balance between using fun, clean products, and still keeping it fairly simple. Awesome!
Current weather: Currently in Toronto, Canada (cold humid winters, hot humid summers). In the past year lived in Thailand, Haiti, New York – this rocked my world, but my skin was not too pleased.
Hair: Baby fine and pretty greasy
Skin: Really fair, no freckles, burns semi-easily then tans. Lately my skin has become super dry. I actually don’t think this is the fault of the harsh winter, but (gasp) of aging :(
In the shower…
I just started my second attempt at going shampoo free. Last summer I cleaned my hair with baking soda for about a month, but then gave up. I am giving this another go because I find that my fine hair gets weighed down by even the cleanest shampoos. This time around, I will be trying to do the baking soda thing at much longer intervals (I used it every three days in the summer), hoping that this will restore the oil balance of my scalp. Fingers crossed. For now, my hair so greasy that my father asked me at the dinner table why I hadn’t blow dried my hair!
Otherwise, a razor and Dr. Bonner’s for basic hygiene. Rarely any shower gel on my body. Ditto for moisturizer, except for my hands in the winter. Right now I am using a hand cream from Japan. I am pretty sure it’s not clean, but it’s Japanese and I love almost everything from that land! (OK, I got to admit that I am transitioning to a green routine so I still use some not clean products. However, I vow to purchase a clean hand salve for next winter. I used to use L’Occitane in the past—I think it’s semi-green?)
Outside the shower…
I don’t wash my face in the morning. Sometimes a splash of water, sometimes not. At night I cleanse my face with an oil. Right now I am using almond oil, but I’ve used avocado in the past. Sometimes I use the oil as a moisturizer for my face as well. My non-clean moisturizer is Avene Hydrance Optimale Riche (5 on EWG scale). I will be tossing it once it is finished. And I have already started exploring green options. I already zeroed in on some Weleda creams. I love Weleda! It reminds me of the European products we had in our bathroom growing up.
I always, always wear sunscreen! This has been the one constant in my skincare routine for 6-8+ years now. Unfortunately, like the rest of my routine, I have only recently realized that La Roche Posay SPF 60 I was using might have been doing more harm than good. I would always break out on my forehead from all of the sunscreens I have ever tried. And let me tell you, I have gone through my fair share of them. I discarded American drugstore ones a long time ago and have stuck with French Lab picks from Vichy, Avene, and the aforementioned La Roche Posay. While I would always start out loving the product, I would inevitably break out on my forehead a few weeks down the road. I started doing my research and realized that this might be a result of all the chemicals in my sunscreen. So I went physical and I love it! Current sunscreen is from DeVita. It’s an SPF 30 (19% zinc oxide) with hyaluronic acid. It is supposed to be quite moisturizing, but the cream’s texture is actually very light and airy. It seeps into my skin like a dream and makes it velvety smooth. I think that it is light enough to use for combination skin as well. It also doesn’t smell at all like a sunscreen, which is a plus for me. Hey, smell is important!
Depending on the season and the current condition of my skin I will use the Lavera Wild Rose moisture mask once/several times a week. I am not a rose person, so I find the scent quite strong, but the mask does a great job at bringing hydration back to my skin.
No leave-ins or other styling products for my hair. I usually let it air dry. It’s pretty-low maintenance (except for the greasy-part that seriously gives me the urge to shampoo every night)—no fly aways, no frizz.
Deodorant, currently Green Beaver in Citrus. Green Beaver is great Canadian brand. Their body sunblock is amazing and cheap! This deodorant smells really good, if you are into citrusy smells, that is. I also have the Soapwalla one. While I prefer the latter, when I am in a rush and don’t want to get my fingers dirty I just use the Green Beaver stick.
Makeup-wise, it varies a lot. Most of the days it’s just a slick of lipstick (100% Pure in Seduce is a nice neutral coral color for light-skinned girls). I also like the Josie Maran argan oil multipurpose color stick. I use it on lips, cheeks and lids. Yes, a pinkish hue looks amazing with hazel eyes. I actually got mine in a trial pack a few years ago, but I still have plenty of product left.
I have a non-clean mascara that I swear by: Lancome Hypnose. I haven’t even attempted to find a green version because it took me ages to find a chemically infused one that curled and lengthened while staying on for a full day without being a waterproof formula.
The few times that I do use makeup I turn to very dirty products. I know! And by makeup I mean some eyeliner and dusting of shadow. No powder, no foundation, no bronzer—I like the pale look. Perfume? Well I do use a green tea body spray from a french brand, doubt it’s clean, but it’s running out, so will probably go perfume free when that happens.
Overall, my routine is semi-green but I am committed to going green all the way. The items I look forward to trying next: Ilia lipsticks, green green tea perfume (haha!), and RMS uncover-up!
Three cheers! Thanks, Elena!
Image of Anna Karina via (Jean-Luc Godard’s wife and the star of many of his films)
As a former vegetarian of many years, I’ve seen this diet and lifestyle choice move from the marginal to the mainstream, and now—could it be?—back again.
It seems the current foodie crop is deeply obsessed with all things animal. And while it’s great to see a focus on local and so-called more sustainable snout-to-tail menu options, it feels like vegetarians are once again being left out in the cold. Have you noticed this?
Recent visits with my sister, who is still a strict non-meat eater, have really brought this into focus. On several occasions we’ve wanted to try some new hot spot restaurant, both in LA and Toronto, only to discover that there’s barely an item on the menu that doesn’t contain some kind of meat. It’s not that veggies aren’t prominently featured everywhere, they are, just not on their own. Even the former safe bastion—the side dish—is being adulterated by animal parts.
You’d be hard-pressed these days to find a side of roasted Brussels sprouts that doesn’t contain bacon, or a swisschard sans chorizo. Even french fries are being done in duck fat.
While I acknowledge that pork does make things extra delicious (though I’m sorry, duck fat fries = overkill), I’m wondering where vegetarians and non-vegetarians are supposed to break bread together these days. Sure, there’s always Indian food, but if she wants a steak—or say, pork belly tacos—and he wants something that doesn’t feature pig ears, lamb neck gravy, lardo or marrow—just a few of the items featured on two new trendy LA menus I glanced at—they’re going to have to cook at home.
I’m being a bit hyperbolic of course: There are surely still great steak houses where a vegetarian can get a side of mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, and most of these trendy spots are both overpriced and overrated. (I don’t know about you, but I tend to go to the same three restaurants on the rare occasions I’m not cooking at home.) But fast food places seem to have given up on any attempt at veggie options too.
Remember that moment in time when even McDonald’s had a veggie burger and maybe a few meatless wraps? No more. These days road trips don’t offer a whole lot other than fries or some nasty salad that you have to pick the ham off of.
The only spot I can think of is Harvey’s in Canada, which makes one of the meanest veggie burgers I’ve ever had, but it seems they keep closing down.
The irony is that this food trend is cloaked in some kind of hunter-gatherer cool that purports to be more planet-friendly—but eating more meat, even the local kind, will never be as sustainable as eating more veggies. And while I now like to eat both, I still think Brussels sprouts are often better without bacon. There I said it.
Have the vegetarians and vegans in the crowd been a little miffed at this latest food trend? Where do you guys go where you can find great options for all?
Natural skincare can be deceptively simple. Once you separate the wheat from the chaff and realize that the best ingredients are usually of the high-quality-pure-from-nature variety, one could get a little smug about the whole thing…
You might think: Hey, I too could throw some oils in a bottle and sell them at the farmers’ market or online. And yet, it’s just not that easy, even when dealing with pure products that feature few ingredients. How can we be so sure? Well, ’cause we get a lot of products sent our way—and we don’t fall in love with most of them. Which is why I’m so giddy to tell you guys about Stark…
Stark Skincare hails from Montreal, a town very close to our hearts. A town we both still sometimes call home. As far as I know we don’t have any nepotistic ties to Stark Skincare founder Jessica Lafleur, but you never really know with Montreal. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows everybody.
But here are the non-Montreal reasons I’m already a big fan of this line:
1. The branding and packaging: A little Esty-arts-and-craft-cool, but still elevated, and in dark glass bottles. Brands that use dark glass send one message: We care a lot about the ingredients inside, because glass is pricier, doesn’t leach anything sketchy into the product, and the dark variety protects the ingredients from UV damage. When I went to the site I also loved the simplicity of the design: clean, modern, and welcoming. Ding.
2. The smell and feel: Branding only goes so far. It gets me to open the bottle but my senses have become so finicky about texture and smells, that I won’t use something more than once if it doesn’t instantly feel right. These products felt right. It’s a tough thing to put your finger on, but the smells are natural, yes, without being crunchy. They’ll palatable, without smelling like food. In short: They’re a pleasure to apply.
3. The simplicity: I love oils and balms and misting toners. I also like clays to spot treat my breakouts at night. As of now these are the four products Stark has, and I like all of. I’ve been using them religiously since I got them and I can tell I will use them until they are done.
4. The price: We often have expensive taste, and we do worry sometimes that the products we most adore and recommend can be a little too pricey for some (that was part of what spawned the Friday Deal idea). I was thrilled to see how affordable these products are. If my spidey business senses tell me right, it means that Stark is using high quality ingredients but because they’re small and new and selling online, they’re not inflating their markup.
Last but not least: It’s from Canada! And we know our wonderful Canadian readers sometimes get the short end of the stick. Stark offers free shipping in Canada with any orders over $60 and free shipping on international with any shipping over $75. Very cool. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll do a Friday Deal. We’ll have to intro ourselves first. :)
Have you heard of or tried this brand? If not, what brand hits all of these marks for you? Sharing is caring y’all, and don’t forget: it’s Friday!
Image via their site
If you grew up in Canada like we did, you probably grew up loving David Suzuki. The environmentalist and educator has been ahead of so many issues for so long, so we were quite delighted to see that the foundation that bears his name has taken on cosmetics. Yesterday they announced the findings of their months-long research into cosmetics, and they’ve unveiled their own Dirty Dozen, which has a lot in common with the ingredients we warn about in the book (where we show you how to actually find these mysterious things on product labels, and in which products they appear). We like their list!
We’d love to see Canada pave the way for reform, but considering the head of the cosmetics industry in Canada is also a former government health official, we won’t be holding our breath.
You can download the complete PDF here. And read on to see what made their list:
1. BHA and BHT
2. Coal tar dyes
4. Dibutyl phthalate
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
8. PEG compounds
11. Sodium laureth sulfate
We’ve invented a word because Canada is having a great week on toxics regulation. According to Environment Canada, BPA has been added to the agency’s toxic substances list—a big, big deal, especially after the disturbing revelation last week that 90% of the people tested had the hormone disruptor in their urine. (A similar study in the United States found it in 93% of those sampled.)
The American Chemistry Council is predictably miffed, and last year said that classifying it as a toxic is “pander[ing] to emotional zealots.” Well, color us emotional zealots because we are thrilled.
BPA, in case you have been living under a rock, has been linked to obesity, neurological issues, impaired thyroid function and other hormonal issues. Humans are exposed to it from soda cans, canned foods, baby bottles, school lunches, in plastics and more.
This is pretty game-changey. We’re excited to see what happens next, and we hope Environment Canada is ready to duck, because we imagine there’s going to be some mudslinging.
Luca with a BPA-free bottle (and Siobhan)