When my holy grail fragrance free shampoo and conditioner was phased out in a rebranding, I was super bummed. It can be a challenge to find gluten free, vegan products, especially in fragrance free forms that cater to dry skin and curly hair. And I lost more than a shampoo and conditioner – my basic bath products must be multi-functional.
I guess I’m pretty demanding. I need my conditioner to function as a rinse-out, leave-in, styling product, and shave cream. It has to work for a good, soothing scalp scrub on no-poo days. I like my shampoo to double as a body wash. And, in case it’s not obvious, the ingredients must be very clean. Pony and cupcake optional.
Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo: This works well for my once or twice a week shampoo habit, and as my daily body wash. Desert Essence actually makes a separate body wash, which is fine, but the ingredients are nearly identical, and I prefer the extra moisture that comes with a shampoo. This product could lean more toward moisturizing than it does, but since I don’t shampoo often I’m happy with it. It lathers more than many natural shampoos. It’s a solid performer, and, I think, would please those with normal or oily hair as well.
Desert Essence Fragrance Free Conditioner: The shampoo meets my basic needs, but the conditioner is definitely a holy grail product! I’m not sure why the company doesn’t have it in the organic line packaging, as it does have several organic ingredients. It’s very thick and moisturizing – the perfect curly girl conditioner. It’s awesome for a scalp scrub, and makes me feel clean and fresh without the need for a daily shampoo. It leaves my hair very soft, and makes a great shave cream. It’s perfect on days I use henna, to rinse out the last bit of graininess. On its own it’s a nice moisturizing leave-in and a great styling product. I also love to mix it with other styling products to get the consistency and performance I want on any given day. A pump of this makes my Rahua Hair Wax and John Masters Shine On even more versatile. A great trick to add extra moisture (and scent if you like) is to mix it with a few drops of your favorite oil. A bit of May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff makes this heavenly on days I want scent.
It makes me so happy to find these basic products in a fragrance free version. An extra bonus is that they are quite inexpensive. At $8.99/8oz, and add on that it’s not hard to find them on sale, it’s a good bulk purchase. The upside down squeeze bottle packaging is utilitarian, so I bought glass pump bottles to dispense the products. Much more convenient, and prettier.
What are your fragrance free 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!