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!
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.
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 Eleanor the esthetician. After struggling with her skin for years she came to learn that some of the most effective brands were natural. She now puts Kahina to good use, along with other favorites like Dr Alkaitis, Dr Hauschka, Arcona and more. She’s also seriously piqued our interest in In Fiore (we’ve heard their scents are beautiful too)—who here has tried it?
Hometown: Oakland CA
Profession: Esthetician (at International Orange)
Weather: cold but sunny
Hair: long thick and wavy
Skin: I have battled with skin issues through out my life. Acne being the main domain of my problems—but as we know that causes many more issues like pigment, blotches, uneven texture and scarring. In tying to find the balance I experimented with many products and treatments. I never went as far as accutane but paid visits to the dermatologist and used products with benzoyl peroxide and went on antibiotics. Sorely disappointed I saw an Esthetician who helped get a proper routine and acne facials to help correct my skin. This intrigued me into the skin care world. I am a working Esthetician now and have finally found things that have worked for my skin. Pleasantly surprised I found most if these products I’ve used over the past 10 years have been natural/organic options.
Favorite star: Kate Moss
In the shower…
I flip flop between showering in the morning or evening. Most mornings I climb in the shower half awake, trying not to be indulgent as I have limited time before work or before my boyfriend kicks me out. I usually brush my teeth in the shower with my favorite hard-to-find toothpaste from France called Botot. It’s a fennel-flavored toothpaste. I like this because it’s different than your average toothpaste and makes brushing your teeth feel special. In the mornings I won’t wash my hair everyday I just rinse my wavy tresses and use a good amount of Kahina argan oil throughout my hair to seal and calm the frizz. When I do wash and condition I mix in up between Rare Elements (very natural) and Davines love line (not so natural) these keep my long hair in line. I always leave in my conditioner while shaving or washing my body and then comb through with a wide-tooth comb. This really ensures that the product reaches every strand and conditions deeply. While my conditioner is setting in I usually suds up with a sea sponge and body wash from Everyday Shea that has coconut oil and ahea butters as well coffee extracts for a little stimulation to hopefully prevent any unwanted dimpling down the line. If I shave I use pure coconut oil or Aveno shave cream. I know it’s not the best for you but I have very sensitive legs and this one creates a nice barrier. Always unscented! In the mornings I don’t like to use a harsh face wash. If my skin’s OK and I’ve cleansed your face at night already I don’t like to use anything too striping for day. I use In Fiores Treate cleanser that has pure Aloe Vera and Bulgarian rose waters. Smells divine! If I’m showering at night I like to throw in the works with a full dry brushing session and my favorite body scrub by Suki and even a nighttime facial mask. I like Kahina’s antioxidant mask because it’s purifying but also doubles over as a exfoliator with its micro silica particles. After that I use a gel face wash like Dr Alkaitis purifying cleanser to take off the day.
Outside the shower…
I usually finish off with an all over body balm like In Fiores Dayala filled with the aroma of jasmine and lemongrass. For the face it’s an application of Kahina’s argan oil mixed with their brightening serum. I also use a cooling depuffing eye gel from arcona that has anti-aging ingredients. In the mornings I am religious about using in Fiores vitale toner. Its not just a toner it’s really more like a serum that delivers nutrients and water to the skin. I always also always use a sunscreen mixed with Dr Hauschkas translucent bronze concentrate to blend my own tinted sunscreen. I have three different lip balms I cannot live without… Fresh lip care stick in honey, rms lip balm in vanilla and the Dr Hauschka lip care stick and a new favorite is the In Fiore velouté that comes in a beautiful brass compact with a mirror—you can’t go wrong!
I actually don’t wear makeup often. After battling with acne for so many years I pretty much wrote it off. I believe in a great pair of earrings, well groomed eyebrows, and I cannot live without an eye lash tint! If I have somewhere to go I usually give in to a little lip to cheek by rms because its so simple and fast and a little water to canvas highlighter by Vincent longo and my fresh lip balm with the tint honey. I also love Arcona’s mineral brushes for a quick all over fix. I regularly take vitamin c, probiotics and a herbal immune supplement to keep me healthy and happy. :)
Hello everyone! Meet Lola and her lovely routine! She is a green juice, essential oil and Lotus Wei fan…aka a girl after our own hearts. Read on…
In the shower…
Outside the shower…
Thanks, Lola! Has anyone else been enjoying greens in the AM and feeling the results like Lola? How about the amazing herbal supplement success for decreased migraines?!
Happy Monday, everyone! Meet Stephanie and her sweet-as-honey routine. She swears by Manuka for her skin. She also has been getting a lot of mileage out of spiritbeautylounge sample items. Annnd..she makes her own (edible!) DIY brozer. Read on!
Current Weather: In the 70s-80s and humid-ish. I just moved home from the North so I am loving the warmer weather despite the humidity.
Hair: Long, brown, and sort of curly/wavy. Definitely not straight. The oiliness has become non-existent since my switch to natural products and reduction in showers. Which is great because it saves me a ton of time, I find showering to be a pretty grand and involved event in my life. 23 year old problems clearly.
Skin: I have always been acne prone :( I was on a strict regimen of prescription topical stuff which worked, but I got completely fed up with how dry they left my skin. Right now, I just got off birth control but things are still OK. Residual scarring and the odd small breakout are all I have to worry about now with no dryness!
Favorite Star: Miranda Kerr. Was she already chosen? I just love her values and personality! Image via
Before the shower…
I try to do oil pulling with coconut oil (I use the nutiva brand) which is an ayervedic technique that consists of swishing the oil in my mouth for twenty minutes then rinsing with warm salt water. It’s hard to last the full twenty, but I’ve found it is a great way to naturally whiten the teeth and make my whole mouth/gums feel supple and healthy. I will then usually eat breakfast and workout and also take some skin supplements which I thought could be applicable. I take fish oil or flax seed oil, black current oil and evening primrose oil which are GLAs which are supposed to be beneficial for skin and regulating female stuff as well as Indole-3-Carbinol which I saw was recommended in an article for women coming off the pill again to regulate hormones. I also only brush my hair before I shower with a wide toothed comb.
In the shower…
I’ve usually had a Wedderspoon Manuka Honey 16 strength mask on my face for at least half an hour before my shower and leave it on until the end (this was inspired by Siobhan) which I use as a facial cleanser. If I don’t have time to do a mask I will use the Tata Harper cleanser or the Dr Alkaitis cleanser I have from the samples I purchased on spiritbeautylounge. I like them both and find them super gentle, but prefer the manuka for its anti-acne fight. Manuka honey/honey in general for the face has been a godsend for my skin! Next I shampoo with either Desert Essences lemon and tee tree shampoo for oily hair or Alaffia neem shampoo (both of which I like and find wash away build-up, which was my biggest difficulty when looking for a natural shampoo) followed by either John Masters Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner, the John Masters Honey and Hibiscus conditioner, or the Alaffia neem conditioner. I have recently begun washing my body and shaving with Moksa soap in Abbey Road. It smells amazing, is gentle (I loved Dr. Bronners tea tree bar soap, but then it become too harsh for my skin) and the company is amazing and donates to so many great charities! After that I may spray my hair with the Aubrey organics Nustyle Organic Detangler and Shine Booster (which smells like limes) as a heat protectant or Intelligent Nutrients leave-in conditioner which kind of makes me smell like a pizza, but I like it anyways. (Ed. Note: Pizza?!?!?! We need more info on this! Ha!) Then I wrap my hair up in a t-shirt which I’ve also heard is better to prevent frizz and keep curls intact.
Outside the shower I don’t really towel off because I find the extra moisture super beneficial for the rest of my routine. I spray my face with the Acure Organics Rose toner for oily skin which I LOVE it smells so good especially after reading that article about rose scents on here, then I mix my beloved Aubrey Organics aloe vera with whatever moisturizer is tickling my fancy. I use the aloe because it is such a great base to cut/preserve products which we know can be quite expensive. As I mentioned, I purchased the sample packs of Tata Harper and Dr Alkaitis so I basically pick and choose which moisturizer I feel like mixing in with my aloe. At the moment, I love the Tata Harper Serum and the Dr Alkaitis soothing gel and nourishing oil. Both companies products smells sooooo good and honestly make my skin look so plump and incredible. I never thought I would be able to treat myself to such luxurious moisturizers during my prescription days; it has been one of my greatest revelations of going natural! After that I spray my body with a DIY toner of Aloe Vera gel by Lily of the Valley (which is edible quality that I sometimes add to my drinks) and Witch Hazel followed by a DIY combination of coconut, argan, and jojoba oil, my Acure Organics unscented lotion, or my Bubble and Bee or Moksa body butter. I’m really into body moisturizers. Or moisturizing in general.
As far as makeup goes, I probably wear it once or twice a week and try to keep it really simple. Again, I am all about the samples! I recommend it because they are all quite sizable and I have yet to run out of one and repurchase. I use the Vapour organics concealer on my eyelids and the Alima Pure satin matte foundation on my under eyes and any other imperfections. I line my upper water line with Korres brown eyeliner, apply RMS living luminizer to my eyelids, brow bone, cheekbones, nose, and cupid’s bow and have been loving revolution organics in blush for my cheeks! I also love RMS lip2cheek in Modest. I sometimes finish that up with a DIY bronzer made of cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, and some other stuff and 100% mascara in black tea as well as my Bubble and Bee lip balm in pomegranate or my Badger Organic cocoa butter lip balm in cocoa.
Thanks, Stephanie! I’m having a hard time not making a “good enough to eat” pun about this routine…
Meet lovely Luna. She has lived in both the US and China, and currently calls the latter home. She does an amazing job at keeping her beauty products green by bringing them over when she travels back to the US. Read on for her efficient but inventive routine…
Current Weather: Beijing at its best! Warm, Spring breeze, Sunny
Hair: Black, straight, shoulder length – can’t hold a curl for longer than 10 minutes
Skin: Best defined as complicated: definitely combination, acne prone, dry on cheeks, oily around forehead and T-zones. Beijing water is very hard and the climate is dry which isn’t good for skin that is prone to breakouts since many moisturizers can clog my pores but not using any will leave my skin parched!
Favorite star/icon from the past: Anna May Wong
In China there isn’t a lot of focus on “clean” beauty products. There are some basic drug store staple brands like L’oreal and Nivea and their Chinese counterparts. On the other spectrum, the luxury skincare market is dominated by brands such as SKII, Lancome, Amorepacific, Clarins, and some Chinese ones like Yue-Sai. There’s really nothing in between and there are definitely no smaller, clean, indie labels like in the US. Sephora opened here a few years ago and some “cleaner” brands have started to trickle in such as Boscia and Ren. I grew up in the US and am now back in China working for a multinational corporation. I usually come to the US about three or four times a year for work and this is when I stock up on my beauty products. I would describe myself as loyal but adventurous – I have my “tried and true” products that I MUST restock every trip and then there are others I learn about through web research (such as your site!).
I usually start my day by just washing my face and doing my makeup, and save showering for night, so I will frame this as morning routine, makeup, night time.
In the morning I usually just wash my face with lukewarm water. If I want to really clear my skin for a meeting at work, I will use a cleanser – my favorite is Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser. It smells a little strong but it’s nothing I can’t handle. After that I use Dr.Alkaitis Organic Herbal Toner, followed by 100% Pure Argan Oil Hydration SPF 30 (which I learned about from your site!). This combination keeps my skin very balanced and prepared for whatever Beijing throws my way: pollution, smog, etc.
I’m not a huge makeup girl so it doesn’t take me very long in the morning to get ready. Since I don’t use that much product, I have no problem with spending more for high quality products. I use Suki tinted moisturizer and Vapour Organic Aura blush in Courtesan which really wakes up my face. I use Lancome mascara because I can’t find a natural one that doesn’t give me racoon eyes by noon. For lips I use either raw shea butter or Dr. Bronner’s Naked lip balms, the one without a scent. If I’m feeling like wearing color, I’ll rotate between any of the Kjaer Weis Lip Tints or Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner colors I have.
Before the shower, I take my makeup off with sweet almond oil or jojoba depending on which one I have available and then I dry brush myself.
I try to take the quickest showers possible because the water is really not ideal. You can’t drink it straight from the tap so I don’t really like to marinate in it at night. I wash my face with Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser and use Dr. Bronner’s baby liquid castile soap for my bits and that’s it. My showers are literally 3 minutes long and if I wash my hair that takes it to about 8 minutes. I only shampoo my hair once a week and I use Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic shampoo. No conditioner. No blow dryer. My hair is not high maintenance at all so I’m totally grateful for that.
Out of the shower…
I tone again with Dr. Alkaitis and then do a few drops of YULI Skincare’s M.E. Skin Fuel serum on my face which is light but still hydrating. I never do anything thick or creme-like at night because I feel like that hinders with my skin’s ability to renew and push out impurities overnight. If I’ve washed my hair than I rub a few drops of the Skin Fuel over my head and comb through.
Thanks, Luna! Is there anyone who has any experience with naturals in China or elsewhere in Asia? If so, maybe you can suggest some new local brands?