Meet Briana—a.k.a. Pepper—and her amazing morning routine. We love seeing a clean girl who really knows, loves, and finishes her products to the last drop. Honestly, this routine reads like a best-of list (and then some) of our absolute favorite clean brands. Bookmark this routine, ladies! It’s a serious resource. (Also, hilarious choice on Kimmy Gibbler, Briana.)
Name: Briana (I comment here as “Pepper”)
Age: 29 (30 in July!)
Current weather: Starting to get hot, lately it’s been humid, and rainy rainy rainy!
Hair: Bra-strap length, thick, wavy, frizz town. Every few months I go have my auburn color enhanced with dirty dye. I want to try henna but I’m waffling out of fear of clown-color red. I only have a few grays, I just really love having red hair! My roots come in all ashy and sad.
Skin: Pale, sensitive, prone to hormonal acne but mostly pretty clear.
Favorite star or icon from the past: Kimmy Gibbler
Before/In the shower at bedtime…
I usually shower at night and I wash my hair every other day or every two days. I do shower daily though – I can’t get comfy in my bed if I’m not clean! I take off my makeup with Stark GF balm and a wash cloth (I’m on the bottom of my third tub – can’t live without it!) If I think about it I’ll do some half-assed dry brushing before I get in the shower, sometimes with some Manuka on my face that I’ll rinse off in the shower. I wash my hair with John Masters Bare Shampoo, a henna shampoo bar I bought from Etsy, or my new favorite, Rahua. I also have a sample of Yarok because I want to see what the fuss is about! I can’t wait to try it. Once a week I’ll do an ACV rinse. For conditioner, I use Intelligent Nutrients Pure Luxe or John Masters Citrus & Neroli Detangler (love this JM conditioner so much!). I comb my conditioner through my hair and roll it up & clip it. Then I wash myself with Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap on a sea sponge from Spirit Beauty Lounge. This is just the most refreshing soap ever! It makes me feel so tingly & clean, I can’t get enough of it! I also adore the Almond scented one. I rinse my conditioner out last, and I’ll try to rinse it with a shot of cold water. If I’m shaving (when I’m too lazy to use my epilator!), I’ll use a mix of the Dr. B’s & some coconut oil or some of my Pure Luxe.
Outside the shower…
I rotate around between coconut, sweet almond, Weleda Baby Calendula & Stark MF oils. Body oils are my jam! In the winter I also used Acure’s Lavender lotion, but I’m not needing much extra moisture these days. I spray my face with Evan Healy Immortelle Hydrosol http://www.evanhealy.com/products/show/67, and press in some serum or oil. I’ve recently been using Dr. Alkaitis Treatment Oil, and I also love Tata Harper Regenerating Serum & Kahina Giving Beauty Serum. I add a little swipe of Kahina Argan oil over the top. Once that absorbs, if I feel like a need a little more moisture I use Weleda Baby Calendula Face Cream and if I have a pimple it gets a dab of tea tree oil. Sometimes before a shower I’ll do a clay mask too. I’ve tried a bunch but right now I’m using Aztec Secret and mix it with a little ACV or manuka. While it’s not quite as classy as its pricier counterparts, the tub is huge and crazy cheap – if there’s a huge difference between that and other expensive clay masks my face can’t tell. I also use Hurraw! Moon Balm at bedtime.
For hair, if it’s air drying I’ll spray in some Yarok Feed Your Ends Conditioner (on my third bottle!) and use a little Rahua Finishing Cream on the ends. I twirl pieces with my fingers to control it a little, scrunch it with a t-shirt & leave it be. Now that my hair’s pretty long, being able to do this is just beyond amazing. My hair is so much healthier now that I’m mostly letting it do it’s thing. When it’s dry/mostly dry I go to sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent breakage.
If I am blow-drying, which is maybe once a week, I use all of the above plus some Yarok mousse at the roots. I’ll smooth a little more Rahua cream over my frizzies once it’s dry, and spray on some Yarok Feed your Hold Hairspray. Also worth noting, I have two Widu brushes that are just the best! The wood paddle one & the mixed bristle one. I am a former hair product junkie. Junk-ie. Paring down to what I have now & using things until I run out of them is a massive accomplishment for me and I’m weirdly proud of it!
In the Morning…..
In the morning, I wash my face first thing. I love using Tata Harper Refreshing face wash or Acure Sensitive face wash with my Konjac Sponge (in total, mad, lifelong love with those weird little things) and a couple days a week I use May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt. I’m also working on a sample of Kahina face wash now. After that it’s a few sprays of Evan Healy Rose Geranium Hydrosol, then Stark CY oil. I stopped using this oil for a bit in a sampling frenzy and I actively missed it. I was so happy when my new bottle arrived!
My hair will go into a pony tail or a bun (I love my trusty Goody bun donut!), or I’ll use some Beautiful Curls Curl Reviving Tonic, which I’m on my second bottle of because this stuff is awesome, mixed with a little of Beautiful Curls’ curl gel to revive my waves/curls. If it’s a little flat, I’ll rub a bit of Yarok mousse into my roots and hit it with the blowdryer for a second. I’ll finish it with a tiny bit of John Masters Salt Spray or Yarok Hairspray & maybe smooth some Rahua cream over it. For deodorant, I use a homemade one. Equal parts arrowroot, aluminum free baking soda & coconut oil with tea tree, lavender & patchouli essential oils. Works like a freaking charm. I also keep a travel-sized Weleda Rose deodorant in my bag, just in case of a sweat-related emergency.
For our teeth, we use Jason Powersmile in peppermint.
I am one of those gals who rarely leaves the house with a bare face. Why? I don’t know. I just like feeling a little polished and I love makeup! My minimum is concealer and and couple dabs of blush, a sweep of mascara & some tinted lip balm. And while my routine seems full I apply everything with a very light hand.
I use Jane Iredale tinted moisturizer on my face & neck. Then it’s Vapour Illusionist Concealer for my under-eye area & RMS Un Cover up for my red splotches & any blemishes. I had to switch to a different concealer for my eye area, because the RMS was giving me little red bumps. It’s fine on the rest of my face, so I have no clue why it affected my eyes. Weird. But I love the Vapour concealer! I do a sweep of W3LL People Altruist Mineral Foundation or just Dr. Hauschka Body Silk Powder & then W3LL People Hedonist Mineral Bronzer in Light.
For blush, I rotate around a little between 100 Percent Pure blush in Healthy, or their Pot Rouge in Ballerina. I also love Vapour Aura Multi Use Stain in Impulse & their Blush in Courtesan. I top that off with some RMS Living Luminizer patted on my cheek bones, the bridge of my nose and around my orbital bone.
For eyes, sometimes I use my W3LL People bronzer as eyeshadow, or I’ll use a Korres one in Nude. For nighttime, I have RMS eyeshadow in Seduce and I like to use that as an eyeliner – I don’t use it often enough to notice if it give me the same bumps the un cover up does! I’ll also sometimes use a dark brown Korres eyeshadow with a wet brush to make a winged line. I fill in my brows with a little of Jane Iredale’s Pure Brow Gel in Brunette and then use some Tarte Lash Primer followed by Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara Lash Boosting Mascara for day & Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing mascara at night.
And then there’s lip color! I have an arsenal. My every day go-to is Tata Harper Be Adored, which is a tinted lip balm in a beautiful rosy shade. I also love Hurraw! tinted lip balms in cinnamon and black cherry. For something more dramatic, like when my hair is up, I go for Ilia Bang Bang or RMS Lip Shine in Sacred. I have W3LL People’s lip gloss in gold too, which looks gorgeous over my Ilia lipstick. I also keep a John Masters lip balm in my bag, but mostly for my husband. He is a balm black hole – I have no idea what happens with all the ones I give him, but they just seem to vanish!
That’s it! Whew..
Santa, take note. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing better than giving (or getting) the gift of a truly beautiful, natural smell. I was thinking about this whole gifting thing, and how the holidays are a great time to help spread the clean beauty experience to the women we love. But aromatherapy—instead of say, face wash—is a particularly great place to start because you’re not telling people to replace anything in their current routine, you’re just adding a new element and helping expand their senses.
I mean, who here remembers the first time they fell for a natural smell over a synthetic one? I often go back to my early experience…
At any rate, I’ve gifted my share of natural beauty products, and can say with confidence that—while a small vile of Hope Gillerman or Tata Harper or a Lotus Wei energy mist may not have the wow factor of a new iPad—these gifts have had the most longterm impact. And here’s how I know: Every time I have given one of these magical formulas, the receiver has continued to buy it themselves. (And in my case that often means Canadians who have to jump through hoops, beg me to send them re-ups, or pay all kinds of shipping to get their hands on this stuff.)
And if scented oils and mists feel too pricey or risky—natural scented candles like these and these, or room diffusers like these, or the more affordable and awesome Essence of Vali products are all wonderful too.
Here’s why I think aromatherapy is so perfect to give…
1. It’s thoughtful and personal.
You have to choose carefully when it comes to smells. So even if the person is not into naturals or aromatherapy, you need to have a sense of what kind of scents appeal to them. (Though if you’re totally stumped I’ve included a list of crowd-pleasers at the end of the post.)
2. It’s powerful.
This stuff works, and science concurs. Most everyone in your life is probably stressed out, and smells like jasmine, rose, and lavender are proven to help people calm down. Is anything better than that?
3. People don’t get it for themselves.
Some people prefer getting practical gifts, but I do think there’s something really nice about giving a gift you know will be enjoyed that someone would never think to get for themselves.
Now for the cheat sheet. According to one study these are the top 10 most universally beloved smells: 1. lime (fruit) 2. grapefruit (fruit) 3. bergamot (similar to an orange in scent) 4. orange (fruit) 5. peppermint 6. freesia (flower) 7. amyl acetate (a molecule that smells like apples and bananas) 8. cassia (similar to cinnamon) 9. mimosa (flowering tree) 10. fir (tree)
Are you gifting any wellness products or DIY concoctions this year? Is aromatherapy on the list?
P.S. In slightly unrelated gifting news… If you’re a mom, or gifting one, obviously clean kids’ products are a boon. But I wanted to engage in some shameless nepotism here, and point the mom set to my sister-in-law’s awesome illustrated poster site South and Summer. She’s created these very cool posters inspired by the toys of our childhood, and I just think they’d make a great gift for parents who like design and have a hard time finding cool kid’s decor. You’re welcome!
Flower grid image from the Lotus Wei site.
“Does anyone actually use aromatherapy every day?!”
I was asked this very reasonable question the other day at work. My answer: “Have you ever been in my office?”
I get it, though. Even for those of us who embrace integrative medicine, use organic beauty products and regularly get stuck with tiny needles, aromatherapy can seem a little frou-frou: an indulgence, a touch cosmetic. For a long time, that’s how I felt. Sure, I always had some cheap lavender by the bed. An old friend called it my “sleep juice” because I’d developed a habit of dabbing a little on the skin under my nose before retiring, but that’s as far as I went. I suspected aromatherapy might be a very useful tool, if only I could remember to use the stuff.
Since then I’ve developed a more sophisticated relationship with essential oils. If you haven’t done the same, I’d like to encourage you to.
That’s because aromatherapy can, I believe, kill a cold in its tracks, transform your stressful day into a productive one, help you unwind after work, gear you up for important meetings, and, much more simply, make you feel happy. It also has the added benefit of helping those around you, too, without them even realizing it.
I’m getting pretty deep into researching how aromatherapy really works and when I’m done, I’ll share that. For now, I’ll share the six products, from three lines, that I use every single day:
We’ve discussed this one before. As much as it is, in fact, an irritability zapper, this is also my daily perfume. There’s no getting around it: People freak out when they smell it. It’s impossible to describe, but it’s complex and gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve ever smelled. A lady on the train stopped me the other week—it’s the only way I can handle commuting on the jam-packed 4 train at 8 am—and asked me what I was wearing. I dug into my giant bag and produced the little vial to show her. Her eyes went wild while she smelled it, so I invited her to put some on. She did, and then pulled out a notebook to write down its name. “You made everyone on the train happy just by coming on this car!” I melted…and I kind of think she was right.
When I use it: Before I get on the subway in the morning, before hot dates, before important meetings.
How it makes me feel: Like…myself? In a good way.
We wrote in the book that we’d wear this as perfume, too, if it weren’t for its completely unsubtle narcotic properties. This stuff knocks me out, inducing sleep as deep as a baby’s. I like to shake a few drops onto my hands, cup them over my nose, then take 10 very deep breaths. I try not to do this every night, lest it stop working at some point. I gave this stuff to a colleague when she was going through a terrible breakup and she swore up and down it worked. I’ve subjected boyfriends to it, too. I’ve yet to find someone upon whom it does not cast a sleepy spell.
When I use it: Only the second I’m ready to sleep. It works usually within 10 minutes.
How it makes me feel: Couldn’t tell you. I’m asleep, remember?
3. Hope Gillerman Travel Remedy. Hope Gillerman is, I’m convinced, the standard-bearer for high-quality, potent EOs that work almost medicinally—and I’m not just saying that because she’s my next-door neighbor. She’s a natural healer, and I first met her a couple of years ago when she gave me a complimentary Alexander Technique treatment. That was so cool! Even cooler, for me at the time, was the aromatherapy 101 class she gave me before the session. I left her office with the Stress Remedy, which I adore. But lately, my go-to is her Travel Remedy. I wrote about it recently, when I started using it to fend off a seasonal cold. I’ve also used her Muscle Relief on my achey bones (and the achey bones of skeptics): always works. And on my desk at work, I have her Tension Remedy. It’s invigorating and a little zesty, perking me up when I’m computer-tired or anxious about a big meeting. Works every time.
When I use it: All day. Travel Remedy when I feel rundown; Stress when I’m feeling unshiny and haggard from a tough day; Muscle after a killer yoga glass or boot camp; Tension on the go, during the work day.
How it makes me feel: I’ve already explained this, but let me add: The Stress and Tension remedies make me feel much more present, much more in the moment.
Your turn. What’s been your experience with aromatherapy? Anything you love or—gasp—can’t live without?
With a show of hands, we’d like to know who feels completely revolting in this weather. In the northeast at least, where both of us are right now, it’s positively steamy, with lots of humidity to go along with the almost-three-digit temps.
This is when we tend to turn heavily to body-face-hair mists to cool off and refresh our mood. We both carry mists with us wherever we go! Which is why this week’s deal is so sweet!
We are especially fond of Essence of Vali’s—notably the DETOX one. It smells amazing with notes of grapefruit, lemon, cypress and juniper. And according to Val, it can also help “relieve fatigue and ease the effects of jet lag. Detox is great to use when you are off your normal schedule and are overindulging in food and drink.” Ahem!
(I’d also like to briefly highlight Vali’s sleep potion. I’ve come to rely heavily on it in the heat—it soothes my nerves and puts me in the perfect mode for a good night’s slumber. I also am convinced I sleep deeper when I use it before bed.)
This Friday deal is once again a site-wide discount—and a super generous one at that! Plus, EOV products are at such a good price point to begin with that you might take this as as opportunity to stock up. Just sayin’!
Here’s what to do: Just enter promo code NMDL at checkout for a 20% discount on anything you buy—whether it’s mists, massage oil, her amazing cult-hit perfume (so sexy, seriously) or the infamous sleep potion! If you have any issues with the code or the site please call tel:646-270-0605. Thanks!!!
As always, please let us know in the comments what you’re loving from the line.
Smells like love: Back by popular demand, today we have a wonderful deep-discount deal from Essence of the Vali. This offer is our favorite kind: a site-wide reduction for our readers that lets you buy whatever your little heart desires. But with all the beating hearts just around the corner for Valentines Day you may want to check out the Passion gift set: a spicy-sweet combination of some of our favorites oils (notably Ylang Ylang, citrus, ginger… yum!). Gift it, ask for it, or treat yourself!
Onto the deal! Get any of your favorite scents, mists, and oils from Essence of the Vali for a whole 20% off when you use the promo code NMDL. Wham bam. Going through until next Thursday at midnight.
And if you ordered from E of V last time, be sure to drop a comment telling us and fellow readers what you liked (or didn’t). As most of you know, we are not the only reviewers with opinions on this site!
We hope you had a wonderful week. We did. Alexandra made a speed trip to New York for work, so us girls got to have a night of fun with some of our favorite friends. Let’s put it this way… we didn’t exactly wake up the next day looking like this, but it was well worth it. Here’s to a restful weekend.