It’s December, people. And though some of us maybe finished our holiday shopping over the long, sale-filled holiday weekend, others of us may not be that on top of things. Enter this gift guide.
I love gift-giving. I have an entire secret Pinterest board dedicated to gifts for others so when my husband or sister or best friend mentions something they’ve been coveting, I have a safe place to stash the idea for later. This year, I’m doing beauty-related gifts for many friends, so I wanted to share a few of my fave pressies. Check them out below (for all budgets, for all kinds of beauty gals).
For the clean beauty skeptic: Since swapping clean products into my whole beauty caboodle, I’ve tried to convert as many friends as possible to the clean beauty movement. Some are more hesitant than others, and the ones who I have the hardest time convincing are the ones most concerned about cost. So I point them to a multi-tasker that usually woos them to trying more clean products: Acure Organics’ Argan Oil. It’s a hair-smoother, a cuticle oil, a face moisturizer. And it has a friendly price point if they want to repurchase for themselves.
For the beauty aficionado: The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Winter Glow Gift Set. I’ve talked before about how much I love the Vitamin D Mist, and this set boasts that toner, plus a yummy Vitamin C serum that even my mom loves (and she used to use only Vaseline to moisturize her face). Top those off with a colorless face powder and angled kabuki brush help you hit this season’s matte face look and you’ve got a great combo for a girlfriend who’s a tad more in-the-know.
For the makeup maven: I can’t say enough about loving Alima Pure’s wide range of mineral foundations, but now I love their eyeshadows and mascara as well. Their holiday set, Me Encanta, comes from a collaboration with green makeup artist Kristen Arnett. I love love love the navy shadow included in the kit (I used it as a liner) and the blush is my all-time favorite color (I wore it for my wedding, for Pete’s sake). There’s even a how-to video on creating a subtle look with the liner, contour powder and blush. Fool proof. And a perfectly well-rounded present.
For the jet-setter: This Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster from La Bella Figura Beauty is one of those things I’m not sure how to make it through the day without. It smells like sunshine, it sticks around for a looooong time and I’ve gotten dozens (not exaggerating) compliments on how I smell, even after not showering for four days, when I’m wearing this puppy. It calms me—and anyone who smells me—down and makes every hurried day, full of airplane travel or just regular old commuting, better.
If you’re on a budget: Much like I am. Alexandra once blogged about why she loves gifting aromatherapy, but let me add to her points by saying it’s a super easy way to customize gifts and to not have to pick out makeup colors. You know your best friends; you know what’s bugging them. Therefore, you know what aromatherapy might benefit them. (Plus, we have a kick-ass deal going on with Essence of Vali until the end of the year. Save your dollar bills and give gifts your peeps will love.)
Or, do a little DIY for the holidays. Get some cute plastic bottles and fill them with a DIY dry shampoo. Or a body scrub. Or a lip balm. The thought goes a long way (and if your friends are like mine, they’ll be thrilled you took time to make them something, not just swipe your credit card.)
For the boy: Olie Biologique JUST released a Whisker Oil for before and after shaving. It smells manly and helps reduce redness and irritation. Or check out the body soaps from Osmia Organics. I only got my husband to switch from Dove when he smelled these babies. (Get a body oil for yourself while you’re at it—Water Lily is my fave and I started wearing it as a perfume.)
What did I miss? What are you snagging for friends, family or S.O.s?
We’ve been on a roll with the Friday Deals lately. This one is from one of our absolute favorite aromatherapy lines—Essence of Vali. If you’re newer to the site you may not know about this amazing aromatherapy brand. We first discovered it when researching the book, and we’ve been using it religiously ever since.
So here’s the deal. Essence of Vali is offering NMDL readers 20% off your purchase. Just use the promo code NMDL2013 at checkout for your special deal. And if you thought that was generous, get this—the promotion is valid until the end of the year!
Maybe you’ll recall that the Sleep Bedtime Ritual is one of Siobhan’s favorite aromatherapy blends. You really must try the Detox blend, too. With notes of grapefruit, lemon, cypress, and juniper, it’s perfect for this time of year when travel and over-indulgence in food and drink lead to fatigue.
Susannah’s favorite is the signature scent—EOV Botanical Perfume—a warm, sensual blend that’s floral and earthy with hints of citrus. It’s available as an eau de parfum or roll-on perfume oil. Just gorgeous.
If you’re already in gift-buying mode, well let us remind you why Alexandra thinks that aromatherapy makes the very best gift for your friends and family. Every one of us would love to be on the receiving end of some Essence of Vali! EOV products are at such a great price point to begin with. So go on—be sure to splurge on some EOV aromatherapy.
So tell us what you want, what you’ve tried, and what you love!
It’s hot. It’s Friday. It’s a long weekend in Canada, and next week it’s an extra long one here! What could be better? This! We have a Friday Deal from reader-favorite Essence of Vali. If you’re newer to the site you may not know about this amazing aromatherapy brand. We first discovered it when researching the book, and we’ve been using it religiously ever since—not least of all to help us sleep. But these days, you guys seem to talk about it as much as us. It’s been mentioned in more Morning Routines than we can count.
But enough about that, and onto the deal! As always with our Essence of Vali offers, you get 20% off anything you order. Site-wide. No minimums. Easy does it. Just use the promo code nmdl2013 and you’re in business.
So what will you order? If you’ve tried Vali, tell your fellow clean girls what you’ve used—what you’ve loved (or didn’t). You know we only roll with the truth here.
If you’re not sure what you want, here’s founder Valerie’s recommendations for the summer.
1. Relief balm and Relief massage oil for sports injuries.
2. Refresh mist for cooling down.
3. Detox mist for jet lag. (Hello! Right on time.)
4. And of course, SLEEP for a good night’s rest.
She also suggests putting any of the mists in the fridge during the hot summer months to add a cooling effect to the experience. Good call, and happy misting. X
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.