Meet Elizabeth and her parakeets, Blanche and Spencer. For such a young gal, she sounds like she’s got a lot figured out. Unsolved mysteries? A deodorant that works (that she’s not allergic to), and a concealer that truly conceals dark circles. The floor is yours for recommendations, friends.
Current weather: You know, 70 degrees one day and snowing the next….Pure Michigan.
Hair: Chest length, Asian
Skin: Medium with almost no breakouts, dark circles
Favorite star or icon from the past: I’m not really into celebrities but here’s a picture of my beloved parakeets Blanche and Spencer.
In the shower…
After slathering my face in raw Michigan honey, I step into the shower. I wash my hair with Giovanni Root 66 Max Volume shampoo, which I buy in a huge liter pump bottle at my local TJ Maxx for super cheap and it lasts me about 9 months. I wash my underarms, bits, and feet with 100% Pure’s Meyer Lemon Butter Soap. Rinse. Then I stand in the shower for a minute and gently squeeze the excess water out of my hair.
Outside the shower…
I instantly put Alba Botanica’s Original Unscented Lotion on my face and body after toweling off. Then I make a side part in my hair and brush my teeth with Burt’s Bees Whitening Fluoride-free Toothpaste. If I’m in a rush, I blow dry my hair; on leisurely days, I let my hair air dry as I sloth around the house. If my husband is still sleeping, I usually get back in bed and cuddle him for a few minutes. Then I drink a glass of water or make matcha green tea.
Makeup-wise, I focus on concealing my dark circles, defining my lips with a little color, and contouring my cheeks.
I’ve been looking for a magical concealer to make my dark circles disappear and I’m pretty it doesn’t exist. Among the ones I’ve tried, Mineral Fusion performs the best for me. It’s probably that I need to get to the source of my dark circles – allergies and lifestyle.
I line my lips with 100% Pure’s Perfect Naked Pink lip pencil which is a “my lips but better” natural pink shade for me. Then I apply cocoa powder with an EcoTools Blush Brush to contour my cheekbones. I tend to not wear mascara but when I do it’s 100% Pure Black Tea Mascara or geoGIRL Featherlash Mascara in Grey. I appreciate 100% Pure’s great ingredients and blueberry scent but it flakes and smudges on me while geoGIRL’s is cheap, available at my local grocery, largely smudge-proof, and extremely natural looking even though the ingredients aren’t quite so clean.
The air is now pretty dry so I spritz my hair with a mixture of aloe juice and Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat conditioner to keep static at bay. On special occasions, I dab on a few drops of Intelligent Nutrients’ 100% Pure Sambac Jasmine Absolute which I use sparingly from a sample vial. Oh, and I’m searching for an effective deodorant. Lavanila mysteriously stopped working on me after about a month of happy usage and I had an allergic reaction to Soapwalla. Right now I’m using a crystal deodorant, which is just okay.
I wash my face with warm water and a washcloth, making sure to avoid my forehead since unnecessary exfoliation causes skin to overproduce oil and be plasticy-shiny. Then I put on more raw honey, brush my teeth, rinse off the honey, and put on a light layer of the Alba Botanica lotion. Lastly, I apply Petite Threla’s Jasmine Lip Balm which smells like pure luxury!
Good morning everybody–meet Alex! She tries to steer clear of perfumes, and is a pro with body oils. Right now she’s diggin’ the Yes To line, but she’s also interested in finding other brands, too. Her routine is no-fuss, but fun. Read on!
Name: Alex (la feminine)
Current weather: Unseasonably warm and sunny
Hair: Shoulder length and choppy, contains some lingering blue-green tones from last fall’s impulsive Manic Panic dye job, but otherwise dark brown.
Skin: Not too bad- forehead & nose tend to be slightly on the oily, break-out-y side, cheeks tend to be dry. I get those annoying zitty-things on my upper arms, but my feet/legs/hands tend to be dry.
Favorite star or icon from the past: Louise Brooks- I haven’t actually ever seen her movies, but I love her style.
In the shower…
I usually shower about midday, but I work at home so it’s really “whenever I feel like it.” I start with Giovanni shampoo (which one varies, I like to mix it up) and either Giovanni or YesTo Carrots conditioner. Sometimes I do it backwards, for a change of pace (but I can’t say I’ve noticed a real difference.) I like both brands because they work very much like conventional brands while still being pretty clean- Giovanni even smells delicious without making my head spin (I can’t really tolerate most smells.) YesTo still has a bit of fragrance but it’s so mild I don’t notice it (their shampoo has sulfates though, so watch out for that.) I later up everywhere with a soft natural sponge and Dr. Bronners (I like Eucalyptus, it really clears the sinuses…but I’ve been trying the other varieties too, lately.) For shaving, I use Alba Botanica’s Unscented Very Emollient Cream Shave. Most days I just rinse my face off in the warm water, but every few days (or if I’m broken out or feeling grimy) I use Evan Healy’s Rose Cleansing Milk. Finish off with a pumice stone to the heels.
Outside the shower…
If I used the Cleansing Milk, I skip right to the moisturizing, otherwise I use a little Kiss My Face Antioxidant Toner (I also use it on those little arm bumpies, or sometimes Witch Hazel.) If I’m going to be outside much that day, I use YesTo Blueberries Age Refresh Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 (it’s made for older folks, but it was the only variety with no artificial fragrance- unfortunately it doesn’t absorb very well, probably because of the physical sunscreens. I will probably try another brand when this runs out.) If I’m not going to be outside much, I use Acure Chamomile + Carrot Day Cream, which is great. The rest of my routine is a little greasy, so I save it for nighttime: my all-over body oil is a homemade concoction that is about two thirds grapeseed oil, one third jojoba oil, and a dash of argan oil (grapeseed and argan are Aura Cacia, jojoba is Desert Essence.) About every other night I use pure argan oil on my face and sometimes my arms in hopes of cheering up the pores and stopping breakouts, though to be honest I haven’t noticed it being much better than my body-oil concoction (and it’s expensive and stinky) so once it runs out I might try something else. Immediately before bed, my feet and hands get shea buttered (either pure, or Nubian Heritage with Goat’s Milk and Chai.) I wash my hands a lot so throughout the day I use Weleda Skin Food on them periodically- it’s a little pricy but pretty amazing.
I wear make up very, very (like, VERY) rarely, so I haven’t switched all of it over to clean brands yet. The only things I use regularly are Gabriel Color concealor and YesTo Carrots Berry lip butter. I’ve been sort of moving away from the YesTo products but I do love this stuff- it’s mostly coconut oil and it works (and smells and tastes) great. The only “perfume” I can tolerate is a little bit of vanilla mixed with jojoba oil. I haven’t found a clean deodorant that satisfies my intense desire not to sweat yet, so I’m still using an unscented conventional super-toxic brand :-( If I’m just staying at home all day, though, I’ll often skip it. I jumped on the nailpolish bandwagon last summer and have amassed quite a collection- I usually go for Zoya or OPI or another 3 (or 4)-free brand, though even then I have to paint ‘em outside because of the reek. I use Bee Naturals cuticle and nail oil to keep them from drying out. No hair products, I’m a wash & go kind of gal (on the rare occasion that I color it, I try to veer towards the less damaging semi-permanent conditioner-based stuff. Unfortunately it’s really hard to find natural colors. Henna & indigo may be in my future.)
Anybody else thinking henna this summer?
A little over a year ago we did a very amusing interview with a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The story never saw the light of day (hey, these things happen all the time in publishing), but the exercise was super fun. His idea: Take the clean girls to Walgreens and send them loose in the aisles to find clean alternatives to common products like Nivea body lotion, Secret deodorant, Pantene conditioner, Tressemme shampoo, Neutrogena face wash—you know, the stuff everyone uses, every day.
This was our first big newspaper interview, and we were pretty caffeinated, and I’d just landed in L.A., and we’d just gotten an email that the TIME article about our book was out, and we were together, and and and—you get the picture. It was such a great day!
But as we wandered the aisles, we were shocked at the dearth of truly natural products. (Maybe that’s why the article didn’t work?) There was garbage in every green-leaf-adorned bottle and tube, to the point where I remember feeling kind of bad for the writer. “Is this one bad too?” he’d ask.
“Uhh, ahhh, I mean… Sorry!”
At one point I picked up a bar of Dove soap that I’d used on and off years ago. It had green tea and cucumber in the name and there was a green leaf the box, so I flipped it over and read the ingredients for what was, I’m pretty sure, the first time. Here they are:
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate , Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.
Heh. No cukes, no tea. Nevermind that cucumber and tea don’t make a ton of sense in a bar of soap anyway—it sort of became a symbol in my head of how much we’d learned, and how little we knew before, without even knowing we didn’t know it.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a major pharmacy for anything other than bandaids, so I thought it would be instructive to explore again. I hit a Walgreens, a Duane Reade and a CVS. Here’s what I found.
I was especially surprised to see a lot of Lavera products, including the sunless tanner Alexandra loves and the sunscreen I lived by last summer. I saw Dr. Bronner’s, a brand that continues to expand in a way I find inspiring (let this be a model for more mainstream expansions, yes?). There was a great selection of the Yes To line, which isn’t as clean as we like, but at the price point and availability, OK in a pinch. There was some Alba, Giovanni and Aubrey (the gateway-brand triumvirate, also better than many in a pinch) and—gasp—100% Pure! They had my sunscreen! I also saw Natracare organic cotton tampons for less than at my health food store, Organic Wear, tons of three-free nail polishes—and each of the three stores had almost all of these on offer.
Bottom line: There was a lot to choose from, and it wasn’t half bad.
So it got me wondering: What, if anything, do YOU buy at the drugstore? Anything? And have you seen any of our beloved lines expanding to major retailers? Share, share.
Our inbox is already flooding with pictures of fuss-free summer hair in all its glory—and we’re expecting many more thanks to this post on Jezebel (you know, only one of our favorite websites ever—thanks, Sadie!).
However, if you’re stumped—as some ladies appear to be—on what natural products to use for the challenge, here are a few that we like: There are many more in the book but John Masters and Intelligent Nutrients are fancy favorites available at many Whole Foods locations as well as online at sites like Spirit Beauty Lounge and ABC, and Aubrey Organics and Giovanni are two clean and affordable brands you can easily find at your local drug or health food store. So, no more excuses!
Anyone have any other natural favorites to share?
One special note: Some people find that their hair takes a few days to adjust to the less-foamy natural shampoos. Take our word and give it a minute—you have a week to send in your photo!