Are you freezing, too? Kate’s description of the weather makes our teeth chatter, but this green beauty’s routine will warm you up in no time.
Name: Kate
Age: 34
City: Omaha
Current Weather: Bitterly, bitterly cold (I’m traumatized, my dog’s traumatized…we’re all traumatized here.)
Skin: First and foremost, it’s dry and pale. We’re talking desiccated. My skin can also be sensitive (I have allergies). Every once in a blue moon, I’ll get a hormonal breakout but that’s pretty rare.
Hair: Wavy, medium dark brown hair in a pixie cut. I color it about every 6-8 weeks (with a mix of henna and indigo) to keep the silver at bay. My hair is straight from my grandmother who started going silver at 17 – I was lucky enough to wait until I was 26 but I haven’t gotten brave enough to embrace it yet!
Star: I’m going to go with Myrna Loy – I love how quietly sardonic she was.
Quick note: I travel about one week every month for work, I’m on a budget, and I’m a vegetarian with vegan leanings (i.e. I won’t use carmine but if you are an ethical beekeeper, I’ll trust your beeswax or honey). All of those facts drive my beauty choices. I’m a sucker for design aesthetics and I’ve never met a parenthetical that I didn’t love.
First thing…
I swim or practice yoga everyday. I have rheumatoid arthritis so I have to choose workout routines pretty carefully. I also walk my dog between 1/2 mile and 1 mile in the morning (depending on the bitter, bitter cold) so with all that activity, I’ve usually had 3 glasses of water before I hop in the shower. I can really see the toll it takes on my skin when I don’t get enough fluid intake.
In the shower…
I need to exfoliate just about everyday in order to make the most of my facial moisturizer but I need to be careful about product or I’ll get a rash. My two favorites are Marble and Milkweed Rose & Chamomile Cleansing Grains or Chagrin Valley Co. Adzuki Micrograin Facial Scrub. These are both dry powders (don’t have to pack another liquid!) that I can customize with water, yogurt, honey, oil, etc. depending on what my skin needs. I try to minimize my dependence on palm oil (sad face for deforestation) and plastic packaging so I use body soaps from Moksa Organics, Meow Meow Tweet, and Freedom Soap Company. I really love any and all citrus, lavender or oatmeal soaps from any of these guys. I shave with avocado oil and shampoo with Acure Organics (the one with argan oil). I don’t typically need conditioner with the pixie cut but I do deep condition once a week with the avocado oil to ameliorate the effects of all that chlorine. I also reserve shampooing for days I swim and just scrub with water on the days I practice yoga. Once I cut the water off, I use the same avocado oil from forehead to toes as a base moisturizer.
Outside the shower…
Imoisturize my face with Keys Tortuga lotion, comb through my hair and I use a deodorant crystal. I often get angry rashes with the deodorants that use baking soda so I’ve just resigned myself to the crystal (which honestly works really well for me). I then use a wet muslin washcloth to exfoliate my face on top of the moisturizer (I know this sounds crazy but just go with it – it works for my weird skin) and reapply another layer of the Keys Tortuga lotion on top. My body gets an application of Acure Organics unscented lotionor Ellovi body butter (wherever it feels dry – my body isn’t as crazy as my face is and it’s already had a layer of avocado oil). I use this really great pomade from The October Union (smells like rosemary & lime and it uses clay to keep it all pretty matte) to keep my wavy hair in place while it dries – no crunchiness and it’s not another liquid for me to pack! Last but not least, my face gets ANOTHER layer of moisture (think good thoughts for me, friends – I need them) with Chagrin Valley Co. Butter Me Up (technically a body balm and seriously awesome). This sounds like a ton but it’s very few products and I promise it doesn’t take much time at all — it’s just about multiple hydrating layers for me.

Dentally, I take care of business with a Preserve toothbrush and tongue scraper and I use Jason Powersmile (sans flouride). I’m still trying to find better floss. I use those individual flossers right now because my RA-riddled fingers can’t handle real floss and I feel super guilty about the plastic. Any ideas?

A note about sunscreen: Sigh. I’m the person who zealously applied sunscreen every single day of my life and then — when I made the switch to clean — tarted using physical blocks. Yet for some reason, zinc, titanium, and I don’t seem to get along. When I use a physical block, it seems to dry out my skin even further. So now (at least for minimal daily sun), I try to make sure that everything I use (butters, oils, etc.) has some limited sun protection and I reserve the big guns (Badger’s baby sunscreen) for the beach, hikes, games, etc. Not the perfect solution so if anyone has ideas, I’m all ears!

Cosmetics and finishing touches…

I don’t use too much here. I used to love, love, love eye shadow but I have hooded eyes and so primer was a must and I haven’t found a good clean one so I’ve gone off of it entirely. I now just use a bit of blush (so pale that people ask me if I’m ill if I don’t have on blush). I really like RMS Lip Shine in Sacred for blush – it’s more moisturizing than the Lip2Cheek and this shade acts almost like a blush stain. It’s also economical — it’s so neon bright that if I lightly press my finger on top, it’s more than enough for both cheeks. I use a bit of RMS Living Luminizer on my eyelids and under my eyes/tops of cheekbones. I always curl my eyelashes and use ZuZu Luxe eyebrow pencil in Russet. I often skip mascara because I haven’t found a good clean one but when I use it, I go with a dirty waterproof one (but I only use a brand that does not test on animals or use animal ingredients). I like Ilia’s lippies: Bang Bang, Arabian Knights, and Heart Beat. I also like Intelligent Nutrients gloss in Pink Hibiscus and Osmia Organics Luster lip gloss. I’m psyched to try her other colors! Perfume-wise, I use Jasminas by Intelligent Nutrients or Blu Moon from The October Union. I love nail color so I use 5 free, vegan polishes that don’t test on animals (I likeZoya or RGB – lots of the other ones may test on animals, use carmine in their red polishes, or just be less than ideal chipperiffic polishes). That’s it for me!

Stay warm out there, Kate! We love your routine and your layering technique!

Say hello to Jinna! Her routine includes some incredible goodies, but she relies first and foremost on a clean diet for glowing skin. Enjoy!

Name: Jinna

Age: 31

City: Los Angeles, CA

Current Weather: Sunny and dry, with a slight fall chill in the air

Skin: Combination, though my skin has stayed clear and glowing since I cut out dairy and meat from my diet (with the exception of 2-3 “treat’ meals per week). Starting to notice crows feet creeping up though!

Hair: black, long, straight, and fine

Favorite star from past: Jane Birkin. Love her effortless, natural look and Parisian chic.

I am a natural product skincare and makeup junkie and after years of rotating products I have found, for the most part, what consistently works for me (though I can’t resist trying a few new products here and there!)

In the shower…

I dry brush for 2-3 minutes (or even less if I’m in a rush!) before jumping in the shower. Before, I used to swear by dry shampoo and washing my hair every other day, but have since realized that my fine hair gets too oily, especially because I work out every day. I have yet to find a shampoo and conditioner that I’m in love with, and I’ve tried them all: Yarok, Phylia de M., John Masters Organics, Rahua, etc. I’m currently rotating between Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Burdock and Neem Healthy Scalp shampoo.  Both work fine for now, but I will definitely be on the lookout for something new once I use these up. Three times a week I do a pre ‘poo treatment of coconut or jojoba oil for 1 hour before shampooing out. I find that since I wash my hair daily, it does a good job of keeping it from getting too dry. On the days I don’t do the oil treatment, I rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar in the shower after shampooing and before conditioning. I’ve found that both have improved the overall health of my scalp and hair. For body wash, I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille soap, which multitasks as hand soap and puppy shampoo!  While my skin is slightly damp, I moisturize all over with One Love Organics Scented Body Serum in Lavender.

Outside the shower…

After brushing my teeth, I oil pull with a spoonful of coconut oil for about 10 minutes. I’ve read that the recommended time is 20 minutes, but I just can’t bring myself to do it for that long! While I’m swishing, I exfoliate my face every other morning with Tatcha Polishing Powder in Classic, though I have May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt waiting as soon as I finish the Tatcha. On the mornings I don’t exfoliate I wipe my face with S.W. Basics cleanser and finish with a splash of cold water. Next, I dab a few drops of Intelligent Nutrients Spot Treatment over my face. After that’s dried, I use One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin C serum. This is a recent discovery and I absolutely love it. It makes my skin look dewy and glowing while keeping it moisturized. Since the weather has gotten much drier and as previously mentioned, I’ve started noticing unwanted wrinkles, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase 37 Extreme Actives cream. Yes it is obscenely expensive, which is why I use it only under my eyes and mouth, but as my mother always said, don’t feel too guilty about splurging on food or skincare since you will get a return on your investment. I haven’t been using it long enough to decide if it’s worth the price but so far, I love the feel of the cream on my skin and how hydrated it feels afterward. If I’m noticing my skin getting a little oily, I swipe Arcona’s Tabula Rasa pad over the area, which pretty much stops any pimples from forming.


I started using 100% Pure full coverage foundation (thanks for this website’s recommendation!) and I also love it. It’s the only product that provides sun protection and coverage without irritating my sensitive skin. If I’m especially tired that day, I will also use RMS “Un” Cover-Up under my eyes. I rotate among many blushes: Kjaer Weis in Sun Touched, Vapour in Spark, RMS in Modest, and Revolution Organics in Blushed, just to name a few. So far, my favorite is the Revolution Organics, as it leaves a nice pink flush to my cheeks. For eyeliner, I use an eyeliner brush and The All Natural Face’s Vegan Gel Pot in Black. I LOVE this product, as it’s the only eyeliner that doesn’t smudge and give me raccoon eyes. Once that’s dry, if I’m feeling fancy, I use either RMS in Solar or Magnetic on my lids. For mascara, I use (not in love with this and will be looking for alternatives once it runs out).  For lips, I absolutely love Ilia and have 4 colors: Bang Bang, In My Room, Perfect Day, and Arabian Knights. All the colors are so different and equally great, but the only one I carry in my purse is Bang Bang.  I set everything with RMS “Un” Powder and then swipe some RMS Living Luminizer (can you guess what my favorite makeup brand is?) on my brow bone, nose bridge, and cheeks. I also spritz my face with a spray before leaving. Right now, I’m using John Master Organics Bearberry Skin Balancing Toning Mist, but I have One Love Organics Vitamin D mist on standby once that’s used up.

Whew!  I know it looks long, but by now I’ve got it down to a quick science.  Coupled with a plant-based diet, I have seen such an improvement in the overall tone and texture of my skin. Thanks for letting me share!

Meet Ruby! Her skincare and hair routine is clean, but her makeup routine is… not so clean. We love her honesty, and we can all identify with her transition to clean products. That said, Ruby has some recommendations for clean products we’ve never even heard of! Go Girl!

Name: Ruby

Age: 21 as of October

Current weather: The cooler evenings of fall are approaching, along with what will soon be weeks of rainy winter in British Columbia!

Hair: Thick, wavy, oily

Skin: Fair, oily and blemish-prone; my pale complexion lends itself to some sensitivity and mild redness as well.

Favorite star from the past: Not necessarily a personal favorite, however, my mom says I can resemble a young Julie Christie and she’s a babe, so you won’t hear me arguing.

In the shower…

I wash my hair as infrequently as possible in a desperate attempt to get my scalp to regulate the amount of oil it produces—yet tragically, after over a year of doing so, I still cannot manage to do it less than twice a week. (And I’m still in the sad hair boat of having it fall almost completely limp the day after) I’m currently using up the last bit of my Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic duo, the minty scent is quite unisex, and the conditioner is absolutely divine—so luxurious in texture and moisturizing ability. After reading the most recent review on here for Rahua’s Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner, I ordered some samples from Spirit Beauty Lounge, and suspect it will be finding its way into my shower in the near future.

Every Saturday night, I apply coconut oil from mid-shaft down, twist in a braid, and sleep on a towel. After a double hair cleanse and a massage of conditioner into my ends the following morning, I grab a bar of natural soap and do a quick swipe over my pits and bits. I’ve been debating between opting for the body wash route or trying yet another brand of soap; does anyone else get that squeaky clean feeling? I’ve tried half a dozen different clean bars (Moksa, various Etsy retailers) and can’t seem to escape it. Not to mention scent selection! Maybe I want to lather myself up in jasmine instead of vetiver and patchouli… I’m far too lazy to apply body lotion outside of the shower, so if my skin feels like it’s getting on the drier side—I’ll just slather it in coconut oil before my final rinse. I also like to mix it with some form of grit (coarse salt, sugar, SNAP anyone?) whenever I want to scrub, it kills two birds with one stone and eliminates that itchy post-exfoliation sensation that I get.

Out of the shower…

I have forced myself to only splash my face with water in the morning; my skin doesn’t appear to be any worse off and it saves my cleanser! I do several mists of Evan Healy’s Lemon Thyme Hydrosol (I have decided to try Immortelle, however, after reading Kim’s experience) and follow with Jurlique’s Calendula Cream (I’ve re-purchased this over five times which is INCREDIBLE when you consider I am a complete and utter product junkie and am always hunting for that next best product). I’m fairly lucky when it comes to my hair in that it can air-dry, without product, into soft waves. (Which is darn lucky because if it didn’t, I would endure endless bad hair days since I’m inept in that department—there are three styles in my world: down, ponytail, and sock bun.) If any frizz does arise, I can usually quell it with the help of a boar bristle brush. (I just broke down and purchased a $100+ Mason Pearson brush and lemme tell you, ignore the seemingly endless blog posts that tell you it’s worth it, because it’s not.) My Nourish deodorant has run out and I’m waiting on my Living Libations order to come through and simultaneously hoping that I like it but also hoping that I won’t … over $55 after shipping for 5 ml of the stuff! The former was good but not great, I loved the femininity of the Almond + Vanilla scent but found it would take religious re-application. I tried Miessence prior to that and after developing a red rash on my underarms, realized that I have a sensitivity to baking soda!

My current night routine is in a bit of an upset at the moment; I ran out of Blissoma’s Mild Rice Cleanser, which was treating my skin pretty nicely, especially the congestion my forehead would experience. Despite this, it’s only natural that I would try a *different* cleanser because as all fellow product junkies know, what if something worked even better? I temporarily returned to the last remaining dribbles of Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser (I didn’t love this as much as I hoped, too foamy, but your face indeed feels like marble afterwards) and now begins my foray into samples. My first was the Sevani Ageless Radiance Refining AHA Cleanser, which smells deliciously of citrus but was also possible for what may have been my worst breakout in months. I still can’t pin down if it was this product that caused such an upset as there’s nothing I can outright blame in the ingredient list, however, I’m also not itching to give it a second try anytime soon.

I’ve switched to a sample pot of Kahina’s Facial Cleanser and can’t find a single thing that I dislike! It possesses a lovely lotiony texture, removes makeup with ease, and doesn’t appear to be aggravating my acne-prone skin. I’m waiting for a sample of Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser and then I’ll make the final cleanser call. (I’ve heard amazing things about Aurelia’s muslin clothes, so even if the product itself doesn’t work for me, I’ll probably end up grabbing a package of those—they have a set for Monday through Sunday, how cute is that?!) I bought Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Soothing Gel a while back but it seems to have abruptly stopped doing anything for my face so now I apply ISUN’s Clarifying Serum most nights (if you haven’t tried this product and have a similar skintype to mine, DO SO, it helps to regulate sebum production and gently eases breakouts). I was hesitant about buying it at first considering there are virtually no online reviews but after loving the ingredient list and now on my second bottle, this seems to be an item that will be on my permanent regime. Every few nights I’ll use Arcona’s The Solution, which helps with any hyper pigmentation from leftover acne scars and helps give my pores that “refined” look. Whew, still with me?

Finishing touches…

Here is where it gets dirty; being fair-skinned with cool undertones means that I *never* have an even complexion without the aid of base makeup. There will always be a bit of redness everywhere—around the nose, lower cheeks, chin—you get it. This is the primary reason why I wear foundation. Every. Day. It’s horrible, I know and it’s not even *that* bad but I don’t feel confident without it. If I could only own one cosmetic item, it would be Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation. It disguises redness exceptionally well, doesn’t slide off my face by the end of the day, and is easy to sheer out to lighter coverage when I use my beloved BeautyBlender sponge. I want to give RMS Uncover Up a solid try but the beeswax in it makes me nervous to use it on my whole face. I think that a non-clean foundation will be the hardest product for me to let go of in my beauty routine—even though I prefer the satin/dewy finish that comes with a lot of the natural ones, I want the staying power that comes with chemicals. *sigh*

I use a combination of Giorgio Armani’s High Precision Retouch with Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage for under eye darkness and then on any blemishes I mix the latter with some of the amazing MUFE Full Cover Concealer. I use Jane Iredale’s PurePressed Base to top it off with some MUFE HD Powder in my oilier areas. I’m still navigating the territory of blush—with natural rosy cheeks, I’m nervous about applying anything that could exacerbate this. I just tried a sample of “Spark” from Vapour and I’m waiting on a tester of “Modest” and “Smile” from RMS. Any other peachy-shade-of blush recommendations? For eye makeup, I pop some of RMS’ Living Luminizer along my brow bone and inner eye corner. I have decided that in the realm of eyeshadows, I could solely use UD’s Naked Palette and be happy (I just discovered that Silk Naturals has a dupe for the entire Naked 2 Palette, so be proud because I will be switching to that eventually!). I’m a big fan of the cat eye which I achieve with Bobbi Brown’s Gel Eyeliner and then finish it with a coat of Josie Maran’s mascara after a thorough curl with my shu uemura. And that’s pretty much it! I don’t tend to wear anything on my lips but lip balm unless I’m doing something dramatic in which case I love Aveda’s Rare Orchid or the dreaded Russian Red from MAC

Everything is a process—I could be doing better but I could also be doing a lot worse. I’m confident that in the coming years, my entire beauty routine will be squeaky clean!

It’s true, Ruby. Everything is a process. Keep it up! We bet our readers will have some fun clean makeup recommendations for you, too.

Is there anything more exciting than discovering a new product you love?

The other day Siobhan, Susannah and I were talking about this electrifying process and we came to the conclusion that NMDL basically lives and breathes on discovering new brands and products. Even if we also like to write about random stuff like why meditation is going to make you a better person, and how chia seeds absolutely can go in your coffee…  At the end of the day product recommendations are the bones of what we do.

Which is great because since writing the book the natch beauty biz has been BOOMING. I have more boxes sitting in my entrance than I know what to do with. It drives my husband up a wall, but I don’t even like opening them if I’m not ready to: smell, read ingredients, and decide if the product is worth of trying. Many don’t even make it past the nose test!

When I think about it, it’s actually kind of wild how many of our staples are still from the original tribe (you know, RMS, Kahina, Intelligent Nutrients…) There’s a special voodoo to creating the perfect product, something like creating the perfect dish—and it’s just not everyone who can cook. (Bless your hearts for trying, though.) Don’t even get us started on packaging.

Not that we haven’t made new incredible discoveries since then. I mean, Studio 78, Ilia, Acure, Marie Veronique Organics, and May Lindstrom (the last, PS, is cooking up a new product right now that you guys are gonna lose your freaking minds over).

But who else is out there, that we just don’t know about yet? Where’s the next Rosemarie Swift, making magic in her kitchen, or already selling her product overseas… We must find her!

That’s where you come in. So, two questions:

1. Other than popping by here, what’s your product discovery process?Friends, other blogs, a store in your city?

2. What products have you found and love—in any category—that we just aren’t talking about here? We take a lot of joy in introducing smaller brands to more folks, so don’t keep secrets.

Or maybe, gasp, you are making your own beauty products? Tell us about them, or email us and send some samples through…

I promise the boxes always get opened eventually! x

Meet Caitie, a natural beauty blogger who shares our passion for great clean products!

Name: Caitie

Age: 25

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.

Finishing Touches…

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!