Young Lisette needs our help!
While we talk a lot about natural curls on this site, for obvious reasons we haven’t gotten into the specifics around African-American hair. So it’s time for our readers to step in here and talk about what you’ve tried.
That said, Lisette, here are three brands we think are worth testing out. All three smell good, and are super hydrating for thick/coarse/curly hair.
1. Andalou: We haven’t tried their shampoos, but the conditioners and the styling cream are great.
3. Intelligent Nutrients: And old favorite, the leave-in conditioner and volumizing spray are two great styling product for thick and/or curly hair. (Smell might take getting used to but it grows on you!)
What products would you recommend Lisette try?
Here’s her note.
My name is Lisette and I am an avid reader of your blog. I have learned so much from other readers input and have come to view your site as a resource for many of my clean questions. Ever since I learned about the types of chemicals that the beauty industry puts into our products I have been on a clean crusade. So here is my question. What products would you or your readers recommend for someone with ethnic hair.
I am a 19-year-old African American woman and I have thick natural hair. As much as I love clean products the one area that I have been struggling in is hair care. It has been so hard to find a shampoo and conditioner that works for my type of hair texture. I have being trying products left and right and I find that the ones that work decently smell terrible and the ones that do smell good don’t really work. I am desperately trying to find a set that not only smells decent but also works well. Price really isn’t an issue at this point because I am willing to try anything (I am that desperate).
Right now I wouldn’ say that I am at the point of giving up but if I can’t find something I fear I might have to resort back to conventional hair care products until this area develops for people with my type of hair.
I know that you guys have tons of expertise in the area and would really really appreciate any recommendations you or your readers could give to me.
Don’t give up! Natural products (and less frequent washing) can be a real boon for curls.
The above image is from this awesome photo series called The Coiffure Project.
Current weather: humid, rainy but also sunny
Hair: lots of it…wavy, frizzy, and thick, thick, thick. Blow-drying is a nightmare in terms of time. Lately my hair seems to get greasy frequently, so I’m having to wash it daily, though I prefer washing every two days.
Skin: I’m super pale (think the color of skim milk) with sensitive skin. Seriously, anything and everything makes my skin get irritated, red, and itchy. My skin problems have dramatically improved in the last year & a half since I read NMDL and changed my routines. I used to get giant cysts on my chin and lots of zits elsewhere. Now, it’s pretty clear.
Favorite star or icon from the past: Ingrid Bergman (my husband is from Sweden)
In the shower…
I wash my face with Simply Divine Botanicals Black Velvet cleaner.
I soap up with Dr. Bronners soap.
I shampoo and condition with Intelligent Nutrients shampoo and conditioner, but I can’t afford to keep that habit up. I’m about to try the 100% Pure hair products—has anyone tried it?
Outside the shower…
I spray my face with Simply Divine Botanicals (SDB) Gypsy Rose Toner (smells kind of gross—vinegar-ish) and then use SDB Amazing Face moisturizer and the SDB Skincredible Sandalwood Revitalizing Elixir.
I put in my hair Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel or Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn Leave-in Conditioner and Curl Activator, depending on whether I’m blowing it dry or letting it air dry. It’s still a tad bit frizzy, though.
I put organic rose oil on my legs for moisture.
I’m currently using LaVanila deodorant, but it’s a bit pricey, so I’m going to try some of the previous NMDL suggestions next time I need to buy it. I like the Soapwalla deodorant, but I dislike touching the product (would prefer a stick version).
I have been using Alba Natural Botanical Very Emollient sunscreen, which has been good—not too greasy, absorbs well. Next time I need to buy more, I am going to try Supergoop.
Ah, make-up…I love it so! I use Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals foundation. I use Jane Iredale Eye Steppes eyeshadow (I tried RMS eyeshadows, but they were gone within moments. I must have oily eyelids?). I use the All Natural Face Vegan Gel Eyeliner in That Black. The BEST mascara I have ever used in my life (thickening, lengthening, long-lasting, lovely…) is Coastal Classic Creations (recommended by the EWG’s Skin Deep database for its low hazard rating). It’s expensive, but it is so perfect. I put Combat Ready Balm on my lips to soften them, and then I use Coastal Classic Creations lipstick in Wetlands. I have the world’s most sensitive lips; they blow up into huge painful blobs with depressing regularity whenever they enter the sun or touch spicy food or bland food or anything, really. The Combat Ready Balm calms them down quickly, so I buy it in bulk and keep it everywhere. The Coastal Classic Creations lipstick stays on for a long time and looks good, but I don’t like applying the product with my fingers (similar to the Soapwalla issue), so I probably won’t buy that again.
Last, I spray my Essence of Vali Uplift Mood Spray (I teach high school, so I need to be positive) and Essence of Vali Parfume.
It’s been well over a year since we started the morning routine series. They began on a “really hot, muggy, humid, generally gross” August morning in 2011, because we thought it would be fun to share with all of you the products that we use every day before we leave the house. Now, you guys send us yours, and they’re consistently inspiring to this vibrant community of natural beauty lovers, am I right?
Since it’s December 2012, and my life, as well as my routine, has changed, I thought I’d give it another go. I’m a Scorpio, which, among other things, means I’m fiercely loyal and I like what I like. It’s fun, looking back, to see which products I’m still using. Still, some were traded out for products I like even better. (Warning: This post is long, because it’s doubling as a gang of new product reviews. You might want to skim—or grab a snack.)
Current weather: It’s been a mild, climate-changey winter so far, with some rare chillier days.
Hair: Blonde, long, wavy when air dried.
Skin: Irish. Which is to say, reactive, sensitive, pale, a little freckly, and pale. Did I mention pale? Oh, and reactive.
In the shower…
Most days, I shower rather speedily. Since I don’t typically wash my face in the morning, my shower routine is pretty straightforward: I dry brush before I get in the shower, then I wash my hair. My new go-tos are Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe shampoo and conditioner. I’ve run out and repurchased them several times because they leave my hair super shiny, manageable and smelling great. I don’t have overly dry hair but I live in fear of it, and these two products give just the right amount of moisture, without feeling greasy. A couple of times a week, I swap out IN for the Seaweed Bath Company’s argan oil conditioner. It has wax pretty high up on the ingredient list, and I find it reliable on days when I want my hair to hold a style.
If I wash my face, I use Kahina’s or Marie Veronique Organics’ (new obsession—I love the whole line), which is slippery and cleansing without being overly drying. If I’m too lazy to make my own body scrub, which is most days, I use a squeaky-clean new one by the Brooklyn-based Metropolis Soap Company in honeysuckle and violet. My new go-to bar cleanser is the Activated Charcoal Soap by Soapwalla. It’s technically a face wash but I’ve been using it on my body. It contains activated charcoal and tea tree oil, and it’s also made in Brooklyn, which is neither here nor there, but kind of neat.
If I’m feeling under the weather or if I’m showering before bed, I massage my chest with Hope Gillerman’s Travel Remedy. The essential oils support immunity, promote restful sleep and make my tiny apartment smell like a spa. Which is nice.
Outside the shower…
Very few things I hate more than applying moisturizer on my body, but I do it almost every day. These days I alternate between Weleda’s New Rose Pampering Body Lotion (I love this stuff) and Vered’s Muscle Soothing Massage and Body Oil, which has been especially helpful since I bit it on the subway stairs the other night, had to get stitches, and seriously bruised up both my calves. (Pro tip: Don’t fall in the subway. It hurts.)
Once this tiresome step is done, I apply Soapwalla Deodorant, spray my face with either Kahina’s Toning Mist or Marie-Veronique Organic’s Anti-Aging Mist, and rub in a touch of Kahina’s Brightening Serum. Sometimes, I apply a dab of Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm, which I still swear by for night. If I look tired, I apply a Rejuvenating Eye Cream by Amala. It’s cocoa bean-based, which helps constrict blood vessels to reduce puffiness, and works almost as if by miracle to eliminate undereye bags. (Before bed it’s still La Bella Figura.)
Next, I apply Suntegrity Sunscreen, which got the #1 rating from the EWG this year for lotions with SPF. Who wants to shoot me first? Because the stuff contains (mineral-based) dimethicone. I have decided I can deal with it in this product because the ingredient deck is otherwise very clean, and because it’s the most effective, versatile and cosmetically appealing sunscreen I have ever tried. And I have tried many. It works kind of like a BB cream. I’ve finally found one I want to use every day, and this is it. You’re welcome? I’m sorry? Whatever? I love this product.
If I have meetings, which I usually do, I will follow with Suki Tinted Active Face Moisturizer in Porcelain, for an overall evening-out effect. I’ll set that with Laura Mercier loose minerals in Sand, line my eyes with Bare Minerals’ (unfortunately very messy) loose eyeliner in black, applied with a stiff damp brush. I keep my face simple for day, so that means I might swipe some RMS Beauty lip2cheek in Smile on cheeks and lips or some W3LL People Universalist in the peachy color, and dab on some Living Luminizer. I also love Ilia in a bunch of different colors. If I feel like a very bold lip, I’m probably cheating with non-naturals from Bite or Chanel.
For mascara, it’s either 100% Pure or the new thick-as-hell “Fake Out” one from Organic Wear (the pink tube) or both. Some days, I fill in my super-pale eyebrows with NVey Eco Eye Shadow Palette in No. 3. It’s not meant for brows, but it works. If I’m really going for it, I apply a touch of color to my lids, too. Makeup tends to scream on my face, though, so I use a light touch.
Finally, my perfumes of choice are still Lotus Wei Infinite Love or Tata Harper Irritability Treatment (as a perfume), or both!
Couple things, before I go: First, I don’t always follow all these steps. Second, I now fear I sound way more high-maintenance than I actually am. Any products here that you love too? Anything new to you?
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!
Holy moly, you guys. Has NuboNau ever done one of these?? Today, in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and in celebration of their Instyle Magazine “Best of the Web” Award (much deserved, congrats!), these guys are offering a deep discount across their entire site. As you probably know, NuboNau carries just about all of our favorite luxe clean beauty brands. They also have stunning packaging, in case you want to get a head start here on your gift buying—or is that just a normal start? The important things to know…
This deal is only running until Monday, so no dilly-dallying. NuboNau is offering 20% off their entire site, when you use the promo code NMDL20. Orders over $95 also get free shipping.
Now let’s talk shop, what will you buy?
We’ve got our eye on that Ilia mascara, has anyone tried it? Also some new lip colors—oh, and Alexandra needs new Intelligent Nutrients products like the desert needs the rain at this point. She’s been filling her spray bottle with water to pretend she still has some!
As always, you will earn loyalty points with purchase and get pretty little samples to test out when you buy. Enjoy this special deal, and have a wonderful weekend!