Meet Jamie! She’s a vegetarian of 20 years who loves hot yoga, hot showers, and hot tea. We’re feeling it, especially with the chilly mornings afoot. And hey, you’ve gotta love her icon of choice. After all, we are the dreamers of dreams.
City: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Current weather: Cool morning, mostly cloudy as is mostly the case in Pittsburgh…there’s a hint of Fall in the air.
Hair: Fine, wavy, long…dirty blonde w/ lighter ends.
Skin: Medium w/ olive undertones and normal to dry type…sprinkle of freckles across the nose.
Favorite star from the past: Mia Farrow circa Rosemary’s Baby OR Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka - is that allowed!?
I wake up at 7 AM, and it’s never easy for me to get up. I’m a night owl through and through. I roll out of bed and turn my phone off. It’s strategically placed where I have to get out of bed to turn it off or else I’ll snooze forever. I head downstairs to take a TBSP of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar mixed with aloe vera juice and a bit of water. The ACV helps to restore the PH in your body, aids in digestion, can clear your skin, and does so much more. I’m a real fan of Bragg’s, and my husband has gone off of heartburn medication by drinking the vinegar when he has symptoms. I fill a liter sized water bottle with filtered water that I finish before I leave for work, then I head to the shower and turn the water on. While I wait for the shower to heat up, I take some time to do a few forward folds and body stretches. I apply some Jason’s Peppermint No Fluoride Whitening toothpaste on my toothbrush and jump into the overly warm shower. I know luke water is best, but I like a hot shower even in the summer.
After brushing my teeth, I suds my hair with Nubian Heritage EVOO & Moringa Shampoo. I’ve tried many natural shampoos, but I like this one best so far, and the lovely scent lingers. Plus I think that my hair has gotten shinier from it. Next, I lather with Dr. Bronner’s, my absolute favorite and only choice of soap for years, and right now I’m using the lavender. I also use Sal Suds to clean my house and do laundry, but that’s a whole ‘nother story! I vary my Bronner’s scents occasionally, but my tried and true favorite is Eucalyptus. I rinse the shampoo out of my hair and apply the Nubian Heritage EVOO Conditioner on the ends, then clip my hair into a knot to let it soak in. I quickly shave, and I also run the Clarisonic over my face to get the blood flowing – no soap in the morning unless I feel that I really need it. At nighttime, I use a bar of African Black Soap, also Nubian Heritage, on my face with the Clarisonic. I may or may not use a Neti Pot in the shower with Himalayan Institute salt and distilled water – depends on how my sinuses feel on a particular day. I put a bit of Aura Cacia organic jojoba on my hands and rub it lightly all over my face, neck, chest, hands, and ends of my hair as I rinse the conditioner out for a bit more moisture.
I jump out the shower and towel dry my hair. Still wet, I apply Shea Moisture Frankincense & Myrrh body lotion or my new favorite moisturizer – straight up coconut oil all over then throw on my robe. The coconut oil makes my skin super soft, but sometimes I need to get dressed in a hurry, and the lotion will absorb more quickly. I apply Eminence Bright Skin SPF 30 on my face with a bit of Badger Beauty Balm under my eyes. I spray my arm pits with an alcohol and water solution. This kills any bacteria and really helps with under arm odor during the heat. I apply Tea Tree & Spearmint Pit Putty under my arms and give credit to Stephanie at Pit Putty for finally showing me a natural deodorant routine that really works. It even combats odor through my evening hot yoga classes.
My hair is wavy and fine, and I usually just let it air dry year round, and the jojoba from the shower helps to tame the ends. My make-up routine is not as clean as I want it to be, and it includes too much Bare Minerals product (I’m a sucker for a kit with a full mascara). I also like to be able to sample product in person. Anyway, I start with Juice SPF 30 tinted moisturizer to my fingertips with a spray of Rose Water to dilute it. I rub both together in my hands then apply to my face and neck. The Juice tinted moisturizer gives a dewy glow and very light coverage. I may be looking for more coverage for fall and welcome suggestions. Next, I’ll apply the tiniest bit of Amazing Concealer under my eyes – it’s one of my dirty products, but I’ve had the tube forever, and it works wonders on my visible capillaries. I darken my brows with an Anastasia brow pencil – again, not the cleanest, and I’ll clean that up once it’s gone. I apply a Bare Minerals eyeshadow in Cocoa or Flaunt either to my whole lid or crease in my lid with a touch of Zuzu tobacco eyeliner or the eyeshadow smudged around my eyes. I throw on a few swipes of Bare Minerals blush to the apples of my cheeks – peek-a-boo is a nice pinky peach pre-fall color. Occasionally, I’ll use a bit of Wicked bronzer from Sumbody, but I mostly use this for going out in the hollows of my cheeks. I use Bare Minerals Volumizing mascara (it’s a 2 on EWG) to my lashes then go get dressed and take my hair out of the towel and finger style it. Like many of you, I’ve tried organic and more natural mascaras but nothing has stuck.
I head back to my bathroom to curl my lashes, add at dot of RMS uncover under my brows or in the corners of my eyes if I still look tired, and have a final spritz of Rose Water on my face to set my make-up. I take the RMS with me, and I throw on Burt’s Bees cherry lip shimmer. I like the fact that this lip shimmer it makes me look like I just had a popsicle. I am constantly on the search for a lip product that produces the same color without the carmine. I keep Badger Sunscreen SPF 30 in my kitchen and apply that to my hands before I head out the door when I think of it. Oh, I also keep Rose Water w/ a few drops of peppermint essential oil in my desk drawer and use this spray several times daily at the office. It’s hydrating & super refreshing. Once I get to work, I can’t live without my cup of Mayan Cocoa Spice Yogi tea, and I heat the water in an electric kettle to avoid the microwave. Cheers!
Thanks for sharing a lovely fall routine with us, Jamie!
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?
Meet lovely Luna. She has lived in both the US and China, and currently calls the latter home. She does an amazing job at keeping her beauty products green by bringing them over when she travels back to the US. Read on for her efficient but inventive routine…
Current Weather: Beijing at its best! Warm, Spring breeze, Sunny
Hair: Black, straight, shoulder length – can’t hold a curl for longer than 10 minutes
Skin: Best defined as complicated: definitely combination, acne prone, dry on cheeks, oily around forehead and T-zones. Beijing water is very hard and the climate is dry which isn’t good for skin that is prone to breakouts since many moisturizers can clog my pores but not using any will leave my skin parched!
Favorite star/icon from the past: Anna May Wong
In China there isn’t a lot of focus on “clean” beauty products. There are some basic drug store staple brands like L’oreal and Nivea and their Chinese counterparts. On the other spectrum, the luxury skincare market is dominated by brands such as SKII, Lancome, Amorepacific, Clarins, and some Chinese ones like Yue-Sai. There’s really nothing in between and there are definitely no smaller, clean, indie labels like in the US. Sephora opened here a few years ago and some “cleaner” brands have started to trickle in such as Boscia and Ren. I grew up in the US and am now back in China working for a multinational corporation. I usually come to the US about three or four times a year for work and this is when I stock up on my beauty products. I would describe myself as loyal but adventurous – I have my “tried and true” products that I MUST restock every trip and then there are others I learn about through web research (such as your site!).
I usually start my day by just washing my face and doing my makeup, and save showering for night, so I will frame this as morning routine, makeup, night time.
In the morning I usually just wash my face with lukewarm water. If I want to really clear my skin for a meeting at work, I will use a cleanser – my favorite is Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser. It smells a little strong but it’s nothing I can’t handle. After that I use Dr.Alkaitis Organic Herbal Toner, followed by 100% Pure Argan Oil Hydration SPF 30 (which I learned about from your site!). This combination keeps my skin very balanced and prepared for whatever Beijing throws my way: pollution, smog, etc.
I’m not a huge makeup girl so it doesn’t take me very long in the morning to get ready. Since I don’t use that much product, I have no problem with spending more for high quality products. I use Suki tinted moisturizer and Vapour Organic Aura blush in Courtesan which really wakes up my face. I use Lancome mascara because I can’t find a natural one that doesn’t give me racoon eyes by noon. For lips I use either raw shea butter or Dr. Bronner’s Naked lip balms, the one without a scent. If I’m feeling like wearing color, I’ll rotate between any of the Kjaer Weis Lip Tints or Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner colors I have.
Before the shower, I take my makeup off with sweet almond oil or jojoba depending on which one I have available and then I dry brush myself.
I try to take the quickest showers possible because the water is really not ideal. You can’t drink it straight from the tap so I don’t really like to marinate in it at night. I wash my face with Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser and use Dr. Bronner’s baby liquid castile soap for my bits and that’s it. My showers are literally 3 minutes long and if I wash my hair that takes it to about 8 minutes. I only shampoo my hair once a week and I use Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic shampoo. No conditioner. No blow dryer. My hair is not high maintenance at all so I’m totally grateful for that.
Out of the shower…
I tone again with Dr. Alkaitis and then do a few drops of YULI Skincare’s M.E. Skin Fuel serum on my face which is light but still hydrating. I never do anything thick or creme-like at night because I feel like that hinders with my skin’s ability to renew and push out impurities overnight. If I’ve washed my hair than I rub a few drops of the Skin Fuel over my head and comb through.
Thanks, Luna! Is there anyone who has any experience with naturals in China or elsewhere in Asia? If so, maybe you can suggest some new local brands?