Not too long ago my skin was feeling pretty down in the dumps.
I told you guys all about it and the comments poured in with recommendations and kind words. (You’re the best, did you know?)
The problem: A combination of deep exhaustion, season change, and some serious laziness around self care in the skincare department. As I write this on the eve of a monthlong yoga retreat, I can almost taste all the fresh air and deep breathing that lay ahead. And I know my skin is going to thank me.
But I’m happy to report that even with stress working against me this past month, I was able to get some glow going again. You guys had great advice. Here’s what worked for me!
1. May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt (+ Honey Mud): We’re obviously a little obsessed with Miss May lately. But I swear, on the same day that I told you guys about my skin woes I went straight to her site and reupped on Clean Dirt. Rotating between that and the new honey mud this past month has completely brought back some life to my skin.
2. Juice Beauty CC Cream: I’m gonna be honest, I was pretty skeptical about this CC stuff. But this product is completely off the hook. I had used it a few times and liked it. But Nicolle inspired me with her comments to really do it every day. The results are unbelievable. Not only does it instantly help fake a great glow, it nourishes the skin (really, I can feel it) and seems to be improving it with time. The major added bonus: I’m finally wearing sunscreen on my face every day. Something I should have been doing for years but could never get into. Now I look forward to it!
3. Cosmedix Rescue Balm: I told you about this balm a little while back, and some of you (ok, and me) were a little wary of the brand’s whole vibe. Others among you swore by it. Alas, I still love the stuff. It’s intensely moisturizing and it makes my skin instantly look dewy. I even use it like a more mellow daytime highlighter sometimes on my cheekbones and lips. It also smells like fresh-picked cherries, so there’s that.
4. Vitaforce Green Smoothies: Many of you guys told me to get my green on, and did I ever. I got back on the smoothies pretty hard after that post and I spiked them with Vitaforce for serious added punch. Here’s the fave smoothie recipe at my house: Lots of spinach, almond milk, 1/4 frozen banana, some peanut or almond butter, chocolate protein powder (the really pure stuff, with like three ingredients—chocolate, wei, and stevia—the others sketch me out). Tastes better than a milk shake and within a few days these helped put some health back in my cheeks.
Because this topic never really gets old, share: What are you doing to glow these days?
Say hello to Cécille! We love the thoughtfulness behind her routine, as well as her strategy for shaving her legs. So smart!
Location: Seattle, Wa
Current Weather: Mid-70’s, 49% humidity and not a cloud in this beautiful sunny sky.
Hair: Raven/black, slightly wavy, thick and lots of it. It’s layered with the longest layer about six inches past my shoulders with some copper and bronze highlights – some natural, some not-so-natural. My hair is strong and healthy due to my schedule of no-poo every few days, brushing on rare occasions and staying away from the hairdryer whenever possible.
Skin: Light olive complexion that is oily during the summer months, combination during the winter months and suffers from the occasional eczema patch. My skin is sensitive and I have several topical allergies which is why I cleaned up my routine in the first place. I am prone to breakouts right around my period (who isn’t, honestly) and I have a few dark spots from breakouts past. Overall, I have good skin that I credit to awesome genetics (Thanks, Mom & Dad), good diet choices and SPF.
Starlet from the past: Nancy Kwan. Prior to the 1960’s, Hollywood casted white actors in Asian roles. Kwan broke that barrier by becoming the first actor of Asian descent to play Asian roles on screen. She is half Chinese and half English/Scottish. Not only did she become a Hollywood sex symbol because of her exotic good looks, but she also earned an Academy Award nomination for her first silver screen appearance in The World of Suzie Wong (1960). With that she forever changed the western views and stereotypes of American and European Asians. As an Asian American woman (also of mixed heritage), I idolize Nancy Kwan and am grateful for what she has done for our community.
I am a morning person and an early riser…I mean 4 am-early. I make a conscious effort to smile when I first wake up in the morning as a way to celebrate having another 24 hours of life to live. I have been doing this for about four years now and I honestly just like to do it. (I highly recommend starting your day off with gratitude. It makes the simplest of things absolutely delightful.)
Depending on the day, I either go for a run, meditate, do some yoga, or read before I start my regular morning beauty regime. If I am going out, either for a run or for yoga class, I will just rinse my face off with warm water, pat it dry, spray on some Kahina Toning Mist and top it off with Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream to moisturize, tint, and protect (SPF!). I give my pits a little spray of Weleda Deodorant Spray and head out the door. Otherwise, I prefer to just shower in the mornings.
In the shower…
I do not like to combine washing my hair and shaving my legs in the same shower because of how time consuming the process becomes. Instead, I either wash my hair, shave my legs, or do neither. Not only does this save time and money (using products less frequently means using less products overall), it saves on water and the energy it takes to heat up the water (great for the environment).
If I am washing my hair, it is usually the first thing I will do in the shower. I will get my hair completely soaked through and run conditioner through only the ends. With the conditioner still on my ends, I go right ahead and shampoo just my roots and then rinse it all out. I find that with this method works well with my hair’s random washing schedule. My hair has a lot of body, bounce and shine. Right now, I am using BWC’s Aromatherapy Shampoo and Conditioner in Rosemary Mint Tea Tree. I love that it leaves a clean smell and rinses out easily. If I remember, I will turn the water off or switch over to the low-flow setting on my showerhead after I get my hair wet and then back on again when I rinse.
In every shower, I will cleanse my skin (neck to toes) with Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap (I love this stuff!). The fragrance du jour is a mix of Peppermint and Lavender. I usually do a 50/50 Bronner’s to water dilution into an old scotch bottle that I have repurposed into a soap dispenser. I like the way this looks and it allows for me to buy the gallon-sized Bronner’s and save on the bulk price (as well as cut back on the plastic packaging).
I used to use Bronner’s on my face, but have since stopped because of how drying I found it to be (even after diluting). Now, I cleanse my face with 100% Pure’s Organic Eucalyptus Seafoam Facial Cleanser. It’s made with French Green Sea Clay, so it provides gentle exfoliation and removes impurities without leaving my face feeling stripped or dehydrated.
If I shave, it is the last thing I do in the shower and I do it with the water off (more for the fishies). I will sit down at the bottom of my tub with my razor and a sugar scrub. For this, I like a particularly oily sugar scrub, like 100% Pure, but I am currently using J.R. Watkins and it works fine. I will scrub both my legs thoroughly and wipe off the excess sugar, leaving the oil behind. From here, I take my razor and shave my legs. Once I am all done, I will turn on the faucet and rinse off myself and the razor. (Warning: this process makes the tub and your hands very slippery. Proceed with caution. A quick clean of the tub with Bronner’s usually helps.) I try to go as long as possible without shaving—once every two weeks or so. When it comes to cleansing my skin on a regular basis, I do not use body puffs or cleaning cloths. I find that the extra exfoliation promotes hair growth. Since I am trying to go as long as possible between shaves, I just avoid exfoliating.
Out of the shower…
Once I’ve toweled off, I apply oil from neck to toes. I am currently in mad love with Caudalie’s Divine Oil (although, Kahina’s Argan Oil still holds a dear place in my medicine cabinet). It is just the right amount of moisture for my skin, has a beautifully light fragrance, does not leave my skin feeling tacky, plus it’s a spray! In the winter, I will layer on body butters or creams when I get extremely dry (100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream). If I shaved, I will skip applying anything to my legs. The oil left over from the shave is more than enough moisture for my skin.
Face-wise, I spend quite a bit more time here. I like to give my face a few sprays of Kahina Toning Mist and let it sit while I brush my teeth (Brush with Bamboo toothbrush and Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste). After that, I dab some Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue around my peepers and treat the rest of my face to their Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (my effort to combating those dark spots). While I wait for that to soak into my skin, I will apply a few pumps of Giovanni’s Frizz Be Gone to my still damp locks and let it air dry as well as spray my pits with Weleda Deodorant Spray. Then I will apply Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid to my face. It’s a light moisturizer (great on my oily skin) with SPF 15 and provides the perfect base for applying my makeup. I also love that it does not have an overwhelming smell.
After I get dressed, I apply some Jane Iredale’s Purepressed Base Mineral Foundation (SPF 20!) to even out my skin tone and highlight my cheeks with Alima Pure’s Satin Matte Blush Powder. If I am feeling up to it, I will fill in my brows with Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse. I give my lips a swipe with some Burt’s Bees’ Beeswax Lip Balm or Pacifica’s Color Quench Lip Tint (whichever I can find first) and finish off with a quick spray to my nape with TokyoMilk’s Tainted Love from their Dark Femme Fatale Collection (not entirely eco-friendly, but I love the play of vanilla and sandalwood fragrances). All-in-all, my routine takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes (depending on the day).
As complex as it all sounds, that is my morning routine. Although I will probably discover other products in the future or little ways of tweaking my routine (Life is, after all, ever changing), I like being somewhere in between low and high-maintenance and the constant strive for balance. It’s good practice.
BTW-If any NMDL users out there have any advice on taking care of my dark spots, please let me know. I am open to suggestions.
Well, Cécille, we hear that people have beat dark spots with Yuli’s Cell Perfecto PM, and at least one of us at NMDL is currently trying it out, but we’ll have to wait for the results! What’s your go-to skin brightener?
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!
Meet Haley, a super cool woman who has a simple but sophisticated routine we just had to share. Her sense of smell drives her choice of products, and we think that’s pretty rad.
Home: San Francisco, CA
Current weather: The typical and refreshing misty cool foggy summer, although I do pine for some hot sweaty sun sometimes.
Hair: Dark blonde; chin length with bangs; messy straight.
Skin: Golden fair but can tan easily, oily and prone to hormonal acne and genetics, but doing much better thanks to juicing everyday and sticking to a routine.
Dream girl: my Goddess, Kate Bush
I drink a large glass of lemon water when I wake up that I prepare the night before, then head to the bathroom and dry brush before I shower. If I don’t have to work early, I’ll juice before I shower as well.
In the shower…
A hot shower is my weakness since I’m usually always cold (I have a heated mattress pad that I use every night), but I definitely notice it in my skin and hair so I’m trying hard to cool it off and take shorter showers because I always feel better when I do. I usually only shampoo my full head once a week and other than that I only shampoo my bangs since they tend to get oily. Right now I’m alternating between Nature’s Gate Henna Shampoo and Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine shampoo, and then condition with Nature’s Gate Aloe conditioner, which I’m really into right now; it makes my hair super soft with a perfect weight. While the conditioner is in my hair I rinse my body with my hands and use an clean unscented bar soap just on the parts that need it. About once a week or less I do a more involved exfoliation with fine sea salt, especially if I’m planning to shave, which I haven’t been doing lately though since I’m basically wearing pants, sweaters and my winter coat every day. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bared my legs this year, so shaving hasn’t been a priority for me. On the occasion I do though, I use old conditioners or the soap I use to cleanse with and a Preserve razor.
Outside the shower…
To moisturize my body, I use the Whole Foods brand of unscented lotion; I tried using almond and grape seed oil for almost a year but my skin was always itchy and tight, so I went back to lotion and my skin has been much happier with me since. Sometimes I’ll still mix some oil into it though because I love love love oils. Then I use whatever In Fiore Body Balm I have in reach (my favorites are Kashmir, Vetivert and Shevanti) and rub it into my shoulders-collarbone-neck area. I then cleanse my face with Wedderspoon 16+ Manuka honey and about once a week I’ll throw in a little organic cinnamon or nutmeg to exfoliate. Then I pat dry and spray some Kahina Toning Mist on and follow with Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Serum and then their Oil-free Moisturizer and/or Oil-free SPF moisturizer. If I need some extra hydration I’ll add in a drop of Kahina Argan Oil. I break out badly when I use a lot of oils or change different products all the time, but I’m slowly incorporating argan into my routine again and my complexion seems to be happy with it so far. Then for my eyes I finish with In Fiore’s Vis Clair (“eye crack”)!
As for my hair I brush or comb it, let it dry on it’s own, and then mess it up with my hands throughout the day.
At night I cleanse with Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Cleanser and a Clarisonic, and then rotate between the Blemish Clearing Serum, argan oil, and Arcona’s Vitamin A Complex, and if needed, spot treat with Malin and Goetz Acne Treatment.
I’m also kind of crazy about masks and alternate between Arcona’s Tea Tree Mask, Astara’s Blue Flame Mask, Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel, Wash the Day Away’s Glowing Lotus Clay mask (lovely Etsy shop), and the trusty green clay and ACV combo.
If it’s warmer outside, I’ll use Soapwalla deodorant, but if not I usually just forget to put any on, or I use NutriBiotic deodorant in lavender, which doesn’t work as well but it’s easy to reach in my room and I like that there’s grapefruit seed extract in it.
For my face, I would prefer to not wear any makeup but since I’m dealing with some scarring and hyper pigmentation and am still a little self conscious of it, I use the bare minimum to make me feel a little more presentable. First I use a little bit of Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Powder, which I recently realized has made a huge difference in my skin, and it curiously smells of my most favorite scent in the world, which I’ve only smelled on the Northern California Coast over traces in the breeze only, but I’ve mysteriously never been able to find it’s source, so it’s strangely magical that this product is that exact smell in concentrated, material form, and also happens to improve my skin. But since the tiniest amount makes me look pasty, I use Alima’s mineral makeup in Golden 3 on the areas needed, and sometimes use some blush from Alima as well, especially if I’m venturing out at night or feeling like I need a little extra something. I never use any eye makeup since the teeniest bit always makes me feel like a clown, and whenever I attempt to put some on I always end up wiping it all off before I leave, so I just let them be. I hope to have that mentality for my whole face in the near future.
For my everyday lip care I love and religiously use both Dr. Hauschka’s lip care stick and In Fiore’s Veloutee (which is also an amazing eye balm), but on the days I feel like using a little color (I’m a sucker for the browns and purples), I have my trusty selection of RMS lip shine in Moment, Dr. Hauschka Novum lipstick in 08 (which was a limited edition last year so I have to ration it, basically so it will last the rest of my life), and a new addition of W3ll People’s Nudist lip balm in Violet.
Thanks for sharing your routine Haley! Have any of you bumped into an elusive scent in your products that transports you to another place? How cool is that?
Did anyone else grow up spending a considerable part of the summer purposely frying in the sun? I was always after the ever-elusive tan. I can’t get very dark, and was jealous of friends who tanned easily. I always got very pink before any sort of golden set in.
My role model was my mother, who would slather herself in baby oil and iodine and lie very still in the yard for hours, flipping when her timer went off.
It was my job to bring iced tea periodically, and while she was an attentive mom most of the time, I had better not bug her while she was out in the sun. As a teenager, my girlfriends and I would be off to the beach to “lay out,” meaning bake as long as possible. Never mind the bad grammar, it was a stupid thing to do. Well, now I know better, and I am always on the lookout for good sunscreens.
EWG’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens has been out for a few weeks now. I was very happy to see that my new favorites earned good ratings. EWG does a great job of talking about issues that I often hear come up in any discussion of sunscreen – the problem with high SPF, chemical vs. physical screens, nanoparticles, vitamin D, etc. Just check out their pull-down research menu. One of my biggest concerns with sunscreen is the UVA/UVB balance. A sunscreen’s SPF is based on its UVB protection (the rays that burn and contribute to certain types of cancer). UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, causing aging and cancer. The FDA has pretty weak standards for UVA (“broad spectrum”) protection, so you may not be very well protected in spite of what the package says. EWG’s rating system includes UVB and UVA protection as well as the stability of the sunscreen. Though I don’t think EWG is perfect, I do trust what they have to say about sunscreens.
Now, you might say, why not just avoid the issue altogether and stay out of the sun, or cover up? I do those things as much as possible, but it’s not always possible or desirable. And I spent too much of my life not being careful, so I’m very careful now. Recent research showcased in Prevention indicates diligent use of broad spectrum sunscreen can slow or prevent photoaging. I certainly know that going without sunscreen will quickly undo the good my DIY brightener does. I reviewed my favorite face sunscreen a while back, and I still use this one for face too. But this year I was on the hunt for a great body screen, something in a non-nano zinc. Here’s what I’m loving…
Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer: This is absolute perfection for me. It’s fairly thick and moisturizing, yet easy to spread, plus it’s water resistant. There’s a very light citrusy scent that fades quickly. I find it leaves me with a nice glow, without being sticky at all. When I first applied it, I was surprised that it is tinted. There’s not enough pigment to leave a visible tint on my skin, but it completely eliminates any whiteness that one can get with zinc sunscreens. I was concerned that it would leave marks on clothing, but I’ve had no problem with it at all, even if I get a little sweaty. ($16/3.75 oz, EWG rating)
Badger SPF 30 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion: I find this unscented lotion very easy to spread, though you still have to do the standard rub into palms, pat onto skin and rub in thing that is necessary with most physical sunscreens. The spreadability (is that a word?) makes it great for squirmy, impatient kids (and husbands). If I’m careful not to overapply, I don’t get the white cast, but it’s a delicate balance. This one is drier than the cream versions I’ve used from Badger, almost too dry for my skin. But if I’m going to do something in the sun that will kick up dirt, this is excellent. Nothing will stick to it. And if you have oilier skin, this could be the ticket. ($17.99/4 oz, EWG rating)
Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream: This is actually what got me through last summer without a hint of color added to my skin. It’s a gem. It’s unscented but smells stronger than the lotion, basically like its sunflower oil base. The thickness makes it harder to spread, but when done patiently it looks good and is a top performer. I love the very short and simple ingredient list. It’s moisturizing, so I love it on my hands, and the water resistance is a great feature. ($15.99/2.9 oz, EWG rating)
What are you doing for sun protection this season?