Meet Kayla—she’s always been a product enthusiast, only now she’s gone clean. Lucky for us, because she has a TON of great recs here including some makeup application tips. Enjoy!
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, CA
Current Weather: Sunny and cool.
Hair: Long, wavy, thick — I was a chronic hair-dyer but its mostly my natural color now.
Skin: I started getting acne in my early 20s, which was extremely frustrating after being blemish-free in my teen years, when I was expecting it! Guess I’m a late bloomer… Now I’m mostly clear with the occasional blemish or two, thanks to my mostly-clean beauty routine and avoidance of sugar.
Favorite star: Gwen Stefani
In the Shower…
In regards to my face, I’ve tried a few different products — including Proactiv which was DISASTROUS as one use made my face puff up like a blow fish. That was that! Now I use Dr. Alkaitis’ line of products – the cleanser, toner, soothing gel, nourishing treatment oil, and universal mask. The products are fantastic and my skin is much happier, but since the line is quite pricey I sometimes sub in plain ol’ Trader Joe’s tea tree cleanser, which seems to be working for me. On my body, I simply use Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap (especially the mint or rose scents, yum!) and a nice scrub brush to exfoliate. I love how soft my skin feels from the brush and how sudsy Dr. B’s gets. For my hair, I try not to wash it too often, but I exercise and get sweaty almost every day, so every-other-day washing is the least I can do. It’s softest with the Acure argan shampoo and conditioner, but the waves form the best with Rahua’s volumizing shampoo and conditioner, so I go back and forth with those. I shave with Trader Joe’s shaving cream (again, it offsets the price of my Dr. Alkaitis loves, plus I it makes the razor glide smooth, but itsn’t too thick like some other shaving creams). Finally, I use a pumice stone to attack my feet. I’m a long-distance runner, so that skin can get extremely rough if not tended to!
Outside the Shower…
I moisturize my body with plain coconut oil, which has been affordable, great on my skin, and I LOVE the tropical scent (as does my boyfriend). Like I said, I Dr. Alkaitis’ toner, gel, and a TINY drop of the nourishing oil on my face. I use the Dr. Alkaitis eye cream as well (even though I’m only 25, I think about wrinkles a lot and am taking precautions). After the shower and throughout the day, I use Weleda’s pomegranite hand moisturizer – also delicious smelling. And finally, a spritz of Honoré de Pres perfume — either Love Coconut or Vamp à NY, if I’m feelin’ sexy.
I LOVE makeup. Putting it on is one of my favorite parts of the day, and I never run out of products I want to try. I’ve always been a product whore, but now I try my best to be a natural product whore ;). I usually wear makeup every day, so I try to keep the products as clean as possible. One of my favorite beauty looks is strong eyebrows — unfortunately, I was gifted with naturally sparse eyebrows. So I fill them in with a medium-brown powder eyeshadow from Alima Pure. For some reason, my eyelids can get VERY oily. I never put oil around my eyes, and the rest of my face will be fine throughout the day, but my eyelids….ugh. I’ve tried applying powder before eyeshadow, I’ve tried a natural oil-fighting white tea gel, I’ve tried just about every primer out there… the ONLY thing that’s worked for me at all is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. So I use that, and then either the Blonde shade of eyeshadow from Alima Pure, which is my “no-makeup” looking eyeshadow, or Onyx from Kjaer Weiss, which applied gently is a nice light grey, applied more heavily creates a sulty, smokey eye. I have an array of other shadows as well from Alima, Kjaer, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Urban Decay…but those are the ones I use most frequently. I like Elizabeth Arden’s powder eyeliner, which I apply with small slanted brush. It goes on extremely black, and the powder stays on my eyes. With the brush, I can make the perfect kitten eye (like a cat eye, but less dramatic). I still use a dirty mascara… Cover Girl Lash Blast. I’ve tried many a natural mascara, but my eyelashes are about as sparse as my eyebrows, and I love a thick row of femme fatale lashes. For my face, I adore RMS un-cover up. It melts into the skin, and covers up red areas around my nose, small blemishes around my chin, and dark shades under my eyes wonderfully. However, if I get a REALLY scary blemish, which unfortunately does happen now and again….like when I visit my family for the holidays, of course…I use a tiny dab of Makeup Forever’s full cover concealer. After spot-correcting with concealer, I lightly buff on Alima Pure’s loose powder foundation. It evens out skin really well, but doesn’t have that I’m-wearing-foundation look and lets my freckles show. On my cheeks, I use either a tiny bit of Revolution Organic’s bright pink freedom glow beauty balm or RMS lip-to-cheek in smile. Then, on top of that, I might do a light dusting of Alima’s shimmering pink blush — but that’s only if I’m having a big night out, or if I know I’m going to have pictures taken of me, since powder blush is better for pictures than cream. Finally, I usually just use some natural balm on my lips, but every once in a while I’ll be feeling a Old Hollywood-style red lip. For that, I love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic’s lip tar in NSFW. It’s a great, neutral red that really stands out and stays put — but you have to use a TINY dab with a lip brush, otherwise it will bleed. Trust me, a little goes a long way. And I might do one more final touch – RMS living luminizer on the top of my cheeks, under the brow bone, and on my ‘cupid’s bow.’
For my hair, I again use Dr. Alkaitis’ nourishing oil – one little pump is enough to smooth and soften my abundant, long hair. Then, after years of fighting them with a straightening iron, I’ve fallen in love with my natural waves, so I lightly spritz on Josie Maran’s Bohemian Waves Argan Hair Mist for the perfect beach-y texture. I dry my roots with the diffuser on the blow dryer to keep my waves in tact while giving my hair a little lift. The rest of my hair air dries. I think letting my hair air dry, along with the bit of natural oil I use, has been the biggest difference in transforming my formerly dyed, dry, overprocessed hair into the soft, healthy hair I have now. My hair dresser is very impressed! (Seriously, between the bleaching and the straight iron, sections of my hair were downright CRISPY a few years ago). I pretty much try to touch my hair as little as possible: no dying, minimal products, minimal drying, and then I don’t brush it or really try to touch it at all during the day — which helps keep the waves nice.
…I think that’s it!
Hometown: Mountain View, CA (moved here 10 months back from Melbourne, Australia)
Current Weather: Cool, Sunny and Dry
Favorite Celebrity : Jessica Alba
Hair: Long, straight with little frizz
Skin: I am of Indian origin with all the skin problems associated with such skin tone. I tan even in the minimum sunlight and get brown spots that take ages to fade. I had really clear skin in my teens (may be because I never used any products on my skin except home remedies my mom made me use) but got my acne burst in my early 20s. I had acne on my entire face and I was very self-conscious. I tried everything but nothing worked. I finally went to a dermatologist who prescribed Accutane to me. At that time I did not care much about the side effects so I took the medicine. I did not get any side effects (that I know of) and it really worked. Within 3 months my skin was completely clear. I was so happy. For the next few years my skin remained clear until last couple of years. My breakouts returned. Not as bad but every 2 weeks I would have a pimple and post healing marks. As a result I have quite a few spots on my skin.
Honestly until 6 months back I did not really care about clean products. I thought all the department store products were decent and I had tried most of the popular brands (Clinique, Lancome, Chanel, Dermalogica etc.). I chanced upon Alexandra and Siobhan’s book while searching for a clean shampoo for my husband as he had constant itching in his scalp and I read in an article it could be due to SLS. Once I read the book I got really interested in clean products esp. considering I was always so particular about good and clean ingredients in our food. And me being the research oriented person I am, I went all out to find as much as I could about this topic. One thing I have realized over the years and something my mom has always followed (who is 60+ and has amazing skin) is product minimalism – clean or otherwise and let the skin heal itself. Honestly I have struggled with both in the past and I still do (the obsession of getting the pimple healed or dark spot faded !!!)
In the shower…
I have extremely oily scalp and since I do some sort of exercise daily I wash my hair everyday except on Sunday when I take it easy. I find that if I don’t wash my hair I can’t style it and I hate having a bad hair day while going to work. I am trying to become a bit more comfortable with pulling my hair into a bun and not worry about oiliness. But its just something I haven’t come to terms with. I use Acure Lemongrass shampoo and conditioner. I use Wholefoods soapbar or shower gel for my body and use REN ClearCalm 3 clarifying clay cleanser to wash my face. I also use REN’s Rose Otto Sugar body scrub once / twice a week. I got into REN in Australia without even realizing its a clean brand. It worked pretty well however I used it sparingly in Australia as it was very expensive.
Outside the Shower…
Before I went clean I used Body Shop body butter to moisturize but now I use some sort of oil. I had bought SANS body oil few months which is nearing its last drop.. So need to figure out what to replace it with. I alternate it with coconut oil at times but it can get too greasy and spots my clothes at times. I use a drop of Rodin’s Olio Lusso at the ends for my hair and then blow dry. Sometimes when I need more styling I use Aveda’s damage remedy styling cream. Its not the cleanest but its helps me hold my style. I wish I could air dry my hair but I have thick hair which take a long time to air dry (when I have tried up to 4-5 hours in summers). So when I am rushing to work a good blow dryer is my best friend.
My skin is usually dry with oiliness just on the nose. On my face I use Dr. Haushka’s Balancing Toner followed by Kahina’s Brightening Serum. I use couple of drops of Rose Hip Oil and then follow it with 100% natural coffee bean under eye cream. During winters and summers (when I am primarily indoors) I use Elta MD’s SPF 45 sunblock. Its one the few suncreams that I like and has worked for me. Its good for acne prone skin and semi-clean. As I mentioned that my skin is extremely prone to tanning. During summers I use another layer of sun protection by using Institut Esthedem’s Photo Reverse Fluid. Its formulated for skin prone to pigmentation and it works amazingly. I had tried every sun protection in the market before I found this and it really prevents tanning. Before using this, after coming back from swimming or just time spent outside during summer my skin would tan at least one shade. Its not entirely clean but not too bad. Its a bit pricey but totally worth it for me.
At night I remove my makeup, wash my face and then put oil followed by Marie Veronique Organics Pacific Skin Lightening Duet to fade the dark spots (I told you the obsession).
Twice a week I use some sort of mask. Either a home made one which I have been using since I was a child (combination of chickpea flour, turmeric, lemon juice and milk) or REN’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.
I wear some makeup every day except when I am working from home or on weekends just running errands. I am a management consultant by profession and to be presentable is essential for my job. However my requirement for makeup has changed over the years, especially since my late twenties and since I have turned 30. I used make up earlier to cover things I thought were not good about my skin and face. Now I use make up to enhance what I have.
So firstly I am not obsessed by it and secondly I have learned to appreciate the art of putting make up properly so it’s undetectable. I had taken some beginner make up classes a year or so back. For everyday makeup,I am using 100% Pure primer and foundation now and RMS uncover concealer. During summers I use a powder foundation (Laura Mercier Mineral or Jane Iredale). Blush is my favorite make up product. I have 4 (2 from Kjaer Weiss, one from RMS and one from 100% pure). I also have a power blush from Korres. I used to love Nars and Chanel blushes but once I got clean I have discovered how great cream blushes are. I love to play around with them. When I want a subtle flush of color from within I use it as the first thing before I use my foundation and when I want more prominent color I use it on top of my foundation. I don’t wear much eye make up except mascara after curling my eyelashes. I use 100% Pure mascara on most days but some days when I know I have to be on the run I use Lancome doll eyes mascara. Lipstick is one area where I haven’t become completely clean. Usually I wear 100% Pure liglaze or Jane’s iredale’s but I also use my Dior Extreme Addict, Nars and Chanel lipsticks quite a bit as well. I hate putting my make up again during the day so I like the how long lasting the unclean lipsticks are.
On date nights or weekends I love experimenting with clean make up and create looks that look like the mainstream make up looks. When I wear eye make up I love using Kjaer Weis and RMS eyeshadows and stick shadow in black pearl from 100% pure. Its a great product and gives you the perfect smokey eye look.
Nutritionally I take Omega-3 and Vitamin D supplements. Omega 3 has really helped in calming my inflammations and reduced my breakout.
I think I have rambled on for quite a bit. I love reading this blog and am glad to share my routine with the readers.
This is so awesome! The amazing makeup artist Katey Denno, who we’ve yet to meet but would love to (hi, Katey!) has done a video demonstrating the perfect summer face using all our favorites: Vapour Organics, RMS Beauty, Tata Harper, Kjaer Weis and Ilia.
I, for one, am in love with the finished look.
Do you guys use brushes, or your fingers, to apply your makeup? And what do you think of the finished product?
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?
Q: “If I came to your house and looked through your medicine cabinet and makeup bag, what would I find that would shock me?”
We get this question a lot, and we are always more than happy to answer it with complete candor because our approach to clean beauty has always been one that is inclusive and with an understanding that we all come to naturals at our own pace. This isn’t some kind of deliberate strategy we decided on—it’s how we feel and it’s how we behave. And yet when we say that we prefer the completely clean products we’ve switched to, almost without any exceptions, we’re telling the absolute truth. We hope that is clear.
Still, there are a few things I keep lying around—which is not to say I use them much—and I’m going to tell you what mine are, and why I still use them. Alexandra is going to do the same early NEXT WEEK (that’s the update: she needed a little more time on this), and we want YOURS in the comments. One thing I’d like to point out, though: None of these are things I use very often or over a large surface area.
1. My Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick
Reason: Because it makes my eyes pop in a way that no other lipstick, natural or not, can. It’s an organgey red, but not too orange, and actually really quite red, with maybe a bit of blue? I don’t know. I just know it looks great—especially on days when the rest of me doesn’t.
How often I use it: I wear it once a month, I’d say.
2. My CVS-brand topical antibiotic ointment
Reason: What can I say? I’m attached! I used to put this on any broken skin to help it heal quickly, but these days I barely use it. I have tea tree, manuka honey, and neem—great natural antibacterials, all—but it seems prudent to keep it handy, lest a child come over and step on a rusty nail or something.
How often I use it: Every couple of months.
3. A Degree antiperspirant in Shower Clean
Reason: There is no reason for me to still own this. Once I discovered Soapwalla deodorant (read all about it here and here), I stopped needing to cheat with industrial-strength antiperspirant on those days when I need to feel sure. It’s just not necessary, because the Soapwalla OUTPERFORMS Degree. Shyeah. Still, it sits on my desk at work. I don’t know.
How often I use it: Once a month or less when I forget to put on my Soapwalla or—gasp—lose it/run out.
4. Nars cream blush in Cactus Flower, which I use as a lipstick
Reason: I actually looked up the ingredients to this thing once and it scared the living daylights out of me, but the color is wonderful, kind of like the color of poppies (or cactus flowers, apparently) and until I find a naturals substitute, I will keep it handy for those days when I want that kind of a pop(py) on my pale face.
5. Clinique Mascara
Reason: Habit, and the awesome wand. I lose sleep over the why-can’t-my-favorite-naturals-brands-make-a-freaking-mascara-that-doesn’t-suck question, but I currently use 100% Pure’s mascara in navy (by accident) and I love it. It doesn’t bleed down my face when I cry and it only moves if I touch my eyes when I’m really, really sweaty (like, Jivamukti-for-two-hours-in-the-summer sweaty).
How often I use it: Maybe once a month, probably less—especially since it’s not even waterproof.
6. Some cheap brand of hairspray so toxic it could choke a baby
How often I use it: See above.
I alllllso would like to point out that the ones here I actually use are not about function, so much as aesthetics, which further proves that naturals work better than conventionals—they just don’t always have the prettiest red lipsticks.
And now you know all my dirty little secrets. Your turn!