Exciting news! We’ve had such an influx of Morning Routines (please keep ‘em coming!) that we’re going to be posting these even more often. Today, we travel across the pond to hear from the lovely Ania of Europe. Look out for exciting and mysterious European clean brands. [And a special thanks to Sylvie who will be helping us get these bad boys up. —S&A ]
Hair: Shoulder length, straight, no problems here
Skin: Dry and sensitive, reddish and uneven, with a long history of acne (forehead, jaws, sometimes chin), now almost gone
In the shower…
I’m a believer in body brushing but I’m way too lazy to do it regularly, so: body brushing, sometimes :) I use Weleda Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash(smells divine!), just on the parts that need that…
I’m still looking for my perfect shampoo…I’ve tried Eubiona, Weleda, Lavera, Logona, Urtekram and more, I’m reasonably happy with Lavera rose milkor almond milk but I feel I need to change shampoos every few weeks or so, so that my hair does not get used to it… anyone else feel the same?
I use conditioner few times a week, no favourite here: I quite liked Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Conditioner, now I’m using Jason Aloe Vera one (weird consistency).
If it’s the weekend and I don’t need to put my clothes on immediately and run out of the door, I put some oil on my still wet skin: argan, coconut, or sea buckhtorn. My new favourite is Shea Nilotica, with a delicate vanilla smell—amazing!
After the shower…
I use Weleda Salt Toothpaste (I will never use anything else now, it doubles up as a gentle scrub for lips), Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Milk and Santaverde Aloe Vera Tonic for sensitive skin (this is a really good German brand that uses pure aloe vera juice where other brands use water), then I massage a few drops of argan oil into the wet skin (or, when my skin feels really dry, a bit of Dr. Hauschka Rejuvenating Mask). If there’s any inflammation, I put a few drops of pure lavender essential oil to calm it down
Usually I just put a touch of mascara (Hauschka volume, which nice but could stay a bit longer…) and RMS Living Luminizer and I’m good to go! If I have a few more minutes and want to look more polished, I use Vapour Soft Focus Foundation (my new buy and I’m loving it!) and Dr. Hauschka lipstick in warm red (I’m not so happy with it as it’s a bit too drying, but want to finish it before I get a new one).
If I use a hair dryer, I apply a few spritzes of Logona blow dry styler with bamboo.
After a long search, I found a clean deodorant that is ok for me: Weleda lemon (haven’t tried Soapwalla yet; this one is not amazing but compared to other clean ones, at least does its job fairly ok and smells nice).
And, last but not least, a little bit of Pacifica Persian Rose Solid Perfum, my Vpure omegas and I’m off:)
I mean, right?! Who loves what? Did Ania mention any of your favorites here?
A little over a year ago we did a very amusing interview with a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The story never saw the light of day (hey, these things happen all the time in publishing), but the exercise was super fun. His idea: Take the clean girls to Walgreens and send them loose in the aisles to find clean alternatives to common products like Nivea body lotion, Secret deodorant, Pantene conditioner, Tressemme shampoo, Neutrogena face wash—you know, the stuff everyone uses, every day.
This was our first big newspaper interview, and we were pretty caffeinated, and I’d just landed in L.A., and we’d just gotten an email that the TIME article about our book was out, and we were together, and and and—you get the picture. It was such a great day!
But as we wandered the aisles, we were shocked at the dearth of truly natural products. (Maybe that’s why the article didn’t work?) There was garbage in every green-leaf-adorned bottle and tube, to the point where I remember feeling kind of bad for the writer. “Is this one bad too?” he’d ask.
“Uhh, ahhh, I mean… Sorry!”
At one point I picked up a bar of Dove soap that I’d used on and off years ago. It had green tea and cucumber in the name and there was a green leaf the box, so I flipped it over and read the ingredients for what was, I’m pretty sure, the first time. Here they are:
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate , Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.
Heh. No cukes, no tea. Nevermind that cucumber and tea don’t make a ton of sense in a bar of soap anyway—it sort of became a symbol in my head of how much we’d learned, and how little we knew before, without even knowing we didn’t know it.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a major pharmacy for anything other than bandaids, so I thought it would be instructive to explore again. I hit a Walgreens, a Duane Reade and a CVS. Here’s what I found.
I was especially surprised to see a lot of Lavera products, including the sunless tanner Alexandra loves and the sunscreen I lived by last summer. I saw Dr. Bronner’s, a brand that continues to expand in a way I find inspiring (let this be a model for more mainstream expansions, yes?). There was a great selection of the Yes To line, which isn’t as clean as we like, but at the price point and availability, OK in a pinch. There was some Alba, Giovanni and Aubrey (the gateway-brand triumvirate, also better than many in a pinch) and—gasp—100% Pure! They had my sunscreen! I also saw Natracare organic cotton tampons for less than at my health food store, Organic Wear, tons of three-free nail polishes—and each of the three stores had almost all of these on offer.
Bottom line: There was a lot to choose from, and it wasn’t half bad.
So it got me wondering: What, if anything, do YOU buy at the drugstore? Anything? And have you seen any of our beloved lines expanding to major retailers? Share, share.
The gorgeous girls at Well+Good put two of our favorite self tanners to the test! Last year, Alexandra reviewed one of Lavera’s self-tanners and I told you I was nuts about Chocolate Sun (still am! using it all the time!), so we were giddy about this post.
Here’s what Well+Good had to say about theirs….. And don’t forget to tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite self tanner?
It’s tough getting tan these days.
Slathering your body in baby oil and baking on a beach chaise has been verboten for a couple decades now. And recently, we reported on the hidden chemicals that may be lurking in your salon spray tan.
One safer option? An all-natural, organic self-tanner. Because you apply it yourself, you’re way less likely to inhale DHA, the active tanning ingredient that’s meant for your skin, not your lungs. And since a self-tanner lists ingredients on the bottle, you’ll know exactly what your pores are soaking up.
We tested two pure and popular products, Lavera Glow & Go Spray Self Tanner, a natural brand from Germany that’s sold in drugstores for $29.50, and Chocolate Sun Sunless Tanning Cream, an indie luxe brand that sells for $40, to see which tanner would come out on top.
To find out how they fared, click here.
We recently met someone on Twitter of all places, and thought it would be great to get her to write a guest post for us. Louise Dartford is a makeup artist who blogs at Notes on Beauty. We noticed that a lot of her favorite naturals are different from ours, and that she was up on some lines we have never even heard of—let alone tried. So here are her picks—completely unvetted by us, but with many products we can’t wait to try!
I am in the fun process of trying to convert my conventional make-up kit into a cleaner, greener version. I must admit, changing over makeup is proving harder than changing skincare. Natural make-up has not always had a good reputation, and for valid reasons. In the past, colors and textures have not been able to live up to “regular” makeup standards. However with the growing demand, companies appear to be putting more time, effort and technology into their products. Formulations are definitely improving and there are now some great choices on the market. Here are a few of my favorites:
Liner and Mascara
For eyes I love the Absolute Blacks Kohl pencil by Une Natural Beauty. They have a choice of three blacks, so if jet black is too much, you can go for the softer option. The pigment is great, they just glide on, smudge when you want them to and have good staying power, just what you need for a smoky eye! Jane Iredale’s liquid liner is one of the best, I like to use it over a pencil for real intensity and longevity. I have been using Une’s All In One Mascara, which gives a full effect on lashes. You can build it up, which is often hard with more natural mascaras—but it isn’t so good in the snow or any other wet conditions, so no crying! I am also impressed with Couleur Caramel’s mascara. It can be a bit clumpier than Une’s but is great for building a bigger lash and more durable in the water stakes. Jane Iredale’s PureLash Extender and Conditioner will boost any mascara’s performance, I use it all the time. [Siobhan's note: Jessa Blades, of Blades Natural Beauty, told me about this ages ago, and I'm hooked. It's amazing!]
Eyeshadow-wise I like Couleur Caramel as they have a great color range from natural tones to bright blue and green as well as loose sparkles. This range proves that natural doesn’t have to mean brown earthy tones! You can also make up your own palettes, which is an added bonus.
Cheeks and Highlighters
For a blusher I love the Lip2Cheek by RMS, just use your fingers to dab onto cheeks and up along cheekbones for a healthy glow. The Living Luminizer is brilliant too, to use anywhere you want to add life to your skin. Try using as an eyeshadow base to add intensity to colored shadows. The gold cream eyeshadow is fab as well—it works as a gorgeous highlighter on darker skintones.
For lips, I have just discovered the Hurraw Lipbalms. They are divine. I am currently using the black cherry, it tastes delicious and has a hint of color. [Siobhan loves their balms, too! But coconut and vanilla more than fruit.] For more of a statement, Elysambre have a great lipstick range, they have a fabulous matt red that I have used on many shoots
and it always gets commented on. Plant Love also have some lovely bright colors, again putting an end to that old belief that natural lipsticks don’t come in nice colors! I add shine with a gloss from The Organic Pharmacy or Lavera. Check out Couleur Caramel too.
Foundation and Powder
I am still experimenting with foundations and concealer. There are lots of great mineral powder foundations but I like to use a liquid or cream consistency at work. So far I have been really impressed with Jane Iredale’s range including the Circle/Delete Under-Eye Concealer and the Active Light Under-Eye Concealer (which is a great replacement for YSL’s Touche Eclat!). [Alexandra's note: This is one of my favorites too, and I use it to conceal redness around my nose as well as for dark circles.]
My kit is still not completely natural, but it is certainly getting there. I have some great products that are giving superb results. By having cleaner products in my kit, I hope to show that you don’t need to use harsh chemicals to look good!
Now we want to know: What are your favorite natural makeup lines?
Image via Louise’s portfolio site
Holy crap is there anything harder than finding a good clean face screen that won’t break you out or cast your face in an eerie white glow? (That’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is yes: finding a good clean deodorant is actually harder. But only by a smidge.)
Anyway, in my hunt for the perfect sunscreen, I’ve tried a zillion and found a few I really like. Readers who have been with us for a bit know I love Lavera’s, and last summer I used Jurlique’s Age-Defying SPF 15 and reviewed it in our book. I’d been hearing good thing about Vive Sana Solar to Polar Ultra sunscreen, so I was thrilled when I got my hands on a tube from Spirit Beauty Lounge.
Vive Sana, which has an SPF of 40, calls itself the strongest all-natural sunscreen on earth. Bold! But does it live up to the promise?
Yuh huh. Sure seems to. I’ve been using it for a week now in sticky gross 95-plus degree weather in New York and it stays put all day, offers great protection (no new freckles!), hasn’t given me any problems (by which I mean zits), wears well under makeup or as a primer, and is loaded with skin-friendly ingredients.
The actives here are zinc and titanium dioxide (really hoping we don’t get bad news about the latter, but Vive doesn’t seem to use nanoparticles), it contains free-radical-eating antioxidants like green tea, soothing chamomile, beeswax and some skin-compatible oils.
As for the look: It’s not shiny, it’s not masky-matte. It’s just right. And because you only need a little at a time, I feel okay about the $29 pricetag.
Have you found one you like?