Meet Carla! She has a lovely routine, but got there the hard way. Can anyone relate to her experience with facials? We love her tips, especially her lazy girl version of oil cleansing—sounds so relaxing!

Name: Carla

Age: 30

Hometown: San Jose, California

Weather: Crisp, dry and sunny

Skin: Pale with yellow undertones

Hair: Thick, long and brown

Starlet: Lupe Vélez – the Mexican spitfire

I became obsessed with skincare when I had a bout of hormonal acne after getting on and off the pill in college. I tried everything from micro-dermabrasion to eating salmon everyday all in hopes of having clear skin. The more I visited my esthetician for glycolic acid peels and deep pore facials the worse my skin looked. I always felt horrible after a facial and resigned myself to hide for a week in its aftermath. There had to be a better, cheaper and more natural way.

The silver lining of unemployment is how inventive one can get on a budget. I ditched all the products with harsh, stripping ingredients, sugar and dairy and embraced simple skincare products and vegetables. My skin has never looked better. It’s been six years now but I no longer get facials or peels, use face wash or hide because of a break out. So for any girl out there suffering with hormonal acne, I hope my daily routine helps.

On a winter morning, I splash my face with lemon water. I found that using filtered water on my face has made it smoother and less dry. Then I spray it with some Evan Healy rose water tonic and apply DeVita Solar Protective in SPF 30 with Hyaluronic Acid on my face and neck. This brand is light, doesn’t leave a white mask and keeps skin plump and moist. If the weather is very dry, I use a moisturizer as well. I still haven’t found an ultimate winner but my fall back is MyChelle’s Unscented Pumpkin Renew Cream. It leaves skin moisturized all day and absorbs well for make up. Finally I apply MyChelle Magnolia Fresh Eyes. It’s more for those with puffy eyes than those who need something to combat wrinkles. After I have a warm cup of lemon water with a bit of cayenne. I make some blend of green juice like celery, cucumber, beet, lemon, fennel and cilantro. I also take Udo’s Choice probiotic and Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Blend capsule. In combination, both have done wonders for my skin tone and healing of old scars.

I don’t use make up everyday but when I do I use Well People Foundation Concealer around the eyes and nose, very natural coverage that blends easily. Then I apply Mineral Fusion Loose powder. It does have Phenoxyethanol but it has such a beautiful creamy coverage, so I use it anyway. I use Alima loose matte blush in Mimosa year round, a lovely pink that brings a natural flush to your cheeks. Alima makes the nicest make up brushes too. My favorite black eye pencil is Mineral Fusion in Coal. It goes on smoothly and is super dark. Most days I just curl my lashes and leave it at that but when I want to be fancy I use the Kjaer Weis mascara. I also use Kjaer Weis Cloud Nine as an eyeshadow base and am very happy with the subtle sparkle. Finally for lips, my new favorite color is Well People Universalist multi-use colorstick in No.6. It’s a golden red and looks perfect topped with Well People Paganist 2 Gold Twinkle. My lip balm is Acure Dark Chocolate and Mint argan oil lip balm, it does its job, is affordable and clean.

I never got into bathing in the morning so when my day is over I dry brush. Then I take a mineral bath with Dead Sea salt for magnesium and Aztec Secret Healing bentonite clay. These ingredients balance the tap water so it is not so harsh on the skin. I use a very diluted mixture of Dr. Bronners soap and wash with an Ayate fiber body cloth. I have skin that likes to be exfoliated often because I have keratosis pilaris on the back my arms and legs. I wash my hair 1 to 2 times a week with Acure Argan oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve tried other expensive brands and this one is still the best for my thick and wavy hair that tangles easily. If I have had a pretty chill day, I don’t shower or bathe save the necessary places, a whore bath they call it. It has helped my skin retain moisture.

I do a lazy girl version of oil cleansing. I pour some olive or coconut oil in my hands and massage my face while filtered water is boiling in the kettle. Sometimes I add lemon juice or baking soda to the oil for gentle exfoliation. Then I pour the water onto a face towel and steam twice then wipe off the excess. I leave a little to moisturize and I am done. If I don’t use make up I sometimes don’t wash my face at all. Since I fuss with my skin less it’s clearer and calmer than it has ever been. About three times a week I massage a jojoba oil frankincense blend or Evan Healy Pomegranate Repair Serum with Sea Buckthorn oil. Always making sure to massage up and out and a circular motion around my mouth. When I camp or go on a trip I only take coconut oil for my beauty needs. A miracle.

Thank you Carla and everyone else who submitted routines over the last week! We can’t wait to share them all!

Here’s a routine for all our sensitive-skinned readers. Christine has found a natural routine that relies on a good diet, gentle products, and of course some amazing natural makeup. Enjoy!

Name:  Christine

Age:  45 (seriously, where does the time go?)

Hometown:  Minneapolis, MN

Weather:  Cool, beautiful autumn weather.

Skin:  Fair and super sensitive.

Hair: Natural dark blonde, chin length, blunt cut and very, very, (very) fine.

Star:  Not from the past but Cate Blanchett.  She’s talented, beautiful, and I love her overall style.

I wanted to do a morning routine to share what is working for me and maybe help others who may be struggling with reallllly sensitive skin.  About 15 years ago, a dermatologist “diagnosed” me with rosacea and promptly handed me a prescription for antibiotics and Metrogel and sent me on my way.  I really did not think it was healthy to take antibiotics for 3 months (!) so I left the prescriptions unfilled and decided to try and fix my own skin.   I did a lot of research on skin care products and diet to find out what was going on with me.   Since my facial redness completely disappeared after switching to gentle skincare products, I don’t really think I ever had true rosacea.  I do have one or two broken capillaries around my nose, hereditary and probably age-related, but no more overall redness.

My skincare journey began by cutting out parabens and chemical sunscreens.  I saw improvement in my skin just getting rid of those.  Then I found that too many silicones and even titanium dioxide caused my skin to flake no matter how much I moisturized.  Alcohol, used to preserve some natural products (Dr. Hauschka, Lavera) also irritated my skin.  Finally, I found that all essential oils reddened my skin.  So my journey to more natural products has been quite difficult since so many natural products use essential oils.  I still try new products occasionally (and patch test of course), but I almost always react.

With my diet, I tried EVERYTHING to improve my skin and the ONLY thing that made a difference was getting rid of all added sugar (yes, even chocolate).  I tried going vegan for a year, a raw food diet, dairy-free, gluten-free, giving up nightshades, no coffee, eating alkalizing foods, etc.   Only cutting out sugar made any difference in my skin, and honestly, once it’s out of your diet you don’t miss it.   I’ve always eaten healthy whole foods (lots of fruits and vegetables, no processed foods) and I drink lots of water.  I still eat the occasional dessert on special occasions, but I usually see a slight reddening of my face the next day.  I also take a daily probiotic and Vitamin D (drops in a coconut oil base) during the winter.

Sorry for such a long intro, but I think there may be a few other sensitive NMDL readers out there who may be frustrated that the skincare products that work so well for others don’t work for them.  I love reading NMDL for information on healthy living, as well as skincare and makeup, and maybe my routine can help someone else.

In the shower…

I am not a morning person and I need my coffee to get going every day.  Daily morning showers also help wake me up.  Since I work out every day and am blessed with fine hair and an oily scalp, I need to wash it daily.  I’ve tried to wash it less often, but I’ve had no luck with any products or techniques.  My hair is shiny and healthy so I guess it is working for me.  I use the John Masters Bare shampoo.  Many natural shampoos are full of essential oils so I’m very careful as several have irritated my scalp (peppermint oil being the worst offender).  I also never use conditioner since they all weigh my hair down.  I wash my face with a glycerin soap (Whole Foods, unscented).   For the body, I use olive oil soap (right now, Sappo Hill).  My showers are short and I use only lukewarm water.

Outside the shower…

I apply Elave Intense Moisture Surge on my face.  This Irish moisturizer is free of parabens, alcohol, sulfates, dyes, phthalates, lanolin, and fragrance.  I let it sink in and then apply Burn Out sunscreen SPF 30 to my face and neck.   This sunscreen contains only zinc oxide and I love it: it’s moisturizing and I get no white residue from it.  That’s it!  I don’t exfoliate, or use eye creams or serums.  Occasionally though, I will use a few drops of Josie Maran Argan oil or Aura Cacia Macadamia Nut oil at night before I apply my moisturizer.  Although I always (always!) want to try out new products, I know that for me, less is more.   I’ve had this simple routine for years now and my skin looks really great.  It also gets me through Minnesota winters without dry, flaky skin.

On my body, I use the Whole Foods 365 Moisturizing Lotion which is fragrance free.   I’m still using LaVanila deodorant in Lavender Vanilla because it works and is not irritating.  I’d love to try another deodorant but all the essential oils kinda freak me out.   I leave my hair to air dry and spray on Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray.  It’s the only styling product I use and I keep rationalizing that since I spray it on my hair, my body’s not absorbing it.  I can’t find another product to give my hair the same texture and fullness that this does.  And since I can’t tolerate essential oils, the natural surf sprays have not worked for me.  (*Any recommendations to replace this would be appreciated!) When my hair is nearly dry, I blow dry upside down for a little more volume.

Finishing touches…

I love wearing makeup and, as a natural blonde, I feel like my features disappear without a little definition.   After my sunscreen, I apply RMS Un-Cover Up where I need it.  I actually mix 11 and 22 to get the right color: 11 on its own is way too yellow for my skin.  I wish RMS would make an “11-C” for cool-toned skin—not everybody has yellow undertones!  I also use the RMS Living Luminizer and RMS in Demure on cheeks.  As much as I love RMS and their minimal ingredients, I can’t use their eyeshadows.  Not only do they not last on me, but they somehow seep into my eyes and then my eyes water all day long.

On my eyelids, I use Mineral Fusion’s Concealer Duo in Cool as a primer.  Then, I line my eyes with Inika’s eyeliner in Graphite, a nice soft pencil which lasts all day on me.  I also use Jane Iredale eyeshadow in Taupe.  It is the best color I’ve found for my green eyes.  I’m still looking for a great natural mascara (isn’t everybody?).  Next up to try is Honeybee Gardens since I like their lipliner.

On my lips, I love Honeybee Gardens lipliner in Zen and RMS Lipshine in Bloom.  Also in rotation are Hurraw’s Coconut lip balm, Hurraw’s Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm, Lily Lolo lipstick in Love Affair, Suvana Paw Paw and Honey Balm, and Great Barrier Island Bee Co. Manuka Honey Lip Balm.

Luckily, most natural makeup has worked well for me because I am an avid reader of ingredient lists.  I also try to sample everything before I buy it.

Thanks for reading!!


Image courtesy of OneWed.com

I’m not one of those girls who’s dreamed of getting married since she was old enough to understand the words “bride” and “groom.” I never fantasized wedding dresses or centerpieces. I didn’t wish for a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet (sorry, fiancé, if you’re reading this).

But what I did dream about was a legit excuse to buy as many beauty products as I wanted. A reason to try 13 different eye shadows. An excuse to spend three hours searching the Internet for the perfect shade of lip gloss. A reason to splurge a little.

My pending nuptials seem like the perfect excuse. I gave myself a little longer of a leash than usual, and went all out. Here’s a few tips that I learned along the way, plus the products that I think will give me the natural-me-but-better look for my big day.

Face:

One thing I don’t want to have to worry about on my wedding day is my makeup melting. In order to stay off the sweaty train, two things are key: a good primer and a layering of different types of makeup.

I start with ARCONA’s Desert Mist, a daily primer and skin protectant. It seals in moisture and helps create a smooth base for all your subsequent blending. I’ve also heard Amala’s Purifying Mattifier is a good one.

  1. Liquid foundation: I already gave this puppy its due on the blog last week, but I can’t say enough how excited I am to have found 100% Pure Healthy Skin Foundation. It has silky coverage without making me look like I’m in a theatre production of “Cats,” it doesn’t melt off and it doesn’t give me too much of a “glow” (I’m not really a dewy-skin lover). I stipple it on with a Beauty Blender because it’s awesome and works better than a sponge or a brush or my fingers (I’ve tried them all, people) to get even, not-cakey coverage.
  2. Sticky-ish liquid concealer: I do this concealer from Mineral Fusion* (which comes with two colors so you can mix a custom for your skintone) OVER my foundation. Otherwise the stippling takes it all off.
  3. Mineral foundation: Something to remember, which will come up later when we talk about eyeshadow—you want to avoid shimmer and glitter and sparkly-ness on your wedding day. They create bounce-back when your photog snaps glamour shots of you and your S.O., which can wreck the images and make you look older than you actually are. And NO ONE wants that. So, the mineral foundation I use is a totally matte one that we’ve recommended on the blog before: Alima Pure. So many colors. So much lovely, soft coverage. It’s the bomb.com. The only thing I’ve ever loved as much as it was Jane Iredale’s PurePressed Foundation, which is a bit pricier.
  4. Blush: I am NOT a rosy girl. I much prefer a little color in the form of a bronzer (no shimmer) but for the wedding-day, I want to look more polished than usual. So, I went back a tried-and-true matte blush (remember how I said to avoid shimmer? Blush is included here.): Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush in Pink, a literally universally flattering shade.
  5. Luminizer: Now, I said before shimmer is baaaad. And I stand by that statement… until photos are through. Then I’m going to dab a little of (the best beauty product in the world) RMS’ Living Luminizer in the inner corners of my eyes, down the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow. Glow-ing.

Eyes:

This was where most of my searching, researching and testing happened. I just had a tricky time finding a matte (are you sick of that word yet?) eyeshadow palette that was flattering and contouring enough. So, I mixed my own.

  1. Eyeshadow: I bought a load of samples from W3LL PEOPLE (thank you to any and all clean lines that offer this service—it is the best thing ever) and ended up finding my perfect shade in a slightly unlikely place—the mineral brow pigment. I use a medium shade on my lid (Matte Taupe) and a darker shade in my crease (Matte Espresso).
  2. Eyeliner: For all-day wear, liquid liner is your best bet. I haven’t found a clean one that I lurve, so I improvise by creating my own. I do a thin line on my top lid only (don’t want any bleeding under my eyes on my big day) of Jane Iredale’s Eye Pencil in Black Brown. Then, I dip a stiff eyeliner brush in water before dabbing it in Modern Minerals’ loose mineral eyeliner in Cocoa. I gently enhance the Jane Iredale line with this deep chocolate shade, thickening the line a bit.
  3. Mascara: I looove me some mascara. I already have long, curled lashes (my hair stylist asked me last week if I’d gotten eyelash extensions after I swiped on one coat of black-brown mascara) but I need some additional thickening. To get the look I want, I use two mascaras in sequence: a) 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Dark Chocolate (it actually smells like I’m swiping melted dark chocolate on my lashes, which is just an added bonus to its lengthening power). b) Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara in Pitch Black. This baby thickens and darkens, giving me almost-falsies.

Lips:

My lips are SENSITIVE, so I’ve tried many a balm, stick, gloss and stain in order to find the perfect one that doesn’t make my lips swell and flake. I also didn’t want one with too much color, as I’m doing a heavier eye than I normally would. In order to get that my-lips-but-better look, I’m using two products:

  1. Dr. Hauschka’s Lip Liner in Soft, Muted Rose. It’s almost exactly the shade of my natural lips, so I’m only using it to help my real color stay on longer. Creating a base of a stickier substance, like the liner, helps hold color in place (since I’m not jumping on the 14-hour dirty lip color train).
  2. My holy grail of lip color and gloss: RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine in Bloom. Confession: I own ALL the colors of the Lip Shine. I love them so much – they go on sheer but can be layered for more color. They leave a light stain so even once the gloss wears off, I still have a little color. And Bloom is the perfect shade to make me look super put together on a no-makeup day or enhance my lips for a  special occasion (aka, my wedding).

That’s it peeps. Seems like a lot, but I think it’ll all help me feel confident about looking my best on wedding day (t minus three days…). What products did you use for your wedding? What did I miss?