Meet Alex, a young teacher trying to make a clean routine work on her teacher’s salary. Sounds like she’s doing awesome. Thanks for this super candid and awesome routine!

Name: Alex

Age: 26

Profession: Teacher (Fourth grade…an awesome age but not easy!)

Weather: Hot, humid Central Florida. We do experience a nice cold front or two in the winter.

Hair: Long, fairly thick, wavy…straight…wavy, depends on the day! Oh, and very oily.  The humidity is not my friend but what can you do?

Skin: Fair and pinkish, on the oily side. I tend to break out occasionally in random areas (usually stress-related). These breakouts have diminished since I’ve cleaned up my routine. I still tend to get your standard tiny blemishes in and around my t-zone and anywhere I consistently touch my face (horrible, very bad, no-good habit!)

Favorite Star: Meryl Streep.  She has such an interesting beauty and way about her!

In the shower…

I start my morning with a nice slathering of raw organic honey on my face. I started using it about six months ago and it has surpassed any store-bought face wash I’ve used! I’ll occasionally mix in a bit of turmeric for some extra anti-bacterial and skin-brightening oomph. I know there are many amazing natural face washes out there but I’m loving the honey a little too much to venture just yet. Whole Foods sells their own awesome organic Wildflower honey for a very reasonable price. I let it sit on my face for a bit and then hop in the shower (if I remember and have a dose of patience, I’ll dry brush as well).  I am currently washing my hair about every other day with Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile shampoo and Honeysuckle Rose conditioner (conditioner first, then shampoo).  I’m trying to scale it down to once or twice a week but I’m struggling! The grease-ball feeling is holding me back. That and my inability to create a halfway neat-looking updo (any tips for the uncoordinated?)  I’m really wanting to try the Yarok shampoos and conditioners but the price tag is slowing the process…oh, teacher’s salary! I soap up with a Zum Bar…frankincense and myrrh is daydream-inducing but I really enjoy most of their scents.  I’ve yet to try them all. When I shave, I’ll spread some conditioner on my legs. I like coconut oil for shaving but do not love rinsing my razor constantly. If I’m feeling crafty and self-indulgent, I’ll use a homemade coconut oil (virgin and organic) brown sugar, and lemon essential oil scrub. It smells like cake and leaves my skin pretty soft! I love a nice, long shower but do feel guilty about wasting water…such problems I have ;) I usually keep it under ten minutes but I give myself a reprieve on the weekends…ya gotta live!

Outside the shower…

For my face, I moisturize with pure organic rosehip seed oil that I get from a shop back home and a drop or two of essential oil. The rosehip seed oil is great for healing some signs of aging (forehead wrinkles, anyone?) and leaves my skin soft and a little glowy. Depending on my mood, I might use a drop of lavender, pine, rosemary, or tea tree essential oil.  They pretty much all have skin-clearing, anti-bacterial properties so I usually choose based on what I feel like breathing in that morning. Pine should be used very carefully (it needs to be very diluted) as it is very strong. I love the scent, though! It makes me think of living in a charming treehouse in the middle of a redwood forest (my little tree-hugging, hippie fantasy). In fact, I recommend researching any essential oils before they’re used on your skin or taken internally. They can be extremely powerful (I liken them to any topical or ingested medication). Again, if I have the patience, I’ll slather on some coconut oil but I’ve started to look for some clean body lotions that might make that part of my routine more enjoyable. Any suggestions for a truly clean and affordable brand? As you can tell, patience is not a virtue that I’ve yet to possess…I’m hoping a little bit of yoga and meditation might help but I don’t have the patience to start! ;) I’m in the market for a sunscreen…because I don’t use one…because I’m lazy! I want to break the cycle, so all recommendations are welcome. I’m willing to pay a decent price, I just worry about residue and pore-clogging. However, I’m ready to get serious about protection!

Finishing Touches…

About a year ago, I noticed how dependent I was on make-up. I felt so incredibly insecure and unattractive when I didn’t wear it. After some self-reflection, I realized that this was unhealthy and decided to challenge myself to get the heck over it. So, I stopped wearing make-up…sorta. I continued to wear concealer to cover up blemishes and any darkness under my eyes. While I did feel a bit guilty about not fully going for the gold, I knew I was heading in the right direction. Eventually, I ran out of concealer and didn’t buy another! It’s been extremely liberating. I still love make-up but now I use it when I want something a little extra. I love a good cheek stain (I do not know of a clean one) and tinted lip balm! I currently use Burt’s Bees in Red Dahlia for a pop of color or Sprout’s peppermint balm for a bit of shine (it does not have a color). I’m looking forward to trying other tinted balms like Alima’s and Badger’s in the future.  I’ll also get around to purchasing the RMS Living Luminizer (how could I not? You all rave!).  I run a brush through my hair and walk out the door. Right now, I spritz on a bit of Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love before I get to work.  I can’t say I always look put together but I also can’t say that I look too shabby!  My students don’t seem to mind either way so, that’s a plus! It’s taken a while to accept my body and face as they are. Being kind to myself and discovering truly healthy and nurturing food, drink, and beauty care products brings me closer every day. I can’t say that I don’t want to crack my mirror in half on some mornings but, overall, I try to focus on all of the god-given beauty both inside and outside of me. There’s a lot to admire on this big, old planet and there’s nothing more gorgeous than a man, woman, or child who appreciates that with a big smile, a hearty laugh, and a good dose of compassion.

Name: Kalpana

Age: 31

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.

Finishing Touches…

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.

Meet Heather, a working mom with two daughters (and sensitive skin), she still manages to make some DIY products. We love it! We’ve included her inception story below—thanks for sharing it, Heather!
I have been enjoying your series on morning routines and I wanted to throw mine into the mix.  My skin and haircare rituals have changed in the past couple of years, mainly because of your book!  I can’t even remember how I came across it, but I started reading No More Dirty Looks, on a Friday in 2011 and by Sunday evening I had looked up all my products on the EWG’s database, Skin Deep.  Horrified with what I found, I ended up tossing about 90% of them and decided to start over.  Shortly thereafter, I had a skin consultation with holistic esthetician and herbalist, Emma Graves, which totally rocked my world (insofar as a facial can be world altering).  My skin is sensitive and prone to rosacea, and she suggested I dispense with soap and moisturizer altogether.  Her company, Between You and The Moon, makes an organic grain facial cleanser, Sow Your Wild Oats  and a moisturizing oil called Nourish and Replenish that I love.  Soon, I started experimenting with making some of my own products and found it was easier than I thought (and fun, too!).   My youngest daughter also has very sensitive skin and we needed to find a lotion for her that was free of any chemical preservatives, so I found a simple recipe and now the whole family uses my Honey/Lemon Body Lotion.  I also make my own oat-almond cleanser and deodorant, too, and have documented my various experiments in kitchen cosmetics on my blog, Domaphile.

As a working mother with daughters aged 6 and 9, my morning routine is not very relaxing and is usually punctuated by packing lunches and trying to get them out the door to school.  On the weekends, I try to take a little more time and like to mix up face and hair treatments in the kitchen.  Sometimes my kids get into the act, too, but mostly they just think I’m weird for “putting all that gunk on my face!”

Name:  Heather

Age:  41

Hometown: New York City

Profession: Art Librarian and blogger at

Weather: Snowmaggedon!

Skin: Fair and Sensitive. I have a bit of rosacea, which I control with diet and by using really mild products on my skin. Now that I am in my 40s, I am noticing some changes in my skin and am really glad I have discovered non-chemical ways to deal with them. I also think my daily smoothie habit has done wonders for my skin – you are what you eat, after all!

Hair: Dark, medium length. Straight and fine with very little body (sigh).

Star: Audrey Hepburn

In the shower…

Weekday mornings are a little crazy around here, trying to get everyone out the door, so I often do everything in a rush.  I only wash and dry my hair every three days or so and it totally throws a wrench into my morning, so I have to make sure the hair washing falls on a day when I don’t have to take my kids to school.   I’ve been experimenting with homemade shampoos, but I haven’t made anything I like as much as the John Master’s Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner, and I usually follow it up with the Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler, also by John Masters.  For the body, I use the Dr. Bronner’s bar soap – usually Baby Mild or Peppermint –  for both washing and shaving.

Outside the shower…

Once out of the shower, I wash my face. When I am out of Sow Your Wild Oats, I make my own basic face cleanser out of oat flour, almond meal and milk powder.  During the week, I mix it into a paste with a little water (or rosewater) and on the weekends, I make a simple mask with raw honey and plain yogurt.  I moisturize with a few drops of Nourish & Replenish oil mixed with a bit of water and I try to take a few extra moments to really massage the oil into my face.  I then move on to the deodorant and body lotion which I make myself.  Right now I am using a winter body cream that is a combination of coconut oil, almond oil and shea butter.  I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration and recipes from Crunchy Betty – she has a great e-book for making products for acne-prone and sensitive skin.

On the days I wash my hair, I towel dry it as much as possible and add a few drops of argan oil.  The thing I hate most is drying and styling my hair, but if I don’t I end up looking like Janice from the Electric Mayhem, which motivates me to pick up the hair dryer. My tresses are straight and fine, so I need to use some kind of product to give it a bit of extra body.  I have experimented with making my own hair gel using flax seeds, but it is a messy business that involves straining them through a nylon sock, so I have given up on that and use the Giovanni Volumizing Styling Gel instead. I generally use Tom’s to brush my teeth, but have lately been experimenting with making my own toothpaste using baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint stevia. Still working on that one.

Finishing touches…

I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but I love RMS “un-cover up” (thanks to your book), and I like Annette’s practice of mixing her tinted cover-up with John Master’s SPF 30, so I’m going to try that.  For my eyes, I use a tiny bit Josie Maran’s liquid liner and Dr. Hauschka’s mascara. I don’t wear shadow unless I am going out at night, and then use a basic palate from Josie Maran.  For lips, I just use the Burt’s Bees tinted gloss – my favorite color right now is Fig.  My entire makeup application routine takes less than five minutes.

I try to take off my makeup as soon as I get home from work in the evening.  I use olive oil or almond oil to remove my eye make up, wash my face with the oat powder or just some plain, raw honey. To moisturize, I use about 6 drops of BYATM oil mixed with a little water. If I have the time, I will try to wash and dry my hair at night so I don’t have to deal with it in the morning.

Hey everyone! We’re kind of at half-mast right now—doing the whole family and fire thing, and especially enjoying time with our adorable nieces and nephews. But since everyone has a little time on their hands, we thought it’d be fun to post this great morning routine from Natalie. Natalie, thanks for sharing!

Name: Natalie

Age: 23

Current weather: Winter in Philadelphia! It’s been up and down and I hope it stays consistently cooler…

Hair: Shoulder length, layered, wavy, and brown with highlights in the summer. Thick and a bit course, sebbheaoriec dermatitis on certain spots of my scalp. If I wait too long for a haircut I get split ends given the layering. My scalp tends to get oily while my ends are dry.

Skin: Black heads on my nose and chin, dry cheeks. I get the occasional pimple now and then but everything is much more stable now that my hormones are “under control.”

Favorite star or icon from the past: My mom…but if pressed to choose, Lauren Bacall.

In the shower…

I have a very low maintenance routine and I love it. I usually shower every other day, basically whenever I work out.  I use Dr. Bronner’s Lemon Pure Castille Soup on my dirty bits.  I also use a coconut oil and sea salt scrub on my arms and shoulders where I have those annoying kerostasis bumps…although they seem to have gotten better now that it’s cooler. I then rub my prescription shampoo, Ketaconozole, the last remaining toxic product in my arsenal, on my scalp, focusing on an area near my left ear where I have a scaly patch caused by dermatitis. I would love to hear if anyone has recommendations for dealing with this. I have tried essential oils but feel that they accelerate hair loss (see more below). I also have not been eating gluten or dairy for over a year and a half now. I tried the baking soda and vinegar routine but it actually worsened things and produced the bad patch near my ear. I also feel that I should be washing my hair daily; but I really can’t force myself to do this since I hate what that does to my hair.

Outside the shower…

After I shower, I face the daunting task of combing my hair. I have PCOS and have struggled with hair loss since quitting the pill 2.5 ago. I currently take spironolactone, which prevents certain hormones from binding and thereby prevents acne and minimizes hair loss. Things are under control now but the process of combing or brushing my hair elicits some serious emotions for me.  I am trying to wean myself off of this drug but am still trying to figure out the best way to do so. I had a bout of really bad cystic acne after quitting the pill, weight gain and a year later hair loss, so while I’d like to think that worse is behind me, I also understand that changing things up will have emotional and physical consequences.
In any case, I then put some Alaffia Curl Defining Gel for wavy to curly hair into my hair. I am really in love with this product; it smells absolutely amazing.  Now that the weather is dryer my hair doesn’t curl as well, but in the summer this cream was amazing.  I usually put some grapeseed oil on my body. I am trying out jojoba for my face, but am still worried it will cause me to break out. I have also been using 100% Caffeine Bean Eye Cream, but can’t say if it’s helped my dark eye circles.
I have also been trying Jason’s Power Smile toothpaste, but am undecided. I know the issues surrounding fluoride, but I had a surprising amount of tooth decay issues this past year. I was a bit disappointed to find this out given my dietary/lifestyle changes and I don’t attribute it to the change in toothpaste (at all!) but yeah…

Finishing touches…

I was never good at makeup and my old stuff got dumped as soon as I found this site. I was in a wedding in November and was tempted to buy something recommended here, but did not take the plunge. My main qualm right now is my dark eye circles, but I just tell myself that everyone is too worried about their own stuff to notice! :)  Sometimes I will wear the Essence of Vali perfume sample I got when I ordered their Calm massage oil and Refresh body spritz…

I just wanted to thank No More Dirty Looks for existing and for producing quality content. It is always a pleasure to read your posts and I really appreciate your commitment to health and beauty!

[You're very kind. We love doing what we do and are just happy to have such active and cool readers.]

Meet Efe and her awesome and detailed morning routine! You had me at DIY flaxseed gel, Efe—a formula we wrote about in the book that I’ve always been meaning to try. Can you post your recipe in the comments? Also, any tips for hyperpigmentation? To the rest of you, we still have some awesome routines in our coffers, but we want moremoremore! If you’ve been meaning to send yours, get on it. xx

Name: Efe

Age: 21

Hometown: New Jersey

Current weather: Sunny, bright and humid for the past couple of days.

Hair: My hair is jet-black, kinky coily/Afro-textured and 12 inches long.

Skin: My skin is dark brown with golden undertones. It is normal-to-dry 
and I rarely get any pimples (when I do they tend to lead to
 hyperpigmentation). I always get compliments on my radiant skin—some most
 decidedly awkward and some not.

Favorite star: Shingai Shoniwa

In the shower…

Every morning I hop into the shower, brush my teeth with Nature’s Gate
Creme de Mint Natural Toothpaste and follow up with a bit of lip
exfoliation. I cleanse my body with Dudu-Osun African black soap and an
African net bath sponge. (My Grandmother brought for me from Nigeria. A
similar bath sponge may possibly be purchased at an African grocery
store). The Dudu-Osun soap smells awesome [citrus-y and fresh] and
cleanses without stripping moisture away. The African net bath sponge
exfoliates my skin gently and effectively (no body scrubs or loofahs for
me!). I finish up my shower by thoroughly exfoliating the soles and heels
of my feet with a pumice stone.

Outside the shower…

I massage unrefined shea butter or Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter
Lotion into my damp skin. I love shea butter—the earthy smell, the feel of
it, the way it makes my skin oh so soft, smooth and supple… *swoons.* I
apply Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant Roll-On in the Lavender and White
Tea scent. Once a week, I shave my legs using Kiss My Face Fragrance-Free
Moisture Shave and a Gillette Venus Sensitive Skin Disposable Women’s
Razor. I can’t be bothered to do it more often…seriously. The shaving
cream is quite nice–super creamy, extra moisturizing and little goes a
long way.

In the morning, I cleanse my face with Dudu-Osun soap, tone with my DIY
Green Tea Toner (and a cotton pad) and moisturize with Aubrey Organics
Rosa Mosqueta Rose Hip Moisturizing Cream. These products work perfectly
for my skin. The Dudu-Osun soap is gentle and effective, my DIY Green Tea
Toner works well (I even have some family members using it!) and the
Aubrey Organics Moisturizing Cream makes my skin especially soft and
smooth. At night, I repeat my morning routine and apply Now Foods Tea Tree
Oil on any pimples with a cotton swab. Once a week I do a DIY Greek Yogurt
Mask. It tightens, soothes and softens and my skin quite nicely. I don’t
exfoliate as of right now but I’m looking into a soft yet effective facial
brush for that purpose.
I wash my hair every 5-7 days. On wash-and-style day I detangle/condition,
cleanse, moisturize, set my hair in 16 braids, seal (apply oil to the ends
of my braids and my hairline), air-dry for a day under a cute hat and
style (braid-out, bun or updo). I wash-and-style my hair in the afternoon
or at night and do everything except for outside of the shower. Here are a
list of the hair care products I use— Shea Moisture Purification Masque,
DIY Aloe Vera Gel/Castor Oil Hair Mask or Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin
Coconut Oil (detangle/condition); Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo
(cleanse); Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner + Shea Moisture Curl & Style
Milk or Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque (moisturize); DIY Flax Seed
Gel (for buns); Lily of the Dessert Aloe Vera Gel (detangle/condition) and
Heritage Castor Oil (seal, detangle/condition). I love hair care and
styling—it’s my favorite part of my “beauty” routine.

Finishing touches…

I wear very little make-up. First, I apply Burt’s Bees Lip Balm or EOS
Sweet Mint Lip Balm to my lips. Then I fill in my eyebrows with Ecco Bella
Soft Eyeliner Pencil in Velvet and apply Physician Formula Organic Wear
Jumbo Lash Mascara in Ultra Black Organics. When I’m feeling extra glam, I
do a cat eye eyeliner look using Suncoat Cosmetics Natural Liquid Eyeliner
in Chic Black. I also sometimes use Alba Botanica Coconut Cream Clear Lip
Gloss over my lip balm. I don’t wear perfume currently but I would like
to. I’m looking into natural perfumes—I may try the vanilla extract tip
that I read somewhere on this blog.  As for nails, I always use a 3-free
nail polish and an acetone-free nail polish remover for my weekly
manicures. I am doing research into natural nail polishes. It’s a work in
progress…much like everything in life.