It’s December, people. And though some of us maybe finished our holiday shopping over the long, sale-filled holiday weekend, others of us may not be that on top of things. Enter this gift guide.
I love gift-giving. I have an entire secret Pinterest board dedicated to gifts for others so when my husband or sister or best friend mentions something they’ve been coveting, I have a safe place to stash the idea for later. This year, I’m doing beauty-related gifts for many friends, so I wanted to share a few of my fave pressies. Check them out below (for all budgets, for all kinds of beauty gals).
For the clean beauty skeptic: Since swapping clean products into my whole beauty caboodle, I’ve tried to convert as many friends as possible to the clean beauty movement. Some are more hesitant than others, and the ones who I have the hardest time convincing are the ones most concerned about cost. So I point them to a multi-tasker that usually woos them to trying more clean products: Acure Organics’ Argan Oil. It’s a hair-smoother, a cuticle oil, a face moisturizer. And it has a friendly price point if they want to repurchase for themselves.
For the beauty aficionado: The Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Winter Glow Gift Set. I’ve talked before about how much I love the Vitamin D Mist, and this set boasts that toner, plus a yummy Vitamin C serum that even my mom loves (and she used to use only Vaseline to moisturize her face). Top those off with a colorless face powder and angled kabuki brush help you hit this season’s matte face look and you’ve got a great combo for a girlfriend who’s a tad more in-the-know.
For the makeup maven: I can’t say enough about loving Alima Pure’s wide range of mineral foundations, but now I love their eyeshadows and mascara as well. Their holiday set, Me Encanta, comes from a collaboration with green makeup artist Kristen Arnett. I love love love the navy shadow included in the kit (I used it as a liner) and the blush is my all-time favorite color (I wore it for my wedding, for Pete’s sake). There’s even a how-to video on creating a subtle look with the liner, contour powder and blush. Fool proof. And a perfectly well-rounded present.
For the jet-setter: This Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster from La Bella Figura Beauty is one of those things I’m not sure how to make it through the day without. It smells like sunshine, it sticks around for a looooong time and I’ve gotten dozens (not exaggerating) compliments on how I smell, even after not showering for four days, when I’m wearing this puppy. It calms me—and anyone who smells me—down and makes every hurried day, full of airplane travel or just regular old commuting, better.
If you’re on a budget: Much like I am. Alexandra once blogged about why she loves gifting aromatherapy, but let me add to her points by saying it’s a super easy way to customize gifts and to not have to pick out makeup colors. You know your best friends; you know what’s bugging them. Therefore, you know what aromatherapy might benefit them. (Plus, we have a kick-ass deal going on with Essence of Vali until the end of the year. Save your dollar bills and give gifts your peeps will love.)
Or, do a little DIY for the holidays. Get some cute plastic bottles and fill them with a DIY dry shampoo. Or a body scrub. Or a lip balm. The thought goes a long way (and if your friends are like mine, they’ll be thrilled you took time to make them something, not just swipe your credit card.)
For the boy: Olie Biologique JUST released a Whisker Oil for before and after shaving. It smells manly and helps reduce redness and irritation. Or check out the body soaps from Osmia Organics. I only got my husband to switch from Dove when he smelled these babies. (Get a body oil for yourself while you’re at it—Water Lily is my fave and I started wearing it as a perfume.)
What did I miss? What are you snagging for friends, family or S.O.s?
Say hello to Jinna! Her routine includes some incredible goodies, but she relies first and foremost on a clean diet for glowing skin. Enjoy!
City: Los Angeles, CA
Current Weather: Sunny and dry, with a slight fall chill in the air
Skin: Combination, though my skin has stayed clear and glowing since I cut out dairy and meat from my diet (with the exception of 2-3 “treat’ meals per week). Starting to notice crows feet creeping up though!
Hair: black, long, straight, and fine
Favorite star from past: Jane Birkin. Love her effortless, natural look and Parisian chic.
I am a natural product skincare and makeup junkie and after years of rotating products I have found, for the most part, what consistently works for me (though I can’t resist trying a few new products here and there!)
In the shower…
I dry brush for 2-3 minutes (or even less if I’m in a rush!) before jumping in the shower. Before, I used to swear by dry shampoo and washing my hair every other day, but have since realized that my fine hair gets too oily, especially because I work out every day. I have yet to find a shampoo and conditioner that I’m in love with, and I’ve tried them all: Yarok, Phylia de M., John Masters Organics, Rahua, etc. I’m currently rotating between Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Burdock and Neem Healthy Scalp shampoo. Both work fine for now, but I will definitely be on the lookout for something new once I use these up. Three times a week I do a pre ‘poo treatment of coconut or jojoba oil for 1 hour before shampooing out. I find that since I wash my hair daily, it does a good job of keeping it from getting too dry. On the days I don’t do the oil treatment, I rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar in the shower after shampooing and before conditioning. I’ve found that both have improved the overall health of my scalp and hair. For body wash, I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille soap, which multitasks as hand soap and puppy shampoo! While my skin is slightly damp, I moisturize all over with One Love Organics Scented Body Serum in Lavender.
Outside the shower…
After brushing my teeth, I oil pull with a spoonful of coconut oil for about 10 minutes. I’ve read that the recommended time is 20 minutes, but I just can’t bring myself to do it for that long! While I’m swishing, I exfoliate my face every other morning with Tatcha Polishing Powder in Classic, though I have May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt waiting as soon as I finish the Tatcha. On the mornings I don’t exfoliate I wipe my face with S.W. Basics cleanser and finish with a splash of cold water. Next, I dab a few drops of Intelligent Nutrients Spot Treatment over my face. After that’s dried, I use One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin C serum. This is a recent discovery and I absolutely love it. It makes my skin look dewy and glowing while keeping it moisturized. Since the weather has gotten much drier and as previously mentioned, I’ve started noticing unwanted wrinkles, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase 37 Extreme Actives cream. Yes it is obscenely expensive, which is why I use it only under my eyes and mouth, but as my mother always said, don’t feel too guilty about splurging on food or skincare since you will get a return on your investment. I haven’t been using it long enough to decide if it’s worth the price but so far, I love the feel of the cream on my skin and how hydrated it feels afterward. If I’m noticing my skin getting a little oily, I swipe Arcona’s Tabula Rasa pad over the area, which pretty much stops any pimples from forming.
I started using 100% Pure full coverage foundation (thanks for this website’s recommendation!) and I also love it. It’s the only product that provides sun protection and coverage without irritating my sensitive skin. If I’m especially tired that day, I will also use RMS “Un” Cover-Up under my eyes. I rotate among many blushes: Kjaer Weis in Sun Touched, Vapour in Spark, RMS in Modest, and Revolution Organics in Blushed, just to name a few. So far, my favorite is the Revolution Organics, as it leaves a nice pink flush to my cheeks. For eyeliner, I use an eyeliner brush and The All Natural Face’s Vegan Gel Pot in Black. I LOVE this product, as it’s the only eyeliner that doesn’t smudge and give me raccoon eyes. Once that’s dry, if I’m feeling fancy, I use either RMS in Solar or Magnetic on my lids. For mascara, I use (not in love with this and will be looking for alternatives once it runs out). For lips, I absolutely love Ilia and have 4 colors: Bang Bang, In My Room, Perfect Day, and Arabian Knights. All the colors are so different and equally great, but the only one I carry in my purse is Bang Bang. I set everything with RMS “Un” Powder and then swipe some RMS Living Luminizer (can you guess what my favorite makeup brand is?) on my brow bone, nose bridge, and cheeks. I also spritz my face with a spray before leaving. Right now, I’m using John Master Organics Bearberry Skin Balancing Toning Mist, but I have One Love Organics Vitamin D mist on standby once that’s used up.
Whew! I know it looks long, but by now I’ve got it down to a quick science. Coupled with a plant-based diet, I have seen such an improvement in the overall tone and texture of my skin. Thanks for letting me share!
Gosh, we love you guys. You’re always giving back. Take, for example, this lovely routine from Alison, who reminds us that everyday should begin with kisses. Isn’t that just the sweetest thing?
Weather: Autumn in NY!
Skin: Combo, fragrance sensitive, thankfully generally clear, dark circles I’ve had my whole life
Hair: Long, wavy/curly, fine but tons of it, can get a bit dry
Star: Gena Rowlands. Badass, beautiful
I’m the queen of a million products that I alternate on a regular basis, but my everyday routine is quick and has to be because I’ve got two little girls and lots to do. I’ve tried so many things over the years (green and not-s0-green), and have locked in on some amazing reliables. That said, I’m always trying new things—W3ll People has recently overhauled my makeup bag, and I’ve incorporated some of the ED4OLO products in at night. (Next up: RL Linden and Osmia Organics…)
My love of products is married to my frugalness. Some of the products I use are super cheap. The more expensive items I’ve found are worth it as they are concentrated, have quality ingredients, last forever, and just work better than other products I’ve used (as well as being greener). Put it this way: if I’m repurchasing it, it’s worth it. I also keep a lot of multitaskers on hand (coconut oil, manuka honey, argan oil), and products my entire family can use. Having and relying on these cleaner—and better performing options, IMO—has also cut down on my wandering shopping eye.
I nurse my one-year old and kiss my three year old. I got involved with natural beauty many years ago but in earnest when I became pregnant with my elder daughter. I became increasingly aware of what I ate and what I put on my body—and theirs. They continue to be my inspiration for caring what goes in and on my body, and this extends to them as well. After nursing and kissing, it’s time for coffee making. Second to coffee is a daily green smoothie. I use whatever’s in the house—berries, greens, pears, bananas, avo, seeds (flax, chia).
In the shower…
Thanks to this tip from Sarah from Osmia Organics, I’ve been oil pulling. Hubs in on it too. I see and feel a big difference. I do this while I’m in getting in the shower. I also dry brush before getting in, then use a bar soap or body wash by Leap Organics. I keep a homemade scrub of turbinado sugar/coconut oil or sugar/lemon/honey around, and use that every few days. I take a natural pumice file to the harder edges on my feet. Most mornings, I use a Pai muslin face cloth with some water on my face, and that’s it. Sometimes, I use Kahina’s facial cleanser or wash with manuka honey before I get in the shower. I also love the One Love Organics Brand New Day scrub (I love this entire line). Sometimes that gets combined with the Kahina, or the honey. I like to mix it up.
I shampoo once or twice a week at most. I’ve tried many brands of shampoo but none have been equally liked by my hair and scalp as the Rahua line. With some experimentation, what works best for me is the Voluminous shampoo and original conditioner. It’s expensive but super-concentrated, so it lasts forever, and just works for my hair.
Outside the shower…
Spit out the oil, brush teeth and it’s Kahina toner time. Never in my life did I believe in toner until I started using this product, and I absolutely adore it. In summer, it is super refreshing, and in winter, it adds an extra bit of moisture. I keep a small bottle of it in my purse. I spritz it on after I put on my makeup. Anyway, multipurpose LOVE. Afterwards, I use a few drops of the Kahina argan oil and eye serum (great for contact wearers, doesn’t migrate or sting).
On hairwashing days, I use a few drops of the argan oil at the ends before I rough-dry it straight-ish. (Depends on how much time I have. There are also lots of top knots happening these days.) On non-washing days, if I need it, I use a bit of Lulu Organics Lavender and Clary Sage hair powder, but since switching up the frequency and the types of products I’m using, I rarely even need to do this. Despite much trial and mostly error, I haven’t found a product I really love for when I want to wear my hair curly (Thoughts welcome, #1…)
I’ve struggled with natural deodorants as I have a bad reaction to baking soda, which seems to be an active ingredient in many brands. Recently, I picked up one called I Love My Armpits, which doesn’t have any baking soda and comes in a variety of scents (I have Spicy Lemon). So far so good on the reaction and efficacy fronts. Coconut or grapeseed oil on arms, legs, hands and feet. Sunscreen myself and kids.
I don’t wear a ton of makeup but I love it, wear a little bit just about every day and have a lot of opinions about it. I use Suntegrity 5 in 1 on my face (another brand I adore). I fill my brows (pencil from Shobha), and use a bit of lip balm (SW Basics lemon or Suvana Organics Paw Paw and Honey). Most days, that’s the extent of it.
HOWEVER… I am having a moment with W3LL People. I recently had the opportunity to meet Shirley Pinkson from W3LL People, and now a good—and growing—number of their products reside next to old reliables RMS and Ilia in my makeup bag. I can’t say enough about a line that can get me to like powder products (loose ones at that), bronzer, and black eyeliner—historically, things I’ve abhorred and avoided. Total game changers.
So when I want to do it up a bit more, I use the W3ll People foundation stick under my eyes and around any spots; days when my skin feels a little drier, I use the RMS uncover up. I apply the W3LL People mineral foundation and bronzer with a kabuki brush. In the past, I’ve disliked powder products so much I avoided them entirely, especially as I’ve gotten older and my skin has gotten drier. Also, I’m a klutz. But these products somehow just make my skin look natural, luminous, glowy, and not cakey, chalky, or over the top. Sometimes I mix the minerals in with some Kahina facial lotion to make a liquid foundation. If I want more color, I’ll use a bit of the Universalist multi-use stick in 8 (the peachy pink one), or RMS lip2cheek in Promise (also nice on lips). The W3LL Pople eyeliner is a soft black, more like a charcoal, so it’s not harsh looking; it’s also soft in texture, but doesn’t smudge. I hardly ever do eyeshadow but when I do, I use the W3LL people taupe loose shadow, or RMS in Magnetic or Solar; I apply these with my finger. (Most importantly, none of these irritate my eyes.) I use the W3LL People nudist lip balm (#7), and/or the pink Paganist lipgloss. I also adore my Ilia (Karma Chameleon lip crayon, Love Buzz gloss, Bang Bang/Arabian Knights lip conditioners and Neon Angel lipstick), and the RMS living luminizer.
Like so many others, I’ve struggled to find a mascara that is natural, impactful, and contact-friendly (i.e. actually looks like something and doesn’t smudge or flake). Right now, I’m using a decidedly non-green option as I continue to survey the field on this one. (Thoughts welcome, #2.)
As an aside, not only are these some of the most effective products I’ve ever used, the idea of supporting smaller, independent, (largely) women-owned businesses really resonates with me. As my passion for greener products has deepened, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with the powerful, informed, thoughtful, and genuinely warm women behind these brands. I find them inspiring, and I value supporting their passion and vision.
Thanks, too, to the NMDL gals and the community for so many good ideas, tips and inspiration!
We feel the same, Alison, and we love your practical yet glam taste in clean beauty! XO
Confession: I’ve been a Beauty Bets lover since I graduated from Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash to cleaner beauty products. A native Minnesotan (like me! Holla!) with a flair for style and a plethora of short, quippy beauty product reviews? I once spent a good two hours just reading all the site’s previous beauty-product reviews. While I was at work.
So, when Elizabeth Dehn, Beauty Bets’ creator, launched her original skincare line, By Elizabeth Dehn, I jumped right on the bandwagon. As a beauty website editor, I attended her launch party, hoarded the samples, snapped a photo with her. I was a believer. And I was devastated when her manufacturing partnership dissolved and By Elizabeth Dehn went the way of the platypus.
Thank the lord that she found another (can I say better?) partnership in an already-beloved clean beauty brand: One Love Organics. When they announced they’d been cooking up something new together, Elizabeth and OLO gave me a small beauty orgasm.
The line focuses on active ingredients that hold moisture, giving your skin a natural glow. Vitamins are found everywhere, along with ingredients like fennel and mushroom extract.
Six weeks of use, I can heartily say YES. And what’s more, they actually work. Before I started with the Vitamin D mist, I wasn’t using any kind of hydrosol (gasp!) before moisturizing. I’d been on a strict skincare regime with an esthetician prior to my wedding and I didn’t think it was necessary.
I was wrong. Since adding the mist into my daily routine, my skin is plumper, less flaky and more balanced. I used to have a few always-flaky, always-dry spots on my cheeks that none of my hydrators could cure, but the addition of the Vitamin D mist has regulated those little badgers. And, it has a lovely, calming scent that refreshes and calms. Just ask Susannah, who cited it as one of her must-haves for stressful travel weekends.
I also never knew I needed eye balm (and this is DEFINITELY a balm—don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting a mousse-y consistency. This baby is THICK.). As a 26-year-old, I have yet to worry about under-eye darkness or crow’s feet. But, what I did struggle with was puffy under-eyes (thanks, hay fever!). Since using the eye balm morning and night, I have yet to wake up with any kind of swelling under my peepers—and that includes at least two nights of pre-wedding-stress sob-fests (elope, people, elope!).
Both of these products have wiggled their way into my already-too-long morning routine and once my first bottles are gone, I’ll be repurchasing each with glee.
Have you tried this new line yet? Are there other OLO products you love?
Vitamin D Mist Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, aqua (water), carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes**, rhododendron ferrugineum (alpine rose) extract** (and) glycerin, oryza sativa (rice) extract* (and) lentinus edodes (mushroom) extract*, polyaminopropyl biguanide
Vitamin E Eye Balm Ingredients: raw organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, organic helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, punica granatum (pomegranate) sterols, polyhydroxystearic acid, tocopherol (vitamin e), raw virgin rubus idaeus (red raspberry) seed oil, organic euphrasia officinalis (eyebright) extract, organic panax quinquefolius (american ginseng) extract, organic glycrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, organic lavandula angustifolia (bulgarian lavender) essential oil, organic foeniculum vulgare dulce (fennel) oil
It’s Friday and I’m thinking about my weekend. I’ll be traveling, which means figuring out how to recharge without the luxury of time to myself. No lounging about au naturel with my newspapers and a rich face mask. No long walks in the arboretum or people gazing from the patio of my favorite Capitol Hill cafe. This weekend will be a fast-paced punch in the face, leaving stars in my eyes come Monday morning, but I say bring it! I’ve got this.
Even in a rush or away from home, you can build in moments of pure detachment from your daily thought load and engage your senses in an elemental way, the kind that really hits reset. For me, the answer is always flowers. The biggest reason I’m drawn to natural products—at least the most carnal reason—is the heavenly (earthly?) scent of expertly blended essential oils and flower essences.
Flowers are my greatest source of therapy and I suspect they play a role in your pretty life, too.
Here are my flower picks for a hectic weekend on the go…
Hope Gillerman Travel Remedy: This weekend I’ll be driving up the east coast in heavy Friday evening traffic. Tomorrow I’ll venture even further up the coast by train. Hope Gillerman’s Travel Remedy will steady any motion sickness and help me feel grounded as my surroundings change. The lemon-balm scent comes from a blend of some of my favorite oils: litsea cubeba, lavender, palmarosa, orange, atlas cedar, petitgrain, and birch. This travel staple comes in a small roll-on bottle, perfect for your purse.
LURK PRJ V1: Have you tried this natural fragrance line? Are these precious little bottles to die for or what? It was a great pleasure to sample the LURK line and speak with the lovely founder, Anne Sanford, at the Night For Green Beauty. PRJ V1 is a heady, sensuous blend with a crisp finish that keeps the overall effect fresh. Expect a perfect marriage of jasmine, rose, and petitgrain. Dab it generously on your wrists and behind your ears and come back for more as often as you please.
Bach’s White Chestnut Flower Essence: The unfinished chores or other loose ends in my life won’t bother me while I’m away. Nope, White Chestnut flower essence will interrupt the endless to-do lists that run through my head and help me live in the moment, unencumbered by worries that just aren’t productive. Have you tried flower essences?
One Love Organics Vitamin D Mist: The latest collaboration from dream team Suzanne LeRoux and Elizabeth Dehn is a gorgeous aromatic mist that kisses your face with gentle alpine rose, and this baby is multifaceted. I’ll use it to rehydrate throughout my trip, set my makeup in the mornings, and tone my face in the evening. The bottle delivers a super fine mist that floats onto your skin, unlike some that drench your face in one spot. The formula features antibacterial Shiitake mushroom extract, which soothes irritation and redness. The rosey scent is faint but marvelous.
Pratima Amla Collagen Cream: This is the only cream that can lure me away from my precious oils. It has a cooling effect on my Pitta skin, and though it is meant to treat dry skin, this cream is not heavy and sinks in beautifully. I love to smooth this over my neck and décolleté. The texture and Ayurvedic ingredients are simple and divine, but it’s the scent that has me hooked. Organic essential oils of rose, geranium, lemon, and cardamom give this cream a sweet, delicate aroma that makes me feel well-loved and dreamy. Its skin-plumping effect doesn’t hurt, either.
Rishi Wild Rose Tea: This tea is one of those little luxuries that makes me stop and appreciate my position in life. The delicate rose aroma soothes and rejuvenates my spirit. The flavor is subtle, not overpowering or too floral. I like to add some mint leaves to the blend for a mid-morning refresher, or drink with some honey in the evening to wind down. Traveling with loose tea can be impractical, but T-Sacs make it easy. Pop into a Starbucks, grab a free cup of hot water, and brew your own elevating rose tea.
Erbaviva Relax Spray: Organic lavender, rose, and neroli lend a tranquilizing sensation to this travel-worthy blend. I spritz this in the air and on my pillow just before hopping into bed. It helps me feel at ease, open to rest, and at home in an unfamiliar bed. Get the travel size and thank me latter.
What are your flower powers? How do you enhance your wellbeing on the go?