Palo Santo Tree (the oil comes from fallen branches or dead trees)

Despite my sensitive skin and nose, or maybe because of them, I am a lover of essential oils.  I’ve been playing around with my own blends for years, so I can’t believe that I didn’t know about Palo Santo until recently.  Also known as Holy Wood, it has quite a unique scent.  It’s somewhat comparable to a high quality frankincense, with the addition of an ever-so-soft woody edge.  Palo Santo is considered purifying, calming, and physically grounding, yet spiritually uplifting.  It’s good for meditation, creativity, and anything that requires sustained concentration.

I’ve been trying out ways to bring this wonderful scent into my life.  Here’s what I love…

R.L. Linden & Co. Ironwood Signature Perfume Oil:  Susannah has been loving this company for its skincare and tea.  I love a roll-on perfume oil!  I can’t tolerate alcohol-based scents at all, so I’m always happy to see companies making fragrance in this form.  On the website it’s characterized as a warm, unisex scent with woody, balsam, vanilla and anise notes.  It’s sweeter out of the bottle than what I’d normally choose for a fragrance, but it develops into a scent I really enjoy after several minutes on the skin.   ($38/.33 oz, $3 sample)

Rahua Hair Wax:  This vegan, gluten free, creamy styling wax is very lightly scented with Palo Santo.  The scent is so light that it will layer well with any of your other scented products and not create conflict.  The texture is much softer than I was expecting for something called a wax, and very easy to work with on wet or dry hair.  A teensy bit will give control, and more can be used for sculpting.  I use it to give a little hold and a modern matte finish to my messy, chin-length curls.  NuboNau is up and running again (yay!), and you can find Rahua there any day, but I think Fridays are particularly good shopping days, don’t you?  ($32/3 oz)

DIY sugar scrub:  A sugar scrub is such an easy DIY, even non-DIYers will enjoy this.  I choose my container, fill with sugar, add several drops of my EOs, cover with oil, and mix.  My favorite sugar is coconut palm, as it has a really nice scrubby texture and its own molasses-like scent.  I use these mainly for hand scrubs, so you may want a finer sugar if you will use it on more delicate skin.  My oil of choice is meadowfoam, but anything you like will do.  I just mixed a batch I absolutely love, with Palo Santo and Moroccan Blue Chamomile EOs.

Have you met Palo Santo yet?  How have you used it?

image via

We love this mix of DIY and clean products! Enjoy this lovely routine from the Rocky Mountains. If your skin is dry this winter, Silvy’s got you covered.

Name: Silvy

Age: 25

City: Denver, Colorado

Current weather: Very cold, and very, very dry, but the snow is pretty!

Hair: Shoulder length, mostly straight but waves with a bit of humidity. Tends to be oilier, and a bit fine. I’ve been using a mixture of indigo and henna on it about twice a year and love how it’s made my hair thicker and shinier. Also can’t sing the praises of a coconut oil hair mask enough, even if you do have to shampoo a couple of times!

Skin: Skin has been good and balanced, though tends towards dry and sensitive, especially in winter. I do break out sometimes if I’m tired or stressed and get some redness around the nose.

Favorite star from the past: Myrna Loy

In the shower…

I shower in the evening and not every day, so I’ll just say what I use in the shower and then talk about my morning and night routines. I love the Acure Mint Echinacea shampoo and conditioner because they do add volume and have made my hair so much healthier over the past year. And no more dandruff! I always have another shampoo in rotation, however, and in Europe this summer it was the Lavera Basis Sensitive shampoo. It’s great for adding shine and body, and really affordable in Europe. (Side note: I wash my hair about every other or third day, when it goes flat.) I also tried the Melvita shampoo for normal hair (available in France). Though it didn’t do anything incredible for my hair, I liked it as a basic, clarifying shampoo.

In the US, I’ve been experimenting with the Rahua and Rahua Volumizing shampoos and conditioners. I really like the volumizing one but am still deciding whether to bring that one or the regular into rotation. I guess I should also mention that, as shampoo tester extraordinaire this year, I also tried out Yarok. It really weighed down my hair, so I don’t recommend it if you have hair that tends to be fine, limp, or dandruff-prone. Finally for hair, I use conditioner only a few times a week as a mask. Using just shampoo most of the time, my hair doesn’t go flat as quickly after washing.

For face, I’ve been finishing up Burt’s Bees Deep Cleansing Cream. I like it a lot, but I won’t be repurchasing. I’m not comfortable supporting a company owned by Clorox (animal testing, etc.). So, most likely I will go back to my more pricey but awesome Pangea Organics facial scrub.

I dry off a bit while I’m in the shower and moisturize then as well. I’m actually on the hunt for a good lotion or body oil that’s moisturizing enough (preferably no more than $40/bottle). I’ve been trying some of the Acure lotions, some DIY body oils, and a Dr. Hauschka one. I like them, but it’s just not enough for my dry skin in winter. Then I end up combining them, and my skin feels sticky and… well, I’m looking for a better option! So holla at ya girl in the comments, please!

Outside the shower…

So this is going to be my face section of “outside the shower.” I really like my current face routine, so wanted to share morning and night!

In the morning, I wash my face with just water or splash some rose water. Or, I might swipe some DermaE Glycolic toner over my skin some mornings if my skin is a bit dull. Then, I follow up with an oil. Lately, it’s been my own DIY that I am obsessed with! I infused calendula and vanilla in jojoba as a base and mixed in some other goodies, and it’s a dream! It also has no essential oils. I use EOs on my skin only a couple times a week, because it’s too sensitive for any more than that. I take the oil all over the eye area too (since no EOs). Over the oil, I put a sun screen, mixed with Pai Rosehip Chamomile cream if needed. I really like all of the Badger ones (especially the “daily” line without wax). THEN, if I need even more than that (like for a day outside in the mountains), I top off with some raw shea butter melted between my fingers or Weleda Skin Food.

Around my eyes, I use a layer of the shea butter or, most often RMS Uncover-up in 11 and then maybe a bit of Living Luminizer too. I have quite dark circles that I don’t bother trying to eliminate (and kind of like, weirdly enough). I find that the Uncover-up works to brighten the area and is also a great treatment for firming and fine lines. If I need foundation, I useJuice Beauty in Ivory. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s a great product. I’ve also stayed faithful to the Hemp Organics lip tint in Berry for years. It’s so cheap and is great on lips and as a blush, (I use it mostly as a blush). I line my eyes with Dr. Hauschka eyeliner in Charcoal Grey or Zuzu Luxe liquid liner in Raven. For mascara, I’ve been using Dr. Hauschka in Aubergine for years and can’t complain there. My favorite lip balm isZambeezi in Tangerine; you know it’s good when your lips don’t chap in Colorado winter!

My night routine is really quite simple, but I enjoy it so much! I do this some mornings when I have time as well, in place of rose water. I fill a bowl with warm/hot water and then put a few drops of Dr. Hauschka Lemon Bath or Sage Bath (now Bath Essence??), or any of their others. Then I soak a wash cloth in it and hold it to my face a few times for several seconds. It’s kind of like oil cleansing but without the oil. If I need it, I use a cleanser; I like grainy ones like Queen of the Meadow Herbal Facial Cleanser—local brand again! Most nights though, just the wash cloth is enough to cleanse my skin. Then, I just follow with my DIY facial oil and call it a night. I love this little ritual, soothing and uplifting, and just the thing to end (or start!) the day.

We want to hear from you! Send your morning routine to to be featured on the site. We’re always looking for fresh ideas.

Meet Tara! Love tea? She’s got you covered. Need some makeup application tips? Ditto.

Name: Tara

Age: 24

City: Colorado Springs

Current Weather: Sunny but in the mid 30s

Skin: Dry and acne prone- that lovely combination

Hair: Long, wavy brown and thankfully relatively stress free

Favorite Star: I couldn’t think of one from the past so can I say Shiva Rose? I absolutely love her site The Local Rose and think she’s such a lovely women and great role model.

I adore my skincare products. Nothing brightens up my day like receiving new beauty loot from one of my favorite brands. I am also always trying to find that next cure which I am sure is going to give me supple, flawless, glowing skin. While I haven’t found that product I have found a decadent routine that seems to suit my skin care needs.

First I begin with a cup of tea. I am a tea connoisseur and frequently switch my teas on taste and what I feel my body and skin “need”. Some days I need a clean energy kick I reach for Runa Tea, other days something more delicate like Rishi Wild Rose Tea, some days I love the fragrant punch and beauty of 2 Leaves and a Bud Green Tea Jasmine, and if I want a skin detox either Susan Kauffman Detox Tea (which I got on vacation in Munich and am kicking myself that I didn’t buy anymore because it is THAT GOOD). Anyway enough of the teas, moving on with my day I next try to fit in a ½ hr workout then get ready for a shower.

I dry brush for a couple of minutes before hopping in the shower. These days I cleanse with May Lindstrom’s heavenly Honey Mud (I got to try a sample with the NMDL promo and just received my full size version-yay!) I try and really pamper my skin with the cleanser using the technique Isabelle Bellis demonstrated on Into the Gloss. I alternate this with May’s Clean Dirt. For my body I keep it simple, I just use Hugo lavender body soap and shave when needed. I wash my hair a couple of times a week and when I do I rely on Rahua’s Shampoo and Conditioner. Once I’m out of the shower I spritz my face with Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin D Mist and then apply my oils. This is the part of my skincare that I experiment with the most. I have used May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew (gorgeous) and more recently Aster and Bay’s Purify (a little drying on my skin heading into winter, although really nice for summer), African Botanicals Marula Oil (nice richer oil although I think it breaks me out a bit so I only use it on areas I don’t get breakouts). Just today I order La Bella Figura’s Holiday Essentials Mini Set and can’t wait to try the Daily Elements Defense Oil and the Barbary Fig Renewal. After applying my face oils I rub some coconut oil and put deodorant on (another product which I switch- either from Meow Meow Tweet, Soapwalla or Lavanilla). For my hair I put on some Yarok’s Feed Your Roots and style. Once I’m done with styling I use John Masters Sea Mist. A couple of times a week I also May Lindstrom’s Problem Solver, amazing product, amazing women, really I am so in awe and in love with her line.

I next brush my teeth with Weleda’s salt toothpaste and head to the kitchen for breakfast. I am a green smoothie convert and love getting ideas off Pinterest. Two of my favorite recipes come from Foodtrainers, their “Thin Mint Smoothie” and Carrot Turmeric. Both so good and healthy! Days that I don’t make a smoothie I’ll have green juice and then a snack later on in the morning. This is the time I also take supplements. I use Synergy’s Womens Multivitamin, Garden of Life Raw Resveratrol, Garden of Life CoQ10, Gaia Turmeric and Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver oil. I also take two dropperfulls of tinctures my naturopath makes me- one if for stress/hormones and the other is for my skin.

Once I am done with breakfast I head back to the bathroom for my makeup. I use RMS Uncoverup under my eyes, Bareminerals mineral powder on spots and lightly all over, Jane Iredale’s Moonglow on my cheeks, temples, and chin making a “3” shape. Then I dab some RMS Luminizer on the upper cheeks, temples, eyebrow, inner eye, and cupid’s brow. I then use RMS in solar on my lids, Dr Hauschka Volumizer Mascara and finally some Baby Bear All The Better to Kiss You With Lip Balm.

Thanks for sharing Tara! Recognize similarities in your own routine? Share with us in the comments!

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?

Name: Ali

Age: 39

Hometown: Brooklyn

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.

First thing…

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.

Finishing touches…

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


Happy Friday Deal From NuboNau!

What’s up Friday? How about a site-wide discount from one of our favorites, Nubonau? Yes please!

As you probably know, Nubonau carries just about all of our favorite luxe clean beauty brands. Pick up some treats for yourself, or start your holiday shopping a little early. With a promotion like this, we are going to have to practice a little, uh, self-restraint with our shopping cart. Or maybe not? So here’s the deal…

Nubonau is giving you 20% off their entire collection. The entire collection people! Just use the promo code FABFRIDAY during checkout. Orders over $95 receive free shipping. The promotion is valid through Monday!

If you’ve never ordered from Nubonau before, it’s such a pleasure. As always, you will earn loyalty points and get pretty little samples to try out, too.

What will you shop for? We have our eye on some of those to die for TSI-LA perfumes. Or maybe the new RMS Buriti Bronzer! This is the perfect time to check out some of the NMDL favorites, like Lina Hanson Global Body Serum, Pai Avocado and Jojoba Cream, or the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Conditioner duo. You just can’t go wrong at Nubonau. Enjoy this special promotion, and have a great weekend! XO