Meet Kayla—she’s always been a product enthusiast, only now she’s gone clean. Lucky for us, because she has a TON of great recs here including some makeup application tips. Enjoy!
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, CA
Current Weather: Sunny and cool.
Hair: Long, wavy, thick — I was a chronic hair-dyer but its mostly my natural color now.
Skin: I started getting acne in my early 20s, which was extremely frustrating after being blemish-free in my teen years, when I was expecting it! Guess I’m a late bloomer… Now I’m mostly clear with the occasional blemish or two, thanks to my mostly-clean beauty routine and avoidance of sugar.
Favorite star: Gwen Stefani
In the Shower…
In regards to my face, I’ve tried a few different products — including Proactiv which was DISASTROUS as one use made my face puff up like a blow fish. That was that! Now I use Dr. Alkaitis’ line of products – the cleanser, toner, soothing gel, nourishing treatment oil, and universal mask. The products are fantastic and my skin is much happier, but since the line is quite pricey I sometimes sub in plain ol’ Trader Joe’s tea tree cleanser, which seems to be working for me. On my body, I simply use Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap (especially the mint or rose scents, yum!) and a nice scrub brush to exfoliate. I love how soft my skin feels from the brush and how sudsy Dr. B’s gets. For my hair, I try not to wash it too often, but I exercise and get sweaty almost every day, so every-other-day washing is the least I can do. It’s softest with the Acure argan shampoo and conditioner, but the waves form the best with Rahua’s volumizing shampoo and conditioner, so I go back and forth with those. I shave with Trader Joe’s shaving cream (again, it offsets the price of my Dr. Alkaitis loves, plus I it makes the razor glide smooth, but itsn’t too thick like some other shaving creams). Finally, I use a pumice stone to attack my feet. I’m a long-distance runner, so that skin can get extremely rough if not tended to!
Outside the Shower…
I moisturize my body with plain coconut oil, which has been affordable, great on my skin, and I LOVE the tropical scent (as does my boyfriend). Like I said, I Dr. Alkaitis’ toner, gel, and a TINY drop of the nourishing oil on my face. I use the Dr. Alkaitis eye cream as well (even though I’m only 25, I think about wrinkles a lot and am taking precautions). After the shower and throughout the day, I use Weleda’s pomegranite hand moisturizer – also delicious smelling. And finally, a spritz of Honoré de Pres perfume — either Love Coconut or Vamp à NY, if I’m feelin’ sexy.
I LOVE makeup. Putting it on is one of my favorite parts of the day, and I never run out of products I want to try. I’ve always been a product whore, but now I try my best to be a natural product whore ;). I usually wear makeup every day, so I try to keep the products as clean as possible. One of my favorite beauty looks is strong eyebrows — unfortunately, I was gifted with naturally sparse eyebrows. So I fill them in with a medium-brown powder eyeshadow from Alima Pure. For some reason, my eyelids can get VERY oily. I never put oil around my eyes, and the rest of my face will be fine throughout the day, but my eyelids….ugh. I’ve tried applying powder before eyeshadow, I’ve tried a natural oil-fighting white tea gel, I’ve tried just about every primer out there… the ONLY thing that’s worked for me at all is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. So I use that, and then either the Blonde shade of eyeshadow from Alima Pure, which is my “no-makeup” looking eyeshadow, or Onyx from Kjaer Weiss, which applied gently is a nice light grey, applied more heavily creates a sulty, smokey eye. I have an array of other shadows as well from Alima, Kjaer, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Urban Decay…but those are the ones I use most frequently. I like Elizabeth Arden’s powder eyeliner, which I apply with small slanted brush. It goes on extremely black, and the powder stays on my eyes. With the brush, I can make the perfect kitten eye (like a cat eye, but less dramatic). I still use a dirty mascara… Cover Girl Lash Blast. I’ve tried many a natural mascara, but my eyelashes are about as sparse as my eyebrows, and I love a thick row of femme fatale lashes. For my face, I adore RMS un-cover up. It melts into the skin, and covers up red areas around my nose, small blemishes around my chin, and dark shades under my eyes wonderfully. However, if I get a REALLY scary blemish, which unfortunately does happen now and again….like when I visit my family for the holidays, of course…I use a tiny dab of Makeup Forever’s full cover concealer. After spot-correcting with concealer, I lightly buff on Alima Pure’s loose powder foundation. It evens out skin really well, but doesn’t have that I’m-wearing-foundation look and lets my freckles show. On my cheeks, I use either a tiny bit of Revolution Organic’s bright pink freedom glow beauty balm or RMS lip-to-cheek in smile. Then, on top of that, I might do a light dusting of Alima’s shimmering pink blush — but that’s only if I’m having a big night out, or if I know I’m going to have pictures taken of me, since powder blush is better for pictures than cream. Finally, I usually just use some natural balm on my lips, but every once in a while I’ll be feeling a Old Hollywood-style red lip. For that, I love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic’s lip tar in NSFW. It’s a great, neutral red that really stands out and stays put — but you have to use a TINY dab with a lip brush, otherwise it will bleed. Trust me, a little goes a long way. And I might do one more final touch – RMS living luminizer on the top of my cheeks, under the brow bone, and on my ‘cupid’s bow.’
For my hair, I again use Dr. Alkaitis’ nourishing oil – one little pump is enough to smooth and soften my abundant, long hair. Then, after years of fighting them with a straightening iron, I’ve fallen in love with my natural waves, so I lightly spritz on Josie Maran’s Bohemian Waves Argan Hair Mist for the perfect beach-y texture. I dry my roots with the diffuser on the blow dryer to keep my waves in tact while giving my hair a little lift. The rest of my hair air dries. I think letting my hair air dry, along with the bit of natural oil I use, has been the biggest difference in transforming my formerly dyed, dry, overprocessed hair into the soft, healthy hair I have now. My hair dresser is very impressed! (Seriously, between the bleaching and the straight iron, sections of my hair were downright CRISPY a few years ago). I pretty much try to touch my hair as little as possible: no dying, minimal products, minimal drying, and then I don’t brush it or really try to touch it at all during the day — which helps keep the waves nice.
…I think that’s it!
Thank you thank you! After last week’s post, we got a bunch of submissions from a variety of wonderful women. Don’t forget to send yours if you haven’t yet! Today meet Annette: She hates to shower, which kind of makes us love her. Enjoy her awesome routine!
Hometown: Manteca, CA
Current weather: Sunny, cold (for CA)
Hair: Chin length, colored, fine and wavy
Skin: Fair, freckled, “mature”
Favorite celebrity: Lauren Hutton. She just gets more badass the older she gets.
In the shower…
Full disclosure. I hate to shower. It takes too much time out of the morning; time I would rather be doing other things before I have to get to work. The warm water makes me itchy and my face gets flushed. I don’t sweat much and I’m not very hairy (thanks to getting rid of toxic products, I believe). Instead, I do what my mom calls a “bird bath.” I clean the pits, bits, and feet, dry brush the rest and apply oil. It’s Diva Wash on the bits and Whole Foods olive oil soap for the pits and feet. I use Tom’s deodorant. I will hop in the shower on the weekend or if I don’t have to work so as not to freak out the hubby. I wash my hair a couple times a week with Rahua volumizing shampoo. I condition every day with Yarok Feed Your Volume conditioner. I just recently switched to the Yarok and I’m happy with it. I’ve gotten second-day hair a few times, something that didn’t happen with what I was using before.
Outside the shower…
Whether I’ve showered or just dry brushed, I massage in argan oil. I’ve tried lots of lotions and other oils and the argan provides lasting moisture but is not at all greasy. It’s more expensive than other oils, but it’s so multi-purpose I feel like I cut down on multiple products. Kahina makes the best, but Mountain Rose Herbs has a good version for a lot less money. I wash my face at night. I oil up my face, neck and chest with argan oil, using it around my eyes to remove my eye makeup. While the oil sits I use a cotton ball dipped in witch hazel to remove the oil from around my eyes and some warm water and a washcloth to remove my mascara. I use a Pai muslin cloth and nice warm water to massage the makeup/oil off my face. I use a splash of witch hazel and a drop of carrot seed oil as toner. While my skin is still damp I rub in one squirt of the Kahina Brightening Serum and a couple drops of argan oil. In the morning I put some raw, organic honey on my chin, jawline and temples and let it sit while I get ready to wet my hair. I tend to get bumpy through those areas and the honey helps keep them clear. After I have washed and/or conditioned my hair I repeat the toner/serum/argan oil mixture from my night routine. This sets the stage for my SPF/foundation combination. I comb out my hair to let it air dry while I put on my makeup, making sure the insane cowlick at the crown of my head is covered and behaving itself.
I mix one squirt of John Masters SPF 30 Sunscreen and the same size dollop of Jane Iredale Dream Tint. I love the Dream Tint. There’s no mica so it isn’t at all shiny. I really dislike being shiny. I use a small angle brush to apply Jane Iredale PureMatte powder on my eyelids, under my eyes and around my nostrils. I plump up my brows with Jane Iredale Purebrow. I still need a little filling in so I use Cover Girl eyebrow pencil. I chose this one because it’s a nice taupe. Even though I have dark hair I don’t want a dark eyebrow pencil. It’s too severe. I line my upper lids and the outer half of the lower lids with Nuance by Salma Hayak in brown. On my lids I use Universalist 2 (from my Quarterly package). I’m surprised how much I like it. I didn’t like the RMS Living Luminizer all that much. In the crease it’s 100% Pure’s “Toffee.” I finish off the eyes with Nuance by Salma Hayak Ultra-Defining Mascara in black. I would LOVE to let my hair air dry but it’s too fine. It really needs some love from the blow dryer to help with volume. I also have to tame a few spots with a curling iron. It sounds like a lot but it’s really very fast. Once it’s dry I hit it with a few sprays of Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing Hairspray. That’s it. Pretty simple really. So much more simple than when I was “dirty.”
Thanks to Siobhan and Alexandra for this venue and to everyone who shares her wisdom. I have benefitted greatly from what I have learned here. I look forward to learning so much more!
Thank you too! And everyone who participates here. x
From Ingrid D: Thank you for your awesome book and blog. I was wondering if you know about Belegenza? I heard it was a great natural line but some of the ingredients look suspect. I am having a hard time finding clean shampoo that works on my hair. It is very dry and damaged (and fine!) from being off and on some heavy meds over the last few years.
Ed’s note: This is going to be a long post, so you might want to grab a snack!
First thing’s first. Damaged hair, whether from heat styling, sun, coloring or something else internal cannot be remedied with shampoo and conditioner. Maybe everybody but me knows this, but it bears mentioning just in case. Not even intense leave-in treatments can “repair” hair that is damaged. I know this because a) I’ve tried everyyyyything and b) I asked a cosmetics chemist named Colin. Also, common sense. We all know hair is dead, but it grows out of your head, which isn’t, so you want to make sure whatever you are using on your scalp and putting inside your body is making things better, not worse.
Our nutrition chapter covers a lot of this but here’s the cheat sheet: Take your omega 3s and 6s every single day, and eat a balanced, fruit- and vegetable-rich diet with plenty of good fats. These things make a tremendous difference in skin and hair health. The rest is up to you and your doctor. Lucky for you though, she or he doesn’t pick your shampoo, we do (ha), so we’ll tell you how to do that in a sec.
Anyway, I’ve been in your shoes, we all have, and I have great news! Not all hope is lost. There’s a lot you can do to improve the appearance and feel and manageability of your hair, even when it’s damaged. Mainstream brands usually feature silicone, which is not an ingredient we are comfortable endorsing. For the naturals, you won’t find the same kind of thing, but I’ve found that with certain oils, wax-based products, and good old fashioned aloe vera, I can get the effect I want. I’ll tell you more about that below, but first we have to go to class.
Belegenza. Oh, Belegenza. I did not know this line, but a brief look at the ingredient list for one shampoo kind of pissed me off, mainly because the line seems to be presenting itself as natural by hawking the absence of certain ingredients, like the aforementioned silicones, and generally speaking this annoys us. OK so that’s something that’s not in there. What is? Let’s look, shall we?
Ingredients: Water, Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Decyl glucoside, Glycol stearate, Disodium cocoamphodiacetate, Panthenol, Polyquaternium-7, Proprietary Blend CCS500i, Laureth-4, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl glycol, Sorbic acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Yellow 10, Blue 1.
I don’t know. Should we just start at the top? It’s definitely low on the toxicity scales, but is it natural in the way that we like things to be natural? Not even remotely.
The site says it is salt free, but the second ingredient is Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, a cleaning agent that is considered to be a low irritant. It is, however, a disodium salt of an ethoxylated lauryl alcohol, so the salt-free thing, beside being a little random to call out, doesn’t appear to be true. (Budding chemists, please fact check me on that if I’m mistaken; I did a bunch of reading and this is what I came up with.) Also, because it’s ethoxylated, there is the concern of 1,4-dioxane contamination. Check the book for a refresher on why that’s not awesome.
Cocamidapropyl betaine is another eyebrow raiser. A lot of brands use it still, but there is concern about nitrosamine contamination. I avoid it, and obviously so does Alexandra (and not just because she doesn’t wash her hair).
Then there’s our old friend phenoxyethanol, an ingredient that’s being phased out by a lot of naturals brands that thought it was safe, only to find out there are some concerns about it. We avoid it. And finally, there is something called “proprietary blend CCS500i” which Google thought was a typo when I pasted it in. (Also, INCI, anybody?) I’m guessing this is their fragrance, which is another no-no for us, since there is no way to know what it’s made of.
I’m going to stop there because really this is just one brand, but it is emblematic of a larger trend that gets my goat.
Moving on. Here’s how to pick a good shampoo.
The best natural shampoos I have used contain clays (my mom has one for me to use when I am home, which should be its own post some day) and/or saponified plant oils (often coconut) as the main cleansing agents. Then you have aloe vera, some herbs, maybe even honey, some vitamins that probably don’t do anything, essential-oil-based fragrance or none at all, some fairy dust and that’s about it. It’s not hard to make a natural shampoo that gets the job done, which is why there are so many good ones. You need something sulfate-free so you aren’t drying our your hair, and you need oils but not too many, because that will leave your fine hair limp.
I personally like John Masters, Max Green Alchemy, Sumbody, Rahua (even though that mysterious nut may be of dubious origin), C Tonics and some others. NuboNau, who does our Friday Deals, carry some of these. So does the wonderful Spirit Beauty Lounge. Check them out, and request samples from retailers if you can. This one by Yarok seems awesome for fine hair, but I have not tried it.
Finally, and I imagine no one is still reading this post, if you want some tips on how I managed to help my heat-damaged hair in time for summer, read this post. I list the top 5 things I tried that kind of worked—and I tried a lot of things.
Good luck with your hair and if any of you have a great shampoo recommendation for our girl Ingrid, please share it in the comments?