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!
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.
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!!
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
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
It’s Makeup Monday time again! This week, I reveal my lip color obsession to the world. Opening up my makeup bag feels a little like walking down a runway in my swim suit—what will people think of me? Thankfully, this loving community is the perfect place to spill the powder. Oh, and let me clarify: This is just my everyday makeup bag. I didn’t dig into special occasion shadows and liners.
Name: Nicolle Mackinnon (I just got married, y’all, so sorry if it’s been confusing on my last name—formerly Westlund)
Where I live: Minneapolis
My relationship with makeup: Consistent. I’ve been a makeup lover and hoarder since middle school when I started copying popular-girl Jamie’s white liner routine. In high school, I scoured beauty magazine lists for the best drugstore makeup (what ninth-grader can afford Dior unless their parents pay for it?) and matched my eyeliner to my outfit every day (no, I’m not exaggerating—I even had a lime-green liner for pairing with my favorite lime-green tee). Lipgloss has always been my jam and I had one makeup bag fully devoted to the colored stuff all through college. Now, I’ve refined my tastes and spend a little more dough on each product I use to ensure my face is as happy as I am. My magazine-editor-from-home work situation gives me flexibility to wear basically no makeup daily, though I rarely go anywhere without at least powder and mascara. I like to punch it up with liner and shadow for special occasions but mostly, I just want to look fresh-faced.
What’s in my makeup bag:
Tinted moisturizer: All the NMDL girls have raved about the Juice Beauty CC Cream and that’s my daily go-to because it works and it has sunscreen in it. I use my Jane Iredale The Handi brush for putting this on. On days when I’m feeling a little more blemish-y or am going out at night, I go with 100% Pure’s Healthy Skin Foundation.
Powder: I use Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation (powder mineral) with a retractable EcoTools Kabuki Brush. Alima is the best I’ve found because of its many shades and tones and its coverage (plus, it’s got a lovely price point). I also top myself off with W3LL PEOPLE’s Realist X: HD Matte Mineral Setting powder when I’m feeling a little shiny (not every day).
Concealer: I use Jane Iredale Active Light Under-eye Concealer under my eyes every day. I love its smoothness and creaminess for that delicate area. I also use an old, too-light-for-my-whole-face Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation as a powder concealer on any spots that stick out even after my tinted moisturizer (my old Bare Minerals Concealer Brush is perfect for those pesky guys).
Eyeliner: Jane Iredale strikes again—I use her liner in black/brown, topped off with an espresso-colored powder liner from Modern Minerals. That combo has been my go-to for about two years, but I recently bought RMS Beauty’s Cream Eyeshadown in Karma, and that, with a stiff liner brush from Sonja Kashuk, has usurped liner duty from Jane and Modern.
Eyeshadow: I don’t wear eyeshadow daily, but for special occasions, I was using a palette from Bobbi Brown (cheater!). I gave that up last month for RMS Beauty’s Solar+Karma Cream Eyeshadows and haven’t looked back.
Mascara: After mineral powder, this is probably what I’m most picky about. Yes, it was me who started the clean-mascara email chain a few weeks ago that led to a post on this site, and yes, since then, I’ve bought five new mascaras. Five. Gross. I have really long lashes already but need thickness, which clean mascaras have a hard time doing. I was loving 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Mascara, but I was bored. I tried Zulu’s, Reviva Labs and ILIA Beauty’s, all which fell very short (too liquid-y or only barely boosted volume). Then I went back to 100% Pure, plus Josie Moran’s GOGO Argan Mascara. Still unhappy, I was ecstatic when Pure Anada’s mascara arrived in the mail the very next day (review to come!). It’s my new fave clean mascara with lots of volume-boosting power. It’s almost like it’s dirty.
Luminizer: Yep, I’m on the RMS Beauty bandwagon–nothing beats the Living Luminizer for me.
Lips: My babies. I loooove lip color. I love how you can enhance your look with just a touch of lippy—and I love not having to do up my eyes when I can swipe on a good red. My makeup bag carries three of RMS Beauty’s Lip Shines (Sacred, Sublime and Bloom); an ILIA Beauty Lip Crayon in Call Me, plus an ILIA Beauty Lip Conditioner in Nobody’s Baby (like my natural lip color but better); a Kajer Weis Lip Tint in Dream State (gorg nude); and Rodin Olio Lusso’s Lip Balm (it smells like roses).
Etc.: My actual makeup bag only carries one in this category (my others rest on my nightstand). Tatcha Blotting Papers saved my face from looking sweaty on my wedding day and now I use them a couple of times a week.
So, thoughts? Any new lip wear I need to try? Any favorites that overlap with yours?
Meet Jamie! She’s a vegetarian of 20 years who loves hot yoga, hot showers, and hot tea. We’re feeling it, especially with the chilly mornings afoot. And hey, you’ve gotta love her icon of choice. After all, we are the dreamers of dreams.
City: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Current weather: Cool morning, mostly cloudy as is mostly the case in Pittsburgh…there’s a hint of Fall in the air.
Hair: Fine, wavy, long…dirty blonde w/ lighter ends.
Skin: Medium w/ olive undertones and normal to dry type…sprinkle of freckles across the nose.
Favorite star from the past: Mia Farrow circa Rosemary’s Baby OR Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka - is that allowed!?
I wake up at 7 AM, and it’s never easy for me to get up. I’m a night owl through and through. I roll out of bed and turn my phone off. It’s strategically placed where I have to get out of bed to turn it off or else I’ll snooze forever. I head downstairs to take a TBSP of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar mixed with aloe vera juice and a bit of water. The ACV helps to restore the PH in your body, aids in digestion, can clear your skin, and does so much more. I’m a real fan of Bragg’s, and my husband has gone off of heartburn medication by drinking the vinegar when he has symptoms. I fill a liter sized water bottle with filtered water that I finish before I leave for work, then I head to the shower and turn the water on. While I wait for the shower to heat up, I take some time to do a few forward folds and body stretches. I apply some Jason’s Peppermint No Fluoride Whitening toothpaste on my toothbrush and jump into the overly warm shower. I know luke water is best, but I like a hot shower even in the summer.
After brushing my teeth, I suds my hair with Nubian Heritage EVOO & Moringa Shampoo. I’ve tried many natural shampoos, but I like this one best so far, and the lovely scent lingers. Plus I think that my hair has gotten shinier from it. Next, I lather with Dr. Bronner’s, my absolute favorite and only choice of soap for years, and right now I’m using the lavender. I also use Sal Suds to clean my house and do laundry, but that’s a whole ‘nother story! I vary my Bronner’s scents occasionally, but my tried and true favorite is Eucalyptus. I rinse the shampoo out of my hair and apply the Nubian Heritage EVOO Conditioner on the ends, then clip my hair into a knot to let it soak in. I quickly shave, and I also run the Clarisonic over my face to get the blood flowing – no soap in the morning unless I feel that I really need it. At nighttime, I use a bar of African Black Soap, also Nubian Heritage, on my face with the Clarisonic. I may or may not use a Neti Pot in the shower with Himalayan Institute salt and distilled water – depends on how my sinuses feel on a particular day. I put a bit of Aura Cacia organic jojoba on my hands and rub it lightly all over my face, neck, chest, hands, and ends of my hair as I rinse the conditioner out for a bit more moisture.
I jump out the shower and towel dry my hair. Still wet, I apply Shea Moisture Frankincense & Myrrh body lotion or my new favorite moisturizer – straight up coconut oil all over then throw on my robe. The coconut oil makes my skin super soft, but sometimes I need to get dressed in a hurry, and the lotion will absorb more quickly. I apply Eminence Bright Skin SPF 30 on my face with a bit of Badger Beauty Balm under my eyes. I spray my arm pits with an alcohol and water solution. This kills any bacteria and really helps with under arm odor during the heat. I apply Tea Tree & Spearmint Pit Putty under my arms and give credit to Stephanie at Pit Putty for finally showing me a natural deodorant routine that really works. It even combats odor through my evening hot yoga classes.
My hair is wavy and fine, and I usually just let it air dry year round, and the jojoba from the shower helps to tame the ends. My make-up routine is not as clean as I want it to be, and it includes too much Bare Minerals product (I’m a sucker for a kit with a full mascara). I also like to be able to sample product in person. Anyway, I start with Juice SPF 30 tinted moisturizer to my fingertips with a spray of Rose Water to dilute it. I rub both together in my hands then apply to my face and neck. The Juice tinted moisturizer gives a dewy glow and very light coverage. I may be looking for more coverage for fall and welcome suggestions. Next, I’ll apply the tiniest bit of Amazing Concealer under my eyes – it’s one of my dirty products, but I’ve had the tube forever, and it works wonders on my visible capillaries. I darken my brows with an Anastasia brow pencil – again, not the cleanest, and I’ll clean that up once it’s gone. I apply a Bare Minerals eyeshadow in Cocoa or Flaunt either to my whole lid or crease in my lid with a touch of Zuzu tobacco eyeliner or the eyeshadow smudged around my eyes. I throw on a few swipes of Bare Minerals blush to the apples of my cheeks – peek-a-boo is a nice pinky peach pre-fall color. Occasionally, I’ll use a bit of Wicked bronzer from Sumbody, but I mostly use this for going out in the hollows of my cheeks. I use Bare Minerals Volumizing mascara (it’s a 2 on EWG) to my lashes then go get dressed and take my hair out of the towel and finger style it. Like many of you, I’ve tried organic and more natural mascaras but nothing has stuck.
I head back to my bathroom to curl my lashes, add at dot of RMS uncover under my brows or in the corners of my eyes if I still look tired, and have a final spritz of Rose Water on my face to set my make-up. I take the RMS with me, and I throw on Burt’s Bees cherry lip shimmer. I like the fact that this lip shimmer it makes me look like I just had a popsicle. I am constantly on the search for a lip product that produces the same color without the carmine. I keep Badger Sunscreen SPF 30 in my kitchen and apply that to my hands before I head out the door when I think of it. Oh, I also keep Rose Water w/ a few drops of peppermint essential oil in my desk drawer and use this spray several times daily at the office. It’s hydrating & super refreshing. Once I get to work, I can’t live without my cup of Mayan Cocoa Spice Yogi tea, and I heat the water in an electric kettle to avoid the microwave. Cheers!
Thanks for sharing a lovely fall routine with us, Jamie!