We love a good deodorant throwdown, and it’s been a LONG time since our last. Here’s the deal: Poor Emily can’t find a natch deodorant that doesn’t break her out in a rash. Let your favorite finds and DIY suggestions roll for this newly converted clean girl. Happy Friday!
Here’s a quick roundup of the ones we’ve tried and liked.
—Lavanila: This used to be quite spency but on their site it’s only $14 (not cheap, but not the $20 it was at Sephora). It feels the most like a mainstream deodorant and works like a star. It used to have one slightly suspect ingredient but we haven’t revisited the list in some time. (Anyone know?)
—Soapwalla: Absolutely love love love BUT don’t always love applying with a finger. Also many women (including Alexandra) have gotten rashy from it. For her it was just once right after shaving.
—Nourish: Smells and feels really really good, functional for sure but not the most powerful we’ve tried.
—Weleda: This sage one is one of the first naturals we tried, and it worked great. Until it didn’t. If memory serves the effect wore off after a little while. That sounds weird, but it happened to Siobhan, Alexandra + two friends.
Onto Emily’s email…
I’ve been cleaning up my beauty routine for the past few months, and so far haven’t had too much trouble finding clean versions of all the products I used to use – except for one:I can’t find a natural deodorant that doesn’t give me a painful, red, itchy rash.
I’ve tried just about every deodorant available at the health food store, I’ve tried Face Naturals, I’ve tried several from Etsy…everything works alright for about a week, and then comes the inevitable day when my armpits turn red and start to hurt.
The only one I’ve found that doesn’t give me the rash is the Crystal deodorant rock, but it’s not very effective against smell, for me.
So, after all this TMI, I was wondering whether you, or your readers, might have had similar problems and found a solution? I really don’t like to feel like I stink, but I also really don’t want to go back to using Secret – besides the aluminum and other gunk I don’t want to put on myself, the fragrances now give me a headache!
Hoping you can help,
Hometown: London, England…now Phoenix, Arizona
Current weather: It’s a dry desert pretty much all the time, unless it’s winter and then it’s freezing in the morning.
Hair: Collar-bone length, uber-thick natural hair with some chemically straightened ends.
Favorite star: I don’t really have one. Maybe Oprah, I have her hair, but shorter.
I have two routines one for the AM and one for the PM. My AM one is pretty stark, so here’s what I do both in the morning and at night. I like to take shallow baths, basically I use the same amount of water as a shower but in the tub. OK, for reals, here it is:
In the shower/bath (PM)…
Before I get into the bath I use coconut oil on my face to remove any dirt and makeup, I’ll wash that off with plain warm water or African black soap and a muslin. I tone with rose water or orange water, then follow up with Pai’s Rosehip oil mixed with sea buckthorn oil (1:1). In the bath I use Dr. Hauschka lemon bath, it’s creamy and non-foaming, I apply it to my under arms with my hands. I use whatever is left to cleanse the rest of my body. Every “shower” I use a few drops or a pump of oil, homemade mix of borage/wheatgerm/camellia (2:1:1). I find it more relaxing to “shower” before before bed and it gives me more time in the morning. Once a week I’ll use a sugar and oil scrub on my legs and chest (to ward off the occasional chest pimple). I’ll also exfoliate with a small 100% Pure brush and follow up with a mask, right now it’s Juara’s banana and avocado leave on mask, which I rinse off. I just finished Kahina’s antioxidant mask and it’s divine.
I wash my hair only once a week, as I don’t produce much sebum, I can get away with it. I precondition (or dry condition) my hair with powders: hibiscus, rose, neem, brahmi and amla powders; oils: castor, jojoba avocado or almond oils; mix all of that with some Shea Moisture shea butter masque and Tresemme naturals conditioner, I keep that on for hours on a Sunday while I do chores, if I don’t have time to do all of that 30 minutes is enough. I shampoo and condition with the Acure argan duo. As a leave in I use Acure’s detangler and coconut oil. Then I blow dry with Nubian Heritage honey and black seed cream for protection, I also flat iron on medium heat with only one pass on heat.
AM – I just apply some more toner and more oil to my face and that’s it.
Outside the shower (PM)…
Due to the gentle cleansing and oils in the bath I don’t have to use much lotion or cream. At the moment I use John Masters Organics blood orange and vanilla body milk. I previously used Pai’s cream mixed with any oil I had, not that it needed supplementing, I just wanted it to last longer so I diluted it with oil without diluting it (makes sense to me). I use deodorant at night, a few sprays of Weleda’s sage deodorant, if I just shaved my pits then plain old rosewater topped off with Soapwalla. I floss and brush with a neem toothpaste.
AM – I use some more deodorant in the morning. That’s it, well apart from brushing my teeth and all that.
I don’t wear much makeup, due to many colors not being flattering on me and me not being super girly. Day to day I wear 100% Pure’s fruit pigmented mascara in blueberry on the top lashes. I pair that with Honeybee Gardens eye liner on the lower lash line, not the water line, in Passion (a deep smokey plum). If I need something extra I’ll use some high lighter, This Works shimmer balm and some cream blush by either Revolution Organics or Josie Maran.
That’s it for the most part, not too complicated.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Current weather: Cool (50s and 60s) and sunny lately, but hot and humid every other season!
Hair: Slightly wavy and very thick; prone to dryness and frizziness. Naturally a dark ash blonde, but in a moment of weakness I dyed it dark brown with regular (super dirty) box dye about a year ago. I loved the color, so I maintained it for several months. BUT seeing as how I would like to have functioning respiratory and nervous systems, I stopped dyeing it about three months and am now “just seeing how it grows out!” So I’ve got about two inches of roots, dark brown for most of my strands and some faded brassy ends. Color-wise, it is not very attractive at the moment, but I keep telling myself that with regular trims and probably one big chop in a few months, the grow-out process will be worth it in the end!
Skin: Very fair and prone to sunburn. The skin on my face is dry and sensitive, and because of some (super fun!) major hormonal breakouts over the past two years, I’ve got a few clusters of hyper-pigmentation.
Favorite star or icon from the past: Etta James
In the shower…
I wash my hair about twice a week and usually don’t get it wet in between washes. About two months ago, I gave up liquid shampoo and haven’t looked back. I ordered a bunch of sample-size shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, they are awesome! My favorites are the Mud & Clay bar and Honey Beer & Egg bar. Then I do an ACV rinse, which I let sit on my hair while I wash my pits and bits with Dr. Bronners (rose is my favorite but I’m using the citrus one right now).
Outside the shower…
While my skin is still warm and damp, I rub a homemade cocoa butter/coconut oil/apricot oil body butter all over. In the mornings, I wash my face with raw honey and then follow up with Thayer’s witch hazel and rose petal toner, the Desert Essence Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream (affordable, scores a 1 on Skin Deep, and comes in a squeeze tube, yay!), and a big pump of Aura Cacia Rosehip Oil all over my face and neck. For sunscreen, I have been trying out the new-ish Andalou Naturals Beauty Balm. The ingredients are pretty clean (I think there’s one questionable one) and the sun protection comes from zinc oxide, and so far I like it. At night, it’s jojoba oil to remove eye makeup, and the Shea Rose Clay complexion bar soap from Chagrin Valley to wash my face. Then the Thayer’s toner and Desert Essence eye cream again, this time followed by Acure Organics Radical Resurfacing Lotion and a pump or two of Tamanu Oil, both of which I’ve heard are good for hyper-pigmentation and seem to be working quite well.
I’ve been alternating between Soapwalla and Chagrin Valley’s Summer Rain cream deodorant for the past couple of months. They have very similar ingredients, but I think Soapwalla has a slight edge because the texture is a bit softer. Most days I run a few drops of Acure Organics Argan Oil through my hair to smooth it out. For makeup, it’s Alima Pure for foundation, blush, bronzer, and brow powder; Physician’s Formula Organic Wear or Honeybee Gardens for mascara; for lips, I rotate between the three 100% Pure lip glazes I have (Daiquiri, Rose Petal, and Cabernet) or the Hurraw! Black Cherry tinted lip balm. I have really wanting to try out the RMS Living Luminizer because everyone raves about it….however it’s not really in my budget at the moment! I’ve already decided it’s going to be a present from myself to myself for my birthday in June, but a few weeks ago I found a neglected tube of Alba’s Un-Petroleum Jelly in my bathroom and BAM! an idea came to me. The first three ingredients of both products are castor oil, coconut oil, and beeswax. I also have a few sample sizes of Alima’s Luminous Shimmer Powders, so I mixed the mineral powder (I really like the shade Lumina, which is a nice pale beige) with the Alba Un-Petroleum Jelly until I got a nice consistency, and I actually like the end result! I put a dab on my cheekbones, bridge of my nose, and on my brownbone. It is in no way as amazing as the frosted-glass piece of luxury that RMS is, but it will satisfy my craving for a nice dewy highlight for now!
It’s been well over a year since we started the morning routine series. They began on a “really hot, muggy, humid, generally gross” August morning in 2011, because we thought it would be fun to share with all of you the products that we use every day before we leave the house. Now, you guys send us yours, and they’re consistently inspiring to this vibrant community of natural beauty lovers, am I right?
Since it’s December 2012, and my life, as well as my routine, has changed, I thought I’d give it another go. I’m a Scorpio, which, among other things, means I’m fiercely loyal and I like what I like. It’s fun, looking back, to see which products I’m still using. Still, some were traded out for products I like even better. (Warning: This post is long, because it’s doubling as a gang of new product reviews. You might want to skim—or grab a snack.)
Current weather: It’s been a mild, climate-changey winter so far, with some rare chillier days.
Hair: Blonde, long, wavy when air dried.
Skin: Irish. Which is to say, reactive, sensitive, pale, a little freckly, and pale. Did I mention pale? Oh, and reactive.
In the shower…
Most days, I shower rather speedily. Since I don’t typically wash my face in the morning, my shower routine is pretty straightforward: I dry brush before I get in the shower, then I wash my hair. My new go-tos are Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe shampoo and conditioner. I’ve run out and repurchased them several times because they leave my hair super shiny, manageable and smelling great. I don’t have overly dry hair but I live in fear of it, and these two products give just the right amount of moisture, without feeling greasy. A couple of times a week, I swap out IN for the Seaweed Bath Company’s argan oil conditioner. It has wax pretty high up on the ingredient list, and I find it reliable on days when I want my hair to hold a style.
If I wash my face, I use Kahina’s or Marie Veronique Organics’ (new obsession—I love the whole line), which is slippery and cleansing without being overly drying. If I’m too lazy to make my own body scrub, which is most days, I use a squeaky-clean new one by the Brooklyn-based Metropolis Soap Company in honeysuckle and violet. My new go-to bar cleanser is the Activated Charcoal Soap by Soapwalla. It’s technically a face wash but I’ve been using it on my body. It contains activated charcoal and tea tree oil, and it’s also made in Brooklyn, which is neither here nor there, but kind of neat.
If I’m feeling under the weather or if I’m showering before bed, I massage my chest with Hope Gillerman’s Travel Remedy. The essential oils support immunity, promote restful sleep and make my tiny apartment smell like a spa. Which is nice.
Outside the shower…
Very few things I hate more than applying moisturizer on my body, but I do it almost every day. These days I alternate between Weleda’s New Rose Pampering Body Lotion (I love this stuff) and Vered’s Muscle Soothing Massage and Body Oil, which has been especially helpful since I bit it on the subway stairs the other night, had to get stitches, and seriously bruised up both my calves. (Pro tip: Don’t fall in the subway. It hurts.)
Once this tiresome step is done, I apply Soapwalla Deodorant, spray my face with either Kahina’s Toning Mist or Marie-Veronique Organic’s Anti-Aging Mist, and rub in a touch of Kahina’s Brightening Serum. Sometimes, I apply a dab of Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm, which I still swear by for night. If I look tired, I apply a Rejuvenating Eye Cream by Amala. It’s cocoa bean-based, which helps constrict blood vessels to reduce puffiness, and works almost as if by miracle to eliminate undereye bags. (Before bed it’s still La Bella Figura.)
Next, I apply Suntegrity Sunscreen, which got the #1 rating from the EWG this year for lotions with SPF. Who wants to shoot me first? Because the stuff contains (mineral-based) dimethicone. I have decided I can deal with it in this product because the ingredient deck is otherwise very clean, and because it’s the most effective, versatile and cosmetically appealing sunscreen I have ever tried. And I have tried many. It works kind of like a BB cream. I’ve finally found one I want to use every day, and this is it. You’re welcome? I’m sorry? Whatever? I love this product.
If I have meetings, which I usually do, I will follow with Suki Tinted Active Face Moisturizer in Porcelain, for an overall evening-out effect. I’ll set that with Laura Mercier loose minerals in Sand, line my eyes with Bare Minerals’ (unfortunately very messy) loose eyeliner in black, applied with a stiff damp brush. I keep my face simple for day, so that means I might swipe some RMS Beauty lip2cheek in Smile on cheeks and lips or some W3LL People Universalist in the peachy color, and dab on some Living Luminizer. I also love Ilia in a bunch of different colors. If I feel like a very bold lip, I’m probably cheating with non-naturals from Bite or Chanel.
For mascara, it’s either 100% Pure or the new thick-as-hell “Fake Out” one from Organic Wear (the pink tube) or both. Some days, I fill in my super-pale eyebrows with NVey Eco Eye Shadow Palette in No. 3. It’s not meant for brows, but it works. If I’m really going for it, I apply a touch of color to my lids, too. Makeup tends to scream on my face, though, so I use a light touch.
Finally, my perfumes of choice are still Lotus Wei Infinite Love or Tata Harper Irritability Treatment (as a perfume), or both!
Couple things, before I go: First, I don’t always follow all these steps. Second, I now fear I sound way more high-maintenance than I actually am. Any products here that you love too? Anything new to you?
Meet Krystal, everybody. Full disclosure: I know this gal! But finding her routine in our inbox was a total surprise. See, a long time ago we worked for the same company, and I actually tried stealing her from another department to come help me with copy. They wouldn’t let her go—so I’m happy to finally be putting her writing skills to use. Plus, it’s a great routine—we’re clearly singing from the same songbook on favorite brands—with some stellar tips. Enjoy!
Current Weather: Coming out of California “June gloom.” Cool mornings, hot, dry days, and somewhat sticky nights.
Hair: Extremely fine and silky (with a few skin weft extensions – my one and only dirty secret!)
Skin: Prone to breakouts, larger pores around my nose.
Favourite star or icon from the past: Candice Bergen in the 60s
In the shower…
When I’m not half-asleep, I dry brush first. I use Bronner’s liquid almond soap on the areas that require de-funking, and Skin and Bones oil (smells SO good) on the rest of me. I wash and condition my hair with Acure Organics duo in Pure Mint and Echinacea (the volumizing one). I was on a baking soda, ACV and dry shampoo kick for a while, but even after a few months, my hair always looked wet or greasy, and smelled unpleasant. If I need to shave something, I use coconut oil, which is lovely, but you need to use really hot water when rinsing the razor to melt away any oil and hair caught in between the blades.
Outside the shower…
Before I blow dry or braid my hair, I mix a tiny amount of argan and jojoba oil in my palm to moisturize the ends. I spritz my face with the lovely aloe and rosewater concoction I whipped up after reading this DIY and dab a bit of jojoba oil around my eyes. While that’s soaking in, I spread a little Soapwalla on my pits. I was using Lavanila for many months, and ended up quitting it, not for the controversy, but because it stopped working. Soapwalla is working out quite nicely, though I do miss that super sweet Lavanila scent.
What some call finishing touches, I call the main show! I’ve always been one of those gals who likes to wear a lot of makeup, but look like she’s not wearing any at all. I start with some RMS un-cover up (the price tag kept me from trying it for some time, but a sample from Spirit Beauty Lounge persuaded me that the price is well worth it) around my eyes, and in the redder areas around my nose and chin. I then sweep on a light dusting of W3LL People’s altruist foundation, and set it with Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love Energy Mist. I sweep on 100% Pure’s Pot Rouge on my cheeks, their satin eye shadow on my lids (I try to use as few brushes as possible) and, if I’m feeling dramatic, their eye brow powdered gel on my dirty blonde brows. I finish off the eyes with Jane Iredale’s pencil eyeliner and Longest Lash mascara (which does require several passes to get the same volume and lengths as commercial mascaras). For my lips, I use Josie Maran’s Magic Marker Lip Stain with Argan Color Stick (it’s so easy to get nice, sharp lines with the marker end!) Of course, no natural makeup look would be complete without that subtle glow, best achieved with RMS’ Living Luminizer.
When I went clean, the absolute hardest thing to give up was my Burberry London perfume, which I had worn dutifully for years and it had become so identifying that when I stopped wearing it people immediately began telling me I smelled different (“Oh, no, no, no, not bad just…different”). I went through SO many different natural perfumes that just smelled like old ladies or cooking ingredients, I thought I’d never find a new signature scent, forever smelling “different.” Then, I tried out Tsi-la’s Fleur Sauvage. Floral and sweet, but with a woodsy quality that gives it substance and weight, I can’t smell my wrists without closing my eyes and smiling. It’s that good. Trapped-on-a-desert-island-and-can-only-bring-one-thing good.
That’s it! Thanks for letting me share! It’s been a long and crazy journey from dirty to clean, but after finding what product works best for me, I’m happier with the quality and performance of the products I use far more than I ever used to be with conventional junk.
A clean story after our own hearts. Just for fun, are there any readers out there who like their clean products less than the conventionals? Which ones, and why?