Meet Haley, a super cool woman who has a simple but sophisticated routine we just had to share. Her sense of smell drives her choice of products, and we think that’s pretty rad.
Home: San Francisco, CA
Current weather: The typical and refreshing misty cool foggy summer, although I do pine for some hot sweaty sun sometimes.
Hair: Dark blonde; chin length with bangs; messy straight.
Skin: Golden fair but can tan easily, oily and prone to hormonal acne and genetics, but doing much better thanks to juicing everyday and sticking to a routine.
Dream girl: my Goddess, Kate Bush
I drink a large glass of lemon water when I wake up that I prepare the night before, then head to the bathroom and dry brush before I shower. If I don’t have to work early, I’ll juice before I shower as well.
In the shower…
A hot shower is my weakness since I’m usually always cold (I have a heated mattress pad that I use every night), but I definitely notice it in my skin and hair so I’m trying hard to cool it off and take shorter showers because I always feel better when I do. I usually only shampoo my full head once a week and other than that I only shampoo my bangs since they tend to get oily. Right now I’m alternating between Nature’s Gate Henna Shampoo and Andalou Naturals Brilliant Shine shampoo, and then condition with Nature’s Gate Aloe conditioner, which I’m really into right now; it makes my hair super soft with a perfect weight. While the conditioner is in my hair I rinse my body with my hands and use an clean unscented bar soap just on the parts that need it. About once a week or less I do a more involved exfoliation with fine sea salt, especially if I’m planning to shave, which I haven’t been doing lately though since I’m basically wearing pants, sweaters and my winter coat every day. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bared my legs this year, so shaving hasn’t been a priority for me. On the occasion I do though, I use old conditioners or the soap I use to cleanse with and a Preserve razor.
Outside the shower…
To moisturize my body, I use the Whole Foods brand of unscented lotion; I tried using almond and grape seed oil for almost a year but my skin was always itchy and tight, so I went back to lotion and my skin has been much happier with me since. Sometimes I’ll still mix some oil into it though because I love love love oils. Then I use whatever In Fiore Body Balm I have in reach (my favorites are Kashmir, Vetivert and Shevanti) and rub it into my shoulders-collarbone-neck area. I then cleanse my face with Wedderspoon 16+ Manuka honey and about once a week I’ll throw in a little organic cinnamon or nutmeg to exfoliate. Then I pat dry and spray some Kahina Toning Mist on and follow with Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Serum and then their Oil-free Moisturizer and/or Oil-free SPF moisturizer. If I need some extra hydration I’ll add in a drop of Kahina Argan Oil. I break out badly when I use a lot of oils or change different products all the time, but I’m slowly incorporating argan into my routine again and my complexion seems to be happy with it so far. Then for my eyes I finish with In Fiore’s Vis Clair (“eye crack”)!
As for my hair I brush or comb it, let it dry on it’s own, and then mess it up with my hands throughout the day.
At night I cleanse with Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Cleanser and a Clarisonic, and then rotate between the Blemish Clearing Serum, argan oil, and Arcona’s Vitamin A Complex, and if needed, spot treat with Malin and Goetz Acne Treatment.
I’m also kind of crazy about masks and alternate between Arcona’s Tea Tree Mask, Astara’s Blue Flame Mask, Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel, Wash the Day Away’s Glowing Lotus Clay mask (lovely Etsy shop), and the trusty green clay and ACV combo.
If it’s warmer outside, I’ll use Soapwalla deodorant, but if not I usually just forget to put any on, or I use NutriBiotic deodorant in lavender, which doesn’t work as well but it’s easy to reach in my room and I like that there’s grapefruit seed extract in it.
For my face, I would prefer to not wear any makeup but since I’m dealing with some scarring and hyper pigmentation and am still a little self conscious of it, I use the bare minimum to make me feel a little more presentable. First I use a little bit of Juice Beauty’s Blemish Clearing Powder, which I recently realized has made a huge difference in my skin, and it curiously smells of my most favorite scent in the world, which I’ve only smelled on the Northern California Coast over traces in the breeze only, but I’ve mysteriously never been able to find it’s source, so it’s strangely magical that this product is that exact smell in concentrated, material form, and also happens to improve my skin. But since the tiniest amount makes me look pasty, I use Alima’s mineral makeup in Golden 3 on the areas needed, and sometimes use some blush from Alima as well, especially if I’m venturing out at night or feeling like I need a little extra something. I never use any eye makeup since the teeniest bit always makes me feel like a clown, and whenever I attempt to put some on I always end up wiping it all off before I leave, so I just let them be. I hope to have that mentality for my whole face in the near future.
For my everyday lip care I love and religiously use both Dr. Hauschka’s lip care stick and In Fiore’s Veloutee (which is also an amazing eye balm), but on the days I feel like using a little color (I’m a sucker for the browns and purples), I have my trusty selection of RMS lip shine in Moment, Dr. Hauschka Novum lipstick in 08 (which was a limited edition last year so I have to ration it, basically so it will last the rest of my life), and a new addition of W3ll People’s Nudist lip balm in Violet.
Thanks for sharing your routine Haley! Have any of you bumped into an elusive scent in your products that transports you to another place? How cool is that?
It’s the morning routine… festival edition! Monika recently returned from the sunny farm in Tennessee that hosts the Bonnaroo music festival. She reports that the festival vibe was warm, friendly, and sharing. The conditions, however, were pretty brutal! What are you doing to survive the summer elements? Chime in and send us your summer routines!
Current (survived) weather: Hot, incredibly sunny, dusty and windy Tennessee, heading into a humid and rainy Montreal
Hair: Dirty blonde, lightens in the summer from sun exposure—my hair is medium/fine but I have a lot of it! During the festival it mainly remained forgotten in a bun on my head to keep me as cool as possible in the sweltering sun.
Skin: Combination, oily t-zone and drier rest-of-my-face, medium-fair, breaking out like crazy from the bad food, dehydration and weeklong absence of proper maintenance routine.
Favorite icon or star from the past: Jane Birkin—the woman had effortless hippie style so on trend with what you see today at festivals, and she didn’t need a faux flower crown! She also had fantastic bangs, and Hermés named a statement bag after her.
In the shower
I have been battling a war with my scalp for as long as I can remember—I suffer from dandruff and my scalp gets incredibly itchy and flaky. I used to treat this with a dirty anti dandruff shampoo, and would wash my hair every two days. After I read NMDL, I tried easing my hair into a regimen that included organic shampoo, vinegar rinse and the occasional homemade tea tree oil +lavender oil treatment (mix about 6 drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil each to two tablespoons of organic olive oil, massage into scalp, let sit for an hour or two and wash out! It’s like pre conditioning before a wash and it helps relieve the itching for about a week). Despite giving it 6 months and a regimen of student budget unfriendly $30 John Masters Sage Anti Dandruff shampoo, my scalp would still get so itchy and flaky by the end of the first day after washing that it was impossible to concentrate on anything else. (If anyone else has had a not so great experience with this shampoo, I did a bit of research and it turns out that pyrithione zinc, the active ingredient both in JM and most dirty anti dandruff shampoos, doesn’t actually treat dandruff! More on that here.)
I was so exasperated that I bought a bottle of the dirty stuff just so I could get a handle on the dandruff. Frustrated but undeterred, I looked for anti dandruff shampoo in my local natural health food stores and to my happy surprise, found one that works! I now use Prairie Natural’s Avalanche Therapeutic shampoo for dandruff and dry scalp control about once every three days; my hair feels great, the itchy and flaky scalp are gone and I’m a very happy camper. I’m very grateful to the saleswoman who recommended it. So often our local health store staff has the knowledge we seek! According to her, what sets it apart is the inclusion of pine needle oil and selenium sulfite. Whatever it is, I am finally dandruff free thanks to this stuff!
My current hair dilemma is the very dry and fragile state my hair is in after a week of abuse in the Tennessee sun. If anyone has any suggestions for restorative DIY hair masks, I would be eternally grateful! I am planning on trying a yogurt + avocado mask when I get home as a starter. Incidentally, that’s also what I’ll be treating my stomach to as well, to cleanse after the weeklong junk food spree. (Any delicious vegetarian recipes are also welcome and much appreciated!) As well, I have yet to find a good lightweight natural conditioner that doesn’t make my hair feel weighed down and greasy, so for now I go without it in my hair routine—any suggestions for a conditioner to help with the brittle mess that my hair has become from the summer heat would be very welcome!
I generally shower every day and have been trying to switch to using lukewarm water instead of hot water to prevent the drying effect of my much beloved scalding showers. To wash my pits and bits, I use Val’s Scentless Veggie Bar Pure Olive Oil soap, or if I’m feeling in the mood for something that smells lovely, Dr. Bronner’s lavender liquid soap. I love Dr. Bronner’s products and can’t recommend them enough; from gentle body soap to household cleaning product, their versatility is fantastic. To shave, I use Giovanni Shave Cream in Pink Grapefruit & Pomegranate—it’s not the cleanest out there but I haven’t found a better alternative yet. I don’t shave that often so I suspect this tube will last me a good year before I need to look for something new. I’ve heard that people use coconut oil as a shave cream—does any one have experiences with this?
Outside the shower
I have become a Stark Skincare convert—shout out to Jessica—her formulas are amazing and her emails and tips are always useful and uplifting! I definitely plan on getting my Stark on in the battle to resuscitate my skin! Post festival havoc, I will be trying to clean the build up of dirt, dust, sweat and sun screen from my face, and I plan on starting with a combination of Suki Exfoliating Foaming Cleanser and Stark’s Green Tea detox clay mask.
Once I feel like the muck has been thoroughly purged, I will use Stark’s White Willow bark toner—I usually spray it on my face after a shower and let it sit while I towel dry. I moisturize daily with Suki Balancing Day Lotion, which has a really lightweight formula that is perfect for my combination skin (and I love the fresh smell too!). In the winter, if I’m feeling like the drier areas of my face need some love, I will dab either Stark’s cypress purity + defense oil or One Love’s Morning Glory Complexion Brightening Serum (I got a sample of this guy in an order from Freshfaced.ca and fell in love! I would recommend this to anyone who’s generally weary of putting oil on their already oily skin—it absorbs very fast and leaves behind a happy glow, NO breakouts involved!) I haven’t yet tried the Stark meadowfoam oil, but it is next on my list! For now, however, I will stick to deep cleansing and moisturizing lightly with Suki to let my skin regenerate.
I don’t often need to apply body lotion, and I had been using Burt’s Bees milk and honey lotion for a while—the bottle recently ran out and I am finding myself in quite dear need of a new body lotion because the burnt areas of skin on my legs are starting to peel! Does anyone have suggestions for a lotion that goes on easily and absorbs quickly without leaving behind any oily residue? It’s what I loved about the Burt’s, but I am trying to find something a bit cleaner than that. On the topic of Burt’s, I have yet to find a more natural lip balm as nice as theirs! I bought a bunch from W3ll People, and although I love the colours, they tend to do what most clean (and dirty!) lip balms do—they pucker and dry out the skin on my lips. When I found Burt’s bees, I was in heaven because it goes on slightly glossy and NEVER makes my lips feel dried out! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let go of the Burt’s, but I am always willing to try new things, so if any savvy readers are also obsessive about their lip balms and have suggestions for a slightly glossy, non-drying organic one, I am all ears!
One thing I can say that I have learned for sure is that I am even more in love with Soapwalla’s deodorant cream than I have been before—it helped me survive a week in Tennessee completely, and I mean completely, STINK FREE, despite my use of baby wipes as a substitute for a shower and the general tendency to profusely sweat out any liquids taken in! I started using Soapwalla earlier this year after being pretty frustrated with my Tom’s of Maine long lasting deodorant stick with lavender. It left me feeling stinky by the end of a normal Canadian winter day (and for those of you who don’t know, it’s pretty tough to be sweating in Canadian winter!). On my quest for a natural deodorant that worked, I poured over countless—I know that Soapwalla doesn’t work for everyone, but I recommend trying it, because when it works, it really works! A trick I also picked up from a savvy NMDL commenter is to mix a little bit of baking soda with the Tom’s deodorant—it tends to keep me stink free! Although it is a little more unwieldy to carry around a deodorant stick and a separate container of baking soda, which is why I am making Soapwalla my trusty travel companion forevermore!
I am weary of using any kind of makeup post-festival, at least for a while to let my skin fully heal before I apply any extraneous substances to it. I normally go makeup free during the day, but I love indulging from time to time, to spice up an evening out or even if I’m heading to work and feeling cheeky that day.
I still have one very dirty makeup product that I haven’t been able to replace, and that is my Origins concealer. I don’t tend to use it often, but when I need it, it’s long lasting and has great coverage. I have seen discussions about concealer on NMDL—I might try out the RMS stuff since it tends to get rave reviews, but I’ll wait to have a few things to order because shipping natural products to Canada is always so expensive! (As an aside, I tend to buy my natural products from two online Canadian sources—saffronrouge.com and Freshfaced.ca.) They tend to carry slightly different items and I’m mostly satisfied with the selection, but I have yet to find a good retailer for sunscreen. Both websites have very limited choice, more on that later, and neither carries W3ll people, which I absolutely love. Will my Canadian ladies please speak up if you have better retailer suggestions? I have recently been using Suki’s Tinted Active Moisturizer as a light concealer, but when I need to get the job done, the Origins is what I reach for. On the other hand, if I want to even out my skin tone before going out, Suki’s Tinted Moisturizer is perfect—I blend it with a bit of their daily moisturizer and apply it to my skin with my fingers. It’s a bit tricky to prevent streaking, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly.
I have been using Bite beauty lipstick since it came out but I’ve seen a couple of admonishing remarks about it in both the book and the blog—after doing some research, I couldn’t figure out what those were regarding. To me, Bite seems pretty clean—can anyone clarify what concerns exist about it for me? Most of my lip products now come from W3ll People, but shipping to Canada seems to be prohibitively expensive most of the time! W3ll needs to set up shop over here in the great white north! For mascara, I’ve fallen in love with Josie Maran’s GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan mascara—it’s about the cleanest mascara that I can find that I absolutely love the feel and look of. If I’m feeling like a cat eye, I apply Nvey Eco High Definition Cake Eyeliner with a brush and a bit of water—I love this stuff. I have a loose powder black eyeliner from Alima, but because the water in Montreal is hard, it always dried with a streak of grey when applied with water—no such problems with the Nvey stuff! Speaking of Alima, I have amassed quite a collection of their eye shadows and liners; my two favorites are Venus and Eden (a peachy pink and a gold, respectively). They go with anything and are perfect for summer.
Thanks for reading!
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!