We present to you the gift that is Emma, whose routine is brilliant and stylish. Of course it is: she’s from Athens, Greece, and is clearly a clean, continental dream. Did you know you can use crushed strawberries to whiten you teeth? Apparently so! Read on:
Current weather: Sunny and dry, around 20 Celcius
Hair: Thin and naturally wavy, double processed with blonde highlights and dye to cover the grays. The waves have lost their vitality a couple of years ago (maternity hormones?), they are thinning, dried and parched. Curls now are really limp unless I revive them with a curling iron. Overall, my nightmare…
Skin: Normal to dry, very few wrinkles around the eyes when I squint. Clear with very few cystic acne outbreaks on the chin around my period sometimes. Overall I am blessed with nice skin, sometimes lacking glow – which is what I value most, since I think it makes us look fresher and younger!
In the shower…
I have stopped using soap all over my body, just on the armpits and legs. I use soap that I order from Aleppo, Syria that is all natural and contains only olive oil, laurel oil and sea salt. That’s what I use on my toddler son too and it never dries out our skin. I wash my hair with Faith in Nature Aloe Vera shampoo, followed by the Pomegranate and Rooibos conditioner. Sometimes I do a final rinse with unfiltered organic ACV and water. I leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it out again—I can’t tolerate the vinegar smell too much. Once a week I dry brush my whole body before I get in the shower. I also try to do a weekly pure organic coconut oil hair mask—this seems to have helped restore moisture to my locks. I rub it all over my hair, put it in a low braid and then put a shower cap that I keep in place with a few pins. I then sleep on it and wash my hair in the morning.
In the shower I sometimes do a DIY sugar scrub, mixing brown sugar with vegetable glycerine or olive/jojoba/sweet almond oil.
Outside the shower…
After the shower I pat my skin dry and then put on a DIY moisturizing oil containing jojoba, argan and sweet almond oil, with a few drops of neroli and lavender essential oils. I have keratosis pilaris on some areas so I rub some pure shea butter (which is the only thing that helps). I also make a DIY whipped shea butter moisturizer that I put on at night during the cold months, and then sleep on it with cotton pajamas. It gets the skin really soft!
I wrap my hair in an old t-shirt to dry, which I found keeps the waves smoother and fights frizz. I pass a wide-toothed comb and then rub some argan oil on the ends. Sometimes I’ll spray some not so clean Bumble and Bumble Thickening spray to give some volume, but I also want to try a home made sea salt spray. I dry them using a diffuser, or if I don’t’ have the time, I’ll just quickly dry them, and put them up in a tight high ponytail, twirling the remaining hair in a bun and securing it tightly. In a few hours when I let the ponytail down, my hair is wavy and smooth. If I wash my hair at night, I put it in a low tight braid and sleep on it – in the morning I have new curls!
I have stopped using soap or cleansers for my face, and make my own using natural ingredients. My favourite’s (that I alternate according to what I feel my skin needs most) just pure oils that I rub in and then rinse with a washcloth, oat flour with ACV/water, raw honey or baby milk powder mixed with some water to make a paste. Sometimes I grind some almonds or rice with a few drops of oil if I want something with more “buffing” properties. I bought the Clarisonic but after reading many controversial reviews from experts that it relaxes face muscles, I’m a bit reluctant to use it again. So it just sits there and I’ll sometimes use it to scrub the remaining oat/honey from the cleansing.
At least once I week I do a green clay mask (I mix it with ACV or milk and add a few drops of lavender essential oil). It really clears up everything and I found I don’t need to use any scrubs as I did before. All the blackheads, impurities and dullness come right off. I try to spread it up to my collarbones to get some of that goodness on my neck, which seems so neglected! I recently also started using rhassoul clay from Morocco, which is packed with minerals and supposedly better than plain old bentonite (green clay). On the rare nights I have a lot of makeup on, I use Bioderma Crealine Lotion before my cleansers. It is very popular here in Europe and all the make up artists use it. You put it on with a cotton ball, it’s like water and it rinses out everything without leaving any residue. I found that the less abrasive and more respectful I am of my skin (after using chemical peels, Retin A, harsh scrubs) the better it looks.
Then I do a few warm water compresses with a washcloth and spray a DIY hydrosol. I make hydrosols myself with rose petals or lavender or rosemary leaves. Sounds complicated but it’s really easy! While the skin is still damp from the hydrosol, I put on a few drops of my DIY face serum, which I make with a mix of carrier oils and essential oils. I found that argan oil and rosehip seed oil and super moisturizing and make my skin glow. I also add geranium, helichryssum and frankinsence essential oils. In the winter my skin needs some more moisture, so I slab some Weleda Skin Food or Korres Wild Rose moisturizing cream. I confess that I don’t wear sunscreen all year, even though I live in a country with 300 days of sunshine/year! I only wear it in the summer and I use Avene Tres Haute Protection with 50SPF or La Roche Posay Anthelios lotion. It’s not easy to find a nice, clean sunscreen here in Europe that does not leave your face looking white like a kabuki character. When I have time, I make my own whipped shea and cocoa butter cream. It is especially great to rub generously on my feet before I put on any socks. Shea butter is what dancers use to help them heal their over-worked toes and it really takes all the dryness and roughness out.
It might sound complicated to do all these DIY beauty things, but it actually is easy. I just keep all the ingredients in used glass jars, along with some spatulas and small cups and mix on the spot as needed. It’s fun, natural and cheap! For the face oils and creams I make a batch to last me 2 months, which takes me 30mins to make, so it’s not a big hassle.
I use Soapwalla deodorant, although recently it seems that it stopped working and I’m getting nervous with the summer approaching. It’s weird because in the beginning it worked like magic—is it my idea or has this happened to anyone else? When it’s a hot day and I know I’ll be active, I use my old Neutrogena, but I’m not happy about it and desperately looking for a reliable clean deodorant. I tried Tom’s but I still felt stinky.
I brush my teeth with Korres toothpaste using the Sonicare toothbrush (same company that makes Clarisonic). I can’t recommend that thing enough. It works like magic! When you’re done you feel like you just came back from a dentist deep clean. Sometimes I’ll make a baking soda and water paste if I want some whitening action, or rub some mashed strawberries on my teeth. Strawberries contain malic acid, which when combined with baking soda, act as an stringent and a buffing agent.
Due to the intense sunlight and endless summers sunbathing (can I turn back time?) I have a major hyper pigmentation problem on my face. I think the argan and rosehip seed oils will help in time, but I am trying to find a more potent natural recipe without resorting to hydroquinone. I might try a spot laser treatment and then maintain the results with religious sunscreen application all year round!
If I have a cystic acne pimple brewing, I dab a bit of raw honey before bed and then cut the sticky part of a band aid in half and place two layers on the pimple. Something about the anti-inflammatory qualities of the honey with the pressure from the band aid I guess makes it look better the next morning!
I don’t do much for makeup, I like a fresh look. I have very sparse eyebrows and the one thing that makes my face more framed and put-together is filling them in with some eye shadow from the Body Shop special eyebrow kit. Don’t underestimate the power of eyebrows to make your face look more balanced. I only recently found out about that tip and it literally changed the way I look, judging from pictures – without looking made up or unnatural.
Then I use MAC eyeliner rubbed and smudged on the bottom lashes in Olive and some Guerlain Bronzing powder or Korres blush. I curl my lashes with the Shu Uemura curler and when I go out at night put on Blinc mascara (it’s great, goes on like tubes and does not smudge even if you cry!). If I feel I need some more coverage, I use Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and in the summer the Body Shop gel bronzer for a hint of shimmer. On my lips I use Hurraw in Vanilla Bean or Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers. I have thin lips and don’t like them colored. If I look especially tired I put on the YSL Touche Eclat under eye concealer, but I feel it draws more attention to the problem. It’s hard finding good clean makeup products in Europe, but since I don’t put too much on, it’s not that bad for me.
After a couple of years obsessed with weekly manicures, I go all natural, with very short clean nails, and just rub Egyptian Magic cream every night on my cuticles. I even keep a jar on my desk and rub some in during the day. I have super dry cuticles that look dry and white after one day if I don’t cut them. Now I have stopped cutting them completely (you must resist the temptation, but it’s the only way they will stop growing) and this cream is the only thing that makes them soft and invisible. I just push them back with a wooden stick with some wet cotton or argan oil once in a while.
Comments on the deodorant question? Maybe if we answer, she will grace us with another amazing food-as-beauty-product tip we never would have guessed!
Favorite star or icon from the past: Lauren Bacall (via)
Meet Archana, a native of India who has been living in New Jersey for three years now. She says “I’ve seen my grand mom use only herbal and homemade products and she has great skin at 80!” Archana tries to incorporate a few of her grandmother’s routines into her busy schedule. Enjoy!
Hair: black, thick and wavy with an oily scalp
Skin: Olive skin tone. Fighting a bout of adult acne. Sensitive combination skin (sigh, I know!). I have been a vegetarian all my life and recently turned a vegan. I make sure I always eat healthy and eat only gluten free, diary free food. I eat only plant-based supplements.
In the shower…
I incoporate dry brushing for about 3 mins. I use the Body Shop brush. Before I step into the shower I always massage a tiny bit of sesame oil on my face and neck. This helps my skin to stay balanced and does not flake out. I use the Pangea Organics Canadian Pine With White Sage Body Wash for my body. For the face, I use my own mixture of ground green gram (Ed.: also called mung bean), a tiny bit of turmeric with enough rose water to make a paste. Green Gram is a natural substitute for soap. It removes the excess oil and leaves your skin fresh and even. You can use a coffee blender to grind, and you can store them for over 4 months in an air-tight container. Turmeric is a natural antispectic and it bans acne from its roots.) I gently scrub my face and neck in upward strokes with this paste and wash off with water.
Every weekend, I massage my skin with a mixture of butter (organic unsalted butter) and a pinch of turmeric and a little bit of greek yogurt. I blend all of them in with a hand blender and apply the mixture all over my body. I wash it off after 30 mins with the green gram mixture. This leaves my skin supple and silky smooth.
I never forget to apply castor oil on my eyelashes and eyebrows and under my eyes before going to bed every night. It promotes lash and brow growth.
For my hair, I wash it every other day with Himalayas Rejunivating Shampoo. I do not use a conditoner as it weighs my hair down. I apply few drops of Josie Maran’s argan oil on my ends. I never blow dry my hair and always let it air dry.
Outside the shower…
I usually leave my skin a little moist and use my own home made oil moisturizer. It is coconut oil, few drops of argan oil and jojoba oil. I use this like another other body lotion. I love Soapwalla deodarant. On weekends (usually on Saturdays) I sometimes pour few drops of khus oil (also called vetiver essential oil) on my filled tub. This gives a unique aroma and leaves your skin pleasntly smelling. I never step out without a suncreen and use Biotique Carrot Face & Body Sun Cream, which has carrots and natural oils, as my sun protector.
I apply few drops of argan oil as a primer and use the Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation and wear a kohl from Physicians Formula, which is organic. I use Josie Maran’s Color Stick on my lips and cheeks as blush. I do not use any styling products for my hair and never blow dry or iron it.
So, who’s game to try some crushed up green gram? And how about that turmeric trick?! Intrigued? Thank you for sharing, Archana!
Image of Gayatri Devi via. Devi was the princess of Jaipur and a successful politician too. “A perfect blend of beauty, class and brains!”
Everybody, meet Greta, who may have created the word “glowifying” and definitely personifies it! Must be all the exfoliating and John Masters-ing she does. Read and enjoy (keep you eyes peeled for her tip for stopping scars before they start)!
Current weather: Coastal Northern California, so cool, foggy and breezy. Essentially jacket weather 24/7.
Hair: Dark blackish-brown, natural color (not dyed), thick, wavy, and slightly coarse. Boob-length (aka halfway between my armpit and elbow)
Skin: Pale, reddish, very sensitive and prone to sunburn. No acne but prone to roughness and bumpiness.
In the shower…
Pre-shower, I massage a generous blob of Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment (NB: contains fragrance) from the middle to the ends of my hair. This is my very favorite for softening my coarse and unruly hair—even better than the various oils I’ve tried. Then I wipe my face with a Seventh Generation baby wipe in preparation for slathering my face and neck with Fage 2% Greek Yogurt. The lactic acid in the yogurt is a great gentle exfoliant and I find this to be very smoothing and glowifying with no irritation. I leave it on until the yogurt is nearly dry—about 10-15 minutes. While I wait, I’ll putz around in the bathroom, occasionally dry brushing with a Hydrea London Body Brush or massaging a dropperful of John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil into my nails and scalp. Once in the shower, I apply John Masters Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner followed by John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner. They both smell incredible and keep my pouffy waves in check. I’ve tried other lines but always come running back to John Masters for haircare. I can definitely see a difference in my smoother, healthier locks. I soap up my Hydrea London Carbonized Bamboo Exfoliating Gloves with whatever soap we have on hand. I’m always switching kinds. Right now I’m using Big Sur Country Soap, which is made locally and I picked up at the farmer’s market. I shave my pits, legs and bits with a Gillette Fusion razor, and I’m done!
Outside the shower…
I wash my face with Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, and if it’s nighttime, I use my Clarisonic Mia with it. I follow with a couple spritzes of Pai BioAffinity Tonic in Lotus & Orange Blossom. Daytime, I smooth on Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Moisturizer or Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream Light. Nighttime, I massage in John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil or Pai BioRegenerate Oil. Any extra oil goes on the ends of my hair. Obviously, I adore Pai—my sensitive skin responds beautifully to their gentle yet effective products. I recommend them to all my friends! My body gets a slather of Pai Comfrey and Calendula Calming Body Cream, and my abdominal incision from last month’s surgery gets a mini-massage with Jason 45,000 IU Vitamin E Oil. Floss and then brush my teeth with my Preserve toothbrush and The Natural Dentist Antigingivitis toothpaste and mouthwash.
I wear makeup maybe a handful of days per month, and when I do it’s Dr. Hauschka mascara in Black and Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose.
Soap & Paper Factory’s Bois de Cedrat Hand Cream is my favorite scent. I dab some on my neck and wrists like perfume. I’ve been stingy about using it as I don’t believe they make this fragrance anymore [Ed's note: they don't] and I want my tube to last!
John Masters and Pai: Hire this gal as your spokeswoman! The rest of you: What think you?
Image of Vivien Leigh via
Happy Friday, everyone! Meet Elena, whose nice-and-simple routine kind of made me feel a little bit calmer just by reading it. She would kick ass at the desert island challenge. Her routine strikes a great balance between using fun, clean products, and still keeping it fairly simple. Awesome!
Current weather: Currently in Toronto, Canada (cold humid winters, hot humid summers). In the past year lived in Thailand, Haiti, New York – this rocked my world, but my skin was not too pleased.
Hair: Baby fine and pretty greasy
Skin: Really fair, no freckles, burns semi-easily then tans. Lately my skin has become super dry. I actually don’t think this is the fault of the harsh winter, but (gasp) of aging :(
In the shower…
I just started my second attempt at going shampoo free. Last summer I cleaned my hair with baking soda for about a month, but then gave up. I am giving this another go because I find that my fine hair gets weighed down by even the cleanest shampoos. This time around, I will be trying to do the baking soda thing at much longer intervals (I used it every three days in the summer), hoping that this will restore the oil balance of my scalp. Fingers crossed. For now, my hair so greasy that my father asked me at the dinner table why I hadn’t blow dried my hair!
Otherwise, a razor and Dr. Bonner’s for basic hygiene. Rarely any shower gel on my body. Ditto for moisturizer, except for my hands in the winter. Right now I am using a hand cream from Japan. I am pretty sure it’s not clean, but it’s Japanese and I love almost everything from that land! (OK, I got to admit that I am transitioning to a green routine so I still use some not clean products. However, I vow to purchase a clean hand salve for next winter. I used to use L’Occitane in the past—I think it’s semi-green?)
Outside the shower…
I don’t wash my face in the morning. Sometimes a splash of water, sometimes not. At night I cleanse my face with an oil. Right now I am using almond oil, but I’ve used avocado in the past. Sometimes I use the oil as a moisturizer for my face as well. My non-clean moisturizer is Avene Hydrance Optimale Riche (5 on EWG scale). I will be tossing it once it is finished. And I have already started exploring green options. I already zeroed in on some Weleda creams. I love Weleda! It reminds me of the European products we had in our bathroom growing up.
I always, always wear sunscreen! This has been the one constant in my skincare routine for 6-8+ years now. Unfortunately, like the rest of my routine, I have only recently realized that La Roche Posay SPF 60 I was using might have been doing more harm than good. I would always break out on my forehead from all of the sunscreens I have ever tried. And let me tell you, I have gone through my fair share of them. I discarded American drugstore ones a long time ago and have stuck with French Lab picks from Vichy, Avene, and the aforementioned La Roche Posay. While I would always start out loving the product, I would inevitably break out on my forehead a few weeks down the road. I started doing my research and realized that this might be a result of all the chemicals in my sunscreen. So I went physical and I love it! Current sunscreen is from DeVita. It’s an SPF 30 (19% zinc oxide) with hyaluronic acid. It is supposed to be quite moisturizing, but the cream’s texture is actually very light and airy. It seeps into my skin like a dream and makes it velvety smooth. I think that it is light enough to use for combination skin as well. It also doesn’t smell at all like a sunscreen, which is a plus for me. Hey, smell is important!
Depending on the season and the current condition of my skin I will use the Lavera Wild Rose moisture mask once/several times a week. I am not a rose person, so I find the scent quite strong, but the mask does a great job at bringing hydration back to my skin.
No leave-ins or other styling products for my hair. I usually let it air dry. It’s pretty-low maintenance (except for the greasy-part that seriously gives me the urge to shampoo every night)—no fly aways, no frizz.
Deodorant, currently Green Beaver in Citrus. Green Beaver is great Canadian brand. Their body sunblock is amazing and cheap! This deodorant smells really good, if you are into citrusy smells, that is. I also have the Soapwalla one. While I prefer the latter, when I am in a rush and don’t want to get my fingers dirty I just use the Green Beaver stick.
Makeup-wise, it varies a lot. Most of the days it’s just a slick of lipstick (100% Pure in Seduce is a nice neutral coral color for light-skinned girls). I also like the Josie Maran argan oil multipurpose color stick. I use it on lips, cheeks and lids. Yes, a pinkish hue looks amazing with hazel eyes. I actually got mine in a trial pack a few years ago, but I still have plenty of product left.
I have a non-clean mascara that I swear by: Lancome Hypnose. I haven’t even attempted to find a green version because it took me ages to find a chemically infused one that curled and lengthened while staying on for a full day without being a waterproof formula.
The few times that I do use makeup I turn to very dirty products. I know! And by makeup I mean some eyeliner and dusting of shadow. No powder, no foundation, no bronzer—I like the pale look. Perfume? Well I do use a green tea body spray from a french brand, doubt it’s clean, but it’s running out, so will probably go perfume free when that happens.
Overall, my routine is semi-green but I am committed to going green all the way. The items I look forward to trying next: Ilia lipsticks, green green tea perfume (haha!), and RMS uncover-up!
Three cheers! Thanks, Elena!
Image of Anna Karina via (Jean-Luc Godard’s wife and the star of many of his films)
Meet Charlotte, everybody! She channels Diana Ross and has a really kick-ass routine. Check out her tips for caring for curls!
Current weather: around 15C/59F, moderately humid, mild breeze, clear skies
Hair: 3b/c (very curly), darkest brown with auburn ends caused by the sun, between shoulder and armpit length, fine but lots of it
Skin: Acne-prone if I eat things that don’t agree with me (dairy, soy, refined sugar, wheat). When it’s behaving, my skin is even toned with non-visible pores. I get dull skin if I don’t keep hydrated by drinking water and taking my daily supplements (flaxseed, cod liver oil, MSM). I love that my skin is still very young and fresh looking with no wrinkles and that it has a natural “glow” about it. The only thing that bothers me about my skin is my acne and that’s only because it really affects my confidence. I don’t cover blemishes with make up because I think it makes everything look worse so I just suffer through it.
In the shower…
I wash with water only. If my armpits are particularly stinky, I use some Bee-mine rhassoul clay shampoo bar on them. Occasionally I use a body brush/exfoliating gloves. I use Darcy’s Botanicals coconut shampoo bar to wash my hair once a week and only comb my hair out in the shower when it’s wet. I don’t use a conditioner – my hair gets over-moisturized extremely easily and when that happens I get a lot of breakage and split ends.
Outside the shower…
I wash my face with a soft flannel and cold water. After that I tone with rose water and a cotton pad, spray my face again with rose water to make it damp and apply 3 drops of jojoba oil with a smidge of neem oil (it’s very stinky) as my moisturizer/hydrator. I apply Soapwalla deodorant to my armpits. I also apply crown pride ceramide protein hair treatment (I leave it in all week; my hair loves protein much more than moisture) and then towel-dry my hair with my Curls Like Us Curl Cloth (makes my hair very coily and nice). I don’t really moisturize my body. I find that because I don’t use soap, my skin never dries out anymore. On the very rare occasions I feel like I need a bit of moisturizer, I use a bit of babassu oil (its a hard oil like coconut oil and quite rich) or some shea butter.
For make up, I use Honeybee Gardens mascara in black, Afterglow concealer in toffee or RMS Beauty un-cover up in 33, Alima Pure eyeliner powder in espresso on my eyebrows, Inika eyeliner pencil in black on the inside of my upper eyelashes, W3ll People universalist highlighter on the inner corners of my eyes and usually a little bit of Alima Pure freja blush or Alima Pure trinidad bronzer. Sometimes a bit of OCC lip tar in clear or nsfw, mac lipstick in russian red or girl about town, or nars lipstick in cruella. Lipsticks are the only “dirty” product i still use :(
No fragrance as I’m struggling to find anything I like thats also ‘clean’!
Thanks, Charlotte! Anyone have some new fragrance tips? You know we are big Lotus Wei fans ’round these parts. But there are more out there, too!
P.S. I couldn’t resist…..