Meet Jessica! Her mention of the Konjac Sponge is kismet. (See yesterday’s post.) Plus, fall is around the corner and we feel like talking about makeup. This routine has it all.
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada but on vacation in PEI
Current weather: sunny but cool… perfect summer weather
Hair: slightly wavy, fine and super thick
Skin: very pale, oily skin with some blemishes but mostly clear
Favourite star or icon from the past: Elizabeth Taylor
In the shower…
I’ve been slowly cleaning up my beauty regimen for the past 2 years and have only started using organic hair products for about 9 months. I have only used Dr. Jones organic shampoo and conditioner and am quite satisfied (I try not to wash my hair more than twice a week). I use an epilator instead of shaving, for water conservation, and regularly get my eyebrows threaded. I just finished a less than entirely clean body wash that I could not resist, as I picked it up at Kualoa Ranch on my travels to Oahu in May. I am only now looking into some really clean but delicious smelling body washes that won’t break the bank. Any suggestions?
Outside the shower…
I cleanse my face every morning with my awesome Konjac charcoal bamboo sponge and with Graydon The Cleanser at night; using May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt every other day before my shower.
I really hate tying up my hair since it gives me severe headaches (curse of super thick hair), but I also hate drying my hair with a blow drier since it damages it. I have started using John Masters citrus detangler to protect my hair from heat damage and when air drying, I love to add some argan oil to my ends. I do not use any other hair product since I really like keeping things simple and minimal. As for my face routine, all I can say is that my Konjac Sponge is the best thing in the world. I have managed to balance my oily skin by cleansing with my Konjac, along with using orange blossom hydrosol as a toner (wanting to now try Stark’s White Willow toner). After toning in the morning, I use Graydon’s The Serum after applying Nurish Organics’ See Spot Run, but if I feel that I need more moisture I use Nurish Organics’ Rejuven-eight Day Cream.
At night, I opt to use argan oil over See Spot Run and One Love Organics’ Skin Savior waterless beauty balm around my eyes for extra moisturization. To cap off my night routine, as lip protection I use Dr. Bronner’s naked lip balm as it stays on all night. Sometimes I also like to treat myself
with manuka honey masks when I feel my skin needs a little change in the routine.
I LOVE makeup and adore trying different things. However, I am very picky about the ingredients I use on my skin as I am allergic to peppermint oil. I normally do not wear much makeup (lip balm and concealer), except for when I go out for something significant or special. When I do doll up, I use Gabriel’s black mascara, Lilly Lolo’s brown eye pencil, Vapour Organics illuminist concealer, Vapour Organics Mesmerize eye colours, Ferro cosmetics mineral foundation and 3X blush (which can be also used to give color to lips) and Dr. Bronner’s naked lip balm. For a dramatic color on my lips I have Korres’ lip butter in a reddish pink, but am looking to finish it up as quickly as possible since I do not find it to be as clean as I would like it to be. I also have Inica’s lip crayon in Blossom, but I do not like the texture on my lips. I would love to get my hands on some Kjaer Weis products, especially the lip tints as I’ve heard really great reviews. I also highlight some key areas of my face with Vapour Organics Halo in Brilliance. I top everything off with Erbaviva’s Jasmine grapefruit deodorant and Tallulah Jane’s Helona mist. I am still looking for the perfect deodorant, but am having some difficulty as I cannot use baking soda and as for perfume, I would love to find something that is more tropical for the summer, yet still affordable!
I am a huge skin care and makeup junky; loving trying out all the new products I can! Living in Canada, however, limits the brands I get to try as I refuse to pay over-the-top prices for shipping for any products. I really really want to try some stuff by Savvy Boheme, Jiva Apoha, La Bella Figura, and Kjaer Weis… I believe that changing up your beauty routine is always a good thing as skin becomes immune to products and stops being so effective over time. I hope you’ve enjoyed my morning/beauty routine!
Meet Melissa! Her routine is full of NMDL faves and then some.
Hometown: Halifax, NS, Canada
Current Weather: Fairly humid and 30 degrees Celsius, but there’s always a cool ocean breeze.
Hair: Dark, I mean virtually black (au natural), shoulder length with a natural wave. I normally blow it out and if I have the time to care enough I will straighten it. One thing about my hair is that it’s crazy oily – I have to wash it everyday unless I want the “wet look” (Suggestions anyone?).
Skin: Fair, oily with the odd dry patch through the winter, and subject to outbursts of acne thanks to hormones and food sensitivities. I’ll go months with hardly a blemish and then it will all turn upside down out of the blue.
Icon: Audrey Hepburn. I’ve always aspired to have eyebrows as amazing as hers.
The night before…
I usually take my makeup off with virgin coconut oil, but lately I’ve been using Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanser for a light cleanse at night (a great Canadian brand too!!). It’s a great all in one and it even gets waterproof mascara off! I also put on my Kahina Giving Beauty eye cream before bed. Once, or twice a week, depending on the state of my complexion, I do a mask using Stark’s Green Tea Detox Clay Mask which I love, love, love. It smells so amazing and it works!
In the morning…
I always do a quick dry brush before the shower. I forget how I got turned onto this, but after a month of solid commitment I’m amazed how much better my skin (especially the backs of my arms) looks. I can’t go a day without it. I also take Omega-3 oil, pro-biotic and B12 first thing.
I wash my hair usually with John Masters Bare Shampoo and Conditioner, though very recently I’ve added Rahua’s Volumizing Shampoo into the mix. I read it was good for oily hair, but the jury is out on that one for me still. Once I’ve got my conditioner on, I lather up with Dr. Bronners Peppermint or Rose soap depending on my mood. My Husband spent a lot of time convincing me to use Dr Bronner’s and I wasn’t a lover at first use, but I’m definitely a convert. Once I’m all rinsed off, I wash my conditioner out and move onto my face. I’ve tried everything for my cleanser – everything. After using Eminence for over a year to mixed results, I’ve simplified to Kahina Giving Beauty’s Facial Cleanser. Quite simply, it’s my favourite ever. Not only is my skin incredibly soft, the quality of my skin has improved ten fold since adding this amazing cleanser to my regime. A bottle lasts forever too! I rinse my cleanser off with my trusty konjac sponge – I tell all my friends about these little beauties.
Outside of the shower…
I put a couple of drops of Kahina’s Argan Oil on my fingers and massage into my face while it’s still a little damp. After it’s all absorbed on goes my Consonant Perfect Sunscreen (more Canadian brand love). I love the texture of their sunscreen and its non greasy formula. I find it especially great because of the mica tint it has – perfect for evening out my skin tone just enough. Makeup wise, I love the natural beauty look. I start with RMS Beauty Uncover Up here and there for any blemishes and then use Afterglow Cosmetics Triple Eye Treatment to brighten up under my eyes. For my cheeks I flip-flop between RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek in Smile and Ilia Beauty’s Multistick in Tenderly. I love the natural flush that these two cheek colours offer. Lately my preference has been Ilia – it’s lovely and subtle for daytime. I do a light sweep of RMS Beauty’s Unpowder across my t-zone and then it’s onto eyes. Most days I just do liner and mascara, but I will also dab a little of RMS Beauty’s Cream Eye Shadow in Seduce on mixed with Lip2Cheek in Muse for fun too. I line the bottom of my eyes with Afterglow’s eyeliner in black and Ilia Beauty’s Mascara. Admittedly, for climate reasons (rainy rainy Halifax reasons) there are days when the L’Oreal waterproof mascara comes out – I would look like a Raccoon otherwise. Burts Bees is my day to day lip savior, but I love my Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Nobody’s Baby almost as much.
Once I’ve got my makeup all done, I massage in a small dab of Rahua’s Finishing Treatment into the ends of my still damp hair. I was lucky to receive a jar of this stuff as a gift to start, and have quickly become obsessed. While I’ve always had crazy oily roots, the ends of my hair are on the dry side but this wonderful cream has totally changed that. It’s pricey as all get out, but a jar does last deceptively long and the results have been worth every penny. After a quick blow dry, I’m all set!
Has anyone out there tamed their oily roots? Is daily shampoo a must?
I’ve been addicted to lip balm as long as I can remember. Not in that dirty-ingredients-suck-the-life-out-of-you-so-you-need-more-product way either, I just really love the feel of a great balm. And my sensitive lips need a layer of protection.
Last fall I discovered what is, so far, the best balm brand I’ve ever tried. And I try a LOT of balms. The big brands, the little practically unheard of brands—everything. I even try some that use peppermint, though I never like that flavor.
I tend to favor a shea-based balm. I find they have a nicer texture, are thicker, and stay on longer. I like beeswax in the base too, though in all other facets my balms are vegan. I haven’t found one I really love with SPF, but many balms have ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil that have a bit of natural screen. Taste is key in a lip balm. Unflavored is good, or something mild and tasty. But never, ever that “wax with added flavor” thing that is so common in balms. My favorites are all super clean, low-shine, untinted, and come in a tube.
Here’s my favorite:
Ganache for Lips: Beeswax, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and shea butter form the base. The texture is perfect, with awesome staying power, and the flavors are amazing. The various chocolate combos are delicious, and I have to give Chocolate Orange a special mention. Oh, and Chocolate Raspberry, and Chocolate Hazelnut, and…yeah, they’re all good. The Vanilla Mousse is a great neutral flavor, and lately Lemon Mousse is blowing me away. It reminds me of the Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd I used to eat before I cut out processed sugar. These are very moisturizing, but never overly shiny. It just looks like my lips are naturally moist. They work well alone, or under/over a lip color. ($3.75 for a standard size .15 oz tube at balmworks.com)
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
- S.W. Basics (formerly Sprout Wellness) offers beeswax and vegan versions. The citrus flavor has that lemon curd thing going on, with a lighter texture.
- Bubble & Bee has some unique flavors. I like Karma Apple.
- Stark Skincare makes a very light, vegan, rose-flavored argan lip treatment.
- Skinnyskinny’s unscented balm is great if you prefer little taste to your balm (just a hint of honey and cocoa butter).
- Stewart & Claire makes Coconut, another nice unscented (if a bit expensive) balm that just has a hint of sweet beeswax scent.
- Peacekeeper’s Chocolate Dream tastes like a Tootsie Roll and comes in an extra big tube.
- Badger’s Cocoa Butter Balms also come in extra big tubes. Vanilla Bean is a great one, and Mocha Cocoa is fab for coffee lovers.
What’s your favorite lip balm?
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!
About a year ago, Alexandra raved about Stark Skincare, and when a deal came up last summer, I could not resist. My son and I have been using Stark consistently ever since, and loving it! We are especially fond of the CYPRESS purity + defense oil, and he uses the toner regularly too. I’m particularly impressed with the flexibility of the line—if both I and my adolescent son can use the products, that’s pretty impressive. Plus, it’s gender neutral in terms of packaging and scents. Oh, the scents. Jessica Lafleur, its founder, really knows how to put together some unique combinations, and make all the products compliment each other.
I’ve tried all things Stark, and each product is quite special; they all pop up somewhere in my rotation. So when Jessica asked if I’d like to try a new addition to her line I was all, “Duh. Yeah!” Here’s the review…
MEADOWFOAM the everybody oil: Until very recently, I wasn’t that into body oils. Since I’ve been dry brushing, I have less need for that sort of product. But I do enjoy a nice oil after a soak in a sea salt bath, so I have been trying a few brands and some DIY. As soon as I tried this one from Stark, it immediately went to the top of my list. I love it on my legs after a bath or shower, rubbed on my belly when I’m feeling crampy, and just a little bit smoothed in my hair. It’s more substantial than some other body oils, so if you have need of serious moisture this is a great one to try—and yet, it sinks right in and leaves my skin incredibly soft with not even the slightest bit of greasiness. Really!
I had never heard of meadowfoam seed oil but it seems a great addition to skin and hair care (here’s what Mountain Rose Herbs has to say about it). The formula also includes some of my favorite skin care ingredients: sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and shea butter.
So let’s talk about the scent. I often like unscented products because I’m incredibly picky and sensitive, so when I do choose to use a scent it has to be spectacular. Check! It’s quite complex and subtle, with the citrus popping first, then a hint of lavender, and as I rub it in I can catch the chocolate. Later, after it sits on my skin a while, coconut. I really like that the scent is right there for me while I rub the oil in, but then fades so as not to compete with any other fragrances I use that day. The only thing I’m not 100% in love with is the press/flip top. I find those a bit messy, so I’m on the lookout for a pump top that will fit the bottle.
I love the oil so much I purchased another bottle so I’ll be ready when skirt season hits. Come on, spring! What do you love about Stark?