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!
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?
Happy Friday everyone! Meet Catherine, who is a great example of someone who truly uses sunscreen like they should! More power to her. She spends her days working, chasing around her bulldog (awesome!), and training for a 1/2 marathon (double awesome!), and she keeps the sun off all the while. Read on!
In the shower…
Outside the shower…
So…Sunscreen queen! Is anyone else training for a race or otherwise spending a lot of time outside and have an active sunscreen that’s been working well?
Meet lovely Luna. She has lived in both the US and China, and currently calls the latter home. She does an amazing job at keeping her beauty products green by bringing them over when she travels back to the US. Read on for her efficient but inventive routine…
Current Weather: Beijing at its best! Warm, Spring breeze, Sunny
Hair: Black, straight, shoulder length – can’t hold a curl for longer than 10 minutes
Skin: Best defined as complicated: definitely combination, acne prone, dry on cheeks, oily around forehead and T-zones. Beijing water is very hard and the climate is dry which isn’t good for skin that is prone to breakouts since many moisturizers can clog my pores but not using any will leave my skin parched!
Favorite star/icon from the past: Anna May Wong
In China there isn’t a lot of focus on “clean” beauty products. There are some basic drug store staple brands like L’oreal and Nivea and their Chinese counterparts. On the other spectrum, the luxury skincare market is dominated by brands such as SKII, Lancome, Amorepacific, Clarins, and some Chinese ones like Yue-Sai. There’s really nothing in between and there are definitely no smaller, clean, indie labels like in the US. Sephora opened here a few years ago and some “cleaner” brands have started to trickle in such as Boscia and Ren. I grew up in the US and am now back in China working for a multinational corporation. I usually come to the US about three or four times a year for work and this is when I stock up on my beauty products. I would describe myself as loyal but adventurous – I have my “tried and true” products that I MUST restock every trip and then there are others I learn about through web research (such as your site!).
I usually start my day by just washing my face and doing my makeup, and save showering for night, so I will frame this as morning routine, makeup, night time.
In the morning I usually just wash my face with lukewarm water. If I want to really clear my skin for a meeting at work, I will use a cleanser – my favorite is Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser. It smells a little strong but it’s nothing I can’t handle. After that I use Dr.Alkaitis Organic Herbal Toner, followed by 100% Pure Argan Oil Hydration SPF 30 (which I learned about from your site!). This combination keeps my skin very balanced and prepared for whatever Beijing throws my way: pollution, smog, etc.
I’m not a huge makeup girl so it doesn’t take me very long in the morning to get ready. Since I don’t use that much product, I have no problem with spending more for high quality products. I use Suki tinted moisturizer and Vapour Organic Aura blush in Courtesan which really wakes up my face. I use Lancome mascara because I can’t find a natural one that doesn’t give me racoon eyes by noon. For lips I use either raw shea butter or Dr. Bronner’s Naked lip balms, the one without a scent. If I’m feeling like wearing color, I’ll rotate between any of the Kjaer Weis Lip Tints or Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner colors I have.
Before the shower, I take my makeup off with sweet almond oil or jojoba depending on which one I have available and then I dry brush myself.
I try to take the quickest showers possible because the water is really not ideal. You can’t drink it straight from the tap so I don’t really like to marinate in it at night. I wash my face with Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser and use Dr. Bronner’s baby liquid castile soap for my bits and that’s it. My showers are literally 3 minutes long and if I wash my hair that takes it to about 8 minutes. I only shampoo my hair once a week and I use Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic shampoo. No conditioner. No blow dryer. My hair is not high maintenance at all so I’m totally grateful for that.
Out of the shower…
I tone again with Dr. Alkaitis and then do a few drops of YULI Skincare’s M.E. Skin Fuel serum on my face which is light but still hydrating. I never do anything thick or creme-like at night because I feel like that hinders with my skin’s ability to renew and push out impurities overnight. If I’ve washed my hair than I rub a few drops of the Skin Fuel over my head and comb through.
Thanks, Luna! Is there anyone who has any experience with naturals in China or elsewhere in Asia? If so, maybe you can suggest some new local brands?
While some of you could care less what models use on their skin—they’re just genetic jackpot winners, right?—I actually think these women have a lot of insight on the subject.
Models are the ultimate guinea pigs: Day in and out, products of all stripes are piled onto their hair and faces. This means several things: They get to test everything out; they have access to experts; and they actually have to work harder than most of us to try to maintain some kind of balance when they’re not shooting and strutting.
So I was not surprised to see that several of the models in a post from Elle about Model Skin Secrets sited naturals and oils as the ultimate in skincare.
Plant oils seem especially popular among this set. Are you a plant-oil convert yet? And if so, which do you use: argan, coconut, jojoba? See any other products you love here?
Without further ado, the natural picks of these natural-born beauties…
“I like Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream because it’s chemical-free—I think using clean, organic ingredients on your skin really helps it. The Cleansing Milk and Cleansing Cream are also very good. I’m a huge Dr. Hauschka fan; I’ve been using their products for a couple years
“I got really lucky with my skin—I don’t have to do a lot with it. But Caudalie has this Beauty Elixir—it’s just water with some essential oils mixed in—and it’s so nice.”
“During Fashion Week I use the Carrot Butter Cleanser from Organic Pharmacy to remove my makeup. It’s moisturizing and takes off everything, even waterproof mascara—it cleanses really deep.”
“For removing my mascara, I like using coconut oil. As a moisturizer, I like Dr. Alkaites’ cream or Bulgarian rose oil—you know, things that are organic and natural for the skin, and won’t just sit on it.” —Karolina Kurkova
Spoken like true clean girls! Do you share any favorites with these ladies?