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?
Ideally your answer is something like…. “My partner who thinks I’m awesome no matter how ridiculous I am at times.” Or maybe it’s “My sense of my own natural beauty, radiating from within.” (But seriously, if you’re going with number 2 and that’s your default feeling, maybe you can explain us your secret over wine and macarons some time?)
For me, it depends on the day. One of the cool and completely frustrating things about being a woman is that these things can vary depending on your mood, on the weather, on the state of your skin, on where you are in your cycle, on how things are going at work and at home, on how nice you’re being to yourself.
Because these things can fluctuate quite a bit, I’ve always thought it important to have certain emergency procedures in place for the days when you want to bring your A game but you woke up feeling like a giant bag of trash.
When that happens, you have to, in the words of Rachael Ray, take a little help from the store. The help I’ve been taking lately is my fancy Vered body oil.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the ayurvedic ritual called abhyanga, a form of daily self massage that involves oils, starting at your feet and ending at your crown. When you consider all the crazy stuff I’ve done over the years—shall we revisit the time I had soup spoons scraped over my back to release blocked energy? Or the astrologers I’ve paid many hundreds of dollars to help me with various peccadilloes?—it seems amazing that I’ve never done tried this simple, soothing technique. Inspired by Alexandra, who has raved about it, and Dr. Claudia Welch, who swears by it, I tried it last night before bed. And I used this incredible body oil by Vered.
Here’s what makes the oil special. The one I have is for achey bodies. As such, it contains the homeopathic standby arnica, as well as calendula, oregano, lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile in an organic jojoba and sweet almond oil base. As you can imagine, it smells unreal. And like no other oil I’ve used—including pure coconut oil, which I still adore—this stuff absorbs readily into the skin, moisturizes so thoroughly, and leaves behind a kind of touch-my-skin-no-really-touch-it softness that looks and feels amazing.
This is not an ordinary body oil. And at $74 a bottle, it also costs a small fortune, so there’s that. Will I buy more when I run out? Probably not, but that’s why I’m not recommending you buy it for yourself: This is, I’ve decided, the absolute perfect gift. I received mine as a gift—from the lovely Spirit Demerson, no less—and it was the perfect thing because it’s not something I would ever buy myself. But having it around makes me happy, it feels super-luxurious, and after I’ve applied it—either through elaborate self-massage or just with a quick and dirty rub onto my legs before work in the morning—I feel completely amazing in my own skin.
Oh, and yes: As the name suggests, it works wonders on sore muscles.
So we want to know: Have you ever done abhyanga? And what makes you feel amazing in your own skin? Have at it, folks.