As fate would have it, my purse was stolen one week ago today. I was out celebrating friendship and a birthday with my girlfriend at a posh little Vietnamese restaurant in one of the burgeoning areas of D.C., the 14th Street Corridor. Like seemingly every restaurant in D.C., there was an hour plus wait for a table so we sat at the spacious bar to have dinner. The bag I was carrying was a little crossbody number that can also be used as a clutch, and I tucked it right behind my back. At several points in the evening, I had a nervous thought about my purse being too exposed, but I rationalized that I was in a very nice place surrounded by nice looking people. Ha! Always listen to your intuition.
Oddly, before the theft my friend and I were having a conversation about loss and how to deal with it. This past year she was in an accident that totaled her car. Nobody was hurt, but the car had a lot of sentimental value to her and she was surprised by the grief and sense of loss she felt. She told me about a Mexican tradition for processing loss in which you write a letter to the thing you are grieving over and then burn it. This post is my own cathartic way of letting go. It’s my love letter to my purse and everything in it. Here we go…
The bag: I love a stylish purse, but it must be practical, too. The Hobo International Leanne crossbody is something I’ve carried for a couple of years now. I bought it before a trip to San Francisco for my friends’ wedding. It had a cool chain strap that you can tuck inside if you want to carry it like a clutch. It was compact but roomy enough for all my essentials. Mine was a tan leather that had acquired a fantastic patina from use.
The phone: In 2010 I was stuck in bed for a few weeks recovering from a major surgery. My cell phone was all busted, so just before the surgery I ordered a new iPhone 4s. It was something to look forward to during a scary time, and when it arrived a few days after I was released from the hospital, it kept me pleasantly distracted from physical discomfort. Last year I cracked the screen, but it still worked and I didn’t see any reason to replace it.
The Makeup: Mostly lippies here, with a few additional items I always carry. This represents the best of my collection, items I’ve been slowly acquiring that had become my can’t-live-without staples. Tata Harper Be Adored Lip Treatment, my first purchase from Eco Diva Beauty, I’ve been obsessed with its perfect rosy tint and unbelievable conditioning abilities. Worth every penny. W3LL People Nudist Colorbalm Stick #8 Poppy, also conditioning but with more of a pigmented, waxy finish. The color is bright and happy without being overdone. W3LL People Universalist Luminous Colorstick in Moonstoon Glow, my go-to illuminator that nourishes your skin while adding a subtle glow to cheeks and eyes. I bought both directly from W3ll People after sampling them. In case you don’t know, they have an excellent sample program, and the new packaging is truly an upgrade. Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in everyone’s favorite Bang Bang. This was my first Ilia purchase, which I ordered from NuboNau. It made me fall in love with the brand. When I’m going for a feminine yet edgy look, this bold lippie is what I grab. Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss in Peek A Boo, a nudish color that works on me when no other nudes do. Did you know that you can use Ilia’s lip conditioner and lip gloss as a blush? It works, and the color payoff and staying power is impressive. La Bella Figura Travel Therapy Botanical Mood, the most soothing and uplifting scent inlcudes blood orange, rose otto, and blue tansy. It is highly addictive, as Nicolle has attested. Fortune of all fortunes, I have an extra bottle at home. At least I wasn’t carrying LBF’s Positano Perfume Oil, my latest scent obsession. I purchased both scents directly from the lovely ladies at La Bella Figura.
Phew, that’s it. I’ve started to rebuild, but it will take some time. Yesterday I ordered two new Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioners from Eco Diva Beauty in colors I’ve long wanted to try — Shell Shocked and Crimson and Clover. Sometimes you need a fresh start, even if you weren’t looking for one.
Here it is—the first Makeup Monday of the new year! You may know the beauty behind this makeup bag as The Green Product Junkie. If you don’t, be sure to check out her blog. You’ll love it!
Name: Katie O’Sullivan
Where I live: East Village, New York City
My relationship with makeup: Blissful. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t absolutely love it. But I fell much, much harder for it after I got into the non-toxic makeup realm; that’s when we started to get really serious. I’m not thee greatest at applying makeup, but I definitely love putting it on, choosing my colors for the day and yapping about it with other women. I’m so fortunate to be in this green beauty community because I love talking about clean brands. Meeting like-minded women is a total thrill for me.
Here’s what’s in my makeup bag:*
*Note: This changes, but usually just the lip colors.
Foundation: I use W3LL People’s Narcissist Foundation. I absolutely love it. It gives magnificent light to medium coverage and doesn’t even look like I’m even wearing foundation. It also has a fresh herbal scent and never looks dry or cakey. I apply it with my retractable EcoTool’s Foundation Brush.
Concealer: I’ve found my Holy Grail concealer…yeah, I know, lucky girl over here. I use Studio 78’s “Off We Go” Concealer and I find it to be the perfect consistency. It’s a dry cream to the touch, but there’s nothing dry about it when you apply it under the eyes or on blemishes. It blends perfectly with my skin. I think the formulation is genius. I also use RMS “Un” Cover-up, which I love to the death. TO THE DEATH, I SAY!
Brows: I fill in my brows with Couleur Caramel’s Eyebrow Pencil. I then use ZuZu Luxe’s Clear Mascara to tame them (insert sound of whip cracking here).
Eyeliner: I use Dr. Hauschka’s Plum/White Duo Eyeliner because I feel like the purple is a great neutral. It’s subtle and gives a pretty, smoky look when smudged. Sadly, I heard they’ve discontinued this liner (groans). If I’m going for black, I’m wearing Juice Beauty’s Defining Eyeliner. There’s a smudge-applicator on the other end that I find myself using all of the time.
Eyeshadow: Well, first of all, I like to start with a pretty, neutral base color on my lids, so I use Kjaer Weis in Cloud Nine or Dr. Hauschka in Sunglow. I have pretty much all of RMS Beauty’s shadows and lately I’ve been into Solar, but I think I use Lunar the most. My latest obsession has been Tea Time by Studio 78 Paris. It’s this gorgeous eggplant/brown color that is great for Winter.
Mascara: I use Couleur Caramel’s Mascara on the top lashes and ZuZu Luxe on the bottom. Why do I do this? Well, my lower lashes seem to skim under my eyes and the Couleur Caramel could get a lil messy. The ZuZu dries perfectly but is also less volumizing which I like on the lower lashes. I’m not a big Tammy Faye fan, here.
Tongue Cleaner, floss, toothpicks: Yeah, I like to freshen up after eating. I use Preserve Products’ tongue cleaner and toothpicks. The tongue cleaner is made from recycled yogurt cups…how can you refuse? I also carry around Radius’ 100% vegan Floss Sachets because they are so handy. I’m kind of obsessed with the teeth/mouth thing, clearly.
Luminizer: For everyday, I’ll wear RMS Living Luminizer. (Bonus info: at night, if I feel like I want a little more KAPOW, I’ll use Luminous Primer by Studio 78 Paris).
Lip/Cheek: This changes all of the time, but I’ll tell you what my favorite cheek colors are currently: Crush by Vapour Organic Beauty and Demure by RMS Beauty. For lips? I’m wearing Ilia Beauty’s Arabian Nights and Blossom Lady and RMS Beauty in Bloom with Living Nature’s Lip Pencil in Laughter.
Scent: Lurk Perfumes RSW005 is a delicious rose that I’m obsessed with currently…so obsessed, that I put a touch on my nose so I can better smell it…bizarro or what? I’ve been carrying around my little Tsi-La Fiori D’Arancio perfume since I received it. The minis come in a rollerball bottle and are a perfect size for your bag.
Meet Carla! She has a lovely routine, but got there the hard way. Can anyone relate to her experience with facials? We love her tips, especially her lazy girl version of oil cleansing—sounds so relaxing!
Hometown: San Jose, California
Weather: Crisp, dry and sunny
Skin: Pale with yellow undertones
Hair: Thick, long and brown
Starlet: Lupe Vélez – the Mexican spitfire
I became obsessed with skincare when I had a bout of hormonal acne after getting on and off the pill in college. I tried everything from micro-dermabrasion to eating salmon everyday all in hopes of having clear skin. The more I visited my esthetician for glycolic acid peels and deep pore facials the worse my skin looked. I always felt horrible after a facial and resigned myself to hide for a week in its aftermath. There had to be a better, cheaper and more natural way.
The silver lining of unemployment is how inventive one can get on a budget. I ditched all the products with harsh, stripping ingredients, sugar and dairy and embraced simple skincare products and vegetables. My skin has never looked better. It’s been six years now but I no longer get facials or peels, use face wash or hide because of a break out. So for any girl out there suffering with hormonal acne, I hope my daily routine helps.
On a winter morning, I splash my face with lemon water. I found that using filtered water on my face has made it smoother and less dry. Then I spray it with some Evan Healy rose water tonic and apply DeVita Solar Protective in SPF 30 with Hyaluronic Acid on my face and neck. This brand is light, doesn’t leave a white mask and keeps skin plump and moist. If the weather is very dry, I use a moisturizer as well. I still haven’t found an ultimate winner but my fall back is MyChelle’s Unscented Pumpkin Renew Cream. It leaves skin moisturized all day and absorbs well for make up. Finally I apply MyChelle Magnolia Fresh Eyes. It’s more for those with puffy eyes than those who need something to combat wrinkles. After I have a warm cup of lemon water with a bit of cayenne. I make some blend of green juice like celery, cucumber, beet, lemon, fennel and cilantro. I also take Udo’s Choice probiotic and Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Blend capsule. In combination, both have done wonders for my skin tone and healing of old scars.
I don’t use make up everyday but when I do I use Well People Foundation Concealer around the eyes and nose, very natural coverage that blends easily. Then I apply Mineral Fusion Loose powder. It does have Phenoxyethanol but it has such a beautiful creamy coverage, so I use it anyway. I use Alima loose matte blush in Mimosa year round, a lovely pink that brings a natural flush to your cheeks. Alima makes the nicest make up brushes too. My favorite black eye pencil is Mineral Fusion in Coal. It goes on smoothly and is super dark. Most days I just curl my lashes and leave it at that but when I want to be fancy I use the Kjaer Weis mascara. I also use Kjaer Weis Cloud Nine as an eyeshadow base and am very happy with the subtle sparkle. Finally for lips, my new favorite color is Well People Universalist multi-use colorstick in No.6. It’s a golden red and looks perfect topped with Well People Paganist 2 Gold Twinkle. My lip balm is Acure Dark Chocolate and Mint argan oil lip balm, it does its job, is affordable and clean.
I never got into bathing in the morning so when my day is over I dry brush. Then I take a mineral bath with Dead Sea salt for magnesium and Aztec Secret Healing bentonite clay. These ingredients balance the tap water so it is not so harsh on the skin. I use a very diluted mixture of Dr. Bronners soap and wash with an Ayate fiber body cloth. I have skin that likes to be exfoliated often because I have keratosis pilaris on the back my arms and legs. I wash my hair 1 to 2 times a week with Acure Argan oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve tried other expensive brands and this one is still the best for my thick and wavy hair that tangles easily. If I have had a pretty chill day, I don’t shower or bathe save the necessary places, a whore bath they call it. It has helped my skin retain moisture.
I do a lazy girl version of oil cleansing. I pour some olive or coconut oil in my hands and massage my face while filtered water is boiling in the kettle. Sometimes I add lemon juice or baking soda to the oil for gentle exfoliation. Then I pour the water onto a face towel and steam twice then wipe off the excess. I leave a little to moisturize and I am done. If I don’t use make up I sometimes don’t wash my face at all. Since I fuss with my skin less it’s clearer and calmer than it has ever been. About three times a week I massage a jojoba oil frankincense blend or Evan Healy Pomegranate Repair Serum with Sea Buckthorn oil. Always making sure to massage up and out and a circular motion around my mouth. When I camp or go on a trip I only take coconut oil for my beauty needs. A miracle.
Thank you Carla and everyone else who submitted routines over the last week! We can’t wait to share them all!
Name: Susannah Compton
Where I live: Washington, D.C.
My relationship with makeup: Complicated. I grew up in an area of the country (Texas and Oklahoma) where women wear a lot of makeup from a very young age. I remember a time when I wouldn’t be caught dead without mascara on my pale lashes. I’ve been on the east coast for nearly a decade now, where women have a very different relationship with makeup. I’ve worked with many women here who never wear it. I’ve reached a point where I’m very comfortable leaving the house bare-faced, but I love the clean, natural stuff I’ve discovered so much that I don’t want to be without some of it. I’m terrible at applying eye makeup, so I experiment more with my cheeks and most with my lips. I’ve always been drawn to the natural, beach babe look—glowing, minimal color in just the right places.
Here’s what’s currently in my makeup bag:
Complexion and SPF Protection: I use either Juice Beauty CC Cream (haven’t we said it all about this baby?) or Jane Iredale PurePressed Mineral Foundation in Warm Sienna. Both contain sunscreen. The Jane Iredale PurePressed Mineral Foundation is a bit more polished looking with better coverage, though not heavy. The color match is great for me and there are a lot of options. Before buying, I called Jane Iredale’s customer service and their lovely representative helped me select a few possible color matches and then sent me samples to try before deciding which to purchase. Amazing! For perfect coverage, I apply it with the flocked sponge, sold separately but completely worth it. Setting the foundation with a hydrosol brings the finish to life, and it lasts all day.
Concealer: Sometimes I’m all like, yeah I’m gonna rock the dark circles under my eyes like it’s heroin chic and I don’t give a hoot…but really…I just look tired. I have mixed feelings about concealer. The thing is, I kind of want to break up with concealer altogether. I only need it under my eyes, but even my favorites settle into fine lines (looking at you RMS). More and more, wearing concealer just looks too obvious. Does anyone else feel this way? For now, I’m just dipping a small brush into Alima Pure Mineral Concealer in Sand, tapping off the excess powder, and swiping it directly under my lower lash line where my eyes are particularly red. It’s too dry of a look for the entire under eye area, but this little trick alone has done wonders to brighten my eyes.
Cheek Color: A few months ago I started using the ILIA multi-stick in tenderly. This pale pink is the most flattering shade of blush I’ve ever used, period. It’s the perfect tone—not too cool, not too warm. It looks incredibly natural on, and it lasts for most of the day. During the recent NMDL + Nubonau promotion I bought the new RMS Buriti Bronzer, but I regretted the purchase almost immediately. Cream bronzer? What was I thinking? When I opened the pot to find a color that looked more mauve than bronze, I felt certain it was a bad purchase. But then I tried it on. Hello new favorite thing in my makeup bag! The Buriti Bronzer gives the most natural sun-kissed glow. It blends in effortlessly, even on top of powder. Tenderly + Buriti together are a pretty magical combination.
Eyeshadow: Most often, I swipe some RMS in Solar on my lids and call it a day. This is the one RMS eyeshadow that stays put. I’m not sure why, but the texture is less oily than the others. I have big blue eyes, which sounds good on paper, but since they are such a prominent feature, it’s actually awkward to apply eye makeup without looking way overdone. Or perhaps it’s just that I never learned to create a “look” with eye makeup. Smoky eye? More like black eye.
Mascara: The good news—I found a clean mascara that performs like a dirty mascara on my lashes: Pure Anada Natural Mascara. It volumizes for real and lasts all day, no flakes or smudges. Seriously, this is the best clean mascara I’ve tried. The bad news—I’m really hooked on a dirty mascara: Clinique Lash Power Mascara. This is one of those “tubing” mascaras that looks fresh all day long, but the thing that keeps me coming back for more is the way it washes off. With warm water, it slides off your lashes in little strips rather than smearing all over your eye area like other mascaras. This means I don’t have to tug at delicate skin to remove all traces of makeup.
Lip color: Lately, my favorites are Tata Harper’s Be Adored tinted lip treatment, W3LL People Nudist Colorbalm Stick in #1, and ILIA Beauty lip gloss in Gypsy. Have you tried Tata Harper’s lip treatments? I love Be Adored for its effortless application, incredible moisture, and perfect rosy tint. It’s plumping and anti-aging, plus it leaves a nice stain of color that lasts. W3LL People’s Nudist #1 is a more subtle coral color that is hydrating and provides a barely-there, my lips but better look. ILIA’s lip gloss in Gypsy is very on trend this fall, but this one takes more effort. It’s a lovely deep color, and it isn’t sticky like some lip glosses. However, it’s so glossy that it tends to bleed. To help control the application and boost the color, I like to apply it over DeVita absolute LIPS in Sanguine Angel. I’ve been impressed with DeVita’s lipstick. Though I’ve only tried one, the texture, wear, and color are fantastic.
Etc: There are two things I also consider essential in my makeup bad—a natural perfume and a mutli-purpose balm. I am madly in love with Tsi-La Organics Kesu Perfume Oil. It’s warm and seductive, plus the tiny roll-on bottle travels well without leaking. My go-to balm is Badger Organic Baby Balm with Chamomile and Calendula. This stuff makes a killer lip balm and soothes any dry spot on your body. Plus, the scent of chamomile is so relaxing.
That’s it! Now, anyone want to teach me how to apply eyeshadow?
Gosh, we love you guys. You’re always giving back. Take, for example, this lovely routine from Alison, who reminds us that everyday should begin with kisses. Isn’t that just the sweetest thing?
Weather: Autumn in NY!
Skin: Combo, fragrance sensitive, thankfully generally clear, dark circles I’ve had my whole life
Hair: Long, wavy/curly, fine but tons of it, can get a bit dry
Star: Gena Rowlands. Badass, beautiful
I’m the queen of a million products that I alternate on a regular basis, but my everyday routine is quick and has to be because I’ve got two little girls and lots to do. I’ve tried so many things over the years (green and not-s0-green), and have locked in on some amazing reliables. That said, I’m always trying new things—W3ll People has recently overhauled my makeup bag, and I’ve incorporated some of the ED4OLO products in at night. (Next up: RL Linden and Osmia Organics…)
My love of products is married to my frugalness. Some of the products I use are super cheap. The more expensive items I’ve found are worth it as they are concentrated, have quality ingredients, last forever, and just work better than other products I’ve used (as well as being greener). Put it this way: if I’m repurchasing it, it’s worth it. I also keep a lot of multitaskers on hand (coconut oil, manuka honey, argan oil), and products my entire family can use. Having and relying on these cleaner—and better performing options, IMO—has also cut down on my wandering shopping eye.
I nurse my one-year old and kiss my three year old. I got involved with natural beauty many years ago but in earnest when I became pregnant with my elder daughter. I became increasingly aware of what I ate and what I put on my body—and theirs. They continue to be my inspiration for caring what goes in and on my body, and this extends to them as well. After nursing and kissing, it’s time for coffee making. Second to coffee is a daily green smoothie. I use whatever’s in the house—berries, greens, pears, bananas, avo, seeds (flax, chia).
In the shower…
Thanks to this tip from Sarah from Osmia Organics, I’ve been oil pulling. Hubs in on it too. I see and feel a big difference. I do this while I’m in getting in the shower. I also dry brush before getting in, then use a bar soap or body wash by Leap Organics. I keep a homemade scrub of turbinado sugar/coconut oil or sugar/lemon/honey around, and use that every few days. I take a natural pumice file to the harder edges on my feet. Most mornings, I use a Pai muslin face cloth with some water on my face, and that’s it. Sometimes, I use Kahina’s facial cleanser or wash with manuka honey before I get in the shower. I also love the One Love Organics Brand New Day scrub (I love this entire line). Sometimes that gets combined with the Kahina, or the honey. I like to mix it up.
I shampoo once or twice a week at most. I’ve tried many brands of shampoo but none have been equally liked by my hair and scalp as the Rahua line. With some experimentation, what works best for me is the Voluminous shampoo and original conditioner. It’s expensive but super-concentrated, so it lasts forever, and just works for my hair.
Outside the shower…
Spit out the oil, brush teeth and it’s Kahina toner time. Never in my life did I believe in toner until I started using this product, and I absolutely adore it. In summer, it is super refreshing, and in winter, it adds an extra bit of moisture. I keep a small bottle of it in my purse. I spritz it on after I put on my makeup. Anyway, multipurpose LOVE. Afterwards, I use a few drops of the Kahina argan oil and eye serum (great for contact wearers, doesn’t migrate or sting).
On hairwashing days, I use a few drops of the argan oil at the ends before I rough-dry it straight-ish. (Depends on how much time I have. There are also lots of top knots happening these days.) On non-washing days, if I need it, I use a bit of Lulu Organics Lavender and Clary Sage hair powder, but since switching up the frequency and the types of products I’m using, I rarely even need to do this. Despite much trial and mostly error, I haven’t found a product I really love for when I want to wear my hair curly (Thoughts welcome, #1…)
I’ve struggled with natural deodorants as I have a bad reaction to baking soda, which seems to be an active ingredient in many brands. Recently, I picked up one called I Love My Armpits, which doesn’t have any baking soda and comes in a variety of scents (I have Spicy Lemon). So far so good on the reaction and efficacy fronts. Coconut or grapeseed oil on arms, legs, hands and feet. Sunscreen myself and kids.
I don’t wear a ton of makeup but I love it, wear a little bit just about every day and have a lot of opinions about it. I use Suntegrity 5 in 1 on my face (another brand I adore). I fill my brows (pencil from Shobha), and use a bit of lip balm (SW Basics lemon or Suvana Organics Paw Paw and Honey). Most days, that’s the extent of it.
HOWEVER… I am having a moment with W3LL People. I recently had the opportunity to meet Shirley Pinkson from W3LL People, and now a good—and growing—number of their products reside next to old reliables RMS and Ilia in my makeup bag. I can’t say enough about a line that can get me to like powder products (loose ones at that), bronzer, and black eyeliner—historically, things I’ve abhorred and avoided. Total game changers.
So when I want to do it up a bit more, I use the W3ll People foundation stick under my eyes and around any spots; days when my skin feels a little drier, I use the RMS uncover up. I apply the W3LL People mineral foundation and bronzer with a kabuki brush. In the past, I’ve disliked powder products so much I avoided them entirely, especially as I’ve gotten older and my skin has gotten drier. Also, I’m a klutz. But these products somehow just make my skin look natural, luminous, glowy, and not cakey, chalky, or over the top. Sometimes I mix the minerals in with some Kahina facial lotion to make a liquid foundation. If I want more color, I’ll use a bit of the Universalist multi-use stick in 8 (the peachy pink one), or RMS lip2cheek in Promise (also nice on lips). The W3LL Pople eyeliner is a soft black, more like a charcoal, so it’s not harsh looking; it’s also soft in texture, but doesn’t smudge. I hardly ever do eyeshadow but when I do, I use the W3LL people taupe loose shadow, or RMS in Magnetic or Solar; I apply these with my finger. (Most importantly, none of these irritate my eyes.) I use the W3LL People nudist lip balm (#7), and/or the pink Paganist lipgloss. I also adore my Ilia (Karma Chameleon lip crayon, Love Buzz gloss, Bang Bang/Arabian Knights lip conditioners and Neon Angel lipstick), and the RMS living luminizer.
Like so many others, I’ve struggled to find a mascara that is natural, impactful, and contact-friendly (i.e. actually looks like something and doesn’t smudge or flake). Right now, I’m using a decidedly non-green option as I continue to survey the field on this one. (Thoughts welcome, #2.)
As an aside, not only are these some of the most effective products I’ve ever used, the idea of supporting smaller, independent, (largely) women-owned businesses really resonates with me. As my passion for greener products has deepened, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with the powerful, informed, thoughtful, and genuinely warm women behind these brands. I find them inspiring, and I value supporting their passion and vision.
Thanks, too, to the NMDL gals and the community for so many good ideas, tips and inspiration!
We feel the same, Alison, and we love your practical yet glam taste in clean beauty! XO