We often get questions from younger readers asking how to have a natural routine on a student budget. (We know some of the products we love cost a pretty penny!) Lucy shows us how it’s done.

Name: Lucy

Age: The ripe old age of 17

Hometown: A little town in Wales, UK

Weather: Winter/autumn: cold, windy & rainy. Spring/summer: rainy & warm

Hair: Mousy brown, dyed with henna to a delightful shade of orange. Normal/dry hair with a dry itchy, flaky scalp.

Skin: Very fair, combination. Dry cheeks & forehead, dehydrated oily nose & chin. Prone to acne.

Star of the past: From not so long ago, 90s Fairuza Balk

The night before…

I have a bath twice a week. I usually use add either Weleda’s Lavender Bath Milk or Dr. Bronner’s. Wash my hair with the same Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (I’m using almond at the moment), I let that sit and shave with the same soap. Can you tell I love Dr. B’s? Anyway! Next I rinse and use an apple cider vinegar rinse. This routine is the best thing I’ve done for my scalp. In the past I have used everything under the sun from Head & Shoulders Sensitive (made my scalp burn) to E45 (left my hair feeling oily). If you have a scalp like mine, try it!

After I get out of the bath, I apply organic coconut oil to the areas I have shaved to reduce razor burn and moisturise everywhere else with organic sunflower oil. I always let my hair air dry, but if it’s still damp by the time I go do bed I use the hairdryer on its lowest, coolest setting.

Later on, I pin my hair out of my face and, if I’m wearing makeup I will take it off with organic sunflower oil. I then go on to cleanse my face with raw honey (works wonders for drying out pimples) and while that’s sitting I brush my teeth with the Weleda Rhatania toothpaste, since if it gets on your clothes, it will leave a pink chalky stain (trying to use this up). I rinse away the honey and clean my retainer that I wear at night with lavender Dr Bronner’s. I then go in with George’s Always Active Aloe Spray, then moisturise with the same sunflower oil as earlier.

In the morning…

I honestly don’t do much. I wake up, get dressed and have a cup of tea (us Brits love tea). After breakfast I brush my teeth with the Weleda Plant Gel toothpaste. If I’m wearing makeup (I rarely do since I like my skin how it is!), I will use The All Natural Face’s cream foundation in Medium Beige Pale as under eye concealer & set with Silk Naturals Untinted Oil Control Blur. I find it difficult to find products I can afford with my ‘pocket money’ that match my skin tone since I’m so pale.

If I’m wearing eyeliner, I use activated charcoal (finely ground) with George’s Aloe spray and apply with an old eyeliner wand. For mascara, I will use Lily Lolo’s Lash Alert mascara in brown, which is buildable, affordable and looks great! I love the Burts Bees lip shimmers. I have Plum, Rhubarb & Papaya. Plum is my favourite, it’s a lovely deep purple/pink/brown.

Short and sweet, I guess you could say!

Are you using single ingredients like honey, coconut oil, and sunflower oil in your routine? Tell us how!

Meet Tara! Love tea? She’s got you covered. Need some makeup application tips? Ditto.

Name: Tara

Age: 24

City: Colorado Springs

Current Weather: Sunny but in the mid 30s

Skin: Dry and acne prone- that lovely combination

Hair: Long, wavy brown and thankfully relatively stress free

Favorite Star: I couldn’t think of one from the past so can I say Shiva Rose? I absolutely love her site The Local Rose and think she’s such a lovely women and great role model.

I adore my skincare products. Nothing brightens up my day like receiving new beauty loot from one of my favorite brands. I am also always trying to find that next cure which I am sure is going to give me supple, flawless, glowing skin. While I haven’t found that product I have found a decadent routine that seems to suit my skin care needs.

First I begin with a cup of tea. I am a tea connoisseur and frequently switch my teas on taste and what I feel my body and skin “need”. Some days I need a clean energy kick I reach for Runa Tea, other days something more delicate like Rishi Wild Rose Tea, some days I love the fragrant punch and beauty of 2 Leaves and a Bud Green Tea Jasmine, and if I want a skin detox either Susan Kauffman Detox Tea (which I got on vacation in Munich and am kicking myself that I didn’t buy anymore because it is THAT GOOD). Anyway enough of the teas, moving on with my day I next try to fit in a ½ hr workout then get ready for a shower.

I dry brush for a couple of minutes before hopping in the shower. These days I cleanse with May Lindstrom’s heavenly Honey Mud (I got to try a sample with the NMDL promo and just received my full size version-yay!) I try and really pamper my skin with the cleanser using the technique Isabelle Bellis demonstrated on Into the Gloss. I alternate this with May’s Clean Dirt. For my body I keep it simple, I just use Hugo lavender body soap and shave when needed. I wash my hair a couple of times a week and when I do I rely on Rahua’s Shampoo and Conditioner. Once I’m out of the shower I spritz my face with Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin D Mist and then apply my oils. This is the part of my skincare that I experiment with the most. I have used May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew (gorgeous) and more recently Aster and Bay’s Purify (a little drying on my skin heading into winter, although really nice for summer), African Botanicals Marula Oil (nice richer oil although I think it breaks me out a bit so I only use it on areas I don’t get breakouts). Just today I order La Bella Figura’s Holiday Essentials Mini Set and can’t wait to try the Daily Elements Defense Oil and the Barbary Fig Renewal. After applying my face oils I rub some coconut oil and put deodorant on (another product which I switch- either from Meow Meow Tweet, Soapwalla or Lavanilla). For my hair I put on some Yarok’s Feed Your Roots and style. Once I’m done with styling I use John Masters Sea Mist. A couple of times a week I also May Lindstrom’s Problem Solver, amazing product, amazing women, really I am so in awe and in love with her line.

I next brush my teeth with Weleda’s salt toothpaste and head to the kitchen for breakfast. I am a green smoothie convert and love getting ideas off Pinterest. Two of my favorite recipes come from Foodtrainers, their “Thin Mint Smoothie” and Carrot Turmeric. Both so good and healthy! Days that I don’t make a smoothie I’ll have green juice and then a snack later on in the morning. This is the time I also take supplements. I use Synergy’s Womens Multivitamin, Garden of Life Raw Resveratrol, Garden of Life CoQ10, Gaia Turmeric and Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver oil. I also take two dropperfulls of tinctures my naturopath makes me- one if for stress/hormones and the other is for my skin.

Once I am done with breakfast I head back to the bathroom for my makeup. I use RMS Uncoverup under my eyes, Bareminerals mineral powder on spots and lightly all over, Jane Iredale’s Moonglow on my cheeks, temples, and chin making a “3” shape. Then I dab some RMS Luminizer on the upper cheeks, temples, eyebrow, inner eye, and cupid’s brow. I then use RMS in solar on my lids, Dr Hauschka Volumizer Mascara and finally some Baby Bear All The Better to Kiss You With Lip Balm.

Thanks for sharing Tara! Recognize similarities in your own routine? Share with us in the comments!

Say hello to Cécille! We love the thoughtfulness behind her routine, as well as her strategy for shaving her legs. So smart!

Name: Cécille

Age: 33

Location: Seattle, Wa

Current Weather: Mid-70’s, 49% humidity and not a cloud in this beautiful sunny sky.

Hair: Raven/black, slightly wavy, thick and lots of it.  It’s layered with the longest layer about six inches past my shoulders with some copper and bronze highlights – some natural, some not-so-natural.  My hair is strong and healthy due to my schedule of no-poo every few days, brushing on rare occasions and staying away from the hairdryer whenever possible.

Skin: Light olive complexion that is oily during the summer months, combination during the winter months and suffers from the occasional eczema patch.  My skin is sensitive and I have several topical allergies which is why I cleaned up my routine in the first place.  I am prone to breakouts right around my period (who isn’t, honestly) and I have a few dark spots from breakouts past.  Overall, I have good skin that I credit to awesome genetics (Thanks, Mom & Dad), good diet choices and SPF.

Starlet from the past: Nancy Kwan.  Prior to the 1960’s, Hollywood casted white actors in Asian roles.  Kwan broke that barrier by becoming the first actor of Asian descent to play Asian roles on screen.  She is half Chinese and half English/Scottish.  Not only did she become a Hollywood sex symbol because of her exotic good looks, but she also earned an Academy Award nomination for her first silver screen appearance in The World of Suzie Wong (1960).  With that she forever changed the western views and stereotypes of American and European Asians.  As an Asian American woman (also of mixed heritage), I idolize Nancy Kwan and am grateful for what she has done for our community.

First thing…

I am a morning person and an early riser…I mean 4 am-early.  I make a conscious effort to smile when I first wake up in the morning as a way to celebrate having another 24 hours of life to live.  I have been doing this for about four years now and I honestly just like to do it.  (I highly recommend starting your day off with gratitude.  It makes the simplest of things absolutely delightful.)

Depending on the day, I either go for a run, meditate, do some yoga, or read before I start my regular morning beauty regime.  If I am going out, either for a run or for yoga class, I will just rinse my face off with warm water, pat it dry, spray on some Kahina Toning Mist and top it off with Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream to moisturize, tint, and protect (SPF!).  I give my pits a little spray of Weleda Deodorant Spray and head out the door.  Otherwise, I prefer to just shower in the mornings.

In the shower…

I do not like to combine washing my hair and shaving my legs in the same shower because of how time consuming the process becomes.  Instead, I either wash my hair, shave my legs, or do neither.  Not only does this save time and money (using products less frequently means using less products overall), it saves on water and the energy it takes to heat up the water (great for the environment).

If I am washing my hair, it is usually the first thing I will do in the shower.  I will get my hair completely soaked through and run conditioner through only the ends.  With the conditioner still on my ends, I go right ahead and shampoo just my roots and then rinse it all out.  I find that with this method works well with my hair’s random washing schedule.  My hair has a lot of body, bounce and shine.  Right now, I am using BWC’s Aromatherapy Shampoo and Conditioner in Rosemary Mint Tea Tree.  I love that it leaves a clean smell and rinses out easily.  If I remember, I will turn the water off or switch over to the low-flow setting on my showerhead after I get my hair wet and then back on again when I rinse.

In every shower, I will cleanse my skin (neck to toes) with Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap (I love this stuff!).  The fragrance du jour is a mix of Peppermint and Lavender.  I usually do a 50/50 Bronner’s to water dilution into an old scotch bottle that I have repurposed into a soap dispenser.  I like the way this looks and it allows for me to buy the gallon-sized Bronner’s and save on the bulk price (as well as cut back on the plastic packaging).

I used to use Bronner’s on my face, but have since stopped because of how drying I found it to be (even after diluting).  Now, I cleanse my face with 100% Pure’s Organic Eucalyptus Seafoam Facial Cleanser.  It’s made with French Green Sea Clay, so it provides gentle exfoliation and removes impurities without leaving my face feeling stripped or dehydrated.

If I shave, it is the last thing I do in the shower and I do it with the water off (more for the fishies).  I will sit down at the bottom of my tub with my razor and a sugar scrub.  For this, I like a particularly oily sugar scrub, like 100% Pure, but I am currently using J.R. Watkins and it works fine.  I will scrub both my legs thoroughly and wipe off the excess sugar, leaving the oil behind.  From here, I take my razor and shave my legs.  Once I am all done, I will turn on the faucet and rinse off myself and the razor. (Warning: this process makes the tub and your hands very slippery. Proceed with caution. A quick clean of the tub with Bronner’s usually helps.)  I try to go as long as possible without shaving—once every two weeks or so.  When it comes to cleansing my skin on a regular basis, I do not use body puffs or cleaning cloths.  I find that the extra exfoliation promotes hair growth.  Since I am trying to go as long as possible between shaves, I just avoid exfoliating.

Out of the shower…

Once I’ve toweled off, I apply oil from neck to toes.  I am currently in mad love with Caudalie’s Divine Oil (although, Kahina’s Argan Oil still holds a dear place in my medicine cabinet).  It is just the right amount of moisture for my skin, has a beautifully light fragrance, does not leave my skin feeling tacky, plus it’s a spray!  In the winter, I will layer on body butters or creams when I get extremely dry (100% Pure Nourishing Body Cream).  If I shaved, I will skip applying anything to my legs.  The oil left over from the shave is more than enough moisture for my skin.

Face-wise, I spend quite a bit more time here.  I like to give my face a few sprays of Kahina Toning Mist and let it sit while I brush my teeth (Brush with Bamboo toothbrush and Jason Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste).  After that, I dab some Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue around my peepers and treat the rest of my face to their Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (my effort to combating those dark spots).  While I wait for that to soak into my skin, I will apply a few pumps of Giovanni’s Frizz Be Gone to my still damp locks and let it air dry as well as spray my pits with Weleda Deodorant Spray.  Then I will apply Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid to my face.  It’s a light moisturizer (great on my oily skin) with SPF 15 and provides the perfect base for applying my makeup.  I also love that it does not have an overwhelming smell.

Finishing touches…

After I get dressed, I apply some Jane Iredale’s Purepressed Base Mineral Foundation (SPF 20!) to even out my skin tone and highlight my cheeks with Alima Pure’s Satin Matte Blush Powder.  If I am feeling up to it, I will fill in my brows with Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse.  I give my lips a swipe with some Burt’s Bees’ Beeswax Lip Balm or Pacifica’s Color Quench Lip Tint (whichever I can find first) and finish off with a quick spray to my nape with TokyoMilk’s Tainted Love from their Dark Femme Fatale Collection (not entirely eco-friendly, but I love the play of vanilla and sandalwood fragrances).  All-in-all, my routine takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes (depending on the day).

As complex as it all sounds, that is my morning routine.  Although I will probably discover other products in the future or little ways of tweaking my routine (Life is, after all, ever changing), I like being somewhere in between low and high-maintenance and the constant strive for balance.  It’s good practice.

BTW-If any NMDL users out there have any advice on taking care of my dark spots, please let me know.  I am open to suggestions.

Well, Cécille, we hear that people have beat dark spots with Yuli’s Cell Perfecto PM, and at least one of us at NMDL is currently trying it out, but we’ll have to wait for the results! What’s your go-to skin brightener?

Meet Caitie, a natural beauty blogger who shares our passion for great clean products!

Name: Caitie

Age: 25

Hometown: Toronto, ON, Canada

Current Weather: Moody—hot and humid one day, cool the next.

Hair: Curly and very prone to frizz.  I’ve happily found products that keep it under control, but when I deviate, bad, pouffy things happen!

Skin: Pretty normal.  I struggled with acne until about 21, but since then, my skin has been fairly easygoing.  It can be a little sensitive at times, but generally my biggest skin concerns are pores that I wish were less visible, and a couple fine lines on my forehead.

Icon: I’m not sure I have one!  But, let’s go with Amanda Seyfried.  I don’t see it, but ever since Mamma Mia came out, I regularly have strangers come up to me and tell me how much I look like her.  It’s very strange…

The night before…

I take my makeup off with jojoba oil and then double cleanse with some kind of cleanser.  I’ve been looking for a new one and trying out a few different ones in the meantime, but none seem quite right.  I like Pretty’s Black Tea and Raw Cocoa Cleansing Grains and Weleda’s Soothing Almond Cleansing Lotion, but I’m not convinced either of them gets my skin clean enough to use just it, all the time.  After cleansing, I use a homemade witch hazel toner, and follow with KYI’s Argan + Vitamin C Serum, which is a light oil, but still very hydrating.  I’ve actually noticed an improvement in the lines on my forehead in the two months or so I’ve been using it.  I also use Pure + Simple’s Eye Brightening Cream, which is great for dark circles, but not quite as effective for puffiness.

In the morning…

About once a week, I mix up a homemade clay mask and apply that about 10 minutes before jumping in the shower.  When I remember, I’ll also do a quick dry brush.  On days when I don’t do a mask, I like to use a face scrub in the shower – either Devita’s Gentle Aloe Scrub or Sukin’s Revitalizing Facial Scrub (which contains phenoxyethanol but is otherwise very clean).  Next, I wash my hair with Acure’s Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and leave the matching conditioner on until the very end of my shower.  I change body washes all the time, but right now I’m using Nourish’s Almond Vanilla, which is lovely and creamy, and smells like decadent cake batter.  On shaving days, I use Desert Essence’s Fragrance Free Conditioner, which I hated on my hair, but which works surprisingly well as a shaving cream.

Outside of the shower…

If I don’t deal with my hair while it’s very wet, it frizzes up, so after quickly toweling off, the first thing I do is apply Aura Cacia’s Organic Argan Oil, focusing it mainly on my ends.  Then, I scrunch with either Yarok’s Feed Your Roots Mousse or Intelligent Nutrients’ Styling Gel.  Both control frizz and define my curls, without leaving my hair sticky or crunchy.  Both also have mild scents, which I love since scented hair products usually start to drive me crazy midway through the day.  The Intelligent Nutrients gives a little more hold and makes for better second day hair, but either one is fine day to day.

On my face, I use my homemade witch hazel toner again, followed by Skin Essence’s Nourish Serum/Moisturizer and Pure + Simple’s Eye Brightening Cream.  I also moisturize my body with an unscented lotion.  Right now I’m using Seed’s Nourishing Body Lotion, but my favorite is Acure’s Cocoa Butter + CoQ10.

Finishing Touches…

I enjoy playing around with makeup, but my everyday look is pretty neutral.  Eye shadow varies day to day, but it’s usually a light, shimmery beige or gold on the lid and a medium brown or plum in the crease.  My favorite mascara is Zuzu Luxe’s Onyx, and while I don’t wear liner every day, when I do, it’s a pencil from either Honeybee Gardens or Benecos.  Lips are usually pretty subtle.  I like Badger’s lip balms (particularly the cocoa butter ones), Yes to Carrot’s Tinted Colorbalms, Vapour’s lip glosses, and a recent discovery, Ecco Bella’s FlowerColor lipsticks (Tuscany Rose is my favorite).  Most days I wear a powder foundation, either Honeybee Gardens’ Pressed Mineral Foundation or Lucy Minerals’ Lucy Light Foundation.  For a cream/liquid product, I’m a big fan of The All Natural Face’s Cream Foundation.  I also use Une’s Skin Glow Pencil and Silk Naturals’ Sleep in a Jar Concealer under my eyes.  My blush is usually from one of my homemade pressed palettes, which I made a couple months ago when I was feeling especially adventurous.  I top everything off with Lucy Minerals’ Light Finishing Powder, which blurs fine lines and imperfections and helps my makeup last longer.

Whew, sounds like a lot when you write it all out!  Overall, I’m pretty happy with my routine, but I’m still searching for a perfect cleanser and eye cream.  Any suggestions are very welcome!

We love a good deodorant throwdown, and it’s been a LONG time since our last. Here’s the deal: Poor Emily can’t find a natch deodorant that doesn’t break her out in a rash. Let your favorite finds and DIY suggestions roll for this newly converted clean girl. Happy Friday!

Here’s a quick roundup of the ones we’ve tried and liked.

Lavanila: This used to be quite spency but on their site it’s only $14 (not cheap, but not the $20 it was at Sephora). It feels the most like a mainstream deodorant and works like a star. It used to have one slightly suspect ingredient but we haven’t revisited the list in some time. (Anyone know?)

Soapwalla: Absolutely love love love BUT don’t always love applying with a finger. Also many women (including Alexandra) have gotten rashy from it. For her it was just once right after shaving.

Nourish: Smells and feels really really good, functional for sure but not the most powerful we’ve tried.

Weleda: This sage one is one of the first naturals we tried, and it worked great. Until it didn’t. If memory serves the effect wore off after a little while. That sounds weird, but it happened to Siobhan, Alexandra + two friends.

Onto Emily’s email…

I’ve been cleaning up my beauty routine for the past few months, and so far haven’t had too much trouble finding clean versions of all the products I used to use – except for one:I can’t find a natural deodorant that doesn’t give me a painful, red, itchy rash.

I’ve tried just about every deodorant available at the health food store, I’ve tried Face Naturals, I’ve tried several from Etsy…everything works alright for about a week, and then comes the inevitable day when my armpits turn red and start to hurt.

The only one I’ve found that doesn’t give me the rash is the Crystal deodorant rock, but it’s not very effective against smell, for me.

So, after all this TMI, I was wondering whether you, or your readers, might have had similar problems and found a solution?  I really don’t like to feel like I stink, but I also really don’t want to go back to using Secret – besides the aluminum and other gunk I don’t want to put on myself, the fragrances now give me a headache!

Hoping you can help,

Emily