I absolutely adore reading about peoples’ beauty routines on-line, but unfortunately, it’s hard to glean a lot of takeaways, since they often focus on products with ingredients I prefer to avoid. With that in mind, I’m so excited to launch my newest series: My Natural Beauty Routine. In it, I’ll be sharing what some of my favorite wellness-minded women use, eat, and do to glow from the inside out. To kick off the series, I’ll share something I get asked about all of the time: my own personal natural beauty routine. Stay tuned, because I have a whole host of amazing women coming up over the next few months! And if you’d like to share your natural beauty routine – or you’d like me to track down the beauty routines of any of your favorite wellness superstars – please let me know in the comments!
The Life Changing Shampoo and Conditioner
I’ve been searching for a salon-quality natural shampoo and conditioner for ages – it was consistently the last hold out of my natural beauty routine. I’d cycle through all of the brands I could find at Whole Foods and online, but each left my hair mildly chunky, without that shiny, bouncy finish I’d become accustomed to back when I used Kerastase. Then I discovered Rahua, and it seriously changed my life/hair (which sometimes feel like they’re one in the same). They have a volumizing line, which smells like lavender and a moisturizing one, which has the most beautiful warm, amber scent. I’ve found I personally get the best results by washing with the moisturizing shampoo, and then following it with the volumizing conditioner – the shampoo doesn’t strip my hair, leaving it super moisturized, while the volumizing conditioner gives just enough softness without weighing anything down.
I’ve worked with a lot of skincare experts, and a surprising amount of them have told me that the number one thing people waste money on in skincare is face wash. It’s on your skin for only seconds before you wash it off, so it doesn’t really have the time to make any real changes in your skin. Because of this, I always use the “drugstore” equivalent of natural cleansers, and don’t worry too much about grabbing whatever I spot at the store. I try to make sure that it’s moisturizing, typically opting for cream based options or cleansing milks so they don’t strip my skin (the one bad thing that can happen in those few seconds!). Right now, I’ve been digging Avalon Organics CoQ10 Cleansing Milk, which is under $10 and is really, really gentle. I use it with my hands sometimes, and sometimes with a konjac sponge, which is one of those Japanese beauty secrets that’s just starting to catch on over here in the US. It starts off really hard, and then it expands in water, and provides really gentle exfoliation that you can do daily. Once or twice a week, I use the Acure Pore Minimizing face scrub. I feel like my pores are my biggest skin care struggle – a few years ago, a seven year old kid commented that I had “such big pores!” It was such a cringe-worthy moment and I hate that I still remember it, but overall, I feel pretty lucky. I don’t get a ton of zits, and while my skin is dry in the New York winter, it’s not too bad, nor too oily in the summer. If having to keep my pores clean so they look smaller is my lot in life – well, I recognize that there could be worse things. For soap, I just use Dr. Bronner’s. I alternate between scents, but I love the Hemp Rose, the Almond and the Peppermint, which actually tingles on your skin when you use it and is a great morning pick-me-up!
Serums and Subway Cockroaches
I don’t have a super strict shower routine – I’ll alternate between mornings and nights, depending on how busy I get. I try to only wash my face once a day though, and, if I find myself not showering in the evening, I use these magic cloth wipes to take off all of my makeup at the end of the day. These wipes are amazing. I use microfiber wipes to clean my house, and apparently, they can get rid of 99% of bacteria and dirt without soap, simply because of how the fibers are woven together. I was cleaning my bathroom one day when I had the revelation: I bet there were cloths that could do the same for my face. I looked online and lo and behold, there were, so now, I have reusable face wipes that will last forever. They’re so much more affordable in the long run than the disposable ones (and better for the environment!), and a few swipes and all of my makeup and New York grime from the day is absolutely gone. It’s a life changer for those exhausted evenings – trust me.
If I’ve cleansed the night before, in the morning, I don’t cleanse again. I do think it’s better to let your skin rest when you can – for this same reason, I don’t wear any makeup on the weekends if I can help it.
Because of my job, I get to try a ton of different face products, so I can say with confidence that the ones I use regularly are truly the best. I expect a lot from my products: I want to truly look different – brighter, more awake, with less pigmentation, redness and fine lines – when I use them, and so few products actually deliver on this, so when I find ones that do, I hang on for dear life. A word of warning: the prices on a lot of my face serums and oils is on the higher side. I justify this in a couple of ways, the first being that with super active ingredients, you only have to use the smallest drop of products. All of my face serums last for at least six months, so I’m only spending the money on them twice a year at most. Secondly, I truly believe skin care is the foundation of outward beauty. Glowing skin is one of those things that truly makes a person glow; it adds a little pep to my step, and makes all of my makeup look better. Because of this, it’s the place I’m most willing to invest in my beauty routine.
In the mornings, I alternate between two serums, Kypris Antioxidant Dew and True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Serum. I layer these underneath Marie Veronique’s Protective Day Oil, which has carotenoids in it, and actually protects against the sun. Between this and the antioxidants in the serum, I feel like I’m armed and ready against the skin-damaging New York pollution my skin is exposed to daily.
At nighttime, I use Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. Holy crap, is this product amazing. There was a lot of buzz about it when it came out – so much that I actually didn’t think it could live up to the hype. But it does; oh, how it does. It’s consistency is unlike any serum I’ve used: it’s rich and substantive, and it smells amazing, herbal and woodsy and vaguely floral all at once. When you pat it into your face (the bottle actually comes with a pamphlet explaining the special application technique) you feel a difference immediately. Your skin actually looks plumper, more moisturized, and more nourished. It claims to work for acne, for aging, for dry skin and more – basically every skin condition – and in my experience, it really does. I look glowing when I wake up after putting this on before bed, and I’ve never experienced that with another product before.
Maybe once a week, I’ll run a bath, fill it with Epsom salts, and throw on a face mask. Right now, I’m really liking the Tata Harper Purifying Mask. It’s supposed to combat against the free radicals caused by the grime, grit and pollution of cities. I know I sound like a broken record about how combatting the environment, but NYC feels so grimy. I ride my bike in start-stop traffic, breathing in who-knows-what. Once, I had a cockroach crawl over my big toe while waiting for the subway. I’ll take all the purifying antioxidants I can get.
Stylin’ Mah Hair
It’s shockingly hard to find a good heat protectant that’s all-natural and free of silicones. I’ve done a ton of research on this, and you want to avoid silicones if you use natural shampoo and conditioner, since they don’t have the surfactants to break down the silicones, so you just end up with a ton of buildup on your hair. I actually had the Rahua finishing treatment in my drawer for ages – I’d tried using it on my hair after it was dry and been sort of “meh” on the results. One day, completely randomly, I took it out of my drawer and put it on my wet hair before I styled it, and it made all the difference in the world. My hair was smooth, shiny and super easy to work with. That day, I actually read the back of the package, and it turns out that it’s meant to be applied before you dry your hair, and the Omegas in it act as a heat protectant, so there ya go. Another vote in favor of this whole “reading the instructions” thing.
After I apply the Rahua cream, I rough blow dry my hair before using the Amika Blow Out Brush. It looks strange, like a curling iron sprouted bristles, but it is seriously a game changer. In about 3 minutes, my hair goes from being a frizzy mess to having the perfect Blake Lively waves I’ve been forever obsessed with.
All Lipsticks Should Smell Like Chocolate
I prefer a pretty natural look, and don’t wear a ton of makeup. I want the makeup that I do wear to give me that “me but better” look; the Kjaer Weis foundation is the first natural one I’ve found that gives medium-full coverage that isn’t too matte or too shiny and actually stays on all day. A green makeup artist introduced me to the brand when I was doing a photo shoot and I’ve been hooked ever since. Their Sun Touched blush is the most beautiful color I’ve ever seen; it truly looks like a natural, sun-kissed flush. The mascara defines and separates lashes and doesn’t smudge or flake. All of their packaging is reusable, which is a nice touch – the products are a bit expensive from the get-go, but then you get these gorgeous, silver containers that you buy refills (at a much lower price point) for.
I throw a little bit of the Honest Truly Black eyeliner on my lower lash line, and fill in my brows with the Honest brow filler. Filling in my brows is another one of those makeup artist touches I never did before I was styled for photo shoots but it makes such a big difference, and it takes just seconds to do. Now, I’m one of those women who feels naked without her brows filled in.
I finish my everyday look with a touch of the Tata Harper highlighter on my cupid’s bow and cheekbones. I’ve tried a lot of highlighters, including the W3LL People one and the RMS one that everyone in the natural beauty world loves, but I keep coming back to the Tata one. A lot of the other ones are a bit too natural for me. The Tata highlighter looks really natural, but still like you’ve done something to your face (because if you don’t want to look like that, why bother at all?)
I’ve only recently become a lipstick girl; I used to dabble but become frustrated when, by lunchtime, I had a ring of color around my mouth and uneven residue on my lips themselves. I spent a couple of years just focusing on my eyes, but then I discovered Kosas lipsticks and everything changed. These are the first truly amazing natural lipsticks I’ve ever used. They’re so, so pigmented, and they smell like chocolate (really! They have a cocoa butter base!). They go on almost matte, which I adore, and the colors are absolutely beautiful. I’ve been wearing Undone almost every day, and I love the way it instantly makes me look more put together.
Bits & Bobs
Oh, the mission to find good all-natural deodorant. I have tried so. many. kinds. This one, from Schmidt’s, is the first I’ve tried that actually works – even on the subway platform in the New York City summer, even when doing hot yoga, even throughout a long day of meetings and running around town. It’s a little weird to get used to rubbing it under your armpits with your fingers, but once you do, it’s so worth it. If you’ve been waiting to make the switch to natural deodorant, this should make it much easier.
I also don’t think you can overstate the importance of what you put in your body in terms of how you look. I noticed a huge difference in my hair and skin when I started drinking green smoothies every morning and cut our processed food; when I’m well-hydrated, I look glowy in a way that even the best serums can’t replicate. I kind of hate plain water, so I drink herbal tea constantly. My favorites are fresh mint leaves, tulsi tea, turmeric tea and rooibos, which all, of course, have their own health benefits beyond the hydration. I also find that if I’m sipping tea all day, I have something to do with my mouth and hands, and am far less likely to mindlessly snack (I’m all for snacking, I just like it to be mindful!). I’m also obsessed with avocados, and really, good fat in general. When I’m eating a lot of coconut oil, avocadoes, ghee and nuts, my skin is plumper, less dry and generally more beautiful.