So. Here are my current favorite cosmetics/products/strategies. Be warned– I’m a little obsessed with this topic. There’s a healthy scoop of TMI, and a dash of NSFW. Also, are any of you on Pinterest? I made a board dedicated to my beauty research because, well, I’m obsessed– haven’t tried all of the pinned products, but their ingredients lists are clean. Let me know what you think of them. Anyways, read on, lady-beans:
Soapwalla deodorant. I’ve gone through three tubs and am completely converted to this brand. No other natural deodorant I’ve tried works… at all. My pits aren’t even that problematic, but I’ve tried tons of stuff and Soapwalla wins by a landslide. It carried me safely through several nerve-racking, sweat-inducing interviews last fall and has a subtle, lovely scent. I’ve noticed she’s raised her prices in the past few months, so I’d recommend getting a couple now in case that happens again soon….
Tarte Lip Stain (I wear the matte in Fiery): This was a recommendation from the BFF, who wears this same apparently universally-flattering color. I liked it a lot when I was a flight attendant and wanted a long-wearing lip color that wouldn’t parch my lips. (I actually like everything that this brand makes– non-toxic, nice colors, nice textures. I also have one of their makeup palettes with eyeshadows, bronzer, blush– which apparently is no longer available?– and an eye palette— I use them both every day). This stuff is moisturizing and lasts forever, particularly if you set it with…
… Kryolan Anti-Shine Powder. Use it to set makeup and remove shine. I love it because it’s non-toxic, works for any skin tone, and lasts for hours. Also, one tub is $15 and it seems to last forever and ever. When I run out an eternity from now, I’m going to try this DIY face powder recipe from Minimalist Beauty.
Boscia Beauty Balm. I researched a lot of BB creams when they started coming out. As far as ingredients go, this one wins by a landslide. It has a mineral-based SPF (as opposed to carcinogenic chemical SPF) and leaves my complexion looking virginal.
Speaking of SPF: MyChelle sunblock is amaaazing. I wear it daily on my face, neck, and hands and love it because unlike most mineral-based SPF, this stuff doesn’t leave a white residue and doesn’t make you greasy or break out. It has the loveliest texture.
Raw apple cider vinegar. I use this stuff constantly for every surface and orifice of my body. Haha, that was gross, sorry. I make a 1:1 mixture of ACV and mineralized water (my mom got me a new age water filter for Xmas, dog bless her) with maybe 10 drops of tea tree oil and a splash of hydrogen peroxide and rinse my hair with it to prevent itching and dandruff; dilute 1 tsp in warm purified water for a douche to stop a yeast infection in its tracks; spritz the 1:1 + tea tree mixture on a cotton ball and swipe over my face for a toner; drink the damn stuff straight up or diluted with raw honey for an instant hangover cure… god, it’s nonstop. Salad dressing. Cleaning agent. I get the enormous jugs and go through one every other month. It’s good for killing shower mildew, too. (Insert Portlandia cue: “Pickle it!”)
Garlic. Again, for the yeast infections. Remove the skin, lube up with whatever (water, saliva, oil, something natural) and pop it in overnight. Works fine during the day, but it might pop out if you um, bear down at all, as I learned awkwardly one day at the gym. I learned to do this from Hot Pantz, this awesome zine about DIY gynecology, borrowed from a med student friend when I was 20, and GARLIC CURES ALL was my primary takeaway. Be warned though, another friend of mine who is like a psychedelic vegan gypsy model– she keeps her temple PURE– had a bad response to it, citing some Ayurvedic reasoning that I admittedly know nothing about.
Na-PCA moisturizing spray. Apparently this stuff is made of the primary moisturizing compound found naturally in the skin, which is lost over time, causing the appearance of aging. Started using this when I noticed that flight attending was seeeriously drying out my skin, and it’s amazing. I spritz it on after toning, let it sink in, spritz it again, and then put a heavier moisturizer on top (on just my cheeks, neck, and decolletage, since I have a greasy t-zone). It’s great for dry scalp, too, since it’s not oily at all.
Coconut oil. This is my go-to moisturizer, conditioner, and cooking oil. Again, this is something I used heavily as a flight attendant. I’d moisturize as mentioned above for daytime, and then at night repeat it again, but slap on a heavy layer of coconut oil all over my face to seal it in and prevent dry hotel air from sucking the life out of my skin. I still use it now, but as an occasional moisturizing mask. I used it when I went through a phase of the oil-cleansing method, but I found it too time-consuming for daily convenience. As for hair, I rub some in my palm and run it over my ends. It makes my hair seriously shiny as long as I don’t overdo it. For cooking, it’s the best stuff for frying (amazing for fried eggs) because it doesn’t break down and become toxic at high heats like, for example, olive oil or canola oil.
100% Pure Coconut Body Nourishing Cream: This shit smells heavenly without being cloying, has only natural ingredients, and is rich and creamy without leaving me greasy. I like all of their products— San Francisco ladies, you can find it at Rainbow. Use if you want to be super soft and smell like a cake.
Aztec Secret calcium bentonite clay. I used to like Queen Helene’s (lol I never quite graduated from that post-high school– CB, remember that?) but the pure stuff is the best. I mix up a jar of it and keep it in the fridge. Incidentally, you can drink it (it apparently absorbs things lingering in the digestive tract?? anyone else tried this? it’s kind of gritty going down =/) to detox, and I have found it very soothing and anti-inflammatory for eczema, dandruff (just water it down a bit to help spread it out over the scalp more easily), and breakouts. Tip: Do NOT use this stuff before going out. Your face will be red and “pulsating” for like, an hour after you take it off. Sometimes I wash it off before it dries completely to prevent this from happening, but you definitely want to let it dry to get the full effect. Recently I’ve been experimenting with rhassoul clay, recommended by Dawn of Minimalist Beauty— haven’t noticed any major improvements over Aztec Secret clay, but it does seem to be much gentler.
Lulu Organics Hair Powder: Totally my favorite hair powder– crucial now more than ever since I dyed my hair and want to wash it as little as possible. I picked mine up at the very charming General Store in SF. Plus, how gorgeous is this packaging?
This stuff is super fine so my hair stays silky and shiny; some hair powders and dry shampoo add matte and texture to hair, which you may or may not want– mine just gets too tangled after the first hour. It also is invisible in my dark hair, which is why I stopped using calcium bentonite. And it smells so, so good. I want to try all of their scents and then try Alder hair powder next. Lol I’ll get back to you in five years once I’ve gone through that whole process. Madness, I tell you.
For severely dry skin: Those of you who’ve spent any significant amount of time with me in the last couple years know that I’ve been battling with eczema (which I eventually accepted is caused by stress and exacerbated by inflammatory foods like sugar and alcohol). Quantum Derma makes a great healing lotion called, hilariously, Skin Crack. I also like Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment (good for open wounds– but did you know that Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox? Courtesy of Gala Darling, here are more brands you didn’t know were owned by giant corporations, via Buzzfeed) and the anti-inflammatory homeopathic cream, Traumeel, for eczema, redness, blemishes, and lower back pain #desklyfe.
Strategies: I started using a physical exfoliant recently– baking soda in water, 100% Pure Brightening Scrub & Mask, or Jason’s Vitamin C exfoliant— and discovered that the cream exfoliants work way better if I apply without any water. I use far less product and it has better grip on my skin. Also, I read in Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top NY Dermatologist that it’s best to exfoliate very, very lightly but for longer, rather than hard and fast. My new strategy for toning is similar– spritz to saturate one side of a cotton ball and lightly rub in circles until no more dirt comes off (this usually takes 2-3 balls). Then if I have time, I’ll do gentle extractions and then tone again. Then moisturize etc etc.
Speaking of toner: I’ve stopped using it. I now “tone” with purified water on a cotton ball to remove any lingering dirt and tap water deposits on my skin, without stripping my skin of its oils. My reasoning is that tap water has additives like chloramine and mineral deposits, and I don’t need those on my skin, so now the first thing I do after washing my face is to spritz/swipe with water from my Zen Water Filter, which is supposedly far superior to tap water.
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil Conditioner: This stuff is super cheap, like $4, is made entirely of organic plants and oils, and smells great. I use it on my hair, avoiding the scalp, and then use heavier-duty stuff, like argan oil or coconut oil, for the ends once it’s dry. By the way, *don’t* get the shampoo, it has some sketchy ingredients.
Great research resource: CosmeticsDatabase.org. I love this website, and I use it all the time to research products. You type in the name of a product (or the ingredient in question), and it will give you all this great information about what ingredients are in it, which are toxic and in what ways, and gives a rating.
In the next edition of Super Natural Body, we’ll discuss why and how I stopped using shampoo, the in’s and out’s of henna, my favorite new hair tool, my experiments with Ayurvedic skin care, an amazing skin-hair-nail supplement, and more.
Before I go, I’d love your nontoxic-product recommendations for the following, if you have any: eye creams, dry shampoo, fake tanner, hand creams, essential oils and non-chemical perfumes, PMS solutions, and oh, also– if any of you have tried the mineral SPF powders that are coming out, I want to know what you think.