Natural Beauty Routines
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About Face: Building A Better Beauty Bag

In the years since first following this beauty routine simplification process, I’ve phased out all products tested on animals. I also try to only purchase natural products made with healthy and responsibly sourced ingredients. Here’s my current five-minute makeup routine, my daily skincare regimen, weekend spa ritual, and seven great tips for everyday makeup.

Somewhat unconsciously I’ve pared down my beauty routine to a couple minutes a day. Most mornings start with Thayers Rose Water followed by a tinted moisturizer while water warms in the French Press. As coffee brews it’s a swipe of eyeliner, blush, mascara, and brows. On particularly bleary mornings I’ll add cheek illuminator and dab a bit of concealer under the eyes before pouring coffee and heading out the door.

Simplifying this routine has given me confidence to buy better quality products I know I’ll use often, and to dive into a refresh of what’s built up since college and what’s running low (I’m down to using balm stain as blush – shhh).

Like a round of wardrobe editing, I started by trying on each product in natural lighting then made a few bags:

  • DAILY ROUTINE – First I listed general types of products in my routine and any gaps, then split into two piles of specific items to “re-buy” and brands to “replace”.
  • EVENING LOOKS – Into this bag went specialized products and any bolder colors that coordinate well with my coloring: grey-browns, dark reds with blue undertones, ivories and soft golds, coral, olive, and black.
  • POOR COLORS – As you might expect, this step was identical to the warm-toned pieces I culled from my wardrobe last year – any saturated pinks, brassy browns, and anything purple or with an orange undertone to it was separated out. Trying on each of these showed perfectly why I should forgo anything with very hot undertones for healthier and more natural looking cool-based and less-saturated hues that match my fair skin.
  • POOR PRODUCTS – Into this stack went anything that fell flat for me, like a few lipsticks, cream blushes, and powder eye shadows. Balancing quality and cost I was surprised to find more Chanel than e.l.f. here! I made brand notes and general do-not-buys like pencil eyeliners and rarely used waterproof mascara, which could be hacked with a couple brushes of hairspray over regular mascara.

From this I was left with two updated makeup bags, a shopping list, and a little box of what hadn’t made the cut. I’ll pass that box along to friends as many of my favorite products like NARS Orgasm blush and MAC Nylon eyeshadow were actually discovered from sweet, generous friends working on their own culls.

After some online research and a bike ride to Atlanta’s Fig and Flower eco-beauty boutique I’m enjoying a routine that’s better for the environment and healthier on my face and body.

I’m still starting every morning with Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel but I’m dropping face lotions for pure coconut oil that removes makeup, cleanses, moisturizes, and is a natural sunscreen. Filled with nutrient-rich and antibacterial lauric acid, it also packs a mega dose of essential fatty acids that your body can’t make on its own. I made a separate jar infused with crushed lavender to moisturize arms and legs before bed and bookmarked some coconut oil beauty recipes for rainy day pottering. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is also sticking around to nourish tired skin after long flights and over-caffeinated days.

With a name after my own heart, Fig & Flower was loaded with fantastic natural makeup. At the RMS beauty bar I fell head over heels for RMS “Un” Cover-Up foundation, which leaves my face feeling fresh and dewy with just a couple of light swipes and layers nicely into a concealer. I love that it’s packed with organic ingredients that really work well to calm and heal your face. On first review it’s a small jar but the super concentrated formula feels like a little will go a long way. I went with shade #22 but could favor #11 in winter.

RMS is available at Amazon, Fig & Flower, Anthropologie, Sephora, Net-A-Porter, Birchbox.

Blair and Sara of F&F also sent me home with samples of RMS’s Lip2Cheek and Living Luminizer. Lip2Cheek is also very concentrated and works well as either a balm stain or blush. Demure, Modest, and Diabolique were my favorites. These also build very easily, so one coat of Diabolique would give you a rosy lip tint, or you could add a couple more strokes for a full on currant lip.

I’d wear Diabolique more in the cooler months when I favor darkest lips and wardrobe colors, so for now I’ll finish up my similar Guerlain Lipstick in Rouge Baie and Revlon balm stains.

After F&F I popped next door to Young Blood Boutique and picked up a tin of Fat and the Moon’s Ruby Red Tinted Balm which tastes and looks just like fall when the leaves start to change. I’ll alternate between this for daily lips and cheeks and Caudalie lip conditioner.

I’m also finishing up a NARS Orgasm Blush/Laguna Bronzer Duo (e.l.f. makes a very similar bronzing duo) and Chanel Sheer Illuminating and Ombre D’Eau Fluids on special days I’d like to brush on some cheek glow or shimmer.

For mascara I made the switch to RMS Volumizing Mascara, an oil-based, organic workhorse that leaves you with jet black, soft, full lashes. I also liked 100% Pure’s Mascara in Black Tea, which smells ever-so-faintly of fresh fruit! Both of these have similar coverage and feel to Clinique and Dior mascaras, with 100% Pure being the lighter volume of the two. For the rest of the eyes and brows it’s Eyeko ‘Eye Do’ Liquid Eyeliner, a trusty drugstore brow pencil, and my go-to shadow for ten years, MAC Nylon.

Makeup routines aside, eating well, getting plenty of sunshine and sleep, and doing yoga a couple of times a week are the very best secrets I know for keeping a beautiful face. Since I’ve stopped eating pork and beef I’ve had none of the little oil slicks that used to pop up along my chin and temples every week. Being consistent with a moisturizer routine and actively managing stress are also so much more powerful than what any makeup product could promise. You’re set with one set of skin and one mind your entire life. Make sure you’re building healthy habits for them!