Natural Beauty Routines, Wellness Rituals
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Wellness Rituals: How to Build a Natural Beauty Routine

So it’s 2018 now. I have a new blog and my beauty routines have changed a bit since this post:

More than anything my skin loves a solid routine. Adjusting these beauty habits with the seasons works really well for my body and spring has brought on quite a few changes since my winter wellness check in. I’m craving more exfoliation, lighter moisturizers, and loads of detoxifying salts, herbs, essential oils, and fresh spring scents.

Before you get started, set a few bright-line rules

On track with a few beauty resolutions, I’ve made pledges to:

  • Phase out products that are tested on animals or contain any toxic ingredients
  • Support naturally-minded brands that give back
  • Feed my skin and body more vitamins

Then simplify everything

Less consciously I’ve also pared down my beauty routine quite a bit. 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).

While you’re at it, clean out your makeup bag

Like a round of wardrobe editing, start by trying on each product in natural lighting then sorting out a few bags. Here’s how I tackled this for makeup. It’s also served me well for skincare:

  • 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 bold makeup 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.

My spring wellness rituals

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SKINCARE & MAKEUP

Hydration comes first and my Bkr bottle goes everywhere I do! Between lemon water and my first cup of coffee, I like to tend to my face with a quick swipe of Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato Toner then massage in some Oille Naturals Face Serum — both of which feel and smell phenomenally fresh. If my face is feeling dry or cranky I’ll use Thayer’s Rose Water Toner instead then layer on Russell Organics Rosehip Oil or Sea Buckthorn Oil.

Then it’s RMS Lip2Cheek in “Diabolique” and a little Living Luminizer on the cheeks and nose, Eyeko Eye Do eyeliner and 100% Pure Mascara in Black Tea (which also smells amazing), and Cargo brow pencil. Along with Eyeko, Cargo is one of the rare brands I’ve found that does ash blonde tones really well and the little spoolie on their pencil is handy to blend and shape brows. I also love this castor oil roller to nourish fuller brows and longer lashes.

I gave up on foundation after high school and quit BB creams after college, and my face feels healthier now than ever. It’s probably relieved to get to breathe every day! If a bump does show up (of course this is usually after a weekend of poor dining choices) I’ll dab a little witch hazel on it and try to just leave it be until it heals up. My go-to to disguise blemishes and dark spots is RMS UnCoverup, which is this itty bitty pot that lasts forever — I’ve had mine since August and it’s still a third full, even though I also mix it in my palm with Oille serum a couple times a week to make a light tinted moisturizer.

Sometimes I’ll finish with a dusting of Physician’s Formula Organic Wear powder to cut down on warm weather shine. And I have recently rekindled an old affection for Burt’s Bees lip balm. It has the best peppermint taste, is $3, and is one of the only balms that will last all day for me — I bought a four pack last week. And I finally kicked my old Revlon Balm Stain habit by picking up Burt’s Bees’ Lip Crayon in “Napa”. Revlon’s “Crush” was my go-to for years but I really can’t justify having those extra chemical ingredients so close to my mouth. I’ve found Burt’s Bees’ version to be identical in color and feel, with none of the baddies.

BODY & FRAGRANCE

Lately I’ve seen fractionated coconut oil on many lists of ingredients for luxe beauty products, so last week I bought a big bottle of it and a little glass spray bottle to spritz my legs and arms. It’s so much nicer than using a lotion or slathering on a heavy cream, and it gives me a healthy glow with all those yummy essential fatty acids.

And I’m happy to finally (over)share that after a few false starts with natural deodorant, I’ve found a truly effective spray in Weleda’s Wild Rose Deodorant. It smells a bit more like Avon Skin So Soft than a bouquet of roses but the smell doesn’t linger once it dries and it really does last — with how often I’ve been biking it’s a welcome addition.

I am still wearing MCMC Hunter perfume ℅ every day. Each morning it’s like a warm friend saying hello, with its earthy, rich scent. I still can’t get enough of it and keep a roller version for travel, along with my mini Diptyque candles and fragrant Oille Naturals Body Serum.

HAIR & DIYS

I haven’t written much on hair washes around Rose & Fig because, confession, I’ve been a serial shampoo switcher for years. Unloyal to every last bottle and brand once the last drops are finished, boo. Alas the heavens opened as I stumbled across Rahua’s line of vegan hair products, which have a cult-like following and support indigenous Amazonian tribes to boot. I picked up the Rahua Voluminous Shampoo, Voluminous Conditioner, and Voluminous Hair Spray, and two washes later my hair is all kinds of voluminous and lovely. The very light tea scent of the shampoo and conditioner is also a nice little pick-me-up.

This season I’m forgoing my baking soda and vinegar clarifying routine since I haven’t been using many hair products and am only in need of a light hair scrub every week or two (also CPR was sort of judgy about “aromatic vinegar hair”). Instead I just dump a handful of sea salt into my hand, add a couple quarters’ worth of shampoo and scrub from the roots down for a nice brisk clarifying treatment (Lush makes a very similar treatment with lemons and rainbows for an additional $30).

After clarifying I spend extra time rubbing some of Rahua’s conditioner through roots to ends, blow dry a little with the conditioner still in, then rinse completely, and my hair is left super soft and tangle-free. My stylist Nikki also got me hooked on the Wet Brush, which has made split ends a distant memory — I really like their Shine Brush with added boar bristles for blow drying and styling.

I also made a beachy hair spray with that oil plus French grey, epsom, sea, and Himalyan pink salts. I love using it so much that we included it as a DIY at my recent collaboration with Lou & Grey Avalon.

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NIGHT TIME

When it’s time for bed I like to give my face a proper cleansing, which also signals to my body, “We’re getting ready for sleep now!”. First I use a bit of my coconut oil and a cotton ball to remove any eye makeup, then swipe homemade toner or Burt’s Tomato toner across my face to remove any makeup and residue from the day.

Every couple of nights I’ll also either exfoliate with Burt’s Bees Peach & Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub or have a nice oil cleansing session. Oil washing took a little getting used to (expect a few clogged pores the first week) but now my complexion feels so plump and healthy, and it makes more sense to me than drying out your face with soaps just to pump it back up with moisturizers. What really made this routine click for me was when I learned that water can’t break through sebum on your face, but oil can — so of course “washing” with warm oil is quite cleansing.

For the body I like to alternate between Sea Grape’s Activated Charcoal Soap for skin detoxing, and Reviva Lab’s Seaweed Soap for a nice nourishing scrub down. And lately I’m obsessed with Badger Balm’s Yoga & Meditation Balm. It’s my zen in a tin after a long week.

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 stopped eating pork and beef in 2014 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!