Summer 2016 All-Natural Skincare: Evening Routine

eveskinsummer2016This is the evening portion of my current summer skincare routine.  My morning routine is described in this post.  These are the products I’ve primarily been using the past several weeks.  As a reference, my skin is normal – not dry nor oily, and though I’m not prone to breakouts, I do have a stray blemish here and there in the summer.

The very first thing I do is remove all of my makeup with coconut oil, and for about six months I’ve been using Cocovit. This does a great job at removing not only all my face makeup, but all my eye makeup, too (you can read about my love of this product here). After I massage the oil into my skin, I wipe it away with a hot wet cloth.  I’ve used other oils in the past, but have found that when it comes to single ingredient makeup removers, I vastly prefer pure coconut oil over others, such as jojoba oil.

Once my makeup is removed, I do my second cleanse with the Meow Meow Tweet Tea Tree Charcoal Bar Soap (pictured setting atop of the Cocovit).  I actually purchased this soap hoping it would be a more affordable alternative to the excellent Osmia Organics Black Clay Facial Soap, and while I’m not sure that they are equals (OK, they aren’t), the MMT works really well.  It lathers very nicely but is never drying to my skin.  I love ingredients like charcoal and tea tree oil for summer when my skin needs the extra cleaning power.

Après cleansing, I immediately spritz my face with a hydrating toner.  Lately it has been the 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique.  Toners are one of my favorite products to try, so I’m not yet loyal to any one particular toner.  I do really like the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator, though (but I must confess that I’m not a fan of the white plastic bottle packaging as I prefer glass bottles).


Top: Pacific Night Serum, Bottom: Juice Beauty Booster Serum

Next, I use a face serum, either Pacific Face Serum with Retinol (this product does not exactly exist anymore…I do believe that the Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum is an equivalent product.  Correct me if I’m wrong.) or Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Booster Serum. Serums typically are lightweight and are quickly absorbed into the skin – these two products are no different and do just that.  I use these products as a targeted treatment to prevent fine lines and pigmentation.

Next I use an oil on top of the serum.  This summer I’ve alternated between the Skin Owl Mangosteen Beauty Drops or Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (which to me is an oil, not a serum) and they are both very nice.


Above: Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm

Occasionally I’ve been using the Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm on my face (maybe twice a month) and I will often use it on my neck and décolletage.  I plan on primarily using this product during the fall and winter, though, due to the fact that it is a balm and therefore much heavier than an oil.


Above: One Love Organics Eye Balm

Lastly, I smooth a little One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm under my eyes.  This is my favorite under-eye treatment I’ve used in natural skincare.  It is so thick it’s almost a paste, which I love.  A little bit truly does go a long way and one pot typically will last me around 8 months.

My night routine may seem long and tedious, but it isn’t in actuality.  Furthermore, it is a self-care ritual that I enjoy.  Taking care of my skin is a small thing I do each day, just for me, and it’s relaxing and beneficial mentally and physically.

What products do you love for your night skincare routine?  Have you used any of the products listed above?

Summer 2016 All-Natural Skincare: Morning Routine

july2016morningskinMy skincare routine is ever evolving, but these are the products I’ve been using pretty steadily the past few weeks.  As a reference, my skin is normal.  I don’t have dry skin nor oily skin.  I have the occasional blemish.  My main concern is hydration and preventing fine lines/wrinkles.

Whether or not I wash my face in the morning depends on what my skin looks like.  If it doesn’t look oily, I skip washing, but if it’s a bit oily or I’ve worked out that morning, I like to do a super light cleanse.  One of the gentlest cleansers I’ve used thus far is the Blissoma Mild Rice Facial Cleanser.  It’s very mild and gentle and while I wouldn’t use it in the evening for a second cleanse, it’s perfect for mornings when I just want fresh skin that is prepped for other products.

After I’ve cleansed (or if I haven’t cleansed, before I do anything else), I like to spritz a little hydrating toner on my face.  I stay away from anything astringent for a toner because it tends to irritate my skin, and I don’t really need blemish control.  Lately I’ve been using the 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique.  It has a very light, fresh scent, and I love the white glass bottle.

When I remember, I use the Previse Defend Face Serum.  I received this in a Beauty Heroes box last year and for a while I didn’t really use it, but I’ve found it works excellent under makeup in the mornings.  Plus, it is designed to provide not only hydration to the skin, but environmental protection.

The last thing I do before I start on my makeup is sunscreen.  I’ve been using the Kari Gran 365 SPF 28, which is an oil-based physical sunscreen. I received this in the July Beauty Heroes box (I absolutely love my BH subscription – it is money well spent for me).  The Kari Gran 365 is a bit heavy and greasy, but if I let it soak in for a few minutes, it’s quite tolerable.  I’m hoping that it will be excellent for fall and winter.

One last product is the Meow Meow Tweet Spot Serum.  This is an oil-based blemish treatment and it is the best one I have used.  It is mild but is fantastic for calming any inflammed or emerging pimples.  I dab a bit on spots if I see one coming.

That is it!  I have a few other products I rotate into my routine here and there this summer, but these are my staples currently.

What are you using and loving for your morning skincare right now?

Why I Only Use Natural Deodorants & Mini Reviews of 6 of Them


Giving up conventional antiperspirant was very difficult for me.  I tend to sweat easily under my arms when I get hot, so thinking about dealing with sweat stained shirts was unpleasant.  After a few years of going back and forth between mainstream antiperspirants and natural deodorants, I finally committed to only using all-natural deodorants for the rest of my life.  I’ve been aluminum-based antiperspirant free for several years now.

My unfiltered thoughts on this subject are this.  In the short-term, I loved using antiperspirant.  They work really well at keeping you dry.  Natural deodorants will never function like an antiperspirant.  They will not keep you from sweating…I’m sorry, I know from the outside looking in it is a pretty big bummer and a huge deterrent from switching to a natural deodorant.

But here’s the rub with antiperspirants – they keep your body from detoxing.  They make your body unable to release sweat, when nature has built us to do exactly that, and for good reason.  We are meant to sweat!  I’m not a doctor so just type “why is it normal to sweat” or some variation of that into a search engine and go on and educate yourself on that topic.  Why you’re at it, search “why conventional antiperspirant is unhealthy”.  It’s scary, OK?

One thing that many people experience with natural deodorant is a sensitivity to baking soda, an ingredient in many formulas.  I’ve used some deodorants with baking soda that left me with terrible, painful rashes that looked like the skin under my arms was raw…and I’ve used formulas with baking soda that worked really well with no irritation whatsoever.

In my humble opinion, I’ve found that the more indie, small brands making natural deodorant tend to be the ones with the highest probability of irritation and low efficacy.  What I’ve found is that some more “well-known” brands have really put a huge amount of effort into creating natural deodorants that are gentle and effective at the same time.  The deodorants I’m mentioning here are merely ones that I’ve tried that work decently without irritation.  There are others out there that have gotten lots of good press (one that comes to mind is the Agent Nateur Holi(stick).

Of the six varieties I’m discussing in this post, I’ve judged them based on these factors: effectiveness, cost, application, ease of availability, scent, and packaging.  I’ve also listed them in order from least favorite to favorite.  Having said that, even #6 is still pretty decent.


#6 Jason Naturally Fresh Deodorant


This deodorant is pretty easy to find in natural stores and online.  It’s pretty affordable and is super convenient because it’s in a typical plastic twist-up tube, just like mainstream antiperspirants.  The efficacy is OK – it’s not the best I’ve used, but it didn’t cause irritation and it worked OK for a day at the office or any other season besides summer.  The ingredients are not clean enough for my liking, but it will do in a pinch.  I won’t repurchase, primarily because I prefer a cleaner ingredient list.


#5 LaVanila in Vanilla Grapefruit


I really like LaVanila deodorant.  This was my first purchase and it has lasted quite a while and there is still product left.  This is not my heavy-duty deodorant – I keep this on my vanity and use it between using other deodorants on days I’m at the office.  I wouldn’t use this on a day I’m going for a hike, for instance.  However, the packaging is beautiful, the scent is light and pleasant, and it works just fine for normal days.  I would repurchase this particular variety, but I really want to try their Sport Luxe formula.


#4 Meow Meow Tweet Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant, jar


This deodorant is great – it works really well and smells amazing.  However, I do have a couple points to bicker about.  One: I don’t like applying deodorant with my fingers, and I never will.  I don’t care how good the formula is, I don’t want to scoop out deodorant with my fingers and apply and then have to wash my hands with soap.  It’s just inconvenient for me as a mom with a full-time job.  Two, it’s also a bit pricey for me personally, at $14 a jar.  For me it didn’t seem to last any longer than any other deodorant.  That being said, it is supremely gentle and very effective.  And the scent of sweet, subtle grapefruit is perfect.


#3 Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Stick


When I heard MMT released a stick version of their deodorant, I bought two travel size sticks.  This formula does contain baking soda, but not so much that it is irritating.  So it works well, smells great, and comes in stick form.  Those are huge pros, but I have a couple of cons as well.  One is the price.  Full size is $22, and at this point in my life, I can’t justify a deodorant at that price.  The second con is the packaging and it’s a double-edge sword.  The packaging is actually bio-degradable cardboard and it scores major eco points for that decision.  However, I have had big issues getting the product to come out.  I’ve pushed and pushed with my finger to have it barely move.  Then I used a pen to help me out and a huge chuck of product propelled out – and once that happens, there is no way to put it back in.  If the packaging could somehow be made a bit more user-friendly that would be excellent.  Still, it is pricey.


#2 Blissoma Scentless Stick Deodorant


At $16 for a full size, Blissoma is cheaper than the MMT stick at the outset, but you get more bang for your buck with MMT.  MMT full size is 4.5oz for $22 and Blissoma is 2oz for $16.  However, I still really enjoyed the Blissoma formula, which is saying a lot.  It has no scent at all for those who are sensitive.  The formula is much drier than MMT, which I actually prefer.  As far as efficacy, it worked really well.


#1 Schmidt’s Stick Deodorant in Bergamot + Lime


For me, this is the cream of the deodorant crop.  It works damn well.  It smells amazing. It is conveniently in a twist-up tube.  It’s pretty affordable at $9 retail for 3.25ozs.  It fairly easy to find (believe it: I bought the one pictured at TJ Maxx for $4).  The formula glides on so easily without being wet or pasty.  It hasn’t caused me any irritation yet, but I typically only use it every other day.  I love this deodorant.

What is your favorite all-natural deodorant?  Let me know in the comments!