natural beauty.

July 23, 2013

beauty supplies Face stuff.

That’s the term that I use for all the products that I put–or don’t put–on my face.

We’ve been over this before. I barely use soap on my face, let alone gunk up my skin with other products filled with dubious ingredients.

I wasn’t always this way.

In high school I had a fondness for a certain liquid bronzer that would provide an insta-tan and would only cause trouble if there were Algebra Two-related tears, which was often. When that was the case, I was left with bright white streaks down my cheeks. Not a great look.
makeup brushes Ten years out, I haven’t stopped using products altogether, but I’ve certainly become pickier about what I put on my skin.

There have been enough studies linking dubious chemicals found in cosmetics to cancer for me to swear off the stuff found in the pharmacy forever. And no, just because I used the chemical-filled stuff in high school doesn’t mean that I think it’s too late to make the change.

Here’s the thing: maybe the science is inconclusive, and maybe (ok, surely) there are other environmental factors that can cause cancer, but the fact remains that most cosmetics are filled with chemicals enough to make me pause. My desire to live a long healthy life trumps my vanity.

A few weeks ago, the very sweet Mara from A Blog About Love invited me to an evening devoted to natural beauty. I had the chance to chat with Jessa Blades, a fellow natural beauty devotee and an actual expert on the subject. I interviewed Jessa for a post on Gardenista and you can read what she has to say right here.

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  • Reply July 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Yep. I've pared down my beauty routine over the years for the same reason.Years ago, a biologist friend of mine who was studying the health benefits of muscadine grapes put it to me this way: "If you wouldn't put it in your body, why would you put it on your skin? Everything that goes on the skin gets absorbed into your blood stream." That was an "oh yeah" moment for me. Now I only use cleansing oils and essential oils or the odd fragrance/soap/preservative-free products from Lush. It's a healthier existence.

  • Reply forefrontfashion July 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    giiiirl i'm the same. the only ungreen part of my beauty regime at this point is mascara and the occasional lipstick or eyeliner if i'm feeling fancy! i do want to green those too eventually. thanks for educating everyone out there! xo

    • Reply Erin July 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      I've been using Josie Maran's mascara and I really love it. Hers is a bigger company, but I think it's pretty safe: paraben-free etc.

  • Reply Rachel Lawson July 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I think back to my teenage years when I'd try to cover up my acne with make up and it would only make it worse. Now my goal is to not wear very much and when I do it's always very very little. Thank you for writing about this and educating everyone!


  • Reply Heather July 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! I should really be more conscious about the ingredients that are in all of my skincare products (I have quite the assortment of face stuff as well). Here's a question for you – in terms of washing your brushes, what kind of soap would you recommend? I have hand soap (by Method) and shampoo.. and I'm not sure either of those are the best choice.

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Oops: I thought I replied to this yesterday, but I don't see my note! I just use my basic hand soap (I use an olive oil-based bar soap), worked into a lather! Nothing fancy.

  • Reply Sophie July 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I have to admit that I'm guilty of not really thinking about what I'm putting on my face, but it is quite a scary idea to think of all the chemicals products contain and what they could be doing to our skin.

  • Reply Erin July 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Heather,

    I just use my regular-old hand soap (it's an olive oil bar soap with lavender at the moment). I work it into a lather and just swish my brush in it and rinse until the water's clear!


  • Reply Allison July 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    This post could not have been more perfectly timed. I'm about to do my online bulk purchase of beauty products to bring back with me and was going to e-mail you for a mascara recommendation. Way to read my mind!

  • Reply Lucie July 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    I got excited when I saw this post, because just last night I stumbled upon subreddits on natural beauty and diy products: (a subreddit on giving up shampoo! some people use baking soda, apple cider vinegar, or just plain water)

    I recently bought some rosewater for making mango lassi and I can't wait to use it in making my own exfoliant and toner.

    On the sidebar of /r/naturalbeauty's page, they mentioned Fig and Yarrow as a vendor they love. I was intrigued when I saw it on your blog and now I very much want something from there.

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Yes: Fig and Yarrow is awesome! Thanks for these resources!

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic July 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I hardly ever wear makeup, but that's partly because I don't really know how to put it on. (I wish I did, though). I didn't realize that there may be harmful chemicals in cosmetics, though, hmmm…

  • Reply MontrealBetty July 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Hello Erin! This topic obsesses me, so lately I've been trying to make changes. Inspired by your enthusiastic post about natural deodorants, I ordered the one you recommended on your blog (from this post: At first, I was completely in love: it worked really well and smelled fresh. So I was really sad when my skin started becoming red and sensitive after a week or so. I stopped for a few days, then started again, but the rash came back… Did you go through this with yours at first and then the skin got used to it? Or am I condemned to use commercial deodorant forever?

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Darn it! I've heard this from other folks too: more proof that all of our body chemistry is different! Truth is, I had about a day where my underarms were a little itchy and red (after about two weeks of using). I applied only sparingly for a few days and that seemed to do the trick. It's been really great since. I did also recently receive a jar of DeodoMom: it's water and magnesium hydroxide and it works really well (though i prefer the smell of Soapwalla!

    • Reply MontrealBetty July 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks! Maybe I'll give it another go…

    • Reply Hanna Freedlund July 26, 2013 at 11:57 am

      I've had this problem, but I recently found a recipe to make my own natural deo – coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, and some essential oils (tea tree, lavender, and jojoba) for soothing razor bumps. It goes on a little slimy, but I had been using the dove clinical that goes on like a lotion anyway, and it dries quickly. I admit I was skeptical but it got me through last week's heat wave

  • Reply Shoko July 24, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I love this kind of thing! A few years ago I started slowly phasing out products that I'd found were tested on animals; then, I gradually started cutting out other non-natural products, as well. There are still a few that I haven't found substitutes for yet, so I love reading recommendations from others – thanks so much for this!

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Yes, totally: all about the phasing out…

  • Reply tammy j July 24, 2013 at 2:17 am

    boom silk.
    two simple words describing the best product i've ever known.
    NOTHING chemical. only honey and 3 or 4 other totally natural ingredients.
    it's simply simple and simply amazing. feels heavenly on your skin.
    if you try nothing else… ever… do yourself a favor and try boom silk.
    she has a blog. you can google it… cindy joseph boom silk!
    and i never recommend anything to anybody. but I just can't say enough good about this! it's unbelievable. a little pot of it lasts a long time.

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Intrigued! Will look it up!

  • Reply Charlotte | Charlotte's Web July 24, 2013 at 9:23 am

    My beauty routine has always been simple. I've just this week started using a hot oil cleanser to rid my face of dirt, which I follow with eye cream and moisturiser, and that's about it. In the day I only wear mascara and eyeliner, with a dab of under eye concealer if I haven't slept well. Natural beauty is always better anyway I think, a genuine smile on a simply done up face is so much more attractive than a pout on a face that has been carefully constructed over a matter of hours (not that those girls aren't beautiful too, I just prefer natural!)

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      That's the truth: smiling goes further than just about anything.

  • Reply Lauren Ashley July 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Totally agree. It's also frustrating that since europe has different standards in the US, large companies often have two formulas. A cleaner european version and a crummier version for us here. Yikes, right? I check everything at, the good guide is another, er, good resource.

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      I know it! I love Skin Deep; glad to know about the Good Guide, too!

  • Reply Emily B July 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    About a year ago I did similar research on what I was putting on my skin, and it lead me to do a complete over-haul of all the products I was using. Now, I almost exclusively use products I make myself (with some treats from companies like Lush thrown in). The difference in my skin has been absolutely amazing. Now, washing my face with olive oil and steam is enough to keep it clean and breakout free.
    I'm about to hop over and read your interview with Jessa, looking forward to what she has to say!

    • Reply Erin July 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      That's so awesome. It's amazing the difference just taking a step back from it all can make!

  • Reply Nuraan July 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Struggling to find an affordable face moisturiser. Any recommendations?

    • Reply Erin July 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Have you tried washing your face with coconut oil? It's kind of amazing and for me, eliminates the need for moisturizer. I also really love the face serums by Nahla Organic Beauty, but they're on the pricey side.

    • Reply Nuraan July 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks! I haven't. I tend to use it on my hair and body, but I will try using it on my face and see how I go. thanks for the tip 🙂

  • Reply Amanda October 24, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Ich nutze es jetzt auch schon eine ganze Weile und bin immer noch total zufrieden damit.

  • Reply Grace January 30, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    What makeup brushes do you recommend?

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