It’s been about a little over a year since I started down my journey of cleaning up my body with my hormones in mind both from the inside out and the outside in. And when I say journey, I mean it’s been a JOURNEY.
I’ve written about the food side multiple times, and inspired by some new favorite all-natural products, I thought it was about time to update you about all the junk I’m using on my skin and hair. *None* of these brands have sponsored me or gifted me these products, so I assure you, you are getting fully honest reviews.
But first, a couple notes — if you’re sharp and you read me carefully, I’ve made mistakes. Yes, yes, hard to believe, I know. For instance, once upon a time, I thought Method made products free of hormone disruptors. Not so. All joking aside, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m no expert, so read ingredients carefully and do not rely on me.
Secondly, our favorite brands are onto us. They see that clean beauty is the next big thing. Sephora even has a clean beauty section on its website (which is very helpful). So brands have begun to plaster words like “vegan” and “natural” all over their shit (kind of like an apple with a sticker that says “Gluten-free!”). But 1) there are no rules that say these things have to be honest (they’re not food or drugs and so the FDA doesn’t regulate them), and 2) you need to know what works well for you. For instance, “vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean great things to me if it’s a product made with soy, because while it IS natural, soy has estrogenic effects that could potentially exacerbate my endometriosis symptoms — exactly the thing I am trying to avoid.
Finally, attempting to get rid of all your products and replace them with natural ones isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap (although I have some really affordable finds for you today!). Don’t stress though. Honestly, the last thing you need to be stressing about is if your favorite body wash has phthalates or if your lotion comes in a BPA-free bottle. It’s just too much sometimes, and the effects of stress on your body are just as bad as endocrine disruptors, if not worse.
In the meantime though, I’m happy to take one for the team and experiment with some new clean products. Here are my current favs and my not-so-favs.
Skincare is the category I am probably most excited to tell you about. I’ve come across some really fantastic, affordable products. I’ve been battling with my skin FOR YEARS. TBH, I really thought by 34, acne would not be an issue for me. Actually, I recently had my first (glorious, incredible, wonderful) facial, and my facialist tells me I don’t actually have acne. Rather, my skin is dehydrated, my digestion is slow, and I do have some hormonal zits.
Girl, you’re telling me. Whether it is technically acne or some other skin woe, I am not here for it.
That said, I’ll admit, I have not been consistent about a skincare regimen beyond just washing my face morning and night. Either my skin is on a clear streak and I just leave it alone, or my skin is terrible and it feels like nothing I try works. So when my friend told me about The Ordinary’s mostly clean, very affordable products, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of serums, acids, and oils available, I just followed The Ordinary’s sample regimen guide for “congestion and the look of blemishes.” After washing my face, I start and end my day with the niacinamide and zinc serum, and in the evening, I follow that with the salicylic acid. Finally, I finish with the plant-derived squalane (the most expensive of the three at a whopping $7.90!).
I’ll admit, I was skeptical of the squalane. It is a straight up oil and just sits on top of my skin. I felt like that was much too oily for me, but I stuck with it, and my skin has improved! I reported this to my facialist, and she recommended I use it in the morning as well. Since it takes hours to sink into my skin, I didn’t really think I could use it under my makeup, so I recently started using the rose hip seed oil, which is still a moisturizing oil but a bit lighter than the squalane.
The Ordinary recently also came out with a squalane-based cleanser, which naturally I had to try since I am now a squalane convert. I don’t think this stuff makes as big of a difference as the serums, acids, and oils, BUT it is a solid substitute for Glossier’s milky jelly cleanser which I adored once upon a time. (FYI, the milky jelly cleanser is NOT terrible at a 4 on the Think Dirty scale in case you also love it.)
My other favorite new skincare find is my makeup remover. For as long as I can remember, I’ve used Almay’s oil-free eye makeup remover wipes. I didn’t think much about it since Almay is generally hypoallergenic, but friends, “hypoallergenic” is not the same as hormone-friendly. I thought about this when I was staying at a hotel overnight for work. This swanky hotel provided makeup remover wipes and out of curiosity, I started reading the ingredients. Sulfates, phenoxyethanol, bummer. Then it occurred to me to see if these ingredients were in the Almay wipes. Sure enough, they were.
Guys, I don’t know what the hell micellar water is or why everyone is obsessed with it now, but this Yes To Coconut Micellar Water is a SOLID makeup remover. It is gentle, it takes off all my makeup very easily, it smells great, and as far as I can tell, there is nothing in it that causes me concern.
WELL. I am not pleased to tell you that the occasional bout of acne (or non-acne) sometimes still plagues my back. Cute. A few months ago, my massage therapist asked me what body wash I had been using. I was using the Honest Company’s shampoo and body wash. She told me some other clients had similar problems with that brand. Great. Yes, it’s clean, but I was obviously not happy with these results. Thanks Jessica Alba.
She recommended African black rock (charcoal) soap. While I do like the Alaffia citrus scent, after talking with my facialist and finding out my skin is actually dehydrated, I started to wonder if the harsher oil-stripping route I had taken with my face was also doing no favors for my body, and I switched recently to Alba Botanica’s bath and shower gel. One note — I am not crazy about the midnight tuberose scent that I’ve linked here but that’s what I am using because it was available on Amazon Subscribe & Save (the millennial Jewish woman’s version of coupon clipping). But I will say, it IS very emollient, and there are other scents. TBD on if it helps calm my skin down.
My next favorite body care find? Trader Joe’s mango honey moisturizing shave cream. I just happened to be in a TJ’s when I was running low on shaving gel and decided to give this a try. TRADER JOE’S CAN DO NO WRONG. This stuff smells great and is also “very emollient.”
On the topic of my legs, when I remember to put lotion on them (not often), I like any of the scents from the Everyone brand. They all smell awesome, and Everyone also has some great essential oil products. TBH, Scott is more regimented about moisturizing with this than I am though. But I am OK with that because I get to smell him smelling like a lemon coconut cake.
And while we’re talking about scent, I’ve been a big fan of fragrances since…well, for as long as I can remember. As you might know, I am also a big fan of podcasts. So when I started hearing ads for Phlur on my favorite podcasts, I was interested in trying their clean-ingredient fragrances. For $18, they’ll send you a sample pack of three fragrances to try. I tried Hanami, Olmsted & Vaux, and Améline.
Phlur advertises ALL their fragrances as unisex. But…Améline is described as:
“Our statement of feminine intelligence, grace and glamour. A clever new concept of a rose, Améline owes its unique and complex presence to notes of rose (of course), sparkling top notes of Italian bergamot, plus pink pepper and hints of patchouli and sandalwood. Can be worn by a man, but only by those who want a lot of compliments.”
So I didn’t expect to like it, as someone who used to run around Sephora spritzing myself with men’s fragrances. I really doubt a man would want to wear Améline (and I further doubt he’d get anything but odd looks), but as it turns out, I do. I couldn’t get enough of it. So I ordered a full size, and if you do that within a certain amount of time of ordering a sample pack, Phlur will take the $18 off the price of a full-sized bottle.
What can I say? I’m just a bastion of feminine intelligence, grace, and glamour.
Finally, as we all know, a solid sunscreen is an important part of whole-body skincare. Especially if you’re like me and have a penchant for lounging in the sun in the summertime. I am disappointed to say that my favorite sunscreen of choice over the last few summers, Sun Bum, while vegan, comes up at a whopping 8 out of 8 on the Think Dirty scale. So that’s a sun bummer. This year, I’ll switch to COOLA, a light, non-greasy sunscreen that I’ve sampled in the past. It smells great and feels great, and best of all, it is a clean green 0 on Think Dirty.
MAKEUP + HAIR
Given my previous admission that my skincare routine generally consisted of washing my face and pretty much nothing else, it may not surprise you that I have historically been equally low-maintenance when it comes to my hair. For years, my favorite shampoo and conditioner was good old (and cheap) Herbal Essences.
Then a few years ago when I got my hair colored for the first time, I learned that sulfates will alter the color, so I tried a number of color-safe products. Now that I am in the market for extra clean, endocrine-friendly products, I am using Pacifica’s Coconut Power Strong and Long Healing Shampoo and Conditioner. I love a great coconut scent and I love a wallet-friendly Amazon Subscribe + Save item even more.
Transitioning my makeup products has been a lot slower process and I only have a few finds to share with you so far. Again, my makeup routine is relatively low-maintenance (for someone who wears makeup, of course). On days that I wear makeup, it takes me about five minutes to apply:
An all-over tinted moisturizer or CC cream
Occasionally I’ll also throw on a brow gel and even more occasionally, lipstick. So far, I’ve found replacements for three of these products.
I replaced my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer (that I REALLY REALLY loved) with Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular CC Cream. The coverage is comparable, but it’s not as buildable as the Laura Mercier was. So I’d be open to any clean light coverage products y’all love.
Similarly, the concealer I have found to replace my beloved Benefit Erase Paste concealer is decent, just a teeny tiny bit off. What I like about W3LL PEOPLE’s Natural Bio-Correct Multi-Action Concealer is that it has caffeine in it, and caffeine is great for calming puffy under-eye circles. What I don’t love, is that by the end of the day, it collects in the tiny creases of said under-eye circles. So I’m open to recommendations here as well!
However, one all-natural find that outdoes even my old favorite mascaras, is ILIA’s Limitless Lash Mascara. This stuff is AMAZING. It is jet black, really lengthens my lashes, and does not clump or flake at all. I also like how the brush has a row of firm bristles to separate lashes.
And now, here’s where you can help me. I am on the lookout for the following all-natural bath and beauty products. Tell me your favorites in the comments or on Instagram!
I am VERY flattered and pleased to have gotten quite a few compliments on my eyeliner since starting this blog and Instagram. Since my high school days of rimming my eyes with thick, black, emo-style pencil, a black, liquid liner cat eye is about all I do (and can do), and a few of you have asked for tutorials. I will attempt this (but if you want really good beauty tutorials from actual beauty bloggers with an amazing sense of humor, visit my friends Our Time of the Month)! Currently, I use Eyeko’s Skinny Liquid Eyeliner, so I’m on the hunt for a replacement. What I’m looking for: a black liquid or gel liner, preferably with a pen-like applicator rather than a brush.
I’ll also need new eyeshadow to put under that eyeliner. Really, I have very little requirements. What I’m looking for: a good neutral tone that stays put.
Since I am generally deathly pale, I do require some blush (and bronzer in the summer). Similarly, very few requirements. What I’m looking for: a cream or gel cheek color that lasts — could be open to a powder but I generally think creams last longer.
Like any good Jewish girl, I have made it so that 99 percent of you do not know the true texture of my hair. Trust — it’s a jewfro, and while I may be low-maintenance about my skincare and makeup routines, my hair does require some work. An ESSENTIAL part of this has been some kind of prepping agent to protect my hair from impending heat and also to ensure that it remains smooth and as frizz-free as possible (not an easy feat in the Baltimore summertime). Past favorites include Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment and CHI’s Iron Guard. Currently, I am using Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother. It is cleaner than the other two but does have some sulfates. So I’d like something a bit cleaner. What I’m looking for: something to put on wet hair that protects it from heat and ensures a smooth ‘do.
On the topic of hair, I am currently rocking some blonde balayage by my girl Beth at Ash + Oak Salon (highly recommend). To keep the blonde pieces cool and bright, every other week or so, I use Fanola’s No Yellow purple shampoo. It is DEFINITELY full of hormone disruptors, so I am in the market for a replacement. What I’m looking for: a purple shampoo to keep my blonde from getting brassy.
Finally, if you know me, you know I always have my nails did. And I RARELY get them done by the pros. I love painting my nails and have a box full of OPI and Essie shades. I’ve heard of ten over ten non-toxic nail polish, which is now at Target (!), but have also heard it doesn’t stay chip-free for long (like even a day). What I’m looking for: GOOD COLORS that hold up for about a week (like OPI or Essie).
Have you tried these products? What do you think of them? Likes? Dislikes? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram!