Beauty Part Deux

What is your beauty story?  We all have one.  Were you raised by a mother who didn’t wear makeup or one that had a favorite department store line, and never left home without freshly applied lipstick?  Perhaps she was somewhere in between. Was the natural look popular in your youth or are you a blue eyeshadow baby? Our female role models (family, friend or fiction) have a definite impact on the physical image we choose to project.  

Story is important to me. Maybe it is because I am a librarian or maybe because connecting with a story ties us all together in one big, messy, wonderful humanity. Either way, that is why, when I choose products for myself and my family, I like to consider the stories behind them.  Several of the people or companies behind the cosmetics I share today have great stories.  Sure, we have to be careful of green washing, but I think we usually know the difference behind a heartfelt mission and a marketing ploy.

With your story and your goals in mind, let’s take a look at our everyday cosmetics to make sure we are focused on simplifying and detoxifying. 

When it comes to cosmetics, I truly believe less is more, but I love a polished look.  It can be achieved in a short amount of time with the right products. Just let the real you shine through!

I’ve used EWG’s Skin Deep Database for a while now, but Phyllis’ comment prompted me to download the app. What a great tool to use while shopping. I love the convenience.  When you search an item in the database the app gives you a score and even certifies products based on EWG’s safety criteria. I found the quickest way to use it, is to type in the kind of product you want. For instance, type in mascara rather than a brand, and then see what is listed as certified or top rated.


Now Let’s talk routines and products:

  1. I start each morning with a moisturizer.  It is usually my whipped shea/coconut butter. But if I want something lighter, I like the Paraben and fragrance free Nourish Moisturizer from Trader Joe’s (Thanks Meghan).  Trader Joe’s story started way back in the 1950’s.  Check it out here.

  2. Next, I apply the Boom Stick Glow from the Boom Stick Trio to my lips and around my eyes. Then I sweep the Boom Stick Color on my forehead, cheeks and lips.

    A couple of years ago, I stumbled on Boom Sticks.  The founder, Cindy Joseph, is a “mature” model and makeup artist. You can read her story here. I’ve been using the trio for a while now and love it!  The products are natural, Phthalate and Paraben free.  And, they are specially designed for folks who want to skip foundation. Skipping foundation was a huge leap for me.  Joseph makes the point that as we age many products, such as foundation, draw attention to or highlight texture.  Made sense to me so I took the plunge.  haven’t looked back since!

  3. Next is concealer.  This is a product I currently need to switch out.  I think I will go with Beauty Counter’s Touch Up Skin Concealer Pen.  This company provides high quality makeup products that perfectly align with my natural-is-better philosophy. The mission statement is simply “to get safer products into the hands of everyone”. Read their story here. If I am going out on the town and want a little more coverage, I use their Dew Skin tinted moisturizer.  I’ve got my eye on the Flawless in Five set too!  Origins is another company that I have used and trusted for years.  I like the Planscriptions while my daughter uses the Quick, Hide!

  4. Mascara- I’m Currently using Tarte’s Cosmetics Lights, Camera, Lashes.  It scores a 4 in the yellow zone of SD Database for safety.  It is Paraben and Phthalate free but I could do better. I think I smell a hint of green washing here. My friend Lisa is my go-to when it comes to natural cosmetics and she suggested Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mascara.  This set includes an eye pencil which I definitely need (for eyebrow filler) and is brown, my favorite mascara color. I just hit buy on Amazon!  So excited to make this purchase.  You can read Pacifica’s story here.

  5. In my purse, I carry the watermelon shade of Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer . My friend C-W turned me on to it years ago with the declaration that it looks good with any skin tone.  I was skeptical, but she was right! I am never without it.  I’ve linked a four-pack here because you will want to have one at home, in your purse, in your car, in your other purse….You get the picture.  Burt’s Bees’ philosophy is “What you put on your body should be from the best that nature has to offer.” That works for me!

I received a comment on an earlier post requesting a natural whitening toothpaste.  I made one recently and am pleased with the results.  I mixed up a batch and then divided it among  small lip balm containers.  Each family member gets their own to keep it more hygienic.  I’m happy to share the recipe and directions.  Just e-mail me here and I’ll get it the download right out to you!  Don’t be alarmed. Natural whitening toothpaste is actually black!

And lastly today, let’s talk about something nobody wants to discuss:  body odor!  Antiperspirant and deodorant have long been concerns for those who want to use natural products.  It really makes sense to consider ingredients when you think about the lymph nodes that are located under our arms.  Actually, our skin is an organ, so anything we put on it is absorbed into our systems.

Finding the right product was a struggle. Some natural deodorants were ineffective while others caused irritation (arrowroot can be the root of this ; ).

Finally, this summer while at the farmers’ market, I came across The Farm Life, a self-described “local movement”.  A Beauty Counter representative that was at the market recommended their products.  That’s synergy.  I tried the Mineral Deodorant and was very happy with the results.  It is “Formulated by a functional medicine practitioner as a vegan natural deodorant made with magnesium oil. This chemical-free solution re-mineralize your body while neutralizing underarm body odor. The essential oils promote daily detox and skin pH balancing. Safe for sensitive skin.”  The arrowroot in this product did not bother me,and it is effective, so it’s a keeper!  Of course there is a great story here too!


To the simplifying end, here is my vanity drawer before I started the detox reboot.  Oh my!

And here it is after I discarded what I don’t (or shouldn’t) use. So much better.

Consider, that as you declutter all the physical spaces in your life, you are also clearing your mind and heart.  St. Anthony the Great said, “The more man uses moderation in his life, the more he is at peace, for he is not full of cares for many things.

Amen and Pax,





Beautiful Mess

I donned one of my favorite t-shirts (from a Sarah Hart ♥ concert) to get ready for our beauty detox.

So, I was thinking, we took a look under the sink, made some tough choices, and invested some time and money to clean up our act with regard to household cleaners.  We have more work to do, but be sure to take a moment to celebrate your progress.  Next time you reach for a product to tidy up after a meal, smile and thank yourself.  You probably don’t do that enough in all areas of life!

Beauty products are a little more fun than cleaning products so let’s take a look at those…

Well even though they are a little more fun, we still have to plop down under another sink.  This time the bathroom sink.  But, before we do that, we have a little homework to do.  Remember I am a teacher ; )

1.  Make a list of all your current body and beauty products.

Consider cleansing, moisturizing and cosmetics.  This list will help you throughout the process.

My body care list looks like this:

  • body soap, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, tooth paste, deodorant, lotion

My facial care/cosmetics list looks like this:

  • cleanser, scrub, masks, makeup remover, moisturizer, eye cream, concealer, blush, highlighter, eye brow pencil, mascara, eye liner,  lipstick, and hair spray.

2.  Now back under the sink for some more label reading.

If you are like me, you have amassed quite a collection of half-used, might-use and used-to-use beauty products.  Remember our work here is two-fold: detoxify and simplify.

  • Start by discarding older products.  We tend to keep products longer than safely recommended, so now is a good time to toss.
  • Look at the labels of the products you are keeping.  Refer to the 15 Toxic Trespasser list.  some key words to look for are parabens, phthalates and even fragrance. I am going to be honest, I went cold turkey and tossed all my body soaps, lotions, toners, perfumes and hair products.  You don’t have to do that, but at least know what you are working with.

3.  Cleansing

  • For me soap was where I could make the greatest impact for the whole family.  I found a wonderful, locally made goat’s milk soap, Tasha’s Own at the farmer’s market.   I replaced all of our body wash and hand soaps with it. It was a little inconvenient at first to go from pump to bar but worth it.  I even went to the farm and met the goats.  Tots adorbs!  (Not necessary.  I am just like that!)  Unfortunately my local source (that sounds sketchy) moved a few hours away.  I still stock up during the summer when I get to their new farmer’s market.  I also found the soap on Etsy here. They’re running a sale!
  • My friend Meghan, brought me this loofah from her garden!  As you can imagine, I am totally on board with this natural exfoliator.  And, I can’t wait to grow them/it (?) in my garden.  This loofah has been in my shower for weeks, like lots of weeks. It is completely in tact and as clean as the day I got it.  Again, can’t improve on nature, so why try?
  • When I can’t get the Tasha’s Own goat’s milk soap I use Shea Moisture bars.  I actually cut them in half since they are so big and put half in the kids bathroom.
  • For hand soap, if we are having guests, I like to use Everyone Hand Soap. It’s expensive but it is a large pump and it lasts.
  • And look at these cute little travel sticks of GM soap!  I didn’t get them from the same farm but I love them.  I’ll try them on my next trip and let you know how it goes. My Hummel is even impressed.
  • Anti-bacterial hand soaps or hand sanitizers are not something we need.  They are usually a toxic soup and many reports indicate that we are all killing the good bacteria with the bad.
  • If you got the Branch Basic’s kit they include a hand soap pump.  I bought an extra one.
  • I use the goat’s milk soap for my facial cleansing too.  If you aren’t ready to do that, I like Origins White Tea and Beauty Counter cleansers  (This is an amazing company with products I love.  The drawback for me is the cost.  Worth it if it fits your budget), or consider a Norwex facial cloth and warm water or a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap
  • Lastly, I’ve read that soap and water of any kind is harsh on skin.  I am on the nifty side of 50 so I am interested in retaining moisture. I use these Shea Moisture makeup remover wipes most nights before bed and that’s it.


4.  Moisturizing

  • You are probably all on the coconut oil bandwagon and I am right there with you. But, I have to be honest, it’s not the easiest product to use.  It sort of clumps and flakes. The same with the shea butter I love.
  • My friend Lisa turned me on to Shea Moisture products and I can’t say enough about the effectiveness and commitment to being a natural product.
  • I was soooooo excited when I found a recipe for whipped body butter that used my two faves: shea butter and coconut oil, and it combined them into a silky easy to absorb lotion.  You can find it here on The Hippy Homemaker blog. Two modifications:  I didn’t use mango butter (just more shea) or arrow root.  It turned out great.  Here are some photos from the process.  I just put the end result back into my shea butter container and  two small mason jars.  This is a keeper!  I even put some into a small container on my vanity and use it for facial moisturizing, eye makeup removal and an eye cream.  Now that’s a detoxing and simplifying that was worth the time in preparation.

Let’s take a look at our original list.  We’ve substituted and condensed. Detoxify and Simplify. Job Well Done!!  Next time we will either get back to those plastics and laundry detergent or we can work on the rest of our body care and facial care/cosmetics.  You guys decide.  Let me know what you would like to tackle next, down in the comment section.  Until then, thanks for stopping by for this important work.



body care :

  • body soap, hand soap, body lotion, exfoliator, shampoo, conditioner, shaving lotion, tooth paste, deodorant

facial care/cosmetics:

  • cleanser, make up remover, moisturizer, eye cream, concealer, highlighter, blush, eye brow pencil, mascara, eye liner,  lipstick, hair spray.