Hi! It’s been a while since I shared my skincare faves and a few things have changed. This past year, I’ve been more religious about my skincare but I’ve also become more consistent with the products I use. You’ve probably heard people say it’s not good constantly be bringing new products an ingredients in. So even though I LOVE to try out new products, I’ve been sticking closer to my favorites and it’s been really good for my skin.
Here are some of my tried and true favorites. These are items I’ve purchased over and over and/or have used for years. My skin type is combination, but I would say leans toward dry— especially in the winter. I’m 37 and am trying to embrace the natural aging process. For me, staying super hydrated (with products, extra water and less coffee/alcohol) are making a positive difference.
One more note— while I do use a few conventional makeup products, I stick more closely to only clean products for skincare. For me, I’ve noticed far better results using clean products and it gives me peace of mind to know I’m cleaning all the questionable ingredients off every night and sleeping in ingredients that will nurture my skin. So, if I had to choose between swapping to natural skincare OR makeup, I would swap the skincare first.
Masks: I do a face mask at least one time per week, but up to three times. I focus mainly on moisturizing masks with a bit of exfoliating, but I am careful not to over-do it. I stay away from anything that dries my skin, so clay masks are not for me.
Leahlani Mermaid Mask I have used this for years and re-purchased it over and over. With a base of honey it is ultra moisturizing and filled with superfood ingredients. I typically put this on 30 minutes before I take a shower or bath and it’s my go-to when I am feeling dry. For sure my most used mask.
Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Lip Therapy This is the most glorious super-thick lip mask. I sleep with it every night because I struggle with chapped lips pretty often. I got some for my sister and she didn’t like it because it’s so thick, so make sure you want something super thick. For something lighter I recommend Weleda Skin Food Lip Butter.
Cleanser + Toner:
Honest Beauty Gentle Gel Cleanser When removing makeup. I often do a double cleanse by first rubbing oil all over my face (any carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, argan etc) works for this step— it doesn’t have to be labeled as a “cleansing oil,” Next, I rinse the oil off with a warm washcloth. After that I cleanse with this water-based cleanser. On days I don’t wear makeup, I skip the oil step and go straight for the water based gel cleanser.
Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum Like I said above, I try to be very gentle with what exfoliators I use. This is perfect for my skin! I use it before bed either with an oil or by itself. This is one of my top must-haves for glowly skin.
*I love the gel mask version or Prism as well! These are definitely my favorite Herbivore products.
Herbivore EmeraldThis is a hemp-based oil. It’s super moisturizing and one of my favorite oils currently, but I will say— you have to be OK with a cannabis scent. If you’re not OK with that scent I’d recommend one of their other oils.
Skin Pharm Youth Serum This is incredible for helping my skin feel plump. I use it anytime I am feeling a bit dehydrated (in addition to chugging water and herbal tea).
Backuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum I’m avoiding retinols (or keep them super minimal) because they can be harsh. That said, I still want a potent serum. This serum has a thin gel-like texture so I use it anytime if I don’t want to go to bed slathered in oils. It is super moisturizing and gentle.
100% Pure Multi-Vitamin PM Facial OilThis is my oil-based serum. I love to go to bed with a super shiny face (aka a glazed donut face— lol) but since I wear eyelash extensions (oil causes them to fall out) I stay away from my eye area and don’t use this when my extensions are first filled each month. Swapping back and forth on my night serum has worked out pretty well for me!
Youth To The People Adaptogen MistI am obsessed with this mist. I use it when I wake up, before and after makeup, before bed, and all over my body after a shower. If my skin is every looking dry I mist this on. I’ve used three bottles in the past six months— that’s how crazy I am about this mist.. Haha.
Other items I missed in the photo, but use ALL the time;
Weleda Skin Food Lotion I love that that carry this at Target. I use it as my hand lotion and body lotion. It’s perfect if you have dry skin— it’s VERY thick. I sent my grandma some (she wanted to try clean beauty!!!) and she hates it. So I guess it’s a matter of taste, but I love it.
Boscia Collagen Eye MaskI got these in a PR mailer recently (they’re brand new so I haven’t used them for long, just tried them out twice) and WOW. These are by far the most effective eye masks I’ve ever tried. They are crazy. My eyes looked so refreshed— I will definitely be repurchasing, but they’re pricey so I’ll be using them only for special occasions.
Other skincare tips This biggest change I’ve seen in my skin came a few years back when I drastically cut my alcohol, sugar and coffee consumption. I know that is no fun to hear, but it’s amazing what a difference it made for me. I had been using clean products for a few years, but when I made those diet changes I suddenly started to get a lot of compliments and questions about my skin.
There are two skincare treatments I got regularly last year that made a huge difference. They are both non-toxic. I got a lot of microneedling and a couple BBLs at SkinPharm in Nashville (they’re opening in Atlanta soon, too).
Microneedling is a collagen producing treatment. It can be pretty minimal (your face is a bit red) to pretty bloody (I started small and worked up to more intense treatments). I got prp injections with it a few times too, which is a natural treatment made from your own blood also known as “liquid gold.” I know it sounds gross, but it’s pretty much the best thing you can do if you want to work on skin texture issues the natural way.
BBL (or photofacial) is a light therapy that can help reduce sun damage. It was pretty dramatic on me and I definitely recommend it if you have an age spot you’d like to zap away. I’ve done my face, chest and arms and will definitely keep doing it over time. I have quite a bit of sun damage because I went to tanning beds when I was younger— the worst!
Anyway! If you have any questions I am happy to try and answer them! If you’re curious to learn more about clean beauty, see my article Why Clean Beauty Matters. And remember, I am absolutely NOT trying to shame anyone who uses and loves conventional skincare products. Even just swapping out a few clean items is a great step! Nobody is perfect and no one has perfect skin. xx- Elsie
Hello friends! About four years ago, I made the switch to clean beauty and have been trying out different makeup brands and products. In this post, I want to share all the products that have become my go-tos. At first, I tried a few disappointing products, but for the most part I feel like the clean beauty selection has become super solid. Switching to clean beauty has been relatively easy. I tend to find brands I like, who focus intentionally on clean ingredients and keep trying more products from their lines. I’m a bit of a “fan girl” for my favorite beauty brands (and even more hardcore for skincare, which I’ll save for a separate post—I am fanatical for skincare).
I also want to be transparent that my routine is not 100% clean. I’m getting a solid A-, which I can live with. There are a few products I use (which I will still include here) that are conventional makeup (meaning they contain questionable ingredients). My stance on this is that it’s better to have a routine that is 90% clean than to not try at all. Although I have searched and searched, there are a few products that have less than perfect ingredients that I haven’t been able to replace. I share this because we all have one or two vices that maybe we’re not willing to part with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make big improvements! It doesn’t have to be perfection or nothing.
Anyway! Let’s jump into it! Here are all the makeup favorites that I have bought over and over—most of these I have been using for years now!
This category has been the most tricky for me. I am kind of an all-or-nothing makeup wearer, meaning I am comfortable with no makeup days (I’m definitely not someone who worries about leaving the house without makeup), but when I do wear makeup, I want it to look like I am wearing it. I like to have a bare face or a full face of makeup. I have tried half a dozen clean foundations, maybe more, that are too light for my preference. Here’s where I finally ended up …
Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream: This is my top choice out of all the clean foundations I have tried. It contains SPF, which I love. It’s a very good product, especially if you prefer your foundation not to look heavy. Although it is labeled “full coverage,” I would consider it medium coverage, but it does offer more coverage than most clean options. It’s definitely my favorite option out there. I also recommend the primer—I use it daily as well.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Foundation: (this is a conventional product) This foundation is my go-to for photo days and other times I want to wear a lot of makeup, like a date night. It’s super full coverage and very nice. Simply put, it’s unbeatable. I blend with a beauty blender and then a flat foundation brush. I still use my Jane Iredale primer under either foundation option.
RMS Beauty Un Cover-Up: If your goal is to quickly cover up an under eye circle or a blemish, this is all you really need. I’ve been using this for years.
2nd Skin Corrector: On days I don’t wear much makeup, I use the yellow and the peach on my undereye circles, and it improves the color significantly without looking like I am wearing makeup JUST on my under eyes. It’s very natural looking.
Eyeshadow: I find it easy to buy way too many eyeshadows and never be able to use them all, so I’ll narrow it down to my two absolute favorites and most used palettes.
ILIA Multi-stick: I use these pretty much 100% of the time now. I personally like the colors that sit somewhere between a reddish tone and a bronzer. They are easy to get a subtle application, but also buildable.
Full disclosure! I wear lash extensions and have for over a year (and on and off before that). I love not wearing mascara and when I did briefly remove them a few months back, I immediately felt compelled to buy false lashes. For me, mascara is never going to be a go-to product. I would rather just wear falsies or nothing. That said, since I know most people love wearing mascara, here are my top picks!
Kat Von D Tattoo Eyeliner: Another tricky area for me, personally. I don’t wear mascara daily, but when I do I like to do a dramatic cat eye. I’ve tried so many different products and this is the best one, by far.
I’ve got micro bladed brows, which is a kind of tattoo. They are perfect for days I am makeup-free, but when I wear makeup I like to fill them in a bit darker.
Ecobrow Defining Wax: I use this with a small brow brush. I like the ability to control it between a subtle brow and something darker. A lot of products I’ve tried are either too subtle or too strong—this one is controllable. I use the color Rita since my hair is reddish brown.
Lipstick is definitely my guilty pleasure, as far as trying new brands and colors for fun! I like to keep my lip color pretty natural, but I still love experimenting with different products.
Bite Beauty Lip Crayon (in the color Glace): I use this the most and get the most questions about this product. I like to line my lips, but in a subtle way. It makes them look bigger and defines them. I use this alone quite a bit or as a first step.
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Therapy: This is what I am using in the photo above to make my lips super glossy. I wear this to bed every single night; it’s a part of my night routine. It’s the thickest, richest lip gloss ever.
I also have LOVED and used our own brand, Oui Fresh. My most worn lipstick is Buffy. I wear all the glosses, but my favorites are Central Perk and Jelly Shoes. We’ve decided to stop making them, although it was so much fun to try it out! You can buy one lip product and get THREE free—no discount code is needed, but you have to add four glosses or lipsticks to your cart for the discount to show.
Are there any categories of makeup I missed or specific items you’re curious about? I’d love to chat more with you in the comments!!!
Whenever I post a photo or stories on Instagram, I always get questions on what lipstick I’m wearing. In the past I’ve shared my favorite rosy lip colors and my favorite false lashes. Today, I’m sharing my most worn red lip colors that I have on heavy rotation, plus a very special one that is worth a closer look. Let me know which one is your favorite!
This deeper red is a “newer” love. When it first came out, I wasn’t a huge fan of the formula. But I’m glad I gave it a second chance, because it seems like that first one was just defective! I love how lightweight this liquid lipstick is, while still giving full coverage.
This cool cherry red liquid lip is incredibly popular not just for it’s comfortable formula and pretty color, but also for the price! It’s also a smaller container, which makes throwing it on your tiny bag very easy — and you won’t have to fear it drying out.
You KNOW how I feel about this lip color. I was devastated when they discontinued Bang Bang, the perfect warm red. But it’s BACK and I’m not sure when that happened! It’s currently on sale so please buy it, because if they discontinue it again I might have to storm headquarters.
I wear mostly liquid lipsticks nowadays (I just love the long lasting finish!) but I still have lots of actual lipsticks in my bag. I probably have 5 of these floating around in multiple makeup bags and purses, because it’s my current favorite red lipstick. It’s a comfortable matte, and I would describe this as a pretty true red and highly recommend trying it out for yourself!
Ahhhh … exfoliation. Is there anything better than scrubbing off gross dead skin? Sure, it *feels* like you’re doing your skin a great service by sloughing off these old skin cells that are past their prime, and it can be very beneficial. More on that later. But overdoing it can cause harm to facial skin which is so so delicate (I think it’s easy to forget that sometimes)! Today, we’re going to talk about how to know when you’re overdoing it, what to do instead, and some of my favorite ways to get that new skin glow.
First thing’s first, if you’re struggling with dryness, irritation, broken blood vessels, bruising, and/or sensitivity, over-exfoliating shouldn’t be ruled out as the cause if it’s a regular part of your routine. Dermatologists recommend exfoliating 2-3 times a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is. If you’re curious if this is the culprit of any of the symptoms I described above, cut your exfoliation routine in half for 2-3 weeks and see if there’s a difference, or even better, talk to a dermatologist about your routine.
Did you know that cleansing brushes like Clarisonic are considered exfoliation tools? When I got mine years ago, I used it twice a day, which I thought was how it should be used. Had I done my research I would have known this wasn’t it, sis. At first, my skin looked great, but as the days went on, I noticed I was really breaking out and my skin looked dull. What I didn’t realize was that I was breaking down my skin’s natural barrier and it was having a hard time keeping bacteria out, hence the breakouts and dryness. When I was trained in skincare by Sephora years later, I became a lot more educated on this method of exfoliation and was able to use it with much better results when I used this tool sparingly.
So we know that overdoing it can cause problems, but the type of exfoliant you’re using can also be the source of skin woes. One example is nut shell scrubs, which have been vilified in the greater beauty community over the past few years. I know, I know, St. Ives Apricot Scrub has been the standby for A LOT of us, especially growing up, but hear me out. It’s been found that the nut shells used to make scrubs like these can’t be ground fine enough to create a round edge, which means you could be scrubbing jagged pieces made from a very hard material onto one of the most delicate areas of skin on your bod. These jagged pieces can create micro-tears in your skin, leaving it susceptible to bacteria and scarring (flashback to me scrubbing this stuff so hard into my skin it was beet red—ah, middle school skincare).
Speaking of scrubs, they are considered a “physical exfoliant” in the two main classes of exfoliants: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants use a substance (like a scrub, oats, a sponge, etc.) and friction to remove dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants use things like acids and enzymes that react with the skin to break down and remove dead cells. There are products in both of these categories that can be used safely and with A LOT of benefits, including a more even skin tone, cleaner skin, smaller pore appearance, and better absorption/function of other skincare products since you’re essentially clearing off a layer of dead residue, leaving new skin ready to take in the good stuff like essences, serums, and hydrating products.
If you’ve never used a chemical exfoliant before, it can sound a little scary. Acid? Dissolving skin cells? Sounds like a Samantha Sex and the City situation. BUT, it doesn’t have to be scary! This method of exfoliating is ever increasing in popularity because it’s very effective and a lot of times is easier on the skin than a physical exfoliant, leaving you with all the benefits. Occasionally, you may feel tingling or experience a flush when using chemical exfoliants—this is natural and normal and lets you know the exfoliant is working. What is not normal is experiencing major facial redness or feeling a burning sensation. As long as you follow directions carefully and pay attention to what you’re feeling, you’ll be good to go.
Here are a few of my favorite physical exfoliants (be sure not to “grind” the scrub into your skin—gentle circular motions will do the trick!):
1. Ground up oatmeal and mix with honey to create a paste—gentle AND inexpensive!
Here are a few of my favorite chemical exfoliants (make sure to read the instructions thoroughly before starting a chemical exfoliant; usually they recommend starting off with less time and building up to more time):
I love a good false lash. I know some people can’t stand them, but since the first time I applied a strip of falsies in my 20s, I was hooked. Naturally, I have pretty straight, short, and sparse lashes (especially compared to the thick, long, dark lashes my husband and daughter have—so jealous), so getting a full lash line is a modern-day miracle that I do not take for granted. That being said, I feel like I have tried most of the lash options out there (you can read my thoughts on all the kinds here), so when a friend was telling me about the Lashify system (this isn’t a sponsored post by the way, so just FYI!) it looked so interesting to me that I was dying to try it!
Faux lash strips have their place for me, but I find that the full strips can be hard to apply. The strip can be obvious if you don’t do a lot of eye makeup/liner, and they start to curl away from my eye on the edges quickly and never last overnight. The smaller segmented strips I like better for application and staying power, but you can still see the base of the strips and they aren’t easy to find in a lot of fullness/length options like the full strips. The individual lashes look the best at the base since they aren’t on strips, but I have a harder time getting them to stay put and in the direction I want them to go, so I’m constantly brushing them out so I don’t look crazy. I did lash extensions for a year recently (and they look amazing!), but then became sensitive to the glue and had to stop.
While I do miss results of the extensions a lot, they were also super expensive and you had to go to long appointments all the time, so there are a lot of things about it I don’t miss as well. I also tried the magnetic lashes that are on the market now and maybe there are some people that love them, but I could not get them to go on properly. And every time I tried to take them off to attempt to position them again, they pulled out my real lashes so I stopped trying pretty quickly …
As you can see, my lashes are more on the sparse, straight, and light colored side, so they basically disappear with no eye makeup on.
All that to say I’ve had some background with using false lashes and definitely have my opinions on each method, so I was so interested to try the Lashify lashes. They are basically cluster lashes (or trio lashes as I’ve also seen that style called), but they are applied under your lash line instead of over/on top of your lash line (they should only be touching your lashes though, not attached to your waterline). You put an adhesive onto your lashes with a tiny mascara wand, position each lash grouping under your lash with their fuse control wand to stick it to the adhesive, and once you have all the lashes attached, you used the curved wand to press down and fuse the false lashes to your real ones.
The first time I tried it I was impressed with how good they looked as far as hiding the seam and knots of the lashes under your lash line. But I could also tell that length of lashes was probably too long for my face, and I like when the most inner set of lashes is shorter than the rest so it looks more natural. They sell lots of different lengths and volumes, so I tried shorter sets of different volumes to find the perfect Goldilocks fit. I would say if you have no idea what length/volume of lashes to get, start with a set that’s somewhere in the middle as far as length and volume go and then you can dial it back or up from there as needed.
The lashes came off pretty well too, pretty much the same as taking off regular falsies, so that part was about the same. They do warn you that sleeping on your back is best for these lashes (same with lash extensions), so the first time I tried them most mornings I had a wiggly lash I needed to reattach on the side I sleep on. I do have one of these pillows that Elsie loves for training you to sleep on your back, but at the moment I have some back issues that make that position more uncomfortable, so I kind of have to sleep on my side for now. The next time I tried them though I slept on the edge of my pillow, so my eyes weren’t as smushed into the pillow and it helped a ton! I didn’t have to reattach any side lashes until the very end of the week that time.
The pros for this method are that they hide the lash strip amazingly well so they look more like extensions. You can apply them rather quickly at home instead of with long appointments. It lasts for several days (even up to a week depending on how well you take care of them). You can wear them as much as you want back to back. It’s super easy to remove them to give your eyes a break whenever you want unlike extensions. And they have a subscription service if you are wearing them all the time.
The cons are that it’s kind of expensive to get started (although still less than most charge for an initial lash extensions appointment). You may have to try a few sets to find your favorite fit of lashes. They don’t last as long as lash extensions. You can’t get them wet like extensions (you can shower with them but try not to get your eyes wet). And you may have to reapply more often if you are a side sleeper.
Originally I got about four days out of each set of lashes before the ends were having trouble staying put. But once I added in their night bond to the routine and slept on the edge of my pillow instead of the middle, I got a week out of the next set pretty easily. All in all, these seem like a great option for a long weekend or a trip that you want to look nice for but don’t want to go to all the hassle and commitment of lash extensions.
You can get the control kit to start out with, but it’s possible that you may not like either set of lashes they send with it. So you may be better off buying the items separately so you can choose your own lash length and fullness (I’m wearing the Drama lashes in a 12mm size above for reference if that helps, but I have smaller more hooded-shaped eyes). Also, if you already use a micellar water-type cleanser, you can probably use that rather than buy their cleanser to prep your eyes. I just use this duel-phase makeup remover instead of theirs and it seems to work just fine, so if you have items like that already, it can save you some money up front.
Hope that was a helpful (or at least fun!) look into this new kind of lashes I’ve been hearing about! I think I’ll definitely be using these for trips or weeks where I have several photo shoots that week, so I know I’ll be using them again probably soon. What’s your favorite kind of faux lash to use? xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman (with some help from Todd Gummerman on the photos!). Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
For the past few years, we have tried to switch out a lot of items in our home to reusable/sustainable options (like making this unpaper towel roll) and while we have made a lot of progress there, I decided I wanted to focus more on adding more reusable beauty/personal care items as well. I don’t wear makeup every day, but when I do, I didn’t like the amount of cotton rounds that I was going through to take off the makeup, so I thought some reusable (washable!) makeup wipes would be perfect for the job! Supplies:
-terrycloth towel fabric
-cotton fabric (I used fabric from our A Beautiful Mess fabric line!)
–ruler, mat, and rotary cutter
-sewing machine and straight pins
First, cut your cotton fabric into as many 4″ squares as you want finished wipes. Usually projects will tell you to wash your fabric first and then sew, but I was a little worried about the terrycloth unraveling in the washer without finished edges. So I decided to sew and then wash them in this case.
Repeat and cut the same number of 4″ squares with your terrycloth fabric. Pin your terrycloth fabric and your cotton squares together (right sides facing each other) and pin in place. Sew all the way around your square with a 3/8″ seam allowance and leave a 1″ gap so you can turn your square right side out.
To reduce bulk when you turn your square, clip the corners and trim the seam allowance of the terrycloth in half. Turn your square right side out through the 1″ gap (you may want a chopstick to help you push it through and make sure the corners are properly turned) and pin flat.
Sew a topstitch all the way around the square with a 1/4″ seam allowance, which will also sew your opening shut.
Once your wipes are complete, give them a quick wash in the washer and your wipes are ready to store in a glass jar and use on demand! It’s a good idea to let your wipes air dry before stashing them in a container to wait to be washed, so you can either set them on your counter or get a little clip or something to keep them hanging while they dry (I think one of these picture clips may work well for that too!). To wash your wipes, load them into a small mesh laundry bag for lingerie and wash on warm/hot with another load that you would wash on that setting (towels, etc.). FYI: Your wipes probably won’t stay pure white for very long, but you’ll know they are clean, so that’s the main thing (you could always get a darker fabric too if you didn’t want to notice the makeup staining). It’s also an option to do both sides with the terrycloth fabric if you would like, so you can use both sides for makeup removal—the fabric squares are a little harder to handle when both sides are the terrycloth, but with a little more patience, it’s doable. And for those of you who love the idea of reusable wipes but don’t want to make your own, here’s a great option to buy some already made!
So far, I love these wipes and I especially love to use them with this oil cleanser (it’s a favorite of lots of us here on the ABM team) after using coconut oil to remove my eye makeup first. You can also use these wipes to apply toner as well if that’s a part of your beauty routine. I would also suggest estimating how many you think you would use in a day and how often you do laundry so you can decide how many you would need to always have some clean. It’s good to think ahead! xo. Laura