I’ve had this post on the docket for months now—and honestly, I just never could get the courage up to write it. I’ve said before, I’m not a fashion/beauty/makeup expert, so writing about this stuff with any kind of authority seems super silly.
But, then I posted about my capsule wardrobe a few weeks back, and you guys were so awesome, I figured it was time to get over my fear of writing about beauty products and share with you my favorite finds.
In general, I’d consider myself pretty low maintenance when it comes to beauty products. Most days, my makeup routine consists of little more than moisturizer, tinted lip balm, and maybe some mascara. And I pretty much never wash my hair (okay, not never).
I trend my beauty purchases to more natural brands, but I also like to balance “cleaner” ingredients with effectiveness, price, and availability. Honestly, I have no interest in driving an hour to the health food store to buy $30 lip gloss made from organically grown beets (is that a thing?). I like the better-for-you products that are affordable, work well, and I can grab during a regular Target run (they have a GREAT natural/organic beauty section).
I check everything I buy through the EWG SkinDeep database—and I try to only buy products that have a rating of three or below. In the past, I’ve even done some experimenting with making my own beauty products, but the current season of my life just means I can’t fit that in. Maybe I’ll get back to it someday, but for now, I’m alright with buying these products that really work with me. Let me show you my faves.
- Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($11.99) — I have medium-wavy, very thick hair, which means depending on how I style it, I can either wear it straight or wavy/curly (depending on how humid it is that day). When I want to go curly, this stuff is my jam. It’s curl defining without being crunchy like gel, and oh my gosh, it smells like fruity heaven.
- Maple Holistics Silk18 Conditioner ($12.99) — This is a new discovery, and it’s been life-changing. I went blonde for summer, and even though my stylist was really careful with how she lifted my color, it turned out a little crunchy. This conditioner fixed it with one use. It’s pricey, but unlike most conditioners I use, a tiny bit goes a long way.
- Maple Holistics Argan Oil Shampoo ($8.99) — I am all about the argan oil (more on that a sec), and I really like this shampoo. I honestly don’t wash my hair super often, but when I do, this gets it’s nice and clean, without that crunchy feeling that some natural shampoos give me.
- Clairol Hair Food Dry Shampoo ($9.99) — Trying to find a natural (or at least, more natural) dry shampoo has been a struggle. I think I’ve tried all the natural and organic brands out there, and none of them are great. This one definitely leans to the “dirtier” side of the beauty product chemical spectrum, but it works for me. I have only used this one when my hair was lighter, so I can’t report on how it looks with dark hair (which is a struggle with most dry shampoos).
- Aria Starr Beauty Organic Argan Oil ($7.99) — This is the only brand of argan oil I’ve ever used, but I’m sure any other organic, all natural one would work just as well. Holy heck, do I love argan oil! When my hair is wet, I warm a few drops of argan oil in my hands, then massage it into my ends and run it lightly over my whole hair. A little goes a long way, and if you use too much, you get a greasy look. But if you hit the sweet spot (for my thick, short hair, it’s 4-5 drops, but it might vary for you), it adds so much shine and softness. To touch up the shine in my hair, I’ll put on one or two drops after brushing. Argan oil is also great on hands, cuticles, and skin.
- Karma Naturals Organic Lavender Nail Polish Remover ($12.99) — After Juni was born, I made the last big push to “naturalize” my beauty products, and that meant tossing out all of my dozens of nail polishes and manicure paraphernalia. I thought finding a natural nail polish remover that worked would be impossible, but this stuff ROCKS. It even takes off glitter nail polish relatively easily. It smells amazing, it’s moisturizing, and if I have a cut on my fingers, it doesn’t sting like normal nail polish remover.
- Target Defy & Inspire Five Free Nail Polish ($7.49) — I’ve tried pretty much all the non-toxic nail polishes out there, and the truth is, none of them will wear as long as the regular stuff. But these polishes from Target’s beauty line are pretty close—especially the glitter colors. And I love that they are reasonably priced, and I can pick them up on my regular Target run.
- Purple Prairie Botanicals Hand Sanitizer ($2.99 for 1 oz bottle) — We have these little bottles everywhere. I’m not afraid of some germs here and there, but after your toddler picks up someone’s chewed gum off the floor at the grocery store, trust me, you want a painless way to sanitize their hands. This hand sanitizer goes on like lotion and smells like a gin and tonic. We love it!
- The Yellow Bird All Natural Foot Cream ($16.99) — I’m pretty much barefoot from April to October, which means my feet can get pretty rough. This foot cream (combined with this foot rasp) keep my feet soft even when I spend all day walking around without shoes or socks on.
- Badger Balm ($7.99) — I don’t use this stuff all the time, but when my hands are chapped after working in the garden or doing laundry (does doing laundry dry out anyone else’s hands?), this is my go-to stuff.
- Burt’s Bees Hand Salve ($9.49) — Does anyone else seem to get one of those Burt’s Bees sampler packs for every Christmas? I do, and it’s awesome. Because these little jars of the hand salve are what I use for cuticle cream! I keep one at my desk, and one with my manicure stuff.
- Tom’s of Maine Wild Lavender Deodorant ($4.99) — When I started breastfeeding Juniper, my midwife suggested I switch to natural deodorant, and oh man, the struggle to find a good natural deodorant was tricky. Transitioning from a “full-leaded” antiperspirant to a natural deodorant—especially with the postpartum sweats (other moms, you know what’s up) meant I was pretty stinky for quite a while. I tried a lot of brands (I even tried making my own for a while), and nothing quite worked as well as this Tom’s of Maine that I can just pick up at my regular grocery store. I have to apply it a couple of times a day on hot days, but it does the trick!
- Purple Prairie Botanicals Soap ($4.15) — If you can’t tell by now, I’m a huge fan of Purple Prairie Botanicals, and their soaps are some of my favorites! With each order, they send samples of their soaps, and I’ve never “met” a soap I didn’t love.
- Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion ($10.00) — Yup, Juni and I use the same lotion. It smells great, it absorbs well, and it isn’t thick or heavy. And honestly, it’s just easier to buy the same stuff for baby and mommy.
- Alba Botanicals Coconut Dry Oil Sunscreen ($7.99) — I have two sunscreens on this list, and this one is what I consider my “beach” sunscreen. It’s pretty oily (don’t let the “dry” part of the name fool you), which makes it really moisturizing, and it smells awesome. But since it is so oily, it isn’t really appropriate to wear with your best clothes—and I always feel like I need to rinse it off. I love this stuff for the beach and for gardening.
- Purple Prairie Botanicals Body Balm ($6.99) — I use this stuff in the winter when my hands and elbows start to get really dry and itchy. It’s too heavy for me for everyday use, but it’s great for problem areas. We also use it as a diaper rash cream for Juni (a different stick, obviously).
- Bare Republic Natural Spray Kids Sunscreen ($14.99) — I’m not sure what makes “kids” sunscreen just for kids (marketing, probably), but us adults use this, too. Having a spray sunscreen is vital when you have a wiggly toddler, and the fact that this is a spray AND a natural mineral sunscreen makes me so happy. Like all mineral sunscreens, it does go on white, but because it’s such a fine spray, it’s easy to rub it in. And I like that it goes on white so I can see where I’ve missed on Juni!
- Tom’s of Maine Flouride-Free Toothpaste ($6.99) — I was afraid my dentist was going to be all kinds of upset when I made the switch to natural toothpaste, but my teeth have never been better! I love that I can get this at my regular grocery store, instead of having to make a special trip to the health food store.
- Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes ($6.99) — I’m gonna let you in on a little secret—I never wash my face. Like, when I’m in the shower, I run some water over it, but other than that, I don’t ever wash it. When I do wash it? My skin goes haywire. So to get makeup off, I use these babies. I keep a big pack with my makeup, and a travel pack in my purse.
- Acure Facial Brightening Scrub ($9.99) — I mostly use this stuff in the winter when my skin gets dry and flaky. It’s a really nice and gentle exfoliator. I don’t know about the “brightening” part, but it does smooth out dry patches nicely.
- Juice Beauty CC Cream ($39.99) — I don’t really wear foundation very often, but when I do I wear this CC cream. If you’ve never heard of CC (color correcting) cream, it’s coverage level is somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and a true foundations, which is perfect for me. I actually discovered this stuff because my sister gave my her bottle because she couldn’t handle the smell. It does have a VERY strong herbal smell when you first put it on, but it fades within a few minutes. And I actually like it! I think it smells like fresh cut grass.
- Purple Prairie Botanicals Frankincense and Myrrh Face Cream ($10.00 for 2 oz bottle) — This moisturizer is amazing. It’s really moisturizing without being too heavy, and a little goes a long, long way. I use one tiny pump during the summer, and two in the winter. I’ve been working on this same bottle for six months. Sometimes, in the winter, when I need a bit more heavy moisturizing, I use this Acure Night Cream, too.
- Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($7.99) — I use this stuff every. single. day. I love it! It’s super moisturizing and just lightly tinted. It’s enough to make me look like I’m healthy and got more than three hours of sleep, but not so much that it looks like I’m “made up”. I use both the Hibiscus (a medium pink) and the Zinnia (a coral) colors.
- Physician’s Formula Translucent Mineral Pressed Powder ($10.99) — I use this to just barely set my makeup. I put it on really lightly. I love the translucent “color” because the difference between my skin tone in the summer and winter is pretty drastic—this way, I just use the same powder all year long.
- HAN Skin Care Natural Blush in Coral Candy ($15.00) — I love this blush! It looks good when my skin is darker or paler. It’s a really nice, slightly shimmery coral. It doesn’t look too fake. It just adds a little touch of pinkness. I wear this almost everyday.
- Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Scarlet Soaked ($8.99) — I’m not much of a lipstick wearer, but when I do want to wear a nice red lip, this Burt’s Bees lipstick is what I use. The color is awesome, it’s really moisturizing, and it wears pretty well considering it’s a more natural choice.
- W3LL People All Natural Bronzer Stick ($33.99) — This is definitely more money than I’d usually spend on cosmetics, but I LOVE this bronzer stick, so it’s totally worth the price tag. It’s completely natural, it blends SO well, and it adds just the perfect amount of color. I love this thing.
- Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eyeshadow for Hazel Eyes ($9.99) — If you knew me in high school or college, you probably would have seen me wearing every color eyeshadow under the sun, but long ago I found that purples make my puke green eyes (literally, they are puke green) look less pukey, and I’ve been wearing them ever since. I don’t wear eye shadow often, but I love this palette because of the variety. I normally wear the top section during the day, and the bottom two sections for night-time or fancier events. I will say that each of the eyeshadow strips are pretty small, so if you wear eyeshadow frequently, you’ll plow through this thing in no time. It’s perfect for the occasional wear for me, though.
- Pacifica Waterproof Eyeliner in Fringe ($16.99) — I have really sensitive eyes, so finding an eyeliner and mascara that my eyes didn’t react to was tricky, but Pacifica came to the rescue! The color I use (Fringe) is a dark brown/black. I love that I can blend it for a soft daytime look, or layer it for a darker nighttime look. I left behind black eyeliner when I graduated college.
- Pacifica Stellar Glaze Mineral Mascara ($19.99) — A mascara that doesn’t make my eyes sting and water! Hallelujah! I wouldn’t consider this the most dramatic mascara on the market—it just plumps and darkens a little. And it doesn’t wear all day (but I’ve also never had it give me the dreaded raccoon eyes), but the fact that I can wear it without my eyes turning into a red, watery mess makes it tops in my books.
Well, okay, now that I’ve written all that out, maybe I am a little more high maintenance in the beauty department than I previously thought. Ha! As Rory Gilmore said, when did I become one of those girls with dozens of beauty products, none of which are expendable? It used to be a touch of mascara, dab of Coppertone, zip, bam, boom, out the door.
I swear, there is a Gilmore Girls quote applicable to every aspect of my life. Copper boom! I’d love it if you shared your favorite beauty products in the comments. Turn me onto something new—I’m trying to find a natural hairspray (is that a thing?). Recommend away!