My idea of perfect daily makeup is somewhere between I woke up like this (flawless) and that endless summer glow that can only be found after a week sunbathing off the coast of Spain, lips stained and cheeks flushed off a big glass of Malbec and night of dancing.
Really reasonable for a designer who works in an office all week and gets fully flush-faced at first sight of sunshine and rosé, right? With practice and a few miracle workers, I’ve figured out how to roll out of bed with eyes half shut and spend five minutes prepping for my day with a few good products to get glowing.
First: A few 2018 updates
- Two years later I’m still use everything in this post except the Weleda lip balm (mostly because Burt’s Bees is pepperminty and $2 a tube) and Anastasia Brow Wiz (cocoa powder + melted beeswax lip balm = practically free tinted brow gel).
- I put together a super soothing weekend facial ritual
- I met Kjær Weis and she told me seven really good makeup tips
- Also I have a new blog: Where With Elle!
A couple spritzes of this perks my face right up. OSEA’s Spray is the first thing I put on my face in the morning and the last thing I spray on each night, before my face has to go eight hours without water. It’s a seriously calming formula that’s packed with vitamins and finishes skin with a gorgeous dewy glow.
Sidenote: If you notice that your makeup tends to wear off by noon, perhaps you’ve passed over the primer and setting spray. Skipping a facial mist before putting on your makeup is like trying to paint on raw canvas before gessoing it over with an inexpensive primer paint – your raw skin will be so busy trying to soak up water from your moisturizer and makeup that you’ll use a lot of your product to make any impact and after a few hours, everything will look a bit faded.
A final spritz after finishing your makeup routine will also seal everything into place and is an additional layer of protection for your skin. I like to tote a little bottle to the office for a mid-day refresh and always, always remember to bring a facial spray on the plane and for any travel to a sunny locale. Your thirsty skin will thank you.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) Score of 1. (Happy Earth Day! Everything in my beauty bag is eco-friendly and built on natural and organic ingredients).
I find this formula to be the perfect balance for quick and creamy, lightweight hydration. Most mornings I bike to work so I find it really important to layer on a protective lotion every single day before heading out the door and into the city skyline.
Skin loves nourishment and routine, and I find that whether I wear makeup or not, if I manage to get this on my face each day, my skin stays healthy enough to skip out entirely on concealer and foundation. EWG Score of 2 (contains lemon peel oil).
When my skin does get cranky and needs some coverage, I like to layer on an extra level of vitamins and Oille Naturals is heaven in a bottle to my face. I don’t buy foundation now that I have this – whenever I have a little too much sun or any problem spots, I just mix a few drops of this serum on the back of my hand with some RMS Uncoverup concealer to make a tinted moisturizer, then blend everything in with my fingers. It’s a nice and thick organic serum that nourishes all day long and smells like a fresh field of grass and summer sun. Every batch is made by hand with essential oils GC/MS lab tested by Oille’s founder, Kirsten.
I call this my lil’ guru. Without fail, every morning this highlighting stick makes me look sun-kissed and extra healthy like I just got back from a week drinking kombucha at a desert health spa. I swipe it along the high points of my cheeks, down the center of my nose, across my cupid’s bow, and just under each brow then blend everything in with my fingers for an all-over super natural glow. Namaste. EWG Score of 1.
If Bio Brightener is my guru, Univeralist is my spirit animal. After trying out way too many lines of natural and organic lipsticks in deep berry reds, I’ve finally found my Goldilocks go-to for lips and cheeks: not too dark, not too bright, not too thick, not too gel-y with rich, buildable coverage in the perfect hue.
The Crimson shade has a bit of a blue undertone that makes teeth look brighter and cancels out any chance of sallow-looking skin. Grace Kelly found Prince Rainier and I’ve found Creamy Crimson No. 5 and we both know “that women can do anything they decide to do” including wearing a perfectly candescent red lip at 8 in the morning if they so please. EWG Score of 3 (contains unspecified essential oils).
Side note: You might notice that W3ll People has replaced my longtime affinity for RMS’s highlighter and lip and cheek duo. I fell in love with RMS a couple of summers ago but found their glass pots unwieldy to the point of finally melting a combination of Lip2Cheek and Living Luminizer with a hair dryer and pouring into an empty chapstick tube to make mornings easier. I love that W3ll People’s products are also made with natural products and have a similar range of shades to RMS’s line. They also make a mean dupe at $29 for a .4 oz stick versus $38 for a .17 oz pot of RMS. That said…
A really good concealer is hard to find, especially when you’re trading old cult favorites like Boing! and Touche Éclat for a more natural routine. Two years after landing on RMS’s UnCoverup I’m still loyal to this little bitty pot to eliminate redness and dark spots and conceal the odd blemish. It lasts forever, works miracles on eye circles, and when paired with Oille Natural serum makes a perfect substitute for foundation. Blend it over little blemishes with a detailer brush. EWG Score of 1.
Glides on in the morning, washes off with water at night. Certified Gluten Free. Vegan & Cruelty Free. Made in Germany. Nice and dark black with the faintest hint of shimmer. Done and done. I love to use this for a little definition on weekdays, then build a stronger catwing eye over it before dinner. EWG Score of 2 (lecithin and tocopheryl acetate).
I was hesitant to invest in a such a little tube of mascara but had heard so many great things about Kjaer Weiss and love the idea of recyclable refills instead of ditching the whole tube every few months. Turns out good things do come in small packages.
I’m loving the thick formula, jet black color and how I’m ready to go after just a few swipes of the little wand. No flakes, super buildable, stays put, and washes off with water at the end of the day. Love.
EWG Score of 2.
Anastasia Brow Wiz in Taupe
I used to use a brow gel every day but decided to switch back to a pencil after realizing I was coloring, um, a bit outside the lines on some sleepy mornings. I was having trouble finding the right pencil, so when Caroline posted about her affinity for Anastasia’s Brow Wiz I knew it would be a winner. It’s the perfect, natural shade for my fair brows and layers really well.
EWG Score of 2.
Atlanta brow expert (and the only person I’ll trust near my face with hot wax) Heather from Beauty and the Brow once taught me that the trick to thick, natural-looking brows is to first brush brows up with the spoolie brush end of your pencil, then start at the outside of each brow and work your way in with your pencil filling with light, gentle, short strokes.
Next, load a detail brush with concealer and trace below and above your brows to add contrast, then blend concealer a bit with your ring finger and use the spoolie a second time to brush brows up again, then out, to soften and set everything. The more your know.
I still love my Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm, but this is a nice change on those early mornings and late nights when perky peppermint is a little strong. The Everon balm has a really faintly sweet scent of rosewax that I adore. Both Weleda and Burt’s are also formulated with beeswax and are two of the only lip balms I’ve ever tried that don’t lead to the annoying more-you-use-more-you-need chapstick phenomenon. EWG Score of 1.
Most weekdays I just set my makeup with a final spritz of OSEA Sea Minerals, but I wouldn’t be caught dead without setting powder whenever there’s a potential for lots of pictures or I’m running around a soirée without a touch up kit in tow.
Combination skin notoriously increases the potential for super shiny face photos, especially when there’s artificial lighting or flash photography involved. A light dusting of this over my whole face is super undetectable and super effective, setting everything in place with nice and natural sheen. EWG Score of 1.
Forever favorite ever since I discovered it a couple of years ago. From Uber drivers to whiskey aficionados, everyone seems to be interested in this scent. I said it then and I’ll say it again: Every spray is like coming home.
Warm yet also green and bright, it’s a favorite flannel shirt in a bottle, sleepy mornings by a roaring fire. Fresh fir resin, hot whiskey, dark tonka bean, and just a hint of sweet lavender. There’s also something that instantly reminds you of a forest floor after a long rain, something lush and fern-like. The French like to call this fougère. I call it my favorite perfume.
And no morning routine is complete without a fresh glass of lemon water! I like it warm in the winter, room temperature in the spring (hi, Vata over here). We have a Meyer lemon tree that’s slowly waking up for spring. Until it’s in high gear I’m just picking up sweet little Meyer lemons from the local Trader Joe’s each week.
There you have it. Five minutes to a healthy, natural face and plump, rested looking skin.
While you’re at it… Get better sleep! Nothing looks healthier than a well-rested face. Getting a little extra beauty sleep at night or during a mid-day nap can do so much for your skin and health overall.
PS: Other beauty favorites in my medicine cabinet:
- Overnight healing: OSEA White Algae Mask and Mychelle Natural Retinal (alternate between each 2x week overnight), OSEA Brightening Serum for an extra vitamin boost, Oille Natural body serum, Russell Organics Rosehip Oil, This Works Sleep+ Pillow Spray.
- Clean face: OSEA Cleansing Mudd and Cleansing Milk, Weleda Toner, Thayer’s Witch Hazel, Reviva Lab’s Seaweed Soap.
- Happy body: One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum, Weleda Skin Food, Weleda Citrus Deodorant in warmer months and Agent Nateur in winter, Weleda Salt toothpaste, Earth Therapeutics Tea Tree Oil Foot Spray.
- Happy hair: Rahua Voluminous Shampoo and Conditioner (it took nearly a year for me to finish a bottle of each of these – I’m down to only washing my hair every five days with this combo), Olivine Atelier Love & Salt Beach Hair Waves Spray.
PS Pt II: OSEA + Oille love
Since posting a couple other bits of my skincare routines I’ve received a few notes about how much you guys love OSEA and Oille and are enjoying these natural beauty posts. Two years after diving into a beauty bag overhaul and stepping away from chemicals and questionable ingredients, I finally (finally!) feel like I have totally worked out a simple, cruelty-free, clean and green makeup routine that’s keeping my skin happy and healthy – while still offering just the right amount of glow and color to wear from the work week on through the weekend.
The most important thing I learned along the way? If you’re struggling with problem skin or just aren’t happy with your routine and want to make some changes, take it slow and switch out a few things at a time.
Pick the three products you use the most and look at their ingredients lists on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Stop by a local natural beauty shop to try out a new brand and pick up samples before committing to a full size. Look at what you’re eating, too. Drink more water, carve out time for better sleep.
Seek out brands that care about living things. In time I’ve learned that a brand that doesn’t respect the environment or animals probably isn’t going to have a lot of respect for you, either. Shopping is voting and you only get one face. Be good to yourself and be mindful of what your system is soaking up each day.
What’s in your daily makeup kit? I’d also love to hear if you’ve tried anything that’s in mine!