In my shower
From the left:
- Trader Joe's Honey Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave - I love this stuff and the ingredients are clean according to the ewg.org website. Paraben free and 100% vegetarian. The smell is very fresh and gives you a nice, clean shave - men can use it too!
- I use homemade goat's milk soap that I buy from the farmer's market. It seemed like all the natural soaps I would try would disappear after a week in my shower and I learned a great trick - keep the soap on top of a sponge (this one is a natural sponge from the Dead Sea) and it will help dry out the soap and get the sponge suds ready for your next shower. This bar of soap has lasted me at least a month!
- Ava Anderson shampoo and conditioner - I really like how these products make my hair feel. Other brands I tried left my hair either too dry or really greasy, this is just right. They come in huge 16 oz bottles for $17.95 each and can be ordered at www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/stephanierickenbaker. I still have 1/3 bottle left of the conditioner and have had the same bottle for 4 months now - just had to replace my shampoo. Their packaging could use some work, but overall I really like what's inside. Another brand that I have heard good things about and never tried is Pureology. These are sold in salons, so you don't have to order them online - here is a link to the where to buy section of their website.
- Ava Anderson exfoliator - I like this product but don't love it - will be trying something different when it runs out.
- Clarisonic - LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I am nuts about mine and love how smooth, soft and clean it makes my skin. I try to remember to use it on my neck and décolletage. Not a cheap at $125 but your skin will thank you!
My new bedtime makeup removal routine is VERY DIFFERENT than what I used to do. Like a complete 180 different. I've always struggled with mild acne and have tried everything out there. Not terrible acne, but just enough to be annoying. It makes me cringe when I think back on the ProActiv that I used that bleached my towels and sheets - scary to think what it did to my skin! I went on Accutane before my wedding hoping to cure my skin woes for good. My skin was great for a while and then went back to its old ways. I would NEVER take a cosmetic product now that requires monthly pregnancy tests because it causes severe birth defects - yikes...The Ava Anderson cleaning routine didn't impress me and I was ready to try something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Why keep trying pretty much the same thing over and over with minimal success?
I came across a blog called Crunchy Betty "you have food on your face" and LOVE her information. She recommends washing your face with honey and baking soda - Yes, honey and baking soda! Then using diluted Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar as a toner and removing eye makeup with olive oil. I thought it would be a huge, sticky mess but I AM LOVING IT! The honey washes off easily and makes your skin unbelievably soft - you will glow! I know it's absolutely crazy and insane, but I swear it. Since I've started washing my face this way I no longer have to wear make-up because my skin tone is so even. I've had maybe two little pimples also, that's all!
A little bit about raw honey straight from Crunchy Betty's blog:
It is antibacterial and antimicrobial. It will get off any lingering nastiness that’s thinking about setting up camp on your face and creating pimples. It is slightly drying which means it helps soak up any pimples or oiliness. It is also incredibly moisturizing. Seems like a double standard, doesn’t it? But it’s true. Honey sinks into your skin and moisturizes like you wouldn’t believe. (Remember Cleopatra and her honey baths to look young?) It imparts all kinds of beneficial enzymes that work at scrubbing your face for you, as well as perform a little anti-aging action. It’s great for acne, aging skin, normal skin, dry skin … honey loves EVERY SKIN TYPE. It is healing and helps repair acneic sores and scars. It’s 100%, absolutely, positively natural, great for your skin, and such a SIMPLE addition to your routine!
First thing, you want to make sure your hair is completely pulled back or it might get a little sticky. I pour a little bit of raw honey (must be raw and I recommend buying local from the farmer's market) into my hand and add about 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda and mix with my finger. Spread it over my face and massage it in for about a minute - the longer you can let it soak in the better. I usually will floss, brush my teeth and take my vitamins while I wait. (I just read on Crunchy Betty's website that she puts the honey and baking soda into a wet wash cloth and applies it that way - I'm gonna try it out tonight.) I then rinse it off with water - you'll be surprised how easily it washes off and even more surprised at how soft your skin is! Next I put some diluted Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar on a cotton ball and use as a toner on my face. I let it dry and rinse off with water. The ACV will perfectly balance the pH of your skin and remove any leftover traces of makeup. A tip - flush the cotton ball or your bathroom will smell like apple cider vinegar, which some husbands don't appreciate. I am using Ava Anderson eye makeup remover pads to remove my mascara and am not a fan - will be trying the olive oil when I run out. Not sure why the honey doesn't intimidate me but the olive oil does…
For more on Crunchy Betty's honey wash check out these links:
Give it a try!! I would love to hear what you think!
I am obsessed with lotion and it was really hard for me to give up the Lubriderm that I had used for over 20 years - my mom started using it when I was a baby. I tried a few different brands like Say Yes to Carrots and Burt's Bees and was not happy with the feel or texture. It was a happy day when I discovered the Ava Anderson hand and body lotion. It is the perfect heaviness for spring and summer and isn't greasy at all. When the weather turned cold and dry, so did my skin. I found something heavier that keeps me moisturized all day during a trip to the farmer's market! Ana is an aromatherapist in Charlotte and is at the farmer's market off Yorkmont every Saturday. Her business is called Ana's Corner and if you don't live in Charlotte you can buy off her website. I love everything I have tried of hers and like supporting a local business. Her body butter is AMAZING and I put it on immediately after a shower or bath - soaks right in like butter.
For my face I am using Ava Anderson moisturizers and like them, but don't love them. From the left you have the eye cream, then the serum, the nighttime moisturizer and the daytime moisturizer with SPF. When I run out I'm going to try Derma e, which you can buy at Whole Foods. My friend Melissa swears by them and I am impressed by the reviews. Another brand I'm impressed with is Poofy Organics and I really like the body wash and lotion that I bought for Olivia. Their Flawless Face Daily Moisturizer sounds like good stuff!
***6/1/14 UPDATE*** I'm now using my body butter from Ana's Corner year round - she explained to me that the formulated it to give natural sun protection (coconut oil and shea butter), so it's perfect for warmer weather - I'm hooked! I also started using argan oil at night as my moisturizer. I bought a bottle when I traveled to Morocco a few years ago and never knew what to do with it - it's amazing for reducing wrinkles and softening your skin. When I run out I'm going to purchase Josie Maran's argan oil, which I sampled and is to die for. Her whole line has me very intrigued and impressed - plus you can buy it at Sephora (they'll give you nice samples to try).