A Few of My Favorite Things: Beauty Edition

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Best of Beauty

Over the last two years, I have slowly worked on making intentional choices when it comes to my beauty products. From the shampoo I use on my hair, to how I shave, to the make-up I wear, I have slowly replaced my beauty products one at a time. My goal is to be as sustainable, ethical, and all-natural as possible.

In some cases this means a larger price tag, but what I have found is, as I adjust to more and more reusable and sustainable products, I am buying less often—so while the initial investment is sometimes larger than I am used to I have been surprised that, overall, I am not spending much more per year in this area.

So many people ask where to begin. It seems overwhelming to change everything so what should they change first? Here are a few of my favorites that are great starts to a more ethical and sustainable beauty regimen.

1. Ditch the bottled shampoo and conditioner.

Yes, you may have a shampoo and conditioner you absolutely love—people are loyal to their hair products! But I think this is an easy first step to eliminating plastic in your every day life. I gave bar shampoo and conditioner a try in February (so I am still pretty new to this) and so far I love it. I personally tried Lush brand but I plan to also give Eco Roots a try next.

The pros: Almost everything, honestly. I am still on my first bars and I’m about 2 months in and figure I still have about a month of use left, maybe more. For reference, I wash my hair every other day. The shampoo bar gives an amazing lather and I like the smell. My favorite part is how easy they are to travel with. That alone sold me.

I do recommend getting the tins and there is a learning curve on how to make sure they don’t get stuck to the bottom. I found leaving them in the tins, but without the lids on, in a high place in the shower works best for me.

The cons: There is really only one. I find it hard to tell how much conditioner is “coming off of” the conditioner bar. My hair seems fine with how I am winging it—but if you have dry hair, this could be a problem. I think this is, again, a learning curve thing.

Overall, this is something I will continue to use and I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to try it.

2. Simplify shaving.

I have wanted to try and eliminate disposable razors for a while because 1. they seem so wasteful and 2. they are so expensive. Because of the wonderful world of Instagram, I discovered the safety razor. It took my a while to make the transition. For some reason the idea of putting the blades in myself seemed dangerous. Spoiler: it isn’t. at all.

Here is what I used to get started: a safety razor. I opted for Eco Roots rose gold safety razor mainly because I liked the look of it (if I am going to use one razor permanently, I want to like what it looks like.) Blades. Eco Roots razor came with 5 blades so for now, I haven’t bought additional blades—but they are incredibly inexpensive. This is where the real savings comes in. After the initial $28 investment in a razor, the blades are $3 for a pack of 10! Shaving bar. I love that Eco Roots offers a shaving soap in bar form. while I’ve never been a shaving cream user, I think I will opt for the shaving bar with a safety razor. I think it helps reduce nicks.

Pros: While I am still new at this, the absolute number 1 pro is the close shave, I can’t believe how close the shave is with this. I am not sure how one blade can do more than 5 blades on my old venus, but it does. I also love that it has a blade on each side. It just makes things faster. Storage is also a plus. There is just less stuff when you are dealing with one razor and a small box of blades.

Cons: While I am still new to this and haven’t cut myself yet, I feel like I have to be more careful and that the possibility of cutting myself may be higher. I wouldn’t call this a con. More an FYI.

To me this is, again, one item I don’t know why I didn’t switch to earlier. And I am really looking forward to all the money I will be savin

3. No more smelly nail polish remover.

I discovered this wonderful nail polish company a few years back when I received a travel size sample of their nail polish remover in a beauty subscription box. Do I remember the subscription box? no. Did that one travel sample make me a huge fan of Karma Organics? absolutely. So thanks random subscription box!

Karma Organics has a special power. They created a nail polish remover that DOESN’T SMELL HORRIBLE. I don’t know how they did it. Not only is this stuff made from all natural ingredients and comes in a glass bottle but it works! Once I discovered their remover, I quickly began using their nail polish as well. Now, it is more or less, the only nail polish I use. It is definitely my go to.

Also, don’t let the price point scare you. There is a reason that stuff you can buy at CVS is $2. Nail polish remover is something that lasts forever, so this is a once a year purchase for me and well worth the added expense. Also coming from a mom, I love that my daughter can “help me” remove the nail polish from her nails and we don’t get a headache from the smell.

Pros: everything.

Tiny Con: it is a little oily—because it’s natural.

4. Pay for all natural that actually works.

The company that I use the most products from, hands down, is BeautyCounter. I always thought I would have to sacrifice quality for something all natural. Then I found out about BeautyCounter. It’s definitely an investment, but most of their products last me for months and because I know what I like, I only buy from BeautyCounter. Before, I would give different brands a try—if they were on sale or if someone recommended something to me— I had a linen cabinet full of products I tried and then didn’t love.

I use so many of their products, I can’t list everything—but my go-tos are their Dew Skin tinted moisturizer. I have never been a heavy make-up person, so this is perfect and it has SPF! Most days, all I wear is dew skin, their Brilliant Brow Gel with a little bit of mascara. In the summer, I love to add a bit of their Mattifying Powder. It takes away any bit of oily-ness!

The only product I use to wash my face is their Nourishing Cream Exfoliator. The exfoliating cleanser paired with their Countermarch Adaptive Moisture Lotion is pretty much all I need. (I also use their charcoal Balancing Facial Mask every other week or so—but that is a bit more of an added bonus.)

Pros: so many things, but mainly all natural that works.

Cons: it can be pricey. But think of all the money you will save not switching products to find ones that work!

5. All the rest.

I love way too many brands to cover them all, so here are a few more I love.

Ecotools for all my brushes (both hair and make-up)

Good for our bar soap. I should write more about this company at some point because I love them. Their bars smell great and are available at Whole Foods for 2 for $6! We use these for the whole family.

Terra Thread for my make-up bag (and backpack and totes.)

There are so many brands that I am still learning about and hoping to try, but these are definitely some of my favorites so far and great ones to start with if you are looking for ways to be more sustainable and natural with your beauty products!

In-Home Lifestyle Workshop at LOFT Retreat 2019

In February, I had the opportunity to teach an in-home lifestyle workshop at the Loft Retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Organized by the incredibly talented Hilary of Hilary Colleen Photography, LOFT Retreats are educational, working retreats for creatives. When Hilary asked me to teach an in-home lifestyle workshop I immediately said yes! In-home lifestyle is my passion and I was excited to lead a group of fellow photographers through how I prepare for, set-up, and pose an in-home session.

Our couple, Michelle and Pieter were perfect and so relaxed considering there were 12 cameras pointed at them at any given time.

This whole retreat was amazing and I was so glad to be a part of it!

*Scroll to the end for a few behind-the-scene shots! Thanks Susan and Ashleigh for snapping these!

Noonday Collection Spring Release Photo Shoot with Ambassador, Aaron Duffy

As most of you already know, I have a passion for supporting and collaborating with fair trade and ethical organization. Because of this, one of my favorite clients to work with is Noonday Collection ambassador, Aaron Duffy. if you aren’t familiar with Noonday, I can’t say enough positive things about this company. To make a difference in some of the world's most vulnerable communities, Noonday partners with Artisan businesses, helps develop these businesses through fair trade, and empowers them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them.

Aaron wanted to do something special to feature the new Spring line coming out TODAY! So, to prepare for the launch of the gorgeous jewelry and accessories, Aaron and I visited a local green house to capture the beauty of these new pieces.

These products are even more gorgeous in person! My must haves from the spring line are the Rustic Leather Wallet and the Eclipse Cuff. I can’t wait to order both now that I got to see them in person!

To see more from Aaron and Noonday, you can follow her here.