MVPs of the Natural Skincare Game

Just like the food we put into our bodies, what we put on our skin can have effects on our health. Most of us go through our skin care routines without ever reading the ingredients in moisturizers, cleansers and scrubs. For me, learning about all of the harsh chemicals and toxins that were in the products I was using was a huge wake up call!  Ingredients like SLS, PGs, parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrance not only can strip away natural oils, clog pores, and irritate skin, but have also been linked to organ abnormalities, depression and cancer!(For more information click here, or just google ingredients to avoid in face wash)

Crazy, right? When I started paying attention to what I put on my skin, I came across some new products that I really love. None of them cause my skin to become irritated, oily, or dried out either.

Kora Organics: So I first heard about this brand because I really admire the supermodel Miranda Kerr, who also owns the company and is super passionate about natural living. I have used the three step system that comes with a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. The products really worked well for my skin: I felt cleansed, moisturized, but not oily, and blemish free. Though I haven’t tried any other products from Kora, the brand has expanded to include everything from body wash to lip balm, which I’m sure are just as great as the products I’ve used. The only draw back is price. The three step package that I use costs about $160, which is not that sustainable for me being a college student (I got it for Christmas/holidays). But, if you do have the money it’s totally worth it in my opinion.

Juice Beauty: This brand is more affordable, but still more expensive than the cleansers you’ll find at CVS…but hey, your health is worth it, right?! I’ve used Juice Beauty’s Cleansing Milk, which I really love and costs about $22. I feel like it really cleanses my skin and leaves it feeling bright and fresh. The brand makes everything you could ever want for your skin – cleansers, scrubs, masks, moisturizer, eye cream, lip care…the list goes on. I also really love is their makeup. I use a really great CC Cream, that has an SPF, evens my complexion and is really light on my skin.

Acure Organics: This brand is more affordable than the other two, and just as good. I love their facial cleansing gel, brightening facial scrub, and pore minimizing facial scrub. In the past I’ve used their moisturizer and face masks which always leave my skin soft and clear.  Acure also makes makeup, shampoo and even baby products. I own their dry shampoo and lip gloss, which both are amazing!

It’s important to remember that not ever brand is going to be free of every chemical, but for me starting out in the natural living world, I found these three companies to be the best!

Contour Confession

Okay, I’ll be honest…I don’t get contouring. I understand its appeal. It gives you the ability to enhance your facial structure: You can create the illusion of higher cheekbones, highlight certain areas of your face, and even look like a flawless model. I have to say though that I’ve never really felt the urge to do my makeup in this way. For me, it feels a little too forced. I always think that doing my makeup and feeling pretty shouldn’t require a color-coded roadmap. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have contoured my face before: for special occasions or when my girlfriends insist on doing my makeup. And I have to admit, it does make me look (and feel) amazing. However, it’s when I take my makeup off that the issue arises. After washing away my contoured face and seeing my real face, I can’t help but feel plane, round faced and just flat out ugly.

When I noticed this slight dip in my self-esteem, I put my foot down. I thought, Nope, my face is good enough as is and I have to be able to see that. So I gave myself a challenge: no more makeup. I told myself, You are good enough as you are and until you feel gorgeous makeup free, you’re not wearing any. So I stopped wearing makeup. At first it felt weird – I felt disheveled and messy. I avoided mirrors throughout the day and made up false excuses to my friends like “I woke up so late today”.

After a while though my perception of myself started to shift. I’d wake up each morning with less self-loathing than the previous day, and before I knew it I completely loved my bare face. This experience was completely liberating. No longer did I feel the pressure to make changes to my natural  face, and further, I became astonished at how much effort we women put in to doing so. I mean, aren’t we enough as is? Who said that high cheekbones, full lips, arched brows and protruding collarbones  are aesthetically superior anyway? I’ve decided to release these expectations and embrace the face I’ve got. These days when I wear makeup it’s with less of a transform-my-face mentality, and I have to say it is so freeing. 

I want to be clear that I’m not shaming anyone who contours their face. I think the freedom of crafting different looks with makeup is a creative liberty and can be really fun – if you let it be. However, I am claiming that there’s no need to paint illusions onto your face to feel pretty enough.

If makeup is something you have fun with, that’s great. But keep in mind that makeup shouldn’t be a crutch for confidence: we are beautiful just as we are ladies, don’t forget it!