My name is Mary.  I love cooking healthy food for family & friends, making specialty coffee, wine tasting, finding great beauty products, traveling, and organizing everything. I document it all here! xo

clean make-up routine {beauty}

clean make-up routine {beauty}

clean make-up routine {beauty}

I've been in the process of transitioning to clean beauty products for the past few months and taking an active role in reading the ingredients on cosmetic labels.  The more I read about harmful additives used in most cosmetics (and beauty products in general) the more I want to encourage others to make the same change. 

clean make-up routine {beauty}

Many ingredients used in U.S. products are banned in other countries.  Just by comparison, Canada and the E.U. have about 1,300 ingredients that are banned from cosmetics; the U.S. has only 11. These additives can disrupt our hormones and cause other health concerns.  Most of us put some sort of makeup on our skin every day and, given that our skin is our largest organ, we should be applying products with healthy, high-quality ingredients. 

clean make-up routine {beauty}

I do have to preface this by saying that you won't necessarily get the long-wear, staying power that you might get from chemical-laden commercial brands, but do remember, those products are filled with harmful additives.

Just as a quick cheat-sheet, below is a list of ingredients you should watch out for when scanning the label of your next cosmetic purchase.  There are other harmful ingredients in hair and body products, such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate and aluminum (more on that here), but today I'm focusing on the big one's found in most cosmetics.

No-no's (a more comprehensive list here and here):

Quaternium-15 is found in many powders and facial cosmetics.  It's used to increase the shelf-life of a product.  It can release formaldehyde, which is a carcinogenic. 

Talc is used to soak up oil--often found in powdered make-up and eye shadows.  It's also in deodorants and dry shampoo. Talc contains asbestos, a known carcinogen, and although the amount used in products is regulated in by the FDA, it is still legal (albeit completely illegal in Europe). Talc should be avoided all together. 

Parabens (a.k.a. methylparaben, isopropylparaben, pentylparaben, isobutylparaben, phenylparaben, and benzylparaben) are used as preservatives but they can also take a toll on your hormones, mimicking the effects of estrogen in the body.

Petroleum (aka mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin oil--the stuff we use to fuel our cars) is used in many lip and moisturizing products.  The body is not able to metabolize petroleum and the long-term effects are still unknown.

Phthalates are chemicals often used in plastics and (surprise, surprise) cosmetics.  They're used to keep products together as a binder.  They can also disrupt hormones. 

Hydroquinone is used in products that are designed to lighten the skin.  It's outlawed in Europe and Japan because of it's carcinogenic nature. 

Fragrance is a blanket term that manufacturers are legally allowed to use in U.S. products; this keeps you from knowing what's really in your products.  Europe banned the ability for manufacturers to use this term, and instead require them to actually list the ingredient used.

You can easily look up a product's ingredients on Sephora's website, and they often highlight the "bad" ingredients that aren't used in some of their products.  However, I now primarily shop from vendors (i.e. Credo Beauty, Detox Market, Whole Foods, Beauty Counter) who make it a point to sell products that are safe for you and the environment.  Katie Jane Hughes often collaborates with Credo Beauty to provide tutorials using their products--she is one of my favorite make up artists!


If you feel overwhelmed, I've put together a list (below) of my favorite clean products in (more or less) the order I use them in my personal routine.  I suggest you make a day of testing products that work for you...until then, here's a nod in the right direction.

1. Make sure to prep your face properly before applying your makeup (more on that here).  If you have dry skin, moisturize with a face oil and lotion (use SPF during the day).  If you want a super-duper glow/dewy look, apply Weleda's Skin Food all over your face just before applying your foundation. 

2.  Use a sheer moisturizer or foundation of choice.  I like to Ilia's Sheer Vivid Moisturizer during the day and either Ilia's True Skin Serum Foundation for more coverage or Kjaer Weis Creamy Foundation.  I use my hands and lightly tap the foundation into my skin, using my finger pads, to blend. 

3.  Cover up any blemishes. I use RMS "Un" Cover-Up or, Kjaer Weis Creamy Foundation which can double as an all over foundation and spot concealer.  If my skin feels dry, sometimes I'll mix a bit of face oil or Weleda's Skin Food with the concealer for a smoother application.

4.  Under the eyes, I first apply Goldfaden MD Bright Eyes (you only need a teeny tiny pump, this stuff lasts forever) and then some concealer.  I use my finger pad to lightly tap in the concealer around my eye.  

5.  Eyes.  Lately I've just been using mascara, with no eye shadow and then doing a bold lip.  I might put some of Weleda's Skin Food on my lids for a dewy look  or combine some of my highlighter with a bronzer for a soft brown eye shadow. I do like Jillian Dempsey's Lid Tint, although it's a creamy eye shadow and you have to accept some creasing #thatslife. There are also plenty of non-creasing powdered eye shadow options...I'm still trying to find an eye-liner that works for me, I think I might settle on RMS Vintage Cake Liner.  Other people also like Kjaer Weis's Eye Pencil.  More options here and here.

6.  Bronzer.  Now that it's spring and it seems natural to have some color (I really embraced my paleness through the winter season in NYC!), I apply a creamy bronzer below the apples of my cheeks (suck in your cheeks, that's the area where you should apply your bronzer), to the edges of my forehead (where your forehead meets your hairline), and a bit along the jawline for some extra definition.  Just be careful not to make any bold lines, check to see that everything is blended in smoothly. You can also use a powdered bronzer such as Lily Lolo's Pressed Bronzer.

6.  Blush. I like to use a creamy blush such as Tata Harper's Volumizing Lip & Cheek Tint Very Popular  or Kjaer Weis' Cream Blush in Precious.  Pick a color that suits you.  Make apples with your cheeks and, using your finger pad, apply a small amount in a circular motion.

5.  Powder (optional).  I like the dewy look so I hardly use powder.  However, if there's a lot of moisture in the air, and I want to "set" my makeup, I apply a very light layer of RMS "Un" Powder, just in the t-zone (forehead, nose, chin).  It's light weight and hardly even noticeable, but helps keep things from moving and creating longer-wear effect. 

6.  I apply a highlighter (RMS Magic Luminizer) to the bridge of my nose, high cheek bones (above blush), corners of my eyes, brow bone and cupid's bow.  Sometimes I'll mix my highlighter with some Weleda's Skin Food for a dewy look (good tutorial here). I do this after the powder because the powder tends to matte the dewy look I've worked so hard to create!

7.  Mascara.  I usually do a thick coat on the top and just lightly graze the bottom lashes.  I'm using Ilia's Limitless Lash Mascara now, but it's not my favorite..I don't think.  I'll probably move on to another product once I finish with this tube, or after three months has passed.  With that said, it's important to remember that natural mascara performs a little bit differently, and if you rub your eye (like I do when I forget I have makeup on!), it may come off!  I like that Kjaer Weis sells refills for their products, including their mascara.  You just have to be willing to make the initial investment, and then afterward you buy the refills

8.  Lip Liner + lipstick.  I like Kjaer Weis' Lip Pencil and RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick, it's semi-matte, stays well and there are great color options.  I also really like Rituel de Fille's Enchanted Lip Sheer, despite it's name, it has a semi-matte also smells divine. 

9. Eyebrows.  I love Plume's Nourish & Define Brow Pomade.  It comes with a nice angled and spooley brush combo and a pot of pomade.  You just dip the angled brush into the pot and apply to your brows, a little goes a long way.  Then, use the spooley end to blend the color into brows.  It's a bit pricey but will last a very long time.

10. Hydrating toner mist.  Those who know me, know I am obsessed with face mists.  There are so many out there to choose from so explore and decide what suits you. I like Josh Rosebrook's Hydrating Accelerator but it is pricey and there are more affordable options. After applying my makeup, I spray it liberally all over my face and reapply as needed throughout the day.

clean make-up routine {beauty}
grilled apricot & asparagus salad

grilled apricot & asparagus salad

amsterdam city guide

amsterdam city guide