Can we be real for a second? Holistic living is not that easy — well, at least not for me. In a dream world, I would love to be able to grow my own herbs, eat nothing but organic and gluten-free treats, do yoga every week, and float around (presumably in a flowy floral frock) picking flowers and crushing them up into face masks to apply on my poreless, hydrated, and blemish-free skin. But the reality is, I’ve lived in a city for the past decade, so the only thing growing in my apartment is the crack in my ceiling; I've been known to eat more than two over-stuffed deli sandwiches per week; and no matter how many face masks I apply, the pollution, stress, and anxiety that seeps into my pores is never-ending.
However, this year, I've decided to take baby steps in an effort to live a more natural lifestyle, which (no pun intended) isn’t something that comes very naturally to me. A few months ago, I swapped out my sandwich addiction for fresh homemade salads, quit drinking alcohol, and started meditating every day. I never thought that at age 25 I’d prefer the vodka soda without the vodka, but here I am, drinking a La Croix as I type this. And guess what? I feel amazing.
Most of my lifestyle is now predominantly green except for one major part of my daily routine (which just so happens to be the most important one): my makeup. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried tons of amazing natural beauty products over the years, I’ve just never used them exclusively. Because I’m a beauty editor, I guess I’ve just always felt more comfortable using certain brands (that just so happen to not be natural) that I know I can rely on for highly pigmented and long-lasting formulas. Being in the beauty industry can sometimes blur the line between what’s good and what’s good for your skin. Stepping back and really evaluating what I’m putting on my skin — the formulas, the ingredients — should be just as important as evaluating what goes inside of my body, though. Maybe, in the spirit of being real, I haven’t done this in the past because I’ve secretly doubted natural makeup. Does it actually work? Will the formulas be long-wearing? Is it going to make me break out? All totally valid questions, I decided that the only way to get answers would be to put on my beauty-editor investigator hat and do a complete overhaul of my makeup routine. After doing some research on the coolest natural beauty brands out there, I finally replaced each and every one of my products with their natural doppelgängers.
My new routine looks a little something like this: I start by prepping my skin, which, for me, is a key step as I’m prone to breakouts and my pores are the size of dinner plates (just kidding, sort of). First, I apply the Vapour Organic Soft Focus Skin Perfecting Primer all over, which is made with camellia and sunflower seed oils for a soft, mattifying finish. Then, I go in and tap a light layer of the Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Crème under and over my eyelids; it has a universally flattering, pearl-hued opalescent tint (say that five times fast) and is made with date palm kernel and lavender for brightening around my eyes. When I finally feel like my skin is ready for foundation, I reach for the Ilia Vivid Foundation, which actually turns out to be my skin’s brand-new secret weapon.
I finish off my base makeup by applying the Clove + Hallow Conceal + Correct under my eyes and on any spots that I have. I’m, as the kids say, shook by how incredible this concealer is, since it’s so rare to find a lightweight concealer in the green beauty industry. As someone with oily skin, I’ve historically shied away from most cream-based makeup products (like blush and highlighter), but I actually ended up falling in love with two of them during this challenge. The first is the RMS Living Luminizer — a cult-favourite cream highlighter — which I dab onto the high points of my cheekbones and along my Cupid’s bow. The second is the Kosas Saturate & Illuminate Creme in 8th Muse blush, which comes with two shades that I mix together to create a hue that perfectly complements my pale skin tone.
Come fall, I tend to gravitate towards deep-hued, earthy tones, so next, I build a rose- and plum-hued eye look. Do you even know how hard it is to find red-based shadows with colour payoff? Well, it’s no easy feat to say the least — natural beauty or not. But to my surprise, Nu Evolution shadows in Eggplant and Pinot work out quite nicely.
Keeping in the fall spirit, I’m always on the hunt for an easy-to-wear, vampy lipstick that I don't have to obsess over all day long. Like my face makeup, I typically prep my lips with a balm before putting on any shade of lipstick. And I found two holy-grail products in the Burt’s Bees® line in the form of its Satin Lipstick in shade Orchid Ocean and its Gloss Lip Crayon in shade Bordeaux Vines. The satin lipstick is the most perfect haunted purple out there. But it’s not scary: Made with 100%-natural moisturizing ingredients like moringa and raspberry seed oils (so you could technically skip the balm if you’re on a time crunch) and featuring a satin finish, it makes your lips look like they've been tinted a gorgeous berry hue. I like to add a layer of the lip crayon over the lipstick for an extra-dimensional yet subtle ombré effect. And since the lip crayon is made with 100%-natural jojoba oil, kendi oil, and shea butter, it won't dry out your lips like most darker lipsticks do. Not into plummy colours? The lipstick line boasts an impressive 18 shades (in a satin or glossy finish) and the lip crayons come in six shades, so you can pick one or two that really sing to you.
So what were the benefits of switching over to a natural beauty regimen for a week, you ask? My skin feels less congested thanks to the natural primer and breathable foundation, and I have noticeably fewer breakouts and glowier skin as a result. I still get my fix as far as pigment quality goes, and I even found my new go-to fall lipstick. But most importantly, I've had a beauty epiphany, which is: Conscious beauty doesn’t have to be boring. Just because a product is natural, doesn’t mean it’s not going to work or that you need to sacrifice your favourite shades. You don’t have to be schooled in, say, turmeric and chia seeds to make the transition over, either. Moving forward, I’ll definitely be mingling some of my new natural beauty products (like said lipstick) in with my tried-and-true not-natural beauty products (like my beloved black liquid liner) because they actually work and make my skin happy. Even if you don’t live in a major metropolis, it’s always a good idea to set positive intentions for your self-care routine. The easiest way to start? By making small switches over toward the natural side. Because, yes, it is (surprisingly) easy to be green.