Healthy Living

My Favorite Clean Beauty Products

Hey friends! My last few posts have felt a little heavy, so I figured it was about time for something more fun! I did a round up of some skincare products I love earlier this year, but today I want to cover the whole spectrum of personal products, including some updates on skincare! If you've been around here a while, you know that products that are "clean" and safe to use are very important to me! So almost all of the things I'm sharing today fit into that category. As a disclaimer, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means the company (not you) pay me a percentage of the sale if you click and/or purchase something (read more here).

Ok, enough chit chat. Let's jump in.


Body

SheaMoisture African Black Soap
This bar soap has helped out my dry skin a ton! I get mine from Target, but I know Walmart carries it as well.

The Seaweed Bath Co. body wash
I know some people are anti-bar soap, so here is a great alternative. I love this body wash!! The scent is amazing. There's a eucalyptus scent as well that is heavenly. I like the lavender since I shower at night usually. It’s available at Target and Amazon.

Beauty by Earth self-tanner
My friend Mycah from Home Sweet Hunter recommended this brand to me and I love it! Easy application, non-orange and non-streaky color. Safe to use and easy on the budget!

Honest Company body lotion
Lightweight & moisturizing! I use this immediately after showering and anytime my skin is feeling a little dry. It’s available at Target as well, but the Amazon price is cheaper.

Primally Pure deodorant
I've tried a lot of natural deodorants, and this is my favorite! I've been using it for over a year. It’s non-irritating and actually keeps the BO away. Lemongrass and Blue Tansy are my favorite.


Hair

Love Beauty & Planet shampoo and conditioner
I love this budget friendly & safe option that I get at Target. I personally use the shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair, but they have a lot of good options depending on your hair type.

Love Beauty & Planet hair oil
Hair oil is great for taming frizziness and keeping hair moisturized (a must for me especially with color treated hair). I run this oil through my ends after I shower and when styling.

Not Your Mother's Dry Shampoo
I love this brand because it's budget friendly, lightweight, and unscented. You can find it at most drugstores including Target and Walmart.

eSalon hair dye
I'm at at-home hair color fan, mainly because I like to live on a budget. Also because making time to get to the salon frequently is next to impossible sometimes...especially when you have grays to cover up. And y'all, I'm just too vain to have grays in my 30s. eSalon is fully customizable color. You work with a color specialist to get exactly what you want. I have been using it for years and absolutely love it.

I’m in search of a clean or safer hairspray that doesn't cost $$$$, so hit me up with your recommendations in the comments!


Skincare

So YaYa Loopy Cleansing Balm
If you've never oil cleansed then we need to talk ASAP. It has totally changed and healed my skin! I've been oil cleansing for years. I stopped a few times for some reason, but I always come back. And I don't think I'll ever stop again now that I found this balm. It's a clay, coconut, and castor oil based cleanser. It removes all of your makeup and cleans the gunk off and out of your pores! It contains an emulsifier which makes it really easy to wash off of your face, unlike a lot of oil cleansers out there.

DIY Exfoliant
I just made this exfoliant my friend Blake shared in her skincare post. I love it! It's super easy to make, and does a great job at exfoliating and nourishing your skin at the same time.

Rosewater toning spray
My skin kind of freaked out and became super sensitive after my surgery, so I got this rosewater spray off of Amazon as a super gentle toner. Rosewater is really nourishing and helps balance your skin.

The Ordinary mandelic acid
Rachel from So YaYa told me about this, and I'm hooked. I was using a mild retinol, but the post-surgery skin sensitivity put a stop to that and I had to find something a little milder. "It exfoliates the skin by accelerating cell turnover, which in turn improves the overall texture and tone of skin. If your skin is dull and has a rough texture, it will help to smooth the surface and brighten your complexion – all while fighting off fine lines and wrinkles." Yes please.

So YaYa Quench Serum
Holy grail product. I use this after my mandelic acid at night. Just a couple of drops is sufficient to nourish all the skin on your face. I have dry skin and this serum has been a lifesaver. You can also use it as an under eye moisturizer if all your skin isn't dry like mine, and check out their other serums to find what works best for you. 

Radha Rosehip Oil
If I feel like I need a bit more moisture at night, I will put on a few drops of this rosehip oil. I discovered this oil a few years ago when searching for a natural alternative to retinol. Rosehip oil provides the skin with a rich source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It also helps brighten skin, reduces blemishes and has premature aging effects. I use this as my morning moisturizer as well (2-3 drops is plenty).

Beautycounter Rejuvenating Eye Cream
I’ve been using this for years and am obsessed. It know the price is high, but it works and will last you at least half a year! I’m not a Beautycounter consultant, just FYI. I just love some of their products!

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask
This mask claims to be the "world's most powerful facial". I don't disagree! Go read the reviews on it and you'll be sold, too! You mix it with apple cider vinegar (if you have super sensitive skin, it also mixes with water) and apply it to your face. You literally feel your face pulsing as it promotes circulation and cleans your pores. I use this twice a week! Super budget friendly too, hallelujah!

Andalou naturals BB cream with SPF
Daily sunscreen is a must. I did A LOT of googling, scouring EWG’s data base, and reading reviews in order to find this product that checked all too the boxes I wanted. It has a higher SPF than most that I found, it's tinted so it offers some coverage, it moisturizes, and helps fight signs of aging. It also won't leave a white sunscreen glow on your skin! And y'all, it's around $15! I was so glad to find this to replace the $40 one that I was previously using. 

I plan to do an updated full skincare routine post soon! I'll go into a little more detail that I did here.


Makeup

Andalou Naturals BB cream
On a daily basis this is the only coverage I use. Full description in the skincare section above.

Beautycounter Tint Skin foundation
Perfect on days when I need a little more coverage. I use the shade "linen".

Burt's Bees Blush
I love all the Burt's Bees cosmetics I've tried so far. I use the shade "shy pink" and love it. Find it at Target and Walmart.

Burt's Bees Nourishing Mascara
No flaking or clumping, and I really do feel like it nourishes my lashes. I really like this mascara, and I really like the price (about half the cost of the previous mascara I used). Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Beautycounter brow pencil
The shade is an exact match for my eyebrows which I love. It's easy to put on and doesn't wear off. I don't love that it's a pencil I have to sharpen, though. Does anyone else get annoyed by that? 

Beautycounter eye liner
Doesn't smudge off or irritate my eyes! This one also comes as a pencil I have to sharpen though. That’s my only critique.

So YaYa lip balm
Obsessed. Grab one to keep in your makeup drawer, your purse, your diaper bag, everywhere.

Burt's Bees Satin lipstick
Drugstore lipstick that's safe and doesn't dry out my lips! There are a ton of beautiful options, but if you can only get one I'd recommend Iced Iris. It won an Allure best in beauty award last year! Here’s a link to get it from Walmart!


Whew, we made it guys. I know that was a lot, but I wanted to create a resource that covered the entire spectrum of personal care products. If there's anything I didn't cover that you want to know about, comment below, email me, or shoot me a message on Instagram! If there's anything you want me to go more in-depth on let me know that as well! I'd also love to hear your product recommendations. Come chat and share away in the comments here or on social media! Cheers to safer beauty!

Save the photo below to pinterest to keep this as an easy reference!

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My Favorite Skincare Products

Skincare. It's something I get asked about a lot since I am pretty outspoken about safer products. Or maybe people just think I have fabulous skin? We'll go with that ;) I am finally settled in to a skincare routine, and I didn't want to do this post for you until I felt 100% confident recommending certain products. Our skin is with us our entire lives, so we need to take good care of it, right?

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Some of these items are affiliate links. If you aren't sure what that means, you can read about it here.

Cleanser

Primally pure cleansing oil Oil that cleanses? YES. This cleanser works because oil is meant to dissolve oil. Instead of using a harsh cleanser that strips your skin of it's natural oils, this pure oil cleanser works into your pores to dissolve the bad stuff, and then you replace it with the good stuff. I have super dry skin, but I also am prone to break outs. Oil cleansing has totally balanced my skin out. No dry patches, no oily patches, and no major breakouts. I know it's a great option for oily skin as well because it slows down your skin's own oil production! Primally Pure is the best oil cleanser I've used, and the packaging is absolutely gorgeous which doesn't hurt either. Make sure you choose the oil that best serves your skin type, and know that you'll have to moisturize with oil as well. I know it sounds crazy, but it really works. You can cleanse with this at night and just cleanse with warm water in the morning. Or use baking soda and water if you need a little bit of exfoliation.

Toner

Fatco toner I never really got the point in using a toner until I consistently started using one! And now there's no turning back. This toner has a simple ingredients list, made from ACV, witch hazel, and essential oils. Apple Cider Vinegar and Witch Hazel help balance out your skin's PH. Essential oils like Lavender and Rosemary help heal and regenerate your skin. This toner works really well with my oil cleansing routine. I use it morning and night.

Serum

"Buffet" from The Ordinary "Serum" was another thing I didn't really know much about or know I needed. And then I had three kids and turned 30. Gimme all the serums!! This magical "buffet" targets multiple signs of aging at once. It's a multi-peptide serum in a base of 11 skin-friendly amino acids and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes. It's very light weight, but very nourishing. It evens, softens, and brightens my skin. I use it morning and night. You need a tiny amount so it will last you a long time. And don't let the low price point on The Ordinary's products make you think they don't work - because they perform just as well as many high end products! 

Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane from The Ordinary I hope all the safe skin care people don't come after me for this one. Balance, ok?! Retinol generally gets a pretty bad wrap because it can cause bad reactions in sun light and can be harsh on your skin. This retinoid from The Ordinary has caused zero irritation on my skin, and it's paired with squalene oil which is very moisturizing. This formula has been shown to offer better results against multiple signs of ageing than retinol without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol. This, or any other form of retinol, should only be used at night. Make sure you cleanse your skin in the morning, limit sun exposure (which we all need to be doing anyway, right?) and wear sunscreen daily (I love Dew Skin from Beautycounter, and it doubles as my day-to-day foundation).

Eye cream

Beautycounter rejuvenating eye cream Magic in a bottle for your under eyes. It's very moisturizing and actually reverses the effects of all those sleepless nights thanks to our precious little children ;)  A good eye cream generally has a high price tag, especially when you see the little container it comes in. But it will last you months! Promise!

Moisturizer

Squalane Oil from Biossance or The Ordinary You would think with dry skin I would need a thick creamy moisturizer. Nope. This one ingredient solution does the job. The human body produces its own version of squalene oil (known as squalene), but the amount made and retained in the skin decreases over time. It can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs dermal suppleness. It doesn't clog pores and it's great for all skin types. It can also be applied to your hair! Two for one, y'all. I use 2-3 drops of this as my morning moisturizer (the retinoid I use has squalane in it already so I don't need to use another moisturizer at night). It's best to press oils into your skin instead of rubbing them in.

Mask

Aztec secret Indian healing clay This is my weekly go-tos. I know this one looks like it might be sketchy, but if you don't believe me just read the reviews or take two seconds to google it and you'll see hundreds of people singing its praises. Clay works to pull impurities out of your pores like no one's business. You can literally feel your face pulsing as it visibly brings the junk out and improves the blood flow to your skin. You can mix the clay with water or with apple cider vinegar. Using it with water is better if you have sensitive skin. 

Extras

Micro-Roller - Normally I wouldn't be all about a device that is covered in needles, but trust me when I say you need one of these! It stimulates epidermal growth factors to boost collagen and elastin that plump and firm skin and increases absorption of serums and moisturizers by more than 90%, making it one of the most powerful and effective ways to stop early signs of aging and prevent new fine lines and wrinkles from occurring. GLORY! And no, it doesn't hurt. Not even a little. I use my roller 3-4x a week after cleansing and before putting on serums and moisturizer.

Norwex body cloth - Ditch the makeup remover wipes that tend to leave behind a residue. The norwex body cloth is one of our can't live without items. We talked about Norwex in our safer cleaning products post, but they apply the same principles when it comes to your body. The microfiber cloth is able to pull all the gunk and junk off your face with just water. Seriously - all your makeup! I use it to pull the oil cleanser off my face at night and it works perfectly. It also contains a micro silver agent, which goes to work with self-purification properties against the mold, fungi and bacterial odor within 24 hours so that it is ready to use again.

Jade Roller - Jade rolling reduces wrinkles and puffiness, stimulates collagen production, minimizes toxic build up, closes and minimizes enlarged pores, boosts elastin and improves blood circulation, increases absorption of your daily face products, and it's simply relaxing. I started jade rolling a couple months ago and saw the benefits of it almost immediately. I keep my roller in the freezer and use it first thing in the morning to help with morning puffiness and to wake me up!

Water - Half your body weight in ounces. Every. single. day. This makes a huge difference in so many things, including your skin! 

Probiotics - At the end of the day, you could spend all the money in the world on skincare, but if you're not taking care of your gut it will all be for nothing. I notice a huge difference in my skin if I forget to take my probiotics everyday. When I take them, it really helps to keep my complexion free of flare-ups from too much dark chocolate ;). 

Skincare can feel really overwhelming if you're trying to find what works for you. I hope this made it a little bit easier. I have tried so many things, so if you want some help beyond this feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram, Facebook, or email! And let me know some of your favorite products in the comments!

How I Transitioned to a Healthier Lifestyle

For a lot of people, the idea of switching to a "cleaner" or non-toxic lifestyle can feel a bit overwhelming. So today I wanted to share my story of how I transitioned from Windex and Splenda to essential oils and raw honey so to speak ; )

About five and a half years ago I had my first baby. And it was the first time I'd really had to consider actively losing some weight. So I headed to the gym, but the scale wasn't moving. So I decided it was time to count some calories. I got a calorie counting app, and 1200 seemed like the magic number to drop some pounds. And it worked. I lost the weight. But calories were the only thing I was concerned about, not nutritional value. I'd bake cookies and cook with splenda. I'd buy low fat cereals and meal replacement shakes (remember Slim Fast??). I'd consider it a good day if I had an apple or some other fruit.

About a year after Evan was born, someone I was following on social media posted about the book Grain Brain and I started reading about gluten-free diets. This was right before the new year started, so health goals were on my mind. It peaked my interest because it was more about the overall health of your body, and how it could aid in your digestion. Gluten free felt a bit too extreme and maybe not really necessary. That's when I came across 100 Days of Real Food. I started learning about choosing whole grains and whole, clean foods - cutting out the processed junk. I began reading ingredients labels and not just the calorie count. The more I started to read, the more frustrated I would get. And the more I knew I wanted to overhaul our pantry and change our mindset when it came to food.

I noticed so many changes in my body immediately, and I knew I could never go back to the way I had been eating beforehand. I felt less bloated, had less headaches, my digestion improved, and my skin improved. And once you KNOW what's in the food being sold and marketed on a daily basis, you can't un-know it. Seriously, start looking at ingredient labels if you don't already. What the heck is the stuff they're putting in your food?!?

Changing our pantry naturally led into me next changing what kind of cleaning products we used. I knew if I was improving what kinds of things were going IN our bodies, then I also needed to improve what kinds of things we were breathing in and putting on the surfaces in our home. I had a toddler who was getting into everything and I knew I didn't want him stumbling across and crawling through who knows what kinds of chemicals. I first switched over to Branch Basics because it pretty much could be used for EVERYTHING from surface cleaner to laundry detergent to bug killer. I loved it, and still have a big jug of it in our cabinet. Then I found out about Norwex, and it was even easier to use than a spray cleaner. I love all of the products from Norwex that I have tried. (If you want to learn more about other safer household cleaning options, read our post about it here.)

I then naturally began to find safer personal products. That first started with my kids, especially since Evan had eczema and sensitive skin. I noticed his bottom would break out from regular diapers and pull-ups, and it immediately got better when we switched to an organic brand. His skin also stopped having flare ups when we switched to a safer body wash. That's when I knew I needed to change over the products I was using too. (You can read about other safer options for your kids in our post here.)

I went in search of safer skincare when I was pregnant with Porter because I was having pregnancy related breakouts and knew I couldn't use anything harsh on my skin. But the more I began to search, the more disappointed I got. All of the things that looked safe or natural really weren't. I remember using the dermatologist recommended "gentle skin cleanser" and having my face BURN. I knew something wasn't right. I stumbled across Beautycounter through a blogger's post on social media, and I started to learn about the lack of regulation on the entire cosmetics industry. I tried out the products and was in love. I've even used a few 100% natural things like oil cleansing and just using a Norwex body cloth in lieu of soap (sounds crazy, but has been so much better for my skin than traditional soap products that strip your skin of its natural moisture).

I'm still learning so much everyday about ways to make our life overall safer and healthier. And we don't do it 100% right for sure. There's lots of room for improvement, and there are some things I just don't stress myself out about. My kids still eat goldfish. We still buy ice cream and cookies on occasion, and my toilets currently have blue water (hey...my hubby went to the store and bought the cleaner and scrubbed them so I am not about to complain about that). But we are doing the best we can. My point is, this has been a progression over YEARS. It takes time. You just have to start somewhere and change things one at at time. It is doable and it doesn't mean you have to dish out a ton of money and throw everything in the trash all at once. Some things do cost more, of course. But your overall health is worth a few extra dollars.

If you are overwhelmed by the process and want some advice, please feel free to email me anytime! I'd love to help you. 

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Favorite Safer Cleaning Products

I am pretty passionate about eliminating as many toxic chemicals from our household as possible, and love sharing the things I have learned and the products that I have switched to with anyone who will listen. Today I'm sharing my favorite tried and true swaps!

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Thieves Cleaner

The Thieves Household Cleaner is an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner that can be used in any area of your home. From all-purpose, to a degreaser, and even a glass cleaner, it has so many uses. It comes in a concentrated formula, so even though it's a bit pricey, it really goes a long way and lasts for a while. You will need a dark glass spray bottle (like this one) and some distilled water for this cleaner. You can be sure that you aren't exposing your loved ones to any harmful chemicals while still getting a good, deep clean when you use this cleaner.

Norwex

I first heard about Norwex products a few years ago, and I fell in love. For now I'll just mention their Envirocloth, but I truly love all of their products that I have tried. The envirocloth is a microfiber cleaning rag that you can clean ALL OF THE THINGS with. And the best part? All you need is water. The microfiber picks up all the particles off of the surface you're cleaning, giving it the ability to remove 99% of bacteria. Their patented BacLock is an antibacterial material (say that 10 times fast) inside of the cloths that kill all the bacteria that you pick up inside of the cloth. It's amazing. And it cleans SO well. Watch this demo and you will be sold immediately. I would recommend grabbing the household package, but I am obsessed with the cleaning paste and the mop system as well. It has cut down the amount of time I spend cleaning, because I'm not having to spray and then wipe things down. And when you're using just water you're not leaving cleaning product residue on your surfaces that will attract dust and grime. Norwex is a direct sales company so ask around your friend group to see if someone knows a consultant!

Seventh Generation Dishwasher Pods

It's shocking what the big brand dishwasher detergents rate on the Environmental Working Group's Healthy Guide to Cleaning website. Most dishwasher detergents and pods are formulated using chlorine, phosphates, synthetic fragrances, and many other questionable ingredients that we don't need to be exposed to. So, it was a no brainer to switch to Seventh Generation dishwasher pods. They have an A rating by the EWG, they are convenient, and they work! Check, check, and check!

Molly's Suds

Just like dishwasher detergent, many laundry detergents rate horribly on the EWG website. Molly's Suds has an A rating, and is comprised of only five plant-derived ingredients and is great for sensitive skin. It is just as effective as more well known brands, without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, fillers, carcinogens, preservatives or GMO ingredients. Molly's also carries an Oxygen Whitener and Sport Laundry Wash to add as boosters to their laundry detergent.

Nellie's All-Natural Laundry Soda

This is another favorite safer laundry detergent. It's hypoallergenic, non-toxic, biodegradable, and contains no GMOs or harsh chemicals. And it works! They also make an oxygen brightener to help keeps your whites white without having to use bleach.

Wool Dryer Balls

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, dryer sheets are not exempt from harmful chemicals and most rate terribly on the EWGWool dryer balls are a great alternative. They are a natural fabric softener, reusable, they are wrinkle reducers and time savers, and they are anti-static. If you like the scent that comes along with dryer sheets, you can easily add a few drops of essential oils to the dryer balls for a safe, non-synthetic fragrance.

What are you using to clean with around your house? Do you know how your products rate?

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Favorite At-Home Workouts

Working out. You either love it, tolerate it because you know it's good for you, or absolutely hate it. I am somewhere between loving it and doing it because I know it's good for me, depending on the day. As moms it's easy to just let our fitness level slide because life is just crazy busy, right? And getting out the door to take all the kids to the gym with you can be daunting (and expensive). Thankfully there are so many awesome workout options you can do at home. So today I am going to share a few of my favorites!

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21 Day Fix

21 Day Fix is one of the first at home programs I fell in love with. This helped me get in shape after I had Porter. I didn't really work out on any type of consistent basis before that. It comes with 7 different 30 minute workouts - cardio, upper body, lower body, pilates, yoga, etc. The way each workout is broken up makes it go by really quickly (thank you Jesus), and there are modifiers for everything  so it can be as intense or non-intense as you want it to be. It also comes with a super easy to follow nutrition plan that takes all of the guess work out of counting calories and portions. It helped me learn how much of each food group I should be eating! I was able to do this program during my pregnancy with Gibson (slowly modified more and more) and it's the first program I went back to once I was cleared for exercise again. I can't recommend it enough!

Tone It Up

If you like to have a good variety in workouts, I recommend Tone It Up. Best of all, it's free! There is premium content you can pay for, but I haven't tried any of those yet. Honestly when I first heard of it and saw the two girls running around in bikinis I thought the workouts would be lame. But they are far from it (I guess they look like they do for a reason, right?). They are super challenging and dynamic. Their YouTube channel has a huge variety of workouts that you can do individually or combine depending on your goals and time frame. They also have a daily workout on their page that links to one of their videos and has 5 daily moves for you to do. I like to have a schedule like that because it takes the guess work out and keeps me from procrastinating while I try to decide what I'm going to do (am I the only one who has spent longer trying to decide on a workout than actually doing the workout?!).

Popsugar Fitness

I like Popsugar Fitness for a lot of the same reasons I like Tone It Up: it's free and there's a huge variety. You can search their channel based on what type of workout you are looking for and by the time frame you are wanting. These are also super challenging and effective. They add new content pretty frequently so you'll never get tired of it. This 20 minute workout is one of my favorites.

Seconds Pro App

I love the Seconds Pro app for HIIT, Tabata, and any type of interval workout. Like Courtney, sometimes I just browse through Pinterest to find something new to try. I love this app more than other ones I've had in the past because you can actually type in the different moves for whatever workout you're doing. That way you're not having to keep a sheet of paper close by or switch back and forth from your timer to Pinterest. It even tells you what move is coming up next. You can also save and share the workouts you've created. It's $4.99, but if you workout frequently it's worth the cost for sure. I did a couple of personal training sessions with my friend Jackie recently and she was able to send me the workouts we did so I could do that at home on my own!

Well that's it for today! Do you like to workout at home? If so let me know if you have any favorites I should try!

This post contains Amazon and iTunes affiliate links.