I’ve gone through a lot of phases with my skin and beauty. I used to be a maximalist — from Grade 9 on (the first year I was allowed to wear makeup), I developed a daily routine of cleanser, toner, moisturizer, foundation, two types of concealer, loose powder, blush, highlighter, eyeshadow, eyeliner, primer, mascara, lip liner, lip gloss, remove makeup at night, cleanse, tone, moisturize, repeat.
My skin was horrid.
As a former product junkie, minimalizing my routine was key to helping my budget, my skin and, honestly, my sanity. While vegan toiletry products can be expensive, I actually find myself not going through them as quickly as I used to because I’ve developed better habits around them. This includes:
- I don’t wear makeup every day, and I have three kind of different “levels” of makeup (four if you count level 1, which is “none at all,” which I often wear for days when I know I’m just going to the office, not meeting with anyone, climbing, etc).
- Concealer, powder, lip balm — usually if I’m going to be in a place where I’ll be seeing a lot of people and want to feel comfortable, but don’t want to bother piling it on.
- Tinted moisturizer, concealer, powder, eyeliner, tinted lip balm, brows — lunches, meetings, chilling with my friends or my Mom.
- Primer, tinted moisturizer, concealer, powder, blush, eyeliner, mascara, tinted lip balm, brows — dates, going out, job interviews, etc.
- Because of this, I only wash my face with soap on days when I actually do wear makeup beyond just the concealer/powder/lip balm level. On those days, I use a cleansing wipe at the end of the day. When I wear makeup, I only wash my face at night to get the makeup off, then moisturize to go to bed.
- Now, that’s not to say I don’t wash my face every day. I wash my face with water and a facecloth, scrubbing my problem areas (forehead and chin) thoroughly and then patting dry. Seriously, try cutting out facial soaps to just days when you’ve worn makeup and days when you are having serious problems with your skin. I have had combo/oily skin most of my life (and am now developing dry patches) and this method works so much better than soap, soap, soap.
- I only wash my hair every three days or so (again, naturally oily hair — that’s the plus side of having positively no hair, I guess).
- I also don’t use any hair products besides the occasional wax. No treatments, no leave-ins, nothing. In fact, the reason I cut my hair was because I was standing in Sephora looking for something to treat my breakage-prone hair with, and I thought to myself, “I am literally contemplating spending $75 on a product for my hair when I could cut it all off for half that price.” So I did.
- While I haven’t sworn completely off blow-drying or straightening my hair, I only do it on special occasions. For my hair, there’s no substitute for a good brushing and regular trims.
But now, for my actual list of favourite products — I’ll post makeup next week, since I’m planning on looking totally fly for our work Christmas lunch (disclaimer: none of these selections are sponsored in any way).
- Body wash: If I’m going to wash with something every single day, yeah, I’m going to invest in it. I love LUSH’s Grass. I never saw myself paying so much money for soap, but… okay, I’m not even going to try justifying it. Also, I never thought that my least favourite smell growing up would turn into my favourite smell as an adult.
- Shampoo: Alba Botanica has been a go-to brand of mine for years now, and they are actually affordable and you can buy them in any Shopper’s Drug Mart or Target. I use their Body Builder Mango shampoo, because it not only lifts my hair off my scalp, but smells so nice and fresh! (If you can’t tell, I’m big on scents).
- Shave cream: Kiss My Face 4-in-1 Lavender & Shea Moisture Shave is an awesome pick because it acts as a moisturizer for my skin as well as a shave cream. My leg skin is very dry, so any chance I can get to give it some extra TLC, I take.
- Moisture balm: LUSH’s Ultrabalm is the only balm I will use — and I go through this stuff like mad. I use it on my elbows and knees, my cuticles, my calluses (you’d be surprised how quickly I can transform my hands from climber hands to normal person hands!) and, of course, my tattoos.
- Body moisturizer: Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil body lotion — I’d be lost without this stuff.
- Deodorant: Lafe’s Natural Deodorant Stick in Powder. I never thought I’d find a natural deodorant that actually stopped me from stinking up my clothes. This stuff is no joke. It goes on thick and stays on all day.
- Toothpaste: I like toothpaste. I can’t lie, I actually have had a bad habit for swallowing toothpaste on occasion since I was a little kid. But hey, I’m still here, right? Oh my gosh, did I just admit that on the Internet? Anyway, Kiss My Face makes a vegan, fluoride-free whitening gel which I’ve been using for months now and my teeth are legitimately sparkly from it (okay, maybe there’s no actual sparkles, but still)…
- Mouthwash: I don’t use mouthwash every day because, honestly, when you’re hydrated with well-brushed teeth, you don’t need it that badly. But sometimes, the occasion calls for it. You never know, you might meet a close-talker. Tom’s of Maine’s Cleansing Mouthwash has had a featured spot in my bathroom for two years now.
- Face wash: Have I gone this long without mentioning Desert Essence? Well, it’s about to get a lot of love from me. I love Desert Essence. I’ve used their shampoos, body washes, lotions, etc., for years now. Their Thoroughly Clean Face Wash is the one product I always come back to. The face wash is great for combo or oily skin, and doesn’t ever leave my skin feeling like there’s a yucky residue left on it.
- Facial moisturizer: Yet another shout-out to LUSH for this — I’ve been using Imperialis since 2012 (before I was even a vegetarian) and it works wonders. I bought it specifically because I’m in a strange in-between phase with my skin where I still have the oiliness of my youth combined with the dryness of my 20s. I legitimately did not believe that I could find a moisturizer which managed to serve both needs, but this one takes the cake.
- Lip balm: Another Desert Essence superstar here. It’s legitimately difficult to find an actual vegan lip balm, but their Lip Rescue Moisturizing balm is not only vegan and non-GMO, it’s an amazing, neutral scent that is neither too waxy nor too heavy on the moisture. Seriously, who needs colour on their lips when they’re this soft?
Well, there you have it — me at my girliest.
You just wait until I start with the makeup!