all natural beauty.

i am not really that fashion- or beauty-forward.  i have a very distinct style that is all my own, but i am definitely not what you would call someone who is in tune with all the latest trends.  i wear what i love, even if it isn't cool [it usually isn't].  but what i like about this habit of mine is that i have lots of looks that are distinctly 'alaina', as my friends + family would say.  oh, that is so alaina.  which, in case you haven't caught on, is actually how i named this blog.

however, i do get a lot of questions on how i do my makeup.  not because it is always flawless and put together [never], but because i only use all-natural makeup.  i have for years.  it started in 2010, when few natural beauty products were on the market.  i have been trying them all since then and have found what i really think are the BEST.

you know how the all-natural game goes.  it looks great, the ingredient list reads like a dream, and you think yes! this is exactly what i have been searching for and will make me look dew-y and like a queen of the earth who cares more about our oceans than my eyeliner, but also my eyeliner is fabulous.  but then you try said all-natural product and though you want it to so so badly, it just doesn't deliver the way your old chemical-laden product does.  this is how i always felt anyway.

so here, for your pleasure, is my tried-and-true all-natural product list [with two exceptions**] that read and work like dreams come true.

natural beauty must-haves

first for body care --

1. acure organics shampoo + conditioner // currently i'm using the pure mint + echinacea stem cell shampoo followed by the moroccan argan oil + argan stem cell conditioner.  this stuff is the REAL DEAL.  of all the natural beauty stuff, finding shampoo that really sudsed up and conditioner that didn't leave my hair a tangled dried out mess was the hardest.  but after reading about the conditioner from goddess huntress, i tried it, and i've never looked back.  by far the best i've ever found.

2.  kiss my face pure olive oil bar soap // i'm a bar soap girl. i don't like the massive plastic bottles filled with scented gel you can smell from down the hall.  this stuff is moisturizes awesomely, smells great, and is so mild i even use it on my face at night and sometimes in the mornings.

3.  burt's bees peach + willowbark deep pore scrub // i use this to exfoliate every couple days in the morning, usually the days i wash my hair [every 3-4 days].  it's fabulous.  other days i use the bar soap listed above or i don't use soap [in the mornings].  too much soap dries out your skin, so i just wash away with cool water.

4.  thayer's rose petal witch hazel toner // smells like a garden.  i use this at the end of every day to remove all the oil from my skin and help moisturize.  if it's a really hot day i'll use it whenever i need a bit of cool-down or freshen up.

5.  burt's bees radiance day cream // don't let the name fool you.  i use this morning and night.  it's somehow creamy and light and it never makes my face oily.  the key though is to put it on while your skin is still damp from the witch hazel for the best glow and moisturization.

6.  soapwalla kitchen deodorant cream // i found this little gem at follain in the south end and it is the first natural deodorant i found that actually works.  and smells yummy.  it's kind of weird that it's a cream but you'll get over it.  a little goes a long way.

and now on to makeups! 

7.  jane iredale dream tint // hands down, jane is the best.  i have tried lots and lots and LOTS of foundation//tinted moisturizers//etc and never have i bought the same bottle twice because i have never found one that i like that much.  but jane is IT.  the gold standard of natural makeup.  light but medium coverage i can swipe on and forget about - hardly even needs blending in.  and you can't tell i'm wearing it [so i'm told].  AND it's got spf coverage FTW.

8.  rms beauty un-coverup // you can't go wrong with a coconut oil base.  the price is a little steep, but one little jar will last you forever. gives great coverage and doesn't cake up.  gives skin that dewey look i adore so much.  with this even the most tired of mommies can look hydrated!  and well rested! 

9.  korres B5 + rice bran mascara // another find that took me a while, mostly because natural mascaras are hard to come by.  i love this one though, and i love that it isn't waterproof.  who needs waterproof on a daily basis?  i don't have time to take that off at night.  i just heard that sephora won't carry this anymore though, so i don't know where i'll get my next bottle.

10.  burt's bees tinted lip balm // this was given to me as a gift and i LOVE it.  i only use burt's bees chapsticks and never wear lip gloss [too sticky] or lip stick [too high maintenance] but this is the perfect blend.  it's tinted chapstick so you don't even have to look in a mirror to put it on.  fabulous.  helps me feel pulled together even when i'm wiping spit up off myself with baby wipes.

11.  trader joe's organic virgin coconut oil // the multi-use natural beauty jackpot.  i use this for my hair, to tame fly aways, make it smell nice and seal up split ends.  it's also great to take off stubborn eye makeup if you need that sort of thing [me, not so much].

12.  essie nail polish // this shade is spin the bottle, but really, you can't go wrong with any color. nail polish is fun but one of the nastiest beauty products you can find.  i love getting manis + pedis but rarely get to anymore, so every once in a while i'll swipe on some color at night before bed.  essie is the best because they are big five free, which means no dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, or camphor.

and now for two other products that don't fall in the all-natural category...

13.  stila convertible color in gerbera // i use this as my blush.  it's creamy and light.  it is, however, not all natural [however, it really isn't that bad health-wise].  i like my creamy blushes i can dab on here and there and keep my skin dewey.  but i still haven't found an all-natural blush that i love.  if you have, then by ALL means please share!   

14.  bare escentuals buxom eyeliner // the eyeliner i used to use is no more, so i tried this stuff out.  the rep at sephora claimed it is all-natural but i can't find any evidence to back that up.  it's not half bad though.  also it is supposedly waterproof but i have not found that to be true, not that i am complaining.  anyone have good recommendations for eyeliners?

**if you aren't sure what is lurking in your makeup, here's how you find out!  check out the good guide or the environmental working group's skin deep database.  if it isn't listed in one you should be able to find it in the other, or in both! 

so there you have it.  my low-frills, all-natural beauty routine.  so easy, any mama of a twelve week old can handle it.  promise.


something unexpected happened my first week home from the hospital after julian was born.  i had just gotten out of the shower and was putting on my nursing bra.  i wanted to try and clasp it in the back per my 30 before 30 list, but it's hard enough to put on a bra when the bra must also touch incredibly sore nipples and be lined with breast pads.  so i figured one thing at a time.

i stood in front of my vanity mirror inadvertently to clasp my bra and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  my breasts looked like giant porn star boobs, two water balloons leaking and ready to burst.  my belly had shrunk substantially, but rather than looking 3-4 months pregnant like i'd thought i would postpartum, it looked like a deflated tire that sags a little over my hips.  those stretch marks i thought were so small look much bigger now that my belly has shrunk considerably.  i thought they would look smaller on a smaller belly, but that is not the case.  the days of having time to straighten my hair are behind me, and it's forever a mess of curls i don't even have time to style every day.  as i stared at myself in the mirror, i started to cry.  happy, happy tears.

in that moment, i was overcome with love and gratitude for my body.  i realized what a spectacular, magical body i truly have to deliver my baby naturally.  my body really did some amazing stuff.  i'm strangely proud of my little stretch marks.  they fill me with pride, knowing that i have my son because of those marks.  my breasts may never look the same after breastfeeding, but they are serving an actual purpose. 

during my hospital stay, it was a relief to treat my body like what it is: a vessel.  it's not a sex object.  it's not used to make other people happy.  right now it is serving it's ultimate purpose in life - i made a baby, and i am now sustaining that baby solely off of my own body.  and for those few days in the hospital, it was a huge relief to not dress my body up in anything.  i walked around in mesh underwear occasionally.  my entire family has now seen my breasts when they were used to feed julian.  more strangers than i can count on one [or maybe two] hands came in to inspect my stitches every day.  i had brought makeup to the hospital and never put it on.

i thought that loving my body would be a monumental task after pregnancy.  but rather than loving my body in the way i thought i would want to after pregnancy, my birth experience instead gave me a whole new appreciation for my body.  and quite honestly, i feel stupid for even putting it on my list in the way i meant it.  it makes me feel kind of shallow in retrospect.

my body is not for anyone else but me -- and my son right now.  and i wouldn't have it any other way.

i look like me!

so you know how sometimes you see a picture of yourself and you think, that's not really what i look like.  i do.  that happens all the time to me.

but when i look at these pictures that my friend smita of hogger & co took of me for a style profile, well, i was pretty pleased.  the photos came out wonderful, and she somehow managed to capture me looking like i think i look in my head.  and of course it helps that we are in the north end, where i feel most at home in the city.  but it also helps that i am not airbrushed.  i have curves in my photos, and my chin is extra-padded underneath.  i wore my glasses, because i wear glasses mostly.  the end result is that i look like me, and i really like it. 

her style profile on me is up over on her website, but here are a few of my favorites.

more photo after the jump!

all photos by hogger & co.