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Life + Loving Lately, Stripped Down Beauty Edition

I’m home from a whirlwind trip to West Virginia. Although the circumstances for my visit were very sad, it was so heart-warming and wonderful to see my extended family.

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I can’t even tell you how many trips I made to these mountains of West Virginia when I was growing up riding in the backseat of my grandparent’s car. I have a pretty large extended family on my dad’s side and this visit was the push I needed to really commit to reconnecting. We are spread all over the country these days but it sure is nice to all come together. I’m finding that with each passing year of my life, that family is becoming more and more of a priority for me.

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It was also wonderful to have my parents in Charlotte for a couple of nights. They’re heading back to Florida early Friday but I’ll see them again next week! The girls especially loved having them around.

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I’m gearing up for a busy weekend of teaching and teacher training. Between Friday and Sunday I’m teaching five yoga classes, two strength/HIIT classes and leading TT. We started our 200-hour teacher training last weekend and it’s always so much fun to see a fresh, new group of yogis teach for the first time. The training takes place over the course of eight weekend intensives and we’ve got weekend two coming up!

I wanted to quickly share a few beauty items I’ve been loving lately to wrap up the week!

I have been focusing on stripping my skincare down to basics while trying to heal my eyes and going through the Whole30. Here are some products that have been a beneficial for me.

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Aquaphor. I am so convinced that this is a miracle potion. I use it on my eyes every day and always slather a thick layer on before bed. It’s also been great for my lips in combating the dry air we’ve been experiencing with the temperature drop.

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Cerave PM facial moisturizing lotion. My dermatologist instructed me to use this as a base layer before applying any of my normal skincare products, especially during the winter months. It’s been a great moisturizer for me and I use it AM and PM.

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Whole Foods 365 Maximum Moisture Body Lotion. I’m slowly migrating over to a more natural, holistic overall routine and I’ve recently switched out my lotions and body wash to products. This lotion was recommended to me by someone who works in the body care department at Whole Foods. It’s half the price of the other lotions they carry but works wonders on your skin!

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Jason Calming Lavender Body Wash. I am a sucker for anything lavender scented, especially for shower and bath and this has been my go-to recently.

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Village Naturals Aches + Pains Muscle Relief Mineral Bath Soak. Remember that “new evening routine” that I wrote about last week? These bath salts have been a great help for creating a relaxing and therapeutic bath experience. It’s been extra nice given all the strength training I’ve been doing lately!

I need your help! I always get such great recommendations from you guys and would love your assistance.

1) I would love to hear recommendations for more natural and earth-friendly beauty products you use and resources you reference for comparing products and making product choices.

2) My blow dryer started throwing sparks at me and sounding more like a lawn mower than a blow dryer. Anyone have a blow dryer you love and would recommend? I’m looking for one that really helps smooth the hair while also cutting drying time.

Have a happy Friday!

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Miche January 15, 2016, 12:44 am

    I have eczema on my hands and used to experience breakouts on my body. I’m a big fan of the WF 365 Maximum Moisture lotion but an even bigger fan of Eucerin, which my dermatologist recommended. There’s a special formula for eczema. She also had me switch to Dove body wash and purchase a humidifier. The humidifier makes a HUGE difference. On top of all that, I have a couple prescription creams.

    So… Ok, none of these are particularly earth-friendly, but these are the solutions I can honestly recommend. When I can, I always prefer to use earth-friendly products, so I’m curious to see what others suggest.

    • 2
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:38 am

      Thanks for all the suggestions! I’ve heard good things about Eucerin.

  • 3
    Audie January 15, 2016, 1:28 am

    Badger balm is a favorite of mine. They have a lavender bergamot calm one that I think you will love. I also create my own sleepy time pillow mist using lavender oil and water. Seventh generation laundry detergent made a big difference for my skin. And I have recently discovered the SheaMoisture product line that not only smells amazing but does a good job to boot.

    Day 5 whole 30 for me! RxBar (pumpkin spice) has been a great go to when I am out and about!

    • 4
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:39 am

      Thanks for the recommendations!

  • 5
    maya January 15, 2016, 5:19 am

    After years of struggling with dry skin and some dermatitis (elbows mainly) I finally found a body moisturiser – organic, extra virgin olive oil applied on wet skin after the shower. You won’t need loads, because it spreads easily on wet skin. Tap dry (don’t rub) and you are done. You won’t smell like a salad, don’t worry, it all gets soaked in and the skin is really supple and soft afterwards. You can do the same with coconut oil, but I find olive oil even more moisturising.

    For hair, you can put either a bit of olive oil or coconut oil on dry ends before washing, then wash and style as usual (works great). For the face, I am sad to say that nothing works as good as Creme de la Mer, which is really expensive. But my redness and dryness are gone and my skin is perfect, and when I run out, in a few weeks, the redness comes back. So Creme de a Mer at night (it takes a month to fully kick in, and initially you might get some tiny pimples, as the skin balances itself out) and in the morning, I use a squirt of Amie Morning Dew moisturiser mixed in with a few drops of argan oil . I hope your eyes are getting better!

    • 6
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:42 am

      Thanks so much!

  • 7
    Hilary January 15, 2016, 5:31 am

    I am right there with ya on wanting to start including some holistic and natural beauty products! I can’t wait to check out the comments from your readers!

  • 8
    Christina January 15, 2016, 6:27 am

    Jen trust me when I say this is the best blowdryer I’ve ever used! My friend has one and when I used her’s one time I simply had to go buy it for myself and have since convinced two other friends to buy it! It cuts drying time in half and makes hair so silky smooth. I have wavy/frizzy hair and this has been a miracle for those days when I just want it smooth and sleek. You can get it on sale on amazon for cheaper than anywhere else (where I bought mine) and it still comes with a warranty which you can register for on the GHD website.

    http://www.amazon.com/GHD-Professional-Performance-Hair-Dryer/dp/B00BYXT0R6

    • 9
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:43 am

      Thank you!!

  • 10
    Dixie January 15, 2016, 7:12 am

    I use “kiss my face olive oil soap” to clean body in shower. I moisturize w/ either organic olive oil/coconut oil/almond oil all over body after shower. I use jojoba oil for my face. When I need to exfoliate, I will make a body scrub of oil & sugar or oil & fresh coffee grounds or just use a handful of baking soda. Apple cider vinegar is great as a toner. I also do a deep cleaning mask of mud. If my skin is extra dry from winter sports, I’ll use “babyganics ezcema cream” as an all over body lotion.

    My skin is very moisturized & quite dewy looking, however, this line of skin care doesn’t do much to prevent/reverse signs of aging.

    I’m the extreme when it comes to natural body care & cleansers for my home. My bathroom cabinet contains about the same skin care ingredients as my kitchen does for cooking. I could possibly look younger & hope to reverse or delay sun damage done when I was a teen & in my early 20’s w/ more commercial/traditional skincare products, but it’s not worth the chemicals in body in my opinion.

    • 11
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:44 am

      Thanks for the ideas!

  • 12
    Kiki January 15, 2016, 7:49 am

    Babybliss hair dryers are the best! A little more expensive but worth it. I went thru many dryers over the years until a friend recommended babybliss.

    • 13
      Laura January 15, 2016, 9:46 am

      I second this! I love mine so much that I bought the travel size so I never have to do without it while traveling, at the gym etc! Totally worth the investment!

    • 14
      Angela January 15, 2016, 9:48 am

      I completely agree! I have a Babybliss regular and travel hair dryer and use them both! Check amazon prices they are usually cheaper! You will not be disappointed!

    • 15
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:44 am

      Good to know! Thanks!

    • 16
      Rebecca January 15, 2016, 11:19 am

      Totally agree! (I commented below as well.) My hairdresser uses all Babyliss appliances. Having a good hair dryer made a HUGE difference in the health of my hair.

  • 17
    Britt January 15, 2016, 8:04 am

    My favorite moisturizing products are from Savannah Bee. I love their shampoo and conditioner as well. They sell it at my local Whole Foods here in Georgia. As for a blow dryer, I’ve been using the same (literally, I have never had to replace it) Remington T Studio Pearl Cermanic blow dryer for 7 years. I can blow dry my hair in about 5-10 minutes tops.
    I’m definitely going to try the 365 lotion you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • 18
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:46 am

      Thanks!

  • 19
    Shannon January 15, 2016, 8:47 am

    I use CeraVe moisturizer and Jason body wash! I recently started using Aveeno for sensitive skin for my body lotion but I haven’t really researched it much (recommended by my doctor)–has helped with itchy skin for me though. Day 12 of Whole30 for me and my itchy legs haven’t acted up recently (one of the main reasons I’m doing it too).
    I also like Burt’s Bees moisturizer- it’s a little thicker but it’s a nice compact size so I use that when I’m traveling.

    Dove soap has always been my go-to for washing my face. I use an exfoliating scrub once or twice a week (generic target brand–on a budget!) that’s refreshing.

    • 20
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 10:47 am

      I’m glad whole30 is working for you! Thanks for the suggestions.

  • 21
    Sue January 15, 2016, 9:42 am

    Hi Jen- after year after year of frustrating average “big box” blow dryers- I decided to invest in a good one. I bought it from my salon.
    However you can find it on amazon.
    Moroccan Oil Professional series – model #MO2000
    It was expensive. But not over the top.
    Best investment I made!! It dries my hair super fast and keeps it smooth. My hairdresser has this same one she uses on all her clients and has had it for 3 years. Therefore, it should last a very long time- with my average use. I cannot recommend a better blow dryer – it’s simply awesome!!

    • 22
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 3:55 pm

      Thank you!

  • 23
    Amanda January 15, 2016, 9:44 am

    Hi Jenn! I was so excited to see you posting a CeraVe product. I struggled with dry skin and eczema for years. A dermatologist finally told me to use CeraVe products. I use their cleanser, body lotion, SA lotion, and AM & PM lotions. My skin has never felt so good! I went for a facial the other day (I hadn’t had one in 6 months) and the esthetician told me that my skin didn’t look like it needed a facial at all!

    • 24
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 3:56 pm

      Wow! Thank you!

  • 25
    Emily January 15, 2016, 9:45 am

    I have always suffered from eczema (especially seasonally — as it gets more humid and warm in the summer) and chapped lips/skin in the winter. I love Aquaphor for lessening chapped skin. For eczema, I LOVE First Aid Beauty! Great alternative to steroid creams that actually works!

    • 26
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 3:57 pm

      Thanks!

  • 27
    ali January 15, 2016, 10:43 am

    This is a great source for finding healthy products!
    http://www.ewg.org/?gclid=CPKz-emTrMoCFVU8gQodUxsDVA

    • 28
      Jen DeCurtins January 15, 2016, 3:58 pm

      Awesome! Thanks!

  • 29
    Pam January 15, 2016, 10:44 am

    Jen, I was sorry to read about your sadness but a connection to family is always so special. The photo of the pups was adorable as usual! As to more natural beauty products, I use Pangea face products (they are plant based, all natural), Glo makeup and Aveeno body products. I use sesame oil on my skin and in my bath.
    I hop this helps.
    I am returning to more teacher trying for myself. Adding 300 more hours to my resume. I am going through Balance Health on 30a with Kelli James Precourt. If your ever in the panhandle of Florida you should take a class from her!

    • 30
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:29 pm

      Thanks!

  • 31
    Rebecca January 15, 2016, 11:15 am

    I only use certified cruelty-free beauty products, and as a bonus these tend to use natural ingredients as well. Check Leaping Bunny (http://www.leapingbunny.org/) and you can search by product type or brand (they also have an app that you can use to scan a barcode and it will tell you if it’s Leaping Bunny certified).

    I have super sensitive skin and have personally had success with The Body Shop and Burt’s Bees face products. Sprouts usually has a great selection of cruelty-free and natural body/skin products. (Not sure if that chain is in your area, if not check out whatever natural foods store you like.)

    I bought a Babyliss blow dryer years ago on my hairdresser’s recommendation. I have had it probably 5 or 6 years now and I love it! I can’t remember which model I have, but I got it on Amazon.

    • 32
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:30 pm

      Thank you!

  • 33
    Tara January 15, 2016, 11:39 am

    I absolutely use coconut oil as a moisturizer and love it. I also love all of the Desert Essence brand of skincare products – for a natural product, they are fairly priced and available at Whole Foods & Earthfare.

    • 34
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:31 pm

      Thanks!

  • 35
    Rebecca January 15, 2016, 12:23 pm

    I’ve always had cooperative, normal-to-oily skin until about five years ago. I simultaneously developed terrible cystic acne along with rosacea, and my skin become dry and constantly irritated. Within the past year I discovered S.W. Basics all natural skin care and it is the ONLY product that has ever actually changed my skin instead of just masking issues. (I’d been using products like Burt’s Bees sensitive which helped but seemed to “wear off” as the day went on, leaving my skin irritated again by the middle of the day.) I use S.W. Basics cleanser and cream but they also have toner, exfoliant, and some stuff. Their products are all natural and contain 5 ingredients or less. My skin is now SUPER soft and I wouldn’t even need to wear makeup if I didn’t have scarring leftover from the cystic acne. S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore has also written a really excellent book (Skin Cleanse) about using natural products and healing skin issues from the inside out. You can buy their products at http://swbasicsofbk.com, The Derm Store, and even some Target locations. Good luck as you tackle your skin issues, I know how frustrating and confidence draining problem skin can be. <3

    • 36
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:19 pm

      Thanks!

  • 37
    Steph January 15, 2016, 12:52 pm

    I work at an integrative pharmacy, and our esthetician has given me a lot of great, clean, earth friendly products to try. I use a prescription cream for hormonal acne, and I have to use a non comedogenic and super hydrating moisturizer. My favorites are the Astara brand moisturizer or the dr Haushka rose day cream. Expensive but so worth it. I also love all of the mineral based makeup products from Jane Iredale. For lips and hands I use Shea butter right before bed. For makeup remover, I use some hemp or olive oil on a cotton pad.

    • 38
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:19 pm

      Thank you!

  • 39
    Ashley January 15, 2016, 3:03 pm

    So many (most) drugstore products are filled with yuck – even though they are said to be ‘clean’. Be careful!! I love coconut oil for just about…everything. Also Tata Harper, Kopari Beauty, S.W Basics (can be found at Target) and Zoe Organics (also found at Target)! I have found less is more to work best for me! Good luck! ??

    • 40
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:22 pm

      Thanks!

  • 41
    Carly January 15, 2016, 4:03 pm

    Random, but I use the same Jason’s body wash – love it! Also, I started
    YTT here in Orlando – mine is an 8 month (1 weekend per month) program. Eight weekends in row is intense! Namaste. ✌️

    • 42
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:26 pm

      Congrats! I hope you love it! Thanks for the suggestions.

  • 43
    Taryn January 15, 2016, 6:46 pm

    check out the think dirty app to compare beauty products!

    • 44
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:31 pm

      Thanks!

  • 45
    Morgan Keith brantley January 15, 2016, 10:48 pm

    We love Aquaphor! It made such a difference in Emmalee’s skin! Bailee didn’t have as many issues as Em but we use it on her too. We even use their body wash for both the girls. And Eucerin calming cream. Their doctors always comment on how soft and smooth their skin is. Hope it keeps working for you!

    • 46
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:33 pm

      Thanks!!

  • 47
    Jess January 15, 2016, 11:16 pm

    I swear by cetaphil for lotion in the winter for when my skin is really dry. Aquafor is essentially the only lip balm I use. I also really like Simple — I use their face wash and both their normal lotion and the one with SPF.

    • 48
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:34 pm

      Thanks! A lot of readers seem to like Simple.

  • 49
    Cameron January 16, 2016, 1:24 am

    I am loving vintners daughter face serum/oil !

    • 50
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Thanks!

  • 51
    Laura T. January 16, 2016, 1:16 pm

    fat face skin care is the BEST! it contains all ingredients i recognize/can buy in a store.

    • 52
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Awesome, thanks!

  • 53
    Heather January 17, 2016, 2:41 pm

    Sorry to hear about your loss 🙁
    I’m from WV!
    Check out lemongrassspa.com
    Their products are wonderful– no harmful chemicals and housemade. Their healing ointment is wonderful– I put it on my face daily. My skin has never been softer–I use their lavender soap with tea tree mask (once a week) and the face polish!

    • 54
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:36 pm

      Thanks!

  • 55
    Rajul | Charlotte Veggie January 18, 2016, 11:14 am

    Jen, I wrote a post on my favorite clean body & beauty products (http://www.charlotteveggie.com/holiday-edition-my-favorite-affordable-clean-skin-things/) and I love my the Andis 1875 hair dryer. I first tried it at a hotel and ordered it on Amazon right away!

    • 56
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:37 pm

      Thank you!! Great post!

  • 57
    tara January 18, 2016, 1:25 pm

    no comments on the natural skincare since i probably use to much “unnatural” stuff to admit. i do use the cerave lotion though and my pump broke within 2 weeks on the bottle. so annoying and unsanitary to keep using fingers. but i wont throw it away ! i can say however i got a new blowdryer for xmas. my BF got me a Croc brand. it is awesome. expensive though. cut my dry time from 11-12 mins down to ~ 6. it has controls on the head of it vs the handle so i like that. and the cool is actually cool and doesnt need held in. i almost died when i saw the price but if it holds up…worth it to me.

    • 58
      Jen DeCurtins January 18, 2016, 1:37 pm

      Thanks!

  • 59
    Erica January 19, 2016, 12:15 pm

    I have sensitive skin/ezema too and love whole foods brand lavender body wash. I find it’s cheaper and less harsh.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=whole+foods+lavender+body+wash&biw=1366&bih=599&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwj-3tv0rrbKAhWMlIMKHftfApIQ_AUICCgD#imgrc=6zeWFcU999VOyM%3A

    Also, I purchased avocado and almond oil (skincare grade) from the skincare section at natural home market place. I did a 50/50 combo in one of their blue bottles with a dropper and added three drops of lavendar essential oil (also from the same store). I add a dropper or two to my baths at night. It has really made a change in my skin.

  • 60
    Liza January 24, 2016, 6:17 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much for sharing info about your skincare routine. I wish I had some recommendations for you but I’m lost myself and am trying to construct a good routine.

    I’m struggling with dry skin issues myself, like many of us do especially in winter, but I’m curious as to what your dermatologist recommended regarding Cerave. You say that he/she “instructed me to use this as a base layer before applying any of my normal skincare products.” So basically, wash your face, put on the Cerave, and then any other skin care products, like serums, etc? Then another layer of moisturizer/sunscreen to top it off? Genuinely curious because I love Cerave PM and am struggling myself! Thank you!

  • 61
    Christy February 3, 2016, 7:46 pm

    Have you found a daily face moisturizer and daily body lotion with SPF that you like? I’ve been using Aveda forever but they don’t include SPF – so I’m thinking of switching to Kiehl’s but thought I would see if you have found anything yet.

    BTW – The Food Babe recommended Kiss My Face pure olive oil soap and it is fabulous, the bar is huge so I cut it in half to make it last longer but your skin feels so silky smooth when you get out of the shower!

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