Over the years I’ve written about going more and more natural with my beauty routine, but I think it’s safe to say almost all of us have those few “dirty” products that we have loved for most of our lifetime and can’t quite bear to give up.
My move to Vancouver prompted so much change and improvement in my life, providing a push to drop bad habits and move forward with a clean slate. Before my boxes had even arrived at the new apartment I had started to mentally detox my world, and that included rethinking the toxic products I hadn’t yet let go of and swapping them out for healthier, more eco-friendly alternatives.
I had a lot of fun shooting and styling all of my new favourite natural products, and I’m happy to share them alongside little reviews of why they work best for me!
I tried David’s original toothpaste a couple years ago and absolutely loved it, so I was delighted to find they’ve released 3 more new flavours since! This brand works so well, has a beautiful design, and the “key” that comes with each tube really ensures every last drop gets used up. After a lot of brushing and careful comparison I decided the Spearmint is my top pick – it’s a perfect sweeter mint that really makes my teeth feel clean. Charcoal is my lowest rated only because I found the darker paste colour really messy in/around the bathroom sinks.
The winner //
I have tried SO many natural deodorants since realizing just how toxic the typical drugstore brands can be, but no brand has ever blown me away quite like Nala Care. A Canadian company created by a mother/daughter duo right here in Vancouver, this deodorant actually stands up to the mom sweat (who knew being a mom made you SO sweaty all the time?) They’ve just launched two limited edition holiday scents, Winter Mint and Winter Spice (spice is my favourite!) which both use Copaiba oil, a cannabinoid like CBD that can apparently evoke feelings of calm just from smelling the deodorant? SO cool! Use code PASTEL20 for 20% off your cart through the end of December.
The runner-up //
I’m a big fan of Detox Mode and I was really excited to try their take on a natural deodorant. They make two formulations, “Feeling Altogether” which is the classic, and “Feeling Free” which is baking soda-free and created specifically for sensitive skin. I loved how both versions smell, but unfortunately the classic irritated my skin – the baking soda was too much for me, but I passed it on to my parents and they both swear by it! I ended up using the Feeling Free daily until there was nothing left – the lavender scent was just right, and it worked fairly well to keep my mom sweat at bay, though some days I did need to reapply.
Mascara, Eyeliner and Brows
The winners //
This. Mascara. Is. Life. Changing. In case it isn’t already clear, I have really sensitive skin, but I also find myself sensitive to beauty products, especially around my eyes. I love big dramatic lashes, but with COVID and single mom life I haven’t done extensions in ages, and instead I’ve been on the hunt for a mascara that has the same effect. There have been a few drugstore brands that worked, but my eyes were always so itchy and irritated that nothing was left on my lashes by the end of the day, and I’d be counting down the seconds till I could get the remaining crumbs off.
If you’re looking for a 100% natural product with big impact, this is the one! It’s flake-free, non-irritating, loaded with lots of nutrients that help “feed” your lashes, and the dual-sided brush gives dramatic results every time. The only catch – they do use beeswax, so the product isn’t vegan.
I was *very* hesitant to give up my beloved Stila long-lasting liquid eyeliner pen, a product I’ve been devoted to for years. I have really oily eyelids, and as I mentioned, sensitive eyes, so once I found something that worked for me I didn’t want to give it up.
Luckily this natural formula is the perfect replacement. Not only does it go on easily (I love the brush!) but it really stays – it lasted through a cry test AND stayed relatively in place even after a night of sleep!
Simple and easy to use, this brow gel creates big impact with minimal effort and has quickly become one of my makeup bag must-haves! I went with Medium Brown but for the summertime I’d definitely switch to Blonde for a less intense look.
The runner-ups //
This mascara is a lot more lightweight and stays put really well, plus it’s 100% vegan. If you’re looking for a more natural day-to-day look, this softer mascara is a great option.
Toronto-brand Evio creates all natural beauty products infused with hemp seed oil at a great low price point. While this product makes my lashes look noticeably thicker, feels nice and light, doesn’t irritate my eyes, and even stood up to a cry test without getting too messy. My one complaint is how sticky it stays on the lashes for quite some time – it’s definitely slow to dry which isn’t ideal for someone who moves as quickly as I do!
I love this liquid liner – it’s super dark with great solid lines on the first application, but I had a hard time getting a handle on using the pen tip, and I did find it smudged a tiny bit easier than the Beauty Counter formula.
The winner //
I LOVE this soap. My boyfriend LOVES this soap. Summer LOVES this soap. I may need to order the massive 128oz refill jug because we all LOVE this soap so much! The uplifting scent of sweet almond, bergamot, and cedar wood is the perfect addition to coveted time in the shower, and the consistency is the ideal marriage of oily/moisturizing and soapy/cleansing. Best of all, the glass bottle is recyclable if you don’t choose to refill (but I can almost guarantee you will!)
This niche product probably deserves a category of it’s own because it’s for a specific area (the area between your legs), but since I use it daily in the shower I’m including it here alongside the Impossible Soap. I’ve been interested in trying a soap specifically for intimate areas for ages because I’m so sensitive in that zone and very prone to irritation and infections, and I wish I’d made the switch sooner. No itching or burning, this gentle soap includes aloe and cucumber, and makes me feel super clean. There’s no scientific evidence, but I genuinely believe it’s made a big impact in helping to prevent yeast infections, something I’ve struggled with for years. Thank you Lady Suite!
I’ve also got their Botanical Oil on my radar to use post-shave – has anyone tried it?
Let me first be transparent and say I’m instantly sold on anything that involves Earl Grey. Brewing a cup of tea is one of my daily calming rituals, and infusing my post-shower moisturizing routine with the sweet scent of black tea and bergamot made it feel like a whole new ritual too. With Aloe, Jojoba, Shea Butter and Tamarind Seed, this body lotion is a truly luxurious experience that’s much needed these cold winter months.
Makeup Removers and Cleansers
The winner //
I’m a long-time fan of Province Apothecary and everything they do – I had my first facial with Julie over 6 years ago and I’ve been hooked on her beautiful natural brand since. Their makeup remover oil cleanser is one of my daily must-haves and the only thing I can use on my eyes without irritating them. I use it with my reusable cotton rounds, which I also highly recommend incorporating to help reduce your eco impact.
The runner-up //
I love Beauty Counter’s Counterstart Cococream Cleanser as a backup cleanser to have in the shower, but it isn’t ideal for eye makeup removal, and I prefer to use a product that does both at the same time when I can!
Serum and Moisturizer //
These day and night serums are incredible in every way, and handmade in Ontario by the coolest lady duo! I especially love the night formula for bedtime – I swear I wake up with clearer, softer skin every morning!
This moisturizer absolutely lives up to its name – it’s SO smooth and creamy, and literally does melt into your skin. It’s also an amazing base for makeup!
I honestly didn’t even think about the amount of waste a traditional razor creates until I started seeing beautifully crafted safety razors pop up on my Instagram feed. The Well Kept razor is definitely an investment, but it’s plastic-free and the replacement blades cost less than a dollar ($15 for 20!) which makes it totally worth it in my opinion. Plus, they’re a women-owned small business based right here in Vancouver, and their entire collection is seriously gorgeous! I was definitely a bit nervous to make the switch, but Well Kept advises reframing shaving as a slow, mindful act of self care, and not only did my razor give me the closest, smoothest shave I’ve even had, but I really appreciated the change of pace in my routine. They also sell beautiful bath milks, agave exfoliating cloths (a great alternative to plastic loofas), natural sea sponges and more!
I’ve already shared in great detail how great Hannahpads have been – especially since my period came back postpartum! Such a great eco-friendly solution for overnights. I also upgraded my menstrual cup post-baby to the Saalt cup, and I’ve been absolutely loving it in comparison to the other cups I’ve tried. Most importantly, this one locks in place and opens properly much easier than other brands! I am interested in trying their soft cup at some point to test if it’s even more comfortable than the original, and their cute period panties are on my wishlist too.
The season for sunscreen may have mostly come to an end but I couldn’t leave out my absolute favourite sunscreen find of 2020. Countersun is the ultimate natural sunscreen – it rubs in easily with no white residue, it smells great, it’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes, and it’s safe for the whole family so you don’t have to pack separate sunscreen if you have kids! I like the spray best for quick and easy toddler application, but there’s also a stick (great for faces) and a traditional lotion.
Again, not exactly the season for this product, but we loved Cardea Auset’s chemical-free bug repellant spray so much this past summer that I had to include it. Created with essential oils, this spray leaves a somewhat pleasant scent, and it really worked in the BC wilderness!
Let me know your favourites in the comments below!