Health, Pretty Well

Trending Healthy

I walked out of the Indie Beauty Fair feeling more overwhelmed than encouraged. The process of fighting the crowd, going from booth to booth, and hearing about countless products left me exhausted. I wasn’t sure how I could possibly know which product claims were true and, ultimately, which products would work best for me. I’m analytical to a fault at times, and my trip around the Indie Beauty Fair brought out my need for things to be black or white. I flew back to Georgia the following day with many questions still on my mind.

Green, organic, clean, natural, non-toxic. They are buzz words of our generation. We are valiantly attempting to reverse the effects of mass production and consumption while working to provide our children with more simple and cleaner lives. Mindsets and companies are beginning to make changes. It’s encouraging to see changes taking place and the many voices advocating for clean living. Yet, navigating this landscape proves challenging.

I sat reading a few research articles and blog comments on cleaner living the other night. I was shocked to find an absurd amount of hateful talk and fingers pointing here and there about who is right and who is wrong. I closed my computer, looked over at my husband and said, “This is more complicated than I realized. There is confusion surrounding certain ingredients and companies with no definitive answers in sight.” I sat thinking about different arguments swirling around individual ingredients in products labeled as natural or clean, and on a deeper level, I couldn’t help but think about my own life and perceived contradictions.

Like the fact that I occasionally eat the really unhealthy cereals (okay, maybe more than occasionally) or that I take medication for my autoimmune disorder. There is also the fact that my family is involved in conventional farming. Does that disqualify me from having a voice in this area? Does that make my experience less valuable? I felt concerned about products on my blog, figuring it’s a matter of time before the Green Police start disagreeing with my decisions.

My mom is full of wisdom and she makes an effort to live a more healthy lifestyle, so I decided to bring up my thoughts to her. “It feels like there are no clear answers when it comes to living a cleaner and more healthy life. How do I help make a difference when the answers are not clear?” I asked her. She reminded me of the many women struggling with self-confidence and skin issues, and she also reminded me of my own struggles leading to this journey.

Like the time in middle school when I was crying in her arms as we stood in front of the bathroom mirror. My acne was horrible. Kids were mean. There was also the time we traveled to see a prominent esthetician. The results were horrible and made everything about my skin worse.

I also remembered people constantly telling me that I, “need to wash my face,” as if I wasn’t doing that and it would heal all my skin problems.

Most recently, I remembered my first autoimmune disorder related sun rash and walking out of the doctor’s office with the autoimmune disorder diagnosis knowing my life was forever changed. I promised myself that I would make changes in order to give myself the best life possible.

All of these moments and many more are part of my story. It’s so important that we not let confusion or opinions hijack our sense of purpose and passions on any journey. It’s important to hold your story in the forefront so you’re not easily distracted by the many voices lining the road.

I believe, for the most part, we are all living life the best we can with the information available to us–whether that is related to food, children, or beauty products. One of my favorite ideas is the idea of “trending toward” something. That is how I like to think of my life and clean living journey these days. I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to ingredients and products, and I don’t know that anyone ever will. I know that some things are a big “No” while others are still in question. I know that opinions vary on different companies. Most importantly, I know what works for me and what to avoid to prevent autoimmune flares.

I am trending toward making better decisions for my family and personal health one day at a time. My goal here is to help you trend toward a better life. A life where you are confident in your beauty, decisions, and health. Yes, the choices can be overwhelming at times, but this is a journey rather than a final destination. You simply have to start somewhere.

These days I am giving myself some grace and extending that to others. It has helped ease the burden I feel to make the absolute best, right, cleanest, most perfect decision possible.

-Jess

Beauty Products, Health, Pregnancy, Pretty Well

Facial Moisturizer Tips

Moisturizers.

There are thousands of them out there, especially in the clean beauty category. It’s a product we look to as the holy grail of beauty…the product that will make the most difference for our skin. It was only three years ago that I started wearing a moisturizer. I was terrified to put it on my already oily skin and, instead, constantly reached for my medicated acne cream.  The day I started using a moisturizer made the most difference for my skin. I put away the acne medicine and started focusing on nourishing my face. My skin is not perfect these days, but it’s so much better. I haven’t touched the medicated creams since.

There are many different types of facial moisturizers and they go by various names: serum, oil, cream, moisturizer, balm, etc. There are several different specific categories within these names that point more specifically to how the moisturizer works. It can be very confusing and overwhelming to even get started. I am going to share what I have discovered works best for my skin and make suggestions for other skin types. Everyone is very different, though, so keep in mind that this is not a one size fits all post. For example, I have 4 sisters and no two of us can use the same routine.

My biggest piece of advice: stick to one brand at a time. 

Often, products within specific brands are meant to work together. You may actually do yourself a disservice by mixing several product lines together. As you make the transition to cleaner products, you will learn what can be mixed together. For now, I recommend sticking to one line. Keep it simple! I’ve tried several different product lines, and I always come back to these:

Favorite Safer Skincare Brands

Beautycounter

 Indie Lee 

One Love Organics

 Juice Beauty 

Another reminder, give products the time to work! It can take days to weeks for results to become visible.

My Current Routine 

My experience mainly consists of products to help combination-oily, acne prone skin with redness and discoloration.

Right now, I’m working on evening my skin tone, keeping breakouts at bay, and helping my skin age gracefully. Beautycounter is my go-to line during this season, and I am seeing great results with this combination. I was starting to develop a few pregnancy related skin issues, but they started cleaning up when I became a consultant and started using more and more Beautycounter products. I use the same combination both morning and night.

new-rejuvenating-toner-pads-40-padsRejuvenating Toner Pads 

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Rejuvenating Radiance Serum 

bc_bc_3-balancingfacialoil_selling01_webBalancing Facial Oil 

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Balancing Facial Mist 

You could also just use the Balancing Collection without adding the Rejuvenating line in. I love Vitamin C, though, and use the Rejuvenating line to get some Vitamin C into my skincare routine.

My mom loves the Plumping Collection along with the Rejuvenating Day and Night Creams. My friends with dry and sensitive skin love various product combinations from the Nourishing Line. If you’re interested in Beautycounter, I am happy to help you develop a custom routine for moisturizing and treating your skin!

So, what are some of my other favorites?

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Squalane Facial Oil by Indie LeeUntitled_design_46_large

Skin Savior Multitasking Balm by One Love Organics

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Redness Rescue Cream by Fitglow

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Green Apple Brightening Moisturizer by Juice Beauty 

Please feel free to comment below with any questions or if you want any advice on the products listed in this post! Happy Moisturizing!

Beauty Products, Health, Pretty Well

Facial Cleanser Favorites

Let’s talk about Facial Cleansers. It’s one of my favorite beauty products, and I have to be careful not to constantly buy new ones! I used to wash my face with really harsh products, many medicated with acne treatments or full of harsh exfoliators. I later learned that more gentle cleansers are best for everyone…even acne prone skin. Most of my acne cleared up when I switched to cleaner and more gentle cleansers. It was the first step on the journey to better skin for me. You will find my current cleanser routine & links to two others cleansers I love below.

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Currently Using

Charcoal Bar by Beautycounter: I use this at night to remove makeup, but it could be used both morning and night. Made with organic green tea and coconut oil! It helps clean pores, control blackheads, & absorbs skin impurities. A great, low cost product that makes a HUGE difference. It’s also great for the men and children in your family. I seriously love it!

Shop Here

Nourishing Cream Exfoliator by Beautycounter: I use this in the morning. It has a wonderful refreshing citrus scent. It’s very gentle with aloe and coconut oil and contains jojoba beads to give your face an extra scrub. It’s a perfect morning cleanser for me! I can do samples of this, so let me know if you’re interested!

Shop Here

Other Favorites

Easy Does it by One Love Organics: This face wash is made on St. Simons Island, GA, which is where I got married. It’s super gentle and calming, leaving your face feeling clean and soft. It also doubles as a body wash and shampoo! One Love Organics is one of my favorite brands!

Shop Here

Brightening Cleanser by Indie Lee: The Indie Lee story is pretty amazing. I’m constantly inspired by this company. This cleanser was the first I tried when transitioning to clean beauty, and it’s still a tried and true staple. It removes makeup and helps brighten your skin. This is a great face wash for everyone, but I would especially recommend it for preteens and teens.

Shop Here

Beauty Products, Pretty Well

Review: One Love Organics

One Love Organics is a smaller natural beauty company based out of one of my favorite places–St. Simons Island, GA. The One Love Organic products are ECOCERT, non-toxic, all natural, gentle and effective for all skin types. They were one of the first companies I tried when transitioning to natural products, and I love everything about them! The packaging, the smells, the mission to provide safe products, and (most importantly) the fact that the products work. I’m truly impressed again and again. I recently purchased three new products from One Love Organics, and I want to share with you my thoughts after using them for a few weeks. When I set out on this journey, I promised myself that I would always try any product I share with you. Rest assured that any products you see on Pretty + Well have been in my hands first!

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Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm

Uses: Make-up remover & moisturizer

Why It’s Awesome: I was nervous to try this balm since my skin tends to be oily. Oil + oil could be a bad combination, but this has been nothing but wonderful. I’ve used Skin Savior at night and under my make-up in the mornings. You do want to have somewhat damp skin when applying it. My makeup has gone on really smooth without melting down by the end of the work day. I’ve actually had some breakouts clear and seen a reduction in redness. I can’t explain just how silky this product feels. If you have dry skin, you will love it even more! Oh, and the scent? It’s a divine citrus-vanilla.

Tip: I do plan to cut down to using it just at night as the months grow warmer. I don’t know that it will completely hold up during the day during the humid Georgia summers.

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Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser

Uses: Facial cleanser that can also be used on your hair and as a body wash!

Why It’s Awesome: Seriously love this stuff! Face wash is my absolute favorite beauty product to buy. I’ve tried some great ones and some awful ones. The easy does it cleanser makes the top of my list. Again, the scent is lovely. It lathers just right and does a great job of removing all of my makeup. My skin is left feeling clean but not dry. It’s also a great one for your husband to use as well.

Tip: A little goes a long way!

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Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque

Uses: Bi-weekly scrub & masque

Why It’s Awesome: I love a good scrub a few times a week. Brand New Day leaves my skin feeling refreshed and renewed. I mainly use it as a scrub since I am not always patient enough for the masque. I would say to try the small bottle (around $12) before making a larger investment.

Tip: I suggest using it at the sink or in the tub. Using it in the shower can risks getting the entire container of powder wet.

I hope you give one of these One Love Organics products a try. If I had to recommend just one, it would be the Skin Savior Balm. It’s such a unique product…and I am just still amazed by its texture. You can also explore more products by One Love Organics by clicking here.