How I Transitioned My Entire Beauty Routine to Be Natural (And Why It Took Me More Than a Year to Do)

Every single skincare and makeup product I'm using now.
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Last year, at a bridal shower where the only person I knew was the bride, I approached a woman I'd never met. At first impression, she was the picture of a stereotypical Beverly Hills housewife; perfectly done-up with lash extensions, fake breasts, and glowing skin. As we got to know each other though, I learned my snap assumption couldn't have been further from the truth—she's a single mother working for herself and a two-time breast cancer survivor. While going through chemo, she told me, she realized that many of the skincare products she'd been using inflamed her skin, delicate from aggressive treatment. 

The cancer was a wake-up call for her, and she began producing and selling her own all-natural nourishing oils for hair regrowth and skin health. Her story was my wake-up call: I eat carefully, so why would I put things I would never eat onto my skin? After all, the body absorbs about 60% of the chemicals in cosmetics (many estimates are higher), resulting in as much as five pounds of cosmetics entering your system each year. I'm not telling you to swear off synthetic makeup or foods, but this realization, combined with the strong evidence that some conventional ingredients may be carcinogenic, was enough to convince me to transition my entire routine over. 

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Before I go on, lemme tell ya: Natural makeup products are an investment. They're often significantly more expensive than their drugstore equivalents (swapping out my $9 mascara for a $30 natural alternative hurt a little...), so I took my time making the transition. As I ran out of each conventional product, I visited a natural makeup store, then researched and tested products until I found one I truly love in each category.

I'd also assumed that as soon as I switched to natural products, my skin would immediately clear up—but I was surprised to learn that isn't necessarily the case. Just because a product is made with quality ingredients doesn't mean you won't have a reaction (especially if there are essential oils or fragrances in it). With a lot of trial and error, I finally found a collection of products that make me feel so good about my skin, I've felt comfortable wearing less and less of them over time

And while all-natural products are significantly more expensive, I found that purchasing products with high-quality ingredients made me more intentional overall about what I put on my face so that I ended up buying far fewer products overall. Take a look at my favorite products below—and don't forget to check @shopcupcakesandcashmere today for a full tutorial of my daily natural makeup routine:

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Makeup and Morning Skincare:

Serum: Tata Harper Serum c/o or Caudalíe Serum or True Botanicals Clear (Serums are often the most expensive and most important part of a skincare routine since they deliver a high concentration of nutrients to your skin. I'm not sure I would have tried Tata Harper's serum if it hadn't been gifted to me because of the $110 price tag, but like Vintner's Daughter, another extremely price-prohibitive product, I love it enough I'd purchase it again—you only need a tiny bit, so it lasts me for over six months a bottle. I switch between each to target different skin issues, whether dryness or breakouts)
Face Sunscreen: Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28 
Body Sunscreen: Supergoop Daily Sunscreen (I put this on my arms every day since I sit next to a window at work, and drive an hour everyday in the sun)
Moisturizer: Tata Harper Creme Riche (I also use this at night, so I'll only use it in the morning if my skin's particularly dry)
Primer and Foundation: If I don't have breakouts, I'll put a layer of Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer Base on. When I need more coverage, I'll mix it on the back of my hand with Juice Beauty Phyto Pigments Flawless in 11 Rosy Beige and apply them with the Juice Beauty Foundation Brush. It's the best foundation I've found—conventional or natural.
Lashes: Utowa Lash Curler and ILIA Mascara (I wrote about this mascara in my Best Buys of 2018—it's my favorite mascara ever)
Brows: ILIA Brow Gel (plus I get them sculpted and tinted once a month, so I don't need much here. Let me know if you need a brow girl in L.A. Mine's the best!)
Blemishes: RMS Uncoverup in 00 (pale for winter and under-eye circles) or 22 (slightly darker for summer)
Luminizer: RMS Champagne Rose Luminizer (I get more compliments on this than any other makeup product I use—it makes your skin dewy and beautiful)
Lips: Meow Meow Tweet Rosemary Eucalyptus and Olli E Osso in 'No 9 Spring'
Toothpaste: Toms of Maine Brightening Toothpaste 

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Body:

Daily Moisturizer: Ursa Major Daily Moisturizer
Deodorant: Agent Nateur (I've tried a million, and this is the only one that really works for me)
Body Oil: In Fiore Body Oil
Evening Moisturizer: Kate McCleod Daily Stone

Shower and Hair:

Shampoo: I use True Botanicals daily then deep cleanse with goop once every three days because I have greasy hair and sweat everyday at my workout
Conditioner: I only use conditioner once a week (like I said, greasy hair), when I use this Chrisophe Robin Regenerating Mask, then sleep in St. Tropica Organic Coconut Hair Mask
Soap: Ursa Major Morning Mojo Bar Soap

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Evening Skincare:

Makeup Remover: L'Occitane Makeup Removing Oil
Cleanser: Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser c/o (Again, this was gifted to me, and I love it, but it's expensive. Are there any brands you love using?) 
Toner: True Botanicals Clean Nutrient Toner, which I apply using reusable cotton rounds
Breakout treatment: CosRX (I mostly use these as a guard so I don't pick at it...) 
Moisturizer: Tata Harper Creme Riche
Facial Oil: Botnia Replenishing Facial Oil

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Face Masks:

Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial (Full disclosure: I subscribed to their magazine so I could receive this as a free gift... I love it.)
True Botanicals Resurfacing Mask
Girl Undiscovered 'Stumbled Across Paradise' Mask

Event Makeup:

I'll do the exact same thing and just add a little bit of RMS Eye Polish in 'Embrace' or 'Solar' to my lids or a lipstick like Rituel de Fille's Enchanted Lip Sheer. Less is more! 

P.S., Here's every question we've ever had about natural makeup—and tips for making the swap to natural deodorant. Also, remember that time I wore no makeup for a week?

P.P.S., A year ago, I stopped using Instagram—but I'm back! I'll be posting more about my natural makeup routine there, on @lesliesteph, and on @shopcupcakesandcashmere.