I'm not sure when the natural skincare bug bit me, but around this time last year, I was almost exclusively using skincare that was labelled paraben-free, organic, silicone-free, etc. I've never been particularly committed to living or eating clean (even as I type that I'm unable to keep a straight face), but my skincare routine had unconsciously moved in that direction.
Caveat Emptor: When a product labels or packages or brands itself to be natural, be aware that it may not be as clean as it looks. Case in point? The Body Shop. I hear it's getting better now, but at the height of its eco-chic campaign, I have never been more attacked by synthetic fragrance than when walking by one of their stores. It was the Bath and Body Works of the mid-90s.
Cut to today, where I obviously use several products that contain silicone, petrolatum, mineral oil, squalene, everything that just makes your skin feel oooh good, but I've arrived at a pretty happy balance of natural, DIY and market skincare.
At the end of the day, I'm mainly writing this post for those who really want to strip down their routines to the most natural of my knowledge, so please, please feel free to sound off in the comments!
Cleanser: I adore Pai Camellia and Rose cleanser, but that isht gets pricey. Of course, worth every penny I've ever spent on it, but I can completely understand that it's a commitment to cleansing. A great substitute for the morning is just to take a cotton round and use regular milk to go over your face in the morning. Let the lactic acid do its thing for a few minutes and rinse off. For a super-duper clean finish, check out my experience with a yogurt mask here.
Toner/Treatment: Lemons! I sang the praises of lemon juice in my 2013 Skincare Favourites, but I had to mention it again. It is the single best treatment I've ever found to prevent acne, to heal current acne and to fade scars. If it's too strong, use less and/or mix with water! Be warned, if you use lemon juice, your skin will become more sensitive to light, so don't be lazy with the SPF.
Moisturizer: For moisturizer, I love anything and everything Caudalie. I wouldn't say it's the most natural brand available, but it is one of those lines where nothing really lasts for more than six months before it starts to smell weird. I'm also a big fan of Dr. Hauschka and Weleda moisturizers -- for a really emollient, heavy duty moisturizer, try Weleda's Skin Food. The Rose day Creams from both lines are also fantastic; light but hydrating.
Oils: Likely the most natural part of my routine, and consistently one of my favourites, I could go on about face oils all day. My current rotation is Josie Maran Argan Oil (the texture really is the best of any I've tried), but I've also previously tried jojoba and coconut oils on my face; it's not something I can do every day, but at least 3 -4 times a week. Coconut oil has also been great for my body the past couple of years, and every now and again I'll throw it in my hair for extra hydration.
Masks: Just do this. It will solve all of your problems.
Favourite Reailers: FreshFaced.ca, Whole Foods, Jacob + Sebastian for the ultra-fancy. Bulk Barn has also been subjected to my hours of beauty wanderings.