What’s in My Cosmetics Bag?

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
A blue cosmetics bag on a sink with natural soap and a loofah.

Rike_ / Getty Images

I've tried many products over the years, but only a few have stayed permanently in my beauty routine. Here are the winners.

“What do you use for makeup and skincare?” This is a common question I get from friends who are aware of my green leanings and read my eco-friendly product reviews online, but want to know what I use on a daily basis. Here is an official glimpse into the products that I’m currently using and enjoying. These tend to evolve, as I discover new brands that I want to try or change my routine, but these are my staples right now.


Jojoba oil in small amber bottles.

mannaig / Getty Images

Jojoba oil: I picked up this bottle of jojoba oil while traveling in Israel last December. I dab some on a flannel cloth to remove eye makeup at night, then rinse my face with hot water to get most of the oil residue off. That’s all I do to wash my face. If my skin feels dry, which is rare because I don’t use a cleanser on it, then I rub in more jojoba oil.Exfoliant: One a week or less (whenever I’m washing my hair), I use Celtic Complexion Gentle Crème Exfoliant on my face. It contains tiny jojoba oil beads, which leave my face feeling wonderfully smooth and moisturized.Facial Mask: Very rarely, I do a clay mask on my face – usually if I’m bored on a Saturday night. This one from Mullein & Sparrow is lovely, made from three clays and aloe vera, and it leaves my face feeling incredible for days afterward.


Soap: In the shower, I stick with bar soap, such as Akamai (above) or Dr. Bronners’ castile soap. I’m not a big soap-user in general, using it for “pits ‘n bits” and shaving.

Natural bar soap stacked on a drawer at a store.

Sellwell / Getty Images

Deodorant: The eternal question! What does a hippy like me put on her armpits? Well, it feels like I’ve tried every brand on the block (and written about many of them, including my own DIY version), but this is my favorite so far. It’s called Routine, made in Calgary and packaged in glass jars, and it comes in several scents; mine is ‘Sexy Sadie.’ It’s a vegan, baking soda-free formula, made from clay. The clay is supposed to give it an earthy scent, but I don’t notice any scent at all. It keeps me dry and non-smelling all day, even through sweaty workouts, and does not discolor my clothes. (Warning: The website is weirdly dysfunctional, so be patient.)

Natural deodorant in a jar.

olhakozachenko / Getty Images

Perfume: Only for special occasions, I’ll spritz on a bit of this Lush Gorilla Sun perfume. It has a short, legible ingredient list that includes Brazilian orange oil (I have a weakness for citrus) and sandalwood oil.

Exterior of a Lush store that sells fresh handmade ingredients.

Jeremy Moeller / Getty Images

Lotion: Because I don’t use much soap, my skin doesn’t get very dry, but occasionally in winter or post-shaving, I need something extra. This giant bottle of EO Everyone 3-in-1 body lotion is not the best lotion available (EWG Skin Deep gives it a 3), but it does the job for the entire family and is less greasy than rubbing coconut oil into my legs right before bed. My dream product is Ethique’s body butter bar, but I can’t bring myself to order it again from New Zealand.

A woman putting lotion on her legs in a washroom with intricate tiles.

Guido Mieth / Getty Images


Eye shadow: I’ve fallen hard for Elate Cosmetics, a Canadian company that manufactures its very clean, safe products in Victoria, B.C., and packages them in paper and bamboo. This eye shadow palette is magnetic and the eye color refills come in seed paper.

Elate products

Katherine Martinko / Getty Images

Mascara: I’m currently using up a tube of Lavera Deep Darkness mascara. I love it for daily use, but it’s very light. I have to apply multiple layers before it feels right. For a heavier, more glam look, I dig out an old tube of Dr. Hauschka volumizing mascara. I have yet to try the Elate mascara, since I’m waiting to finish the others, first, but I love the brilliant bamboo case.

A Latina woman applies mascara in the mirror.

JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Cheeks: Elate’s cream luminizer is so luscious, it feels like I’m putting on moisturizer. It gives a bit of shimmer and depth of color on my cheeks, which I like.

A woman in a fancy white washroom touches her skin in the mirror.

Jonathan Knowles / Getty Images

Lips: No lipstick or gloss for me! I can’t stand the stuff. I prefer to use plain lip balm, while emphasizing my eyes when putting on makeup. Lush’s Lip Service is made from fair trade shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax, flavored with tangerine, and it comes in a nifty metal container.

A black woman applies lip balm in the mirror.

FreshSplash / Getty Images

Not pictured: Dr. Hauschka’s black pencil eyeliner is great. It goes on thick and soft, but it’s getting so short and stubby that it’s not terribly photogenic, hence its absence. You can also make your own homemade eyeliner using a few simple natural ingredients.


Baking soda in glass dish with a measuring spoon.

Michelle Arnold / EyeEm / Getty Images

No hair products are pictured because I don’t use any, except for baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash every 7-10 days. Usually I air-dry, sometimes blow-dry, then flatten out the weird waves with a straightener. If my hair needs taming at the ends, I use a bit of jojoba oil.