A Skincare Update: All Green Beauty July 2020

Lately the idea of semantics has been weighing on my mind. The term Green Beauty, which to me started as a movement for empowerment in knowledge of the ingredients we were buying in our personal care products, has shifted into becoming the equivalent an eye roll synonymous with Gwyneth Paltrow jade vagina eggs and frou-frou rituals of the rich and bored. If you came here through my Instagram, I go into it a bit more on just how the industry is actually quite toxic from the people behind it to how it got this way.

While I think our green beauty community now has all but dispersed, I do believe in many of the products we championed. Here is my all green routine.

I know it’s odd to see an oil cleanser as a morning cleanse, but these days I’ve just been at home and it’s hard to justify a full cleansing experience sometimes when I barely want to even do a morning routine. I tried to go through with just water but notice it does a terrible job of penetrating the film of oils my skin seems to secrete overnight. One morning I reached for Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil out of sheer laziness, and found this to do a good job of getting rid of that oil film as oil binds oil (some of you with drier skin might like the film and refuse to cleanse in the morning, but you should especially if you use serums as they need to actually penetrate). It’s gentle and works in a breeze without any fuss, and because I only use half a pump, it rinses off quickly (*yes it does emulsify with water, hurrah!) and my skin feels clean and ready for the next steps without feeling like I had to do a whole production with my cleansing.  I first got into cleansing oils with Shu Uemura but the ingredients kind of turned me off (in addition to the fact that it doesn’t rinse off with water very well), it wasn’t until One Love Organics came along with their oil cleanser that I absolutely loved it. But the Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil in my opinion, has better ingredients (a lot more plant oils) and feels nicer.

I follow with Yuli’s Panacea Elixir. If I do a full cleansing routine, I like to mist it on my skin as I feel that hydrates my skin more (this is what I tend to do at night), but if I do an oil cleanse, I like to apply this like a traditional toner with a cotton round. When used this way, it works like an organic Biologique P50 without the harsh acids that seemed to make everyone’s skin red, blotchy and angry. Panacea uses enzymes and ionized minerals instead that break away dead skin, oxidized pore clogging sebum, etc., and keeps my skin clear of congestion and any general griminess. It’s described as a juice fast for the skin, and feels to me like the skincare version of a herbal tonic you’d drink from a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner to leave skin fresh, hydrated, and clear of breakouts or congestion.


Next I use Agent Nateur’s Holi(oil) as my face oil. I loved this oil from first use. The texture is beautifully plush as it uses rice bran which is nourishing but also easily absorbed. There are only 7 ingredients in here, which isn’t bad because some of the most beautiful creations only have a handful of ingredients, and these ingredients are all top of the line in quality as we know Jena prides herself on sourcing. Standouts include a French patented Calcium Ketogluconate, and Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate) which work with each other to increase the efficacy of Vitamin C in building collagen and brightening the skin. Now.. the smell. It’s beautiful and was something that stuck with me from first use. The more I used it, the more I thought “wow this is divine but also.. familiar?” It was only after reading the Garcon’s World review of Saint Jane Beauty’s CBD Face Oil where they compared the smell of rose and sandalwood as being extremely similar to Agent Nateur AND Ila that I figured it out. Remember Ila? I forgot until I read that review from GW who always manages to be on the mark and are friggin beauty archivists. I remember using their oil YEARS ago, and thats when the lightbulb went off that the Agent Nateur oil isn’t just similar in smell, upon some digging (going to their websites lol) their formulas are like copies. Where Agent Nateur uses a base of rice bran, Ila uses argan, and Agent uses the calcium+vitamin c, but other than that you can see for yourself:

Ila Formula
Wild-Grown Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa Kernal), Rosehip Seed Oil (Rosa Canina), Sandalwood (Santalam Spicatum), Rose Otto Oil (Rose Damascena Flower Oil), Vitamin E Oil (Tocopherol Extract)

Agent Nateur Formula
organic oryza sativa (rice bran), organic rosa mosqueta (rosehip) oil, calcium ketogluconate, wildcrafted rosa damascena oil, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, organic helichrysum gymnocephalum oil, wildcrafted santalum album (sandalwood) oil.

Not to take away from the brilliance of the Agent Nateur face oil which is one of the nicest I’ve used, I just have to wonder how much Ila’s oil that came before might have informed the formulation of the Agent Nateur oil. **As an aside, I’ve been reticent to talk about Agent Nateur on my blog because as many of you may be aware, the founder has some fringe beliefs that I think are harmful. She’s also treated a fellow blogger (who I consider to be a genuine friend in the space) in a very ugly and hurtful manner. I stand by my review of this product, but I don’t think I will be purchasing from the Agent Nateur line in the future.**

Following face oil, I make sure I get my eye serum in. Kahina’s Eye Serum is a favorite. I’ve used many, and it’s a category I obsess over. What I’ve learned is that creams are for dry skin (if your skin is more oily, it could lead to milia which has to be extracted via surgical instruments), serums with a lighter gel texture tend to be more for active benefits, which is the camp I’m in right now. Kahina’s Eye Serum is a gel texture but it doesn’t have alcohol and doesn’t have that “evaporating” feel that dries your skin out. There are peptides and good plant extracts that are brightening and boost microcirculation. I think of it as my anti-aging serum for the eyes.

So in the serum step we’ve done the face and the eyes, I finish with my lips. I’m very hot and cold when it comes to my lips. Sometimes I fall behind on taking care of them and they easily get chapped. But I was watching Blackpink on Youtube and noticed how ALL the girls are religious about applying their lip products before every interview, performance and photoshoot. Like they didn’t care about touching up lipstick, but if their lips were chapped, oh no! I also know that not taking care of the lips can really mess up the plumpness and lose volume as we get older. My main problem is that I like to drink my wellness tonics, eat food, etc. and I know half the ingredients in most lip products are not ones I want to ingest so it’s hard to space it out. This is why I use Yuli’s Cellular Lip Conditioner which is 100% food grade. It’s not a balm, think of it like a face oil but for your lips. How is it different? The lips don’t have sebum glands, there is more collagen, and they’re more exposed (that’s also why the lips are more pigmented).  The Cellular Lip Conditioner helps to nourish the skin, and their plants offer a degree of protection from exposure, and it helps to keep lips plumped. I consider this an insurance to keep my lips as healthy as voluminous as I can.

The Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition is the moisturizer I’ve been using daily. It is light enough that it can be dispensed from a pump and is not too flashy. But it contains all the right ingredients that a dream moisturizer should have like squalane, avocado oil, hyaluronic acid, and even rosemary extract (good for environmental stressors) and Vitamin C. It melts into skin without any heaviness or greasiness, yet is substantial enough that you’ll miss it if you forgot to apply it. I think of moisturizers as more of the defensive line meant to keep the moisture from escaping, adding some of that creamier heft, and if good active ingredients are there, all the better, and this ticks all the boxes.


Before we’re done there’s one more thing I do in the morning. My wellness tonic! Let’s be honest here, everything we can perceive from our skin and hair, to our digestion, and how we feel is rooted within our inner wellness. I’m not going to do elaborate multi-step skincare routines, invest in expensive products, and then ignore what’s going on inside where everything is actually going on. MIJA Superstar is one that I talked about before. I love that it’s made by a board certified nutritionist and dietitian who is very acclaimed, as most are not. And I love their approach of filling the universal gaps we all have with one comprehensive supplement that can align all of our systems. Their approach is to balance and optimize the body where it needs it, rather than other brand approaches where you’re asked to take something for your mood, something else for your immune system, another thing for your digestion, without any clinical evidence what taking them together will do, and no concern for what individual supplements might imbalance in other areas. Beyond their approach, this just works for me on all fronts (for me it is most noticeable in my digestive regularity, metabolism, and energy level, but it will be different for everyone, my sister who is usually sick about 2-3 times a year has not been sick since she started taking it in October 2019). Unlike skincare that has steps, you don’t need bundles of supplements to be healthy, Mija’s Superstar has replaced jars of other stuff I was taking before, effectively cutting down on both time and cost, as well as always feeling like I wasn’t getting everything out of my supplements. I’ve never been more satisfied.


I love hearing from you, whether in the comments section here or on my Instagram. Reach out!

14 thoughts on “A Skincare Update: All Green Beauty July 2020

  1. Fringe beliefs? I happen to agree with her beliefs and strong values so sadly I’ll be unfollowing you 😔

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Hi Elena, don’t think fringe is a judgmental word, it just means her belief system is… on the fringe which I think she’d probably agree with? But interesting you automatically associated it with negative connotations, why is that?

      Noted that you’ll be unfollowing me, but this appears to be the first time you’ve commented on my site, and I don’t see anywhere else where you’ve followed me. But I hope that empty statement made you feel powerful.

  2. I’ve compared Yuli’s Mask to legit Chinese herbal medicine for your face (some may call the scent stinky but I love it as it reminds me of home and mom’s love) so I smiled when I read your description of panacea elixir. Just started using the cell perfecto serum last night and was EXCITED to see the texture/consistency. I barely think about lip care (like you I have aversion to all the ingredients in lip products as I eat and drink all day long) but will put the lip conditioner on the to buy list for next time.

    • Yes! I remember a friend at Sephora told me that during her training, they’d just ooh and ahh over scents of products. And I asked her “well what about the formula? And ingredients?” and she looked at me and said “you know… they just care that people like how something feels… results? yeah, but that doesn’t convert a in-store sale.” It only makes sense that if we’re using products that use so many botanical ingredients, they’re probably not going to smell like a candy store and that’s good! It means you’re probably getting the real juice that is good for your skin.

      I hate putting on lip balm and then seeing a cup of tea that I can’t touch until my balm wears off lol. But I do get on a kick of being super responsible and I know I’ll appreciate taking care of my lips now when I get older as volume loss in the lips is supposedly one of the most common signs of aging.

  3. New reader here! You’ve won me over with how real you are about products. If this is your morning routine, do you use sunscreen? Curious what you recommend.

    • I do use sunscreen! I knew I forgot something for the photo! During the summer I typically go for something with broad spectrum SPF50. I LOVE zinc oxide (mineral) sunblocks, some are thick, but there are good ones that are textured very nicely. The problem with many “green/clean” ones like Suntegrity or California Baby on the drugstore side, is that they either top off at a SPF30, or they’re not very reliable in the real world when we factor in sweat, rain, wind, hair in the face, all things that can dislodge the sunblock.

      Right now, I’m using a Japanese sunscreen called Anessa from Shiseido’s Japan market range which is not green/clean at all, but they’re really nice and powerful (SPF50). They also don’t use some sunscreen filters that are in French/US sunscreens like oxybenzone that burn my eyes (if you can use it without irritation, go for it!).

  4. The green beauty community does indeed seem dispersed. I’m disappointed that I fell for the marketing of supporting women-owned businesses, when in reality they were acting like mean girls on the playground. The comments on your instagram are embarrassing, a further example of adults acting like children, condescending attitudes and bullying. Overall this does nothing to promote meaningful conversations and actually foster change. My next beauty splurge will be on some little known brand I find at Whole Foods, I’m not supporting any of this 😦

    • Hi Ellen, thanks for leaving a comment. The green beauty community is indeed a departure from how it started, which was dismantling the systems set in place by mainstream beauty by sharing information on formulas, and ingredients, and what they actually did. The reason so many including myself were interested is because it helped to empower decisions on things like which ingredients to look for, and where we were “wasting” our money on a bunch of marketing. And then it became something else.

      Unfortunately, there are clout chasers who try to bait people into an argument just to build their own narrative, and that’s why I put a stop to it on my Instagram.

      I’m fully supportive of voting with your dollars, however it seems that you’re really connected toward where your money goes and for that reason I think you should know that Whole Foods is a part of Amazon, which if you want to get into a discourse on bullying, condescension, etc. is probably going to take the cake more than any “clean” retailer ever will. In the end, it’s not perfect. And arguing over semantics is a waste of time, as I’ve said when I closed the discussion on my post, as the goal should be to promote meaningful conversations that foster change, and not bait people into a war of words. What the meaningful change looks like depends on each person, right? For me, it’s talking about the products that I do love. And in some cases, where a retailer or a founder might be problematic, to point it out as well (such as Agent Nateur in the post above).

      I hope you find your way through this, and make empowered decisions that make you happy 😀

      • I can’t believe the comments you received on that post from Mar and the people she riled up to fight for her. Don’t mind her, most of us have been seeing her attack others, most notably when she tried going after Josh Rosebrook for having once been carried at Organic Bunny and trying to blame him (a gay man) for not noticing that she was homophobic earlier. I’m sad that you were the latest victim, and her behavior is toxic and completely uncalled for. I can’t believe she would gaslight you into thinking that she was “just trying to have a meaningful conversation” after having tried to clearly bait you into an argument to increase her clout, made fun of your handle, and judged you for making a supportive comment about Caroline Hirons.

    • I was also turned off when those alt-accounts and people known for trying to stir trouble appeared there as well, but honestly, that’s just the internet with their keyboard warrior mentality that takes place on any space. The worst has been my Facebook mommy groups!

      Anyway, much love to you Fabiana and way to shut the trolls down!

  5. @Julia, I can’t reply to you. I think this website has some weird technical things with replying in a thread. I hadn’t heard about the Josh Rosebrook stuff, but have definitely received no fewer than 20 messages from others who have said the same thing about her as well. Her MO is clear, and we’re not giving it further oxygen.

  6. Do you think the Ila is going to be a good replacement for Agent Nateur? It sounds like something I would love, but as you’ve noted, I’d rather put my support elsewhere.

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