My Favorite Beauty Products to Repair My Damaged Skin and Hair After Adventures
I really put my skin and hair through the wringer when I'm outdoors. Wind-blown tangly, unwashed hair, dirt and grit ground into my skin... you get the picture. Well for the past three years, (yes, three years!) I've been testing out products for my hair and skin to help revive and repair the damage from my adventures. A lot of products do work, but a lot of products do the bare minimum. Hair masks that make my hair soft but don't repair the damage have been a waste of money. Face washes that don't deep clean the dirt out my pores and make me break out have been a waste of money too... but over the past few years I've found a few products that I've tested, REALLY tested, and love. Now that I've been using almost all of these products consistently for 4-12+ months I thought I'd throw up a list of my favorite products that actually repair the damage I've done from adventuring. I even brought little travel sized bottles of most all these products on our month long trip out west to help mitigate some of the damage.
Only one thing in this review was sent to me free of charge which was the Green Goo stick. All opinions are my own and I purchased all the other products on my own. If you want to know what products I've tested that haven't worked (it's a long list- just warning you) let me know!
To shop any of the products scroll to the bottom of the post!
Instead of saving the best for last I'm doing the best one first. For years I've been buying and testing hair masks to try and find one that actually repairs the damage to my hair and so many of the product would make my hair silky soft, but none really repaired it. Earth Science Olive & Avocado Hair Masque its a miracle worker and I'm obsessed because it actually repairs my damaged hair. After using this mask twice a week for a month I noticed less split ends, shinier hair and my hair was much stronger (it didn't break as easily). I always use this after a long weekend outdoors because that's when I do the most damage to my hair but I also highly recommend this hair mask if you use heat on your hair. I never blow dry, straighten or curl my hair so I don't have a ton of split ends or damage to begin with, but the little bit of damage I do have has decreased considerably and noticeably (but not disappeared) since using this product. This mask also acts as a deep conditioner and makes my hair really soft and flat, which I'm not crazy about because I naturally have pin straight hair, but if you have curly or frizzy locks this will condition your hair so deep that you'll most likely notice it's a little bit more tame. Also Michael uses this on his beard and he swears it makes it softer haha. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
*How I Use It: I do two things. Sometimes when I'm showering I wash my hair fast at the beginning and then squeeze out all the water, I slather this on my hair (not my roots though) and then let it sit in a bun while I finish my shower. At the end I rinse it out. The other thing I do is shower and then when I'm done, I wring the water out of my hair and slather this all over my head, wrap it back up in a towel or put it in a high bun and let it sit for an hour or so. After I rinse it out with cool water I braid it and sleep on it.
I know coconut oil is all the rage and everyone uses it for everything but I couldn't get on board. Do I use it? Of course! But not on my skin except to do foot masks* or if my shins are extra dry in the winter time. Coconut oil was too heavy for my skin and because I have acne prone/oily skin it always made me break out and it never really seemed to sink into my skin; it always left me feeling oily and I hated it. So I turned to shea butter. Shea butter has a lower molecular weight than coconut oil so it can really penetrate your skin and soak in rather than just sitting on top and leaving you oily. It's lightweight and leaves my skin feeling so, so smooth and moisturized. I've gone through a lot of different brands of shea butter and all are good as long as they're organic and raw. I don't use it on my face unless it's very, very dry and really only use this on my body as an every day/when I remember moisturizer.
*How I do my foot mask with coconut oil: First I wash my feet and scrub the shit out of them with an exfoliator or use a pumice stone to slough the dead skin off my heels and callouses. Rinse your feet off and then pat them dry. After, I slather on a thick layer of coconut oil and immediately put on thick hiking socks and let the oil soak overnight. The next morning I wipe off any excess oil that hasn't been soaked up by my socks and my feet feel super soft.
I honestly never had "buy a toner" on my radar but one day while in the local health food store I spritzed this on my face and didn't think much of it other than it smelled like oranges. When we got home from the store I looked at my face in the bathroom mirror and holy crap it looked amazing. It had a slight dewey look to it and my skin tone had totally evened out. All the redness in my cheeks had disappeared! I realized what had happened and I went back to the store that same day and bought this toner. I've been using it ever since and I love it! I rarely wear makeup so to have a toner that evens out my skin tone is a total game changer. After I wash my face and pat it dry I spritz this onto my skin and sometimes I'll even give my face a little massage and rub it in. I also do my neck. It smells like oranges and it's a miracle worker if you're like me and have an uneven skin tone. Also, it doesn't make me break out (everything makes me break out) so that was also a plus.
Pure Life Shampoo
I have a sensitive scalp and certain shampoos will set off an itching spell for days and it's awful. This shampoo was purchased at a local health food store and I really love it. They have tons of different fragrances and types (rosemary is the scent Michael uses) and they're gentle on my skin. I'm the type of girl who washes her hair every day so I needed a shampoo that would gently clean my hair without destroying my scalp. This works! I don't use conditioner other than my deep conditioner twice a week so I can't speak for the conditioners that come in this line. But, this shampoo cleans really well without stripping your hair down.
Rosehip oil has totally changed my skin for the better. Before, I used to use moisturizers that would clog my pores and never properly moisturized my skin but I finally turned to oils and rosehip oil has worked the best on my skin. Rosehip oil is a lighter oil with a small molecular size which makes it easily absorb into the skin (oils with larger molecular levels like coconut and olive oil have a hard time absorbing into the skin and if you have acne prone and/or oily skin those kinds of oils can make you break out very easily). Rosehip oil is also rich in vitamin C and has helped brighten my complexion. It also decreases irritation and redness in my face. Sometimes my face gets flushed and red, especially from heat, and this oil takes care of it. Surprisingly it's been really great at getting rid of acne too. If I rub it in at night over a developing pimple its usually much smaller, and much less red when I wake up in the morning. Another oil that's great for your face is Argan Oil (which I also have and use, I just like the rosehip oil better).
* Make sure you keep your rosehip oil in the fridge or in a dry cool place to extend it's shelf life.
Derma-e soothing cleanser
Sorry for the crappy picture quality! I obviously forgot this bottle (and the hair mask) when I took these products to shoot them. Anyways, if I were writing this list in order of my favorite products this would be number two. I've had a long and inconstant relationship with face washes. Some work for awhile then don't, some make me break out almost immediately, some don't clean deep into my pores, some have left my skin dried out beyond repair, you get the point. I bought this face wash on a whim (at the same health food store I've gotten most this other stuff) and it has totally changed everything for me. I use it every, single, night and it makes my skin so clean and soft and has never made me break out. It evens out my complexion and reduces redness. One weekend my sister and I were both visiting home she used this face wash and noticed in ONE WASH how amazing it was so I gave her the bottle. I've also recommended it to my best friend and she swears it cleans here face and makeup off better than another other facial cleanser she's ever used. This stuff is awesome and so gentle on your skin. It looks dewey and fresh right after washing. I've been using it for close to a year and it works just as well as the first time I used it. It is amazing!
Okay so I don't really wear deodorant at all but wanted to throw this product in anyways because I do use it occasionally. Deodorant FREAKS me out with all it's chemicals and metals and I haven't worn it for about two years now. Do I smell? Yep, definitely, but I'm the only person who ever notices. But for me it's worth it to have a little natural BO happenin' then to have chemicals and heavy metals being absorbed into my body. No thanks! However, when I do use deodorant I use this stuff. I've used lots of different organic brands but didn't really like any of them until my mom brought this home from her health food store. It's the only deodorant I've found that doesn't leave me smelling funky fresh at the end of the day. Plus the aloe vera is great for my sensitive under arm skin.
Green Goo dry skin stick
This is a product that I really only use in the winter time. Sometimes in the winter I get dry, cracked hands (Michael does REALLY bad) so we use this goo stick and it really cures even the worst-cracked-bleeding-skin. It's meant for your hands and feet but you can use it anywhere your skin is suffering. The stick also says you can use it from eczema and psoriasis. Also, this is more personal, but I sometimes get dry patches on my arms and sometimes I get little bumps on my arms that will turn red. This stick completely cured both of those things for me. I couldn't believe it. I've been using all kinds of lotions for years and two weeks of using this goo stick and my dry spots were cured! It's a miracle stick and if you have any dry or red irritated skin I highly recommend grabbing one of these and diligently rubbing it anywhere you have issues. Sometimes I also use it as chapstick
Dr. Bronner's 18-IN-1 Pure Castile Soap
You'll notice I'm a lavender person and everything I can get in lavender I do. I don't know how we came across this soap but one day Michael found a bottle of this under our sink so we tried it out. We immediately loved the soap because two drops mixed in your palms with water from the shower can suds up your whole body. It cleans deep, it smells heavenly and it's organic. Sometimes I even use this to wash my face and it hasn't ever made me break out. You can also use it to clean clothes in a pinch among many other things. It's a versatile soap and I just had to share at the end of this post!
Well that's all of them! I bet you noticed that my skin issues are that I'm prone to breaking out, I have oily skin and I get red, inflamed skin. So for me, these products have really helped, if not completely gotten rid of those issues. There are definitely some other products I use and throw into the mix once and awhile but these are my steady constants. It's amazing how much better I feel about my skin. I went from having adult acne (ugh the worst) to now being complemented on my complexion and clear skin- that has NEVER happened to me in my entire life! Of course I still get the occasional pimple but it's so much better than it was a year ago. It's been a long road for me trying to find some products that help so if you suffer from some of the same skin issues I really do recommend all these products! If you have any products that you swear by please share them below in the comments!