“We were together. I forget the rest.”

Coveting and Loving: The Products Edition!

File this post under: Not that you asked, but I’m doing it because I lovvvve when other people do them. Truly, I cannot get enough of knowing things like what shampoo and lip balm people use, and what yogurt they eat for breakfast. I used to think these made me a little, um…creepy. But I know now I’m not alone, as evidenced by sites like Into The Gloss and So, How Was Your Day. (Thanks for that one, Nadya!).

So you know: I used to have really bad skin, and it’s only in the past few years that it has began to clear up. I’m sure a lot of that is hormonal, but I’ve also realized that I have pretty really sensitive skin, and I’m willing to bet a lot of my breakouts were due to harsh products, and makeup full of cheap chemicals. And, it seems the older I get the more sensitive I get, as evidenced by the fact that my scalp now burns when I use most shampoos. (Even Aveda, boo.) I tell you this so you know why I’m choosing the products I’m now choosing, and also that I’m trying slowly but surely (and money permitting) to make a full switch over to “so natural you could eat them” products. I’d love any suggestions or faves that you have!!

One company I had been hearing about over and over is Tata Harper. They are 100% natural and non-toxic, and they are their own manufacturers. Oh, and the  whole deal goes on at this bucolic Vermont farm, and they have gorgeous packaging. The only snag: It’s very expensive. As in, the cleanser is $95. Personally, I think if you can afford it, it’s worth it. Not just for the results, but for the fact that what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream. However, thinking it’s worth it and having the money in your bank account are two different things. So I did what any self-respecting product junkie would do: I called and asked them to send me samples! And they did. I loved them all, but my far and away favorite, and really truly the most skin-changing product I’ve ever used, is the Resurfacing Mask. After one use, my skin glowed like it never has, and little imperfections seemed to be blurred. I walked out of the bathroom after having used it just one time, and John glanced up and said WOW. The great thing is, it’s actually one of her cheaper products, at $55. Worth every penny.


My other absolute favorite of the Summer is the ubiquitous Swedish Dream Sea Salt soap. I’m sure you’ve seen this on everyone and their mother’s blog, but for good reason. I’d been wanting to try it, so one day while we were cruising around West Elm, I snagged a bar. It’s creamy (great as a shaving cream), gentle, has chunks of sea salt in it, and oh the smell…clean, bracing, glorious. I want my whole life to smell like that soap forever and ever, amen. And it’s only $6!


REN Skincare’s products I have used a few times over the years, but never long enough to see if they work for me. Recently though, I got a gift card for Nordstrom, so I ordered the Fab 4 kit, and the Rosa Centifolia foaming cleanser. Since I’ve been using them, I haven’t broken out once, my skin is glowing, and I feel good about the ingredients in the products. I love them all, but my favorites are the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, and the Purity Balm which was included as a bonus. The mask is similar to the Tata Harper. Makes me super glowy and smooth. The cleansing balm I can’t recommend enough. The consistency is like a thick lotion, but when you smooth it all over your face, it sort of melts, then you wipe it off with the muslin cloth it comes with. It cleans so well, but also feels almost like you just used a mask. Like facial oils that are all the rage now (which I use now, both Tata’s and REN, and love), it seems counter intuitive for someone with congested skin to use a balm to clean your face. But by golly, it WORKS. Take the plunge!

The other item I ordered  was Kai body glow. Smells like gardenias, and it’s a great light day fragarance. Plus, I love that it makes your skin all…wait for it…GLOWY! For nighttime fragrances, my favorites are Narciso Rodriguez and Balenciaga.


I am sunscreen crazed. I wear SPF 30 or higher everyday, even in Seattle weather. I still haven’t found one I’m crazy about, but right now I use the Kiehl’s Vital Protection 40 For Children, all my body and my face. It does make my face a little more sheen-y than I’d like, but it doesn’t make me break out. And because it’s for kids, it’s great for sensitive skin, and I love the smell!  I used to be a huge Kiehl’s acolyte, but I’m moving away from their stuff because they aren’t as natural as I’d like. Oh, and their mascara- worst I’ve ever used. Sorry, Kiehl’s.


Speaking of makeup: Currently, besides a little mascara, I don’t wear any. Not because I think I couldn’t use a little, but for a few reasons. As I said, my skin used to be really bad, and I covered it all up with makeup, but now that I’ve realized the makeup causes me to break out, I’d rather just go without it. But the other big reason is that when you are used to being terrified at the prospect of stepping out of your house without a full face of foundation, it feels pretty good to feel comfortable not wearing a stitch of anything. That said, I really want to try some Rose Marie Swift products. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s a former makeup artist who created her own line, after discovering her blood had high levels of heavy metals and pesticides from using so much makeup over the years. The main ingredient in most of the products is organic coconut oil. People rave about it, especially people who have sensitive skin and like a natural look, like me. I plan on getting the Living Luminizer, Un-Cover Up, and Lip2Cheek. If you’ve used any of her products, I’d love to hear about it!!

Nails…for toes, either Essie Clambake (below) or Vermillionaire, and fingers, usually nothing, but currently wearing Essie Sandy Beach and loving it. I also love Burt’s Bees Foot cream. Works really well and smells like minty coconut. I’ve been using it since it came in the glass jars. I wish they still used those!


Other things I love: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, everything Malin + Goetz, Burt’s Bees toothpaste, New Chapter Vitamins (they’re food based and usually organic; we both take the Tiny Tab multi), and Bach Rescue Remedy. I have to remember to pick up some Apple Cider Vinegar, because apparently, it’s the best thing for everything from your hair to your skin to weight loss.

I need to find a new body lotion. I love Kiehls Creme de Corps, but like I said, it’s not natural enough. And I need to find some shampoo that doesn’t make my scalp burn, because hey, that’s sexy. Thinking of trying the new one from REN. Any recs??

Oh, and for breakfast I’ve been having almond milk blended with strawberries, Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee with whole milk (awesome, get on it), and sometimes avocado toast. But this morning I had chocolate cake, because *someone* brought it home from the store, and I have no self-control.

So friends! Everything and (way) more than you ever wanted to know about my personal habits! Please to share your own!!


6 comments on “Coveting and Loving: The Products Edition!

  1. nadya
    September 12, 2013

    This is so fun. I have to admit I mostly use Laura Mercier these days (and it’s not so natural). I also *love* Kai. My hair stuff is color-care and not very exciting; as for nails I rarely paint my fingernails but my toes are *always* a color (right now lavender-ish blue, Essie boxer shorts, I think). Details, details. Thanks for sharing! (And I love your call to Tata Harper for samples!)

  2. jessica clare
    September 12, 2013

    I love Laura Mercier! I wish it didn’t make me break out :(
    Haha, yes I get very resourceful when it comes to products :)

  3. Carrie
    September 13, 2013

    Ok, so I may just have to indulge and try that Tata… I am a bonafide product junkie. And, my favorite go-to, miracle in a jar product these days is the Pure Transformation Night Treatment from bare escentuals. (—Clear/USmastertransnight,default,pd.html )

    But, I’ve said it before, if I thought it would give me clear, glowing, no-pore visible skin… I’d put elephant poop on my face.

    Thanks for the recs…

  4. Marsha
    September 21, 2013

    Hey Jess! I love this post. I, too, always wonder what people use – and I am also looking to go as natural as possible. Lately, I’ve been using pure, virgin, un-refined coconut oil on my face at night. It may seem weird to put pure oil on one’s face but I really like it. It definitely feels greasy but gets absorbed throughout the night and I wake up with soft, soft skin. I also have struggled with acne my whole life and this doesn’t make me break out! I thought it would because it is an oil, but because of all its amazing natural properties, it doesn’t clog pores. If it’s too scary to slather one’s face with it, my friend uses it as a make-up remover. She puts some on her face, waits a few minutes, then wipes it off with a warm washcloth. It’s a fantastic make-up remover and even takes off water-proof mascara! Anyway, thanks for letting me contribute!

  5. corrina
    September 21, 2013

    My skin has been less than “glowy” lately. I just attribute it to drinking too much wine! I have been using neutrogen acne wash since I was about 20 and it worked so I never switched. I recently started using pure coconut oil with a couple drops of lavender oil mixed in as a night cream. But it is time to switch up my face wash and daily moisturizer. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

  6. jessica clare
    September 22, 2013

    Thanks for the suggestions, Marsha and Corrina! Corrina, I can also tell a difference in my skin right away when I drink too much wine :( It sounds like I need to get some coconut oil, I keep hearing about it! Thanks girls!

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2013 by .

Jessica Clare

Preschool teacher, writer, trouble maker.

LIVES: Seattle. By way of Santa Fe, San Francisco, and NYC.
DAYDREAMS:Strong coffee. Gourmet magazine. Stinky cheese. Date night with new strappy heels. Green chile. Going back to India. Unabashed displays of love. Vegetable gardens. Clean sheets. Unruly stacks of books. Breaking Bad marathons. Writing like Joan Didion ,Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Joseph Stroud. Cookbooks. French 75s. Sequins with jeans. Leaving love notes.
BELIEVES: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.” Albert Einstein “The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love.” St. Teresa of Avila “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances without own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Joseph Campbell

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