After having babies I gradually started converting most of our household products to cleaner options with safe ingredients. I also chose bath and skincare products for them that were clean and safe. But for some reason I didn’t prioritize my own health (know any other moms like that? Um, probably all of us, right!?) and just kept right on using whatever beauty product I liked — regardless of ingredients — on myself. Well, after my health went on a decline and my Hashimotos flared up I went to see a naturopath and discovered that not only was my autoimmune disease being affected, but my hormones were as well. Many of the chemicals and toxins found in so many of the products we use are xenoestrogens, which are basically chemical compounds that mimic estrogen and can severely impact our health in many ways. So I made a commitment to myself to start cleaning up my beauty routine. The skin is our largest organ, after all, so why did I think I could use toxins and chemicals on that organ without suffering consequences that would impact my health? I started doing even more research about what is allowed and is used in many of the most popular brands and common beauty products and the information was very eye opening, So I started researching clean brands and slowly trying new products. I have been doing it gradually so as to not overwhelm myself (or my bank account). I wasn’t expecting to find many clean ingredient products that I loved and found to be as effective as the stuff I was already using. To my surprise, I have not only found things I like as well or that work as well, I have found things that I love even more!
After using these products for 4 weeks minimum (most for close to two months), I have definitely found some favorites that I knew I had to share. I even fell hard for one of these brands (Beautycounter) and ended up joining the company since I loved how effective the products were on my skin and wanted to share my honest experience. The discount is a nice perk as well. I’m in the process of trying their hair products so after enough time has passed I’ll let you know how I’m liking those as well.
Beautycounter Charcoal Cleansing Bar
I usually just cleanse my face with water alone in the morning (I cleanse good at night and only need to rinse off products to start fresh) but I’ve added in cleansing with the Beautycounter Charcoal Cleansing Bar 2x a week (more than that will dry me out in the winter). It has made such a difference in clearing up break out spots as well as minimizing pores and blackheads around my nose. Charcoal is an activating ingredient that detoxifies and absorbs impurities. Since it is made with antioxidant-rich green tea and hydrating coconut oil, its a very gentle formula. It can be used on your face and body and safe for any skin type. I only use it a couple times a week because I have dry skin thanks to my thyroid issues. I cut a piece off to use and save the rest which helps it to last even longer. I also put a piece in the shower and use it on my body as well.
Herbivore Jade Roller
I am addicted to facial rolling. Since I shared on my IG stories (you can see me use mine under my ‘BEAUTY’ highlight in my profile) I’ve had a lot of questions about the benefits. You can google if you want to read more, but basically using a jade roller helps prep skin to absorb products better, works as a lymphatic massage, and can help smooth fine lines. It reduces puffiness as well as tension for me, because I hold tension in some parts of my face, like between my eyes and along my jawline. I’ve had a few friends buy this at my recommendation and even their husbands are obsessed with it. It turns skincare into a self-care ritual for me. And if you are a new customer, use this link to get 15% off your first order.
After I use my Herbivore jade roller, I apply 3-5 drops of a facial oil. I use either Herbivore Orchid Facial Oil or the Beautycounter Brightening Facial Oil (which I also use at night and only use 2x a week during the day). I bought a small size of the Herbivore oil when I got my jade roller and the smell is intoxicatingly good and the ingredients and benefits are even better — read the product description on their website for all of them. I add a couple drops to my moisturizer (more on that below) in the morning for daytime use. If I need a bit more moisture, I’ll use the Beautycounter Brightening Oil instead — usually a couple times a week (I also use this at night). It is pricy but so so worth it and I foresee it lasting me a really long time. It is super effective since it contains a blend of natural oils including rosehip and argan oils which are omega rich. It also contains antioxidant vitamin C to brighten and even skin tone (perfect for mamas like me that have melasma from pregnancy!) I consider it an investment that will take the place of other treatments like facials.
Beautycounter Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream
I’m not gonna lie, I was really happy with my eye cream before I tried this one! But it had ingredients that I wasn’t comfortable with and I decided to give Beautycounter Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream a try. Many eye creams are results-based so you see an immediate effect, but the chemicals in the ingredients are harmful for our systems and our skin in the long run. The Beautycounter Cream is super soothing and I do see a visible difference after I put it on in the mornings with reduced puffiness. (I use this one both day and night).
Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion
If I need a bit more moisture or if I want to take a break from facial oil, I use the Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion. I love this moisturizer because it helps skin adapt to the ever-changing aggressors of daily life by adjusting hydration levels throughout the day. In layman’s terms, it keeps you hydrated all day long 🙂
If I’m leaving the house I’ll top this off with some tinted moisturizer like Beautycounter Dew Skin, but I count that more as makeup rather than skincare since my skin is technically moisturized with the facial oil and I use the tinted moisturizer to provide a bit of coverage and color, so I’ll include that in a future Clean Makeup post.
Beautycounter Cleansing Balm
If you only invest in one product from this entire post, it should be the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. And at $80, it is an investment but hear me out. The Cleansing Balm cleans your skin by removing makeup and impurities but because of the ingredients it also hydrates and doesn’t strip away your skin’s moisture like most cleansers. You can also use it as an intensely moisturizing face mask! Once a week after cleansing I will put a tiny bit of this back on before bed. It feels luxurious. And for someone like me with normally really dry skin, it has made a huge difference. After only using this for a week my skin’s texture was completely different — I was no longer dry and flakey. I used to have that crepe-like dry skin, which is gone. My face is a glowy texture now. And the ingredients are super concentrated and the balm literally melts into your skin, so you only need a tiny bit. Like a TINY bit. Which means this one jar will last me for a really long time. It also means once I consistently use these high quality products and keep my water intake up and have my thyroid back under control, I won’t need to invest in as many products. I’ll probably use this and the face oil and eye cream as my regular nighttime routine long term.
Countermatch Recovery Sleep Cream
After cleansing I use my Herbivore jade roller, my Beautycounter Brightening Facial Oil and my Beautycounter Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream — all described above. I top it off with a tiny bit of Countermatch Recovery Sleep Cream. You can also add a couple of drops of the Facial Oil directly to a tiny bit of the Cream and then apply. They compliment each other well and you only need a little bit to get big results. I feel like my skin looks radiant when I wake up after using this stuff at night. While I sleep, it does the work for me 🙂
I have a few products that I use 1-2 times per week in addition to the things listed above, depending on my needs. If I need a bit of extra balancing and removing impurities (around that time of the month when I might breakout usually) I use the Beautycounter Balancing + Charcoal Facial Mask. They also have a Brightening Mask (to even skin tone) and a Plumping Mask (to give more elasticity and make skin look more youthful), which I’m really excited to try also. If I need a bit more moisture or want to accelerate my skin brightening, I’ll add the Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum to my night routine, usually only 1-2 times a week. And because of years of tweezing and my hypothyroidism my eyebrows had gotten thin and sad. I had the opportunity to try NeuBrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum and after two weeks of nightly use I regrew my brows! They filled out and are now longer and thicker. You do have to continue using the product to maintain results, but I only need to use it about 1-2 nights a week now for maintenance. The product uses peptides, proteins, vitamins, and conditioners to give you fuller looking brows. Now I only use a little Glossier Boy Brow when I put makeup on and my brows look fantastic.
So that is my skincare routine since going clean. Stay tuned for a post on clean makeup, bath and body, and haircare as I switch over more products and discover more things I find worthy of sharing. There are so many factors to healthy skin like what we eat, our environment, genetics, etc. It can really help when you understand your skin type, and are consistent with what you use, get enough rest, drink enough water, etc. If you have any questions about these products or need a good skin care routine for your specific skin type, feel free to email me or message me on instagram and I’ll share whatever info I have and give you honest answers. And if you have never tried Beautycounter and are curious about a specific product I’d love to help!
Have you gone clean with your skincare routine?
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I think we can all agree that life can be hard sometimes, life with little kids is tough more often than not, and there’s no shame in taking shortcuts and finding help wherever you can to make life easier. I’ve been keeping a running list of things that I have found that made my life easier — some in little ways and others in big ones. Some are super random and a few are kind of obvious but took me a while to figure out. So I thought I would share them in case they might help make your life easier too 🙂 Because life with kids is chaotic and crazy on the best of days!
Laundry Sorter Bag
When you have three boys there is just SO.MUCH.LAUNDRY! And it is more of a hassle to wash their clothing separately than just throw it all in together. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of this but only in the last month did it occur to me to get a laundry sorter. I bought this one, which has three bins — one for each kid’s clothing. I keep a hamper in their bathroom and all of their dirty clothes go in it together. When it is full, I carry it to the basement where our laundry room is (two flights down), do it all together, and then as I empty the dryer of their clothes I sort each kid’s laundry into their own bin. Then I can carry it up to the main floor, where it sits next to the couch for 3-4 days until someone finally caves and folds it 🙂 But still, it is SUCH a lifesaver and cost less than $10!
Dry Erase Board Calendar
When you have mom brain and multiple schedules to keep track of, a dry erase board monthly calendar is life. I have a simple one from the Dollar Spot at Target, but this one is also a great choice and the reviews say the marker doesn’t stain and erases easily. I also love that there is a place to write notes or keep a to-do list or a grocery list.
I think this is the biggest discovery that has been a game changer in my life. Since I got my Instant Pot around 6 weeks ago I have cooked dinner every night unless we had leftovers from a previous home cooked meal. Not only has it saved us money from eating out or throwing out old food, but it has helped us to eat healthier meals as a family. I had heard about the Instant Pot for a while but kept thinking “do I need another appliance/device for cooking?” If you are asking yourself the same question then your answer is: YES!
The instant pot is a pressure cooker but is safer than other stovetop types. It can cook your food (from frozen!) up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods. One of my meal planning problems was planning ahead — I always forgot to thaw items out ahead of time. Now I can literally decide what to make for dinner around 4:30 pm and we can be eating by 5. Also, the food is so much more delicious! It is juicy and tender. I’ve especially loved chicken and corned beef as well as soups and stews. If you only buy yourself one thing this year, let it be an Instant Pot. I can’t believe it took me so long to get one.
My Sleep Buddy
You’ve probably heard of OK to Wake Clocks (we used to have this one, which also worked well). But the My Sleep Buddy has been a game changer for us. It is an ok to wake clock that you can set for nap or night sleep (you can have alarms always set for both without constantly changing or setting each night). The light is a soft soothing blue (you can also choose an amber light) and you can change the settings to make it brighter like a nightlight or dimmer (which I love because my kids sleep best in the dark). It also comes with a book explaining what the Sleep Buddy is for and makes it fun and special for your kid. My toddler doesn’t always stay in bed until it goes off at 6:45 but it has helped.
I can’t believe it took me so long to buy chewable ibuprofen. Like, I’ve been a mom for 7+ years and only recently have I bought my first bottle. My kids HATE drinking medicine, so if something comes in chewable form then give me all the chewables. Just make sure your child is old enough to have it (I think they need to be two years old but check with your doctor and read the instructions before giving your kids any medicine). But honestly, chewable ibuprofen — SO SIMPLE AND YET SO HELPFUL!
Command Hooks & Hanging Strips
If you aren’t using command hooks and picture hanging strips for pretty much everything, then you are missing out on a major life convenience. I get the chrome looking hooks ones for hanging towels in the bathroom (each kid has their own hook so there is no excuse to not hang up their own towel!), backpacks, winter hats, etc. We have designated spaces where the hooks are, each kid has his own, and therefore we know where to find things and they know where to hang things up on their own.
And the hanging strips are genius for hanging art and photos. They let me hang things without stressing over hammering holes in my walls or changing my mind and wanting to change things up down the road. It also means I can do projects while the kids are sleeping because I don’t have to worry about the noise of hammering.
Apple Watch + Reminder App on my iPhone
So I know this is big ticket item and it better make life easier with the price tag that comes with it, I wanted to share in case anyone has been thinking of getting one but is on the fence about whether they actually need one. I got this one for my birthday (we never do big presents but my husband knew how badly I had been wanting one to help keep myself on track with my wellness) and I’ve found it so helpful in the 4 months since. The things I love best are the activity app (so you can keep track of your steps, time spent standing, moving, and exercising), the breathe reminder (which helps to remind me to do some deep breathing/quick meditation to keep my mental health on track all day), and the stand reminder (for when I’m working and forget to get up and move around. I also use my reminders on my phone synced to my watch so that I can set reminders to take my thyroid medication in the morning, my supplements after breakfast, and to drink water throughout the day. I even have one that goes off at 9:45 pm each night telling me to go to bed 🙂
I’m sure this is a given, but Netflix makes a great babysitter when you need 15 minutes to shower or get dressed or just need a momma timeout. And these days there are so many shows (pretty much everything but Mickey Mouse) that my kids watch, as well as movies that are new releases. We haven’t had to purchase a movie for the kids for a while because they are available for free on Netflix. And when I need to decompress at the end of the day, it is a great source for binge-watching some great shows.
If you have a school-age kiddo you may have heard of GoNoodle because chances are your child’s brilliant teacher uses it at school. Charlie came home talking about “brain breaks” and I looked it up and downloaded it on the spot. Anytime my kids clearly need to get out some energy and can’t get outside or are starting to get on each other’s nerves (usually right before dinnertime) we throw on GoNoodle and they get their bodies moving and focus on the fun little physical challenges and silly songs. And then we end with one of the Flow videos for a more calming effect.
It seems simple, but took me a while to actually use a timer with my kids. Whether it is for a time-out, or as a warning of an impending bedtime, or a timer on the iPad that turns off shows or games after a certain period of time — timers become the bad guy and let you off the hook a little. Every kid will agree to a specific time period to get what they want in the moment (5 more minutes!?) so the first time they ask you can agree and set a timer reminding them that when that timer goes off it is time to move on without complaining or whining. It usually works for me!
I love to read but rarely have time to read actual books (and when I do I often fall asleep) so getting an Audible subscription has been a game changer. I can listen to audiobooks in the car (especially with my littlest) or while on a walk, or even in bed at night as I’m falling asleep. You can set a sleep timer so your book shuts off after 15 minutes if you are likely to fall asleep (like I am) and you get two free books each month with your monthly subscription (which is under $16). I also have an easier time actually getting through parenting books this way, versus reading a physical book. If you are looking to try it out, you can get a free trial and if you have never accepted a book before, a friend can send you one for free! I recently finished this parenting book and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. I also loved this, this, and this (though I’m probably a little biased.) If you have never received a free book, feel free to shoot me an email and I’d be happy to send you one of those.
Non Contact Forehead Thermometer
With three kids and a major cold and flu season this year, our non contact thermometer has been a gamechanger. My oldest can never seem to hold a traditional oral thermometer under his tongue. My middle can’t deal with keeping one under his arm long enough, and my baby won’t even let me use an ear thermometer on him. So the non contact one has been the only way I’ve been able to check temps this season. While not as accurate as a rectal or oral thermometer, it does at least let me know whether or not a fever is present. And for around $20, it is a great tool for your mom arsenal.
Do you have any mom sanity savers that didn’t make my list that I need to know about? What is your biggest life changing tip or product? The simpler the better!
This post contains affiliate links.
My struggle with autoimmune and thyroid disease is directly tied to my motherhood. I developed Hashimotos after I had my first baby. I talk about it here, but looking back I didn’t even have a clue about my disease. I thought one of the symptoms (postpartum depression) was the toughest part at the time. I had no idea that the depression and anxiety would come back and persist and that I would struggle with so many more symptoms because I never treated the Hashimotos, I only dealt with the resulting hypothyroidism and replaced my thyroid hormone. But honestly, I had no idea that there was more to do because my doctors never told me otherwise and I didn’t realize there were answers out there to look for. I thought that as long as my thyroid levels were within range that I was good. And for a while I was.
After I had Calvin, I went clinically hyper while still having underlying hypo — meaning I was getting too much thyroid hormone from my medication (probably because my body was used to sharing it with Calvin when I was pregnant) and my symptoms were those of hyperthyroidism (racing heart, sweating, anxiety especially) while my condition was still technically hypothyroid. My medication was adjusted. I had a major hormone crash when I weaned around 8 months postpartum (Calvin started biting and I couldn’t work through it). And then I got the surprise of my life when I found out I was pregnant with Quincy a month later. But I mostly felt good — I had lost all but around 5 pounds of my baby weight from Calvin, which was huge for me because it took me around 18 months to get to that point after Charlie, mostly because I probably gained 20 lbs from my hypothyroidism. But still, all of the changes and stress on my body were setting up the perfect storm for a Hashimoto’s flare up once Quincy was born.Read More
After having two babies who I felt I had successfully trained into good sleepers, I considered myself an unofficial baby sleep expert. Then I had baby three and realized the universe had thought I was a little too cocky and gave me a really tough nut to crack when it came to good sleep. Quincy didn’t sleep through the night until he was almost a year old (compared to his big brothers who were more like 2-3 months), and even then he was a very early riser. After almost two years of having to get up by 5 am with a screaming baby (he was never happy and rested when he did wake up), I was ready to find a better solution than three cups of coffee. So I called in expert Melissa Brown of Sleep Shop Consulting.Read More
My last baby turned two last week, and even though I was certain I was done having babies from the minute he was born I’ve been having the “maybe just one more…” thoughts lately. I always knew I wanted to have at least two babies, and when Calvin was born, something told me we weren’t done. And then Quincy surprised us not too long after that. But three kids, two really close in age, and a baby that had colic and reflux and wakes up with the roosters (still) just about did me in. I have felt ‘done’ for two years. But my health is starting to finally improve, and with it comes thoughts like “I could do this again.” And I have no doubt that I could. Sometimes I wonder if my having those thoughts means I’m not done — that another baby is meant to join our family — or if I will always have those thoughts. I think a small part of me will always yearn to have a tiny baby in my arms. To wear a baby wrapped close to my body. To feed and nurture a life at my breast. I know some women just know when they’re done and they feel good about that. I thought I was one of them after Quincy. But something in the back of my mind keeps pulling at me. And it doesn’t help that Charlie keeps asking for another baby. Actually he doesn’t ask, he just says that we’ll be having one more very matter of factly. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m not 100% sure either way, and I’m not 100% sure I’ll ever be 100% sure…Read More
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield® Organic Kids® but the content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Oh Lovely Day and its sponsors.
I think Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to remind us to do something extra special for our little ones and partners. But I think it is even better when we let it inspire us to show extra love to our families in little ways, every day. I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to show a little extra love to my littlest Valentines and I thought I would share some of my favorites. Here are 25 little ways to celebrate love with your family every day, not just Valentine’s Day.
ways to celebrate love with your family
- Leave little hearts in places they will find them: one stuck to a mirror, one taped to their cereal box, or one under their pillow.
- Put notes in their lunches (for your kids and spouse).
- Forgive them when they make a mistake.
- Make heart-shaped pancakes for family breakfast.
- Hold hands.
- Plan a special one-on-one date with each child individually, and a date night with your partner.
- Comfort them, even when what they’re upset about seems silly to you or is making your day harder.
- Make their favorite snack or dessert heart-shaped.
- Have family cuddle time.
- Give them a card for no reason.
- Draw hearts and notes in steamy shower doors or mirrors for your family to find.
- Put a surprise under their pillow.
- Offer hugs and kisses for no reason.
- Put away all of your devices and give them your undivided attention when it is their time. Quality over quantity.
- Give them extra praise for something they did well or did for you.
- Be silly together and show them how happy they make you.
- Cook or take them out for their favorite meal.
- Ask them, “Do you know how much I love you?”
- Let the little things go—try not to nag or be negative for an entire day.
- Dance together.
- Do their favorite thing with them, no matter what it is (like playing cars for hours or pretending to be a dinosaur).
- Let things get a little messy.
- Be silly together.
- Movie night in your bed.
- Give them a special treat or dessert.
While I don’t mind giving my kids a little sweet treat on very special occasions, during our day-to-day I try to keep things wholesome and good for them. So, I look for things that they think are a yummy treat but that I know are free of all of those ingredients that aren’t so great. One of my favorite sweet “treats” to give my kids is Stonyfield® Organic Kids® Choco-Mooo Yogurts. I love them because they are all Non-GMO Project Verified, have no high fructose corn syrup and now contain 25-40% less sugar than the leading kid’s yogurt. And because they are organic, I know that they are also free from toxic persistent pesticides and artificial ingredients. My kids love them because they are delicious, easily portable, and are a “sweet chocolate treat!” Win win 🙂
What are your favorite ways to show your family love? Do you do anything creative or extra special?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic Kids®.