It's taken me a long time to get here.
Even most of the people closest to me didn't really understand why it would've taken me so long to get here. But, it made sense to me and I probably held out too long, because I truly feel like "me" when I'm a blonde.
Back in 2011, when I started getting sick and had changed my diet to strict Paleo to start healing - I also cut out all traditional make-up (my face was breaking out with cold sores and sties from the chemicals), all chemical household products and I stopped coloring my hair. In hindsight, I still believe every one of these choices was the correct choice for me and our household.
And due to our infertility issues, I wanted to make sure I was as chemical free as possible to rule that out as a reason we were not conceiving.
Switching to my chemical-free beauty routine has proven to be amazing. My face is happy with the mineral, gluten-free makeup and of course nixing chemicals from the home is not only healthier for us, but for the baby in the long run as well. And learning about our food has been one of the biggest life changing paths I've ever taken.
But saying goodbye to my blonde locks was hard on me. I know that may sound vain, but I believe as women, doing our make-up, wearing clothes that reflect our style and taking care of our hair and nails makes us feel feminine and pretty. As wives, as mothers and in our community. And I think that as long as we are honoring God with our lives and don't put our vanity before Him or priorities or people in our lives, I think it is a healthy aspect of being a woman and embracing the fact that we are the fairer sex. (And I mean, how fun is all that girlie stuff we get to play with?)
But fear of the chemicals, fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of going against my new beliefs kept me from exploring the option of altering my hair in any way and I went back to natural for nearly 4 and half years.
It was recently that I spoke with my Naturopath and CBT Therapist about it and they spoke to me about calculated risks and the role psychology plays into our physical health as well. They both agreed that I can't obsessively live a life that is 100% clean, no one can in today's world, and that I needed to let go of the anxiety I carried around and decide where I was going to be more lenient with the boundaries I placed on my own life.
I know, to most, this sounds over-dramatic. But seeing what chemicals and processed foods and items was doing to me in my past, my anxiety and fear started to rule in my kitchen, outside my home and at my vanity.
With my pregnancy well under way and healthy, I spoke to my OBGYN about what I had spoken to my other team of doctors about and she agreed that it was safe for me to take this calculated risk. As my pregnant body grew, I wanted to connect with how I felt most womanly and beautiful, for myself and for my husband. And that was lightening my hair.
As simple as that sounds, it took great faith and leaps for me to arrive here. I was still cautious. Using only highlights where no dye would come in contact with my head, to protect baby. But I walked out of there feeling renewed, younger and more beautiful than I've felt in years. I felt like Mandi again.
Is there a part of your beauty routine that connects you with the woman you are? I'd love to inspire and lift each other up. We are all beautiful, no matter our hair color or what we wear, but finding those little joys that make us smile or light us up, I think those are special extras we can use to give us confidence in our day to day.
I've tried to get better about my shopping, I really have, and I've done very well since the days of my early twenties. I am now more methodical about what I need for our home, for my business, for my beauty cabinet and for my fashion wardrobe. (ok, so that last one may still cause problems, haha, but I am trying to do better.)
Taking inventory of what I needed for the New Year I headed to one of my favorite stores on the planet, Target. Of course it's Target, what girl doesn't adore getting lost in the aisles and filling her cart with a million things you don't need piled in on top of the few you do?
So, I was on a mission for a planner for 2016. And of course I found the cutest set by Sugar Paper. The neutral design matches my brand and my office and I fell in love. I had used their products last year and loved that it had exactly what I needed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis for how I work.
After I got what I needed for the office to kick off the year right, I headed over to the beauty department, you know, just to look, and to my pleasant surprise, (OK, I was ECSTATIC), Target started carrying Derma E! My FAVORITE skincare line that I rave about ALL. THE. TIME. Having it at Target means I don't have to wait on shipping times and get my beloved Eye Life Creme anytime I need it! Seriously, through the holidays, we didn't get much sleep and it was a God send for my puffy, tired eyes.
For those of you new to Derma E, it's 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, and it WORKS. My best friend was here over Christmas and she even stocked up after using it at my house. She has super sensitive skin and loved the night cream and day cream. Neither being too heavy for her.
After I stocked up on my Derma E goodies and some new mineral make-up pretties that I didn't get in my stocking from my Santa this year, I of course, headed to clothes where I got a couple of cute wintery tops while we are still enjoying chillier temps.
What are YOUR favorite Target finds? #NoticeTheLotus at Target and try Derma E. I'd love to hear your favorite product from the line. I love spreading the word on healthy options that don't damage our bodies, but instead enhance it's beauty and health. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?
This post sponsored by Derma E and Brand Backer. All opinions are my own.
As stated in my last Beauty Routine post on my teeth and body care post, I am just as careful as to what I put ON my body as to what I put IN my body. I can't stress enough that investing in high quality products that are gentle on your skin, hair, body, face & nails will help preserve the quality and health you are trying to obtain through diet, rest and exercise.
When Derma E approached me about their line, I fell in love with their concept and their line has since become my line. It's a 100% vegan & gluten-free beauty & skincare line that is approved safe for Celiacs, and upon their launch of their #ICANTWHEAT campaign I knew it was time to share what I love about them. You can read all about their formulations here to see all the goodness that's in there and all the nasty that's not.
While most products start in labs, Derma E started in a health food shop in Southern California, and as a resident beach girl, I love products that start in little shops seaside. It speaks to the entrepreneur in me who dreams of a nutrition office near the shore.
Their skin, hair and nail oil is one of my FAVORITE products because I love being able to get multiple uses out of a product for the best value. I use it primarily for my nails, because I adore soft, silky cuticles, but in the winter months I also add a drop with my lotion or moisturizer as well as a drop of my favorite essential oil for the richest and deepest moisturizing action when the weather is particularly dry and harsh on my skin. It's also comprised of three clean ingredients: argan oil, kukui oil & jojoba oil.
Though I am careful to use it on my hair (my hair is quite fine and too much oil of any kind makes me look like I need to shower & a good shampooing), I do use it in a mister with a little water to tame fly-aways when I travel to humid climates. As I'm heading to Texas in a week, it will accompany me for frizz defense.
Another MUST have in ANY girls beauty arsenal is a GOOD dark circle eye creme. I don't care how much sleep you get (and I ALWAYS get 8-9 hours) as we age our sensitive skin around our eyes take harsh punishment from makeup, washing, the elements, the sun and its better to invest in a good eye cream now.
And when it comes to my eyes, I am SUPER careful about what I put on them. In changing and cleaning my diet I started reacting to EVERYTHING I put on my eyes. From mascara, to moisturizer, eye shadow to cleanser, if its not pure my eyes will develop styes (I know, ew) or get red & itchy. When I find something that is gluten-free & gentle I embrace it. I hug it. I use it regularly and I recommend it to others who I know struggle with finding products for their sensitive skin.
In addition to being gluten-free and paraben-free, it is also GMO Free and full of beauty rockstar awesomeness.
And I saved the best for last. Well, ok, anything that is gentle and healthy and makes me feel pretty is the best. But as our skin is the largest organ, it makes sense to give it extra loving care. LOTION is one of my favorite things in this world. It's just something that has always made me feel pampered & pretty and it lets me know I'm taking care of my skin.
I travel, a lot. And plane rides, road trips, constant climate changes and varying weather BEATS UP my skin. Finding a gentle, vegan, gluten-free lotion is CRUCIAL when I'm applying it daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Derma E's Vitamin E lotion is such a Godsend. It's buttery soft and comes in Fragrance Free or a scented variation with natural oils. It's also gentle enough to use on YOUR FACE. Which totally blew my mind because I never in a million years put a traditional lotion on my face in fear of harsh chemicals or crazy breakouts.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'd be happy to answer questions about any ingredients, practices or usage. Derma E did sponsor my post with product, but all photographs & opinions are my own. I'd been seeking a gluten-free & vegan beauty and skin line for so long and I am so happy to have found, and embraced, this beautiful company. The line offers an abundance of products from haircare to skincare, nail care to beauty. I was just highlighting the top three in my beauty cabinet because I don't use a ton of product. I know my go-to's and what has worked best to keep my skin balanced, healthy & glowing.
OK. I know I said that was the best part, but this next part is the BEST BEST part. YOU can save 25% of anything in the line using the promo code ICANTWHEAT in celebration of the #ICANTWHEAT campaign & they are doing an AMAZING giveaway.
Enter for you chance to win $150 of Gluten Free Natural Skincare by derma e.
One winner will receive a $150 gift certificate to shop at www.dermae.com
1,000 Runner Up winners win a Gluten Free Sampler kit (3 foil packs) + insert with coupon code
You can also head over and take the evaluation to find what's best for YOU and your skincare regiment. This is what I did originally to get started and I was matched with the PERFECT products missing from my beauty cabinet. You can put in your preferences and allergies to make the recommendations super tailored to your uniqueness.
I would love to know your favorite gluten free skincare products, and if you've tried Derma E, what's your favorite from the line?
Each year I like to make a list of my goals to moving toward more healthy, whole, organic living. I did a Natural Goals post in 2013 for home, food and body. And this year, I am doing the same. My beauty routine has gotten quite the overhaul and I've met some amazing beauty experts and make-up creators along the way.
What I've Accomplished:
Full make-up overhaul. I adore my new makeup routine. I got rid of SO many of my chemical products and it's so much simpler to find things. I use all mineral, no chemical eye shadow, mascara, lip products, and blush. I will be doing a product review on all soon!
Using all natural products. From my body scrub, to my natural tangerine vanilla soap, my organic plant-based shampoo and conditioner and my essential oil perfume, I try to keep as much artificial fragrance out of my routine as possible. I also smell like a coco-nutty-hawaiian fruit.
Yoga and meditation on the regular. This has been so crucial in my over-all calm and well-being. Being so susceptible to anxiety and worry through my not-so-great gut health and hormone imbalances, taking time to just pray, talk to God, do devotionals, do yoga, stretch and meditate on the Word has been so important for finding balance and handling stress on the daily better.
My hair is SO much healthier. So, I know last post I was very sad I was no longer a blonde. And, ok, some days I still struggle, and Mr. Charming and I find this to be a touchy subject because he knows how much I love being blonde, but I will say my hair hasn't been this long in a LONG time, and though it's still pretty thin, its definitely in a better state than its been in years. So I'll stay chest-nutty brown for a while longer.
Detox. I found out this year I have a genetic mutation that hinders my detox pathways. I'm saving up to see another Dr. about this too, because, quite frankly, it sounds like something that totally sucks, but in the meantime I'm trying to do as much healthy stuff as I can. I take coconut oil and kale in my smoothies everyday, I dry brush before shows and I try to work-out when I'm not exhausted. This can def. be an area I improve. But I am trying to make small steps to improve.
What I Still Want To Do:
A Better Cardio Routine. Since finding out about my MTHFR mutation, it explains why when I vigorously workout I get sick. Which sucks. I LOVE running and dancing, but I also need to respect my body. I would like to get into a better habit of taking walks with Mr. Charming and my girlfriends, just to try to sweat a little, de-stress and get some cardio in.
DETOX, DETOX, DETOX. Like I said above, I found out this year I have a genetic mutation that hinders my detox pathways. So I'm trying to find more healthful ways to detox without my body getting sick in the process. In addition to what I'm doing above.
Toothpaste and Deodorant. I'm awaiting my next Honest Co. shipment that includes toothpaste, and I'm still on the hunt for an aluminum-free deodorant that lasts all day. Or at least half a day. Or at least a half of a half of a day.
So. It's true. I miss being a blonde. Since the age of 14 I've been a platinum blonde. (except for this one summer, when I was on tour and my hair was red, brown and blonde. You know, when I was off being fabulous and "finding myself). Not sure what was going on but it was fun at the time... haha...
When all of my symptoms started around fall 2011 and I started cleaning up my food and my home, I had to wonder if all of that toxic hair dye had something to do with it. We'll never know I guess, however I did know that I didn't want to keep sending chemicals into my body when I was trying so hard to detox. For a while I let my hair grow out, because I didn't know what to do.
It was all kinds of a mess, dirty blonde roots, with blonde hair. Luckily, (I guess) this new "ombre" trend EXPLODED around that time and everyone thought I looked like that on purpose. I didn't. But I went with it while I was in a funk about what I was going to do about the ever growing two-toned mop of hair.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not totally vain. But I am a girl. A girl who comes from the music industry and it's engrained in me to feel good about myself. What HAS changed is that I was taking a stand to put my health first, hence the ombre do'.
I searched, and searched, and SEARCHED for hair color that wouldn't give me cancer, hormonal disruption a rash or a third leg... and not shockingly every organic, fancy-shmancy salon within 50 miles that claims to have "healthier, safer" hair dye still carried color that was full of PPD and other harmful, harsh chemicals. They were ammonia free, but PPD is the one you have to look out for.
So, I continued my quest until I stumbled upon a review of Palette By Nature. A hair color made from minerals and I decided to give it a try. My hair stylist told me she would put it in for me, so I decided to order a box and take it to her. The first color I chose however came out a little too ashy and my hair ended up looking a little gray, fading to an odd dark bluish hue, then finally to brown.
I then decided to order a warmer toffee brown and went back to my stylist... its rich, and warm and I love it.
The smell is pleasant, fruity. Your hair will feel a little grainy until you've shampooed a few times... and if you are going to apply it yourself, its dark and will get everywhere... so I suggest using a professional stylist who will apply it for you.
I've used it three times and am pleasantly surprised. Although I miss being blonde, I like knowing that I am making a better decision for my body. And I know that when its time to start a family I can keep up with my hair while I keep the little nuggets environment safer.
Will I one day go back to blonde? I don't know. Sometimes I get the impulse to just do it. But then I take my supplements, and eat my organic salad and I go back to being content as a brunette for now, in this season of my life.
Plus, it's fall! Warmer, richer colors just work darling! ;)