Becoming Minimalist: Skincare Routine

Over the past year I've begun to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle with an aim to use natural products whenever possible. Even though I started paying attention to the foods I put in my body a few years ago, I didn't think about what I put on my body – skincare products, makeup, and the like. Until I did, and then I became obsessed with it.

Using natural, grocery-bought skincare alternatives started out as an experiment but has now turned into my regular routine. I use raw honey for face masks, various oils for moisturizer, and baking soda for just about everything. 

Once I started using these products, I quickly discovered that not only were they cheaper but they also made my skin feel better. 

To continue my ongoing obsession of cleansing and purging my medicine cabinet, I decided to give "Skin Cleanse" by Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics a read, and I'm happy to report that it was totally legit. Full of solid advice and interesting facts, this book goes into detail about our skin, the foods we eat, the products we use, and finally encourages all of us to go on a "skin cleanse" – meaning, you go 24 hours without using skincare products. Just to try. 

I did. Nothing happened, and I mean that in the best way. I thought my skin would dry up and I would die, but it actually felt pretty much the same the next morning. Maybe even a little softer.

The book talks about the reliance we have on our skincare products and how we've come to feel like we need them now because we've trained our skin to need them. On its own, at least according to the book, our skin can exfoliate and moisturize itself – no plastic beaded face wash needed. 

This makes complete sense when you think about it. From an evolutionary perspective, why would our skin require regular, intense exfoliations and tons of products?

The best part about the book is that it's not preachy at all. Rather than telling you not to use a certain product, or not to eat wheat, the book advocates a plan of trying things out, seeing if they work, and if not then trying something else.

It's not about following a new, pre-planed skincare routine. Instead it's about doing what works for you. No preachiness whatsoever. 

Though I've finished the book, I've decided that I'm not going to stop buying skincare products all together.  I enjoy the process of buying products, and I think this whole thing is about figuring out what makes you happy, what works for you and your skin, and what you like.

But I will be sticking to a mix of grocery store products and items from natural retailers like delicious smelling, spa-like Ursa Major, S.W. Basics, and Earth Tu Face – a few of my favorites right now. I'm also really eager to try soul sunday, Herbivore Botanicals, and Meow Meow Tweet.

But what about you guys? Would love to hear your take on skincare and natural products. Do swear by them, find them too crunchy, or what? Let me know!


I received product from both S.W. Basics and Ursa Major as gifts, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support Second Floor Flat! 

Shopping List: 16 Indie Beauty + Skincare Lines

When it comes to beauty, I go through phases. Sometimes I'm out to buy every product I can find. Other times, I just can't be bothered.

Blame it on the weather or my discovery of a few great skincare lines, but right now I am beauty obsessed. I want serums and activated charcoal and body butters and natural soaps and all the rest. 

Even worse (or better) is the fact that there are so many amazing indie skincare and beauty lines out there these days. My Pinterest wishlists kept getting larger– as does my independent designer directory. So, in an effort to stay organized I've put together a list of 16 indie beauty and skincare lines I'm "lusting" after (if you will) after as of late:

toner ($22) by s.w. basics

mandarin & berry soap ($9) by birch & goldberry

unicorn oil ($18) by soul sunday

mermaid sea salt hair spray ($24) by captain blankenship

eye repair serum ($56) by earth tu face

rosy lip tint ($14) by marble & milkweed

mascara ($12) by stowaway cosmetics

facial scrub ($13.20) by fig + yarrow

portable soap sticks ($9.35) by cleanse with benefits – genius!

fantastic face wash ($26) by ursa major 

jasmine body oil ($44) by herbivore botanicals

hair serum ($22) by town & anchor

woke up on wilson lipstick ($19) by alchemy cosmetics

nourish serum ($60) by benshen

magnolia eau de parfum ($108) by commodity

palo santo solid fragrance ($12) by under aurora


skin creamerygolden apothecaryla bella figura, wary meyers, and 90k more – some of which you can find here

Beauty Box: NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Cream

This week on Beauty Box, Leontine Beauty recommends a smoothing cream that will make your skin feel like buttah. Recommended for nighttime use, this moisturizer might seem a little expensive at first but is well worth the price considering the end result:

Product: NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Cream, AHA 10

Price: $40 / £24 for 1.4oz

What's It For? It's a "resurfacing" cream for your face, so it improves smoothness. 

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use):  Easy, but I recommend applying at night as it tingles a bit and can cause some redness. 

Will it change my life? Totally! I can definitely see a dramatic difference in my skin since I started using this in September. The skin on my face is so smooth, and I break out WAY less.

Additional comments:  It's a little pricey for the size. (I'm already on my second tube). However, it's SO worth it to me to have smooth, "younger-looking" skin. Bonus: It helps make my foundation go on so much more evenly!

Natural Men's Skincare

I've always liked the smell of a man (?).  

Even as a mini Second Floor Flat, my mother and I would always make sure to park near the men's section of a department store when we would go shopping at the mall. Not only are the parking lots generally less crowed near the men's entrance (tip) but parking there would mean that we'd have to walk through the men's section not once but twice - on our way into the mall, and on our way out. 

That may be one of the reasons I'm so drawn to men's products. I wear men's deodorant every day and recently found myself very drawn to the men's skincare collection at Portland General Store.

Great smell aside, it may have to do with the killer design of the packaging. Or, the fact that the small team behind this brand only uses natural ingredients and tests all of their products for a year before releasing them to the public. 

Portland General Store will be releasing women's products soon, which I certainly plan on trying (and reporting back on) as soon as possible. In the meantime, I'll stick with the men's. Sure beats visiting a mall department store.

For more on Portland General Store, check out this article from Well Spent. You can also purchase Portland General Store products on their site. 


It may come as a shock to no one that I'm not usually one for beauty. If you've ever seen me in person, you'll know that my hair often resembles a doll whose owner doesn't own a brush.

Anyways, lately, for whatever reason (though probably caused by this video on Into The Gloss), I've been super into skincare and have been buying + trying different products: 

Cleansers :


  • Avene Thermal Spring Water - a purified water spray which I only tried after watching said Into The Gloss video, but I have to say it leaves you feeling clean and relaxed, and who doesn't want that?
  • Simple Vital Vitamin Day Cream - which I also use at night; don't hate
  • Leontine Natural Lip Gloss - handmade in Asheville, NC and all natural. Leaves my lips feeling supa' smooth/soft

And some extras for the cheap seats:

  • Sea Salt Soap - aside from the amazing packaging, this soap really is great - it lightly exfoliates and smells like the ocean. Yummmmmm.
  • Kérastase Nutritive Bain Satin Nutrition Shampoo - I've somehow just discovered Kérastase and could not be more obsessed. It's (a lot) more than I'd usually pay for shampoo at £13 / $20, but it's changed my hair. Right after I wash, I full-on feel like I'm in a shampoo commercial, Pantene-style. After using this, everything else will feel like pointless (with your hair, not in life).