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Vanity + Wearables

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For as long as I can remember, my father has worn striped indigo workwear—Wabash stripes, engineer stripes, hickory stripes, ticking stripes. Along with low-top Converse All Stars, denim blue jeans, chambray shirts, and a specific type of wire-framed glasses, those stripes are what I most associate with my father’s personal style. The man loves a stripe. Last Hanukkah, I gave him a hickory-striped Workwear Tote from Wood & Faulk.

He particularly likes to wear a certain style of striped shirt when he paints. He paints a lot, which means wearing—and washing—theses shirts a lot, which means the shirts get worn out after a few years and need to be replaced.

The shirt pictured above is the one he’s currently wearing in the studio. It came from the now-defunct company Smith & Hawken, and was marketed as a “gardening smock.” Sometimes I see them called “chore coats,” too. Aside from the stripes, the key features are really the fit (structured, but loose enough to wear over another shirt) and the lower pockets. It wasn’t specifically pointed out to me by him, but I imagine the straight/square hemline is important.

Internet friends, I need help finding a new painting shirt for my dad. Can you help?

There are a ton of striped shirts with pockets out there, but most of them seem like they’re probably too heavyweight, more like a coat. Or they’re overly-fussy, with rivets and snaps everywhere. Or they’re too fitted. Or they’ve been discontinued (oh man, SO NICE). Or they cost $500 and are only sold in Japan. There are so many gorgeous, expensive, “American-style” work clothes available in Japan.

Here are a few contenders I’ve found that I’m planning to send along to him. I’d love to know about any other options that could fit the bill! The closer they come to his Smith & Hawken shirt (above), the better. And if by some miracle you have a warehouse full of of Smith & Hawken deadstock…I’ll take three, please, size large.

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1. Hudson Hill Wabash Chore Coat
2. Pointer Brand Hickory Stripe Chore Coat (Banded Collar)
3. Levi’s Skateboarding Hickory Stripe Chore Jacket
4. Pointer Brand Hickory Stripe Chore Coat

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Medicine Cabinet from Habitables

This sweet medicine cabinet reminds me of the one I painted for my own bathroom years ago—only much nicer. The size is perfect, and I love that the cross is a cutout. Perfect for small bathrooms! (Madrid-based Habitables makes all kinds of other great stuff, too.)

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White Plus tea towel from Cotton & Flax

Oh Cotton & Flax, how I love thee. I received this lovely tea towel in gray as part of a limited edition collaboration Erin Dollar did with AHeirloom last fall. Both the tea towel and the cutting board are very gorgeous.

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First Aid utility pouch from Apple White

I have a zippered pouch obsession, and this guy is next on my list. How perfect would this be for stashing bandages, hand wipes, and a little sewing kit in your bag? So perfect.

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Cement cross ornaments from LaNique Home

I have no idea what I would do with these, but I want them anyway. I keep picturing them turned into some kind of mobile. I really like the soft pink paint, but they’re also available unpainted or dipped in black if that’s more your thing.

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Safety First earrings from Melanie Favreau

I couldn’t wear these earrings because my ears are lame and I can only wear gold-filled jewelry these days, but I really wish I could. I have a whole bunch of ear-holes, and I love the idea of a whole line of these in black or brass running up my lobes.

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Muslin Swaddle Blanket/Scarf from Modern Burlap

Fritz and Bruno aren’t really into being swaddled, but this sucker is huge (47″ square!), and in my estimation, it would make an awesome scarf. If course, if you have babies or swaddle-loving pets, I’m sure it’s great for that, too…

EDIT: Sometime between last night and now, this item disappeared from Modern Burlap’s Etsy shop. Weird! It’s still available directly from their website, though.

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Cross wood bangle from Voz Collective

I’m not a chunky bracelet person. I’ve tried to be, but as much as I love how they look, they get in my way any time I try to use my hands for anything—which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is not an infrequent occurrence. That said, if I were a chunky bracelet person, these would be first on my list!

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Swiss Cross quilt from Sazerac Stitches

Ooooooh. I don’t know anything about quilting other than that it looks like a lot of work. This pretty quilt is available in six sizes, from lap all the way up to king. Something for the Chihuahuas, something for the Great Danes.

What’s on your Etsy wishlist right now?

Until very recently, I had a rule about what kind of shirts I’d wear and wouldn’t wear outside of the house. In the “wouldn’t” category, I had (mentally) listed t-shirts with things printed on them, especially slogans. Much like my issues with “affirmation” posters and the like (though there are some that don’t make me want to puke), I’ve always kind of seen message t-shirts as being attention-seeking and obnoxious. And maybe they are, but maybe I’ve also kind of started to love them a little. Maybe I’m an obnoxious attention-seeker, and I need a uniform.

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I think what triggered my recent obsession was purchasing two DON’T BE BASIC t-shirts from the clearance rack in the teen girls department at Target (I can’t find them on their website, sorry) for me and Daniel. We were getting ready for our trip to Wisconsin in October (somehow I never blogged about that—oops), and we thought matching shirts would be a good idea. Because really, what’s more obnoxious than one person wearing a DON’T BE BASIC t-shirt? That’s right, two people wearing DON’T BE BASIC t-shirts.

And yeah, Daniel looks way better in teen girl clothing than I do, which is unfair.

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1. My Spirit Animal Is a Goth Teenager
Heather Gabel’s awesome, truth-speaking t-shirt is perpetually out of stock (I was on a wait list for months before I snagged one!), but she has a tank top version in her shop right now.

2. Sad Dude Fan Club
Stay Home Club basically has the best t-shirts ever and I want to buy EVERYTHING THEY SELL. I also love sad dudes, and I’m not ashamed to let the world know.

3. Be Kind to Animals or I’ll Kill You
Oh, Morrissey. You fight with your right hand, and caress with your left hand…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. (This shirt is a nod to one worn by Doris Day.)

4. I’m So Tired
I am. It’s true. That vertical apostrophe is giving me hives, but I want the shirt anyway.

5. I Just Want to Drink Coffee Save Animals and Sleep
Kind of puts everything important right there on one shirt, doesn’t it? If ever there were a message shirt for me, this is it. Thug Life has a number of cool shirts, and a number of lame ones as well. I’ll let you sort out which are which.

6. Feck Perfuction
Maybe it’s unfair for me to include this shirt since it’s no longer available, but it’s one of my favorite recent acquisitions…so I really had to. It was made by heroic designer James Victore and sold through Cotton Bureau, which means all sales were pre-orders. There’s always a chance that it could be re-listed, though, so if you really want one, put your email address on their notification list. UPDATE! Straight from the horse’s mouth: “‘Feck Perfuction’ will be available in January from Cotton Bureau” Excellent!

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Sweetness I Was Only Joking
I can’t not mention my own design from my K Is For Black shop! Modeled here by my handsome designer friend Richard Yoo, this fine shirt is available as a women’s fitted tee, men’s fitted tee, unisex v-neck, long-sleeve tee, tank top, biker tank, or onesie. I mean…that’s a lot of options. (And there’s even a sequel.)

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A couple of months ago, the nice people at Herbivore Botanicals contacted me asking if they could send me one of their soon-to-launched facial oils to try out. Uh…YES, that would be just fine. I fell in love with Herbivore’s products earlier this year when I bought their Coconut Bath Soak, which got me addicted to taking relaxation baths on a regular basis. Since then, I’ve ordered a number of other products from them, and all have been wonderful. Evan is a devotee of their Mens Face Elixer, and is currently on his third bottle (!).

My bottle of Orchid Facial Oil arrived on November 12 (about 5 ½ weeks ago), and I’ve been using nightly it ever since. My friends, this stuff is heaven.

My skin has not looked this good since…I don’t know, since I was a child? I’m not kidding. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent a long time trying to find a combination of products that works well for my sensitive, dry, adult acne-prone, and generally cranky skin, and while the prescription medications I use (Retin-A Micro and Aczone) have gone a long way toward keeping breakouts at bay and reducing clogged pores, I’ve still had issues with texture, discoloration, and dryness. I’ve had good results from Huile Prodigieuse and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Complex, so I wasn’t actively looking for anything else, but I am so glad that this stuff made its way into my life. I had no idea my skin was capable of improving so drastically, and in a relatively short period of time.

And, of course, the packaging is gorgeous. The square bottle is heavy and solid, and feels noticeably more luxe than their other products. It looks great on display in the bathroom, and yeah, that matters to me.

Herbivore’s full line of facial oils includes three different blends: Orchid (youth preserving/normal skin), Phoenix (cell regenerating/mature or sensitive skin), and Lapis (oil balancing/combination skin). I didn’t choose with variety to try, but Orchid seems to be the exact right choice for me. The directions say to use it twice daily, but I’ve only been using it at night—as nicely as it absorbs into my skin, I haven’t yet done a test drive to see if it would play well with my face makeup during the day. I apply it immediately after washing my face, before the Retin-A and Aczone. It provides a really nice buffering layer, preventing dryness while still allowing the medications to do their jobs. My skin feels so unbelievably soft and looks clear and luminous. I’m happy.

Since I was sent my bottle at no cost, I wasn’t sure of the price until I started writing this post. Turns out it’s a bit spendy—$80 for 1.7oz. Judging by how much I’ve used in 5 ½ weeks, though (I took the photo above about an hour ago), I estimate this bottle will last me the better part of a year. Taking that into account, it’s not so bad…and I will definitely be purchasing a second bottle when the time comes.

Oh, and! There are also miniature-sized, roller ball versions of Herbivore’s facial oils available—both singly and as a set with the larger bottle. Perfect if you want to do a trial run, or if you’re traveling and don’t want to deal with packing a large glass bottle of oil in your carry-on. So smart.

Disclaimer: Herbivore Botanicals sent me this product at no cost, but they did not ask for anything in return. This review was written entirely out of my own enthusiasm and remarkably positive experience with said product. Thumbs up.

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Just a quick note to let you know that EVERYTHING (prints, shirts, iPhone cases, mugs, pillows…everything) in the K IS FOR BLACK shop is $5 OFF this weekend! There’s also FREE shipping (yes, worldwide!) on almost everything.

You must use this link in order to activate the promo discount. (Or just go to doorsixteen.com/kisforblack, which will automatically redirect you.)

I’ve been supporting Small Business Saturday (that’s the day after Black Friday, of course—this year it’ll fall on November 29th) for as long as I’ve known it’s a thing, and for many years now I’ve chosen to do all of my holiday shopping with independent artists, crafters and designers, both locally and online. One of my favorite parts of having a blog is opening up the comments to those independent sellers in my annual D16 handmade posts, and I love promoting my favorite sellers here and on my Etsy page.

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Little Paper Planes, San Francisco

It goes without saying, then, that I love what Etsy is doing this year in conjunction with Small Business Saturday: They’re connecting small shop owners with local Etsy sellers to host trunk shows, bringing products from the online realm into the brick & mortar world! This is such a great way for boutiques to draw in people who are curious about discovering things they can’t see anywhere else, and of course it’s wonderful for bringing local retail visibility to Etsy sellers. Very, very cool. The list of small businesses who have already signed up to host Etsy trunk shows in their shops this year is impressive, and includes a bunch of my favorite folks—including the ones I’ve pictured here.

I’ve been asked to help support this movement by promoting the event and encouraging other small business owners to participate in the Etsy trunk shows, and I am more than happy to oblige!

Are you a small business owner?
Would you like to host an Etsy trunk show in your shop on Small Business Saturday? Yes? I thought you might! Participating shops will receive a trunk show kit* that includes bags, promotional materials, presence on Etsy’s Small Business Saturday event page, and more.

Here’s how to participate:
1. If you haven’t already, apply as a member to Etsy Wholesale
2. Connect with a local Etsy seller to showcase their products and host them in your store for a trunk show
3. Complete the trunk show enrollment form, here
4. Start planning your November 29 trunk show

You can learn more about Small Business Saturday and Etsy trunk shows on the Etsy blog! And if you do participate, either as a shop owner or as an Etsy seller, be sure to let me know—I’m looking forward to attending the trunk shows local to me.

*Merchandise is only available to eligible small businesses through 11:59 P.M. ET on 10/24/2014 or while supplies last. Limit one order per business. Subject to Merchandise Terms. See Merchandise Terms at etsy.me/sourcesmallmerchandiseterms.

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Radish Underground, Portland

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Fair Folks & A Goat, New York City

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Olives & Grace, Boston

This post was written in partnership with Small Business Saturday and Etsy, but I support this endeavor wholeheartedly, and all words are my own. Yay!

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I’m SO happy and excited to announce the official launch of Schoon Soap! For the past few months, I’ve been working on designing the branding and packaging for an amazing new line of vegan soaps. (It’s been hard to keep my mouth shut about this project, believe me!)

Stephanie Klose has been making soap since 2005, but it wasn’t until this year that she decided to fully immerse herself (literally and figuratively) in the business of creating the perfect lather. After a lot of experimentation, she’s come up with a initial line of 12 varieties of soaps, including fragrance-free and fragrance-ful options. Schoon means “clean” in Dutch, and the name pays homage to the Dutch heritage of the New York regions both Stephanie and I have called home: Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley, the latter of which was also my inspiration for the mountain-y logo.

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One of the best things about working on the packaging for these soaps is that in order to fully appreciate their characteristics, I (naturally) had to use them. I’m usually a no-frills, unscented, liquid castile soap kind of gal when it comes to shower time, so making the switch to these truly luxurious bars was a pretty big upgrade for me. The first soap I tried was Bay Rum & Vetiver, which passed my smell test immediately: warm, earthy, spicy. The coconut oil and shea butter base felt so great on my usually dry skin, and I had no irritation at all from the essential oils used to give it its wonderful fragrance.

Most recently, I’ve been using the Pure/Unscented bar, which still feels fancy and luxurious even though it’s fragrance-free! Great news for anyone who can’t tolerate any kind of perfume. ALL of the varieties are free from any synthetic fragrances, parabens, or preservatives, and the entire line is totally vegan. (And they’re all made by hand right here in Brooklyn!)

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I realize I’m totally biased in saying this, but they also look great in my bathroom—wrapped and unwrapped. Each soap wrapper has its own unique pattern and color, so they feel really special and personal. That was the most important thing to me in designing the packaging—I didn’t want the individual varieties to blend into one another visually (though they do also look nice together in a group!). The coolest part of the project? Seeing the logo I designed for Stephanie embossed into a finished bar. So satisfying.

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To celebrate the launch of Schoon Soap, Stephanie and her husband, Rob (who handles the customer service side of things), are offering a 20% discount on all of their soaps until October 6th! Just use the code SCHOONTIME during checkout at Etsy.

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And just for extra fun, let’s do a Schoon Soap giveaway! There will be THREE winners drawn at random, and each winner will receive any three bars of their choosing from Schoon Soap. Yay! International entries are welcome. Deadline for entries is 11PM EST on October 12th.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. I’ll announce the winners here and on Twitter tomorrow. The winners will also be notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Here’s how to enter:
✚ Visit the Schoon Soap website.
✚ Check out the soaps!
✚ Leave a comment below letting us know which three varieties sound the most wonderful to you.
✚ That’s it! Thanks for entering. ♥

Congratulations on the launch of Schoon Soap, Stephanie and Rob! It was an honor to work with you.

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It’s been a looooong time since I did a manicure post, but I couldn’t resist sharing this latest one. I’m a little bit obsessed with it! I can’t stop looking at my fingers.

I’m still really into Calgel manicures, but custom designs can get pretty expensive. Lately I’ve been getting solid-color Calgel (expect to pay ~$40 and for it to last about four weeks) and painting my own designs on top with regular nail polish. Last month I added white dots to a black base, and yesterday I took a little more time to paint black triangles on top of the palest, prettiest pink.

I wish I had process photos to share, but I did this at 1AM and I honestly wasn’t expecting it to look so nice! It’s easy to explain how to do it, though. You really just need two things: a bottle of nail polish and regular old Scotch tape! Use the Scotch tape to mask off the area you want to paint, carefully brush on the polish, immediately remove the tape (remove the tape strips in the reverse order of which you applied them so you don’t make a mess), et voilà!

A few things:
1. Painter’s tape doesn’t work well for this. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t. Stick with regular Scotch tape.
2. You can definitely do this on top of a regular nail polish base, but it needs to be really dry first. I’d suggest waiting at least 4–6 hours.
3. If you have a little smudge to clean up, just carefully use a clean orange stick dipped in non-acetone nail polish remover. Yes, even if the smudge is on the actual nail.

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1. K IS FOR BLACK / Just My Type tote
2. Leah Goren / Black Cat tote
3. Baggu / Duck Bag
4. Whitney Museum / New Identity tote
5. Andrew Neyer / Tote Bag™

Last night I went to dinner with Evan and our very cool friend Rena, and we were discussing (in the context of Evan’s guitars) at what point a “collection” becomes a “situation.” I believe the number Rena proposed was 12, which means that I have indeed surpassed the point of having a tote bag collection and amassed (several times over) what really can only be described as a tote bag situation. I’m not sure how this happened, exactly. It definitely wasn’t intentional. As someone who pretty much always prefers the un-fancy things in life when it comes to wearables, tote bags just always seem to be the right answer. It’s easy to double (or triple) up if you need to, they’re perfect for carrying manuscripts on the subway, they don’t add extra weight to your load, and you can toss them in the wash when they get grimy. They also satisfy that ancient desire to silently express oneself to strangers through printed slogans, something I otherwise miss out on as a non-wearer of tee shirts.

A question for the ages for those of you with tote bag situations: How do you store them? I presently have five or six tote bags hanging from coat hooks and door knobs at any given time, and the rest are folded in half and stashed in a bin in the closet. This isn’t ideal, though, since I can’t easily access the ones on the bottom and many go forgotten and unused as a result. My tote bag-loving friend Lisa keeps hers on a long, horizontal hook, which seems pretty smart to me (I’d need several several hooks, though…)! I wonder if there’s not an even more practical solution I’m not thinking of, though. Any ideas?

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1. Hansel From Basel / Zig Zag shopper bag
2. Atheist Shoes / Ich Bin Atheist tote
3. Lee Coren / Black screen-printed tote
4. Fieldguided for Summerland / Wild Heart tote
5. Lazy Oaf / Garfield tote

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For much of my adolescence, I lived in a house without a shower. The house was built in 1820, and when indoor plumbing was added, a bathroom was built on the second floor. It had a toilet, a chrome-legged sink, and a cast iron pedestal tub. My mother, two of of my sisters and I took turns taking baths every morning. The tub didn’t have a spray handle, so we kept a big plastic cup next to the tub for rinsing shampoo out of our hair with clean water. I’m not going to romanticize things: It sucked. It made getting ready in the mornings a huge hassle, and it sucked. I loved staying over at friends’ houses so I could take a real SHOWER. (And also so I could eat microwave popcorn and watch cable TV.)

When I was 16 or so, we got one of those shower enclosure conversion things, and life immediately got better. Showers! Every! Day! So! Clean! And do you think I ever took a bath in that house again? HELL NO.

Anyway, that was in 1991. Fast forward 17 years to 2008, when we were renovating the downstairs bathroom. Taking that shower out of commission meant that we were limited to taking baths in the upstairs bathroom for however many months (six…) it took us to finish the renovation. Fortunately we do have a hand-held sprayer so no plastic rinsing cups were necessary, but let me tell you…taking daily baths as part of regular grooming and personal upkeep is one thing, but bathing after a long day of demolition and sweaty, dirty renovation work is quite another. One bath to get the grime off, another bath to get the dirty water off, and then a cleaning session to get the haze of grime off of the tub. There was no lazing about in mounds of bubbles while listening to Mets games on the radio with the window open. No, none of that. All business, no pleasure.

So, naturally, once the downstairs bathroom renovation was complete and the shower was back in order, I quit baths like a bad habit. Until last month, I think I’d taken a grand total of maybe five baths in the past five years. How pathetic is that? We put all of this hard work into renovating the bathroom and spent a bunch of money having the clawfoot tub refinished, and I’m not even taking baths in it?!?!

Well, that’s all changing now, and you know what the incentive was? No, not a desire for relaxation, but packaging. Beautiful, minimal packaging from Herbivore Botanicals, who I first discovered via their Etsy shop. Seattle-based Julia and Alex started Herbivore Botanicals three years ago, and everything in the line is totally vegan and completely natural. Now, I don’t want to stereotype too much here, but as someone who is increasingly doing a lot of shopping in health food stores’ cosmetics aisles, I can tell you that “vegan” and “natural” are not usually words that I associate with incredible packaging design. And that stuff matters—it matters to me as someone who cares about design, and it matters when it comes to the perception of animal-friendly and natural products as being part of the world of luxury skin care.

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Let’s talk about that Coconut Milk Bath Soak. It’s amazing. It doesn’t make bubbles or anything like that, it really is a soak. It has the most gentle, calming coconut/vanilla scent imaginable—not like one of those gross, chemical-y “birthday cake”-scented bubble baths. It doesn’t make the tub (or you) weird colors. After getting out of the tub, my skin feels so super-soft…not coated or oily, just soft and fresh. There is a subtle fragrance that lingers, but it’s nothing that would interfere with another perfume (if you’re into stuff like that). The Coconut Milk Bath Soak has turned me into a bath devotee. I am committed to taking baths in the evenings on weekends now!

I bought a couple of other products at the same time as the bath soak—Vetiver Cardamom Luminous Body Oil for me, and Men’s Face Elixir for Evan. We love them both! I use the body oil almost every day now, right after I get out of the shower (or bath). It’s much more viscous than body oils I’ve used in the past, so I do need to apply it while my skin is still warm. It’s done an incredible job of keeping my legs from turning into crocodile skin this winter. The cardamom vetiver scent does linger for a while, but it’s exactly the kind of warm fragrance I love when it’s cold out. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll probably switch to the Neroli Blossom version. Evan really likes the Face Elixir! He uses it every night, and was able to give up the very unnatural nighttime moisturizer he’d been using previously.

I have to admit that after having struggled for so many years to find a facial skin care routine that really works for me I am hesitant to change anything about it. I don’t think I can walk away from my prescription medications without my skin freaking out (the emotional distress of adult acne is something I’ve discussed before, I won’t get into it again now…), but I am going to try to phase out the other products—and phase in more natural, animal-friendly ones. I’m going to start by ordering the Pink Clay Soap and see how it goes. My skin is far too dry and delicate for anything like the Bamboo Charcoal.

How about you? Are there any natural, vegan, non-irritating face washes you’d like to recommend I try? Preferably ones that work well with a Clarisonic (not all cleansers do)—and bonus points if the packaging is nice. Of course.