beauty routine

Less is more, but only if you know what and where to trim. We’ve called in eco-lifestyle expert, Ashlee Piper, to clear out our closets and challenge us to live a little greener. Now we’re taking her tips to the vanity to build a perfectly balanced, streamlined and stress-free capsule beauty routine…

If you’ve read anything over the past few years, you’ve likely witnessed the surge in popularity of the minimalist capsule wardrobe movement. If you’re not yet familiar, 1) welcome to 2016, and 2) check out the whole closet detox series I launched with The Chalkboard last year.

If you’re already a capsule devotee, you’re likely finding yourself loving the benefits of a pared-down wardrobe so much that you’re itching to extend those principles to other aspects of your life. So, without further ado, let’s move from the closet to the bathroom, shall we? Why? Because capsule beauty is all the rage and trust when I say that applying minimalist principles to your grooming regimen will not only save you loads of time and stress in your everyday, but will also present you with an epic opportunity to easily transition your beauty products to those of a cleaner, greener, kinder ilk.

To make this fun and easy, I’ve created a step-by-step guide to creating a beauty capsule. And I’m also sharing some of my favorite products that make my own routine high-performing while still being minimalist and manageable.

I’ve been in the capsule beauty game for years and not only has it afforded me more time in the morning, it’s also helped to improve my skin. As a reformed product junkie, minimizing the sheer volume of things I slapped on my face and body has helped me to establish a beautiful balance that has extended to my complexion. Here are a few of my favorite “gateway” capsule multi-taskers, all of which are vegan, cruelty-free, and for the most part, pretty darn natural. So be voyeuristic and peek in my makeup bag

Do you rock capsule beauty? Tell us what you love and your favorite tips!

Step 1: Observe your existing routine

Sage folks often say, “start where you are,” so that’s what we’re going to do. Add a few extra minutes to your get-ready routine to see what you actually need (hello, soap) versus what you reach for simply because it’s there. Do you reach for the same moisturizer or lipstick everyday? Consider those staples. Do you have products taking up precious physical (and let’s face it, emotional) space that are collecting dust? Put those in the “don’t really need” category. Anything that falls in that latter category, put it in a box or bin and stash it away.

Step 2: Try the pared-down routine

Many capsule exercises have you set a limit to the number of items you have. I won’t do that to you, but now that the superfluous products are out of the picture (for the moment), get ready as you normally would. Are you noticing anything missing? Any products you wish were in your routine that would make things easier? Are you running low on essential items? Did you retrieve anything from the banished product stash? Take note of these things and move to step 3.

Step 3: Stock up + swap, focusing on quality

A minimalist beauty routine means that you have more time and space. It also means that the products that make the cut need to be damn good and work hard, both in performance and in ethics. This is an ideal time to swap out any products that are tested on animals, contain harmful chemicals or simply don’t perform the way you need them to. Use this as an exciting opportunity to explore the burgeoning and wonderful world of natural and kind cosmetics.

Familiarize yourself with ingredient labels and symbols that denote a sterling product like the Leaping Bunny and PETA Bunny symbols, which indicate cruelty-free production, Certified Vegan symbol, which indicates that the product contains no animal by-products or testing, and the Organic and EcoCert designations which, though varied in their regulation, can lead you to safer, more ecologically-conscious products and companies.

Look at packaging (is it recyclable? Compostable? Reusable?), ingredient load (can you pronounce the ingredients? Are there TONS of them?) and prominence of active ingredients (you know, the ones that actually do what they’re supposed to do). You’ll also want to focus on products that can multitask like soaps that can double as shampoo and shave gel, face oil that can double as a hair conditioning treatment, or lipsticks that can seamlessly provide a creamy flush to cheeks. Oh, and buy only what you need (no duplicates). Becoming a discerning consumer will help you find products you enjoy and can feel great about on all fronts.

Step 4: Abstain from shopping + sheriff your stash

The key to keeping things manageable and minimalist in the bathroom and beyond is to be ruthless about what makes the cut. The siren song of glittering makeup store counters can be difficult to resist, but to truly reap the stress-busting benefits of going capsule, you have to keep your stash simple and uncluttered. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy little luxuries like your favorite perfume or a bold seasonal nail polish. Rather it means you have your priorities and you stick to them. You can still have fun and be inventive with your look and routine without falling prey to a constant influx of new and unnecessary products.

When folks go all-in on a capsule wardrobe, it’s often recommended that they abstain from clothes shopping for an entire season, or about three months. If you get your beauty capsule to a good place, you may find it helpful to bypass the flash sales and gifts with purchase hoopla and spend that time and money doing something more therapeutic, like catching up with a friend or going to yoga. You’ll still look great, you’ll likely have more coin jingling in your pocket and you’ll find you have more time overall.

My Holy Grail Capsule Items

Lush Karma Komba Shampoo Bar | This smells like heaven, lasts forever and works beautifully to clean and condition my fine hair, suds up and shave my bod and is a dream to travel with. CHECK OUT HERE

ARTISANskin Natural Blush Lip + Cheek Tint | Yes, I helped formulate this. And I did so with simplicity and quality in-mind. And nothing gives you a truer, more believable cheek. Plus, it’s loaded with organic butters and oils, so it can be a lip balm or built to be a more glamorous red. CHECK OUT HERE

Desert Essence Jojoba Oil | Remove makeup, hydrate all-over, and warm up for a conditioning hair mask. The uses for this simple oil are endless. CHECK OUT HERE

Pacifica Deodorant Wipes | Natural deo is a topic that gives peeps much pain. I found sweet relief with these wipes. They’re effective enough at banishing odor all day and gentle enough to use pretty much anywhere (hands, face, body) to make you feel clean and fresh. I carry a pack with me literally everywhere I go. CHECK OUT HERE

Captain Blankenship Mermaid Dry Shampoo | Like many women, I worship at the altar of dry shampoo. This version smells of rose geranium and palmarosa and is so natural, you can use on your body on sticky summer days or shake into your well-worn (but stinky) gym shoes. CHECK OUT HERE

Hynt Duet Perfecting Concealer | I’m fair and I need a concealer that will cover without making me look ghostly. I adore this formulation because it can double as an eye-shadow primer and is even thick enough to cover little red spots on legs or body. CHECK OUT HERE

Pelle Beauty Huile De Parfum No. 2 | Heady, floral, and a little spicy, I adore this elegant glass (recyclable) tube of perfume oil for its portability and lasting scent. Moreover, the 100% natural and moisturizing formula means it can handle the errant dry cuticle or frizzy hair.

Eye of Horus Liquid Define Eyeliner in Babylon Brown | I have come to love and enhance two parts of my face on the daily – my brows and the tiny beauty mark above my lip. This works beautifully for both of those purposes (the tiny tip allows me to recreate baby eyebrow hairs for believable definition) and makes a wicked cat eye when I’m feeling fancy. CHECK OUT HERE

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