"I remember internalizing a lot of what I saw on North American TV shows and Germany’s Next Top Model… the two factors that stood out to me the most were skinny tummies and flawless skin."
"I was born in the US and moved to Germany when I was six years old. My father is German and my mother is Canadian. Growing up in Germany, the advertisements and media bombardment was so different from North America. Still, I remember internalizing a lot of what I saw on North American TV shows and Germany’s Next Top Model… the two factors that stood out to me the most were skinny tummies and flawless skin.
Having grown up in Germany, I wanted to experience life in Canada. I went to the University of Western Ontario (Canada) and did an honors specialization in Media Information and Technoculture. Studying marketing and advertising at University really opened my eyes, and highlighted for me the reasons for my beliefs growing up. My mom never had a lot of beauty magazines or wore a lot of makeup, but she also has beautiful olive skin and I often felt insecure with my acne and dark eye circles. Learning about the intentional pain marketers wanted you to feel in order to purchase a product shifted things for me. It was a shocking way to find a new sense of self-love.
The path towards my current career, as a declutter and intentional life coach, started much earlier and grew into form through my studies. My journey started for a love of decluttering that was born out of two anxiety-ridden situations. I am the oldest of three and I had “eldest child syndrome,” which basically just meant that I had characteristics that made me feel inclined to take on a lot of responsibilities by becoming an overachiever and nurture to my younger siblings.
These tendencies spiked in the first big shift of my life when we moved to Germany, and I was put into a German school without speaking the language. This caused a lot of anxiety due to the fact that I could no longer be the over-achiever, so I coped with this by organizing my space at home. The second shift was six years later when, at 12-years-old, my parents separated. Another anxiety-ridden situation where I organized and then began decluttering as a way to impose control and later release past pain and hurt. This experience, in connection with my education in branding and marketing, propelled me into my coaching business.
I always had a blog where I wrote about organization, and as decluttering became a greater part of my life I started to consider not just having less, but becoming intentional about what I did have. It became important to me to spend more on high quality products, as living more consciously for me was part of living intentionally.
What was your perception of beauty growing up and what is it now?
Today, my perception of beauty is far more diverse. To me, it literally means every single individual, showing up as their authentic self, lovingly in their own body. Everybody and everybody is beautiful in its imperfections. Your skin is meant to have pores, and acne has become a way for my body to communicate with me. I have learned that anything that appears on the outside of your body is communicating what’s happening on the inside… and that encompasses everything from rashes and acne to radiating love.
Today, my perception of beauty is far more diverse. To me, it literally means every single individual, showing up as their authentic self, lovingly in their own body.
How Did You Get Interested in Sustainability?
Sustainability is a major part of what I do and how I view beauty today. For me, it all comes back to being intentional with the kind of life you want to live. Intentionality means doing things on purpose, and I want to be purposeful with how I participate in the consumer society and what I put in and on my body. Sustainability means living in a way that supports the greater good of your body and this planet.
In light of that, I have been in the process of moving towards more sustainable beauty products; ones that are natural, organic, and healthy for my skin as well as positive for the environment. What I will say, especially to anyone wanting to start this journey, is it’s a process and can also be an investment. Take it one product at a time, and remember why it’s important for you.
My skin type is generally dry so I like products that moisturize and for that, I use a lot of natural pure oils. In the evening, I always wash my face. No matter what I’ve done, where I’ve been, or however late it is, I never skip this step. My two go-to’s are i+m “daily wash and peel” and Primavera “Moisturizing Cleanser & Makeup Remover,” both German companies. I wash my full face with the peel and use the Primavera wash to help remove my makeup. Every couple of days I also use Eco Tan “Face Tan Water,” since living in Canada comes with a sad lack of sun for my ever pale skin.
Next, I go for the oils. I use 100% pure tea tree oil for any irritated acne. The brand I currently have is Aromaforce, but as long as it’s pure you’re golden. I just found this brand at my grocery store. I either apply a little dab directly to the acne or if the acne isn’t too bad, I put a few drops of the tea tree oil into my moisturizing oil.
The oils I use to moisturize include argan oil and vitamin C serum from Measurable Difference, and hyaluronic acid with green tea from 310CA. I start with a few drops of the Vitamin C serum because it absorbs immediately. Then I’ll rub in a few drops of the hyaluronic acid and end with the argan oil. If I’m not applying the tea tree directly, I’ll add a few drops to the argan oil. If I’m traveling, argan oil and tea tree oil are my must-haves; I see the other two as more of an added bonus.
Maybe this routine seems extensive to you (or maybe not), but it’s really just washing off any make-up or dirt, caring for any acne, and massaging in the oils! I need things to be simple or I feel like I’m wasting time; getting ready for bed takes less than 10 minutes.
In the morning, I always wash my face with water. I don’t like to overwash my face, but splashing some cold water wakes me up! The deodorant I currently use is the “coconut vanilla” from Native. I’m always switching up my deodorant, because I think this one is the trickiest of all the products. In the past I’ve used Routine and Schmidts, and I’ve liked all of them. If it’s the dead of winter and my skin is feeling extra dry, I’ll use Skin Food’s papaya moisturizing cream. I prefer to use a cream in the morning because applying oil and then trying to do my make-up doesn’t work for me.
I’ve slowly been adding in more sustainable and healthy products, but I’m still using some of my old products as well. This is a process! It’s taken me a lot of research and figuring out what would work best for me, and then investing on top of that. Here’s the breakdown of my makeup routine:
Primer: “Lominuous Primer” from 100% Pure
Foundation: BB Cream from 100% Purse. I prefer BB cream to even out my skin without cakey-ness and keeping a natural feel.
Concealer: Cover FX. This one is still from the beginning of my sustainable journey, and it was the “cleanest” product I could find in Sephora. This will be the next item upgrade.
Bronzer: Finishing up my Two Faced bronzer and moving over to my new 100% Pure Cocoa Pigmented Bronzer, in cocoa kissed. I prefer to use a bronzer instead of blush because I find it holds longer and makes me look “tan” (I say that lightly) without looking like I’ve overdone it.
Brows: “Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder” from 100% Pure in soft brown
Mascara: “Vegan Good Lash” from Fitglow Beauty
Go to lipstick: “Lip Colour Serum” from Fitglow Beauty in nudie
Since organizing and decluttering is my life passion and career, I have to add a few insights!
Step #1: Only keep what you use.
The secret to organizing is that you actually need to declutter first. It’s way easier to stay organized when you don’t have tons of stuff to - yup, you got it - organize.
Especially with cosmetics, we tend to rack those babies up. Take this chance to go through your skin-care and makeup and make three piles: no longer use, daily go-to’s, and sometimes. Start by throwing out the products that you no longer use or give them away if they were unopened. Even if they are not yet finished, if you don’t use them they are just taking up space. Declutter them.
Step #2: Only keep what you use.
It’s time for some real talks about the “sometimes” items. Be really honest with yourself about how often you actually use these items. Do you have multiples? If you stick to mostly neutral make-up, maybe it’s time to let the bold eye shadow colours and glitter go?
Consider what make up or skin care means to you in your life. Some people love makeup and so they naturally own more than someone who just wears the necessities. Do you use all your eye-shadow pallets? Who are you saving those five extra creams for?
Most of us have make-up that we don’t wear on a regular basis, and that’s okay. The main thing is to distinguish between actually using them often for certain occasions (i.e. going out for dinner) or if you’d like to use them more but you don’t so they’re really just taking up space. It’s time to declutter some of these items.
Step #3: Start with your favorite things.
Let’s look at the final pile you’ve created from tip number one. Daily go-to’s are the items that are part of your standard routine. Put these items back first.
If you’ve followed the first two steps, you should have a significantly smaller number of products left. Once you’ve put your daily essentials back into your drawer or cupboard, you should have some space left. Stop for a moment and take in how wonderful having “space” feels.
Next, start putting back your “sometimes” items, from favorite to least favorite. Take note of how the space is filling up. Keeping the idea of “space” in mind, you may be able to let go of a few more items that aren’t so important as you get to the end of your “sometimes” pile. Think of it as wanting only your absolute favorite products to be displayed in this space; this will make the cabinet or drawer feel more beautiful, and it will make it easier to use products and keep them organized.
Other General organizational & decluttering tips:
Declutter before you organize.
Keep like items together: i.e. makeup for eyes versus for skin.
Get pen holders for brushes if you have a lot of brushes.
Utensil dividers are a great way to separate your makeup categories in drawers (see picture below: eye makeup together versus lipsticks, etc.)
If your makeup is in bags, do you really know every single item you have? It’s much easier to use and organize when you can see it all. Try to downsize so you can get rid of the bag.
If you have lots of unopened items (i.e. you purchase things to keep a backup stock), these are items to pass on. Have one thing open for each need at a time; i.e. you don’t need multiple mascaras or face moisturizers (unless it’s part of your actual routine). Plus, having lots of backups may mean the product isn’t as good anymore once you’re ready to use it. Buy only what you need, when you need it."
-As told to LWB