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My Best Friend’s Skincare Story

A Pre-Wedding Skincare Routine

Stephanie is my college best friend and one of the funniest people I know. She’s getting married in May (fun fact: our bridesmaids’ dress color is gold, “like an Academy Award!”). Last month, after shielding text messages to the tune of “I’m-stressed-about-wedding-stuff-and-also-I-have-FIVE-pimples,” I introduced her to True Botanicals, whose products I swear by, especially for clearing up skin. Here’s what happened…

Steph and I met when the residential gods at Barnard College decided to make us freshman year roommates. Over the last 15 years, we’ve weathered many, many breakouts together. When a blemish was especially evil, we’d name it. One of Steph’s persistent nose pimples (semi-affectionately dubbed “The Rhino”) lasted for WEEKS.

“My skin has always been unpredictable,” she explains. “Some people seem to have concentrated skin issues, like ‘I’m a T-zone gal!’ or ‘I get hormonal breakouts along my jawline.’ But my skin gets different breakouts, in different areas, at different times. It’s always a surprise.”

Her job, as a financial consultant, doesn’t help. “I am also an insane face-toucher,” she admits. “I sit at my work keyboard — which is like, who knows how many thousands of bacteria are living on my ‘Q’ key? — and then put my fingers on my face.”

True Botanicals Clear Line

Four weeks ago, Stephanie started using the Clear Collection, designed for acne-prone skin. Unlike many other skincare brands, which approach acne by drying out the skin, this one targets bacteria and works to gently create balance.

The day after her products arrived, I received a series of very excited text messages, which (with Steph’s permission) I’ve reproduced here, verbatim:

I’M LOVING THESE PRODUCTS.
THE SMELL! I LOVE IT.
I FEEL SO LUXURIOUS. LIKE A REAL ADULT WOMAN. OR SOPHIA LOREN.

“My favorite product is the Pure Radiance Oil. I’d always thought of oil as being bad, like something you’re trying to get rid of. After a lifetime of struggling with greasy face, I wasn’t psyched about the idea of purposefully adding more oil. But my skin drinks it up right away, and it immediately looks dewy and healthy. Now I just want to bathe in oil.”

But the best part? The smell. “It’s kind of herbal but also a little spicy. The other day, I got in bed and my fiancé Joe leaned over to kiss me goodnight, and he was like, ‘Mmmmmm!’ about the scent of my face,” she says. “That was a nice extra.”

True Botanicals also offers all customers a complimentary phone consultation with their in-house skincare experts. “I talked to their consultant, Amanda, about different lifestyle factors, like my makeup and daily routine. I told her I’ve been having some back acne lately — which one does not want right before a wedding — and she gave me advice on what to do. I actually went to my shower and read off the ingredients of my shampoo, conditioner and body wash to her. It was incredibly helpful.”

“The other day, Joe asked me what I’ve been doing to my skin, which is funny because that man does not notice anything,” Stephanie laughs. “He told me ‘I think you should keep using those products!’ I’m definitely going to.”

Bonus for all readers: True Botanicals is offering 15% off with code CUPOFJO15, good through April 10th. (Excludes subscriptions or bundled products, which are already discounted.) Thank you so much!

(Photos by Heather Moore for A Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by True Botanicals, a brand we use every day. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep the site up and running.)

  1. Mariselle says...

    Hi there!
    I was excited to order with a discount code, sadly the site is not accepting the code. Any ideas?

    Thanks xo

  2. Sarah says...

    Her skin is beyond perfect, hard to believe it was ever anything but! She will be a gorgeous bride

  3. Kim says...

    *nude* lipstick

  4. Kim says...

    That’s such a pretty nu lipstick she’s wearing.

  5. Sloane says...

    Caroline! No wonder I like you and your writing so much!

    – proud fellow Barnard College woman :)

  6. Amy says...

    Chiming in to say how obsessed I’ve become with True Botanicals after learning about them from Cup of Jo in an earlier post. It’s helped a lot with jawline acne and the radiance oil (clear line) makes me so dewy and I’ve stopped wearing make-up most days as a result. Plus, the smell is the perfect balance of spa-like and comforting. OK, done raving. Also and most of all congrats to this beautiful bride to be!!

  7. Lauren says...

    True Botanicals…. siiiiiiiiigh. The greatest skincare brand out there. The Clear line changed my skin from an unpredictable mess to basic perfection. It’s been over a year now since I switched to this brand (cleanser, toner, oil, and Vitamin C booster… the serum was too much for me), and I’ve had like three pimples total. I could not recommend anything more highly. Don’t waste your time and money on any other brand — this is The One.

    • gina solon says...

      wow. you should be their new spokesperson. sold!

  8. Karen says...

    So glad this is working out for her, but the post did set off some alarm bells for me. Switching your entire skincare routine can be risky even with so-called gentle products (esp 1month our!), and I’ve always heard to introduce 1 product at a time (and patch test if you’re truly vigilant) so that you can pinpoint products/ingredients that cause a reaction. I have hormonal cystic acne, and the most normal-seeming things can set it off.

    I’ve been obsessively reading the Asian Beauty & SkincareAddiction subreddits recently, and have really appreciated the sane, measured, marketing-skeptic philosophy that is encapsulated in the acronym YMMV: your mileage may vary. In other words, everyone’s skin reacts differently, so one person’s holy grail may be another’s nightmare.

  9. Kelly says...

    China and Neens: would love to know which serums from The Ordinary you’ve used that have been the best for acne. Have read positive reviews about the line, but there is so much information on the site, it is a bit confusing, and it would be helpful to hear feedback regarding specific products. Thanks!

  10. Stephanie says...

    This is the most positive and affirming set of blog comments I have EVER SEEN! Thank you ladies for your sweetness about both my friendship with Carrie and my blazer :) It is from Anthropologie by the way, but it’s hella old — like maybe 6 years old — so not sure where/if you can still find it today. I’ll check the tag when I get home and post the brand name in case you’d like to seek it out.

    And thanks True Botanicals for the skin magic!! I plan to be on 200% GLOW MODE on my wedding day and your oil will constitute about 150% of that!

    • Lara says...

      Thank you for getting back to us! Very best wishes for your wedding also, Stephanie (and Joe too, of course) :)

  11. Julie says...

    did we find out where her blazer is from? Love it!

  12. Shelley says...

    I’ve been using True Botanicals since November, and it’s literally the best skincare products I have EVER tried. I’ve introduced it to friends and they have had similar results. Customer for life:).

  13. I have been struggling with acne for half my life now and would love to be able to try True Botanicals but they are just impossible for me to afford right now. Thank you to all the above ladies for some other possibilities to try. Just when you think you’ve tried everything a new recommendation comes your way to give you hope!

  14. Francoise says...

    So funny, the first thing I noticed was her blazer–so pretty!

  15. brianna says...

    Can you ask her where she got her blazer?

  16. Sonja says...

    Definitely a splurge BUT skin is our biggest organ so I figure if I eat organic this is step two. Thanks Cup of Jo for the deal – jazzed to try it out.

  17. Ruth says...

    I’m trying to switch my products over to avoid lol hormone-disrupters and carcinogens etc and it is surprisingly hard, even for brands that tote themselves as natural. I started using some Beautycounter products lately and really like them, but the downside (for me) is they don’t ship internationally so I’m dependent on visitors willing to bring stuff over for me in their suitcases! Not optimal. A quick look at True Botanicals suggests they are legitimately natural/non-toxic (etc) and they ship internationally! The duty might be insane but still…

  18. I just started using their line and am absolutely obsessed. it smells good, feels good, and is good for the environment. win, win.

  19. Does it irk anyone else that there’s no clear info as to how big the bottles are/how much product you are actually buying? Have been staring at the website for a few minutes and sizing is nowhere to be found. Seems odd. Can anyone at CupofJo speak to how long these products last/the actual amount of product say, in a bottle of the cleanser mentioned in this post?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you’re right, that’s so interesting, hannah! they recently did a site redesign, so i think they might have left the sizes off by accident. i’ll write to them now to get exact sizes. thank you!

    • kate h says...

      The sizes are on the website!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      here are the sizes of the clear line:
      Clear Oil: 1 oz
      Clear Cleanser: 4 fl oz
      Clear Serum: 1 oz
      Clear Toner: 4 fl oz

      thank you!

    • Thanks! I see your comment below – evidently I wasn’t clicking in the right spots. Have now happily ordered samples! X

    • Britt says...

      I was honestly surprised at the small size of the bottle of cleanser when it first arrived – it’s quite small (I got the 4oz of the Hydrating cleanser) However I did find that I didn’t need to use as much, I just had to adjust to the fact that the cleanser didn’t foam up. It was excellent at removing makeup and my skin felt very clean after washing, but I haven’t decided if I’ll order more since it’s so pricey. The bottle lasted me about two and a half months – I only used it at night – which was longer than I thought it would!

    • Tricia says...

      In case it helps, I’ve been using my calm oil every night (5-7 drops) since October and I still have a good few weeks left in the bottle. Great timing for this 15% off because I need to reorder! It has been really fantastic for me – I use the calm oil and my rosacea has simmered down. I had gone to my dermatologist just before trying TB and she prescribed something that cost more than this and was full of scary-sounding stuff, so I am thrilled that this is working for me.

  20. Sam says...

    Love True Botanicals and used it for about 2 years, but it’s too expensive! I Switched to the Leahlani skincare line and have been loving it!

    • Erin says...

      I’m obsessed with their Bless Balm! It smells like paradise and works really well as an under eye and cuticle balm. I really like their cleansing powder, too.

  21. Elisabeth says...

    I hate to be a downer, but these products didn’t work for me at all. I purchased several True Botanical products based on a recommendation on this blog. The True Radiance oil made my skin really oily and shiny, and gave me the worst breakout I’ve had in years. I also tried the Cellular Repair serum which had a nice texture but had no effect at all. I’m still looking for effective natural products!

    • Sasha says...

      Elisabeth, try oil cleansing, simple, cheap, natural and it’s super healing for your skin. I know so many women who’ve tried and love it.

    • dd says...

      I’ve had good luck with Mother Dirt AO Mist and the rest of their line. It’s simple and natural. I’ve been able to stop using most of my makeup and now use only eyeliner and mascara, though I am considering a foundation to smooth out discoloration from previous scarring. Good luck!

    • Andrea says...

      Try LilyAna Naturals on Amazon. Thousands of glowing reviews and very affordable. Have been using their Retinol cream for a while now and anxious to try their serum.

  22. Nicole K. says...

    I was SO EXCITED to read this post because I did a summer internship with Stephanie a few years ago and agree that she is so lovely and funny. Hi, Steph! You look beautiful!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so cool, nicole! small world!

  23. Liz C says...

    I recently found One Love Organics, and their Skin Savior balm has changed my skin! It’s a multi-tasking balm, and very healing. My son gets dry patches on his skin (eczema related) and overnight his skin issues disappear! I highly, highly recommend! I contacted the company to ask about purchasing a sample of their Skin Dew moisturizer, and they sent me samples in the mail (along with their eye balm) free of charge with a hand written note. I will be a One Love Organics customer for life!

  24. I use their powdered Vitamin C booster, and it makes an amazing difference. People comment that your skin is glowing, seriously, and I’M OLD, so this is a miracle

    • Marie says...

      Agree! It’s super expensive and I feel a little guilty spending so much on skincare but I use the vitamin c booster powder and add it to a Josh Rosebrook oil (prefer it to True Botanicals but I’ve only used their samples so maybe didn’t give them a fair shot). It’s a magic combo and my skin has never looked better. Add sunscreen of course :) I will say, that’s about $200 worth of skincare right there (and I’m a special ed teacher) BUT three products that work are so much better than 10 that don’t! Plus my tiny apartment bathroom is way less cluttered. Good luck beautiful (inside and out) readers!

    • Heather says...

      I will say this about the Vit C booster – it lasts forever. Even though it’s $90 – at two shakes of powder per use, it has lasted me 5 months already and I still have 1/4 of the bottle left (i’ll compare that to my other favorite Vit C serum from Mad Hippie, which is under $30 but only lasts me a month). You don’t need to use it every single day as vit C does get stored up in your skin – every other day is plenty. Every THIRD day would probably be plenty.

  25. Grace says...

    I know everyone hates direct sales, myself included, but I swear by Rodan + Fields Unblemish. I had hormonal acne that yielded to nothing and R+F was the ONLY thing that finally worked.

    • Kelly says...

      Saaaaame. Their social media marketing is so annoying, but I’ve been using Unblemish for 5 years now and will probably never stop. Have had maybe two hormonal pimples in the years since I started using it.

  26. mary says...

    I loved the smell but had a bad reaction to the oils. Gave it to my sister in law who is happy with it.
    Every skin is different – but it was an expensive trial :-(

  27. Lara says...

    Where did you get that beautiful blazer in the first photo, Stephanie? It suits you so much! So pretty with the simple jeans-and-tee combination – perfect for spring

  28. Mathilda says...

    This story makes me yearn for True Botanicals. But who on earth can afford it????

    • Sarah says...

      Yeah, I feel like I’d have to say to one of my three kids, “Sorry, no college for you. Mommy bought skincare each month instead.” :) Drugstore brands for me.

    • Callie says...

      Thanks for pointing this out. I often wonder about the products pushed on this site…they are so expensive! Even the kid clothes, and I don’t even have kids yet!

    • Tricia says...

      Totally hear you – but just wanted to mention that I got a good deal way back in October that convinced me to buy a bottle of the Calm Oil…I’ve used it every night since (5-7 drops) and still have some left. I did the math and it works out to about $15/month at the rate that I’ve been using it. It’s made my skin very happy. I’m not a TB employee, I swear. :)

  29. kb says...

    they do! i got a sample pack – i think it was like $2 a sample and the samples (especially the oils and lotions) lasted a few uses. sold me on the steep prices.

  30. Meghan says...

    Whoa.. I was excited but no way that fits into my budget. :/

  31. Natasha Ayers says...

    I love that Caroline is contributing regularly again. <3

    • olivia williams says...

      Me too!

    • Kristy says...

      me too!

  32. Danya Declusin says...

    I use have been using True Botanicals acne line for a few months now and it is the first product that has ever cleared up my skin! I have tried everything in the past and nothing has ever made a difference. Their products are so wonderful and they small amazing! Plus, if you ever have questions or need advice you can email them and they will answer your questions and follow up to see how its going. They are amazing!!!

  33. Shawna says...

    I’ve tried so many things (May Lindstrom, Vintner’s Daughter, Tata Harper, Herbivore Botanical, etc!) to improve my sensitive/oily/breakout prone skin. I’ve recently tried the Ordinary and within a week am seeing a major improvement! The Ordinary has a variety of products at a great price point, so I highly recommend checking it out. http://theordinary.com

    I’ve tried the True Botanicals shampoo and conditioner and it did not work for me. The smell was fantastic but the product never fully cleaned my hair? Oh well. It’s just not for me.

    • Nicole says...

      Oh, try their other things! I agree, the shampoo and conditioner are not great. I also didn’t love the face wash, but their oils and serums are really worth trying. Also, the body wash is lovely but probably not a critical product. It’s more like a great gift (to yourself… or a loved person in your life).

    • Wanda says...

      Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely try this. The True Botanicals prices are just insane!

    • Rashmik says...

      I have been using the Hyaluronic acid from The Ordinary which I love and their moisturizer which didn’t impress much. Could you share what products you have used and could recommend?? Am looking forward to trying more of this wonderfully priced range.

    • Rafat says...

      What specifically did you try in Ordinary? I am so attracted to that brand however I always feel lost as they do have a lot to offer in each category.

    • Shawna says...

      Thanks for the info and encouragement, Nicole! I’ll keep the True Botanicals oils and serums on my wish list …

      Rashmik, yes! I’m also using the Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid and it is great! I’m not using any of the Ordinary’s moisturizers. I use One Love Organics Beauty Balm and love that.

      Raft, yes, the Ordinary’s product line can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many things! I’m using the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I also purchased the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, which is an amazing mask that leaves my skin smooth and clear. I hope that info helps you navigate their site :)

    • Shawna says...

      Eek! Sorry to misspell your name, Rafat! I think my phone autocorrected it :(

    • Rafat says...

      Thank you Shawna, sure it helps :)

  34. Tara says...

    Yes to a week of outfits please!!

  35. Chelsea W. says...

    Love that you both went to Barnard! A longtime Cupofjo reader and Barnard alum here! Now a lifetime reader :)

  36. Gen says...

    I went on this website to sign up for the products based on these very convincing reviews but yikes they are expensive! I would be curious to hear if people really spend this kind of money on lotions and serums?

    • HS says...

      Its because they legitimately work. I used drug store products for a long time on my skin, and I still do in certain steps of my skin care. My serums/oils are where I spend my money. For one, these products have excellent ingredients, and a little goes a longggggg way. I have one serum that I spent $185 on, and I’ve had it for 8 months and still haven’t finished it completely.

    • Daniela says...

      Worth it. My skin has never looked so good and I can actually feel good about what I’m putting on it because there’s nothing toxic. I too balked at the prices first, but their basics line has decent prices and there’s usually a $20 off coupon to be found.

    • Nicole says...

      I thought the same thing when I read a CoJ True Botanicals post a year ago- who in the world pays that much for skincare?! Then…….I tried a sample.

      I have always had flaky, irritated skin in the winter. Since I started using the face oil, my skin has been SO much better. But, I only use it in the winter because I cannot justify the cost year-round. It is, by far, the most expensive thing I have bought for myself, other than running shoes:) It truly feels like such a luxury to use- smell, texture- so nice!

    • Emma says...

      Yeah… yikes indeed. I’m also interested in nontoxic skincare but I do it on the cheap. Bar soap form of dr bronners or African black soap for cleansing my entire body (not just face). Toner= witch hazel. Spot correction=tea tree or lavender essential oil (lavender is gentler). My SO’s sister made awesome simple balm for xmas gifts and I use that everywhere but before that, coconut oil or calendula oil (also good for burns) as moisturizers. Nothing is so harsh I can’t use it on my face and you could consume all of those ingredients and be fine, which is a level of nontoxic most skincare lines, even the organic ones, don’t match. Also, all of those items cost under $30 in total and that’s being generous. I use the shea moisture shampoo and conditioner at home and a bottle of each has lasted over a year, but I just use bar soap when traveling and only wash my hair about once a week, sometimes a little more or less depending on the weather and what I’ve been doing. I probably spend the most money on toothpaste out of all my personal hygiene stuff just because I buy it the most frequently.

      I just think it’s ridiculous to pay so much to “fix” your skin. Makeup is weird and harsh and most skincare is weird and harsh… you’re paying a ton of money for things that cancel each other out. Cut out expensive creams and spend the money on better food.

    • Shelley says...

      Worth it. Truly.

    • Heather says...

      I am willing to spend money on my hair, and I’m willing to spend money on my skin, because you wear both EVERY DAY. However, I can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on skin care each year, and will only spend money where I feel like I’m getting a ROI.

      I would say that some of the True Botanicals products are worth the money and others are not.
      (1) Face wash – you can find a great natural cleanser for much less. Try Acure, Mad Hippie, or One Love Organics’ “Easy Does It” cleanser. Or, if you really want to try TB’s version, go with their line targeted to teens – it’s cheaper.
      (2) Oil – I’ve tried their radiance oil, and I love it, but I’ve tried others that worked as well at half or less the cost. Try Soapwalla’s serum, Go To Face Hero, Marble & Milkweed Nourishing Serum
      (3) The TB serum is great. But, I think that Marie Veronique’s serums show more results. They are similarly priced, so I go with the one that works better for me.
      (4) The Vit C powder WORKS and LASTS FOREVER. It is arguably a bargain. Mine will probably last me 6 months and, unlike other Vit C serums, because it is a powder it’s not oxidizing when exposed to the air, meaning it can last on your shelf a long time.

    • Jessica says...

      I agree with Emma’s comment completely. I would also suggest Frankincense essential oil for the face as well. That said, I do spend money on facial care products, but this is how I do it: I use the Evan Healy line, which I love, but I’ve only ever purchased her skin care kits (either blue or rose), and they are 31 dollars at Whole Foods or Sprouts and contain a cleansing milk, mist, serum, cream, and mask. They last me about 6 months depending on how I use them. I also use Biossance and usually I buy from them when they have an affordable bundle with products I use regularly or would like to try. Also, I have found that if you sign up for newsletters you really do get notified when companies are running sales. I was able to stock up on Biossance products when they ran a buy 1 get 1 free for their entire line of products. Which was a 1 day sale!

  37. Caroline says...

    I was so excited to learn you both went to Barnard! Fellow alum here :)

  38. Denise says...

    I wish they had sample sizes. Even with the discount it’s too steep for a trial run. Looks like a beautiful company though. I’m always looking for less toxins in my daily routines.

    • Nicole says...

      They do!

    • Sarah says...

      They do have sample sizes! They’re small but you definitely can get a sense of the texture and smell of the products. For my money, though, The Ordinary’s products are just as good if not better, and a much better value. Plus I prefer to put unscented stuff on my face :)

  39. J says...

    I am happy these beautifully packaged products work for some folks. But I’d like to chime in that for me, it was NOT a good solution. It felt wonderful to treat my skin with oils (luxurious, soft, lovely smelly), but within a week, my skin was red, irritated, and beginning to form nodular, inflamed under the skin bumps. It was my last and final (*repeats this to self*) venture into “natural” skincare with oils and the like. It has never worked for me.

    I went back to Cerave wash, BHA toner, and simple moisturizer (EltaMD) and all was well again.

    • Amy says...

      Same! They looked amazing on my counter and smell heavenly. I used the cleanser, toner, and the oils. They just did not work for me–my face felt oily and dry at the same time, it was not good at removing my makeup & sunscreen (as evidenced by my suddenly gross-looking face towels) I was getting whiteheads all over my face, including areas where I normally never breakout, after two weeks. I returned to Cetaphil, a reasonably priced K-beauty toner from Costco, and my EltaMD sunscreen and my skin went back to normal.

    • Rae says...

      J, I had the exact same response to True Botanicals. I have sensitive, rosacea prone skin and I am pretty sure the issue is the scent. I successfully use oils (I love Indie Lee Squalane Oil and RMS beauty coconut oil) and an almost fully toxin-free skincare routine but I have to stay away from any strong fragrances – including natural ones. These products seem to work well for folks who aren’t so reactive.

    • Bernadette says...

      I had the same response–inflamed under skin bumps and redness, neither of which I have ever had before, and prior to using the products my skin was more clear than after. I have switched back to a very mild cleanser, and after consulting with a skin gal at Ulta (who was surprisingly well informed considering the big chain nature of the store) I purchased a Lancome toner for sensitive skin and accompany moisturizer. It’s been about a week, but I am noticing a HUGE difference. I love the idea of TruBotanicals, the scent and the ethos of the company, but it was not a good solution for me. Just goes to show that all skin is different.

    • Angela Riggs says...

      Also same! I started breaking out more, and my face never really *felt* clean using their products. I also share Amy’s experience – my skin somehow felt too oily and too dry at the same time.

    • Andrea says...

      Agree! The only True Botanicals product I’ve kept is the tinted mineral sunscreen. I use oil cleanser and oil serums from other lines, but this one is not for me. I will say that when I initially made the switch to oil cleanser it took about 4-5 weeks for my skin to balance out, so for anyone looking to switch, maybe stick with it for a while before deciding to abandon. My skin is sooo much better with oils/micellar water.

    • Rue says...

      Same! Also, for sensitive skin, the ratings and reviews from Beautypedia are a LIFEsaver!

    • J – I feel you. I tried switching to 100% natural skincare a few years ago and had a HORRIBLE reaction to oil cleansing that left me with permanent scarring. I recently tried samples of the True Botanicals shampoo/conditioner (so far, so good…but I’m not sure I’ll switch over from my trusty Rahua) and the True Botanicals clear line of face wash. While they all smell amazing, the face wash didn’t remove my (minimal) makeup and it gave me an itchy, bumpy rash on my chin the next morning that lasted a few days. I’m not going to risk trying the radiance oil on my face for fear of another and probably worse reaction. That said, I’ve been using the marula oil from Drunk Elephant that came as a sample with my Sukari Baby Facial for the last month and my very picky skin is loving it! I’m curious to try the other DE products because those two are so awesome. Truly, that face mask has been sort of life-changing for me.

  40. Jessica says...

    These look so great but I absolutely cannot afford anything. Bummer!

  41. Lily says...

    This entire post made me smile from start to finish. What a special friendship you ladies have! Now off to ch

    • Lily says...

      Oops. I got way too excited typing. Now off to check out the magic oils!

  42. Alex H. says...

    Shout out for featuring your best friend on the blog. Yea for friends supporting friends!

  43. Alyce says...

    Mostly this makes me want to stop biting my nails. (But it’s also awesome to see worlds collide – I went to high school with Steph, and Barnard with both of them, though I didn’t know Caroline at the time.)

  44. I am in my sixties, and, I used to be an esthetician in one of my many “careers”. I also looked them up on EWG and most of their ingredients are given a 1 rating which constitute a low hazard. some of their ingredients are given a 3 rating which is a more moderate hazard. All the ratings are based on limited data. I must say though, their packaging product descriptions are lovely and quite tempting and the essence of their company feels like a truly good vibe.

    I gotta say, though, I am SO TIRED of hearing/reading and yes, even buying products that label themselves as anti-aging. Please come up with a more loving and inclusive label for having lived in our skin!

    check out this Ted Talk : Ashton Applewhite: https://www.ted.com/talks/ashton_applewhite_let_s_end_ageism

    • Angela says...

      totally agree….I feel more beautiful as I age and skincare should just want to enhance that gorgeousness.

    • Katie says...

      Good words on the “anti aging” , Jane! Also, I just discovered EWG…love that resource.

    • I checked out your website Jane–beautiful photography!

    • Dee says...

      Ditto, Thank You Jane!

    • WOW! That Ted Talk was amazing!! I am now woke. That was unbelievably inspirational.

    • Liz C says...

      Jane – I agree! Thanks for your link! Ashton Applewhite’s Red Talk is fantastic.

    • Polly says...

      Agreed! Can I get some pro-aging products?! Because I’m so much more for aging than against it.

  45. Cynthia says...

    I love True Botanicals!! I first read about them on Bare Beauty’s blog who swears by the Clear line for clearing up her acne. Their mask is another favorite.

  46. JC says...

    She is stunning!

  47. I don’t know why but this post made me tear up a little! It’s too cute!

  48. Rue says...

    The Clear line did not work for me. It did help me realize that one of my skin woes is just being super sensitive. (I already knew that, but didn’t realize just how sensitive my skin likely is.) My unsuccessful attempt with True Botanicals lead me to pare back my skin routine, and that has helped overall, but I’ve still got jawline acne issues (bleh).

    I suspect that a more proactive person could have asked to swap the Clear line of products for the sensitive skin line. But I am notoriously terrible at navigating things like store returns, so that’s on me. I also stuck with it for a long time (maybe 6 or 7 weeks?) because they tell you your skin may be purging for a long time (…ew), but I just got to a point where I felt like either the “purge” would never end, or my skin was having a bad reaction to the product.

    The TB staff were awesome, but I’d recommend that you go into it knowing that you’re supposed to stick to it for weeks or months before seeing results, and that you should be vocal if it’s not working and you think you need to switch out some products. I’m honestly just not the best personality fit for that kind of thing. I’d rather get some $5 thing at Target on my way home from work. Much as I looooove to imagine my apartment as a fancy spa, I’m just not ready for that kind of commitment for my skincare.

    • JD says...

      Re: jawline acne. There was a recent study demonstrating that spearmint tea is as efficacious as minocycline at reducing acne, likely through an antiandrogen effect. Anecdotally, I started drinking 2 cups/day of spearmint tea, and it cleared up some pesky chin lesions within 2 weeks. Cutting out dairy can also have a dramatic effect on hormonal acne, which is usually found around the mouth and chin.

    • Lindsay says...

      Rue, it didn’t work for me either! I really stuck with it. Like loyally for at least four months, and I saw such little improvement in my skin. It was such a bummer, especially since so many others seem to have great results.

    • Becky says...

      I also am prone to jaw/ chin acne. It took me a long long time ( I’m now in my early 30s) to realize that my acne as a teen and in my 20s was a combination of issues. I’m fair, so my skin is naturally sensitive. I can’t put too much on it. Hair products irritate my skin so I don’t use them. Food high in phytoestrogens (soy, flax etc) aggravate my skin. As well as dairy and meats treated with growth hormones. With that in mind I have finally found products that work for me (along with my bc).
      I’m always open to new products after a bit of research of course. I’ve also learned that while I think any acne looks awful it’s usually not as bad as I imagine. Keeping my hands off my face has been another big help!

    • Katie says...

      Good to know, thanks for sharing!

    • Abesha1 says...

      Re mint tea: not recommended for lactating women! Mint is a well known anti- galactogogue and if taken regularly and in this quantity will decrease milk supply.

    • Alexia says...

      I too have sensitive skin—I’ve never tried True Botanicals, but from experience oils tend to aggravate my skin. Before I moved, I had zero skin issues just washing my face with water and using a little moisturizer. I moved somewhere more humid, and my skin grew uphappy. I am now fairly confident it was not the humidity but the water—in short, if you haven’t already, get a water filter, might help your skin :)

    • Rue says...

      I am a tea drinker (and not lactating) so I may give that a try! Also, I swear by the ratings on Beautypedia. As a scientist myself, I deeply appreciate actual scientific evaluations of the products I use. Not every 4 or 5 star product on there has worked for me, but almost all of my favorite go-tos get good ratings from the Beautypedia folks. Science — it works!

    • I struggle with occasional jawline/hormonal pimples and for the last month and a half I tried to eat in a more anti-inflammatory way. I cut waaaay back on added sugars and refined carbs (I’m already plant-based so no dairy for me—it does NOT agree with my stomach or my skin), and I replaced them with more healthy fats (avocado, EVOO, almond butter, etc). Granted, it’s only been 6 weeks, but I had ZERO hormonal pimples, reduced period cramping, and I just generally felt more balanced. As soon as I started eating sweets again, my skin got a couple of new pimples the next day. So…sugar. As much as I hate to give it up because I live for dessert, it does seem to break me out. Thankfully, 70% dark chocolate has been okay. :)

  49. I knew there was something about Caroline and her world that intrigued me… like many I appreciated her writing voice, but now I have figured out the secret! It’s Barnard ;) As a fellow alum, I cannot help but send Caroline and Stephanie all the love and well wishes :) Stay bold, stay beautiful.

    • Reem says...

      I’m a Barnard alumna too! Hi : )

    • OF COURSE CAROLINE WENT TO BARNARD. honestly i feel like i can spot strong beautiful barnard women from a mile away.

    • freya says...

      yes! barnard!!

  50. Sasha says...

    I looked up True Botanicals on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database (my go to for all product safety), and they get a 1, which means low risk (that’s good) for everything I saw. I’m happy to see that!
    I do oil cleansing with pure almond oil only, and homemade beeswax olive oil salve for winter skin protection, but for people who use products, toxin free is always a great idea.

    • I’d love to know more about your recipe for winter skin protection, if you feel up to sharing, Sasha!

    • Jen says...

      For reals, would you consider sharing??

    • Sasha says...

      Sure! It’s just melt together the following: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup beeswax. I use organic for all and put it in small jars. I oil cleanse in the morning with plain almond oil (vitacost brand, from vitacost) then rub a little bit of salve on my cheeks and around eyes. That’s it, I do nothing else.

      My skin never breaks out or is dry and I humbly think it looks good. I also don’t wear makeup, use fragrances or anything toxic, I’m vegetarian and mostly vegan and clean and sober. I mostly drink only water. I walk every day, pet my dogs a lot, love my job and do yoga and have a happy life. Those things probably have as much to do with good skin as anything. I also suppress my period with oral contraceptives (I’m 45, and it’s a treatment for perimenopause hell), so my hormones are pretty stable. I live in a very cold, harsh dry climate, so the salve really saves me in the winter -beeswax is a good barrier. Great on hands and the rest of your body too.
      Best of luck! If you try it and it’s not a miracle, at least you won’t have spent a fortune.

    • Thank you so much, Sasha! I can’t wait to make this!

  51. Sarah says...

    I’d love to try these but even with the discount it’s a bit too steep for me, unfortunately! I tried their samples and liked them but not enough to justify the price.

    I’m stocked up on the Ordinary’s serums and oils, though, and finding them a very reasonably-priced alternative. Glad it’s working for Stephanie though! I am also a combo/oily person who touches my face too much, haha. Congrats on the wedding! Hope to see pics of the Academy Award statue dresses!

    P.S. I love her blazer.

    • Janice O'Kane says...

      Ha! I loved her blazer too and was thinking – and now requesting – please do a Week of Outfits post featuring Stephanie!

    • Chika says...

      Omg, I’m addicted to the Ordinary’s oils and serums— such great products and price points!!

    • Erica says...

      Yes! The Ordinary is great. Unbelievably well priced and more importantly effective PH balanced products. Go Canada go!

    • I want to second a week of outfit posts featuring Stephanie! Pretty please!

    • Neens says...

      Chiming in on The Oridnary!! I have had terrible adult acne and tried so many different systems/treatments – even antibiotics and a slew of products from my dermatologist. Religiously using The Ordinary serums has been the ONLY thing that has made a real difference. I even had 2 consecutive months of zero breakouts and blemishes which was something I hadnt experienced since college. Cannot sing my praises loud enough!

    • Heather says...

      Trying to navigate all of the Ordinary’s offerings Stresses. Me. Out.