A cleaner approach
by October Comstock
October is the creator of cleanbeautyritual.com and lives and works full time as a Rails developer in Santa Monica, CA. Passionate about finding effective non-toxic products and taking pictures of them, she started Clean Beauty Ritual so she could share her discoveries and writings with the clean beauty community. She posts her current morning routines weekly on the blog's Instagram @cleanbeautyritual and writes for her blog part-time.
Kate Lee: Where are you from and what do you do?
October Comstock: I was born and raised in Oregon and lived for a time in SoCal as a kid. By day I work full time as a Ruby on Rails developer in Santa Monica. I write code! I write the logic that makes the app do things.
KL: What do you love?
OC: I love skincare, but I think that's a given. I'm also an avid gamer (and I have been ever since I was a kid). I love good writing and storytelling. Art is a big one, too. I draw sometimes. I love Frenchies! Cold-pressed juices! Fashion! Candles! Blackberries! Boba tea! Tea!
KL: How are you doing? What should we know about you?
OC: I am having so much fun with my skincare blog, Clean Beauty Ritual, which started out as a hobby that is now quickly taking off. It's really exciting! There are so many more things I want to do with the blog, but it's just all about time for me. Lately, my blog focus has been on product reviews, but I want to write more articles. There are a few other features I want to add, so stay tuned! It's really important to me that I am as honest with my readers as I can be. Whether it's a review or an article that I'm researching for, I want to translate my experience as much as I can. I don't ever want to be on a soapbox (even though I have a ton of soap boxes! hardy har har). I am still learning so many things. I'm not a licensed esthetician, dermatologist, or doctor. I'm just speaking from my own experiences and what I know. If I'm wrong, I want to know! Let's have a discussion.
KL: If you could cultivate an ideal skincare and self-care regimen for yourself, what would it be?
OC: My ideal skincare regimen would involve something where I am exercising regularly, eating well, drinking lots of water, taking my supplements, and having superstar skincare products. I want the products I use to not only heal and protect my skin, but also give it that extra glow, you know? I want amazing efficacy, but also an amazing experience. It's not all about the bottles though, it's beyond them. It's about my overall health and well-being. It's drinking lots of water and taking probiotics and omega 3s! Sleep! Relaxation! Meditation! Getting all of that into a regimen is a process and it is challenging, especially if you work 40-50 hours a week. But, I'm determined to achieve and maintain it one step at a time.
KL: Do you have any favorite skincare trends right now?
OC: I love that facial oils are a trend now as I've been using them for a long time. I'm intrigued by derma rolling, although I haven't tried it yet. I love my konjac sponge! I try to use my jade gua sha tool as a much as I can, it’s a wonderful thing for depuffing skin and overall relaxation. Turmeric is huge right now, which is cool. I love that "wellness as beauty" is being embraced, which is wonderful. I take Sun Potion's Ashwagandha every morning.
KL: How would you describe your skincare regimen?
OC: As a product reviewer for my blog, Clean Beauty Ritual, my personal regimen changes about once or twice a month. But, there are a few key things I try to do to help my skin deal with the constant changes. For one thing, I try to keep my review processes for cleansers and creams a month long, sometimes longer. Another thing I do is swap out certain products to review and stay with others for several months to give my skin some stability.
KL: What are your favorite skin care products right now?
OC: I have a handful, especially for the summer.
- Uliv Skincare's Golden Chai Facial Souffle is amazing at helping to heal my skin when it's inflamed.
The Gentle Label Healing Balm is fantastic for dry lips, hands or eyes.
I love, love, love the Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Whipped Cream as a moisturizer. It's freaking wonderful. Another one for me is their Umbra Sheer Daily Physical Defense Sunscreen. It's the only non-toxic sunscreen I've tried that doesn't leave white streaks and is enjoyable to use. It also smells like toasted coconut.
For face mists, right now I love Osea Malibu’s Sea Minerals face mist. It’s really refreshing and cooling, especially now that Summer is here. Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator smells incredible and feels wonderful on the skin.
For cleansers, I really like One Love Organic Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil
I am reviewing the Osea Malibu Eye Gel Serum and I really like it so far.
KL: And how about ingredients? Do you have particular favorites?
OC: As far as skincare ingredients go, I have a few favorites. Marula oil, vitamin E, turmeric, rose anything, honey, kaolin clay, green tea, and aloe vera. I have used most of these in DIY treatments for a long time. I've been putting green tea bags on my face with my mom since I was a kid! There's a turmeric honey mask I do for bad breakouts, although that can get kind of messy. I also used to put straight 25,000 vitamin E oil and marula oil on my skin when I was a little more hardcore haha.
KL: How would you describe your beauty philosophy?
OC: My beauty philosophy I would say, is that skincare is more than what you are putting on your skin. It's lifestyle choices. Skin is an organ, it's alive and constantly changing. No product out there, I don't care what they are touting, will be a cure-all. Skin care products should be effective at helping to solve whatever issue comes up, for protection or for enhancing what you already got going on. How you take care of yourself is reflected in your skin.
KL: Who is your beauty inspo?
OC: My beauty inspiration is probably Emily Weiss. I love minimalist looks and short blunt hair, natural but full dark brows, highlighted cheekbones and minimal makeup. She's also a career inspiration. The woman built her own empire. My day-to-day makeup routine is usually just my brows (Glossier Boy Brow), a full coverage BB cream (Lashfood Dermafood BB Cream), and a cream blush (rms beauty Lip2Cheek). Sometimes I'll use mascara (Kjaerweis) and some highlight (Glossier Haloscope) if I'm feeling a bit more fancy. For travel, I typically pack my entire routine with me in Ziploc bags and throw them in my checked bag. I also take my 32 oz BKR water bottle and a balm of some kind for the airplane. And, I don't forget my probiotics, of course!
KL: How would you describe your skincare journey?
OC: My skincare journey from high school to now has been a rollercoaster. I've learned a lot just from experimenting on myself and trying new things and stopping bad habits. It's really been a process of elimination for me and just learning as I go. My skin is not perfect, not today and it probably won't be tomorrow. I just have much more good days than bad ones now. I used to be really hard on myself and my skin. I wasn't able to leave the house without foundation but now I care more about leaving without my sunscreen.
Besides the healthier choices, it's really a state of mind that's changed. I am just more relaxed and okay with my skin than I used to be. I still freak out a bit when I break out, I also pick at my blackheads (trying to break that habit and resolve that problem), but, hey, I'm a human. I'm getting better as time goes on. That's all we can do really.