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Breaking Down the Natural Beauty Buzzwords: 6 Important Terms to Know

Understanding the Labels of your favorite products
Filed Under > Beauty & Tutorials

Natural Beauty Buzzwords to Know, Waiting on Martha

If you’ve been wading into the waters of clean beauty, you’ve certainly come across some natural beauty buzzwords.  And if they’ve seemed a bit confusing to you, it’s because they are.  There are currently more than a dozen keywords and phrases being used to describe the ethos, ingredients, packaging, production and so much more that goes into your favorite beauty and personal care products. 

In order to go into the trending natural beauty buzzwords below, we first need to start at the basics.  If anything on an ingredient list includes the words “sulfates” and “parabens”, you’re going to want to stay away.  These are used as artificial preservatives in cosmetics, and they have possible links to cancer and reproductive issues.  

And the next important point is one we’ve mentioned several times here on and with The Well Code.  “Fragrance” is a blanket term to watch out for; it’s used to mask a collection of harmful ingredients without listing them all out on the label.  Read more about this deceiving term here

Okay…kind of a downer with all of this talk, but good news is that consumers are recognizing all of these clean, natural, organic standards as important, and they’re encouraging popular beauty sites like Sephora, ULTA, Anthropologie and Nordstrom to include important keywords within product descriptions, and helpful natural beauty buzzwords when applicable.  Find the list of included terms below, and join us in a conversation about clean beauty and natural beauty buzzwords!  Are you looking for specific keywords on your favorite products’ labels?  I’d love to hear in the comments below as I personally am striving to keep my beauty and personal care routine as natural and toxin-free as possible…and I’m still learning!  Cheers, Kat



goop by Juice Beauty Perfecting Eye Cream

Nordstrom, $90

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“Certified Organic” Items
In order for a product to earn the official USDA seal, it has to have 95% or greater organic ingredients.  And the remaining 5% has to include ingredients that aren’t banned from the National Organic Program. 

But a good thing to know: “certified organic” and “organic” are not the same thing.  A label touting that it’s “made of organic ingredients” only has to hit 70% of its contents as organic, though it is still part of the National Organic Program. goop by Juice Beauty products, on average, range in the 80’s for percentage of organic ingredients. 

Kjaer Weis is my personal favorite when it comes to certified organic makeup.  Ever product I’ve purchased has made my skin look and feel amazing. 

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Defense SPF 30

Sephora, $34

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“All Natural Beauty”
The term “natural” in beauty means the complete formula is 100% synthetic free. But unfortunately, there isn’t a regulating body for all “natural” products.  Be sure to see if your product in question passes the standards by Ecocert, an organization that works to specifically certify ingredients as natural. 

Some brands like Drunk Elephant not only take into account the zero-synthetic quality of ingredients, they also judge based on sustainability and bio-availability. See more below. 

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

Nordstrom, $38

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“Sustainable/Eco-Friendly” Products
Sustainability in the beauty industry is a popular subject due to environmental awareness, new global standards, its profitability and consumer demand.  Best practices include reduction of energy and waste usage, recycle-able and low-waste packaging, community and social outreach involvement, green building design and more. 

Like Drunk Elephant, RMS Beauty is a brand to watch in regards to sustainability (among everything else!).  I absolutely adore all of RMS Beauty’s products.  They’re formulated with raw and food grade ingredients in their natural state, which means they’re free from harmful chemicals, synthetics preservatives and vitamins. 

TARTE Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer

Ulta, $25

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“Vegan/Cruelty-Free” Brands
These terms are widely used when brands do not test their products on animals, and when the products do not include animal-derived ingredients. 

However, this term has a lot of grey areas.  There is no “official” or government-sanctioned cruelty-free label, and a simple line as “not tested on animals” can refer to the ingredients, as opposed to the final product.  And the testing may even have taken place in a foreign country where standards and laws are less strict than here in the U.S.

It is also important to note any parent companies for smaller cosmetic brands when looking for completely cruelty-free products.  For example, TARTE is 100% cruelty-free, but it is owned by Kose, which is not.  It will be your personal decision on where to stand on instances like these…and it’s worth the research if you’re making this conscientious choice when buying your products. 

Brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Glossier, Josie Maran, PUR Cosmetics, Sonia Kashuk, W3LL People and Vapour are completely cruelty-free. 

Read more on cruelty-free labeling here.

One Love Organics Oh Mega Calming Chia Oil

Waiting on Martha Home, $49

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“Superfood Skincare”
It’s not really a surprise that our obsession with superfoods now extends to skincare.  These ingredients are apparently are working double-time; look for algae, chia seeds, black tea, green tea, kale, raw cacao and spirulina in trending skincare products now.

Brands to watch: Youth to the People, Elemis, One Love Organics and Fresh Skincare

Vita Liberata Ten Minute Tan

Sephora, $39

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“Clean Beauty”
Like natural beauty products, for “clean” products, there is no official body by the government to regulate what’s what. “Clean” should mean safe and non-toxic.  It’s definitely on the more vague side of terminology use for products.  

I think of it mostly as the products’ effect on people and the world that’s affected by it.  I use the free ThinkDirty app to see how products range on the “dirty scale” to see if they’re considered “clean”.  That’s how I found the brand Vita Liberata for a cleaner alternative for sunless tanning products. 

Featured image, Kathryn McCrary for Waiting on Martha

New Additions to my Natural Beauty Routine

Nourishing & Healing Must-Haves for Your Weekly Beauty Routine
Filed Under > Beauty & Tutorials

Glo Pro microneedling and more beauty must-haves on Waiting on Martha

By now you know how much I enjoy discovering new all natural beauty and personal care products.  And when I find good buys I want to sing it from the rooftops, like this Glo Pro microneedling tool and a completely clean and hypoallergenic perfume.  I just love the fact that so many clean, nontoxic brands are surfacing now that we’re putting a focus on the ingredients and processes behind them.  Today, I’ve included a few game-changers in my weekly beauty routine that nail all of the above.

Read more about all of the products below, and tell me if you’ve given any of them a try too!  I loved talking to so many of you at our grand opening of Waiting on Martha Home about natural beauty and skincare, and I’m thrilled to find so many of you enjoy the finds as much as I do and have interest in learning about new products.  We have more exciting brand launches coming to The Well Code collection soon!  Truly, MKR

P.S. For more all natural beauty must-haves and tools, be sure to browse HERE. xo



Merben Jute Body Brush with White Handle

Waiting on Martha Home, $35

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I’ve written often about my love affair with dry brushing after learning about how potent this simple tool can be. It can help exfoliate the skin, while stimulating the lymphatic system for full-body health.

I love to dry brush in the morning before I take a shower; it helps to wake me up and slough off dry skin before cleansing. Always dry brush in circular motions, starting at the feet and moving over the entire body with light pressure in the direction of your heart. 

Essential for Women Vitamins

Ritual, $30/mo

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This convenient monthly subscription service makes taking your vitamins as easy as can be.  Ritual changed the game recently when it came on the scene, offering the nine essential nutrients that women lack the most, leaving out the common multi-vitamin ingredients that we don’t actually need. 

Ritual has taken the guesswork out of what vitamins to buy, keeping a monthly delivery plan affordable, and for that I’m definitely drinking the Kool-aid. 

EverCreme Deep Nourish Shampoo

L'Oreal, $7.99

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Really pleased to see the big dogs like L’Oreal come out with 5-free formulas that don’t include harsh sulfates, salts or surfactants that strip hair.  I’m always on the hunt for nourishing shampoo and conditioner that can help my dry and brittle locks after years of heat damage, and I’m thrilled to have this duo as part of my hair routine.  It’s especially gentle on color, and it smells divine. 

Merben Coconut Foot Brush with Healing Foot Butter Set

Waiting on Martha Home, $29.50

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This handmade foot brush is the secret to a great foot massage at home, and summer-ready feet!  I’ve found that it helps relieve aching feet, while also sloughing dry skin.  I follow the dry brush massage with the foot butter that’s included in the pack for maximum TLC. 

GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool

Nordstrom, $199

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Microneedling is a wonderful way to help your skin undergo the rejuvenation process, creating new collagen and restoring skin’s volume. It also helps your skincare products be absorbed 200x more!  

GloPro is definitely more of an investment than the microneedling tools found on Amazon, but it also includes a red LED light that helps cells grow 150-200% faster.  Also, once you buy the main device, the attachments aren’t too expensive to add on.  I recently purchased the body attachment for my décolleté area.

I’ve found that my skin feels firmer, smoother and altogether better after using this tool at night, usually 2-3 times per week. 

Coral: A Natural & Hypoallergenic Scent


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Did you know that according to the EWG, companies that manufacture personal care products are required by law to list the ingredients they use, but fragrances and trade-secret formulas are exempt?  Your fancy perfume is most likely laden with toxic ingredients. And I recently read that fragrance can even be considered the new “second hand smoke” these days. #Yikes

Skylar, on the other hand, believes that amazing scents come naturally.  The brand offers all natural, cruelty-free and hypoallergenic scents that happen to smell beautiful.  

Satin Facial Scrub

Young Living via The Well Code, $16.25

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I picked up this mint Satin Facial Scrub as part of my Young Living Essential Rewards order last month, and I really enjoy using it a few times per week. It’s a water-based exfoliant that contains super nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, mango butter, MSM, aloe, and revitalizing Peppermint essential oil.  It’s thought to minimize the appearance of pores and invigorate dull skin. 

Presence Essential Oil Blend

Body Mantra, $38

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Being present is one of my biggest focuses these days, especially with a million moving pieces going on at once for WOM.  I’m really taken by this all natural essential oil blend right now, and I’ve started to incorporate it into my morning ritual as I tell myself intentional mantras before I start my day. 

The brand also offers samples to help you test blends with your body chemistry before committing to full size products.  I found this to be a really helpful way to decide which one resonated the best with me. 

LURE Face & Eye Cupping Set

Amazon, $29.95

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The second that I watched this Instagram post, I knew I had to order this thing ASAP.  As you may know, cupping is known to reduce fine lines and deep wrinkles, while boosting collagen production and improving the overall look and feel of the skin.  And it only takes 3-5 minutes per day to see results…I’m hooked.

This simple cupping massage set can be found on Amazon under $30, and used in the comfort of your own home.  I’ve found that it calms me and even boosts my mind when I do it!  The set includes two face cups (face, neck, décolletage), two eye cups, and a free exfoliating brush. 

Woodlot Handmade Bar Soap

Waiting on Martha Home, $10.50

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These beautiful, handmade soap bars include a mix of nourishing and healing ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, shea butter and essential oils.  Each 4 oz bar has been traditionally air-cured for six weeks.

The nontoxic blend helps make bath time more intentional and simply more of a self care treat.  And not to mention, the bars make wonderful gifts for family and friends when paired with a sea soak or sea polish

One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil

Waiting on Martha Home, $49

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I LOVE this super-rich body moisturizer.  It actually has facial-grade ingredients that are blended specifically for the body, including an ultra-concentrated combination of vitamin C ester, papaya enzymes and organic shea oil. The mixture works together to deeply hydrate and gently exfoliate.  Not to mention, the oil leaves skin smelling amazing.

Featured image, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha

8 Natural Beauty Habits To Adopt Now

Filed Under > Beauty & Tutorials

8 Natural Beauty Habits To Adopt Now, Waiting On Martha

The beauty world is abuzz these days with talk of healthy, natural products free of toxins and carcinogens, and that in turn has sparked my interest for starting several healthy beauty habits in my daily routine.   Though there are some beloved products I simply cannot give up, I’ve enjoyed becoming educated in what it takes to have a safer beauty routine, and I’ve started to swear by a few simple practices to ensure that I’m feeling beautiful inside and out. Check out my eight habits below, and let me know what you swear by!  Truly, MKR

No. One, Oil Pulling.  An ancient dental technique, oil pulling involves swishing one-two tablespoons of oil (coconut, olive, or sunflower) in your mouth on an empty stomach for approximately 20 minutes.  The action is said to draw out toxins and improve your overall oral health all while naturally whitening your teeth.   I’ve been pulling, coconut is my oil of choice, for a few months now and I’m obsessed.  And for all you naysayers I spoke to my dentist, and in his words; “oil pulling should never replace your usual dental routine, but there is plenty of research that supports it’s health benefits.  Mainly because your mouth houses more bacteria than anything else and if your mouth is healthy then your system can focus on fighting other issues.” 

No. Two, Dry Brushing.  Introduced to me by my aesthetician, dry brushing is an age old practice of brushing your skin in an upward motion with a firm, natural bristle brush.  The practice, most commonly done before showering, exfoliates and unclogs skin, while stimulating your lymphatic system, and is said to help reduce cellulite.  Just a tad painful, but I’ve really taken to loving my dry brush, and I mean if Jennifer Aniston swears by it, then consider me sold.

No. Three, Think Dirty.  Talk about a game changer. Think Dirty the app allows you to scan or type in products and in return gives you a 1-10 toxicity rating.  So get ready to stand in the grocery store aisles for hours scanning just about everything you’ve ever bought or are thinking about buying.

No. Four, Consistently Washing Your Makeup Brushes.  Ask yourself when’s the last time you washed your makeup brushes?  If you’re like me it’s been too long.  And just think about all of that old makeup, dead skin, and germs of all kinds just sitting on your brushes.  Eew.  Washing your makeup brushes once a week is essential to keeping your complexion clear and your health in tact, so get the suds ready. 

No. Five, Non-Toxic Nail Polish.  When you really begin thinking about what’s in nail polish, and how it’s just sitting there absorbing into your nails, into your skin’s pores, into your system, and not to mention how much we probably accidentally ingest from chipping (especially if you bite your nails), wouldn’t you feel better knowing that polish was toxic free?  Enter my new favorite nail polish Smith & Cult.  Free of the 5 major toxins found in most nail polishes, it allows you to rest easy thinking about all those nasty chemicals, and go back to stressing about if your polish is dry enough to reach in your purse for your keys without smudging.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it comes in just about every color we could possibly want and has the most beautiful packaging.

No. Six, Activated Charcoal Pills.  Recently while reading what seemed like my thousandth detox article, I stumbled upon something I’d never heard of: activated charcoal pills.  The pills are used commonly in the ER medical community to treat oral poisoning, and the charcoal’s “pores” make it very effective at binding and flushing out poisons that are still present in the stomach and small intestines, hence the belief of detox.  While there’s research both supporting and negating it’s ability to actually flush your system after an over-indulgent Saturday, all I can say is I’ve taken it a dozen times and have felt better.  Just note that charcoal doesn’t always differentiate between good and bad, so if you want anything to stay absorbed in your system, like your daily vitamin, take them hours apart.  And like everything, do your research; what works for some does not work for all.

No. Seven, Shots.  I admit it, I’m on the pressed juice band wagon.  I’ll drink a juice, or five, all day every day.  And my new favorite thing, the shot circuit.  Seven shots: wheatgrass, E3, turmeric, ginger, lemon, aloe, and dandelion.  They’re not all pleasant going down, but I feel high on health for the rest of the day.  Not to mention my energy is on fire.  Not ready for seven shots?   Start slow with a wheatgrass or turmeric; both easily found at your local juice shop or Whole Foods, or better yet, make your own!

No. Eight, Chemical Free Products.  Letting go of products we’ve used for years can be a difficult thing, but now more than ever there are so many amazing non-toxic choices there really is no excuse.  Two brands I’ve completely fallen in love with are Beauty Counter and One Love Organics.  I swear by Beauty Counter’s sunscreen and eye palettes  and One Love’s Vitamin C Body Polish smells like heaven and their Morning Glory is my new morning savior.




All images original to Waiting On Martha.

*This information is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


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