Gabby Dubois of The Green Belle On Her Clean Beauty Regimen and the Importance of Lip Care
Updated: Jul 23
Now, let's anyalyze — and shop — below.
Gabby Dubois is an OB nurse and clean beauty enthusiast, as well as the host of The Green Belle Podcast and co-host of Blonde Banter Podcast. Based in Toronto, she is also the beauty behind the Instagram account, @thegreenbelle, which features some of the latest news and her personal reviews of clean beauty brands. As you will see, her impeccable taste carries over onto several green lifestyle topics, as well.
Clean beauty — and non-toxic beauty advocacy — is a rapidly growing niche within the beauty industry. Advocacy is necessary because, left to their own devices, major beauty brands have incorporated toxic ingredients into their formulas without being legally required to disclose them. Due to discrepancies in beauty labelling (read more in my article for Fashionista), there are challenges when it comes to regulating the beauty industry, particularly as it pertains to personal notions of health and safety. Frankly, even experts disagree on the topic, as I learned writing pieces for Glam and Nécessité about non-toxic nail polish.
Dubois aligns herself with those beauty brands that have been transparent about their efforts to exclude the health-harming toxins that are pervasive in the beauty industry (think: carcinogens, endocrine-disruptors, etc.). When it comes to safety in beauty, this transparency is the key; unfortunately, this necessitates a bit of extra research on the part of the consumer without a precedent for legal consequences, although this could change thanks to the class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson that was detailed in the documentary, Toxic Beauty. For now, unless we shop in the clean beauty sections of major retailers (i.e. Clean at Sephora, Bluemercury's Conscious Beauty Section) or specialty retailers that pre-vet their product prior to selling them (i.e. Credo Beauty, The Detox Market, Follain, etc.), it can be challenging to discover what, exactly, we are putting on our faces.
Our shared taste in beauty products excludes those controversial additives, plasticizers, and preservatives, which include — but are not limited to — parabens, formaldehyde-releasers, phthalates, sulfates, and fragrance (which often masks hidden phthalates), just to name a few. Many of her picks are also vegan, which is excellent news for fans of anti-inflammatory skincare, as many holistic estheticians tend to agree that animal-derived products can be inflammatory. Hence @thegreenbelle is of my favorite accounts to follow in the clean beauty space, with her excellent taste in brands and her refreshing, earth-chic style making her feed a pleasure to peruse.
Learn more about Gabby Dubois' clean beauty regimen with personal commentary below.
"I start off with an oil cleanse," Dubois explains. "This oil transforms into a milky cleanser once activated with water. Not only does it remove my makeup effortlessly, but it contains Ayurvedic ingredients to pull out dirt and purify my skin."
Cleansing oils are the ideal first step in the double-cleansing method popularized in K-Beauty, which starts with an oil to attract the makeup and oil-based grime on your skin. This is one of the most effective and gentle ways to remove your makeup and excess sebum on the face, courtesy of a barrier-protective, non-stripping, nutrient-packed oil or oil blend.
This Ayurveda-inspired blend, informed by the holistic healing tradition from India, mixes anti-pollution moringa oil with balancing squalane and calming rose and sunflower seed oils. Added floral extracts complete the therapeutic experience for the skin.
"I follow up with a second cleanse using my favorite water-based cleanser... This is refreshing and toning, helping to add moisture and brighten my skin," she says. "I use this every morning and night with reusable cotton rounds."
Micellar water is another gentle way to remove lingering makeup, sebum, and grime from your faces. Made with micelles of oil suspended in water, it works because "like attracts like." This allows you to wipe away lingering residue, including oil-based cosmetics or residual mascara and eyeliner, from your faces without any harsh actives or the need for scrubbing.
Odacité's no-rinse cleansing water is infused with anti-inflammatory Turmeric, hydrating Aloe Vera juice, and other Ayurvedic herbs such as Neem and Holy Basil, which purify and soothe the complexion. Anti-inflammatory and deeply cleansing Salicylic acid joins vitamin-rich grapefruit to help purify your pores in the process. As an added bonus, the brand plants a tree for every sale made.
Dubois opts for skincare's leading antioxidant, vitamin C, everyday. "I can't go without applying my vitamin C in the morning. It's one of my favorite steps!" To do so, she mixes Agent Nateur Holi(C) Refining Face Vitamins, $120, with Agent Nateur Holi(Water), $88, in her hands, and massages the concoction onto her face and neck.
The versatile powder combines Calcium and vitamin C in a vegan formula that can be mixed directly with your serum, moisturizer, or SPF to enhance your UV- and antioxidant protection. Using non-GMO vitamin C sources, the powder is said to help brighten, heal scars, combat breakouts, and even combat rosacea, while supporting the production of structural proteins collagen and elastin in the skin. These are two key elements of preventing skin-aging, as collagen minimizes wrinkles and elastin mitigates sagging. The brand also states that the product promotes the skin's levels of the plumping, moisture-binding molecule, hyaluronic acid.
As for the clean beauty brand's toner, Holi(Water), the hydrating and gently exfoliating blend tones the skin to its optimal pH — roughly 5.5 — using lavender water to calm, hyaluronic acid for hydration, Pitaya to exfoliate and treat acne, pearl to support collagen production, and cucumber to balance and soothe. The toner incorporates other skin-loving ingredients like anti-bacterial organic honey, conditioning vegetable glycerin, and sandalwood. It moisturizes dry skin types, but also contains a number of ingredients to tend to acne-prone skin, as well.
"I typically go in with two serums," Dubois reasons. "The first, Ayuna Cellular Oil, $185, is a lightweight serum that provides anti-aging benefits and is super-rich in vitamins for the skin to drink up. I also cannot go without an Uber-hydrating serum. The Odacité Winter in Paris, $165, serum is earthy and luxurious. It's truly a spa-like experience."
Beauty oils are one of our favorite ways to impart nature's nutrients in their most potent form, whether for the face, hair, or body. The cellular oil utilizes patented technology to extract micro-lipids directly from the membrane of the Spanish millennial olive tree's stem cells. As lipids are one of the primary components of our skin's moisture barrier, this makes for an ideal addition to regimens for dry, sensitive, reactive skin types that are prone to inflammation, and anyone that deals with a faulty barrier. Any skin type that is inflammation prone — including acneic skin — can benefit from added skin barrier support, as environmental pollutants and aggressors can be the cause of eruptions in the first place.
Odacité is simply one of the cleanest beauty brands around. Dubois' preferred beauty oil blend combines nourishing Marula oil (which I love applying to my lips for plumping), as well as green tea with its antioxidants and polyphenols, like ECGC. Vitamins A, C, E, and F join the party courtesy of Moringa, Baobab, and Pequi oils which restore suppleness, vitality, and protection agains skin dehydration. There is something truly magical about the effects of oil blends, as opposed to applying just one.
"For the last six months, I have been obsessed with the Agent Nateur holi(glow) Ageless Eye Serum. It's a gel-like consistency that's lightweight, cooling, hydrating, and refreshing with a faint smell of cucumber. I dab that under my eyes for an instant dew."
This gel-serum was created after California was ravaged by fires in 2017, causing dryness and lines to form beneath the founder's eyes — only when she was in LA. This cooling elixir was her solution. Made from soothing cucumber extract, conditioning vegetable glycerin and jojoba, castor, and calendula oils, the formula also incorporates organic extracts (think: date seed, daisy flower, chamomile, jasmine, and more) to give your lids and under-eyes a quenching treat.
"I finish with my moisturizer," continues Dubois. "I have a few that I switch up. My night moisturizer will always remain Goop by Juice Beauty Replenishing Night Cream, $140, an anti-aging formula that is thick yet melts into the skin in an instant. For day, I flip between the Osea Atmosphere Protection Cream, $48, or Indie Lee Daily Skin Nutrition Moisturizer, $80, both absolutely amazing and lightweight enough for the daytime."
Her nighttime pick, by green goddess Gwyneth Paltrow's clean beauty line was the winner of Allure's 2017 Best of Beauty Award — and Dubois would have to agree. Containing 89% total organic content, active ingredients include Meristem plant cells that are sustainably sourced from daffodils and sweet iris, with anti-aging antioxidants to combat oxidative stress and free radicals. Just as we'd expect, Gwynnie's line is formulated without parabens, petroleum, pesticides, propylene or butylene glycols, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMO, silicones, gluten, artificial dyes, or fragrances. Plus, it's cruelty-free.
As for her daytime picks, Osea Malibu and Indie Lee are two popular clean brands with cult-followings. The Atmosphere Protection Cream combines USDA certified organic algae — which possess anti-pollution properties, a top cause of aging and hyper-pigmentation — as well as shea butter and avocado oil to provide efficient, thorough, but lightweight hydration to the face. This moisturizer is also rumored to be a great makeshift primer.
Indie Lee holds a special place in my heart. Not only is she the maker of an industry-beloved Squalane Oil and elasticity-boosting Coenzyme Q10 toner, but she founded the line after recovering from a brain tumor. When one of my best friends found herself undergoing treatment for brain cancer, we took a trip to the clean beauty retailer, Credo Beauty, to find her chemo- and radiation-safe skincare essentials. That's when we discovered Indie Lee's story and we both fell in love with the line. Her Daily Skin Nutrition Moisturizer contains a blend of natural oils — squalane, olive, coconut, and avocado — to give your skin the hydration it craves.
"I love a good mask and exfoliant. On days my skin needs some extra TLC, I like using The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner, $75, a liquid toner containing lactic acid to gently resurface the skin for a baby smooth finish, or for something a little more active, I'll use the Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial, $125, a 5-minute fix hat instantly revives my skin after a few shifts at the hospital."
Exfoliation is essential, but should be practiced gently enough not to corrode the skin barrier. Hence the beauty of The Beauty Chef's incorporation of probiotics into the brightening lactic acid formula. By using bio-fermented (i.e. prebiotic- and probiotic-rich antioxidant powerhouses) ingredients, you are promoting the diversity of the flora in your skin's microbiome. This is essential for the skin's proper function, including it's immunity, as keeping the skin's protective moisture barrier and acid mantle intact protects against environmental aggressors, pollution, and bacteria.
Exfoliation can brighten, promote cell turnover, cleanse pores, prevent breakouts, and improve the appearance of acne scars. From home, exfoliating masks are the ideal way to DIY some skin revitalization since we can't get out to see our derms and estheticians during lockdown. The beauty of Goop's AHA and BHA exfoliating mask, which includes cellulose beads for gentle physical exfoliation, is the incorporation of vitamin B5, which conditions and sucks in moisture from the air to keep your skin soothed post-application.
"I find that most people forget about lips when talking skincare. I live for my lip routine with how dry my lips naturally get," she notes. (Girl, same.) Her three-step routine consists of an exfoliant, a serum, and a mask. "I first exfoliate with the Niu Body Pina Colada Lip Scrub, $10, — my summer go-to — and then apply to Odacité Avenuturine Kiss Lip Serum, $48. I top that off with my tried-and-true Henné Organics Lip Mask, $37."
A lip scrub is an ideal way to rid your pout of flaking skin, if you happen to suffer from Sahara-like lips like mine. It also boosts the zone's micro-circulation, which I personally find provides some additional plumpness, while clearing the surface of the skin for the nutrients that follow in the next step: a lip serum.
Odacité's lip serum imparts the potent antioxidant vitamin C along with elasticity-promoting CoQ-10, which is massaged on with a cooling, aventurine crystal roller ball that is legitimately a game-changer. It's a thin texture which allows you to easily layer it beneath a balm or mask that follows, giving your kisser added hydration and an anti-aging boost.
Step three is the mask. Henné Organics' lip mask can be applied for 15-30 minutes at a time and then wiped off with a tissue. The rosehip seed oil is rich in anti-aging vitamin A, while a medley of other oils —black cumin seed, jojoba, pomegranate seed, cranberry, sea buckthorn, and more — are sealed in with beeswax to positively drench dry lips with moisture while the mask is applied.
Practiced on a regular basis, I can imagine that this three-step lip care regimen would rock transformative results for sufferers of dry lips. (As in, this is something I will be trying shortly.)
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