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Tips and tricks for natural body care

DIY Green Tea Face Toner Recipe

For the past several years, I had been using witch hazel as a toner and loved it! It didn’t over-dry my sensitive skin and seemed to help with breakouts. However, since moving to a dryer climate it wasn’t providing the same results; my skin constantly felt dry and tight no matter the moisturizer I used and breakouts were becoming more frequent. So, I resolved to give something new a try once the bottle was empty.

Rather than spend a pretty penny on a product I could 1) irritate my skin or 2) not work well, I tried my hand at making a homemade facial toner. A few friends had raved about a chamomile toner they’d recently made, but after a bit of research that didn’t seem quite right for my skin. Although my concoction varied slightly, to accommodate skin type and skin-specific issues, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

skin care ingredients
Photo by Adobe Stock/kerdkanno.

Green Tea Toner Recipe

Makes approx. 2 ounces

• 1/4 cup green tea, cooled
• 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (ACV)
• 1-3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
• 1-2 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)

1. Boil water for tea.

2. Place 1 tea bag into 1/4 cup of hot water (I recommend a glass measuring cup for easy transfer later). Let steep until cool.

3. Add ACV and essential oils to tea in measuring cup.

4. Pour into cobalt or amber bottle for storage.

To use: Gently mix ingredients by tilting bottle. Apply to cotton ball or round. Then apply to skin moving upward or outward toward the edges of face and down the neck.

The first time I made this, I only included lavender essential oil to help keep blemishes and redness to a minimum (plus, it smells good!). Since adding the tea tree oil, I’ve noticed even fewer breakouts and faster healing times! Although the finished product does have a slight, vinegary scent it dissipates quickly. And if you choose to include essential oils, they help mask that odor. The combination of lavender and tea tree has made any vinegar scent barely noticeable, in my opinion.

As with most forays into natural or DIY beauty, I was skeptical. I tried the original toner for a month—maybe a bit more—and saw quite a bit of improvement. Most notably the pores, particularly, around my nose seemed smaller, which was one of the main problems I had hoped to address, and my skin no longer felt dry, tight or itchy.

Although this recipe only makes a small amount (the only size bottle I had on hand, at the time), the recipe can be adapted so you don’t run out as quickly. Since it is made with green tea, it’s more prone to spoiling than if only made with water. Personally, I don’t mind the little bit of time this takes to make since most of the process is hands-off.

This recipe was adapted from The Nourished Life.

7 Recommended Cleansing Masks

1. Simply Exfoliate

dermaE

Derma E combines simplicity and effectiveness with its Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask. The deep-detox mask uses activated charcoal to cleanse pores of dirt, oil and environmental toxins. Apricot seed powder exfoliates skin for a smoother, healthier appearance.

To Buy:$19, Derma E

2. High Five

C&Co

In just five minutes once a week, C&Co. Chamomile & Oats Clay Facial Mask uses its five simple ingredients to promote gentle exfoliation and healthier new skin. Nourishing oatmeal and soothing chamomile balance natural oil production and promote increased circulation.

To Buy:$25, C&Co.

3. Prickly Hydration

MyChelle

If you suffer from dry skin, consider MyChelle Dermaceuticals’ Hydrating Cactus Mask. Blue agave and prickly pear cactus extracts are the surprising stars here, restoring natural hydration and balance, renewing prematurely aging skin and calming irritation.

To Buy: $18, MyChelle

4. Ancient Treatment

Auromere

Auromère’s Ayurvedic Mud Bath & Mask is based on a recipe that’s been handed down for generations in a single family. Auromère products follow Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic art that uses plants and minerals to promote whole-body health. The powder can also be used as a body wrap or body wash.

To Buy:$36, Auromere

5. Hot Chocolate

CalmSkinCare

Calm Skin Care’s Hot Chocolate Powder Aromatherapy Facial Mask is a sweet-smelling treat that fights blemishes and tightens pores. For maximum effectiveness, warm the mask for 10 to 15seconds before applying.

To Buy:$16, Calm SkinCare

6. Facial on the Go

Bask&Co

Try the variety of clay masks available from Bask & Co. with the travel-ready Mini Clay Mask + Facial Blend Kit. The kit’s four blends include powerful natural ingredients such as activated charcoal, rose and matcha, and can be mixed with a number of liquids — water, honey or even plain yogurt — to apply.

To Buy: $39 for a set of four, Bask & Co.

7. By the Sea

SeaweedBathCo

The detoxifying Firm + Lift mask from The Seaweed Bath Co. penetrates the skin’s surface layers to restore natural elasticity and firmness, promoting soft, youthful-looking skin, no matter your skin type. Use one single-use mask once or twice per week.

To Buy:$6 each, Seaweed Bath Co.

Spring Beauty Products for 2017

Spring is my favorite season. A Mother’s Day Baby, I was born in May and I adore everything about the season of REBIRTH. Flowers both wild and domestic, after a long season of cold, dark winter, emerge from Mother Earth reaching fresh, precious faces towards father sun and mother moon. And we like the flowers, all shapes, sizes, and colors emerge from the womb of winter as well. So beautiful!

CELLULAR TURNOVER, FRESH NEW SKIN at any age, and SMILE LINES are on my mind and in my heart!  So here are 4 SUSTAINABLE SPRING BEE-AUTY PICKS to help us polish our pretty petals and emerge as glorious as the flowers. All Products and Companies are clean, sustainable and powerfully plant based.

Khus Khus SURYA BODY POLISH with Mimosa, Neroil, Red Mandarin, Benzoin, Argan, Coconut, Babasu oils, & Bolivian Pink Salt stimulates cellular turnover, creating healthy new cells, while smelling like an alluring tropical oasis. It also stimulates lymph to drain, reduce + eliminate toxins, promotes muscle relaxation, balances PH and e-mineralizes the skin.

Kristi Blustein, Ayurvedic Specialist and founder/creator of Khus Khus Modern Herbal Fusion says, “When we think about our skin (issues) we think it's surface related most times, because that is what is reflected outward, but in reality (skin is) a reflection of internal health and balance and in this sense nothing compares to plants when it comes to supporting internal maintenance of the body and mind. They are our support system for true in depth healing.... Health begins with the mind and is then translated within the body and then reflected in the manifestation of skin health. Which is what KHUS+KHUS was created for, the maintenance and balance of deeper skin health”.

Para New York- Jasmine Sandalwood Tonic Mist with Silver Hydrosol and Ylang Ylang has become one of my spring staples. I use it liberally to freshen after workouts and counseling shifts at the teen mom shelter. Featuring Silver Hydrosol's anti-bacterial abilities to keep breakouts at bay and skin soothing Vanilla, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, superb mood enhancers for when you need a little TLC.  It’s hydrating and calming, anti bacterial and aromatically on point.

Maya Chia HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY Illuminating Face Serum is not like any makeup you’ve ever tried. I never use face makeup because it feels stifling to my skin but this gal is ....different. The plant based highlighter adds a nice soft glow without looking or feeling makeup-y. It's got broccoli and calendula in a nutritious chia seed oil base. Feels nice, not heavy or sticky. It’s moisturizing and blends easily with your favorite face balm or lotion.

Spring Beauty wouldn’t be complete without a lip pick! Jane Iredale Pure Moist Lipsticks add just the right amount of color for those of us who don’t use a ton of makeup and drench lips in moisture so you don’t have to re apply often. Star plant ingredients in this luxurious lipstick include Moringa Butter, Avocado and Sunflower Oils, and Coffee Seed Extract. The Pure Moist Lipstick line also features Vitamin A and C for daily antioxidant protection that really makes a difference with long-term use. Lips feel protected, luxurious, conditioned and quenched.


Shar VedaShar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, offers deep healing through loving touch and compassionate counsel. She is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, yoga therapist and herbalist. Shar has been blessed to study with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook and Instagram!


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3 Kitchen Remedies for Hair

On average, the human body has approximately five million hair follicles and 100,000 of those are on the head! Above the scalp, and the part of hair we’re probably most familiar with, is the hair shaft or strand. Strands of hair are made of several layers: the medulla, cortex and cuticle. Together, these layers determine the characteristics of your hair, such as color and texture.

Although hair is already dead once it emerges from the scalp, it can still become damaged in a multitude of ways, from environmental factors (i.e. pollution and sun damage) to styling and care practices (i.e. hot tools). Protect and revive your hair with these kitchen remedies that are sure to keep your tresses looking fresh.

coconut oil
Photo by Fotolia/xuanhuongho.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most effective conditioners and can help prevent protein in loss for some hair types due to the levels of lauric acid. Create a deep conditioning hair treatment with coconut oil using our recipe that also includes honey. Honey and coconut oil are excellent moisturizers, but will also add volume and shine.

apple cider vinegar
Photo by Fotolia/anjelagr.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Healthy hair, typically, has a neutral pH, but if the acid mantle — the slightly acidic coating, including sebum, that contributes to overall hair health — becomes too alkaline the cuticle (outer layer of hair) can lift which makes hair more likely to break or appear frizzy. Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse to re-balance your hair’s pH, cleanse your locks of product residue and promote scalp health.

avocado half with oil
Photo by Fotolia/marrakeshh.

Avocado

Moisturize, inspire growth and maintain scalp health with avocados. These delicious fruits are loaded with potassium and amino acids, both of which are essential for hair growth. Whether you choose to use avocado oil or the avocado “meat,” your hair will appreciate it!

Naturally Care for Your Hair:

Natural Shampoo Alternatives: Lather, Rinse, Do Not Repeat
8 Herbal Hair Rinses
Using Plant Pigments to Color Your Hair

Morrocco Method Hair Care Product Review


Photo by Fotolia

Morrocco Method is named after founder Anthony Morrocco, a renowned stylist who’s had the honor of styling many notable people, like Jackie Kennedy Onassis. He realized, early in his career, that health should not be sacrificed to have beautiful hair. He spent years developing the Morrocco Method brand, a full line of holistic hair products made with natural botanicals and minerals.

While the products have a consistency that is far from what we are used to, they are designed to be effective, yet detoxifying. This is quite the opposite from the chemical-based hair products many of us are used to using. I tried a few of these raw, vegan and gluten-free products firsthand.

The Products

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Aloe Vera, green tea and apple cider vinegar are the major components in this shampoo. Designed to strip product buildup from the hair and scalp, I think this is a great one to start out with. Being naturally antibacterial, it can be especially beneficial to those suffering from bumps or infection around the follicles. While the formula is cleansing and clarifying, it’s also extremely gentle.

The consistency is a little shocking at first, almost resembling clay or mud. Without toxic foaming agents, you will not experience the lathering effect you may be used to. Take a little more time to work the product into your hair; we should be massaging our scalps to increase blood flow for beautifully, healthy hair.

I also noticed that my hair was harder to comb afterwards, but it looked fuller and thicker after it dried. Basically, this shampoo only takes the slightest bit more effort and the benefits are profound, especially considering that you are not exposing yourself to harmful substances.

Pearl Essence Crème Rinse

The Pearl Essence Crème Rinse will solve the tangle problem, but won’t leave your hair slippery silky like Pantene might. This conditioner softens strands while reducing winter static. Made with lavender and patchouli, the smell is amazing. Using it more like a mask, allowing it to soak into your scalp and hair for about 15 minutes, will reap greater benefits than quickly swirling it into your locks for 10 seconds, then rinsing. Try your best to be patient-- the longer it sits, the more time the product has to detox and balance PH levels.


Karyn Wofford

Blood of the Dragon Styling Gel

Just like the shampoos and conditioners, this gel nourishes and heals while keeping your hair in place. While I haven’t tried it for heavy duty uses--like a killer Mohawk--I’ve found it very useful for polishing my look or securing a nice ponytail. Before blow drying in the winter, I rub a small amount through my wet hair; my blowouts last much longer when I do this. Aloe, White Willow Bark and kelp are the main ingredients.

Final Verdict

The transition from phthalate-filled, synthetic formulas was a little difficult, but I needed to switch. I had become so used to chemical-laden products from Pantene and other big name companies. After a week, I was completely used to the new texture, and I noticed a profound improvement in the overall health of my hair. Less strands break off during styling; I could’ve made a wig from the hair that used to be on my floor after every shower. How I am not bald, I do not know. It always comes back to the same thing, natural products are simply better.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.



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7 Natural Remedies for Dry Winter Skin


Photo by Fotolia

The cold and dry air of winter does a number on our skin. Let’s be real – it’s the worst. What was once smooth turns dry, flaky and itchy once winter rolls around, and it can sometimes feel unbearable. There are hundreds of different lotions on the market that claim to cure dry skin once and for all, but they are expensive and usually don’t really do the trick. This season, instead of buying cabinets full of lotions that don’t actually help, try these cheap, natural and effective remedies you can do at home.

1. Use Honey, Honey

Honey is one of the greatest moisturizers nature has supplied us with. Not only does honey keep skin moisturized, it also keeps your skin healthy with its many vitamins and minerals. Use honey as a moisturizer for your face by washing your face, coating it in a thin layer of honey, and rinsing with warm water. Your skin will feel silky smooth after this luxurious routine.

There a tons of ways to use honey to make your skin, face and hair healthier. Overall, honey is one of the greatest ways to keep your body healthy and moisturized, so try adding it into your routine!

2. Add Oils to Your Skincare Routine

There are many natural oils that have hydrating and healing properties. Adding in some of these oils to your skincare routine will do more for your skin than a simple layer of lotion. For instance, olive oil has many healthy fatty acids that do amazing things for your skin. Before you put on your usual lotion or moisturizer, use a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil.

Other oils that can help dry skin include coconut oil and almond oil. Pro tip — always apply these oils or other moisturizers when your skin is damp. These are meant to lock in moisture, so applying them when your skin is already damp will make their job easier.

3. Don’t Drink Milk, Apply It

Milk has exfoliating and soothing properties that help eliminate dry skin. Try soaking a washcloth in cold milk and leave the cloth on dry skin for 5-7 minutes. Then, use another washcloth soaked in lukewarm water to wash off the milk. Doing this every other day will act as a natural moisturizer.

4. Take Care of Your Scalp

One of the worst parts about dry skin is having a dry scalp. An itchy and dry scalp is not only annoying, but it also causes dandruff and unhealthy hair. To prevent a dry scalp, use an apple cider vinegar rinse. Mix apple cider vinegar with water, and spray it all over your hair. Allow it to sit for about a half hour before rinsing out. This will:

• Keep your skin hydrated
• Prevent dandruff
• Add shine to your hair

If your skin is itchy elsewhere try a concoction of baking soda, alove vera and olive oil to relieve the itch with all natural ingredients.

5. Eat Foods That Hydrate

Treat your dry skin from the inside out by eating foods that will protect your skin from dryness. Foods that have high magnesium, fatty acids and vitamin C naturally keep your skin healthy and hydrated. For example, try adding salmon and other fatty fishes, mangoes and dark chocolate to your diet. Eating a generally healthy and well-rounded diet is an effective treatment and preventative measure for dry skin and rashes.

6. Make a Homemade Skin Scrub

There’s no need to spend your hard-earned money on expensive sugar scrubs that promise to exfoliate your skin when you can make your own. There are many different sugar scrub recipes you can try depending on your scent preferences and what you have in your pantry. Just one option is a brown sugar scrub using brown sugar and coconut oil. These also make great gifts, especially for the holidays when everyone is fighting dry skin!

7. Try This Overnight Cure

If your skin is especially dry and you need a dramatic cure, this overnight treatment can work wonders. First, take a bath or shower right before bed. When you’re finished, lightly pat your skin dry and rub a light layer of oil all over your skin. Olive or coconut oil will do the trick. Once you are covered in oil, climb into bed with an old pair of pajamas (the oil can stain your clothing) and hit the hay. It may be an odd way to sleep, but after one night like this you will wake up with soft and silky skin.

Dry skin is vicious during the winter, and it’s hard to fight, but these natural remedies will definitely help. Add in one or two of these ideas to your routine and watch your skin turn back into the smooth skin you had before the winter months.

The Benefits of Dry Brushing

The skin is the largest organ in the body and consists of numerous sweat glands, blood vessels and nerve endings. Although it protects us from the elements, our skin also aids in waste removal, digestion and circulation. Over time, skin can change or become damaged due to a variety of factors. Serums, creams and cleansers do a lot to keep skin healthy, glowing and blemish-free, but dry brushing can benefit not only skin health, but overall health as well. 

History of Dry Brushing

Dry skin brushing has been practiced by many cultures for centuries, from ancient Greeks to Native Americans, to remove dead skin. In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, dry brushing (garshana) was completed every morning, prior to bathing, to stimulate blood circulation.

woman using a dry skin brush on back
Photo by Fotolia/slantedframe.

Dry Brushing Benefits

Detox your body from the outside-in while keeping skin healthy, radiant and blemish-free with one of the oldest beauty secrets around. Check out some of the perks you may see after adding regular dry brushing into your natural skin care routine.

Super-Soft Skin: Dry brushing exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells, leaving skin feeling soft and helping the skin renewal process.

Tone and Tighten: The motions of dry brushing help distribute fatty deposits to tone the muscles and tissues below the skin’s surface. These same motions boost circulation creating supple, youthful-looking skin. The circular motions may also reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Lymph Support: Many components of the lymphatic system lie just below the skin’s surface. Daily dry brushing can stimulate these nodes, vessels and glands to aid in the body’s natural detoxification process, which can improve immune function.

Keep Breakouts at Bay: By smoothing rough, dry patches and unclogging pores, toxins can be excreted from pores rather than blocking them and causing pimples. Dry brushing will also distribute your skin’s natural oils evenly to keep oilier areas from breaking out.

Tips for Dry Brushing

1. Choose a natural-bristled brush, and consider one with a long handle to help you get hard-to-reach places, such as the back.

2. Start at the feet and move upward, toward the head, using a circular motion, brushing toward the heart to increase blood and lymph flow.

3. Dry brush prior to bathing, preferably in the morning as this practice has been known to deliver a boost of energy.

4. Avoid areas with wounds, rashes or other sensitivities.

Dry brushing is inexpensive, easy and relaxing. Many professionals in the beauty industry recommend this practice for those with dry skin, cellulite or regular swelling, due to water retention.