Real Beauty
Tips and tricks for natural body care

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.

5 Safe Beauty Product Alternatives


Photo by Fotolia

Open any mainstream women’s magazine and glossy pictures of shimmering airbrushed women; their perfect pouts slightly parted revealing gleaming white teeth beckoning you, the consumer to buy ...Toxic Beauty products! Mainstream Beauty, is a sneaky, very real danger to women’s health!


Photo by Shar Veda

In case, you need a reminder of why putting chemical laden beauty products on your skin can be more harmful than eating it:

Skin is permeable and beauty products bypass filtering organs like the liver, carrying toxic chemicals directly into the bloodstream!

In 2009, when Dr. Samuel S. Epstein MD’s book Toxic Beauty came out revealing the long list of cancer causing (in extreme cases) ingredients used in mainstream beauty products, more people started reading labels and researching companies before buying beauty products.

Even with this knowledge, however, people (mostly women) of all ages continue to buy their toxic faves because they think organic beauty brands don’t deliver the same results—and, admittedly, because of price points.

If you are someone who prefers buying quality skincare rather than trying to make it in your kitchen, here are 5 beauty products good for you—and the Earth—that deliver the results you want without the health risk!

Instead of Oil of Olay Regenerist Night Cream to reduce fine lines & wrinkles try Laurel Whole Plant Organics Restore Nightly Facial Balm

 

A waterless, soft, smooth balm that absorbs quickly into the skin, Laurel Facial Balm is the ideal nighttime moisturizer, featuring a whole plant blend of Calendula, Pomegranate, Sea Buckthorn, Astragalus, Comfrey, Gotu Kola, and many more to stimulate and lengthen the life of collagen, regenerate skin cells, even skin tone, reduce fine lines, and scavenge free radicals.

I absolutely adore this line. It delivers spa quality results while you sleep! Way better than Oil of Olay, loves! Fine lines are smoothed and plumped, skin feels relaxed and cared for. Use it nightly for one month, and you will see and feel the difference.

Instead of Estee Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] try Elizabeth Den’s One Love Morning Glory Caffeinated Facial Serum.


This caffeinated energy, blend plus probiotics and Gardenia plant cell actives, tightens, tones, and smoothes the appearance of fine lines with no bad stuff or synthetic fillers to weigh on your conscience. A little goes a long way.

Instead of Cetaphil for sensitive skin, try Osmia Organics Purely Simple Face Cream.


“Purely Simple Face Cream was created by Dr. Sarah Villafranco as a non-toxic alternative to Cetaphil because so many people are battling sensitive skin these days (me being one of them!)”, says Brittany Hailey of Osmia Organics. “This is a great green product that works so well for people with even the most sensitive skin. Not to mention when paired with the Nectar Vital Rose Drops it creates a soft, velvet texture on your skin. Sigh, it is just my favorite!”

Instead of Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream try Blue Beauty Balm by Isa’s Restoratives.


Blue Beauty Balm is formulated, like Clinique Redness Solution, to calm irritated skin. Superior anti-inflammatory ingredients Cupuaco, a Brazilian super fruit, Blue Chamomile, and Carrot Seed oil diminish redness and balance skin tone. It is also an excellent balm for restoring skins elasticity and it moisturizes without leaving an oily sheen.

Instead of Murad Hydrating Toner try Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner.


Like Murad’s toner, Indie Lee Co Q-10 won’t dry out skin. Unlike the Murad toner, it won’t deliver the toxic ingredients of PEG-12, PEG-40 and Dimethicone etc etc. Indie Lee features only healthy, safe ingredients you don’t have to worry about: Aloe, Sage, Cucumber, Papaya, chamomile, and Coenzyme Q10. Another excellent, totally healthy, hard working beauty product that delivers amazing results without the toxic chemicals!


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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“All-Natural” Personal Care Products to Avoid: Aveeno Sun Care

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to reduce the number of skin- and personal-care products I use on a daily basis, and transitioning to natural products whenever possible. It’s been hit-or-miss on occasion, but with a little trial and error I have been able to find quality alternatives that meet my needs.

fall sun through trees
Photo by Fotolia/VanderWolf Images.

I know…summer is over. So, why are we talking about sun care in September? Well, the Earth is actually closest to the sun in winter—especially during the winter solstice—and the sun’s rays cover a larger area. Winter may be gloomy at times, but it’s still necessary to protect ourselves from those UV rays. If you live in sunnier areas, such as Hawaii, Arizona or Colorado, sun protection is a year-round need!

AVEENO has been part of the natural health and beauty industry since its beginning in 1945. Today, they’re known for their use of high-quality, natural ingredients and have even added the tagline “Active Naturals” to their branding. Although this sounds amazing—and is for the most part—their sun care products are anything but all-natural. AVEENO offers several SPF-enhanced lotions and moisturizers, along with actual sunscreen, ranging from SPF 15-50+, including products for babies.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database rates the majority of AVEENO’s sun care products a moderate hazard (3-5) to human health. However, looking more closely at the ingredients that comprise these items, it becomes clear that most include one or more high hazard (7-10) ingredients.

AVEENO sun care products
Photo courtesy The Binder Ladies.

Ingredients of Concern

Parabens: A number of parabens are present throughout AVEENO’s sun care line—propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben—all of which are ranked 7 out 10 by the EWG. Often used as preservatives in a variety of personal care products, parabens have been linked to hormone and endocrine disruption because they mimic estrogen in the body. These disruptions may lead to a number of health concerns, such as developmental problems in children and certain types of breast cancer.

Oxybenzone: A common ingredient in sunscreens, oxybenzone acts as a UV absorber or filter. It has been ranked by the EWG with a hazard level of 8. Most often the hazards associated with this compound are allergic reactions and bioaccumulation, due to how well the skin absorbs it, but it is also a known endocrine disruptor.

Benzyl Alcohol: Although this ingredient occurs naturally (rated a 5), it can have a drying effect on skin and may cause contact dermatitis.

The Bottom Line

Protecting our skin from sun damage is essential to avoid premature aging, sun spots and skin cancers. But when it comes to choosing safe sun care products, be sure to read ingredients carefully before making your purchase.

As we become a more health-conscious society, limiting the number of toxins in our homes has become a larger priority. Personal care routines shouldn’t be an exception, even though simplifying these routines isn’t always easy—trust me, I know—it’s well worth it in the end.

4 Perfectly Pure Summer Beauty Products for an Effortless Yet Polished Look

If ever there is a month where you can bare it all, it’s August. Sultry, steamy and HOT; the look is “Effortless Yet Polished”. Here are 4 divine delights to add to your late summer toolkit to get the look now.

Sibu Sea Berry Therapy Exfoliating Face & Body Scrub deep cleans pores, removes dead, surface cells for a radiant shine down the line (try it on your legs for the runway model shin shine). Sustainably sourced Turkestanica Sea Berry is the star ingredient in the SIBU line. Containing over 190 bioactive compounds it thrives in the Himalayan Highlands, and is an unsurpassed source of hard to find Omega 7. I use it as an all over scrub a few times a week. A little goes a long way.


Photo courtesy of Sibu

Herbivore Bontanicals Lapis Facial Oil contains Azulene from Blue Tansy, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial that reduces redness and clarifies the complexion. Jasmine and rose give this premium oil a delightfully divine scent. Add a few drops to your AM Sun Protection and kiss redness goodbye!


Photo courtesy Herbivore Botanicals

Ecco Bella Vitamin E Lip Soothers' concentrated core of Vitamin E and tocotrienols delivers and locks in extra moisture to keep lips smooth and soft for hours. In 4 flattering colors to enhance every skin tone plus clear. Soothers pair perfectly with their Soft Eyeliner Pencils. Ecco Bella, a pioneer in the Organic Beauty Industry, has long created high quality, affordable beauty products. I bought them for the first time when I was 12 and working with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).


Photo courtesy Ecco Bella

Kjaer Weis Mascara creates incredible volume and length with no clumping. The revolutionary line formulated by Kirsten Kjaer Weis, a Danish born Hollywood makeup artist, whose work has been featured on countless magazine covers, is changing the mainstream perception of the organic beauty industry one application at a time.


Image courtesy Kjaer Weis Mascara


Shar VedaShar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, 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. 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.

“All-Natural” Personal Care Products to Avoid: Burt’s Bees Lotion

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to reduce the number of skin- and personal-care products I use on a daily basis, and transitioning to natural products whenever possible. It’s been hit-or-miss on occasion, but with a little trial and error I have been able to find quality alternatives that meet my needs.

Since I’ve been a fan of Burt’s Bees lip balms over the years, I thought trying out a few of their other products would be a good place to start. My primary needs for a good lotion are that it’s non-greasy and water-based, the latter of which is harder to find than you might think. Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive lotion met both requirements, but left me very disappointed and itchy…keep reading to find out why.

Burt's Bees Body Lotion

Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive Body Lotion (Aloe & Buttermilk)

Burt’s Bees is widely available at big box retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target. Although Burt’s handcrafted lip balms have been popular for quite some time, the company was purchased by Clorox in 2007 and has been adding new items to their product line ever since. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database ranks this particular lotion 5 out of 10 on its safety scale (moderate risk).

Ingredients of Concern

Fragrance: Commonly found in most personal care products, fragrance—may also be listed as parfum or perfume—is a mixture of unnamed chemicals, often containing phthalates. Fragrance is by far the most hazardous ingredient (scoring 8 out of 10) in this product, as it may contribute to allergies, skin irritation and respiratory disease.

Phenoxyethanol: This ingredient ranks 4 out of 10 (moderate risk) and is used as a preservative in moisturizers, sunscreens, deodorants and several makeup products to reduce the chances of bacterial growth. Skin exposure to products containing as little as 1 percent of phenoxyethanol may cause eczema, hives or other skin irritation in the area of application.

Lactic Acid: Also scoring a 4 out 10 on Skin Deep’s hazard scale (moderate risk), lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) used to in skin care products to reduce the occurrence of breakouts and signs of aging. Although lactic acid and other AHAs are decent exfoliators, they leave our skin more vulnerable to sun damage, increasing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive lotion is also populated by a host of plant extracts, including aloe which may cause developmental and/or reproductive issues. Many of the plant extracts received hazard scores of 1, with little to no data to suggest they pose any risk to human health.

As we become a more health-conscious society, limiting the number of toxins in our homes has become a larger priority. Personal care routines shouldn’t be an exception, even though simplifying these routines isn’t always easy—trust me, I know—it’s well worth it in the end.

3 Tips to Get Glowing Skin Naturally

Every season offers its own set of benefits and challenges to our skin—in summer, it’s the drying sun and breakout-causing sweat, not to mention the deluge of toxins our bodies fight every day. Fortunately, it’s easy to use simple, natural recipes to bolster the brightness and clarity of our complexions. These recipes were provided by the skin experts at Derma-E,  whose extensive line of natural skin care products offers healthy solutions for just about any complexion.



Photo by Fotolia

1.  The get-your-glow-on natural detox drink:

Don’t let the summer heat wreak havoc on you skin.  Keep hydrated, detox, and keep skin clear and glowing with this amazing natural DIY detox water.

Shopping List:

12 mint leaves –  Great for digestion, and adds a fresh crisp taste

1 medium cucumber – Excellent source of hydration, and has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties

1 medium sized lemon – ”The detox queen” with abundant detoxification properties & helps cleanse and neutralize acids in the body

• Cut up cucumber & lemon in thin slices, scrunch up mint leaves, add into pitcher and fill with water
• Refrigerate over-night
• Enjoy in the morning for a refreshing treat that tastes great and keeps skin clear and radiant.


Photo by Fotolia

2. The oh-so-easy charcoal soap

Toxins are everywhere and they have tons of negative effects on our skin.  Neutralize these nasties with this easy to make recipe, which is especially great for oily and acne-prone skin.

Shopping List:

15 drops tea tree essential oil 

1 lb shea butter soap base

5 activated charcoal capsules (buy at your local pharmacy or online)

• Melt shea butter, add tea tree oil & charcoal, mix together, and let cool down.
• Store in a lidded jar for up to two weeks.
•To use, simply massage onto wet face in a circular motion, then rinse.
•Use daily.


Photo by Fotolia

3. Get Your Radiance On

The summer sun can really take its toll on your skin.  The main concern:  it dehydrates, making your complexion oh-so-dull.  This easy handmade mask will help reverse sun damage while adding a radiant glow.

Shopping List:

½ teaspoon finely ground coffee beansrich source of antioxidants, fights free radicals, helps reverse the damage caused by UV rays, and increases your production of collagen.  Wow!

½ teaspoon coconut oilAlso loaded with antioxidants, deeply nourishing to your skin, and naturally antibacterial, making it great for all skin types, especially oily & acne prone skin.

• Mix together and apply to your face using circular motions. 
• Avoid sensitive areas like your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Leave on for at least 15 minutes and up to a full hour.
• Rinse off with warm water and enjoy glowing skin!


Photo courtesy Derma-e


For more great summer detox choices we recommend the DERMA E Purifying collection, with 6 deep detoxing products perfect for naturally drawing out toxins, replenishing nutrients, and restoring radiance.

3 Sustainable, Travel-Friendly Beauty Products

Whether you are packing for an island adventure, a weekend camping trip or a five star hotel, the general trend for summer is:

Travel more. Sleep less. Keep beauty basic.

For brilliance on the go, these three beauty essentials will be your new summer besties.

Coola facial sunscreen 

COOLA Cucumber Face SPF 30 Matte Finish is no fair weather friend. Lightweight, TSA-approved, and water resistant up to 40 minutes, it comes with me on the most trying adventures! Rose hip seed oil, vitamin C, omega 3 and gamma linolenic acid improve elasticity and make this formula one of my favorite easy-to-wear and -pack, natural facial sunscreens.

Neal's Yard Remedies Rose Beauty Balm 

Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm is equally at home at a five-star hotel as it is in a tent. This shape-shifting, nourishing balm is an all-in-one makeup remover, dry skin mask, gentle exfoliant and cuticle rescue cream. It contains rosa canina fruit oil, shea butter, beeswax, cannabis sativa seed oil, borage and boswellia oil. And its sturdy packaging—a thick, reusable cobalt glass jar—means you can knock it around some without fear of breakage.

Kypris night serum 

Kypris Moonlight Catalyst is like a cooling, hydrating magickal dew. Created with organic, wildcrafted and sustainably-sourced plants, it enhances and refines the complexion while you sleep! Stellar ingredients, such as fermented pumpkin enzymes, gently exfoliate and reduce the effects of an inflammatory-inducing lifestyle (sun, iced mocha lattes, wine). Hawaiian sea algae deeply hydrates, extracts of rose hip and sea buckthorn oil deliver essential fatty acids (EFAs) and phytonutrients.

It comes in a reusable lapis blue dropper bottle with artwork so pretty it reminds me of ancient castles. “Some things are best done under the moon & stars.” Note: This product is only to be used at night.


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!