Just because you’re leading a busy, stressful life, it doesn’t mean you can’t relax during your fast-paced days. This is crucial, as finding small ways to unwind throughout the day can help you think more creatively, boost brainpower, and allow a few minutes to just appreciate life. Can’t find time to relax? No worries—your daily beauty routines are the perfect time to add some relaxation.
Photo by shutterstock.
Slow Down Your Skin-Care Routine
If you’re like most women, you probably conduct your morning and evening skin-care routines in super speed, not really paying attention to how these few minutes—twice a day—can help soothe your spirit.
Take the time to enjoy applying your skin brightening products and turn the application of your luxurious face creams into a relaxing massage. Applying your products in a gentle, soothing way allows your skin to absorb them better while being in the moment helps you clear your mind of stress and preserve your energy to face the day with confidence.
Avoid Stress-Causing Foods
You’re probably accustomed to grabbing a bite on the go, but this can be bad for your stress levels. Refined grains and saturated fats lead to the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. On the other hand, there are foods that have a calming effect on the body. One example is oatmeal; it’s a complex carbohydrate that boosts the production of serotonin, a chemical that improves positive feelings.
Another problem with eating when you’re on the move is that you might make rash decisions about snacks, resulting in the fastest options that are actually bad for your body and skin. For example, reaching for sugary snacks in your desk drawer; too much sugar actually accelerates the pace at which skin ages. Sugar fights both elastin and collagen production in the skin, which are both responsible for firmness and flexibility. On the other hand, relying on caffeine-packed liquids to get you through the day can dehydrate you. Both sugar and caffeine can make you feel anxious, so plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, so that when you’re busy you can still benefit from nutritious foods.
Yoga for Youthful Skin
We spend many hours every day hunched over desks, staring at computer screens or our cell phones. All of these activities can lead to muscles weakening. If you’re straining muscles in your face, such as regularly frowning while working, easy exercises will help you relax them, as well as your mind, because they enable better blood circulation. Best of all, you don’t need a yoga class for them!
Try these facial fitness exercises, from Glamour, to reduce the signs of aging and give yourself a few minutes of relaxation.
Get a Dry Brush
Dry brushing your body should be an activity you do twice a day because it’s good for your skin and it can really help to relax you.
Use a brush with natural, soft bristles to gently massage your skin, moving from your feet upwards to your chest, and your hands to your chest too. The important thing to remember is to massage toward your heart in order to boost your blood and lymphatic circulation. It also gets rid of dry skin, resulting in a smoother appearance, and by stimulating the lymphatic system it helps to detox your body. Massaging your skin with a dry brush may also help relieve pain.
This is also a lovely spa-like experience that is super-relaxing. It should be done before you step into the shower. After you shower, finish by massaging moisturizer into your body. For an extra spa treat, heat the lotion so that it will feel warm and luxurious.
Turn Your Shower Into a Sanctuary
Speaking of showers, they’re a great way to achieve relaxation. Even if you spend just a few minutes in the shower in the mornings and evenings, this is precious time that can help to clear your mind. Make shower time a sanctuary by infusing it with music that helps you unwind, using deliciously-scented shower gels, or just closing your eyes and feeling the water run over your body. This is especially important at night as the comfort will prepare you for a relaxing, beautifying sleep.
Our daily beauty routines are easy times to stop and nourish the body and mind. An added bonus: Being relaxed and happy will help us look our best.
If you keep bees on your homestead, you’re already reaping the benefits of increased pollination of your fruits and vegetables, which should increase your yields and keep you lush with produce during the growing season. You’re also surely harvesting honey to use as a natural sweetener in everything from baked goods to your morning coffee.
Photo by Sonja Langford.
Using local sugar cuts way down on your carbon footprint because you don’t need to ship imported cane sugar long distances to enjoy a sweet treat. Honey requires little to no processing, making it an incredibly green crop to enjoy on your homestead. It doesn’t get more local than your own backyard!
The liquid gold from your beehive can also provide you with free, healthful additions to your skin-care routine. Cutting out harsh commercial cleansers and soaps can reduce your chemical consumption as well as your carbon footprint, and thanks to your busy bees you already have everything you need for glowing skin.
The Benefits of Raw Honey for Your Skin
Honey has been used for thousands of years as a natural health and beauty aid, though it’s only recently that scientists have started examining its properties in a systematic way. Honey has antibacterial properties that can inhibit the growth of some 60 strains of harmful bacteria, and it is also a great antioxidant and humectant.
The delicate chemical composition of honey can be ruined by excessive heat, so raw honey is the best choice to benefit your skin. You can use honey straight out of the hive for your cosmetic preparations, and it’s a great way to use your least favorite seasonal batch. For example, if you prefer the light honey of early spring, use that for cooking and save the darker, autumnal honey for cosmetics.
Raw Honey as a Gentle Cleanser
It couldn’t be easier to use raw honey to wash your face. You don’t need to go through any complicated soap-making tutorials. Simply put some honey in a small squeeze bottle. That’s it!
Then use the following steps:
• Wet your face
• Squeeze a dime-sized amount of honey into your hand
• Gently wash your face as you would with any liquid cleaner
You’ll be surprised by how easily it rinses off, leaving behind soft skin. Honey’s antibacterial properties are great for keeping acne breakouts at bay and it draws moisture to your skin to keep it moisturized. It’s a great solution for sensitive skin because there’s no soap or harsh chemicals to cause irritation.
If you like your facial cleanser a bit thinner in consistency, try adding one part rose water to five parts honey. This will make your cleanser a little more pourable and slightly more astringent — and it will smell delightful!
Raw Honey as a Scrub
If you’ve tried to store raw honey for more than a few months, you know that it starts to crystalize over time. While this might be a drawback for cooking, grainy, crystalized honey makes an ideal face scrub to slough off rough, dry skin.
Try storing your crystalized honey in a small jelly jar with a reusable plastic lid. When you’re ready to scrub, wet your skin, then scoop out some honey with your fingertips and massage it into your skin. The sugar grains will provide gentle exfoliation before eventually melting away as you rinse with warm water.
Raw Honey as a Lip Balm
If your lips crack in the dryness of winter, raw honey can help heal them. Instead of using a commercial, petroleum-based lip balm, all you need is a dab of honey on your fingertip. The temptation will be strong to lick it off, but leaving it on forms a protective barrier that encourages healing and draws moisture. It may sting a bit, but rest assured that you’re feeling the antibacterial properties at work.
Even if you don’t yet keep your own bees, seeking out a local honey producer for raw honey will let you make your cosmetic routine greener and healthier. Give these easy honey cosmetics a try, and you’ll enjoy glowing skin without the chemicals in no time!
Ali Lawrence is a tea-sipping writer who focuses on healthy and sustainable living via her family blog Homey Improvements. She was born and raised in Alaska and dabbles in PR, Pilates, and is a princess for hire for kid’s parties. Find her on Twitter @DIYfolks.
It’s November: Dark and cold, the leaves are falling, fireplaces are burning logs of light and warmth, soup is on in the kitchen, and holiday gatherings are like waves rolling in. I’ve selected three of my favorite go-to products that will help you enjoy the holidays more, while maintaining your glow!
Aroma is a healthy way for people of all ages to regulate mood. I love ADORAtherapy Chakra Boost roll-ons because their blends are fresh, tried-and-true and yummy. Place them in the dining room or bathroom so guests and visitors can use as needed. Use Vitality for strength and grounding, Creativity for creating cards and homemade gifts, Joy to feel “it” even when your mother-in-law chastises you for your outfit and your kids are fighting! Buy the whole set ($112 for a set of 7) and have them ready for your or give them as a great gift.
ilike Rose Hip Exfoliator Mask ($48)is a winter miracle for dry, dull skin. It’s full of vitamins and trace elements that gently remove impurities while soothing skin and lending a super-fresh rosy glow. Lactic acid loosens dead cells and encourages new cell growth while rosehip revitalizes, balances and protects, while light herbal oils nourish the skin. This mask is so refreshing it’s like a mini vacation. I use it twice a week on my face and décolleté. A must try for out of this world results!
Last but not least, I’ll tell you my secret for pure sun-kissed color even in winter…SHHHH!!! Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint ($45) has been in my bag for over a decade and is one of my all-time favorite products. It contains only the purest ingredients, such as olive oil, beeswax, witch hazel and copper. This bronzing tint offers super-light, gorgeous blendable color that brilliantly matches your skin tone, whatever it is. I mix it with a moisturizer and apply in morning. It smells and feels great on the skin, plus it lasts forever!
Shar Veda, Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, yoga therapist and herbalist, is Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, offering deep healing through loving touch and compassionate counsel. Shar has been blessed to study with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, Thai Yoga Massage 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!
Having oily skin is not fun—think makeup that drips or fades halfway through the day. But there are some important ingredients and tips you can follow to ensure that you remain looking fresh and beautiful.
Ingredients to Look For
Salicylic acid is an ingredient found in many acne preparations because it helps control oil and prevent pimples. However, if your skin is oily you should also look for salicylic acid in basic skin-care products such as cleansers, moisturizers and makeup. Always wash your face with a salicylic cleanser before applying moisturizer so that your skin is clean and ready to absorb any lotions or makeup you may apply.
Glycolic acid is often found in chemical peels because it scrubs away dead skin on the surface so that your complexion looks renewed. Glycolic acid is taken from sugar cane and is also highly beneficial for oily skin types. Exfoliating allows fresh, new skin to be displayed. You can find glycolic acid in a variety of skin-care products, such as skin lighteners that will help you on your way to brighter, healthier skin.
Before you think you should skip the moisturizer because you don’t want your skin to appear greasy, be careful not to fall into the trap of making your body’s glands produce more sebum (oil) because your skin is drying out! Hyaluronic acid is a good choice to look for moisturizers, and has recently become a buzzword in the skin-care industry. It draws moisture to itself, making your skin feel supple and gorgeous, but hyaluronic acid also helps to keep your skin naturally moisturized without making it greasy. If your skin is smooth and healthy, the makeup you apply will also look more beautiful.
Prime Your Skin
Once you have applied your moisturizer, apply a primer before applying foundation. This helps create a barrier which the foundation will be able to stick to, meaning that oily skin won’t cause it to run or fade soon after application. Primers also help to fill any lines and wrinkles you may have, which helps create a flawless appearance. While you’re priming your skin, don’t forget to apply primer to your eyelids; this will ensure that gorgeous eye shadow stays put all day.
Choose the Right Foundation
You pick the right foundation according to your skin type, but what about its consistency? This plays an important role in how well makeup will last on oily skin. A powder foundation is good to keep oiliness or shine under wraps, but make sure it’s a light consistency so that it won’t feel too thick or heavy on your skin. If you like a liquid foundation, you should go for a mousse consistency. Make sure your foundation is mattifying or non-comedogenic, which means that it will be less likely to cause pimples.
Although you might be tempted to wear shimmer blush or eye shadow, such products can actually make your skin look shinier. Stick to matte colors and always choose oil-free formulations so you don’t accidentally trigger your skin to become oily. If you do want a bit of shimmer, use it in very small amounts on eyelids, but try to keep your blush sparkle-free, otherwise all the elements will begin to clash.
Blotting powders are essential to carry in your bag when you want to reduce shine. The great thing is that by merely pressing them onto your skin, you remove oil without removing makeup with it. You can find blotting papers that also dab a bit of powder onto areas where oil is running rampant, such as your T-Zone, so that you can keep that fabulous, matte finish!
Play with Clay
Just because you don’t want your skin to look oily, that doesn’t mean you want it to look dry. Skin that is too dry appears dull, so focus on a radiant balance for your skin type. Use a clay face mask, such as kaolin, once a week to help absorb excess oil while keeping your skin radiant and healthy.
Having oily skin doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the latest beauty trends or have beautiful, smooth skin. By following the above tips, you will be able to flaunt radiant skin and enjoy long-lasting makeup.
Find more tips and advice for creating effective skin-care routines in The Best Natural Skin Care for Every Skin Type
Images by Shutterstock.
The mission of the Dr. Hauschka skin-care line is “to support the healing of humankind and the planet,” and you can feel the strength and deep nurturing of this very mission absorbing into your skin when you use the line. Everything they do is in the interest of fostering the well-being of the world, from ecologically conscious methods of growing and sourcing ingredients to international fair trade initiatives.
The skin adores Dr. Hauschka. It is refreshing and delicious in every way you can imagine. I have been using Dr. Hauschka for 20 years now. At 40, people guess I am 10 years younger and women are forever asking me what skin care I use. So, ladies! Here are the specifics.
Shar Veda’s Morning Skin-Care Routine:
My basic daily skin-care regimen in the morning is Dr. Hauschka 3-Step: Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize.
CLEANSE: Dr. Huaschka’s Milk Cleanser is velvety smooth going on and great for even the most sensitive of skin; it also doubles as a makeup remover. You only need one or two pumps, and it lasts about 6 months.
TONE: The Clarifying Toner tones, balances pH and calms skin. It contains calendula, wound wort, horse chestnut, echinacea, daisy and witch hazel. This toner is both powerful and light at once. A few spritzes are super refreshing and the skin adores it.
MOISTURIZE: Dr. Hauschka has many great moisturizers for all skin types. I switch between the Rose Day Cream and the Melissa Day Cream; I love the Melissa Day Cream. The scent alone is so uplifting it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you apply it to your face. It contains sunflower, apricot and jojoba oils, Melissa (lemon balm), carrot and daisy, among other pure plant ingredients.
BONUS MASK: Once or twice a week I mix the Hydrating Mask in with the Melissa Day Cream. It’s soothing and quenches dry, thirsty skin with almond, avocado, olive oil, shea butter and beeswax.
Try Dr. Hauschka and you’re in for a delicious daily experience. Your skin and senses will thank you. These products are a bit pricey, but, in my opinion, so worth it! And I have a secret: I buy from Organaca. Several times a year they have great sales (25 percent off!) on Dr. Hauschka products and I like to stock up then.
Shar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 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!
We all like to look good, and companies all over the world are cashing in by selling us cosmetics. Unfortunately, a lot of these products are quietly harming our health. Parabens, phthalates and fragrances are just a few of the dangerous ingredients lurking in your daily beauty routine. Rather than sacrificing your rosy cheeks and flawless complexion, look for alternatives to the big-name commercial products for a solution.
Photo by Fotolia.
The Environmental Working Group states that the average woman uses 12 products, containing 168 ingredients, daily. Skin is our largest organ and it’s a perfect entry point for many of these substances to enter our bodies.
• BHA can cause abnormal hormone levels, cancer and reproductive issues, yet it’s found in a number of beauty products in the United States.
• Boric acid and sodium borate are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and can cause big problems for men’s reproductive systems.
• Formaldehyde not only is carcinogenic, but it is toxic to the brain and lungs. It is used in cosmetics as a preservative, but its use is diminishing.
• Fragrance is a very widely used substance composed of chemicals. They can be loaded with EDCs and allergens.
• Nanoparticles are found in some powders. Unfortunately, this won’t be listed on the label. Nanoparticles easily penetrate skin and enter your body.
• Oxybenzone can cause allergic symptoms and may interfere with hormones. It is used as a sunscreen.
• Parabens are used as cosmetic preservatives and can likely cause reproductive and endocrine issues.
• 1,4-dioxane is thought to be carcinogenic and still resides in cosmetics.
• Petroleum distillates are found in mascara and may cause cancer.
• Phthalates harm the reproductive system and often are in fragrances.
• Retinol can break down into free radicals when exposed to the sun. Free radicals damage DNA and encourage cancer growth.
The Environmental Working Group also mentions the following ingredients as ones to avoid: Animal based ingredients, triclosan, toluene, rescorcinol, methylisothiazolinone, lead, hydroquinone, and coal tar ingredients.
Okay, there is your scientific overload for the day. Keep a close eye out for these substances. Even if a product claims to be “natural,” it often contains some ingredients that can be harmful to your body. Take the extra time to research products before you head for the store.
Mission: Safe Cosmetics
There are, however, campaigns that are fighting for pure cosmetics because they believe we should be able to purchase products with confidence. Below is a statement from one of these organizations, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics grew out of concerns about phthalates, a set of industrial chemicals linked to birth defects and reproductive harm. It has since evolved to include many other chemicals of concern found in personal care products. American consumers use an average of 10 personal care products each day, resulting in exposure to more than 100 distinct chemicals, and potentially dozens of hidden ingredients. Toxic cosmetic ingredients are ending up inside our bodies, our breast milk and our babies, and these chemicals also go down the drain and pollute our waterways and drinking water. Toxic exposures from personal care products add to our daily dose of hazardous chemicals from air, water, food and other consumer products. The Campaign uses a science-based foundation and an engaged public to push companies to make safer products, and to convince the government to pass laws that protect our health. We continue with the campaign because we have had many victories that have made a difference.
* We effectively educate consumers and companies on how to make safer, more informed purchases. We created RED LISTS of chemicals of concerns to avoid in hair products, nail products, makeup, hair products, sunscreens, skin lighteners, anti-aging products and fragrance.
* We successfully advocate for stronger laws and safer Products — Over the past decade, we have made huge strides in convincing the big multinational cosmetics companies to stop using chemicals linked to adverse health effects including 2 phthalates —DEHP and DBP; triclosan, parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
* We got the three biggest manufacturers of nail polish to shop using the toxic trio of toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate.
* We have helped to grow the safe cosmetics sector into an $11 billion industry by generating consumer demand for safe products. And we convinced the world's biggest retailers —Walmart and Target — to make safe beauty and personal care products storewide priorities. We also advocate for stricter federal oversight of the $71 billion cosmetics industry so everyone will be protected and are working to secure passage of meaningful, health-protective federal cosmetic safety legislation in the U.S Congress.
I understand many of you, including myself, are hesitant to chuck your favorite makeup in the trash and venture out to try to find something new. So I have decided to do a bit of first-hand testing of some safe cosmetics to give you an idea of what is available. I’ve only tried a few things, but have been pleasantly surprised. After hours of searching the Internet, I ordered my first bottle of completely natural, organic foundation from Juice Beauty and lip tint from Purple Prairie Botanicals.
While the coverage of Juice Beauty’s Perfecting Foundation doesn't quite match the ability of more toxic options, it does pretty well. The color blended nicely and created a smooth finish, all while leaving my skin feeling healthy and hydrated. (I recommend applying it with your fingers.) After smoothing it over your face, pat the foundation with your fingertips. I found that this gives it a more natural texture. After twelve hours the foundation seemed to be relatively intact. It does not seem like it would provide buildable finish or coverage, but it is good for smoothing out skin tone and removing redness. Juice Beauty has a variety of other products I have yet to try, but am likely to give a shot.
I like to add a little color to my lips, but have stopped using most lipsticks; It kind of freaked me out to think I was pretty much eating the stuff. Ew! For the past year I have been buying sunscreen and lotions from a little place I stumbled across called Purple Prairie Botanicals. This earth-friendly company produces pure and organic products that I am completely in love with. They don’t carry makeup, but they do have tinted lip balms, which come in rose pink and brownish red. Both give my lips a nice, natural hue.
Call for Back-Up
Slowly trying to rid my makeup bag of all toxic products hasn’t been easy, but I have found an amazing app to make the transition smoother. Think Dirty (and no, it is not what it sounds like) allows you to look up and even scan the barcode of many household and beauty products. Each product is given a rating from 0-10, with 0 being most pure and 10 being most toxic. The app also lists which ingredients are toxic in each product and why. If you can't find the product you are looking for, you can register it and they will research and add it. It has made operation "pure beauty" much easier.
Through using the app, I have discovered several safe drugstore selections. Some Almay products rank low along with certain varieties of Revlon lipstick. Be cautious: Some items from the same brand can rank drastically different. Some items from Physicians Formula and other claimed "natural" makeup lines actually rank fairly toxic. The truth is in the ingredient list!
Makeup should be a simple concept: pick your favorite look or color, and buy it! Unfortunately, we can’t do that, yet. Until cosmetic ingredients are more tightly regulated, we have to educate ourselves on what is safe and what isn't. You can absolutely still enhance your natural beauty with makeup, just pay close attention and be selective about the products you choose to use.
Learn more about how to care for your skin naturally in Best Natural Skin Care for Every Skin Type.
Karyn 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.
"Who cannot love herself cannot love anybody, who is ashamed of her body is ashamed of all life, who finds dirt or filth in her body is lost, who cannot respect the gifts given even before birth, can never respect anything fully.” —Anne Cameron, "The Women's Society," from Daughters of Copper Woman
Its mid-summer, are you showing off your gorgeous skin? No, why not? Anyone can have gorgeous skin and it doesn’t require a lot of time or money. So ditch the expensive lotions, spray tans, scrubs and chemical peels and try this super-simple detoxifying, five-step skin care ritual for your best summer skin ever.
• Raw honey
• Coconut oil
• Natural loofah
TIME: 2.5 Hours
STEP 1: Exercise hard for one hour. Cycle, jog, hike, lift weights—do whatever, just exercise, push yourself and make sure you sweat! (I will follow up with an article on weights for strong arms and back and bum and legs separately.) Cool down with some simple, relaxing stretches.
STEP 2: Apply a face and neck mask. Raw honey is an easy-to-use, inexpensive, effective mask for all skin types, including dry, aging skin and oily acne prone skin, as it is moisturizing and antibacterial. It will leave you with a rosy, dewy complexion. Mix 1/8 teaspoon honey with a few drops of warm water in your hand and apply to your face and neck, leave on for 20 minutes. Now jump in the shower and rinse off.
STEP 3: Buff your body, all of it! If you have a private yard or sunny patio, wrap yourself in a towel and grab your loofah and coconut oil. Lay your towel in the sun and get comfy. I like this loofah by Bass. Make sure the loofah and your skin are dry to assist the lymphatic system in cleansing your body of toxins and metabolic waste and to slough off dead skin cells. Start at your feet—do the bottoms well—and in long, firm strokes buff up your legs, arms and entire body always moving toward your heart.
STEP 4: Oil up. If you are a lotion user, give coconut oil a try today. Once you see and feel the results of oiling your skin you won’t want to go back to lotions. Be generous with the oil. Start at your feet and work up your legs, paying special attention the knees and backs of the knees, groin, belly, armpits, elbows and chest.
STEP 5: Soak up D sun. When you are finished oiling your body, lay in the sun for 30 minutes on each side. Vitamin D is critical to physical and mental health. Vitamin D deficiency is the biggest reason people get sick. So skip the sun protection today and get outside before 10:30am or after 4pm (depending on where you are, of course) to avoid burning. Towel dry. If you need to rinse off go ahead. I never have to, I just towel dry and it soaks in.
Tell yourself, “I deserve to be healthy. I am beautiful. I love my body and my skin.” Repeat this mantra several times a day, aloud and to yourself. Remember to SMILE.
Practice this simple, decadent and deeply nourishing routine several times a week for best results. You are glowing! You are beautiful. I love you.
Shar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 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!