Mother Earth Living

Real Beauty

Tips and tricks for natural body care

Add to My MSN


Naturally healing oils can give our skin some replenishment after the harsh, dry conditions of winter. Use the following editor-recommended oils by themselves or in homemade moisturizers, skin softeners, massage oils, make-up removers, leave-in hair treatments and much more.

Pomegranate Oil

Rich Renewal

This edible Pomegranate Seed Oil is certified both organic and kosher.

To Buy:  $17, Mountain Rose Herbs

Argan Oil Facial Serum

Morning Magic

Boost your morning facial regimen with this Daytime Argan Facial Oil Serum, which is also enriched with sunflower and jojoba oils.

To Buy:  $20, Aura Cacia

Sea Buckthorn Cream

Rapid Replenishment

Alleviate dry skin while protecting from moisture loss with Sea Buckthorn Body Cream.

To Buy:  $15, Sibu Beauty

Argan Oil Balm

Balm Bliss

Argan Oil Balm softens and improves skin texture; reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; and nourishes chaffed or irritated skin.

To Buy: $20, Nourish Organic

Lavender Oil

Amazing Everyday

Heal skin with the all-over moisturizing formula French Lavender Everyday Body Oil, enriched with jojoba oil to naturally restore skin’s softness.

To Buy:  $15, EO Products

Learn more about skin-nourishing oils in Naturally Healing Body Oils.


I feel like I review a lot of lotions, but to be honest it’s the beauty product I go through the fastest—especially during the winter when my skin is dry and cracked. So it never hurts to share another great lotion that’s landed on my radar, right? Good, because I really enjoyed using Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion.

Erbaviva is a natural beauty company that creates organic, handmade skin-care products for babies, mothers-to-be and everyone else. With an array of products, including Mommy-To-Be Milk Bath, Belly Butter, Baby Sunscreen, Diaper Cream, a variety of lotions and even pure essential oils, it’s fair to say that Erbavia has a well-rounded line fit for just about everyone.

Erbaviva Relax Body Lotion 

Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion Ingredients

Before I get into why I love their Relax Body Lotion, let’s look at its full list of ingredients:

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Beeswax, Xanthan Gum, Algin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Flower oil, *Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool, *Citronellol

Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are flagged by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a low-moderate risk (3). In addition, geraniol (7), limonene (6), linalool (5) and citronellol (5), which are naturally occurring scents, are flagged with higher risks. Why is this? I suspect it’s because certain people can have skin sensitivities to them. Geraniol, for example, is a naturally occurring scent ingredient found in various essential oils such as rose and citronella. And although the FDA considers geraniol generally recognized as safe (GRAS), the International Fragrance Association restricts its use because of potential sensitization.

Fortunately, these four ingredients are components of certified organic ingredients, so if you don’t suffer from supersensitive skin, then it’s likely that you won’t have a poor reaction to these natural fragrances. If you are worried, conduct a small patch test on your skin.

My Thoughts

Naturally scented with a number of relaxing ingredients, including lavender, rose and neroli oil, Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion is just that—wonderfully relaxing. It’s blended with nourishing cocoa butter, skin-healing aloe and natural anti-inflammatory jojoba oil, making it a healing treat for the skin as well. Milky and lightweight, this lotion is non-greasy and perfect for storing on your office desk to hydrate hard-working hands in the afternoon. All you need is a couple of pumps from this bottle to effectively moisturize.

To snag a bottle of this 6-ounce pump for $20, find it a store near you or buy online. If you’re not looking to relax, try one of Erbaviva’s other lotion blends, including Awaken, Embrace and Breathe.

Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients. 


Mix and match these three simple food-grade ingredients for glowing winter skin.

Simple Skin Care
Photo by iStock

Raw Honey
Honey promotes skin healing and has natural antimicrobial properties. Simply massage it into damp skin to improve skin’s health and appearance.

On days when you need to slough off dry skin, add a bit of granulated sugar to your honey. The natural exfoliation will help your complexion shine.

Olive Oil
Winter can take a toll on skin. Protect your delicate facial skin by adding a bit of extra moisturizing power to your face wash with olive oil. Simply add a few drops of oil to your honey before rubbing into your face. You can also pat oil on after washing and drying your face, but you may prefer a more neutral-smelling oil, such as grapeseed or sweet almond, for that purpose.


I say this every year, and every year I mean it—I hate winter. It’s not just me. It’s my skin, too. My skin has taken a turn toward the dark side, and by dark side I mean dry side. I am constantly lathering up with moisturizers, which means I am going through lotions fairly fast. One lotion that I have become most grateful for is from Vineyard Hill Naturals. I am particularly in love with their Lemon Verbena Hand Cream, which boasts a uniquely uplifting scent that’s perfect for curing my winter doldrums.

Lemon Verbena Hand Cream 

Vineyard Hill Naturals’ Lemon Verbena Hand Cream Ingredients

Here is a full list of the ingredients in this body-care product:

Purified Water, Sunflower Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Capric Caprylic Triglycerides, Polysorbate-60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Shea Butter, Orange Peel Wax, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Sweet Almond Oil, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Chamomile Extract, Arnica Extract, Lavender Extract, White Tea Extract, Sorbitol, Beeswax, Sodium PCA, Grape Seed Extract, Stearic Acid, Olive Oil, Tocopherol Acetate, Xanthane Gum, Sodium Alginate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, *Fragrance And Essential Oils

*Typically we don’t recommend any product that lists fragrance. It causes confusion, as this ubiquitous term could potentially comprise of hundreds of chemicals. But after speaking with Vineyard Hill Naturals, they assured me their fragrance consists of 100 percent pure essential oils, including amyris, anise, balsam, cedarwood, lime and orange.

The remaining ingredients that are bolded scored between a 3 and 4 on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, sparking only moderate concern.

My Thoughts

Vineyard Hill Naturals is a California-based company that embraces the power of plants. Using vegan-friendly formulas and science-backed botanicals, including calendula, chamomile, lavender and arnica, the company has created a collection of products that not only smell good but boast a number of skin-repairing benefits.

This 2-ounce bottle of hand cream fits snuggly in my purse, which is great because I am a lotion fiend. I love how this product is rich in botanicals: It contains rejuvenating aloe juice, soothing chamomile extract, anti-inflammatory arnica extract and antiseptic lavender extract, among many others. It also uses a myriad skin-healing oils, including olive, sunflower and grapeseed oil. The aroma is not overpowering and the hydrating effects last for hours.

Visit their website for more information about the 2-ounce bottle ($7) or 9-ounce bottle ($9) of Lemon Verbena Hand Cream. The company also makes a lovely Lavender Rose Hand Cream and nutrient-rich Milk & Honey Hand Cream.

Gina DeBacker Headshot

Gina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.  


Many people suffer from dark under-eye circles (I know I do), but another common and unsightly annoyance of the eyes is puffiness. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest part of your skin, and as such is very sensitive. Avoid rubbing your eyes or falling asleep with makeup on—both of which can risk irritation and lead to inflammation around the eyes. Puffiness can also occur thanks to a range of circumstances, including fluid retention; seasonal allergies; cold or sinus infections; lack of sleep; stress; or even poor diet.

Other times, puffy eyes can be a symptom of an eye condition known as blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the eyelids and base of the eyelashes. This condition is associated with bacterial infection or skin disorders such as rosacea or seborrhea, and is usually non-contagious. If you think you may have this condition, talk with an eye-care professional.

If you’ve woken up to find tired-looking eyes, turn to these simple at-home remedies.

Natural Remedies For Puffy Eyes 

8 Home Remedies for Puffy Eyes

DIET DILEMMA: Limit your sodium intake. An excessive amount of salty foods can lead to water retention—water will move from areas with a low concentration of salt to areas with a high concentration in order to balance out the levels of sodium. Replace that bag of salty crackers with a banana, handful of unsalted almonds or box of raisins.  

STAY HYDRATED: Make sure to drink plenty of water. Keeping the body well hydrated can also reduce the chance of water retention. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day.

MAKEUP MAKEOVER: Look at the ingredients in the products you’re putting on (or near) your skin. Oftentimes, irritants and chemicals found in makeup, perfumes and detergents can have inflammatory effects on eyes. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to check your ingredients. Especially steer clear of fragrance.

ICE, ICE BABY: Sometimes, all you need is a nice splash of ice cold water to help reduce the swelling around your eyes. Wash your face with ice cold water, or wrap an ice cube in a cloth and apply to your eyes.

TEA UP: Caffeinated teas can help constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling. Green or black tea is great for soothing irritated eyes; herbal teas such as chamomile contain anti-irritants that also help soothe redness. To make a tea compress, steep two tea bags of your choice in hot water for three to five minutes. Let cool until comfortably warm, place over each eye then cover with a soft cloth.

SPOON SOLUTION: Tighten the skin around your eyes and relax the blood vessels with the following home remedy: Chill five to six metal spoons in your refrigerator for 10 minutes; once chilled, hold the rounded portion against your eye for a few minutes until it becomes warm; replace with another cold spoon.

DIY CREAM: Topical eye creams rich in aloe and vitamin E can be soothing to your skin. Mix 1 tablespoon vitamin E cream with 1/2 teaspoon aloe gel, and store in a small tin. Be extra gentle as you apply the cream around your eyes and use daily.

MASKED AVENGER: Apply mild pressure to the puffy area around your eyes at night with a homemade eye mask. Try the following cucumber eye mask recipe—cucumbers contain antioxidants that may help reduce irritation, cool skin and lessen swelling. Blend 1 large cucumber at high speed until liquefied, adding small amounts of water to thin as necessary. Soak cotton pads (about the size of your eyes) in the solution then squeeze out any extra juice. Place pads in a sandwich bag and freeze—make up to 30 at a time! To use, place thawed cucumber pads on your eyes for 10 minutes.

PILLOW POSITION: Keeping your head elevated may also reduce the swelling around your eyes. Sleep in a position that increases blood flow to your eyes.

Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients.


I am always on the lookout for gentle facial cleansers. Some can be too harsh, while others can be too gentle. As I discuss in my latest beauty article for Mother Earth Living (watch out for it our November/December issue), our skin is a complex organ, and we should only use cleansers to remove contaminates from our skin without stripping of its natural oils. Elemental Herbology’s Delicate Cleanse strikes that balance.

Elemental Herbology uses bio-active ingredients and indulgent plant oils to create a natural line of luxurious skincare. The star ingredients in this facial cleanser are the healing herbs, including chamomile, calendula and marshmallow (soothing and helps reduce redness); chickweed (cooling); horse chestnut (balances circulation); and rosehip oil and rose water (rich in antioxidants).

Delicate Cleanse

Elemental Herbology’s Delicate Cleanse Ingredients

Here is a full list of this product’s ingredients:

Aqua, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Myristyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Succinate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Isostearyl Isostearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Glucoside*, Octyldodecanol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Benzyl Alcohol, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Xanthan Gum, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, *Geraniol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract , Alcohol Denat., Althaea Officinalis Extract, Sorbic Acid, Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Citric Acid, Citronellol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide

The bolded ingredients in this list scored between a 3 and 5 on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, sparking moderate concern, except for geraniol. Geraniol was ranked in the red zone at a 7 concern.

Is There a Problem with Geraniol Oil?

Geraniol is a naturally occurring scent ingredient found in various essential oils such as rose oil and citronella oil. So why is it ranked high on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database? Although the FDA has listed geraniol on its lists of flavoring substance considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), the International Fragrance Association restricts its use in fragrances because of potential sensitization. It has also been banned by the European Union, as it’s considered a human immune-system toxicant or allergen. A small number of individuals have experienced a sensitivity or allergic reaction to geranium essential oil, but some beauty experts feel that geraniol is generally great for skin. If your skin is extremely sensitive or you’re concerned about your skin’s reaction to geraniol, conduct a patch test or avoid this product.  

Here’s what Elemental Herbology had to say about their use of geraniol:

Geraniol isn't actually an ingredient but comes from rose essential oil. All essential oils (including oils like lavender, chamomile, etc.) have potential allergens, which must be listed separately in the [International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients]; however they are not actually a separate ingredient. Rose essential oil is considered non-hazardous and non-allergenic.

My Thoughts

My skin is not overly sensitive, so I had no problems with the geraniol, or any other ingredients in this product, for that matter. In fact, I thought the cleanser was perfectly gentle for my complexion. As a milk cleanser, its consistency is thinner than traditional cleansers, but I was happy to discover that it was a little thicker than most milk cleansers. It omits a light, earthy fragrance, and—best of all—this herb-rich product didn’t put my pH balance out of whack. Instead, it left my skin feeling fresh, clean and soft. Massage it onto damp skin then rinse off with a warm washcloth. This milky white cleanser goes on smooth. I like to use it in the evening to get rid of the day’s debris, followed by a toning mist and my favorite moisturizer.

This 4.2-ounce cleanser costs more than most may be willing to spend (especially seeing as how cleansers stay on your skin for a short period of time), but if you’re looking for a milky cleanser rich in herbs, and you’re willing to splurge, find it at a store near you or buy online for $52.

Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients. 



Of more than 1,110 personal-care ingredients banned for cosmetic use in the European Union, only 10 have been prohibited for cosmetic use in the U.S., according to TreeHugger. It’s unfortunate that the FDA doesn’t help us determine whether personal-care products are 100 percent safe for our skin. Instead, it’s up to you to read the fine print on your cherished cleansers, moisturizers and more.

Here, we’ve done the work for you. You can achieve a glowing complexion from store-bought products—sans nasty chemicals! Turn to these editor-recommended products for your skin. These fresh face solutions include a gentle facial cleanser, a nourishing moisturizer, a botanical-rich serum, a cleansing facial oil blend, and a balancing toning mist.

Clairvoyant Beauty

Gentle Cleanse
Deeply clean pores with this gentle French Clay Cleanser with DMAE, a natural anti-aging nutrient that can improve skin tone.
To Buy: $32, Clairvoyant Beauty

Sibu Beauty

Sea Change
This Nourishing Facial Cream gives off a light, citrus scent and stars sea buckthorn, an herb packed with omega-7 fatty acids.
To Buy: $21, Sibu Beauty

One Love Organics

Sound Splurge
Featuring antioxidant-rich vitamin C ester, this gentle serum is best used in the evening to naturally brighten and replenish dull skin.
To Buy: $68, One Love Organics

SW Basics of Brooklyn

Clean Slate
With only three ingredients (sweet almond, olive and jojoba oils), this effective makeup remover doubles as a cleansing oil.
To Buy: $14, S.W. Basics of Brooklyn

Rejuva Minerals

Mist Over
Loaded with organic fruit extracts, this delightfully scented Sweet Lavender Toner can help restore balance to your skin.
To Buy: $15, Rejuva Minerals

Learn more about how to get a healthy, glowing complexion in our Guide to Naturally Radiant Skin.

Gina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves managing the health section, as well as testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients. Find her on and .

Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.