Mother Earth Living

Real Beauty

Tips and tricks for natural body care

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"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.

5-step skin care routine

• 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.

body brushing 

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 VedaShar 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!


Mad Hippie

Cream Cleanser

Soften skin while removing impurities. Soothing jojoba, sesame and coconut oils work together in this gentle cleanser, perfect for normal skin.
To Buy: $16, Mad Hippie

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn

Vinegar Toner

Apple cider vinegar, the standout ingredient in this nighttime essential for oily skin, works to even skin tone and neutralize pH.
To Buy: $22, S.W. Basics

EO Products

Argan Face Oil

Argan oil, an anti-inflammatory and moisturizing treat for dry skin, makes up this organic serum, along with avocado oil and vitamin E.
To Buy: $22, EO Products

CV Skinlabs

Calming Moisture

Especially great for dry, sensitive skin, this soothing moisturizer calms redness and hydrates skin with a mixture of aloe and oat extract.
To Buy: $49, CV Skinlabs

Alteya Organics

Bulgarian Rose Water

This antioxidant-rich floral water, an amazing treat for normal and combination skin, is made by natural steam distillation.
To Buy: $24, Alteya Organics

Learn more about natural skin-care solutions in Best Natural Skin Care for Every Skin Type.


Sometimes my tresses need a little extra love and attention. So when I started to hear whispers about using plant oils on hair—a trend I had yet to try—I was very interested in giving it a go. I mean, it initially seems kind of counterintuitive, doesn’t it? We do everything in our power to keep our hair from looking greasy, and now we’re being told to put oil on our hair? But according to many beauty experts, using high-quality plant oils on your hair can provide an assortment of benefits, from sealing in the hair cuticle and protecting it against heat to repairing any damaged strands by replacing its essential lipids.

The product I ended up using the most, and with great success, was Badger’s Botanical Hair Oil for Dry & Damaged Hair. It’s enriched with argan, jojoba and baobab oils, and truly keeps my hair well-nourished.   

Botanical Hair Oil 

Badger’s Botanical Hair Oil Ingredients

First things first: Let’s dig into the ingredients that make up this product.

Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower) Oil, Argania Spinosa (Organic Argan) Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Organic Baobab) Oil, Essential Oils of Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Organic Orange), Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Organic Bergamot), Santalum Album (Organic Sandalwood), Cananga Odorata (Organic Ylang Ylang), and Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E)

It’s simply a medley of organic, high-quality plant oils, essential oils and vitamin E oil. Nothing extra has been added to this product that we should be concerned about. Use freely!

My Thoughts

As I feel about most products from Badger (you’ve likely tried their sunscreens or skin balms before and loved them), I love this blend of oils for dry, damaged hair. Not only does it nourish my tresses, but it smells amazing. Argan is one of my all-time favorite oils: Especially great for dry skin, argan oil is anti-inflammatory and super hydrating. And, according to Badger’s website, it can protect damaged hair from heat, chemicals and UV damage. In addition, jojoba oil deeply moisturizes strands of hair while baobab oil works to strengthen tresses.

For healthy, shiny hair, I have used this oil two ways. First, it makes a wonderful leave-in conditioner. Pump one to two drops of this oil onto your fingertips and apply it evenly to damp, clean hair, working from the tips to the roots. Start from the back of your head and work forward. You can leave this in overnight and rinse out in the morning, or—if you use the oil sparingly—style as normal.

Here’s the second, and my favorite, way that I like to use this oil. Again, I pump about one drop of oil—a little really does go a long way—onto my fingertips, but instead of spreading it evenly all over my hair, I simply pay attention to the ends of my strands and use whatever excess oil I have left on my fingertips to tame pesky flyaways.

This product, as noted on the label, is perfectly suited for dry, damaged hair. If you have excessively oily hair, it may not be the right product for you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least give it a try (in very small amounts). You may be surprised how much you love this extra boost of nourishment. Buy a 2-ounce bottle of this Botanical Hair Oil for $19 on their website, or find it at a store near you.

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.


With the coming of summer comes long hours in the sun and heat. Protect your mane from the summer sun without sacrificing all the summer fun by taking the right precautions.

Summertime causes several effects on your hair. The balmier weather will dry out your locks while UVA and UVB rays bake your hair, just like your skin, which alters the color and feel of it. These changes cause damage and allow your hair to deteriorate more easily. Much like the effect of heating implements on your hair, the constant high temperatures of the summer months can cause breakages and split ends. The outside coating of your hair, called keratin, is also affected by the sun. The often causes discoloration, frizziness, brittleness and even hair thinning.

summer hair
Photo courtesy Shutterstock.

Since it’s more likely for your hair to be damaged while soaking up the sun, consider wearing a hat. While they can also protect your décolletage from overexposure to harmful rays, protecting your head (and the hair on it) is just as important. It’s also good to know that there are shampoos and conditioners that help protect against UVA and UVB rays. You can even dilute sunscreen to apply to your hair; just remember to use a clarifying shampoo afterward to get rid of buildup. Kerastase has great sun-care products under its Soleil line, including Huile Celeste Protective Spray which contains UVA and UVB filters.

You can also keep your hair strong throughout the summer months by using proper conditioning techniques. Ideally you should be conditioning your hair with every wash, summertime means your locks will need some extra love to stay moisturized. Use Moroccan oil to help lock in hydration. After spending time at the beach or pool, use a conditioning masque to help restore moisture. Try Aveda’s Sun Care After-Sun Hair Masque to neutralize free radicals with green tea extract and Vitamin E, while also boosting hair strand density with a patented protein and blend of plant oils.

You may also want to change up your beauty regimen during the summer months. Dye, style and shampoo less often! Crazy, you say? Bleach and hair dyes, along with curling and straightening tools are essentially the quid-pro-quo, but they aren’t putting your hair in the best starting position during summer. Additionally, shampooing your hair too often strips it of natural oils which cause it to become dryt—skip the shampoo as often as possible, especially if you’re about to go swimming in a chlorinated pool!

Make the most of the gorgeous weather without damning your beautiful tresses by using these simple tips.


It’s easy to avoid the harsh chemicals common in skin-care products when we make our own—many of the nastiest compounds in conventional cosmetics are stabilizers and preservatives. Liz Marie Galvan, from Liz Marie Blog, offers this simple face mask made from edible ingredients. The honey moisturizes and cleanses skin gently. The cinnamon fights breakouts with its antiseptic properties, and the nutmeg sloughs off dead skin cells to reduce blackheads and even out skin tone. If you have sensitive skin, test these ingredients on a small patch of skin before adding them to your mask. If the mask doesn’t irritate your skin, apply once a week.

honey spice mask
Liz Marie Galvan, founder of Liz Marie Blog (, uses his all-natural face mask recipe to brighten and even out skin tone. Photo courtesy Liz Marie Galvin.


• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Pour honey into bowl, then add nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

2. Apply mask to face, being careful to avoid the eye area.

3. Let sit 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Follow with a moisturizer.


Photo by Fotolia.

Step 1: Shape and Soak.

Clip toenails to a uniform length, aiming straight across in several small cuts to avoid encouraging ingrown nails. Then file nails in one direction. Fill a bowl with warm water and add 10 to 20 drops almond, jojoba, olive or avocado oil. Add 10 drops antifungal tea tree essential oil and 10 drops soothing lavender essential oil. Soak feet in water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 2: Smooth Skin.

Dry feet. Make an exfoliating paste by mixing 1⁄2 cup sugar with 1⁄2 cup any oil of your choice. Apply paste all over foot, concentrating on rough areas such as the heels, and rub into skin for a few minutes to moisturize and smooth calluses. Rinse hands and wash feet. Apply 1 drop oil on cuticle of each toe and massage into skin.

Step 3: Enhance.

Buff nails to a sheen with a buffer block ($6, Sephora) or use a healthy polish such as Kester Black’s ($20) cruelty-free polish, made without toluene (a suspected carcinogen), camphor (toxic in large amounts), formaldehyde (a carcinogen) and formaldehyde resin (an allergen).



Vanilla Lavender Stick

Lavanila’s beloved stick deodorant derives its lovely scent from essential oils, and it’s made without aluminum, parabens, phthalates or animal testing.
To Buy:  $14, Lavanila Laboratories

meow meow tweet

Tea Tree Cream

Made with baking soda, arrowroot and clay, this underarm cream from Meow Meow Tweet also packs the punch of soothing shea butter.
To Buy:  $14, Meow Meow Tweet


Eucalyptus Spearmint Cream

Formulated for sensitive skin, this cream deodorant from Lovefresh is made with shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils.
To Buy:  $15, Lovefresh

iwilla deodorant

Floral Fields Stick

This stick deodorant from Iwilla Remedy uses beeswax, clay and an essential oil blend of geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, neroli and vetiver to combat perspiration.
To Buy:  $10, Iwilla Remedy

lavilin deodorant

Clove Calendula Roll-On

For a convenient option, try Lavilin’s fragrance-free, 72-hour roll-on deodorant, made with hyssop, clove and calendula extract.
To Buy:  $18, Lavilin

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