Spring Clean Your Pores!

NS Facial Steaming - Flowers & PetalsDo you facial steam? We do. But not as often as we’d like. Incorporating facial steaming into your weekly skin care regimen can help keep skin clearer and give your skin that Spring-ready glow.

Overall, what can facial steaming do to help improve your complexion? Here are some benefits of facial steaming for the skin:

  • Detoxify your skin and manage acne – Facial steaming can encourage perspiration that helps to lift bacteria, toxins, debris, dead skin cells, and excess sebum, unclogging pores and reducing breakouts.
  • Get your glow on – The heat from facial steaming can help to enhance hydration, increase blood flow, and stimulate circulation to give your face a skin-healthy glow.
  • Reduce blackheads. – If you have trouble with unsightly blackheads, facial steaming can help to alleviate this condition by softening blackheads, allowing for easier removal and elimination.
  • Softens dead skin cells – This aids in the sloughing of stubborn rough, dry skin and allows skin to regenerate, letting younger, fresher skin shine through.
  • Better absorption of skin care treatments. – Facial steaming can help to eliminate buildup and remove barriers, allowing treatments to penetrate deeper and more effectively into the skin.
  • Relaxes and de-stresses – Sit back and enjoy some quality time. Facial steaming is a great at-home treat to help you decompress after a busy work week.

If you don’t have a facial steamer at home, you can use the hot towel method or the “steam tent” method. We like to use the “steam tent” method because with this method we can add herbs, flowers, and/or essential oils to the water bowl and breathe in the amazing scents for some body-relaxing aromatherapy.

Are you ready to facial steam? What you’ll need is a wide-rimmed bowl, a bath towel, 4-6 cups of boiling water, and herbs, flower petals, and/or essentials oils of your choice. First, secure your hair back. Pour the boiling water into the bowl, add herbs, flower petals, and 2-3 drops of essential oils of your choosing. Then, drape the bath towel over your head, creating a “tent” to trap and focus the steam onto your face. Keep your face about 6-8 inches above the water, far enough so that the steam doesn’t burn your skin. Steam for about 10-15 minutes, rinse face after steaming, and pat dry with a towel. If you do this weekly, you’ll notice a difference in your skin.

Depending on your skin type, some essential oil ingredients that you can add to the bowl to enhance the steaming benefits are:

  • Dry skin: lavender, rose, calendula, roman/German chamomile, neroli
  • Oily skin: rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, patchouli
  • Mature skin: rooibos, rose, frankincense, carrot seed oil
  • Acneic skin: tea tree oil, turmeric, lavender, clary sage

So, enjoy some relaxation time and happy home-spa pampering!

*** Please note, if you have overly sensitive skin, rosacea, are prone to fungal infections, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, please seek the advice of your medical practitioner before doing facial steaming. 

 

Are you a year-round allergy sufferer?

Incessant sneezing. Runny nose. Watery eyes. Asthmatic conditions. Itchy skin. Oh the signs and symptoms of allergies! With Spring on its way…this is the time we begin to brace ourselves for the onslaught of allergy-inducing culprits that oftentimes are pollen related. 

But do you suffer from allergies year round? Could it be caused by dust and dust mites? Dust mites?! Those microscopic eight-legged creatures that dwell and accumulate in our beds, in our closets, in our furnishings, and in the warm and moist areas in our homes. They feed on dead skin flakes and their fecal matter, secretions and the mites can cause skin irritations and allergies. 

So, what are some things we can do to mitigate our allergy symptoms year round? Here are a few tips that we’ve found helpful to reduce allergens and to improve our overall health and wellbeing:

  • Invest in a HEPA air filter to better purify the air inside your home.
  • Vacuum furnishings, sofas and sofa cushions, carpeting, mattresses, and floors regularly. If possible, vacuum daily to rid your home of dirt, dust, bugs, pollen, and allergy-causing culprits. Seal and dispose of the vacuum bag and contents immediately when you’re done. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, whenever possible. 
  • Use protective covers for your mattresses and pillows to keep allergens out so that you can breathe easier and get a better night’s sleep. 
  • Wash bedding and clothing in hot water and dry in the hottest dryer setting possible. 
  • Let the sun shine in to kill bugs but cleaning is still necessary to rid the home of allergens.

So, with some thorough cleaning, decluttering, and preventive measures, we hope these tips can help you breathe easier all year round. 

Thank you for being kind to your body!

Dull Skin…Let’s Perk it Up!

Has the Winter weather got your skin looking down? Well, let’s perk it up!

When our complexion is looking dull and the cold days are a drag on our skin, what do we do? We reach for some all-natural remedies in our refrigerator.

Here are some fun “perk-it-up” tips for the skin that you can try at home…

  • Avocado Mash – As you know, we’re strong proponents of using avocado on the skin. It’s chock full of vitamins and omegas (the good fats) that feed the skin, and an ideal remedy for those skin-drying days that could leave your skin feeling rough to the touch. Smash up some avocado flesh and apply onto skin. Rinse off after approximately 15 minutes.
  • Cucumber and Potato Eyes – Lack of sleep, stress, allergies…all of these can cause dark under eye circles. While we will not be able to help when it comes to genetics, potato and cucumber slices can help minimize these conditions. They have astringent qualities to reduce the appearance of under eye circles and hydrate the skin. Place some thinly sliced cucumbers or potatoes on the eyes and sit back and relax.
  • Citrus “Peel” – Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! Get rid of dead skin cells to reveal younger-looking skin and help promote skin-cell regeneration. We love rubbing smashed strawberries on our face as its natural salicylic acids help remove dead skin cells and fight breakouts. You can try this with oranges and lemons as well which could also brighten skin. The vitamin c in fruits offer antioxidant benefits that can help fight free radicals and minimize the signs of aging, rebuild collagen, and repair sun-damaged skin.
  • Sweet Honey – If your skin is feeling a bit toasty, spread a thin layer of honey on your face and let it do its magic. Honey softens and moisturizers the skin and its antibacterial and healing qualities are a welcome boon!
  • Wear Your Coffee – We support the wearing of coffee on your face instead of on your shirt! Caffeine can give your skin a well-deserved boost. Energize it with a thin layer of coffee grounds applied as a facial mask. Avoid scrubbing your face as the grounds can irritate sensitive skin and cause breakage.

So, when the cold, and snowy Winter days keep you indoors, get some pampering in and make cabin fever fun! Thanks for being kind to your body!

HEALTH & WELLNESS: Immunity Boosting

Did you indulge this holiday season? We did. When we’re on the road, it’s often difficult to eat right and stay healthy. We try to make the right food choices yet the selections are sometimes limited. So after the holidays, we refocus our diet by eating more organic fruits and vegetables and limiting our consumption of red meat and processed foods. We refocus to rebuild and restrengthen our body and our immune system.

To stay healthier this busy holiday season, two ingredients that we included more of in our diet are fresh ginger and garlic.

ginger-garlic

Ginger and garlic are touted for their immunity boosting qualities. Garlic is often revered for its antifungal and antibacterial benefits, and for its antioxidant and detoxifying abilities. Ginger, similarly lauded for its antibacterial and antioxidant qualities, is helpful in addressing digestive issues and inflammation.

To drink to better health…we created our ginger and garlic brew. Our organic Ginger and Garlic Peppermint Honey Herbal Tea has been our beverage of choice this holiday season. While it may not sound tasty, it’s delicious! Especially when sweetened with a dash of honey. We include peppermint for its minty flavor and since it’s also an immunity booster, aids in digestion and relieves nausea. And, honey, highly regarded for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits, is a delectable sweetener.

For our blend, we slice up a few organic garlic cloves and ginger root and steep them in boiling water with some peppermint tea leaves (or use a tea bag if that’s easier). Add honey to taste. It’s simple. It’s easy. And it’s great for the body!

We thank this herbal beverage for keeping us healthier this holiday season! So, we raise our teacups and toast to a healthier 2017!

What’s in Your Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

Temperatures are rising. Another Summer heat wave is upon us. And, when it gets hot, we sweat! It’s our body’s cooling system to help us maintain our body’s temperature.

When this happens, while some may go au natural, others seek underarm deodorant and antiperspirant products that help to minimize sweat and odor. There are many products made with all natural and organic ingredients, products that are better for the body since chemicals and toxic ingredients can be absorbed through our skin. And, in this case, they can directly affect our lymph nodes and breast tissue.

Some ingredients often used in underarm deodorants and antiperspirants that can harm our bodies include:

  • Aluminum Compounds – (eg. Aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium) These ingredients are used to plug up sweat ducts so that we don’t perspire. Yet, they can be absorbed into the body, affect hormone levels, and can be carcinogenic.
  • Fragrance – The terms “fragrance” and “parfum” can represent up to 3,500 chemicals.
  • Parabens – (eg. methylparaben, benzylparaben, ethylparaben) Often used as artificial preservatives, these chemicals can affect hormonal levels and have been linked to breast cancer.
  • Phthalate – Chemical compounds used to soften plastics and give products a smoother texture.
  • Propylene Glycol – A petroleum-based ingredient that can cause neurotoxicity and liver and kidney damage.
  • Silica – This ingredient has been linked to cancer and shown to irritate skin.
  • Talc – An ingredient used to absorb moisture and can be carcinogenic.
  • Triclosan – A chemical classified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as a pesticide and has been linked to cancer.

So, when you’re choosing deodorants and antiperspirants that are better for your body, be cognizant of the chemicals and artificial fragrances that may be listed in the product ingredients. Choose products that are free of toxic ingredients or try going au naturel. Your body will thank you for it :).

HEALTH & BEAUTY: Summertime Skin Care

IMG_2116Summer is here! And, it’s time for some fun in the sun! Also, it’s a great time to remind us of the importance of protecting our skin from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause premature aging and skin cancer.

Whether you’re heading to the beach, going hiking, or enjoying your daily stroll, how can you protect your skin and still have fun in the sun?

Use sunscreen. Sunscreen with an SPF (sun screen factor) of 30 or higher that offers broad spectrum coverage can better protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Overexposure to rays can lead to wrinkles and premature aging, so be sun-safe and choose the appropriate sunscreen.

Similarly, wear sunglasses that offer your eyes broad coverage from the sun’s harmful rays. To protect your skin further, wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing and hats that shield your face and body. And, seek shade. Walk on the shady side of the street, enjoy the coolness under beach umbrellas and trees, or stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day.

Your skin is the largest bodily organ. So, be sun-savvy and protect your skin as best you can. Have a wonderful Summer!

Rose Essential Oil

Rose .png

Roses are revered for their aromatic and vibrant beauty. Yet, there’s more to roses than meets the eyes and nose. Roses and rose essential oil are often used in aromatherapy for their uplifting and mood-enhancing benefits. And, rose essential oil is often used in skin care products to help refine skin’s tone and texture, balance moisture, and address dry, sensitive, and more mature skin.

When using rose essential oil, we prefer using pure rose oil, Rose Otto (Latin: Rosa Damascena), that is extracted through a steam distillation process and without the use of chemical solvents. It takes tens of thousands of rose petals to obtain one ounce of rose oil, so while it’s a more costly essential oil, we enjoy working with the purest ingredients as possible when it comes to our skin care.

With this concentrated oil, a few drops in your bath or diluted in a carrier oil before applying to the skin is all you need. So, try to get in some luxurious home pampering this week with this coveted essential oil. It’s well-deserved.

Happy pampering and thank you for being kind to your body.

HEALTH & BEAUTY: How to Minimize Dark Under Eye Circles

IMG_1503They seemed to appear overnight. What you may ask? Those dreaded dark under eye circles.

We weren’t sure why some of us seemed more prone to getting them. So, we researched and explored potential causes and remedies that can help to minimize them.

Here’s what we found as some potential causes of dark under eye circles:

  • Lack of sleep and too much sleep can be the culprits.
  • Seasonal allergies and reactions to skin irritants can cause them as well.
  • Hyper-pigmentation or discoloration of the skin.
  • Dehydration. Our body is comprised of 60% water so staying hydrated is important for proper body function.
  • Anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia in women that can result in improper oxygen flow throughout the body including the eye area.
  • Vitamin deficiency. Insufficient vitamins needed to promote proper eye health can be a cause.
  • Puffy eyes and fluid retention can make under eye circles appear more pronounced.
  • Genetics. Unfortunately, they can be hereditary.
  • Stress. Enough said.

What are some remedies that can help minimize dark under eye circles?

  • Cold compresses such as ice packs and cool cucumbers can help to reduce puffiness and constrict blood vessels to minimize dark under eye circles.
  • Get more (or less) ZZZs. Getting on average six to eight hours of beauty sleep and going to bed and rising at the same time can help.
  • Propping your head with an extra pillow while sleeping can help to minimize fluid retention and minimize the appearance of dark under eye circles.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink about 40-60 ounces of water daily to maintain proper bodily functions.
  • Consume more foods rich in vitamins K, C, B, and E that promote eye health.
  • Exercise does the body good. It can help manage stress and improve blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.

For those with dark under eye circles out there, we hear you! And, we hope this helps. Please keep in mind that if problems persist or worsen, please seek the advice of a medical practitioner.

Thank you for being kind to your body!

Nature’s Aromatherapy

IMG_6223Spring is almost here! And, what comes to mind? All the colorful and aromatic flowers that will blossom. Colors and scents affect our thoughts and moods in different ways. Does the smell of lavender soothe your mind? Does citrus brighten your mood? Does eucalyptus invigorate your senses?

For some mood enhancing, here are some essential oils that tend to bring about certain aromatherapy benefits:

  • Calm: Lavender, Chamomile, & Vanilla
  • Confidence: Jasmine, Bergamot, & Grapefruit
  • Energy: Rosemary, Peppermint, & Ginger
  • Happiness: Ylang Ylang, Rose, & Bergamot

Each of us respond to aromas differently, so explore various scents to determine the ones that work best for you. If you plan to apply them to your skin, it’s best to use pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils, not products made with synthetic ingredients. Please do not apply essential oils directly onto your skin. It’s best to dilute them with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil before applying to the skin. Or, place the essential oils in a diffuser so that the aromas fill the air.

So, try the essential oils that suit your mood. And, have some happy pampering!