Clear Complexions Happen With Chamomile (Like…Who Knew, Right?!)

…Okay, maybe¬†you¬†did. But¬†I¬†sure didn’t!

Not to sound like a vain little Prima Donna, but I always prided myself on having smooth, blemish-free skin. Throughout my teenage years, when just about every other high schooler was preoccupied with popping pimples or slathering on Proactiv, I rarely even bothered with concealer. Yup, for some ever-so-fortuitous reason, puberty was kind to this face.

However, the onset of adulthood wasn’t so generous.

Basically, from the first moment I stepped onto a college campus, my hormones went haywire. Suddenly, I became that¬†girl – avoiding mirrors, trying every fad product on the market, and cringing at any¬†mention of the word “zit” (just in case those devious little dermis cells were listening in). Suffice it to say, my undergraduate studies were interrupted by constant dermatologist visits.

So, kids…that’s what happens when you inwardly gloat about so-called “perfect skin.” Beauty karma is one ugly bitch!

Over the years, I’ve applied every topical ointment that I could get my hands on, invested in every “zit zapping” gadget that a celebrity brand ambassador talked me into, and even popped (no, not really…just swallowed once a day) prescription pills that my doctor swore by. But, while they provided a temporary fix, nothing seemed to work as a long-term solution.

From all outward appearances, adult acne had won this war.

That is, until a brownish rectangular miracle came along.

Enter: chamomile cleanser. A.K.A. my skin’s new BFF: all-natural, non-GMO, three-ingredient, chemical-free ¬†amazingness. (And it’s also made with LOVE, so there’s that…)

chamomile soap 1I discovered this little beauty last weekend, while wandering around the – yup, you guessed it! – farmer’s market. Within 5 minutes of chatting with¬†the extremely knowledgeable and fantastically bohemian product developers, I was sold. Thus, yours truly became the proud owner of a scentsy, sudsy bar of chamomile soap. For only $7! Compare that price with the $15-$20 you’ll typically drop at a¬†drug store.

Plus, we’re talking 100% organic here – another perk you won’t find just anywhere.

chamomile soap 2Alrighty, then. So, later that evening, I took this purchase on a test-run.

And it definitely was NOT an impulse buy.

Almost immediately, I noticed a transformation in how my skin both looked and felt. I’m not even exaggerating. This face, which has caused so much frustration¬†and self-consciousness over these past few years, finally met its match. An invigorating tingle spread throughout my pores, resulting in baby-soft smoothness. Seriously, after 1 application!

chamomile soap 3Not my most attractive look by a long-shot (in my own defense though, I’d only been awake for 10 minutes), but this is moi¬†after Day 5 of religious¬†chamomile soap usage. And here are some remarkable changes I’ve experienced since switching over to this skin-care sensation:

  1. EXFOLIATION of dryness/flakiness
  2. REDUCTION of post-acne scarring
  3. And, most importantly, HEALING of blemishes.

Like, my complexion is clear now!

Completely.

Free and clear.


But don’t just take my word for it…snag some chamomile cleanser for yourself.

Do it. Order a soap bar from the¬†Florida-based¬†aromatherapy business, Essence of the Heart.¬†According to this company’s masterminds, here’s what you can expect: “Each product is handmade with Love as the first intention to enhance, benefit, and honor all life. The products created by Essence of the Heart play a role in facilitating a complete balance within the body, mind and spirit.”

So, yeah. You should probably go check out their Etsy shop.

Ditch the Drugstore: Why Homemade Make-up Is the Way to Go

Sure, it’s a matter of convenience. One quick stroll down the personal care aisle, and you’ve got the entire makings of a beautified face. Maybelline, Cover Girl, and Loreal are definitely dialed into your “make me pretty” needs. Why would you even consider looking elsewhere when it’s time to pile on the glitz?!

Well, for starters…how about because those products aren’t exactly face-friendly?

Yep, gasp-worthy but true.

To prove this point, I looked up the ingredients list for standard Maybelline eyeshadow, and the search results read like a who’s-who-of-toxic-chemicals: Talc, Triisostearin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Magnesium Stearate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Nylon-12, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Alumina, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Methylparaben, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Tin Oxide, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben.

(source: www.preventcancer.com).

That’s a whole mishmash of words I can’t even pronounce, but it doesn’t sound like a holistic spa retreat, that’s for damn sure! Basically, here’s what you can take away from this little lesson in chemistry: NO BUENO.

So…umm…what’s a girl to do?!

Make your own make-up, of course! This all-natural alternative to those synthetic science experiments cluttering the cosmetic counter is surprisingly simple and completely skin-safe. Before you dismiss this as some tree-hugging-earth-woman mumbojumbo, just consider these perks of taking the organic beauty approach:

Why DIY?

  • You’ll save money since most of the ingredients needed to whip up a batch of foundation can be found right in your kitchen.
  • You’ll also save time since you won’t have to hit up CVS every few weeks upon running out of that precious Cover Girl bottle.
  • You’ll be in total control over which substances your face is exposed to (that means no harsh irritants, preservatives, or anything developed in a laboratory – for that matter!).

Now, time to make it!

This 5-ingredient powder foundation will undoubtedly become a staple for your morning routine…

  • Ingredients:
  1. Arrowroot Powder (get it here!)
  2. Cocoa Powder
  3. Ground Cinnamon
  4. Ground Nutmeg
  5. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Preparation:
  1. Pour the arrowroot powder into a shallow mixing bowl (use 1 tbsp. for light skin and 1 tsp. for dark skin).
  2. Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the arrowroot and combine thoroughly (eyeball the amount of these ingredients you use until the desired skin tone is reached).
  3. Drizzle approximately 5 drops of olive oil into this mixture and stir until the texture is slightly more compact.
  4. Apply the foundation with a large make-up brush.

(recipe courtesy of: Thank Your Body)

diy foundation

Sidenote:¬†I substituted 1 tbsp. Cornstarch since I didn’t have any Arrowroot Powder on-hand, and it still worked just fine.

Wonderful Coconut Oil: Get Exfoliating!

coconut oil(image courtesy of coconut-oil-pulling.net)

Recently, organic beauty seekers have been going “nuts” over coconut oil, as the latest cosmetic and hygienic cure-all. But did you know: our friend, the coconut, is actually a drupe? Uhhh…not sure what a drupe even is?

Me neither.

So, I looked it up. Turns out, drupes are edible plant blooms with a fleshy exterior surrounding a hard pit or seed. There ya have it. But how is this relevant to your hair and skincare needs?

Glad you asked! Drupes are naturally nutrient-dense, high in antioxidants, plus low in harmful fats and sugars. Therefore, it just so happens that the coconut is a powerhouse of health benefits. And – by proxy – coconut oil is too.

Let’s break it down, shall we…?


Here’s what you’ll find in coconut oil:

  • Vitamin E – protects the body from free-radicals & aids in neurological function
  • Vitamin K – builds bone density/tissue elasticity & aids in blood coagulation
  • Iron – forms hemoglobin, oxygenates the blood, & aids in muscle function
  • Fiber – regulates gastrointestinal issues & aids in maintaining a healthy weight
  • Lauric Acid – treats viral infections & aids in preventing the transmission of HIV
  • Capric Acid – increases good cholesterol levels & aids in energy production
  • Caprylic Acid – treats bacterial infections & aids in lowering bad cholesterol

Yeah, but…how does this impact my beauty regimen?

  • Coconut oil keeps your hair free from lice, scalp conditions, dullness, frizz,¬†and¬†protein loss.
  • Coconut oil keeps your skin free from¬†flaking, infections, pre-mature aging,¬†and blemishes.
  • Coconut oil keeps your teeth free from¬†calcium decay, plaque build-up, yellowing,¬†and receding gums.
  • Coconut oil keeps your nails free from¬†breakage, flimsiness, uneven cuticles,¬†and¬†fungus.

Cool beans. So, use coconut oil to…

  • shave your legs
  • remove make-up
  • moisturize dry skin
  • condition your hair
  • treat acne & scarring
  • soothe chapped lips
  • alleviate nasal allergies
  • get rid of cellulite
  • grow your hair long
  • protect skin with SPF
  • fight dandruff¬†& split-ends
  • deep clean your pores
  • exfoliate foot callouses
  • deodorize body sweat
  • relieve bug bite itches
  • smooth frizzy fly-aways
  • heal psoriasis & eczema
  • thicken your eyebrows
  • maximize a post-tan glow
  • hide wrinkles & sagging
  • whiten up that smile
  • soften¬†your hangnails

Now, just 1 question remains: will YOU go nutty for coconut oil?!

extra virgin coconut oil   (image courtesy of iherb.com)

5 Foods That Can Cheaply & Organically Replace Expensive Chemical Peels

So…yeah.

It’s FOOD for your FACE.

‘Nuff said.


1. For a soft and even-toned complexion, snack on a handful of walnuts 3 times per week. The essential minerals (e.g. potassium, magnesium, calcium), Vitamin B, and omega-3 fatty acids found in these crunchy munchies soothe inflamed facial tissue and fight stress break-outs. A daily topical regiment of warm walnut oil (1 tbsp.) is also ideal for moisturizing dry, flaky (AND sensitive) skin.

walnut

(image courtesy of hudabeauty.com)

2. For a wrinkle-free and glowing complexion, try plain Greek yogurt (mix with fruit and stevia to sweeten) for breakfast. The lactic acid, probiotics, calcium, and Vitamin D found in this protein-powerhouse reduce aging and discoloration, while exfoliating beneath the surface. A weekly topical regimen of Greek yogurt (2-3 tbsp.) and olive oil (1 tbsp.) is also ideal for a deep cleansing facial mask.

greek yogurt   

(image courtesy of fitsugar.com)

3. For a clear and hydrated complexion, indulge in 2 squares of dark chocolate (78% cacao) 2 times per week. The antioxidants, vitamins (e.g. A, B, C, D, E), essential minerals (e.g. calcium, iron), and flavanols found in this guilty pleasure improve collagen circulation, repair dryness, and prevent UV-damage. A weekly topical regimen of powdered dark cocoa (1.5 tbsp), olive oil (1 tbsp), and brown sugar (1 tbsp.) is also ideal for a facial scrub that strips away dead skin cells.

dark   

(image courtesy of skinsense101.com)

4. For a¬†fresh¬†and revitalized¬†complexion, toss generous amounts of¬†kale into a lunch or dinner salad. The copper, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C in this leafy green super-food boost the production of melanin, fight acne-causing free radicals, and calm redness or irritation. A daily drinkable regimen of kale (1 c. chopped), beets and/or carrots (1 c. chopped – these veggies are loaded with a natural skin-care army, as well), and iced green tea (1 c. – among one of the healthiest beverages on earth, green tea basically wrote the book on antioxidants) blended into a smoothie is also ideal if you’re looking to detoxify.

kale   

(image courtesy of beyondbeautifulskin.com)

5. For a long term blemish-free complexion, incorporate various types of berries (e.g. strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.) into at least 1 meal per day. I’m talking breakfast with almond milk poured on top, lunch in a grilled chicken and arugula salad, or dinner served with your favorite whole grain. The ellagic acid, anthocyanin, and Vitamin C found in these juicy little gems increase skin elasticity and even have the foresight to prevent future break-outs that you never saw coming. A weekly topical regimen of mashed-up berries (1/4 c.) and organic honey (1 tbsp.) is also ideal for an anti-aging mask.

berries   

(image courtesy of embracinghealthblog.com)