Monthly Archives: September 2016
From our wonderful friend Alex at Motherhood Together, she has come up with an amazing recipe (and story) for homemade deodorant!
I have had a love/hate relationship with deodorant for years now. I love that it makes me not smell like I just got home from three days at Coachella, but I hate that I have to rub all kinds of chemicals and artificial fragrance all up on my skin. After deciding to part ways with my regular deodorant, I decided (much to my husband’s horror) to start testing out different natural and non-toxic deodorants. Over the course of several months, I tried every freaking variety of natural deodorant I could get my grubby little hands on. The outcome? Not only did nothing really work, but some of it made me smell bad. Real bad. (Insert photo of husband’s once again horrified face here.) Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not typically a smelly person. Even on days when I skipped the deo altogether, I wouldn’t get offensively smelly, but some yet-to-be-determined ingredient that is apparently common in the natural deodorant world DOESN’T agree with me. I finally gave up and stopped wearing it at all, which also is just not a great option.
Something had to give! I knew there had to be an option that wasn’t loaded with chemicals, but that also didn’t make me smell like the crunchy hippy that I secretly truly am on the inside. I had heard about diy deodorants, but couldn’t believe that they really worked after all my trial and error with the store-bought crap. But here I was, with way too many partially used deodorant sticks/pastes/creams in my bathroom, and still no perfect match. So I gave it a go (commence extreme husband eye roll), and you guys, it WORKS!! AND, it is the freaking easiest thing ever! Here are the details:
First of all, it is possible that you have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already! The only one I didn’t have was arrowroot powder, but it can be found with the spices at any health food store (and lots of regular grocery stores). It is a white starchy powder that serves similar purposes to corn starch. It is light, flavorless, odorless and natural. The other ingredients are virgin coconut oil and baking soda! Easy as pie, right? I mean, it almost is pie.
First, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder, and get those all friendly and mingled in with each other. It’ll look like this (very exciting):
Next, add 5 tablespoons of coconut oil to the mix, and it will look like this (only slightly more exciting):
Then give ‘er a good stir:
And, voila! You have earned your non-b.o. patch and are well on your way to Birkenstocks and tie dye t-shirts! If you really want to get fancy, you can add a drop your favorite essential oil for fragrance. I was a little weary of that because I’m still not sure which ingredient in the store-bought ones was my undoing, so I stuck to the basic recipe.
Next, fill all those empty cosmetic containers you’ve been hoarding and force your new-found crunchiness on all your friends! They’ll roll their eyes, but their inner hippy is doing that awkward closed-eyes arm flailing dance of joy😉
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
5 tbsp coconut oil
For more from Alex, visit her blog at Motherhood Together
Spices and herbs not only make your food taste delish, but most of them have benefits for your health and your SKIN! Here are some of my pantry staples to create quick and easy dishes with tons of flavor that also have skin benefits.
Turmeric: Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, one specifically called curcumin. It is the main ingredient in turmeric and is highly anti-inflammatory and a very potent antioxidant. You can buy turmeric powder or in it’s natural form of a root. If you buy the root you can juice it or grate it into juices or smoothies. The root form is much more of an intense flavor than the powder. I like to mix it with a variety of different spices and sprinkle on chicken before cooking or on garbanzo beans and toast in a pan. It is a warm flavor and pairs nicely with coriander, cumin, cayenne, and fennel to name a few.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols. It is also anti-inflammatory, which aids in helping to fight off disease. Cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels and helps aid in fighting diabetes. Diabetes can often lead to Rosacea of the skin. It is also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Cinnamon is a spicy warm flavor, good with savory and sweet dishes. I like to sprinkle on my bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies. For more savory dishes, think pork chops with apples and cranberries.
Garlic: Garlic is a member of the onion family and is high in the sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring most of it’s health benefits. Garlic also contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, and fiber. It helps to boost immunity and can fight off colds! (add to your chicken soup!) Great to put in any savory dish in my opinion. Pairs well with lemon, parsley, basil, coriander, cumin, fennel, sage, rosemary, the list is endless. Garlic contains antioxidants that fight oxidative cell damage and aging.
Cumin: Cumin is rich in vitamin C, iron, calcium, and vitamin E. The essential oils in cumin also have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The vitamins rich cumin also fight free radical damage that causes aging in the skin as well as the body. It also aids in digestion. I LOVE this spice and is pretty much my go to for a lot of my dishes. It adds a very warm, earthy, almost smoky flavor. Pairs well with coriander, fennel, garlic, chile, and lemon. Delicious in a spice rub for meat.
Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper has many health benefits. It aids in detoxification of the body, has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, and is a digestive aid to name a few. The pepper contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, and flavonoids which have powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have also shown that capsaicin has aided in the treatment of psoriasis when applied topically. Cayenne is SPICY! Add depending on your tolerance of heat to most savory dishes. Also, make a detox tonic by mixing with warm water (alkaline preferably), lemon juice, and raw honey.
Ginger: Ginger’s natural oil, Gingerol, gives it’s unique fragrance and is the main bioactive compound found in ginger. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Ginger can also help aid digestion and menstrual cramps. It is a good source of B vitamins, folate, vitamin C and E, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
I prefer to use the root form of ginger. I like to chop it up (you can also grate on a microplane) and mix with garlic and asian spices with all vegetables for a yummy stir fry. I also love to muddle with mint, add lemon juice agave, and warm water for a delicious tonic.
Lemon: Lemon contains vitamin C, citric acid, flavonoids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and fiber. Loaded with antioxidants and alkalizing benefits for the body. I love to add not only the juice of lemon to my dishes but also the zest! Great to make viniagrettes, add to garlic lemon chicken, tossed with roasted or sautéed veggies. Start you day with alkaline water and lemon juice before your coffee to alkalize your body.
Coriander: Coriander or Cilantro has many health benefits for the skin and internally. It has anti-fungal, antibacterial, detoxifying, and antioxidant properties that help to aid reduce inflammation of the skin and reduce free radical damage. Aids in the reduction of eczema and dryness of the skin. It is high in iron, potassium, copper, and manganese as well as vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. I love to add ground coriander to spice rubs for meat. Add fresh cilantro to salads, salsas, or as a finishing ingredient to savory dishes for a punch of freshness.
Parsley: Parsley has a variety of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and B12, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, just to name a few. It has anti-diabetic properties, aids in reducing inflammation, and anti-carcinogenic properties. It also helps boost immunity. Add to juices, salads, viniagrettes, or as a finishing gremolota with garlic and lemon zest over meat. I prefer the flat leaf Italian parsley, it tends to be more flavorful.
Basil: Basil contains vitamin K, manganese, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, folate, iron, omega-3 fats, and magnesium. Basil has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. As well as antioxidant benefits from it’s high does of vitamin A. Add to viniagrettes, make a delicious pesto, add to salads, or as fresh garnish for savory dishes.
There are many more herbs and spices out there that have nutritional value to us as well as tasting delicious. I encourage everyone to stop at the spice aisle and look at your fresh herbs at the supermarket. These are low calorie ways to boost flavor without adding fat and sugar.
To store fresh herbs, wash them immediately when you get home from the market. Dry them very well with paper towel or clean cloth. Store with stems in a cup of water. You can also cover with a plastic bag to reduce leaves from turning brown. Store ground spices in a cool dry place, such as your pantry.
As an esthetician, I have heard a lot of interesting answers to the same question: “What do you use to cleanse your skin?” From a bar of soap (cringe), to apricot scrub (double cringe), to coconut oil, to last but certainly not least, Cetaphil. Of course, Cetaphil is ‘Dermatologist Recommended,” it must be good for your skin right? The answer may not be what you thought it would be.
In order to ensure you are using a great cleanser you must first read what the ingredients are. Cetaphil is one that claims to be suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin, since it is very gentle. So let’s take a look at what is really in this cleanser:
Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben
Only 8 ingredients, must be good right? Well, let’s take a deeper look.
First ingredient is water, ok, off to a good start. Propylene glycol is used as a humectant to draw moisture to the skin which is good, however it also allows chemicals to penetrate into the skin and into the blood stream. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent that disturbs our skin’s natural hydrolipidic barrier, which can cause dehydration and dryness. Parabens are preservatives that have been removed from most professional skin care lines due to their potential health risk.
So if all of these toxic ingredients are wrapped up in this ‘gentle cleanser,’ why is it being recommended by your dermatologist? Most likely because the manufacturer, Galderma, also makes prescription acne medications such as Differin.
If you are freaking out right now that you have been using this cleanser for years, don’t worry, you are not alone. The thing is, for most women this cleanser seems to work for them. However, the truth is, all of the wonderful ingredients us skin care professionals look for, are lacking from this cleanser. I do not see one antioxidant to help remove all those free radicals we walk around in daily, not one plant oil with plenty of omegas that help protect that very important hydrolopidic layer, and not one botanical to help soothe and calm the skin.
By now, you will probably want to be replacing that Cetaphil, as you should! A great cleanser is crucial to any effective skin care routine. That cleanser is what is removing all of the dirt and pollution that our skin comes in contact with daily. As well as removing any excess sebum. It creates a clean canvas on which our exfoliators, toners, serums, and moisturizers can reach their full potential.
Things to look for in a great cleanser are easy! First and foremost, what is your skin type? Do you want that rich cleanser that will keep your dry skin super hydrated or do you want that oil-removing cleanser that will fight your breakouts? Next up, always look for antioxidants (vitamin a & c are my fav) that will help fight free radical damage from the pollution we walk around in just by going outside. Also, plant oils are rich in omegas that will help to keep the skin’s hydrolipidic layer intact. This will help all of your other products to penetrate the skin deeper, making them work better. Lastly, make sure there are some calming ingredients to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation, such as aloe and cucumber.
My favorite cleanser? Facialworks Antiox Cleanser 🙂
Greek yogurt has always been around, but has gained serious popularity in recent years. However, for me, this trend is definitely not just a fad. To me, greek yogurt is a miracle food! here are three amazing reason to always have some in your fridge.
Number 1: Its yummy!- Greek yogurt is packed full of protein, probiotics, and good dairy your body needs. Here is one of my favorite recipes:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup fat free vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
Toppings of choice (cinnamon, honey, berries. etc)
-Mix oats, yogurt, and milk together in a storable jar or container (something with a lid)
-Cover and leave in fridge overnight or at least 3 hours
Also, don’t forget that Greek yogurt is a great healthy substitute for mayonnaise when cooking. Instead of making your favorite dipping or topping sauce using mayo, use greek yogurt instead- you will not be able to tell the difference! Another great example is tuna. Sub out the mayo for Greek yogurt and you wont be disappointed!
Number 2: It’s healing!- OK, so we’re about to get personal and talk feminine issues. Yeast infections to be exact. They are something almost every girl has experienced, and it’s not comfortable. However, the good news is Greek yogurt is a natural remedy! Thats right! Greek yogurt contains healthy bacteria, cultures and organisms that when administered to the affected area using a safe applicator, can help heal your yeast infection!
Number 3: Its a face mask!- Greek yogurt is the easiest, most affordable addition to your skin care routine. It can be applied topically as a do-it-yourself face mask. Its packed with yummy nutrients for your skin such as:
zinc– which is anti-inflammatory, a natural astringent, and helps with acne
lactic acid– which is exfoliates and moisturizes dry skin
calcium– contains antioxidants
b vitamins– keep skin glowing and hydrated
Just apply an even layer of plain, fat containing (2% or higher) Greek yogurt to your face and neck for 20 minutes once a week! An easy way to achieve better skin!
So next time you’re browsing the aisles at the store, don’t forget to stock up on Greek yogurt. you wont regret it!