my #1 tip for amazing skin
there’s a lot of information out there about how to get glowing skin… the quickest way to get rid of blemishes… the best products to use for oily/dry/combination skin… the easiest way to prevent wrinkles…and it seems like everyone has a different answer for what solutions are the best, which makes sense… because everyone’s skin is different and will react differently to different treatments and products.
while i can’t tell you what the best this or that is [i’m still trying to figure this out for myself], what i can tell you is that there is one tip for amazing skin that works for just about everyone. it doesn’t cost a fortune, it doesn’t come from the depths of the some remote village in southeast asia, and it’s not some complicated system that takes work to integrate into your routine. in fact, it’s quite the opposite of all of these things…
keep. it. simple.
yep. it’s really as easy as that. why? i’m so glad you asked!
our skin is one of our largest organs, and it has a few pretty important jobs, including protection [from UV damage, bacteria, dehydration, physical injury] and regulation [of temperature, the immune system, excretion of waste] of the whooooollllle body. so, we wanna take care of it. like, really, really good care of it.
keeping it simple is important when it comes to taking care of our skin because, just like with anything else, when we bombard our skin with sh*tloads of products [cough*chemicals*cough] it doesn’t know what to do.
i know so many people who swear by skincare products that not only break the bank, but are loaded with harmful chemicals. they have skincare regimens that are so complicated i don’t even think they even fully understand what they’re doing or how it’s working. they just see results, see the amazing skin they’re looking for, and stop asking questions. which is fine in some situations, but this isn’t one of them.
the good news is, it can be so much easier and so much better for you than that! and i’ve got a few tips where to get started [because i know it can seem like a daunting task].
1. narrow it down. great news, guys. you don’t need 20 different products for great skin. in fact, this is one of those situations where less is definitely more. i like to keep my daily skincare regimen to a facial cleanser, toner, and moisturizer [typically an oil of some kind… right now i’m using avocado oil and i love it] in the morning and before bed. i’m also a big fan of masks 2-3 times a week. [i love pretty much all of lush’s masks, and these collagen eye pads are my latest obsession].
2. clean it up. ditch the products that are full of chemicals. anything with sulfates, parabens, and PEGs. these synthetic ingredients have been linked to cancer, among other things. yea, cancer. this sh*t is not a joke. fellow blogger kate of living pretty naturally breaks this down even further for you here. [this goes for skincare products and makeup.]
3. eat [and drink] for beautiful skin. it sounds cheesy, but it’s true… beauty comes form the inside out. berries, pomegranates, kidney beans, walnuts, and green tea are just a few of the foods recommended for glowing skin, and one thing i’ve recently added to my daily routine is marine collagen powder. collagen promotes elasticity, cohesion and regeneration of the skin, hair and nails, and it’s kinda poppin’ up everywhere in the wellness world these days. i mix it into a cold glass of water first thing in the morning… couldn’t be easier!
what are your favorite easy, natural skincare tips for amazing skin?! any favorite products? would love for you to share the wealth in the comments below!
guest post: how to eat healthy on a budget
eating healthy is already challenging in and of itself for many people, and unfortunately, it often costs more to eat nutritiously than it does to eat unhealthy food, only further discouraging people from really making lifestyle changes. ever wonder how to eat healthy on budget? ith the proper planning and strategy, it’s possible to do just that!
by utilizing the following five techniques, you’ll be able to eat well and save money in the process:
1. buy packaged items in bulk. whether you shop at a membership warehouse store like costco or sam’s club, an organic market or a traditional grocery store, it’s almost always cheaper to buy in bulk. this is especially true for packaged items such as brown rice, quinoa and protein/snack bars.
while buying organic and higher quality packaged foods is generally more expensive, you can offset some of the cost by buying in bulk. for example, getting a large box of organic cereal with healthy ingredients is often cheaper [per ounce] than buying those single serving cups of lucky charms.
2. don’t buy pre-packaged produce. purchasing pre-washed bags of greens or packages of sliced pineapple might be more convenient, but that convenience comes at a significant cost. pay attention the next time you go to the store and you’ll notice the dramatic price difference between buying unpackaged fresh fruits and vegetables and those that are already packaged.
if you’re really busy and can’t make time to prepare your own fruits and veggies, stick to produce that doesn’t require any preparation, such as apples and celery. they offer nutritional value while requiring little effort to prepare.
3. grow your own herbs. a great way to enhance the taste of food without turning to potentially unhealthy sauces and dressings is by adding a few herbs. it’s amazing the difference a little fresh basil, oregano or sage can make on an otherwise bland dish. unfortunately, buying fresh herbs can quickly take up a large chunk of your budget. thankfully there is a solution: growing your own herbs.
unlike other fruits and vegetables, many herbs don’t require a garden, or even any outdoor space, in order to grow. this makes them ideal for homeowners and apartment dwellers alike. you can buy the seeds and soil inexpensively at a store like home depot, get a few small pots and you’re good to go! just set them on a windowsill so they can get sun exposure and water them regularly. give it a few weeks and you’ll have plenty of fresh herbs at a fraction of the cost.
4. snack on inexpensive natural foods. one category of foods in which the healthy option is actually cheaper is snack foods. doritos, cheetos, and other potato chips, for example, are really quite expensive. sunflower seeds, raisins and air-popped popcorn are much better alternatives to traditional snack foods at a lower price. if you really want to get creative, you can bake your own kale chips or pop your own popcorn!
5. invest in a blender and make your own smoothies/juices. juicing and drinking smoothies is one of the best ways to sneak some extra nutrients into your diet without having to eat something you may not like. once again, however, your budget is likely to get in the way of being able to consume store-bought juices or smoothies regularly.
investing in a high-end blender such as a blendtec or vitamix might be worth it, but with a $400 price tag, may not be an option for everyone. luckily, most of the less expensive blenders are able to get the job done just as well!
employ these five strategies the next time you head to the grocery store … your wallet will thank you!
this post was written by jason feller, the director of marketing for dealspotr.com, a site dedicated to helping consumers find the best prices on everyday items.
guest post: 5 tips for finding a fitness plan that works fo you
when it comes to finding a fitness plan that works for you, it’s important to remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. in fact, there are so many ways to keep fit and stay healthy that you don’t need to worry if hitting the gym just isn’t your thing. simply getting off the bus a few stops early or maybe going for a walk during your lunch hour can all add valuable physical activity to your day.
but, what you do need to remember is that any fitness plan has to work around your life, otherwise the likelihood is that you won’t stick to it. this isn’t necessarily a reflection of you, it’s just human nature … and it doesn’t have to stay that way! if you can find a way to get fit that works with your lifestyle, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals.
keeping all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the best ways to find a fitness plan that will work for you!
1. don’t push yourself too hard at the start. when you first begin a new workout routine, you may feel super motivated and like you have something to prove, but pushing yourself too hard at the beginning is only going to create problems. if you haven’t worked out in a while, you could be increasing the chance of getting hurt if you push yourself too hard. not only this, biting off more than you can chew will encourage you to skip sessions when the going gets tough, and this will likely lead to you just stopping completely. a fitness plan is a lifestyle change, so when it comes to planning yours, you need to make sure that you find something that’s realistic for you.
2. do your research. whether you love going to the gym or would rather spend time at the park with family, there are plenty of ways to get fit. researching will help you to find exercises that you think you may enjoy. If you like swimming, find a pool that has an adults only swimming time so you can get a workout without the distraction of children. if you worry about how you’re going to fit your fitness routine around family/friend time, then bring them with you! working out with a buddy is more enjoyable than working out alone, and if you have kids, they can benefit from a bike ride or a run around the park, too. get creative!
3. tag team it. one of the best ways to ensure that you stick to a new fitness plan is to enlist someone else to join you. whether you choose to take your partner or a friend, it can be a great way to spend some quality time with someone. exercising together will also help you to bond and stay connected, while having someone to keep you motivated and vice versa. if you can’t get anyone on board, try making friends with people who workout at similar times as you. if you’re in touch with someone at the gym or in a workout class and they’re expecting you to be there, you’re more likely to show up.
4. follow a gradual plan. fitness is becoming more and more popular all the time, and because of this, the amount of plans aimed at people who haven’t worked out much before is growing. there are plans that can help you go “from your sofa to running a 5K” and much more. diving in head first isn’t sustainable, but working gradually towards a goal means you will be much more likely to stay on track.
5. find what works best for you. if you have a fitness plan in place and haven’t noticed any changes after about four weeks [or you just aren’t enjoying it], consider changing it up! remember, it’s always best to do a mixture of cardio and strength training, but strength training can be anything from yoga to hiking, and cardio can range from dancing to jumping on a trampoline …. think outside the box and create a fitness plan that keeps you entertained, motivated and is something you love to do!
getting fit and starting a new fitness plan can be intimidating at first, but when approached the right way, can change your life for the better. all you need is the motivation and a plan that works for you and your lifestyle.
and remember, fitness is about leading a healthier lifestyle, not worrying about the number you see on the scale or the tags of your clothes. focus on how you feel, because that’s what really counts!
this post was written by amy leach on behalf of focus training.
guest post: the balanced beauty’s top tips for achieving the body of your dreams
it’s been a while since i’ve had a guest blogger appear on bananas + bellinis, but after i connected with aly of the balanced beauty i knew that you guys would love what she has to say, and what better way to share her approach than with a guest post? a few of my recipes were featured on aly’s blog during her summer slim-down series [here + here] so be sure to check that out as well, but without further adieu, meet aly!
hi there! my name is aly mang and I am a board certified holistic health coach, founder/owner of the balanced beauty and fellow green juice lover… kelsey and i connected because we share a similar passion for health, wellness and striving for balance.
i personally believe balance is the key to living a healthy, happy life! my business was created because as i began to coach many young women, i saw that the majority were using an “all or nothing” approach when it came to dieting or wanting to change the way they looked. my advice is to ditch the extremes and know that balance on your plate, in your relationships, fitness routine and overall life is the way to achieve complete harmony and peace within yourself.
here are a few of my top tips for achieving the balanced body of your dreams!
1. love your body NOW.
the first step is to be grateful for who and what you are. stop comparing yourself others… you were born to be you. also know that the grass is not always greener on the other side. each individual has their own unique set of concerns, challenges and struggles. be grateful for the body you were given and if you want to change it because you want to improve it, come from a place of love! when you shift your desire to change for all of the right reasons, it will make the process much more rewarding and your goals will be more attainable.
2. eat from the earth!
this is a simple way to check yourself. before you consuming anything, ask yourself, “is what I’m eating from the earth or is it manmade?” often times manmade foods are processed and loaded with ingredients that can be toxic to your system. hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colorings may make our food look pretty or have a longer shelf life, but they can reek havoc on our skin, body and immune system. read labels and pay attention to the chemicals or preservatives you are putting into your system. a build-up of toxic ingredients may be the reason you feel sluggish, bloated or are lacking that inner glow!
3. food is FUEL.
the #1 misconception I find when first coaching clients is that they think they need to eat less if they want to lose weight. false! i encourage my clients to eat throughout the day to keep their metabolism burning like a well-oiled machine. go longer than four hours without eating and you’re setting yourself up for ravenous eating and poor choices later on. making healthy choices and fueling your body throughout the day is the best way to keep your metabolism strong and in time will make you a fat-burning machine!
4. quality supplementation is key.
i understand healthy eating can be difficult all day everyday. we sometimes slip-up or have limited time in our schedules to prepare and organize our meals and snacks properly. this can leave holes in our diet, causing us to lack very important nutrients we need to function at an optimal level. this is why, in addition to eating from the earth and making mindful food choices, I recommend proper supplementation. this helps to ensure that your body has what it needs to feel mentally alert, energized and properly supported.
**below are a few of my favorite supplements that i recommend to support overall health, immunity and fitness goals. all of these products are all-natural, non-gmo and made with high quality ingredients. **
morning greens [my #1 recommendation!]
this is a green powder that you can mix with water and drink each morning on an empty stomach to fortify your entire system with 100% of your daily vitamins, minerals, greens, antioxidants and probiotics need! it’s also great for gut health, which is necessary for a healthy metabolism. this formula is 100% all-natural and raw… the perfect foundation for any balanced beauty body!
**the link above contains a limited-time offer of 50% OFF exclusive to balanced beauty and bananas + bellinis clients and followers… so act fast!
omegas fight inflammation, improve workout recovery and brain function, and are optimal for beautiful hair, skin, nails and a healthy heart! this formula has no fishy aftertaste or added ingredients.
grass-fed whey protein
protein powders can be a great option pre- or post-workout when you’re on-the-go and can help you build lean muscle in a delicious way! while there are many similar products on the market, athletic greens are the only products i recommend to my clients because of the high quality ingredients. i credit these particular products for my own personal health and overall wellness, which is the only reason i feel 100% confident in sharing them with you!
thank you, kelsey, for the opportunity to introduce myself to your fabulous community. for more healthy tips, recipes and inspiration, be sure to check me out on instagram, twitter and facebook or at the balanced beauty blog!
health + happiness,
6 healthy travel tips for maintaining balance while on vacation
if you follow me on social media, you may have picked up on the fact that i have a very exciting trip coming up this week. if you haven’t, i’ll cut right to the chase: on friday i’m off to the land down under for two weeks…. ahhhhhh!!!
this is a trip i have been dreaming about for essentially my whole life, only it’s extra special because i’ll be spending the first leg of the trip in broome [which is in western australia] to watch one of my dearest friends tie the knot! it all seems really surreal and i don’t think it’s even hit me that this is actually happening just yet!
the only thing i’m more obsessed with than health and wellness… okay, and yoga… is traveling. i’ve had the wanderlust bug ever since i first found out that traveling was a thing and that there are so many places in the world to see and experience. traveling is the best way to learn, not only about other cultures, but about ourselves, too. we all know that i’m all about balance, treating yourself and saying “no” every once in a while, but sometimes i think we use being on vacation as an excuse to throw caution to the wind and really get all sorts of out of whack. which is totally fine if you’re okay with that, but personally, i find that coming down from the vacation high and re-entering the real world is only that much sh*ttier when i also physically feel like total garbage.
i’ve done a little bit of traveling in the past couple of years and along the way i’ve picked up on some key ways to stay healthy while still 100% immersing myself in the local culture, cuisine and lifestyle of wherever i happen to be. here are 6 healthy travel tips to help you maintain balance [and still have the best effing time ever] while on vacation.
1. pack healthy snacks. i’m a foodie and one of my favorite things about traveling is getting to try the local cuisine, but i still remain mindful of the fact that my body does not appreciate it when i load up on foods it’s not used to. i’ve started packing my own snacks, not only for the plane, but to snack on throughout the course of the day during my trip, as well. it’s super easy to throw raw seeds and nuts, snack bars [i love the new glo bars from raw revolution], some dark chocolate, tea and fresh fruit into my carry-on before i head to the airport. this helps me avoid having to waste time searching for healthy snack options or eat something i wouldn’t normally eat just to satisfy my hunger [and plane food… woof].
2. find ways to move. while most hotels have fitness centers, this is not always an option, especially if you’re taking the hostel or airbnb route when traveling. and even if you do have access to a gym, not everyone wants to spend time indoors on a treadmill while visiting a new and exciting place. an easy way to move while on vacation is to book some excursions that involve being active. hiking, snorkeling, biking, surfing, paddle boarding and skiing are just a few examples and depending on where you’re headed, you might find yourself with endless options. you can also throw a jump rope in your suitcase for a quick and easy cardio option or bring a travel mat with you and check out a local yoga studio [obviously i’ll be doing this in oz]!
3. explore on foot. this one kind of goes hand-in-hand with numéro dos. one of the best ways to see a new city is to walk it. you get a much better feel for the energy of a place when you wander to and from tourist sites, through parks, in and out of shops and down small, hidden alleyways than you do taking cabs or public transportation everywhere. get your hands on a map and head out of your hotel in the morning with a general plan in mind and see where the sidewalks take you!
4. stay hydrated. okay, so i’m pretty sure that every list of tips I’ve ever compiled here includes drinking water, but that’s because it’s that effing important. staying hydrated does wonders for our entire system and there is no such thing as too much water. i travel with a vapur everywhere i go because they’re lightweight and roll up when empty to save space. do yourself a favor and invest in one of these babies before your next trip and keep it with you at all times.
5. stick to your usual meal schedule. eat whatever the eff you want. like i said before, traveling is not traveling without experiencing the local cuisine, but what i mean by this is that you should try to stay on your regular eating schedule as much as possible. eat breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same times you normally would. this way, even if your body is not used to some of the things you might be eating, it’s on a schedule it’s used to and will continue to metabolize your meals optimally.
6. sleep. it can be quite tempting to get up early to explore, be out and about all day and then go out out to party like the locals do in the evenings… which you definitely should do! just try not to do this every. single. night. and make sure that you have some room for sleeping in the next day if you do plan on pulling a “4am-er”. sleep is super important to your overall health and wellness for many reasons, and this is no different when you’re on vacation!
**bonus tip: pack the perfect carry-on for the most healthy, relaxing and enjoyable experience possible on those long flights!**
there you have it! implement these things into your next vacation and i guarantee the post-vacation blues will be a little less severe, getting back to your routine will be easier and you’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time!
p.s. if anyone has any recommendations for places to go, things to do, food to eat, alcohol to drink, etc. in broome, cairns, brisbane, north stradbroke island or sydney please comment below or email me at email@example.com!
healthy lifestyle staples: apple cider vinegar
the healthy lifestyle staples series is my chance to let all of you in on all of the healthy products that i cannot live without and always keep on hand. from reusable water bottles to tongue scrapers to hot lemon water, there are quite a few things that i rely on to make my life easier and healthier on a regular basis…. and as the list continues to grow, i want to make sure I’m keeping all of you in the loop! today, i’m bringing you the low down on apple cider vinegar and why it’s one of the staples in my arsenal of healthy products.
apple cider vinegar is one of those products, much like coconut oil, that has more uses than i can even begin to list here. among those ways, it can do many things from balancing your body’s pH to disinfecting surfaces in your home and it works wonders on your hair and skin. here are 5 simple ways that i use apple cider vinegar on a day-to-day basis that you can start doing right away:
- as an all-natural toner: apple cider vinegar is great for balancing your skin’s pH and evening out your skin tone naturally. because it’s rather strong, you should always dilute it with water before applying it directly to your face. i make my own apple cider vinegar toner [recipe here] and use this as a part of my morning and evening skincare routine every. single. day.
- as a hair rinse: dilute some apple cider vinegar with water [i usually do about 1 part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts water] and pour it over your hair immediately after shampooing and conditioning. it will strip any leftover residue from your locks and leave them silkier and shinier than you can even imagine… just be careful to not get any in your eyes!
- to detoxify your body: every single morning, without fail, i always drink a cup of hot lemon water with cayenne pepper, turmeric and a cap-full of apple cider vinegar [recipe here]. while balancing your body’s internal pH, apple cider vinegar has also been shown to help stimulate the lymphatic system, clear out sinus congestion and detoxify the liver. getting all of these benefits is as easy as adding a tablespoon to the first glass of water you drink each day.
- to clean your home: apple cider vinegar can replace quite a few household cleaners, which not only reduces the amount of chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis, but will help you save a little money [and space!], too. mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water to make an all-natural cleaner [you can mix the two together in a spray bottle to make it easier to use] that can be used on sinks, stoves, ovens, countertops and even your bathtub/shower.
- as a mouthwash: apple cider vinegar can brighten those pearly whites and fight bad breath. gargle a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts water before brushing your teeth once a day [i do this in the evening since i usually oil pull in the morning].
bonus tip! another way to sneak some apple cider vinegar into your diet is by using a teaspoon or so as a salad dressing along with a little olive oil… yum.
you can purchase apple cider vinegar at just about any grocery store these days, but i highly recommend buying a raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized version, such as bragg’s.
do you have any other ways of using apple cider vinegar in your every day life? share in the comments below!
image courtesy of wikihow
healthy lifestyle staples: detoxifying lemon water
one of my favorite, cannot live without healthy lifestyle staples is kinda weird [but that should be no surprise at this point]. i was introduced to this little concoction in college and would occasionally throw it into my routine here and there over the years, but only in the past year or so has it become a staple in my regimen.
hot lemon water. with apple cider vinegar. and turmeric. and cayenne pepper. every morning. before breakfast.
i knowwww what you’re thinking: no. but let me explain.
first, hot water with a little bit of lemon is a great way to wake up your digestive system and detoxify your body from the day before…essentially, you’re starting the day with a clean slate.
second, the apple cider vinegar will balance your pH levels aiding digestion, improving immunity and helping to clear up your skin.
finally, the turmeric helps reduce inflammation in the body, and the cayenne pepper gives your digestive system one last little boost.
now we’re talkin’, right? for this detoxifying lemon water elixir all you’ll need is:
- 8 oz. of water, brought to a boil
- the juice from half of a lemon
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- cayenne pepper to taste
all you need to do is boil the water, pour it into a mug and stir in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and cayenne pepper. drink this in the mornings before you eat or drink anything else and try to make this a daily habit if at all possible… that’s how you’ll reap the most benefits!
diy aloe spritz for sunburnt skin
having been hashtag blessed with the gift of fair, sensitive skin [that was sarcastic, incase you didn’t pick up on that] no matter how high the spf i wear or how often i re-apply sunscreen, i will always, without fail, end up with a sunburn if i expose my skin to the sun for over 30 minutes. if i’m being diligent about applying sunscreen throughout the day, usually my burn will eventually turn to a tan, but the transition from bright red, burnt skin to a healthy, bronze glow can be quite painful.
i’m headed to miami this weekend and in addition to the natural sunscreen i’m packing, i’m also bringing along this homemade post-sun aloe spritz. aloe vera is an obvious choice when it comes to soothing sunburnt skin, but i also added a little lavender essential oil, which has many healing properties, and eucalyptus essential oil, an anti-inflammatory, both of which can help ease the pain of a sunburn and speed up the healing process.
this aloe spritz takes about 15 minutes to make and will definitely be coming along with me on all beach trips from here on out. to make your own, you will need:
- 1 part pulp of aloe vera leaf [see steps 1-3]*
- 2 parts filtered water*
- 10-15 drops lavender essential oil [optional]
- 5-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil [optional]
*ex: if you are using 1/4 c. aloe vera pulp use 1/2 c. water.
to make the aloe spritz:
step 1: first, you’ll need to scoop the pulp from the aloe leaf. to do this, cut the bottom of the leaf off and prop it upright in a bowl/cup for about 10 minutes to allow the yellow resin to drain out. the resin can be a skin irritant, so make sure you don’t skip this part!
step 2: once the resin has been drained from the leaf, slice the skin from the inside of the leaf with a knife or a vegetable peeler, being sure to cut through to the gel-like substance that’s inside.step 3: with a spoon, scoop the desired amount of pulp from the leaf and place it in blender. it may have a pinkish hue to it – this is normal!
step 4: add the water and oils to the blender and blend until well-combined.
step 5: pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz onto sunburnt skin!
a couple of things to note: because aloe vera is perishable, this will only keep for about a week, so i don’t recommend making it in large batches. also, the mixture might settle and separate naturally, so shake it up a little bit before spritzing!
my top 3 essential oils + their uses
over the past several weeks, i’ve received a handful of emails from you guys asking about what essential oils i use. i’ve mentioned some different essential oils in a few blog posts here and there, but thought it would be more beneficial to dedicate a post to talking about my favorite ones and what i use them for in more detail.
the three oils that i always have on hand [lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus] are great because they each have more than one benefit and more than one way they can be used, so there’s no need to keep your medicine cabinet stocked with twenty different essential oils at all times [although i would kinda love that, not gonna lie]. here are three essential oils that i recommend having in your home at all times.
- lavender oil: this is definitely my favorite essential oil. it smells amazing and really helps with a few different things. most importantly, it can be used to aid relaxation and promote healthy sleep patterns. staying asleep throughout the night is something i struggle with regularly, so heating a little lavender oil in an oil warmer before i go to sleep can really help me relax and set me up for a restful night’s sleep. i’ll also put a few drops in my humidifier to keep the aroma in the air throughout the entire night. lavender oil can also be used to ease headaches by inhaling the aroma or applying it directly to the temples.
- tea tree oil: i use tea tree oil for so many different things at this point that i don’t even know where to begin! tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-septic, so it’s uses and benefits cover a lot of ground. it does have a little bit of a harsh scent that takes some getting used to, but i still recommend keeping this one around. personally, i use tea tree oil in my homemade facial toner and as a spot treatment, as it’s anti-bacterial properties help to fight breakouts. i’ll also use it to ease cuts, scrapes or burns in place of neosporin.
- eucalyptus oil: i find that i use eucalyptus oil most often in the winter months when i’m feeling under the weather, as it offers relief to the respiratory system. there are a few ways you can use it, but what i recommend is placing a few drops at the back of the shower as soon as the water is hot, which will create a steam that when breathed in can help ease a cough, sore throat and irritation in the sinuses. because it’s anti-inflammatory, eucalyptus can also soothe sore muscles when applied and massaged directly into the affected area.
if you’re going to start experimenting with essential oils, i recommend investing in high-quality, therapeutic grade, u.s.d.a. organic versions. while they will be a little more expensive, you’re going to experience more of the benefits these babies have to offer with a higher quality oil. i personally love aura cacia products, which you can order online directly from their site or pick up at most health food stores. a few other essential oils that i also recommend checking out are peppermint oil for indigestion [place 2-3 drops in an 8 oz. glass of water] and lemongrass as an insect repellant.
have you experimented with essential oils before? what ones? how did you like them? would love to hear from you in the comments below or via firstname.lastname@example.org!
5 winter skincare tips you need to try immediately
the winter months can do serious damage to our bodies. the constant fluctuation of temperatures, the bone chilling winds, the dry air… not only is being cold literally the worst, the winter can also impact our mood, our weight, our appetite and finally, our skin.
i’m pretty lucky in the sense that my skin tends to run on the normal side. i don’t have to do too much to keep it clear and since i’ve switched over to an all-natural skincare regimen, my skin has looked [and felt] better than ever… that is, until the temperatures dropped. over the past few weeks, between the cold, dry air outside and the hot, dry air in my apartment, my skin is freaking out in a way it normally doesn’t. i’m not surprised, as this tends to happen every year, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
sound familiar? if so, here are five things that i recommend you do every day to protect your skin from the elements and keep it looking fresh throughout the harsh winter months.
1. exfoliate. i cannot stress enough how important this is. exfoliating the skin will get rid of dead skin cells, help to remove dirt/makeup from your pores and reduce the size of your pores in general, helping to maintain a glowing complexion all year round. for my face, i swear by my clarisonic brush and highly recommend this to everyone. for the rest of your body, use a dry skin brush right before hopping in the shower!
2. cleanse with a cream cleanser. cream cleansers are a total game changer in the winter, as they help to add more moisture to the skin, while many standard cleansers just dry us out even more. a cream cleanser is also a great option for sensitive skin any time of the year. i recommend an all-natural cleanser, like this one from acure, that contains cocoa butter and argan oil.
3. moisturize. a sh*t ton. this may seem obvious, but you really can’t go overboard with this in the winter months. i slather coconut oil all over my body, including my face, every single morning and right before i go to bed. i know it sounds pretty counter intuitive to put oil directly onto your skin, as we’ve always been told that having oily skin is bad, but trust me, it needs it. if we strip our skin of natural oils, it will start to overproduce them and, trust me, you don’t want this to happen.
4. invest in a humidifier. as if battling the cold air wasn’t already enough, we also have to deal with the warm, dry air when indoors. one great way to do this is to invest in a humidifier. humidifiers add moisture to the air, which not only can help our skin, but can also help alleviate that dried out feeling we tend to get in our sinuses. i keep one on my desk that i run during the day and one on the floor next to my bed that i run while i sleep.
5. wear spf. even on those overcast winter days, our skin can still be damaged when exposed to the sun and using a daily moisturizer with spf is highly recommended [i’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this]. like i mentioned before, i use coconut oil, which just so happens to be a natural spf, to moisturize daily, so you can kill two birds with one stone here.
bonus tip: sometimes, even if we do everything imaginable to take care of our skin, we can’t avoid a breakout. when this happens, i suggest using organic tea tree oil as a spot treatment. it’s a natural antiseptic, so it works quickly to zap out the bacteria and reduce the appearance of blemishes. just put a few drops on your finger and apply directly to the breakout after you’ve gone through your regular skincare routine!
do you have any other trusted methods/products for combatting the cold weather?
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