Getting Dressed, Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Vegan Hair and Skin Care Ideas for Using The Rest of Your Avocados

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Okay, so now we’ve covered about twenty different ways to incorporate avocados into your daily diet, the reasons why you should add avocados to your family grocery list, and the choosing and care of avocados…

But wait…that’s not all…

 

Avocados and Skin Care…Avocados are good for your skin. Avocados are rich in nutrients—such as fat-soluble vitamins monounsaturated fats, various minerals, and essential fatty acids.Avocados have been shown to improve both the health and tone of your skin, as well as  eliminate signs of premature aging. Avocados are especially great for skin that is dry, chapped or damaged.

Many cosmetic manufacturers add avocado to their products for this reason, but given the fact that the avocados that you can purchase from your local grocer or market are relatively cheap, cruelty free, and contain no added synthetic chemicals, why not use real avocados to enjoy the real benefits of using what might be nature’s best moisturizer.

 

 

Avocado Body Scrub…Avocados can be easily paired with many different ingredients to make a healthy body scrub at home. Most of the following scrub ideas can be used not only in the shower as a body scrub, but also as a scrub or mask for your face, depending on the consistency of the second ingredient.

Here are a few ideas…

Almonds….1C smooshed avocado, 1/4C ground almonds…great for dry skin

Coconut…1C smooshed avocado, 1/4C grated avocado…great for healing scars

Coffee…1C smooshed avocado, 3Tbsp coffee granules…great for getting rid of stretch mark

Honey…1/2C smooshed avocado, 1/4C honey…great for dry skin

Lime…1/2 smooshed avocado, juice of 1 lemon, 1tsp baking soda…great for getting rid of tan lines

Oats…1C smooshed avocado, 1C oats…great for acne

Salt…1/2 smooshed avocado, 4Tbsp rock salt….great for exfoliating

Sugar...1C smooshed avocado, 4tsp sugar, 1tsp olive oil…great for acne

Yogurt…1C smooshed avocado, 1C plain Greek yogurt, 1Tbsp salt…great for moisturizing

 

 

Avocados and Hair…Avocados are also great for nourishing dry and damaged hair. The following avocado hair mask include smoothing and moisturizing your locks without weighing down fine hair, adding shine, and restoring natural luster to your hair.

Avocado Hair Mask…1/2 smooshed avocado, 1 egg, 2 drops peppermint essential oil, 2Tbsp olive oil

 

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Getting Healthy

Avocados—The Even More “How”

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GuacamoleGuacamole, that traditional Mexican and Central American dip that we are all so familiar with, and that I could eat by the gallons, is another way to incorporate avocado in your diet. Here’s a great recipe to try…Vegetarian Guacamole Recipe by Jamie Oliver

 

Meals…For my non-vegan readers, avocados can be great meal starters. Fill avocado with tuna, shrimp, or chicken. Add avocado slices to hamburgers, tortas, hot dogs, and carne asada. Combine avocado with eggs to make scrambled eggs, tortillas, or omelettes.

These Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce from Oh She Glows have just been added to this week’s menu plan. In addition to serving the sauce over the enchiladas, you can also serve sauces such as this with chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs.

Pasta with Avocado SauceCook 18oz pasta according to directions. Blend together 1 garlic clove, 1/4C minced basil leaves, 1Tbsp lemon juice, 1Tbsp olive oil, dash pepper, dash lemon zest, 1 ripe avocado, 1Tbsp water, dash salt. Drain pasta. Serve sauce over pasta.

 

 

Salad…Avocados are best eaten along with other fruits and vegetables because avocados enhance the nutrients that are present in whatever fruits and vegetables you serve them with—at least tripling how well your body absorbs carotenoid, an antioxidant which helps protect the body against free radical damage.

Avocado Salad Recipe…Mix chopped onion, tomato, lettuce, avocado, and any other vegetables or meat you desire or that you have on hand. Add salt, pepper, lime juice, and drizzle olive oil over the salad. You may add

 

Salsa…Toss together 3 diced tomatoes, 2 diced avocados, 1 diced red bell pepper, ½ dicerd red onion, 1½C corn, 1 small can sliced black olives, 3 minced cloves garlic, ¼ of a finely diced jalapeno pepper, ¼C chopped cilantro or parsley, juice of one lemon, 1Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper. Refrigerate. Serve with whole grain or bean chips, tacos, burritos, or fresh veggies.

 

Sandwiches/Toast/Wraps…Avocado is a great vegetarian substitute for meat in sandwiches, as well as a better for mayonnaise in any sandwiches.

Avocado “Grilled Cheese” Sandwich…One great sandwich to try would be the following recipe for a vegan grilled “cheese” sandwich…

Lightly toast 2 slices of vegan whole wheat bread. Prepare the sandwich with 2Tbsp vegan mayo, 1/2 of a ripe avocado, 6 very thin slices of green bell pepper, 6 very thin slices of red onion, and 2tsp extra virgin olive oil. Brush sandwich with olive oil. Grill as you would a regular grilled cheese sandwich.

 

Smoothies...Avocado smoothies are a great breakfast treat or post-workout snack.great breakfast treat or post-workout snack. For the simplest avocado smoothie, blend together 1 whole avocado, 1C milk, 1C ice, 1⁄2tsp vanilla, and 2Tbsp sugar….using any milk or sugar substitutes that you choose (more on this later)

 

Soup…Any easy way to incorporate avocado into any other soup would be to use it as a garnish. This will add both flavor and health benefits.

Another option would be to try an avocado soup…such as this hot soup from Healing Tomato, or this cold soup from All Recipes.

 

Sushi…Avocado are akey ingredient in California rolls and other makizushi (“maki”, or rolled sushi). I’ve only tried making sushi once, but I’m seriously thinking about getting my sushi mats back out and trying this recipe from Plant Based U.

So with all these recipes on hand and both my interest and taste buds awakened, I have now added avocados to our family’s permanent grocery list. Not only will these avocado recipes make a filling addition to our future meals and snacks, they will also provide ourfamily with nutritious heart-healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamin A, potassium and more.

*****

 

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oil of the Month—March 2018—Bergamot

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

When I first heard of bergamot essential oil and found out that it was a citrus fruit, my initial reaction was, “Gee, I’ve never heard of that before. Let’s go to Sprouts and go buy some bergamot oranges.”

But nestled among all the other citrus fruits, there was no sign of the bergamot orange.

Perhaps because the bergamot orange itself is inedible? Kinda like the penguin who can’t fly in the bird world, right?!

Anyway, bergamot essential oil is extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange, a fragrant citrus fruit that is the size of an orange and has a taste that is much sweeter than your typical lemon.

The bergamot orange is the most delicate of the citrus plants, requiring the special climate and soil found mainly in the Mediterranean. For this reason, most of the oranges used to make bergamot essential oil will have been harvested from trees located in the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in the southern part of Italy. Considering that the production of three ounces of bergamot oil requires one hundred bergamot oranges, there must be too many trees there to count(?!)…

 

If you’re like me, you’ve been enjoying the benefits and taste of bergamot for years without even realizing it. This is because an essence from the skin of the bergamot orange is extracted and used to give Earl Grey tea its distinctively citrus aroma and flavor.

And even though the bergamot orange is supposedly inedible, the bergamot orange is still used in Italian cooking to make Turkish delight and marmalade such as this recipe from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders.

 

 

 

As far as essential oils are concerned, bergamot has a very strong, very sweet citrus-based scent with a hint of florals and a strange spiciness. It is considered to be uplifting and relaxing, and blends particularly well with sandalwood, jasmine, and rosemary.

 

As far as the best uses for bergamot essential uses, here are a few of the best reasons to open the bottle…(no, not that bottle of whiskey or gin…the bottle of essential oil that you only spent how much for(?!))…

 

1. Aches and Pains...Bergamot essential oil stimulates the secretion of certain hormones which lessen the sensitivity of nerves to pain and help reduce the feeling of pain in the body. This makes bergamot essential oil an excellent choice for using topically when you are seeking quick relief from muscle cramps and headaches.

 

2.  Anxiety…Bergamot stimulates the activity of certain hormones in the body, like dopamine and serotonin, and improves blood circulation. This makes bergamot essential oil a good choice when you are looking for an essential oil that will help the most in relieving stress and anxiety, and soothing frazzled nerves…and helping to treat stress-associated ailments such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression.

 

3.  Cardiovascular Disease…The iconic coast of Italy in the Calabria region, where the bergamot orange is grown, is an area where people have experienced low incidents of cardiovascular diseases for generations. The soil in the region supposedly has some secret “fountain on youth” potion that results in the fruits and vegetables having been grown there, such as the bergamot orange, positively affecting your cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and blood glucose level.

 

4.  Deodorants…The refreshing aroma and natural cleansing/disinfectant properties of bergamot oil make this an excellent choice whenever you are considering which essential oil to be used in deodorant or household cleaners and air fresheners.

 

5.  Digestive System…According to traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot essential oil is the best treatment for keeping your your digestive system work properly. So if you’re needing anything pertaining to your digestive system and pooping mechanisms—indigestion, gas, constipation—this is probably the essential oil of choice.

 

6.  Respiratory…Bergamot essential oil is one of the best essential oils for anyone suffering from respiratory problems or asthma…

Honestly, this is the one essential oil that I made a special trip to Whole Foods to buy as soon as we completed last month’s journey to Cook’s Children’s Hospital after the “resident four year old” had an asthma attack.

Much rather breathe in bergamot and cough up that phlegm and mucus, than breathe in a deep sigh of relief when you finally leave the pediatric ward and have to cough up enough to pay for an ambulance ride and two night vacation with room service.

Might be using bergamot in my diffuser for a long, long while now…

 

7.  Skincare…Bergamot is used extensively in such cosmetic and skincare products as creams, lotions, shampoos, soaps, cleansers, and perfume. In fact, about one-third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.

One main reason that bergamot is used in these products is its ability to help more evenly distribute pigments and melanin when used to help heal marks on the skin, such as wounds and scars and acne. Using bergamot topically to treat such marks allows these marks to gradually fade away into a more even, attractive skin tone instead of leaving noticeable scars on the affected areas for many years.

Also, bergamot acts as an antiseptic agent that allows for fast healing of not only wounds as previously mentioned, but also helps heal cracked heels, ulcers, and eczema.

 

Bergamot Rollerball Stress Mess…Combine 3 drops grapefruit essential oil, 2 drops frankincense essential oil, and 2 drops bergamot essential oil in a dark rollerball bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with a light carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil. Apply to pulse points as needed. Store in a cool, dark place.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Oils to Keep…If You’d Like to Be Able to Sleep

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

When I first started using essential oils, I felt overwhelmed by the selections and how little I knew. Which one should I choose, and why? Almost like being a kid in a candy store.

But as I have started reading and studying more about living a healthier lifestyle and beginning new habits, I have also learned more about which essential oils work best for what the problem is.

For example, these are the best essential oils for helping to cure insomnia that are out there…but instead of going into depth about each one of these in this post, I have decided to choose one oil per month, and detail more and more reasons and ways to use that particular essential oil that particular month…

For example, the Essential Oil of the Month is bergamot (see next post…oh wait, you can’t…because at this point I haven’t finished writing it)…

Anyway, here are the best options as far as essential oils to help you sleep…

1.  BergamotBergamot essential oil is a cold-pressed essential oil that is produced by cells inside the rind and peel of a bergamot orange, a citrus fruit that has been used as a fragrance ingredient since around the year 1714. It takes about one hundred bergamot oranges to yield three ounces of bergamot oil.

Bergamot essential oil smells like a sweet light orange peel oil with a floral note and has a bright, yet calming and relaxing, effect. Bergamot essential oil is used to give Earl Grey tea its flavor, to calm anxious feelings, and to reduce both the heart rate and blood pressure.

2.  Cedarwood…Cedarwood essential oil is an essential oil that is produced from the foliage of various types of pine and cypress trees. The oil has an earthy, woodsy smell and supports healthy function of the pineal gland, which releases melatonin, the body’s natural sleepy hormone.

3.  Frankincense…Frankincense essential oil is a steam-distilled essential oil obtained from the tree resin of four main species of trees from the Boswellia genus. Frankincense essential oil has an earthy, balsamic fragrance and is perfect for balancing emotions, supporting healthy sleep, calming your mind and supporting your body’s natural response to healing.

4.  Juniper Berry…Juniper Berry essential oil is a steam-distilled essential oil that has a calming, grounding effect and an earthy, woodsy smell. The oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of about fifty different species of junipers plant, a member of the cypress family that can grow anywhere within the Northern Hemisphere, all the way from the Arctic down towards tropical Africa, Pakistan, and the mountains of Central America. Most of the juniper berry essential oil that we use here in America has been harvested from juniper plants found in middle Tennessee, northern Alabama, and southern Kentucky.

5.  Lavender…Lavender essential oil is a steam-distilled essential oil that is obtained from the flower spikes of certain species of the lavender plant, a member of the mint family. Lavender essential oil has a relaxing and calming effect…and is used to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, help reduce feelings of tension, and calm emotions.

Most of us are already familiar with the lavender plant because the plant has been used as ornamental plants in garden and landscaping, as a culinary herb, and was one of the common colors in that magical 64-count box of Crayola crayons…the bo that had the sharpener on the back of the box…and that every kid in the classroom envied unless they had one themselves.

6.  Marjoram…Marjoram essential oil is steam-distilled from from the flowering leaves and tops of the marjoram plant, a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub, that was referred to by the Romans as the “herb of happiness” and to the Greeks as the “joy of the mountains.”

The leaves have a unique mixture of sweet “pine” and citrus flavor. Most of us have had a marjoram spice container at least once in our spice cabinet of marjoram. If not an actual jar of marjoram by itself, perhaps a spice blend containing marjoram, such as herbes de Provence and za’atar…(I probably still have all three of these spices in the same container from back when I purchased thirty-one years ago when I first got married….let me go see)…

Anyway, marjoram essential oil is wonderful for muscles and joints, but it also excels in creating peaceful sleep and calming frazzled nerves.

7.  Roman Chamomile…Roman Chamomile essential oil has a calming, soothing, and relaxing effect and is perfect for helping to get rid of restlessness and anxious feelings.

The Roman chamomile plant is a low perennial plant found in dry fields, gardens, and cultivated grounds in Europe, North America, and in Argentina…and is used for making foods, herbal teas, perfumes, and cosmetics.

8.  Sandalwood...Sandalwood essential oil is a steam-distilled oil extracted from chips and billets cut from the heartwood of various species of sandalwood trees. Sandalwoods belong to the same botanical family as European mistletoe and can befound in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands. Sandalwood is the second most expensive wood in the world, after African blackwood.

Sandalwood has a distinctive rich, woodsy smell that has been highly valued for centuries as an ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics.

9.  Vetiver…Vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of a type of grass that is widely cultivated in tropical regions such as Haiti, India, and Indonesia. Vetiver has a psychologically grounding, calming and stabilizing effect and a rich and earthy smell.

10.  Ylang Ylang…Ylang ylang essential oil is extracted from the flowers of a ylang-ylang tree that is native in the rainforest habitats of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Ylang-ylang is also widely used in oriental- or floral-themed perfumes such as Chanel No. 5…and is also believed to relieve high blood pressure, to help with skin problems, and to be an aphrodisiac. In fact, in Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Now What?!

My initial goal when starting this blog was to take you on my journey to establishing a bed and breakfast in Oxford, Mississippi…but this dream has taken a sudden backseat as we now find ourselves raising our grandson…becoming a “new mother” at the age of fifty.

So my goal now is to take each aspect of my daily life and learn how to make it better…even if I never attract a single new follower or earn a single dollar.

I welcome you to join this journey with me…

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Previously, I talked about my decision to switch to a cruelty free lifestyle, starting with taking a shower. In the near future, I plan on talking about starting a raw foods diet, eating more “superfoods,” and anything else that I might do during the course of day. Join me for the journey.

Since taking a shower is the last thing I do every night before going to bed, then the next topic that I am going to “research” is one of my favorite things to do—SLEEP…

But so many nights, like many other Americans, some nights sleep just doesn’t happen…

So I have been learning to incorporate new habits and techniques into my nightly routine that will hopefully help me sleep better each night, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.

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Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. How well you sleep each night can impact nearly every aspect of your life.

Lack of sleep can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.

 

1.  Energy Level and Mood…Lack of sleep can make you have less energy to tackle the day ahead. You will find yourself getting sleepy during the day and feeling lethargic. Lack of sleep can cause many different mood disturbances, including depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.

 

2.  Health…Lack of sleep can increase both your risk and the severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Lack of sleep can do this because it causes your immune system to function poorly.

You may also find yourself having countless headaches and can even blame this sleeplessness on how much you weigh, because people with poor sleep habits are more likely to be obese.

 

3. School/Work Performance…Lack of sleep can affect your performance on the job or at school in many ways including…

 

Lack of Decision-Making Ability...Lack of sleep can slow the ability of the nervous system to process information and translate visual cues into conscious thought. This slowed reaction times can make such activities, especially driving, dangerous for both ourselves and people around us. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 20 percent of non-alcohol related car crash injuries are caused by driver sleepiness.

 

—Lack of Focus…Lack of sleep hinders your ability to stay focused for long periods of time and makes getting started on even the easiest work or school assignments even harder than normal.

Often your thoughts seem to rush off in a million different directions and start thinking about something completely different without even realizing when you stray from your intended train of thought. Often after not being able to sleep, you find it harder to finish whatever you may start.

 

4.  Overall Quality of Life...Lack of sleep gives you a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically….and even worse can damage relationships.

Irritability…One major impact that our lack of sleep can have on relationships is the increased irritability of the person who has had trouble sleeping…lack of sleep always makes us grumpy, (lmost like being hungry, right?!)

While we are sleeping, our brains produce the chemical serotonin, a chemical that helps us to feel calm. So when we are unable to sleep adequately, this serotonin does not get produced, causing us to become more irritable, short-tempered, and impatient during the day.

 

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Most of us have times when we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep once we do finally go to sleep, but does that mean that we actually suffer from full-blown insomnia and need to go get a sleep study done?

Actually for sleeplessness to be actually diagnosed as chronic insomnia, the disrupted sleep must occur at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months. It must also negatively impact the patient’s wellbeing, either through the causing distress or disturbing mood or performance..

About 10 percent of people suffer from such chronic insomnia.

Anyone who experiences sleeplessness for longer than four weeks or finds that your lack of sleep extremely interferes with daily activities and ability to function, should seriously consider speaking with a doctor.

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My goal in these next few posts is to give tips on creating a relaxing ritual that you do each and every night that will help you fall asleep faster and more consistently.

I will be focusing on healthy bedtime habits—such as meditation, soothing music, essential oils—that will help program your mind to get ready for bed..

I will be talking about several different options, so pick the ones that make you personally feel sleepy, comfortable, and relaxed.

I have personally found that having such a “nightly routine” of soothing transitional activity between my being awake and actually falling asleep helps your sleep quality and overall wellness….just like it probably did when my kids were little, and does for my “resident four year old.”

Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

M&M’s List of the Best Vegan OTBC Body Lotions and Creams

We all know the importance of choosing skincare, hair care, cosmetics, and almost any other household product in terms of not only trying to “save the Rainforest”…

BUT does that mean that every product that we purchase from this moment forward will basically “suck” in comparison to every product that we have been using right up until that moment when you made the decision to embrace a cruelty free, vegan lifestyle?

Not necessarily…

As I begin doing my research and adopting a new lifestyle, I find that there are certain “terms and definitions” that I might need to be able to refer back to later. This is one of those posts that will hopefully beaded into one accumulating glossary.

Today’s “terms and definitions” list consists of ingredients to look for when choosing an OTBC product, particularly a OTBC vegan body lotion or cream…

 

 

1.  Alpha-Hydroxyl AcidAlpha hydroxyl acids are a group of natural acids that can be found naturally in specific foods, or manufactured synthetically. These acids include glycolic acid, sourced from sugar cane…lactic acid, from sour milk and tomato juice…malic acid, from apples…citric acid, from citrus fruits…and tartaric acid, from grapes. The most commonly used of these acids are glycolic acid and lactic acid because they most easily are absorbed by the skin.

Alpha-hydroxyl acids are quoted as providing amazing results as far as your skin is concerned—including making your skin firmer, stronger, and softer…while at the same time preventing wrinkles, softening wrinkles that already exist, stimulating collagen, treating acne, and improving the look and feel of your skin in general.

As far as aging is concerned, alpha hydroxy acids stimulate the growth of elastin and collagen, both of which become depleted with age, and studies have shown that they may also stimulate the production of skin-supporting collagen and elastin.

Most AHA-containing products sold over the counter usually have AHA concentrations that are below 10 percent, and are gentle as long as you follow the product’s directions.

Look for a product that has the AHA listed as the second or third ingredient. Better yet, check the label to see if the product states the concentration of active ingredients. If not, put that one down and look another similar product.

These products are generally safe when used on the skin, but like almost anything else may cause mild skin irritations, redness and flaking….(pretty much a disclaimer so that we can’t all sue them, right?!)…

 

2.  CeramidesCeramides are an oily wax found naturally in the cell membranes of our skin. The waxy or cheese-like coating on the skin of a newborn infant, also known as the vernix caseosa, that serves as a moisture barrier during pregnancy consists primarily of these ceramides.

As we age, our body stops producing as much ceramide, and our skin begins to lose many of the ceramides that had been existing before that point…resulting in our skin becoming thinner, dry, and more susceptible to dry skin and wrinkles.

Skincare products with ceramides help restore moisture, fortify the skin’s natural barrier, and help keep your skin youthful and soft. Most ceramides used in skin care products such as shampoos, shower gels, shaving creams, and body lotions. Even some products labeled “unscented” may contain

 

3. “Fragrances”…Although the FDA does require an accurate list of ingredients on each product marketed on a retail basis to consumers—whether in stores, on the Internet, or person-to-person…the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act allows manufacturers to protect the ingredients that might be considered “trade secrets.”

However these unknown “trade secrets” could be helping us all trade in our current good health and well-being–not just now, but many years down the road–for cancer, migraines, asthma, gastrointestinal troubles and cardiovascular problems…or even killing us if have particular allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients.

The term “fragrance” has become a catch-all through which many manufacturers of skincare products can “sneak” an undisclosed ingredient into their container while nobody’s looking.

Even though our nation in general is in the process of becoming smarter, more environmental-friendly, and health conscientious, it will be a long time before companies will ever simply stop slapping the word “fragrance” on their containers

Always take the time to check the ingredient list carefully. Stop buying products that follow the trade norm of using the “F-word” on their ingredient list to conceal over a dozen secret undisclosed ingredients in the container.

 

4.  Humectants…Humectants help hydrate the surface of your skin by pulling water from the deeper levels of skin to the surface of the skin, and delivering hydration and nutrients to the deeper layers. Humectants can also increase the ability of a product’s other active ingredients to be absorbed into the skin.

Humectants are important ingredients in anti-aging skincare because they lock moisture onto the surface of the skin, keeping it moist and healthy and minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Humectants also help keeping your skin looking and feeling smoother and softer and your complexion more youthful, supple, and radiant.

Look for products that contain such natural humectants as aloe, honey, hyaluronic acid, and vegetable glycerin.

5. Lanolin…Lanolin is the oil extracted from the wool of sheep after sheep have been sheared.  Lanolin enables nourishes and protects the sheep against environmental extremities.

While this may be considered an animal byproduct and therefore not cruelty free, the process does not actually harm the sheep and so can be considered cruelty free.

Lanolin is an excellent emollient that helps soften and soothe skin and resembles the sebaceous secretions of our own skin.

1.  100% Pure Whipped Body Butter

  • Fragrance Options…Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Blood Orange, Coconut Lime, Gingerade, Pink Grapefruit, Honey Almond, Mangosteen, French Lavender
  • Ingredients…anti-aging antioxidants and nutrients, vitamins, skin softening oils, and moisturizing cocoa and avocado butters
  • Kudos…no sulfates or other detergents, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, dyes or any other toxins.
  • Price…$26

2. Avalon Organics Hand & Body Lotion

  • Availability…Kroger, Sprouts, Whole Foods
  • Fragrance Options…Aloe, Peppermint, Lemon, Rosemary, Cucumber, Lavender
  • Ingredients…include such natural ingredients as aloe vera, shea butter, calendula and nutrient-rich beta-glucan…based on fragrance selected
  • Kudos…”Humbled by a profound respect for all living beings, Avalon Organics® products are vegan* and cruelty-free. The Avalon Organics® brand never tests products on animals, and will only source ingredients that the supplier can document are not tested on animals. This commitment to kindness is represented by the leaping bunny logo that appears on product labels.”
  • Price…$8

3.  Beauty Without Cruelty Hand + Body Lotion

  • Fragrance Options…fragrance-free
  • Ingredients…shea butter, jojoba, kukui nut, arnica, and calendula…
  • Price…$12

4.  Desert Essence Organics Hand & Body Lotion

  • Availability…Sprouts
  • Fragrance Options…Island Mango, Italian Lemon, Tropical Coconut, Coconut Lime, Bulgarian Lavender, Spicy Vanilla Chai, Pumpkin Spice
  • Ingredients…such ingredients asIsland Mango. Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil
  • Price…$10
Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Articles About Argan Oil…Argan Oil for Your Hair

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Sorry, but the last thing that I want to think about after taking my shower…especially since I take one as the very last thing of my day…is having to rifle through a dozen different products for my haircare and skincare needs…let’s keep things simple…

So I simply grab for a bottle of pure argan oil…and use it from head to toe…

I could even do that without my glasses on or my contacts in…which is a good thing because I am legally blind, right?!

Benefits of using Argan oil on your hair include…

  • improving the texture of your hair by making it softer, silkier and shinier
  • making your hair more manageable by helping to tame frizz and fly-aways
  • preventing and repairing protecting your hair from damage caused by the heat of hair dryers, curlers and flat irons…as well as pollution, chemicals and UV rays
  • promoting hair growth because of its vitamin E content
  • repairing split ends
  • stopping dandruff before it causes serious problems
  • moisturizing your hair because of its essential fatty acids content

Regular Use…Depending on the thickness, texture, condition and length of your hair, you may need anywhere from 1 drop to 3 drops. Getting the right amount may take some practice. Start with a drop (or for short hair a ½ drop may do) and warm in your palms before raking your fingers through your hair, paying special attention to your ends. Once complete, add a ½ drop to your fingertips and massage into your scalp. Rub any excess into your face, neck or hands.

Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment...Using argan oil once a week as a deep conditioner for your hair will amplify its benefits even more. If you have dandruff or dry scalp, you should probably use this as an overnight treatment twice per week until the dandruff is gone.

Warm about seven drops in your hands. Massage into your hair, working from the scalp to the ends. Put on a shower cap. (Not only will this keep your pillowcase free from oil, but it will also help your body’s natural body heat, as retained in the shower cap, to help the oil work more efficiently.)

In the morning, wash your hair, rinsing until all residue is gone.

 

Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Articles About Argan Oil…Argan Oil for Your Skin

 

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Because of its high vitamin E and fatty acid content, argan oil is great to use both during the day as a daily moisturizer, or at night as an overnight cream. Argan oil also absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving an oily residue.

One method of using argan oil as a moisturizer is to simply add a couple of drops of argan oil to the carrier oil of your choice—coconut, olive, jojoba, sweet almond or sesame. (more on this to come later)…

Another option is to massage a drop of the oil directly onto any specific dry areas, such as your heels and elbows, to hydrate and soften the skin.

 

 Argan Oil and Acne…Argan oil can both prevent and treat acne.

Argan oil prevents acne and other skin breakouts by helping to control oil production. Argan oil provides natural moisture without being greasy.

Argan oil treats acne because the anti-oxidants found in Argan oil help to heal damaged skin cells and reduce inflammation.

To help clear up mild acne, simply apply one drop gently onto the affected areas twice a day.

 

2.  Argan Oil and Aging Skin…Argan oil is an ideal anti-aging serum because of the fact that is an antioxidant that helps to heal irritated or damaged skin. Argan oil leaves skin feeling plumper and softer and reduces the visibility of wrinkles by increasing the amount of collagen your skin consists of.

 

3.  Argan Oil and Dry Skin…Argan oil is great for skin that is flaky, irritated, cracked, damaged, or itchy…especially skin that suffers from such skin conditions as eczema. The Vitamin E and fatty acids that argan oil contains help not only to repair the damaged skin, but also to prevent further dryness and irritation. The antioxidants that argan oil contains help speed up the healing process.

 

4.  Argan Oil and Exfoliating…In a previous post, I talked about the importance of exfoliating your skin to help remove dead skin cells, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and  give you a younger, fresher complexion.

Argan oil can be a great part of your exfoliating routine. Simple a couple of drops of argan oil with 1Tbsp of brown sugar. (The brown sugar helps the nutrients of the argan oil to be more readily absorbed into your skin.) Rub into your face in a circular motion for a couple of minutes, paying special attention to any acne-prone or dry areas. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry.

 

5.  Argan Oil and Feet…Argan oil can help treat cracked skin or your heels, fight foot viruses and fungi, and avoid bad foot odor.

To use argan oil on your feet, simply rub a couple of drops on your feet, paying special attention to the problem areas. Put on a pair of cozy socks. Leave the socks on overnight.

 

 

6. Argan Oil and Shaving…Argan oil can be used to soothe your skin after shaving…and could actually replace your  non-cruelty free shaving creams.

 

7. Argan Oil and Stretch Marks…The Vitamin E contained in Argan oil provides the ideal protection against unaightly stretch marks during pregnancy. To use Argan oil to prevent stretch marks, simply warm a couple of drops of Argan oil in the palms of your hands and then gently rub into your breasts, stomach, butt, hips, thighs and any other potential problem areas.

Getting Dressed, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

 Articles On Argan Oil…What Is Argan Oil?!

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Argan oil has seemed to be a huge buzzword for hair products for quite a while now, but what exactly is “argan oil”?

 

Argan oil comes from argan kernels, which come from argan nuts, which come from argan fruit, which come from argan trees, which come only from the argan forest of southwest Morroco.

Seriously, argan trees are slow-growing trees found only in the argan woodlands of southwest Morocco. These trees are so revered by the Moroccans that they refer to the trees as “the tree of life.” In 1998 these argan forests of Morroco were officially declared to be the “Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve,” and the region is protected by UNESCO.

For generations, natives of the area have been extracting oil from the two or three oily kernels found inside the nuts of the argan tree…and now more and more products are being produced that have argan oil as one of the main ingredients.

 

Why Argan Oil?

So what makes argan oil so incredibly awesome for both your hair and your skin?

Argan oil is extremely rich in beneficial nutrients including…

1.  Antioxidants…Antioxidants are natural compounds found in plant-based foods—such as beta-carotene and other related carotenoids, minerals like manganese and selenium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E—that fight harmful free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. These molecules are unstable and chemically reactive, and simply cannot be avoided. They exist in the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the sunlight shining on your skin.

Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals and reduce their harmful effects. These free radicals running rampant in our bodies eventually shows up as aging, fatigue, and even serious ailments like cancer. As you can see, it is important to keep these free radicals at bay in order to maintain good health.

Using products with antioxidants becomes more and more important as we get older…(yeah, I’m getting older, hate to admit it)…because our body’s superoxide dismutase (SOD), the natural defense system against such free radicals, becomes less effective…gives these free radicals more and more freedom to wreck havoc.

As far as hair and skin benefits, products with antioxidants delay the signs of skin aging, fight against wrinkles, prevent hair loss, and improve the overall health of both your skin and hair

 

 

2.  Linoleic Acid…Linoleic acid, is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, part of the Omega 6 fatty acids, that occurs naturally in the body. Deficiencies in this linoleic acid can result in dry hair, dry skin, hair loss, and acne. For this reason, linoleic acid is often used as an emulsifier in the soaps and quick-drying oils.

 

 

3.  Omega-3 Fatty Acids…Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, but cannot be sufficiently produced by the body. This acid has to be obtained through proper diet and nutrition…mainly through plant oils—such as flaxseed oil, hemp oil, seabuckthorn seed, and berry oils—and marine oils—such as fish oil, squid oil, algal oil krill oil.

As far as skin is concerned, Omega 3 acids treat and prevent skin diseases such as psoriasis, allergies and acne. It also acts as a natural sunscreen that helps protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. These fatty acids also are important in maintaining proper skin tone and helping your skin look smooth, radiant, soft and flawless.

As far as hair is concerned, Omega 3 acids are useful for moisturizing dry and brittle hair, treating itchy and flaky scalp or dandruff, preventing hair, maintaining proper blood circulation in the scalp, and keeping your hair strong and healthy.

 

 

4.  Omega-6 Fatty Acids…Omega-6 fatty acids, just like the omega-3 fatty acids described above, s another element that your body needs, but is unable to manufacture on its own. For this reason, they must also be obtained through either diet or supplements.

Both essential fatty acids are an important component of the cell membranes of each cell throughout the body. A lack of these fatty acids can prevent nutrients from entering these cells and wastes from exiting.

The acids also create a “barrier against the elements.” A deficiency is essential fatty acids can result in dry skin and premature aging.

 

 

5. Vitamin A

Vitamin A and AcneVitamin A—compounds such as retinol, retinoic acid, retinal and beta carotene—is a powerful antioxidant. Because vitamin A is an antioxidant, it prevent irritants and germs from attacking your skin and causing acne or other  infections. Vitamin A helps clear acne by dislodging impurities from pores and slowing excess oil production.

Vitamin A and Collagen…Applying Vitamin A products, such as those products containing retinol and retinoic acid to your skin, stimulates the production of both elastin and fibroblasts, the main connective tissue cells that are responsible for developing collagen.

Collagen is necessary for filling in fine lines and helping your skin stay smooth, firm and healthy.

Vitamin A Deficiency…Vitamin A deficiency results in weak skin cells and dry, withered-looking skin. Deficiency can also cause your hair follicles to become weak and dry, eventually resulting in hair loss and thinning hair.

Vitamin And Hair…As far as hair,  eating vitamin A-rich foods nourishes and moisturizes your scalp and helps your hair to become longer and stronger.prevent and diminish age spots by regulating the production of melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin color.

 

 

6.  Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that can be used to improve or maintain the appearance of both your skin and your hair. As far as skin, Vitamin E is a great moisturizer, especially for dry and damaged skin. As far as hair, Vitamin E nourishes your hair and repairs any damage caused by the sun’s UV rays or chemical processes.

 

 

 

Getting Dressed

My Angle on Tangles

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We all want healthy, shiny hair-
-free from common hair problems such as static, grease, and limpness–and are willing to change shampoos, styling products, and even how we blow dry or straighten our hair in order to get it.

But perhaps the real barrier keeping us all from having this beautiful, shiny hair is an everyday mundane task most of us don’t even think about—brushing your hair..

Sure, we all know how to brush our hair…we’ve been doing it for years…But…

Are we all doing it right?

In fact, IS there really a “right” way and a “wrong” to brush your hair?
The answer is “yes,” and the fact is that most of us have been brushing our hair the wrong wYfor our entire lives–down instead of up.

Starting at the top of your head and brushing down our strands is actually bad for hair because this could pull the hair out of the follicle…and might eventually make us all prematurely bald.

Instead we should all be starting to comb or brush our hair at the bottom and brush our way up. Brushing up allows you to tackle tangles along the hair shaft, but without this risk of pulling the follicle out of its root.

To brush your hair in what most of us would call the “wrong” direction, start brushing a few inches from the ends. Once this section is detangled, keep moving up a few more inches at a time and continue brushing sections of hair until you reach the top.

Even though, brushing up your hair like this may feel unnatural at first, if it will keep you from pulling all your hair out…(or at least the hair still left after being with rowdy children or rude co-workers)…wouldn’t this be useful?

But before even trying to detangle your hair, first apply a detangling product. The detangler will make your hair slippery, and the comb will go right through.

 

A spray detangler, such as Not Your Mother’s Detangler Tahitian Garden Flower & Mango, works best for fine hair.

A lotion detangler, such as Paul MItchell Lite Detangler, works best for “average” hair.
After drenching hair with detangler, brush or comb gently. Never yank through a particularly snarled section in an effort to remove any knots.

Instead gently remove any knots with a detangling brush, Tangle Teezer, or  wide-tooth comb.

  
1.  Detangling Brush…The traditional paddle brush is the best type of  brush to use when detangling your hair. This type of brush is strong enough to detangler your hair, but is still gentle because the flexible plastic bristles of the brush are spaced further apart, and these brushes have a padded base. A densely-packed brush, such as a boar-bristle brush, will pull on your hair way too much as you try to detangle your hair.

This EcoTools Detangler Paddle Brush, is a great option for  removing tangles. The EcoTools Detangler Paddle Brush has a sustainable bamboo handle, 100% cruelty-free nylon bristles, large paddle, and a vented cushion to provide maximum detangling with minimal pulling and damage.

2.  Tangle Teezer …The Tangle Teezer is designed with ergonomically designed handle(?!) to fit snugly in your palm and flexible plastic teeth to  make removing tangles and knots quicker, easier, and pain-free… and minimizing hair breakage and cuticle damage.

3.  Wide-Tooth Comb…A wide-tooth comb, such as this Detangling Comb from The Body Shop is a third option. If you are going to use a comb to detNgle your hair, make sure that the teeth are spaced further apart.
And that, my friends, is my Angle on Tangles…