Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

April Essential Oil of the Month—Chamomile—The How?

 

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

We are all familiar with chamomile tea, having been read The Tale of Peter Rabbit,  written by Beatrix Potter in 1902, and hearing how chamomile tea was given to Peter after being chased by Mr McGregor.

But chamomile tea has been around since the Indian days, at least.

And it seemed like the Indians enjoyed their chamomile tea. The Tzeltal Mayan Indians in the highlands of southern Mexico brew chamomile tea with an orange and a lime leaf to “lift the mood.” Aleuts brewed chamomile tea to alleviate gas. Drinking the tea was a Cherokee trick for “regularity.”

 

Today chamomile tea remains one of the most popular varieties of tea in the market. In fact more than one million cups of chamomile tea are consumed per day.

But not only has chamomile used for nearly 5,000 years for chamomile tea. Throughout the centuries, there have been many other uses also, including…

 

Bath Soaks…Lavender Chamomile Bath Soak…Combine 1C Epsom Salt, the contents of 2 chamomile tea bags in a blender. Pulverize into a fine powder. Add 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil and 5 drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil.

Candles

  • Place soy wax chips in a heatproof glass measuring cup. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until completely melted.
  • Attach a wooden candle wick to its metal tab. Dip the tab in melted wax. Center at bottom of a glass jar.
  • Heat 1Tbsp cooking oil on a stovetop. Steep two chamomile tea bags and 10 drops lavender essential oil until the oil is scented.
  • Remove the tea-infused oil from the heat.
  • Combine tea-infused and oil and the melted wax together.
  • Slowly pour the mixture into your glass jar. Let the wax  cool and solidify. Trim the wood wick.

 Compresses..Steep a chamomile tea bag in boiling water, as if you were going to drink it. Pour tea into a bowl. Let tea cool completely. Add a few ice cubes. Soak a muslin cloth in the cool tea and squeeze out. Place on eyes or sore area and leave for at least ten minutes.

Hand Rinse…Chamomile has been used as a hand rinse for gamblers needing good luck, because of its supposed magical ability to attract money…Steep a chamomile teabag as if you were making yourself a cup of tea. Set aside 1/4C of the tea to cool. Combine ¼C liquid castile soap, ¾tsp olive oil, 8 drops chamomile essential oil, and several drops of Vitamin E oil. Add tea when completely cooled. Mix ingredients well. Pour into a labeled pump bottle.

 

Liqueur...Chamomile has also been used as a flavoring agent for liqueurs such as Benedictine and vermouth…so why not tequila?!

  • Measure out 1C reposado tequila. Add two chamomile tea bags. Let steep thirty minutes. Place this mixture in the fridge for later.
  • Combine 1/2C honey, 2tsp dried lavender, and 1/2C water in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm, stirring once or twice, until the honey melts to make a simple syrup.
  • Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice.
  • Shake 2oz of the tequila mixture, 3/4oz of the simple syrup, 3/4oz freshly squeezed lime juice, and a dash of bitters in a cocktail shaker.

Mouthwash…

  • Combine 1/4C witch hazel, 1/4C aloe vera juice, 1/8C distilled water. Add two drops of chamomile essential oil and two drops of mint essential oil. Shake well. After thirty minutes, set the mixture in the fridge.
  • To use, combine 2Tbsp mixture with 1/4C warm water. 

Perfume…Perfume has been made from the pulverized dry flowers.

  • Combine 6 drops lavender essential oil, 10 drops chamomile essential oil, 1Tbsp carrier oil, and 3Tbsp vodka. Shake well. Place in a dark bottle. Let mixture remain undisturbed for two days.
  • After two days, add 2C distilled water. Let mixture stand for at least three weeks in a cool, dark place.
  • After this time, filter the mixture. Store it in a glass bottle that has a stopper.
  • To use, dab on pulse points.

 

 

 

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Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

April Essential Oil of the Month—Chamomile…The Why?

Chamomile, an aromatic herb, has been used throughout most of the world for many centuries and is one of the most ancient and versatile medicinal herbs known to mankind. The plant, with its white daisy like flowers and scent reminiscent of apples or pineapple, is native to Europe and western Asia.

  1. Stress and Anxiety...Chamomile is one the best medicinal herbs for helping to lower stress and anxiety because chamomile helps to increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that slow down your mind and eliminate the classic symptoms of stress and anxiety—such as hysteria, nightmares, insomnia, and various digestive problems. Drinking one or two cups of chamomile tea per day or inhaling chamomile essential oils through a diffuser are often recommended as natural remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression.
  2. Skin…Chamomile is often used topically on the skin to help fight skin irritation, heal wounds, treat skin conditions such as eczema, and lessen the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles on the face. Try this recipe for a “natural” Calamine lotion to treat mosquito bites during the summer…
  3. Sleep…Drinking a warm cup of non-caffeinated chamomile tea or diffusing it in the home diffuser can be a very powerful sleep aid, particularly for people who are struggling with restless sleep, insomnia, or other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
  4. Menstrual Discomfort…Chamomile tea is often used when dealing with the symptoms of menstruation—like PMS, bloating, cramping, sweating, inability to sleep, and mood swings. Chamomile tea is often also used in some parts of the world, such as Mexico, to soothe the body and mind and to relax abdominal muscles after giving birth.
  5. Immune SystemChamomile works as both an anti-histamine and an antioxidant, meaning that it can strengthen your body’s immune response to allergens in the body and soothe these allergic reactions before they become serious. The phenolic compounds in chamomile tea have been proven specifically good at fighting bacterial infections in the body, and that six glasses of chamomile tea consumed over a two-week timeframe can significantly improve the body’s ability to fight off  any infections.
  6. Gastrointestinal Issues...Chamomile has been used in many cultures for various stomach ailments—such as upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, mild bloating, IBS symptoms, gas, acid reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, and motion sickness.
  7. Diabetes…Chamomile helps lower blood sugar levels, regulate the amount of insulin in the blood, and prevent massive drops and spikes in blood sugar.
  8. Pain…Chamomile has been referred to as an “herbal aspirin” and has been a popular home remedy for centuries in reducing pain—especially pain associated with arthritis, injuries, back pain, fevers, and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

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

The Essentials about Essential Oils

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils are perhaps the oldest known element in following a “natural health” regimen…dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who seem to have used them as far back as 3500BC for religious, cosmetic, and health purposes.

Essential oils have been called the “life blood” of the plant and are typically extracted from within the many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes and seeds in which they are found through the process of steam distillation. These essential oils have been used for both physical and emotional benefits for thousands of years.

Each person will respond to the aroma, or these specific chemical elements, when breathing in the scent of an essential oil, in his or her own unique way…based on individual emotions, behaviors, memories, and experiences.

That being said, certain essential oils are always considered to have a certain effect regardless of these factors. Certain oils simply almost always seem more uplifting, more invigorating, more calming, more soothing….

In a future post, I will be sharing a list of the best essential oils to use when fighting insomnia.

 

But what good is that list of essential oils and a brand new vial of essential oil…if you’re like I was the first time that I purchased essential oil. It sat in my bathroom for years before I finally gave it away to my daughter because I had no clue what to do with it…(okay, did I just admit that?!)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Essential oils can have a huge positive influence on us both physically and psychologically.

Physically, using essential oils aromatically can help heal and maintain the respiratory system by improving the quality of the air we are breathing and protecting us from environmental threats…

Psychologically, using essential oils aromatically can help control moods, tension, and stress.

But first, how and why do essential oils work aromatically?

When you inhale essential oils, you are actually breathing in a fine mist or vapor of the actual oil. This vapor contains all the same properties of the actual liquid oil itself, just in a different format.

Once you have inhaled the vapor, the scent of the essential oil interacts with smell receptors located in the brain, known as “olfactory sensors.”

These “olfactory sensors” are part of the “olfactory system,” the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell. The “olfactory system” part of the brain is located near and closely connected to the limbic system.

Once the scent is processed by the olfactory system, it travels through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system.

The “limbic system” is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell, emotions, behavior, memory, and thoughts…and that can help us feel calm, encouraged, and so forth. Here, the scent triggers responses in the brain based on memories and experiences.

Notice that the limbic system, the part of the brain most closely connected with the olfactory system, is not connected with processing sight, sound, or touch…explaining why smell, more than any of the other five senses, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.

And why essential oils have a particularly powerful effect when used aromatically.

 

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…

Getting Dressed

Vegan Dry Shampoos

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Dry shampoos are so convenient for stretching out those “Messy Hair, Don’t Care” days between actually washing your hair, saving money by stretching out the time between hair appointments, helping you get dressed on yet another manic Monday morning, and helping you look halfway decent after you just worked out.

Yet is dry shampoo worth sacrificing your planet-friendly, vegan values or your health? After all, choosing to use a vegan beauty products decreases your carbon footprint, water consumption, and energy consumption.

Obviously dry shampoo is to be used as a supplement to traditional shampoo, not a replacement. Dry shampoos cover impurities, but may not remove them.

A few brands of vegan dry shampoo are…


1. Acure Organics Dry Shampoo…

  1. Ingredients…vegan, sulfate free, paraben free and cruelty-free
  2. Price… $10
  3. Review…Makeup Alley


2.  Batiste Dry Shampoo, Clean, and Classic

  • Availability…Albertson’s, CVS, Walgreen’s, Target
  • Price…$6
  • Review…Makeup and Beauty


3. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo 


4. Hair Dance Silky Touch Dry Shampoo Powder

  • Ingredients…100% Natural, Vegan, and Cruelty-Free…NO talc, parabens, baking soda, or phtalates
  • Price…$16.99

5.  Handmade Heroes Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo

  • Ingredients…bamboo charcoal, peppermint, eucalyptus, rice powder
  • Mission…to provide entirely vegan and cruelty-free products
  • Philosophy…products are handmade – no heavy machinery or chemicals are part of the manufacturing process
  • Price…$13
  • ReviewGuru


6.   Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo

  • Availability…Sephora
  • Ingredients…USDA certified organic ingredients…totally plant-based formulation
  • Price...$32
  • Review…Girl Gone Green

7.  Skinnyskinny Rose and Black Pepper Organic Dry Shampoo

  • Availability…CVS, Walgreen’s
  • Ingredients…cornstarch, brown rice powder, white clay, horsetail powder, baking soda, orris root powder, rose & black pepper essential oils
  • Price…$32
  • Review…Indigo and Canary

8.  Zabana Essentials Dry Shampoo

  1. Available in three scents…Shimmery, a tropical coconut… Lavender Citrus Mint…Blood Orange Sage
  2. Ingredients…
  3. Mission…to provide a product that is not only affordable but friendly to all living things on the planet.
  4. Price…$13
  5. Review…The Plant Philosophy