Fabulous Fridays!

Every wonder what products and routine a woman who owns a personal care business uses? Is it crazy complex with multiple steps, or a 2 minute splash and go?

Let’s take a peek behind the curtain.

Now, first things first…there is the routine I WANT to follow, and then there is real life. We’ll start with the ideal routine – after all, we’ve all got goals!

     Saturday – Thursday

          Morning routine:

          Wet/Rinse hair and massage scalp

          Cleanse face with 2 part CEK system

          Cleanse body with a loofa and  handmade soap

          Pat dry

          Apply CEK bi-phase moisturizer

          Apply lip balm

          Apply body butter

          And, of course, apply Stink Stopper natural deodorant

This, including getting dressed, only takes me 20 minutes and leaves me feeling pampered and ready for the day. I don’t dry my hair or apply make up, but if I did it would probably add another 20 minutes to my morning routine.

     Evening wind down:

          Cleanse face with 2 part CEK system

          Apply CEK night serum

          Apply lip balm

          Thoroughly brush hair

          Once or twice a week, soak in a warm tub with foaming bath salts.

Again, this only takes a few minutes and leaves me feeling relaxed and pampered before bed.

And then, there’s Friday. Fabulous Friday. Make-me-feel-like-I’ve-been-to-the-spa-and-am-a-glorious-goddess Friday. I scrub. I mask. I (yes, tmi) shave. I am polished and glowing from head to toe.

     Morning routine:

          Wash hair, taking time to massage scalp.

          Condition hair, focusing on ends – leave in during next steps

          Cleanse face with 2 part CEK system

          Apply facial masque – leave on during next steps

          *whispers* here’s the tmi part…

          While my hair deep conditions and the facial masque does its work, I shave my legs.

          Rinse/wipe off masque

          Rinse conditioner out of hair

          Cleanse body with a 3-in-one body polish

          Pat dry

          Apply CEK bi-phase moisturizer

          Apply lip balm

          Apply Stink Stopper natural deodorant

If the weather is particularly dry, apply body butter (I usually don’t need to do this because the 3-in-1 polish is also a moisturizer)

This obviously takes me a bit longer…but not much (I don’t have that big of a hot water tank). Even with the added steps and including getting dressed, I still only spend about 30-40 minutes getting ready for the day. And I feel fabulous!

     Evening wind down:

          What wind down? It’s Friday and I feel like a queen! I’m out with my husband having a grand ol’ time.

                               – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, let’s be real for a minute. Do I really do all that every day?

No.

We all have days where we are lucky to have the time to wash our face and brush our teeth, or days where you just don’t feel like doing some of the steps. As for a warm soak….well, at least I get to it every couple of months…

But, I’ve been able to streamline a routine that leaves me feeling pampered and refreshed with minimal time investment. That means that I am more likely to stick to it.

And Friday? That ALWAYS happens. Ok…sometimes it happens on Saturday…but it happens. I need Fabulous Friday – that time to myself, to pamper and refresh, to reset and let my stress wash away, to remember the good things and anticipate more.

And so do you.

So, what does your routine look like? What do you do to refresh and reset? Let me know in the comments!

All About: Tamanu Oil

Welcome to the first in our ‘All About’ series, where we take a look at some of the amazing natural ingredients available out there.

So many of the ‘new and exciting’ natural ingredients we hear about actually aren’t new…but they are exciting. As conventional science begins to study traditional remedies, they are finding a plethora of quantifiable benefits. This is particularly true of Tamanu Oil.

The evergreen tree with fragrant white flowers that produces the oil is native to the tropics, although it can be found in Africa and North America as well today. Known as Alexandrian Laurel, Borneo Mahogany, Beautyleaf, Doomba, Tamanu, Kamanu, and Faraha among other names, it produces oblong fruits approximately 2 inches long. The kernel of this fruit is dried on a rack and then mechanically pressed to produce a thick, rich, deep green oil with a pleasantly nutty smell. This is a fixed, or carrier oil and absorbs into the skin completely and leaves no residue.

While the oil has traditionally been used topically to treat burns, scars, and infected wounds, until 2015 there had not been many studies done to verify these claims. The 2015 study verified that Tamanu Oil did in fact cause wounds to heal 1.3 to 2.1 times faster, and was also effective against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Not only that, but it was effective at dilutions below 1%.

So what does that mean for us? Well, it means that products containing Tamanu Oil are ideal for wounded or problematic skin. Chapping, minor cuts and burns, acne, and irritated or inflamed skin can all benefit. In addition, its natural anti-bacterial properties make it an excellent addition to deodorants.

Have you ever used Tamanu Oil? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

Sources:  The Wound Healing and Antibacterial Activity of Five Ethnomedical Calophyllum inophyllum Oils: An Alternative Therapeutic Strategy to Treat Infected Wounds https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4583440/ 

Oil of Tamanu:  http://www.medicinehunter.com/tamanu

Power of the Seed by Susan M. Parker                                                                                            

Modern Cosmetics Ingredients of Natural Origin A Scientific View Volume 1                                

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


A Tutorial Experiment: Body Butter

I often get asked how to use body butter, as well as how much to use, so I put together a quick tutorial experiment to answer both questions (plus a couple more) in one shot – multitasking, baby!

I started with the theory that a tablespoon of body butter would be enough to moisturize a person from head to toe, then measured it out and weighed it to get my starting point.

One tablespoon of New Leaf Naturals Radiant Body Butter - Quiet (lavender + green tea) scent
My starting point: 1 tablespoon of body butter
Looks like it weighs .385 oz.

 I already knew that the quickest and easiest way to apply it was by melting a bit between my palms and gliding them over my skin to leave a light layer that quickly absorbs, so all I needed to do now was figure out exactly how much to use. I started with my hands, face, and neck:

Use about half a pea sized amount of body butter to moisturize your hands, face, and neck
New Leaf Naturals Radiant Body Butter, Quiet (lavender + green tea) scent.
This is how much I used to moisturize my hands, face, and neck. 

First, use it on your hands – about up to where your watch band would be – then glide them over your face and neck. There’s no need to rub or pull – your hands will leave a nice light layer of body butter on your face that will moisturize and keep your skin soft all day without being greasy.

Moving on to feet/legs, arms, and trunk, you use a similar technique. Melt the butter between your palms and glide over your skin.

I used this much for each foot/leg.
Melted by rubbing it between my palms before applying.
This much covered both arms/shoulders.
And this was the last bit I needed to cover my trunk.

As you can see, I needed much less than I had estimated. A little bit truly does go a long way! I reweighed the body butter:

I had .280 oz left over.

Doing the math, I learned that just a smidge less than a teaspoon was all I used. So that one ounce container will last me 8-10 days, and the larger 4 oz container I have waiting in my drawer will last me 38-40 days (assuming daily use).

Some other common concerns I hear about using body butter are the time factor and greasy feeling. To that end I can say that, including time spent taking pictures, it only took 3 minutes to moisturize from head to toe. Because I used so little, it absorbed very quickly and I didn’t feel greasy or like there was a heavy film left on my skin – but my skin was super soft and not itchy for the entire day. I’d say that’s a win.

Do you use body butter? What other questions do you have? Leave a comment and let me know!

For all you data geeks out there who may want to verify my math:

One tablespoon is equal to 3 teaspoons. One tablespoon of body butter weighed .385 oz, and I used .105 oz (.385-.280). Percentage equals used divided by whole multiplied by 100, so (.105/.385) x 100 = 27.27%, or just less than one third of a tablespoon.

Better Smell, Better Sex?

I think we can all agree that it is easier to focus on enjoying an intimate experience with a partner when both of you smell nice.  Most healthy and functional people don’t consider the scent of old shoes or a gym bag left in the back seat too long an aphrodisiac (not judging if you do…just saying).

Depending on which article you read, there are between 5 and 7 stinkiest parts of the body that need particular attention. The “big 2” most people have in hand:  the hair and the mouth.  Washing your hair and brushing your teeth have proven to be really good ideas, not just for an enjoyable evening encounter, but as a basic expectation of being in public (except for the emergency run to the grocery store in pajamas and slippers, which is allowed 4x / year).  There are a host of really good all natural options for both shampoos and toothpastes on the market today.  In addition,  natural food stores often carry several options of essential oil breath sprays that can help battle the side effect of your coffee addiction – and may even offer some anti-viral benefits.  I, for example, like an oregano oil based spray which I use before bed each evening, and before singing at church.  

The other stink zones, in no particular order, are the underarms, feet, and groin, with honorable mentions by the neck and ears.  I am going to throw in the under-boobs here as well, which while escaping most mainstream areas of attention, can (especially in later years of maturity) accumulate sweat and ‘funk’. While underarm deodorants are prevalent, there is a reason most name brand deodorants don’t strongly recommend applying them to your groin, boobs, and feet. First and foremost, many deodorants contain components too harsh for these sensitive areas of your body.  Many natural deodorants, while being free of harsh synthetic ingredients use high concentrations of baking soda as the primary bacterial fighting component, which in itself can be pretty harsh on the skin. Beyond deodorants to anti-perspirants… blocking perspiration isn’t the best idea for your body. It is accepted only as a necessary evil…a willing sacrifice of health for the sake of social acceptability.  Finally, who wants to contaminate their stick deodorant with toe, crotch or butt jam? Nobody…thats who. 

There are a couple of conventions when considering nether sweat and foot funk…application of corn starch, to help dry and contain sweat, and an avoidance of over “perfuming” the sensitive areas to cover the stink without addressing the underlying issue: fungal or bacterial odor generation.  Beyond corn starch, there are some specialty formulated talc, calamine powder blends used by runners and marketed as a better baby powder alternative.

There are, however, natural cream deodorants that offer some advantages worthy of consideration beyond use in the armpit.  Look for products with minimal baking soda concentrations, and those that use arrowroot (a common alternative to cornstarch in “gentle” baby powder alternatives). Additionally, look for creams that use mild concentrations of anti bacterial and anti fungal essential oils, and avoid synthetic fragrances. These essential oils not only offer fresh scents, but serve as a mechanism to fight the actual odor creating bacteria. Finally, cream deodorants offer a potential advantage in application.  While I would never offer to help my wife apply stick deodorant to her under arms,  I am more than willing to help in the application of a soft cream for under boob and ‘upper thigh’ area sweat.  As to foot sweat…some partners like massaging feet and some don’t.  Your mileage may vary, but it’ s worth asking.

Wishing you…

My family starts arriving this week, which means I won’t post again until the new year. I want to take this time to say thank you for reading,  and share some of my wishes for you. See you in January!

I wish you (in no particular order):

Joy

Peace

Children that go to bed early on Christmas Eve

Love

Contentment

The ability to eat ALL the holiday treats without consequence

Happiness

Rest

A family dinner without drama

Calm

Appreciation

Pants with elastic waistbands

Time with family

Time with friends

A parking spot and empty register line at the shops

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Winter Skin Care (for real people)

Well now. Ma Nature has apparently remembered that it’s supposed to be winter, and is working overtime to catch up. It is cold, dry, and windy…which makes for chapped, dry, and itchy skin.

We all know the traditional advice offered: Drink plenty of water, use a thick lotion, take lukewarm showers, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah – that’s not happening here. Water? That just makes me cold from the inside out. Give me a hot coffee/tea/cocoa…whatever. Just make it hot. Lotion? Let’s be honest…who has the time every.single.morning to put on lotion and wait for it to soak in? Not to mention being naked and losing all that precious, precious body heat while you wait. Lukewarm showers? Ummm…NO. I will revel in a hot, steamy shower and enjoy the temporary feeling of being warm. It’s winter, people. I’m cold!

So what does a (freezing, busy, impatient) girl do?

She figures out how to make real life work for her. The keys to great winter skin are actually quite simple. Hydrate, exfoliate, and seal in moisture. The trick is being able to do that easily and quickly.

Let’s start with hydration. There’s no way around it…you have to drink water in some form for great skin. Fortunately, tea, coffee, and lemon/lime/orange water can be had as hot beverages, are quick and easy to make, and will both help keep you warm and give your skin the moisture it needs. Pro tip – a large insulated mug makes it easy to keep warm beverages at your side for sipping through the day and help make sure you drink enough. Just go easy on the caffeinated varieties. Too much caffeine has the potential to dehydrate you. Not what we’re going for.

Exfoliating and sealing in moisture can be a little trickier. Life is busy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for a leisurely morning routine. It’s get clean, get dressed, and get on with the day. There’s no time to exfoliate with a scrub that leaves behind an unpleasantly heavy layer of oil, which then needs to be soaped off, which results in drying out your skin, which means you need to put on lotion. It’s vicious cycle that takes a lot of time. I, and I imagine most of you, wind up skipping it and just deal with itchy skin. Fortunately, (and here comes a shameless product plug – but hey, it really is great!) I make a sugar scrub that combines those three steps into one. (you don’t have to use mine, but make sure to use an emulsified version of a scrub.) So now I can step out of the shower with clean, exfoliated, and lotioned skin in the same amount of time it took to use plain soap. My dry, itchy skin is gone, I’m not adding time to my morning routine, and – bonus! – I feel like I’ve indulged in a mini spa. Good for the skin and the soul.

Now, that’s not to say that you never need to use an extra moisturizer. You should still use a body butter once or twice a week during the winter. Apply a generous amount before bed to help soothe and nourish any chapped hands or cracked heels – or in my case, dragon-like shins. It’ll work its magic overnight and you’ll have soft, supple skin when you wake up.

And that’s it. Great winter skin doesn’t have to be time consuming or hard. Carry around an insulated mug of some warm, water based beverage, use an emulsified scrub in the shower, and use a rich body butter once or twice a week before bed.

What do you do to help combat winter skin? Any amazing tips or tricks? Share them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clear the (indoor) Air With These Fall Essential Oil Blends

October is here. I know this because a) my son has already brought two viruses home from school, b) the weather yesterday started out sunny and 70 and ended rainy and 30, and c) the air in my home has gotten stagnate because it’s been too cold to open the windows.

It’s time to fire up the diffusers.

I love to diffuse essential oils through the colder months. They clear stale odors out of the air, can improve a bad mood, or help set the stage for guests. They allow for endless variation, and are much better for you than the synthetic fragrance oils found in most candles and air fresheners.

As promised in this post, I’m sharing three of my go-to blends with you. They are written in single use, drop in and go quantities. If you have a particularly small room, you may want to cut the quantity in half. Happy diffusing!

Sickness & Health

  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil

My favorite blend to use when one of us is sick. It helps to clear the air, and can make breathing through stuffy noses seem a bit easier.

Holiday Party

  • 4 drops mandarin essential oil
  • 4 drops clove bud essential oil
  • 2 drops sweet orange essential oil

Reminiscent of old fashioned orange pomanders, this is a wonderfully uplifting and relaxing blend.

Rainy Day

  • 6 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

Bright, happy, and calming, this blend makes gray, rainy days feel like a cozy retreat.

 

 

 

Peel-off Charcoal Mask Breakdown and a Cutomizable DIY Alternative

By now you’ve all heard of the ‘latest and greatest’ beauty hack – the peel off charcoal mask. With claims that it detoxifies, removes blackheads, and de-gunks (that there is a sciencey word) pores, it is indeed tempting.

Until you watch the videos of people wincing and yelling in pain as they remove them.

Yeah. Skincare shouldn’t hurt.

So what is really going on with these things? Do they work? Are they good for your skin or harmful? (more…)

The Clean Beauty Conundrum

Clean. It seems to be the word of the decade. Clean eating, clean living, and now clean beauty. The problem is, no one can seem to agree on what it actually means. Ask one person, and it means washing with soap and lukewarm water and using coconut oil as a moisturizer. Ask another and it means going makeup free. Ask for a third opinion, and be informed that it means everything that touches your skin should be 100% natural.

So what the heck is it? What is ‘clean’?

That, my dears, is the conundrum.

Clean beauty is…well, subjective. There are

(more…)

9.11.01

Sixteen years ago, I was 8 months pregnant with my youngest. My husband called me on his way to work, said to turn on the news, and I watched the towers fall. Sixteen years ago, a friend was supposed to be on one of those planes. By the grace of God, he caught an earlier flight and was safe. Sixteen years ago, a friend’s husband was supposed to be at a meeting in the twin towers and was running late for the first time in his life. He was safe. Some of his colleagues weren’t. Sixteen years ago, firefighters, policemen, and people from the street worked frantically to save as many as they could.

Today we remember and honor the lost, the rescuers, and the survivors. Today we remember what hatred can do, and how love responds. Today we choose love.