Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Skin and health benefits of drinking lemon juice daily- no sugar!

I am a big believer of what you put in your body comes out in your skin. 

Dermatologists always say that diet doesn't affect your skin. I believe that is RUBBISH. Why? Because I see it every day with my own body. 

Eating a fresh, varied and where possible, organic, diet full of tonnes of colorful vegetables and fruit is so good for your health, and can give you energy, improve your immune system and even heal your body.

It is another benefit of healthy eating that you will have glowing, clear, healthy skin- and drinking lemon juice every day is a great start and a great way to keep you on track throughout the day.

Lemon juice is full of Vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, magnesium and very importantly, works as a natural digestive.  

When our bodies are clogged up with fast food, sugar, alcohol and other nasties this is reflected in our skin-  our skin could become dull, lifeless or broken out in spots or even rashes.  

Lemon juice works to flush out and cleanse all the toxins from your insides, as well as having an antibacterial effect. 

Along with a balanced diet, this not only results in you feeling lighter and less lethargic, but your skin should be glowing with health- from the inside

Furthermore, I don't know about everyone, but there are moments throughout the day when I struggle to stay on my healthy eating path- I'm looking at you 

"10.30am morning tea time can I have a muffin and pretend it's not really a cake" and
"3.30pm do I really have another 1 1/2 hours of work can I please have a chocolate bar, please!"

But I find continually drinking lemon juice throughout the day (equal to about 2 small lemons) diluted in purified water, helps to keep me motivated to stay on track and decreases my sugar cravings. For me, this is a massive bonus!

Lemon juice is the original, cheap, healthy, natural, no gimmick detox- try it!

M. :)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Product Review: Aura Cacia Argan Oil

Price: US$9.89

Size: 1oz/30mL

Packaging: Approx. 4.5 in/11cm tall, clear brown glass bottle with black pump lid. You could travel with it if you use the plastic cap that fits over the lid. Don't throw this out!

Ingredients: Organic Argan (Argania Spinosa) Kernel Oil

Product: Argan oil seems to be 'the' oil of the moment, and for good reason. This super oil is full of Vitamin E, antioxidants and plumping fatty acids like omega 6 and 9 that can heal scarring and hyperpigmentation, neutralize free radical damage caused by sun and pollution exposure, reduce inflammation, moisturize dry skin and reduce wrinkles. 

What can't it do?!

Being in my 20s I can't speak for wrinkles, but the skin under my eyes is now so, so plump and any fine lines are completely gone. I was using rosehip oil previously for my eyes and this beats it hands down in results- also it is a lot less 'oily'. As you will see below, I was initially overusing it, but have now worked out the best way my skin can get results. Of an evening I massage three pumps all over my face for 2 minutes, including eyes, and then gently remove with a warm, wet washcloth. This removes all my makeup and leaves my skin baby soft- the way I like it!

Pros: Despite being an oil, this does not make my skin oily at all, but rather soft, smooth and plump.  Some scarring and inflammation is decreased and it keeps the eczema on my forehead under control.

Cons: I find when I use this in excess, it can cause some breakouts. I initially used it as both a makeup remover, cleanser in the morning and as a serum over my toner at night, but now just stick with using it as a makeup remover. 

Also this wonder oil comes at a price! When I decided I wanted to hop on the argan oil bandwagon, I initially looked at the Kahina Giving Beauty version. However because of the hefty price tag of $36 for the same quantity (and my volatile skin :-S) I thought I'd try Aura Cacia's cheaper version first. After a successful trial I will definitely try Kahina's next time, but if you want to give argan oil a go and are on a budget, I would definitely recommend Aura Cacia.

Verdict:  The best pure oil on the market for sensitive, dehydrated skin that is prone to breakouts. An elegant product that was made to be used cosmetically- you won't find this in your pantry or use it to fry your chicken!- and makes you feel like you are using an expensive luxurious face cream and not an oil. 

Buy it: I bought it here from Vitacost. (Which is also where I buy all my supplements from- I'll do another post soon on my favorite vitamins for skin. :) )

Don't let the thought of putting oil on oily skin (or any skin for that matter) put you off- using oils on your face is probably one of the best things you can do for your skin. 

M. :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Product Review: Farmaesthetics Pure Complexion Tonic

Image courtesy of Macy's
Price: US$28

Size: 4oz/118mL

Packaging: Approx. 6 in/16cm tall, cobalt blue glass bottle with a screw top lid and about a 1/2 inch opening. I love glass packaging!

Ingredients: Witch Hazel, Rose Otto, Chamomile and Lavender Essential Oils, Glycerin  (Yes, that's it!)

Product: This toner is a clear liquid (looks like water) and smells like roses- just lovely! I use a cotton pad to cover the opening and tip the bottle upside down quickly. I usually do this twice and it is enough product to cover my whole face. I anticipate the bottle to last me about 3 months. 

Pros: This beautiful, simple toner is perfect for my sensitive skin. Toners are something I have really struggled to find over the years as they are usually waaay too harsh.  Upon application my skin feels and looks smoothed and hydrated. After 3 weeks my skin tone is more even and my skin is softer and smoother. It has not aggravated my eczema on my forehead. 

Cons: I can only order it online, but as I order so many products online, I have gotten used to anticipating when I'm going to run out of a product! Also, I was using this twice a day, which I think caused slight irritation. I would stick to once in the evening to remove any grime from the daily grind in the city!

Verdict:  This is a great toner for those with sensitive skin, especially those prone to congestion! It uses natural, proven ingredients to GENTLY tone and soften (Read: no alcohol, no salicylic acid, no AHA, no BHA!) The Witch Hazel is FULL of antioxidants and together with the Lavender works to purify the skin, while the Rose Otto softens and calms and the glycerin holds it all together! I also love this company's concept of only using a few ingredients- I will be trying their cleanser next and will definitely review it also!

Buy it: I bought it here from Future Natural

Wake up and smell the roses everyone! 

M. :)

DIY Natural Skincare

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Buying skincare products is fun- trawling through blogs for recommendations, critically reading hundreds of reviews,  that heart wrenching thrill when you press 'Checkout' feeling like you have definitely found 'THE ONE', that perfect, life changing product!!!!!

Oh wait, is that just me? ;)

Anyway, as fun as that is, something just as fun is making natural, gentle and economical skincare from products from our own pantry or fridge. And so below is a list of some of my favorite DIY skincare- 

Raw Sugar and Oil Face Scrub 

Ingredients: 2 teaspoons of raw sugar, 3 teaspoons of oil (I like Olive Oil, or you could use Coconut Oil as well)
Method: Mix together in a small bowl. Adjust ingredients as necessary. Take a warm (not hot) face towel and sit it over your skin for a minute to open pores. Repeat. Then scoop up the scrub and slowly massage it over your face for a minute, avoiding the eye area. Do not use quick or rough movements, as this will be too abrasive for your skin. Rinse the scrub off your face with warm water. You may find you do not need your usual moisturizer/oil. You might like a few swipes of toner if you like that fresh feeling.
Results: Your skin should be baby soft and glowing! The sugar will exfoliate and the oil is full of skin loving vitamins! If you have particularly sensitive skin, you could use bicarbonate soda/baking soda as an alternative to the sugar. I recommend skin patch testing this scrub on a part of your neck or your inner wrist first to test for any allergies/reactions.

Full Fat Greek Yogurt Face Mask

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of Full Fat Greek Yogurt, 1 tablespoon of Manuka or Organic regular honey
Method: Mix together in a small bowl. After cleansing, apply a thin layer of the mixture over your face., avoiding your eye area. Let it set for 45 mins-1 hour. Remove with warm water and tone as usual. 
Results: Your skin should be plump, clear and glowing due to the gentle lactic acid found in yogurt! Plus the honey has soothing and antibacterial properties, so can help to calm irritated or broken out skin.  Do not use if you are lactose intolerant and always patch test first. :)

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Ingredients: 1 teaspoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, 4 teaspoons water
Method: Mix together in a small bowl. After cleansing, take a cotton pad, dip it in the bowl, and swipe over your skin. Let it dry and then follow with your usual moisturizer/oil. 
Results: ACV has antibacterial properties, so can assist with clearing breakouts. It also can assist with bringing your skin's acid mantle back to its normal PH level. Make sure you get the ACV with 'The Mother'- do not get a refined ACV, as it doesn't have all the nutrients. As always, patch test for reactions or if you have sensitive skin, start with 1/2 teaspoons of ACV.

And of course, you can eat most of those foods for inside health benefits as well!

M. :)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Acids in Skincare: What, why, where and natural alternatives

These days anything that has 'Rejuvenating', 'Revealing', or 'Repairing' in its Product Description probably has some sort of acid in the ingredients list. So what are these acids and why are they so commonly used in skincare?

Acid's, when used properly, can heal, repair and protect the skin's acid mantle. The acid mantle is a film that sits on top of your skin, is made up of oil and sweat (sounds gross, right?) and has a PH Level of about 4.5-5.5, which is quite acidic. The skin needs to stay around this PH level. To put this into perspective, sea water (which dries my skin out like crazy!) has a PH of around 8 and regular soap has a PH of about 12! Using soap, or products with a high PH strip the skin of its natural oils and make it dry and tight. 

Not all acid products are created equal!  

A good product depends on the PH level, the other ingredients, which acid is actually used and the % at which its used. Then of course there is your skin type- someone with sensitive skin probably can't tolerate an acid that someone with normal skin could. Although I haven't listed every acid under the sun, I hope the following will assist you in choosing the right acid for you and remember:  

All acids make the skin sensitive to sunlight so ALWAYS wear an SPF of at least 30.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Glycolic Acid: A strong exfoliant which renews the skin layers, fades discolorations and reveals the fresh, new skin underneath. In my experience this is one of the harshest acids. In my pre-natural days I tried it in a 10% strength and it completely irritated my skin. Naturally found in sugar cane. Make: Raw sugar and oil face scrub.

Lactic Acid: Found in yogurt and sour milk, lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant. Good for those with sensitive skin. Make: Full fat greek yogurt face mask or Buy: Amala Rejuvenating Serum

Citric Acid: A powerful acid that can be used to fade marks or discolorations, stimulate collagen and provide antioxidants to the skin. As I always find, the more powerful an ingredient, the more likely it is to irritate sensitive skin, so always patch test first. Although it may be tempting, I would not apply lemon juice to the skin. Buy: Ila Rainforest Renew Face Serum

Malic Acid: An acid that is only recently being used more due to its very gentle exfoliation properties. Found in apples and bananas. Make: Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Beta Hydroxy Acids

Salicylic Acid: Primarily used for the treatment of breakouts. Usually found at concentrations of 1-2%. Synthetic salicylic acid is most commonly used in drugstore products, which can lead to irritation. When used in its most natural form as Willow Bark Extract, it can be used to clear up breakouts and renew cell turnover without irritating sensitive skins. Buy: Amala Purifying Blemish Treatment

Fatty Acids

Lauric Acid: Found in coconut oil, this naturally occuring acid has antibacterial properties so is good for breakouts, as well as being able to protect skin against free radicals. Helps sooth the skin of eczema sufferers (like me!) Use: Coconut Oil as a moisturizer

Which acids have you found most beneficial? What are your favorite products or natural remedies with acid?

M. :)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Addicted to: YouTube Makeup Tutorials gone NATURAL

Image courtesy of oprah.com

I don't know about you, but I love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. I think it's a combination of wanting to improve my technique; the joy of watching someone who is a master of their skill perform their art; and lastly... I just find some of their voices so darn soothing! (I'm looking at you Michelle Phan!)

However as you probably know, a lot of the more popular gurus use mostly 'unclean' products... so below is my list of my favorite YouTube Makeup Tutorials gone NATURAL:

Pros: Lisa is a professional makeup artist so she knows her stuff- for this tutorial she explains the difference between using a foundation without silicones.

Cons: Lisa Eldridge is such a fantastic makeup artist, it's a shame she doesn't do more tutorials focused on natural makeup.

Pros: Michelle demonstrates how to use mineral powder concealer, which I find one of the trickier mineral products to use. 

Cons: She doesn't use all natural products! But the tutorial on how to use Everyday Minerals and the beautiful background music make up for it! :)

Pros: This girl obviously truly loves her natural makeup and has the most beautiful smile (and soundtrack!) to boot!

Cons: I would have loved to know more about her technique!

Let me know, do you have any favorite natural tutorials?

Happy YouTubing!

M. :)

Search and Destroy: Naughty Ingredients

Image courtesy of creativefan.com

Probably one of the first things that made me realize things aren't all as they seem in the beauty world is when I first started taking a closer look at the ingredients in my products. 

I did this because I would often get allergic reactions including hives, breakouts or rashes from products and wouldn't know why. I would be confused because I would have these reactions but the product would say 

"Dermatologically Tested"..... "Suitable for Sensitive Skin" ........."Leaves skin smoother, calmer and more refined!"

Uh. No.

So what are these ingredients that are causing me such grief?! Why are they used?!

This could open a whole can of worms, but one resource that I found very helpful is CosDNA

All you have to do is copy/paste your product's ingredients list, press 'Analysis' and CosDNA will let you know what the ingredient is used for, how comedogenic and irritating it potentially is and its safety rating

That way you can make informed decisions about the products you buy.  Don't forget, this is still important with natural/organic products. 


M. :)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Blogs I love

Photo courtesy of treehugger.com

I know I can just link blogs I like, but I wanted to take the time to post two blogs in particular that I really enjoy reading and have really helped open my eyes to the beauty industry. 

Who: This piece of gold is written by two knowledgeable insiders Siobhan and Alexandra, who also co-wrote the book 'No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics'.

What: Product reviews, informative articles, info on overall health (not just skincare), updates on sales and coupon codes. 

Love: My favourite part of this blog is the way they encourage feedback from readers such as 'What do you use to wash your face?'. Who doesn't love to know what everyone else is using??

Who: The Glamorganic Goddess was diagnosed with cancer and horrified by the 'pro-drug/oblivious to the importance of a healthy lifestyle' attitude of her doctors. She then decided to change her lifestyle and go natural with her beauty products.

What: Product reviews, informative information, videos. 

Love: The fact that she has eliminated unnatural products from her regime, but still loves makeup and glamor. I feel I can relate to this, as although I want to use natural products, I do not want to go barefaced! And with so many great natural makeup brands out there, there is no need to. 

M. :)

Product Review: Kimberly Sayer of London Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer- SPF30

Price: US$32

Size: 4oz/120mL

Packaging: Approx. 8 in/20cm tall, pump bottle with secure lid. 


Product: This is a very cosmetically elegant product. The consistency is light weight and similar to whipped cream. It has a very distinct lemony smell that I find lovely. I need only 1-2 pumps to cover my whole face and neck so for 4oz this is a great price.

Pros: It does not irritate my skin and I have used it for almost 3 weeks. As soon as I put it on my skin tone seems more even and my skin is more hydrated.

Cons: I can only order it online.

Verdict: This is the best facial moisturizer I have used in years. It is very good value, does not irritate my skin, keeps my skin matte and hydrated and protects it from the sun. What more could I ask for?

Buy it: I bought it here from Future Natural. They also ship internationally. :)