A few nights ago I was noticing that my facial skin was rather dull and needed a little exfoliation badly. I thought about running out to the store and looking to see what they had but I knew I would stand there and agonize over the ingredients in the cleansers and then ultimately come home empty handed. So I looked through my pantry and spied some almond meal thinking that might work on its own or with other ingredients. I picked up my copy of the book Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homeade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self and saw that almond meal was the main ingredient in several different exfoliating cleanser recipes. In fact one recipe was easy peasy, just a couple teaspoons almond meal and water.
I went up to the shower straight away and was delighted to find that it works quite well AND it tastes good too! It reminds me of baby cereal. I am excited to dig deeper into the book and see what else I can make. ;) In fact it spurred me to make a bunch of my own house cleaners the next day too and I want to post about that but I am trying to locate the email addy for the gal who sent me the essential oils I used in them. If that rings any bells with someone, please give me a holler!
Added to the Homesteading Link-up and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
Over the years that I have written here on this blog I have rarely reviewed makeup or skincare items. I have turned down opportunities to review products along these lines somewhere in triple digit amounts. The reason for this is simple…I rarely if ever wore makeup, creams, lotions, or other skin enhancement products. I didn’t want to devote the time to skincare products and makeup application and since the world of beauty ingredients is so confusing and potentially toxic it just seemed a better idea to opt out. If I could’t or wouldn’t USE the products it seemed hypocritical to review them.
My attitudes about makeup and skincare lotions and potions began to change recently though and I am sure it is no coincidence that I hit the big 3-5 this year. I am suddenly more concerned with aging and appearance and more apt to pick up some of these products and yet I am woefully uneducated on which ones are the safest and healthiest to buy. I am playing catch up big time.
For the past month or so I have been using some items from the Style Essentials line by Lisa D Liguori. She has spent many years doing extensive research in the field of healthy beauty care products and has been involved in the industry in some capacity for over 30 years. After being disappointed in the offerings in the industry, Lisa founded Style Essentials, an online boutique to offer a truly healthy alternative. I feel confident that what I have been using from her store is safe and healthy for my skin. They are also effective and luxurious. Even with my minimal makeup exposure in recent years I know enough to recognize high quality products.
Lisa was kind enough to send me some of her products to try free of charge but before she did that she asked a bunch of questions to ascertain what type of makeup and skincare would work best for me individually. Even with my vague and surely unhelpful answers she managed to send me items that knocked my socks off, each and every one of them.
Here is what I have been using:
Pure Bliss Eye Cream – This is a very rich and soothing cream meant to help with wrinkles, loss of elasticity, puffiness, hyper pigmentation and the reversal and prevention of free-radical damage. I LOVE how creamy it is and it feels so good to rub this around my eyes, which are the first place I have seen some signs of aging. I would not have picked up something like this on my own but now that I have tried it, I love it. I like to apply it before applying the makeup because I tend to have dark circles and this seems to help with that. I also put some on before bed. 79% organic ingredients.
Pink Mineral Complexion Bar – This is a cleansing bar and it is the creamiest and most luxurious bar I have ever used. Ever. It lathers immediately and feels like pure silk. My skin does not feel dry after using it at all, which was a concern. It just feels silky. Other members of the family (like my husband) keep trying to steal it away for their own use so I have to hide it. I am also a fan of the pink color! Made of French Clay, Glycerin, and Essential Oil of Camomile.
Peppermint Lippy – Speaking of super silky, creamy goodness…this lip balm is another winner in that regard. I have never used such a silky, creamy lip balm before. I absolutely adore it and now consider it to be my new fave. I like to wear it on its own and also on top of color from a lip liner/pencil (usually nude).
Matte Finish Powder – This is a mineral makeup finishing powder that is perfect for skin that leans towards oily. I first tried it without any sort of foundation and it looked very ghost-like and made my skin feel tight and dry. Not so flattering. Then I tried it as “finishing” powder (imagine that) over top of foundation and found I quite like it. It gives you a bit of air brushing and absorbs oil. The brush is also the perfect size for just a light smattering of the powder.
Champagne Ice Mineral Eye Shadow Powder – LOVE the color! I am all for nude and barely there color and this one meets that criteria. You can use it as eye shadow, brow highlighter, and as a shimmer for your cheeks. I am kind of anti-blush because I think I look clownish in it, so I really liked this product.
All of these products served as a great introduction to the line. I would also love to try some of their other offerings such as mineral foundation, eye pencils, mascara, lip pencils, and lip color which are the other things I would generally use on those special occasions that call for makeup. There have been many more of those moments this year with my resolution to have more fun, more frequent date nights, and a surge of business trips and events. I meant to pick up some more items before I leave for Detroit later this month but the time got away from me. I am for sure going to have to place an order before Blogher12. I love knowing that I don’t have to sacrifice my health to look a little better and feel a little more confident in my own skin and no woman should have to make that trade IMO. Style Essentials is definitely one of the good ones. A++
I used to be a big time perfume lover. All throughout my teens and early adult years I wore Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door perfume. Just ask my husband, he is still sulking that I no longer wear what he considers my signature scent. Eventually I stopped wearing it because who has time for perfume when you have to change messy diapers and supply breast milk on tap 24/7? Then after a few years I decided I didn’t WANT to wear it because conventional perfume is some seriously toxic and nasty stuff and I wanted to abstain from toxic beauty.
Sadly, this is a largely unregulated industry and perfume companies can put nearly any chemical they want in their formulas and get away with it. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group created a report that shows how hormone-disrupting chemicals and chemicals that could cause allergic reactions (asthma, wheezing, headaches, and dermatitis) are often found in perfumes. Most of the “scents” in these perfume are not sourced from anything natural either. They are lab created with chemicals.
The good news is that we don’t need their stinking products (no pun intended)! There are many wonderful all-natural perfumes that are just as exquisite and lovely as the department store brands, but these botanical wonders contain no phthalates or preservatives. They just make better sense for ladies concerned about their health who still want to smell all pretty.
Here are a few options:
Pacifica Perfume - This brand has many, many lovely and safer scents. Indian Coconut Nectar or Mediterranean Fig? Yes please! These contain natural denatured alcohol (corn source) and Pacifica’s own fragrance blend with natural and essential oils. No parabens, animal testing, animal ingredients, or artificial colors. 100% VEGAN and Gluten-free. Price: $20
Lavanila Roll-on Perfumes – These clean vanilla scents start with a base of organic sugar cane alcohol which is the infused with pure essential oils. Price: $34-$56.
Red Flower Guaiac – Organic perfume with a woodsy blend of leaves/bark, pink grapefruit, and rose with organic oil as the base. It is also packaged in 80% post consumer recycled paper and made with wind power in the US! Price: $48
Golden Earth Perfume – These perfumes are made of 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils and are infused with crystals. The Euphoria blend, which is what we have tried, is rose, jasmine, and agate crystal. No synthetic fragrances. Price: $20
Enjoy and feel free to link up to any natural perfumes you have enjoyed below…
Ever come across a product that you may have hesitated to buy at first and then it ends up changing your life and you cannot imagine life without it? The Diva Cup is one of those for me. I think I first wrote about this wonderful product about 7 or 8 years now. The concept of reusables came into my life via cloth diapers and then cloth pads for moms. While I have lots of love for those too it was the Diva Cup that ended up being the real game changer. After the second month using it I knew that I would be using a menstrual cup until I no longer needed them anymore (menopause). Also being the big fan that I am, I will happily introduce these to my daughter from the get-go. I only have a few more years until I am likely to do that. Yikes! Where does the time go?
My motivation in trying the cup was to reduce waste and eliminate the need to buy disposable pads and tampons. I also HATED both of these products with a passion. They are more like modern day torture devices and I can see why so many women refer to that time of month as a curse when those are the standard options. Who wants to deal with adult diaper rash from pads and the dryness and possible Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) from tampons? Not me, thank you. Cloth pads I found, were infinitely more comfortable but they also required more work. Storing them until wash day and then actually washing them was not going to make my top ten favorite things to do list. Then I came across a mention of menstrual cups on a cloth diapering message board and I ordered one. We have been likes peas and carrots ever since.
If you are not familiar with The Diva Cup, it is a cup that is inserted just like a tampon is. The “cup” catches your monthly flow and when it is full you simply empty it, wash with soapy water, and reinsert. It is made of soft medical grade silicone, which is latex-free, 100% hypoallergenic and odorless. It comes with a lovely carrying case so that you can keep it clean between uses and hidden away so kids won’t be inclined to steal it and play with it in the tub like it some kind of toy. Not saying that has ever happened but it could…hypothetically. I will say that it is really fun to explain to any male child that happens to be handling the cup, what it is and what it does. ;) This may be why I recently had to replace mine though. After one such conversation it mysteriously disappeared after bathroom cleaning duty. I think it disappeared into the trash. I wasted no time buying a new one and if you need one in a hurry you can find them at Whole Foods usually.
Reusable menstrual products are healthier to use and infinitely more comfortable. They may take some adjustment as some women/girls may be uncomfortable dealing with menstrual blood because of years of using disposable, traditional products. I will admit that I am not squeamish in that regard. Caring for them is pretty easy too.
Have you tried a menstrual cup yet? What are you waiting for?
Related: Alternative Menstrual Products – Ditch the Disposables
A few months back now my family had its first ever bout with the big bad…head lice. I managed to go through my entire life without ever having had lice or even having it in my house. Luckily, I can still say I have never personally had lice but one of my kids did get a visit from these little guys and I was at a loss about what to do since I have zero experience with this issue. As the digital mom that I am, I sought advice from Facebook about natural – pesticide free – ways to get rid of these scary goobers. I say scary because they managed to reduce my child’s head to a bloody mass of scabs from biting and my child’s scratching. To make matters worse, we actually got the lice from a neighbor kid who had them, spent the night at our house (in my child’s bed), and never bothered to inform us. Ugh!
Anyway, from Facebook I was able to figure out that tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and vinegar would be my go-to resources for this adventure. The oils are hated by lice and they are also helpful in killing them. Vinegar would help dissolve the glue that the lice use to “stick” their nits on your hair shafts. I ended up making a list of all the stuff I found helpful…
Natural Ways to Remedy Head Lice
- Peppermint Oil
- Tea tree Oil
- Oregano Oil
- Coconut oil, another vegetable oil, or mayo – smothers lice – apply to hair and wrap with plastic wrap
- Flat Iron – To melt the nits “glue”
- A nit comb – or as I prefer, a metal flea comb from the pet store
We wanted to avoid conventional lice treatments for obvious reasons. They are pesticide based and if we work so hard to eat foods without pesticides and wear clothing grown from cotton without pesticides then it only goes to follow that putting it on our children’s heads will just not do. We also found that the tiny plastic combs sold as lice combs were nearly useless. The metal flea combs found online or at pet stores are more durable, the spaces between slats are smaller, and the one we chose actually has a double row of teeth. We compared it to the plastic lice comb from the drugstore and it was so much more effective with pulling lice and nits from the hair.
Once armed with our flea comb I made my own lice shampoo and guessed on the proportions.
All Natural Head Lice Shampoo Treatment
- 1 Quart size ball jar
- 1 Tablespoon (1 squirt) Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap
- 8-10 Drops tea tree oil (we use Trader Joe’s brand)
- Fill jar to top with water, shake before each use.
- Rinse with vinegar and let sit in hair for 5 minutes. Plastic wrap is optional (we didn’t use it)
- Comb hair with flea comb or lice comb
We spent 1-2 hours each night doing this whole process and we did it every night for about 2 weeks. Getting that pesticide lice treatment would have been a whole lot easier, I will grant you that. It is not necessary though. Suzanne at Mommy Footprint shared on Facebook a theory that perhaps kids whose hair was washed less frequently and with non-conventional shampoos (no poo) were better safe guarded from lice. Smart Mama kind of confirmed by saying that lice cannot stick as well to hair that is “dirty” or containing the natural oils it is meant to be coated with. Very interesting! Perhaps my kiddo’s no poo hair may have helped us avoid lice until now but when the infestation is on your pillow (thanks to the aforementioned sleepover) I think the deck is stacked against you.
For bedding and stuffed toys we simply washed in hot water with a few drops of tea oil thrown in. We also dried everything on hot. We could have also dried them with a washcloth containing a few drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil but I did not think of it at the time. If there is a next time though, we will be set!
** A reader also recommended Lice Shield Leave in Spray. It is supposedly made up of natural essential oils but I cannot find a full ingredients list so you may or may not want to check that out. LiceMD is also highly recommended and it is pesticide free.
Have you experienced head lice? Do you have any tips to share?