Homemade skin care recipes, by nera

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Using homemade skin care recipes can give you the best results over time. From carrier oils, body butters, essential oils you will find out how they can help your skin and hair. However, the truth is that expensive skin care products aren’t always the answer. Sometimes, the simple ones made right in our kitchen are just as good, if not better.

You can make terrific skin care products with ingredients you can find in your kitchen, provided of course that you are eating well! I’m a fan of organic cold-pressed oils, like olive, sesame, and safflower for use on dry skin. Aside from the benefits of lower costs and the fun of making your own products, another advantage of making your own skin care products is that you are not likely to have a stash of toxic chemicals in your kitchen, unless you poke around under the sink, and why would you do that?

Honeysuckle flowers to rescue my itchy skin | Viva Woman

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Here I am sipping my honeysuckle tea as I am typing this entry. No, I didn’t boil those honeysuckle flowers but instead took the easy way out with a pre-packed honeysuckle tea. I’ve been drinking this to help relieve a recent bout of itchiness on my body.

Here is a fun post about treating itchiness with honeysuckle tea, written from the perspective of Chinese medicine. I’m a huge fan of tea. Here is my recipe for yogi tea, made with white instead of black tea, for an added beauty bonus.

Cosmetic Vigilance

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

You sometimes see people suggesting that cosmetics are in some way unregulated and we can get away with putting whatever we want in our products.  I sometimes wish it were true – I don’t think many people like having to keep up with continually changing regulations and I know I don’t.  But the fact is that anyone who makes a living developing cosmetics needs to have a good handle on the relevant legislation. 

Check out this blog. It is one of the best sources of sensible information about cosmetics and their ingredients that I’ve found – and witty, too. For instance, there are many urban legends about unregulated and toxic personal care products. These legends do not stand up to scrutiny. The lead in lipstick scare story is a case in point. Colins Beauty Pages is a place where you can reliably separate fact from fiction.

Can I Make My Pores Look Smaller?

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Genetics dictate the actual size of your pores, but oiliness, sun damage and other skin conditions that thicken the skin can make them appear larger, and when pores are clogged with oil, dirt and debris they can actually expand. The pores are not connected to muscle, so there’s not much you can do to actually make them physically smaller for the long run, but there are many ways to make them appear smaller.

Here’s a good post about how to make pores appear smaller. The key word is “appear” of course. The post by Dr. Baumann speaks to the benefits of exfoliating and cleaning the pores, as clean pores appear smaller than clogged and dirty ones. You could also try an astringent pore minimizer like witch hazel. It, too, will reduce the appearance of pore size.

How To Rejuvenate Your Skin With Calendula

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Calendula has been used since ancient times to sooth troubled skin. It’s yellow, orange and gold petals are colored by potent antioxidants called carotinoids that protect cells from free-radical and sun damage. Studies have identified nineteen different carotinoids in calendula petals. Fortunately, there are simple, highly-effective ways you can put these compounds to work to rejuvenate your skin.

They are ideal for infusion into carrier oils. I use them, for instance, in sesame oil. I fill a vessel with petals, then pour in as much organic sesame oil as will fit, and let them sit for weeks, while the healing compounds from the flowers seep into the oil. When it’s done, the infused oil makes for a healing moisturizer that I wouldn’t be without.

Calendula_flower

I prefer this kind of slow, gentle extraction method. I believe it preserves more of the healing potency of the plant. But I’ve used balms and creams containing calendula that were factory-produced and they still worked well on my skin. They would be one of the first things I would use on chapped, inflamed, or itching skin. However, since I have been using infused calendula regularly, both in a toner and my moisturizer, I’ve had no further trouble with skin inflammation.

Calendula is an ingredient to look for in your skin cream, especially if you suffer from dry skin. Dry skin is particularly vulnerable to aging. Fine lines can develop quickly when the moisture barrier (a fine layer of oil within the skin) has been compromised. And wrinkles are often not far behind. If the appearance issues are not enough, there are other annoying symptoms that can come with dryness ­- itching and inflammation, for instance – but fortunately, these, too, can be helped a lot by creams containing calendula.

Modern chemists like to isolate the “active” ingredients in botanicals that are known to have healing benefits. They then add them to other synthetic ingredients to make a product they can sell at a given price point and with a convenient shelf life. Sometimes, this approach works well, but we are just beginning to learn about the complicated chemistry of plants, and I’ve always thought there is a high likelihood that when we isolate just one compound from a plant, we might be missing a whole lot in what gets left behind. Plus, the way the “actives” interact with each other in the complex chemistry of a plant is going to be different from how they react when isolated in the sterile environment of a synthetic product.

So I favor products that contain calendula in as natural and whole a form as possible. It is also why, as much as I can, I use products made from organic ingredients.


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Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Calendula_in_sesame_oil

Massage oils, skin creams, facial oils and body oils all require a carrier oil, a neutral-smelling base for essential oils and other healing oils. Many carrier oils are there simply to do the job of providing a platform for the other ingredients. But sesame oil is a carrier oil that brings its own healing and rejuvenating properties.

It is especially helpful for anyone with dry skin. Dry skin requires extra care. It is vulnerable to environmental damage and aging. Wind, sun damage and free radicals all put dry skin under constant stress, and if it is not supported, this can lead to the breakdown of skin structure that we see as “aging.” Lines appear, then wrinkles, and even sagging skin. Fortunately, sesame oil is naturally rich in nutrients, particularly vitamins A and E, that provide important building materials to help the body maintain supple skin. You can protect your skin by choosing creams, oils and lotions that contain it.

In addition to nourishing the skin, sesame oil also draws toxins out of the body. Molecules in the oil attract and attach to fat-soluble toxins lodged in the skin and pores, drawing them to the skin’s surface where they can be easily washed away with soap and water. So this is an oil for the whole body, not just the face and neck. It can be used as a purifying massage oil for the whole body.

In face creams, or used alone, sesame oil stimulates cell rejuvenation to create firmer, smoother skin. It is packed with vitamin A, a nutrient that repairs skin tissue and improves collagen production, Good collagen production keeps skin looking young by filling in fine lines and preventing the appearance of wrinkles.

Vitamin E is one of the best nutrients for dry skin, and this oil provides a rich, soothing and gentle source of vitamin E for topical use. It blocks free radicals from damaging the skin and helps to rejuvenate damaged skin, again, preventing lines and wrinkles from forming. Skin spots and blemishes can be reduced with vitamin E., which is very helpful when applied directly to the skin. But vitamin E is sticky and uncomfortable to use in an undiluted form. It can be too much to deal with. Fortunately, sesame oil is an ideal source of this vital nutrient. With all its natural vitamin E content, plus vitamin A and other healing and nourishing compounds, this oil makes a major contribution to any skin care product in which it is contained. Plus it can serve as a very serviceable carrier oil. What could be better?

Well, it does get better. You can rub this oil into small cuts, abrasions, and chapped skin, and it will relieve irritation and help to rejuvenate the damage, all the while fighting off fungal and viral infections.

And that is why sesame oil is so popular with manufacturers of natural skin care products. In my view, organic sesame oil is the way to go, ideally with other botanicals infused in it to maximize its healing and rejuvenating effects.


Apricot Kernel Oil

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

apricots.jpg

I just love apricots. The early ones come into season just about now. And the oil from apricot kernels is so good for our skin. Read more at the link above.

6 Spices & Herbs that Help Fight Acne and Eczema – Epic Beauty Guide

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

I have been doing a lot more cook­ing lately and research­ing into the most ben­e­fi­cial spices and herbs for our health (which then trans­lates into clear, healthy skin). Below are 6 top “clear skin” spices that you can start incor­po­rat­ing into your daily life:

Check out this post from Epic Beauty Guide. There are 6 spices and herbs listed in it that you can add to your diet (they are all delicious, by the way) to make sure what you eat is optimized for your beauty. Here are some more beauty foods ythat will help you develop luminous skin. Beauty is an inside, as well as an outside job, after all.

The Secrets To Aging Gracefully | ELEV8

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

In every drugstore, on every makeup counter, and in every fashion magazine, you will find some reference and countless tips on how to look younger. Women can use age-defying beauty products to erase and conceal crow’s feet, age lines and wrinkles. Plastic surgery can nip, tuck, and shed years off your appearance. It is like women over 40 years old are encouraged to alter their natural beauty, because being an older woman is “wrong” or not as beautiful as a twenty something.

Here is a great post about age and beauty. While I’m all in favor of taking the very best care of my appearance, the fact is, we can all be beautiful at every age. It’s not about trying to look younger, but looking great at the age we happen to be. There is a wonderful collection of tips on to achieve this in theabove post. Check it out!

How To Use Jojoba Oil To Create Beautiful Skin

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Jojoba

Jojoba oil has become wildly popular in skin care products. Its stability gives it a conveniently long shelf life. It is virtually odorless, making it an ideal carrier medium for scents and perfumes. Plus it spreads easily and absorbs deeply without leaving any greasy residue. It’s also remarkably efficient – a very little goes a long way.

Jojoba oil can work miracles on the skin. It combines easily with our natural oil to unclog pores, leaving them deeply cleansed and refreshed. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce symptoms of acne, eczema and psoriasis. But the main reason jojoba oil has become so sought after is because it can add luster and beauty to even the driest of skin. Its beauty benefits are immense.

This is an oil (well, liquid wax, really) that improves the suppleness of the skin. It softens and smoothes it, minimizes fine lines, reduces the size of pores, and prevents eruptions and breakouts. Some people refer to it as a miracle worker when they see how it restores the aliveness of dry or mature skin.

Jojoba oil has many of the characteristics of sperm oil, long a favorite ingredient in cosmetics, but one that became unobtainable after 1971 when an international ban on commercial whaling was put into effect. Like sperm oil, it is very similar to the natural oil, or sebum, that we secrete through our pores. And while technically a wax, rather than an oil, it is extremely stable and can be used on even the most sensitive of skin without causing any adverse reaction.

This is definitely an ingredient to look for in your moisturizer. Just make sure there is more than a token amount of it in whatever moisturizer you buy. You can tell by looking at where it is located in the list of ingredients. The list is in descending order of quantity. If it’s not close to the head of the list, find a different product.

I mix a little of my favorite organic crème into a 4 oz bottle of jojoba oil and use it as a body oil. It’s especially delicious after a bath, and not too expensive as it spreads so well. You need only use a tiny amount. I keep it in a glass bottle, like other fine oils I use. There are questions about how they react to plastic that cause me to avoid putting them in plastic containers.

And as a final bonus – jojoba is cultivated in some of the most arid areas of the world, places where it has been very hard for people to make a living from the land. The popularity of jojoba has resulted in rising incomes and prosperity where they are most needed – much better than killing whales, for sure!