The Hormone Cure, by Dr. Sara Gottfried*, is all about optimizing your hormonal state at any age. This book covers information about hormones I’ve never seen revealed anywhere else, especially not in a way that’s accessible to everyone, and in such a comprehensive manner.
I won’t even attempt a summary, I’ll just say that if you have hormones, you must read this. There’s cortisol and progesterone and estrogen and androgens and thyroid hormone, and <deep breath> various common combinations of imbalances. You’ll be taken on a journey of self-assessment, and given possible solutions ranging from lifestyle and dietary changes to medical interventions. I feel like I need to read it a couple more times to really absorb it. I wish this book was around when I was the ripe old age of 37 and first realized that feeling like a forgetful teenager** with irritable bowel syndrome and night sweats meant I was perimenopausal. Then I may not have had to experiment on myself so much.
I did plenty of reading when I realized what was happening. I almost immediately gave up on medical help when I told my gynecologist that I thought I was in perimenopause and she dismissed me as being “too young.” I told her my symptoms and she was like, “Oh, maybe you are.” That was all she had to offer. I don’t really blame her. I don’t think even most medical professionals are equipped to deal with this craziness, but in any case I was left to my own devices. Getting off gluten (my sensitivity to which was not caused by, but exacerbated by, my hormonal state) and becoming vegan really helped me. I tried various supplements in different combinations and dosages. For some time I found great success with black cohosh. But those changing hormones just kept on changing, and every time I found balance it only lasted a little while. Now I’m 45, off the black cohosh (after years of helping it started to give me fuzzy brain), and religiously back to something that really changes my life in a wonderful way – bioidentical progesterone cream. My major symptoms now are those of estrogen dominance, where progesterone is practically nonexistent and I have out-of-body experiences where I observe myself in such a state of anger, I quite literally want to kill someone. Maybe that person did something awful, like caused harm to someone I love. Or maybe it’s someone I love, who spoke to me in a tone I didn’t appreciate. No matter. Death to all. Progesterone takes me back to my normal, healthy level of bitchiness. Reading this book validated my choice to go back to the cream. I needed that, as I’m not one to mess with hormones carelessly. Next thing to work on is a mild androgen excess (hello, mustache).
Well, those are just my two-cats-away-from-being-a-crazy-old-lady problems. Women of any age with a hormonal imbalance will benefit from the information in this book. Dr. Sara tells her own story, and provides the stories of other women, and tells you what you can try. She uses language that is understandable to the science novice, but promotes evidence-based solutions. She does sell products that go along with all this, though I’ve never used them and probably won’t.
Have you read this book? Do you have another great source of information on hormone balance?
*and with a foreword by my all-time-fave writer about women’s bodies, Dr. Christiane Northrup
**with erratic and very painful periods, sullen resentful attitude, and acne
We enjoyed this routine so much, especially Michaelle’s alternate universe self. You’ll find so much to love, so read on!
Name: Michaelle (pronounced like the guy’s name Michael)
City: Whispering Pines, NC
Current Weather: Up and down — today high of 36*F with cold wind & rain all day but then the weekend is forecast for sunny and high 60’s. No humidity. Yet.
Skin: Pale & cool toned with some sun damage spots on forehead and sides of cheeks and some visible redness around nose. After years of battling a really oily complexion and always a blemish somewhere, the switch to green beauty back in ‘08 has steadily made a huge difference to now being fairly normal — oily thru t-zone in summer and then sometimes a few dry patches in winter.
Hair: Brown naturally curly, fine textured but a decent amount of it. As of last November, I stopped doing salon color and just did my first at home Henna color about 3 weeks ago.
Favorite star from the past: I’ve never watched too many old movies so I don’t think I have one. (We chose Lauren Bacall!)
I do the warm water and lemon thing and I also fill my tea tumbler with my Bija Body Daily Beauty tea. If any of you have yet to hear of or try this tea, ya need to get on that stat! It was created by Melissa Piccoli, an esthetician, specifically with skin in mind! After that, my routine can vary drastically. I’m a wife and mother of 2 small beautiful boys and the older one goes to preschool during the weekdays. I am not a morning person, so if I’m not going anywhere else after dropping him off then it’s just a quick swipe of Simply Divine Botanicals Gypsy Rose Tea Toner with an organic cotton pad and a quick brush with Periobrite toothpaste on my Sonicare toothbrush before we are all out the door by 8am! Once the little one and I are back home and I’ve finished my liquids, I do my best to follow Kimberly Snyder’s advice about easing your digestion into the day by eating light to heavy. I’ll have some fruit and perhaps a small bit of Purely Elizabeth oatmeal or some Ezekial toast with coconut oil and raw honey. I have an Omega juicer, so most days a green juice is a player as well! (sidenote: I would love for NMDL to request reader’s fav juice recipes! I thrive on inspiration!)
Now, if I do need to be somewhere… Holy Moly! Depending on how long I put off dragging myself out of bed, tea may come before or after I shower. If I have leftover juice or a Suja handy in the fridge, I may take one of those into the bathroom, but it’s always liquids first thing in the morning no matter what. Once or twice a week, I mix up a bit of May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt and gently work that over my face while the shower is warming up. In an alternate universe, I also dry brush my entire body, head to toe and apply a deeply stimulating body mask like Isun’s Himalayan Body Wrap then slowly sip my tea while that dries before gliding into the shower…
In the Shower…
I grab my Sonicare toothbrush and Periobrite and into the shower I go! I also often use EcoDent toothpowder on top of my Periobrite and I go ahead and brush while getting wet. Next I either exfoliate my Clean Dirt off, use my Clarisonic with Tata Harper’s Refreshing cleanser, or I rub some raw Buckwheat honey into my face to wash with. It just depends on my skin or what I feel like using. Then, if I’m shampooing that day, I’ll get a pump or two of my current brand, A’kin rosemary shampoo and work it in, rinse, then A’kin jojoba & lavender conditioner, and rinse. I use Eco Tools exfoliating gloves and The Body Deli Rose Absolute body wash on my body, but this also changes regularly between Osmia’s bar soaps (Zucca Spice & Chamomile Sun), Strange Invisible’s body washes, Red Flower’s Ocean body wash, or whatever else I’ve discovered. If I’m shaving, I use a Preserve razor along with whatever body cleanser and that works great for me. My alternate universe self works that awesome body mask deep into the skin then gives herself a nice long head massage while the conditioner is still on, then delicately combs it through as it detangles her hair. Ahh, that was great.
Out of the Shower…
Depending on whether or not I had one of my sweet peas in the shower with me, (hey, some days, if I want a shower, then at least one is coming in with me to ensure no cataclysmic disaster befalls before I get out) I try to rub in a body oil quickly before I’m dry. Right now, I have either May’s The Good Stuff or Osmia’s Stream. Next, I slap a cloth diaper on the youngest because past experience has taught me, unless you wish to be treading in a warm river on your bathroom floor then you best be wrapping that up pronto. Undies and Plum Pretty Sugar robe on, next I’ll spritz with a mist, and oh how I love a good mist! My go to is still Tata’s Hydrating Floral but I’m also rotating thru La Bella Figura’s Jardin de Fleurs, One Love’s Vitamin D, The Body Deli’s Cucumber Elixir or Rose Absolute mist, or a sample of R.L Linden’s Thousand Petal mist. I’ll immediately follow with either One Love’s Morning Glory (am) or La Bella Figura’s Modern Radiance Concentrate (pm). Originally, I used just LBF’s MRC day and night, but I found it to be so effective (like for reals, y’all) in fading my sun spots that I’ve started using it just at night most days to help it last longer since it is a bit pricey (but so, so worth it, I promise you!)
For my eyes, it’s either Simply Divine Botanical’s Pack Your Bags Eye Gel (am) or LBF’s Decouverte (pm). Next, I apply, what has got to be one of my all-time fav products, LBF’s Daily Elements Defense oil. The smell, the ingredients, the consistency — all fantastic! Love it, love it! For my hair, I spritz some Intelligent Nutrients Detangler into my palms and work that into my ends if it’s tangly and comb it out. Then I use IN’s hair gel mixed with a teeny bit of Dr. Bronner’s lavender hair cream and scrunch it in ends to roots (winter) or 2 sprays of IN’s volume spray into my palms with or without a bit of LBF’s Bohemia Verde and scrunch that in ends to roots (summer). I quickly apply Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen. I then get dressed, get the boys fed and dressed, and then back to bathroom to blow-dry with a diffuser. Alternate self is leisurely massaging her body oil, head to toe while sipping her second cup of Bija tea and listening to Adele on her iPhone. I think I hate her just a little.
I apply RMS Uncover Up in 11 to my inner and under eye area, around my nose, and my chin. Next, some Bare Escentuals liner powder that I’ve had for, like ever, to my outer brows. A bit of Alima Pure’s Milkshake eye shadow to my lids, and then I select a blush based on what I’m wearing from either Kjaer Weis Blossoming, RMS Sacred (which I prefer on my cheeks) Vapour multi in Intrigue, or Nvey Eco in 951 — one of the most flattering powder blushes I have ever used—gives a perfect fresh face glow!. If I have time, I’ll use some liner, either Dr.Hauschka kajal 03 eyeliner (neutral green-gold), Jane Iredale’s Mystikol in Dark Topaz, or Lily Lolo in khaki, all of which work well with my hazel eyes.
Next, the ever illusive, mascara! I use, and have been using Coleur Caramel’s Cils Long Mascara in black for quite some time and sincerely LOVE it! It can have a tendency to transfer at the outer corners, but I’ve mostly found that happens if I’m too oily there, either from too much concealer or face oil. When I remember to dab a bit of Alima’s finishing powder in Keiko there, then I’m good. Also, the positive effect it’s had on my lashes, as in they are thicker and longer the way they were when I was young, just can’t be beat. It has improved the natural state of my lashes. I also have Jane Iredale’s Pure Lash in black ice on hand when I want added drama. And, yes, I have tried Kjaer’s and Ilia’s mascaras and did not like them. At all. I think I’m old school when it comes to the wand.
Last touch is perfume and those pretty much have to take a number, because I love perfume, therefore I own enough to scent the entire British court. Tsi-la’s Saqui or Kesu, LBF’s Barcelona or Positano, Strange Invisible’s Magazine Street or Fire & Cream, Osmia’s Posso, Tata’s Love Potion or Stress, Red Flower’s Ambrette, Persephenie’s Kildren or Datura, In Fiore’s Ambre, Roots Rose Radish rose frankincense & patchouli… yeah, I know. It’s bad. My alternate universe self? Who knows. She’s probably doing trust-falls with her Yoga instructor or still in the bathroom applying self-tanner. I know this reads like a lengthy routine but typically I’m done in under 50 minutes from my fanny leaving the bed to walking out the door with both kids in tow. Also, I was an esthetician before my first son was born, so I’m never going to have a bare bones routine because I love the world of green beauty and all it has to offer!
Do you pay attention to the type of water that streams from your shower? If it’s very soft or very hard water, it’s difficult to ignore the way it affects your skin and hair. One reader discovered just how much of a difference hard water can make, and she reached out for help. Here’s what Kim has to say:
“I am hoping that the No More Dirty Looks community can help me solve a hair problem. Until October, I lived in Virginia Beach where I had beautiful curls using no-poo, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Conditioner, and Alaffia Curly Kinky Curl Creme. I have very thick hair — as in, stylists have said, whoa you have a lot of hair — in loose curls. Late this fall, military orders took my family to north of Jacksonville, Florida. The water here is really, really hard — as in, 400 plus ppm. The water smells alternately of swamp and sulfur. I have managed to find green cleaning for my skin, but my hair is a disaster. It is frizzy, dry, straw-like, and my curls have no definition. I have tried hair masques, coconut and argan oils, the Alaffia curl cream and leave in conditioner, Acure’s argan shampoo and conditioners and none of it seems to be having any effect. Help! Do any of your readers have super hard water and curls that look good?”
Yikes! Who has dealt with this issue before? What helped? A shower filter? A certain product? Never getting your hair wet again? Just kidding. Let Kim know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.
Take a peek into this simple and elegant makeup collection from a natural beauty all-star, Tata Harper. Her emphasis on glow mirrors the very product line she’s created. We would never judge, but we’re tickled that Tata’s makeup choices are as clean as the ingredients in her own line.
Name: Tata Harper
Where I Live: Shoreham, Vermont
My relationship with makeup: I am a huge beauty lover and always have been, but ironically not a huge makeup user. For me it has always been about starting with amazing skin (which is where my skincare line comes in), and then using makeup to add colorful accents, and to make my skin look extra glowy. In terms of makeup categories, I don’t own anything powdery — all of my makeup is creamy and enhances the skin’s natural luster and highlights. That said, I love bold, bright colors (for example, I never wear black), and my makeup selections definitely reflect that.
Foundation: While I usually don’t wear foundation, if it’s a special occasion or we’re filming video, I even things out by adding a bit of Vapour foundation to my Repairative Moisturizer as a dewy base.
Eyes: I prefer lighter mascara; the kind I have been using lately is by Ilia and it’s very dark brown. For eyeliner, I like to use something shiny and bright rather than dark, to give a little sparkle. I love RMS’ cream eyeshadow in Solar and usually apply it with a really thin brush just along the edge of my lashes.
Cheeks: On my cheeks I love a pop of red or pink right on the apple. I’ve been using my own Be Adored lip treatment lately, which has a really rich raspberry color that you can massage right in to the cheeks with your finger for a little natural blush color. I also love Vapour’s blush stick in Courtesan and Spark.
Lips: Every day, I use my Be Adored lip treatment. It’s all-natural of course, with a rich raspberry color, and has anti-aging ingredients that help boost volume and fight lip lines while hydrating. It’s a color that pretty much goes with everything. I also love Ilia’s lipsticks for occasions that call for a little extra color; I love their Wild Child and Bang Bang colors.
Glow: To me, gorgeous, striking skin has an irresistible glow that looks healthy and happy. I love to promote that look in my own skin with our Replenishing Nutrient Complex, a multivitamin facial oil serum that blends right in, but it’s amazing because if softens the skin, smooths it out, and absorbs quickly to leave a healthy glow. I also love RMS’ Living Luminizer, to put right on the cheekbones and under the eyebrows for a beautiful shine.
Thanks for sharing, Tata! Hey y’all, send your makeup bag write-up and photo to us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Today La Bella Figura, one of our favorite lines, launches not one but two new products. We’re celebrating with a Friday Deal! It’s been hard to keep this little secret to ourselves, as we know many of you also swoon for the luscious scents and impeccable ingredients that make La Bella Figura so special. So here it is:
La Bella Figura is giving you 10% off all orders over $75. Just enter the code NMDLLBF at check out. Everyone that uses the code will automatically be entered to win a $100 gift card from LBF! The winner will be announced on Monday, and the deal ends Sunday at 11:59pm CST.
Before you rush off to the La Bella Figura site, stick around to hear about the new kids on the block: the Gentle Enzyme Cleanser And Makeup Remover and Aria Nighttime Cell Recovery Treatment. We’d love to say we’re early adopters, but really we were just lucky enough to try these new LBF beauties in advance of today’s launch. Aria has captured our hearts, and the Gentle Enzyme Cleanser is a lovely, unique addition to the world of natural cleansers.
Suitable for aging or damaged skin types, Aria was created to regenerate lackluster skin while you sleep, plump up thinning skin, and boost nutrition. The unique healing compounds found in saffron, helichrysum and arnica flower oils aid this renewal process. Here’s what Rebecca has to say:
“Aria is a sublimely scented treatment oil, packed with regenerating and anti-inflammatory ingredients. It is rich with actives that promote graceful aging, and as a sensitive sort I was a bit concerned it might be too much for me. I tested it on my wrist, then decided to go for it. When I saw my skin the next morning, I kind of couldn’t believe it. The anti-inflammatory effects are obvious. I am hooked after using it a couple of weeks, and I look forward to seeing the long term effects. Aria’s ingredients include some of my old favorites (oils of rose, helichrysum, Barbary fig, carrot seed, camellia) and some new-to-me, exotic ingredients (saffron, rooibos, acai and papaya oils). I apply it at night before my DIY oil, and it layers beautifully, sinking right in with a light massage. Three drops does it for my face, neck and chest.”
The Gentle Enzyme Cleanser is a gel-based formula that cleanses while maintaining pH balance. It’s full of moisture retentive ingredients like aloe vera, cupuacu and marfura butters. Pineapple and papaya enzymes provide gentle exfoliation. It has a light herbaceous scent and works well, in our experience, as a morning cleanser to kick-start the day. It’s impressive that this gel formula is able to deliver so much moisture. Skin feels fresh, protected, and baby soft after use. If you use the double cleanse method at the end of the day, it makes a great second step after an oil cleanser.
Let us know what you plan to get with this Friday Deal! Are you going to try one of the new products? Something different?