Hey, you 20 and 30-somethings out there…I’m going to tell you something you really need to know, if you don’t want to show your age in 10-15 years.  You’ve got to take care of your hands.  Most of us focus on our faces in terms of anti-aging.  May as well take care of our necks and upper chest while we’re there.  But don’t forget the hands!  If you are looking at your hands right now and thinking, “they look fine to me,” trust me, it sneaks up on you.  Wrinkles…discoloration…blah.  If you’ve already zipped by 40 like me, there’s still time to do some good.

I remember when I was about 25, I knew this woman who I was astounded to learn was 10 years older.  She looked about 20 to me.  I asked my husband how old he thought she was, and to my surprise he guessed correctly.  When I asked him how he knew, he said, “Her hands.”

Now, if my normally oblivious guy noticed, other people must notice too.  I’m not an age gracefully type – I’m fighting it, hard.  The rules to care for hands are basically the same as caring for any skin.  The best way to do this is from the inside, eating healthy and so on.  But because our hands are so exposed to the harshest things in our environment, they need some extra protection.

1. Avoid harsh chemicals and sun. Hopefully you are using non-tox cleaning products, but use gloves when you clean if you need to.  Watch out for toxins in your dish soap and hand soap.  Anything with dyes, synthetic fragrance, or anti-bacterial chemicals makes my hands freak.  I always carry a travel size bottle of Dr. Bronner’s with me so I can wash my hands safely when I’m out.  Use sunscreen, too, if you can’t avoid the sun.  A bit of what you use on your face works, or maybe something thicker if you need it (Badger makes my favorite).

2. Use a nice, thick body butter throughout the day. If this makes your palms too oily, put a little on the back of one hand, and rub the backs of your hands together.  I like to massage some into my cuticles and nails, too.  I use a wide variety of things for this purpose, but shea-based butters are my favorite.  I make my own, with a little pomegranate oil, and have containers around the house and at work, and a mini in my bag.  I’ve usually got a couple clean brands that I’m trying out, too.

3.  Use the same nourishing oil you use on your face. It doesn’t have to be something expensive.  But whatever you are willing and able to spend on your face, share some with your hands.  Plain coconut oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil are great.  I always have a Lotus Wei Pure Energy serum nearby, and their cute minis are perfect to carry.  After I put my lightening/brightening argan DIY on my face, I rub what’s left on the back of my hands.  If I use an oil in my hair, like my standard Kahina argan, the excess goes on my hands.  At night, or if I’m feeling particularly dry, I might get fancy.  I’ll use a few drops of whichever awesome oil I’m trying out –Stark’s Cypress, La Bella Figura’s Barbary Fig, Evan Healy’s Pomegranate, RMS Beauty Oil – and sometimes even do a spritz of hydrosol first.  Ahhhhhhhhh.

4.  Make it a nighttime ritual. If you don’t want to dig in deep and surround yourself with butters and oils like I do, simplify it.  Putting product on right before sleeping lets it sit for a good long while and can be very valuable on its own.  I have a lovely bedtime ritual of doing oils/butters on both hands and feet once I get into bed.  Some aromatherapy can be incorporated here, and the added bonus is your feet are always sandal-ready.  I don’t really even need to do the pumice thing anymore.  And my oblivious guy actually noticed.

How do you take care of your hands?

Meet Elaine. She hails from Canada’s capital and her meatless menu sounds both delicious and budget friendly. So often we’re told that eating healthfully is pricier than eating poorly. But much like clean cosmetics, when you know what to buy in bulk, a super-healthy, veg-heavy diet can be cheaper than the cheapest of fast food. Do you have any great money-saving tips for healthy eating?

Name: Elaine
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada
My dietary leanings: On average, my diet probably balances out to be 60% vegan, 40% vegetarian. And very very rarely (read: a few times a year), I’ll eat fish in sushi form.
My favorite vegetables: Carrots and sweet potato. But to be honest, there’s no vegetable I don’t like (though I’ve never had amaaazing asparagus).
Disclaimer: I’m a student, so on weekends I try to make massive batches of meals (such as stews, grains, beans) to eat up during the busy weekdays. Trust me though, I don’t always have time to stock my fridge with healthy homemade food!

This morning I….

Ate a bowl of overnight oats topped with almond milk, roasted cashews, cinnamon, and homemade applesauce. I also drank a huge mug of green tea.

Then for lunch I…

Cooked up a grilled cheese (on homemade whole wheat) to go with some reheated homemade tomato, onion & pinto bean soup. While that was cooking, I munched on a carrot with roasted red pepper hummus.

As an afternoon snack I had an apple paired with a handful of roasted almonds.

Finally for dinner I…

Made a stir-fry with cabbage, carrot and edamame, topped with a sauce that I whipped together from tahini, almond milk and hoisin sauce. I had the stir-fry with a bit of quinoa on the side.

Last but not least, dessert…

A perfectly ripe banana, smeared with crunchy natural peanut butter – my absolute favourite!


Brené Brown For President, Anyone?

Have you heard of Brené Brown? Perhaps, like me, her name has floated your way over airwaves or through friends that have recommended you watch her two talks on TED. For more than a month these stayed open in windows on my computer, with the best of intentions. But it wasn’t until a few nights ago that I finally watched—first the TEDx one on the power of vulnerability that launched Brown into unlikely fame, and then immediately after the one on listening to shame.

I know this is a departure from natural beauty, though living your best life is part of that picture for us. Plus, when you gotta share, you just gotta. So do yourself (and me) a favor if you haven’t yet, and watch this woman. If Hillary is too tired come 2016, I’ve got my eye on her for first female president.

And I’m only half kidding! Between her sweet Texas drawl, her warmth, her compassion, her oratory skills, and her no-BS attitude, I actually believe that this woman could bring a divided nation together! Alas, I’m more interested in what she can bring to each of us individually, by encouraging us to be vulnerable and look right at our shame until we’ve shamed it out of the room.

We’re not exactly strangers to vulnerability in these parts, but we’re not seasoned pros yet either. In a recent post Siobhan shared courageously with you about her painful loss in 2012. And if you had asked me a few years ago if I would have told a large group of sort-of strangers about my food issues, the thought of it alone would have made me sick to my stomach. And many of you have been equally forthcoming and raw in recent comments and Morning Routines. So maybe vulnerability is having a moment, which would be great since according to Brown’s research, sharing is an antidote to shame, which grows best in “secrecy, silence, and judgement.”

Anyways, I’m not going to try to recap Brown’s powerful work, so just watch (or rewatch) when you have a moment over the next few days and then tell us:

Does Brown’s message resonate for you? How willing are you to be vulnerable, truly vulnerable, in your life?

We haven’t crowdsourced in a while, so let’s have at it!

This post is inspired by one of our commenters who mentioned recently that she’s discovered some great new clean beauty sites. But also because—and I’ll only speak for myself here—for a girl who writes a blog and works for an online startup, I can go for spells where I barely surf beyond my usual online watering holes. With all the driving I do, I rely heavily on radio for my news, and often spend work days with my head buried in a PDF, a word file, or on conference calls with coworkers. Which leaves little time for discovering the new kids on the block making noise out there.

So what are you guys reading these days? Obviously, we’re thrilled that you stop by here—but if you discovered us, we’re guessing that you’ve found some other sites (big and small) that deal in wellness and beauty.

We’d love to connect with some other clean beauty sites, but also want to know if there are non-clean ones you like too (maybe like the glam Into The Gloss?). Obviously for wellness, we love Prevention, Well+Good NYC, and we’re bummed to see that Fig + Sage aren’t around anymore. Respect.

Anyways, tell us where you go for your best wellness intel and your most indulgent distractions. Let’s spread the love!

Meet Beatrice, another wise-beyond-her-years reader of ours (where do you ladies come from, and when can you start running the world??). This routine made us really, really happy. Thanks for sharing.

Oh, and if you’d like to share your morning routine just follow the same format as below and email it to nomoredirtylooks (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject GOOD MORNING.

Name: Beatrice

Age: 24

Hometown: Burlington, Vermont

Current weather: Pretty much winter!

Hair: pixie-cut

Skin: Used to be quite nice, occasional here and there blemishes, etc.  About six months ago I moved and between dietary changes (basically much more bread), stress level increases, really hard water (and who knows what else!) I started to get really mean cystic acne along my jawline, chin and cheeks.  I haven’t had a new cyst for a month and things are definitely healing but there are a lot of residual red marks.

Favorite star: Mia Farrow

So my disclaimer is that I have wanted to send in a routine for a while but I’ve been postponing it because my skin has been crazy-town.  However, one of the things I’m trying to get away from in my thinking about acne is “when I’m clear I will…(fill in the blank with awesome, glamourous daring thing I will do–but only once my skin is perfect).”  It’s not agood way to think about living!  So in the spirit of living the life I want rather than waiting… here it is!  A work-in-progress, less than ideal, but what seems to be helping my skin heal regimen.  And hopefully other readers have suggestions about what’s helped them with their skin, healing the red splots and thinking positively.  I’ve been using Tretinoin for four months now and I know it’s not the cleanest but I’ve been figuring out what complements it (basically, being very gentle).

In the shower…

I usually shower in the evening.  I’ve been using Evan Healy’s Green Tea Clay Mask several nights a week and it’s really helped to draw away what the Retin-A is bringing up.  I mix it with water in the palm of my hand and use a fairly thin layer.  While it dries I’ve just started dry-brushing (thanks to so many other morning routines!) so I get in the shower and brush away.  I use just a little Dr Bronner’s Almond liquid and I just splurged on John Masters shampoo and conditioner– my reasoning was that with such short hair so infrequently washed (once or twice a week) it will probably last me until next summer…  The beautiful thing about short hair is that it looks best unwashed and slept in (er, right?), so I don’t often do much to it.  I have been wondering about a clean hair wax/creme along the lines of my former dirty bumble and bumble wax to improvise bedhead when it’s actually clean.  I haven’t found anything yet..
I shave with coconut oil or Burt’s Bees body oil– it’s mostly almond oil so maybe almond oil would be a nice thing to try next.
I wash my face with this bar of white clay a very determined woman in a health food store recommended.  It is nice, not too drying.  When I’ve used the green clay though I tend to just use water or some La Roche Posay Toleriane cleanser.  It’s not a clean brand but it comes up with a good score on the SkinDeep database.  And I just started using raw honey!  It’s been great so far but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  For these pesky red post-pimple blotches I’ve been doing a raw honey, lemon juice and cinnamon mask.  I know the main thing is just time but I do wish they’d shoo!  I tend to alternate on and off with the Evan Healy clay mask and then honey mask is nice because it transforms into a cleanser in the shower!

Outside the shower…

I use Dr Bronner’s hand and body lotion all over.  I’m trying to get better at moisturizing– I always get out of the shower and want to put on pajamas asap.  I’ve found since switching to shaving with oils, though, my legs aren’t nearly as parched as they used to be.  I’ve been using a Burt’s Bees sensitive skin moisturizer but it’s about to run out and I’ve been researching clean and very gentle moisturizers to use next.  I love Badger lip balm in Vanilla Bean for my lips.  Especially because it comes in a nice, big gluestick-sized tube.

Finishing touches…

I don’t wear makeup every day but when I want to look nice I use Dr. Haushka eyeliner in a dark brown and Josie Maran’s mascara.  I think in a morning routine a while ago someone mentioned how really focusing on eye makeup helped her to look less at the still-yet-to-be-healed places on her face.  I try not to wear makeup on most of my face to stay away from irritation.  Before my skin took this turn I used Laura Mercier’s mineral powder in pale rose.  I just got some RMS un-cover up in 11 to use on residual red spots.  But giving my eyes extra oomph has helped a lot to keep me feeling pretty and distracting me from the blotches and bumps.  Usually I use Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm and I just got the Vapour Organic lip stain in Impulse and I’ve started wearing that quite a bit– it doesn’t feel as formal as lipstick but makes me feel effortlessly a little glamorous.

A few things that I think have helped my skin:  Cutting out all gluten and most dairy from my diet (I tended to eat mostly vegan to begin with so that wasn’t as big an adjustment as the wheat).  Tretinoin (I know) although it caused a breakout eruption for a solid, terrible, month everything was brought up to the surface and then subsided.  Not touching my face.  I know it’s so obvious and can be hard to do, but really.  At one point I realized the very spot I’d picked the day before had become an inflamed spot and that did it for me.  I am finishing a course of antibiotics which I was very wary of taking but at a certain point the cysts were quite painful and my physician recommended it to calm things down.  I take a probiotic twice a day and that’s helped keep my digestion healthy.

A few things that have helped my head:  I think my skin’s spiral had a lot to do with stress levels.  I had the weirdest, vividest AHA! moment a month or two ago when I said out loud to myself:  You don’t have to be perfect.  It was insane how much it meant to say it to myself, I started crying.  Is that crazy?  A little.  We put so much pressure on ourselves.  I’ve been trying to replace negative talk in my head with positive mantras.  I also have taken, at random moments throughout the day, “breathing into” the places on my face and neck that need to be healed, visualizing myself sending healing there.  Exercise.  I do a lot of yoga and have started to run again recently (running is another great time to focus on mantras and think healing thoughts).  Putting extra effort into my clothes so I could feel happy about my appearance in other ways.  I think a huge part of this breakout was my body telling me HEY LISTEN! YOU NEED TO BE NICER TO YOURSELF!  Adult acne can be really mean, I don’t think of myself as a vain person and yet I was spending hours obsessing about the way I looked.  You have to be gentle with yourself.  Part of being gentle for me was forgiving myself for “caving in” and using dirty products.  I think it’s okay to improvise and to compromise.

We couldn’t agree more.