Meet Jessica and her awesome routine! Her one real problem? The occasional heat rash (on her face). Anyone have any great natural remedies for this?
Current Weather: Hot, dry and windy.
Hair: Super long, brown and wavy. It is surprisingly easy to style, although it borders on being frizzy. Not too thick, but lots of it.
Skin: Combination, fairer skin tone and extremely sensitive. I don’t really get many pimples but during hot weather I get a heat rash on my face. Lovely.
Favorite icon or star from the past: Leslie Caron. She is a gorgeous French ballerina. What’s not to love?
In the shower…
I take a shower every day, but only wash my hair every other day. I find that if I go too long between washes it gets very tangled and I end up looking like a cavewoman. When I do wash it I use Yes to Carrots Nourishing Shampoo and the Yes to Carrots Pampering Conditioner. They smell great and make my hair super shiny! I use shampoo only on my scalp and the conditioner just on my ends. I leave the conditioner in my hair while I soap up my bits and pieces. I’ve been using Pangea Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom Bar Soap on my face and Alaffia Liquid African Black Soap on my bod which I use every other day. The black soap doesn’t smell that great, but it makes my skin feel clean and soft at the same time. I shave my pits everyday with Alba Natural Very Emollient Foam Shave for sensitive skin. (I’m waiting until this one runs out to try something a bit cleaner.) My legs get a shave less often, usually on the days when I don’t wash my hair. Sometimes if my ends are really dry I will use Burt’s Bee’s Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment before washing my hair. I use Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Organic Cleanser on my back if I have any breakouts. Last but not least I use a pumice stone on the bottoms of my feet and rinse out my hair.
Outside the shower…
I lotion up with Alaffia Shea Butter Moisturizing Body Lotion – Unscented. I do blow dry my hair on the weekdays, but during the weekend I let it be its wavy self or if I don’t wash it, I throw it up in a bun or sidebraid. I sometimes use my Shu Uemura Essence Absolue on the ends of my hair which is something haven’t quite been able to give up yet. I mentioned earlier that I have a fantastic heat rash on my poor face that I am having a hard time getting rid of. Fortunately, it isn’t really noticeable. I have tried aloe gel which, sadly, did not work. I refuse to put cortisone on my face as suggested online, so right now I am using my own concoction of milk and water which is slowly but surely making a difference. It seems to calm the irritation while also drying the little bumps out. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them! When my skin isn’t having a temper tantrum about the weather, I like the Acure Organics line best. I spray on the Facial Tone Rose + Red Tea first. Then I use Oil Control Day Cream. At night, I wash my face at night with the Facial Cleansing Gel Superfruit + Chlorella Growth Factor. About once or twice a week, I make a yogurt mask with 2% Greek yogurt and a couple drops of Acure Argan Oil. I’ll even throw in some turmeric if I’m feeling sassy. (Just a little tiny bit though or it will turn you yellow!) I put it on at night, let it dry and wash it off with the cleanser. My skin feels super moisturized afterwards and in the morning it’s all glowy.
I don’t wear makeup everyday and when I do, it’s very little. I use 100% Pure Mascara in Blackberry (which actually smells good enough to eat!) and their Pot Rouge Blush in Rosy. I use the Desert Essence Lip Rescue Therapeutic on my lips. I do a few swipes of Jason Apricot & E Deodorant on my pits. I actually gave up perfumes for a while, but I bought something on spiritbeautylounge.com and I got a sample of Vamp, so I use that now. Just a spritz in the air and I walk through it. I also like to do the same thing with the rose toner. Ta-Da! Ready for the day. :)
We think Claire might be a genius. Aloe, rosewater and argan oil? Yes please. Between the calming effects of rose and the hydrating power of aloe and argan, I’m feeling sold on this recipe. Have any of you made a DIY mist before? Who’s gonna now?
Current hometown: Cambridge, MA
Product name that I made up: Rose-Aloe Lifesaving Mist
Ingredients list: Pure Aloe Vera, Rosewater (& Glycerin –this time), Argan Oil, Rosewater concentrate
How I made It: about 2/3 aloe, 1/3 rosewater; a couple drops of rosewater concentrate and several of argan oil — in a 2 oz spray bottle (shake well before using)
How it smelled, felt, worked…
I started making variations on this concoction about a year ago when I realized that aloe was the solution to my “plane hair” issues — I travel a lot and air travel dries my hair out in a wierd way that can make it kooky and unmanagable for several days. The rosewater dilutes the aloe vera gel enough to spray easily (and smells nice) and the argan oil adds a little bit of extra moisture and weightiness. Once I started carrying it with me, I realized that it’s also a wonderful refreshing face mist during the journey itself. On my most recent research trip to South Africa, it also came in handy as a full body spray — particularly soothing on days when I was sticky and had been out in the sun a lot.
Why I will or won’t do this again…
As I said above, this mixture is great for my hair, and generally a nice all-around spray, so it’s a definite keeper. I’ll probably keep playing with the exact combinations (sometimes I add some tea tree oil, or different amounts of argan oil, and would like to play with some new essential oils), but now I can’t imagine going without it — particularly when I travel!
Happy Monday, everyone! Meet Stephanie and her sweet-as-honey routine. She swears by Manuka for her skin. She also has been getting a lot of mileage out of spiritbeautylounge sample items. Annnd..she makes her own (edible!) DIY brozer. Read on!
Current Weather: In the 70s-80s and humid-ish. I just moved home from the North so I am loving the warmer weather despite the humidity.
Hair: Long, brown, and sort of curly/wavy. Definitely not straight. The oiliness has become non-existent since my switch to natural products and reduction in showers. Which is great because it saves me a ton of time, I find showering to be a pretty grand and involved event in my life. 23 year old problems clearly.
Skin: I have always been acne prone :( I was on a strict regimen of prescription topical stuff which worked, but I got completely fed up with how dry they left my skin. Right now, I just got off birth control but things are still OK. Residual scarring and the odd small breakout are all I have to worry about now with no dryness!
Favorite Star: Miranda Kerr. Was she already chosen? I just love her values and personality! Image via
Before the shower…
I try to do oil pulling with coconut oil (I use the nutiva brand) which is an ayervedic technique that consists of swishing the oil in my mouth for twenty minutes then rinsing with warm salt water. It’s hard to last the full twenty, but I’ve found it is a great way to naturally whiten the teeth and make my whole mouth/gums feel supple and healthy. I will then usually eat breakfast and workout and also take some skin supplements which I thought could be applicable. I take fish oil or flax seed oil, black current oil and evening primrose oil which are GLAs which are supposed to be beneficial for skin and regulating female stuff as well as Indole-3-Carbinol which I saw was recommended in an article for women coming off the pill again to regulate hormones. I also only brush my hair before I shower with a wide toothed comb.
In the shower…
I’ve usually had a Wedderspoon Manuka Honey 16 strength mask on my face for at least half an hour before my shower and leave it on until the end (this was inspired by Siobhan) which I use as a facial cleanser. If I don’t have time to do a mask I will use the Tata Harper cleanser or the Dr Alkaitis cleanser I have from the samples I purchased on spiritbeautylounge. I like them both and find them super gentle, but prefer the manuka for its anti-acne fight. Manuka honey/honey in general for the face has been a godsend for my skin! Next I shampoo with either Desert Essences lemon and tee tree shampoo for oily hair or Alaffia neem shampoo (both of which I like and find wash away build-up, which was my biggest difficulty when looking for a natural shampoo) followed by either John Masters Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner, the John Masters Honey and Hibiscus conditioner, or the Alaffia neem conditioner. I have recently begun washing my body and shaving with Moksa soap in Abbey Road. It smells amazing, is gentle (I loved Dr. Bronners tea tree bar soap, but then it become too harsh for my skin) and the company is amazing and donates to so many great charities! After that I may spray my hair with the Aubrey organics Nustyle Organic Detangler and Shine Booster (which smells like limes) as a heat protectant or Intelligent Nutrients leave-in conditioner which kind of makes me smell like a pizza, but I like it anyways. (Ed. Note: Pizza?!?!?! We need more info on this! Ha!) Then I wrap my hair up in a t-shirt which I’ve also heard is better to prevent frizz and keep curls intact.
Outside the shower I don’t really towel off because I find the extra moisture super beneficial for the rest of my routine. I spray my face with the Acure Organics Rose toner for oily skin which I LOVE it smells so good especially after reading that article about rose scents on here, then I mix my beloved Aubrey Organics aloe vera with whatever moisturizer is tickling my fancy. I use the aloe because it is such a great base to cut/preserve products which we know can be quite expensive. As I mentioned, I purchased the sample packs of Tata Harper and Dr Alkaitis so I basically pick and choose which moisturizer I feel like mixing in with my aloe. At the moment, I love the Tata Harper Serum and the Dr Alkaitis soothing gel and nourishing oil. Both companies products smells sooooo good and honestly make my skin look so plump and incredible. I never thought I would be able to treat myself to such luxurious moisturizers during my prescription days; it has been one of my greatest revelations of going natural! After that I spray my body with a DIY toner of Aloe Vera gel by Lily of the Valley (which is edible quality that I sometimes add to my drinks) and Witch Hazel followed by a DIY combination of coconut, argan, and jojoba oil, my Acure Organics unscented lotion, or my Bubble and Bee or Moksa body butter. I’m really into body moisturizers. Or moisturizing in general.
As far as makeup goes, I probably wear it once or twice a week and try to keep it really simple. Again, I am all about the samples! I recommend it because they are all quite sizable and I have yet to run out of one and repurchase. I use the Vapour organics concealer on my eyelids and the Alima Pure satin matte foundation on my under eyes and any other imperfections. I line my upper water line with Korres brown eyeliner, apply RMS living luminizer to my eyelids, brow bone, cheekbones, nose, and cupid’s bow and have been loving revolution organics in blush for my cheeks! I also love RMS lip2cheek in Modest. I sometimes finish that up with a DIY bronzer made of cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, and some other stuff and 100% mascara in black tea as well as my Bubble and Bee lip balm in pomegranate or my Badger Organic cocoa butter lip balm in cocoa.
Thanks, Stephanie! I’m having a hard time not making a “good enough to eat” pun about this routine…
The other day, I was reminded of something Alexandra and I discovered when we were writing the book: That basically every beauty biff under the sun could be ameliorated with a little aloe. As we started studying ingredient lists on our old products, we noticed that so many products we’d known and loved for years had aloe listed first on the ingredient list, which, remember, means there’s more of it in there than any other ingredient.
So if aloe was doing much of the heavy lifting (or taming, as the case may be) in so many of our products, couldn’t we use it on its own, too?
But of course. One of the great things about familiarizing yourself with ingredients—and not just finished products—is that you start to figure out what works well for you and why. If you’re buying aloe, some things to remember: Go organic; get 100% pure aloe; and make sure there are no green dyes or fragrance in there. You can get it at any health food store in gel form—which is the consistency of what comes out of the plant when you rip open a leaf, kind of like a slippery, thinner version of hair gel.
Now, without further ado: Here are the 10 (sort of) science-backed uses for aloe vera:
1. To tame frizz before drying or for air-drying. Pretty obvious one. Aloe is the primary ingredient in many conditioners and most defrizzers that aren’t silicone-based (which is most of them) because its consistency makes it easy to apply and coat the hair with. Plus, the pH is slightly acidic, but just slightly, which can help seal the cuticle of the hair, making it more likely to behave. This works amazingly well on my wavy thick hair for air drying, but I like it blown out, too. If you want to buy something instead of using pure aloe, I like this.
2. As a shaving gel for legs or face. We’ve told you many times that we do not use shaving cream, and if you’re still using the traditional stuff please stop immediately! We use whatever is lying around and is kind of silky feeling. Because aloe is also antiinflammatory, thanks to the enzymes, and hydrating, thanks to the very high water content, this stuff works like a charm on legs (or whevever) for a very close shave.
3. As a topical treatment for razor burn or makeout burn. If you’re like me, you’ve probably at some point thought dry shaving your legs with a not-especially-new razor was a great idea. It’s not, but if you end up with razor burn—or if you’ve been making out with someone scruffy who makes your face a little red—aloe is a godsend. Slather it on after you shower, then again before bed.
4. Instead of an oil-free moisturizer, especially if you’re acne-prone: Studies show that aloe can be an effective humectant, increasing water retention in the skin. It also contains antioxidants in the form of vitamins A, C and E, and enzymes that can help calm inflammation and irritation—which is probably why it’s in so many moisturizers for acne-prone skin. I think it just feels nice, especially in the summer. Keep it in the fridge during heatwaves for an amazing way to wake up your skin, post shower.
5. As a personal lubricant: TMI Alert! My favorite lube is from Aloecadabra, and it’s aloe-based. I don’t care for the flavored ones so much, but the plain aloe lubricant has been my go-to for some time. I’ve also given bottles of it to two of my friends! Plus, it’s condom-safe and pH balanced, which is important for girls.
6. On dry hair or your eyebrows. If you’re lucky enough to have brows like Alexandra, maybe you want to use a little on them with some powder to darken or define them, and keep strays in place. This works on blondes too, with powdered eye shadow in a taupe or very, very light brown. It can similarly be used on dry hair as a way to prevent flyaways, if those bother you.
7. On seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. Ugh. If you have or have ever suffered from either of these you know how bad it can get. I have not personally, but I’ve seen friends suffer through both, and boy does it suck. Enter: your favorite succulent. The data is limited, but studies have shown it to be effective in the treatment of both.
8. To help infections heal. There’s some evidence that the antibacterial qualities that make it a great lotion for acne-prone skin may also help with wound healing in humans, and in rats. I have tried this (I’ve also done it with honey), and I think it works. Can’t be sure, but it can’t hurt.
9. On cooking burns. Hopefully you had a cool mom who taught you this when you were a kid (hi, mom!). If not, you can be that cool mom or dad now or later. Oh, except wait… Despite the fact it seems like it would be a good idea, NIH says it doesn’t work on sunburns. [Ed's Note: Alexandra used it on the backs of her legs, after she burned them during a surf lesson while on vacation. She's convinced the cooling aloe eased some of her pain.]
10. Make a face mask out of it. We know some of you out there love your DIY. For you, combine aloe with oats and your favorite face oil in whatever proportions feel nice to you and slap the stuff on your face. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and you’ll be left with a nice, slightly taught face (in a good way, weird as it sounds).
What’d I miss?
Image (cc) via Flickr user Erik Mallinson