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Which Meditation Style Is Right For You?

The timing for this post couldn’t be better. We’ve both been talking about, and trying to practice, regular meditation (though sometimes we blow it!). Siobhan posted 11 tips here and today the peeps at Well+Good are suggesting different styles for different types of people and issues. What’s your practice look like? We’ll share ours in the comments.

Is this you: You really want to meditate and be less reactive in stressful situations, but you can’t sit still and empty your mind? Us, too!

It could be that you (we) just haven’t found the right meditation style, says davidji, apprentice to Deepak Chopra, and the author of The Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation.

In his new book, the corporate executive-turned-meditation teacher covers the most frequently practiced forms of meditation. “Many types of meditation can help you manage the constant swirl of the city and our reactions to it,” he says.

So which style of meditation is right for you? Here are five—along with some practical guidance from davidji—to help you pick one that sticks.

1. You’re a People Person (Sometimes to a Fault)
Practice: Metta Meditation

For this meditation practice you’ll bring loving kindness into your heart and then shine it out to everyone. Got it? You do this by sitting for five minutes and focusing your attention on loving thoughts and feelings. Use deep inhales to fill yourself up with loving thoughts, then let that love flow through you and out of you in a long exhale. This is a nourishing meditation, and an example of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first and then putting it on someone else.

2. You Need To Get Calm RIGHT NOW!
Practice: Breathing Meditation

You know that feeling you get when doing something you love? You’re so absorbed yet your mind is super clear? This breathing meditation can help invoke that feeling.

How to do it? Stop yourself for two minutes a day and bring your attention to your breath, like you may have done in yoga class. Just follow your breath in your mind’s eye going in and out through your nose. The idea is that by staying with your breath, you’re not going to the past or future in your thoughts.

If you’re extremely busy or a beginning meditator, this method works really well because it’s quick and you can do it anywhere (hello subway). It’s also beneficial for combating stress and anxiety (hello high-pressure work meeting).

3. You’re a Foodie, or Have Food Issues
Practice: Sensory Meditation

A form of sensory meditation is mindful eating. Choose a meal—or even just a piece of chocolate—and focus on the flavors and experience of eating it, savoring every bite, and connecting to the moment, without any other distractions like television, work, or other people.

If you struggle with emotional eatingor weight concerns, or just haven’t been taking the time to notice what you’re putting in your body, this is a great tool for gaining more awareness and bringing more joy to the experience.

Read the rest here.

A few days ago I did something I haven’t done in ages: I went for a facial.

I’ve had a mixed history with facials. As a teenager I got one that left my face in such a mess that it scared me off them for years. Later, in my early twenties, I became a devotee of Kate Sommerville here in Los Angeles. I went for almost weekly facials there that—while draining to my bank account—seemed to help the cystic acne I’d developed around my jawline at the time.

Whether the effects were placebo or not is unclear, but I loved the ritual, and my facialist was kind and gentle (and I’m convinced a closet energy worker). Maybe her soothing neck massages were the true cure for my acne. Aside from the products (which, while not totally clean, did feature a lot of natural actives), she also used all kinds of blue and red lights and things that vibrated. There were also extractions.

Extractions are controversial—but I’m convinced that people who are against them can’t possibly be prone to same surface clogging that I am.

Let’s just put it this way: There are people in my life, who shall remain nameless, who actually beg to do my extractions. Yes, I run with a disgusting lot at times.

And while healthy skin oils and good clean products help, because I don’t believe in peeling and over-exfoliating, I’m starting to think extractions (done carefully by a professional) may be a more viable option in helping my skin breathe better, so to speak.

Fast-forward several years to a few days ago. After something of a grueling work week in New York’s 100-degree humidity, followed by an almost-as-muggy, feeling-filled family visit near Montreal—I came back to Los Angeles with skin in need of some serious help.

A friend had recently told me about Marianne Kehoe who does a facial using warm cotton strips soaked in mineral and vitamin-loaded waters as opposed to products and peels. Marianne also does extractions, after which she uses something called a “galvanic electrical current” to help heal the skin. Has anyone tried this before? At this point my skepticism is healthy when it comes to any treatment, but the experience was completely non-aggressive and in desperate times a girl wants to believe.

According to Elle, these facials have been a thing for some time (centuries), but I plan to do more research. For now, my skin is feeling better—and clearer.

Where do you sit on facials, extractions, and a lil’ electroshock therapy?

Image via Elle

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3 Ways to Make Your Natural Makeup Last

Some good tips from our friends at Well+Good. How do you make your natural makeup last longer?

If you’ve made the switch from mainstream makeup to natural brands like RMS Beauty or Vapour, you’re probably still admiring your new dewy, fresh-faced complexion.

But lots of converts also have a complaint: The pretty pots and sticks just don’t last as long as their conventional counterparts (because they’re missing the chemicals that make them cling).

“It’s just something that everyone will have to learn to expect,” says celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno, who gets stars like January Jones and Christy Turlington ready for the red carpet. “There are no crazy intense polymers in the natural world that will equal long-lasting color.” (Though some hyper-pigmented brands do stain well.)

But, says Denno, while you may have to work a tiny bit harder and touch up your face during the day, it’s actually a good thing. Instead of feeding your skin endocrine-disrupting chemicals over and over, you’re nourishing your skin with hydrating bases like jojoba and coconut oil every time you reapply.

It will look better, too. “Instead of adding another layer onto old makeup, which creates a pancake-y look, you’re just adding a fresh glow,” she explains.

And while you’ll have to schedule a midday reach into your beauty bag, there are ways to maximize your natural makeup’s staying time. Here are Denno’s expert tips:

1. Moisturize first. Make sure your skin is properly hydrated. “If you put makeup on dry skin, it will be difficult to blend, and it will more likely disappear more quickly,” says Denno. “You don’t want your skin to absorb the cheek colors.”

Find the other tips here.

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Do You Use the “Yes To” Lines?

You know the ones. With bright colors and pictures of cucumbers, berries, carrots and tomatoes, Yes To is one of the more widely available natural(ish) brands on the market.

While we did mention this line in the book as a cleaner option at the drugstore, the presence of fragrance in certain of their products and a few other borderlines has kept us largely away. But we’re often asked about them. Are any of you Yes To users?

I noticed today that our trusted friends at Well+Good have a review up of their new acne lotion (you can read it here), and this ingredient list looks pretty good, so maybe this brand deserves a closer look.

While we love being able to endorse naturals that are less expensive and widely available, it just drives us right up a wall when brands are almost clean, or totally clean on some products and not on others. Feel me? It just makes it harder for the consumer. To boot, they don’t feature their full ingredients list on their site. Another major pet peeve!

What’s the big deal about fragrance? Well in case you’re new to the party, fragrance is a serious red flag for us because we never know what is used in these formulations.

The fragrance industry is protected under business friendly trade laws that allow them to keep their potions secret, favoring their bottom line over our health (rarara!).

Results from labs show time and again that fragrance formulations contain really sketchy ingredients, notably phthalates—those pesky hormone disruptors—among many others.

Anyhoo, have you had any experience with this brand? And if so, which are your favorite products?

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Can Your Phone Really Give You Zits?

Have you ever noticed phone-related breakouts? Or, wait, let me rephrase the question: Do you breakout on your cheek or jawline, but mysteriously only on one side?

I can say that this isn’t currently a problem for me, but it’s certainly something I’d heard could happen. But Well+GoodNYC, smart cookies that they are, wanted to find out if, in fact, this happens all that commonly. Here’s what they found…

Texting may be less personal, but it could save you from a 21st-century skin-care problem: cell-phone breakouts.

While lots of people are concerned about bacteria on their phone (especially after Sanjay Gupta discovered fecal strep on Anderson Cooper’s last fall), jawline acne may have more to do with phone-face contact than grime, say dermatologists.

“Some people hold cell phones to their faces and talk for a long period of time, perspiring onto the phone and blocking the pores,” explains Mitchell Kline, MD, a dermatologist and professor at New York-Presbyterian Medical Center’s Weill Cornell Medical College.

Holding your phone against your cheek traps oil in the pores, which can lead to those deep-forming acne cysts, agrees Neil Sadick, MD, a renowned dermatologist and researcher. (Ever notice it also melts your makeup to your phone and down your face?)

But don’t flush your iPhone just yet.

“Your skin has its own immune system, and it can handle a lot. Most of the stuff on a cell phone won’t cause break outs,” says Doris Day, MD.

Dr. Day cautions that if you’re prone to eczema or have a nickel allergy (some phones, but not iPhones, contain nickel), you may have more of a problem. (That problem is called contact dermatitis, which looks like tiny little clusters of pimples, but isn’t acne.)

She also says to watch out for the office phone. Since it ends up pressed against the faces of all of your coworkers, too, it may be dirtier. (Ew.)

Uh yeah, that’s gross. But help is here! They’ve sourced some tips from experts on how to deal with this very modern problem. Read their tips here.

How do you deal with this? Have you ever noticed a connection?

My first love Zack Morris via