Author Archives: Holly

Why You Need a Low pH Cleanser for Healthy Skin

 

Recently I have been seeking to better understand the science behind our skin and how we care for it. Just because a product is natural, does not necessarily make it safe or effective. I have been reading a lot about Korean and/or Asian skincare practices, and the use of low-pH cleansers is the very foundation – for good reason! Here is what I’ve learned…

Have you ever experienced that tight, dry feeling left on your skin after using a facial cleanser? You might believe that this is your cleanser doing it’s job. However, most standard cleansers are too high in pH, causing damage to the skin.

Our skin is made up of a barrier of skin cells and fatty acids. This barrier is known as the “acid mantle” and it serves to protect your skin. The acid mantle keeps bacteria from getting into your skin as well as holding water within the skin (keeping your skin hydrated). It keeps the good stuff in, and the bad stuff out.

Our skin has a natural pH of between 4 and 6 (acidic). A pH of 7 is neutral and anything over 7 is considered alkaline. Many basic cleansers are too alkaline to help protect and preserve the acid mantle. This leads to skin feeling dry, sensitive, redness, and acne. Your skin will start producing extra oil/sebum to overcompensate. Skin may feel dry immediately following the cleanser, and then turn into an oil-slick later in the day.

In order to protect your skin, prevent acne and irritation, and promote hydrated, glowing skin, you need to use a cleanser that has the same pH has natural skin: between 4 and 6.

Here are some low-pH cleansers:

Cosrx Good Morning Gel Cleanser

 

 

 

 

 

 

SU:M 37 Miracle Rose Cleanser

 

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

*I use this as a body wash

Hada Labo Tokyo Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

 

 

Give a low-pH cleanser a try and see the results – happy, hydrated skin!

 

DIY Candida Cleanse

“Marinated Kale Salad-2” by Jules is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” 

Many people have a problem with Candida due to poor diet and lifestyle. You could argue that the majority of Americans have a problem with candida, and it’s important to understand the relevant health issues as well as how to properly address it.

Candida is yeast and bacteria that live in our gut. It is what we consider the “bad bacteria.” We also have “good bacteria” in our gut, which promotes a good immune system and healthy digestion. When we have higher amounts of candida than we have good bacteria – a candida overgrowth – it can cause serious health issues.

Some common health problems associated with candida overgrowth are:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Skin rashes and acne
  • Digestive disorders (Crohn’s, IBS, etc)
  • Yeast infections
  • Hormonal imbalances

These are just to name a few…

 

How does someone develop candida overgrowth?

Candida feeds off of sugar and yeast. Eating foods high in refined sugars, high in carbs, and processed foods all contribute to candida overgrowth. Not eating enough foods that contain good bacteria also contributes to the problem. Taking antibiotics, birth control pills, and steroids all create an imbalance of bacteria in the gut.

 

How can I tell if I have a candida problem?

If you’ve eaten a conventional American diet throughout your life, you likely have a problem with candida. However, there are a couple of other clear indicators. If you have a white film on your tongue in the morning, this is often an indicator of candida overgrowth. Nail fungus can also be a sign of candida. You can conduct a “spit test.” Fill half of a glass with room temperature water. First thing in the morning, spit a dime-size amount of saliva into the glass. It should float at the top. Check it several minutes later. If the spit sinks, starts to form strings hanging from it, or you see a cloudy residue at the bottom, it indicates candida.

 

How do I get rid of candida overgrowth?

Doing a candida cleanse can help kill off the bad bacteria and help rebuild healthy bacteria in your gut.

 

There are two steps to a candida cleanse:

  1. Kill off the candida
  2. Add good bacteria

 

Killing off the candida:

  • Eliminate foods that feed the candida: 
    • Eliminate anything with sugar. No artificial sweeteners either. 
    • Avoid natural sweeteners (maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, agave). Stevia is ok.
    • Eliminate foods with yeast (bread, crackers, pasta, etc).
    • Avoid fruit (berries other than strawberries and apples are ok in small amounts).
    • Avoid starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, other root vegetables, etc).
    • No alcohol.
    • Avoid dairy.
    • No processed food.
    • Take supplements that kill bacteria, yeast, and fungus at breakfast and lunch (garlic, oregano oil, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract). Candida can become immune to a supplement, so it is best to take one for 4-5 days and then switch to a different one. You can rotate with a couple different supplements.

 

Adding healthy bacteria:

  • Eat plenty of fermented, cultured foods that contain natural probiotics (kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented vegetables).
  • Drink apple cider vinegar (I drink it as a “shot” – a tablespoon of vinegar in a shot glass then diluted with water).
  • Add unrefined coconut oil to tea or smoothies (it has anti-fungal properties).
  • Gluten-free grains in small amounts may be alright (brown rice, quinoa, oats). Listen to your body.
  • Eat lots of cooked vegetables (especially dark green veggies). Cooked veggies are easier to digest.
  • Eat lots of protein (chicken, turkey, fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, etc). Make sure they are free of antibiotics and hormones.
  • Take a probiotic with your dinner (raw, refrigerated is best). 
  • Take an L-Glutamine supplement to help heal the lining of your intestines. 
  • Get plenty of fiber to help clean out your colon. Eat ground flaxseed, ground chia seeds, or make chia pudding.

 

Follow this diet and supplement routine for at least two weeks. You may need to go longer if your candida overgrowth is particularly bad. You can slowly start to introduce starchy vegetables and fruits into your diet, and gradually cut back on the antibacterial/anti-fungal supplements. Keep sugar, high-carb, and processed foods out of your diet altogether to prevent candida regrowth. Make eating probiotic foods and drinks a part of your regular diet as well.

 

Die-off:

It is common to experience “die-off” symptoms while doing a cleanse, because of all the toxins flushing from your body. You may feel tired, have a skin breakout, headache, or need to use the bathroom more frequently. However, if you are someone who has not been eating very healthy, I recommend changing your diet to more whole foods 2-4 weeks prior to starting the cleanse. The good news is that the die-off symptom are temporary and usually last 3-5 days. You will then start to feel much better as your body regains balance.

 

The first time I did a candida cleanse was about seven years ago. It was a rough experience. Looking back, I did not approach the cleanse properly. I went from eating a high-processed, high-sugar diet to – wham! – complete candida cleanse. I think it was too much for my body to handle all at once. I broke out in acne all over my face and felt really sick. I had intense sugar cravings, and really struggled to stick to the diet. After having made some healthy lifestyle changes over the past several years, I have found the cleanse to be much more doable, and the die-off symptoms are more minor. It’s a good idea to do a cleanse once or twice per year, even if it is only for a week to keep candida at bay.

Quick and Easy Cat-Eye Liner

“Perfect Eyeliner” by Garann is licensed under CC-BY SA 2.0

 

My favorite way to wear my eyeliner is the “cat-eye.” I find it really opens my eyes, and gives the illusion of larger-looking eyes. I also like that its a more classic and refined look.

In finding a way to create the perfect cat-eye look, there are two major issues:

  1. Finding natural products that actually work (they won’t run or smudge and will hold all day).
  2. Finding the right method to creating the perfect cat-eye that doesn’t take 20 minutes out of your morning routine.

 

Before I switched from using toxic makeup to clean beauty products, I relied on my trusty Maybelline Gel Eyeliner. It was easy to apply using the tiny brush, was waterproof, and lasted all day. Since then, it’s been a challenge to find a natural alternative that works just as well.

 

For a while I was using Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Raven. This eyeliner applies like a traditional liquid eyeliner, so it requires a very steady hand – which I do not have! I almost always had to rely on using a q-tip with a tiny bit of One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil to clean up any mistakes. Although I loved the polished, sleek look of this eyeliner, I found it was taking a very long time to apply it. It also tends to run easily when getting wet. However, I still enjoy using this eyeliner for more special occasions.

 

Which brings me to my new favorite way to create a cat-eye – it’s fast and easy!

Here’s the trick:

  • Black powder eyeliner
  • An angled eyeliner brush.

That’s it! Simple, right? The powder I use is Nvey Eco High Definition Cake Eyeliner. It’s really pigmented, so even though it is a powder, the color still stands out. The angled eyeliner brush I use is from Sephora. You can pick one up at any beauty store.

 

 

Here’s what I do:

  1. I dip the brush into the powder.
  2. Begin applying along the lash-line (where the pupil begins) and work toward the edge of the eyelid, using short quick strokes.
  3. Pull the outer corner of the eyelid taut, and angle the brush so that the long end of the bristles are pointed toward the outer corner of the eye, and the shorter end is pointing toward where the eyebrow ends. 
  4. Use short, quick strokes to create the line of the “wing.” You can make the wing as long as you would like. Sometimes I dip just the tip/pointy part of the brush in the powder and use only the tip to gain more precision.
  5. Lastly, fill in the wing area, making the liner closest to your eye thicker, and gradually thinner as it connects to the tip of the “wing.”

 

It may sound tricky, but trust me, this is the fastest and easiest way to do a cat-eye! The whole process only takes a couple minutes. The benefit of using a powder, is that you don’t need to be as precise. The powder has a softer look, so mistakes aren’t as noticeable compared to using liquid eyeliner. It also has incredible staying-power, and seems to hold up well to humidity. You can even wet the brush and mix it with the powder to get a liquid before applying. I have not tried this method, as I prefer to apply eyeliner as quickly as possible. I only apply eyeliner to my top lash-line, but you could certainly use a smaller eyeliner brush to fill in your bottom lashes as well.

 

Have you tried powder eyeliner? What is your favorite way to achieve the cat-eye look? Please share!

 

 

DIY Moisturizing Sea Salt Texturizing Hair Spray

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You can find a ton of recipes on the internet for sea salt hair spray to give you beach-wavy hair. Most of them use epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Although magnesium sulfate will create waves and curls, it can be really drying and can cause your hair to be brittle with prolonged use.

I have discovered a more gentle, moisturizing recipe that will still give you the beach-hair you desire without drying out your locks! I use magnesium oil instead of epsom salt. Magnesium oil is much more gentle, yet still provides curl enhancement. I also sometimes add it to my homemade hair gel.

Ingredients:

Directions

Place a few drops of magnesium oil into the spray bottle. I have short, fine hair, so I only need a couple of drops. A little goes a long way. If you have longer or thicker hair, you could add a couple more drops. Then add the distilled water to fill the bottle. Add several drops of hair oil such as argan oil, coconut oil, or a blend such as this one by La Bella Figura  or my newest favorite by Tabitha James Kraan

You can play around with the measurements to get the right balance for your hair type.

DIY Natural Perfume Oil

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Gingerbread and Fir Natural Perfume Oil” by Tara Aveilhe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most commercial, synthetic perfumes are loaded with harmful toxins, some of which have been shown to be cancer-causing. Since I have tried to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle, I have not worn synthetic perfume for several years now. To be honest, I don’t miss it – at all! I actually love experimenting with different natural perfumes. My husband teases me, because I frequently order samples from various organic companies, trying to find my perfect perfume. I am often waving small perfume samples in front of his nose, asking for his opinion.

The pros to wearing natural perfumes: you smell lovely and NATURAL. When I smell synthetic fragrance on other people now, all I can smell is chemicals, and I want to sneeze. The essential oils used in natural perfumes is much easier on the nose, and depending on the type of oils used, will bring healing effects to the body as well as influence your mood. Synthetic fragrances can’t do that!

The cons to wearing natural perfumes: they can be pricey, especially if you’re buying high-quality perfumes. They also do not last as long as synthetic fragrance, so you have to reapply more frequently. This means that you will go through perfume more quickly, and with the high price-tag, it can really start to add up.

So, I decided to take a whack at creating my own natural perfume in order to cut down on the cost, yet still enjoy the benefits of natural essential oils. I decided to try making my own version of Misaki by Tsi-La. I absolutely love the smell of this perfume! You can read my review of Misaki here. At a whopping $128 per bottle, I rarely have the budget to splurge on this award-winning perfume.

I looked at the listed ingredients for the perfume and did some research on the proportions each ingredient would typically have in a perfume. I learned about top, middle, and base notes used in perfumes. It sounds complicated, but it only required identifying which ingredients were either top notes, middle notes, or base notes and then doing some basic math to determine the amount of each ingredient I would use.

Here are the ingredients I used for my Misaki dupe:

Top Notes (10-30%)

  • Bergamot
  • Mint
  • Tea

Middle Notes (30-60%)

  • French Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Honey

Base Notes (15-30%)

  • Vanilla

There were some ingredients listed in Misaki I did not use such as green tree moss, juniper berry, clary sage, or ylang ylang.

Misaki is a perfume infused into sugar cane alcohol in a traditional spray bottle. I decided to infuse my fragrance in jojoba oil instead and use a roller ball applicator.

Misaki Perfume Dupe:

Break open tea bags and put tea leaves into the mason jar.Place vanilla bean, essential oils, and honey into the mason jar. Pour jojoba oil into the jar and stir. Store in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Pour the mixture through a cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer to extract the perfume-infused jojoba oil. Pour into the roller ball bottle. The dark cobalt will help preserve the essential oils, and allow your perfume to last longer. Apply to pulse-points as often as you would like and enjoy!

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I was AMAZED at how great this perfume came out. When compared to the actual Misaki perfume, the scent came pretty darn close! The toughest part was having the patience to wait a few weeks for all the ingredients to infuse into the jojoba oil. It was much cheaper to make this perfume myself, and I won’t feel guilty reapplying as often as I want. The small roller ball bottle is also much more travel-friendly compared to the larger spray bottle.

There are enough leftover ingredients to make this perfume several times over, so it’s totally worth the cost of the ingredients. I will probably experiment with some of the other ingredients I left out so see if I can get the scent even closer to Misaki perfume.

Overall, I am extremely happy (and surprised) with how well this turned out. You can try this technique with any of your favorite natural perfumes as long as the main ingredients are listed. Have fun experimenting and share your perfume recipes with me!

Guide to Treating Common Female Hormone Imbalance

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I have shared my personal experience with birth control pills, and my journey to finding natural alternatives. I am pleased to say I have been off synthetic birth control for over six years, using the Fertility Awareness Method to track my fertility and prevent unwanted pregnancy, as well as gaining better balance in my natural hormones.

There are some incredible supplements out there that can help support your body to better balance your hormones. If you have recently gone off birth control pills, suffer from PMS symptoms, or get cystic acne prior to your period (those large pimples under your skin that really hurt), there is likely an imbalance in your hormones.

Hormones are very complex and work together in ratios. We can simplify the most common hormonal-imbalances in women to two primary issues: Low Progesterone or High Androgens.

 

Low Progesterone

Progesterone is one of the female hormones. It has several important jobs. It produces the ovaries, normalizes blood sugar levels, and allows for a healthy pregnancy. It is also naturally prevents anxiety and depression. This is the hormone that naturally increases to induce ovulation, and can be detected by tracking your Basil Body Temperature.

Common symptoms of low progesterone:

  • PMS symptoms (moodiness, bloating, cravings)
  • Painful breasts
  • Headaches
  • Low libido
  • Cystic acne prior to menstruation
  • Mental and physical fatigue
  • Weight gain around your waist
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping

 

How to Treat Low Progesterone:

There is a strong link between chronic stress and low progesterone. When your body is under a lot of stress, it uses the resources normally used to produce progesterone to produce cortisol instead.

  • Lower your stress
    • Practice self-love,
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Don’t workout too hard too frequently
    • Quit caffeine
    • Reduce the amount of sugar you eat
    • Make sure you are eating enough calories
  • Try taking the herb Vitex (Agnus Cactus or Chastetree Berry) to help support progesterone production
  • Magnesium, B6, and Zinc, and Vitamin C are all needed to support your body in producing progesterone.

Take Fertility Blend for Women by Daily Wellness. This supplement contains Vitex, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B, and green tea. I took it for one month, and right away noticed I had no cystic acne prior to my period. I’ve been taking it ever since!

 

 

High Androgen

Androgens (such as testosterone) are male hormones that are found in both men and women. Androgens are produced in women through the adrenal glands and the ovaries. Androgens are often converted to estrogen, another female hormone. Androgens aid in the functioning of organs such as kidneys, liver, and bone-density.

Common symptoms of high androgen:

  • Acne
  • Excess hair growth on chin or upper lip
  • Hair thinning or balding on scalp
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Irregular periods
  • Blood sugar disorders (such as diabetes or insulin resistance)
  • High blood-pressure
  • High cholesterol

 

How to Treat High Androgen Levels:

Androgens are linked to sebum production in the skin. If the level of androgens are too high in our body, our skin produces too much sebum, which will clog pores and cause a breeding ground for bacteria – leading to acne. Eating foods high in sugar and carbohydrates will cause an increase in levels of androgens. Having high levels of “good” estrogens will combat the negative effects of androgens. We also have “bad” estrogen (xenoestrogens) in our body from living in a toxic environment (pollution, eating and drinking from plastic containers, taking synthetic birth control pills, etc).

  • Reduce “bad” estrogen in the body
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Eat a low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet (low GI)
  • Use facial oil to unclog sebum in your pores.
  • Try taking a DIM (diindolylmethane) supplement

Estroblock is a supplement containing DIM (diindolylmethane). This is a substance found in leafy green vegetables. DIM works to reduce excess androgens as well as support your liver in removing “bad” estrogens. There has been a lot of hype on the internet over Estroblock, and it has helped many people get rid of their acne. I have used it for about two years, and have found it to be tremendously helpful in keeping my acne at bay. 

 

Balancing your hormones often times requires you to make some lifestyle changes in order to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Simply taking supplements will likely not help much if you are eating a poor diet, not getting enough sleep, and not exercising. Take care of yourself, and start by giving your body the nutrition it needs. 

 

Use Facial Oil to Clear and Cleanse Your Skin

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Homemade Tincture” by Nekenasoa is licensed under CC by 2.0

Growing up I was always taught to avoid skincare products that contained any type of oils. The theory was that using oil on your face would clog pores and lead to acne. Having been an adolescent with less than perfect skin, I wasn’t about to put anything on my face that might worsen my acne. I continued to avoid facial oil into my adulthood, and used facial cleansers and other products that were intended to clear acne.

I became frustrated that I was now an adult and still needed to use acne products to keep my acne at bay. Aren’t teenagers the ones who have to deal with this problem? I started to do some research, reading and learning about other adult women who had similar concerns about their skin.

Through my research, I discovered healthy ways to clear my acne at the root of the issue that would provide lasting results. The most important decision I made was to improve my lifestyle and make healthier choices. I write about how I changed my diet and introduced supplements to my daily routine here.

I also discovered how to improve my skincare routine. Here is what I learned:

Oil-Free Cleansers can Damage Skin

Most commercial facial cleansers (especially those geared for acne) contain harsh detergents such as sulphates that strip natural oil from your face and drying your skin. Stripping natural oils (sebum) from your face can cause skin damage and accelerate the signs of aging. It can also further aggravate acne, eczema, and rosacea.

Facial Oil will Help Reduce Oily Skin

Using products that contain high quality oils can actually trick your skin into thinking it has already produced enough oil, and will decrease your natural sebum production.

Facial Oil will Clear Pores

Using oil to cleanse your face will actually help dissolve clogged pores such as whiteheads or blackheads. Water cannot dissolve oil – but oil can dissolve oil, so the oil will mix and clear up clogged pores!

Cleansing with Oil Removes Makeup

Nothing removes makeup faster and more gently than an oil-cleanser – even eye makeup! I use One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Oil Cleanser and Makeup Remover. Some other favorites to use are plain joboba oil or virgin coconut oil. This method is sometimes referred to as the “oil cleansing method.” The key is to massage the oil on dry skin, then wipe away with a warm wash cloth and rinse. You can follow with another cleanser for a deeper clean or just stick with the oil-cleanser.

 

Have you tried cleansing with oil? What are your favorite facial oils? Please share!

 

Five Tips to a Beautiful Bold Lip

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By Camila Zanon. (originally posted to Flickr as Cherry Lips.) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I enjoy a bold lip color during the fall and winter months – colors like deep red, burgundy, and plum are some of my favorites. But pulling off a bold lip can be a little intimidating. What looks good on the runway can come off as clownish in every-day life – especially if you have a fair complexion like myself. Here are a few tips as well as some green, nontoxic product recommendations to making a bold lip part of your look:

Step 1: Exfoliate 

Use a gentle scrub to remove any dead skin cells on your lips and creative a smooth surface prior to applying lipstick. I like One Love Organic Brand New Day Microderma Scrub + Masque. It is a very gentle, yet effective exfoliator and won’t cause any skin abrasions.

Step 2: Lightly Moisturize

Lightly apply your favorite lip moisturizing. I use Meow Meow Tweet Vegan Lip Balm. They are the best lip balms I have ever used! Be careful not to use too much or else it can make your lipstick smear.

Step 3: Apply fine powder

Apply a light dusting of fine powder to your lips such as Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder. This will give the lipstick something to stick to, and prevent lipstick from bleeding or gathering in fine lines. It will also make your lipstick last longer.

Step 4: Choose a bold color

Choose a color based on your skin-tone and complexion. I am fair and cool-toned, so I avoid anything too orangey or bright. My absolute favorite lipsticks are by Ilia Beauty. They have gorgeous colors for all skin-tones and are long-lasting. For natural, nontoxic lipsticks – nothing beats Ilia for me! My favorite colors are Femme Fatale – a berry/burgundy color. It’s the perfect classic red-lip! My other favorite is Lust for Life – a deep mulberry/plum color.

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Step 5: Go light on eyes and cheeks

Avoid using heavy eye shadow or blush. You want the rest of your makeup to be minimal and allow the bold lip to pop. I use eyeliner along my top lash-line and mascara, add some light contouring, and soft blush.

How do you pull off a bold lip? What natural lipsticks do you wear? 

Three Natural Deodorants that Actually Work

“Homemade Deodorant” by Megan Myers is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Living a healthier lifestyle requires not only taking a look at what you put into your body, but also what you put on your body. Many deodorants, specifically antiperspirants, are filled with toxic ingredients such as aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrance, and phthalates – just to name a few. These ingredients are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, fertility problems, and seizures.

Sweating is one way our body releases toxins. Antiperspirants block the sweat glands. If you stop your body’s natural ability to sweat, your body will end up reabsorbing those toxins – leading to numerous health issues.

Ditch the antiperspirant and allow your body to do what it is naturally designed to do – sweat out unhealthy toxins! It’s actually good for your body to sweat!

Although you may sweat more when you quit using antiperspirant, there is no need to worry about body odor. There are many natural deodorants you can use that provide long-lasting odor protection.

When I initially quit using antiperspirants, the search for a nontoxic deodorant that actually worked turned out to be an arduous journey. I started with several store-bought deodorants (such as Tom’s of Maine, Thai Crystal, and Jason)  and was quickly disappointed with the results. They did not seem to prevent body odor – but rather poorly masked it.

After lots of trial and error, I am happy to say that I have found several nontoxic deodorants that truly get the job done!

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Soapwalla Deodorant Cream

This is probably one of the most popular deodorants among the green beauty community. It’s become a cult favorite! This deodorant is the most powerful in odor protection. It requires finger application. It provides a lavender-citrus fragrance. My only issue with Soapwalla is that my skin can become irritated if used right after shaving. If you have sensitive skin, this deodorant may be too strong for you.

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Green Body Deodorant

Many natural deodorants require finger application. If you love the convenience of a stick deodorant, this is the deodorant for you – and it really works! The best part is that is comes in six different scents!

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Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream

This is my holy grail deodorant. It provides powerful odor protection, yet is sensitive enough to use after shaving. It does require finger application, but is worth the nuisance due to the simple yet effective ingredients. It comes in two scents: lavender and tea tree. You can also order a mini size for travel or sampling the product.

Have you quit using antiperspirant? What is your favorite nontoxic deodorant that actually works? Please share!

Healing through the Power of Self Love

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happy_woman_in_flower_field” by Imagine is licensed under CC by 3.0

Whether you are trying to clear acne, lose weight, or simply live a healthier lifestyle, learning to love and accept yourself is an essential part of the healing process. While increasing nutrition, reducing toxins, sleeping well, and exercising are all great ways to improve your physical wellbeing, these steps would be incomplete without also working on emotional wellbeing.

What is self-love? It can be difficult to define, and the meaning may vary depending on your individual needs. To me, self-love means being at peace with who you are, recognizing your strengths as well as your weaknesses, and appreciating yourself.

Here are some ways you can grow in self-love:

Pay attention to your thoughts

So many of us function as if we are on auto-pilot. We go through our days rushing from one moment to the next with many thoughts flooding through our minds. It’s important to slow down and pay attention to what we tell ourselves. Do you frequently have negative thoughts about yourself? Perhaps you are telling yourself, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not worthy of love,” or “I’m ugly.” Perhaps you are putting off self-love by thinking, “I’ll feel better about myself when…” You may need to ask yourself if these thoughts are helping you or hurting you. Are your thoughts accurate? How would someone who loves themselves think about themselves? Empower yourself by taking control of your negative thought-patterns, and start engaging in more positive ways of viewing yourself. Recognize your strengths and tell yourself, “I am special…worthy, kind, helpful, etc.”

Practice Self-Compassion

We can be so hard on ourselves. Learn to recognize that you are human, and therefore, imperfect. Punishing yourself for your mistakes will lead to low self-esteem and feeling like a failure. Instead focus on what lessons are to be learned from your mistakes. Ask yourself, how would I treat a friend facing a similar situation as my own? Be kind to yourself. When facing hardships, take some time to care for yourself. Relax with a good book, call a friend, get a massage – whatever helps you alleviate stress!

Set Boundaries

Set limits for yourself and learn to say no to activities or people that are harmful to you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This may require making some lifestyle changes or letting go of relationships. Focus on surrounding yourself with people who are supportive of your success and happiness. Spend your time engaging in activities that are beneficial to your physical and emotional wellbeing. Some ideas might be taking a yoga class, spending time outdoors, learning a new hobby, going to church, cooking healthy meals, joining a book club, etc.

Live with intention

What is your purpose in life? What kind of a person do you strive to be? Set goals for yourself that support your values and beliefs. Establishing your intention will bring guidance to decisions you make in life. When you live your life with purpose and meaning, you will have more love and appreciation for yourself.

 What are some ways you practice self-love? Please share!

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