A Mom’s guide to organic beauty – creams and remedies

1If you’ve just given birth and are eager to get back to the way you used to look … young, fresh and pretty … who can blame you? All women love to feel beautiful… a good enough reason to want to try new diets, new products. You’d have to keep in mind though, that you can’t just eat anything. You can’t just go around the supermarket, pick up any old thing that catches your taste or fancy and put it in your mouth. Neither can you just poke into women’s personal care items and simply apply it or spread it on any part of your body because it’s going to make you feel nice and cool. It’s important to remember that you’ll be breastfeeding and taking care of your baby. What this means is that you’ll have to carefully examine the ingredients that go into your favorite things, whether they’re edibles (you enjoy eating) or “spreadables” (you love putting on any part of your body). A close look at this information helps ensure that you only use or consume items that are safe and non-toxic. The other way to approach this sort of safety net for your baby is to create your own organic beauty creams and remedies at home. To be completely honest, this is what I do. It’s inexpensive. It’s effective.  

Here’s a rundown of several organic beauty lotions or creams you can easily work on by yourself. 

Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Moisturizer

If you think olive oil is only great for cooking, think again. Olive oil is actually known and recognized to be one of the simplest, purest and most potent moisturizers in the planet, and it can be applied on practically all parts of the body, from the face to the elbow, from knees to feet.  Naturally, too much use of it will give you that greasy feeling which could be icky. In my case, I just use a dime-size drop and evenly spread it over my skin.   (Source: keeperofthehome.org)

Peach-and-Honey Mask

Who doesn’t love peaches and honey? Well, apart from them being great tasting and so nice to eat, peaches and honey can help make your skin feel soft and supple. To create a peach and honey mask at home you’ll need one large peach or nectarine (skinned), three teaspoons of honey and a pinch of lecithin powder or two teaspoons of yogurt. You will then crush and blend the peach and honey together, add the two tablespoons of yogurt or lecithin powder, and mash them until you get a pleasant-smelling, workable, kind of paste. Pat this blended mash over your face and neck, as well as around the eyes. Next, lie back and relax for around 10 minutes, then rinse off the paste with warm water, pat dry, then as a final touch, tone and moisturize your skin like you normally would afterward. (Source: goodhousekeeping.com)

2Shea Butter

Another potent, yet inexpensive organic ingredient, is shea butter. It is hailed and noted as the most-used natural beauty ingredient after coconut oil, and possesses an earthy, yet mild and naturally nutty smell. Shea butter contains very high antibacterial properties, and is effective for preventing stretch marks. It has an SPF of around 5, and can be used as a daily sunscreen. I’ve experienced making and using this as a face cream, deodorant, diaper cream and even baby lotion! And if you don’t mind my saying so, these DIY concoctions work beautifully.  (Source: wellnessmama.com)

Beeswax

Another skin-friendly byproduct from bees is of course, beeswax. You can use this to create home-brewed foot creams, lip balms, lotion bars, and even baby-care creams and recipes! (Source: wellnessmama.com)

According to organic beauty experts and adherents, the average family in the US today spends an estimated $2,000 each year on hygiene items and beauty products. If you’d like to save on these personal care items, since the savings can be put to better use for your baby’s growing-up needs,  go organic, and create your own beauty aids in the comfort of your home.

What’s great is that these DIY items require fewer ingredients, and they last longer than any synthetic or chemical-based beauty creams and gels that one normally sees displayed and marketed in stores today.  And the best thing about this whole idea is that home-made organic beauty products are naturally safe to use, and are free from toxins and other cancer or disease-causing substances.

 

 

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Quick Yoga Tips Between Toddler Naps

6If, like me, you’ve just given birth, and you’ve become too busy taking care of your growing family, It would probably strike you hard that : you don’t have enough time anymore to go to the beauty salon to get your hair or nails done;  and that, you won’t have that much time to exercise and stay fit either. Well, if you’ve began to think in those terms –  no more time for keeping fit, and staying healthy, think again. I’ve just learned a couple of effective, yet easy-to-do yoga exercise routines, which I strongly feel are best for busy mothers. Let’s take a brief look at a number of quick yoga tips, the types you can do while your baby is asleep.

Why Busy Mothers Need to Exercise, and Stay Fit

We live in a very stressful world, and each day brings with it new challenges and hurdles. With the hurried pace of life today, it is important that every individual (busy mothers, like you and I included) learn a couple of stress-relieving techniques and methods, like yoga. Yoga is an age-old technique that’s best known for easing stress, relieving tension, and keeping the mind at peace and in proper balance. There are actually a lot of yoga exercises and steps that even busy moms can safely do anywhere, anytime. (Source: yogainspires.co.uk)

7How To Incorporate Yoga In Your Busy Life As A Mom 

According to a popular yoga practitioner, “practice and all is coming”. This means that by consistently practicing, and adhering to the principles of yoga, you and I can effectively open our mind and body, to bring in an infusion of deep peace, and good health. Let me share with you a few helpful ideas on how to effectively incorporate yoga into your life, even if you’re a very busy mother.

–       Choose Your Routine or Style. The first step towards practicing, and incorporating yoga into your busy life as a mom, would be to choose your preferred style, and routine. Choose a yoga routine which you strongly feel can get your “juices working”, but is more soft, restorative and relaxing. Whatever routine you choose … with more practice, the more you’ll get to learn of its positive effects, and the more you’ll get to discover what it is your mind and body need at different times.  (Source: ekhartyoga.com)

–         Stay Safe, And Prevent Injuries. Once you’ve already chosen your yoga routine or technique, always make sure you watch your boundaries, and be very mindful of your body’s limits and vulnerable areas. Keep in mind that the most injury-prone parts of the body include the knees, hips, spine and neck. If you suddenly feel any aching or painful sensations, quickly adjust and soften your poses, and don’t force or push yourself too far. You also need  be mindful during the transitions between different poses, and pay close attention to your alignments during those poses or moments. (Source: ekhartyoga.com)-

–         Choose The Poses You Truly Like. While some people would assert that one should choose the yoga poses that truly challenge them, I strongly feel that you should instead choose a yoga pose which you truly feel comfortable with, and also love doing (that’s what I do). Remember that you should feel “compelled”, rather than be obligated, to do such yoga poses. (Source: yogainternational.com)

According to long-time yoga adherents (I’m nuts about it!),  yoga is a “practice that is an intention to observe your actions and reactions”, and it need not take a certain form or structure. After completing certain poses, make sure you give your body time to relax, so that your nerves and muscles (as well as your mind) are able to “assimilate” the soothing and invigorating benefits that it has gained during the exercise.

 

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Natural Beauty Remedies

Someone (paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt — do I get bonus points here?) once said:  “Nothing worth having ever comes easy.”

Brown sugar, how come ya make me look so good?

Oh, brown sugar, how come ya make me look so good?

With respect, I must disagree. Some of the most amazing discoveries I’ve ever made were right under my nose, there for the picking. Better, these discoveries actually worked.  Ready for some really cool, easy and inexpensive beauty finds? Read on.

And to the family of the insightful Mr. Roosevelt: Don’t worry, I’m still a fan.

Pretty Feet Sugar Scrub

This scrub will make your feet feel amaaaaazing. Sugar is a gentle exfoliant; honey adds suppleness and is a humectant (it draws moisture from the air to the skin). Enjoy this gentle scrub up to twice a week.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. lavender or honey essential oil

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Apply to feet about a tablespoon at a time; scrub the area gently, paying special attention to the heels. Wipe off gently when done and add your favorite foot cream if desired.

Olive Oil Deep Conditioner for Hair

Although the hair can’t technically be “repaired” (a split is a split is a split), olive oil can add an amazing suppleness and sheen. It also provides protection against further damage. Eggs provide protein, giving the hair shaft strength.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, for fragrance
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions:

Warm olive oil in microwave for 20 seconds MAXIMUM (be careful – check the temperature before applying; if the oil is hot rather than warm, you’ll wind up with scrambled eggs!). Beat the egg yolk with a fork and add to the olive oil. Add the essential oil last. Apply the mixture to your hair and wrap in a towel to keep it warm. Keep the mixture on your hair for 20 minutes. Wash out with your favorite shampoo.

Super Strawberry Tooth Whitener

Believe it or not, strawberry is a centuries-old recipe for whitening/bleaching. It was a popular face lightener for women in the 19th century. Strawberry works to lighten tooth stains, too. Here’s how to do it.

Ingredients:

  • one very ripe (soft) strawberry
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Directions:

Mash the strawberry well with a fork. Add the baking soda and blend well. You will have a crumbly paste. Place the paste on your toothbrush and brush all outer surfaces of your teeth for 2 minutes. Rinse.

Bright Eyes Dark Circle Remedy

There are many natural ingredients – such as lemon – that can lighten the skin. But these don’t necessarily address the underlying cause of dark circles (usually, enlarged capillaries under the skin) and may be irritating to the eyes. The solution? A potato! Potatoes provide a gentle bleaching action while cooling and soothing so that the blood vessels under the eyes are less visible.

Ingredients:

  • one small raw white potato
  • cotton pads

Directions:

Grate the potato into a bowl. Press with a fork to extract the juice from the potato. Dip cotton pads into the juice and lie back with the wet pads on your closed eyelids for 20 minutes. Do not rinse off. Apply makeup as usual.

Enjoy, gorgeous!

Sources:

Curly Nikki

Skin Beauty

Eye Cream Advisor

Michelle Phan

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“Getting That Second Look On The Beach” (With No Stretch Marks To Show)

13226220314_23ce6ab9ba_zI’m not being flirtatious or anything like that. I am after all, married with an adorable 6 year old delightfully mischievous boy. But every summer I have this dream of walking down by the beach looking like Megan Fox. .. gorgeous men taking a second look at me. I mean what girl wouldn’t.

But like I said, it’s a dream. I don’t think Megan has got some stretch marks or love handles to hide like I do. Although I take consolation in the fact that .. (from what I’ve read anyway) .. about 90% of women have these. They’re just smart enough to have learned the art of not showing them. I’m being candid now. I think I’m one of them.

The Little Things I’ve Learn About Hiding Stretch Marks 

Stretch marks are those ugly, long, scar-like lined wrinkles which sometimes suddenly appear on some parts of your body after delivering your baby.  Unfriendly reminders of the fun you had making whoopee. I have a few which seemed to have taken a fancy to that area below my belly button and am I glad to note they’re not like a lighted cinema marquee that shouts!

We all know there are various ways of getting rid of those stretch marks. If you’ve got a fat enough fat wallet, there’s permanent removal therapy via laser. Or…unless you don’t need to be putting on a bikini within the next week for dear Jane’s beach party, there are ointments and creams which will do the job for you, Results may come in from 90-120 days. Of course, summer’s gone by then.

Here’s What I Do: 

Out on the beach, I try to look stylish and chic. I wear a 2-piece bikini but … over my bikini bottom, I put on a loose, bright-colored, Polynesian-looking sarong from just below my navel (enough to hide my stretch marks) and tie it in a knot on either my left or right hip but making sure some thigh skin shows. A sarong is very fashionable. I usually choose a nice printed one to complement or to contrast my bikini top, I’m dreaming again … but when I’ve gotten this all worked out, I’d like to think I look like a beautiful, sexy wahini from the island of Maui.  and .. ahem … I do get a few glances from the boys.

2I’m sure you’ve heard of booty shorts. They’ve become a fashionable trend on the beach or at pool parties. Instead of a sarong, I use these sometimes, over my 2-piece bikini bottom. I don’t zip-in the front and make sure I’ve got my stretch marks covered with a skin-colored cream.

And then … there are those “skirt bikinis” ..  These swimwear designers are so creative and imaginative they’ve created trendy and stylish skirts as bikini bottoms to help us, girls hide those stretch marks on our hips, behinds or lower mid-sections.

So … don’t let those stretch marks take the fun out of your summer. Enjoy!

 

Credits:

Sexy Beach Bikini Body  by Philipp/Flickr

Beach Bikini by Philipp/Flickr

More Research: Only Stretch Mark Cream

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How to Use Eye Make-up the “Proper Way”

9841378925_e5b48a6ac9_z For most individuals, looking fresh and pretty everyday is considered to be among their top priorities. Well, who would ever want to go out, and look haggard, stressed-out  or messed-up?  One of the commonly-used items for perking up the face is eye make-up. What is eye make-up? Well, eye make-up is defined as a class or type of cosmetics that are created to make the eyes look attractive and noticeable, and is mostly used by females. Let’s take a close look at how to properly use eye make-up.

Use Your Ring Finger, and Apply Small Dots Around The Eye

When applying eye cream or make-up, always remember to use your middle finger. Why? Because the ring finger is considered to have the lightest touch, and is “less likely” to pull, or hurt,  the delicate areas of the eye. Also make sure to apply small dots of cream around the eye, above the eye (and into the brow area), as well as under the eye. By doing this, you ensure that the entire eye area will be moisturized for optimal results.

Massage the Area in A Circular Motion

To make sure that the eye cream or make-up does wonders to the skin around or close to your eyes, make sure you gently tap the cream, to stimulate and promote circulation. Do not try to stretch or pull the skin around the eyes, because these are delicate and can easily get irritated. Tap the cream, until you feel that it absorbs into the skin. Also make sure you massage the cream or make-up in a circular motion, so that it fully absorbs, and you also do not pull or stretch the skin around the eye area. (Source: dailymakeover.com)

Use Moisturizers

According to make-up experts, if your skin is extremely dry, you could add or incorporate facial oils into your eye make-up routine. Facial oils can help bring back that luster and shine into very dry skin, including the ones around the eyes. These however, should be applied after placing or putting your preferred moisturizer (Source: michellephan.com).

 4900210322_ea449d5e05_zHow Are Most Eye Creams Formulated?

Most eye creams or make-up ingredients were originally designed to remove stretch marks. Today, however, these are now formulated, and used, to considerably reduce the appearance and formation of wrinkles, especially around the eyes. According to beauty and wellness experts, the main ingredients of the popular eye creams and make-up products today are formulated to help enhance elastin and collagen levels within the skin, reduce noticeable stretch marks, and plump-up fine lines (Source: Eyecreamadvisor.com ).

Regardless of what product you’re using, or what make-up routine you prefer to follow, always remember that how you treat your skin affects how your make-up will look, and how you age. Just make sure you follow the advice of your beauty and wellness expert, and strictly adhere to the product guidelines as well, and you’ll be on your way towards having fresh and younger-looking skin.

Photo Credits:

Mainstream/Flickr

Amanda G/Flickr

 

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More Delicious Picks From the Fridge: Stretch Mark Edition

PicRefrigeratorBySamsungtomorrow

You’d be surprised how much beauty is in here. Image: samsungtomorrow

Hungry for more all-natural beauty tips? Today we’ve got delicious picks to combat stretch marks…straight from your own pantry.

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Remember the last time we ducked into the fridge to discover great anti-wrinkle items for pennies?

Well, lately I’ve been thinking about my stretch marks. (Oh come on. Who DOESN’T sit around dreamily wondering about her stretch marks? Just me…? Okay. I’m not embarrassed or anything now.)

I mean I understand the conventional wisdom on stretch marks. Over 85% of all women have them, once you’ve got ‘em they’re here to stay, they’re a badge of honor, yadda yadda.

But seriously…if we can uncover natural items to combat wrinkles and dark spots, why can’t we find a few to deal with stretch marks?

After all, like other skin issues, stretch marks result from damage. Technically, as far as my research tells me, stretch marks are scars caused by tiny breaks in the skin. And though scars are notoriously hard to combat, the skin is a self-repairing organ.

So (you know what’s coming) I did a little research. And yes, I tried these methods. This has taken me some time to compile as I wanted to give each a couple of weeks before I gave it a thumbs up. (There were a few that didn’t pass the test – look for “Stretch Mark Removal Myths” in the future.)

Hope this helps other natural mommies out there who love their children and loved their pregnancies – but the stretch marks and plastic surgeons, not so much.

1. Lemon Juice

picLemonsByrichard_northI already knew that it lightened hair and was historically used to fade sun spots, so I don’t know why I didn’t consider that lemon juice might fade stretch marks. In fact, the citric acid in lemon juice (and other foods) is well known for its lightening properties.

Obviously this will only work for the dark color of stretch marks. I also have what I like to call “wrinklies” (eughhhhhhh) and don’t get me started on the little pooch. But we’re talking about the deep reddish/purplish coloring alone here.

Yes, I did notice a slight fade in the color of my darkest stretch marks. I began to notice it after a week or so. After two weeks, that was about it – I didn’t “fade” any more. IMPORTANT: Do NOT use lemon juice on your skin undiluted. It is drying, irritating an may leave you with a case of the unbearable itchies.

What I did: I squeezed the juice of one lemon and kept the excess in the fridge. I added ½ tsp. of the juice daily to 2 T. of my favorite lotion (I chose a cocoa butter one just because it feels so nice). I mixed well and applied.

Do this only ONCE a day only to minimize the possibility of irritation.

2. Potato Juice

picPotatoesShreddedBymrjoroI know, I know, get OUT. But seriously. Potato has amino acids and constituents that fade dark areas and also stimulate the skin to produce newer, fresher (and generally, prettier) cells.

My potato juice method was slow. Very slow. But it did really soften the skin and somehow made the stretch marks seem less noticeable. I’m not certain it faded the actual color of them. I have a feeling this is a gentler method and as with many gentler methods, takes longer than smacking your skin issues over the head with the stronger stuff. I was okay with that.

What I did: I grated one yellow potato (I don’t believe the type of potato you use – yellow, white or red – matters for this process) into a bowl. I didn’t peel it first, I just grated the entire thing. You could also use a food processor for this. I then transferred the potato shavings into a colander and pressed down to get the juice out. Actually, your potatoes will be very “juicy” just from grating them.

I took the juice and soaked cotton balls in it, then dabbed the soaked cotton balls onto my stretch marks. Watch out – this can get messy! I wore my bathing suit for this process. It will dry quickly and will feel a little “tight.” I left it on for 20-30 minutes per session, then rinsed it off with a washcloth.

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe, Aloe, AloeAloe has been used for centuries, including medically for burns, so I felt it had some non-anecdotal, real-science heft behind it. We use aloe a lot in our house, for everything from cuts and scrapes to that little bit I like to put in my hair to keep it slicked back (darned errant baby hairs).

Theoretically, aloe may stimulate cell growth as well.

What I did: I used 100% aloe vera gel. It’s also available as a juice, which is thicker than you’d think a juice would be, so I can’t see why you couldn’t use either. IMPORTANT: If you use the actual leaves, scrape off the green/yellow part and ONLY use the translucent non-colored gel. The greenish-yellow portion can irritate skin.

I dabbed the aloe on my stretch marks twice a day. It did dry and “curl” off in spots, so I washed off the first application before putting on the second. For the most part, this method seemed to aid in the texture, rather than the color, of my stretch marks. When I stopped using it, the effects disappeared, so if you choose this method, make it part of your regular skin care routine.

4. Brown Sugar Scrub

PicBrownSugarBylas-initiallyAhhh! This was (and remains) far and away my favorite from-the-fridge anti-stretch mark method. In fact, I continue to use it about once a week just for the luxury of it.

The activity of a brown sugar scrub is in sloughing off old skin cells and revealing new ones. In addition, just the action of removing the dead skin stimulates the skin to produce new cells at a faster rate. This means healthier, more active cells and potentially, smoother skin. I can say that my “wrinklies” seem more “planed” and smooth using this awesome method.

What I did: I took 1/8 c. brown sugar and placed it in a bowl. I added 1 T. (measured) water and mixed it together with my fingers. Then I lay on a bath towel and gently rubbed it into my stretch marks, using a slow circular motion outward. You may need more if you’re covering a larger area. I was spot-treating in just one area while concurrently testing out the lemon juice in another.

Rub like this for 3-5 minutes on each area. Afterward, you’ll want a shower – wet sugar is very sticky. Follow up with a great moisturizer.

So What’s the Bottom Line?

All of the above methods worked to some degree in either lightening the appearance of stretch marks or smoothing the puckered skin. They didn’t blast the marks like a chemical preparation might, but if you’re looking to go the natural route, I’d recommend any or all of them.

It’s doubtful that any of these methods can compete with such biggies as Retin-A, glycolic acid or dermabrasion, so if you’re not hooked on all-natural, you may want to give those a try. In the meantime, I’m loving my skin care routine – and the skin itself – much more with these yummy spa-like methods.

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Tips For Stretch Marks

When I was nine years old, I watched my mother’s pregnancy with awe – and a little “eew.” Pulling down that sexy pouch they used to sell (Mom had to sew it into her regular jeans), she happily showed me the evidence of my growing brother.

Unwittingly, she showed me more than that.

“What are THOSE?” I asked with all the tact of a fourth-grader, pointing at the reddish-purple wiggly lines at her waist.

“Those are stretch marks,” she answered. “Trust me, some day you’ll be proud to wear them as well.”

Oh no I won’t, I thought, but Mom was right in her prediction  – with my own pregnancy I lost the genetic lotto, inherited my mother’s non-elastic skin and wound up marked in places I didn’t even know could stretch.

And no. I’m not happy to have them. Happy to have my son? Over the moon. Glad for a road map of the nation’s major highways from my upper waist to the tops of my thighs? Not so much.

“Isn’t There Anything I Can Do?”

Yep. That was my very first question, after they pried my newborn baby boy from my hands (I gave “rooming in” a new meaning) and I had five minutes all alone to actually get a view of…well, of all that.

You all know me well enough by now to know that I’m a researcher. And I can never let anything go. Ever. So I went on a stretch mark information hunt.

Apparently, stretch marks fade on their own over time…at least a bit. But six to twelve months after the fact, what you have is what you have; they’re not getting any lighter, sorry. At least not on their own.

My Stretch Mark Tips

Fortunately, I DID discover a few tips to help fade stretch marks. Yay!

NOTE: My stretch marks are NOT completely gone using the following. I really need you to realize that. You SHOULD be proud of your stretch marks – my mom (and probably yours, too) was right. But if you’re looking for perfection, well, that doesn’t happen in life. Looking for “a little less noticeable and in some cases, gone” instead? Try the following.

  • Use a VERY moisturizing body lotion daily. When you hyper-moisturize your skin, it “plumps out” and sort of fills in the stretch marks, if you have the kind that are actual wrinkles in the skin. (I do.)
  • Drink plenty of water. Same principle as above, but from the inside out. Yes, this really works.
  • Use Retinol/Retin-A. This is one of the only proven ingredients so far to actually reduce wrinkles and fade dark areas. A Retinol cream doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive; shop around.
  • Try an at-home acid peel. Be VERY careful if this is part of your anti-stretch mark plan. Glycolic acid is the most common type of at-home peel. Leave it on for the minimum time on the directions and never do more than on peel within any seven-day period.
  • Forget about cocoa butter and vitamin E, at least for removing stretch marks. They’re absolutely wonderful for the skin, and I recommend them just for softness, but these tend to only work before the fact, lubricating the skin while it’s stretching.
  • If you’re really desperate, consider professional dermabrasion. This is the one tip here that I didn’t try myself, but I’ve heard great things about it. (I was just too chicken.) Find a REPUTABLE dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Dermabrasion removes several layers of skin to re-plane/smooth it.
  • Use aloe vera. Your best bet is to use aloe while your body is still in “repair mode,” so start early – as soon as you notice stretch marks. Aloe has known skin healing properties and has even been used on burn victims.

Good luck! You know and I know that all the stretch marks in the world are worth it when we look at our sweet babies (well, okay, my own “baby” is four now, but you get the idea). But moms are human, too. And we want to be pretty. Plain and simple. And remember: the person you neglect the most after you become a parent is yourself. Take the time to baby yourself…just a little. You’re worth it, Mom.

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