Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tip of the Week - The Power of Lemons

    For healthier skin, drink your water with lemon.  Lemon is a natural diuretic and can help with the health of your urinary tract.  Lemons are high in vitamin C and can help relieve symptoms of tonsillitis and sore throats.  Lemon juice is also a key component in a liver cleanse.  By adding lemon to your water, you can help clean toxins out of your body. And it gives your water a nice, light citrus taste.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Properly Clean Your Make Up Brushes

     We all know that cosmetic brushes can be costly.  So it’s important to clean them on a regular basis and make them last as long as possible.  It's also important to keep them clean so your face will remain as clean as possible.  If you don't cleanse your brushes regularly you can spread unwanted bacteria to your face which could cause your face to break out.  And if your brushes gather layers of blush, eye shadows and powders it will change the way your make up appears on your face. 
     I usually cleanse my make up brushes every Sunday. That way I have a routine and I know they will always be clean since I am using them almost every day.  If you use a chemical cleaning agent on your brushes, those chemicals will be transferred to your face the next time you use them. So if you have a natural cleanser for your face or hair then you will want to use these same products to clean your brushes.  I use my "Burt's Bee's Orange Essence Facial Cleanser" to clean my brushes.  First, I like to use an antibacterial cleaner not only to kill bacteria, but to moisten the bristles.  I fill a small cup with vinegar (an excellent antibacterial cleanser) just enough to cover only the bristles of my brushes.  You want to make sure not to wet any of the metal part of your brushes since that contains the glue that holds the bristles in place.  I swirl the brushes around until I see the cosmetics coming off the bristles. Then, I rinse the cup and fill with Witch Hazel ("Dickinson's" a great natural astringent) and repeat the same process, making sure not to wet the metal part of my brushes.  Next, I place a small amount of the facial cleanser in the palm of my hand and swirl my brushes in the cleanser.  As I'm swirling the brushes I'm seeing more of the cosmetics coming out of the bristles.  After, I rinse the brushes under warm water until the bristles run clear.  I gently squeeze the bristles to get excess water out (without twisting or tugging) and then place the brushes with the bristles pointing down and the handles lifted by a small towel so any excess water will run down away from the handles of my brushes.  By the next morning my brushes will be dry and ready to use.  Once they are completely dry, I swirl them around my palm to get them back into their original, fluffy shape.
     Some people use rubbing alcohol to clean their brushes, however, this will wear out the bristles quicker and can also dry them out.  Although rubbing alcohol will kill germs, it also kills good germs.  There are some germs that we do not want to remove because they actually serve a purpose and are necessary for us to remain healthy.  The natural Witch Hazel made by "Dickinson's" contains a natural alcohol made from organic sources and isn't the same as using rubbing alcohol.  If your brushes bristles are getting dried out, you can add a step of putting a natural conditioner on the bristles after you clean them and before you rinse them off with water.  If this is done on a weekly basis, your brushes can last a long time and your skin can be clean and healthy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Witch Hazel

     Witch Hazel is another natural product that can be used on your face and for several other skin irritations.  If you have sensitive skin that's prone to break outs, astringent Witch Hazel is a good product to cleanse your face.  It also works well on skin that is dry because it balances your skin.  It can also used for bruising, scrapes and even to help soothe sunburns.  As noted in an article by Steven Foster Group, Inc. ( Witch hazel is an astringent produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana), which grows naturally from Nova Scotia west to Ontario, Canada, and south to Florida and Texas in the United States. This plant was widely used for medicinal purposes by American Indians.  
     Today, Witch Hazel is a very handy product to have around the house.  It can help with many common skin ailments including diaper rash, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, chicken pox blisters, razor burns and even bug bites and stings.  I have personally been using the brand "Dickinson's" pore perfecting toner.  I have used it on my face after cleansing and sometimes I’ve used it before applying my creams to my face in the morning.  My skin is sensitive and will break out easily so when I read that Witch Hazel can help with blemishes I wanted a natural product that wouldn't hurt my skin.  I did some research and this brand seemed to be the best one to use because they do not use isopropyl alcohol or any synthetic ingredients.  They use a natural alcohol derived from a botanical source and it is used in limited quantities.  The company has also been in business since 1866 and they are an environmentally conscious company.  They use every part of the Witch Hazel plant and even recycle the processed chips into biodegradable mulch.  I haven't yet purchased the "Dickinson's" first aid Witch Hazel product, but I plan to buy some to keep on hand in case we ever need some for bug bites! This is one item that is nice to have on hand and is inexpensive to purchase.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Face Cream

     I posted earlier about facial cleanser and as I was researching for cleansers, I read many articles about natural creams for your face.  Lately, I'd heard on the news there is a possibility that some sunscreen products have been linked to cancer.  And many face creams have sunscreen in the ingredients.  If you use some natural ingredients you can help keep your skin naturally protected from the sun.  
     My first thought is to be careful of the amount of sun exposure you are getting on a daily basis.  Prevention is a key in taking care of your skin, not only to prevent wrinkles but also to prevent skin cancer.  I use hats and sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection and try to wear long sleeve shirts and jackets when possible.  However, I understand in the summer it's sometimes cooler to wear shorts and short sleeve shirts. I try to be careful of how much sun I'm getting and try to keep covered and out of the sun when possible.  If it can't be avoided, there are some natural products that can help protect your skin as an alternative to using creams filled with possibly harmful chemicals. 
     Aloe Vera is one ingredient that many people use after they have been in the sun to relieve sunburns.  It can also help if you put in on your skin prior to going out in the sun.  Vitamin E Oil also has a small amount of sun protection factor naturally.  I've used both together on my face for about a month.  I am careful to stay out of the sun and it's not summer so I can't tell if it is making a difference but my skin is very smooth and soft.  I found a recipe on the internet for homemade sunscreen that I will try on my arms and legs this summer to see how it works.  The recipe also includes Sesame Oil as well as Lavender Essential Oil.  This mixture is supposed to give you an equivalent SPF (sun protection factor) of 6 with the natural ingredients.   The mixture is as follows:  2 oz Sesame Oil, 2 oz Aloe Vera, 1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil and 24 drops of Lavender Essential Oil.  I’ve recently started researching Essential Oils and I'm quickly discovering there are many uses for them in our daily lives.  I’ll post more about them in weeks to come.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Facial Cleansers

     I've been looking for facial cleansers that have all natural ingredients.  Recently, I started using "Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser" with orange oil.  My skin is very sensitive and will break out easily so I have to be careful when cleansing my face.  It’s been a little over a month now and my face hasn't broken out.  This cleanser doesn't lather like a regular soap, but my face still feels clean.  The bottle states it is 100% natural and has all the ingredients listed on the back of the bottle.   
     However, I'm still doing research on how to make my own facial cleansers with ingredients at home.  Before I started using the “Burt’s Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser”, I read some information that said if you have skin prone to breakouts you can cleanse your face with honey.  I actually tried this and strangely enough, the very next day my skin broke out with three blemishes.  I'm not sure if that's because my skin was trying to adjust to the new product on my face or if it is a myth that honey can be used to cleanse your skin.  Also, I didn't like that it was so hard to clean off my face. I am still researching what can be used to cleanse your face and not make it break out, dry out or become too oily.  A friend of mine told me you can use green tea once a week on your face and that it is good for sensitive skin.  Last week I found a recipe for a green tea weekly cleanser that uses the tea leaves from the tea bag you used to make your drink and mixes them with some aloe vera gel.  You mix up the two ingredients and spread it on your face then leave it on for about 20 minutes.  It made my skin feel very soft and my face did not break out.  I'm going to try this recipe for a few more weeks and I'll update you with my findings.  I’ve heard that green tea can help detoxify your skin.  If this works, it will be a good natural product that is very inexpensive to use.  I’ll continue my research to see if there are other ways to use green tea on your skin that will work for daily cleansing.  If I find a suitable recipe that works, I will update you on the results.   
    For now, I’ll continue using the “Burt’s Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser” as a daily cleanse since it is working and it is 100% natural.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tip of the Week - Dr. Oz Tip

    This week's tip is one you may have heard about on the shows "Dr. Oz", "The Doctors" or "The Oprah Winfrey Show".  It's a healthful tip that many of us overlook or maybe didn't realize.  When using your bathroom toilet if you leave the lid up when flushing, you are essentially spreading a massive amount of germs inside your entire bathroom.  If you are leaving your toothbrush on your bathroom vanity, you are basically spreading some germs you many not want from your toilet to your toothbrush and eventually your mouth.  It's not a pleasant thought, but once you are aware of it, you can make the simple change of putting the toilet lid down before you flush to prevent this spread of germs.  And it is also a good practice to keep your bathroom counters as clean as possible, putting your toothbrushes inside a closed cabinet or in a plastic cover to protect them in case you forget to close the lid or have company over that may not close the lids when flushing. Also, remember to clean the inside of the toilet lids during your weekly cleaning.  And you can also use disinfecting wipes daily on your toilet lid and seat to keep the germs down until your weekly cleaning. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dental Care

                One of the first products I started researching was toothpaste.  I noticed that my "famous name brand" toothpaste had a long list of ingredients that included one I was not very comfortable with, saccharine.  So I thought I'd try a different brand and noticed when shopping around that all the other brands on the store shelf had saccharine listed as one of their ingredients as well.  And there were also a few other ingredients listed that I didn't know what they were, or why they were in toothpaste. 
                When I was a little girl my Grandmother told me she used baking soda and sometimes added a little peroxide with it to brush her teeth.  When she passed away, she had all her teeth in her mouth, she never needed dentures.   This began my research to look for ways to cleanse my teeth with natural products.  I happened to find a company called "Tom's of Maine" that uses natural ingredients (some including baking soda) in their toothpaste and mouthwashes.  This company listed their product ingredients and explained why each ingredient was being used. This made sense to me and also made me feel comfortable using their products.  I started using their toothpaste (with fluoride, they have some without, but  fluoride is one chemical I'm willing to keep using because I truly believe it is helping to prevent cavities) and their mouthwash with baking soda.  I switched from my also "famous name brand" mouthwash to "Tom's of Maine" because the "famous name brand" mouthwash also had saccharine listed in the ingredients.  In addition it contained alcohol which I had heard on the news might be causing oral cancer in some people.  I’d even read articles about  this product  being banned  by the Australian Dental  Association so I thought switching mouthwash was something I had to do for me and my family as well.
 I tested my new regimen for six months before my next dental appointment.  When I went in for my cleaning and checkup, both the hygienist and dentist asked me what I had been doing to care for my teeth.  My hygienist asked if I had started flossing more or brushing more than twice per day.  I told her I hadn't but that I had switched the brand of toothpaste and mouthwash because I wanted to use products with natural ingredients instead of harsh or unknown chemicals.  Both my dentist and hygienist said I had very little plaque and that my mouth looked very healthy.  My dentist told me to keep doing what I was doing since it was clearly working.  I'm still using these products for my teeth and I'm checking to see what other new products "Tom's of Maine" comes up with.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I've recently begun a search for natural ingredients in products I use on a daily basis.  What I quickly discovered is that many of these products have very little if any natural ingredients.  Most of the products contained ingredients I was unable to pronounce. Others contained ingredients I recognized as potential health hazards.  I'd also been hearing stories in the news about some products possibly causing cancer.  This gave me the drive to find healthy, natural ingredients that would at the very least give me peace of mind when using specific products. Especially, since I use many of these products on a regular basis.  The goal of my blog is to share with you my research findings and maybe discover some from you as well.  And, as I continue in my journey I'll keep posting my research and experiences with you.  I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned.  This is going to be informational and enjoyable as well.  Here's to our "Healthy Living Natural Beauty" lifestyles.
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