Not too long ago I created a blog post about my favorite things because I am frequently asked about products. In that post, I almost started to include my favorite beauty items, but realized it was such a loaded topic that I would have to devote an entire blog entry...so, here it is!
Since I was super young, I have been really interested in cosmetics and beauty products. I have honestly been a product junkie since middle school, BUT some major details have changed. One, I have minimized my consumption a TON and while my curiosity to learn about products hasn't wavered, I test with samples vs. buying full-size and I read reviews instead of insisting that I need to be the judge! Another whammy is the type/ quality of products I am in the market for.
Unfortunately, in the United States, we have very low standards for what is deemed "safe". This doesn't just pertain to body/ beauty products, but, also, our food! If you look at some worldwide distributors, you will find that the ingredients on the same items differ. Why? Because many countries outside of the U.S. have better regulations and purity standards. While colored dyes in cosmetics are outlawed in many places because of their impact on the body, ranging from behavioral, hormonal, and neurological, America keeps them--- not just in cosmetics, but also "food" "safe for consumption"! Ex: artificial red dye in food AND cosmetics has been removed from most places outside of the US. If you compare a Kraft Jell-o box from America and one in Europe, you will see that the ingredients aren't the same. (Although now they've been forced to put a disclaimer regarding the potential impact it will have on your child's behavior.)
Not only are topical toxins one of the main culprits to accelerated/ premature aging, toxic body products and household detergents are FULL of neurotoxins! You might be thinking, "well, what I put on my skin can't impact my health that much." Super valid thought, until you begin to realize just how effective nicotine patches are to reduce someone's addiction to cigarettes. Enough nicotine is absorbed through the skin from a TINY patch, that it is an efficient "fix" to someone's drug addiction.
In short, these ingredients can be found in: makeup, hair products, cleaners, skin care products, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, candles and can cause: infertility, cancers, autoimmune disease, respiratory disease, irregular hormone secretion, etc. ALL contributing to your body’s ability to deal, repair, and create tissue and healthy cells.
This is why it is so important to me that I only expose my skin to clean products.
That is where my "favorites" list comes in.
I have to make note: while I am a rep for Beautycounter, this isn't why I'm partial to their line. If you read their website, you will find that because they have SUCH high purity standards, they're responsible for actually developing new ones. Beautycounter has really raised the bar in not only creating safe, healthy products-- they're also just really great!
Click on the items below to see and read the product's full description. You can either purchase these items online, but if you want to buy some locally, I will list those vendors below! For all Beautycounter purchases, please click here!
Lip Sheer by Beautycounter, "plum".
I love, love this product. The color is honestly perfect for me, but I am also really looking forward to trying more shades because it feels like a super moisturizing chapstick! They also fragrance it with essential oil so, it smells lovely too!
Lipstick Butter by Mineral Fusion, "blackberry".
This was a really exciting find because I have been using Clinique's Almost Lipstick in "black honey" since high school and this is just like it! Unfortunately, Clinique seems like a line that would be clean, but it's not. This lipstick looks super dark, but it really just makes you look fresh-- giving you a nice vibrant, natural color for day or night. It's also really smooth and not sticky at all.
Lengthening Mascara by Beautycounter.
This product is an Allure Magazine "Best of Beauty 2016" award winner and after trying it, you'll know why!
Waterproof Mineral Mascara by Mineral Fusion, "raven".
This is a really great mascara that gives you plump, fuller lashes! Plus, it's waterproof-- which is tricky to find when it comes to pure cosmetic lines.
Organic Wear Mascara by Physicians Formula, "ultra black".
You can't really beat this item for the price! Although I have to say, it takes third place among these other top picks, but works really well for a day look.
Color Sweep Blush Duo by Beautycounter, tawny/whisper.
I love that this has two colors because you can do a little contouring, adding the brightest shade on the apples of your cheeks and the darker shade to enhance your cheek bones!
Liquid Foundation by Sappho Organic, "Kate".
This foundation is wonderful because it's really light, but it still gives you nice, smooth coverage and it smells really good (not a floral-- more essential oil-esque)! It comes in a very small pump, but it's well worth it! Funny story about the color though-- I purchased this after getting an organic spray tan and while the color looked very natural, it sort of masks your natural skin tone and now, this foundation is designated only when I have a spray tan!
Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer by Physicians Formula, "light to natural".
While Physicians Formula isn't THE cleanest product line, it is very affordable, and some of their "Organic Wear" cosmetics are formulated with 80% certified organic ingredients and are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and free of harmful fragrance. (This item is great if you're looking for light coverage and maybe not the best option if you have problematic skin and are seeking something with full coverage.)
Tint Skin Foundation by Beautycounter, "porcelain" and "sand" mixed are actually my perfect color.
Because the color of my skin fluctuates so much, I prefer mixing these two shades together. I love this product because it is really lightweight, but offers full coverage! Which is SO rare! It also doesn't make you shiny after a few short hours and it stays put all day. (What I'm wearing in the video above!)
Color Contour Matte Bronzer by Beautycounter, No. 1.
I love this because it's MATTE! So hard to find. I personally don't want shimmer on my face, unless it's on my eyelids or the tops of my cheek bones so, this product is really perfect and natural looking!
Concealer Duo by Mineral Fusion, "warm".
One, it covers it all: dark circles, sun spots, and blemishes. Two, I think it's genius that there are two shades. I don't know anyone who stays the same color all year round. This option allows you to mix the two together to get the perfect shade, for all seasons.
Pressed Powder Foundation by Mineral Fusion, "neutral 2".
This stuff is honestly amazing. With most powders, you would want to use a translucent option to set your liquid foundation, to avoid looking cakey. With this powder, you can pick a shade that will give you even more bonus coverage AND you avoid looking too made-up.
Local spots to purchase-
Mineral Fusion: Natural Grocers and Whole Foods
Physicians Formula: Ulta and most drug and grocery stores
Stay-tuned for my favorite skin care products! Spoiler alert: there is A LOT of great stuff to share!
First of all, THANK YOU so much to those of you who were able to come to my may your skin be Merry and Bright workshop! It was a fun little social hour, complete with a menu carefully selected to promote happy skin: quinoa salad, veggies + grass-fed yogurt dip, dark chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (gluten-free and refined sugar free), red wine spritzer, and rose water + collagen beauty shots! Not to mention the fabulous door-prizes from Slate Tulsa, Recover Therapy, Lymph Candy, Beautycounter, and Natural Grocers.
I also did a little educational presentation about how to support your body to promote healthy, radiant skin! (If you missed this informative talk, I will be hosting another in the near future-- so, stay tuned!) One of the things I was the most excited about was debuting my first GROUP PROGRAM: Project Radiance! I can't tell you how often I hear beautiful, intelligent, and loving women say they're lacking support, accountability, and understanding from like-minded women. Because this isn't foreign to me and my personal life, I've felt led to create a group program that not only promotes empowerment, it also endorses women kicking ass and being the BEST versions of themselves that they can be! With the weight of life, work, below par relationships, and media, it sometimes feels like an uphill climb to achieve all that we're capable of.
I also think sometimes females get a bad taste in their mouth being around other females because there's this notion that if you're both competitive and tenacious, instead of coming together and only enhancing your superpowers, you feel like you should dart in the opposite direction because they're perceived as a threat! BUT I think it is time to throw that mentality in the trash and come together for a lot of support, positive vibes, FUN, and encouragement!
Read for the exciting details below! ....remember: only 10 slots available (actually, only 8 now--so sign up ASAP to reserve your spot!)
Many of us go through life feeling "good enough" or summarize our lack-of-bounce to the natural wearing down process. Not only is this a sad, but it's so inaccurate! You do have the potential to feel amazing as you age and the simple truth all boils down to nutrients!
Nourishing your body with supplements is sometimes required so that you’re getting sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals in your system. Not only can deficiencies be caused by an imbalanced diet, they can also be the result of poor digestion and your body's inability to assimilate and absorb nutrients properly. Another culprit is that most produce is sourced from farms with soil that is depleted of minerals. With that said, many people are tempted to take a vitamin or green powder and think they’ve accomplished getting their daily dose and go on with their day, eating “food matter”, aka nonsense, aka faux food that contains more lab-made ingredients than actual life-supplying sustenance. This sustenance I speak of is what is responsible for building healthy cells, blood, organs, your body's natural ability to tackle potential illness and disease = HEALTH. This is where most people are missing the boat...and I can say, I was one of these people who assumed I could get my daily dosage of vitamins with a handful of supplements, eat what I wanted, and I was solid. Seems like instahealth, right? False.
Getting natural sources of these vitamins is imperative to your body’s repair system! What many people don’t realize is that most supplements aren’t worthy of even being called “vitamins” because of the particular company's quality standards. My dad, who is an extremely knowledgeable DC, explains it best. He says that with most supplements, the only thing you’re really doing is making expensive pee. Another thing to tack on is the way that you are taking your vitamins. It is believed by many specialists that if you’re taking a handful of supplements at one time (even if they’re high quality), there’s only so much that your body can absorb at once, resulting in, yet again, very expensive urine!
SO, let’s get to the exciting part! I never like to highlight the inconvenient truths without following up with the MORE important proactive truths! Here is a breakdown of some of the most abundant sources of some of the most important vitamins!
Magnesium regulates chemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It is required for energy production and deficiencies can result in muscle cramps, facial tics, lazy digestion, poor sleep, and chronic pain.
Natural sources: nuts, seeds, avocado, sea vegetables: seaweed, wakame, arame, kombu, coconut milk, dark leafy greens: raw spinach, kale, bok choy, chard. (It’s best to soak all nuts, seeds, and grains to remove phytic acid, which is a naturally occurring enzyme inhibitor that prohibits your body from absorbing the goodness.)
Omega 3’s are required to regulate cardiovascular, immune and inflammatory pathways. Signs of a deficiency include rough or dry/ bumpy skin, dull/ brittle hair and dandruff, soft/ brittle nails, excessive thirst, frequent urination, sleep problems (especially difficulties in settling at night and waking in the morning), attention problems (poor concentration and difficulties in memory), emotional sensitivity (such as depression, excessive mood swings or inexplainable anxiety), pain from inflammation.
Natural sources: fish, spinach, oregano, chia seeds, nuts, butternut squash
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium (one of bone's main building blocks) from food and supplements. People who get too little vitamin D may develop soft, thin, and brittle bones, a condition known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Other outcomes from deficiency includes metabolic disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, infections, cognitive disorders, and/or mortality.
Natural sources: fish, egg yolks, liver, and sun helps vitamin production- but be sure to let it soak into your skin before taking a shower! Your body actually needs hours to fully absorb the goodness, to be able to properly receive the benefits.
Vitamin C offers protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. Some deficiencies include: easy bruising, swollen/ bleeding gums, slow wound healing, dry/ splitting hair, dry skin, nosebleeds, weakened immune system, leaky gut, autoimmune disease, slowed metabolism, swollen/ painful joints.
Natural sources: berries, leafy greens, bell peppers, all citrus, kiwi, broccoli, sea vegetables, coconut milk
Vitamin K plays a key role in normal blood clotting. This is important to prevent excess bleeding, which can lead to anemia, a condition that causes fatigue, weakness and dizziness. Iron-deficiency anemia is the type that is linked to vitamin K. In this common condition, your body does not have enough erythrocytes, red blood cells that contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen. Meaning, if you are suffering from anemia, not only do you probably have an iron deficiency, it is also wise to make sure you're getting enough vitamin K!
Natural sources: leafy greens: spinach, kale, bok choy, chard, romaine, arugula
Vitamin B is a unique case because not all types of vitamin B do the same thing. Additionally, the different types of vitamin B all come from different types of foods. Vitamin B-12, for example, is found primarily in meat and dairy products. B-7 and B-9 (and, to some degree, B-1 and B-2) are found in fruits and vegetables. Click here for a full rundown.
Natural sources: lentils, whole grains, almonds, leafy greens, seafood, coconut milk
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States. Iron is imperative for producing hemoglobin, a protein that assists red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout your body. So without it, everything suffers—and can lead to anemia. Some symptoms include low energy, difficulty maintaining body temperature, and decreased immune function.
Natural sources: sea vegetables, coconut milk, clams, liver, beef, lamb, sunflower seeds, nuts, whole grains, dark leafy greens, cacao.
Iodine is required for your thyroid gland to make hormones. If the thyroid doesn't have enough iodine to do its job, feedback systems in the body cause the thyroid to work harder. This can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which becomes evident as a swollen neck.
Natural sources: sea vegetables, cranberries, organic/ raw yogurt and cheese, potatoes, navy beans, strawberries
Potassium is important for a person's muscles to work effectively, including the heart. Potassium also has a role in regulating blood pressure. Low potassium is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, weakness, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility....and on a lighter note, potassium can help combat a pesky hangover!
Natural sources: beans, dark leafy greens, potatoes, squash, fish, avocados, bananas, coconuts
What's even more exciting about this list is that many of these essential nutrients can be found in the same foods. So, if you're looking for a simple (LEGIT) fix, put more emphasis on the food that you eat and take advantage of nature's medicine! Something I challenge my clients to do before they sit down for a meal is ask, "how much of this plate is going to contribute to the nourishment and healing of my body?" If even half of it is purely for entertainment value, it's time to start reconsidering your food and lifestyle habits. Need a little assistance? Message me today for a complimentary 45 minute Lifestyle Assessment!
Note: For those of you who express symptoms of anemia, it’s important to remember that low iron isn’t the only potential culprit. Vitamin B12 and Magnesium deficiencies can also express similar symptoms and can cause anemia.
If you are a client, you have access to a very handy app with a list of my favorite grocery items, BUT I have yet to share some of my tried-and-true miscellaneous loves. Whether I'm working out, getting ready for a night out, or getting some work done, I have grown to rely daily on a few of my favorites...and here they are!
I have purchased a handful of different styles and brands of headphones and never found a good fit that would sustain a turbulent run...until I found these gems! Designed specifically to fit smaller ears, the "FlexSoft and TwistLock technologies guarantee they will never hurt or fall out". I can honestly say they don't come out of your ears, even during a rigorous workout! Yurbuds also make a variety of different styles for men and women, even wireless, but I have the basic Inspire 100 style and they're perfect. The one thing I will say is that the FlexSoft bud attachments do come off kind of easily after a while and if you have an adorable niece who likes to take them off, you might have to be careful you don't lose one!
Not only are these toothbrushes good for the environment, they come in gorgeous recycled (and biodegradable) packaging, AND the charcoal bristles feel great and leave your mouth feeling super clean! Not too soft, not too abrasive.
This face mask is truly amazing-- especially for the price! It contains two magical anti-inflammatory ingredients: turmeric and neem, making any flair ups minimized within just one use. I love this product because it also doubles as a face scrub. Once dried, you simply remove it with a warm moist washcloth and the granules in the mask remove dead skin, clean out your pores, and polish your complexion to perfection, without over-drying or irritating even sensitive skin!
Not only does this product smell AMAZING (gender neutral goodness), it contains skin loving vitamins E and B5. I make sure that any product I use does not contain harmful additives, SO a definite selling point is that it doesn't contain parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates or phthalates, (known to increase your risk of cancer). Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates are used as a lathering agent in many products so, sometimes, products that don't contain this toxic ingredient fall flat (literally), but this product creates enough suds to double as an effective shaving cream!
I have been known to experience just a few cases of overwhelm (haha) and phenomenal Kava has come to the rescue a handful of times! Kava has been used medicinally and during tribal ceremonies for centuries... and once you try it, you'll know why. It does a wonderful job taking the edge off, without impairing your judgement, leaving you feeling very calm and at peace. While I don't drink this every day, because regular use can reduce the effectiveness over time, I have found it very beneficial when I am in social situations when I don't want to partake in drinking alcohol (to avoid the wrath of a few drinks). Most recently, I enjoyed relying on this tea to zen out before speaking engagements.
When I first tried Kava, it was a very expensive paste that you put a pea-sized amount under your tongue. Although horribly disgusting, it was extremely effective. Later, a very sweet friend brought me a brewed version and an instant powder from a kava shop in Austin. These versions were also pretty gross and since it's a diluted version of the paste, you have to drink approx. 8 oz., (which is a lot when it tastes like it does). I have read various instructions to flavor it with sweeteners or add milk and I can't imagine this doing much help. Again, while these pricey versions don't taste good at all, they do a superb job reducing anxiety because they are pure kava!
I was extremely excited to see that Yogi came out with a tea! Since it's blended with other herbs and flavors, it's not as potent so, I just use two bags. Even though I am most definitely not a fan of licorice, this blend tastes MUCH better than the other versions I have tried-- not to mention, it is much more affordable AND you can find it at Natural Grocers! For more information on the awesome benefits (and potential risks), click here.
More to come!....
I almost started to add my favorite CLEAN cosmetics and because it has been QUITE the journey finding good ones, I will be devoting an entire blog post to this very important/ conclusive research! So, stay tuned!
Do you have any healthy favorites?! Share below!
This particular form of self-care helps your skin's natural repair process, reduces your chance for blemishes, improves your skin's texture, allows your skin to easily absorb and retain moisture and vitamins from your skincare products, AND (my personal favorite) Elle Macpherson and Christie Brinkley claim they owe their gorgeous, youthful skin to this regimen! No, it's not some expensive laser treatment or high-dollar magical product, it's EXFOLIATING.
Some may avoid scrubs because they have dry, problematic skin, but, really, using it during these winter months is one of the best times of the year to keep up...and the kind of exfoliator is everything. Removing layers of dead skin removes the barricade blocking your skin product's healing powers and allows your body to ramp cell-turnover (producing new skin cells, repairing damaged skin).
Finding the right kind of exfoliator is important because the bad stuff, full of harsh, drying ingredients is why this regimen sometimes gets a bad rep. Some of my favorite options are Himalaya's Purifying Neem Face Pack, available at most health food grocers, and Joanna Vargas's Exfoliating Mask, available online. They're my top picks because of their pure ingredients and both double as a mask + scrub.
My other favorite option is good ol' DIY: coffee grinds and coconut oil. What's great about this homemade coconut coffee scrub is that it costs very little and it comes with the same fabulous benefits of many pricey store-bought options. You can utilize your used coffee grinds from that day, the caffeine will give your skin a nice temporary tighten, and both ingredients offer your skin antioxidants! The coconut oil also offers loads of moisture, antimicrobial power, fighting bacteria that causes blemishes, and it contains nourishing & protective vitamin E, reducing the effects of aging. Hopefully, you have quality coffee and coconut oil at home-- if you don't, I would suggest opting for organic...remember: you're detoxifying your face so, the last thing you want to do is dampen your efforts by attempting to do so with products containing toxins. Simply take a spoon full of grinds with a spoon full of oil, mix together by rubbing hands together over sink, and rub mixture onto face and neck (or entire body) in circular motions-- then, rinse clean with warm water!
Remember: your face shouldn't be the only part of your body receiving this loving attention! Spoil yourself by scrubbing yourself from head-to-toe! Since I have sensitive skin, I typically only exfoliate once a week-- although, Elle and Christie's skin secret is doing it each day. Not only is this routine great for your skin, but, it also increases circulation (great for keeping you warmer in these freezing temps). SUCH a win, win, win...
Let me know how it goes! (And please, don't be shy! I have really enjoyed receiving private messages from those of you who enjoy this blog, but I would love for you to step out and comment!)
Today, I woke up with that not-so-fabulous congested, lump in my throat feeling. (I'll spare going into any more detail.) On a normal day, I would consider staying home and resting up, but since it has been a long holiday weekend, I decided to get with it and play medicine woman. (Something I enjoy on the regular.) I grabbed my tried and true coconut oil, scooped a heaping spoonful, and let it dissolve in my mouth. After swooshing the oil in my mouth for about 15 minutes (like mouthwash), while doing my usual morning routine, I spit it out in the toilet, used my alcohol-free mouth wash, copper tongue scraper, and brushed my teeth...I promise it isn't as tedious as it seems. Low and behold, I went from feeling like a 3 to a 7! This Ayurvedic practice and very useful form of self-care is called Oil Pulling. How did it help? Not only does oil pulling help detoxify your mouth, which is what its most known for, it also reduces inflammation in your oral cavities and sinuses.
This isn't the first time this ancient remedy has come through. I've been doing it for three years to whiten my teeth, promote clear skin, and insure oral health...and it made me remember why I used to do it daily! Instead of re-writing what's been written by many, here is a wonderful article by Dr. Axe explaining in detail how it works, the benefits, and thorough instructions!
Some clients have shared that the process of the coconut oil going from solid to liquid grosses them out-- in that case, I suggest melting it in a pan first, or just opting for another oil such as sesame oil or olive oil. Just like most things I talk about, quality is everything! I suggest using organic (pesticide free), extra-virgin (extracted with a machine and not chemicals), and cold-pressed (it hasn't been treated with high temperatures, compromising its quality). Getting the cleanest oil available is especially important when it comes to oil pulling because one of the main purposes is to eliminate toxins...the same toxins that come from foods that are laced with pesticides and chemicals.
So, give it a shot, see what you think, and check back to let me know how it goes in the comments below! (I usually see teeth whitening results after just a few uses!)
First of all, I have always been addicted to trying the newest and most "amazing" products out there. As a young girl, I had various subscriptions to fashion and beauty magazines starting at age 11. I was every editorials' dream because I read each issue cover to cover, tabbing pages with that particular month's new breakthrough lotion, potion, and cosmetics. Wanting to see if the miraculous claims were true, I would go out and buy these products, discarding the ones that were guilty of false advertising and RAVING about the ones I saw any positive outcome from. I became the go-to girl to see what products were worth buying from those closest to me.
Now, I'm on to the new adventure of trial and error with the world of natural, eco-friendly, animal-friendly, human-friendly body products, cosmetics, & beauty regimes. One of my newest favorites? My lymphatic dry brush! I have come across the positive claims before but didn't actually buy into it until I started reading Sara Gottfried's fabulous new book, The Hormone Reset Diet. She claims that it's a great way to promote healthy detoxification and increased circulation. It also helps eliminate cellular waste products. So cute, huh? After seeking out more information, I thought it would probably be a wonderful regimen to improve the quality of my skin and smooth out some of my unfavorable cellulite. (Thanks to genes, I have consistently had cellulite since I was 9 and, even, at my lightest.)
Daily, I began dry brushing in the morning, as instructed on the product's pamphlet, in quick strokes, starting at my feet and moving upward, all in the direction of my heart. I would complete this process by massaging grapeseed oil (improves circulation), mixed with coconut oil (vitamin E and fatty acids), and a drop or two of geranium essential oil (promotes cell regeneration, improves elasticity, and the smell is a natural mood-booster). Let me tell you, this little cocktail works like a charm! I saw results within a few weeks! Which is a stark contrast to the products I've used in the past...trust me, anything at CVS won't work. I've tried them all.
Don't believe me? Try it out for two weeks and see for yourself! Want to know why it works? Dr. Mercola explains it better than I do: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/24/dry-skin-brushing.aspx