This time of year you’re probably all about the vitamin C to prevent or help recover from a cold or the flu (it’s no coincidence vitamin-C-rich citrus fruits are in season in the winter, too). And for good reason—vitamin C helps to boost immune function and is vital for cellular function to help you fight off winter germs. But did you know it’s also a superstar for skin health as well?
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin C’s antioxidant benefits and collagen-building properties make it a critical skincare ingredient. Aging, the Institute notes, causes a decline in vitamin C “in both the epidermis and dermis. Excessive exposures to UV light or pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke and ozone) may also lower vitamin C content, primarily in the epidermis. Fortunately, it’s an easy nutrient to drench your skin in.
7 Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin
- Collagen: As noted, it’s a collagen booster, specifically increasing the production of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which are critical in collagen formation. Collagen helps to prevent wrinkling (or at the very least, decrease its appearance) keeping skin firmer, stronger looking, and healthier.
- Wound Healing: This time of year dry, itchy skin or blemish outbreaks are most common. Vitamin C is critical in speeding the healing of damaged skin and may decrease the appearance of scarring as well.
- Sun Protection: Not an effective replacement for sunscreen, but vitamin C will help to protect against free radicals that can result after sun exposure (as well as environmental pollutants). Its unique antioxidant composition offers protection from UV rays and may also help to reduce the pain and length of sunburns.
- Prevents Hyperpigmentation: “Brady Bunch” fans may remember Jan relentlessly trying to rid herself of freckles with a lemon to a humorous degree, but there’s some truth to the technique. Vitamin C can lighten discoloration including freckles and age spots. But you’re probably going to want to use a specifically formulated product rather than straight lemons to yield results.
- Hair Growth: Biotin is often pointed to as the hair growth vitamin, but C is not far behind. And a deficiency can lead to dry hair or split ends. Increasing your vitamin C intake can be most often noticed in thicker, more lustrous hair.
- Prevents Dandruff: Like its effects on dry or irritated skin, vitamin C is a friend to your hair follicles, fighting bacteria and removing debris from the scalp to encourage new hair growth and decrease itchiness and flaking.
- Prevents Grey Hair: Just like wrinkling, greying hair is a natural part of aging and there are few among us who will be grey-free as we age. But increasing your vitamin C consumption may at least slow the greys down a bit. Antioxidants in vitamin C help prevent the premature aging of the hair which can help it keep its color longer.
Check out a few of our favorite vitamin-C-rich products:
Bearberry – Bilberry Complexion Toning Organic Elixir
Pomegranate Eyebright Organic Eye & Face Serum
Passionfruit Cacao Organic Moisture Recovery Lotion
There’s no question that bees are vital to human existence. Not only do the pollinate critical food crops (about one-third)—and do it for free!—but they also make honey, perhaps nature’s most potent healer. And in Australia and New Zealand, honey bees make manuka honey, aka liquid gold.
The name manuka comes from the name of the flowering tree pollinated. Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is also known as broom tea-tree or New Zealand teatree, not to be confused with another potent healer, tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia).
Manuka honey is prized for numerous benefits when ingested including improved digestive health and a boosted immune system. But it’s benefits also merit applying it topically to the skin for numerous conditions.
5 Benefits of Manuka Honey
- Balance skin’s pH: When used as a cleanser or toner, manuka helps to reduce the alkalinity of skin, which can cause dryness leading to eczema, wrinkles, and blemishes. Because manuka has a pH of about 4.5, it can balance out the skin and keep it healthy.
- Antibacterial: A key component to healthy skin is similar to a healthy gut: you want friendly bacteria in check and harmful bacteria going bye-bye. Manuka’s antibacterial effects can help to mitigate bacterial imbalances, removing dirt and grime along the way. This may help to prevent acne and keep it from returning.
- Rosacea relief: This irritating skin condition can crop up at any time inflaming pores, causing soreness, redness, and scarring around the nose, cheeks, and chin. It’s an incurable condition that can be improved by diet as well as topical treatments and medications, and manuka honey may help as well. When used regularly on rosacea, it has shown the ability to decrease inflammation and even return skin texture. Sufferers of rosacea should talk with their doctors before using manuka or any other natural treatment on skin, particularly if already using a prescribed medication or topical treatment.
- Decreases dandruff: Not only is dandruff embarrassing, but it can also be itchy and uncomfortable. Applying manuka to the scalp not only removes the deep dirt and dead skin, but it boosts hydration, preventing further dryness or irritation. This can also help with overall dry hair, prone to frizz or split ends. Simply dilute manuka (about a tablespoon) into warm water and work into scalp and hair. Rinse and style as normal.
- Dry skin relief: Manuka’s potent moisturizing benefits can bring relief to dry, itchy skin such as caused by eczema, hives, or other conditions. The best way to reap the hydrating benefits of manuka is through a skin mask. Simply spread a thin layer of honey on the skin and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat to dry.
Check out our coconut and blue cornflower soap with manuka honey for all the cleansing skin benefits.
Clean beauty seekers will often go to great lengths (like smashing applesauce on their faces). Many practices we now think of us eccentric or downright weird, were often commonplace back in the day before beauty counters. One such tool in the beautiful skin arsenal? Activated charcoal.
We’re definitely NOT talking about the briquettes you use to grill up that homegrown eggplant. Often made from coconut, activated charcoal is highly absorbent. It’s actually used in hospitals in emergency poisoning treatments (think of a kid drinking a bottle full of cough syrup). This highly absorbent or adsorbent, substance makes it a most unique and useful tool in achieving beautiful skin.
Using an application of charcoal topically may help to rid the skin of acne, as well as speed the healing of insect bites, stings, or rashes, reports Dr. Josh Axe.
“[A]ctivated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne,” he notes on his website. By eliminating the toxins and reducing the inflammation, activated charcoal can help to prevent acne lesions from becoming infected. Dr. Axe recommends mixing charcoal with aloe vera gel and spot-treating minor breakouts. Using a charcoal soap may also help in ridding your face of breakouts. You can also add charcoal to your facemasks for an added anti-acne boost. Of course, always speak with your primary care physician first, and use caution on broken skin.
Anyone who has struggled with persistent acne knows it is often connected to other issues in the body: namely hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities. Activated charcoal may help to treat acne from inside the body, too, according to Dr. Axe, who says it may improve your digestive tract by “removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function.”
Research continues to point to the importance of a healthy microbiome—the balance of good bacteria that populate the digestive tract. The removal of toxins can also contribute to improved overall health, increased energy, and even reduced joint pain.
To start taking activated charcoal internally, first discuss with your primary care physician or a licensed health care practitioner.
Give our activated charcoal sea kelp soap a try to refine your skin.
Hang in there, folks. There are only a few weeks of winter left. But these last weeks can often be the worst for your skin—leaving it more sapped and lackluster than it has been all season. Credit that to the harsh cold and the harsh heat you’re probably cranking, too. And, okay, let’s leave a little room for all the late-night snacking as you binge watch “Stranger Things.” But, fate is on your side. At least, it’s on your skin’s side with this super simple two-ingredient face peel you can make in like two seconds.
Skin peels are great because they slough off dead skin. In other words, they exfoliate. This is a critical part of your skin care regimen because if you leave those dead skin layers on, they can cause breakouts, make your skin appear more dull and irritated. No fun.
Here’s the thing about skin peels you need to know: They don’t have to actually peel off your face. Those that do peel off are often made from strong chemical ingredients and other unnatural nasties that you don’t want on your face no matter how fun peeling is. (That’s not to say those sheet masks all the rage right now are harmful, those use a cloth and can be very safe and feature truly clean ingredients.)
“Peel” really refers to the action of peeling away that layer of skin that’s dead and clogging up your pores. Again, this is achieved through the miraculous powers of exfoliation, namely fruit acids. Unlike scrubs or other harsh exfoliants that may damage your skin, fruit peels are incredibly gentle and generally safe for all skin types (but do connect with your doctor if you have skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema).
Apples, the ingredients in this peel are one of nature’s best healers—particularly apple cider vinegar. It’s useful for just about anything from cleaning your house to making your hair shinier, and exfoliating skin is one of its specialties.
Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, contains acetic acid that’s known for its effective skin exfoliating properties. Plus, ACV contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, as well as malic acid and lactic acid, which all contribute to a healthy glow.
Combining ACV with applesauce (unsweetened and unflavored) mutes the intensity of the vinegar that may cause burning or stinging when applied directly to the skin and it delivers more of apple’s potent skin-friendly benefits.
DIY Skin Peel
2 teaspoons pure apple cider vinegar (look for raw, organic, unfiltered)
3 tablespoons applesauce (no sugar, no flavors)
Mix the vinegar and applesauce well and apply to clean face. Let sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Rinse with cool water. Use once a week.
Be sure to follow up your skin peel with a hydrating moisturizer:
Seaweed & Algae Wrinkle Solution Organic Creme
Argan & Yarrow Sunscreen Mineral Moisturizer
Sea Buckthorn & Apricot Herbal Moisturizer
No matter what the time of year, be sure to have plenty of black seed oil on hand for all of your skin woes. These benefits may surprise you.
The skin, much like the weather (or, more accurately, because of it), has its seasons, too. In the spring and summer, if we’re properly protecting our skin, it should be glowing and well hydrated. Challenges may be sweat-related breakouts, redness, sun damage, etc. In the cooler fall and winter months, however, it can be sapped of color, prone to dryness, itching, and breakouts from too much indoor heat, outdoor chill, and generally less healthy diets. Being indoors also exposes us to more environmental toxins (indoors can be five times more polluted than outdoors), and those stressors can irritate skin as well.
Black seed oil’s benefits range from the antibacterial to anti-inflammatory abilities. Here’s how it may improve your skin around the year.
1. Eczema: Dry winter air can lead to dry, itchy skin, better known as eczema. But with a little bit of black seed oil, redness and inflammation can be reduced and even prevented from returning.
2. Psoriasis: Eczema’s stubborn, painful, and hard to get rid of cousin, psoriasis can strike any time of year. Indoor heat/dryness may exacerbate psoriasis plaque. But black seed oil shows exceptional ability to calm the painful flare-ups and reduce the breakouts from spreading further.
3. Acne: Another condition that can occur in spring/summer, acne can be particularly frustrating in the winter months, too. Black seed’s ability to reduce inflammation and boost antioxidant activity can greatly reduce flare-ups and keep skin smooth and even-toned throughout the year.
4. Sun Damage/Burns: While prevention is key in keeping sun damage at bay, we all know it happens anyway—that one spot on the shoulder you missed, or the eyelids, etc. Black seed oil can help to regenerate the skin, not only speeding the healing process, but reducing the appearance of scars as well. This goes for sun damage or contact burns.
5. Fungal Infections: Warm weather is a breeding ground for fungal infections like ringworm, athlete’s foot, and nail infections. Unsightly and uncomfortable, some cases of ringworm are proving to be resistant to conventional antifungal medications. But black seed oil may be effective in treating the condition above and below the skin’s surface without the harshness of some antifungal medications taken internally to treat the conditions.
6. Bruises: What’s warm weather without being covered in bruises? From biking to hiking, surfing, or just playing in the park, bruises are the hallmark of warmer weather. And they can be pretty gnarly, leaving black and blue or yellowish-green marks for weeks. This is due to the damage to cells beneath the skin. Black seed oil’s anti-inflammatory benefits help to reduce the inflammation, which means reducing the discoloration and sensitivity common in bruising.
7. Bites/Stings: You’ll try to avoid them, but bug bites and stings are inevitable in the summer months. Speed healing and reduce discomfort with black seed’s anti-inflammatory effects.
So, be sure to have plenty of black seed oil on hand no matter what time of year it is!
Check out our Black Seed Oil and Black Seed Oil Vegan softgels.
The quest for flawless skin is often also the quest for pure ingredients. But there may be room for a bit of the exotic, too. Say hello to your new skincare secret: dragon’s blood.
Whether or not you’re a Game of Thrones fan, there’s a mystique to a plant that’s earned such a weighted moniker. Though its biological name is Croton lechleri, it’s best known as dragon’s blood for its rich, red sap that resembles blood (not just that of a dragon).
According to Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham, people of the Amazon have long relied on dragon’s blood to treat skin conditions. From the frequent bug bites, stings, wounds, and rashes common in the jungles, to other ailments that can cause redness and swelling.
“Dragon’s blood contains a broad range of naturally-occurring compounds, many of which have been well studied. The sap is rich in protective antioxidant phenols, and anti-inflammatory compounds of various kinds,” Notes Kilham, who says the dragon’s blood sap helps to protect the skin’s cellular structure by repairing collagen. It’s also antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, that dragon’s blood seems to be a multipurpose skincare ingredient on the same level as aloe vera—perhaps even more stellar.
So, what does this all mean for your skincare regimen?
That ability of dragon’s blood to boost collagen can work like forming new skin, which, may mean good news for your wrinkles (or bad news, depending on how you look at it).
While there’s no magic trick to getting rid of wrinkles and fine lines outside of plastic surgery, repairing collagen can help to plump up the skin. Combine that with reduced redness and healing blemishes, dryness, and redness, and you’re well on your way to looking—and feeling—younger.
And, it gets better, too. According to Kilham, if dragon’s blood is sustainably harvested, and if “the people who do the hard work of tapping Dragon’s blood trees in the Amazon can earn a decent wage,” then, he notes, “everybody in the system benefits.”
Want to give dragon’s blood a try? Check out our dragon’s blood cleanser.
Nothing is perhaps as uplifting as a fresh new color to pull you out of a hairstyle rut. In an instant (or, more like an hour), you can refresh your look and style. But coloring your hair not only comes with health risks, but it damages the hair leaving it dry, brittle, and prone to breaking. Do you know the best tips for taking care of color-treated hair?
5 Tips to Protect Color-Treated Hair
- Use a sulfate-free shampoo: Sulfates, for all their lathering action, can strip away the color faster. Look for sulfate-free shampoos to keep color lasting longer and hair looking healthier.
- Dial down the hot water: While hot showers certainly feel nice, they can make color fade faster by expanding the hair cuticle. Use warm to lukewarm water for washing and conditioning.
- Reduce hair-washing: If you’re a daily hair washer, try reducing to every other day or every few days. The less you wash your hair the longer the color lasts. And daily washing is generally unnecessary, so save that money you’d be spending on hair care products. For people with extra fine hair or super active lifestyles where washing daily seems necessary, try skipping the shampoo and just conditioning. And don’t wash just-dyed hair for at least 48 hours. This gives the color time to settle and reduces the chance of it fading right from the start.
- Reduce brassiness: Some hair care products (especially those orange in color) can turn any dye job into a carroty-colored fiasco. Avoid chlorine when possible. If you are planning to hit the pool, rinse hair with fresh water before getting in as it reduces the potential to absorb the color-changing chlorine.
- Sun protection: It may sound impossible, but protecting colored hair from sun can also prevent brassiness and weakening the hair. Just like sun can burn our skin, it can do a number on our hair as well. Use hats when exposed to full sun and look for all-natural color protecting sprays for hair.
Try our Coconut Calendula conditioner for color-treated hair.
We’re here—the thick of winter’s chill. And nothing takes the edge off like a luxurious and super warm (okay, hot as heck) bath. So, turn the phone off, light the candles, and take a little winter respite with these all-natural DIY bath soak ideas—straight from the kitchen.
- Baking soda + salt: Perfect for rejuvenating tired, stressed, and sensitive winter skin, add ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup sea salt to reduce inflammation and promote relaxation. Optional: a few drops lavender or geranium essential oils to boost the mellow.
- Green tea: Don’t ditch those used tea bags—add them to your bath instead! Green tea may help to balance discomfited winter skin while also mildly aiding the body in detoxing—a bonus if you’ve spending the winter indoors where pollution can be five times as high as outdoors. Use a ¼ cup loose leaf green tea or six tea bags. Optional: boost your tea bag soak with a few drops of lemon balm essential oil.
- Honey: Drip a generous amount of pure, raw honey into your bath to boost the hydration factor for dry, scaly skin. Like green tea, it can also aid in the detoxification process ever so gently. To a full bath, gently pour in 1/2 cup honey. Optional: a few drops of rose essential oil for a heavenly soak.
- Olive oil: Not only does olive oil bring much-needed hydration to tired winter skin, but it may also help to maintain collagen, which keeps skin looking soft and supple. Soft and safe enough for babies, as well. Add ¼ cup olive oil to a full bath. Optional: Drip in a few drops of sweet orange essential oil for a relaxing addition.
- Oats: Adding oatmeal to your bath helps to bring softer skin and relief from itchiness. It’s especially helpful if you’re suffering from eczema, psoriasis, or bouts of seasonal dryness. Add a full cup of rolled oats to a warm bath before soaking. Optional: Drop in a few splashes of frankincense for a relaxing, otherworldly soak.
Be sure to finish your bath with a good moisturizing treatment. We recommend:
Frankincense Moringa Serum
Sea Buckthorn Apricot Moisturizer
Ginko & Pumpkin créme
What lengths won’t most of us go to for great-looking skin? After all, when we look amazing, we feel fabulous, too. Would you consider the benefits of seaweed as an important skincare ingredient worth exploring? Or does that just sound, well, a little too fishy for your taste?
The truth is, marine extracts, such as those coming from seaweed, can bring immense healing, toning, and moisturizing benefits to otherwise lackluster skin. If you think about it, seaweed does thrive in briny, salty water. That’s certainly a #skingoal if there ever was one, right?
But don’t go grabbing sea kelp right off the beach and rubbing it onto your skin. There’s a science and vetting process for quality seaweed safe for use in skin care. These super marine plants are harvested from clean ocean areas and distilled into concentrates that highlight the ingredients’ abilities to bring antioxidant boosting power to skin.
Because seaweeds are so sturdy and resilient, they’re excellent bases for anti-aging products—look for them in potent anti-wrinkle crèmes or products targeting fine lines around the eyes. While nothing short of plastic surgery will make fine lines and wrinkles disappear, seaweeds may be effective in reducing their appearance by bringing tightening and lifting action to aging skin (note: all skin is aging, by the way!).
Seaweeds may also help to reduce the occurrence of pigmentation—redness, scarring, and blotchiness. It’s even been shown to reduce the signs of pigmentation (melasma) during pregnancy. This is excellent news for folks with sensitive skin or normal skin during sensitive times (hello, dry winter skin).
Collagen boosting is a super hot trend in skincare today, but for those avoiding animal products, collagen is a big no-no as it comes from cows and pigs (it’s essentially gelatin, which is made from rendered bones and tissue).
Fortunately, many plant ingredients can help to boost the skin’s natural collagen production, and you guessed it, seaweed may be one such ingredient. Credit there can go to its rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that deliver much-needed hydration retaining properties to skin.
Ready to give seaweed a try? Check out our favorite Seaweed & Algae Wrinkle Solution Organic Crème now. And use code newstart at checkout to save $5 when you spend $20 or more by February 28, 2017.
Nothing lightens the weight of winter quite like the fragrance of flowers. The floral aromas just scream spring and summer and can bring a warmth to even the coldest days. One flower we’re particularly fond of is the neroli blossom—which is actually the flower from an orange tree.
Neroli is the white, waxy blossom found on the bitter orange tree. You most commonly see neroli as an essential oil, which is steam distilled from the flower in a slightly tangy yet sweet fragrance that’s utterly distinctive and easily addictive (figuratively, of course).
Essential oils are often found in skincare products not just because they smell so fabulous. In fact, they’re potent little healers with numerous profound benefits. The gorgeous fragrant neroli blossom is no exception.
3 Powerful Neroli Essential Oil Benefits
1. Skin booster: According to Dr. Axe, neroli has an ability to regenerate skin cells and boost elasticity, making it a choice oil for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks.
“Any skin condition caused by or related to stress should also respond well to the use of neroli essential oil since it has wonderful overall healing and calming abilities,” says Dr. Axe. “It can also be useful for treating bacterial skin conditions and rashes since it has antimicrobial ability.”
2. Reduces inflammation: This time of year, skin may be feeling red, raw, itchy and dry. The winter air is no help and neither are all the sugary and salty comfort foods leading to breakouts. Neroli oil may help. With the ability to help reduce inflammation and pain, it can bring relief to trouble skin while also speeding healing.
3. Calms and reduces stress: Perhaps the best thing about neroli is its profound ability to bring a sense of calm. Just thinking about its fragrance may help to relax you—it’s that powerful! According to Dr. Axe, a 2014 study found menopausal women who inhaled neroli essential oil showed lower diastolic blood pressure and improved pulse rates as well as decreased cortisol levels. It may also increase libido for women and reduce stress.
Want to add neroli into your skincare regimen? Check out our luxuriously rich Rose and Neroli Blossom Light Moisturizer.