Summer comes along and all of a sudden, your “whatever” approach to shaving your legs all of a sudden becomes meticulously focused. You aim for such precision that you nickname yourself “the surgeon.” But no matter how detailed you are, you still end up with nicks, razor burn, and worse, “the patch” that seems to miss the razor Every. Single. Time. If this sounds familiar, you may need to revisit your shaving game. We’ve got the tips your mom may have forgot to tell you all those years ago.
- Exfoliate: Yes, you exfoliate your face, but what about your legs, too? Getting rid of dead skin cells before you shave helps for a more even and close shave. You can use a dry brush method before getting into the bath or shower, or use a sugar or salt scrub on the legs prior to shaving.
- Invest in a good razor: If you’re still using disposable razors, now is the time to stop. Not only are these so wasteful and bad for the planet, but they’re typically not the best razors to begin with. This means more likelihood of damaging the skin and getting a bad shave. No fun. Use a high-quality reusable razor. Safety razors are making a comeback, particularly among women, and can deliver a much closer and cleaner shave.
- Don’t lather with soap: Use shaving cream, hair conditioner, or an oil like coconut oil, but whatever you choose, stop using soap! Soap is not only drying to the skin but some can damage the razors more quickly than moisturizing lotions and creams.
- Shave with the direction of the hair, not against: When you use a high-quality razor, it’ll get all the hair and leave your skin less likely to break out in red bumps.
- Moisturize: After shaving, follow up with a soothing skin moisturizer to keep the legs smooth. Bonus if it has an SPF factor, especially if you’re heading out to the beach or pool.
Photo by Stas Kulesh on Unsplash
Products we love:
African Organic Body Oil Blend
Passionfruit Cacao Moisture Recovery Lotion
Skin loves vitamin C. Not only does this crucial nutrient provide a collagen-building boost (no animal products necessary like with the popular collagen supplements and skincare products), but it also helps to speed the healing and reduce the appearance of sun-damaged skin, making this DIY vitamin C skin peel a summer skincare must.
While boosting your intake of vitamin-C-packed fruits and veggies is super easy in the summertime (hello, watermelon!), and does wonders for the skin when your diet is rich in vitamin-C-containing foods, the skin will also benefit from an external application of vitamin C. And this DIY C-packed face peel is easy to whip up and apply. Plus, you’ll see instant results like smoother looking skin and decreased pigmentation.
This collagen-boosting vitamin C peel is very thin and can therefore drip after being applied, so use caution on the forehead and around the eyes as it will burn if it gets into your eyes.
A note on vitamin C powder: Be sure to find a powder with no fillers, sugars, or other ingredients. You simply want pure vitamin C, which is easy to find at most health food stores or online.
One tablespoon aloe vera gel
One teaspoon vegetable glycerin
One tablespoon ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder)
Mix all ingredients together so that the vitamin C powder dissolves into the liquids. Use a cotton ball or pad to swab onto the skin and let sit 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Store any remaining mixture in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Can be used once a week.
[Caution: If you have any skin conditions, talk with your doctor before applying vitamin C directly to the skin. Do not apply this peel to burned or broken skin as the vitamin C may cause excessive burning or irritation. Rinse off immediately if you feel harsh burning or irritation. Avoid contact with eyes.]
Photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash
Inside the seed of the African baobab fruit is baobab oil – a rich and nourishing tonic for all skin (and hair!) types. Never heard of baobab oil? Consider this your lucky day!
The baobab tree stands on sacred ground throughout Africa. It’s often called the “Tree of Life” for its lush fruit loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. It’s one of the only foods available during the dry seasons on the continent, making the tree prized by many cultures. It’s also often called the “upside down tree” for its thick trunk and spindly branches that look more like you’d expect a tree’s roots to look.
But baobab oil may be the tree’s most impressive secret. Not only is it edible and especially rich in omega-fatty acids (3,6, and 9), as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K. But it also contains other skin-loving nutrients including dihydrosterculic acid, malvalic acid, arachidic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid.
Rich in anti-inflammatory properties, baobab oil is excellent at smoothing skin and reducing the appearance of damage from the sun, aging, and a host of skin conditions. This of course makes it an excellent after-sun oil, but it’s also great as a multi-purpose skin and hair oil. Use it for dry, irritated skin (like eczema). Rub into your hair and scalp for relief of dandruff and dry scalp. Reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Relieve winter or summer chapped lips. Plus, baobab oil won’t clog pores, making it appropriate for acne-prone skin as well.
Like jojoba oil, baobab won’t leave skin feeling greasy or oily. The body quickly absorbs it and puts it to work. Baobab oil makes an excellent skin cleanser and moisturizer, even helping to boost collagen production. Collagen is responsible for keeping the skin looking and feeling more elastic. We naturally lose collagen as we age, making baobab an excellent choice in keeping our skin healthier and younger looking.
We handcraft our most nourishing African Organic Body Oil Blend with baobab oil for a deeply nourishing, relaxing and long lasting hydrating benefits. Your skin will feel incredibly soft and supple.
Is there any food more sacred, more beloved than chocolate? Of course not, right? In a word, chocolate is special. But not just because its creamy deliciousness tastes so good; chocolate has a host of health benefits. And this will make your day even better: chocolate has a ton of beauty benefits for your skin and hair, too. Really.
7 Benefits of Chocolate for Skin and Hair
- Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that help to prevent free radical damage to the skin. Like dark berries, leafy greens, and green tea, the antioxidants in chocolate may help your skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Protect skin from UV damage: Chocolate as sunscreen? Eating a chocolate bar before hitting the beach (or slathering it on your face) isn’t a guarantee against sunburn, but it may help to reduce the risk of burning (in combination with a strong sunscreen). That’s because chemical compounds in chocolate help protect the skin from the sun. But do be sure to slather on the sunscreen no matter what.
- Detoxes the skin: Using raw chocolate powder on the skin serves as an exfoliant that can help to get rid of dead skin cells, revealing fresher, younger-looking skin beneath. Those antioxidants also work topically, soaking into your skin to provide added benefits and skin protection.
- Chocolate boosts mood: You know what makes you look younger and happier all at once? A smile. Chocolate is known for its mood-boosting brain benefits and chemicals that trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine. These brain chemicals are connected with happiness and love.
- Balances blood sugar: If you’re chomping down sugar-laden chocolate bars, all bets are off, but in moderation, raw, unsweetened chocolate may help to regulate insulin levels, keeping your sugar levels in check. This may make breakouts less common, which will make your skin look healthier and happier.
- Healthy scalp: Chocolate’s anti-inflammatory compounds can help to lessen itchy, dry, and flaky scalp problems both when consumed internally or used topically on the scalp/hair.
- Hair boost: Chocolate may also help to minimize hair loss and boost the volume and shine of hair.
Is chocolate in your beach bag this summer? Get all the benefits and more with our Passionfruit and Cacao Moisture Recovery Lotion.
Photo by Sheelah Brennan on Unsplash
Flowers are essential to summer and none more beloved than the sacred rose. Its calming yet uplifting scent is more than just olfactory amusement; rose possesses serious health and beauty benefits you’re not going to want to live without.
While you might associate rose as being an “old” scent best-suited for your grandma, there’s reason to look at it more like a classic – the little black dress of beauty, rose is a tried and true beauty elixir worthy of your affection. And for the summer season especially, there’s nothing quite as essential as a rose water skin toner to keep you glowing and gorgeous all season long.
Here are some of our favorite reasons to make a rose-based toner a part of your summer skincare regimen.
- Reduces inflammation: Sunburn, acne, dry skin – common ailments this time of year, rose water can help to mitigate. Rose water helps to cleanse skin and remove excess dirt that can clog pores.
- Locks in moisture: Rose water is excellent at hydrating and helping skin to retain moisture giving you that natural summer glo w.
- Antioxidant-rich: The antioxidants in rose water can make the skin stronger and younger looking by fighting free radicals.
- Astringent: Rose can tone the skin bringing evenness and calmness to otherwise sensitive skin.
- pH balance: Just like rose’s scent can calm your nerves, it can calm excess oil bringing more balance to the skin.
- Wrinkle reducer: All of rose’s natural benefits help skin look and feel younger. It may help to reduce the appearance of fines and wrinkles.
- Boosts mood: Happy skin lives in a low-stress body and rose is great at enhancing mood, relieving anxiety, stress, and instead promotes calmness and relaxation. It can also help you sleep better, which, as we all know by now, is critical for healthy and younger looking skin.
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash
Long, lazy summer days make thinking about keeping up with your regular beauty routine a bit of a drag. And while you can reduce much of it, particularly if you’re going for summer’s hottest looks like beachy waves or easy updos, and minimal makeup, there are skin and hair issues unique to the best season that require a whole other arsenal of tricks.
If lazing around on the beach with a book until the leaves start to change is your idea of summer perfection, then we’ve got some simple and effective must-use beauty hacks to keep you gorgeous and glowing all season long.
- Chamomile tea bags can relieve razor burn. That delicate skin around the thighs and bikini line is easily irritated by shaving or waxing. If red bumps are your summer nemesis, just brew up a few chamomile tea bags. Allow to cook and then gently rub along the irritated area to reduce redness.
- If you don’t love shaving every day (and we’re guessing you do not), you can slow hair growth a tad by sugaring instead of shaving. Not as painful as waxing and easy to mix up at home, sugaring can make summer smoothness easier than ever. (Watch a tutorial here.)
- Say hey to apple cider vinegar. Keep your hair color longer by spritzing the hair with apple cider vinegar. ACV is known for being able to help colored hair keep its color longer, especially if it’s frequently exposed to sun, salt water, or chlorine. It’s also your BFF for taking the sting out of sunburn, too.
- Keep frizz away with a simple DIY oil solution of equal parts avocado and coconut oil. Pour into a small spray bottle and spritz then smooth away the summer frizz.
- Baking soda is going to be your summer BFF. Use it as a dry shampoo, or just to give hair a bit more shine. It’ll help keep pores smooth and blackhead-free. And if you go the self-tanner route unsuccessfully, just mix up a baking soda and water paste to remove streaks.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Dealing with pesky summer breakouts is one thing. But blackheads? That’s a whole other beast altogether.
So, how do you get rid of blackheads? Is it even possible? First, know thy enemy. Unlike pimples, which can be filled with pus and blood deep into (and under) the skin, blackheads are mostly dead skin cells and skin oil clogging pores on the surface. The longer they go unclogged, the more they oxidize and turn black. And the longer they sit, the more dead skin and oil can build up, making them larger and deeper.
But excessive or rough scrubbing (or squeezing) can make the problem worse. Here’s how to safely and effectively get rid of blackheads.
- Exfoliate: It’s a key skincare routine all year round and especially in the summer when oily skin abounds. If you’re out and about all slathered with sunscreen, too, that can make skin even more sensitive to blackheads. Using a fruit-acid-based skin exfoliant can be extremely helpful in preventing the dead skin cells from building up, making pores less likely to fill up. Exfoliate once or twice per week, or talk with your dermatologist.
- Salicylic acid: A popular topical acne medication, salicylic acid may also be helpful in treating and preventing blackheads. While this ingredient is common in many over-the-counter and conventional acne treatments, it’s generally safe for most skin types. Common side effects include redness and dryness. If you’re a regular natural skincare user, look for isolated salicylic acid as many of the products can contain some not so natural fillers and preservatives. Use as directed.
- Charcoal: Activated charcoal is gaining ground as a natural beauty superstar for its ability to help dry up and prevent breakouts. It may also help to pull impurities, like excess dead skin cells and oils, out of the skin, leading to fewer blackheads.
- Don’t overwash: Dead skin. Excess oil. Of course it’s natural to think that you should be washing the heck out of your face to get rid of those offenders. But don’t overdo it. Too much washing can make the skin work to replenish the oil and that can lead to, you guessed it, more blackheads. Wash only when necessary (at least morning and night, but after a workout, beach sesh, etc). Keep water temperature on the cool side and don’t scrub. Wash gently, but thoroughly.
- Sun protection: You might think a tan will help dry the blackheads out, but what really happens when you roast yourself is you create more dead skin, more quickly. That, of course, causes pores to clog and form blackheads. Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen (and one with all-natural ingredients) and your skin will thank you.
Check out our favorite product picks:
Sea Kelp and Charcoal soap
Cleansing Grains Normal/Oily
Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Gel
Argan & Yarrow Sunscreen Mineral Moisturizer
Ah, the mysteries of combination skin. You know how it goes; some spots on the face are sheer perfection while others are burdens beyond compare. Is there any way to turn combination skin into uniformly healthy, glowing skin?
First things first: what is combination skin?
Like many skin conditions, combination skin presents in numerous ways. It can be particularly present in the T-zone area, where oiliness or breakouts may be more common while other areas of the face aren’t. You may suffer from both breakouts and dryness on the face at the same time. There may be larger pore sizes on your nose compared with cheeks or jaw line. And yet another indicator of combo skin may be a bit further up on the scalp. Dandruff can (but not always) indicate combination skin issues.
Combination skin can be impacted by the environment (hot weather = oiliness), diet, and skincare products. But it’s most often caused by your genes. So before you go knocking on Grandma’s door to air your grievances, give your skin a little love and see if you can’t ease the combination skin woes on your own.
How to treat combination skin.
- Wash properly: For oily T-zone areas, adding a cleansing brush to your skin cleansing routine can help to decrease the oiliness, particularly when the weather is warmer. In cooler seasons, where your skin may be more prone to dryness, use an oil-based cleanser to help boost and retain moisture in the skin.
- Exfoliate: Skin that’s too dry or too oily can both benefit from exfoliation. Exfoilating removes dead skin cells, which helps to retain moisture. Use fruit-acid based peels or exfoliating grains to remove dead skin cells 1-3 times a week.
- Tone before moisturizing: Toners can help to reduce the appearance of pore size, and they can also help to address excess oil production – key for your too-oily T-zone. Using a toner that contains fruit acids or apple cider vinegar may help to reduce oiliness while prepping for moisturizing. And, yes, you should still moisturize even if you’re having excess oil issues! Retinol-based moisturizers or those containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids can provide skin the moisture it needs to stay balanced while also helping to reduce the appearance of pores.
- Wear a mask: Not to hide your beautiful face, of course. But to treat it. Clay masks or those with activated charcoal are excellent at drying out oily areas, and can restore glow to all of your face, no matter whether it’s too dry or too oily. Use a mask once a week.
- Treat your scalp: For excessively dry and flaky scalp related to combination skin, use a shampoo with tea tree oil, and be sure to really massage the scalp to help remove the dead skin. You can also apply a few drops of tea tree essential oil or black seed oil to your shampoo to help relieve dryness and itching. Your scalp may also benefit from a deep conditioning coconut oil treatment you can leave on for a few hours or overnight.
Coconut Milk Cleanser
Black Seed Oil
Lavender-Licorice Complexion Toner
Chamomile & Blue Cornflower Toner
Reading beauty product labels is fun, isn’t it? At best, you can rejoice if your label is filled with recognizable and good-for-you ingredients free from harmful synthetics. On the other hand, you can also boost your Words With Friends arsenal with all the complicated letter arrangements of synthetic chemicals. But there’s something to be said for keeping simple (both in ingredients and in Scrabble!). Enter: Neem, the ancient Ayurvedic skincare wonder ingredient.
If you’ve never heard of neem before, you’re not alone. This beauty multitasker has been flying under the radar for far too long. At least, here in the U.S. In countries like India, neem is a regular old superstar loved for its many powerful benefits for skin, hair, and even oral hygiene.
So, what is neem oil?
A tree member of the mahogany family, neem is also known as Indian lilac. It grows throughout India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and in the southern region of Iran, where it’s used for more than just glowing skin – it repels mosquitoes, keeps bugs out of pantries, and was even rumored to be used against malaria and leprosy (though we recommend seeking professional medical help immediately should you find yourself with symptoms of either).
Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for ages, primarily for treating chronic skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis, which can be notoriously persistent and irritating. But it’s also treasured for daily skin care maintenance and protection from environmental damage.
Neem oil is pressed from the leaves of the neem tree and contains high levels of antioxidants apt at fighting free radical damage. Carotenoids found in neem may protect against premature ageing of the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
It’s also an excellent source of fatty acids as well as vitamin E – a known skin powerhouse nutrient. Both boost skin’s elasticity and overall health.
Neem may also help reduce or prevent acne breakouts and lessen healing time as well. Because neem oil is a potent antibacterial agent, it can reduce the presence of acne-causing bacteria. The fatty acids in neem also help to improve the healing process and reduce redness and scarring.
Regular use of neem in skin care (and hair care!) can leave the face (and scalp) smoother and younger looking.
Want to give neem a try? Check out our neem skin and haircare faves:
Calendula and Neem Bar Soap
Neem and Bay Leaf Shampoo
When we think of that summer sun blazing down on us, we think of protecting our skin. But what about our hair? If summer sun protection for your hair isn’t on your radar yet, it should be.
The sun is an equal opportunity scorcher. It does what it does and it’s up to you to protect your body – including your hair – lest you pay the price: dry, brittle, damaged hair. And if your hair is already a victim of abuse (frequent coloring, flat or curling irons, etc), it’s especially at risk of sun damage.
Minimize the sun damage to your hair with these tips:
- Trim it: Of course you probably want long flowing hair for summer, but already damaged ends can look way worse after a long, hot summer. Keep your hair trimmed to minimize the damage.
- Avoid excess heat: Likewise, relying too much on hair dryers and irons can, well, dry your hair out. Getting in the sun is like a second round of blow drying, so opt for air-drying in the warmer months.
- Nourish your hair: Just like you need to eat right for your skin, your hair loves the same attention. Lots of healthy fats, foods rich in biotin, and of course, copious amounts of water help to keep hair healthy and shiny.
- Swim smart: If you dive into the pool as soon as Memorial Day rolls around, you’re going to want to invest in a good swim cap. As unflattering as they may look, they do protect your hair from the chlorine (or salt) damage.
- Cover up in direct sun: A hat is going to provide some protection from the sun, but for long hair, not so much unless you tuck it into your hat or wrap it in a scarf.
- Condition, condition, condition! As in turn the water off, get out of the shower for half an hour and THEN rinse the conditioner out. You can also include a deep conditioning hair mask once a week or every other week to boost hydration and keep your locks looking healthy.
- Reduce washes: You’re probably washing your hair too much already. But in summer? You can cut the washing way down. In fact, you can simply just condition your hair a few times a week and wash it only once or twice a week. Unless you have a specific scalp condition that requires frequent washing, a good conditioning should be all your hair needs during the hot days of summer.
Check out our favorite deep conditioners for hair:
Coconut Calendula Conditioner
Maca Tonic Hair Crème
Olive Black Seed Conditioning Cream