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
Chocolate is more than just a kid’s confection—it’s a magical savior for many of us (hi, fellow moms!). Some chemicals in chocolate have been shown to provide a legit feel-good boost in mood; and that silky, smooth, and creamy texture is the perfect delivery mechanism for, well, pretty much anything, right? But while eating chocolate is likely always to be the preferred way to engage with this potent bean, there are notable benefits to digging into the creamy goodness of cacao butter (also often “cocoa butter”) and slathering it all over your body.
What is Cacao Butter?
All chocolate comes from a fruit—cacao. Shaped like a small football, cacao pods are filled with a white fleshy fruit pulp and dozens of quarter-size beans. The purple beans are dried, fermented, and ground down into chocolate. But there are really two notable components to these beans: what’s often called cacao (or cocoa) powder and the fat that’s leftover, called cacao butter. In making chocolate, you often separate these two parts of the bean and then reintroduce them in making a chocolate bar. When extracted from the cacao solids, the butter is void of the signature dark brown color of chocolate. It’s often off-white or cream-colored. Like coconut oil, cacao butter can be eaten as a healthy fat source. And, also like coconut oil, cacao butter can find its way into many of your personal care needs. Technically speaking, cacao butter is more similar to shea butter than coconut oil, but it performs like either of them, offering moisturizing benefits aplenty.
Benefits of Cacao Butter
- Moisturizing: Like most any topical oil, cacao butter is great at hydrating the skin and locking in moisture. Because it’s rich in saturated fats, it’s easily absorbed into the skin and can keep it feeling soft and smooth for hours after application.
- Healing: Cacao butter doesn’t just moisturize, it helps to protect it from dryness and may speed healing of dry, cracked skin or chapped lips. Apply liberally and generously—and yes, if you put it to your lips you will taste chocolate!
- Reverse Aging? Call it chocolate’s magic, or call it the Willy Wonka Effect, even. But there’s some truth to the rumors that chocolate is a bit of a fountain of youth. We all know that eating chocolate is preferred by our inner child, but did you know cacao butter can help to keep skin looking as young as you feel? Credit the cocoa mass polyphenols in cacao butter that may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And , yes, even eating chocolate helps fight free radical damage, thanks to chocolate’s antioxidant-rich polyphenols.
How to Use Cacao Butter on Your Skin
You can purchase cacao butter in its raw state, and you can often find it whipped or softened for easier use. You’ll also see cacao butter listed as an ingredient in numerous skin care products. To use cacao butter by itself, apply a generous amount to clean, damp, or dry skin and massage in until absorbed. If using cacao butter in a skin care product, follow instructions on product package.
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
So you’ve been spritzing and moisturizing your face and hands all winter—even your hair is getting some extra attention to prevent the frizzies and dryness. But what about your feet? Winter can be super rough on heels, leading to cracking, dryness, and even bleeding. Ouch!
For severe conditions, be sure to check in with your doctor. But for mild cracking and itching, give some of these DIY home remedies for treating cracked heels.
- Sleep with oily feet: You don’t need anything more than a good olive oil or coconut oil to make this work for you. You’ll also need a pair of socks you don’t love very much, though. Before bed, generously apply oil to your feet and heels—really cover them in oil. Put on socks—two pairs if needed to keep the oil in. And go to sleep. This should help to bring some relief and you can do this rather frequently if needed. Just be sure to be careful getting up as your feet will be slippery even in the socks.
- Soak your feet: One cup of white vinegar in a warm bath can help to relieve discomfort from dry and cracked feet. Another option is to combine three tablespoons of baking soda with three tablespoons of salt in a small tub filled with warm water. If you don’t have a small foot tub, just fill your bathtub high enough to soak your feet. Be sure to dissolve the baking soda and salt thoroughly. You can also make this mixture into a paste for the feet—just decrease the salt by one tablespoon and add in a bit of olive oil to form a past. Gently scrub the feet. Avoid using the scrub if you have severe cracking and bleeding.
- Make a foot mask: Masks aren’t just a beauty must for face and hair—they can do wonders for feet, too. This one is super easy: mash up a ripe banana until it’s free from lumps. Generously spread over heels and feet where it’s needed and wrap foot in plastic wrap (you may want to have this part ready before you cover your feet in nanas. Leave the feet wrapped for about ten minutes before rinsing. Gently rub with pumice stone after drying.
We know how overwhelming those beauty care aisles can be—trust us! It’s how we make a living, after all. And it’s great to know there are so many fantastic truly natural options out there for every type of skin and every type of skin problem. But there’s one very special beauty ingredient you won’t find in the beauty aisle. You’ll have to head on over to the “condiments” section for this one—but it’s worth the trek. You need apple cider vinegar, like stat.
Apple cider vinegar—ACV to its die-hard fans—is, well, an anomaly. One of the world’s oldest and most beloved fermented liquids (ahem, after wine, of course), ACV is the Grandmother of home remedies—really, just ask your actual grandmother about it.
Yes, it adds a piquant bite to salad dressings, soups, and more, but in truth, ACV is the powerful medicinal herbal remedy with a culinary side effect. It should be in the pharmacy and beauty sections of the supermarket first, rather than sitting next to olive oil.
But regardless of where we catalog this force of nature, it’s a natural beauty lover’s must-have.
7 Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
1. Acne relief: Antiseptic by nature, a little dab of ACV can speed the healing of mild acne breakouts. To prevent acne, use ACV like a toner, sweeping a diluted mix of vinegar and water across the face on a cotton ball.
2. Tone skin: ACV is a rich astringent that can increase the blood flow to skin and regulate pH, making it an excellent toner after washing and before moisturizing. Be sure to dilute 1:1 with water.
3. Toxin removal: Using apple cider vinegar on the face helps to pull toxins out of the skin, for consistently healthier and cleaner looking skin. It also reduces the appearance of age spots, if used regularly.
4. Brighten teeth: Coffee, tea, and wine lovers, take note: Rinsing your not-so-pearly whites with ACV a few times a day can actually help to lift stains off the teeth, leading to a brighter smile without the chemical whiteners. And bonus: the antifungal and antibacterial properties of vinegar help to keep your gums healthy too.
5. Dandruff relief: An itchy and dry flaky scalp is no fun and can even be an embarrassing problem (especially if you love wearing dark clothes). Bring your scalp relief with a deep scalp treatment of ACV. Work it into the hair before, after, or with your shampoo for relief.
6. Shiny hair: ACV also delivers a healthy, gorgeous shine to hair. Simply rinse with apple cider vinegar after your conditioner. Rinse with water and let air-dry for a healthy, natural shine.
7. Stay healthy: Glow from within by fighting off colds and the flu with apple cider vinegar. Research has shown it to be helpful in boosting immune response and speeding recovery, helping you to feel and look your best!
When it comes to oils with benefits for skin and hair: coconut oil is the clear winner. Its popularity is certainly merit-based; coconut oil is nothing short of miracle for the body—inside and out. But there are plenty of other oils with good-for-you benefits worthy of praise, including the rising star argan oil and its many benefits.
Like many oils, argan oil comes from a tree nut of the argan tree, which is prized by Moroccans as a miracle tree of sorts. The argan trees are exclusive to the region, making them all the more special. So special, in fact, that UNESCO has protected the region, known as the “Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve.”
But don’t worry that using argan oil is depleting or damaging the reserve. Most argan is harvested by women in small cooperatives vital to the Berber community. This sustainable practice promotes reforestation and it’s such a vital industry for the country, supporting about ten percent of Moroccans. That’s some oil!
So what does argan do for you?
1. Moisturizing: Argan oil is a nutrient-rich super oil loaded with vitamins A and E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids all vital for skin and hair, making it a most reliable and excellent moisturizer.
2. Skin toning and healing: Both vitamins A and E are critical to boosting skin health, including speeding healing and recovery, reducing the signs of aging, and reducing breakouts. That’s good for skin that looks and is healthy year-round.
3. Makeup removal: Like any oil, argan is excellent at removing makeup from the skin, including heavy eye makeup. Just be sure to avoid getting it in your eyes unless you don’t mind a little oily, blurry vision for a bit.
4. Healthy and strong hair: Argan oil has a reputation for being one of the best oils for hair—maybe even more so than coconut oil. Credit goes to its moisturizing abilities, where it sinks deep into the hair follicle, literally making it shinier and silkier from the inside out.
5. Bye-bye split ends! Argan’s super healing and moisturizing benefits can make it your BFF in the battle against split ends. While nothing will get rid of them once you have them (except for a trim), using argan oil on your hair regularly can keep them from occurring so quickly.
6. Healthy scalp: If dandruff or dry scalp are recurring issues, you’re going to want to give argan a go. It’s effective in nourishing not only the hair, but the often-neglected scalp that can become dry and irritated by conventional hair care products.
7. De-Frizz: Most any oil applied to the hair will help reduce frizziness, but because argan doesn’t leave hair super greasy, it can be left on like a leave-in conditioner, particularly helpful during frizzy hair season. You can do deep conditioning like overnight hair masks with argan to help reduce frizz and boosting shine.
Check out our favorite argan oil products!
Argan & Yarrow Sunscreen Mineral Moisturizer
African Organic Body Oil Blend
Pomegranate & Eyebright Serum
The brutal sting of winter’s chill may not be here just yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prep your skin for its inevitability. Just like the seasons change, so too must your skin (and hair!) care regimen. Ready to make a few simple swaps?
- Switch up your cleanser: A good skin cleanser that works for your skin type is essential. And giving it up? No thanks. But you may want to add a more seasonally appropriate cleanser to your routine. For winter, you want a creamier, and more moisture-rich cleansing lotion, as opposed to drying skin cleansers like foams.
- Add a richer moisturizer: Just like you want a more nourishing cleanser in the winter months, you want an extra creamy moisture treatment. This means your normal face oil or lotion might take a vacay until spring and you indulge in a thicker and more substantial crème to bring protection and hydration.
- Richer eye crème: Same rule as moisturizers—you want an eye crème that’s really going to protect the delicate skin around the eyes from drying out thanks to the cold-hot-cold air cycles going from chilly outside to sweltering indoors.
- Don’t forget your lips! We tend to equate lip balms with protection against harsh summer sun—but it’s also vital in the winter months too. Cold winter air can quickly dry out your lips as can all those PSLs, and the canned indoor heat. Switch from that tinted summery lip balm to a thick in-the-pot jar of flavorless and petroleum-free lip balm that’s loaded with moisturizing butters and oils.
- Amp up the hair care: While winter may give your hair a break from the pool and sun damage, it exposes it to other not-so-flattering situations like using the hair dryer way more, and that canned indoor air drying out your skin and lips. Switch from a light shampoo and conditioner to those heavier in oils and repairing ingredients to boost shine, decrease frizz, and reduce split ends. Top it off with a nourishing oil treatment, and remember: you don’t need to wash your hair everyday!
Check out our favorite winter beauty care items:
Ginko and Pumpkin Organic Créme
Coconut Milk Safflower Cleanser
Olive Black Seed Conditioner
Olive Black Seed Shampoo
Move over, pumpkin spice lattes. The real star of the season are these pumpkin seed oil benefits.
Is there anything bad about pumpkins? Okay, maybe the rotting jack-o’-lantern doorstep mush in November is a tad bit annoying, but the payoff of pumpkin season is no joke. And not just for your belly, either. After all, there are only so many PSLs you can drink in a season, right?
Here’s the thing about pumpkins: yes that creamy orange flesh is chock-full of vitamins, fiber, and healthy, delicious goodness. But it’s those little seeds—you know, the ones you pitch when you carve that doorstep decoration—that are the real stars of the gourd.
Pumpkin seeds not only boast superior health benefits when ingested, but these nutty little gems are nature’s best-kept beauty secret too. Here’s why you should be looking for skincare products with pumpkin seed oil as a featured ingredient.
- Free radical defense: Rich in vitamin E, zinc, and a host of antioxidants, pumpkin seed oil, when applied to skin, helps to reduce free-radical damage, keeping skin looking younger and healthier. The zinc can help to speed healing, improving skin tone, and fight acne, too.
- Moisture, moisture, moisture: The high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content in pumpkin seed oil makes it a moisturizing powerhouse—a must during the colder autumn and winter months when skin can become dry and lackluster.
- Increased hair growth: Pumpkin seed oil may slow the production of 5-alpha reductase enzymes, which can slow your hair growth. Taking a pumpkin seed oil supplement may help to stimulate hair growth—good to know if you went a little overboard on your DIY bang trim.
- Boosts hair health and shine: It’s those omega fatty acids again! This time, they’re boosting the smoothness and shine of your hair as well as its overall health—whether you ingest or use pumpkin seed oil topically. This is, of course, a must for anyone with processed or color-treated hair that can dry out quickly. Is there anything this tiny miracle seed can’t do?
Check out our favorite pumpkin seed oil products:
Ginko and pumpkin créme
Chamomile and blue cornflower toner
Pomegranate and eyebright serum
Find it difficult to spend a little bit more on organic beauty products when conventional options boast just as many benefits?
Well, there’s a lot more than selective marketing claims when it comes to the benefits offered in quality skin and hair care products. So if you need a little reminder, here are five.
1. Organic ingredients are cleaner ingredients: Yes, beauty products are supposed to be fancy and even mysterious. But cancer-causing? No thank you. Organic ingredients means a reduced risk of exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides that can be absorbed through the skin, many of which have links to increased cancer risks and other health ailments.
2. Organic farming is better for the planet: If you’re wondering what smog-free air has to do with beauty, the answer is quite a lot, actually. By committing to products that include organic ingredients, you’re helping to reduce the impact conventional farming has on the planet—pesticides and herbicides are no good for air, water, or soil. And yes, a cleaner planet means fewer environmental stresses on your hair and skin. Think of it as a long-term but well-worth-it commitment.
3. Better products? The word “organic” is never a guarantee that the overall formulation is the best-ever for any product. But it can indicate a more conscientious business committed to crafting high-quality products that may be more effective.
4. Better businesses: Likewise, companies going the extra-step to procure organic ingredients are more likely to be conscientious in other areas of business, making them stalwards of progressive change for their local and international communities.
5. Organic growth: Your purchase of an organic beauty product may seem insignifant, but it actually helps usher in a much bigger, brighter, and cleaner future. Maybe you inspire a friend or family member to buy organic next time, which is great, but by supporting organic purveyors, you help keep them going—and growing their businesses. Can you imagine one day a world where all beauty products are organic?
If you’re a label reader, calendula is one of those ingredients you’ve likely seen over and over again on your natural beauty products. Not as well known as, say, lavender, calendula is still a worthwhile beauty ingredient. In fact, calendula’s benefits for skin and hair may be the secret reason your products work so well.
Calendula is a member of the daisy family, a marigold to be exact, which means that it can be easy to grow in your own garden if you’re so inclined. And it may be why it has such a long history of use not only in skin and hair care, but herbal remedies as well. While there are a number of medicinal plants available, those that were hardy and easy to grow made their way into heavy rotation in our medicine and beauty cupboards of centuries past, thus calendula now falls under the “tried and true” category of natural healers. And if you’re a natural beauty junkie, you’ve likely seen this ingredient all over the place.
Calendula Benefits for Skin
1. Antioxidants: Beta carotene and vitamin E are naturally occurring in calendula, making this a wonderful skin ingredients. Both help to reduce the signs of premature aging, and vitamin E can even make skin feel softer.
2. Skin Healing: If you’ve ever used a wound-care liniment or balm made with natural ingredients, it’s likely calendula was toward the top of the list. That’s because it has been known to help reduce the appearance of scars by increasing collagen production in the skin (which heals it). Boosting collagen levels with the use of calendula-based products may help to diminish the appearance of acne scars and give skin a healthier glow.
3. Antibacterial: Calendula’s healing benefits go beyond reducing scars—it’s also an effective antibacterial agent that can prevent and treat infections. This may also make it effective against acne breakouts.
Some people may be allergic to calendula so use caution when using a calendula-containing product for the first time.
Check out our favorite calendula products!
Calendula Neem Soap
Coconut Calendula Conditioner