With Good Things

NATURAL BEAUTY TIPS

Mar
22

Cleanser
Eliminate the chemicals & sulfates in your store-bought cleansers and switch to the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). OCM is a great way to dip your toes into organic skincare and also treat your skin while dissolving makeup, oil, and dirt. For an even easier, one-ingredient cleanser, try the honey challenge and cleanse with raw honey.

Eye Makeup Remover
Apply extra virgin coconut oil (my fave) or olive oil to a cotton ball to gently remove even waterproof makeup without tugging.

Toner
Not everyone needs a toner, but if you’re one of the ones (like me) that have the need to feel “clean” skin, try substituting lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (ACV) for toner. Just make a solution by diluting the lemon juice or ACV in water, apply to a cotton ball, and smooth over your skin for a clean face.

Cuticle Softener
Keep an orange stick in the bathroom, so that after a bath or shower, you can easily push back your cuticles. Dab on a little olive oil, and you’re set!

Body Scrub
Mix sugar (white or brown) or salt with olive oil, honey, or a combination of any of these to make a great exfoliating and moisturizing body scrub.

Facial Scrub
What could be easier than making a paste out of baking soda or ground nutmeg and massaging onto skin weekly for a great exfoliator?

Moisturizer
There are several oils: olive, coconut, jojoba, argan, sweet almond, grapeseed, apricot, etc. that can be either (or both) a facial or body moisturizer…not to mention a great moisturizing mask for your hair.

Air Freshener
Just put a couple of drops of any essential oil (I like eucalyptus oil) into the commode to create a “diffuser” and instantly eliminate any unpleasant smells from the bathroom.

NO ‘POO HAIRCARE CHALLENGE RESULTS

Aug
12

I can’t believe it’s already been 9 months since I started my “no ‘poo” challenge! I’ve made some tweaks along the way (I only “cheated” once–on vacation–believe me, it wasn’t worth it!), and I’m here to share my current routine.

I use baking soda (BS) 2-3 times per week (using BS every day was causing my hair to feel like straw). I found my ideal mixture is around 1 Tbsp. BS to 8oz. of warm water. I mix it in one of those bottles with a pointed nozzle used for applying hair dye (so I can target my scalp and not pour it over all of my hair). I just massage the mixture into my scalp (avoiding my ends) before rinsing it all out.

Once per week, I am using a (gasp!) shampoo bar. My hair feels super-clean and super-soft after using a shampoo bar, and I usually don’t feel the need for the BS until the 2nd or 3rd day. I’ve actually tried several great handmade shampoo bars from Etsy (I’ll do a review post for these separately), so my advice here is to find one that works for you and go with it! Shampoo bars are a great way to ease into the whole “no ‘poo” thing–pretty much, not using shampoos with sulfates and parabens is the ultimate goal, anyway!

For conditioner, I am alternating using an organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse (1-2 Tbsp. ACV to 8oz. water) and a paraben-free conditioner (I like Aubrey Organics GPB Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner). As a styling product, I just work into my damp hair 3 pea-size drops of Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Lite–The Curl Booster.

Results: Amazing! My curls are defined (but not crunchy), NOT FRIZZY!, and my hair is not greasy or weighed-down at all. I actually haven’t had the need to cut or trim my hair since I started this challenge! (The image here is from 9 months in.) I don’t have split ends, and even though my hair is past my shoulders, I’m still able to comb through it easily. I get more compliments on my hair than I ever had before. I will not ever be going back to commercially-produced, chemical-laden shampoo!

PROFILE: ANDALOU NATURALS

Dec
02

When Alex from Andalou Naturals emailed me a few months ago, I’d heard of Andalou Naturals, but had never really taken a second glance at them before. I spent some time poking around their website and became really intrigued with their Fruit Stem Cell Science. Finding out about their organic and fair-trade ingredients only sealed the deal for me.

Alex sent me samples of of their Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum, and I have to say, this is the first “store-bought” skin care product that didn’t destroy my skin. In fact, it did just the opposite–it created a smooth, lovely glow! According to their website, “This ‘miracle in a bottle’ instantly goes to work with potent Fruit Stem Cells, BioActive 8 Berry Complex, and ResveratrolQ10, repairing cellular damage and discoloration for brighter, even skin tone and smooth texture with fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Protecting and perfecting ageless beauty.

The scent is a natural fruity smell that is not irritating or overpowering. This is definitely a plus, because I hate putting anything on my skin that smells unnatural. I started applying the serum every night after cleansing. The serum didn’t cause me to break out, and I’m waking up with improved skin in the morning!

HAIRCARE CHALLENGE: ‘POO & PRODUCT-FREE

Nov
15

I have never been one of those people who wanted my hair’s texture to be something that it’s not. I’ve always embraced my curls, and rather enjoyed the fact that the only thing I had to do to “style” my hair was scrunch some gel into my wet locks and let it air-dry. Really, my only problem was that the “x-treme hold” gel I was using to control frizz and define my curls made it virtually impossible to NOT wash my hair every day (besides the fact that my hair became greasy and unpleasant-smelling after 24 hours anyway). Enter my issue with a couple of patches of psoriasis behind each ear…the daily shampoo was not helping this at all!

With the success I’ve had going natural & organic with my skincare routine, I’ve been wanting to try the same approach with my haircare. Two “objections” prevented me from trying it sooner: 1) the fact that without a ton of certain conditioners, I cannot pull a comb through my hair at all, and 2) the fear of a greasy, smelly head of hair. After some research, I decided to go with the banking soda (BS) & apple cider vinegar (ACV) approach to “washing” my hair. With a week off of work ahead of me, I knew it would be the best time to try this experiment.

The first day, I just put the BS into my hand, wet it, and worked it into my scalp (very messy). I have to admit, “washing” my hair without lather felt very weird, but once I rinsed, it felt clean (if not dry and almost straw-like). For the ACV, I put a couple spoonfuls into a small spray bottle (filled the rest with water) and sprayed it onto my hair. Amazingly, I was able to comb through my hair with ease! Although detangled, my hair did not feel slippery-smooth like it does with conditioner, which was again, weird. I rinsed a final time before stepping out of the shower.

Not wanting to “ruin” my natural/organic challenge on the first day, I didn’t want to use my normal gel to style my hair, but since I hadn’t really thought through the style aspect before I attempted this, I grabbed the closest thing to gel I could find, which was a tube of aloe vera gel for sunburns (without alcohol, dyes, or fragrance). My hair still felt a little straw-like on the ends, so I smoothed on a pea-sized amount of extra virgin coconut oil on my ends to moisturize and to tame frizz.

Over the course of the week, I made a few tweaks to my routine: I’m now putting the BS into a hair dye applicator bottle filled with water for ease of use, and I’ve started putting a couple drops of essential oils into both the BS & ACV mixtures to treat my scalp and to eliminate the vinegar scent. I’ve also bought a bottle of food-grade pure aloe vera gel from a health food store to style with.

nopoo1Results: My curls are defined, but not crunchy, and my hair is not greasy or weighed-down at all. The part that surprised me the most was how soft my hair is with SO MUCH LESS frizz! In addition, my scalp is slowly starting to heal as well. (The image here is from Day 6 of No ‘Poo.) These results are enough to motivate me to continue my challenge through the week (and beyond!).

Who out there has tried “no ‘poo” and has some tips to share?

MASCARA TRICKS

Oct
10
  • Give your eyes instant lift by curling your lashes before applying mascara.
  • Gunky mascara? Dip the bottom 1/2 of the tube into a cup of hot water to soften mascara so there will be no clumps when you apply.
  • Create thickness by first applying mascara to the top side of lashes by looking downward and twirling the wand before applying mascara as you normally would.
  • Avoid clumps when applying mascara by wiggling the wand side-to-side from the base of your lashes to the tips.
  • Give your mascara fullness and staying power by dusting loose powder on lashes between two coats of mascara.
  • Make your eyes appear bigger by adding a second (or third!) coat of mascara to the outer corners of your upper lashes.
  • Make your eye color pop by applying a coat of colored mascara to the tips of your lashes over a layer of black. Burgundy or brown are great for blue eyes; blue or green mascara makes brown eyes sizzle.
    Create volume (and staying power) by dusting loose powder between two coats of mascara.
  • Need a touch-up in a hurry? Create the illusion of fullness by applying extra mascara to just the tips of your lashes.
  • Prevent under-eye smudging by applying mascara to lower lashes with a vertical wand, and pressing loose powder just under the lash line (also, waterproof mascara helps prevent smudges and runs).
  • Remove mascara (even waterproof!) in a jiffy by gently swiping olive, coconut, or sesame oil to lashes with a cotton ball until mascara melts off (added bonus: rich moisture for the eye skin area).

MAKE YOUR OWN DEODORANT

Aug
01

Of most anything you could make yourself and go organic with your skincare routine, deodorant was high on my “no way, Jose” list. But…since I’ve had so much fun messing around in the kitchen trying other skincare recipes and remedies, I decided to give it a try. I tested this on a Saturday when I didn’t have to go anywhere, and figured if it didn’t work, I could always take a shower!

Making it was very easy: I used a mashup of a couple different recipes I’d found for homemade deodorant, and I’ll include my recipes below. Using a Pyrex glass measuring cup, I made a makeshift double boiler to melt my ingredients in and when I was done mixing, poured the concoction into a cleaned out deodorant container (the picture on this post is my actual final product). I also added a few drops of essential oils for fragrance and added deodorizing properties.

Why I chose the ingredients in my recipe:

  • Coconut Oil: antibacterial protection. I’ve heard some people use just coconut oil as deodorant–it’s that good.
  • Shea Butter: ulta-moisturizing.
  • Baking Soda: odor-protection.
  • Arrowroot Powderor Cornstarch: dryness.
  • Essential Oil: antibacterial, antifungal, odor-stopping.

Amazingly, it lasts all day, and I have not had any issues with body odor or sweating! I even took it with me on vacation to Florida this week, and it held up against the heat and humidity (and through swimming) perfectly! I carried it in the cooler during the drive down and kept it in the mini-fridge in the hotel room. (If you live in a hot climate or find it is too soft, you can adjust the amount of beeswax to compensate.)

I rate both recipes for odor protection 10 out of 10, and for wetness protection 8.5 out of 10. I challenge you guys to try it (or your own version of a deodorant recipe) and give those aluminum-based deodorants the boot!

With Good Things’ Stick Deodorant Recipe

– 1 1/2 Tbsp. beeswax beads
– 3 Tbsp. 
extra virgin coconut oil
– 1 Tbsp. 
shea butter
– 1 Tbsp. 
arrowroot powder or cornstarch
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 20 drops of essential oil (I use a mix of lavender, lemon, and tea tree)
– 1 empty deodorant container

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil in your “double boiler” on low heat or in a saucepan on very low heat, stirring often. Add in shea butter and keep stirring until all is melted. Remove from heat and sprinkle in cornstarch and baking soda, stirring until smooth. Add drops of essential oil and allow mixture to cool slightly (you may place it in a cold water bath to speed up cooling process). Pour/spoon mixture into empty deodorant container and place in freezer for 20-30 minutes (or overnight in refrigerator) until completely solid.

For those of you who want to try out a homemade deodorant, but don’t have all of the above ingredients, or just want to whip up something fast, you can make the following recipe in a snap. This works just as well as the above formula, but it melts more easily and will need to be applied with your fingers.

With Good Things’ Basic Deodorant Recipe

– 6 Tbsp. 
arrowroot powder or cornstarch
– 2 Tbsp. baking soda
– 3 Tbsp. 
extra virgin coconut oil
– 10 drops of essential oil (optional, see above recipe)

Mix together first three ingredients with a fork until a paste is formed, then stir in essential oil. Store in a small jar.

Final tips: Less is more…you don’t need to cake it on for it to work. If you develop any irritation, try using less baking soda. Also, arrowroot powder is much less irritating than cornstarch.

Who out there is willing to give this a try?

SKINCARE GAME-CHANGER: HONEY

Jun
06

It’s been a week into Crunchy Betty’s Honey Challenge, and my skin already is showing SO much improvement! In fact, when I woke up this morning, I had ZERO new blemishes! I still have several acne spots that are healing from past blemishes, but today marks probably the first day since before puberty that I have no new pimples!

(For those new to the “honey challenge,” it’s pretty straightforward: “wash” your face with honey (at least once) daily for two weeks.)

Why Honey
Honey has active enzymes with incredible cleansing, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties. Not only does it fight infection with these properties, but it aids in tissue healing, and helps reduce inflammation and scarring. But wait…there’s more! Honey is also a humectant, keeping skin moisturized without being oily (or overdrying). These benefits only scratch the surface of the wonders of honey!

Choose Raw Honey
Before we go any further, let me emphasize that these enzymatic benefits of honey are mostly destroyed in the pasteurizing process (honey heated on high to purify it). Please make sure that you are choosing honey that is RAW. Look for the words, “raw,” “unpasteurized,” “unheated,” and/or “unfiltered” on the label. (Supermarket labels with “pure” are not the same thing!) Or, if you’d like to go straight to the source, by locally farmed honey and ask the local farmer/beekeeper if they heat and/or filter their honey to ensure you are getting organic, raw honey with all the enzymatic benefits intact.

Getting Down To Business
It’s SO easy! For the honey challenge, I am applying the honey to my makeup-free face. So, if you are doing this at night, remove your makeup as you normally do (like the Oil Cleansing Method) before these steps:

  1. Get your hair off your face (I put mine in a ponytail and use a headband).
  2. Pour a small amount (1/2 teaspoon-ish) onto your palm and gently rub your hands together for a few seconds.
  3. Massage the honey onto your face for a minute or two (a drop or two of water on your hands will make the honey glide over your skin).
  4. Optional: let it sit for 5-10 minutes (let those enzymes go to work).
  5. Rinse with water (I use a warm washcloth to get it all off).

Mix It Up
Once or twice a week, try mixing in baking soda to make a gentle, exfoliating scrub out of the honey cleanse. Last night, I mixed nutmeg into the honey to make a stronger exfoliating scrub/healing mask and after massaging it in to exfoliate, let it sit for about 10 minutes.

My Routine
I have been using Y.S. Organic Bee Farms’ Organic Raw Honey (seen in the image above). Not all raw honey has a creamy, yellow consistency like this, but I’ve never tried it before, so this is the one I chose for the challenge.

At night, I use the OCM to cleanse my makeup off before applying the honey to my face like a mask. I let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing off with a warm washcloth. I use straight extra virgin coconut oil as a night moisturizer.

In the morning, I apply the honey in the shower and let it sit while I shampoo and condition my hair, rinsing it off at the end of my shower. I’ve been using pure aloe vera and argan oil as my daytime moisturizer.

I can definitely say that this routine has helped clear up my skin so much in the past week! I can’t wait to get through week two to see how much better this can get! Who would’ve believed that I had the best acne-fighting ingredient in my pantry this whole time?

Who else is having success in the honey challenge?

TAKE THE HONEY CHALLENGE

May
28

One of my favorite blogs, Crunchy Betty, is hosting a “Honey Challenge”…washing your face with honey for 2 entire weeks!

I know, that sounds so weird–and scary! When you find out about how amazing effects of honey on your skin, you will be as ready as I am to try! The challenge starts Monday, July 18th, and Crunchy Betty will cover everything we need to know: how to do it, when to do it, and the amazing results…in her post that goes live Monday morning (so no one gets ahead of the game).

What do you need to do to participate? Get your hands on some honey (preferably local raw, organic honey)! For those of you without easy access to such, head on down to the grocery store and at least get you some 100% pure honey before Monday!

Are you ready? Click here on Monday for Crunchy Betty’s Honey Challenge!

Who out there has already tried honey in their skincare routine?

BEAUTYBLENDER FOR FLAWLESS SKIN

Mar
13

Want the look of flawless skin?BeautyBlender is the key to professional-looking makeup applications! With its elliptical shape and suede finish, BeautyBlender (latex-free & non-allergenic) is the ultimate makeup sponge.

I wet my sponge (squeezing out excess water) before use, and first dot foundation all over my face. Then, I “bounce” (a.k.a. stipple) the BB over my face to blend the foundation in without a trace of edges or cutoff lines. I use the smaller end to blend under my eyes and around my nose. It’s also great for blending concealer over blemishes to create a flawless look.

I’ve found that since using my BB, my skin does not break out as much (because I’m not using my fingers to smooth the makeup over my skin). After every use, I wash my BB with moisturizing antibacterial soap to clean the makeup away and kill any bacteria before placing it on the pedestal to dry for the next use.

The BB 2-pack is a deal, because why pay $19.95 for one, when you can get two for $25.95? With daily use and cleaning, each BB has lasted me 6+ months, so a 2-pack lasts at least a year.

Who else out there is a BeautyBlender fan?

MY CURRENT (ORGANIC) SKINCARE ROUTINE

Nov
30

It’s been several months since I decided to try out organic skincare, or more specifically skincare with organic oils. Not only do I have more room in my bathroom cabinet (and my wallet), I have to say that my skin has never looked and felt better!

What I was using before (insert cringes here):

  • Sephora Eye Makeup Remover
  • Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser
  • Olay Night Cream
  • Neutrogena Microclear Acne Stress-Control Hydrating Treatment
  • Nivea Q10 Eye Cream
  • Clean & Clear Acne Spot Treatment

My current (organic) skincare routine:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil(as eye makeup remover & eye cream)
  • My oil cleansing blend (castor oil, grapeseed oil, apricot oil, essential oils)
  • Argan oil & tea tree oil (as moisturizer & acne spot treatment)

So much more streamlined and less irritating than all those chemicals I was putting on my face before! I can’t say that my acne is 100% cured, but it is 95% better than it ever has been and I am hardly having any breakouts. Plus, I don’t have extremely oily skin with dry patches anymore! My skin is “normal” now and getting smoother every day. I am looking forward to refining my skincare routine and finding more organic DIY beauty recipes to try.

Who else out there is seeing great results from an organic skincare routine?