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.

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!

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?

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?

NEW OBSESSION: HARD LOTION

Sep
05

After getting lost in a tangled web of some amazing blogs last week, I happened to stumble on three different mentions of Renee Harris’ MadeOn Skincare hard lotion. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to it, but by the third mention, I had to check it out. Hard lotion is shaped into a bar (like soap). Your body heat softens the lotion so you can rub it into your skin. Renee at MadeOn Skincare describes her hard lotion this way:

The hard lotion bar has three simple ingredients: shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax. That’s it! Shea butter and coconut oil are known edible emollients. They soften and soothe dry skin and are gentle enough to rub over skin cuts and cracks. The beeswax emulsifies the other two ingredients to create a beautiful combination to smooth your skin. You’ll be surprised to learn that this is all you need to get your hands back to work.”

I fell in love with the premise, and just HAD to try it! When I received my package of MadeOn’s products (I got a couple of BeeSilk bars, an Au Chocolat bar, a Natural lip balm, and a Peppermint lip balm), I literally squealed with excitement (at the mailbox)! I haven’t had a chance to try them all out yet, but everything smells so good! I took the small BeeSilk bar to work today and have already made some hard lotion converts! I’ve even been able to convince my husband to try out the BeeSilk bar. He must like it, too, because he has started to ask me for it on a daily basis!

Update: I’ve been using the hard lotion for a little over a week now, and not only is my skin so smooth and hydrated, I’m still finding out great new uses for it! Hard lotion use #143: relieve sunburn! Hard lotion use #87: soothe bug bite itch!

How has hard lotion changed the way you moisturize?

MIRACLES BY COCONUT OIL

May
14

Apparently I am on a “slippery slope” of natural oils. It started with the sample of Argan oil that I received from Sephora, moved through the oil cleansing method, and has brought me to extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO).

I read about EVCO online and the “miracle” properties it has to cure everything from dry skin to thyroid issues to killing viruses. While I haven’t had the opportunity to test every one of these claims for myself, I have applied EVCO to my skin and face and can tell you that the (skincare) claims are true. I purchased a jar of EVCO from my local health foods store, and for the first day or so only tried it to moisturize my hands & feet.

I finally built up enough courage to try EVCO on my face, and I am so glad I did! The oil is solid while in the jar (kind of like a paste), but as soon as it touches your skin, it melts to a clear oil that you can massage into your skin. I apply about a pea-size amount my face at night after I cleanse (using the OCM) and massage it for about 30 seconds. My face is still oily-looking when I lay down to sleep, but when I wake up in the morning, it has completely absorbed, and my skin feels smooth like a baby’s bottom!

It also has helped clear up my acne, heal a mosquito bite, and removes waterproof mascara like a dream. I am slowly trying it for other things, and can’t wait to see what other things EVCO can cure!

What do you use EVCO for?

THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD

Apr
12

After having such amazing results with Argan oil, I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks researching oils for skin treatments. I’ve stumbled across several articles & blog posts about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), a.k.a. “washing” your face with oil. Acne.org describes the OCM this way:

“Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”

Sound good? Me, too. I had to try (and right away)!

  1. Choose Your Oils
    It seems that the most popular combination of oils used for cleansing is castor oil (CO) and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The CO has anti-inflammatory properties while drawing out oil, dirt, and grime, making it the staple of a cleansing oil mixture. The EVOO acts as a caring moisturizer to heal and nourish the skin. You can also choose from grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, apricot oil, or jojoba oil instead of EVOO.
  2. Create Your Blend
    Because Castor Oil can actually be drying to your skin, those with dry skin will want to use less CO in their mixture. You’ll want to experiment with different ratios of CO and EVOO, and maybe even incorporate more than two different oils and/or essential oils for added benefits. Here are a few ratio suggestions to get you started:
  • Oily Skin: 75% CO, 25% EVOO
  • Normal Skin: 50% CO, 50% EVOO
  • Dry Skin: 25% CO, 75% EVOO

I am starting out by mixing just enough for each use to see what works best for me, before I mix up a bottle. Tonight, I tried 1/2 tsp. CO with 1 tsp. EVOO and 2 drops of orange essential oil for a great pick-me-up scent.

  1. Cleanse
    You’ll want to do this primarily at night, and those with oily, acne-prone skin may want to start out only a couple times per week to ensure no breakouts. Ready? Let’s do it!

Take your oil mixture and massage it gently over your face, continuing to massage for up to a couple minutes. Let the oil dissolve the makeup and impurities from your skin. Then, use a wet washcloth (with the hottest water tolerable to your skin) to steam your face before wiping it clean (you may need to rinse and repeat for best results).

Ta-da! My makeup (even my trusty waterproof Covergirl Lashblast masacara) was completely gone, and my skin felt clean, but not dry or tight. I am currently using a couple drops of Argan oil as my nighttime moisturizer that I applied after cleansing. Since this is my first night trying this out, I’ll have to update later to see if I break out or have good/bad results over time.

Update: I’ve been using the OCM for almost a month now, and I am still loving it–and as a bonus, my skin is less oily! I’ve made a couple of tweaks to my routine: I’m using 2 parts CO to 2 parts EVOO, and I have added a couple drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil to control and soothe breakouts. I am also using coconut oil an eye makeup remover (I don’t want to put tea tree oil near my eyes), and Argan oil as a moisturizer.

How do you use the Oil Cleansing Method? Please share!

LIQUID GOLD: ARGAN OIL

Jul
05

I was at Sephora recently, and saw a display for various moisturizers.  When I saw Josie Maran’s 100% Organic Argan Oil with claims of being able to “fade scars, heal acneic skin and smooth wrinkles,” I was intrigued. I received a healthy sample from the SA, and couldn’t wait to get home to try it out.  I have oily, acne-prone skin, so I was a little apprehensive about putting pure oil onto my face, but hey, I’ll try (almost) anything once!

That night, after washing my face, I sparingly applied a couple of drops to my face and gently smoothed it over my skin. I will admit, it did feel a tad sticky and oily at first, but it seemed to begin to sink in fairly quickly. I went to bed directly, so I can’t say for sure exactly how long it takes for it to totally sink in and not have that tacky feeling any longer…but I can proudly say that when I woke up in the morning, my face was not oily at all!

Here’s where the “miracle” aspect of argan oil comes into play: the acne that I had the night before was greatly diminished! I’ve been using this nightly for about two weeks now, and I can truly say that this lives up to its hype of fading scars and healing acneic skin!

The other night, I was at an out-of-town meeting and had to share a hotel room with a co-worker. We were washing our faces to get ready for bed, and as I was applying the argan oil to my face, I raved about it to my friend. Her mouth dropped and eyes widened, and I was like, “What’s wrong?” She said, “I’m standing here watching you put that stuff on your face and as you’re rubbing it in, the redness on your face is disappearing!” I told her, “Just wait until you see my face in the morning!” I had a couple of blemishes starting to form on my cheek (the kind that turn into red, angry cystic acne), and I told her, “See this? I’m going to apply a tad more oil onto this blemish, and I bet you $100 it will be gone in the morning.” Sure enough, when I woke up, my face was soft, smooth, and those blemishes were completely gone!

I am definitely recommending Pure Organic Argan Oil to everyone I know!

Update: I’ve been using argan oil as my facial moisturizer for over a year now, and I am loving it. I don’t really have any wrinkles yet, so I can’t speak for its “wrinkle-smoothing” properties but I feel like it has been keeping my skin wrinkle-free. My skin is no longer oily, my acne is healed, and my skin is super soft, smooth, and radiant!