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The Ultimate Exfoliation Regimen

As someone who has chronically itchy skin, exfoliation is my absolute favorite part of my skincare routine. If you’re doing it right, exfoliating brightens, moisturizes and strengthens skin, helps get rid of blemishes, and it feels AMAZING. If you’re using products that aren’t right for your skin, or over-exfoliating (yes, unfortunately there is such a thing), then please allow me to drop some exfoliation knowledge that will expose you to all the wonderful benefits of this deep-cleaning skincare necessity.

Why exfoliate?

Your body is constantly producing skin cells in the basal layer of the epidermis. As the cells on the outermost layer dry up and eventually die, they are replaced by these new cells from the basal. The entire process takes about 3 to 4 weeks. 

Exfoliating helps to remove the dead skin from the surface by either scrubbing or chemically weakening the proteins that hold them in place. The newly exposed skin is firmer and brighter, while dead skin that doesn’t get sloughed off will leave you with a dull, rough looking complexion.

How often should I exfoliate?

This depends on your age, skin type, and method of exfoliation (which I’ll get to in the next section). For most gentle facial exfoliates, dermatologists recommend 1-2 times per week. 

The idea is to help along the natural cycle of shedding dead skin, without damaging or irritating the new, or removing the natural protective layer of oils on the outside of your skin. As we age, the cycle of skin renewal slows down, so your use of exfoliates may need to as well. If you experience any redness or irritation, you should stop exfoliating for a few days, and either change your product or reduce your routine to once every 1-2 weeks.

What exfoliating techniques and products should I be using?

The myriad exfoliating options can be broken down into two categories: chemical and friction based. Chemical exfoliates work on weakening the bonds that hold the dead skin cells onto the new, while friction based methods literally scrub off the dead cells to expose the fresh skin underneath.

One of the big up-and-comers on the exfoliating scene is dry-brushing. This is a great friction-based technique for even sensitive skin, as it’s (you guessed it!) performed on dry skin. Using a dry brush in small, gentle circular motions over your whole body before showering helps brighten the skin, improve circulation, and reduce cellulite.

Other than that, most of your exfoliating probably takes place in the shower (or at least bent over the bathroom sink). Look for products that have a moisturizing component in addition to an exfoliating one to instantly sooth the newly exposed skin. The best products will contain one or more of the following:

Salt – Salt is great for dry skin because the trace minerals help seal in moisture while stimulating new cell growth. It’s also found to be helpful in treating psoriasis and eczema (the latter of which I can personally attest to!)

Sugar – The glycolic acid in sugar boosts new skin cell production while breaking down the protein that keeps the dead cells hanging on.

Oatmeal – Crushed oatmeal is a common exfoliating ingredient that’s also a natural anti-inflammatory, making it perfect for sensitive skin.

Papaya – Papaya produces an enzyme called papain that naturally dissolves dead skin cells and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.

Coffee – Coffee is great for exfoliating, moisturizing and toning skin, and the caffeine will firm and tighten. True Moringa pairs with Vega Coffee to make an incredible Rejuvenating Body Polish that’s great for all skin types

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The Difference Between Sealing Oils and Moisturizing Oils

Our skin naturally produces oils (sebum) to moisturize and protect our skin and hair but sometimes we need to give our skin a little assistance by adding a little more oil. Using oils has the incredible ability to both moisturize and help keep moisture in our skin and hair. The differences in those oils are whether your oil moisturizes or seals. In skin care these are also known as occlusive (sealants) agents and emollients (moisturizers). It’s a subtle difference, but hear us out.


Moisturizing Oils

Plant oils are similar to the type of oils your skin produces naturally and can be applied to your skin without clogging your pores. When choosing what oils you use to moisturize, take note of its comedogenic rating. The lower the number, the most likely it won’t clog your pores.

Moisturizing oils, especially when compared to lotions, can be more effective. Lotions are typically oils emulsified in water with additional ingredients added to cater to particular market tastes. The oils in lotions are sometimes not comedogenic, for example mineral oils. Mineral oils can cause blocked pores and acne in some people.

By using oil instead of lotion to moisturize, you take the key ingredient that matters the most and apply it directly to your skin - oil. And you get to choose ones that will get you the skin you want.


Sealing Oils

When moisturizing hair, not all oils can penetrate the hair shaft. Those oils sit on top of your hair and lock in moisture, but don’t add any moisture. What oils are able to penetrate your hair shaft varies from person to person. These are sealants.

For skin, if your skin is dry, using occlusive oils will not help. Because sealants (occlusive oils) don’t add moisture to your skin. If your skin is dry you’re not helping it by trapping in moisture - there’s not much moisture to trap in the first place! Make sure your before you seal you have properly moisturized.

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DIY Natural Tinted Lip Gloss

Now and then, if I’m having a night on the town, I’ll let my hair down and slap a bold color on my lips. More often though, I like to use a few simple products that keep me looking fresh but not overly done up. I try to stick to neutral tones with cosmetics that enhance my natural features, and do something good for my skin in the process.

I’ve gotten a lot of gifts over the years of things like blush and bronzer that, to be honest, I just don’t use. With all these shades of pink, red, and brown being neglected in the cabinet, I decided it was time to break out the rubber gloves and do some experimenting. After several trials (and even more errors), I think I perfected this recipe for ultra-moisturizing tinted lip gloss.

2 Tbsp Shea Butter

1 tsp Coconut Oil

Coconut oil and Shea are a great base because both are solid at room temperature (though you might want to carry it around in a small baggy in the summer time!), and super moisturizing on your lips.

4-5 Drops Moringa Oil

The moringa-coconut combination is unbeatable. Moringa oil will give your gloss a shinier, smoother consistency, and add extra nutrients for lip protection!

2-3 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

I like to use peppermint oil because it not only smells great, but has the same effect as lip venom, making your smile thicker and more sensual. If you don’t like that slight tingly feeling, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil, flavoring, or scent.

All Natural Mineral Makeup (blush, bronzer, even eyeshadow is great, just check the label to make sure the ingredients are natural)

Mix the butters and oils together with a small spoon or scraper until smooth, then add the colored mineral makeup in small batches until you reach the color you desire. I like to add a pinch at a time (it’s way easier to make it darker than it is lighter!)

When you’ve made a color you love, all that mixing has probably made the shea and coconut oil pretty soft. Scrape it into a container—ideally a 1 oz glass jar or tube—and stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.

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5 Natural & Eco-Friendly Products We Love

I had my first encounter with natural beauty products when I was about 8 years old. It was my first summer going to what I then called “sleep-away camp” and upon arriving I was told that for the next 30 days all my bathing would take place in a small New Hampshire lake, next to which the camp was founded.

Because of this unconventional group-bathing situation, all the products we used had to be biodegradable (a word I couldn’t pronounce, let alone comprehend at that age). I dutifully packed away my drugstore shampoos and conditioners and awaited my first care package, a box full of Dr. Bronner’s all purpose solution, which was to be my soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste that July.

Til the day I die, you will never hear me say a bad word about Dr. Bronner’s, a pioneer in the world of environmentally conscious skincare and household products. That said, almost 20 years later, there are way more options for natural and sustainable cosmetics, now with ingredients tailored to every skin and hair type.

So whether you find yourself rinsing off in a river, or just want to know that the products you use won’t end up in a landfill, polluting oceans, or harming your body, here are five products you should definitely check out:

 

Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes

These multipurpose wipes can be used to remove makeup or just as a refreshing pick-me-up, packed with natural ingredients like argan oil, aloe vera, and cucumber extract. The best part of buying them is that a portion of their profits goes to the Natural Resources Defence Council’s Polar Bear SOS Initiative!

 

Credo Myth Eau de Parfum

Sometimes you just crave a more complex, longer lasting scent than essential oils will allow. For days like that, Credo’s got you covered with the perfect, natural alternative, where “jasmine petals and tiger orchid meets the sexy, undeniable warmth of liquid musks and white cedarwood.” (They have other scents as well.) 

And this woke vendor brings sustainability to the next level with eco-friendly glass bottles and biodegradable bottle caps.

 

David’s Premium Natural Toothpaste

There are so many unnecessary chemicals in conventional toothpaste. Rather than going to the extreme of just brushing with baking soda, try this fantastic toothpaste made with natural ingredients that will still fight plaque and gum disease and leave you with fresh, minty breath. David’s ingredients are all sourced in the US, and the toothpaste comes in a recyclable metal tube and a cardboard box made entirely from wind energy!

 

Korres Greek Yoghurt Sunscreen SPF 30

I love anything made from something you can eat. This sunscreen is super nourishing and soothing against sun-damaged skin, and provides protection of SPF 30. The company makes high quality natural and organic products, only sourcing ingredients from regions where they won’t disrupt the environment. They also work with various social welfare programs, reinvesting a huge portion of their profits into sustainable environmental and social awareness groups.

 

Rituelle de Fille Ash and Amber Eye Soot

I’m not just recommending this because they call it “eye soot” (though I do love the name). This incredible makeup straddles the line between creamy and powdery, for an incredible texture that is striking and long lasting. Rituelle de Fille is commited to sourcing ingredients from companies with cruelty free practices, and makes all-natural products that are organic and gentle on the skin.

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The Science Behind Our Essential Oils

We love mixing our all-natural cold-pressed moringa oil with other natural ingredients to bring you the finest skincare products that target your needs. One of our favorite ways to enhance our recipes is with the use of different essential oils, each of which bring their own fantastic properties to address the specific needs of your hair and skin.
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