Archive for the ‘beauty’ Category

I think I need another food snob week

A while ago, I tried an experiment, where I tried to be incredibly discerning in what I ate, not just in searching for objectionable ingredients, but making the entire eating experience engaging to all the senses. It was fun and I had some great meals and developed slightly better habits regarding free snacks at work.

Well, I think it’s time I did that again. Pictures will probably go up on A Little Wild, if I bother to move them from camera to computer. That’s been something I’ve neglected lately. I’ve just been feeling overwhelmed with life, in general. I applied for some jobs, hoping maybe a job offer would help me light a fire to get my degree work done.

Saturday, I’m going to henna my hair. I did a first application a couple weeks ago, kind of a proof-of-concept with the leftover Jamila henna I had in the freezer from when I used to do my toenails. It worked nicely, although it pretty much only shows up on my grey hairs. I bought some organic Rajasthani henna, which is supposed to give burgundy tones, so it might actually change my overall hair color a little.

I’ll post pictures and thoughts when I have some sort of result.


The Bitters Project

As anyone who spends time around me on a daily basis knows, I’ve been having some issues with acne and breakouts recently. After reading The Nourished Life’s post on the root causes of acne, I started thinking about adding supplements to improve my digestion and/or hormonal balance.  Now, I know I’m hormonally unbalanced, but the idea of hormonal supplements, even traditional things like Vitex.  So when I noticed a new display at the store, I made my choice.  I would add herbal bitters to my routine and see if a couple weeks on this would produce an improvement.

from the Urban Moonshine website

The display featured Urban Moonshine‘s three herbal bitters preparations.  They each come in three sizes.  I went with the original formula, in the smallest size, a 10mL spray bottle.  The directions say to spray directly on the tongue before or after meals.  I’ve started today by spritzing my tongue twice after lunch, though in the future, I’ll try to remember it before meals.  I’m going to take the bitters three times a day, before each of my three main meals.  The only changes to my skin care routine is that I’ve finally bought a cleanser to take to the gym so I can actually wash my face after I lift twice a week.  Other than that, I’m using the same Earth science clarifying cleanser, Thayer’s witch hazel, and Burt’s Bees moisture cream that I always use.

Having taken my first dose, I can give my opinion on the taste of the bitters.  Well, they’re really, really bitter (duh).  But it’s not a bad taste.  It’s not a “ack, that’s so bitter it must be poisonous” bitter, but more of an herbal bitter flavor.  I could definitely taste an anise flavor, probably from the fennel seed.  It’s not bad.  The recommended dose is 4 sprays before every meal, but I only did 2 this time.  I’ll try to work up to 4 sprays before every meal.

Simple Natural Beauty: Basic Skin Care

I’ve decided to start a Wednesday series devoted to my beauty rituals, which I base around natural ingredients and simple practices. Today, to officially begin the series, I’ve chosen to focus on my personal skin care routine. As a teenager and younger person, I never experienced much acne, and even now, I rarely get more than one or two blemishes at a time. While proper skin care can help a variety of ailments, I find that the biggest influence on ones outward appearance is diet. When I nourish my body with appropriate, natural foods, my skin looks healthy and glowing.

So beyond my diet, I use very little on my face, and I use almost nothing that I would not eat. My everyday skin care ritual is broken up into two parts: morning and evening. In the mornings, I rinse my face with plain water. If I shower, I just let the water run over my face as I wash the rest of me, and if I do not shower, I splash my face with water from the sink, or else sometimes use a soft washcloth.
In the evenings, I spend a little more time on my face. Most nights, I wash with warm water and a wash cloth. Then, I use a little Thayer’s witch hazel toner on a cotton pad, and finish with a thin layer of frankincense and myrrh scented shea butter on still-damp skin. The shea butter absorbs overnight, and my beagle seems to love the scent when he jumps up on the bed with me.
It helps that I wear no makeup on a regular basis. If I get a blemish, I may use a little rhassoul clay as a spot treatment, perhaps with a little lavender essential oil, but in general, I try to avoid bothering my skin as much as possible. At least once a week, or so, I do a modified oil cleansing, using a mild sea buckthorn soap after removing the oil, and following with my witch hazel and shea butter. I’ve used jojoba oil in the past for oil cleansing, but right now I use grapeseed oil. It is a nice, light oil that makes a good cleansing oil, light moisturizer, or hair oil. I try to time this oil cleansing to be the night before I plan on washing my hair, so that if I get some oil in my hairline, it will be washed away in the morning.
An oil cleansing ritual can be as simple or as lavish as you want it, though I tend to stick to a simple massage of oil, followed by a hot, damp cloth to steam my pores. In the future, I will post about special-occasion skin pampering that I may do on a lazy Saturday, or when I want a luxurious pick-me-up.
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.

Simple Homemade Balm

This is a quick remedy that I made a while ago, but recently found pictures and realized I’d never posted it. I love lip balms. Growing up, my dad always had a Chapstick with him, and made sure, as we got older, that his kids did, too. My mom would put Chapsticks in our Christmas stockings. And, yes, I did put a few of them through the wash. That’s a nasty surprise.

But as I’ve moved to more natural products, I no longer use petrolatum-based lip balms. I also find that vegan lip balms don’t have the same benefits as a good beeswax balm. I like Burt’s Bees, but it’s expensive. Plus, beeswax balm isn’t just good on lips.
I make my balm with about 1/2 oz. of beeswax and an ounce of liquid oil. The balm pictured is beeswax and sweet almond oil. I grate the wax and melt it into the oil over low heat, then pour it into a pot and stir it with a toothpick occasionally until it sets up. It’s nice and soft and melts on my fingers. It also makes a nice treatment for the ends of my hair.
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.
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I try to live as naturally as possible, eating local food, and using personal care products that use as few harmful chemicals as possible. Plus, I run as often as my body will let me. These two factors pretty much add up to no nail polish. Seriously, I don’t know exactly what they put in it, but it has to be bad, as awful as that stuff smells.
Have you ever closed the bathroom door and painted your nails without turning on the fan? Not a good idea.
But I want cute toes. And I want cute toes that I don’t have to think about very often, that won’t chip. And that don’t involve nasty chemicals that stink. So I’ve gone the henna route. Unfortunately, henna is one of those creatures that’s pretty personal, so I can’t make any guarantees that you will like the color henna gives on your nails. It’s also messy, and takes a few hours to give a stain, and then you have to let it oxidize.
These are my toes after their very first henna application. As you can see, they’re pretty orange. After one more application, and a few days to oxidize, it turned into this:
I like it.
So how does one henna one’s toenails? Personally, I mix up a small amount of Jamila henna (body-art quality) with enough warm water to make a creamy paste. I let it sit for 24 hours, covered in plastic. Then I use a teensy bit (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp.) to dye my nails and pack the rest into the freezer in small blobs. I’ve recently discovered that if you freeze your blobs in the cut-out corners of a plastic bag, they come with their own little applicator. Then, I let the henna sit for 1-3 hours. You can wrap your feet in plastic (that silly picture earlier), but that will result in a little staining on your skin.
But don’t worry, the stain on the skin wears off in a couple of days, and the stain on your nails will last pretty much forever. Doesn’t chip. It does grow out, so if you don’t like the color, you have to wait until your toenails grow out. Not a big deal for the little guys, but I rarely have grown out more than half the big toe’s color before coloring again. When you color again, there will be a little demarcation where you colored previously, but it blends pretty well. Your tips might get a little dark, but I still like it.
Hooray for cute toes!