lavender

Product of the Week

This week’s pick is LATHER’s Clear Head Balancing Balm. If you frequently suffer from headaches or any other upper body tension then this balm is for you. Put a dab on the problem area to relax nerves with soothing menthol and a relaxing, uplifting blend of lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus and mandarin oils.

But you really don’t have to be in pain to put this balm to good use — it’s also ideal for healing any areas of dry or irritated skin. At only $9, I suggest always keeping this multi-use balm on hand.

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LATHER donates $1 from each sale to benefit the National Headache Foundation for headache awareness, education and outreach.

Love Lavender?

If you’re a big fan of lavender then you will love this Lavender Aromatherapy Stick by Aura Cacia.  It is made with 100% pure lavender essential oil so it smells just like the real stuff.  I’ve been using it as my everyday perfume lately and I’m really loving it.

Some pluses (aside from the wonderful scent itself) — it’s under $10, it’s easy to carry with you, it promotes relaxation, and it never gives me headaches (like many conventional perfumes). The stick also comes in Tea Tree (great for bug bites & blemishes), Eucalyptus (helps with cold symptoms) and Peppermint (excellent for headache relief).

 

Hope everyone has a great start to the week!

 

 

Best Natural Deodorant

It’s so easy to go natural when it comes to lotion, shampoo and many other beauty products, but I think deodorant is the hardest yet most worthwhile natural switch to make. Yes, it’s true that the natural brands don’t actually stop you from sweating like the commercial brands do, but they definitely can keep sweat under control with natural ingredients (like baking soda). Plus, sweating is a key part of detoxifying your system so it’s really not a bad thing, especially if you can find a natural deodorant that actually keeps you smelling pleasantly.

Well after many, many years and many, many natural deodorants, I think I have finally found one that I’m going to stick with. It’s Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant.  I specifically like the Vanilla Lavender version of this silky deodorant, but there are a few other great scent options. I have to warn you about the price… it’s $18… I know, so expensive for a deodorant, but my thrifty self actually thinks it’s worth it. It smells so nice and the scent really lasts all day. In a way, you can consider it an $18 perfume — now that’s a good deal, right? Let me know if you give it a try!

Guest Blogger: Homemade Beauty with Victoria

Today’s post is by the very natural and knowledgeable Victoria of  Homemade Beauty Blog. Make sure you check out her blog to see many more recipes and reviews of natural beauty products. Enjoy!

Can You Eat Your Deodorant?

I swear I can eat my deodorant, but can you eat yours? Yes, it may not be too tasty, but at least I can be sure that I won’t be sent directly to the hospital with chemical poisoning, which I can’t say about commercial deodorants that often contain ingredients that sound like a science project.

Most over-the-counter deodorants and antiperspirants contain a cocktail of chemical ingredients, like parabens, propylene glycol, TEA, DEA, fragrances, and other toxic chemicals, which are potentially harmful not only to your skin but to your general health. While deodorant works to remove a bad smell, antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores with powerful astringents. This effect is based on the presence of zinc salts and aluminum, which can obviously be dangerous when blocking the sweat glands. After all, sweat has an important function of excreting toxins, and blocked glands obviously cannot release them. In addition, blocking sweat glands will also cause your body to overheat.

Since deodorant antiperspirants are applied to areas that are subject to frequent shaving, they absorb into the skin much faster than other products. Hence, this has a strong effect on the body as a whole. The skin – our largest organ – works to absorb any ingredients that are applied topically. Still, there is no reason to worry that you have to stink to stay healthy since there are some powerful natural alternatives!

What are the alternatives to commercial deodorant?

I was recently excited to find out that there are many inexpensive but highly effective methods to make you smell like a beautiful human being. Here they are:

  • Tea tree essential oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties so that it works well as a natural deodorant. It neutralizes odor while also inhibiting odor causing bacteria. I first tried this by applying a few drops of the essential oil on my underarms, and it kept me fresh for almost the entire day.
  • Another great alternative is baking soda. It works wonders because it neutralizes the odor of sweat. I just sprinkle a light covering of baking soda on a damp washcloth or my palms, and pat on without rinsing it off.
  • The other thing that I recently discovered is that you can use coconut oil directly under your arms as a deodorant. It attacks the bacteria found in sweats that causes odors. I also apply this to my underarms and don’t rinse off.

I was using the methods mentioned above with a great success for about six months. However, I am interested in making homemade beauty products so I decided to make something more similar to conventional stick deodorant. I also wanted something that smelled heavenly. So I started to experiment, and my experiments led to the following recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon beeswax
  • 2 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch: In this recipe, cornstarch works as a thickener, and it will also soften the skin. You can substitute potato starch, but in this case, it will only work as a thickener.
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Melt beeswax and coconut butter in a double boiler. When they melt, add cornstarch and baking soda. Remove from heat. The medley should form a thick paste so that you can add the essential oils. Transfer this mixture to a jar or special container to create a deodorant stick.

If you want liquid deodorant, you can use the following formula:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter (You can substitute any other butter coconut, cocoa etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Follow the steps mentioned above, and pour into a container for a deodorant roll-on.

I have to say that I love this deodorant, and I encourage you to try it! It has my favorite scent of lavender (you can include your own favorite essential oil in the deodorant) and I am free from unpleasant odor all day long.

I have a long list of my favorite recipes, and this recipe was proudly included on my list amongst other beauty recipes. I also compiled all of my best recipes and tips in my Natural Skin Care Handbook e-book. This guide includes a number of homemade remedies and tricks and was written especially for those who want to give up on commercial products and start to naturally care for their skin without the use of chemicals. All of the information about the Natural Skin Care Handbook can be found here.

So getting back to deodorant, have you ever tried to make your own homemade deodorant, or maybe you already have your own perfect formula?

Victoria Lewy loves to experiment with different natural homemade beauty recipes. Her passion has inspired her to share and discuss them with others at her Homemade Beauty Blog: MyHomemadeBeauty.com.

Relaxing Room Spray

Photo Credit: She Essential Beauty

Lavender, lemongrass and bergamot – the perfect blend to clarify the air and calm the senses. Shē Essential Beauty is the creator of this room spray, amongst other home and beauty products. Shē is a holistic company with a really cool beginning – two licensed acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists founded the line upon the priniciple that beauty truly comes from within.

I just came across their blog and it has some very informative posts, like this one: Emotional Beauty (includes an easy to do “Natural Beauty Meditation”!)

Fields of Lavender… In Your Dryer!

For a long time now, I’ve bought the free & clear versions of well-known dryer sheets to avoid those sometimes pretty yet far from natural scents permeating my clothes. However, I had no idea that these typical brands of dryer sheets although “free & clear” still are likely made with animal fat! That’s pretty gross and also pretty weird.

Recently, I discovered these delightful little sheets by method and after several loads of laundry, I’m definitely a fan. It was never that I didn’t want a nice fragrance on my clean clothes, it’s that I couldn’t find an option of a pleasant, natural scent! Now I found something that leaves my clothes soft, free of static, and smelling like a lovely field of lavender. They’re also reusable, which makes the price ($5) quite nice.

Photo Credit: method

Naturity’s Sugar Scrubs

Naturity‘s sugar scrubs are all 99.5% certified organic. I recently tried the Lavender Sugar Scrub, which has only 5 ingredients (Demerara Sugar, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, lavender essential oil, and non-GMO vitamin E oil) Of course, I say the simpler the better when it comes to beauty products. This scrub has all of the ingredients it needs to be exfoliating, moisturizing, and fragrant. Personally (both with what I usually buy or make), I’m used to a scrub that has finer grains than this one, which definitely has a significantly larger yet smooth grain (see picture below). If this looks/sounds up your alley then this is your scrub! To me, the best thing about this scrub is its ultra pure and relaxing scent of lavender (I couldn’t differentiate between smelling this scrub and my bottle of 100% lavender essential oil!).

Photo Credit: Naturity LLC

Hawaiian Lavender!

One of my oldest and dearest friends brought me back such a treat from her honeymoon in Maui – a set of body care products (pictured below) and dark chocolate all infused with lavender harvested from the lavender farm (AKL Maui) she visited there! I had no idea that lavender was grown in Hawaii! It’s interesting because the products definitely have a unique lavender scent, unlike any other lavender-scented product I’ve ever smelt (and I’ve smelt a lot).  If you’re ever in Maui, you should definitely check out the the beautiful gardens of Ali`i Kula Lavender. I’m so excited that I got to experience some of the AKL Maui products because it has exposed me to a whole new lavender! (Thanks Nicole :))

Photo Credit: The Lavender Farm Inc.

Certified Organic Fragrances

Intelligent Nutrients make an array of organic health and beauty products including supplements, “functional foods”, skin care, hair care, and aromatics. I was in the market for some new natural fragrance when I came across Intelligent Nutrients’ aromatics. The natural fragrances are available in 7 varieties: Awaken, Seductive, Attune, Nurture, Innercalm, Restore, and Focus. My favorite is definitely the Nuture, which has an overriding aroma of lavender and is certainly a comforting choice (as you would expect from the title). Unlike most traditional fragrances that contain phthalates and other synthetic ingredients, Intelligent Nutrients’ aromatics are made solely with pure plant ingredients. The scents really do smell like they are right from the garden and with each spritz, you actually feel like you’re doing something beneficial for yourself!

I would strongly suggest spraying the aromatics on your skin rather than your clothing because of the natural oils. But these same natural oils that aren’t enjoyable for your clothing can be thoroughly enjoyed by your hair! Don’t hesitate to spritz some of the fragrance in your locks to refresh them and add shine. You can also add any of the scents to a unscented carrier oil (like jojoba, sesame, etc.) to create your own massage oil. The tranquil lavender, sweet orange and geranium of Nuture are a perfect combination for a relaxing massage.

Photo Credit: Intelligent Nutrients®

Aromatherapy in a Cupcake?!

I have a very talented and creative friend who is a fashion designer by day and cupcake genius by night/weekend! She recently made me the most unique cupcakes I have ever tasted. These little delights had lavender-infused vanilla cake with lavender, honey cream cheese icing (there were actually little pieces of edible lavender)!

If you love the smell of lavender then you’ll probably love this combination. This is just one of the many varieties of cupcakes that my fellow blogger and friend has come up with so far…can’t wait to see what’s next! :)

 

Visit Monique’s site: http://myglamourology.com/

Photo Credit: Monique Lopez

Photo Credit: Monique Lopez

Quick & Calming Facial Treatment

  • Make a cup of chamomile tea
  • Allow it to cool down so it’s very warm, but not boiling hot
  • Submerge a washcloth in the tea
  • Wring out the washcloth
  • Add a 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil to the washcloth (*optional step)
  • Press the washcloth on your face and hold it there until the washcloth becomes cool

This is a great calming treatment that only requires water and a chamomile tea bag (and lavender oil if you like it/have it around). Chamomile has azulene, which is anti-inflammatory so it calms skin.

Sniff your way to a better day…

Whether you’re choosing a scent for your next aromatherapy oil, beauty product or candle, here is a brief list of some scents and their associated benefits.  More about aromatherapy soon!

 

Energizing:  grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon, lime, & cardamom

 

Grounding & Calming:  vetivert, sandalwood, chamomile, & pine

 

Uplifting:  bergamot, mandarin, peppermint &  lemon verbena

 

Ease tension/anxiety:  rose, lavender, &  majoram

Some Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is probably my favorite essential oil. It really is such a relaxing scent and it can be used to help so many things!

 

Here are just a few things that lavender is good for:

  • headache and migraine relief
  • healing burns and insect bites
  • acne, psoriasis and other inflammations
  • stiff joints and sore muscle relief
  • relaxation
  • insomnia
  • hypertension
  • repelling mosquitoes

Lavender is one of only two essential oils that can be used on the skin without dilution (the other being tea tree oil)!

Use sparingly though. 

Examples:

  • A few drops to combine with a lotion or shampoo.
  • Just a drop or two to apply to any inflammation.

 

*Allergies – People with allergies should test an oil on a small area of sensitive skin (inside of arm).

*Pregnant – Check with your doctor before using any essential oils (Lavender usually does not appear on the AVOID DURING PREGNANCY list).

**Discontinue use at the first sign of any irritation!

One of my favorite things to do….Foot Baths!

I started doing foot baths when I was about 4 years old and I’ve never stopped since!

 

These are some of the times to treat yourself to a relaxing foot bath:

  • When your feet are sore
  • When you’re stressed
  • When you’re cold
  • When you’re rundown
  • When you’re sick
  • When you just want to do something relaxing!

For a foot bath you can either just fill your bath tub up with enough water to submerge your feet OR you can use an actual foot bath (you can find foot baths at Target, Walgreens, etc.).

Some of my usual mixtures to include in the very warm water:

  • For relaxation: a few drops of lavender oil & 1- 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • For a cold: a few drops of eucalyptus oil &  mustard seed powder (detoxifying)
  • For tired feet: 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and/or a few drops of lemon juice & 1-2 tablespoons of epsom salt

**You can always simply use warm water and still being doing something healthy and relaxing for yourself.

Try a foot bath today or at least, this week!

Great for Colds and Your Sinuses AND Your Skin

I forgot how great and how helpful these are…

Facial Steam Baths

Bring a few cups (or enough to fill a large bowl) of water to a boil and pour it into a large bowl. For a cold/your sinuses add a few drops of eucalyptus oil.  Or you could add some oregano and rosemary (the dried kind you use for cooking is just fine).  Oregano and rosemary have antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. They’re also bronchodilators so they help you to breathe! 

Ok.. now situate yourself somewhere that you can be comfortable and have the bowl of steaming water in front of you. Next, cover your head and the bowl with a cotton towel. Then close your eyes and take some deep breaths.  Do it for a few minutes or however long you feel comfortable.

I hadn’t done this in a long time, but I just did it this weekend to help myself get over a bad cold. It really made such a difference!

 

Try this for your skin too! 

I noticed how nice my skin was after having my face in the steam for a while. If you aren’t sick, you can also do this steam bath to detoxify your skin. Just put a few drops of lavender essential oil and/or chamomile tea bags in the water. The steam will open and cleanse your pores.

**Just remember to be careful not to burn yourself! After you’re done, splash your face with cold water to help close your pores.

Some Natural Beauty Must-Haves

A few cheap and natural items that are great to always have on hand include:

1. ALOE VERA - Either directly from your own plant or one bought at a store (stay away from the green ones -aloe vera is NOT naturally flourescent green – and go for the clear ones) Aloe vera is great anytime your skin is dry, irritated, and/or sunburned. It’s also a great natural moisturizer for sensitive skin that won’t clog your pores.

2. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – No, it doesn’t smell very delightful, but it’s great for so many things, including toning your skin. Go for a bottle that still has stuff floating around in it – those are the good ones! Apple cider vinegar is great for maintaining or restoring the natural pH balance of your skin. It also helps your skin to clear up and heal blemishes. Just put a little on a cotton ball and splash the cotton ball with water to dilute it a bit. Or if you have an extra bottle around, you could make a homemade toner of half apple cider vinegar, half distilled water. DO NOT subsitute white vinegar for apple cider vinegar. These are 2 totally different vinegars, which will give you totally different results (white vinegar will most likely burn your skin!!)

3. BAKING SODA - SO great to keep in your fridge, in your cleaning supplies, and…. in your shower! I have found baking soda to be one of the best and most gentel natural exfoliators. Just put about a tablespoon in your hand and add water. Use it just like you would any other facial exfoliator, making sure not to scrub too hard as always. Also, add a teaspoon to any shampoo to instantly create a clarifying shampoo! (add a teaspoon to the amount you usually use for 1 wash, not a teaspoon for a whole bottle – just in case that wasn’t obvious :))

4. TEA TREE ESSENTIAL OIL – One of the best natural blemish fighters. Just put a tiny bit on a q-tip and dab on the blemish.

5. LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL – Probably the best known scent for relaxation. You can add a few drops to a bath, to a shower gel, a shampoo, a diffuser, or you can use it like tea tree oil (on a q-tip) to promote healing of blemishes or irritated skin. (It really is such a relaxing scent and a scent that grew on me because I didn’t always enjoy it that much.)

6. TEA BAGS – More specifically, FROZEN TEA BAGS. You can use bags from either black, green, or chamomile tea. One of the most cheap, easy, and natural ways to depuff your eyes in the morning.  If you’re already a tea drinker then it’s even easier and more cost-effective. I just hold the tea bag under my eyes for a couple minutes…so easy!

So those are just some of my favorite natural beauty supplies. They’ve all worked for me…Hopefully you and your skin will enjoy them as well. Naturally, if you/your skin do not enjoy then simply discontinue use! ~All Natural Annie