Why ‘simplify’ is the best thing you can do for your skin (and bank account)

Simplicity is the key; one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the past few years. As beauty conscious women, we fall victims of cleverly devised marketing campaigns that makes us buy a myriad of beauty products with the promise of achieving the perfect look. In this never-ending quest for perfection, we put on layer after layer of synthetic beauty and makeup products (follow this link to find out more) without questioning what’s in them or thinking of the consequences of long term use.

The truth is a lot of the beauty products we use are detrimental to our health and our skin has more trouble dealing with this constant stream of plastering materials than actually benefiting from it. 

A good example of this problem is oily skin. The products designed for it are often too harsh and will strip the skin of it’s natural oils. These natural oils are essential to skin health and so, to compensate, the skin produces even more oil. It’s a never ending circle of shine and shame! Same goes for acne-prone skin. If you have acne, some of these products will mostly aggravate the problem. Sometimes, the product will seem to work temporarily. However, as it’s not solving the real problem (often the cause comes from within), acne returns. Acne skin responds better when left alone to heal. That is, not putting any product on (including makeup). I know… not cool, but effective. 

Then there’s another situation here, skin care products ain’t cheap. And the fact that they mostly aggravate the problem instead of solving it means you have to buy the products all the time.

Can you hear it? that is the sound of the beauty industry laughing all the way to bank!. Let’s face it, most of us are somewhat guilty of ‘collecting’ beauty products (I am a former product junkie myself) but there’s no need for going ‘cold turkey’ and stop shopping for beauty products all together in order to simplify. The key is buying less, but buying better.

Simplifying your beauty routine is a journey and the results in your skin and bank account will be amazing.

The one thing you can do today is start by de-cluttering your bathroom of all those products you don’t use anymore or have gone past their expiration date. That will give you a great sense of accomplishment and inspire you to go further.

Next week, I’ll be sharing some recipes to make your own cosmetics with ingredients from your kitchen. Don’t worry if making beauty concoctions is not your thing, there’s plenty of brands out there that make cruelty-free cosmetics using natural ingredients rather than synthetic. I’ll be also posting some of my favourite brands and where to find them. 

Until then, I’ll let you pondering this; think about all the beauty products you use on any given day… How many of this products do you REALLY need? Would it change the course of your day if you didn’t use ALL of them? Could you learn to see yourself beautiful without them?… 

I’d love to hear what you think so drop me a line on the comments below.

Until next week! 🙂

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The beauty kitchen: Homemade cocoa and cinnamon bronzer

There is something really satisfying about making your own beauty products with simple ingredients from your kitchen. Conventional makeup is loaded with synthetic and often toxic chemicals that have a terrible cumulative effect in our health. Read this post if you want to know more about the cocktail of chemicals we are putting on every single day.

This DIY natural bronzer is one of my favourite homemade makeup recipes. Is really simple to make, it has the most delicious scent and will add that much needed ray of sunshine to your daily makeup routine!

Ingredients

Unsweetened cocoa powder, as a base for colour and depth.

 Ground cinnamon, to add a natural sun-kissed glow.

A pinch of ground nutmeg adds a different kind of glow and smells amazing!

Corn starch, helps binding all the ingredients together and will also lighten up the colour if you’ve gone too heavy on the chocolate powder.

An empty container or little jar with a lid.

Method

Simply put all ingredients together in your container of choice, put the lid on and shake it till is all properly mixed up. The trick here is to play around with different quantities of each ingredient until you reach the desired shade of bronze. If you have sensitive skin then cinnamon could cause some irritation, try a little before you start making the bronzer, just in case.

To apply, just dip the tip of your brush (a fluffy powder brush works best) in the powder, swirl around in the lid and tap the excess off. Then, apply bronzer to the areas of the face the sun would naturally hit. Using light strokes, start at the top of the forehead, then the cheekbones, and down along your jawline, in a “3” shape. You can also apply it along the bridge of your nose to contour and  across for a sun-kissed effect.

Et voilá! Powdered sunshine in a tub.

How to get beautiful skin naturally

Beautiful, healthy, glowing skin the natural way is any girls dream… Well, it’s a lot easier to achieve than you might think.

We all know there are many factors that might affect our skin condition at different times in our lives and is not always in our power to change this, however the following skin care tips will put you in the right track while you figure out what works for you.

Simplify 

This is probably the most important thing you’ll ever need to know about skin care. We are all victims of cleverly devised marketing campaigns that urge us to use a tone of different beauty products in order to achieve the skin of our dreams. In this never-ending quest for perfect skin we put on layer after layer of synthetic skin care and makeup products without thinking of the consequences. Well, the truth is your skin has more trouble dealing with this constant stream of plastering materials than it actually benefits from it. Where are all guilty of that, right girls? I am product junkie myself and a former Boots Card point-collecting champion so, for many years, I had really oily skin, huge clogged pores and a drained bank account. Since I cleared up all the beauty junk in my bathroom and simplifyed my skin care routine, I buy a lot less products and my skin has become more balanced and easy to manage.

Just give it a try, cut down on the number of products you use every day and see the difference for yourself.

Nourish

Good nutrition is the key to the way we look and feel. Just try this for a couple of weeks; eat plenty of raw fruit and vegetables and amp up your omega fatty acids intake by adding more oily fish, nuts and seeds to your diet (or an omega oil like flaxseed or Udo’s Choice Oil Blend) and your skin will love you!

Green juices and smoothies are a good way to get your five a day although you will need to invest in a good juicer or a blender. I was given a juicer this Christmas and I love making fresh juices, the only downside is that juicing leaves out all the good fibre that is also essential. A Nutribullet is probably a better buy if you have to choose between the two as you can make pretty much anything with it from smoothies to soups or delicious dips and even iced coffee when you really fancy a treat and “OMG! The Starbucks app ain’t working!”.  A slightly cheaper option to amp up your vegetable intake is by adding a green powder supplement to your water, it might take a bit to get used to the taste but the results are great.

Hydration is also paramount, drink plenty of water (at least 1 litre for every 40 pounds of body weight) and herbal teas (Pukka organic herbal blends are my favourites). Cutting down on coffee if you’re drinking more than 2 cups a day will also make a difference on the look and feel of your skin as caffeine can be quite dehydrating.

Dry brush

Dry skin brushing has been practiced for centuries as a health and beauty ritual around the world. In addition of exfoliating your skin and reading it for moisturizing, daily skin brushing will help increase blood circulation and stimulate the lymphatic flow to assist with the elimination of toxins, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite and boosting your immune system. Try it before showering, choose a good dry skin brush with natural firm bristles (or a softer one if you have sensitive skin) and always brush towards the heart starting at your feet and working your way up in long sweeping motions, minding sensitive areas like breast and dĂ©colletage and always avoiding the face.

Moisturize

 Last but not least, treat your brushed-up skin to a good moisturizer. I personally love using coconut oil as it’s natural and my skin loves it! I have raved enough about the wonders of coconut oil on previous posts so I will contain myself this time. The choice is yours, however, try to avoid lotions full of synthetic chemicals if you can. Time permitting, massage in your choice of moisturizer in upward strokes starting at your feet, just as you would do when dry brushing.

Everyday uses of coconut oil

Since I discovered coconut oil a few years ago I use it for pretty much everything; I cook with it, I use it in my hair, skin and nails or in homemade beauty concoctions, I clean my teeth with it and even put it in my tea and occasionally eat a spoonful right straight out of the jar! This might seem rather odd behaviour if you are not familiar with the subject but coconut oil has a list of benefits longer than my arm! 

Coconut is a diet staple in many eastern cultures where the rates of heart disease and obesity are the lowest in the planet.

Now, If you would like to be enlightened further on the wonders of coconut oil, read this. If the science of it does not interest you and prefer to go straight to the point, this are some of the best uses of coconut oil:

Eye makeup remover

 Coconut oil is the best thing I have ever used to remove mascara and eyeliner (even waterproof versions) without irritating the eyes and has the added benefit of conditioning your eye-lashes and brows! Just melt a little on your hands, close your eyes and rub the stuff in circular motions (angry racoon look alert!) then take it all off with a damp cotton pad.

Skin moisturizer

The fatty acids in coconut oil help lock in skin moisture and its antioxidant properties prevent cellular ageing. It can help treating dry skin, stretch marks, age spots, and skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. In addition, it’s a natural SPF 4 and can even be used to keep your skin tanned for longer! I keep a big tub of coconut oil in my bedroom and use it as daily face and body moisturizer; a little goes a long way so It lasts for ages, smells delicious and really makes your skin silky smooth and radiant with health.

Hair conditioner

Just mix in a 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted oil (depending on hair length) with honey, avocado or banana and leave in for at least 30 minutes for a natural hair mask or rub a small amount into your hair (mostly at ends), comb through and put hair in a loose bun before bed and wash out in the morning for an intensive overnight treatment, this can be a bit messy but it does wonders to dry, damaged hair. You can also rub a wee bit of oil on your hands and apply as an anti-frizz treatment to tame unruly locks!

Natural lubricant

Its sexy time! Yep, you can also put coconut oil on your nether regions as a natural (and rather tasty) lubricant that won’t irritate or disturb your vaginal flora and can even help fight Candida infections due to its antifungal properties. Is not compatible with latex thought, so don’t use it with condoms! 

Long story short, coconut oil is amazing and the ways you can use this marvellous tropical stuff are bountiful. That said, it might not be your thing to put coconut oil in every crevice of your body or perhaps you find your skin revelling against it once you start using it. My advice is to listen to your body as it might need some time to adjust. This post on the Free People Blog describes this process perfectly. You will find tons of information about coconut oil and its uses in the web, do your own research until you find the way that works for you! For more interesteing and unexpected uses of coconut oil read this post by Wellness Mama.

Make sure to buy organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil and not the refined stuff you might find in the supermarket.

This is my favourite brand of coconut oil. It might seem pricey but the quality is superb and remember, a little goes a long way so one jar will last for quite long time.