Natural Beauty from the kitchen

Proper skin care is my worst nightmare, creams with ingredients which require a wiki search, heavily scented to the point of nausea, and the expense… Cruising the drug store beauty aisle is not my idea of fun what so ever, so what is a momma to do?

Hit the Kitchen!!
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So far after some trial and error, trust me there was a few times I questioned some of treatments. Side note don’t use turmeric unless your prepared for nasty yellow stains .

Something I’ve been doing for years, which is one of my favorite beauty tricks is baking soda as an facial exfoliator.  After reading an article from the CBC on how the use of commercial exfoliating products was destroying the ecosystem in our waterways, I decided to make a change to my skincare regime ( not that I had much of one in the first place). All those lovely little micro plastic scrubbers in your cleansers and toothpaste are polluting our lakes and oceans slowly killing the wildlife.  After doing some research baking soda seemed like a great option as a replacement for micro scrubbers and gave the same results as a product with beta-hydroxy acid, the bonus I wouldn’t be damaging my already sensitive skin. Baking soda is easy to use, I keep a small container ready to go in my bathroom to apply on my face in the shower or added to my favorite cleanser (Sukin Organics Sensitive cleansing lotion). The results of using baking soda once a week, my skin feels softer and cleaner. The only issue is that baking soda has a high alkaline content, if used to often or in large amounts it can cause irritation.   I apply only a small amount, using very gentle circular motions and wash off quickly.  I then follow up with some rose water or witch hazel to restore my skins natural Ph levels and finish off with a moisturizer.

Sugar isn’t just for baking , it’s also great for sloughing of dead skin. Everyone has come across some sort of fancy sugar scrub recipe, some have a huge list of ingredients when really it doesn’t need to bet that complicated. All you need is 1 cup of sugar (take your pick granulated white or delectable smelling brown sugar) and 1/2 cup of coconut oil. Mix them together and store in an air tight container and you’ve got yummy smelling exfoliating power direct from your pantry.  This can be messy, I recommend applying this dreamy mixture to your skin in the bath tub before you take a shower.

I love lemons! There I said it.  I sneak some tart juice into everything that passes through my kitchen much to Mr. H’s dismay. Those little yellow wonders are also great for cleaning around your house, but I love it for skin care.  Growing up I remember reading in Anne of Green Gables one of the characters recommend she use it to bleach her freckles from her nose. Now this was back in the day before everyone had access to the internet in there home , so fact checking was not an easy option for a kid from small a town with no public transit. Sorry kid no trips to the library. Sick to death of my freckles I gave it a try and rubbed a lemon all over my face, shoulders, arms, anywhere a freckle lived I was out to destroy it. I realized after my skin started to burn, that I was using way to much and should maybe take it easy.  Now a days I’ve taking the advice of some more reliable sources and only use just a small wedge with some honey and apply it to any blackheads after having cleansed my skin.  The blackheads don’t completely disappear on the first application but I have notice they’re less noticeable. The citric acid works as an astringent and much like beta hydroxy acid

Creamy and yummy avocados are one of the strangest yet wonderful things in this world, it always used to baffle me how it was considered a fruit, more so than tomatoes. We go through a bag of avocados in just a few days, between Miss E and I, we must consume one each everyday. On top of that making masks for my hair or face every week. Another great thing you don’t need to do much to it all, just mash and apply. You can add honey or sometimes I like to mix a little powered red clay from the health food store and use it as a facial mask. I leave it on till it dries or goes brown whichever comes first.

These are just a few natural solutions, A quick search of the internet will surely give a gal inspiration to raid her pantry. If you would like me to post more on the subject let me know in the comments section. I’ll test different things out and give you all the highlights of the disasters and the real winners.  If you’ve tried anything let me know what worked, what did you incorporate into your weekly beauty routine and what would you never try again.

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Frizz free… we’ll see???

I’ll admit it, I horde hair products. Half empty bottles, unopened packages, hair packs, oils, let’s just say I could open a salon. In my defense my intentions are good, but I never get around to experimenting with all these products. The term “Frizz free” is a real motivator with most of my ill fated purchases. The fantasy that I to could have Pantene fabulous hair from a bottle(s) is my number one reason for giving into this compulsion to buy and pray that someday just someday I might be able to brush my hair when it’s dry or not lose my cool when people try to touch my hair. That’s right you know who you are, so please control your greasy hands and keep them out of peoples hair.

Since it’s spring the need to declutter my life has sprung up, I decided to tackle the vanity cupboards and cull my precious collection of hair products. I got rid of anything that I couldn’t remember buying ( who knows how old it is.. question do hair products expire??? Yes they do! Thanks Dirty Looks for answering my question). One thing that was taking up space, I had bought with the intention of banishing my frizz… for at least 30 days.  Marc Anthony Bye Bye Frizz keratin smoothing treatment I picked up while still pregnant with Miss E before we were suppose to go on a trip to Central America. I thought this would be a great product to use to combat the humidity, but later found out pregnant women shouldn’t use keratin, because it hasn’t been thoroughly tested. So there it sat forgotten collecting dust under my sink, until now.

Since Miss E takes a fairly long morning nap, I had a “it’s now or never” moment and opened the box. I had no idea how long this was going to take me, given that my hair is thick and my curls can be unruly.  I started by washing my hair with the clarify shampoo provided, twice without conditioning ( I almost died from lack of a cream rinse).  Following the instructions I blow dried my hair to 80% dryness, then applied the Keratin treatment section by achingly small section and proceeded to bundle up my poofball into a plastic baggy on top of my head to let the whole mess set for 30 minutes. (Please not this is a sans makeup photo. The crazy eyes just add to the overall insane cat lady look I’m usually rocking in the mornings).wpid-img_20150325_210402.jpg   Also I totally broke a comb, 1 pt for my mass of hair…comb Zero.

The whole time I’m doing this I’m dreading Miss E waking up and having to swoop in to rescue her from the dire peril of the dreaded crib. Lucky for me she was in the mood to nap this morning.

After waiting for my hair to set, I had to blow out my hair with paddle brush.  My hair might be short  now, but I still have a lot of it and this took a considerable amount of time.wpid-img_20150325_210653.jpg I finally made it all the way through every last strand, had the flat iron cooking at 420, hair sectioned off and ready to get going on the straighten. I got about two tiny sections in and I heard a howl imitating from the front of the house. Miss E was up. I put down the flat iron and came to her rescue from the wretched poopy diaper.

Happy baby in tow I set up her high chair in the hall way outside the bathroom door, prepped her breakfast and sat her down to watch as her Momma tortured her poor hair some more.wpid-img_20150325_214244.jpg Miss E happily gobbled down her toast, fruit and whatever else I threw down to keep her happy. Cheerios are a literal live saver, those little round O’s helped me at least make it through half of my hair. Thank you General Mills!  I’m such a lucky Momma that Miss E can be so easy going and is willing to sit there and watch me do this all without complaining.

While straighten you have to do each section 5-7 times.  I noticed that hair gets extremely hot, I burned my hand just holding sections. Trust me it isn’t pretty, so I recommend using a glove. I dug around in my purse for one of my winter gloves just to protect my hands from the heat. You’ve been warned use protection and I’m not talking about the baby.  When Miss E was just about finishing her breakfast I was almost done this whole crazy process. I straightened the last few small sections I had left  it was DONE! wpid-img_20150325_192527.jpgIt took me almost 3 hours from washing to straighten and the results weren’t that bad.  Maybe there is some hope in a bottle. This isn’t part of the treatment, but my ends were looking a little rough, so I finished off the tips with some coconut oil.

I’m almost satisfied with the results, my hair is straight and not as frizzy as it usually is. My blow out skills are still not to the level of the ladies at H2Goa, but I’m not a pro like those amazing hair goddesses. I did notice that tonight when Miss E was splashing around in her bath and my hair got a little damp, the frizz made a return. I guess that’s why they tell you not to wash your hair for 2 days after doing this treatment. Oh well c’est la vie I guess.

Inner Beauty: Hair Donation

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The last 9 years have been dedicated to growing and caring for my massive amount of hair for one sole reason….hair donation.  Your thinking why?   Well, why not!  It’s only hair after all, but to someone going through chemotherapy or a child suffering hair loss due to an illness it could give them the confidence and comfort they need in difficult times.  Think of it this way, to us it could be just hair, but to someone who is in recovery it’s a chance to regain a part of there lives before becoming sick.

My reason for donating is, because of a boy in my 5th grade class over 20 years ago. Back then we didn’t understand why he was never in class, Leukemia isn’t a term that is usually on a 10 year old’s radar. On the rare day he was in class I remember the girl sitting next to me badgering him about why he was bald,  pushing him for an answer she could use to play with and get a reaction out of him. Her cruelty was halted when he finally had the courage to answer her and say that he was gravely sick, his baldness was the results of his treatments. He then got up and left, after that incident we didn’t see him back in class for a few days. Our teacher addressed his illness in class and explained to us the crushing reality of his Leukemia. I remember being blown away by our own mortality, the thought that someone so young could be dying was intangible to me. He returned the following week wearing a wig that was a little to big for him, even though he had to adjust it every so often because of it’s size, you could tell he felt more at ease in class. It still makes me sad to say that he didn’t win his battle with Leukemia, but nice to think that he had some comfort wearing his new hair and getting to be a regular kid even if just for a short while.  He is  an inspiration as are the all the children and adults out there fighting for their lives.

If your thinking about committing yourself to the process there is a few things you need to know about hair donation and what kind of hair can be uses for wig making.

-Permed, bleached , or color treated hair is not acceptable. Most charities will only accept non processed hair. There are some that may take hair that has been lightly highlighted, but it is preferred to have virgin hair.

-A slight amount of grey hair is accepted.

-Most charities will only except between 8-12 inches  of cut hair for donation. Hair must be clean, dry and gathered in a ponytail or braid.

Those are just a few of the basic stipulations, every hair donation organization is different, I recommend checking with your local charities to get their exact rules for donation.  I’ve chosen Angel Hair For Kids. This foundation supplies children suffering from hair loss with wigs and hair prosthesis  for free.  The cost to manufacturer a wig is between $800-1000, the relay solely on donations of both hair and money to make this happen. Even if you are unable to donate your hair money is always a great way to help.

So, if your up for the challenge go for the chop, trust me it’s not that scary. This is my third time. Your hair could bring someone happiness when they will need it the most. It might just be hair to us, but to someone else it’s a chance at regaining their old life back.  If you done it before or know someone who has received a wig I would love to hear your stories, please share them in the comments section. Who knows maybe you’ll inspire someone.

Oh, and a big thanks go to Hannah and her team at H2Goa Salon for my awesome new style.
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A

All photos taken by the kind, lovely, and talented Ash of Meandering Mac. Check out her blog and live vicariously through her adventurous spirit.

Easy Beauty for a busy Momma

Oh Momma are you ever in a tizzy. Babies crying, diapers to change, bottles to make before you head out the door and no time to pull it together for yourself.  As a guilty party myself of letting it all go for the first few months (whom I kidding several), personally I felt like a dog’s breakfast every time I left the house, heck even if I stayed.   So what’s a busy momma to do? Find the easiest products to smear on while holding a wiggly sometimes cranky baby. I’m talking 5 minutes or less kind of done, this gal has no time for eyeliner. Here are some great additions to your makeup bag that I’m sure will help out your beauty routine.
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Maybelline and I go way back, for a while  we were best friends all through out high school (over 15 years). Then I developed my ever so wonderful eczema. I was a little hesitant to try Baby Soft Pore Eraser because of my skin issues, for so long I’d been reliant on Bare Mineral’s Prime Time as my go to, but Maybelline yah done right for us sensitive folks. This primer has the same texture and glides on just as well as my beloved Bare Minerals, but at a fraction of the price. Thanks Maybelline for being my best friend again.

Also from Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish in Clearly Spotted. I’m not usually a  a fan of nail polish, but this stuff dries fast. I had two coats done/dried on both hands before Miss E had woken up from one of her quickie cat naps.

As for foundation, Almay makes a great easy formulation that has skin tone matching pigments mixed through out. Being one of those pastie pale gals it’s awfully hard to find a great foundation that doesn’t cost a fortune. Almay to the rescue with Smart Shade with added SPF 20 I might add.This stuff is awesome, blends well, can be applied quickly, and pretty decent coverage (I’m a momma that will always need concealer) .

Ok, who knew Drew Barrymore had a cosmetics line called Flower, not me. It’s only available at Walmart and is reasonably priced. I later found out the reason it’s so affordable, they spend nothing on advertising. It’s cruelty free and made from the same luxury ingredients you find in higher end cosmetics. I purchased the creme blush in Forget-me-not. This stuff is great, creamy not pasty like some cream blushes. Feels light on the skin, so far no reactions and hello the packaging is adorable. Thank you Drew, my high school girl crush continues.

Hope this makes your life a easier, let me know what you think  leave a comment. Have you found anything that you think I should try out and feature give this  Momma a Holla.

Is your skin scratchier then your sweater?

If you are one of those unfortunate souls who live in the what we call the “Sub Pole” and suffer from horrible winter skin dryness. Please let the lady with the annoying eczema get you through this one.  If your like me winter is murder on your delicate skin, but over years of desperately trying everything I’ve found some real gems. Keep in mind everyone’s skin is different. What works for one person might be terrible for the next, but if  you need relief it never hurts to give something a try.  I’m a huge fan of natural products, parben free, no sodium lauryl sulphates, and minimal alcohol please (except when it comes to wine:)  These are just few products that might just get you through the next 6 weeks of chilly weather.

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Sukin Organic’s Cleansing Lotion for Sensitive skin ($9.95)  is a gift from the gods. It contains a blend of heavenly scented plant oils and vitamin E that magically remove makeup. To follow up Sukin’s facial moisturizer for sensitive skin(9.95), which soaks right into your pores and smells just as wonderful as the cleanser. The icing on this cake is the price tag, you really can’t go wrong with any of there products.

Another option if you got some money to burn and what a real stunner of a product this is, Josie Maran’s Argan Cleansing Oil ($40.00).  I find after using this cleanser I don’t even need to use a moisturizer, and it’s kind of a special treat after a facial and a good scrub.  This product does exactly what they say it does, it melts the makeup off your face (not as scary as it sounds) and hydrates. Mascara watch out your days are numbered.

I had been using this really greasy expensive coco butter body lotion I found at the health food store, when I ran out I resolved to use Miss E’s Aveeno Baby Daily Lotion and I haven’t looked back since. For all you sensitive people out there Aveeno is known for being the go to lotion for people with sensitive skin and there is a reason for this… it is awesome! Fragrance free, non greasy and won’t irritate your skin what more do you need.

A friend gifted me this wonderful little cinnamon sugar scrub, which I’m hoping she will be featuring in her Etsy shop  The GND very soon. You can also check out  The Girl Next Door on Facebook.  The scrub has yummy scent that reminds me of cookies, hydrating coconut oil blended throughout the mixture and brown sugar to scrub all the winter blahs away.

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Lastly, no woman could every go alone through this season without lip balm. EOS you are my palm sized adorable hero. My lips thank you.

Well there it is, do some shopping and give it a try trust me your skin will be every so happy you made the decision.

Be well and be kind.

A