Facial Steam and Exfoliator Video

Here is the "how-to-girl"'s DIY facial. Its precise, effective and SIMPLE.
* Rosemary Facial Steam

* Oatmeal and Corn Flour Exfoliating Mask
* Strawberry Butter Exfoliator

cute recipes, and perfectly suited for the no-fuss and quick-prep types !


Where to Buy Organic Materials

If you are lucky enough to live near a well-stocked health food store... that should be your first stop. Life for you will be infinitely simpler than it is for many of us. The complicated reality may be that you don't live anywhere near a health food store large enough to carry all of the supplies needed for homemade cosmetics - which means you must delve into the underground world of online shopping for herbs, flowers, clays, and oils. Here's a list of some of the best suppliers I have dealt with, heard good things about, and shopped from.
www.edenbotanicals.com (essential oils)


Organic Apple Night Cream

About.com can be so wonderfully educating.
I found a great video today for a new face cream -
An Apple Night Cream for Sensitive Skin. I havent' tried it yet but this will be my trial recipe for tomorrow. I promise to update. Oh if there only more hours in the day, I could do it all now.

It looks fantastic... only downside is the 4-6 day shelf life
(refrigerated), which isn't bad for a cream that is 100% pure organic with absolutely no preservatives. I must admit that I am not convinced that the consistency is the best it could be.... I will have to experminent - But as a base I am excited to get started.

1 apple
1 cup organic extra virgen cold pressed olive oil
1 cup rose water

Directions: hit play !

Update: After giving this a try it is indeed a great quick and easy cream for beginners. It is far too heavy for my sensitive skin as far as a face cream goes, but it would be great for someone wanting an organic homemade cream that is more like a body balm. I will make more of this for dry hands after gardening and for winter heels when the cold comes back ! It's too greasy as a face solution though, for me personally.

The Hormone Masquerade of Parabens

By now we have all heard that SLS / Sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate is a no-go in skin care products. Whether this is hype related to an elaborate internet hoax or is actually based on scientific evidence remains to be seen - but most green-conscious companies have yanked it from their ingredients list and began production using alternative ingedients. The wonderful thing that DID happen with this media-craze about the dangers of SLS was that people began to focus their attention on the ingredients within their bottled luxuries. It became common-place to scan the list of ingredients for SLS, which was a great start as we work our way towards safer skin care.


Parabens were the cosmetic industry's prized preservatives. (Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens) They were said to be harmless, and safe. Recently we have been presented with evidence which says otherwise. Parabens have shown estrogenic activity in lab tests - meaning that they mimic our body’s natural estrogen and may interfere with our endocrine systems. (They are endocrine disruptors.) They may affect our bodies in so many different ways... From the thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal glands, and pancreas to the ovaries and testes - hormones govern the way these glands and organs function.

So how does this affect us ?.... in layman's terms?

To begin - our endocrine systems are made up of glands and receptors.... glands that secrete hormones and receptor sites that "read" and react to hormones. Hormones themselves are the little chemical messengers that run around in our bodies transporting signals and instructions from one cell to another. (The gland writes the instructions, the receptor reads the instructions, and the hormones are the postmen.) Endocrine hormones are carried directly through the bloodstream to different parts of the body and orchestrated by the master conductor- the hypothalamus in the brain. (The hypothalamus is the big cheese of hormone production in your body.) The messages are sent through a hierarchical system - getting passed along through the body and when they reach their final destination they offer an important message for the cell when they arrive. These messages can be anything from growth and production regulation, activation or inhibition of the immune system, metabolism regulation, reproductive cycle cues to mood messages and more. So - needless to say - the messages should get to the cells that they need to direct without the blockades and barricades and masquerades that nasty little hormone disruptors provide.
The theory of endocrine disruptors is that a large variety of synthetic chemical compounds that we encounter everyday are absorbed by the body; and these mimic or block natural hormones and disrupt our body's normal functions. (As if someone else is posing as the postman, and tricks our bodies into thinking that they are receiving authentic messages - but they are not. By acting on these fraudulent messages, a whole array of problems can ensue.) This is a relatively new theory and is difficult to prove or disprove because we could be exposed to literally thousands of endocrine disruptors on a daily basis. Plastics, pesticides, cosmetics - the list goes on and on - and the difficulty lies in pinpointing the bad hormone copycats from the really bad perpetrators, because it is believed that the end result in our bodies - after all of this external chemical exposure - is residual. So little by little these chemicals build up in our bodies. These hormone copycats are smart - and hang out in our fatty tissues- where they are not easily flushed out with water and where they can accumulate.
Recent reports from Britain show that parabens have been found in breast tumors and that they may be linked to breast cancer. The breastcancerfund.org states that parabens are weak estrogen mimickers - but more importantly, that they can increase the expression of certain genes that are directly linked to breast cancer. (eeek!) If you can get medicine into your body via a PATCH - or a topical cream, then certainly the bad guys in face creams can ease their way into our bodies through unsuspecting pores.

It’s a lot to think about - perhaps its time to scrutinize those labels more carefully. The serious health implications mean that taking this issue seriously can have a profound impact on your health in the future! Taking the time to make your own paraben-free cosmetics at home could be one HUGE step in the right direction. More news and recipes to come....


Pineapple and Oats Facial mask

Praise the beauty gods I have found my hawaiian heaven !
It started out with one very ripe pineapple....

I decided to take a good slice (one full slice about an inch thich) and use it to make my standard pineapple facial mask. (the basic mask could easily be orchestrated by a pre-schooler - it involves taking 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple chunks and adding 3 tablespoons of organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil - and mixing them in a blender. The next step is apply, relax, 10 minutes, wash.) Really, that's it. And while its a noteworthy recipe - I started cutting the pineapple and decided to make juice with the rest. (it was hot out today !) So.... a pitcher of juice later, and one lusciously juicy pineapple slice left.... my stomach got the best of me and I couldn't resist eating the pineapple slice.
What ensued was my facial mask find of the decade - the newly crowned:

"take 5 years off your life" pineapple mask
(a new blend of various old favorites from the natural facial mask arsenal)
about 1 ounce of freshly blended pineapple juice
1-2 tablespoons powdered oatmeal
(colloidal would be best - but I just ground regualr oats up with a mortar & pestle.)

1 tablespoon powdered buttermilk
1 tablespoon organic liquid honey

1 tablespoon whipping cream
1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Put all of these wonderful ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk ! Let sit for about 5 minutes before using, as the liquid will be quite runny at first.
Spread in an even layer on face and leave from 10-15 minutes.
Wash off with warm water and pat dry with a soft washcloth - follow with toner and your favorite moisturizer.

This mask made my skin feel so wonderfully supple and nourished that I used the rest (along with a small dabble of regular oatmeal) as a quick hand scrub. Here was where the miracle came to life: The result on my hands was absolutely FABULOUS - I massaged my hands for about a minute each, and after washing off the oatmeal/pineapple gel I had instantly smooth skin - soft, supple, and YOUNGER looking ! (better than any $60 handcream I've ever tried.) My hands look so great I'm tempted to make up some more right now and get ready for a full body scrub.
I'll need to get out and buy more pineapples !

Why does this natural mask work ? The Science behind the Beauty:
Pineapples contain bromelain - a fruit enzyme that both exfoiliates and has anti-infalmmatory properties. Bromelain has been used topically to treat burns and to accelerate wound healing, and studies indicate that bromelain can treat local swelling and help to heal bruises. (long story short: your skin likes it !) The fruit part of the pineapple contains only small amounts of the enzyme responsible for all of this magic - commercial bromelain comes from the pineapple stem where the concentration is higher, but even the small amounts here have wonderful results.
1 to 2 slices of pineapple also contain approximately 100 mg of
ascorbic acid (vitamin c) - an antioxidant that may reduce fine lines and wrinkles, promote healing and even promote the natural development of collagen in your skin - vitamin C can be a wonderful topical addition to your organic skin ingredients list.
The vitamin E in Olive oil is its most desirable addition to this facial mask - with anti-aging / free-radical fighting / blending / and skin color correcting properties (vitamin E can help reduce the appearance of age spots and scars) - and olive oil is chalk-full of this wonderful vitamin. Olive oil has been used for centuries throughout the mediterranean - dating as far back as 3000 BC (where the Egyptians used it for its skin replenishing qualities). Olive oil is a wonderful emollient - (softening and smoothing the skin) - but be sure to buy organic cold pressed extra virgin (less refined and not put through a process using harsh chemicals that are not good for your skin ! )

The next ingredient in my mask is Honey. Honey is a natural humectant - allowing the skin to retain moisture. If the skin can retain moisture it remains soft and supple and GLOWING ! It is great for sensitive skin (doesn't irritate) and some studies have proven that honey has anti-oxidative properties. The current buzz is that MANUKA honey is the honey to use. It has highly effective natural antibacterial properties that help fight skin infections - amongst other things. see the http://www.thehoneydoctor.com/ if you are interested in this info :).
I used plain ole' President's Choice Organics pure honey - easy to find, and the price is right !


Basic Daily Milk and Oatmeal Facial Cleanser

This recipe is the easiest one that I make so I thought it fitting as a first entry. It's simple, fast to whip up - and absolutely effective....... leaving the skin refreshed, cleansed, and supple.... all of this without over-stripping your natural oils. If you presently use a high-foam soap product - this will feel different - It is a non-foaming, light cleanser and your skin will love you. There are many different versions of this recipe.. but the staple ingredients remain the same - and there's really only 2 that are absolute essentials. Milk and Oatmeal. (that's it ? what ? how does oatmeal do anything at all for your skin ? Can milk really work to clean your skin ? Keep reading, I promise you won't be dissapointed.)

Skin type: Sensitive, Normal.
Milky Oats Facial Cleanser
(2-3 applications)
1 tablespoon powdered goat's milk (substitute powdered organic buttermilk or powdered regular milk as well)
1 tablespoon organic oatmeal

Distilled water
A few drops of honey (optional for a face mask version)

Directions: In a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle - grind the oatmeal into a fine powder. If you have a food processor, kitchen mill or oat grinder than those are your best options for this step. The finer the oatmeal - the nicer the overall texture in your final cleanser. (this finely ground oatmeal has a fancy name - colloidal oatmeal.) Add the powdered milk, and blend the two ingredients together. To use: put a tablespoon of the powder in your palm and add bout a teaspoon of distilled water. Blend together to form a paste, and slowly add more water as desired until you have a milky, yet still spreadable paste. Use this mixture on your face - ( I like to wet my face first) and clean in circles until your full face is covered. Wash off with warm water.

This is your main "base" - It works as a non-irritating daily cleanser, safe for sensitive skin types if used as above, and doubles as a face mask - simply use a little less water, and leave it on your face for 20 minutes before washing off with warm water. Adding a few drops of honey to the mask adds the added benefit of honey's natural moisturizing properties. It is a humectant, so it attracts and retains water. The oatmeal mask draws impurities from your skin while it dries, leaving a supple, elasticized, glowing skin underneath !

(*Colloidal oatmeal as bragged about in all Aveeno products is really simply regular oatmeal (yes !) ground into a very very fine powder so that it forms an emulsion in a liquid rather than the separate clumps that oatmeal tends to make when water is added. To make a creamy milky texture rather than a lumpier oatmeal one - you will really need to grind up those oats ! That said - a mortar and pestle also work - the benefits of your cleanser are still the same and the product has a true homemade feel. Like always, if you use organic ingredients you are less likely to introduce harsh pesticides and chemicals to your skin, so when available buy organic for your skin products. When I can't find organic I buy regular ingredients- keeping in mind that I sparing myself the plethora of preserving chemicals that regular face creams and washes include.)

Why does this work ? ( here is the science behind the beauty)

Dating as far back as Cleopatra, milk has been used as a skin cleanser and softener, and as an integral part of beauty regimes in many cultures. Milk is high in vitamins A and D, probiotics and lactic acid, and all of these things are absorbed by the skin when we use it to wash our faces. Goat's milk is a particularily good choice - because the pH is the closest match to our skin's natural pH - so it leaves a soft, moisturized skin after use. It also contains over 50 nutrients, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Choline, Vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, many other trace elements, and anti-inflammatory compounds (short-chain sugar molecules called oligosaccharides) .
The lactic acid in milk is a natural
alpha-hydroxyl acid. (why spend your well earned wages on synthetic alpha hydroxides when they exist so readily in nature ?) These acids are absorbed by the skin and help to dissolve the "glue" that hold dead skin cells together and in place on your face. This type of natural exfoliation allows the new healthy skin cells underneath to come to the surface - and this renewal of skin cells helps to show off your vibrant, glowing skin.

Oatmeal is an extra-gentle exfolient that works to draw impurities from the skin and helping to unclog pores. It is also a mild astrigent (a substance that constricts or shrinks connective tissues) - and is EXTREMELY gentle on sensitive, or damaged skin. Oatmeal contains beta glucan - a polymer chain that comes from oats - which has proven to be an effective moisturizer and has shown in testing to help heal skin heal more quickly and may help to stimulate collagen production in the skin. It has also tested positive as an anti-infammatory. All this goodness - without the hefty price of a brand name cosmetic ! Who knew ? That mother nature was some-kinda genius.