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By now, many of us are familiar with essential oils and the diverse array of health and beauty benefits they provide in safe, natural ways. Still, the search for the correct essential oil for your skin can be confusing due to the large selection of these ingredients. Instead of selecting your preferred oil based on scent alone, check out this list of some of our favorites and how they can help keep your skin healthy and luminous:
- What it is: Many of us enjoy the essential oil of lavender, which is common in bath products and candles. Derived from the lavandula angustifolia plant, this oil is present in a variety of forms depending on its origin and the altitude at which it was grown.
- What it does: Helping to balance oily skin and clear blemishes, this oil has antiseptic properties that can even help in relieving burns, insect bites and small cuts. Its fragrance also has a calming effect that many report as aiding in sleep and relaxation.
2. Tea Tree:
- What it is: Coming from the Australian plant melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil is probably one of the most popularly used oils due to its effectiveness in treating skin and unique and diverse uses. Used for thousands of years by the aboriginal people of Australia and New Zealand, tea tree has proven its worth throughout history by serving as a treatment for wounds and as an antiseptic for many skin ailments.
- What it does: With great effectiveness in warding off infections of all kinds, this oil has been known to cleanse and treat skin prone to blemishes and is even purported to help fade scarring of the complexion. Additional benefits include aiding in the healing of minor cuts and scrapes, as well as insect bites and chicken pox.
- What it is: Extracted through steam distillation from fresh camomile flowers, this oil was widely used by ancient Egyptians in shampoos, perfumes and cosmetics due to its soothing and cooling abilities.
- What it does: Based on its place of origin, camomile oil comes in two different varieties: Roman and German. While both oils have excellent calming properties, Roman chamomile is more effective for skin irritation, while German chamomile is especially effective in not only soothing and calming the skin, but also in tissue regeneration.
- What it is: Crisp and clean smelling, this oil comes from a shrubby evergreen bush originally native to Asia known as rosmarinus officinalis. Now cultivated in France, Tunisia and Yugoslavia, this plant was burnt in hospitals during the middle ages to ward off plagues.
- What it does: Rosemary oil is ideal for acne-prone skin with enlarged pores, as it cleanses and invigorates skin, leaving a gentle astringent effect. Because it tones and firms skin, rosemary is also ideal for mature skin and is employed in many anti-aging skin products.
*Note: Please keep in mind that, while natural, many essential oils are strongly effective and therefore may cause irritation on some skin types. When using alone, remember to use sparingly and test a small amount of the product on skin before use. For gentler options that still offer similar benefits, try finding skin care products, such as our facial soap bars, that contain essential oils mixed with other soothing ingredients.
What’s your favorite essential oil? Let us know!
So many trends in the fashion and beauty world (and beyond) move in cycles: in the past few years, we’ve seen the reemergence of everything from 70’s inspired flower child wavy locks to the neon spandex styles of the flashy 80’s. Mad Men helped re-popularize the glamorous, well-tailored fashions of the 50’s and 60’s, and when it comes to beauty, the rise of Pinterest and prevalence of beauty blogs beckoned us back to an older, simpler time when beauty products could be prepared with everyday, natural items.
In a rat race world of complicated situations we can’t necessarily control, why not simplify what we can? In my search for age-old skin remedies that are still easily obtainable, here are the ingredients that stood out to me in their reputed efficacy and ability to stand the test of time:
- Honey: The Ancient Greeks, as well as those in Africa, the Middle East and India have used honey for thousands of years on wounds to help speed up the healing process. Able to ease pain, reduce swelling and infection and promote healing, honey is still a great way to keep skin smooth and blemish-free.
- Tea Tree Oil: Used by the aboriginal people of Australia for over 3,000 years, this oil has been employed throughout history as a treatment for infections and various other medicinal purposes. Now, tea tree is again rising in popularity as an effective therapy for everything from acne to dandruff. With strong disinfectant properties, it is therapeutic for troubled and damaged skin.
- Olive Oil: Referred to as “liquid gold” by the Ancient Greeks, olive oil has been widely used for thousands of years as a natural moisturizer for both skin and hair. Used to anoint kings and athletes in Greece, this oil was considered sacred for many years due to its amazingly effective and versatile abilities. Still used in many beauty products, it is ideal for those with allergies, as it is extremely gentle on skin.
- Almond Oil: Before there was Botox or expensive anti-aging creams, Ancient Egyptians relied on the powers of almond oil to look younger. Popular in skin products used in almost all classes of society, almond oil has remained prevalent due to its rejuvenating abilities and high antioxidant content in the form of vitamin E.
Etsy can be a great place to find jewelry if you’re looking for unique pieces without high-end boutique prices. At the same time, searching through literally thousands of shops to score the perfect item can be a daunting, time consuming task. Whenever I’m trying to find a thoughtful gift or just something to treat myself, I usually turn to lists online of the best shops for the genre I need.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of gorgeous jewelry involving natural elements including leaves, stones and wood. Perusing Etsy, I came up with the following list of stores whose items inspired by nature are both beautiful and versatile:
- Modern Flower Child: Drawing inspiration from fashions of the early 1970’s, these pieces are handmade using dried flowers, grasses and other organic material suspended in clear resin. The effect is earthy with plenty of focus on natural elements, but also unexpectedly modern and fresh.
- Hendywood: Created using wood, stones and glass, this jewelry lends a simple, polished aesthetic to a natural, handmade feel. Not in the market for jewelry? This shop also offers everything from decorative, hand-carved bowls to cute wooden buttons.
- All Natural Wonders: Including jewelry that contains real leaves plated in gold, silver and copper, All Natural Wonders offers intricate, delicate pieces suitable for everyday use and special occasions alike. With the inclusion of swarvoski crystals and semi precious stones in many of the pieces, this shop offers a more glamorous side to nature-inspired jewelry.
Temperatures are slowly dropping, the humidity has been replaced by a slightly crisper breeze, and up in New York, Fashion Week has begun to reveal some of the styles that we’ll be seeing for the upcoming season.
I’ve checked out the runway photos, compiled some of the new beauty trends that most excite me, and put an all-natural spin on these fashions:
- Lips: Look for vampy, romantic shades of burgundy, purple and deep red. Dramatic lips paired with more neutral eye colors will be making a major appearance this fall. Try Honeybee Gardens Natural Lipstick in Vintage Merlot for a paraben-free take on this trend, complete with all-natural moisturizing ingredients such as coconut oil and shea butter.
- Hair: Perfectly coiffed, intricately styled hair is making way for lower effort, simpler styles this fall. Think low, sleek ponytails, hair that looks as if it’s been air dried, romantic styles involving loose braids and twists and more casual versions of 1960’s bouffants. Check out Harper’s Bazaar’s slideshow for inspiration, and for an all-natural way to keep hair smooth and styled in a braid or updo, try Kiss My Face’s Natural Styling Gel.
- Nails: Tired of neons? For those who favor the classics, you’ll be happy to learn that rich, elegant jewel-tone shades will make a comeback in the upcoming months. Shades like wine and eggplant, along with neutral grays and metallic coppers will make for less trendy, more tasteful nails for the fall season. I’m loving Zoya Nail Polish’s formaldehyde-free polish in Toni, which they describe as a “dark, warm raisin-wine cream.” Yum.
- Accessories: Headbands, which have gained popularity in the last couple years, are still popular going into fall. Look for beaded and sequined designs with a vintage flair to lend interest to an updo or to loose, wavy hair. Check out these handmade fall favorites from Bethany Lorelle’s shop on Etsy.
What are your favorite fall trends? Who’s ready for cooler weather, boots & tights?
Some of my most vivid memories, so lifelike they bring back a flood of crisp colors and rich aromas, are the summers I spent as a child at my grandparents’ home outside of Chicago.
One muggy day I remember lying in the grass beside the backyard patio, when I heard the screen door open and lazily slam behind my grandmother, who approached with a small box in her hand. I knew from the signature design on the box that it was her Coty Powder, one of the few items of makeup she used, a loose powder I associated with glamorous parties and complex, grownup conversation.
In her ceremonial way that made everything seem vastly exciting and infinitely special, she presented the box to me, the powder all used up, and told me to keep whatever I wanted in it. That summer, I hoarded everything from 25 cent jewelry to glittery bouncy balls in that box; and although faded, the subtle fragrance that reminds me so intensely of my grandmother still remains.
When I recently searched for the powder online, it made me smile to see that it is still sold and that many women write raving reviews for the product, some of the women having used it for over 20 years. Equipped with a fluffy powder puff, the powder is still made using its original formula, and the packaging still evokes the days of Hollywood starlets and old school glamor.
Whenever my overpriced, “high definition” powder runs out, I think I may try experiencing this tried and true cosmetic. The feeling of opening a new box, the familiar scent scattered into the air will alone make the $7 worth it.
Do you have a cosmetic that’s tried & true? What beauty tricks did your grandmother teach you? Let us know!