End The Battle Against Oily Skin

Welcome back to the Snowy Owl Cove blog, readers! We’ve been away for a while working on our new website and a complete revamping of our brand. Stay tuned here for more developments and the rollout of our new look!

In the meantime, let’s keep chatting about skincare, hairstyles and everything in between. One issue that crops up for many of us as the temperatures rise is oily skin that seems to soak up humidity and causes makeup to slide into nonexistence by the end of lunchtime.

While you may be tempted to strip all traces of oil from your complexion with a heavy duty cleanser and minimal moisturizer application, it’s important to first figure out what you’re working with when it comes to your skin. Coming from the jungle-like conditions of the South, I always assumed that my skin was that of a teenager: Oily, prone to breakouts and hard to tame. When flakes and dry patches cropped up due to my diligent use of benzoyl peroxide cleansers and oil free moisturizers, I finally began to reconsider.

Here’s the issue: Dry, combination or even “normal” skin sometimes acts out and produces excess oil when irritated and stripped of moisture. Water levels in the skin allow the organ to stay smooth, even and elastic by facilitating important natural processes, such as exfoliation. If your skin is deprived of moisture, it loses its first defense against sun, wind, cold and pollution, leaving it susceptible to both acne and premature wrinkles. So how do we support our skin’s natural defense systems while keeping oil at bay?

In short, stop battling your skin and start soothing it.

Find a moisturizer that works for you. Our Indian Summer product line is formulated with natural ingredients such as babassu and hazelnut oils that lightly moisturize without leaving a greasy residue. While it might be counterintuitive to add oil to an already oily complexion, remember that these natural ingredients are not the same as the sebum your skin produces.

A light oil will actually help regulate pore-clogging sebum without irritating skin by stripping it of its moisture. Simply pat it onto your skin every morning and allow it to absorb for 3-5 minutes before applying sunscreen, makeup or any other products. While it may take your complexion a few weeks to adjust to your new regimen, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much less grease it produces and how much more quickly it heals itself.

Cut the hot showers short. Sometimes, nothing feels better than the squeaky clean feeling of being fresh out of a long, hot shower. While it may be tempting to cleanse every pore, that scrubbed clean feeling is actually something you should avoid at all costs.

Harsh cleansers and extreme water temperatures can strip away natural, necessary oils from your skin, which in turn becomes irritated and likely to break out. If you walk out of your shower with red skin, rashes or dry patches crying for lotion, chances are you need to be more gentle while bathing. Stick with mildly warm water and keep showers under 15 minutes if possible. Try using a mild oil, such as sweet almond oil, as an in-shower moisturizer after washing with a gentle, soap free cleanser.

Go natural. While there are some very impressive, expensive formulas out there with long, hard-to-pronounce ingredient lists, our philosophy is that natural ingredients are just as effective for skin without many of the side effects of commercially produced skincare. It’s also easier to pinpoint an ingredient that irritates your complexion if you’re only working with a handful of components.

For skin prone to grease, try clay masks, which can help reduce oil without stripping away all moisture. Similarly, egg yolks swiped onto the face and washed clean after 15 minutes provide an easy, quick way to cleanse the skin gently.

To remove unwanted dull skin and keep up cell turnover rate, try mixing honey with cinnamon and then gently rubbing it into the skin to remove oil and dead cells. Just remember to test these treatments carefully at first to determine how much vigor your complexion can sustain.

How do you deal with excess oil in the summer? Do you have any special DIY treatments? Let us know!

 

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4 Ways To Heal Extremely Dry Lips

Winter lips are the worst. Combat them with soothing lip treatments!

Winter lips are the worst. Combat them with soothing lip treatments!

Ever have the kind of chapped lips that literally hurt–the kind that scab, flake and split; the kind that normal chapstick does not come even vaguely close to relieving? Outside of staying hydrated and keeping healthy fats in your diet, it’s hard to really cure those extremely dry lips that sometimes crop up in winter months.

Over the years, I’ve tested my fair share of lip products in search of a highly moisturizing, soothing, (preferably) good-tasting treatment that stays on lips more than a few hours. Check out the list below for tried-and-true products that I’ve stuck with for years.

What are your favorite lip treatments for extra chapped winter lips?

1. Qtica Intense Lip Repair Balm: Packaged in a squeezable tube, this balm is seriously thick. Still, it doesn’t feel goopy on lips and stays on quite well. Containing honey, tea tree oil and mint, this lip repair feels cooling without leaving lips dry like some camphor-containing balms can. Available for $12.45 on amazon.com.

2. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: In a lipstick-like tube, this lip treatment has a thicker-than-chapstick texture that melts into lips and lasts for hours. Although slightly less moisturizing than Qtica’s balm, Fresh’s treatment offers a variety of colors for a non-drying alternative to traditional lipstick. As a bonus, it also contains SPF 15. Available for $22.50 from sephora.com.

3. Aquaphor Lip Repair: Anyone who’s used Aquaphor knows how wonderfully thick and soothing it is. This lip therapy works by creating a protective barrier that conditions lips and prevents moisture loss. A great drugstore alternative to more expensive lip products, Aquaphor Lip Repair is available for $4.29 from drugstore.com.

4. Bobbi Brown Lip Balm: Formulated with wheat germ and olive oil, this balm is thick and moisturizing without feeling uncomfortable and heavy on lips. While expensive, this balm stays on well and the small tin in which it’s packaged lasts for a while, as it can be used sparingly. Containing SPF, this balm can easily transition into a summer lip product. Available for $19 from nordstrom.com.

Favorite Winter Products

winter-skincare-essentials

I recently moved to Denver, Colorado, just in time to see the leaves change in all the beautiful parks around the city, taste various butternut squash soups at newly discovered restaurants, and take to the slopes for the beginning of ski season. And also, just in time for an already dry climate to reach an extreme that causes my sweaters to crackle with static and my skin to (literally) flake off if not moisturized. I’ve never had much of a dry skin/hair problem, but my new surroundings have left me scrambling for intense (but non-greasy) ways to keep my skin from cracking and my hair from being a frizzy, dry mess.

Here are some of the great standbys I’ve found–what are your favorites?

  • Face. For a dry face that needs intense moisture without causing breakouts, I love Snowy Owl Cove’s Daily Sanctuary Face Cream. Using all natural ingredients such as aloe butter and raspberry seed oil, this rich cream leaves skin supple and smooth without any of the unwanted grease.
  • Body. For a body moisturizer, I like something that absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling supple, but dry to the touch. For this purpose, I like Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive Aloe & Buttermilk Body Lotion. Creamy, but non-greasy, this 99% natural lotion leaves my skin moisturized with no irritation (even after shaving).
  • Lips. Although I’m sure many of you are familiar with this product, I just thought I’d throw my endorsement for Smith’s Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm out there. This product is hassle-free, smells good and lasts for months. Although it comes in many varieties, I like the strawberry best, as it smells good enough to eat and seems slightly thicker than the other ones. Bonus: Per the packaging, it can be used for everything from cracked cuticles to dry elbows!
  • Hair. I recently got my hair cut for the first time in Denver. Admittedly, it had been since August, and my hair was basically a bird’s nest of split ends. The salon was using a product line called Unite, which I’d never heard of before, and when I left, I was amazed at how soft, shiny and manageable my hair was. While all the products of this brand seem excellent, I would especially recommend their 7 Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler. While somewhat pricey (it’s available on amazon.com for $19.95), in my opinion, it’s worth it for healthy, moisturized, non-greasy hair.

4 Essential Oils For Healthy, Luminous Skin

Via: healthyuwithayu.com

Via: healthyuwithayu.com

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:

1. Lavender:

  • 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.

3. Chamomile:

  • 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.

4. Rosemary:

  • 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!

Ancient Skin Remedies For Modern Times

Via: italiantribune.com

Via: italiantribune.com

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.

Frazzled From Summer Travel? Bounce Back with DIY Treatments

Via: thewanderingwanderluster.com

Via: thewanderingwanderluster.com

 

I just returned from a wonderful, fun-filled and entirely draining week in the beautiful city of Chicago. While I enjoy the kind of vacation involving beachside napping as much as the next person, I also love the hectic exhilaration of spending days on end sight-seeing, flavoring new foods, catching a live show and browsing hole-in-the-wall boutiques for the perfect surprise presents to bring friends back home.

We usually envision ourselves returning from vacation rejuvenated, ready to tackle the piles of work that have stacked up in our absence, with slightly fewer bags under our eyes. Of course, after running around the city under a blazing sun for a week, compiled with the joys of public transportation and navigating O’Hare airport, I’ve naturally returned more frazzled than before I left. And I’m just going to guess that it was some sort of city toxin/airplane dryness combination that has left my skin dull and hair frizzy.

Are you feeling the effects of mid-summer skin, hair and body stress? For me, it’s the perfect time to treat myself to a night of all-natural DIY beauty treatments (while doing loads and LOADS of post-trip laundry, of course). Here’s what’s on the menu:

1.  Carrot & Honey Face Mask

  • What it does: This mask is perfect for rejuvenating tired skin since carrots are full of antioxidants that help fight free radicals (think: city smog) that cause your skin to look less radiant, and honey is a great natural antibacterial cleanser and moisturizer. This easy recipe also includes witch hazel (tones and cleanses pores), cucumber juice (soothes irritation) and lemon juice (contains vitamin C; plumps skin), which all work together to help your skin rebound from post-travel dullness.
  • What you’ll need: 1/2 cup cooked mashed carrots, 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon witch hazel, 1 tablespoon cucumber juice and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • What you’ll need to do: Find the freshest ingredients possible; this will ensure that they’re full of the powerful antioxidants you’re after. Start by mashing the carrots (bring water to a boil, reduce heat and add carrots, and allow to cook covered for about 20 minutes or until they are tender; then simply mash the carrots into a smooth consistency). Next, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix together until consistency is thick and pasty. Massage and layer it onto skin and allow for it to sit for 25 minutes or longer. Rinse off and follow with a non-alcoholic toner (witch hazel is great as a toner by itself!) and apply a light moisturizer.

2.  Rosemary & Lemon Foot Soak

  • What it does: For all of us who strongly regret our footwear choices after extensive walking on trips, this soak can be a lifesaver. The rejuvenating properties of lemon, combined with the soothing and calming qualities of rosemary make for the perfect (and aromatic) foot soaking experience. This recipe also includes oat flour, which reduces inflammation, rashes, and works as a powerful moisturizer.
  • What you’ll need: 2 drops lemon essential oil, 2 drops rosemary essential oil, and 4 tablespoons organic oat flour. Note: Essential oils can be found at most whole grocery stores or health food stores.
  • What you’ll need to do: Add ingredients to a warm water foot bath. (It doesn’t have to be fancy! A small plastic tub would work). Soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes. For added moisture, rub on some hand or foot cream afterwards (or alternatively, have someone nice massage it in).

3.  Coconut & Avocado Hair Mask

  • What it does: Both coconut and avocado are full of fats needed by hair to look shiny, soft, bouncy and healthy. When applied from roots to ends, these ingredients can help smooth hair at the cuticle and repair the appearance of split ends.
  • What you’ll need: 1 large avocado, mashed; 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil (I get mine at Trader Joe’s); 1 tablespoon aloe juice; and 1 teaspoon jojoba oil.
  • What you’ll need to do: Combine ingredients with either a spoon, or for a smoother consistency, with a food processor. Apply to damp hair from roots to ends as evenly as possible and cover with a shower cap to avoid too much drip-age. Let sit on hair for 30-45 minutes and rinse, wash and style as usual.

4.  Vitamin E Cuticle Soak

  • What it does: This one is simple. As you probably know, vitamin E is fundamental in delivering smoother, healthier skin, and cuticles are no exception. Combined with a powerful hand lotion, your nails will be looking great in time for the weekend!
  • What you’ll need: A few drops of Vitamin E, which is available in most grocery stores.
  • What you’ll need to do:  Simply add a few teaspoons of the oil to a warm bowl of water and soak your hands for 10-15 minutes. Shea butter is also great for rough cuticles, so try finding a hand lotion containing this ingredient for maximum soothing power.

Happy summer travels, everyone! Do you have a trick to help you recharge after a tiring trip? Let us know!

7 Things You Need to Know About Under Eye Moisturizers

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Snowy Owl Cove’s Morning Dew and Owl Eyes Under Eye Serums

At some point, we’ve all spent more time obsessing over our complexions in the mirror than we’d like to admit. You’ve probably noticed that the skin around your eyes differs from the thicker, slightly tougher skin on the rest of your face. Skin in the area around your eyes is indeed more thin, more delicate, and more sensitive than the rest of your face and should be treated as such. When choosing an under eye moisturizer, it’s important to be selective and mindful of the ingredients to maximize soothing capabilities and minimize irritation. Try keeping the following tips in mind:

  1. For the best wrinkle prevention, women should start using under eye moisturizers in their early 20’s. Even if aging is not visible, keeping skin hydrated will put you one step ahead in combating fine lines later in life.
  2. Gels or serums are often preferable consistencies for under eye moisturizers, as delicate skin in the eye area readily absorbs substances and does not necessarily require heavy creams or lotions.
  3. To reduce puffiness and dark circles, look for natural ingredients such as soy peptides that plump skin by improving circulation to the under eye area.
  4. If you’re looking to tighten sagging skin, try finding ingredients such as avocado seed oil, which is reputed to promote collagen production in skin.
  5. For maximum efficacy, look for eye moisturizers suitable for day and night use. A separate moisturizer for night-time use is important, as skin absorbs products more effectively at rest.
  6. When applying under eye moisturizer, simply dab a small amount on skin using your ring finger (which is the weakest finger and won’t stress the skin) in a semi-circular motion under each eye, then gently pat skin until product is absorbed. Be careful to keep the product out of your eyes, as it may cause irritation!
  7. Above all, remember that if you treat sensitive under eye skin as delicately as possible, it will reflect your time and care!

What Are Essential Oils?

Via: bigcommerce.com

Via: bigcommerce.com

You may have heard the term “essential oils” before in connection with natural skin care. What’s all the fuss about this ingredient? How essential are they really?

Use of essential oils for both medicinal and beauty purposes can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece, where they were often used as a supplement to the beauty and health regimens of the rich. Luckily, these special oils are now available to the general public…or at least to those lucky enough to have caught on to their gentle yet effective uses in skin treatment and aromatherapy.

Highly concentrated extracts from plants and flowers, essential oils are distilled but otherwise left unaltered, making them potent and fragrant. Unlike artificially produced perfume oils, essential oils not only just smell great, but are also reputed to provide great benefits, including aromatherapy, relaxation of tired muscles, healing of acne, treatment of dandruff and protection of the skin’s natural barrier.

So where can you find these therapeutic oils? Snowy Owl Cove employs essential oils in many of its products, including its entire line of face soaps.

Snowy Owl Cove’s Indian Summer Face Bar, for example, includes essential oils to aid in the soothing of blemished skin and for moisture without a greasy residue. Don’t miss out on big power of this small ingredient!

 

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The official beginning of summer is just around the corner, but in most places it already seems to be in full effect.  You’ve spent all year preparing for this season, and now it’s time to enjoy the beautiful weather! If … Continue reading