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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Free Shipping On All Snowy Owl Cove Products!

In honor of our love for fall, we’re offering free shipping on all Snowy Owl Cove products in our Etsy store!

Stock up on everything from thick, creamy lotions to alleviate winter skin to gentle, soothing soaps to leave your skin clean, fresh, but never stripped of moisture. Keep in mind that all of our products are all natural and handmade in small batches with the utmost attention to the quality of ingredients. We hope you’ll take advantage of this deal and use our array of soaps, lotions and serums to keep your skin healthy & happy this fall!

Simply use the coupon code FREEFALLSHIPPING during checkout in our store to receive your order free of shipping charges anywhere in the domestic US!

Happy shopping, everyone!

Pantone’s Fall 2012 Color Report

Wondering which beauty products to invest in this fall? Pantone released its 2012 fall fashion color report, predicting which shades will likely trend this season in everything from eye shadow to handbag color. Including darker, more serious tones like “french roast,” this palate is also big on pops of color, such as “pink flambe” and “bright chartreuse.”

We’ve searched for our favorites of these shades in some of our go-to all natural brands and come up with a list of products that will help you stay on trend this fall (the all natural way!):

  • Tangerine Tango: Zoya’s all natural nail polish in “Paz” is a great way to add a spot of bright, attention-grabbing color to an otherwise neutral outfit. Vibrant and long-lasting, this nail color is also free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate.
  • Rhapsody: Try Afterglow Cosmetic’s mineral eye shadow in “Velvet” for a subtle way to incorporate muted purple into your makeup routine. With certified organic ingredients including grape seed and rosemary extracts, these eye shadows are gentle on skin without sacrificing vibrant color.
  • Rose Smoke: For understated lips with a hint of rosiness, try Primitive Makeup’s lipstick in Sedona. Moisturizing and all natural, this product includes calendula, green tea and rose hips for a beautiful, conditioning treatment for your lips.
  • Pink Flambe: To wake up your complexion, try a dash of bright creme blush by Real Purity Cosmetics in “Pink.” Free of any FD&C dyes, oils, talc, alcohol, parabens, chemicals, this blush delivers easy-to-apply, creamy color to naturally brighten winter skin.

What’s your favorite Pantone color this fall? Do you plan on investing in fall colors? Let us know!

 

 

Cooler Weather Doesn’t Have to Mean Dry Skin

Via: thisthatbeauty.com

Although it may be slow coming, cooler fall weather is just around the corner, and before we know it, brisk evenings will replace warm, muggy nights. With all the wonderful aspects of colder months (butternut squash soup, new boots, Thanksgiving!) also comes drier air, harsher weather and the parching effects of heating systems. If you’re anything like me, skin care goals move from battling a greasy complexion to trying to keep dry, flaky skin at bay.

Here are a couple easy ways I’ve found that are effective in locking moisture into skin during drier, colder months:

  • Avoid long, hot showers. While it may feel great to hop into a steaming hot shower after a chilly day, hot water robs skin of moisture. Instead, take a lukewarm shower (or if you simply can’t stand cooler water, keep your hot showers brief). Slathering your skin with a healthy dose of a good, rich body moisturizer straight out of your shower will also help to keep skin healthy and moist.
  • Try using a humidifier. When cold weather strikes and you begin pumping heat into your home, the air becomes drier and often only about 10% of the humidity remains in the air. A humidifier helps return some of the air’s moisture, allowing your skin to remain more supple.
  • Simmer cinnamon over the stove. Not only does it smell great, providing a natural perfume to your home, but this method will actually work to restore some of the moisture to the dry air of your home and help to keep moisture locked into your skin.
  • Turn to foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Indulging in salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds can help rid your skin of free radicals and boost new cell turnover, keeping dry, flaky skin at a minimum.

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.

Strong Styles With Romantic Touches Reign for Fall

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?

What’s in Your Shampoo?

shampoo

After a day in the jungle that’s been the American Southeast this summer, nothing feels better than lathering up greasy hair with clean-smelling shampoo. However, like (some of) the best things in life, this practice probably isn’t good for you, largely because of the makeup of many shampoos you might find in your local drugstore. So what can you do to avoid potentially harmful chemicals short of letting your hair devolve into a stringy mess of unmanageable filth? While many swear by letting hair regulate itself, rinsing it occasionally and letting natural oils nourish the strands, my (very) long and (very, very) straight hair just does not allow for this method. My attempts at washing my hair less go something like this:

Day One After Washing — OK-looking side braid with questionable-looking bangs

Day Two After Washing — Questionable-looking side braid with pinned back I-have-given-up-on-you bangs

Day Three After Washing — Does not exist*; let’s be honest, I barely ever even last until day two

(*exceptions: sleeping through alarm, being lazy)

Upon doing some shampoo-related research, it seems that there are in fact alternatives to mainstream shampoos that treat your hair more gently and keep the harsher chemicals at bay. First, let’s look at the things you might want to avoid when lathering up:

  • Sodium and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfates — These are the ingredients in shampoo that attract dirt and oil, washing them away. They also create the foam that many of us are used to, but which serves no actual purpose in cleansing hair. These chemicals have come under scrutiny due to the fact that they can be irritating to eyes and skin and can be harsh on hair, sometimes creating breakage and damage.
  • Fragrance — Present in most shampoos, “fragrance” in mass produced products is essentially chemicals created in a lab to emulate natural smells. In fact, when you see this ingredient listed on your product, it can refer to up to 4,000 different chemicals, including acetone (yes, like nail polish remover), formaldehyde and alcohol. Like you might have already guessed, these ingredients aren’t great for your hair, stripping it of essential oils and maybe even causing damage to the hair follicle itself.
  • Propylene Glycol — Allowing the shampoo ingredients to penetrate deep into the hair shaft, propylene glycol serves the purpose of making hair look shinier and healthier. However, over time this chemical has the potential to ravage the hair follicle and damage the integrity of each individual hair.

While the above information may make you want to promptly remove 90% of your shower’s contents, remember that these ingredients are more likely to cause harm over long periods of use, so your best bet may be to use up what you have and then try some of the more gentle shampoos free of major irritants to see how they work for you. In my search to find more natural shampoos, these are some that look worth trying:

1.  Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash

  • Pros: Yes, this is technically for babies, but that just makes it all the more simple, gentle and great for sensitive skin. Burt’s Bees cites this product as being 98.9% natural and is sulfate, phthalate, petrochemical and paraben-free
  • Cons: Still contains fragrance

2.  Intelligent Nutrients Organic Hair Cleanser

  • Pros: A mild cleanser safe for color-treated hair, this product is free of sulfates, silicone and parabens; cool-looking bottle!
  • Cons: Contains fragrance, although the fragrance is a “certified organic natural aroma”; and at $29, this cleanser is not exactly cheap

3.  John Masters Organics Bare Unscented Shampoo

  • Pros: This daily shampoo is said to gently cleanse hair without the use of sodium lauryl sulfate; it is fragrance-free
  • Cons: Has a long list of complicated-sounding ingredients; however, many of the ingredients are certified organic

4.  Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

  • Pros: Suitable for all hair types, this shampoo contains no laurel sulfates, is cruelty free and employs certified organic botanical ingredients
  • Cons: The tingling sensation and strong tea tree smell may be off-putting to some people; some reviews report it as “drying”

What’s your favorite shampoo (all natural or otherwise)? Do you think it’s important to avoid the harsher chemicals? 

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!