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.
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.
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.
I’m sure you’ve seen jars of salt and sugar scrubs regularly available at anywhere from Target to high-end spas and have been tempted to try out their exfoliating powers. But why spend upwards of $30 on a jar of commercially made scrub when you can create your own using easy-to-find ingredients?
I’ve searched the web, tried a few of my own batches and come up with a recipe that should yield you a salt scrub moist enough to hold together, but not too oily, and perfect for beautifully exfoliated arms and legs.
Perfect Exfoliation Salt Scrub Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
1/2 cup oil. This could be sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, or any light-textured massage oil (don’t use cooking oil, as it is too heavy).
1 cup fine sea salt. Regular iodized table salt is too harsh for skin. Try using sugar for sensitive skin.
5-15 drops of your favorite essential oils. Choose whichever scent you like best! Try experimenting with different batches and combinations of scents. **Alternatively, if you prefer fresh citrus scents, try adding the zest from a lemon, lime, or orange
Place salt in a small mixing bowl.
Mix in the oil with a spoon or wooden stick, making sure ingredients are fully blended. You can adjust the salt-to-oil ratio for preferred consistency.
Tap in drops of your chosen essential oil and mix well.
Store in a cute, air-tight jar and enjoy, or package as a homemade gift for a loved one!
Don’t over-exfoliate your skin. Once or twice a week should be plenty.
Don’t use this formula on your face; an exfoliant for your facial skin should be extremely gentle.
Try substituting sugar for salt for a gentler exfoliant. My naturally extremely-attractive-to-bugs-of-all-types skin is better suited for salt, but many prefer the finer grain of sugar.
Try using twine, raffia, or ribbon to spruce up cheap jars for easy gift giving
Enjoy your creation and let us know how your batch turns out!