The Secret to Making DIY Skincare that Actually Works!

The Secret to Making DIY Skincare that Actually Works!

If you’re into DIY skincare, or skincare in general, I’m guessing that at some point you’ve heard these pieces of advice:

  • “You should use skincare that’s for your skin type.”
  • “Only use skincare with ingredients you can also eat.”
  • “You don’t need anything fancy for your skin. Crushed up aspirin, lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, crushed up Vitamin C, and baking soda are all you need.”

I totally get it. These pieces of advice make a LOT of sense. If you are struggling to find all natural skincare products that are safe for your skin, or have been dabbling in DIY skincare recipes online, you might have tried one or more of these approaches. And you probably didn’t get the results you wanted. And then you probably blamed yourself or your skin. Am I right?

It’s easy to think there must be something wrong with YOU. Why is it so easy for eveyone else to get clear, vibrant skin? What are YOU doing wrong? What’s wrong with YOUR skin?

Nothing. No, I mean it. You aren’t doing anything wrong. There isn’t anything WRONG with you or your skin, and there actually are some truths in (some of) that advice. The only problem is that that advice only works for SOME people but it doesn’t work for EVERYONE (and some of it–like that last one–is just downright dangerous). If it did, then everyone would have clear, youthful, glowing, perfect skin and there would be no need for a multibillion dollar skincare industry. This is the key difference.

Not all DIY skincare advice is GOOD advice.

Truth time. People in the skincare industry (myself included…I’ll admit it) have very strong opinions that their way is the best way (if not the only way). And while I would love nothing more than to tell you that there’s one magical path to skincare success, it’s just not true. There are many ways, and there are pros and cons to each.

If you are anything like my awesome Create Your Skincare students, you’ve likely already had some DIY skincare successes…and quite a few not-so-great attempts (notice I did not say “failure” because I don’t believe in failures–just learning opportunities!).

Researching DIY skincare recipesYou might find yourself on the other end having done a lot of work in researching DIY skincare recipes online, but not getting any of the results promised by the beauty or wellness blogger or Instagram influencer who posted them. You know why? Because most of those recipes were created by that person in their own efforts to help their own skin situation. Most of the time, the people who created them don’t know much about the skin, skincare formulation, or skincare ingredients. They just happened to find a remedy or recipe elsewhere, tweaked it a little bit to make it their own, and then published it online. That’s all well and good, but that really won’t help YOUR skin.

You deserve better than generic DIY skincare recipes.

My people (that’s you) tend to do better when they do things a different way. You love how rewarding it feels to create amazing things from scratch, and you love the idea of taking your skin into your own hands. You’re also ready to ditch the glitzy, glossy cosmetic campaigns that try to convince you that if you buy V,W,X,Y,Z products–personally used (meaning, endorsed) by Celebrity Turned Woo Woo Wellness Guru, THEN you’ll have the skin of your dreams. Nope, you’re smarter than that. You also probably know the importance of understanding your skin–what it loves, what it reacts to, how it changes from season to season. And finally, you love nature and know that it’s medicine–plants, stones…heck, even dirt–and want to use that power in your products. I get it, because that’s me too!

Why does this work for people like us? Because instead of following the status quo, and doing what everyone else does to get skin results, we focus on learning the hows and the whys behind it, and how it relates to our own skin. And then we take matters into our own hands.

The secret to making DIY skincare that really works is that you have to set yourself up from the start to succeed with the right prep, the right ingredients for your skin, and the right technique. And I’m gonna teach you how. For free.

That’s why I created my Boutique Skincare Basics course.

Rachael Pontillo making skincareI’m so tired of awesome people like you getting brandwashed and greenwashed by the skincare industry. I’m tired of you having to read blog post after blog post to try to find a DIY skincare recipe that doesn’t contain coconut oil and won’t burn the heck out of your skin (I know you know what I’m talking about). I’m tired of amazing people like you diligently using those products, or following those recipes, LITERALLY getting burned by them, and then feeling like a loser because of it.

Boutique Skincare Basics is a free online course for people who just want to make simple, all natural skincare products with ingredients they know will work for their skin. That’s all. I know it sounds like a tall order, but it’s really not! If you’d like to finally learn how to make gorgeous products that are customized to your skin, and not have to waste hours of your time searching for recipes and ingredients online, this would be a good place to start.

Listen, you can keep doing things the way you’ve been taught but I doubt much will change because you’ll never be the type of person those ways will work for. And trust me, you are in good company, because I can’t do it either.

You’ll continue to spend lots of time and money, try a bunch of products and recipes that don’t work, that give you results that are just meh, or worse–that actually injure your skin. But, seriously, who wants that? Not when you can learn exactly what ingredients to choose for your unique skin and whip up two simple, versatile, and EFFECTIVE products in your own kitchen, that will FINALLY give you the results you want.

Click HERE to take my free DIY skincare class, Boutique Skincare Basics.

Trust me! Your skin will thank you. And by the way, from 11/19/18-11/21/18, I’m doing a Boutique Skincare Basics 3-Day challenge in my free Handmade Skincare Enthusiasts group on Facebook. Click here to join that group!

The Perfect Bedtime Bath for a Great Night’s Sleep

The Perfect Bedtime Bath for a Great Night’s Sleep

Oprah Winfrey swears by the power of a bedtime bath as a way to de-stress and get ready for sleep. Well, if it’s good enough for Mother Oprah, the queen of daytime and Super Soul Sundays, one woman empire and potential future president of the United States, then it’s sure good enough for you and me. But what makes the perfect bath? Well read on below and I’ll tell you. But first…

Why is a bedtime bath good for sleep?

Before we get into how to have the perfect bedtime bath let’s just cover quickly exactly why a pre-bed soak is my favorite way to get ready for bed. It’s all about heat but not in the way you may imagine 😉

Researchers have found that your brain needs to drop its temperature slightly in order to sleep. That’s why it is easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold rather than one that’s too hot. Being cooler will not only help induce sleep quicker it will also promote better deep non-REM sleep.

What has this got to do with a bath, that’s typically hot, not cold? Well, when you have a soak in a nice hot bath, capillaries expand and your blood rushes to the skin, a process referred to as vasodilation. Hence the rosy cheeks!

(Special consideration: if you have rosacea, spider or varicose veins, or another circulatory or known health issue, be sure to use tepid water in your bath and/or consult with your licensed health practitioner!)

bedtime bathWhen you then step out of the warm water, this heat is rapidly transferred to the air around you, and you experience a massive thermal dump. Your core temperature drops, and it’s this rapid cooling effect that is so good at helping you get to sleep.

An ice cold shower would have much of the same impact. Let’s face it though, a soak in soothing bath salts with herbs and essential oils is more than slightly more appealing.

Ok, now that the science is out of the way let’s move onto what makes a perfect bedtime bath. I’m going to assume you know the basics of how to run a bath, so below I’m going to focus on the things around the edges that you might not have considered. It’s little details like these that will elevate a good bedtime bath to the perfect bedtime bath.

Here are my top 5 tips to create a perfect bedtime bath ritual:

Clear your post-bath schedule

Once bathtime is over, all you want to do is towel yourself off, wrap yourself up in that lovely soft rope and head straight to bed. The easiest way to ruin a pre-bed bath is for it not to be before bed.

If after your soak you still have a heap of chores to do then you are gonna instantly destroy all the good work your bath has done to relax you. So, before you even consider going near those taps, make sure absolutely everything is done for the next day.

Ask for, nay, demand privacy

Do not disturb!Nothing will drain the relaxation quicker than assorted family members banging on the bathroom door. Before you head for your soak make sure every single member of the household knows you’re not to be disturbed unless something very important has occurred.

By very important I mean of the level of someone’s bleeding profusely, the dog is on fire, or the cat is stuck in a tree!

If you only have the one bathroom in the house then make sure everyone gets the opportunity to use the facilities before you lock them out. Then, if their tiny bladders still can’t cope, kindly direct them out to the garden.

Create the right ambience

What’s the main difference between your bathroom and a high-end spa? Ambience, that’s what. When you walk into a spa the whole atmosphere oozes relaxation.

If you break it down to the fundamentals however, all these fancy places do is dim the lights a touch, light a few candles and play a little bit of ambient background music. These are three things you are perfectly capable of replicating in your own bathroom, no matter the size!

Invest in few nice scented candles (I prefer either beeswax or soy candles, scented only with essential oils), or if you’re sensitive to candles, an essential oil diffuser and top quality essential oils. Download a nice chillaxing playlist to your phone. And voila! Now you’re in for an instant five star spa experience.

Diffuse some oils

Essential oils for your bedtime bath

essential oils for atomatherapy treatment with lavender and gemstones in white backround

Creating the perfect ambience isn’t just about music and lighting, it is about massaging all the senses, including your sense of smell.

Try diffusing some essential oils. Frankincense and lavender are well known for their relaxing and hypnotic qualities. As you soak deep into your bath let the scent wash over you and transport you to another level of calm.

Try not to fall asleep completely in the bath, however, as that could be a little dangerous! It might be helpful to set a timer for 20 minutes or so.

Remember your refreshment

What we eat can affect how well we sleep. Some foods are sleep blockers, others sleep promoters. I like to enhance my bath time experience with a nice cup of chamomile tea, a well known sleep aid. Or, if I’m in extra need of some comfort I make a cup of golden milk.

Golden milk might sound expensive but it earned its name for its colour not its cost. Made by mixing a heaped teaspoon of turmeric into warm milk, then seasoned with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon for taste.

Not only does the concoction taste delicious, it’s also incredibly comforting. Like a great big bear hug for your insides. And on top of that both turmeric and milk have crazy sleep inducing qualities. Yay!

Golden milk is the perfect bath time treat if you ask me!

Well there you have it, my five step recipe to the perfect bedtime bath.

Clear your schedule, put up the Do Not Disturb sign, get the ambience spot on, get the aromascape right and take on some light, comforting refreshment.

For more great sleep nuggets like this, check out the Sleep Advisor blog.

Have I forgotten anything?

What’s your favorite bedtime bath ritual? Please share in the comments below!

 

 

*Do Not Disturb image By Arz [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Keep Signs of Aging at Bay: 10 Healthy Habits to Adopt in Your 30’s

Keep Signs of Aging at Bay: 10 Healthy Habits to Adopt in Your 30’s

It is everyone’s wish to age well. Aging is inevitable, and while it may come with certain undesirable effects, how the process affects your appearance and overall health is largely up to you. The aging process can be slowed if your body adopts certain healthy habits before it gets too late!

Adopting good habits early on will help you to enjoy aging with a positive attitude and grace. For you to be able to control aging, it is important to know the agents and factors that can hasten the process of aging. Apart from genetics, most cellular processes that accelerate the aging process are affected by exercise, stress, lifestyle, and diet. It’s not possible to reverse the signs of aging completely–it takes time to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle regimen help your body age gracefully. When you start early–in your twenties or thirties–you’ll be able to enjoy your glow for years to come (although it’s NEVER too late to start!). 

Here are 10 healthy habits to adopt to help slow the signs of aging:

Stay hydrated

Stay hydrated to decrease signs of aging!Water is essential to help the body’s processes–including removal of waste and perspiration–run smoothly. Drinking plenty of water every day helps keep your skin looking moist, supple and plump. Well-hydrated skin will appear glowing and look younger, and any visible fine lines and wrinkles look less pronounced.

Additionally, adequate hydration promotes skin circulation, which aids in the repair of damaged skin cells. Drinking enough water also helps flush out toxins from your body and give you a healthy glow. Health benefits of drinking water are countless, and most people benefit from drinking 8 glasses per day.

Be social

An active social life helps lower stress levels, which in turn, can help you live a long and healthy life. Social support will also help you age gracefully, prevent cognitive decline, and depressive symptoms that can hasten the aging process. Even for introverts, there are many ways to create a positive and supportive social network, whether online, or in person!

Adequate sleep

Get your beauty sleep for healthy skin!Lack of sleep can cause premature signs of aging, such as facial wrinkles, fine lines, and unevenness of skin texture and tone. Poor sleep quality weakens the skin’s ability to repair itself, which in turn, accelerates the aging process. As you age, it is helpful to increase nighttime sleep (most people require 7-8 hours per night), as it will make your body and skin feel rejuvenated and replenished the following day.

Adequate sleep has numerous health benefits, as well, as it helps to improve memory and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also improves your skin health, as it allows the body to release hormones that help to restore elastin and collagen levels.

Apply sunscreen

Keep signs of aging at bay with sunscreen!Daily use of sunscreen will protect your skin from damage caused by UV rays and other harmful effects caused by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Liberally applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher will help to slow down the aging signs and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Ensure you apply liberal amounts of sunscreen daily at least 2 hours before going out to the sun, and then again every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating while still outdoors.

Healthy eating

Feeding on nutritious and high-quality food will help to improve your overall health. Reducing sugar intake will prevent premature aging of the skin. Eating a diet of fresh, whole foods rich in skin-healthy nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and carotene provides antioxidants, which promote cellular repair, increased production of elastin and collagen, keep the skin firm, increase cellular regeneration and reduce visible signs of aging like fine lines. In addition to a more vibrant appearance, eating healthy, whole foods will make you feel rejuvenated.

Proper skincare

While the aging process affects the entire body, often the first place that people notice signs of aging enough to take action is the skin. Making proper skincare part of your routine will help to slow down the aging process and significantly improve the most visible signs of aging. Keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized will make it look soft and glowing. Incorporating all natural, organic (and preferably handmade!) skincare products in your daily skin routine will help to restore the proteins of youth, and help you look younger.

Refrain from smoking and drinking

Stopping drinking and smoking will help you age gracefully and improve overall health. While some studies show that some people benefit from drinking a glass of wine with dinner, others contradict that, and there is enough evidence to show that more than moderate alcohol consumption can have pro-inflammatory effects on the skin, which speeds up the aging process. Reducing alcohol consumption prevents dehydration, promotes healthy sleep, and is otherwise protective of the skin and health. And when it comes to smoking, we’ll keep it simple and just say that there is nothing at all healthy about smoking for the skin or health, and there are very few things worse for the skin and overall health than smoking. Just quit. Now.

Exercise your body

Exercise helps keep signs of aging at bay!Regular exercise will help to improve your overall health and reverse the signs of aging. Facial yoga exercises prevent premature thinning of the dermis, and may help your skin appear younger than your actual age. Regular workouts reduce stress and help your body eliminate built up toxins, which also help keep premature aging and acne breakouts at bay. Physical activity allows the supply of fresh oxygen in your body, which makes you look and feel younger.

Be positive

Being positive towards life will help you stay physically and emotionally healthy. Choosing a positive attitude when handling challenges is more likely to help you create a successful life and stay healthy. By positively embracing aging, you will be able to take care of your mind, body, and skin, consequently slowing down the aging process. One simple way to help shift your mindset from negative to positive is to work with affirmations.

Practice meditation

Meditate for glowing skin!Practicing meditation regularly–even if it’s for 5 minutes a day–is the easiest road to less stress and more ease in life. Daily meditation will keep your mind relaxed, clear and focused. It also helps to provide emotional balance, increase immunity, and lower blood pressure. It helps to prevent depression and other mental health issues, thus improving the overall quality of your life. The beauty benefits of meditation also can’t be ignored–there are numerous accounts of acne, eczema, and other skin issues improving after meditating regularly for just a couple of weeks, in addition to visible improvement in signs of aging like fine lines.

Aging is a process that cannot be avoided, and it affects everyone despite your health status or your lifestyle. It is a natural process that should be appreciated for the privilege it is, rather than attacked as it is in mainstream culture. Many factors accelerate the aging process and being familiar with them will help to slow down and reverse the aging process. You cannot completely stop the aging process, but there are healthy habits that you can adopt to help you age gracefully and stay a healthy life.

About the author:

Margaux DiazMargaux Diaz has been writing about health, beauty, skincare, and fitness for many years. In addition to her writing, she recently got a chance to assist in the research and development of Idol Lash. Connect with her Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

*All images provided by Margaux Diaz.

#HerbalAha Moments and other Highlights from the Herbal Skincare Summit

#HerbalAha Moments and other Highlights from the Herbal Skincare Summit

In case you missed it, last week, I hosted the first ever Herbal Skincare Summit (the live event is over, but you can purchase it and watch or listen anytime HERE!). In this virtual event, I brought together 18 herbalists, holistic health, and skincare experts to offer their stories, wisdom, inspiration, and practical tips for how to use the magic and science of herbs for clear, vibrant skin. I’ve been wanting to do a summit for a long time, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to offer, since there are so many great summits out there! I didn’t want to say more of what’s already been said (at least not in the same way), and I’ll be honest–I don’t really like doing things the same way that have already been done.

We can always make the argument that there are no “original” ideas, because all creation comes from the same collective source consciousness.

Herbal Skincare Summit--Kami McBrideAnd I fully believe that, but, what I needed to figure out for myself was what message did this source consciousness intend to come through me? And in what way? And who else was meant to be involved? Obviously I was meant to talk about skincare–and skincare in a holistic way, of course. But “holistic skincare” is such a massive umbrella these days, which I am very happy about!

So many people are writing about it, teaching about it, and practicing it both personally and professionally, that the definition I assigned the term in my book Love Your Skin, Love Yourself back in 2013, has now become commonplace. At the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance, we had a discussion about what “holistic” really means, and while we were able to offer some different perspectives, we realized that it really still is such a large umbrella term that can mean so many things. And while not all definitions might be “right” to every person who identifies as holistic, all are a step in the “right” direction.

But none of this helped narrow things down for me! I didn’t want to just do a “holistic skincare” summit, because versions of that have already been done. So I began to do what I always do to help me brainstorm–I set my intention during meditation that I wanted to co-create something that was not only beneficial and inspirational, but also that was needed at the time it would be delivered. I also brought in my allies–my bearded dragons, my stones, and my herbs, because they also share in this same source consciousness.

I started spending more time outdoors, and was guided to have more conversations about skincare with plant and stone people, and that’s when I realized four things:

  • There are SO many ways nature can help the skin that aren’t being talked about enough
  • Skincare is healthcare–and not enough people understand that. There is still this misconception that caring about the skin means that you are in some way vain or superficial–even in the holistic and herbal community
  • Many of the lessons that nature teaches can’t be Googled–they are told through stories and must be experienced
  • Live interaction is a must

HSS Quote Card--Sarica CernohousThat’s how the idea to focus specifically on educating people not just about how to use herbs for healthy skin, but also on how to tap into herbal intuition and “earth wisdom” (as Herbal Skincare Summit speaker, Maia Toll would say), to learn from the plants. And to do that, we needed to tell stories. And I needed to do at least some of it live. So I decided to offer a live wrap up session on Facebook every evening of the Herbal Skincare Summit, to connect with people, and celebrate the teachings of each day. I truly think it was one of the best aspects of this summit–and since the videos are still there (click here to find and watch them), they help the good vibes spread farther and last longer.

So while each Herbal Skincare Summit speaker was invited to speak on the subject in the way that most resonated with them, I asked each for two things:

  • Their story–how did the plants first call to them and how did they come to do what they do?
  • Their favorite herb

And what I found when I was going through each interview, and what many Herbal Skincare Summit attendees emailed me to say, was that they learned just as much from the stories, as they did from the actual “content.” 

Personally, I was so inspired by the speakers, that as I went through the videos, I took an entire single subject, wirebound, college-ruled notebook full of notes. I wrote down quotes, herbs, ideas for recipes, and what l later described as “:#herbalaha” moments that came through as I was listening. I realized that in this notebook was something very special–a true treasure chest of collaborative gold that was co-created by the teachers, the plants, our attendees (all attendees were asked to share their favorite herbs and “herbalaha moments from the summit) and myself.

Here are just a couple of #herbalaha examples (and I’ve sprinkled a few others throughout this page 🙂

“As the skin is an organ of digestion, it actually tastes herbs. For each of the doshas, there are particular tastes that bring balance.” —Melanie Sachs

“We need to go back to the basics. We need to go back to what our great grandmothers were using 200 years before the chemical revolution.” —Tammie Umbel

“A lot of the time, we think if we see a little benefit in one thing, more is better. So we isolate it and boost it up–but then we’re missing the more balanced benefits that nature allows for us by using the whole plant.” —Dr. Trevor Cates

That notebook has so much love and positive energy infused into its pages, that I decided early during Summit Week (I did not plan it before), that I wanted to offer it back as a gift to those who purchase the Herbal Skincare Summit kit, as well as our speakers. So I am now working on turning it into the Herbal Skincare Summit Companion e-Book, which will be given exclusively to anyone who purchases the Herbal Skincare Summit kit.

I don’t have a release date yet, because it is a lot of information to compile and organize, and I want it to be a beautiful offering.

But if you already have purchased the Herbal Skincare Summit Kit, or would like to purchase it now (click HERE to do that), you will receive it once it is published. I am so excited to have this opportunity to continue to spread the goodness that was created by the Herbal Skincare Summit, to those who most want to receive it!

As I sit at my desk in a beautiful suite at a retreat in Palm Springs (this retreat was planned before the summit was, but the timing could not have worked out more perfectly that I’m here the week following the Herbal Skincare Summit), I’m reflecting on how peaceful, inspired, and happy I still feel from the summit. I treated myself to an in-room facial yesterday after I arrived (my airplane-dehydrated skin NEEDED it!), and was pleasantly surprised that the aesthetician who came, knew about the summit and had positive feedback. This event had such a positive impact, and it’s my mission to continue that.

After watching the Herbal Skincare Summit, I hope you fall in love–or deeper in love–with both your skin and the plants too!

Did you attend the Herbal Skincare Summit live or purchase the Kit?

What was your greatest #herbalaha moment? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

It’s always astonished me, how the idea of taking care of one’s skin is considered by so many to be an act of vanity. Images of vintage ladies applying cold cream at their decadent vanities come to mind. I watched the Amazon Prime show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (OK–I binge watched the whole thing in two evenings); and I myself marveled at the clips of Midge and Rose sneaking off to the bathroom after their husbands fell asleep to apply their night cream, and then sneaking back in at the crack of dawn to remove it and apply their makeup before their husbands awoke. The idea that skincare is healthcare, not just a fluffy ritual, would have been quickly dismissed back then. And surprisingly, it’s still dismissed today.

I’ve spent the greater part of my life observing my own changing relationship with my skin.

I’ve also been studying the history of women’s beauty rituals and changing roles in society for quite some time. I’ve come to the understanding that the whole idea that caring for the skin is solely for beauty, vanity, or to impress or seduce a man; and the shaming that’s followed, really is a result of our patriarchal society. I’ve thought deeply about the damage caused by the whole “anti-aging” movement to women collectively, to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health–and what we can do to heal that hurt. I’ve written several blog posts that explore concepts of beauty, aging, and skin-related women’s image issues:

I’ve also given some thoughts about how to reclaim our sacred beauty and creative expression, and celebrate it without fear or shame:

While these are important issues, what we still need to discuss is the fact that skincare goes way beyond self-care or celebration of beauty.

We need to discuss the fact that in actuality, skincare is healthcare.

I find it fascinating that many health practitioners–even holistic ones–kind of snicker at me when I tell them that my focus is on skincare. They seem to think that focusing on skin is superficial or frivolous, and that there are more important organs that need attention–especially since most skin issues start inside (with the gut, liver, lymph, etc).

That may very well be true, but I start with the skin, because unlike the gut, liver, or lymphatic system–it is visible, and we see whatever’s ailing us reflected back multiple times a day. Its changes are immediately noticeable, and if there are blemishes, scars, flare-ups, spots, lines, and wrinkles, often, these affect how people feel about themselves.

I’m not the only one who believes that skincare is healthcare.

Eastern philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda often start with the skin during diagnosis, as the location and other physical characteristics of lesions, pigmentations, or features of the skin correlate directly to an internal organ or system that may need to be attended to. This is well and good, but in this day and age, constant stress and chronic illness is the norm; and people are used to living with symptoms such as digestive issues, chronic fatigue, mood swings, constant colds, painful menstrual cycles, and disturbed sleep. Because of that, those symptoms often go unnoticed, or are dismissed as stress or just getting old. But when the skin shows us something? A new wrinkle, spot, dilated blood vessel, or pimple? We pay attention.

The skin is the largest organ, and we have to stop treating it in a disembodied, disconnected way from the rest of our organs and systems.

The skin is an organ of digestion, elimination, immunity, respiration, temperature regulation, and sensation; and should be treated with as much reverence as the brain, heart, liver, and other vital organs of the body.

Clean Skin from Within by Dr Trevor CatesA truly holistic approach to skincare seeks to find the root cause of the symptom that’s choosing to manifest visibly on the surface. It’s definitely important to uncover things on the inside like food sensitivities, as well as environmental toxicants, and poor lifestyle habits which contribute to the underlying causes of the symptoms, but we also have to look at the actual skin. As my friend and colleague, Dr. Trevor Cates says in her book Clean Skin from Within, the skin is a magic mirror–it reflects back to us what’s going on inside.

What I offer in addition to caring for the skin from within, is that we can also start on the outside, by utilizing the skin’s powerful absorption abilities to deliver nutrients into the skin from the outside in. While the exact rate of absorption via the skin depends on many factors and varies from person to person, we know that delivering nutrients through the skin–AKA transdermally–is possible, because both the pharmaceutical and supplement industries use transdermal delivery systems for medications and micronutrients.

We can also deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other powerful phytonutrients into the body via the skin through the use of carrier oils, essential oils, and herbs–or what I refer to as “whole food skin nutrition.” When we do this in addition to other holistic measures, we truly care for the skin–and the health–and will see results faster, which will last longer.

I started my blog and later, my business, with the notion that skincare is healthcare.

I also feel strongly that the way to vibrant skin and radiant health is through the use of plants. For these reasons, I decided to create the Herbal Skincare Summit: an online event that happens free January 8-12, 2018, and features stories, wisdom, and inspiration of renowned herbalists, holistic health, and skincare practitioners. Together, we’ll celebrate beauty, inspired by the magic, wisdom, and science (yes there is room for both magic and science in Mother Earth’s plant kingdom) of nature. I hope you can join us to learn more about how I truly feel the plants are here to bring us back to ourselves and the planet, through the skin.

Herbal Skincare Summit

Click HERE to register!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Photo credit: Wellcome Library

5 Inspirations to Get Out of the Self-Care Rut

5 Inspirations to Get Out of the Self-Care Rut

Self-care is possibly the most popular recommendation health coaches and wellness practitioners give to their clients–particularly to women. Because if mom’s not happy then no one’s happy right? And you can’t give from an empty cup? Surely you’ve heard those (possibly from me!). But like anything else that’s good, it is possible that despite our best intentions, we get stuck in a self-care rut.

Self-care is something that can mean many different things, and come with a whole mixed bag of feelings.

Is it a spa treatment? Drinking more water? Sniffing essential oils? Sipping herbal tea? A home-cooked meal? A shiny new crystal? New lipstick? A day away from the kids? Sure, why not? But then the feelings come…”I don’t have time.” “I shouldn’t be spending money on frivolous stuff like that.” “I’m not one of THOSE women.” And so on.

I know. I’ve heard it from my own clients and students, and have even caught myself thinking and saying it myself. Sometimes I indulge, and feel great about it. Other times, I go without, or put it off, or move my “scheduled” self-care block into next week that’s “not as crazy” as this week. When that happens, and I see another mom–usually another mom who has a business because that’s typically who I see online–post about her amazing self-care experience, I also catch myself thinking thoughts like “must be nice” or “she must have so much help” or “maybe next week.”

You know what though? I find that most often when I skip self-care, it’s not because I don’t have the time or money for it. Because I truly believe in turning small daily habits into self-care rituals. No, for me the problem is more often that I’m lacking self-care inspiration. Sometimes I’m so tired I just can’t think of something creative to do that’s easy and already in my house in addition to tweaks and lifestyle upgrades I’ve already made. It’s kind of like a food rut–you get comfortable making the same quick, simple recipes that everyone likes until you make them so often that the thought of having it again makes you physically ill. But instead of a food rut, it’s a self-care rut.

The best way to get out of a food rut–and a self-care rut–is to try something new.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, time consuming, or expensive–because let’s face it–if that’s the case, then you’ll be less likely to actually do it. In my book, The Sauce Code, I talk about how adding a simple sauce to your favorite dish is a great way to make it new and exciting again (and I give you 7 super simple and delicious plant-based sauce recipes that go great with pretty much anything!).

So today, I decided to offer some of my favorite simple self-care tools and experiences to inspire you out of your self-care rut. Here are three of mine:

1. Pajama day. Now I realize that if you work outside the home, it might not be a great idea to show up to the office in your bunny slippers and flannel PJs. But if you’re like me and you work from home (or you have a day off from your job), give yourself permission to wear pajamas all day. I actually recommend wearing a different set from what you slept in. Get up, shower, and put on a fresh pair of your comfiest or most luxurious (whichever makes you feel cozier) pair, add a fluffy robe and slippers, and go about your day. You still feel like you got dressed, so you’re not being lazy (win!), and it feels SO good. And if you’re into the super trendy Danish practice, hygge, well, you can’t get much more hygge than jammies.

2. Say no. I often tell my clients that their “no” muscle often needs more exercise than any other muscle in the body. Women, in general, are yes people. We’re helpers, we’re caretakers, we want to be everything for everyone. We feel really guilty when we say no. We worry that we’ll let people down. We worry about what they’ll think of us if we say no. So we say so much yes to everyone that we end up having to say no to our own desires and needs (notice how I listed desires before needs?). Say no. Say it because you can. Say it loud and exaggerated as if in slow motion. Annunciate as if you were doing a vocal warm up exercise (my theater friends will know exactly what this means 🙂 ). Don’t say no to things like paying taxes or feeding your children, of course. But next time someone asks you to do something that your or someone else’s wellbeing doesn’t depend on? Say no. If you’re not sure, ask yourself–“what will happen if I say no?” If your answer has anything at all to do with how you think your no will be perceived by someone else? That’s how you know it’s a GOOD no.

3. Revive a forgotten (or neglected) hobby. What did you love to do when you were younger? Sing? Dance? Play catch? Draw? Read? Garden? Whatever it is, there is a grown-up version of it that I promise you, you can fit into your life. Sing really loudly in the car. Read a book about your absolutely FAVORITE subject or character of all time. Get some crayons and color. Something recently that made me really happy was going out into my yard, sitting on the grass, and just looking through it to see what I might find. When I was a kid I loved looking through my grass for four leaf clovers (we had a LOT of them). I’d sit there for hours. Well I didn’t find any in my yard last time I looked, but I DID find lots of lovely little native herbs that if I didn’t look closely, I would have completely missed. I sat there for only about 15 minutes, but it made me smile for the rest of the day.

IncenseAnd here are two ideas from my friend and colleague Trish Ward (who you might remember from this post):

1. For the mind and spirit: “I grab my Harmony incense, malachite and sit with my angel cards. I do breath work so I can get really grounded. I’ll also just put my feet bare on the earth and receive its strong healing vibration.”

2. For the body: “When I am giving to my body, I use a tongue scraper, dry brush, and epsom salt bath. This stirs the lympathic system, which is the sewage system that can rid the body of toxins to create optimal space within the body.”

By the way, Trish has an amazing 10-day self-care challenge. It’s free–check it out here!

What are some of your favorite ways to break out of a self-care rut?

I’m always looking for more ideas, so if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below!

Image credits: “No” by born1945, “Incense” by Lefertis Heretakis

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