even your skin tone naturally

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

the last official Skin Week post is today! (tomorrow is a review & surprise for all y’all. i WILL still post on all the other skin questions you had!)

so to round off Skin Week, we’re gonna delve into how to even out your skin tone naturally!

even out your skin tone naturally

what causes uneven skin tone?

  • overproduction of melanin
  • genetics
  • excessive sun exposure
  • hormones
  • skin trauma/scarring
  • inflammation/acne
  • drugs

what can we do to help even out skin tone?

  • raw apple cider vinegar (acv)– you all know i’m a fan of raw acv. it contains amino acids, mineral salts, and plenty of vitamins. there’s also sulfur in it, which makes it a great skin toner and an effective skin spot, age spot and acne fader. to use this method, soak a cotton ball or pad with pure, raw apple cider vinegar, and apply directly to the skin up to twice daily. it can be drying, so test it first!
  • raw honeywash your face with honey 🙂 or combine into an oatmeal scrub/mask
  • chamomile – this can be used as a toner, by brewing a strong tea with a chamomile tea bag and a 1/2 cup of water. let it steep for a few hours, strain and combine the tea with a 1/2 cup of witch hazel. use after washing for natural home remedy for brightening the skin, and make sure to store it in the refrigerator.
  • milk – milk can lighten your skin for a more even tone by working on melanin to lighten the skin, and helping to diminish the appearance of darker blemishes and scars.
  • licorice (root) extract – it’s a great anti-inflammatory, and is great at fading skin marks and smoothing the skin.
    to use this method, mix the extract with either distilled water or green tea, and soak a soft cotton cloth in the mixture. then apply to your clean face for 15 minutes.
  • lemon – as we talked about in how to heal your acne scars naturally, citric acid in lemons is a natural way to lighten and even out your skin tone. you can apply lemon juice to your clean face daily, and wash it off after letting it sit for 15-20 minutes. remember to wash it off completely before going into the sun!
  • turmeric – turmeric can be taken in pill form available at you local health food or organic store, OR you can apply it directly to the skin. try this recipe: mix 1 tablespoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon finely ground almonds or cornmeal,
    and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. apply to your clean face and let it sit for 15-20 mins. rinse well & done!
  • oatmeal – oatmeal acts as a great exfoliator. you can add some raw honey to make more of a thicker paste. apply to your clean face, and let sit for 10 minutes. then rub your face for a few minutes before rinsing off well.
  • egg whites – beat an egg white and rub onto your clean skin, letting it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing well with water. you can also try this mask recipe: mix 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon raw honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons witch hazel, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. apply to your clean skin, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. rinse well & done! be sure to store in the fridge if you don’t use it all!

use these 2 to 4 weeks before giving up if you’re not seeing drastic results 🙂 natural ways can take a little longer, but will be better for your skin and your body!

have you guys tried any of these? want to? let’s hear it!

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shaving creams/lotions/gels… diy or buy

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

welcome back to SKIN WEEK – day 4!

many of you have asked about what i do for shaving. well, it’s time to share the knowledge 🙂

diy or buy - all natural shaving creams, lotions, gels

let’s be honest – having to shave SUCKS. it takes so long… you can cut yourself… you can get ingrown hairs… you have to keep re-shaving… BLEGH.

but what’s one way to make it suck less? use all-natural shaving creams/lotions/oils! think of it this way – you’re running sharp  blades all over your body. so do you really want chemicals seeping in? absolutely not!

so check these out –

make these

  • organic, unrefined coconut oil – you don’t need to “make” anything with this. just apply it plain, shave, and enjoy your silky smoothness! you can always mix some EOs in, too!
  • medium to heavy carrier oil – again, not really “making” anything, but it’ll work wonders. try sweet almond oil, sesame oil (which is the best oil for oil pulling, too! double whammy!), or apricot kernel oil. and again, you can add EOs.
  • ‘coconut cream’ – my personal combo/made up name! combine 1 part coconut oil, 1 part medium/heavy carrier oil, and a few drops of the EOs of your choice. whip up with hand mixer/stand mixer, and store.
  • coconut shaving lotion – mix 1 part organic shampoo, 1 part organic conditioner, and 1/3 part coconut oil. (note- if you choose to use liquid castile soap, dilute to 1/2 part soap, then 1 part conditioner & 1/3 part CO.). whip up and store.

buy these

** to clean your razors – every time you shave, rinse with hot water, and lightly brush front & back of razor blades with a soft toothbrush. no more goop; no more dull blades!

i personally either use plain coconut oil (rubbed on before my shower), dr bronner’s leave-in style cream, and my coconut cream. none of them are irritating, nor will they leave your freshly shaven parts in need of moisture. AND they’re completely organic! double score! (and backstory- i originally bought the DB leave-in cream for my hair, but it was just too much for it. i didn’t want to throw it away, so i thought “ehh, it’s just organic cream… let’s try this on my leggies!” and the rest is history!

and honestly everyone, there’s no reason to buy shaving lotion. you can make it so much cheaper and completely customize it to fit what you need/want 🙂

>> if you want to SHAVE LESS, check out my super easy, super yummy, coconut brown sugar body scrub! it’s heavenly!

what will YOU try? what do you currently use??

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natural/organic soaps

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

welcome back to SKIN WEEK!

this post, in contrast to yesterday, is all about natural/organic soaps. i know water-only washing isn’t an option for some, and i didn’t wanna leave ya hangin!

all-natural soaps (bar & liquid) and how to make your own liquid body washthis is a SMALL list of the organic/all-natural soaps you can find. there are TONS out there!

liquid soaps

bar soaps

as i mentioned, there are TONS of brands of soaps out there that are organic and/or all natural. there are even lots of people that sell their personal creations for more reasonable prices. it’s just a matter of taking a trip down to your local organic store, or checking etsy.  mountain rose herbs has a page for soaps HERE too. as always, just check the ingredients!

and remember that you don’t need to buy the ones in this post online. there are plenty of places (organic stores, some natural grocery stores, etc) that sell them.

you can also make your own bar soap! seriously! i don’t do that, so i won’t be posting about it. if y’all are interested, i can put up a few sources so you can check out the sources.

BUT…i will post THIS…

make your own body wash (from organic bar soaps)

you need: all-natural bar soap, glycerin, & distilled water. that’s it!

1. grate your natural bar soap till you have 1 cup of soap flakes
2. mix 1 cup soap flakes, 1 tablespoon glycerin, and 8 cups water in a large pot/sauce pan
3. turn the heat to medium/medium-low, and heat it till the soap melts. it’ll only take a couple minutes.
4. let your new liquid soap cool, and put it into a soap dispenser. you can use it for body wash or hand soap.
* you can add carrier and/or EOs to your soap mixes, too! adding a tablespoon of coconut oil would be amazingly moisturizing!

BAM! easy peasy! and CHEEEAAAP!

but that’s not all! … you can also wash with oil!! (“whaaaat?!”)
yep! 
it’s like the OCM for your body!

how to wash your body with only OIL (& why you should!)

why? – this won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. it’s the same principle as the OCM. it’s nourishing and very gentle!

how to:

  • mix a carrier oil of your choice with a few drops of EOs of your choice, and put into a squeezy bottle/soap dispenser
  • stand under hot water in the shower (keep your hair out of the hot water!) to open your pores and get the extra nasty off you (if there is any)
  • grab a washcloth, wet it, and rub your body down
  • add a few drops of your oil mix to your washcloth at a time
  • wash your body in sections, remembering to add a few drops of your mix to your washcloth between body sections
  • you may just rinse off under the water, or rinse your washcloth and use that to help rinse off
  • finish off with a cold water rinse
    that’s it! easy and completely customizable!

——–

what a long post! well AE readers… what soaps do you love to use??

(tomorrow will be shaving day… sorry lovelies!)

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water-only washing

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

welcome back to SKIN WEEK! day TWO! & yep, you read that title correctly. i’ve ditched my castile soap body wash. i’ve gone more hippie than i ever thought i’d go!

*cue confusion*

water-only washing (don't be scared!)

first, let’s get one thing straight – I STILL SHOWER! okay. let’s go-

why switch to water-only washing? or at least try?

skin’s ph is normally acidic, ranging in ph values of 4–6, while the body’s internal environment maintains a near-neutral ph (7–9). this creates a steep ph gradient of 2–3 units between the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin, consisting of dead or peeling cells) and underlying epidermis and dermis. the physiologic role of an acidic skin surface is to be a defense mechanism against invading organisms. it has been demonstrated that several key enzymes involved in the synthesis and maintenance of a competent skin barrier are largely impacted by ph. soap cleansers are typically alkaline in nature (ph 10), and have a higher potential to irritate skin (source). [and since we’ll be getting into acne-based subjects later in the week, note this for future reference – acne flourishes well at ph values between 6 and 6.5, and is drastically reduced at ph values less than 6. what does that mean? do. not. use. soap. on. your. face.   OCM, anyone?!] the stratum corneum makes up a very thin, slightly acidic film called the “acid mantle” that is secreted from the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands.  this is the barrier that prevents unwanted materials (bacteria, viruses, contaminants) from entering, and excessive loss of water from exiting the body. when we wash with soap, the acid mantle is stripped away, leaving the skin and body vulnerable (source). 

*i do NOT have issues with organic soaps. i actually have a slight obsession with buying them that i’m trying to curb…. as in, i currently have 7 bottles of dr bronners liquid castile soaps sitting in my room because those are the ones that haven’t even been used yet. i keep finding them on sale! seriously

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what to do instead:

water-only washing! i already water-only wash my face on the days between the OCM method, so going soap-free for my body wasn’t a big deal to me personally. i knew i’d be okay.

so how do i do it?

  • pull my hair up (i do NOT get it wet in the hot water. heat damage is heat damage. doesn’t matter if it’s water or a blow dryer)
  • run a pretty warm/hot-ish shower
  • let the water run all over my body for a couple minutes (feels so relaxing!). i honestly just spin around very slowly.
  • grab my washcloth, wet it, and scrub, scrub every inch of my skin!
  • spin around again in the  water
  • turn the water to “cool” and rinse off my body, helping to close my pores

…and that’s my shower! very uneventful. & i only wash my hair every 2ish weeks now, so showers are very short and i save lots of water! woohoo!

i think mixing water and some EOs of your choice would be great, too! you’d get the benefits of water washing, with the smell-goods of the EOs. sounds like a WIN in my book!

your skin (as with no-‘poo & the OCM) will need time to normalize and learn to take care of itself.

also, you HAVE to eat properly and get enough water. that drastically impacts your smell. i can tell from my armpits when i’ve strayed from my organic foods or ate a lot of red meat. sorry if that’s tmi. welcome to my blog! haha.

how it’s been so far:

honestly, pinky promise- pretty well!! i don’t stink to high heaven or anything (which i’m sure would be the #1 question if i didn’t explicitly state it, haha).

but, my upper back broke out at first. i’m not sure if that’s because washing up there without a back brush thing is pretty darn difficult to scrub, or what. but with dry brushing and using apple cider vinegar (posting on both for SkinWeek; don’t worry), it’s okay now. i’d say it took about a week and a half for it to get its stuff together. but to me, it was worth it to be able to be even more crunchy than i ever though i’d be!

no, i don’t water-only shave. or dry shave. but i will let you in on my shaving things tomorrow!

i know water-only washing isn’t even remotely an option for some. my matt is a mechanic and there’s no way in the boohockey he could do this. he comes home covered in car grease. but oh, i love a hard workin’ man… 😉 we’ll be talkin about soaps later today!

ok. let’s talk armpits & private parts…SKIP THIS SECTION if it’s TMI!

SERIOUSLY. 

you may totally skip this part, but i know some people are probably wondering how the heck it’s all staying clean and not smelly. i for one scoured for other people’s experiences with these bits and going soap-free. i’m going to assume that if i was worried about it, chances are i’m not the only one. so here goes the TMI section of this post-
i already make my own deodorant, and found i smell AND sweat WAY less than i used to. i give my armpits a twice-over with the washcloth to clean them, and they’ve been okay! promise! if i miss showering one day, i’m not terribly stinky, even in this heat & humidity. okay…. about private parts… i was raised to keep that stuff private. so naturally i’ll tell you about it (if you’re a coworker/family member/etc, stop reading NOW. i order you! haha). i was terrified of how water-only washing was gonna go. absolutely terrified. i alternated every other wash between my castile soap mix and water only, doing that about 3-4 times each before i abandoned soap altogether… and it honestly hasn’t been terrible in the slightest. as every female should know, soaps shouldn’t be down there in the first place (guilty as charged). it’s way too delicate of a place to be stripped down with soaps. i was really paranoid everyone around me would know i’m not using body wash in general, and this one area only magnified my paranoia. but honestly ladies (& guys, too i guess!), it’s fine. everything’s fine and dandy! partner approved! haha. oh goodness. please don’t unfollow my blog now, haha! i did warn you… so Your fault!

TMI OVER! it’s safe to read now…

besides you awesome readers, those that know me personally know my hippie ways all too well. at first some were horrified/disgusted, and others were really genuinely intrigued. either way, by embarking on my crunchy lifestyle, i’ve found that i don’t care what anyone else thinks because i’m doing this for ME and MY health. right? 🙂 they can keep their sulfates & parabens. i’ll keep my water & coconut oil!

generally speaking though, if anyone knocks your crunchy lifestyle, don’t worry. those close-minded people are the ones that have ZERO idea of what they’re really putting on their skin, in their bodies, and the REAL dangers of it all.

anyone out there who’s ditched soap? or tried it for a bit? or even interested? haha. what do you think??

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natural lotions (diy or buy)

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

what better way to kick off SKIN WEEK than to talk about nourishing your skin! (& happy july!)

diy or buy these natural lotions

these lotions/balms/butters/moisturizers are natural and/or organic, therefore completely safe to use! i would usually have a section on why to NOT use store-bought lotions, but i think if you’re reading this, you know who i am and what i stand for. so we’ll do a quick overview of what you do NOT want in your lotions 🙂 yay!

what you DON’T want in your lotion:

  • mineral oil/paraffin oil – a by-product of petroleum, to produce gasoline and other products based from crude oil
  • petroleum jelly/petrolatum – often contaminated with impurities linked to cancer and other health concerns
  • parabens – this is currently a Toxic or Not Tuesday post waiting to be published. short answer, it’s been found to cause reproductive and growth issues, and has (controversially) been found in breast cancer tumor tissue
  • fragrance/parfum – this is code for ‘we mixed a cocktail of unknown chemicals to make it smell okay’
  • silicones – anything ending in -xane, -zane, -cone, -conol. these prevent your skin from getting moisture
  • much, much more… check this list (scroll down past the video… you can mute it haha. there’s a list below.)

and we all know that our skin is our largest organ, and our first line of defense. our skin really has its work cut out for it! we need to care for it as the delicate, yet total badbutt that it is!

make these

  • unrefined coconut oil – CO straight outta the jar is an amazing body lotion. probably the best, honestly. and you can add essential oils for your own custom scent! keep in a glass jar at room temp or in the fridge and it’ll keep up to a year or two! for some reason i’m on a rose kick right now, and i recently mixed some of my CO with arabian rose oil. oooo yea! if you keep yours in the fridge and don’t want it to harden like crazy when it’s chilled, whip it! put some in a stand mixer or use a hand mixer, and whip that CO up till it’s fluffy!
  • unrefined shea butter – great moisturizer, but not as easily spread. you can whip it up with equal parts CO, *and optionally add a carrier oil and EO of your choice.
  • argan oil – you knew that one was coming, haha. pure, organic argan oil is an incredible moisturizer. it’s so darn expensive though. so maybe keep it for your elbows and knees?
  • sweet almond oil/jojoba oil – you can use it straight (might leave an oily residue), or you can mix it with it CO (1 part oil, 1 part CO; whip with mixer)
  • carrier oil mix – you can essentially make any great lotion by mixing a carrier oil of your choice, beeswax, and any essential oils you like. you can also add vitamin E and/or CO. seriously, it’s so easy and can be VERY personal 🙂 think of the great lotions you could make for dear friends! it’s all about finding what is a perfect fit for you and being healthier
  • there are TONS of recipes out there for organic lotions. check out this jack pot of a database for lotions,
    *whichever recipe you choose to use, please store your homemade lotion in a glass jar!
    ** you can buy these at your local organic store, health food store, or online

buy these
(in alphabetical order)

**if you opt to buy your lotion, check the ingredients and make sure you can’t buy the ingredients and make it yourself for cheaper than what you can buy it for. unfortunately, organic products are sometimes heavily overpriced. the most cost effective is by far a jar of unrefined CO, since you can use it for SO many other things.**

what are some natural/organic lotions that you love?? let’s hear it!

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homemade deodorants (without baking soda)

2021 edit: i no longer subscribe to or support the “all-natural” label. more here.

i’ve noticed a few of you are having some reactions to the baking soda. this isn’t uncommon. i’ve since scoured the hills for some gentle homemade deodorant alternatives that are (of course) chemical-free and crunchy!

> EDIT: 3/20/2019 – This post is from 2013 but is getting a lot of traffic recently. Since publishing, there has been an explosion of “green” deodorants available for purchase. Schmidt’s is currently the brand I use (baking soda-free options). It’s sold at Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc. 

chemical-free homemade spray OR roll-on deodorant (no baking soda or coconut oil)

this post is sort-of kicking off SKIN WEEK (which will be longer than a week, btw. i have so much to share with you guys!! so it might be “skin weekS”), so get excited about that!

is there anything wrong with my other homemade deo? absolutely not! i still use it! i have recently added arabian rose to mine and LOVE it! i just want to give readers with more sensitive skin some options 🙂 also, if you travel a lot or live in a warmer climate, these recipes won’t run all over your clothes like the coconut oil recipe will. yay!

witch hazel & aloe deodorant spray (from Tristin, an AE reader!)

  • in a spray bottle, mix 2 parts witch hazel with 1 part aloe vera
  • add a few drops of any essential oil of your choice (tristin used lavender! i think grapefruit or rose would be lovely, too! clary sage and tea tree oil are recommended as the EOs that would most work to cover BO. but if you’re busy creating a little human inside you, please do NOT use clary sage!!! aka, avoid clary sage if you’re pregnant.)
  • shake to mix ingredients and spray on your ‘pits!

distilled water & witch hazel deodorant spray

  • in a spray bottle, add 2 parts distilled water and 1 part witch hazel
  • add any EOs of your choice
  • shake to mix ingredients, and spray away!

apple cider vinegar and witch hazel deodorant spray

  • in a spray bottle, add 1 part acv, 6 parts distilled water, and 1/3 part witch hazel
  • add some EO drops of your choice
  • shake to mix ingredients, and spray away!

and of course you can add up to 1/4 part baking soda to the first 2 recipes (just make sure it dissolves) if you’d like, and if you’re not sensitive to baking soda.

and you also can of course put this in a rolly-ball container instead of a spray bottle. much more travel-friendly, right?

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