Exfoliating Shampoo….Whaa??

exfoliating shampoo

So you may have noticed exfoliating shampoos popping up on your Insta feed or when you’re shopping on Amazon. Are we really exfoliating our hair now too?

Washing your hair less than daily has become a trend in recent years. As such, so has the use of oil-absorbing products like dry shampoos. Add in color processing hair on a regular basis and your scalp begins to have needs that traditional shampoos just can’t touch.

Exfoliating shampoos aren’t meant to scrub the hair shaft.  They work on the scalp at the “root” of the problem.  Ingredients such as sea salt, sugar, charcoal, corn meal, baking soda and fruit acids can break down the buildup on your scalp.  This can help trigger new skin cell growth, clear away dead skin, and clean your hair follicles.  A healthy scalp needs oxygen, moisture, vitamins and other nutrients to remain healthy.  An added bonus?  Scalp stimulation (exfoliation and massage) can increase healthy hair growth.

Do you often have a tight, itchy scalp?  Do you have flakiness on your scalp, but know you don’t have dandruff?  Then you may want to jump on this trend.  How often should you use an exfoliating treatment?  Up to once a week if you are a heavy product user and are starting to see signs of scalp stress (flakies).  Monthly if you wash your hair more regularly and don’t often use lots of hair products.

Here are some recipes to try.  You can either add each blend to your shampoo, or use the treatment alone before you shampoo.

Clarifying:  1 T. cornmeal, 3 drops peppermint essential oil

Gentle Scrub:   1 T. brown sugar, 1 tsp. olive oil

Cleansing Scrub: 1 T. apple cider vinegar, 1T. fine sea salt

Rub into your scalp vigorously but gently (as if you were exfoliating your face), then fully rinse and follow with conditioner.

Our Herbal Aftershave ROCKS

Our very first product that I ever made was our Herbal Aftershave. I use this product every day. No, I don’t have a beard (yet….I am getting older). I use it for removing make up, zapping acne, cleaning cuts and scrapes, and treating skin irritations. Why would I use an aftershave for something other than what it was intended? Because of how it’s made and the ingredients in it.

We use WHOLE herbs in the preparation of this product; not extracts or distillates. The entire plant goes into a vat and steeps for a period of time so all of the beneficial properties of the entire plant are extracted and absorbed into the liquid. The whole plant contains all the healing compounds found in the herb. Sometimes a single herb contains hundreds of these compounds that work together in ways that scientists don’t always understand. The combined effects of the compounds found in a whole herb often provide exactly what the body needs to heal itself. The problem with isolating a single compound is that it may not work as effectively when it’s used by itself. Increasing the concentration of one compound may also lead to side effects that aren’t seen when using a whole herb. Another issue is that chemical solvents are often used to extract the desired compound (when making an ‘herbal extract’). These solvents include acetone, hexane, benzene, and methyl chloride. Besides the fact that residues of these inorganic solvents may be found in the finished herbal extract, these chemicals also harm the environment.

That’s the ‘how it’s made’ part. Now here is what’s in it and what those plants do.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): A powerful herb used topically to speed wound healing, and improve other skin conditions such as rashes and abrasions, calm inflamed skin. The name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character, Achilles, who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis): Calendula has perhaps the longest history of use of any herb in skin care. The flowers help stop bleeding and promote healing. Calendula is also used for chapped and otherwise irritated skin, and is good for sensitive skin.

German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): This herb is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen and is nourishing to itchy skin; improve skin’s texture and elasticity, as well as reduce signs of photo damage. It’s also so gentle that it’s used in many baby products.

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra): Elderflower is the oldest herb cultivated by man. It contains powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals that help prevent free radical damage.

Bay (Laurus nobilis): Bay is able to increase the blood supply to skin, restoring the skin’s healthy appearance.

Rose (Rosa Centifolia): Rose is great for all skin types, but it is especially valuable for dry, sensitive or aging skins. It has a tonic and astringent effect on the capillaries just below the skin surface, which makes it useful in diminishing the redness caused by enlarged capillaries and shaving.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Peppermint has cooling properties that reduce skin inflammation, skin burn and rashes In addition to soothing and calming skin, mint may also help out in another way. It contains a nutrient called perillyl alcohol, and studies have shown that it may prevent the formation of skin cancer cells.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ): Lavender numbs pain and heals wounds. Lavender is one of the most active essential oils against MRSA. Lavender is also moderately active against Propionibacterium acnes, one of the principal bacteria involved in acne. A Japanese study suggests that the regular use of lavender in skin preparations could suppress the aging effects of sunlight on the skin.

Lemon (Citrus limon): Lemon has Vitamin C which is responsible for building up collagen in our skin. Collagen is necessary to keep the skin firm and young. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can speed cell turnover and can improve skin’s ability to slough off dead cells and heal. Lemons are also highly acidic, making them effective antiseptics that can kill off bacteria on the surface of the skin.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana): A native North American shrub this plant was widely used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans, mainly to stop minor bleeding and reduce skin irritation.

Aloe (aloe barbadensis leaf juice): The ancient Egyptians were using aloe as early as 4,000 BC where it was known as the “plant of immortality”. It contains glycoproteins which are known to help in healing by reducing inflammation and stopping pain. Also polysaccahrides which help with skin growth and repair. It’s also believed that these two substances together help stimulate the immune system.

It took me a long time to come up with this formula using herbs growing in my garden, and there was much trial and error. But I still remember that “a-HA” moment nearly 20 years ago when I knew I had gotten it right. I love this stuff. Such a great ‘it does it all’ product.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Summer is finally here!  Our calendars are filled with much-anticipated beach vacations, gardening, outdoor sports, picnics and other fair weather fun.  I am a true sun worshipper, but we all know that too much sun exposure causes dryness, wrinkling, premature aging and even skin cancer.  What is a sun lover to do?

Keep Skin Exfoliated and Hydratred:  Exfoliation removes dead, dulling skin debris to prevent congestion and improve hydration from toners and moisturizers. Exfoliating the facial skin by means of a homemade scrub prepared using half a cup of yogurt, five tablespoons of ground oatmeal, a dash of turmeric and six drops of rose water can prove to be an effective option.   Perform in the mornings prior to toner, moisturizer, SPF and make-up application. Tip: Make-up will last longer on an exfoliated skin.  As an alternative to traditional moisturizers, juice extracted from cucumber or watermelon may be used for moisturizing facial skin.  Toners are a refreshing moisturizer prep, working to even out skin porosity. Our Alcohol Free Facial Toner made with rosewater and witch hazel is gentle and effective  Tip: Refresh with a revitalizing HydroSol spritz at your desk, in the car, at the gym, on the plane!

Keep Your Inside Hydrated:  Higher temperatures and more time outdoors leads to internal dehydration, which can result in headaches and dizzy spells!  Eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day help maintain critical moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification. Tip: If you drink caffeinated beverages, you should triple the amount of water you drink!

Stay Dry Too:  As the mercury climbs, we naturally sweat.  Sweating is good.  But no one wants to be stinky.  So apply deodorant in the morning as usual, but keep some on hand if you know you’ll be swimming or participating in active sports.  Avoid chemical antiperspirants that keep your body from sweating (sweating is a good thing).  Our Deodorant Powder is the perfect solution.  We’ve combined the natural deodorizing properties of baking soda with the superior absorbent properties of cornstarch and arrowroot. The result is a clean, soft, delicately-scented natural powder with the odor fighting capabilities of the toughest deodorants on the market.

Apply & Re-Apply: It’s not enough to just apply sunscreen; you must apply enough, and apply frequently.   Studies indicate that most people do not apply nearly as much daylight protection as they should.  Make sure that the sunscreen used is applied at least fifteen to thirty minutes before stepping out in the sun.  There is always confusion over which SPF number to use. The truth is an SPF 30 only offers 4% more protection than an SPF 15. You would have thought it was double the protection, right? As you get up in the higher numbers (SPF 45, 50, 70+) that percentage comes down, but you’re also exposing your skin to more chemicals which might result in a negative reaction on the skin. The key to protecting your skin in the sun is to re-apply your sunscreen generously at least every two hours.   Tip: Stay out of the midday sun from mid-morning to late afternoon whenever you can. HBG recommends natural nonchemical sunscreens with “physical” blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, not chemical sunscreen formulations.  The benefit of a physical sunscreen is that it acts like tiny mirrors deflecting all spectrums of the radiation away from the skin, including the dangerous ultraviolet [UV] rays.  Wear sun-protective clothing and seek shade when you can.  One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma.  Remember to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor and perform a self-examination once a month to detect early warning signs of carcinomas and malignant melanoma. Look for a new growth or any skin change.

Take Care of That Sunburn:  Hard as you try, sometimes you wind up with a sunburn.  Apply cooling preparations generously over-exposed skin, preferably at the first sight of a pink glow.  A common misconception about soothing a sunburn is that you should keep re-applying lotion (especially aloe vera-based lotion) to keep the skin moist.  But layering lotion on sunburned skin traps heat, keeping the skin red longer.  Skin must breathe to let out heat. Cold plain yogurt applied to the skin works as an anti-inflammatory and heat remover. Apply, let dry for 15 minutes, and rinse. Repeat every hour.  If that’s too messy for you, you can use my favorite remedy – a cold, wet wash cloth.  Unfortunately I have lots of experience with sunburns, and over the years I have found that soaking a wash cloth in COLD water and applying it to the burn does wonders to pull the heat out.  Once the wash cloth gets warm (and it will) soak again in cold water and reapply.  Do this until the burning sensation goes away.  Looking for an internal remedy?  Recent research reveals that consuming green tea and curcumin (an anti-inflammatory compound found in the curry spice turmeric) may help combat skin cancer. Packed with potent antioxidants, green tea may also reduce DNA damage to skin cells when applied topically, according to animal studies.  In addition to choosing green-tea-infused sunblocks and lotions, drinking 3 cups of green tea daily and regularly including turmeric in your cooking may provide protection, says integrative physician David Rakel of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health.

Get a Glow without the Wrinkles:  The #1 cause of lines and wrinkles is sun exposure. If you want to look young, avoid the sun. It’s really that simple.  But there are those of us who still think we look better with a summer glow.  Fake it!  There are lots of fake bake products on the market (self-tanners) that can give you the look of a suntan without having to lay out for hours.  Or use a bronzer instead.  A bronzer will darken the complexion subtly and “warms” your skin tone without making it look fake.  Our Health Glow Mineral Bronzer gives you the flexibility to cast a hint of sun or give you that beach babe look.

Don’t Have a Hair Emergency:  Exercising in the scorching heat or swimming laps in the pool can zap the radiance right out of your locks. Boost your shade with these DIY tips:

Blondes –  Counteract brassiness and remove product buildup by mixing together a quarter cup of mild shampoo and one tablespoon of baking soda. Coat dry strands with the paste, leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse.

Brunettes –  After shampooing and conditioning hair, combine a quarter cup each of white distilled vinegar and distilled water and two drops of peppermint oil (to offset the vinegar scent). Saturate damp hair with the leave-in mixture before blow-drying to add instant vibrancy.

Redheads –  To reignite your hot hue, boil a quart of water and drop in three chamomile tea bags; steep for five minutes. Remove bags and cool the liquid in the fridge. Then spray the infusion on clean, damp hair and sit in the sun until hair is dry.

So get out there, have fun, but stay protected.  ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

Last Minute Gift Idea

Need a last minute gift idea AND a way to keep the kids busy AND not have it involve baking anything? Well I have the solution for you: Bath Fizzies.

These effervescent little fellas are easy to make, fun and remind the person to whom you are giving them, “Relax. Take some time out for yourself.”

Rather than writing the whole thing out myself, I decided to reference a link which I thought was pretty good. Let Martha Stewart tell you how it’s done!


Will I Ever Learn?

Like many of you, I’ve recently become acquainted with Pinterest. Oh the hours I could spend perusing the yummy recipes, viewing the gorgeous landscaping ideas or checking out the latest style trends. Unfortunately, I don’t have that many leisure hours. But when I do go on the site, I am struck by some of the cool make up techniques folks post. I’ve noticed that some of these techniques are using liquid eye liner to get their sleek, cat-like lines. Now I haven’t played with liquid eye liner in years. But this past Sunday while at the local grocery store, I decided to buy some.

It’s been a while since I’ve shopped the cosmetic section in the grocery store. Apparently a long while! I could not believe the prices on brands like Maybelline, Cover Girl and L’Oreal. Wow. Anyway, being the frugal shopper I am, I looked for the least expensive liquid eye liner to serve my whim.

The next day, while running late for work, I decided to try the new product. Yes, I’m almost always running late for work, and that’s probably the most stupid time to try something new, but what can I say? It seemed simple enough; black liquid on the end of a thin brush. I carefully tried to get underneath my lower lashes to apply a thin, even line along my lower lid. Of course the now 14 lb. kitten had to be on my lap at the time, prancing back and forth, sticking his tail in my face. My line wound up a bit heavy and uneven. And I got some of the liquid on my lower lashes. “No big deal”, I thought. “I’ll just use a cotton swab to even things out”. I swiped the swab along my lash line and the liner didn’t budge. Hmm….odd. So only then did I take the time to read the package. Waterproof! UGH! “Okay,” I thought to myself, “I’ll use my old standby, our unscented aftershave to clean up my mess.” Now my liability insurance carrier would want me to add the disclaimer that you should never use our aftershave in or around your eyes. There, I said it. Anyway, I dipped the cotton swab in the aftershave and proceeded to use it to even out my mistakes. Again, the eye liner didn’t budge. What the heck was in this stuff?! I didn’t want to know. My only option was to do my best to even things out using our eye shadow (Falon, from the Smokey Eye palette), and get my butt into work. Despite having raccoon eyes, no one in my office said a word about it. They’ve probably seen me coming in looking worse. I decided not to analyze it.

That night, I did my normal routine of washing my face with natural bar soap and water before going to bed. When I looked in the mirror after the wash, the raccoon eyes were still there staring back at me, mocklingly. Round two of soap and water. Still there. At that point I was too tired to mess with it any further, and went to bed.

The next morning after showering, I sat at my vanity to apply my morning ‘mask’, again, with a squirmy kitten (it’s his routine now to bug me endlessly until I actually leave to go to work). Looking at the black rings it finally occurred to me – I have no make-up remover. Why would I? I never use waterproof make up. Great, now what to use to remove this stuff? Thinking back to the good old days, I remember my mother using Noxzema to remove make up. Well I don’t even know if they make that stuff anymore, and I didn’t have anything even close to that in my house. I started to panic. Will I have these ringed eyes forever? And it looked worse by this point. Little bits of it were flaking off into my eye. What was the harshest solvent I had in my house that I could use? Before reaching for the bleach I use to scrub my toilets, I fortunately thought of the organic tea tree oil I use when I break out. That stuff is strong enough to remove nail polish. Now you’re not supposed to use it around your eyes either, but I really didn’t have a choice any longer. The tea tree coated cotton swab was wiped gingerly along my lower lid, as my eyes watered and burned. It worked! I suffered, but it worked. I was happily raccoon ring free.

Until I put the liner on again ten minutes later. Hey, I never said I was bright. And I was DETERMINED to make this stuff work. Long story short, I tossed it into the garbage after the second equally-as-horrific attempt. I’m not looking forward to the tea tree treatment this evening…..