What’s Up with This Sheet?!  Sheet Masks vs Traditional Masks

Ever wonder what the big deal is about sheet masks?

When you have a million options for traditional masks (and probably a few hanging out in your bathroom), what makes a sheet mask so dynamic?

With the right ingredients, and maybe even some excellent ones you can find in your own kitchen, traditional masks (or paste masks), are most often a great way to cleanse and exfoliate the skin.

However, they typically require more time, more water, and more steps after its removal to replenish the skin with further moisture and ingredients that re-nourish.

Additionally, how often do you buy a mask, apply it a few times a year, and then the container of a product simply goes bad in the process? Likely, more often than you realize!

Sheet masks, however, provide many ways to infuse, optimize and boost the skin, intensely and easily. No water, no waste, no extra steps. Sheet masks utilize the power of serum delivery, which is my very favorite option to feed the skin.

Serums are made of small, concentrated molecules of active ingredients that have a much easier time penetrating the surface epidermis to fuse moisture, vitamins, and antioxidants back into the skin.

Additionally, the sheet itself, is super-drenched in nutritional serum-based infusion, so that when applied and molded to the contours of the face, creates a seal that deeply pushes nutrients and moisture in, quickly. It can also be removed and repositioned if necessary.

To top it off, it is individually packaged to go with you anytime, anywhere, for a sanitary application that requires no water, no extra steps, and no wasted product.

Here are a few amazing sheet masks to give you the perfect boost!

ACURE Seriously Soothing™ BIOCELLULOSE GEL MASK (With rose, argan & plant peptides, for normal to sensitive skin)

Helpful with inflammation, stress, and irritation of the skin. Supplements with high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant nutrients to boost collagen, help ward off free radical damage and supplement moisture Vitamin C to even and brighten tone while facilitating recovery.

Andalou Naturals Instant Brighten & Tighten Hydro Serum Facial Mask

Vitamin C, tamarind, and fruit stem cells immediately help to brighten, tighten, and lighten by aiming for UV sun damage, and then activating elastin and collagen to bring about bright and smooth complexion.

ACURE Radically Rejuvenating Under Eye Hydrogel Mask™ AGE PERFORMANCE ELIXIR (With cucumber & silk tree, for age performance)

Cooling and brightening to dark and puffy under eye. Relief to inflammation that can encourage pooling under eyes and detoxification support to tissue. Hydration and mineral content to boost and plump. Tip…follow with Brilliant Brightening Eye Contour Gel!

Check out all our natural facial masks and find the right one for what you are trying to achieve. Naturally, we’ve got something for everyone!

Natural Deodorants That Seriously Work

Aluminum! Everyone’s heard about aluminum in deodorant. Is it safe? Is it bad? Does it matter?

Aluminum chloralhydrate is a group of salts that is made by reacting aluminum with hydrochloric acid. Its commonly used in deodorants and antiperspirants because it alters the pH balance of the skin and production of sweat.  Funny thing is, it doesn’t even work that well at preventing perspiration. With that said it’s not worth using aluminum-based deodorants whatever the health risks might be. If you are looking for alternative options without aluminum here are some natural deodorants we are absolutely loving at Soap Hope!

Tom of Maine

No aluminum and a spotless track record should put you at ease. If not, well, this is the brand that my mother taught me to use. She sat me down and said she didn’t care what I used, as long as it didn’t have aluminum in it, and then recommended Tom of Maine. We both still use it today. The deodorants offer ingredients like plant extracts and water.

Schmidt’s Naturals

Want something even more natural? This deodorant uses plant extracts, vitamin E, and essential oils. Give yourself some extra aromatherapy with scents like tea tree and geranium. Several on our staff swear by it.

KIND Soap Company

Containing natural ingredients like beeswax and shea butter, this brand offers deodorants that are multi-purpose. Yes, it’s deodorant, but it’s also a muscle rub, perfume, and lotion. It’s also travel sized.

Hugo Natural

Made with botanicals, Hugo Natural’s deodorants offer a wide variety of scents. No chemicals here, just natural ingredients made from plant extracts.

Nourish Organics

This brand of deodorant was good enough to get our Best rating. That means everything is natural and organic. Makes sense for Nourish Organics. Their deodorant is made using organic ingredients and is soft even on sensitive skin.

With Summer right around the corner, it is a good time to enjoy the weather and smell naturally amazing of course!

Some Everyday Uses for Castile Soap

This natural soap is definitely making a comeback! With good reason! Castile Soap has tons of uses, from body care, household cleaning, laundry, pet care, and more. Plus, this soap is very concentrated and goes a long way. Castile soap is made all-natural, with chemical-free ingredients. It is one of the most trusted soaps around and Dr. Bronner’s is one of the most popular and known producers of Castile soap. Today, Castile is one of the most popular European soaps and has gained a ton of popularity in the US. We sell Dr. Bronner’s products at Soap Hope and here are our top methods for using Castile soap.

Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soaps are made of pure coconut, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils. The product is concentrated and completely biodegradable that is gentle, but effective – with a ton of uses, making it an excellent value (despite the higher price tag.) Remember a little goes a long way!

We sell Dr. Bronner’s products at Soap Hope and here are our top methods for using castile soap:

Dish Soap
Just replace your regular store-bought dish soap with castile soap and a few drops will take care of those dirty dishes.

Laundry Detergent
Castile soap is a pure laundry detergent and will allow your clothes to last longer since they aren’t exposed to harsh chemicals. It will also aid in irritation of the skin from the heavy dyes and perfumes along with a list of other unnatural ingredients found in store-bought versions of traditional laundry detergents. Here’s an easy recipe:

  • 1 cup liquid castile soap
  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • 2 ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • ¼ finely grated sea salt

Dissolve the baking soda and salt into warm water. Pour into a gallon container and add the liquid castile soap. Fill to the top with water and mix. Use just about ¼ cup per load, meaning that this recipe should last about 64 loads.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
Add 1/4c of castile soap to a quart of warm water, stir in well. Add your favorite essential oil for added scent, cleaning and disinfecting power. Put the solution in a spray bottle and use it to clean any surface in your home!

Fruit and Veggie Wash
To rid fresh produce of any harmful pesticides or other dirt, you can spray a simple and effect spray with castile soap to make them ready to devour. Add ¼ tsp of castile soap to a bowl of water and stir. Submerge your produce into the bowl, rub with your hands to remove dirt or debris, and then rinse under cold water.

Ant Spray
Add 1/4c of tea tree soap to a quart of water and stir to mix. Place in an easy to use a spray bottle and spray indoors or outdoors, wherever those creepy crawlers are spotted.

While there are some creative uses for castile soap, Dr. Bronner’s has tons of products from bar soaps to body care, shaving soap to hair care, toothpaste to lip balm, and more. Definitely, a brand to check out.

Pear & Fig Pastry

We love Acure Organic’s Pear and Fig Body Beautiful Shampoo and Conditioner we decided to cook up something to celebrate!

While you revive your hair with luscious aloe, fig, and rare prickly pear cactus oil – you can nourish yourself this Sunday with a decision Pear and Fig Pastry Puff!

Here’s our recipe for a clean, but delicious treat!

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20 min

Total Time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 1 pre-made puff pastry sheet or you can make your own (we are impressed!)
  • 2 ripened pears
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 ripened figs or 2 tablespoons fig butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 beaten egg (for egg wash)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prep the pears by slicing thinly and chop the figs a bit chunky.
  • Mix the melted butter, brown sugar, almond extract, and lemon juice. If you have opted for the fig butter, nows the time to mix that too.
  • Roll the puff pastry sheet out into a square. Use a fork to put little perforations in the puff pastry to prevent it from over puffing. No one likes an over puffed pastry 🙂
  • Use a cooking brush to spread the butter mixture over the pastry evenly, leaving a little less than half an inch border. Fold over the pastry to create a crust. Brush the crust of the puff pastry with the egg wash.
  • Place the pears and figs over the spread. Cover the fruit with the remaining mixture for extra goodness.
  • You can brush a little more egg wash if you need it.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown flakey goodness.

Now enjoy and tell everyone you are busy washing your hair.

Check out all of Acure’s products here.

Hydrating Herbals

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

If you’re a new mom, you’ve likely heard the common refrain. While ample fluids after birth are critical for your recovery and well-being, as well as making plenty of breast milk for the baby, there’s more to the story than keeping your water bottle full at all times.

Teas and tonics have historically featured prominently in postpartum care. Traditional healing systems like Ayurveda, in which I’m formally trained, recognize the value in herbal medicine and use much more than plain-Jane H2O for hydrating new moms. In fact, they often viewed the unadorned stuff straight from the faucet a lamentable missed opportunity. After all, with so many changes after birth, every sip and morsel can make a difference, so why not give your hydration the biggest bang for the buck?

Common spices like cumin, coriander, and fennel can be brewed into a simple digestive tea, as can ginger and fenugreek, with added support for breastfeeding. Other mineral-rich plants, like nettles, can infuse postpartum hydration, while more substantive tonics, like specially prepared kinds of milk, provide easily assimilated nutrition as well as hydration.

Before we look at each of these options, in turn, notice the emphasis on heating hydrators like herbal teas. In proper postpartum care, warmth is key! Food and drink should be served warm, with even plain water no colder than room temperature.

This is because birth disperses the newly delivered mother’s critical warmth, which must be rekindled from the inside out. Learn more.

Reaching for warm drinks serves another, less tangible purpose: ritual.

Medicinal and celebratory drinks permeate all cultures and cuisines—and not only for their powerful healing compounds. The ritual of savoring a warm drink can steady the mind and emotions far beyond the capacity of the given constituents to heal the body.

Furthermore, sharing a warm drink with a companion or community, or even in solitude if it’s a brew that’s been cherished throughout the ages, can create a sense of unity, a type of soul synergy that defies time, place, and even explanation. Postpartum hydration is indeed nourishment for body, mind, and soul!

Spiced teas

Cumin, coriander, and fennel (CCF) are powerful digestive spices that create a synergistic blend when simmered together. A traditional Ayurvedic remedy for a number of gastrointestinal symptoms, CCF tea especially benefits new mothers. In addition to gently removing gas, relieving abdominal distension, and enkindling the digestive fire, it aids hormone balance and milk production. Mildly laxative and diuretic, this easy-to-prepare tea benefits both mother and baby, since fussiness may be due to digestive discomfort.

While not classic components of CCF tea, fenugreek and ginger can be welcome additions. For new moms, fenugreek is often the go-to lactation aid, but it has other perks: in addition to supporting digestion and rejuvenation, it encourages the uterus to release remaining placental fragments. It also supports normal bile production, healthy pancreatic function, and blood sugar balance.

Ginger is also a well-known digestive aid. Gently warming with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, fresh ginger features liberally in postpartum cooking. In fact, Ayurveda affectionately dubs it the “universal medicine,” so throw in a few slices whenever you can!

Cumin-Coriander-Fennel Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring seeds, water, and optional ginger to a boil on the stove.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes or more.
  3. Strain and serve hot.

Especially for postpartum moms, the thermos method is even easier. Add the seeds and boiling water to a quart-sized thermos. Drink throughout the day, aiming for 5 to 10 minutes before breastfeeding if trying to counteract digestive discomfort in the baby. Chew some of the seeds while you drink for a little extra strength or strain them and add to a meal later.

If tea isn’t possible, you can still benefit from these healing plants. Herbal suppliers like Motherlove, a family business that makes organic products for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and babies, crafts supplements with similar ingredients. Their More Milk Plus and More Milk Special Blend alcohol-free liquid herbal extracts contain both fennel and fenugreek. Motherlove also makes a plain Fenugreek extract.

Herbal infusions

Other time-honored herbal favorites for both pregnancy and postpartum include red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, and oat straw, often prepared as infusions. When used regularly over time, they have myriad benefits, including

  • nourishing both mother and baby
  • strengthening bones, teeth, lungs, nerves, and the circulatory system
  • preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage
  • easing morning sickness
  • providing vital nutrients like iron and protein
  • reducing pain during labor
  • speeding birth
  • assisting milk production

Infusions are stronger than teas, extracting more vitamins, minerals, and proteins from the plant leaves. Yet they are easy to prepare: steep overnight and drink in the morning! Pick two herbs and prepare on alternating days, or combine several herbs into a large glass jar for storage and then infuse together.

Basic Herbal Infusion

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried herbs (like red raspberry leaf or nettle leaf)
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • fresh lemon wedges (optional)
  • stevia to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put a large handful of herbal matter (about ½ cup) into a quart-sized glass jar or a small handful (about ¼ cup) into a pint-sized glass jar.
  2. Fill the jar with boiling water and cap tightly.
  3. Let stand for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Strain and drink, adding a few squeezes of fresh lemon or a few drops of stevia to taste, if desired. Refrigerate what you do not consume, reheating later as needed.

Again, Motherlove offers alternatives, if tea isn’t available. Check out their More Milk Two alcohol-free liquid herbal extract, which is specially formulated to include both red raspberry and nettle.

Tonics

If you tolerate dairy, consider warm milk tonics for additional nourishment and rebuilding. Make sure to choose raw (or at least low-temperature pasteurized), grass-fed, non-homogenized, organic cream-top milk whenever possible. You can also replace dairy milk with nut kinds of milk like almond, cashew, or coconut. Either way, make sure to warm it up and spice it up with tasty digestive aids like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove.

Here’s one new-mom-approved recipe for a warm milk tonic. You’ll notice that I often camouflage traditional herbal medicine, like Shatavari, in my postpartum tonics. Shatavari is a classic rejuvenating herb that promotes vitality and strength, nourishing the tissues and supporting healthy lactation.

While I like the simplicity of powdered Shatavari, it can also be taken in supplement form, like the Shatavari capsules or Shatavari extract from Motherlove.

Proper hydration with heating herbal brews can ease the transition into motherhood for body, mind, and soul. But much more goes into successful breastfeeding and a peaceful postpartum experience. Learn more.

And if you’re interested in other herbal products designed especially for the delicate and sacred season of new motherhood, check out the whole line of Motherlove products. They’re 15%  off right now at Soap Hope, but only for only a limited time! Use code MLVDD.

 

Stacy Claxton is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner (FDN-P) and an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (AHP) specializing in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care. She offers a range of services that merge the laboratory investigation of her FDN training and her foundational background in Ayurveda and yoga. As an educator and a clinician, she believes strongly in the transformative power of diet and lifestyle and desires to inspire wise stewardship in the realm of holistic health. Stacy is one half of the dynamic duo behind Preparing to Parent (P2P), where she and her identical twin, Erin, are “growing families with purpose…on purpose.” To learn more about Stacy’s private practice and the mission of P2P, please visit www.preparingtoparent.com.

5 Essential Supplements to Fight Cold and Flu

Think this season of colds and flu are over. Think again. Colds are no fun. From a sore nose from tissues to just feeling crummy. The flu is even worse, and sometimes the vaccination just comes too late. While science works on that philosopher’s stone of a cure for the common cold, here are some good old natural supplements that can be used to prevent or shorten these two illnesses.

Zinc Lozenges

A study in Finland recently showed that taking zinc lozenges reduced a cold’s length to around five days. While the dosage they used was a bit high, America did a bit more research and decided 40mg a day works. However, it’s still recommended to ask your doctor for taking zinc long-term.

Elderberry

Elderberry’s helpfulness doesn’t just stop at the cold and flu, it can also help with asthma. It lessens symptoms and can soothe a sore throat. Sambucol is where elderberry extract can normally be found and is known to shorten the flu by three days. Elderberry is unsafe when the leaves, stems, unripened fruit, or uncooked fruit is consumed. The cooked or processed elderberry fruit is safer this way and has a lot of health benefits, but raw and unripe fruit might cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea. That’s why we suggest using a processed form of Elderberry only.

Secret tip, my favorite way to get both zinc and elderberry benefits is with Sambucus organic lozenges – great for on the go.

Garlic

Cold’s suck you dry so it can sort of be considered a vampire. Eating garlic or taking a supplement when cold or flu symptoms start appearing can reduce symptoms. Studies recommend 1 ½ cloves, so a particularly garlicky spaghetti or herb roasted chicken.

Ginseng

Ginseng tea is one of the best supplements you can drink. Not only does it keep you from catching the cold and flu, but if you already caught it, then it can shorten how long you have them, as well as sooth a sore throat. You can also take a Ginseng supplement, Nature’s Way Ginseng is a great source.

 Eucalyptus

There’s a reason those fuzzy little koalas eat this stuff. Eucalyptus mist can really help a clogged nose. In oil form, it can be applied to a cold sore to help with pain and speed the healing process. We recommend Aura Cacia’s Eucalyptus Essential Oil and right now you can get 15% off, just use code ACAEE.

While you are in the shower I would highly recommend treating yourself to a body wash that is specifically made for cold and flu by Kiss My Face. While it doesn’t provide a cure, it sure does provide a dose of soothing comfort. You don’t need to have a cold to be able to enjoy this popular bath and body wash with its ingredients that include time-tested botanicals Eucalyptus, Fennel, Horehound and other aromatics.

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on The Good Life Blog. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

Three Steps to Quench Winter Dryness

3 Steps to Quench Winter Dryness

Moisture, moisture, moisture! Where does it go and how can you get it back?

I wouldn’t be doing my job as a healer if I did not clarify that diet is fundamental. The less healthy fats you have in the diet, the worse it gets. In the body, each skin cell is wrapped in a protective fatty membrane that helps to seal in moisture and ward of irritation from chemicals and toxins in our environment. If you don’t have enough fatty acids nutritionally supporting your body, you cannot effectively replenish this protection in the skin. This leads to faster evaporation of moisture from the skin and dryness. This also depletes elasticity, which is what allows your skin to snap back like a rubber band and remain smooth and supple.

Step #1: Eat your moisture-makers!

Loads of beneficial Omega-3s, otherwise know as Alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs) can be found in delicious fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines. Eggs have the perfect balance of omegas (yolk and all) and the perfect touch of useful protein. Grass-fed butter and ghee are fabulous sources of healthy fat without all the antibiotics and toxins. Coconut oil is one of my very favorite cooking oils and sources for healthy fat because of its natural anti-fungal properties, healthy omega ratios and high heat capabilities during cooking. Avocado, hemp, flax and sprouted walnuts are also fat-fabulous!

Another moisture-major factor is to address your environment. Weather, indoor heating, and pollution can really deplete. As your skin’s capillary system works hard to accommodate the blood flow response from extreme cold and heat, higher levels of moisture are lost from the skin in the process. The light, oil-free moisturizer you use in summer may not be the best fit for winter. A refreshing gel cleanser might be a smidge too astringent once the weather turns cooler and you are not producing quite as much oil.

Step #2: Listen to your skin and adjust your regimen based on seasonal needs and environment.

If you are experiencing more depletion in winter months, look for cleansers with a creamier consistency versus a gel. I feel the cleansing step is often the most stripping culprit. Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy Cleansing Milk With Coq10 & Rosehip contains soothing components like lavender, arnica, and my favorite…licorice root extract. For moisture, you find rosehip, sunflower seed, borage, and kukui nut oils all in one pump, to deliver high plant-based omega fatty acid content. CoQ10 supports healthy cellular replication and Aloe makes up the base of the product, giving an added boost of nutritional and hydrating efforts. All of this protects the skin’s barrier function and natural oils while deeply cleansing.

Use a toner to support healthy acidity in the skin, hydration and optimal product penetration. Your skin is best at a more acidic 4-5.5 pH. Those natural sweat and oil secretions in the skin create your natural barrier function, called the acid mantle. Even water can be too alkaline and strip the skin! So the best action is to fortify with a refreshing, hydrating blast of toner after cleansing and before applying your moisturizing products. Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner works to acidify the skin while delivering loads of humectants, which pull moisture from the air into the skin. Additionally, you get the added benefit of vitamin C to boost radiance and help protect the skin from pollution, weather elements, and other free-radical attacks.

Add a humidifier to the room. Indoor heating is the worst at drying the skin and moisture resources. A good humidifier can be an inexpensive way to put a bit more moisture back into the air and help to alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds and other pesky cold-weather conditions. It’s even been known to reduce some snoring! Just be sure to clean them properly and refresh the water often.

Most heavy moisturizers tend to have a very fat molecular structure. The crazy thing is, those fat molecules are often too big to penetrate the pore! That means, your “nourishing cream” is simply sitting on the surface, hydrating dead skin cells, but never efficiently delivering nutrients to where your skin can actually use it to balance and change its moisture concentration. That’s why many folks have used the same heavy cream for years and their skin is still dry!

Step #3: Heavier isn’t always better!

Look for hydrators and moisturizers that absorb readily but embody powerful nutrition to support the way the skin is functioning and retaining natural moisture. One of my favorites is ACURE’S Incredibly Clear Mattifying Moisturizer. It penetrates easily and relies on the power of essential fatty acids from argan oil and lilac extract, in combination with powerful plant cultures like chlorella, clinically proven to support moisture, cellular rejuvenation and optimal collagen and elastin.

Add nutrient-dense face oils like Avalon Organics’ Intense Defense Antioxidant Oil With Vitamin C to your moisturizer. I call it cocktailing in its highest form! Before applying your favorite lotion or cream, add 2-4 drops of this oil to create a more beneficial boost to the skin’s moisture value and support system. Apricot, raspberry and argan oils, all rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, absorb quickly to reinforce the skin’s natural lipid barrier and lock in moisture. Absorbable vitamin C protects the skin against environmental stressors.

As an added treatment while you sleep, layer on ACURE’s Magical Wonderfluff Hydrating Booster Mask before going to bed. With gardenia and argan extracts and a concentration of high omega-rich oils, you get a light-weight treat that replenishes while supporting more rapid turnover and healthy collagen regeneration.

 

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has been used for thousands of years and you can get the benefits of using tea tree oil and the many uses that are extremely effective.   Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial prowess is powerful.

Some of the traditional uses for tea tree include being used to heal:

  • Acne
  • Bacterial infections
  • Cold sores
  • Earaches
  • Fungal infections
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Head lice
  • Psoriasis
  • Dry cuticles
  • Itchy insect bites
  • Sunburns

There are also many household uses of tea tree oil such as:

  • Anti-microbial laundry freshener
  • Insect repellant
  • Natural deodorant
  • Acne face wash
  • Removes foot odor
  • Removes mold

Check out the many products packed with the power of tea tree oil that you can use everyday to access the benefits both for body and home. 

Get Glowing Protocol

Are you ready for this? I have selected some specific Soap Hope products that work together to support the skin’s optimal turnover, circulation, healthy boost, and supple balance. Sound good? Then follow this AM/PM protocol 1-2 times a week to revive the skin, even out the tone and get it glowing for the next holiday party, special occasion or just because you’re feelin’ it!

P.M. ROUTINE:

At night, your skin is solely focused on rejuvenating itself while you sleep. The following heroes set the stage for success, starting with a super yummy pre-cleanse…my favorite part!

The Pre-Cleanse with Badger’s Sea Buckthorn Face OilSea Buckthorn CO2 Extract, which contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, along with Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids, is awesome to soften and soothe. Massage 2-3 pumps of oil into damp or dry skin to loosen makeup, dirt, and soften debris in the pores. Use light, upward strokes to the face, neck, and chest to stimulate healthy blood and lymph flow, which helps the skin hydrate and detox more efficiently.

Full Cleanse with Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon + C Creamy Cleanser. Lather up a nickel-sized dollop of cleanser with water and work it over using only your fingertips. Rinse with luke-warm water and gently pat dry. Vitamin C and juice from Meyer Lemons naturally work to brighten and Manuka honey protects moisture balance and healthy microflora on the skin.

Enzyme Exfoliation is never better than with ACURE’s Brightening Vegetable Peel. Pineapple and papaya fruit enzymes digest and loosen the dead, damaged layers, and decongest the pores. Chlorella Growth Factor And Kale dive deep to feed active skin cells firming superfood power to even skin tone and boost collagen regeneration. Apply a thin layer to face, neck, and chest for 4-8 minutes (depending on your sensitivity level). Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Tone with Zum Face’s Lemon-Geranium Zum Face Gentle Facial Toner.  A good toner is key to bring your skin pH back to a more acidic happy place. This one engages aloe, marshmallow root and rosemary to help soothe inflammation, redness, and bring lovely hydration. Apply to an organic cotton ball or cotton round and lightly spread to face, neck and chest.

Moisturize using Olivina Age-Defying Day & Night Face Rescue (a line designed for men but excellent for ladies too!). As the skin works hard rejuvenate while you sleep, it’s also losing a lot of hydration in the process. That’s why I love this light application of omega 3,6 and 9 through two of my favorite oils…Olive and Hemp Seed! They help draw moisture from the air into the skin with their humectant properties. Also full of essential amino acids they help support younger, smoother-looking skin and reduce inflammation. Plant-derived squalene acts as a natural lubricant and skin barrier to protect and slow moisture loss. It also helps boost penetration of other ingredients.

Now sleep tight, beautiful!

A.M. ROUTINE:

Once you wake, it’s key to cleanse all that your skin has shed and purged overnight, and apply optimal acidic protection and support for the day.

Cleanse/Exfoliate with the ACURE’s Pore Clarifying Facial Scrub. Moroccan red clay helps gently draw impurities from the pores as black jojoba beads softly slough away the dead skin cell layers you loosened the night before. It helps improve skin clarity and elasticity, stimulate collagen support, and most importantly, soothe inflammation to moisturize, remineralize, and brighten!

Tone once again with Zum Face’s Lemon-Geranium Zum Face Gentle Facial Toner. Remember, the skin is happiest at a more acidic pH. Even water can be too alkaline and stripping, so a toner like this helps to re-establish your acid mantle and pull more hydration into the skin with aloe and glycerine. Apply to an organic cotton ball or cotton round and lightly spread to face, neck and chest.

Moisturize using Olivina Age-Defying Day & Night Face Rescue. A bean-sized amount will do and don’t forget to apply to your neck and chest too…hey, that rhymed!

Seal the deal with an additional pump of Badger’s Seabuckthorn Face Oil. This extra kick of nutrition in a lightweight oil delivery adds brightening, plumping and skin firming radiance. 1 pump pressed into the skin on top of your moisturizer, protects your hydration and supplements your barrier function for optimal support from the weather, pollution, and irritations of the day….now that’s what I call the perfect cocktail for the skin!

You are ready for the day…glow on with your bad self!

A holiday wish list (especially for new moms)

 

I love sitting with expectant and newly delivered mothers.

Birth often steals the limelight, but the season before and especially the season after are oh-so-sacred, perhaps even more so than that fleeting moment.

How similar is Christmas Day! Like birth, it woos our attention but represents a mere day in a significant, hope-filled season.

Advent began a few weeks ago and with it this sacred time of waiting. Our hearts resonate with this season, don’t they?

I’m waiting. We’re waiting.

Many of you are also waiting—and even longing.

  • for birth
  • for conception
  • for a soul mate
  • for personal or vocational fulfillment
  • for Christmas break
  • for a new year of new possibility…

But what happens when the yearned-for arrives? Is it an end in itself? Or perhaps a gateway in a grander narrative?

Like the days after Christmas, the postpartum period may feel like a letdown (pun intended). But for anyone with the privilege of bearing a child, this may be the most pivotal passage of your life. Below are a few hopes I wish I could share with every new mom.

Even if you’re not a new mom (or a mother at all), there’s something universal about my wish list. You might find that these points resonate with you this season, too.

These 12 points are my (very tangential) ode to the 12 days of Christmas, which like the postpartum days emerge on the heels of a pivotal day yet give rise to a richly imbued time of reflection, joy, and awe for this miraculous, life-giving season.

What I long to tell every new mom

  1. Hold your baby. From meal time to naptime, a kid kept close provides infinite comfort for both mother and newborn. Babies, whether awake or asleep, belong in arms, especially in those precious first few weeks! And it’s much easier to do if you…
  2. Do you really need to go anywhere? Eliminate all non-essential travel, recruit help whenever possible, and savor this season of solitude. That sets you up for success to…
  3. Nourish your baby well. Breast milk is best. Prioritize natures perfectly designed first food. If for some reason breast milk isn’t available to you in your situation, seek out donor milk or a high-end formula that is best for your baby’s needs. But most birth mothers can produce enough potentially if you…
  4. Nourish yourself well. Simple and soupy is the way to go. Favor ample fats, easily digested proteins, and slow-releasing carbs. The well-intentioned casseroles can wait until you’ve emerged from the sacred six-week window, and your digestion can stomach denser fare. And if you want more than just good food…
  5. Sip warm drinks. Teas and tonics (caffeine-free!) help with 3 and 4. Plus, a savored mug provides more than hydration—the ritual can nourish mind and soul, too. And it’s a great carrier to…
  6. Spice it up. From food and drink to aromatics and decorations, herbs and seasonings fortify your body and ward off the maladies of the season. Heating spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, garlic, and star anise also help you…
  7. Stay warm. Wrap up in a blanket, put on a hat, pull out the leggings, take a hot bath—dispel chills in any way you can. Ensconce yourself in not only external warmth but also the ethereal warmth provided when you…
  8. Cherish family. Babies bring generations together in ways that nothing else can. If you have healthy relationships with parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, and whoever else makes up your extended family, let them help to the extent that you’re comfortable. If you don’t have access to family, then…
  9. Invite friends. It does indeed take a village to raise a child, and postpartum especially is not a time to go it alone. Find ways to re-create that village, perhaps even before birth, so you have helping hands when you need them most. Even with help, there may be times when life feels surreal, overwhelming, disorienting—and you just need to…
  10. New motherhood presents a time of great physical upheaval as your body reintegrates and returns to normal—and also presents unforeseen challenges. Talk through your birth story, confide in a friend, process your emotions now, and then let them go. But at the other end of the spectrum (or perhaps merely the other side of the same coin), take ample opportunity to…
  11. Especially at your baby. She sees little more than the hazy glimmer of your face in those early days, but she can’t get enough of it. You’re her world. Your expressions help her understand that all is alright. But also smile—and perhaps laugh—at yourself. Offer grace in this season. Give yourself space to…
  12. Savor each day. It’s far too easy to count the days. The days to Christmas. To another year. To your baby’s monthly milestones. To the time you can exercise again. To the end of your maternity leave. But this is a precious passage. Let go of expectations and destinations. Enjoy the journey through.

If you have a new baby around, how well are you taking these hopes to heart?

If you will have a baby around soon, how well are you preparing for the pivotal postpartum passage? (If you need help, feel free to connect with me personally.)

And if you don’t have any babies around, this still applies! Don’t merely dismiss this list and move on. Do you see how apropos these points are for so many of life’s transitions? We all thrive on wholesome foods, material and immaterial warmth, community support, and periods of introspection to ponder the miracle and solemnity of life born and sustained. This wish list, while penned with new mothers in mind, isn’t far from what I hope for each of you this season.

Happy Advent!

In this hope-filled season, the mission of Soap Hope rings loud and true: bringing hope to many by investing in women to end poverty. We invite you to support women around the globe—many of them mothers young and old—by gifting your loved ones with products that advance this powerful mission. Here are a few gift-worthy, family-friendly favorites.

Stacy Claxton is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner (FDN-P) and an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (AHP) specializing in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care. She offers a range of services that merge the laboratory investigation of her FDN training and her foundational background in Ayurveda and yoga. As an educator and a clinician, she believes strongly in the transformative power of diet and lifestyle and desires to inspire wise stewardship in the realm of holistic health. Stacy is one half of the dynamic duo behind Preparing to Parent (P2P), where she and her identical twin, Erin, are “growing families with purpose…on purpose.” To learn more about Stacy’s private practice and the mission of P2P, please visit www.preparingtoparent.com.