All posts by Heather Stevens

7 Best Uses for Body Oil

We’ve all heard about body oils, but have you ever tried using them? If you are looking for an alternative to lotion or a good addition to the mix body oils might be right for you! Plus with the winter weather, you’ll thank us for adding this easy to use oil to your routine.

Body oils do everything from enhancing your favorite moisturizing lotion to taking care of those hard to nourish places.

Here are our best uses for body oils:

Add a few drops to your bath

This is a place your normal lotion can’t assist you in nourishing your skin. Just add a few drops of your favorite body oil to your bath to let the moisturizing process take place as you soak. I call this my multi-tasking holiday helper. Too much to do and not enough time. Relax, moisturize, and stay calm.

Post-shower skin power

Before stepping out of the shower and while your skin is still wet, drop some body oil into your palm and massage over your entire body. A little goes a long way and works wonders to replenish and revive your dry winter skin. Currently, we are loving Hugo Naturals Indonesian Patchouli and Sandalwood Body Oil. Keep in your shower for easy access.

Target dry spots like a pro

Give those dry and dull skin problem areas the boot with a little extra TLC from heel to head with body oil. An extra dab of body oil provides the extra love and care you need to make the difference this winter.

Diminish stretch marks

For those with stretch marks, we are always looking for a solution. Oils are a perfect solution because they penetrate deep beyond that first layer of your skin. They reduce the appearance of stretch marks and you’ll notice over time as the oil does its magic that it will help promote elasticity and preventing additional stretch marks from showing up on your beautiful skin.

Doubles as a massage oil

Need some self-care or some S.O. care? Perhaps get together in the evening and give each other a massage on your back, feet, or wherever you need it the most. This will do wonders for your skin, your senses, and your stress. Basically a win-win for everyone.

Razor burn be gone

If you have every nicked yourself shaving, then you know how important prepping your skin pre-shave is. Also in the winter, our skin gets extra dry and this will help you immensely. Just apply a small amount to your legs for a clean shave sans the razor burn and bumps.

Ditch the pantyhose

I love taking a little concealer or foundation powder and mixing it in with some oil and then applying it to my legs for perfect legs without the pantyhose in the mix. You can do this any season really and it makes your legs look amazing.

Looking for that perfect scent or oil? Check out New Arrivals and others on our shelves.

Mint Foot Scrub and Soak: Reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with too much on my plate you’ll find me each night doing a foot scrub and soak. I’ve seen such great benefits from doing it and it has become my therapy. Plus it is super easy to do and doesn’t take much time. As the holiday season starts to approach I find myself doing this more and more.

Foot scrubs are a great way to relax your whole body and get the benefits of foot care. If you don’t have time to take a bath you can pretty much get the same benefits by doing a foot scrub and soak. You don’t need a tub, so it’s very convenient to do anytime and anywhere.

Every time I do a scrub and soak, my S&S (think R&R), I feel a difference in just 20 minutes of soaking my feet! I notice I feel less stressed and more relaxed. The nights when I do this, my sleep is vastly improved. I get to sleep easier and don’t wake up as often in the middle of the night.

What you need

  •  Large container of any kind big enough to soak your feed in.
  • Your favorite foot scrub (I opt for Deep Steep’s Candy Mint Therapeutic Foot Scrub)
  • Warm water (not too hot)

If you want you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. I like Lavender. Lavender gives a soothing and calming effect which aids in relaxation. Great if you do this around bedtime.

You could also add a few tablespoons of baking soda to help with detoxification and this will also soften your skin.

Steps

  • Add your essential oils and baking soda (if you choose) to a tub of warm water.
  • Find a relaxing area to do the soak because you need to do it for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • Take the foot scrub and rub it into your clean feed, massaging and paying special attention to any trigger areas.

Place your feet in the tub and relax!

DIY Autumn Hair Mask: Cinnamon, Honey & Coconut Oil

The temperature has dropped, and in Texas, it is storm season. While it’s not quite cold enough to be wearing all your favorite winter wear something needs to be done to keep those tresses tamed as the weather changes.

Lately, I’ve been feeling rather ravaged and in much need of a little pampering. When it comes to hair and facial treats I want it natural and I want it effective. We’ve got great hair masks at Soap Hope and sometimes it is fun to make your own using items in your kitchen and a little help from the Soap Hope shop. How about a DIY Autumn Hair Mask?

This treatment takes minutes to make and only uses three simple ingredients and will be leaving you feeling pampered with luscious, glossy, soft locks – what’s not to love about that!?

Ingredients

Steps

  • Mix the ingredients into a small bowl and blend them all together.
  • Place the ingredients into the microwave for a few seconds (you don’t want it hot, just warm).

Next

Brush your hair out and dip your fingers into the ingredients and begin to massage into your hair starting at the temples and working over the whole scalp down to the tips of your hair.

Twist your hair up into a towel or a shower cap if you are wanting to go for that extra sexy look.

Leave it in for a few hours while doing things around the house or just reading a book to relax.

This mask has a lovely warm feeling and smells great too! Cinnamon, honey, and coconut oil are all renowned for their benefits to healthy glowing hair and skin – some even believe it promotes hair growth, adds a glossy sheen, and can create natural gleaming highlights. Keep this treatment going once a month throughout the whole season and your hair will thank you!

To remove the mask, just rinse with warm water (not too hot) and gently massage the hair and scalp to remove fully. You might think that the oil would be hair to remove and will leave your hair feeling yucky. I find that it rinses away really easily, and leaves my hair clean, glossy, and super soft. Say goodbye autumn frizz and hello gorgeous!

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

It’s Fall time and people are coming indoors and gathering at each other’s homes. I have found that serving something that warms one’s belly to be the perfect way to warm their heart. Pumpkin chili is on the menu this year! This is friendly for all. It is vegetarian, gluten-free, and little one approved. If you aren’t vegetarian I recommend a little crumble of bacon over the top to serve. This dish serves 8-10 people with very generous portions.

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-pound) pie pumpkin, or other orange-fleshed squash such as butternut or acorn.
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 2 medium turnips, diced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans chili beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian type)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream

Steps

Peel and cut into 1-inch pieces the pumpkin or squash. To make it easier to peel the pumpkin, cut in half, remove the seeds and set aside for roasting. Microwave each half cut-side down in a shallow baking dish of water for about 5 minutes, or you can roast the halves at 450 for about 15 minutes. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, shave off the skin with a sharp knife or peeler.

In a 6-quart or large Dutch oven or soup pot (I prefer the Dutch oven), heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the cornmeal until smooth, then stir in the pumpkin, turnip, bell peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes, and their juices, beans, and corn. Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the pumpkin and turnip is tender. The longer you simmer the better – believe me!

Before serving, taste and season with salt and pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve hot with the chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream if desired.

This will store nicely too. Just freeze!

Let your Vacuum Infuse Your Home With the Scent of the Holidays

Add a little essential oil to your vacuum to infuse your home and elevate the mood. There are lots of essential oils to select from, but it’s more than just a beautiful fragrance. From insomnia to anxiety and depression to stress, essential oils are powerful and it is easy to add to your vacuum.

  1. Clean your vacuum thoroughly prior to putting in your essential oil. Wipe down the vacuum outside with a damp cloth. Make sure the bag is fresh, or empty and clean the canister on your bagless vacuum. Starting with a fresh, clean vacuum will allow you to infuse your home 100%, rather than dealing with competing odors still remaining in your vacuum.
  2. Open your vacuum cleaner filter pad or dust cup, depending on the type of vacuum you have. Clean reusable parts with running water, refer to your manufacturer handbook or prepare a new filter if the filter is disposable.
CHOICES TO ADD ESSENTIAL OIL TO VACUUM
  1. Use only two to three drops of the essential oil of your choice. Drop, one at a time, onto the filter or dust cup. Wait a moment or so to allow the oil to drive before replacing. Refresh the oil as scent wears or as desired.
  2. Drop two or three of the essential oil of your choice on a cotton ball or small cloth, place in the vacuum canister or vacuum bag. Refresh as needed.
  3. Drop two or three of the essential oil of your choice in the water reservoir. Refresh as needed.

You can do this seasonally, infusing your home with the scents of the season, to calm, energize, or whatever mood you are looking to create in your home. I’m looking forward to cinnamon, sandalwood, and the scents of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Enjoy!

Healthy Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Looking for a healthy, pumpkin pleasing snack for the fall? This recipe is sure to tantalize your pumpkin-loving taste buds and also help you keep tabs on the calories you are taking in as the holiday seasons start to approach. You can enjoy this sweet snack at a mere 50 calories per bite. If you are looking to take them up a notch you can mix in some walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 and 2/3 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon liquid herb (we recommend Herb Pharm’s, Cinnamon Liquid Herb)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 cup fresh Pumpkin Puree
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (we recommend Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut Oil)
  • ½ cup unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini muffin pan by wiping Coconut Oil to make sure the muffins don’t stick.

Whisk together ground flaxseed with water in a small bowl with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes to get to a gel-like consistency.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and combine the wet ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and blend well.

Fold in the liquid mixture to the dry and stir well.

Pour batter into the mini muffin pan by using a tablespoon and place on the center of the oven. The batter should be enough to make 32 mini muffins.

Bake for 10-14 minutes depending on your oven’s heat gauge and be sure and check a muffin before pulling from the oven the tool should come out clean.

While cooling sprinkle a little bit of Chia Seeds on the top to give it the extra health benefits for a daily fall snack.

Pumpkin Please! 3 DIY Pumpkin Facials to Make at Home

If you want naturally glowing skin you need to take proper care of it. Here’s a secret: the best skin food you can use this fall is pumpkin. We are all about pumpkins this fall. The next time you buy a pumpkin, don’t just eat it, reserve some for a DIY pumpkin at home facial.

Pumpkins contain retinoic acid, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E. Talk about powerful! This vegetable isn’t just for your latte, so reap (yes, that was a fall pun) all its benefits this season and make your own mask. Here are three of our favorites.

PUMPKIN SKIN RESTORATIVE MASK

Benefits of this Mask
This mask maximizes moisture and restores balance. The raw honey locks in moisture and lightens dark spots. The healing frankincense essential oil acts as an astringent that reduces pore’s appearance and can also aid in the reduction of acne. The egg in this mixture nourishes, hydrates, and moisturizes dull skin. The best use of the egg in this recipe depends on the skin type you have. If you have dry, flaky skin only use the egg yolk and if you have oily skin only use the egg white.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 2 tablespoons fresh pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 egg (read benefits and select which part of the egg is best for you in this mask)
  • 3 drops of frankincense essential oil

Instructions

  • Beat 1 egg into the fresh pumpkin puree.
  • Mix in the two teaspoons of raw honey into the mixture.
  • Mix in the few drops of frankincense essential oil to this mask.
  • Finally, store the mask in the fridge or apply immediately on clean skin and leave on face for 15 to 20 minutes max. Rinse with lukewarm water and after the skin is cleansed rinse with ice cold water.

PUMPKIN AND WALNUT SCRUB

Benefits of this Mask
We know the benefits of pumpkin full of enzymes and vitamins to nourish your skin, but when pumpkin is mixed with walnut oil and yogurt you can scrub away dead skin cells to reveal fresh skin underneath.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons natural sugar
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Instructions

  • Mix the pumpkin puree with the natural sugar.
  • Add raw honey and Greek yogurt to this mix.
  • Sprinkle in the cinnamon powder and mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.
  • Save this scrub in the fridge or apply this scrub to damp skin in a circular motion. After you’ve scrubbed leave it on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the oils to seep in.
  • Rinse off with cold water and pat dry.

PUMPKIN SPICED MASK

Benefits of this Mask
Bentonite clay is a naturally smoothing, soothing, and powerful skin. This clay helps rid the skin of dead cells and help resurface your skin. The honey aids in the skin feeling softer and nourished, while Cinnamon helps to prevent bacteria growth for acne. Is your skin sensitive? Skip the cinnamon.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 1 teaspoon fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon bentonite clay
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder (skip for sensitive skin)

Instructions

  • Mix the pumpkin puree and bentonite clay together well.
  • Add the raw honey and blend until it forms a paste.
  • Add in cinnamon if your skin allows it.
  • Apply to cleansed skin, leave on for 5-10 minutes and rinse with warm water.

Any masks stored will only last for a week max.

 

Oh My Gourd! Five Ingredients You Need to Use this Fall

When the season’s change, so does your skin. Now that October is here and fall weather is creeping in (love Halloween!), it’s time to repair your skin from summer’s sun damage. We are sharing several articles this month with content around skin care for the fall. As the humidity level drops outside and the heat kicks on the inside, our skin needs extra moisture and reminders to stay dewy, radiant, and soft. These are the five skin-care kick gourd ingredients that will keep your skin looking great all fall and winter long.

PUMPKINS

Each fall without fail, the pumpkin obsession begins – from pumpkin spiced lattes to pumpkin pies, everyone wants a piece of this seasonal treat. This vegetable is not only good for tantalizing your taste buds but also your skin. Pumpkins are rich in enzymes, beta-carotene, amino acids and antioxidants that do wonders for your skin. For pumpkin-perfect moisturized hands this season we recommend Desert Essence Pumpkin Spice Hand Repair Cream. This super-hydrating, fast-absorbing hand cream will restore or maintain softness throughout the winter with the added benefits of jojoba oil and licorice root. If you are a pumpkin fanatic we also recommend stepping up your game with Anadolu Natural’s Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask. This mask will scare away the dry, dull surface cells, all the while resurfacing and exfoliating the skin for a brighter complexion, smoother texture, and more even tone.

YAMS

Why not take the beauty benefits of pumpkin to the next level by adding yams to the mix? Yams have been used in Asian traditional medicine for centuries due to their tremendous healing powers. This root vegetable contains allantoin, a cell proliferate that helps the healing process of damaged skin. For the perfect fall pairing of ingredients, we recommend Jason’s Balancing Wild Yam Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème. This super-hydrating cream is specifically designed to comfort and balance transitional skin. The cooling blend of Licorice and Wild Yam works harmoniously to help increase moisture retention, and boost skin’s elasticity, clarity, and radiance. We could all use a little yam in our skin routine this season.

CRANBERRY

Cranberries add amazing flavor to food, but in addition to your fall menu, this tiny berry adds impressive beauty benefits when used as a body and skin care ingredient. Cranberries are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants that help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They’re also rich in phytochemicals with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Take advantage of the beauty benefits for the entire body with Jason’s Antioxidant Cranberry Body Wash. This blend of Cranberry Oil and soothing Aloe Vera helps fight oxidative stress while it softens your skin. Just what you need to add to your routine before the holidays hit.

JOJOBA OIL

It’s like a big glass of water for dry skin – 100% pure jojoba oil doesn’t cost all that much and it is extremely powerful. It absorbs quickly, won’t clog pores or make pimples worse, and it’s rich in fatty acids and lipids that are really, truly moisturizing. My fall and winter remedy is to keep a bottle of this within reach when my face, body, or scalp starts to feel dry. Putting a few drops in your shampoo, face or body lotion will do wonders for the overall care of your skin. If you have some serious trouble areas, you can take a little time to massage in jojoba oil directly to the problematic area. If you want your jojoba oil to be effective, we recommend Desert Essence’s 100% Pure Jojoba Oil that is made with pure and natural plant extract which will penetrate and moisturize your skin without leaving any oily residue. One added benefit of this luxurious oil is that it can be used to remove makeup.

LICORICE

Fall is the perfect time to be reminded that what we put in our body is just as important as what we put on it. Licorice Root has been valued for its soothing qualities, rich flavor, and sweetness since the great Kings of Egypt. We recommend Yogi Egyptian Licorice tea that will help with your skin by brightening the appearance, moisturizing, and just plain enjoyable.

3 Herbal Cocktails to Fall in Love With

We love delicious cocktails and mocktails year-round, no season seems more suited to them than Autumn. As Summer’s light begins to wane and we look for excuses to gather indoors, the cocktail proves a tried-and-true party starter – especially if it is as delicious as one of these below. Check out the recipes below for two cocktails (and 1 non-alcoholic drink so potent we dare not call it a mocktail) below! Cheers!!!

The Fall Okwes 

This makes one cocktail and you’ll definitely want to make more.

1 1/2 ounces Rye Whiskey (your choice)
1/2 ounce applejack
1 ounce spiced cider syrup*
3/4 ounce cider vinegar
1 drop Liquid Herbal Ginger 
Dash of baked apple bitters
Whole nutmeg

Fill a shaker with ice and add spirits, syrup, vinegar, and bitters. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

*In a large saucepan, combine a half-gallon of apple cider, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 star anise, 1 stick cinnamon, 1/2 nutmug and 5 cracked green cardamom pods. Simmer briskly until liquid is reduced down to about 2 cups, about 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. Strain, discard spices, and set aside in a pitcher for use later. Syrup will thicken as it cools. Store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container. Extra syrup is great for waffles, pancakes, or yogurt!

The Herbal Haven

Again makes 1 cocktail, so double, triple up if you are sharing!

2 ounces Gin
1 ounce H2 Herb Syrup*
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 drop of Liquid Sage 
Absinthe mist**
Fennel pollen

Fill a shaker with ice and add gin, herb syrup, and lime juice. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass. Mist with absinthe, drop of sage, and a pinch of fennel pollen.

*In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until sugar dissolves. While still hot, stir in a large handful of fresh herbs, including thyme, rosemary, shiso, basil, lovage, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, 3 drops of liquid sage, 3 drops of liquid lavender, wild fennel, coriander, pineapple sage, mint, rose geranium, and marjoram. Cover pan and cool completely. Strain out and discard herbs. Place in the fridge until cold. Extra syrup is so delicious mixed with sparkling water or drizzled over fresh fruit.

**Fill a 2-ounce spray bottle with absinthe. I know this sounds silly, but trust me!

Jaune Tonic

Makes two amazing elixirs

4 drops of Liquid Turmeric, or to taste
3 ounces fresh ginger juice
3 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce filtered water
1 ounce grade B maple syrup, or to taste
4 grinds of black pepper
1 large pinch of ground cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Serve over ice.

How to Transition Your Skin from Summer to Fall

With the Fall in full swing, it’s time to talk skin. The Autumn season brings cooler temperatures (Yay, sweater weather!) and a drop in humidity. All these changes make for dry, stale air and even direr skin. Mix this with heaters kicking on, and it is your skins worst nightmare. Think eczema and dry, itchy, cracked skin. We’ve got some quick tips to add to your routine to help you avoid the itch fest this fall.

Think Thick

Thick moisturizers that is. Say goodbye to the lightweight, oil-free moisturizers of summer. It’s time to bulk up with a heftier hydrator. We recommend heavy creams made with essential oils that help the skin replenish during the colder months. Our top pick is Nourish Organic’s Ultra Hydrating Face Cream, which is also packed with pomegranate to firm and protect the skin from environmental damage and acai to fight fine lines and reduce signs of stress and fatigue.

A Must Add to the Mix

Body lotion is a must. When summer humidity ends, the skin may start to feel dry, stretched, and itchy. Like the moisture is being leached from your skin and the air around you. The best way to stop the itch? Load up on hydration – from head to toe. Moisturizers provide both a protective barrier over the skin, allowing it to retain hydration and draw in hydration to the outer skin layer. We like Jason’s Cocoa Butter Body Lotion. This is a daily go-to lotion. Your skin will stay silky soft all winter long and you’ll smell amazing. Too late and already got the itch? Nourish and relief your skin with the Seaweed Bath Co.’s Eucalyptus and Peppermint Body Cream.

End the Daily Grind

It’s time to cut back on exfoliating. As the weather gets colder, it’s best to slow down the exfoliating routine. We recommend using glycolic treatments or a mask once a week to help remove discoloration and skin brought on by the summer sun. We love Anadolu’s Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask packed with AHA, fruit stem cells, vitamin C, plus it is packed with beta-carotene-rich organic pumpkin and manuka honey which help sweep away and dissolve dry, dull surface cells. As for masks we seek hydrating masks like Derma-E’s Hydrating Clay Mask that deeply moisturizes and replenishes dry skin. It contains hyaluronic acid, ‘nature’s moisture magnet’ an ingredient that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.

A Humidifier Makes a Happy Home

Boost the hydration in your home by adding your own moisturizer to the mix with the help of a humidifier. Turn it on as soon as you put the heat on for the best results.