Category Archives: The Healthy Life

Top Eight Toxins In Your Home

We are all exposed to cleaners whether we like to clean or not. While we have good intentions, many of our cleaners are dangerous and even deadly. What are you using to clean your home is important, as important as what you put in your body. Here are our top eight toxins to avoid. We’ve also provided a few recommendations as an alternative, toxin-free options.

BPA

BPA is found in many household plastic items. This chemical imitates estrogen in our bodies. BPA has been linked to cancers such as breast, reproductive issues, weight gain, early puberty, and heart disease. According to the Environmental Working Group 93% of Americans have BPA in their bodies! BPA can be found in plastic water bottles and food containers. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2, and #4 on the bottom are better choices because they do not contain BPA. Avoid putting any plastic containers in microwaves.  Better yet, avoid plastic altogether. It is bad for you and the environment. Check out clean, BPA Free reusable food and beverage containers here.

AIR FRESHENERS

You may think it’s a smart move covering up those pesky odors with an air freshener. Think again! The danger here is many of these air fresheners contains irritants which can impair lung function and bother the eyes, throat, and skin. Some air fresheners have been linked to cancers. Don’t second guess your fresh smelling air in the house again. Try a non-toxic, non-irritating alternative like Indigo Wild or J.R. Watkins here.

BORAX

Found in laundry and dishwashing detergents, borax, and boric acid have been linked to reproductive issues. After chronic exposure to these ingredients at high doses, studies have shown decreased sperm count. Animal studies have shown this substance can cross the placenta and impact skeletal development and birth weight. Clean clothes and dishes are supposed to be clean, don’t question them again work with brands you can trust like laundry soaps from Better Life, Seventh Generation, and Zum here. Keep your dishes safe enough to eat of off with these soaps here.

CHLORINE

Also seen as sodium hypochlorite, this chemical is very toxic to aquatic life and can cause severe burns, respiratory issues, and eye damage. You can find this in many household cleaners. If exposed to chlorine gas, a person can develop asthma after a single intense exposure. You can find non-toxic formulas that don’t have chlorine, you can even find a free & clear non-chlorine bleach that Seventh Generation makes here.

1, 4 – DIOXANE

Found in many households liquid laundry detergents. A study commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found dioxane in children’s bath products. Why?!? This chemical has been linked to cancer and skin allergies. There are natural, safe alternatives, that do exactly the same job. Find better baby bathing items here.

PINE OR CITRUS OIL

It may sound safe and smell pretty sweet but when these scented oils mix with the ozone in the air, they can create formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Understand the difference in your products.

GLYCOL ETHERS

You can find these listed in 2-butoxythanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DGME) on your cleaning products, paint solvents, brake fluid, and cosmetics. These ethers can cause blood abnormalties, lower sperm count and aggravated allergies and asthma in children.

PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFCS)

Commonly used to make non-stick cookware, this chemical has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disorders, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol. Avoid non-stick pans to avoid PFC’s sticking to your body. Yuck!

We encourage you to continue to read your labels, understand the ingredients in your products and food, and always know that you deserve the best quality of ingredients. Continue learning and growing in your understanding of what is best for you and your family.

Guide to Surviving Allergies This Spring

The dreadful words – seasonal allergies! They can make life miserable. The good news is, with the help of the good life, there are things we can do! All you need is a few simple natural remedies to provide a ton of relief.

Studies tell us that an estimated 25% or more of the population suffers from allergies. These include grass, trees, pollen, fecal particles from dust mites, animal dander, certain foods, air pollution, beauty product ingredients, and bug bites.

While there is no magic cure for seasonal allergies, don’t despair! We’ve got the top tips for you to find relief.

First is first keep a clean house. Seasonal allergies can be triggered by dander and mold in household living areas. Make sure to do an inspection of any spots in your home. Don’t forget to check gutters, compost areas and any other areas that can be breeding grounds for mold and other harmful pests.

Secondly, stay hydrated. A lot of symptoms of seasonal allergies deal with allergens getting trapped in your mucous lining of the sinuses. That includes sneezing, running noses, dryness, and itchiness. What helps these symptoms? Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. This moistens the sinuses and helps clear out those irritants. Drink up!

Seasonal Allergy Relief

Non-drowsy,  all-natural, gentle, safe & effective. Contains no Pseudoephedrine.

by Hyland’s  |  $6.11  |  Shop Now >>

Pollen Defense

Traditional digestive for support of eye and sinus secretions. Made with organically grown plants.

by Herb Pharm  |  $13.05  | Shop Now >>

Argan Beauty Balm

Nourish your nose and moisturize. This is great for hands too!

by Badger  | $15.75  |  Shop Now >>

Hydraplenish

Provides natural lubricant within the body. Healthy connective tissues.

by Nature’s Way  | $15.00  | Shop Now >>

Dry Brushing Benefits

What if I told you there’s a simple wellness trick that only takes five minutes a day, costs nothing, and helps cleanse your body, inside and out? Dry skin brushing has a number of health benefits and is so simple to do.

So how does it work?

Your skin, the largest organ in the human body is an organ of elimination. One-third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin and dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin.

To get started, follow the simple steps below:

1. Purchase a natural (not synthetic) bristle brush with a long handle so can reach all areas of your body. We recommend EcoTools Dry Body Brush.

2. Get naked and stand in a bathtub or tiled surface to catch the falling skin. (It’s a bit gross, I know.)

3. Begin brushing by starting at your feet and moving in long sweeping motions toward your heart. Always brush toward your heart.

4. Brush several times in each area, overlapping as you go.

5. Take care as you brush over more sensitive areas. Your skin will become less sensitive the more you dry brush.

6. Once you’ve brushed your entire body, jump in the shower. (I like to alternate between the hottest water temperature I can tolerate and the coldest. This stimulates blood circulation, bringing more blood to the top layers of the skin.)

7. After getting out of the shower, pat dry skin and apply a natural body oil. We’ve got a variety of options here.

8. Continue to dry brush your entire body every other day. Remember to clean your brush with soap and water once a week. Leave to dry in a clean, sunny spot to avoid any mildew accumulation on your brush.

Try this for 30 days and see the results for yourself!

Some benefits of dry skin brushing:

1. You’ll exfoliate dead skin.

Forget your in-shower loofah and body scrubs, this will ensure you have silky-smooth skin all year round!

2. It stimulates your lymphatic system.

Dry brushing your skin will kick start your lymphatic system, which helps you remove toxins from the body. The stiffer the bristles on the brush, the better the lymphatic stimulation you’ll create.

3. Dry brushing helps to reduce cellulite.

Cellulite is simply toxic materials that have accumulated in your body’s fat cells and are trapped, unable to be eliminated from the body. Forget lipo, dry skin brushing helps to break down any trapped toxins from within the body and help your body eliminate them through its usual elimination channels.

4. It unclogs pores and de-congests skin.

Dry skin brushing unclogs the pores of your skin and helps your skin absorb more nutrients. Daily skin brushing promotes healthy, breathing skin. It’s a real treat for the largest organ in our bodies!

Brush, Brush, Brush!

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 the 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!

Three Tips to Tame Thanksgiving Indigestion

When this time of year rolls around, gratitude is in the air. Even if we’ve weathered some storms over past months, we’re thankful for so much. But that stomachache or hazy food hangover that follows a holiday meal? Not so much.

Yes, there is a dark side to the holidays that few take seriously but most feel internally: gastrointestinal distress. When you approach the holidays as permission to overindulge, a pleasant occasion can precipitate minor discomfort or degenerate into physical agony—and every gradation in between.

This isn’t merely unpleasant. According to the healing tradition of Ayurveda, which minces no words when it comes to indigestion, this is the root of all disease. Moreover, indigestion impairs fertility and compromises the nutrition of the children you might already be nourishing. It’s a multigenerational problem!

So you do well to mind your tummy this holiday season, for your future health as well as your temporary comfort. These 3 simple tips can help.

Chew your food

This is a fundamental, easy, but often overlooked step, yet the mouth is central to human digestion.

While Ayurveda has lauded saliva for thousands of years, modern scientists are finally latching on. In fact, one researcher built a laboratory simulator of the human digestive system and though confronted with all the wonders of our internal structures, concluded that chewing is the single most important step in the process. It allows saliva to moisten food and mix with enzymes that begin the breakdown of starch. It’s also critical for the proper production of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), which contrary to popular opinion is deficient in 90 percent of people experiencing heartburn.

So do yourself a favor and avoid acid blockers for digestive distress; they actually do more harm than good (but that’s a topic for another day). Instead, try chewing your food.

Aim for 25 to 50 chews for each mouthful of food, or simply make the food a paste or liquid in your mouth. Follow the adage “chew your liquids and drink your food,” meaning that even beverages should get active mastication and your solids should be liquid before they’re escorted down your esophagus.

Drink this tea

If digestion is seen as a fire, then cold substances put out that fire, impairing the whole process of metabolic breakdown, absorption, and assimilation of nutrition, ultimately creating a breeding ground for disease.

Tea to the rescue! Warm beverages stoke that digestive fire, and enlisting the aid of herbal helpers makes them exceedingly effective.

Cumin, coriander, and fennel (CCF) are powerful digestive spices that create a synergistic blend. As a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for a number of gastrointestinal symptoms, CCF tea deserves a place at your holiday table. Sip it mindfully (read: no chugging) before, during, and after that Thanksgiving feast for less distress.

New mothers also love this drink! In addition to gently removing gas, relieving abdominal distension, and enkindling the digestive fire, the CCF combination 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.

Ginger is also a well-known digestive aid. Gently warming with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, fresh ginger features liberally in autumn and winter fare, as well as postpartum cooking. In fact, Ayurveda affectionately dubs it the “universal medicine,” so throw in a few slices regardless of your season in life!

Cumin-Coriander-Fennel Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 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.

Offer thanks

Not merely reserved for holiday gatherings, a prayer or word of thanks to inaugurating eating encourages optimal digestion.

Pause to breathe deeply (more on that here) and express gratitude before a meal. When done with intention and awareness, this practice switches the body from a state of stress (the sympathetic nervous system) to a state in which we can rest and digest (the parasympathetic nervous system). It not only turns off the stress signal and better regulates immune function but also releases more digestive enzymes and bile, helping your body assimilate the food that comes next. Likewise, pausing for a moment at the end of the meal preserves that parasympathetic state and allows for a more lasting sense of satiety and gratitude.

Conscious breath and a centered heart encourage mindful eating and being fully present, a rare state in our lives of busyness and multitasking. So set the to-do list aside, turn off that football game, and enjoy the sensory engagement and pleasant conversation of a slow meal shared. Your digestion—and your overall well-being—will thank you for it.

Gratitude really is the best attitude—for optimal digestion and so much more. Invite it to your table this season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want further support, Soap Hope carries products that improve digestion and more. Have you tried these?

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.

Are you being “cleanwashed” by big beauty?

Don’t ever fall for cleanwashing!

Stop! You’re checking your dictionary for the meaning of “cleanwashing.” You won’t find it there—this practice is still pretty new and it might take a while for the term to be part of contemporary English.

So, what is cleanwashing?

It means marketing products as “clean” or “non-toxic” without backing up these claims, especially when the claims are not true. It is similar to greenwashing, where products are marketed as being “green” or “environmentally-friendly” when in reality they are not. You should be careful, as cleanwashing is the newer version of greenwashing. Nowadays, words like “clean,” “non-toxic,” “organic,” and “natural” might be misleading. Just because a product is labeled “clean” or “non-toxic” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Always check the ingredients. Learn what the mean, how they affect you, and how to pick what is best for you. Check out Soap Hope’s product and ingredient rating system here.

So, what does “clean” really mean?

The term “clean,” when it comes to beauty and skincare, has no clear-cut explanation or meaning. No government or third-party certified standard exists to qualify a product as “clean.” Because of this, manufacturers of skincare and beauty products have the leverage with their definition and explanation of clean. As consumers increasingly demand natural and clean products, most brands label their products as clean, non-toxic or natural, and have very little evidence to back up those claims. Amongst the few that make their standards public, they make it so ambiguous that you end up more confused than before. In the end, it becomes more difficult to tell what’s safe from what isn’t.

Are you being cleanwashed?

How do you spot out cleanwashing from all the product claims out there?

Simple! When you’re out shopping for beauty products, watch out for the terms “clean,” “non-toxic,” “chemical-free,” “active,” “plant-based,” “handmade,” “organic,” or “safe” on the product labels.

Though some of the traditional products with such labeling will be more effective than their conventional alternatives, others might be wolves in sheep clothing. It is crucial to set your own benchmark for clean, so as not to fall for cleanwashing. Having done that, you have to do your research and if you discover any of these things, then you’ve caught cleanwashing right in the act:

  • the manufacturers refuse to reveal their standards, even after claiming to be clean or non-toxic on their labeling.
  • when they reveal their standards, they make it ambiguous—if a manufacturer has skeletons in their cupboard, they’ll intentionally make their standards vague, or hide it altogether.
  • There is no team or individual that can be held responsible for their standards.
  • They do not convey the meaning of their ingredients properly or the sources for those ingredients.
  • They say one thing on their product labeling, but the ingredients sing a completely different tune. Always read the ingredients.

Don’t fall for cleanwashing

Aha! Now that you can spot out cleanwashing by due diligence, how do you weed it out on the go? By becoming an ingredients expert of course! By having a good understanding of what ingredients constitute a safe, natural or organic formula for body and skin care products, weeding out cleanwashers becomes an easy task. Before going for any product that claims to be clean, non-toxic, organic, or natural, ensure to scrutinize the ingredients list to see if the ingredients match the huge claim. Most brands indicate natural or organic ingredients with an asterisk. Check out the ingredients we ban at Soap Hope here.

If you come across an ingredient that you’re unfamiliar with or are in doubt regarding its safety or functions, ensure to look it up.  We have many resources at our fingertips now to learn about any ingredient’s concern or safety.

Now that you have a clear understanding of what to look for, be bold enough to choose brands that you can trust and that their products work best for your skin. Always look out for transparency, as the real “clean” brands will have nothing to hide. Shop smart! Shop Soap Hope 😊

Which Bar is Better? How to Choose the Right Natural Soap

How to Choose the Right Natural Soap

Natural soaps beat the everyday drugstore options for more reasons than you might think.

Sun damage, pollution and the number of products we apply on our face take a toll on the skin. Which makes keeping your face clean and free from the residual product or dirt essential. But following a proper cleaning process is easier said than done.

Different brands of soap flood the market, mostly alkaline soaps and fat are still used as the main ingredient with the other ingredients mixed in or replaced to meet the needs of different skin types.

Today’s soaps are made with different needs in mind. Some are specialized to help moisturize the skin; others are specifically made to control breakouts or other skin conditions, while several other soaps have been developed to make your bath time more enjoyable through aromatherapy.

With this large number of options from natural to commercial, it becomes difficult to choose a soap that really good for you. Having proper knowledge of various soaps and understanding your needs can help make the purchase a bit easier and more useful.

Soap is one of the things we use every day, and it should be noted that each type of skin, its soap. Making it crucial to define your skin before choosing your soap to avoid obnoxious or even unhealthy surprises.

Below are some tips to help you choose the right natural soap.

Butters, Oils, Fat Bases 

Natural soaps contain all kinds of ingredients that are good for you, but how do you choose the right natural soap, the one that best suits your skin?

Natural soaps are a very versatile product; they allow an infinity of ingredients that combine with more or less difficult to obtain rich products that hydrate, improve and take care of the skin.

Natural soaps preserve the integrity of the oils, fats, and butters. Coconut, caster, palm or olive oil goes in, saponified (made into soap) coconut oil, caster, palm, or olive oil comes out. Shea butter goes in, and shea butter comes out. Because of this, the oils, fats, and butters maintain their vitamins, minerals, and skin-loving qualities in the final soap product.

We love the nourishing elements of Indigo Wild’s goat’s milk and oil bars. Nubian Heritage brings the benefits of shea butter to the surface. Dr. Bronner’s brings the aged art of Castille Soap to use with their all-in-one collections. A Wild Soap Bar utilizes sunflower oil and other vegetable oils to bring you highly effective bars. Check out all our Soap Makers.

What Natural Soap is Best for Me?

It is without exception the great doubt for those who start to try natural soaps. And it is not a casual question; considering some soaps work very well on some people but not so much in others.

For a good answer to that question, you have to know a little about the ingredients that make up each soap and also know your skin type even possible problems you have had on the skin.

Let’s learn the facts first:

Which lathers best? This is a trick question, both bars and liquids tend to make the same volume on bare hands. Regardless, you’ll get more suds for your buck and conserve the soap longer if you use bar soap.

Which lasts longer? Bar soaps by far outlast liquid soaps. We tend to overuse liquids and to further sustain a bar’s lifespan, you need to store it in a dry, well-drained spot instead of a damp dish, so it doesn’t get gooey when not in use. Hands down the best soap stand for your bar is the Spire Soap Stand. This soap stand is guaranteed to keep your bar high and dry. You’ll never go back once you start using this little spire of hope!

Which is more sanitary? A lot of people believe that liquid soaps are much more sanitary than bar soaps, but let’s debunk this myth now and forever. Numerous studies have shown that even though there are a tiny bit more bacteria on a used bar than that of a brand new one, it all gets rinsed off as it’s being used, right along with the dirt and muck on your hands. In other words, we can call this one a wash.

Which is best for the environment? Bar soaps most always come in less packaging, which is a big plus in our book. They are minimal, effective, and ready to use. Plus you don’t have to figure out if the plastic is recyclable or not. We need a less-plastic problem world.

What Type of Skin Do You Have?

It is better to know your skin type before using different soaps or other natural cosmetics. There are four types of skin in general, dry, oily, mixed and normal skin. The latter is considered the ideal skin because it is neither too dry nor too oily.

Dry skin lacks lipids and oily skin has an excess of sebum. Dilated shine, pores, etc. characterize it. For various reasons skin can become oily by pollution, cosmetics, and hormonal reasons, etc.

Mixed skin, for its part, is the combination of two types of skin. This skin type is characterized by the dry or normal skin on the cheeks and oily skin on the forehead, nose and the chin (the T zone).

Goat’s Milk Soap, Calendula Soap, and Soap of Castile 

Almost any of the natural soaps will work very well in those people who have dehydrated skin considering they always provide extra oil content. However, inside them, the best ones will be those that contain very moisturizing oils (argan, olive, coconut, evening primrose, sunflower, and palm) or butter such as shea butter that provides a lot of hydration. Argan, Candela, Bitter Orange, Oats, Castile, Cucumber or Goat’s Milk are examples of these soaps.

Lavender Soap, Mint Soap, Chocolate Soap, and Green Tea Soap

Mint and chocolate soap are always recommended for people with a tendency to oily or acne. The balance of the skin which in cases of acne is what fails precisely is being restored by the help of cocoa butter. With the unmistakable aroma of lavender soap and the with the tea tree or green tea soap also work very well.

Witch Hazel and Sunflower oil soap are recommended for people with skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis, considering, its combination of plant extracts and essential oils significantly improves the effects of these ailments.

It should also be noted that some natural soaps manufactures are not limited to vegetable oil, but they may include animal oil. Besides, be sure to read the labels when buying natural soap or any product to understand the ingredients. Natural soaps provide excellent moisturizing properties for the skin and the well-being they bring to the body.

Shop all Soap Hope Soap Makers

Natural Ways to Fall Asleep

Sleeping is incredibly important to our health and to those around us. I’m not a morning person, but I’m even worse if I don’t get good sleep. After having a baby sleep is even more important. So I had to reset how I approach sleep. That’s really something to think about. We train ourselves to eat healthily, workout, but many may not think about the benefits of creating a healthy sleep workout or routine.

Here are the basic rules we recommend adding to your routine to create a strong foundation (adjust as needed – we are all different):

  • No caffeine after 4PM
  • Limit alcohol intake 2 hours prior to bed
  • Avoid screens an hour before bed (this is absolute)
  • Eliminate light entirely (try blackout blinds or sleep masks)
  • Regular exercise (3-5 days per week, but not late in the evening)
  • Dim the lights in the house (think about screens, and atmosphere lighting)

Now add a few of these to the menu for the perfect sleep routine:

Essential oils

Breathing in essential oils has been proven to provide benefits, but did you know it can help you sleep? The use of essential oils for medicinal purposes has an ancient history, going back to early Egyptian, Chinese, and Roman societies. Ever hear of the Hippocratic Oath? That’s the ethical pledge taken by physicians for centuries (now, often taken by students upon graduation from medical school). It’s named for Greek physician, Hippocrates, who studied the effects of essential oils and was a proponent of their healing, health-promoting properties.

Researchers have found that a blend of sleep-promoting essential oils worked more effectively to improve both sleep quality and quality of life than acupressure.

We recommend Lavender, Jasmine, or Sandalwood to get you feeling sleepy and relaxed. We love

Batting your eyes

Have you heard of the asleep paradox? One University of Glasgow study found that if you try to stay awake, your brain will actually make you fall asleep. So I’ve found it very helpful to lay down and drift my eyes open and shut telling myself to stay awake, my body response is to fight me trying to keep my eyes open and I fall asleep. Give it a try, it may just work!

Meditating the mind

Meditating apps are abundant, meditating on your to-do list, your day, whatever helps you. There are even meditating options just for sleep. Just clearing your mind helps you find sleep an easier dance partner. I meditate by writing down the most pressing things on my mind so that my brain can relax and know that it doesn’t have to worry. I also like to mix this with a diffuser of essential oil blends into the bedroom. Try this Diffusers Delight Collection.

Supplements to induce sleep

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep and awake cycles. and this supplement can be taken for those who really need help balancing those cycles. We love this in lozenge form from Nature’s Way.  Melatonin, not your thing? Check out these Bach Original Flower Essences Sleep Melts that harness the power of White Chestnut to help the mind relax and easy into sleep.

Drinking a warm beverage

Drinking a cup of hot water with lemon or a cup of tea (sans caffeine) can do wonders for the body to put it in a sleepy state. The warm beverage has an effect that makes some relaxed to welcome sleep. We recommend trying Mighty Leaf’s Chamomile Citrus Blossom Herbal Tea or Pukka’s Night Time Herbal Tea.

Breathing exercises to calm the body

Lying in a comfortable position in bed, follow this sequence about five or six times:

  1. Breathe in for 4 seconds
  2. Hold breath for 7 seconds
  3. Slowly breathe out for 8 seconds

White-noise app to drown out the noise-pollution

When my daughter was born we used a white-noise machine for her and it was so soothing. So we turned up her monitor a little louder in our room and it really started to help us. You can download an app on your phone to play white-noise or rainstorms. Having this to drown out external noises like traffic or city noises works wonders.

 

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!