Hydrating Rose Petal Hand Cream

With visions of spring seemingly figments of our imagination, a good hand cream will help keep us happy and hydrated as our poor hands struggle to survive this prolonged and freezing winter season.

The Rose petal hand cream by Good Earth Beauty is the perfect go-to cream this winter. It is packed with wholesome natural and vegan ingredients that are sure to leave our darling digits fresh and poised for ordering Ubers, typing texts and swiping right on singles.

This remarkable hand cream is packed with nourishing ingredients such as mango butter, a deeply moisturizing butter that is rich in Vitamin A and essential fatty acids to help hydrate dry and flaky skin. Mango butter is an anti-inflammatory, meaning it can help soothe itchy, red and irritated skin caused by eczema and psoriasis.

Fresh Aloe Vera leaf juice is another key ingredient in this nutrient-rich cream. Aloe Vera moisturizes the skin without leaving that greasy feeling behind. It is fast absorbing which is great for any cream, but especially for hand cream. We can lather it on and in minutes have nourished and smooth hands. Aloe Vera is packed with Vitamin C and E as well as beta-carotene, all of which help to heal and treat skin ailments like scarring and redness, leaving us with hands feeling and looking baby soft.

Sunflower oil comes in second to Aloe Vera in the list of powerful antioxidant packed oils helping to quench our thirsty hands. Sunflower oil is an amazing carrier oil because it’s very easy for our skin to absorb, thus helping all the rich and potent nutrients to penetrate deep into our skin, helping to nourish our hands from the inside out. Vitamin K, a prominent antioxidant found in sunflower oil, works wonders in helping to fight against wrinkles by keeping the elastin in our hands supple and healthy.

While it’s great that this cream is chock full of nourishing and nutritious ingredients, it also smells fantastic. It has a faint, fresh rose petal smell that isn’t too overpowering. While some creams are heavily scented with perfumes and other artificial fragrances. This cream smells as natural and fresh as the ingredients inside it. And who wouldn’t want to smell like soft, garden- fresh rose petals?

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Food For Your Face: Choosing the Best Facemask for your Skin

Facemasks are like ice cream; you can never choose just one kind. Facemasks are also treats for our skin like ice cream is a treat for our taste buds, but the similarities really end there. See, facemasks are healthy, detoxifying, glowy, nourishing “food” for our face and ice cream, well, let’s just say it doesn’t quite do all that for us.

Facemasks are truly wonderful tools to help us supplement our skincare health and daily routine. They help us zero in on, and target, our specific needs, and concerns. However, the most wonderful thing about facemasks is also the scariest (I use the term scary lightly here). You can never have too many masks; you really can’t. There are a hundred different masks for a hundred different uses and we can have them all, well, the ones we feel we actually need anyway. Let’s not get greedy. It’s useless and wasteful to buy a facemask, or really any skincare product for that matter, just for the sake of buying it or for the hype, the almighty and powerful hype. Because not every facemask is designed to help our skin, it can become very easy to go a bit crazy and one day find yourself staring at a shelf entirely filled with facemasks (this is a real-life example from my own life).

Facemasks fall under several different categories (Calming, Moisturizing, Detoxifying, Acne Fighting, Brightening and Anti-Aging) and I think it’s safe to say that having one mask in each category, or several masks that fall under multiple categories, is a reasonable, and dare I say, a sensible thing to do. It’s important to do some research and find the best mask for our skin type and needs. If we have sensitive, dry, or acne prone skin, etc., we need to take these factors into consideration when choosing a mask.

I will say that many masks have multiple functions and benefits. If we’re tight on cash, or just don’t want the clutter of so many products in our medicine cabinet, it’s easy to choose just a couple masks that have multiple uses and benefits. Multifunctional masks can be great, healing and combating multiple problem areas at once is both time efficient and smart. There is no one cure-all mask for anyone; we need to test and research to find the right combination for ourselves.

Advanced Hydration Mask – Josh Rosebrook

The Advanced Hydration Mask is a wonderfully hydrating mask that will nourish even the driest of faces with super hydrating ingredients including Aloe Vera (regenerates skin), mango seed butter (moisturizing and tightening), senna seed extract (hydrates and repairs) and blue tansy oil (calms irritation). This mask is like a cool drink of water for our parched face. It even looks like water with its blue color, from the blue tansy flower oil, and silky texture. Packed with rich plant oils and botanicals it helps replenish and retain skin cell hydration. The mask helps to lock in moisture, plump, condition and improve skin circulation, which protects and supports healthy skin function and slows signs of aging in the skin.

Nutritive Greens Mask – Aster & Bay

Aster & Bay describes their Nutritive Greens mask as a green smoothie for your face, and I think they hit the nail on the head with that one. This mask contains nutrient-dense natural herbs and superfoods like peppermint, matcha, spinach, and spirulina, which are all blended with French green clay and raw wildflower honey, creating a facemask that detoxifies, tones, and nourishes. Packed with chlorophyll and amino acids, the mask also helps fight free radicals, which can cause premature aging in our skin.

The raw honey inhibits bacterial growth and can help heal many skin conditions such as acne, inflammation, and redness. The honey also helps to nourish and protect skin, making it an excellent choice for all skin types.

Clearing Mask – Indie Lee

The Clearing Mask helps purify clogged pores and congested skin with its gentle, yet effective detoxifying formula. The mask leaves skin feeling tightened and firm, but still nourished. This is most likely due to the hyaluronic acid in the mask, softening the face and enhancing circulation.

The Clearing Mask is ideal for congested and acne-prone skin. The clay and fruit acid formula helps eliminate dead skin cells and removes toxins from our pores, helping to reduce inflammation and redness, while helping to promote healing from acne scarring.

The mask can also be used as a spot treatment for those stubborn breakouts we want to get rid of fast. The mask is both detoxifying and hydrating, so it won’t dry out our skin if we leave it on for several hours, or even overnight.

Clarifying Mask – Tata Harper

The Clarifying Mask is a great mask for almost any skin imperfection. This mask is great for helping our skin get back to looking healthy, balanced and clear. The mask has an enzymatic peel effect that helps reduce the appearance of breakouts, redness, and excess oil without drying or irritating the skin.

The mask also contains chlorella, which nourishes and hydrates the skin; it also gives it a vibrant green color. When washing off the mask, warm water activates the effect of quartz sand crystals in the mask, which exfoliates and soften our skin as we gently massage it off of our face. This is an amazing added bonus that I really love; it leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft as well invigorated.

3-Minute Flash Mask – Ursa Major

The 3 Minute Flash Mask is a gentle but effective “flash” enzyme face treatment that quickly exfoliates dead skin built up on the surface of our face. It also helps to accelerate skin cell turnover, enhancing the appearance of skin tone, brightness, elasticity, and firmness.

This mask is very gentle and gives the same amazing effects as an intense scrub or light chemical peel without the irritation. The gel-like texture and amazing tropical pineapple and orange fruity smell only help to elevate the amazing benefits of this mask.

This mask has really helped to brighten my skin and gives me a wonderful glow, thanks to brightening ingredients like pineapple and hibiscus. Other natural ingredients that work wonders in this mask are pomegranate enzymes that help remove dull, dead skin cells, leaving behind smoother softer and brighter skin.

The Flash Mask is gentle enough for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin that might be a bit wary of an enzymatic mask should give this one a try.

Buchu Botanical Enzyme Polish – African Botanics

The Buchu Botanical Enzyme Polish is an amazing and gentle facial polish that deeply exfoliates and purifies the skin by lifting off dead skin cells leaving skin clean, soft and radiant without irritation.

A combination of dried Buchu plant and crushed Baobab fruit are combined with healing micro-algae and fine granules of volcanic minerals to improve texture and soften the look of fine lines and dark spots by buffing away dead skin.

The polish is also loaded with papaya and pineapple enzymes to clear pores while minimizing their appearance and improving radiance. Essential oils of Bergamot, Rose Geranium, and Tea Tree are stimulating and soothing, which helps to detox and calm the skin with their anti-inflammatory properties.

I love using this polish in the shower; you only have to leave the mask on for around 5 minutes to reap all the amazing benefits. I massage it into my face right when I get in and wash it off after I finished all of my other shower tasks. Multi-tasking in the shower, while getting a smoother, plumper more radiant complexion all at the same time, that’s what I call a true win-win right there folks.

Healing Manuka Mask – La Bella Figura

This hydrating Healing Manuka Mask works wonderfully for dry, irritated and mature skin conditions. The mask is formulated with mineral rich manuka honey, which nourishes and calms the skin with its antibacterial properties. Manuka Honey can also help fight acne and acne scarring and reduce redness and inflammation in the skin. The mask also contains Aronia berry extract, an excellent source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, as well as rosehip seed oil that helps in speeding up skin’s regenerative process which can help combat the signs of aging.

This is a hard-working and powerful mask that has a very potent formulation. While this is wonderful for revealing radiant and fresh looking skin, it can cause a strong reaction and therefore isn’t recommend for those with sensitive skin.

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Fresh Faced: Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil

I am very picky about my cleansers. Well, if we’re being honest, I’m very picky about everything. But cleansers are an integral step in our skincare routine. We start and/or end our days with our cleanser. We are counting on them to remove dirt and grime from the day and to wipe off the makeup we rocked all day long and are now desperately ready to free ourselves from. They need to clean our face and make us feel fresh and invigorated. It’s a tough gig, but I think I found the gal for the job.

The Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil by One Love Organics is my holy grail of cleansers. Do I have an entire shelf filled with other cleansers in my bedroom? Maybe. But, do I reach for this one 90% of the time? Totally. This cleanser removes dirt and impurities while also restoring skin’s natural moisture barrier, which is one reason why I love this oil cleanser so much. So does my dry and acne prone skin. The Vitamin B cleanser contains papain, a fruit enzyme that helps to exfoliate and soften. It also contains a natural Vitamin B complex to detoxify and tone.

It may seem like a foreign concept to some out there, but oil can be a great combative to both oily and acne prone skin; crazy but true. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh, dewy and clean. I’m not a huge fan of that squeaky-clean feeling left behind by some cleansers. If you do that’s great, but maybe shy away from an oil cleanser. The oil moisturizes and cleanses the face all in one, which is wonderful for me. As an added, awesome bonus, the Vitamin B cleanser is killer at removing makeup; yes, even that pesky eye makeup. We just have to use a little extra product to get all the mascara off our eyes, but it definitely works. I use 1 pump when I’m just cleansing and 2 pumps when I’m trying to remove makeup as well as cleanse.

Picture from Credo Beauty, online

I love giving my face a massage while applying the cleanser. It feels great and helps to get circulation flowing, which helps tighten our skin. Say goodbye to all those annoying wrinkles we’re all convinced we have. Obviously, this doesn’t happen overnight, but a face massage every night over the course of a few months, to a year,  will definitely improve our overall skin tone. Also as an added sense of pampering and luxury, it smells fantastic.

I apply the cleanser to my hands and rub them together to evenly distribute the product. I then massage it into a dry face anywhere from 30 seconds up to 1 minute. When it comes to removing the cleanser, it can be done in several ways. We can simply remove it with warm water, then pat dry with a washcloth. But, if we’re looking for a deeper clean, and a small amount of exfoliation, just saturate a washcloth with warm water and press it over your face, holding it there until the cloth loses most of its heat. Then repeat this process, but this time gently rub the cloth to remove the rest of the oil, hence the light exfoliation. This technique helps the cleanser to enter deeper into our pores, creating a deeper and more effective cleanse. However one decides to use the cleanser, it’s sure to be effective. I highly recommend checking it out!

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Restaurant Snapshot: Little Choc Apothecary Brooklyn, NY

We set the scene for this Restaurant Snapshot in a quaint little café overlooking the bustling streets of Brooklyn. Warm smells of freshly brewed tea and chocolaty smooth coffee beans waft in the air as the quaint atmosphere and décor wash over you. Little Choc Apothecary is such a calming and relaxing place to go grab brunch with a friend, sit and work for hours, or even just grab a quick lunch. This café produces some of the best crepes around, and trust me when I tell you, that you’d never guess they were a completely vegan and (almost) gluten-free establishment.

This fact obviously only makes it better for me, but don’t go blabbing to your non-vegan friends just yet, in case they decide not to try them on principle. First, make them try the crepes and then when they fall in love with them, like I know they probably will, you can tell them the great news, these buggers are totally vegan!

To be honest, I am a huge crepe fan; I’m a bit obsessed. But let’s be real, what isn’t there to love about crepes. They can be both savory and sweet, come on, that’s amazing! You can literally eat them for every meal, morning, noon and night, and I would totally do that. Wait a minute, this sounds like something I should actually try out one of these days, and soon. Anyway, I have always had trouble finding a crepe that fit my dietary needs. Either the batter wasn’t gluten-free/vegan or if the batter was all clear, there would be very few options for toppings and fillings, and what is a crepe really without the filling.

I was so excited when I happened to stumble upon this place during one of my frequent foursquare searches. Side note, Foursquare is an awesome tool for finding restaurants and cafes. I can just type in my dietary restrictions, price point and location, then voilà it shows me tons of great options to choose from. I highly recommend checking it out the next time you’re in charge of picking a place to meet for food or drinks with friends.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program, aka crepes.

Personally, I am a big fan of the savory crepe. Now, I’m well aware that I am probably in the minority here, but savory crepes are my jam guys. I do like sweet crepes too, but most of the time I go to Little Choc Apothecary, I tend to gravitate towards their savory options.

The burrito and breakfast crepe are probably the favorites that I have tried. Everything that I’ve gotten there has been great, but those stand out to me in terms of flavor and fillings. They both have mushroom bacon, which I will admit is one of my favorite things ever. The burrito crepe also has homemade cashew cheese sauce, which is amazing, guys seriously if I could just get a side of this sauce to drink, I totally would do it, it’s that good.

The breakfast burrito is pretty standard and a good tofu scramble is always tasty, but with the added crunch of the coconut bacon and cucumber, I know it seems strange, but it totally works, this crepe excels to a whole new level.

I have also had the ‘pizza’ and’ garden of eaten’ crepe, both very tasty, but just not my favorites. I am very interested in trying the ‘room for mushroom’ crepe because it sounds wonderful. Honestly, though I’m interested in eventually trying all of them, and I’m sure that I probably will very soon.

As far as the sweet crepes go, I’ve only ordered one, sorry dudes. I got my crepe filled with homemade vegan Nutella and strawberries and it was very tasty. They don’t have pre-made options for their sweet crepes like they do for their savory counterparts. Instead, you get to choose your own fillings and toppings. The first two toppings are free, and then it costs .50 cents per each additional item you add on after that.

Now, Apothecary is part of the name for a good reason; they serve up an expansive array of loose-leaf teas, along with several specially crafted, medicinal blends.

Such as their sniffles blend that contains, feverfew, lemon balm, and hyssop. This will help clear up your fever and allergy symptoms.

They also make a digestion tea blend, to aid an upset stomach. This includes alfalfa, dandelion, ginger, and peppermint.

Afternoon tea is also offered on their menu, in both sweet and savory options. This includes a pot of tea, a scone with clotted cream and jam, 1 slice of cake and 2 cookies for the sweet option. For the savory, they offer a pot of tea, a scone with clotted cream and jam, a savory crepe and 2 cookies.

While they do offer other coffee and espresso-based drinks, I suggest sticking to the loose-leaf tea options. They are unique and a special treat that you can’t find everywhere, unlike these other café staples.

Little Choc Apothecary is a whimsical and inviting space that serves up some damn good food. I highly recommend you check them out if you like crepes, tea and a nice place to chill for a few hours with friends or a good book.

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DIY: Natural Toothpaste

We’re probably all guilty of not really thinking too much about what is in our toothpaste. We squeeze it onto our toothbrush and 2-3 minutes later we’re done, with minty fresh breath and a set of pearly whites to show for it. However, a lot of ingredients used in conventional toothpaste can be harmful to our bodies and our health.

The Tooth About Conventional Toothpaste

Most conventional toothpaste is filled with artificial colors and sweeteners, like aspartame. Do we really need to have red and blue stripes swirled into our toothpaste? I don’t think we’re getting any marks for patriotism there.

These conventional pastes also contain fluoride, which can cause tooth discoloration and stomach problems. The FDA actually requires a warning label on every tube of toothpaste sold in the US that contains fluoride, true story folks.

So, you know that rich foamy/bubbly lather you get when brushing your teeth? That stuff is made possible by Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which is a surfactant that is used in a range of products from industrial cleaners to toothpaste, its main purpose is to provide a foaming lather. The problem with SLS however, is that it may cause canker sores, mouth ulcers, stomach issues, and cancer.

Call me crazy, but something that we are putting into our mouths upwards of two times a day, and inevitably ingesting, shouldn’t be dangerous to our health, right? This is why I switched over to natural toothpaste several years ago, and eventually started making my own, because ain’t nobody got money to pay $5 for a tube of toothpaste that you can make for less than $1. Can I get an Amen?

Brush It Off

If DIYing just isn’t for you, here is a list of natural toothpaste recommendations. These toothpastes are all from respected and trusted natural brands. Number 5 on the list is actually the toothpaste I used and loved before I started making my own.

Anyway, I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram just about a year ago now, when I came across a post from SW Basics, where they shared a simple, and boy do I mean simple, toothpaste recipe. When I saw this I thought to myself, shit I can do that, so I did. And I’ve been making a slightly modified version of their toothpaste recipe ever since.

Here is the recipe I found:

  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 20 drops peppermint oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Combine all the ingredients into a paste, store in a sealed container. It will last up to six months.

In my version, I omit the salt altogether as the baking soda has enough of a salty taste to me and I didn’t feel the need to add it in; the taste just wasn’t as appealing to me. I also use around 25 drops of peppermint essential oil, to boost the minty flavor of the paste. I am a huge peppermint fan, but if you aren’t there is no need to add more, 20 drops is sufficient in helping to freshen your breath reduce bacteria and mask the majority of the baking soda taste.

It’s always important to remember too that a simple recipe like this can easily be adjusted and modified to fit the needs of each individual person. Add a little more, or less of each ingredient until it has the consistency and taste you like best. It is your toothpaste after all; you should make it how you want!

I will say it did take me several weeks to fully adjust to the new taste and texture of my new homemade toothpaste. This stuff doesn’t foam and bubble, nor does it have a fake overpowering spear-minty flavor. It may not taste great to you at first, but trust me you will get used to it, and let’s be real for a second, does our toothpaste really need to taste good? As long as it freshens our breath and gets rid of plaque and bacteria we’re all good, and this stuff definitely does that.

So, please guys, let’s get brushing and give this stuff a chance. I promise your teeth, health, wallet and the environment will be thanking you! And the satisfaction you’ll feel from making your own health/body care products is such a great feeling in and of itself.

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