Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm and Elixir

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Neal's Yard Remedies Store London

Neal’s Yard Remedies Store London

Travel tip: If you’re planning a trip to London, go to the Neal’s Yard Remedies stores on King’s Road or even prettier at Covent Garden to stock up on products, have some tea and get a facial in their in-house spa. Two of my favorite products right now are from Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Wild Rose line:

Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm
Wild Rose Beauty Balm contains a mix of different oils and promises to cleanse, exfoliate, and nourish at the same time depending on how you use it. I bought it just before my flight back to New York and couldn’t wait to try it, from all the travelling and too little sleep my face felt horrible: it was dry and full blemishes. So I applied it during the flight and my face felt soft and moisturized even after eight hours of flying. The balm comes with a muslin cloth to use for the oil cleansing method. Following the three-step system just before going to bed helps cleaning out your pores and softening and tighten your skin. With $70 (£37 if you are in the UK) it is on the pricey side, but definitely worth it!

Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Elixir
A blend of wild rose hip oil full of vitamin C, turmeric to brighten, frankincense to rejuvenate, and geranium to calm the skin make this elixir a special treat for your skin. I use it evening and morning after cleansing my face and neck. It is £45.50 if you’re in the UK and $77 in the US.

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Ingredients:
Aqua (Water), Glycerin*, Palmitoyl tripeptide-5, Rosa canina (Rosehip) fruit oil*, Curcuma longa (Turmeric) root extract, Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) flower oil*, Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil*, Cymbopogon martinii (Palmarosa) herb oil*, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) leaf oil*, Sodium hyaluronate, Ascorbyl palmitate, Cetearyl olivate, Sorbitan olivate, Levulinic acid, Xanthan gum, Potassium sorbate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

African Black Soap

Sheaterra African Black Soap

Have you heard of African Black Soap? I recently received it with a package I ordered and am astonished! I have to admit, at first a bar of black soap didn’t appeal to me, or at least I wasn’t convinced that this should go on my skin since it looks a little bit like dirt. After doing some research, I learned that African black soap is a natural exfoliator and is supposed to help against acne and wrinkles by breaking down dead skin cells – perfect for 20-somethings like me who are still fighting against breakouts and are trying to prevent wrinkles at the same time.

I’m using Sheaterra African Black Soap which has been made since ancient times by the Yoruban tribe in Nigeria. Black soap is made by combining its main ingredients cocoa pod ash, plaintain peel ash, palm oil, and camwood with coconut oil and shea butter.  The bar is abrasive but gentle: the ash pieces are microdermabrasive and make for a great scrub, feeling especially good on the back, while oils and shea butter soothe the skin leaving a luxurious layer. I use it to prevent skin irritations on my face, shoulders, back and on my legs. It works fabulous! The ash visibly sheds away dead skin and really pulls out all the dirt in your pores (you might see an increased amount of white heads during the first days of using it, but they’re just on their way out).

With $8 this Sheaterra African black soap bar is pretty affordable, especially since it lasts for a long time. I recommend it for oily and combination skin. Apply a natural oil or moisturizer afterwards.

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Ingredients:
USDA certified organic, virgin coconut cream oil, African black soap (cocoa pod ash, plaintain peel ash, palm oil, camwood), 24% USDA certified organic shea butter, certified organic, extra virgin olive oil, spring water, sodium hydroxide

Crush on Coconut

Coconut Oil Body Scrub

This summer I have a total crush on everything coconut: I am drinking coconut water to hydrate before yoga, I mix coconut flakes to my cereal in the morning over which I pour almond-coconut milk which I also drink with my iced-coffee. Coconut makes a much creamier and tastier milk than other cow milk alternatives such as almond or soy milk. I admit, that I have a temporary coconut addiction, and it probably shouldn’t be consumed as excessively as I do it at the moment, but coconut has a lot of benefits. Recently, I substituted my regular cooking oil for coconut oil. It’s subtle in taste and since it doesn’t smoke as easy as other oils it’s even healthier than cooking with extra virgin olive oil for example. The smoking point is an important factor to look at as this is the moment when heat turns healthy fats into trans fats and other bad byproducts.

Did you know that coconut oil is not only a tasty ingredient in sweet and savory foods and drinks, but works as antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant? For some time coconut oil was considered unhealthy for containing mostly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (polyunsaturated are the good ones), but there’s a lot of research out there refuting this. The saturated fatty acid is Lauric acid which is antiviral according to WebMD.

Oil-Pulling
For the past three days I tried oil pulling with coconut oil.  Oil pulling is an ayurvedic method to clean your mouth and pull  toxins out of the body promising whiter teeth and prevention of gingivitis,plaque and caries. You will need to swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 20-25 minutes, every day before breakfast. The thought of holding oil in your mouth for a relatively long time might seem a little disgusting at first, but it really isn’t that bad at all and you can do it during your morning shower. I feel refreshed and clean afterwards, it’s like soap for your mouth without the soapy taste. So far, I believe in it and I will let you know after a few weeks if I think it works.

DIY
Now that I have the oil at my house, I decided to made a scrub by mixing it with coarse sea salt (see picture above). It’s very simple and feels and smells amazing.

Coconut Oil in Cosmetics
Coconut oil is also beneficial for your body, with vitamin E hydrating and rejuvenating your skin. Since I am reading more and  more cosmetic labels I realized that many of the products I’ve written about so far contain coconut oil. Mainstream cosmetic brands such as l’Occitane and Neutrogena have it in their ingredients list as well as smaller companies such as Kiss My Face and Southampton Soap Company.

 

Priti NYC Organic Nail Polish

Fall 13 Dusk in Paris Mini Card

Priti NYC is my new favorite nail polish: the lacquer is easy to apply, covers perfectly and it stays pretty on my nails for a week even without a top coat. Even my beloved Chanel polishes aren’t that resistant. Priti’s color palette is amazing and since blue is the must-have nail color of the moment, I’m going with Baby Blue Eyes from the Bahamas Collection for my summer ’13 nails and am already looking forward to try Paper Birch from the fall collection. No wonder fashion designers like Stella McCartney and Thakoon love Priti NYC and use it for their models during fashion weeks.  Priti NYC comes Vegan & 5 Free, which means that it’s free of carcinogens such as  toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. There’s good and bad news: while the European Union has banned toluene and formaldehyde, the US goverment hasn’t, so you can keep your Chanels and Diors, because they’re both 5 Free, but watch out for carcinogenic ingredients when buying other brands.

With $13,50 in the US and €15,95 in Germany it costs a little more than Essie and much less then Chanel.

(Photo sources: Isabelle Winter, and Priti NYC website)

Red Wine: Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet Creme

Summer time is rosé season here in New York, meanwhile in Europe everyone is drinking Hugo, a wine cocktail with elderflower and fresh mint. I can’t get enough of either and when summer is over, indulging in red wine and dark chocolate is one of my favorite health and beauty treatments on the planet! How can something so tasteful be so good for you? Polyphenols in grapes and flavonols in chocolate beans are powerful anti-oxidants making wine and chocolate so unbelievably healthy and helping to fight free radicals that are responsible for premature aging.

Caudalie, founded on a vineyard in Southern France, uses polyphenols extracted from grapes and grape seed oil in its skin care line. Antioxidants protect and the oil nourishes the skin. Vinosource Sorbet is extremely moisturizing, perfectly for dry to normal skin. I like to apply it directly onto dry lines letting it work like a filler.

At $39 Vinosource Sorbet is a bit pricey, but it lasts for a pretty long time.

Have some wine, it’s Saturday!

Five Nutrients for a Beautiful Skin

For any kind of skin problems I believe that a holistic approach is best. Changing what goes onto the skin and into the body. If we are lacking certain nutrients or our digestive track is off balance, it is often shown on our skin. Here are some nutrients that I take fresh or in form of supplements and that have proven to work effectively – on myself and in official research.

Turmeric: Turmeric (Curcuma), a root that belongs to the Ginger family is used in Ayurvedic medicine and as spice in typical Indian cuisine. Turmeric is boosting with health-promoting superpowers: it is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral,  and anti-fungal.  Indian women have used Turmeric for centuries for its beautifying effects: Turmeric brightens and evens out the skin tone by gently inhibiting pigmentation. Keep your eyes open for fresh turmeric roots at your grocery store. Alternatively take as capsules or mix powder to a mask.

Papaya Enzyme Papain: Papaya fruit has already been used in ancient societies to heal rashes and wounds from cuts,  stings and burns. Papain is a powerful digestive enzyme helping the body get rid of toxins faster, even digesting toxins from jellyfish stings and insect bites. Papain is a great skin exfoliator promoting skin cell renewal and enabling the body to heal damaged tissue. Like Turmeric it can be taken orally or used topical as cream or mask.I always prefer fresh fruit when it’s in season. But sometimes it’s tough to get a fresh papaya, so I take these supplements: American Health Chewable Original Papaya Enzyme, Tablets, 250 ea

Zinc: Zinc strengthens the immune system and powerfully protects and repairs the skin from damage. Zinc controls the production of oil and acne causing hormones in the skin. My skin usually clears up quickly when I take Zinc daily.

Silica: Silica is an essential element in the body’s collagen production that is responsible for holding together the connective tissue in our skin and organs. Unfortunately I am not blessed with a strong connective tissue, therefore, to strengthen and tighten the skin, I take Silica daily. Sufficient collagen keeps the skin youthfully plump, strengthens the walls of our veins and reduces the risk of spider and varicose veins. I’ve been asked a few times what kind of Silica I’d recommend. I’m a fan of algae, which like almost everything from the sea is packed with minerals, so red algae based silica is my fav. You can get it in any health store, Whole Foods, or online: Solgar, Oceanic Silica, 100 Vegetable Capsules

Horse Chestnut: Unless you lucked out with strong and healthy veins, you probably have at least a few spider veins that bother you. A few years ago a very conservative doctor told me nothing could  be done to prevent these veins and recommended to “find a man and get married” as soon as I can before my legs look like… well you can google images for yourself. I did not believe him and went to see a naturopathic practicioner who recommended to take Horse Chestnut supplements for stronger veins and better blood circulation and Silica to strengthen my connective tissue. This is six years ago and my legs feel stronger and are still perfectly in shape 🙂
Nature’s Way Standardized Horse Chestnut Extract, 250mg, Capsules, 90 ea

Weleda Body Oils for Taut and Smooth Skin

I already mentioned how beneficial oils are for the skin. For my legs I am using Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil which is famous for its anti-cellulite formula: Birch Oil tightens and other ingredients like Apricot Kernel Oil and Jojoba Oil work as natural emollients to soften the skin. As far as I know, no product alone can fight cellulite completely, but there are definitely products out there that are able to reduce the visibility and improve the touch. A combination of applying Weleda Birch Oil twice a day while massaging the thighs and doing cardio exercise like running, biking or swimming every other day helps pretty well to reduce the signs of cellulite. Massaging is the key as it targets the lower laying connective tissue and fat cells. I have to admit, I am lazy during the winter months, but once spring hits I start this routine and see effects after about two weeks.

For the last weeks I’ve tried Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil before I went to bed and it has a positive impact on my skin. Pomegranate received an upwind in recent years because of its antioxidant powers and its extracts are used in many anti-aging cosmetics. This formula also contains additional oils such as Jojoba and Sunflower Seed Oil.

Weleda products can be found in most drugstores, pharmacies, and health stores world wide.