Is your skincare and beauty routine ‘clean’? Most of us know to avoid products with parabens and chemicals, but it can get tricky to determine if your favorite shampoo or skin cream is safe – especially because the government isn’t doing anything to ensure safety in beauty product ingredients. Meanwhile, some manufacturers hide chemical components under other phrases on their labels, since the FDA doesn’t have the authority to regulate the manufacturer’s labeling when it comes to ‘trade secrets’.
But we’re getting smarter about the harmful effects of chemicals in our skin and hair care products. Consumers are questioning the science behind the treatment and beauty products they use, while celebrities and product brands are pushing forward toward natural and clean beauty.
As a result, brands have been forced to be more transparent and honest about the formulations behind their products, and the Clean Beauty space has exploded in recent years.
Some of the top clean beauty product trends to look for this year are…
There is something magical about mornings. Before the kids wake up, before we start checking our email or dealing with our never-ending to-do list… there is quiet. There is calm. Taking time for yourself in the morning is one of the most powerful things you can do to cultivate wellness, ease, focus, and a sense of control in your busy day. By creating an intentional morning routine, you will find yourself making healthier choices for your body throughout the day, experiencing less stress, exhibiting more patience with your family, and getting more done in your work. Enter: your Morning Power Hour.
In Ayurveda, the daily self-care routine is called dinacharya, which is a customized set of practices (most of which take place in the morning) that drastically improve your health and mindset, balance your body, and set the tone for your entire day. Though the full, traditional dinacharya is rather extensive and can take multiple hours, I have had great success in creating a modified routine that takes no more than an hour (and can even be accomplished in less if need be), fits into our busy modern lives, and yields amazing results.
Below is a basic Morning Power Hour dinacharya that you can modify, add to or subtract from based on how much time you have to dedicate to self-care in the morning, and customize for your body/mind type (or dosha).
Towards the end of summer, those of us blessed with sensitive skin seem to be in a constant state of redness. All that sun and heat combine to create a perfect storm of oily/sweaty skin, breakouts, and sun damage which don’t seem to clear up until the cool fall weather kicks in.
For sensitive skin (Pitta skin, if we’re going to get all Ayurvedic about it), there are two skincare ingredients that can’t be beat: aloe vera and rose. These two are great for use year round, but are particularly beneficial during the hot summer months, when sensitive skin can get particularly inflamed. Here’s why these two cooling, calming ingredients can’t be beat:
Aloe vera has been used since ancient times for it’s healing properties, and though it has many benefits, skincare is where it really shines. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, aloe is used to soothe inflamed skin, counter the signs of aging, heal sun damage, and to treat chronic conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis. It’s loaded with antioxidants and skin-feeding nutrients, and features two phyto-hormones (Auxin and Gibberelins) that heal wounds, soothe inflammation, and promote cell turnover. It’s pretty much the perfect skincare ingredient!
Rose is another ancient skincare ingredient that is basically a magical beauty potion. Perfect for all skin types, rose petals distilled into rosewater are anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial and antioxidant. It balances skin’s pH and oil production, unclogs pores, reduces redness, heals inflammatory skin conditions (like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea), and promotes cell regeneration. Women (and men, I’m sure) as far back as ancient Egypt and India have touted it’s ability to keep skin youthful, glowing, and beautiful. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the scent of rose is soothing to the nervous system, and promotes feelings of calm, joy, and openness.
These two ingredients are such a perfect match that combining them in your skincare routine really amplifies their soothing and beautifying effects. So you can imagine how pumped I was to discover Green Leaf Naturals, an entirely organic, all-natural skincare line that harnesses the beautifying, soothing power of these two all-star ingredients.
As a Pitta dosha, your body and skin match your fiery personality. You run hot, both physically and emotionally, which means you are the most productive, organized, and Type A of all the types. You like things to get done, and to get them done your way. You are passionate about the things that matter to you, and never shy away from a heated debate. When out of balance (eating the wrong foods, overheating, not managing your stress and perfectionism), you are quite literally inflamed — prone to irritability, digestive issues (IBS, colitis, loose stool), breakouts, rashes, and inflammation of the skin and organs (pretty much anything with an -itis suffix). Download your Pitta Dosha Guide to learn more about your type and get more tips to bring your body into balance!
PITTA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Pitta-type body, Pitta skin is characterized by inflammation and sensitivity. Combination (in terms of oiliness), fair, and prone to rashes, redness, breakouts and other reactions, Pitta skin needs cooling, calming, and gentle treatments to balance it out and keep it happy. When in balance, Pitta skin is radiant and seems to glow from within. Other Pitta skin characteristics are:
a congested T-zone, often with large pores
reddish skin or blushing easily
sensitive to the sun and harsh chemicals
lots of freckles, moles, and sun damage
prone to eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and pimples
The number one best treatment for Pitta skin is cooling ingredients and foods like cucumber, aloe, and rose, internally and externally. Keeping cool helps balance Pitta both inside and out, and since Pitta skin is very sensitive to diet and lifestyle changes, keeping cool and soothed needs to be a lifelong mantra as well as a skincare prescription.
As a Vata dosha (or Ayurvedic type), you are no stranger to feeling like a leaf blowing in the wind, from one thing to the next. You are creative, introspective, and social, but can be plagued with anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. You are slim and have a pretty light appetite. Your energy comes in bursts and you can tire out easily if you don’t take care of yourself. Your Vata skin is similar to your Vata body — dry, cold, and a bit uneven. When you’re in balance, you look and feel like a million bucks. But when you’re not — when you forget to eat, don’t drink enough water, skimp on sleep, get stressed out and overwhelmed, overdo it with travel — your skin (and your gut) are the first places that show it.
VATA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Vata-type body, Vata skin is characterized by dryness and coldness. Thin, dry, and prone to patchiness and premature aging, Vata skin needs warmth and moisture (particularly from oils) to balance it out and keep it happy. Other Vata skin characteristics are:
dark circles under the eyes
leathery or uneven texture
dark spots or uneven skin tone
cold hands and feet
dry, cracked lips and hands
The number one best treatment for Vata skin is oil. Oil, oil, oil. Oil keeps Vata skin hydrated, lustrous, and can even help to heal other symptoms of the Vata constitution, like constipation and anxiety.
My early 20’s were characterized by a few things: opera, boys, NYC, and digestive issues. Though the origins of my digestive disorder were a medical mystery at the time, in retrospect, I can pretty confidently point the finger at the overuse of antibiotics (due to recurrent UTI’s thanks to.. boys) that completely wiped out my intestinal flora. My symptoms ranged from stomach aches, sudden extreme weight gain, and food cravings to depressed mood, fatigue, and headaches. I was miserable, and my doctor’s could do nothing to help me.
DID YOU KNOW?
Candida overgrowth can cause so much bodily and mental drama, including:
gas, bloating and distention
sugar and carb cravings
diarrhea and/or constipation
anxiety and panic attacks
migraines or headaches
impaired focus and concentration
attention deficit and/or hyperactivity
frequent ear infections
toe or fingernail fungus
hypersensitivity to fragrances and/or other chemicals
With so much amazing natural skincare to choose from out there, there is no longer any shortage of lovely, organic and chemical-free products to feed your skin. But just because a product is all-natural doesn’t mean it’s going to work for YOUR skin. Determining the best products for your unique, individual complexion is more than just choosing between lines for dry, oily, or combination skin. There is so much more intricacy in different skin types, and really knowing your skin can mean the difference between results that are just ok (or even bordering on ineffective) and straight-up gorgeous skin.
The qualities of our skin, and the types of products that really help it stay healthy and beautiful, are directly related to our body type, our digestion, and our constitution in general. This bio-individuality is where Ayurveda really shines, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why I have been practicing this ancient healing philosophy for 8 years now (and I’m never going back).
Our Ayurvedic constitution (or dosha) gives us invaluable insight into how our bodies work and what we need to thrive — from the specific foods to eat more of or avoid to stay energized and healthy, to the herbs and supplements that will really keep our systems in balance, to the beauty and self-care products that will keep us looking young and radiant.
Your Ayurvedic skin type will generally correspond to your dosha, but in some rare cases, it may stray from your general constitution if there is a particular imbalance your body is currently dealing with.
I am a sucker for skincare that is good (and clean) enough to eat, so when I find a line of products that’s made entirely of organic botanicals, with not a single additive, preservative or chemical in sight, I get giddy.
Bee All Natural has a lovely line of products that are not only so clean and natural you could eat them (thought to be clear, I generally don’t recommend eating your skincare), but are absolutely jam packed with skin feeding nutrients to soothe, protect, nourish, and heal. Every single organic ingredient has been carefully selected for it’s skin feeding properties, and after using the line on myself and my little on for the last month or so, I can attest to the difference that level of attention to detail makes.
This post comes to us from Emily at The Bouqs Company. We love The Bouqs Co. for their eco-friendly, sustainable farming practices, support of boutique artisan florists, and gorgeous, unfussy arrangements.
If I told you that you could relieve stress by simply placing some fresh flowers or plants within your surroundings, would you believe me? A few sunflowers or daffodils arranged in a mason jar on your bedside or in your office will leave you feeling more optimistic and motivated to tackle the day’s challenges. We feel this way because we associate the color yellow with the sun’s rays, which naturally helps us feel happier. In fact, “flower power,” as Chinese healers have referred to it, gives us the ability to control the flower’s emotions and the secret is held within the flower’s color. It’s not just bright yellow sunflowers that improve our mood, all kinds of flowers and their colors can provide positive health benefits.
Here are a few ways to add more stress relieving flowers and plants into your daily lifestyle:
About 6 years ago, after many failed attempts, I decided I was finally going to learn to meditate. I had tried so many times before, with no success (or so I thought). I was convinced that I just wasn’t the type of person that could meditate. But being a generally anxious person, prone to a heightened stress response, I knew I had to give it another go. So I signed up for a free online 28 day meditation series led by two people I loved (from a distance, at least): Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. Not too shabby a combo, right?
After much a frustrating first two weeks, which felt like me “meditating” meant sitting there trying not to think about all the shit on my mind, but then thinking about it anyway, and realizing that I just spent 10 minutes thinking about my to-do list…. le sigh. But suddenly, a little over two weeks in, I realized that I had turned a corner. I was able focus on my breath and the mantra for longer, bring myself back from distractions faster, and finally reap the benefits of meditation.
Though I’ve done several Meditation Challenges since then, and meditated on my own sporadically, I have not had a solid one month streak in many years, certainly not since becoming a mama. So with the mounting stressors over the last few months of being a work-from-home mom with a strong-willed, precocious toddler, starting an intensive year-long Ayurvedic practitioner program, and starting a new business with my husband (more on that later), I was starting to feel my meditation practice calling to me again.
My neck and shoulders were perpetually tight, I was feeling bouts of anxiety, my patience with my kid and husband was dwindling, and I felt like I was developing much more of a temper than I would like. Something had to change.
To get amazing wellness content, recipes and coaching delivered right to your inbox!
I'm so excited that you're here!
I'm Natasha Uspensky, holistic nutritionist, Ayurvedic practitioner and healthy lifestyle expert. I created The Organic Beauty to be your resource to celebrate and learn about everything from healthy eating and living for your whole family, to natural beauty and sustainable style. I hope to inspire you to live beautifully and healthfully, in a life you love!