Friday, December 10, 2010

apple cider vinegar for acne and skin problems

apple cider vinegar is a relatively new thing to me. i found out about it on the blogosphere and bought my first bottle a few months back - i'm sure it was in some sort of haul video this last summer. but anyway, i first purchased it with a mind to use it on my hair, as i'd heard that this helps strip product build up and make your hair shinier. but after several repeat attempts, i still have not managed to make ACV work for my hair. i think my shampoo is just TOO good! ha ha.

so, i have been experimenting with using it on my skin. with really great results actually! which is why i thought it only fair to pass my information on to you guys ♥

firstly, if you want like 400+ positive reviews on it, check out the MUA boards, which completely rave about this for all sorts of things. and the boards for their shining reviews on using this for clearing your skin.

my own personal experience with this has been somewhat interesting. i started by using it as a direct spot treatment - which did not really work for me. i was literally putting some ACV on a cotton pad and pressing onto the infected area. i think this just aggravated it more than anything. so, i switched it up.

i mixed together in an old Neal's Yard blue glass spray bottle half of apple cider vinegar and half of rose water with a few extra drops of rosemary or lavender oil. i created my own anti-acne toner basically. which was so easy, and a really cheap thing to make too (added bonus!)

i spray my face with it once i've put my makeup on in the morning to set my makeup (sort of) and then once in the evening after cleansing. sometimes if i've gone out for an event and have lots of makeup on, i'll use this as a final cleanser/toner to make sure all the product is off and my face is really clean - i just spray a little onto a cotton wool pad and gently run it across my face. i make sure to shake it each time i use it too, just so that the product is evenly mixed.

i've finished almost two wholes bottles of this toner now, and i love it! the lavender and rose water calm down the strong scent of the apple cider vinegar, and it's less pungent. it's not too strong or direct an application to irritate my skin, though it is enough to help tighten my pores and even out my skin tone.

along with other things (which I'll talk about soon, i promise) this is really helping to clear up my acne around my mouth and jawline. thank goodness!

i've also been using it as a dressing on salads, which is yummy, and i'm sure helps the skin from the inside too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

radiant skin article

this article popped up on my bloglovin reader and i thought you guys might be interested to read it...

Radiant Skin 101 talks about the causes of breakouts in relation to diet. and i must say that i find this all totally true! since summer i've put sugar and milk back into my diet, by accident and laziness - not purposefully. and my skin has been breaking out like mad. i'm cutting it back out again now, and i'm already seeing much improvement... so please do read the article and follow it's advice ♥

Thursday, September 09, 2010

circulation - the secret to good skin

i have to start by being really honest. i am not a great exerciser. there. you have it. i don't think i have ever grasped just how important it is though - maybe that's been the problem.

when i was at school i actually did pretty well - once exercise was no longer compulsory i joined the nearest gym - which i loved. you could run for ages whilst watching MTV, relax in the pool and steam rooms after a good session of cross training. and actually when i look back at photos of myself at that time...

Exhibit A:

i don't remember having any problems with my skin. i never worried about it - i was one of the 'lucky' few who didn't have a battle with acne or spots. i always thought it was just good complexion - and a pretty good diet that did it.

then when i went to uni i got more and more interested in healthy eating and food, and i ran every other morning throughout my first year. 

Exhibit B:

and now, although my skin is OK, it's nothing in comparison to what it was. it has more breakouts, and the 'glow' that you get from exercise isn't there naturally... i spend more time on it, put more makeup on it, and just generally fuss about it more.

so what do i learn from looking back at these photos? and what can you also take away with you?
 - exercise is important! 

and not just pilates and yoga dvd's, or a bit of gardening, or a short walk at lunchtime. no, it has to really get your circulation going. otherwise you stagnate. all those bad things in your skin can't get flushed away nearly as quickly, and so you skin breaks out because the circulation isn't working correctly to get rid of the dirt.

when you go for a run or a session on the cross-trainer, you boost your circulation, enabling your body to work at it's best level, it's cleansing level. you let out sweat (essential cleansing! - it's good for you) and if you drink water whilst you do this - which you NEED to - then you'll help the cleansing one step further too.

so that's what i've been doing. stagnating. sitting in my own grime. ew, it's gross, but necessary, because essentially that's what i've been doing. and i think that's probably why loads of people in their early twenties get breakouts more than at school - because they are less active.

obviously it can swing the other way, you can exercise too much! you need to be careful to exercise with a thoroughly cleansed face (with perhaps only a light layer of mineral make-up if you are really self conscious, and a little mascara) so then when you start to get warm and your pores open it won't let in any dirt that's sat on your face. finishing your exercise by jumping in water is usually a great idea, and sitting in a steam room (which gyms often have) is fantastic - or having a hot shower. i always wait until my face has returned to a regular-ish temperature before i rinse it off with water.

there are a few other ways you can improve the circulation without full hardcore body pumping exercise - although it really is the best, as you benefit from so many other benefits at the same time. you can go for a full body massage - it stimulates all the systems under the skin, especially the lymph system (aka, waste disposal unit!) and promotes a fantastic healthy glow. 

body brushing is another way to get this same effect - i've been doing this and have noticed a distinct difference. i once heard someone say that if you have time to brush your teeth, then you have time to brush your body. and it's so true. you just gently sweep the body brush towards your heart in long strokes, in the morning and before bed. it's worth a try, and should be really helpful for those with bumpy skin texture.

so, in conclusion, i think i'd better start running again, what do you think? well, we'll be getting a puppy next week, so soon i'll be forced out of the house to walk for at least 2 hours...perhaps i can break into a run halfway through.

Friday, June 18, 2010

honey and almond facial scrub

this homemade facial scrub is ridiculously easy to make, and incredibly simple and pure. i was trying to think of a scrub ingredient that wouldn't be too abrasive, and harsh on my skin - something that would even out the skin tone but not aggravate it...and finally i came across the idea of using ground almonds. i adore cooking with them, so we've always got some in the cupboard...

i mixed 1 teaspoon of raw honey with 2-3 teaspoons of ground almonds, just with my finger - but you can use a spoon if you want to be a tad more hygienic. i put it in an empty neals yard jar (the blue glass ones which really are exceptionally beautiful) and it keeps for a really long time, although you'll probably use it up within two weeks.

i used it a couple of times, and i felt cleansed and moisturised as soon as i rinsed it off. it smells delicious as well, and it can be as cheap/organic as you choose it to be.

i filmed a video with my brother about this homemade facial scrub which is perfect for men as well as women, i think it's pretty funny - there's some outtakes at the end, as well as a little how to watching jonny make the scrub!

why use honey and almonds on your face?
 - honey has great antibacterial and healing properties, as well as being very soothing and fighting redness and inflamation. it's also a fab humectant (moisture attractor) and hydrator
 - almonds have fab moisturising properties, and when soaked and then ground are gentle enough to use as an exfoliant for sensitive skin, it's also great for healing scars and is a fantastic emollient (moisture saver)

Note: moisture attractor + moisture saver = fabulously moist skin!

if you don't have ground almonds, you can grind some up or if you have a nut allergy then you could try using oats instead, that would be fantastic too - although best to grind them up in a food processor first! you could also try baking soda, rice, wheat germ or high quality salt.

* you could also use this recipe as a mask, just use about twice as much as normal, and leave it on your face for 15 minutes. rinse off with warm water, then splash with cold. divine.
*you could also try adding a bit of lemon juice for a bit more lightening, cleansing power if you choose to!
* if you don't want to use raw honey or you don't like it's smell, try exchanging it for yogurt, rose water or a drop of milk which are also super beneficial for skin.

i hope you enjoy experimenting with using honey as a cleanser, moisturiser and scrub, and all-round fantastic beauty ingredient!

if you haven't asked me a question yet, or you're interested in checking out my answers to some fantastically random and brilliant questions, then do check out my formspring, or use the box in the sidebar.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

ask me anything

hiya! i hope your day is beautiful and the sun is's raining here with me at the moment, but i'm not letting it get me down ♥

i just wanted to mention to you all that i have started a formspring account where you can all ask me questions, and even post them anonymously if you want...

here's the link:

i will be doing a q&a video soon, as it's been requested a few times, and i thought it might be nice for you all to get to know a little more about me. so go ahead and ask a question, it can be anything, random, intelligent, creative and ask questions you really want to know answers to.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

skin breakouts: the causes and cures

hello lovely readers!

so, i hope this is interesting to you all, i hope that some of the information is new, and helpful to all of you. i think most people can relate to this, as almost everyone has breakouts from time to time. and if you keep getting them in the same area, then this could totally help you! if you haven't seen the skin breakouts video yet, then don't forget to check it out.

if you know the cause of your breakout, then you might just find the cure...

basically, chinese diagnosis / face mapping would highlight that a breakout in a particular area is a sign of a particular organ not functioning as well as it could. so, here is my diagram showing which areas correspond to each other:

and here's a more detailed analysis of how you can help each organ to function better:

bladder - reduce the amount of sugar you eat, increase the amount of water you drink!
digestion - cook simple, nutritional food with clean ingredients, eat green leafy vegetables before a big meal, enjoy eating whole grains, chew your food really well and take time to enjoy it with friends,
liver - reduce your consumption of processed foods, switch to 'whole' foods that are as fresh and organic as possible. check for food intolerances with your doctor, eat more fiber, try to do a mini-detox for 2 days each month where you only eat fruit and veg, take a lipotropic supplement
kidney - drink lots of water each day (about 8 glasses), try eating more blueberries, eat cleansing green foods like celery, cucumerb and asparagus, eat lots of garlic, try a calcium supplement to help support your systems
lungs - keep your immune system in top condition (by getting enough sleep, eating well and not pushing yourself too hard), get out into the fresh air to exercise and get the stagnant air in your lungs removed and refreshed
hormones - eat a diet that's low in animal products to help reset your own hormones (as the hormones of animals can affect your own)
stress - chill out, relax and adjust your lifestyle; get a massage and take regular walks (see my healthy living tips video about this particular subject) - try all sorts of things to reduce the stress on all organs of the body for maximum beauty power!

other factors that can cause breakouts:
after a facial - stimulating the skin in a different way can help to unclog your pores, and in doing so it may cause a few spots or pimples to appear
during detox - when the body detoxes it lets out the toxins through the skin, so you may experience some breakouts at this point, but it's a really good sign of great cleansing action and it reminds you to not let too many toxins in in the first place!
comedogenic products - makeup and skincare products can often cause a breakout because it upsets the PH balance of our skin by often being too acidic/alkaline, choose a mild cleansing milk to avoid disruption and opt for sensitive products and breathable mineral foundations for using every day
oily hair - change your shampoo, and use one that doesn't have comedogenic ingredients.
bad skin-touching habits - be aware of how frequently you touch your face and where, and try to stop doing it! use phones on speaker, or keep them clean to stop breakouts around your jawline
illness - boost your immune system with anti-oxidants, and drink water regularly to flush out bacteria and viruses. take time off to rest and recuperate when you are ill, in order to get your body back into it's natural rythyms quicker
diet - fresh, organic, local and delicious food eaten with friends and family is the best way. try an elimination diet if you aren't sure about the effects of a particular food or food group. raw foodists have the most amazing skin ever, and this is a true testament to the power of fruit and vegetables in causing a glowing, youthful complexion
pillowcases -  change tand wash them regularly to stop the spread of bacteria. try silk cases and anti-allergenic pillows
poor circulation (to get the glow) - get some exercise!, try eating more raw fats from avocadoes, nuts and raw olive oil on salads, add more spices to your cooking to really get that blood going, avoid smoking/smokers and drinking too much alcohol, keep your anger under check

my experiences:
i usually get spots around my chin/mouth area each month due to hormones, and the only remedy for this is lots of good exercise and eating lots of fruit and veg so they heal very quickly and don't get too red.

i used to have breakouts on my forehead, although these have ceased since i reduced the amount of dairy and increased the amount of fresh fruit and veg i am eating. and i used to get frustrating ones around my hairline, which was partly due to shampoo/conditioner (which i changed) as well as habits of touching them which spread them all around the hairline.

i sometimes get bad spots around my jawline after i've been unwell (with diabetes), which are frustrating, and take a long time to heal - because after i've been ill my immune system isn't so good at healing!

i find that my skin is at it's best when i'm exercising and sleeping well. it glows and looks really healthy! it also looks way better after a trip to spa waters (i go to Bath spa, where the natural waters are full of beneficial minerals) which must help to extract toxins and clean out the system.

Friday, April 23, 2010

cheap natural skincare products

skincare should not be expensive.

in fact, i've been trying to stop spending so much money on products lately, instead i've been attempting to buy things only when i need them, and to make sure i really research everything i buy so that my money doesn't go to waste.

it's partly because it's way more environmentally friendly to only buy just what you need, and not have to throw out too many packages in the rubbish. plus, organic products go rancid far quicker than chemical ones, so you don't end up putting horrible smelling things on your face if you only buy what you will actually use.

here's some of the products i have spoken about in my latest video, with a bit more explanation and how tos:

  1. cleanser - i am addicted to expensive cleansers. dr hauschka cleansing milk got me on the path to organic skincare, and really showed me how much better natural products are for your skin. so, i've never really tried any other cleansers. but today i ordered some 100% pure, organic lavender cleansing milk from healing hands aromatherapy on ebay - it came to just under £6 with delivery (not sure if she delivers to the US, or Europe, but it's always worth asking!)
  2. otherwise you could use honey, milk, yoghurt, grapes, cucumber, lemon, oats, olive oil (or other light oils) or make your own cleanser - which is something i hope to do soon! some of the most beautiful women i know use straight honey to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise, and they have super clear skin.
  3. vaseline makes a great eye makeup remover, it's easy to use and it's made my lashes longer, stronger and fuller too. plus it's also kind of like an eye cream, as it leaves a moisturising residue after you take away your eye makeup. plus it's super duper cheap, and can be bought anywhere.
  4. organic hemp seed face cream is awesome! you can buy it from organic uk ebay store for £3.99 plus postage. it's a huge tube, lasts forever, and would suit loads of different skin types as it's not heavy. i recommend this to everyone i know whenever they ask about my skin (which is quite a lot!)
  5. aloe vera is awesome for the skin, if i had a plant i would use it all the time! but aloe plant extract is great too as a toner.
  6. rose water is the best recommendation for a toner, as it's way better than standard toners you buy in health stores because it's moisturising, perfect for sensitive skin, totally pure and smells divine, plus there's nothing added to it (well, make sure you buy 100% pure, and there won't be!) you shouldn't be paying more than a couple of £'s per bottle...if you are then they've added extra things into it, or put it in a super fancy package with a brand attached to it
  7. washcloths are the only exfoliator you need. when i did my makeup training, the instructor had the best skin, and he said that the reason for it was mineral makeup and no exfoliation apart from towel washcloths. anything harsher than soft washcloths is too abrasive and upsets the balance of your skin, leading to breakouts and uneven skin tone. also, they last for ages; get a couple so that you can keep washing and rotating them.
  8. french green clay - £7 for enough to last a whole year, total bargain! all you need is to mix with a little water so it becomes a paste, and then smooth it all over your face, leave to dry and rinse off (i always accidentally seem to leave a line of clay down the middle of my face!) my face always feel tight, clean and smooth after using it, just like i'd been to an expensive facialist...
  9. lucas papaw ointment - depending on which country you live in, the price will vary, but if you live in the uk check ebay for stockists (you can buy it for £6 inc deliver). my 25g tube has lasted almost a whole year! perfect for lips, but also cuts, dry patches (i think it'd be great on eczema), stings and it's really pure and soothing as well. i am in love with it ♥
  10. grapeseed oil and other carrier oils could be fantastic for both cleansing or intense-post-face-mask moisturising. choose wisely from a range of different types of oils to find one that works well for you
  11.  rio rosa mosqueta oil is such a favorite of mine. it's something i will always repurchase. it should cost you under £10 for a little bottle, but at 1/4 of the price of a facial it's 100% worth it in my opinion. i buy mine from my local health food shop, or you can get it on ebay too (in fact there seem to be loads of stockists) it should last from 6 months to 1 year depending on how often you use it; in the winter i use it very frequently but not so much in the summer months.
  12. sunscreen - bergasol bio is a french brand that i've only recently purchased, but i love - i'm a little confused about sunscreen at the moment, i think i'd rather just be outside for half an hour every day, not in midday sunshine than slather chemicals, super expensive or gloopy organic stuff all over me to roast in the sun. but for those days where it's totally necessary to be outside in the sun for long times, i just find the highest factor, thinnest running, most natural sunscreen - and that's pretty difficult. i'll keep you posted on this one.
i love naturally thinkings range of make your own products, if you hadn't noticed! you can buy things in bulk which makes it a lot cheaper...£10 for 1 whole litre of rose floral water, that is amazing!

you may also have noticed that i love ebay for buying produce, but that's because it's such a convenient way for people to sell to you, that there's lots of stuff available...and at discount, because the sellers seem to buy in bulk so they can reduce prices. but be careful to choose sellers wisely, if they don't have 100% satisfactory reviews, give them a miss.

do you like cheaper, simpler products? or do you prefer to splash out on more expensive branded products?

have a wonderful day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

healthy living tips: an overview

i am starting a healthy living series on my youtube channel, which i'm really excited about. it'll cover a wide range of different things, and i've created an introductory video to let you all know about what you should expect and how you can get involved.

but here's a little something i created on wordle to show you the sort of things i'll be talking about in the upcoming series:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

waxing questions answered

so here's some answers to some questions, plus a few tips for you all when it comes to waxing:

"i decided to wax my underarms myself i applied cold wax there and kept a cloth on it and tried to yank it in the opposite direction....oo its too scary and too painful but the hair didnt come out with the underarm hair is about an inch long...shud i trim the hair before waxing..and also what type of cloth shud i use for waxing plz help"

- when it comes to waxing underarm hair, what you want to do is make sure that the hair is no more than one centimetre long, or the wax won't be able to grip the whole hair, which it must be able to do in order to pull it out from the root properly. so, i would recommend you wax your underarm hair every few weeks, as soon as they are about 1/2 cm they should be ok to wax. if you continue to wax at these intervals, not only should you see a reduction in the amount of hair that grows back, but you won't then have the problem of pre-trimming the hair.

i personally wax my underarms almost every month. i use some cheap cold wax strips from Tesco, it's important to get the mini strips so that you can be specific about where you place the strips and in what direction you pull, as underarm hair tends to grow in different directions. if you are at all concerned about what it should feel like, then go and have them done professionally, it's not always that much more expensive than doing them yourself at home, and it's more of a treat to yourself too! - that's how i started anyway, until i felt like i was able to do it well myself, and then i learned how to do it with hot wax (for a longer lasting treatment) on my course: although i would never do that to myself as it's far too messy.

what waxing product do you use? :)

for my underarms i use the cheap mini cold wax strips (as mentioned above), for my legs i use either large cold wax strips by Veet or go to my local salon, depending on a couple of things: if i'm going on holiday i'll treat myself, but just for regular maintenance i will use Veet - they're pretty easy to use. in my own little salon i use phd honey wax, which smells good and is easy to use on yourself if you practice a bit.

here's some tips for you all:
♥ if you've never had your underarms waxed, and you think it sounds gross, just try it! i guarantee you'll love the freedom of not shaving them every day, and the beauty of the complete lack of hair shadow or stubble (ew)
♥ if you've never had your bikini waxed, then definitely go have that done: it's cheap, and i don't think there's any other way to keep that particular area tidy...make sure to trim the hairs before you go, and wear nice underwear, and also know how much you want taken off before you go so that you can make sure they do what you want, and you are confident enough to let them
♥ if you are afraid of the pain, it might be helpful to know that most people don't actually find it as bad as they think, and that you will adjust to the type of pain over time, although my underarms always hurt loads, but i cope with it! going to your local salon will be a more pleasant experience for you than trying to do it yourself at home.
♥ always pull against the natural hair line, so that you don't end up with ingrown hairs
♥ don't try to wax on freshly washed skin/hair, as the wax won't grab the hairs well enough
♥ if you have any more questions, please ask me...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

learning about waxing

so i did my next beauty therapy course: waxing!

it was a weird thing to learn about but not too difficult to do. there were loads of new things i learnt about, and so i wanted to give you guys the opportunity to ask anything about waxing you want...

and i will answer it in the next post. have a fab day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

lucas' papaw ointment: review

i absolutely adore this stuff!!!

in fact this is the perfect lip balm, and i'm going to be super upset when i finish the tube.

i got it the first day i was in oz last year, and i've been using it ever since. it's just amazing value for money, and there's only one ingredient in it - fermented papaya.

i don't think there's anything better, actually I may make this my number one product of the whole of 2009 (and probably 2010)!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

the importance of a nice hot bath

this is something extremely important, and is a very natural, healthy thing. A nice hot bath. It cleanses and detoxifies naturally, and is a great remedy for skin ailments.

basically, i can totally tell the difference between when i've been having quick showers and when i've had long soaky baths. my skin is smoother, cleaner and in much better condition after baths than showers i find. i know some people find baths a bit gross, but i know there's nothing more relaxing after a long day at work.

some people find it even better to light candles and have mood lighting, but given i don't have such a luxurious bathroom with space for candles or fancy lighting, i just fill my bath really deep, lie back and close my eyes. sometimes i'll put music on, but most of the time i just appreciate the silence.

i never take a bath if i'm in a hurry, i think that would be the most unrelaxing thing a person could do. also, it sets your mind wrong, if you associate baths with speed then it'll be difficult to unwind next time you're in one.

so the best way to enjoy your bath may be:
  • to have it as hot as you like, there's not much point in a warm bath, it has to be hot!
  • add some proper bath salts, as natural as you can, and maybe scented with lavender
  • have your towel ready, it's such a nuisance to have to search for it whilst you drip
  • make sure all the products you need are close to you, you don't want to get out of the bath to get your shampoo or body scrub, that just breaks the magical relaxation
  • don't hurry yourself, leisurely massage ever inch of your body until you are clean, it's supposed to be luxurious

baths are also great for warming your whole body up after a winter's day, easing muscle fatigue or unrest, chillin you out and destressing you - which is in turn very beneficial to the skin, opening up the pores on your face - have a cleanser, face scrub or exfoliator at the ready.

go and pour one right now...

i've just made an updated skincare routine video for all of you guys to see too...check it out!