Prevent Dry Skin: 5 DIY Skin Care Recipes to Get You Through Winter

diy recipes for dry skin

We don’t mean to be dramatic, but winter can kind of wreck your skin.

For people with combination skin, the dry areas of your skin can become drier, and the irritation that results can actually cause more breakouts.

For people with dry skin, the need for moisture becomes even greater during this chilly season. If you don’t tend to your skin’s extra needs, it can get flaky, cracked, or generally unhealthy looking.

On top of that, less time in the sun can take a toll on our healthy glows, as can less exercise, which might start to happen as jogging or hiking outside becomes less appealing.

the benefits of winter?

Okay, we’re being a little negative here. The good parts about winter? When it gets dark earlier, we’re more apt to get to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. This benefits the complexion as well as… pretty much everything.

And of course, pumpkin appearing in our favorite dishes is delicious, festive, and the extra vitamin A can add warmth to your complexion.

diy recipes for dry skin

But pie can only distract you from your dry skin for so long. We have a few DIY recipes for dry skin to help you get through this winter without giving up on a luminous complexion. No dryness, no dullness, no cracking! We’re covering everything from your face to your hands.

Let’s start simple:

diy recipes for dry skin

1. Apple Facial Mask

We’ve talked about the health benefits of apples before, both for your skin and your insides. Apples make a great mask ingredient for people with combination skin, because they help combat oily skin while also moisturizing. If you ever find yourself with a few wrinkly and unappetizing apples, this is a great use for them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple

Directions:

  • If you have a food processor, you can roughly chop your apple (omitting the core) and process it into a textured paste (not all the way smooth). If you don’t have or want to use a food processor (they’re not known for being quick and easy to clean), peel, core, and steam the apple, then mash it up.
  • If you have them on hand, add 2 tablespoons of whole milk and a teaspoon of honey to the mixture. You can also use the apple alone for a nice, simple mask.
  • If you steamed the apple, make sure it cools enough before you apply it to your face. Spread the mask evenly across your face and leave on for 15-20 minutes (more is fine, too).
  • Massage the mask into your face as your rinse it off.

2. Dessert Facial Mask

I challenge you not to eat any of this! This recipe was based on the one on rawmazing.com. I swapped the avocado for some banana, because it makes for an even more appetizing smell, and bananas are underutilized as a skin-nourishing ingredient. You can definitely use avocado in here if you’d like.

Cocoa powder contains anti-oxidants that help protect from environmental stressors. We like the cocoa powder from Equal Exchange.

Banana is soothing and softening, plus it contains vitamin C for anti-aging benefits. Use a ripe banana that mashes easily.

Of course, coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer (and also contributes the yummy smell of this mask). If you have oily or clogged skin, you can use some hazelnut oil instead, though it will make the consistency a little less thick.

The final ingredient is honey. (For lots of info on why it’s such a great ingredient for your skin, see our blog post here.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

  • Mash banana with a fork in a small-medium size bowl.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and blend together.
  • Apply to all areas of your face and leave on for 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water.

3. Hand Saver

Winter’s toll is often seen first on the hands. They become dull, cracked, and dry, which can be uncomfortable in addition to unflattering. We recommend moisturizing regularly with our Radiant Skin Silk, but we also found this luxurious, at home recipe to massage into your hands and bring them back to life.

You could even use this oil to massage a loved one. You’ll get the hand soothing benefits while also extending the gift of massage. 🙂

This recipe is from one of our favorite natural beauty books (you’ll notice we reference it often!): Natural Skin Care, by Joni Loughran.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp wheat germ oil
  • 400 I.U. vitamin E
  • 2 oz. avocado oil
  • 2 oz. apricot kernel oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil

Directions:

  • Mix ingredients together and massage into hands. If you have leftover, store them in a sealed container (pro tip: you can reuse the containers from our products!)

4. Avocado Deep Hair Conditioner

Ingredients:

  • ½ mashed ripe avocado
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 3 drops rosemary or lavender essential oil

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients
  • Massage into hair and scalp, concentrating on the ends
  • Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse well

This recipe could also be left on longer. Personally, if I sacrificed half an avocado, I’d want to make sure I got the full benefits from it! Apply this mask then do a few sudoku puzzles, go on a vacuuming spree, or knit something. Just some ideas.

natural cramp remedies

5. Tinted Lip Balm

Ingredients:

  • ⅛ ounce alkanet root
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup beeswax
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 5 drop essential oil (vanilla, peppermint, or cardamom)

Directions:

  • Simmer the alkanet root in the olive oil at a low temperature for 15 minutes, or mix them together in a dry glass jar for two weeks.
  • Strain, pressing the oil out of the root with clean, dry fingers.
  • Add the beeswax and heat or reheat gently until the beeswax is melted.
  • Remove from the heat and add the honey and essential oil.
  • Pour into lip balm containers and allow it to cool before sealing the jar. If you have ever purchased a sample kit from us, the containers for the cleansers, Sun Love, and dry powders (the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub and the Purifying Mud Mask) make great lip balm containers! Simply clean them out and pour in your lip balm. Put the lid on once it has cooled.

Be sure to check out some of our other DIY recipes like homemade body washes and scrubs!

How do you take care of dry skin in the winter? Share in the comments below!

The following post Prevent Dry Skin: 5 DIY Skin Care Recipes to Get You Through Winter was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

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Ashwagandha Root: An Amazing Adaptogen for Stamina and Stress-Reduction

ashwagandha

With Ayurveda being one of the oldest medicine systems in the world, it’s to no surprise that Ayurvedic herbs are still being used and prescribed extensively in today’s healing practices.

Ashwagandha root, also known as “Indian ginseng”, is a remarkable Ayurvedic herb that delivers mental, physical and emotional benefits to one’s well-being.

If you’re one to experience stress, fatigue, lack of energy or poor stamina, ashwagandha’s powerful adaptogenic properties may help to reinforce your body’s overall equilibrium!

What is an Adaptogen?

In herbal medicine, adaptogens are compounds that normalize the endocrine system. An ‘adaptogen’ does simply what it’s name implies, in that it helps the body ‘adapt’ to certain conditions.

Internal Adaptogenic Benefits of Ashwagandha Root

In short, adaptogens help strengthen and balance your body’s response to stress or other changing environments. These herbs, ashwagandha being one of them, promote amazing benefits when taken long term.

Ashwagandha Root For Stress-Reduction

Ashwagandha is an excellent anti-stress tonic. Not only has this herb been used for centuries, but it has also been used in various clinical trials for stress and anxiety.

Since stress is inevitable these days due to money, work, relationships or time constraints, it’s important to take adaptogens on a daily basis to help the body cope with these stressors.

It’s been known that elevated levels of the hormone “cortisol” are linked to the many negative effects of stress including: memory and learning interference, increased risk of depression and weakened immunity: all of which are undeniably detrimental.

In one comprehensive study, standardized extracts of ashwagandha (300 mg, 2x a day) were given to sixty-four adult participants, all with a history of chronic stress, for 60 days. The results were extraordinary, reporting a reduction of cortisol levels up to 28%!

Adaptogens really do help with taking the edge off!

ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Root for Fighting Fatigue

The adrenal glands fuel our fight or flight responses (also known as our stress responses). Every time the body registers stress, these glands release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the body. If the adrenals are overworking themselves due to these constant stressors, then this often results in something called ‘adrenal fatigue’.

When your adrenals are taxed and aren’t able to meet the demands of everyday stress, other problems in the body can occur like chronic tiredness and insomnia.

According to Christiane Northrup, M.D, people who have adrenal fatigue typically have low levels of cortisol in the morning and excessively higher levels at night. This means that you may feel low energy throughout the day (when you need it most) and high levels of energy at night (when you should be resting). These up’s and down’s take a toll on the body, which is why adaptogens play an important role in our health and harmony.

Ashwagandha Root for Stamina

Who doesn’t need an energy boost? And no, not the instant euphoria you get from drinking a cup of coffee, but rather that steady and sustainable energy you get from the power of adaptogens.

Ashwagandha’s revitalizing properties help to increase your stamina! By stamina, we mean sexual endurance along with muscular and physical strength.

In India, ashwagandha is commonly prescribed by physicians for both men and women to increase libido and to improve sexual function. In addition to boosting libido, the acclaimed author and medicine hunter, Chris Kilham, states that: “The Indian Materia Medica recommends use of ashwagandha for general debility, impotence, general aphrodisiac purposes, brain fatigue, low sperm count, nervous exhaustion, and in any cases in which general vigor must be restored. For men and women, for the old and the young, ashwagandha builds strength from within. ”

An interesting study on the effects of ashwaghanda supplementation for increasing endurance was performed on forty elite indian cyclists who received 500 mg of ashwagandha capsules twice daily for eight weeks. The results showed significant improvement in cardiorespiratory endurance of all the elite athletes.

This potent adaptogen seems to be making it’s way even into the world of athletics!

How to Add Ashwagandha Into Your Diet

Ashwagandha is incredibly safe and is considered to have no known contraindications or side effects. This herb is available in many forms, the most popular being in capsule form, but is also available as a powder or liquid extract. A typical recommended daily dose of this herb is about 500 to 1000 mg twice daily.

As a powder or liquid extract supplementation, these forms may be added to your daily smoothie or a warm cup of tea or milk.

Check out our favorite brand, Organic India, which offers an amazing quality of ashwagandha root, along with other powerful and supportive Ayurvedic herbs.

Discover the magic of ashwagandha and it’s adaptogenic benefits!

How does Ashwagandha support you? Share with us in the comments!

Sources

Kilham, Chris. “Hot Plants: Nature’s Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women”
St Martin’s Press 2004

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/ashwagandha
http://organicindia.mercola.com/herbal-supplements/ashwagandha.aspx
http://www.lef.org/magazine/2006/6/report_ashwa/Page-01
http://www.townsendletter.com/Jan2007/adaptogen0107.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/depression-and-anxiety/ashwagandha-benefits-ease-stress-and-anxiety-by-44-percent/
http://www.ijpm.info/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3545242/

The following post Ashwagandha Root: An Amazing Adaptogen for Stamina and Stress-Reduction was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

DIY Chai Tea with Tonic Herbs

DIY Chai

When I was in college, I worked at a startup tea house for extra spending money. It was really hard work with open to close hours, special events, and running the shop alone more often than not, but I loved it because it gave me the chance to work with herbs and make custom tea blends.

The magic of chai

It was like beginners herbalism training and I ate it up, constantly experimenting with balancing flavor and medicinal benefits. I especially fell in love with the art of making homemade chai.

And I’ll be the first to tell you that if I’m giving you a chai, there’s herbal medicine hidden in it. Why not? Everything tastes great when you mix it with cinnamon, ginger, and cardamon.

The extra herbs you add completely depend on what you’re focusing on with your health, but this herb blend is both tonic and adaptogenic, making it a great everyday health booster that you’ll look forward to drinking.

What Are Tonic Herbs?

We wrote about Adaptogenic herbs here but in a nutshell, they help maintain homeostasis in the body while increasing stamina and vitality throughout the whole body. By definition, they are nontoxic and can be taken everyday.

In Chinese medicine, these adaptogenic herbs are often called ‘tonic herbs.’ Tonic herbs are those that promote happiness, longevity, and radiance. That means you definitely want them in your daily routine.

Sneaking tonic herbs into your tea

And this herbal chai recipe is a delicious way to do it!

This recipe is a great fall and winter adaptation. It’s warming, anti-inflammatory, and delicious—plus it’s a really pretty color.

I typically make a big pot at the beginning of the week and then drink a cup or two everyday. It’s got the good chai spices and then I added turmeric and shatavari but I definitely encourage you to have fun with this recipe and make it your own!

Herbal Chai Tea Ingredients

•   4 cups of water
•   4 cups of almond milk (or any kind of milk you like)
•   3 tbsp of shatavari root
•   2 tbsp of turmeric
•   1 tbsp of cinnamon
•   2 tsp of ginger
•   1 tsp of cardamon
•   1 tsp of black pepper

How to Make Herbal Chai

1. Put all of your ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil.

Herbal chai recipe

2. Lower it to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

best chai tea recipe

3. Strain and enjoy.

easy chai tea recipe

I recommend drinking 1-3 cups daily. Consider incorporating it into your routine by making it your morning brew.

Other flavors that I absolutely love in this blend: clove, nutmeg, cacao, star anise, chicory

Other medicinals that I would hide in here: reishi, ceanothus, marshmallow root, astragalus, dandelion root, willow, ashwagandha, kava, yellow dock

Sometimes I like to add a little honey when I drink it or a teaspoon of licorice root to the recipe but I love the creamy bitter flavor of this drink without sweetener. That’s completely up to how you like your chai!

Health Benefits of Chai Tea

These ingredients are beneficial as well as delicious:

Shatavari root

Full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, shatavari is an amazing plant to include in your life. Like we mentioned in this article, shatavari is particularly amazing for your reproductive health, increasing fertility, enhancing libido, and helping to ease menopause symptoms.

Tumeric

It’s all the rage right now. Not only does it lend its amazing hue to this brew, but it’s also really good for you. Naturally anti-inflammatory, turmeric is good for you internally.

Cinnamon

A Chinese tonic herb, cinnamon helps get your blood flowing, warms you, and improves sexual health.

Ginger

Perfect for winter, ginger is warming and also acts as a digestive aid (we included it in our article about herbs that help with bloating).

Cardamom

With similar benefits to cinnamon, cardamom helps improve circulation and gastrointestinal health.

Black Pepper

It adds some spice to this recipe, and we promise it blends deliciously with the other ingredients.

How do you like to make chai? Tell us in the comments below!

The following post DIY Chai Tea with Tonic Herbs was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Make Your Own DIY Candles (The Perfect Handmade Holiday Gift!)

DIY candles

I’m just going to come out and say it, celebrating the holidays can be REALLY expensive. I love what the holiday season brings – loved ones, old friends, good times, and great food. But I’m not a fan of what the holiday season brings to my wallet – emptiness.

a cost effective way to spread cheer

Finding the more cost effective methods of spreading holiday cheer, while giving a thoughtful gift, has been at the top of my “to-do” list the past couple of years. It isn’t easy. Thankfully, I have a few methods that have resulted in receiving positive feedback from gift recipients.

If you think my loved ones are just being “nice” because it’s the holidays, you are sadly mistaken. They may not be cruel when they disapprove of something I have given them, but they have their ways of making it clear they would prefer not to receive certain items ever again.

One of my methods of cost effective gifts is creating DIY items, and it has been a game changer. If you have the time and access to the necessary supplies, I highly recommend it.

How To: DIY Candles for Christmas Gifts

Candle making is the latest addition to my eternally growing list of projects and gift ideas.

At any given time you can walk into my home and find a candle burning somewhere in the house. Did I lose power in home? Nope, I’m just relaxing.

Lighting candles and turning off all of the lights provides me with a much needed relaxing escape after returning home from work, especially when the candles are scented with essential oils.

DIY candles

What exactly are we making?

We are going to make mason jar candles, using all natural ingredients and a small batch recipe created with the trial and error that comes with making candles in mind.

Crafting the Candles

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Jar Fill Time: 5 mins
Chill time: Overnight

Total Time: 40 to prep, plus overnight chill

Equipment

3 mason jars
1 wooden spoon
3 wicks for a rim diameter of 2 3⁄8 inch inner, 2 3⁄4 inch outer for soy candles
3 wick bar or wooden chopsticks that haven’t been separated
1 hot plate or double boiler
1 candle thermometer, candy thermometer, or electronic temperature gauge
1 small kitchen scale
Small spool of Jute twine
3 decorative gift tags

Ingredients

1 oz -1 ½ ozs of organic essential oil (s) (Helpful tip: 1TB = 0.5 ounces)
1 lb organic soy wax (approximately 5 cups)

Instructions

  • First step, let’s grab all of our supplies. And turn on the glue gun.
  • As you follow the next steps, lightly warm your mason jars in the oven or microwave. Above room temperature jars are ideal when adding the candle wax.
  • Place a pyrex measuring cup large enough to hold 5 cups of soy wax into a pot filled halfway with water. If you don’t have pyrex, create a double boiler using a glass bowl or small mug. The main objective is to minimize exposure to an open flame and direct heat  if you are using a gas stove.
  • Turn on the stove, bringing the water to a boil.
  • As the wax begins to melt, periodically stir it in a slow steady motion with your wooden spoon. Be careful not to splash the wax.
  • Using your thermometer, monitor the wax’s temperature and do not allow it to go above 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit. Going beyond this temperature can cause your wax to become discolored.
  • When the wax is completely liquified, remove it from the heat source and stir slowly in both directions. Allow it to cool slightly, but not harden.
  • You can add your essential oils once the temperature drops below 180 degrees. Slowly stir the wax and essential oils with your wooden spoon slowly in both directions. Allow it cool to about 140 degrees. Please note: the wax you purchase may not allow for 1.5 ounces of essential oil per pound of soy wax. Please follow the manufacturer’s suggested essential oil ratio. Additive effect the quality of the candle’s burn
  • While the wax is cooling, grab your jars, candle wicks, glue gun, and chopsticks(or whatever method you have chosen to stabilize your wick).
  • Place enough hot glue onto the wick tab, and press it into the center of the jar using square end of the chopstick.
  • Once the wicks have been added to all three jars, slide the end of the wick between the unbroken chopsticks, then sit them on top of the rim. Wrap the excess wick around the chopsticks. Each jar has its own set of chopsticks.
  • Check your jars and make sure they are slightly above room temperature before pouring.
  • Check the of the wax. If it is about 140 degrees, slowly and carefully pour the wax into the mason jars. Be sure to pour as close as you can to the candle wick. Do not fill the wax to the top of the jar. Stop your pour at, or slightly below the lip of the jar.
  • Be sure to place the jars on a flat surface and allow them to cool overnight. Do not disturb the jars, place in a refrigerator, or in an area with extremely cold temperatures.
  • The next day, check on your candles. All should be solid. If you see imperfections, check the “helpful tips” area below.
  • Use your scissors to cut your wick to about ¼ to ½ inch.
  • Grab your jute twine and gift tags. Write the name of the recipient on the tag.
  • Wrap your jute twine 3-4 times around jar, below the lip of the rim. Wrap it so that you are able to thread the gift tag, and tie a simple bow. You should the able to replace the band of the jar.

And just like that, you’re done! But, keep reading, there are some really important bits below.

DIY Candles

a few notes for new candle makers

Research, research, research. It is extremely important that you research all of the products you plan to use, and pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions once they are purchased.

Although the steps for making candles are very straightforward, you can cause yourself a great deal of grief if you overlook necessary details when creating candles. A few items to take note of:

Wax type

Wherever you choose to purchase your wax, be aware of the manufacturer’s instruction for adding additional ingredients.

The quality of your pour, and burn of your candle can be greatly affected when the wrong ingredients and ratios of the ingredients are added to the wax. Look for organic, sustainably sourced soy wax when you can!

Flash point

This important when adding scents and other ingredients to your wax. It is important to know the flash points because you can start a fire while making your candles, or cause your essential oils to burn and evaporate while the candle is lit.

The best rule of thumb is using additives with a flash point higher than the wax.

Melt Point

You need to know the melt point for your wax to ensure a higher quality candle, pour, and burn. Melt point is also important when adding perfumes, essential oils, and dyes. Not all dye comes in liquid form, some come in cubes that require melting. If the dye has a much higher melting point, you could risk burning the wax in a attempt to melt the dye cube.

Wick Size

The size of the candle wick is super important, and also determines the life of your candle. If the wick is too small, it will create a tunnel around the wick and burn out too soon.

If it it too large, the flame will flicker and overheat the wax and create soot that darkens the inside of the container. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation for wick type and size, based on the size of you candle and the type of wax being used.

Heat tolerance of container

Not all containers are created alike. Just because may seen like it can handle candle heat, doesn’t mean that it can. Glass that can a tea light, may not be able the handle being made into a candle. Be sure to know the flame and heat tolerance of the container you are using.

10 Tips for Avoiding Flaws, Wet Spots, and Other Woes

  1. Pour more slowly for more even wax
  2. Stir your wax melted wax slowly and steadily to reduce air bubbles.
  3. For a smooth pour, heat your containers between 90-100 degrees in your oven.
  4. To reduce crystals, pour your wax at a lower temperature. For smooth and even lay of the wax, pour at a slightly higher temperature.
  5. Elevate the candles on a wire cooling rack so the counter or table top doesn’t pull the heat out the bottom of the container and cause the wax to cool too fast.
  6. Avoid extreme room temperatures and allow your candles to cool down at room temperature.
  7. After the candle is solid and has cured, pour a little more melted wax on the top surface of the cooled candle, or  use a heat gun to smooth out flaws.
  8. To eliminate wet spots, make sure your jar has been cleaned thoroughly and is completely dry before pouring. Warm in the oven can dry the spots.
  9. Space your candles at least 4-5 inches apart while cooling.
  10. Use a wire rack to cool candles when necessary. Countertop cooling can sometimes caused the wax chill inconsistently

have fun!

I’m done with my candle information overload. Don’t get discouraged if “round 1” of candle making doesn’t go according to plan.

Hopefully this little DIY project help you jump start your own, or you become the official candlemaker of your friends and family.

Happy Holidays!

Have you tried making candles before? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Sources
https://www.aftelier.com/Aftelier-Natural-Perfume-Wheel-p/wb-wheel.htm
https://www.tisserand.com/
https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/principles/sustainability/organics
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323243863_The_changing_face_of_urban_air_pollution
https://craftycandlesupplies.com.au/wick_guide_choosing_the_best_wicks_for_your_soy_candles/
http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/pdfs/essentialoilchart.pdf
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/aromatherapy/faq-20058566
https://rusticescentuals.com/Wick-Chart.html
https://www.lonestarcandlesupply.com/candle-making/candle-wicks/guide-to-wicking
https://craftycandlesupplies.com.au/wick_guide_choosing_the_best_wicks_for_your_soy_candles/

 

The following post Make Your Own DIY Candles (The Perfect Handmade Holiday Gift!) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

10 Home Remedies to Combat Holiday Stress (That Actually Work!)

holiday stress tips

You made it through Thanksgiving. Start by giving yourself a pat on the back, because you’re half-way through.

While we’re all thankful for so much in life, I can promise all the stressors of the holiday season did not make that very long list. Between navigating touchy conversations with estranged relatives over turkey dinners, hosting parties, attending many many parties, work deadlines, pinching pennies for the perfect present, managing unrealistic expectations, and the travel involved with all of it, mental health can take a toll during this time.

Don’t get me wrong, we love the season of giving, but it’s easy to lose that holiday cheer when your stress level is through the roof.

The following post 10 Home Remedies to Combat Holiday Stress (That Actually Work!) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

An Esthetician’s Top 5 Secrets to Keep Your Skin Glowing All Winter

winter skin care

Winter months affect the skin with an intensity that once experienced is not soon forgotten.

I will never forget the winter of 1996 as a teenager in New York. Overnight the sky dumped 20+ inches of snow that buried the city. At a stature of a mere 60 inches, this was slightly terrifying to me.

When the snow stopped and life resumed, there were areas everywhere with snow pushed into towering mounds. We had to burrow a hole from our steps to the sidewalks where tunnels were dug through massive snow piles in an effort to make the city accessible for pedestrians.

I was too short to see much except snow everywhere I looked. I recall having so many layers on I felt like I was waddling around like a penguin through a life-size maze of snow tunnels. This was my first snowstorm experience and I recall internally laughing at the absurdity of it all.

the cold takes a toll on the skin

The comedy stopped when my skin started cracking. Before that winter blizzard, I never knew skin could split open from a walk outside in the cold. On my way to sled in the park my lips cracked open at the corners and began bleeding, the rim of my nose became too blistered to touch without wincing and my cheeks burned from the wind.

Winter Skin Care is serious business

Eventually seeking escape indoors it was a big surprise that even indoors my skin didn’t feel much better. Everything took weeks to heal. The skin scars faded long after the snow melted away but the memory remains strong to this day.

Now, well versed in skin care with a decade of study, analyzing, testing and discovering useful tricks, I am certain that will never happen again and I am confident that you can prevent it, too.

5 Ways To Take Care of Skin in Winter Naturally

I hope the below tips prevent a typical winter skin experience and help you maintain healthy vibrant skin as temperatures drop and the winter chill settles in.

Read on for my Top 5 Tips to keep your skin dewy and glowing all winter long.

Recipe for bone broth

1. Bring in the Humidity

Don’t underestimate the skin damage you can get from being inside your house!

It is obvious that we need to protect our skin from the elements outside, but many don’t realize the damage that heating systems cause our skin.

How your heater is harming your skin

Heating units dissolve air moisture. With less moisture in the air, our skin further dehydrates and begins to fade to a dull tone making it appear as though the vibrance has been wiped away. Adding moisture to the air increases the humidity in your home and helps keep your skin hydrated.

Quick and easy DIY ways to add moisture to the air:

Boil water on the stove or place a metal or ceramic dish of water on top of your radiator or on a windowsill with sunshine, helping it warm and slowly evaporate, infusing moisture into the air.

And don’t forget about your diffuser! I particularly love this option. Adding essential oils to a diffuser can make the air moist and smell amazing at the same time.


2. Diet

Don’t underestimate the power of your diet to influence your skin!

It is not a new concept that diet affects the skin.  These are my personal favorite fixes for winter dryness and dehydration through diet.

Skip the caffeine

Caffeine is super dehydrating. For a skin-friendly alternative make warm lemon mint water. A personal favorite winter treat of mine is floating fresh mint leaves, a drizzle of honey and lemon slices in hot water.

With steam billowing trails of moisture into the air and the delight of the citrus and herbs this drink has never lost its charm for me and is a very healthy skin alternative to caffeine.

Load up on omega-rich foods

Eat omega-rich foods, also known as the “good fats”. 
Omega-3s are a crucial part of your skin’s lipid (fat) content and help bolster its barrier function, which, when working properly, acts like a seal that keeps moisture in and irritants out.

To get these good fats into your diet, add foods such as avocado, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, salmon and walnuts.

oil pulling

3. Don’t Neglect Hand + Foot Care

Don’t forget about your extremities!

Your hands and feet need some extra love in the winter to maintain their moisture and remain strong through the cold season.

a hand and foot ritual

My personal favorite way to care for my hands and feet that is a quick and easy nightly (or weekly) ritual is to select my favorite oil or rich balm, gently rub it all over my hands and feet, then apply warm cozy socks n gloves while sleeping.

You wake up rewarded with the smoothest feet and hands, motivated to do this again and again!

Why Does Chapstick Dry Your Lips

4. Cold Weather Care for Eyes, Eye Lashes + Lips

Did you know your most delicate areas are actually very easy to care for?

These fragile elements of our body are actually quick and easy to take care of, once you know my hacks for quick care rituals.

Dry Eye care

For eyes, keep a dropper of saline solution near your morning facial care area. Before applying skin care products in the morning, during winter months, I put a few drops of saline into each eye to help remoisten them after a night of sleep and the dry air of winter heating.

Eyelash care (DIY)

For eyelashes, there are nourishing lash treatments in tubes similar to mascara that you can buy. BUT, we tend to prefer DIYs around here.

For a home DIY solution before bed, put a single drop of coconut oil on a clean brow wand and brush onto the eyelash ends for a quick eyelash oil treatment while you sleep.

Preventing Chapped Lips

The lips have multiple ways of being cared for.

You can purchase special lip scrubs, or for a daily quick trick DIY option, you can use your toothbrush at the end of brushing your teeth to gently brush your lips.

I have yummy lip scrubs which I really enjoy when my lips need extra care, but this little life hack makes the frequency that I exfoliate my lips happen way more often!

Lip nourishment

As for lip nourishment I strongly advise to use natural oils, not petrolatum products. Petrolatum is an occlusive ingredient that acts as a barrier on your skin.

This can protect your skin from outside elements but when overused, lips can become addicted. The skin stops working to maintain its own hydration level and feels immediately dry when the petrolatum is not coating your lips, triggering you to apply and reapply repeatedly to combat the dry sensation.

Instead, select natural lip balms with butters, oils, and waxes for nourishing protection without the addiction.

facial massage

5. Adjust Your Facial Skin Care Routine for Winter

As the weather changes, you should make adjustments to your skin care regimen!

In the winter, your skin loses more than 25 percent of its ability to hold moisture. Skin experiences a drastic drop in hydration with outside humidity levels plummeting and the addition of moisture dissolving indoor heating.

Best winter skin care adjustments:

Oils help protect your skin and maintain its elasticity. Without enough nourishment, the skin can become brittle and crack as I shared of my personal winter experience. So, in the winter these are my favorite adjustments to make to maintain dewy glowing skin all winter long.

Oil Pre-cleanser

Adding this step before your cleanser calms your skin and soothes it from the days’ harsh environment. Simply work a few drops over the face, feel free to also pre-cleanse the lips if you’re using all natural pure oil products and wash off with a lukewarm washcloth.

Cream Cleanser

Even if you have oily skin, if you are experiencing very dry winter skin making the switch to a gentle ph balanced cream cleanser can help maintain the integrity of your skin and its ability to repair itself.

Masks

There are many types of masks on the market. In the winter months, you want to select primarily moisture masks or gentle enzymes (honey, papaya, apple, pineapple). These enzymes gently exfoliate, smooth and soothe the skin which in turn boosts its ability to absorb your serums and moisturizers more effectively.

(If you’re looking for specific products, our Coconut Honey Mask here at Annmarie Skin Care is an incredible moisturizing mask, perfect for the winter months.)

coconut honey mask

Luke warm water

Not hot or cold. This is a small thing that can make a big difference. Too hot water can dehydrate your skin, so making sure to err on the cooler side to not add to the skins dehydration levels.

Hyaluronic Acid or Tremella

These 2 special ingredients hold onto more than 1,000 times their weight in water. By applying these ingredients to the skin you effectively boost your skins ability to hold onto greater levels of moisture.

This is needed and makes a big difference in the winter when numerous factors are dehydrating the skin. These ingredients counterbalance the hydration loss and boost your skin with a dewy hydrated glow.

(If you’re looking for specific products, ourProbiotic Serum with Tremella here at Annmarie Skin Care is an ultra hydrating formula, designed to protect against environmental stressors.)

Probiotic Serum with Tremella

Give your skin the love it deserves

I hope these special tips help you treat your skin with ease and leave you feeling protected, nourished and confident in your skin throughout the winter season.

One of my favorite winter quotes…

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus

Did you find any of these tips especially helpful? What do you struggle with in the winter? Let us know in the comments below!

References:
Here’s Why You’re Addicted to Your Lip Balm
Top 10 Causes of Dry Skin
THE SKIN BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

The following post An Esthetician’s Top 5 Secrets to Keep Your Skin Glowing All Winter was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

I Used an Infrared Sauna Everyday for a Week. Here’s What Happened.

infrared Sauna

The Annmarie Skin Care team has been taking on challenges to share our real experiences with you— trying out new health trends, wellness practices, and everything in between.

This month, our Digital Marketing Assistant, Lauryn, tried out an infrared sauna everyday for a week and is sharing her review with you.

What’s all the buzz around infrared saunas about?

Ever since I’ve heard about Infrared Saunas, I’ve been very intrigued. They are becoming more and more popular amongst health and wellness enthusiasts, so my curiosity has recently deepened—what are the differences between these saunas versus traditional saunas? What are the unique benefits? Is it hotter? What does “infrared” mean anyway?

I sought out the answers to these questions, and once I learned about everything these hot boxes had to offer, I challenged myself to doing a 40-minute session a day for 1 whole week. To me, there isn’t much better then getting a good detox and sweat session in while doing absolutely nothing. Burn as many calories as a 30 minute run  while sitting on my tush? I’m sold.

Infrared Sauna versus Traditional Saunas

Infrared saunas are different from conventional saunas in that they don’t just heat the air around you. Instead, they use infrared panels that emit electromagnetic radiation to directly warm your body.

The heat penetrates deeper into your body than warm air (which is what conventional saunas use) which allows you to experience a more intense sweat. Infrared saunas can even operate at a lower temperature than a traditional sauna.

The Benefits Breakdown

There is a laundry list of benefits that come from using an Infrared Sauna. These include:

•     Deeper relaxation
•     Better sleep
•     Clearer skin
•     Weight loss
•     Detoxification
•     Improved circulation
•     Joint pain and sore muscle relief
•     Improved digestion
•     Chronic fatigue improvement

infrared sauna

My 1-Week Challenge Experience

For the challenge, I chose a local place here in town based off recommendation and got the 1-week starter pack. On my first day, they gave me a quick tour of the place, the rundown on how to operate the machine and then my first session began.

the first day

The sauna was made out of wood and glass and was already warm when I got in. I laid down on the towel, closed my eyes and began to relax. After about 10 minutes, I did notice that I wasn’t as warm as I normally am in a conventional sauna. I was comfortable and content. The thermostat was set at 140 degrees.

I was beginning to sweat however, so I laid back down on the towel and did some deep breathing. About halfway through the session I had to pop the door open to get some cooler air. I was very warm, but it wasn’t unbearable.

For the remainder of the time, I would pop the door open every 5 minutes or so so I could avoid having to step out (I had a goal of staying in there the whole 40 minutes). That’s how most of my sessions went throughout the week.

the side effects of detoxing

A few hours after my first session, I began to develop a pretty intense stomach ache. It lasted for a few hours and then went away. I thought it was just a fluke, but everyday over the course of that week after I left my session, I would get one.

On day 3 I asked someone that worked at the studio about it, and she said it can happen because our bodies are detoxifying in a way they aren’t normally used to. This was a bit comforting and all-in-all I wasn’t too concerned, I was just very uncomfortable!

rADIANT AND RENEWED SKIN

By the third day, I noticed that my skin was as soft as a babies you-know-what and was just glowing. Normally I would attribute this to the incredible line of organic and wild harvested skin care that I use (wink wink) but it was even more radiant and soft than ever.

My skin felt revived, refreshed and anew.

WATER RETENTION

I definitely noticed a difference in water retention. To keep from getting dehydrated, I was drinking a lot of water with a squeeze of citrus throughout the day and my body took very well to it.

I’m not sure if I lost weight (I don’t really weigh myself), but I did notice a decrease in water retention and a slight increase in muscle definition—win in my book!

I do have a confession to make—I did not make it to the sauna studio one day that week! Things were just too crazy one day so I had to skip. Full disclaimer, but I do think 6 out of 7 days still counts!

I did notice that my energy levels were higher throughout the day and that I was sleeping much, much harder than normal. Win-win on that account!

Final Reflections

All-in-all, I would definitely recommend trying an Infrared Sauna for yourself if you are looking to detox or begin making a change to your overall health.

Although going for a week straight might be overboard to start, and the stomach aches were a bit of a nuisance, with continued use I can say with confidence that it would likely make a big impact on your well being. I know it did on mine!

Have you tried an infrared sauna? Share your experience in the comments below!

The following post I Used an Infrared Sauna Everyday for a Week. Here’s What Happened. was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.