Combination Skin: What It Is, How to Cope, and the Best Products for You

combination skin

If you have combination skin, then you know what the term “T-zone” means. In fact, you may sometimes feel like your skin has a split personality—oily with large pores on the forehead, nose, and chin, and dry and sometimes even flaky on the cheeks and under the eyes.

The most common skin type

You don’t have to feel badly, though—combination skin is thought to be the most common type of skin out there. That probably doesn’t help you when you’re trying to figure out how to take care of the dryness on your cheeks without breaking out on your nose, though, right?

If you’re someone who is constantly frustrated at trying to make both parts of your skin happy, here are some tips and solutions for you.

What is Combination Skin?

Combination skin is just what the name implies—skin that is a combination of both dry and oily types. If you drew a big “T” on your face, all the skin under that T would likely be oily, while the areas left outside the T are dry and potentially flaky. That’s why we use the term “T-zone” when referring to those with combination skin.

Combination skin also means that you may have fine lines and wrinkles and shininess and clogged pores at the same time. You may also experience uneven skin tone or large pores on your nose.

Of course this combination of characteristics and problems can make combination skin particularly difficult to deal with.

What Causes Combination Skin?

No matter what kind of skin you have (dry, oily, combination, or sensitive), it’s most likely because of genetics. Just like you inherit your eye color, hair color, and body type from your parents and grandparents, you also inherit your skin type.

Where will I notice combination skin?

In general, the nose, chin, and forehead of those with combination skin have more active oil glands, which is why these areas may be prone to clogged pores. The cheeks, on the other hand, may have less active oil glands, which is why they may appear dry and flaky.

In some cases, however, if you’re using harsh products or products with drying ingredients like sulfates and alcohol, you can actually encourage the skin to produce more oil in the T-zone area, which can also create the symptoms of combination skin.

Specific Problems in Combination Skin Types

Not sure whether you have combination skin? Try washing it with a gentle cleanser, pat dry, then wait for about 10-15 minutes. (Don’t apply any other products.) Most likely, your cheeks, temples, and other areas will feel dry and tight, while your nose, chin, and forehead will look oily and shiny — or perhaps have clogged pores.

Another clue that may mean you have combination skin is that you have a hard time finding skin care products that work. Some make you breakout, while others leave you too dry and dull.

do you notice these issues?

If you have combination skin, you probably already know what the problems are, but here are the main ones you may experience:

•     Clogged pores in the T-zone area
•     Large pores in the T-zone area
•     Shininess and oily skin in the T-zone area
•     Dry, flaky and dull cheeks
•     Cheeks and neck that are more sensitive to cleansers

Oily Skin

Lifestyle Factors to Help Combination Skin

Combination skin types can benefit from some lifestyle changes that may help balance your skin. These include:

Moisturize from the inside out

A challenge with combination skin is to get enough moisturizer into it without clogging pores. You can moisturize from the inside out with essential fatty acids. Eat more salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, and consider taking a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement.

Avoid harsh cleansers

Things like sulfates, alcohol and soap can strip your skin of its natural oils. You may think that will help your T-zone, but in truth, it will actually encourage it to produce more oil. Stay away from harsh, chemical ingredients.

Exercise

This gets the blood pumping, which delivers key nutrients to your skin.

Practice stress relief

Stress can make your skin more reactive, both the oily and dry areas. Try meditation, yoga, tai chi, journaling, music, whatever works for you.

Avoid pore-clogging products 

In your skin care and makeup products, always choose those that are made for oily or combination skin. Avoid petroleum-based moisturizers like mineral oil in all your products, particularly moisturizers and foundations.

Choose fragrance-free

Your cheeks are likely to be prone to dryness, dullness, and flaking, and may also be more prone to irritation. Avoid products with chemical fragrances and other irritating ingredients.

Protect

Like all skin types, your skin needs protection from the environment, particularly from damaging UV rays. Hats and shade are best, but also choose a safe sunscreen to keep your fragile cheeks looking lively and youthful. (Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list for the safest sunscreens.)

Daily Routine for Combination Skin

With combination skin, the key is balance. You have to find a way to balance what your skin needs in the dry areas with what it needs in the oily areas. Not an easy task, but here are some tips.

One more thing to think about—most people with combination skin have one type that’s more dominant. In other words, if you’re struggling with clogged pores, oily skin is your biggest concern. If it’s only your nose that is clogged and the rest of your skin is more dry, dryness is your main concern. Just something to keep in mind as you go about finding your best daily skin care routine.

Wash naturallycombination skin

We recommend natural cleansers for everyone, because they provide more benefits without the drawbacks, but for people with combination skin, this is even more important.

Chemical-based cleansers will never get you the skin you want because they’ll dry out the dry areas and make your oily areas oilier. Try our Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser. It removes dirt, oils, and impurities, but it doesn’t have any harsh detergents or cleansers, and it helps to balance skin oils, so it will deep-clean your T-zone without over-drying your cheeks.

Avoid irritating toners

Most toners you find in the store have alcohol, menthol, fragrance, and the like. All terrible things for combination skin. Toss all these out and use a toner that has natural ingredients that will help restore pH after cleansing while nourishing your skin. Try our Rosemary Toning Mist to refresh and balance while controlling oily skin.

Moisturize with a split personality

Most moisturizers are made for either oily skin or dry skin. (Those made for normal skin are usually angled more toward dry types.) Some experts will recommend that you use one of each—heavier moisturizer on your cheek area, and lighter moisturizers on your T-zone.

choosing a facial oilOIL AS YOUR MOISTURIZER

This could work, but the problem is it’s expensive, time-consuming, and prone to error. After all, it’s not like your skin has a chart on it to show you exactly where to apply what. You can overlap and then presto, you have clogged pores the next morning. Our solution—use Herbal Facial Oil. Now, we have two of them. Which one will work for you?

Consider what we noted above—whether you have more trouble with oily skin or dryness. If you’re a more mature person, the dryness may be taking over. (Choose Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin.) Younger folks may be more concerned about clogged pores. (Choose Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin.) Either one will hydrate without clogging pores, and will infuse your skin with repairing nutrients.

combination skin

add to your Weekly routine

In addition to your daily routine, take these steps every week for more glowing, hydrated skin:

Exfoliate

All skin needs exfoliation, and combination skin is no different. The oily areas need it to open up the pores and dry areas and allow moisturizers to penetrate. The key with your type of skin is to be gentle on the cheek areas, and scrub a bit more on the T-zone.

We would suggest the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, which will exfoliate without over drying your cheeks, and will also help absorb extra oil and reduce clogged pores.

alternative uses for beauty products

Nourishing mask

Choosing a mask can be difficult for combination types, as you’re not sure if you should get one that absorbs the oils or imparts more hydration. Endless confusion, right?

Not anymore. Just use the Purifying Mud Mask. The dead sea clay has a way of naturally purifying your pores without drying. In fact, we’ve included blue-green algae which is high in natural fatty acids that replenish and hydrate. The perfect combination!

Treat

You may wonder about alpha-hydroxy acids with combination skin. Have you experienced irritation on your cheeks in the past with these products? The key is to use the gentle ones. Here we would go conservative and use the same acids as those recommended for dry skin. Choose those that come from natural sources like fruits (malic), milk (lactic), and sugar cane (glycolic).

(TIP: Our Coconut Honey Mask provides malic and lactic acids—you can alternate uses with the Purifying Mud Mask if you like, using each once a week, or you can actually use the Coconut Honey Mask right after you finish with the Purifying Mud Mask. Adjust depending on how dry or oily your skin is acting.)

Apply these products as needed, typically 2-3 times a week.

Rejevenate

Because all skin types need protection from environmental stressors, we recommend you use an anti-aging product that contains natural ingredients that nourish. Again, you want natural ingredients (not chemical or synthetic), and non-clogging products.

Try a light application of our Citrus Stem Cell Serum, which uses citrus stem cells and powerful antioxidants. Use more on cheeks and dry areas, less on the T-zone. Apply the Anti-Aging Eye Cream to repair skin around the eyes, and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

combination skin

Do you struggle with combination skin? How do you cope? Please share any tips you may have.

 

The following post Combination Skin: What It Is, How to Cope, and the Best Products for You was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

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Butcher’s Broom for Skin: Reduce the Appearance of Dark Circles

Butcher's Broom

Looking for a natural way to reduce the appearance of dark, undereye circles? We’ve got it for you. Butcher’s broom—also known as “knee holly” and “Jew’s myrtle”—is a low, evergreen shrub that can give your eyes a plumper, more even look.

In addition, this unique natural ingredient also helps moisturize skin, providing for a brighter, more youthful look around the eyes.

A Little About Butcher’s Broom

Scientifically called Ruscus aculeatus, this shrub grows to about three feet high. It’s thought to have been nicknamed “knee holly” because when mature, it can reach the height of a human’s knee. The leaves are evergreen and prickly, with tough, green stems that grow on the upper part of many short branches. Small, greenish-white flowers grow from the center of the leaves and blossom in spring.

Where does it grow?

The shrub likes to grow in woodlands and hedgerows, and is tolerant of deep shade. It’s hardy, however, and will thrive in almost any soil type. You’ll also find it on coastal cliffs. The matured branches used to be bound together into bundles and sold to butchers for sweeping their blocks—hence, the name.

Internal Health Benefits of Butcher’s Broom

The main benefit of butcher’s broom is vascular health. One of the major constituents of the extract (which most often comes from the root, though other parts of the plant may also be used) is called “ruscogenin,” and has demonstrated internal anti-inflammatory effects in the lab.

Butcher’s broom may also help with conditions like constipation, leg cramps, and circulatory disorders. It’s also a mild diuretic, and can encourage the flushing of water from the body.

Benefits to the Skin

Butcher’s broom is a wonder in eye creams. The properties of butcher’s broom help to temporarily reduce the appearance of unwanted darkness under the eyes.

Here are some more of the benefits you can expect:

Fades appearance of dark circles

Components help fade appearance of dark circles.

Gentle

This is a great product for those with sensitive skin. When used topically, it is not linked with any type of irritation.

Anti-itch

Butcher’s broom can help with occasional itching.

Cleansing

Cleansing around the eyes can also help them look more awake. The pore-reducing quality of butcher’s broom helps skin appear smoother overall, and is also beneficial for those with clogged pores and oily skin.

Try It!

Try our Anti-Aging Eye Cream and see if you notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin tone, under eye circles and puffiness. We’d love to hear about your results!

anti-aging eye cream

Have you tried butcher’s broom? Share your experience with us in the comments!

 

The following post Butcher’s Broom for Skin: Reduce the Appearance of Dark Circles was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Butcher’s Broom for Skin: Reduce the Appearance of Dark Circles

Butcher's Broom

Looking for a natural way to reduce the appearance of dark, undereye circles? We’ve got it for you. Butcher’s broom—also known as “knee holly” and “Jew’s myrtle”—is a low, evergreen shrub that can give your eyes a plumper, more even look.

In addition, this unique natural ingredient also helps moisturize skin, providing for a brighter, more youthful look around the eyes.

A Little About Butcher’s Broom

Scientifically called Ruscus aculeatus, this shrub grows to about three feet high. It’s thought to have been nicknamed “knee holly” because when mature, it can reach the height of a human’s knee. The leaves are evergreen and prickly, with tough, green stems that grow on the upper part of many short branches. Small, greenish-white flowers grow from the center of the leaves and blossom in spring.

Where does it grow?

The shrub likes to grow in woodlands and hedgerows, and is tolerant of deep shade. It’s hardy, however, and will thrive in almost any soil type. You’ll also find it on coastal cliffs. The matured branches used to be bound together into bundles and sold to butchers for sweeping their blocks—hence, the name.

Internal Health Benefits of Butcher’s Broom

The main benefit of butcher’s broom is vascular health. One of the major constituents of the extract (which most often comes from the root, though other parts of the plant may also be used) is called “ruscogenin,” and has demonstrated internal anti-inflammatory effects in the lab.

Butcher’s broom may also help with conditions like constipation, leg cramps, and circulatory disorders. It’s also a mild diuretic, and can encourage the flushing of water from the body.

Benefits to the Skin

Butcher’s broom is a wonder in eye creams. The properties of butcher’s broom help to temporarily reduce the appearance of unwanted darkness under the eyes.

Here are some more of the benefits you can expect:

Fades appearance of dark circles

Components help fade appearance of dark circles.

Gentle

This is a great product for those with sensitive skin. When used topically, it is not linked with any type of irritation.

Anti-itch

Butcher’s broom can help with occasional itching.

Cleansing

Cleansing around the eyes can also help them look more awake. The pore-reducing quality of butcher’s broom helps skin appear smoother overall, and is also beneficial for those with clogged pores and oily skin.

Try It!

Try our Anti-Aging Eye Cream and see if you notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin tone, under eye circles and puffiness. We’d love to hear about your results!

anti-aging eye cream

Have you tried butcher’s broom? Share your experience with us in the comments!

 

The following post Butcher’s Broom for Skin: Reduce the Appearance of Dark Circles was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

All About Psoriasis: 5 Natural Options You Can Find at Home

psoriasis

“I was born with psoriasis,” says one sufferer online. “I’m now 16, and I feel like crap, to be honest. I can’t deal with this anymore. I hate looking at my skin.”

“I hate to go to the stores, work, or even to the park with my kids,” says another, “for fear that I will see those looks that people give me. This disease is disgusting. I literally sweep up piles of my skin off the floor and brush off my furniture from it constantly. I keep my body covered up by wearing pants and sweaters, long sleeve shirts. I hate it, especially during the summer, when I feel like I’m suffocating and want to rip my clothes off.”

a hinderance to everyday life

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis experience higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general population, which can even increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. More than 80 percent of patients surveyed reported their disease to be a moderate or large problem in their everyday lives.

Here’s more about this difficult disease, and some tips for how to control the flare-ups.

What is Psoriasis?

A genetic disease that causes red, scaly lesions on the skin, psoriasis is not contagious. Scientists believe it’s caused by a malfunctioning immune system.

Somehow, the immune system is mistakenly triggered to speed up the growth cycle of skin cells, which creates the red, unsightly patches as the cells accumulate too quickly on the surface—and the body can’t get rid of them fast enough. In fact, while healthy skin typically takes about a month to refresh with new skin cells, skin with psoriasis can go through this process in just a few days.

What Are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?

Psoriasis produces a number of symptoms in addition to the scaly patches on the surface of the skin. Typically, these show up on the elbows, knees, legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and the soles of the feet. In some people, symptoms can even crop up on the fingernails and toenails and inside the mouth.

•     Redness and inflammation
•     Thick, red skin with silvery scales
•     Patches that itch or feel sore
•     Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
•     Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails
•     Small scaling spots
•     Dandruff-like scaling
•     Swollen and stiff joints

Most types of psoriasis come and go cycles, with patients experiencing “flare-ups” during which the symptoms will appear for a few weeks or months, then subside for a time, sometimes going into complete remission.

Potential Triggers

Since psoriasis is a form of immune malfunction, certain things in life can trigger the malfunction, causing a flare-up. Common triggers include:

•     Stress
•     Sunburn
•     Cuts and scrapes
•     Bug bites
•     Infections
•     Smoking
•     Cold weather
•     Heavy alcohol consumption
•     Some medications, including beta blockers and antimalarial drugs

Those who are more at risk for the disease include those who have close family members with psoriaisis, and those with frequent viral and bacterial infections, as well as those who are obese or who smoke.

Potential Treatments

If you start to show signs of psoriasis, check with your doctor first. They can provide any number of treatments, including internal medications that help normalize skin cell activity.

light therapy

Some people have also experienced benefits with light therapy, which uses natural or artificial ultraviolet light to slow skin cell turnover. There are a number of different types of light therapy, so if one doesn’t work for you, talk to your dermatologist about other types. Many psoriasis sufferers also experience fewer flare ups with regular, short periods of sun exposure.

A 2009 study found that after 15 days or regular sun exposure, participants with psoriasis experienced about a 73 percent decline in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores.

natural options

In addition to trying doctor-recommended treatments, consider these natural options for taming psoriasis:

1. Wash regularly

Taking daily baths can be immensely helpful. Add some oatmeal and Epsom salts to moisturize.

2. Avoid your triggers

Try keeping a journal for several months, and note when your psoriasis flares up. Were you stressed at the time? Did it happen after you had a few drinks? Try to make connections to find out what may be triggering the skin eruptions. You may find that when you’re feeling relaxed and happy—when everything in your life feels balanced—that your flare-ups fade. When things become out of balance­—you fail to get enough sleep, or go several days without regular exercise, or become stressed out by something—your body is more likely to react. Strive for a balance in all your days.

3. Take a fish oil supplement

Some studies indicate that daily supplementation with fish oil can help reduce inflammation associated with psoriasis. Try 3 grams a day.

4. Apple cider vinegar

If you have scalp psoriasis, try applying organic apple cider vinegar to the scalp several times a week. You may want to dilute it with water (1-to-1 ratio).

5. Sea salt

Another common household ingredient you can add to your regimen. Try adding these to your bath as well.

Do you have other tips for soothing psoriasis flare-ups? Please let us know.

 

The following post All About Psoriasis: 5 Natural Options You Can Find at Home was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

What’s the Difference Between Extra Virgin and Fractionated Coconut Oil?

We love our coconut oil. Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and penetrating fatty acids, it’s one of the most hydrating and plumping oils we can use. That’s why we have it in five of our products, including both our Herbal Facial Oils, our Coconut Honey Mask, and our Coconut Body & Face Oil.

If you look closely at the ingredient list, though, you may have noticed that not all of these coconut oils are the same.

In our Coconut Body Oil and Coconut Honey Mask, we use extra virgin coconut oil. In both our Herbal Facial Oils, we use fractionated coconut oil.

We imagine some of our more curious customers may be wondering why we have two kinds. Here’s your answer!

A Little Bit About How Oils are Extracted

You may already know that not oils are created the same way. The main difference lies in how they are extracted from the nut, fruit, vegetable, or seed. (For coconut oil, it’s extracted from the meat of the coconut.)

In general, we have three basic ways this is done:

With heat

Manufacturers apply heat to the source material, which separates the oil over time. Picture olives piled in the sun, or palm fruits boiled in water, after which the oil is skimmed from the surface.

With chemicals

The nuts or fruits are ground or rolled up, and then washed with a chemical solution that releases the oil. These processes usually include heat as well, as the oil is heated to separate it from the chemical solution.

By pressing

A mechanical press actually presses the oil out of the source material. The result is thought to be purer and less contaminated than that which results from other types of extraction.

Once the oil is extracted, it is then usually refined in some way to get rid of impurities. Though mass produced coconut oil may go through a number of processes, we have two main alternatives to choose from:

Unrefined: The oil is filtered to remove large particles, but is subject to no additional refining.

Refined: The oil is exposed to chemicals, heat, or other materials to remove impurities.

fractionated coconut oil

What is Extra Virgin Oil?

For our products, we prefer as little processing as possible, as we want an oil that’s as close to the original source material as we can get. Oils labeled “virgin” or “extra virgin” are typically unrefined, meaning they haven’t been exposed to chemicals that can potentially linger behind to get on your skin, or that may damage some of the natural components of the oil.

Why extra virgin over refined?

To be clear: Refined oils aren’t necessarily exposed to chemicals—some may be treated with only heat or clays to filter and purify the oil. But on the whole, virgin oils are the least processed of all available oils, maintain more of the natural components, and usually test higher for things like antioxidants and nutrients.

In a 2009 study, for example, researchers compared the antioxidant capacity of virgin coconut oil with oil that had been refined, bleached, and deodorized. They found that the virgin coconut oil had a higher antioxidant capacity than oil that had been significantly processed.

What is Fractionated Oil?

One thing about extra virgin coconut oil: it’s solid at room temperature. That’s why we warn you that our Coconut Body & Face Oil may solidify at cooler temperatures, and why our Coconut Honey Mask is more like butter than cream. It’s easy to soften it—a few minutes in hot water or warmed between your hands or fingers will do the trick.

For our facial oils, though, we needed a type of coconut oil that would do three things:

  1. Mix well with the other oils in the product.
  2. Easily and quickly penetrate the skin.
  3. Moisturize without clogging pores.

The extra virgin oil, because of its natural composition, doesn’t fit the bill. Since coconut oil is such a superior moisturizer, we didn’t want to leave it out of our facial oil formulas. So we needed an alternative.

Why we use fractionated coconut oil

Fractionated coconut oil, also called “liquid coconut oil,” fit our requirements. Basically, it is a form of the oil that has had the long-chain fatty acids removed via hydrolysis and steam distillation. Just this one change makes the oil liquid at room temperature, and extends the product’s shelf life.

There are three basic types of fatty acids—short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain. Long-chain fatty acids have more carbon atoms, which means they require higher temperatures to melt. Fats that are solid at room temperature have longer chain lengths—thus, coconut oil.

how does it become liquid?

One of the fatty acids that’s mostly removed in fractionation is lauric acid—a type of “healthy” saturated fat found in high quantities in coconut and palm kernel oils. It’s a great fat to have in skin care because it’s so moisturizing and cleansing. Removing it, though, gives us the liquid product we need to use in items like our Herbal Facial Oils.

What’s left?

Once the lauric acid and other long-chain fatty acids are gone, you’re still left with a lot of good stuff, including medium chain fatty acids like capric, caprylic, myristic and palmitic, all of which retain their super-moisturizing capabilities. You also still have the natural antioxidants, which protect from environmental stressors, and nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, which help maintain a tighter, firmer look.

the perfect carrier oil

Fractionated coconut oil is completely soluble with other oils, which makes it the perfect carrier oil, capable of ushering other oils into the skin. It’s also extremely light, and absorbs quickly into the skin without clogging pores. You’re left with a soft, smooth feeling that won’t exacerbate oiliness or leave you feeling greasy.

Enjoy the Moisturizing Benefits Either Way

You can get the full benefits of extra virgin coconut oil in our Coconut Honey Mask and in our Coconut Body Oil, where the buttery consistency is desired.

Then you can enjoy the light moisturizing and deeply penetrating benefits of the coconut oil in our Herbal Facial Oils, without having to worry about greasiness or clogged pores.

In other words, we’ve got the benefits of coconut oil here for all skin types, so no one has to go without!

Facial Oils

How do you use coconut oil in your skin care? What type do you use? Share with us in the comments!

Sources:
Nazimah Hamid, “Antioxidant capacity of phenolic acids of virgin coconut oil,” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, January 2009; 60(Suppl 2):114-23, http://www.researchgate.net/publication/23712333_Antioxidant_capacity_and_phenolic_acids_of_virgin_coconut_oil.

The following post What’s the Difference Between Extra Virgin and Fractionated Coconut Oil? was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

11 Ways to Grow Long, Beautiful Hair… Fast!

hair growth

We’re skin people. Waking up to soft, glowing skin is what we’re about. So we think of our hair as a picture frame for our nourished faces.

It’s said that one can accomplish far more on a so-called “good hair day.” Those days where you wake up and your follicles are like an obedient classroom following your every order. It’s as if you went to the salon in your sleep. You feel like making eye contact with strangers. You ask your barista out on a date. Good things happen.

And why can’t that be everyday?  Check our list of tips and tricks to keep your tresses growing strong.

1. Protein

If you don’t give your body the correct components, it won’t be able to give you beautiful hair. Your hair is mostly protein, so make sure to get enough, especially if you avoid animal products.

Add beans or lentils to your diet if they aren’t already there. We recently posted a recipe for Moroccan Lentil Stew that is perfect for warming you during the winter months and giving you the protein you need to grow beautiful hair.

hair growth

2. Horsetail

Did you know this plant converts inorganic silica to a form that we can use? This makes it one the best sources of silica on the planet! Silica is abundant in living creatures; without it, our bones would be brittle and slow to heal. It gives our hair luster and our skin softness.

You shouldn’t consume raw, whole horsetail. It’s too abrasive. Use horsetail juice, tincture, or herbal tea to keep your hair (and nails) growing strong. You can even brew a strong pot and add it to your bath or use it as a hair rinse (more on hair rinses in a second).

3. Troubleshoot

If you color your hair regularly, heat style often, and avoid regular hair cuts, you are probably aware of what ails your hair. But there are other, less obvious causes of dry, brittle, dull hair.

consider mental and physical health as well

Eastern medicine associates hair health with the strength of the kidneys and the blood. In Beauty by Nature by Brigitte Mars, she says that negative emotions such as envy and hatred can also diminish your hair health. Consider your overall mental and physical wellness when investigating how to grow longer and more beautiful hair.

hair growth

4. Let it all hang out

Tying your hair back with elastic bands can create tension on your scalp. The ones with metal pieces on them can irritate the hair and promote breakage.

Try wearing your hair down more often to ease the pressure or use claw hair clips to put hair back without causing breakage.

5. Choose your tools wisely

Use a brush with natural bristles that will absorb oils and thus help to evenly distribute them throughout your hair.

natural bristles and handles

Boar bristle brushes are popular, but for those who avoid using animal products, these simply won’t do. Be aware that often a product that claims to have “natural bristles” could be made with animal hair.

Wood brushes are good alternatives, reducing static and helping to distribute those oils throughout your hair. You’ll also be avoiding adding more plastic to the world. Beechwood and bamboo are common natural hair brush options.

6. Take your vitamins

Make sure to include lots of biotin in your diet. This B vitamin keeps hair growing beautifully. Grab some peanuts, sweet potato, eggs, or oats to get your fix.

Buddha Wood Essential Oil

7. Oil it

We like our facial oils, that’s for certain. We also love oils in our hair! Create your arsenal by choosing essential oils that help you achieve your hair goals. Massage a couple drops into the ends of your hair, add a couple drops to your shampoo or conditioner, add a couple drops to your hairbrush, or mix with a carrier oil and use it as a treatment.

Oiling for your hair type

  • To brighten dull hair, use chamomile, lemongrass, or lemon oil.
  • Nourish dry hair with carrot seed oil, lavender, or thyme oil.
  • Oily hair benefits from basil, clary sage, or grapefruit oil.
  • To heal damaged hair, use rosemary, sandalwood, or geranium oil.

8. Rinse wisely

Many hair routines are finished after the conditioner is rinsed off, but you can work even more natural benefits into your routine. You can make a simple hair rinse by brewing a strong cup of tea (about ½ cup herbs to 1 cup of water) and storing the strained liquid in a bottle in your fridge. After rinsing out your conditioner, pour a cup or so of your rinse over your hair, and leave it in.

DIY Rinses

Horsetail is a good choice for a hair rinse for most hair types. Chamomile is a great option if you have dry hair or want to add light highlights to your hair (this will be very subtle and requires many rinses!). Try lemon balm if your hair is oily. Rosemary is a great herb for stimulating hair growth, which brings us to our next tip…

9. Tone

Our Rosemary Toning Mist is loved by those with oily skin as a great way to soften while lessing clogged pores. Did you know that it’s also a great treatment for the hair? Rosemary stimulates, so a couple spritzes of this mist a day can help get you closer to mermaid hair.

hair growth

10. get the blood flowing

Many hair growth treatments work by stimulating blood flow to the head. There’s a really simple way to do this… be upside down! If you’re a yogi or a gymnast, do a headstand or handstand each day to get blood flowing. Alternatively, lay on a slanted surface with your head below the rest of your body to get the blood moving in that direction.

11. Keep it natural

Of course, we advocate for natural hair care in addition to natural skin care. You can’t expect your hair to thrive when you’re feeding it chemicals.

Here’s a recipe for natural hair conditioner from Brigitte Mars’ Beauty by Nature:

Natural Banana Conditioner:

1 cup of hot water
1 ripe banana
½ cup dried chamomile or rosemary
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Combine in a blender and apply to hair for 10 minutes or more, then rinse well.

We hope you love these tips and how your tresses benefit from them!

What’s your secret for long, beautiful hair? Tell us in the comments below!

 

The following post 11 Ways to Grow Long, Beautiful Hair… Fast! was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

9 Ways to Protect Your Skin and Hair from Chlorine

chlorine

That swimming pool sure feels good in the summer—until you get home and look in the mirror.

Eek!

Chlorine is used to kill bacteria in pools, and it does its job well, but it’s also a harsh chemical bleach that can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. When used in pools, it’s combined with other chemicals to make it generally safe, but over time it can still damage tissues and hair strands.

Fortunately, you don’t have to avoid swimming to protect yourself.

How Chlorine in Swimming Pools Damages Hair and Skin

Chlorine shows up in our lives in a lot of ways. It’s not only in swimming pools to disinfect the water, but it’s also used to sterilize drinking water, and in the manufacturing of products like paper, textiles, paints and plastic, medicines, and more.

what’s the science behind it?

The chemical is known as an “oxidizing” agent, meaning that it can oxidize other substances. That means it can encourage the formation of free radicals—those nasty molecules that damage cells, proteins, lipids, and DNA. Too much oxidation can lead to inflammation, disease, and aging.

How does this affect my skin and hair?

Knowing this, you can guess what chlorine does to your hair and skin. It not only robs both of natural moisturizers and oils, but it’s powerful oxidation processes—often called “corrosive”—can result in lasting damage that accentuates the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also destroys vitamin E and essential fatty acids that the skin needs to appear its best.

Regular exposure to the chlorine in swimming pools can result in the following changes:

•     Discolored hair
•     Dry, brittle, straw-like hair that’s prone to breakage
•     Frizzy hair
•     Lack of shine to the hair
•     Weak hair that lacks volume
•     Dry, itchy scalp
•     Damage to cuticles
•     Weakened and breaking nails
•     Dry, flaky skin
•     Itchy, rashed, or burned skin
•     Allergic or reactive skin (especially in sensitive skin types)
•     Acne breakouts
•     Accelerated aging in skin, showing up as fine lines and wrinkles

Obviously none of us want to experience any of these all this for the occasional dip in the pool!

How to Protect Hair and Skin from Exposure to Chlorine

You don’t have to wind up with rough hair and dry skin just because you like to swim. Try the following tips to protect your hair and skin the next time you take a dip.

1. Swim in an outdoor pool

These allow gases from the chemicals in the water to escape into the air—leaving less to contaminate your hair and skin. These types of pools are also better for your eyes, sinuses and lungs. If you need to swim indoors, look for well-ventilated pools.

2. Shower before you swim

Both hair and skin are less likely to absorb water from the pool once they’re already wet. Make sure you’re good and soaked right before you go in to increase resistance.

3. Apply conditioner or hair oil

Hair experts recommend that you apply either a deep conditioner or natural oil, like coconut oil, to the hair before going into the pool. It creates a layer between your hair and the chlorine and other chemicals in the pool, and helps nourish the hair follicles as well. If you use oil, however, be sure to wear a cap, or that you’re swimming in an indoor pool—otherwise the oil will attract sun damage if you’re outside.

4. Wear a swim cap

This is the best way to protect your hair, especially if it’s chemically treated. After you’ve showered and applied a conditioner or hair oil, put your cap on. Of course, you can wear a cap without washing your hair if you feel you have a quality one that will prevent all exposure, but for maximum chlorine resistance, it’s best to wash and condition first.

Pin your hair back. If you don’t want to wear a cap, at least pin your hair back to limit exposure.

5. Apply skin lotion

Like conditioner on your hair, lotion on your skin gives you an extra layer of protection. Apply a sun protection if swimming outdoors and if swimming indoors apply an oil or lotion.

6. Wash after your swim

Using a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo, wash hair and skin after your swim to get rid of all those chemicals hanging around. Give hair a good soak in the water—a quick wash can leave some chlorine in the follicles. Let the fresh water flow through it for five minutes or so.

7. Rinse with apple cider vinegar

You can also use apple cider vinegar as a clarifying rinse—it will help get all those chemicals out of the hair strands, and will also remove dulling buildup. The nice thing about this natural substance is that it not only helps get rid of chlorine, but other damaging things found in pools like copper, salt, and various impurities and contaminants.

8. Apply conditioner and moisturizer

Apply a protective, deeply moisturizing conditioner to your hair after washing, and be sure to apply a natural, deeply moisturizing oil or butter to your skin as soon as you step out of the shower.

9. Avoid dryers if you can

Use a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles after washing, and then pat dry. Avoid using blow dryers if you can as that will limit damage to hair.

How do you protect yourself when you go swimming? Share with us in the comments!

 

The following post 9 Ways to Protect Your Skin and Hair from Chlorine was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.