New Season New Skincare Routine

From Winter to Spring

It's springtime!

If you are anything like me you enjoy the warm weather, the sun, and every fantastic thing that comes with the end of winter weather. For me it's the seasonal fruit and vegetables, lemonade and sangria, picnics in the park, backyard BBQs and lawn chair movie nights. I love trading in my boots for sandals, and my wool coat for a sun dress also with this comes a skincare changes.

I live in the Northeastern U.S. and winters here are very cold and dry. They can definitely wreak havoc on my skin and hair causing me to modify my routine from the spring/summer season to winter to accommodate the change.

With my skin and hair care I like to keep things as simple as possible. Summertime skincare consist of only daily oil cleansing, a little grape seed oil and sunblock and that's it. I exfoliate a few times a week to help reduce clogged pores but everything on my skin and just light and minimum. I don’t have to worry about dry tightness of the skin and that winter flake that I despise that has me exfoliating more and using heavier butters like shea to keep it at bay.

I am so ready to have my sun-kissed glow back and I'm currently in the process of de-winterizing my skin from head to toe.

A quick little recipe to help you de-winterize your feet:

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 ground coffee

1/2 of coconut oil. Now, depending on the texture you want for your foot scrub you can add more or less oil for a thicker or looser scrub.

The coffee grounds in this scrub make it ideal for the feet, but it can be very harsh for the skin and a definite no-no for the face. Plus coconut oil has comedogenic properties which could cause breakouts.

Stay Beautifully Polished!

April 01, 2016 by Angelina Stewart

The Oil Cleansing Method

One thing that I love and have been doing for years is oil cleansing. Oil cleansing isn’t new, but it is highly effective in cleaning without stripping and drying the skin.

I have oily skin which is prone to breakouts, and most would try to fight back by actively removing the oil and drying the skin. But what I’ve noticed with my skin is excessive drying (mostly through sulfate containing cleansers) does not work. My skin automatically goes into oil production hyper-drive to compensate for the loss; resulting in an even more oily skin, potentially producing more breakouts. I got trapped in this cleansing, drying, hyper-drive, breakout cycle. This prompted me to sit down and think of alternative ways to care for my skin that was less damaging. As a natural soap maker I had a good understanding of oil properties and how certain ones interacted with the skin. After a few trials I formulated an amazing oil cleanser that is great for different skin types, removes dirt, oil and makeup without ever drying the skin and causing breakouts.   

After committing to oil cleansing I no longer have excessively oily skin, very few breakout, none of that tight, pulled skin feeling and I maintain a healthy glow.

Twice a day I run a facecloth under hot water ring out and press against my entire face (do this 2-3 times) to steam and get the dirt loosened up on the skin. From there I message the oils into the skin; making sure to get around my hair line and around my nose. Steam once more with the hot cloth and then use it to remove the oil along with any dirt and makeup.

Immediately after when my skin is still warm and slightly damp I use a few drops of argan, grape seed or jojoba oils to seal in the moisture and top everything with sunscreen. In the winter if needed a little whipped shea butter applied after the oils is great too.

Let me know if you ever tried the oil cleanse method.

 

Btw some good news to my oily skin peeps, we may suffer a little now with oil and little breakouts, but we’ll benefit later. Oily skin helps to prolong the development of wrinkles because our natural built-in moisturizer keeps the skin soft and supple

My Trip to Thailand

As some of you know I love to travel, and I try to see the world every chance that I get. My most recent trip was to the beautiful country of Thailand. I underestimated how much I would fall in love with this country and absolutely can't wait to get back.

While I was there I drew inspiration for my latest special edition collection called the Thai Collection. I spent some time in a few of the markets browsing around and discovering some pretty amazing ingredients to work with in my Philadelphia studio.

The markets are truly alive with so much energy and life that it is addicting. Though the days were long and hot and the language barrier was tough I was buzzing with excitement each night as I rested in my hotel room. As a soap maker I know a ton ingredients that can be incorporated into soap, body butter, lotions and other skin care items. But, sometimes the only thing we see on this end is the safflower oil not always the safflower petals.

 Make sure to check out The Thailand Collection.

Stay Beautifully Polished!

April 01, 2016 by Angelina Stewart

Getting Skin Winter Ready: 3 Easy Steps to Try and Fight the Dry

The Northeast winter is knocking at my door again and I am truly not ready. I consider myself solar powered, and tend to run out of energy, shut down and just want to crawl up into a little blanket ball on the couch when the temperatures drop. The cold weather affects every part of me; from my mood, my energy level, my skin and even my hair. I have to make conscious decisions to not let the cold get me into a funk nor let it wreak havoc on my skin and hair.

A couple of things happen during the colder months that make are skin and hair feel more dry and tight.

1. We tend to drink less water in the colder months. Many of us can down a gallon of water a day during the hot months but struggle with just 20oz when it's below freezing. I totally get it and find my water intake drastically decreasing too.

So, I make up for it by drinking tons of non-caffeinated herbal tea. I easily get 80oz of tea in daily just because I'm always trying to stay warm. I also let my water sit out to reach room temperature making it easier for me to drink, and we all know hydration is a huge factor in the health and wellness of our skin and hair.

2. External hydration is important too. Whenever you're picking a product to hydrate your skin or hair make sure that the very top of the ingredients is water. Water is the only try moisturizer and it's very  important to have it as a main ingredient in moisturizers.

3. Winter air is more dry. There is less humidity in the air which means there isn’t free moisture around to externally hydrate our skin and hair. Ever notice in the summertime you can jump out of the shower not lotion and your skin is still supple. But, if you were to try that in the winter your skin is a dry tight mess? That’s because the air is so dry that it's not giving you anything and in fact it's taking away what little you have.

This is where humectants can come in handy. Humectants are moisture lovers and will draw moisture to itself. Humectants such as honey and glycerin are great in managing the moisture balance but sometimes too much of a great thing isn’t so great.

So, I mentioned that humectants love moisture and they do, but they aren’t picky on where they get it from. It could be the air or it could be your hair! Yup depending on the dew points and what's going on in the atmosphere humectant will pull moisture from you to satisfy it greedy moisture loving self. But, if you use them in a proper way, they will pull from the air and help keep you soft.

In the colder months you want to avoid anything that will strip and dry the skin and hair. Natural handcrafted soap is the first step. Natural soap contains a ton of natural glycerin to help draw moisture to you. From there barriers are the best. I like to use products that do not contain water as barriers. Such as; thick creams, body frosting and salves. These create a barrier between your skin and the air, and do a great job of trapping moisture close to your skin reducing the rate of evaporation.

Start preparing because winter is coming!

Stay beautifully polished.

Angelina

 

De-Winterizing that Skin

We're a few days into spring and it's that time of year to begin thinking about de-winterizing your skin and getting it sunshine ready. I live in a part of the country that is cold and dry during the winter months and can cause havoc on my hair and skin. The winter air tends to severely dry out the skin having it become itchy, flaky and even crack from the lack of moisture.

So, I take a few simple steps every year to de-winterize my skin.

 

  1. Drink up! I have to increase my water intake. Luckily I like water, but I always find myself drinking less of it in the winter (which doesn’t help with dry skin) because I don’t feel as hot and thirsty as I do in the warmer months. I make the conscious decision to substantially; but gradually increase my water intake, and it's no secret that healthy, supple and glowing skin starts from the inside, so down the hatch!

 

  1. Eat up! Just with the water my fresh raw veggie and fruit intake takes a blow during the winter months. Partly, because fruit is out of season and just isn't as wonderful as it could be; but the main reason is that comfort food is my best friend when it's snowy, dark and cold, and I will pick a bowl of hearty stew over a bowl of salad every time. As with water the nutrients found in fruits and veggies works wonders on maintaining lovely healthy skin that regenerates well and is healthy.

 

  1. Shed it! Now, I've done pretty well in exfoliating regularly this winter season. Alternating between my amazing kessa glove that I picked up in Morocco and our sugar body polish to get the job done. Exfoliating a few times a week is a great habit to pick up, and it's very easy to acquire a layer of dead winter skin if you aren’t getting rid of that build-up. Besides it's about that time to show-off that beautiful layer that was hibernating all those months. But, exfoliating literally regenerates your skin, you jump in the shower with one set of skin and jump out with a nice new set. Dead skin is just that dead. It inhibits that soft dewy skin we all strive for, so get rid of that dead weight.

 

  1. LOC it! If you caught a previous blog post that I wrote called 'Banishing That Winter Itch' it speaks on the importance of locking in the moisture. It's so importing to get this step right. For one; when done properly it helps retain moisture in the skin rather than evaporating right out, and secondly less product is used which saves you money; always a great thing. Moisture is everything, it keeps the skin pliable, supply, healthy and glowing. Moisturizing correctly and with the right products will keep you looking as if you didn't just spend the last three months in hibernation.

Stay beautifully polished.

Angelina

DIY - Itchy Scalp Herbal Tea

Now that it is winter here in Philadelphia dry skin can extend up to my scalp making it a bit itchy and a little annoying. I typically use very few products on my hair and try to avoid anything that will give me a ton of build-up that I will have to remove later. So, I developed this really simple itchy scalp tea a few years ago as a super simple way to eliminate this little winter itch.

Each ingredient was selected for its skin soothing properties and the ability to help relive that awful winter scalp itch.

Lets talk about a few of the ingredients...

  • Calendula helps sooth and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties are attributed to the triterpenoids it contains. "Ins studies, Calendula was suggested to stimulate granulation and increase glycoproteins and collagen."
  • Oat Straw has soothing and antipruritic qualities. 
  • Marshmallow Root & Slippery Elm Bark contains a substance called mucilage. When boiled in water these herbs produce a mucus like substance that acts as a soothing emollient to the skin helping in the relief of dry and mildly inflamed skin.
  • Witch Hazel "contains considerable amounts of tannin, making it a useful astringent." When used topically it can soothe inflammation of this skin and help relieve irritation.

Recipe:

I used my tea infuser as a measuring tool.

2 scoops of Calendula Flower

1/2 scoop Hibiscus Flower

1 scoop Stinging Nettle

1 scoop Oat Straw

1/2 scoop Rosemary Leaves

1/2 scoop Elderflower

1 scoop Slippery Elm Bark

1 scoop Marshmallow Root

1 scoop of Sage Leaves

1 scoop of Witch Hazel Bark

1 cup of water

1 cup of Aloe Water

Directions:

Steep herbs in 1 cups of boiled water for 30 minutes. let the tea cool, strain, add aloe water, stir and pour into a spray bottle. Now, since this is made with water and does not contain a preservative; keep it refrigerated and finish within a week.

If you need a little extra help you can mix a little jojoba oil, which very closely mimics the scalps natural sebum, with a few drops each of rosemary and tea tree essential oils.

You can use this mixture directly on the scalp or add to your spray bottle. Just remember to shake really well before each use to ensure the oils isn't just floating on top. 

Stay beautifully polished.

Angelina

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 26, 2015 by Angelina Stewart

Banishing That Winter Itch

 

It's that time a year again when itchy skin takes over. There's been a lot chatter with friends and in some of the various Facebook groups that I belong to complaining about the winter itch.

For many of us, the weather in the winter changes to a cold, frigid and dry climate making our skin an innocent bystander in its crosshairs. But, there are ways to minimize this not too pleasant experience, and keep healthy glowing skin even when the weather isn't our friend.

The most important step in battling dry skin is to retain moisture. The key is to apply products that reduce the rate of water evaporation allowing the skin to remain hydrated. I prefer to apply a moisturizer straight out of the bath or shower. I lightly pat my skin dry and immediately I apply an oil AND an butter. I don’t even leave the warm humid environment of my bathroom for this process.

First I like to use our body glaze. Our glaze contains oils with low molecular weight allowing for easy penetration into the skin. I apply it over every surface of my skin (and if you have a flexible shoulder like me, you can do your own back too!) I rub this into the skin until it's pretty much absorbed, maybe around 10 seconds on an area. Also, remember a little goes a long way; especially when using on slightly damp skin.

From there it's all about the body frosting. Our body frosting is made with some great skin penetrating oils and some butters. This will create a great barrier in the reduction of moisture loss. As with the glaze, I apply the frosting to my skin and rub until well worked in. Our frosting isn't highly greasy and after a few minutes there are no worries of it rubbing off on clothes or sheets.

I know it this isn’t the latest technique but properly apply products in the correct order will help maintain the skin's moisture level. Also, drinking water helps to combat dryness from the inside out. I know for me I have to consciously maintain my water intake levels in the winter because, I'm just not hot, but it does do wonders.

An easy little way to remember the order of application is to this is think of LOC, as in to lock in the moisture.

L - Liquid (water)

O - Oil (glaze)

C- Cream (frosting)

Stay beautifully polished.

Angelina