I’ve had a lot of emails and requests to share information about (1) my beauty/skin care tips, and (2) my exercise routine. So, I’m going off the recipe path a little to share 2 posts with you, one about skin care and cosmetics (today!), and another about my exercise routine.
I’ll preface my post with saying that I am not an expert on vegan beauty products. I know there are a lot of incredible choices out there. Some more expensive than others, some available in stores, others online, some are small independent local retailers. While I enjoy trying new skin care and cosmetics, I’ve never been one to be in the know about all the best and exciting products, or to have a great stash of goodies. I know what I like, and know what mostly looks good on me and works for me, so I stick with it. Because many of YOU know a great deal, and certainly have different skin tones, skin types, climates, etc… please share YOUR products and beauty tips in the comments. I know I can learn from you too, and it will give many more options for all my readers.
The first and most important factor for healthy, radiant, youthful skin, begins with…
Whole-Foods PLANT DIET!
I’m a believer that the BEST thing you can do for your skin starts with your fork. Or smoothie cup. Our skin is a reflection of the foods we feed it. Nourish our bodies with fresh vegetables, greens, fresh fruits, nuts, avocados, seeds, whole-grains, legumes and it shows in our skin. Processed foods and animal products don’t deliver anything living or rejuvenating to our skin. Eat as close to nature, consuming a high whole-foods diet (80%+). Get those GREENS in your diet! If you have a hard time eating them in salads or sautes, make GREEN SMOOTHIES (I will gargle my green smoothie if you don’t love them)! Fresh juices like carrot, celery, and cucumber will also beautify your skin. These foods will deliver hydration and skin-nourishing and rejuvenating fats, vitamins, and minerals. This image from Raw For Beauty gives a quick snapshot of some of the top anti-aging foods. Notice they are all whole plant foods? I’ve seen avocados, greens, and blueberries on so many similar infographics. Sounds like the makings of a delicious salad. Or smoothie!
Fresh vegetables and fruits are particularly important, as they are hydrating for our skin, and full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Try to incorporate many alkaline foods into your diet as well (good for overall health, not just skin health).
Buying creams with antioxidants is no comparison to actually consuming them daily. Our skin glows from the inside out. Eat the rainbow, daily if you can. Beautiful skin begins at the farmers’ market! I wish I knew this in my teens and 20s, but at least I caught up quickly in my 30s.
We all know that drinking a lot of water is good for the skin. Here’s the problem with that message, however. The distinction isn’t made between water and naturally hydrating foods. What is the point of drinking 8 glasses of water a day if one is consuming scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, a turkey/cheese sandwich for lunch, and steak for dinner? Even if you squeeze in side salad and a piece of fruit, most of that day’s food is dead and not water-rich. Fruits and vegetables are water-rich, even avocados and bananas, which have no juice are high in water content. So, by all means, yes, drink water. (And, please, stop drinking diet sodas.) But, you will notice that when you increase your consumption of natural, water-rich plant foods, your body becomes hydrated from those foods (as well as receiving vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc) and you do not need to drink as much water.
Exercise and Sleep
Don’t you find your skin looks more radiant after working out? Not just the immediate “after-glow”, exercise brings better blood circulation to the skin, and also elevates our mood, improves immunity, and helps with sleep. Sleep is so important to our overall health, everything goes into repair mode while we rest – including the our skin. Interestingly, the quality of our sleep improves when we eat a clean, whole foods diet, and also exercise. As we feel more rested and restored, we are energized to keep exercise in our lives and plan for healthier eating every day. The cycle continues. Great for our bodies, mind, soul – and yes, skin – in the long run.
DIY Skin Care
I do purchase skin care products, but there are also a couple of DIY or home fixes that I use regularly. I only have a couple in my arsenal, so would love to hear any great DIY solutions that you have for skin care, hair care, anti-aging, and also make-up!
Avocado Eat it. And wear it! At least once a week I use ripe avocado for a face mask. It cleans and also soothes and moisturizes my skin. The process couldn’t be simpler: Slice a small piece of ripe avocado (no need to use a half, or even a quarter, a sliver will do):
Mush it up with your fingers. Yes mush. You could always mash with a fork in a small bowl. But why?.. When you can mush!
Smear it on your face. No need to mix with anything, just smoosh over your face. Very technical terms here today. Leave on your face for about 5 minutes until it starts to dry, then rinse off. I usually hop in the shower, easier to wash it off that way. Above, the avocado I used was very ripe, so smoothed on easily. If your avoc is ripe but still a little firm, the mush may have some clumpy bits. All good – still works!
Did I just post a pic of me with green mash all over my face? *Gulp* Gosh, the things I do in the name of blogging! Before any emails come in about how I have dark circles or wrinkles, remember I am almost 43. No makeup here. No tucks or injections. Just taking a selfie sporting green mush.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has some magical health and beauty properties. Recently I learned that lightly applying apple cider vinegar (mixed with a little fresh lemon juice) to your skin helps diminish age spots. Have any of you tried this or had success with it? I don’t have too many age spots on my face yet, but am making note of this technique. What I do use ACV for right now? My hair!
Give your hair a rinse with ACV every couple of weeks. It will make your fair feel softer, smoother, and look a little shinier! I often forget to use it regularly, but if my hair feels like it has a little build-up or looking dull – I pull out the ACV. I usually put the vinegar straight in a spice jar and take it to the shower with me. But, you can use an old shampoo bottle, fill with vinegar straight, or with a mix of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water. Work it through your hair either before or after a shampoo (or, in place of a shampoo, some folks do that). Rinse it well, and you’re set! Eden Foods even has a post on using their ACV for a hair rinse. Cool, right?
A Natural Oil To Moisturize
My skin is naturally drier than other types. I’ve talked before in posts about Ayurveda, and my body is very much a Vata constitution. So, it’s not that my skin is flaky or itchy in its dryness. It’s just that it’s not naturally oily. Hubby, on the other hand, has a strong Kapha constitution. His skin is much more thick and oily in its nature. He never needs a moisturizer on his face. Without some sort of moisturizing oil or cream, my face feels a little tight and ‘exposed’, like quite raw to the elements. I often find face cream and products designed for anti-aging (discussion coming up), simply aren’t moisturizing enough for me. So, I use a natural oil to combine with my daily face cream. I have rotated through a few, and here are some of my favorites:
Weleda: I’m not sure if all of Weleda‘s products are vegan, but I do know they are against animal testing, and that this Sea Buckthorn Oil is definitely vegan. It is pricey to buy a full bottle, but a little goes a long way (and that amazon link offers a much better price than I have bought in stores). I add just a couple of drops with my Arbonne moisturizer or serum, and it feels like my face just got a massage!
Andalou: I rotate between this product and the Weleda, as a soothing oil to mix with my moisturizer. Again, just a drop or two is enough, and this product has a lovely aroma from natural essential oils. Again, I just spotted this produce for a better price on Amazon. (I’ve got to start shopping for more there!) Andalou has a whole product line, and I haven’t tried many other items – have you?
Another I’ve used and loved in the past is the Golden Olive Serum from TVAL skincare. TVAL is a company that originated in Newfoundland, and has grown considerably in recent years. Not all of their products are vegan, but this serum sure is. Interestingly, it contains sea buckthorn oil!
A couple of years ago I started using ARBONNE products. Before that I was bouncing between different lines of moisturizers and skin serums and renewal products. (They are usually called anti-aging. Think that should change. I’m not against aging, just want to look and feel my best while on the jouney!) I’m 42, and as I approached my 40s, I noticed definite changes to my skin, starting at around 35. (I also noticed definite changes to my skin after every baby. But that’s another story, for another post!) Into my 40s, I noticed my skin lost elasticity and I had many more pronounced lines and wrinkles. Part of aging? Yes. Completely reversible? No. But, can we improve some of the subtler effects of aging? I think so. When I used some of the Arbonne products, I felt my skin tone improved some. No, my deep wrinkles didn’t disappear (I’m not that foolish to think that’s possible either). But, I noticed the clarity of my skin improved some, as well as some of the finer lines. I don’t use all of the RE9 (or anti-again) line. I don’t feel I need them all, so I pick and choose the products I love. Also, I really love some of their make-up items.
All their products are made without animal products, without animal testing, and without harsh and toxic chemicals - that’s definitely something to love! They are expensive, yes. But, the ingredients are high quality, and they are comparable to higher-end cosmetics and skin care lines in department stores. They aren’t sold in department stores, however. I signed up as a consultant so I could buy my favorite products at a decent discount. You can do the same if you are interested. I don’t actively pursue the business side. I am passionate about my work, and immersed in several projects. Still, if you also like the look of some of the products I highlight here, feel free to get in touch with me. I can either help you purchase them from me or another consultant, or you can sign up as I did. There are many Arbonne products I haven’t tried yet. So, if YOU have tried some and have favorites, please share – I’d love to learn from you too! Here are my current FAVES:
RE9 Extra Moisturizing Day Cream with SPF 20 This is the one I use daily with my Sea Buckthorn Oil, in the morning after a shower. It has a nice texture and no sickly perfumed smell.
RE9 Advanced Renewal Serum. This product is meant to be used twice a day, under moisturizer. In the evening, I use it alone with my Sea Buckthorn Oil. This feels “active” on my skin. I think this is probably Arbonne’s most deeply effective skin renewal/restorative product. I like it!
Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer. All through my 20s and 30s, I never wore foundation. Never really liked the feel of it of it on my skin, and I felt it didn’t make my skin look better. Enter my 40s, and I noticed my complexion changed – more uneven with some discoloration. I felt it now needed some help! But, I didn’t want the cake-y look or feel of foundation – or the strong fragrance that usually comes with foundations. A friend encouraged me to try a tinted moisturizer. I tried this one from Arbonne and I LOVE it. I mean LOVE. It might be my favorite product that I use. It goes on lightly and smoothly, and feels moist on my skin, not thick or pasty. It evens out my complexion and when I wear it I feel that I look a few years younger! As with the other Arbonne products, it doesn’t have any strong fragrance.
Lip Polish. I’ve always loved my lippy! As you get older, it’s harder to find shades that compliment your skin, wear well, and have a good texture. Last year I asked for vegan lippy recommendations on facebook, and a friend said “try the Arbonne lip gloss“! Hilarious! I’d already been using the skin care for a year, but wasn’t confident to order and try the lip gloss. I ordered two and fell in love with their Posh color. (Plant-Powered Posh?) This was a pricier lippy than I’d been used to buying, but with the discount it was reasonable. Also, I was surprised at how long it lasted. I think because it’s a lighter, gentler color, it has a little better lasting power. This is by far the best lippy I’ve used in years. I panic when I can’t find it in my purse. Kidding. Not.
I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but I never sleep with any make-up on my face. Never. For years I used soap to wash off make-up. In my late 20s, I found it far too drying and started using cleansers. I have found that cleansers are either creamy or foamy. If you have oily skin, you probably like the foamy cleansers. I only like creamy cleansers, and I find they remove any make-up very well. I don’t use Arbonne’s cleanser because it is slightly foamy. It works well, but again, for my skin I need something a little creamier. There are a couple I’ve tried and loved, so again, I rotate between:
Sukin: I’ve tried a couple of their products and like them. They do have two different cleansers, so be sure you spot the correct one because their labelling is not distinct. The cream cleanser is the one I love. Also, they offer that cleanser in a bottle with either a flip cap or a pump (I pick the pump, easier to use).
Earth Science: Their A-D-E cleanser is also very luxuriously creamy. This is a pretty reasonably priced cleanser for its size. Not all of Earth Science’s products are vegan, but they details their exceptions here.
I don’t wear a lot of make-up like eyeshadows and eyeliners. I don’t really know how to apply them in ways that are flattering (or hip)! But, I do love some color on my face, with an overall light blusher, and then a little brighter pink blush. Here’s the bummer. For years I’ve been using two products from TVAL: Pink Snowflakes and My Ducky. They have been my favorite, go-to blushers for years. Mad love. I always assumed they were vegan! In writing this post, I realized they aren’t. Sad day. I’m not perfect, but make changes when I can. So, I will look to find a similar product that I love… but need your help! What face powders/blushers would you recommend that have similar colors? Anything from Arbonne? Is there another line you’d recommend? The pink snowflakes is actually a little more pink than it looks in the link, and the Ducky blush actually a little more muted. Anyhow, lend some vegan help here my friends, I need a new blusher! *sniff*
I do also use mascara, a little on my top lashes opens my eyes. (I can manage to apply that – eyeshadow, another story!) Arbonne has very nice mascara, but it’s a little pricey. Mind you, seems most of the vegan mascara options are a little more expensive. Here is a link with a quick overview of other vegan mascara. Do you use any of these brands? Have any favorites?
Finally, last summer I got my first full pedicure! Never before had I painted my toes. For real. I’d had a couple of pedicures, but would simply get the no-polish option. I figured it would wear/chip easy, and I don’t have time/patience for the polishing maintenance. I never paint my nails for that reason, they’re far too busy in the kitchen! My girlfriend said “what? no! It lasts for weeks on your toes“! She was right. After my first pedi, I was kind of hooked. I don’t maintain them through the winter, but in the summer, I quite enjoy my colorful toenails. There are quite a few options for vegan nail polishes, and Gena Hamshaw recently wrote an excellent, comprehensive post on vegan polishes. (Thanks Gena!)
Before our trip to Newfoundland, I took the older girls to get a polish with me. When we returned home, our 4 year old wanted hers done as well. Rainbow toes…
Now, I hope to hear from YOU! Have you tried any of these DIY techniques, or maybe have your own to share? Have you tried any of the products I’ve mentioned? Or, do you have others you love and want to share? Have you tried other products in the ARBONNE line that you love? Tell me about them! And, help me find me a new blusher!