Tuesday, June 19, 2018

10 Solutions for Rough, Dry, Overworked Hands—Male or Female!

Do you have rough, cracked, dry hands? Think you can’t do anything about it? Think again!

Even if you’re working construction every day, or have your hands constantly in water, you can take steps to help protect and soothe your hands, so that you can feel equally comfortable at work or headed out to a nice restaurant for dinner.

What Causes Hands to Crack and Bleed?

We all know that our hands suffer when we expose them to bad weather, lots of water, dirt, chemicals, and the sun, but why is this, exactly?

Up against the elements

The most common cause of dry, cracked skin is a compromised outer layer. Skin is made to hold onto moisture and to naturally rejuvenate itself, but exposure to the sun, cold air, wind, dirt, chemicals, and more, can gradually damage this layer, so that skin can no longer hold onto moisture.

Damaged skin is also more vulnerable to environmental pollutants and UV radiation, which can accelerate dryness and aging.

avoid these

The following factors can all contribute to a damaged, compromised outer layer in skin:

Dry air: Air such as that which occurs in dry climates and during the cold, winter months, saps moisture out of the skin.

Water: People who consistently have to wash their hands or immerse their hands in water experience a loss of moisture, as the water steals the skin’s natural moisturizing oils away.

Chemicals: People who work with chemicals on a daily basis, or who regularly use chemical-based household cleaners, often have severely chapped hands. These chemicals rob the skin of its own moisture, and damage the outer layer, leaving skin vulnerable to all kinds of problems.

Soap: Old-fashioned soap bars are drying to the skin. Many of today’s commercial cleansers and hand soaps also disrupt skin’s normal integrity, which slows the natural process of skin repair and creates dryness and cracking.

Other factors, such as medical skin conditions, allergens, and certain medications, can also contribute to dry, cracking skin.

10 Ways to Rejuvenate Overworked Skin

If your hands are suffering, try these tips to make them more comfortable.

1. Avoid soap if you can

Avoid formulas with synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and sulfates, as these are all drying. Foaming and antibacterial types are also likely to strip your skin of its own natural fats and oils. Choose moisturizing cleansers instead, and be sure you rinse thoroughly.

2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

After each and every wash, moisturize your hands. Carry moisturizer with you. Try our Coconut Body Oil or our Radiant Skin Silk—both absorb easily and soothe the skin.

3. Avoid hot-air dryers

There are becoming more and more popular because they save money and the environment, but they can easily dry-out your hands. Pat-dry with some toilet paper or simply shake dry, then put on your lotion!

4. Wear gloves

You may already do this, but sometimes we forget. The best treatment is always prevention, so whether you’re out on the job, gardening, or simply washing the dishes, gloves will help protect your hands from damage. Avoid vinyl ones, however, as they can make skin even more dry. Use cotton and leather.

5. Exfoliate

We have learned to exfoliate our faces, but we often neglect our hands. Yet the skin on the hands—especially on the back of them­—is thin, fragile, and even more susceptible to damage than some areas of the face. If you’re severely dry and calloused, try a pumice stone after bathing. You can also put about 1-2 tablespoons of sugar in your hands, add in some olive oil, and rub both the front and back of your hands to loosen up that dry, dull skin. Use 1-4 times a week, depending on your skin’s needs, and always apply a moisturizing lotion immediately afterwards.

6. Wear gloves to bed

Damaged hands need serious moisturizing, so it’s time to deep-treat overnight. Apply a super thick moisturizer like our Coconut Honey Mask, some jojoba oil, or vitamin E, then go soak in the bath or the sauna, or better yet, put on some cotton gloves or wool socks and go to bed.

You can also try placing Ziploc bags around your hands with rubber bands around your wrists to lock in the moisture. Rinse off in the morning.

7. Use a humidifier

Particularly in the winter and in dry climates, a humidifier can be a lifesaver when it comes to your skin. The most important place to have one is in your bedroom, so you can take advantage of it while you sleep.

8. Invest in some pure aloe

This natural substance is a miracle worker when it comes to providing moisture.

9. Bathe in oats

Cooked or raw oats are great for chapped hands. Add it to your bathwater, or mix it up with some warm olive or jojoba oil in a basin and soak your hands in it for 10-15 minutes.

10. Pure coconut oil

This stuff is magic for skin because of its unique combination of fatty acids. Apply it directly onto skin and wear gloves for the best results.

Do you have other solutions for dry, chapped hands? Please share them with us.

 

The following post 10 Solutions for Rough, Dry, Overworked Hands—Male or Female! was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Monday, June 18, 2018

10 Unexpected Uses for Your Skin Care Products

alternative uses for beauty products

Here at the Annmarie Skin Care back bar, we’re pretty rebellious. Okay, maybe that’s not the right adjective. Experimental? That might give you the wrong impression. Innovative. That’s more like it.

alternative uses for beauty products

We’ve found a lot of ways to use our products, besides those for which they were originally intended. We swear it’s not just because we want everything in our medicine cabinet to match. When you’ve got products that are chemical-free and oh so herb-infused, it makes sense to want to use them all the time, right?

Everyone loves life hacks, and you may find yourself in a spot when they could come in really useful. Or, you may find that you enjoy our products for more than just one thing. Talk about making good use of your investment. These products are truly all-purpose!

1. Dry Shampooalternative uses for beauty products

Baby powder was always my go-to for dry shampoo, that is until I began reading about the dangers of using talcum powder. The Purifying Mud Mask is a totally natural, clean, and safe alternative!

Made with Moroccan Rhassoul Clay and Rose Clay, this mask is designed to draw impurities out of your skin—so why not hair, too? The clay absorbs excess oils, making it the perfect solution for those skip-the-shower type of mornings.

2. Toothpaste

Have you ever stumbled into your bathroom in the morning only to find that your toothpaste is empty? That’s what led to the discovery of our favorite back up toothpaste: Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash. That’s right! Rosemary Oil is one of nature’s most gentle and effective cleansing oils. The familiar minty scent also works as a nice breath freshener before you embark on your day.

3. Cuticle Care

A commonly neglected area of the body, cuticles can get dry as can be when unattended to. You can perk them up by rubbing some Coconut Honey Mask on them. Gently scrub your nail beds, then let it soak in for 10-15 minutes.

You could even do your whole hands and then put them in gloves to get the most of this moisturizer. Wash off with warm water and touch somebody’s face ASAP.

4. Baby Care

The Aloe Herb Cleanser has been Annmarie’s all-in-one cleanser choice for her kiddos. It gets their hair, hands, feet and bum all get nice and clean, without leaving their skin dry! I don’t know if there’s some kind of softest baby championship somewhere, but we won’t judge you if you sign your little one up.

5. Massage Oilalternative uses for beauty products

The Coconut Body Oil is amazing for giving (and receiving!) massages. The lavender essential oil will lull you into therapeutic bliss. And if massage time gets R-rated… this oil is safe to use all over your body.

6. Lip Balm

Looking for a lip moisturizer that’s literally good enough to eat? The Coconut Honey Mask can be spread on the lips to give you some shine and relief from chapping, flaking, and dryness. If you can avoid the temptation to lick your lips, you might be a robot.

7. Hair Care

We’ve often been asked when and if we will come out with hair care products. Well, right now we’re all about skin, BUT the Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion and the Coconut Body Oil can both be used to tame your mane. You’ll find your hair less frizzy and more shapeable!

8. The Ultimate Foot-Care Routine

If it’s a decadent couple of hours you seek, start by scrubbing your feet with the Coconut Honey Mask, then put on some clean socks to let the moisture soak in. Relax for a couple of hours while your feet soften. Next, fill your bathtub or a basin with warm water and a few pumps of the Coconut Body Oil. Soaking your feet in this tub of joy will not only leave them smelling very non-feet like, but also help keep them clean.

9. Perfume

If you’ve long been searching for your signature scent, you might find it in our Neroli Toning Mist. Most perfumes on the market contain harmful chemicals that might smell good, but aren’t good for you. The Neroli Toning Mist has a calming, floral scent can be spritzed on the body for a delicious, chemical-free perfume.

10. Eye Make Up Removeralternative uses for beauty products

Squirt a bit of Aloe-Herb Cleanser on a cotton ball and gently swipe it across each eye a few times. You’ve just created yourself some make up remover! You can also try this with the Coconut Body Oil.

The Annmarie Skin Care team hopes you enjoy our tricks of the trade. We certainly enjoyed smearing coconut honey goodness on our lips and calling it research!

Tell us in the comments how you use your favorite Annmarie Gianni product—we’d love to know!

 

The following post 10 Unexpected Uses for Your Skin Care Products was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Diving Into Your Biggest Skin Care Issues (And How to Help Them)

skin care concern

We asked, you answered. Our lasted community-engagement focused newsletter posed a question to our lovely readers: What is your biggest skin care concern? (Not sure what we're referring to? Sign up for our newsletter.)

The response we got was striking. Over 500 emails poured in from our readers, asking about everything from diet and skin, to rashes, to their children's skin, and just about everything in between.

While we are still working on getting back to each and every one of you, we're sharing responses from our five contest winners here. We thought you might find something in common with other members of the ASC community, whether it be a lifestyle choice, a skin concern, or a solution that works for you.

What is your biggest skin care concern?

skin care concern

safety for the whole family

My biggest skin concern is two fold and revolves around taking care of myself and taking care of my family. A skin care product for me has to be carefully crafted and free of synthetic fragrance and also has to work well enough to fight the effects of aging on my thirty-something skin. Since I have Two young daughters who love to play “makeup” with mommy, anything I put on my face has to be safe for them as well. That's why I appreciate companies like Annemarie. They are planning for not only the future of their company but the future of every family they serve.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart .
Julie C. from Alexandria, VA

We think it's beautiful that Julie's daughters factor into her decision to only use safe & chemical free ingredients! That type of mindset is really missing in the beauty industry and it's refreshing to hear that from one of our customers.

skin care concern

being environmentally conscious

My concern is very much environmental factors/stressors for our skin – herbicides, pesticides, perfumes, scented..everything it seems!! And the list goes on & on! Although even as do believe the sun is a factor to stress/aging – I’ve also learned how skin cancer is affected by our diets! Which makes so much sense (even though I believe sunscreen is still important..there in believe not just any sunscreen will do. Annmarie sunscreen not only works well, made with quality ingredients but it smells awesome.

Kathy G. from Donahue, IA

We love this sentiment, because environmental factors are at the top of mind for us when we formulate new products. Our Sun Love Natural Sunscreen is a great option if you are looking for sun protection but you're concerned about the amount of chemicals in sunscreens on the market.

Additionally, our Probiotic Serum with Tremella Mushroom is one of our favorite skin-reviving formulas, protecting the skin from the elements and environmental stressors using olive leaf ferment.

skin care concern

finding balance

I struggle with finding balance for my combination skin. Some parts are very dry, and some parts are so oily, with clogged pores. Keeping my skin clear without getting dehydrated is quite the feat!

Danielle L. from Minneapolis, MN

This is a super common problem for combination skin! The Citrus Mint Cleanser is a great fit for combination skin that runs oily and gets clogged pores, as it contains oil balancing herbs such as neem, rosemary, and lemon balm.

We also recommend trying our Herbal Facial Oil for Normal & Combination Skin for moisturizer— it's light enough for the oilier areas and moisturizing enough for the drier areas. Also check this resource for more on combination skin.

skin care concern

staying hydrated

My biggest skin concern is keeping my skin hydrated and keeping those fine lines (and maybe not so fine lines) at bay. I turn 44 years old at the end of the month, so I’m starting to notice those lines a little more than I used to. Summers in the Bay Area here in Northern California are quite dry, so that takes a toll on my skin sometimes (body and face).

Amanda W. from Mountain View, CA

We're in Northern California too, so we know all about those dry summers. If you're looking to hydrate this season, we recommend adding our Aloe Herb Cleanser, Neroli Toning Mist, and Wild Fruit Serum into your regimen.

All of those products contain aloe vera juice amongst other hydrating factors which will give your skin the boost it needs. The Wild Fruit Serum in particular deeply rejuvenates the skin with the use of plant cells, it's packed full of antioxidants and can help reduce the look of fine lines & wrinkles.

skin care concern

summer sun

My biggest summer concern is sun damage and fine lines. Trying to find a good light moisturizer for the warm, humid months.

Kim M.

Sun Love is definitely a fantastic way to prevent your skin from getting damaged this summer, it has an SPF of 20 and some really moisturizing oils in the formula, like pumpkin, hemp, and sunflower seed.

Sun Love is best used as a stand-alone moisturizer on freshly cleansed skin during the day, and then at night you can apply any serum and/or facial oil you'd like.

How can i win?

Congrats to our five lucky winners who get to take home a free full-sized product of their choice! For your chance to participate in our community engagement contests, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

What are some of your biggest skin care concerns? What has helped you? Share with us in the comments!

 

The following post Diving Into Your Biggest Skin Care Issues (And How to Help Them) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

City Guide: New York, New York

organic new york

We love New York! And we know there are countless city guides available for the city that never sleeps, which is why we're putting a special twist on ours.

If you're looking for a guide for all things organic, health, and wellness oriented in NYC, look no further. We're giving you the definitive Organic Guide to New York!

New York, New York

Breakfast spots

Dudleys— If you're into brunching, you'll probably have to dine at Dudleys. With creative entrees (Brown rice bowl with a soft poached egg, kohlrabi, and pumpkin seed pesto, anyone?) and fun AM cocktails galore, its the type of place you could spend all day.

And, their produce is all chosen on the basis that its produced by thoughtful growers that apply a sustainable approach to their operation. We're sold.

organic new york

Five Leaves— A Brooklyn brunch staple! Should you find yourself on the other side of the bridge, don't miss breakfast at Five Leaves. Featuring American fare with an Australian twist, hearty meals and a homey atmosphere.  Plus, they're sustainable!

Their menu says it all – “We are dedicated to using the highest quality ingredients with a focus on sourcing local produce, sustainable seafood, free-range meat and poultry”

Lunch spots

Hu Kitchen— Organic, gluten free, friendly towards all types of allergens, this place hits it all. With a mission to “Get Back to Human,” Hu Kitchen believes in whole, high quality, real food. Stop in for lunch or pick up some of their delicious organic chocolate!

Le Botaniste— Organic wines? Vegan bowls? An emphasis on food as medicine? We're SO obsessed. Le Botaniste is an apothecary-inspired counter serve style restaurant featuring vegan, organic bowls, juices & natural wines.

organic new york

Blossom— Vegan food for foodies!  Blossom focuses on vegan reinterpretations of classic world cuisine, using only the finest and freshest ingredients, locally-sourced and organic whenever possible.

Two Hands— A bright, airy, community-focused cafe that strives to create nutritious, simple and delicious food paired with exceptional coffee. Think bountiful bowls and salads, fresh ingredients, and a sunny atmosphere!

Terri—Plant-based fast food? Yep, it exists, and its delicious. An exciting and unique menu that serves up quick vegan eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, a whole flurry of vegan deserts!

Dinner spots

ABC Kitchen— This Manhattan spot offers the freshest, safest ingredients from a seasonal menu with a local focus, created in alignment with the farm-to-table movement. A truly oranic experience, their menu is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, hormones, is GMO-free, and naturally and humanely sourced from regional farmers and fair trade cooperatives.

XYST NYC— XYST features plant-based, Mediterranean inspired cuisine in Chelsea. With a tasty menu featuring stand out ingredients like wild mushrooms, beet hummus, and crispy squash blossoms, this is definitely the spot for your date night!

Drinks & Night Life

Apotheke— A self proclaimed “cocktail apothecary,” Apotheke is a bar like no other. Mixologists wear pharmacist style coats in the speakeasy style bar, fitting in with the cocktail chemistry vibe. All of their drinks are prepared with local and organic produce from local greenmarkets or picked straight from their rooftop herb garden.

Where to shop

Forager Grocery and Cafe—Foragers opened in 2005 with a mission to provide its neighborhood with high quality groceries from local farms and better producers. All of these locations have the same mission, to offer well-priced, well-made food and drink that you can feel good about eating.

Union Square Greenmarket—The world-famous Union Square Greenmarket features regional farmers, fishers, and bakers who sell their products to a dedicated legion of city dwellers. Tthe seasonal bounty is unparalleled, with hundreds of varieties to choose from during any given season. From just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables, to heritage meats and award-winning farmstead cheeses, and much more.

organic new york

Self care/spas

Treatment by Lanshin— Treatment by Lanshin is a holistic healing studio dedicated to innovating and elevating health and wellness care using the advanced principles of natural medicine. Their core therapies include Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology, Massage, and Holistic Skincare.

ONDA Beauty— ONDA is a mecca for clean beauty! With countless brands that fall in the clean and organic sphere of wellness, ONDA is definitely a spot to visit for all you skin care junkies. You can also book a facial or massage treatment at their storefront.

Yoga to the People—It might seem difficult to find an affordable and grounded yoga practice in the midst of the expensive, boutique New York exercise scene. But here's where Yoga to the People comes in. This donation-based studio has a commitment to providing accessible yoga to anyone and everyone. Their practice recaptures the true essence of yoga!

organic new york

What are your favorite health or wellness spots in NYC? Let us know in the comments!

 

The following post City Guide: New York, New York was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Truth About Coconut Oil and Breakouts

coconut oil and acne

Consumers have gone nuts over coconut oil.

Whole Foods even had to expand their shelf space to meet the demand!

It used to be that we all avoided coconut oil because it’s high in saturated fat. We believed that it contributed to clogged arteries, high cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

But recent research suggests that coconut oil that's not partially hydrogenated (like it was in many early studies), is full of healthy fatty acids that are easier for the body to burn, and has actually been linked to health benefits like increased HDL, “good” cholesterol, and improved cholesterol ratios.

good fats!

Add to this the fact that coconut came to light as being incredible for your skin and hair.

A unique combination of essential fatty acids penetrate and moisturize skin in a way few ingredients can; natural antioxidants help protect from environmental stressors; and vitamins firm, moisturize, and brighten.

But despite its many strengths, coconut oil isn’t for everyone. Oily skin types, particularly, may battle with it. If you tried this ingredient and your skin broke out, you may have wondered why. Here’s the answer to that, and what you can do to deeply moisturize your skin without risking occasional breakouts.

Does Coconut Oil Cause Acne Break Outs?

There are pros and cons to oily skin. On the one hand, it can leave you prone to large and clogged pores. On the other, you’re likely to age more slowly than your peers with dry skin.

The problem is that the sebaceous glands are overzealous in their enthusiasm. The skin produces too much sebum (skin oil), which leads to problems like shininess, runny makeup, and an overall thick, coarse texture. It can also increase the occurrence of occasional breakouts.

oily skin still needs moisture

Oily skin types can still require moisture, however. One of the mistakes many people make is to withhold moisture because they fear they will break out. This often backfires, as the skin gets dry and irritated, and responds by producing even more oil. This just worsens the problem.

Frustrated, many consumers have turned to coconut oil hoping for a miracle. After all, there is a myriad of articles out there saying it’s great for oily skin. But is it okay for acne and hormonal acne?

The oil does have properties that may cleanse as well as improve oily skin and clogged pores. It’s a natural oil, which often can help balance. And then there are all those healthy fatty acids that not only moisturize and plump.

Some people with oily skin try the oil and rave about the results. Others try it causes breakouts. What’s going on?

Liquid Coconut Oil May Or May Not Work for You

First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the right kind of oil.

In a previous post, we talked about the difference between extra virgin and fractionated coconut oil. A lot of sites encouraging people to use coconut oil for oily skin suggest extra virgin coconut oil as the best option, because it undergoes limited processing and is as close to the raw material as we can get. As a result, it tends to be higher in nutrients and antioxidants than oil that has been refined, bleached, and deodorized.

Extra Virgin or Fractionated?

Extra virgin coconut oil, however, is solid at room temperature. It has a melting point of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In this form, it’s too heavy for oily skin types, and can clog pores and actually cause breakouts.

Coconut oil that is a liquid at room temperature is actually “fractionated” coconut oil—a form of the oil that has had the long-chain fatty acids removed. The result is a product, that though it lacks some of the healthy fatty acids (like lauric acid), is still full of medium-chain fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.

This type of coconut oil works great as a carrier oil for helping other, beneficial oils to penetrate the skin. It absorbs quickly without clogging pores, and can be beneficial for oily skin.

But if you struggle with oily skin and clogged pores, there are some other options that may work better for you.

5 Carrier Oils that Work for Oily Skin

For some susceptible people, even fractionated coconut oil may lead to breakouts. Here are some potential reasons for that:

•     The skin is already clogged with dirt and debris. In this case, exfoliating before moisturizing could help.
•     Pores are large and prone to clogging. In this case, mixing the oil with other oils can help carry the benefits to the skin without the risks.
•     The person’s skin just doesn’t work with coconut oil.

If you’ve tried coconut oil and haven’t had good luck with it, it could be that one of the above situations applies to you. Maybe you need to exfoliate first, or make sure the coconut oil is used in combination with other oils.

It may be, however, that your skin would do much better on another type of oil. Here are some options you can try that help balance and moisturize without clogging pores. After all, coconut oil may be popular, but it surely isn’t the only oil with great benefits for skin!

1. Hazelnut

Hazelnut smoothes and tones skin, while minimizing the appearance of large pores and helping to absorb extra oil.

2. Grapeseed

Grapeseed is packed with healthy antioxidants and vitamins, this light oil hydrates without feeling greasy, and helps tighten the look of your pores.

3.Black cumin seed

Your skin will love the vitamins and minerals in this oil, but it also has a reputation for fighting oily skin, with it's cleansing properties.

4. Sunflower seed

This oil will help protect you from environmental stressors, while tightening and firming.

5. Olive

Anti-aging is this oil’s strength, as it has a unique combination of antioxidants. It also has healing properties.

Those are the ones you want to look for. Here's a list of oils that don't work well with oily skin.

Consider Hydration Vs. Moisture

Your skin may be dry and prone to clogged pores. In this case, it does lack moisture and can benefit from using a light cream or facial oil.

But if your skin is regularly producing lots of oil, you may not need to use moisturizer regularly. Though there's still a missing piece here: hydration.

Why hydrate?

Hydration (when we're talking about skin) refers to the amount of water in your skin cells. Hydrated skin looks plump, with fewer fine lines.

It's very much a function of how much you hydrate, but also relates to factors such as your skin and body's natural ability to hold water (which changes with age) as well as the climate you're in. Ingredients that hydrate are different than ingredients that moisturize. And for some people with oily skin types, hydrating might be sufficient for your skin on a day to day basis.

Does coconut oil work for your skin type? Let us know in the comments below!

The following post The Truth About Coconut Oil and Breakouts was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ditch the Chemicals — 7 Ways to Color Your Hair Naturally

Natural Hair Color

According to one survey from the U.K., women change their hairstyles about 150 times over the course of a lifetime. However many times you make the change, it’s likely that coloring is a part of the process.

It’s not required, of course. These days, going gray is in vogue, with celebrities like Helen Mirren, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Meryl Streep all embracing their natural silver.

Still, about 65 percent of women alter their natural hair color, about a 7 percent increase from the 1950s. We like playing with color. It makes us feel good…until we open the bottle and smell all the fumes.

Traditional hair dyes are full of potentially harmful chemicals that at high exposures, have been linked with skin and respiratory irritation, a suppressed immune system, and even cancer.

Is there a way to cover the gray—or just enjoy a nice color—without exposing ourselves to these toxic chemicals?

The Concern About Regular Hair Dyes

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that over 5,000 different chemicals are used in hair dye products, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic in animals. Though manufacturers have improved dye products to eliminate some of the more dangerous chemicals that were used in the 1970s, most still contain things like:

  • Quaternium-15, which can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen
  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), which may be hormone disruptors
  • Phenylenediamine (PPD), which is a skin and respiratory irritant and has been classified in the European Union as toxic and dangerous to the environment

The NCI notes that some studies have found that hairdressers and barbers are at an increased risk of bladder cancer, potentially because of coloring chemicals. Other studies have found personal use of hair dyes could potentially increase the risk of leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but results have been mixed.

When we review the research, we can see that we don’t have enough studies yet to know how coloring our hair maybe 6-10 times a year really affects our health. Most likely—unless we’re hairdressers who deal with high exposures or we color more frequently than usual—the effects will be negligible. Still, it’s not comforting to imagine all those chemicals seeping into our scalps (not to mention the toll that the creation and disposal of these chemicals takes on the environment).

Fortunately, there are other alternatives.

Coloring Your Hair Naturally

Turns out we can use a lot of natural ingredients—some of which we can find in our kitchens—to create new hair color. It depends on what color you’re looking for, how intense you want it, and how much time you want to spend.

Keep in mind that natural color products are not the same as chemical color products. They don’t usually last as long, you won’t be able to completely change your natural color, and the color may be slightly different than you imagined. (Of course, that often happens in the salon, too!)

It may take some time and experimentation to get the color you’re looking for, but meanwhile you’ll actually be doing something good for your hair.

A few helpful tips:

First, if you’re not sure you’re brave enough to try the following dyes on your entire head of hair, save some from your next trim or cut off a few locks and test a small amount of natural dye first.

Next, always rinse out your color with apple cider vinegar to help the color last longer. Try rinsing with a vinegar/water solution, or mix one-tablespoon apple cider vinegar with about a cup of water in a spray bottle and apply after coloring hair—don’t rinse.

If you're not a DIY enthusiast…

If you’re not into making your own, we highly recommend using Hairprint,an incredible, all natural color-restoring product. This safe, hair-healing product is essentially a scientific breakthrough that uses a non-toxic method to restore gray hair to its natural color. Check it out here.

7 Ingredients To Color Your Hair Naturally

1. Coffee

Natural Hair Color

Coffee works great if you’re looking to go darker, cover gray hairs, or add dimension to dark tresses. Simply brew a strong coffee (espresso works well), let it cool, and then mix one cup with a couple cups of leave-in conditioner and 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds.

Apply on clean hair and allow to sit for about an hour. If you use apple cider vinegar to rinse, it will help the color last longer. You may need to repeat the process a couple times to see noticeable results.

2. Tea

Natural Hair Color

Like coffee, black tea can help you go darker, and can also help cover gray hairs. If you have lighter hair, though, there are other types of tea you can use. Chamomile, for example, is recommended for blondes, while rooibos may work for redheads.

Do keep in mind that tea works best with your natural color. You won’t be able to turn blonde hair brunette. But black tea can darken blonde hair and chamomile can lighten it—especially if you sit in the sun while you have it in.

The longer you leave the tea on the hair, the more noticeable the color will be. You can also try repeated applications.

The key is to make the tea highly concentrated. Use 3-5 teabags (or about the same amount in loose-leaf tea) for two cups of water. You can apply the cooled tea to hair alone, or mix with conditioner (as noted in the coffee recipe). If you’re seeking to cover grays, mix with some fresh or dried sage, which helps open up the hair follicles.

Leave on hair for at least an hour—more if you want more color. Some even put on a cap and wear the tea overnight, then rinse the following morning. Check your color to determine what intensity you need.

3. Herbs

Depending on what color you’re going for, you can use a variety of herbs to achieve it. Here are some suggestions, depending on what your natural color is:

Natural Hair Color

Red hair: Try calendula, marigold, rosehips, and hibiscus to deepen the red shade or add a few red highlights. The effects are cumulative—if you keep using the dye regularly, you will notice more color. Simmer the flowers in water for about 30 minutes, strain, cool, and then spray or pour on hair and allow to dry in the sun if possible.

Brunette/dark hair: Rosemary, nettle, and sage are all great herbs for dark hair. Simmer all three with water for 30 minutes, cool, strain, and spray or brush through hair. Allow to sit about an hour. You can also use the rinse daily after your shower. Be patient—it may take several days to notice a difference.

Blonde hair: As mentioned above, chamomile tea works, but you can also try calendula, marigold, saffron, and sunflower petals. To hide grays, try rhubarb root in two cups of water, simmer, strain, and pour over hair.

Add black tea to the darker colors above to help the color last longer. Catnip works for lighter colors.

4. Beet and carrot juice

These two juices can add natural red tints to your current color. Depending on what

Natural Hair Color

shade you want, you can use each alone, or mix them together. For a more reddish tinge, use more beet juice (strawberry blonde, deeper red, or auburn). Carrot will produce a quieter reddish orange.

This one is easy—simply apply about a cup of the juice to your hair. You can also mix in some coconut oil to condition hair at the same time. Work it through, wrap hair, and leave on for at least an hour. (These juices stain—wear something to protect your skin and clothes.) Rinse the juice out, and seal with an apple cider vinegar spray. If the color isn’t dark enough, repeat the next day.

5. Henna

One of the most popular natural hair coloring ingredients, henna is a powdered form of the leaves that come from the henna plant. These leaves have a natural and effective coloring pigment that has been used for thousands of years to dye hair, nails, and skin.

Natural Hair Color

Natural henna, on its own, creates a red-orange color, so if you see products offering other colors produced with henna, realize the manufacturers have mixed the henna with other ingredients to achieve those colors. Redheads and brunettes (looking for a bit of auburn) are the best candidates for henna hair color. Be careful with this one—the results can be more orange than you’d like, so you may want to mix a little chamomile in with the paste to tame the color.

To make your own henna hair dye, mix about one cup of henna powder with 2 cups lemon juice. You can also add in a tablespoon of vinegar to help release the color. Allow to sit about 4-6 hours until it thickens. Apply to hair and comb through. (This is messy so be prepared!) Wrap your hair in plastic wrap and allow to sit 2-3 hours before rinsing.

6. Lemon Juice

Looking for a few highlights? Try fresh-squeezed lemon juice sprayed and brushed through hair. Leave on for several hours. If you sit in the sun, you’ll notice more lightening. Blondes can enjoy even more lightening by mixing with chamomile tea.

Lemon juice works slowly, so expect to repeat applications several times before seeing results.

7. Walnut Shells

Natural Hair Color

If you want to secure a dark brown color, this is the way to go. Crush the walnut shells and boil for about half an hour. Cool, strain, and apply to hair. If you’re wanting to cover grays, you can use a cotton ball to apply only to those areas where it’s needed. Again, be careful as this dye will stain everything, so take precautions.

To create a more intense dye, return the strained juice to the heat and boil until it’s simmered down to about a quarter of the original volume. Allow to cool in the refrigerator, strain if needed, and pour through hair.

To save time, use walnut powder instead of the shells.

Let sit for at least an hour (more if you want more color), and rinse. Try to avoid really hot water as it can take the color away. Wash in lukewarm to make the color last longer.

Have you colored your hair the natural way? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Sources:
“Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk,” National Cancer Institute, August 10, 2011, http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/causes-prevention/risk/myths/hair-dyes-fact-sheet.

The following post Ditch the Chemicals — 7 Ways to Color Your Hair Naturally was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

In Your Own Backyard: 8 Inspiring Plants in the Northeast

plants in the northeast

As most of you know, plants have always been an inspiration to me.  And now that Kevin and I moved back to the Northeast of the US recently, we both realized how much we missed the woods here.  The lushness of it, the abundance of nutrients, the softness of the fertile ground. It was many of these forest plants that first got us interested in natural health. From learning about how to best use them in skin care, add them to our cooking for health benefits, or apply them topically for minor wounds. We were foregoing for these nutrient rich plants way before we started Annmarie Skin Care.

Inspiring plants in the Northeast

And now we’ve taken advantage of the incredible healing properties found in common weeds across the United States and infused many of our best-loved skin care products with them. For our ASC beauties that call the Northeast home, here’s a rundown of some of the most common (and most healing!) weeds that are growing around you:

1. Plantain

Not to be confused with the banana-like fruit, this weed is a low-growing, bright green plant that resembles a shrub. When it’s flowering, yellow stalks of tiny flowers shoot up in its center.

Healing properties

It is antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and choc full of antioxidants, calcium, and vitamin K.

plantain

Topical Uses: It has been said to be helpful for burns, rashes, acne, dandruff, poison ivy, or bug bites.

Ingested Uses: For centuries, cultures all over the world have used plantain for digestive issues, as a pain reliever, to improve circulation, and to slow infections. Today, most foragers use plantain in their diet for added nutrients or steep the leaves into a tea to soothe sore throats or coughs.

Where it grows

Plantain grows in just about any kind of soil, but it’s generally found in areas covered in thick grass, with at least partial sunlight.

How to harvest

This weed is easy to harvest on your own. Just snip the leaves and use—provided no fertilizer or pest-repellent has been used in the area.

Found in these ASC products: Aloe Herb Cleanser, Probiotic Serum with Tremella, Anti-Aging Facial Oil, and Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion.

Have you spotted plantain in your yard? Read more about plantain’s skincare benefits.

2. Common Milkweed

You know you’ve found this pretty weed when you see its telltale white, light pink, or lavender bell-shaped flowers. The plant itself is tall, growing up to five feet. If you’re not sure if your plant is milkweed, cut the stem. A milky white substance should ooze out—hence the name.

Healing Properties

common Milkweed WildflowerMilkweed is a natural diuretic and detoxifying agent.

Topical uses: Its latex (the milky substance found inside its stems) has long been used in helping rid warts and ringworm.

Ingested uses: Be careful here, you’re going to want to boil this weed before eating, as the latex (which dissolves in boiling water) is considered toxic. The benefits of ingesting milkweed include helping coughs and bronchitis, improving circulation, and relieving constipation.

Where it grows

Common milkweed prefers open fields or somewhere with a lot of direct sunlight in sandy or rocky soil.

How to harvest

You can harvest several different parts of the plant for eating, including the shoots, the leaves, the new seed pods, and the flowers. (Again, it’s important to boil the plant before eating to remove toxins.) For topical uses, harvest the fully-grown stalks for the milky latex inside.

Found in these ASC products: Coconut Body Oil, Anti-Aging Serum, Anti-Aging Facial Oil.

3. Mustard

mustard

Before its seeds become the spicy brown sauce on your hotdog, mustard looks like yellow or white wildflowers, with bright green stems.

Healing Properties

Mustard is a good source of minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and potassium.

Topical uses: Mustard is used on the skin to help psoriasis, muscle pain, ringworm, and even some say even acne.

Ingested uses: Eaten (not as a sauce), mustard improves cardiac health, has a detoxifying effect on the body, promotes healthy skin and hair, and helps with decongestion. Some say the weed can even help stymie the effects of drinking too much alcohol and stimulate your metabolism for faster weight-loss.

Where it grows

Mustard requires fertile, well-drained soil with a lot of moisture.

How to harvest

You can either harvest the seeds inside the flowers, or just snip and eat the greens themselves.

4. Nettle

Nettle, as delicious and beneficial as it can be, is covered in tiny hairs that sting the skin with chemicals when touched. These hairs give the tall, green weed a fuzzy appearance. Nettle typically grows in bunches and sometimes sprouts fuzzy white flowers.

nettleHealing properties

Nettle includes many beneficial amino acids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins C, K, and B. It’s also a great source of calcium, iron, and magnesium and is a natural diuretic.

Topical uses: The antioxidants found in this weed make it a good choice for skincare, especially for those concerned with aging skin. In addition, nettle has been used topically to relieve joint pain.

Ingested uses: Besides the long list of nutrients found in nettle (making it an ideal weed to add to your diet), nettle is also used to dampen the histamine response during allergic reactions, boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and help with fatigue caused by anemia. Nettle leaves can be brewed into a tea or cooked and eaten.

Where it grows

Nettle grows in rich and moist soil. If you see the weed one year, take note of its location. It’s likely to grow in that spot again the following year.

How to harvest

Snip the leaves directly from the plant—but take care to wear gardening gloves to avoid being “stung” by the plant’s tiny hairs.

Found in these ASC products: Anti Aging Serum and Probiotic Serum with Tremella.

Have you spotted nettle in your yard? Read more about nettle’s skincare benefits.

5. Purslane

This pervasive weed grows anywhere there’s space—the space between sidewalk cracks included. You’ll recognize it by its red stem and small, spoon-like green leaves.

Healing propertiesPurslane

Though many consider this weed one of the most annoying to combat in your yard, purslane is loaded with good-for-you properties, including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying. It also has the highest omega-three content of any known plant!

Topical uses: As a poultice, purslane can be applied to the head to treat headaches or fevers or applied anywhere to reduce inflammation.

Ingested uses: Many restaurants have started cooking their dishes with purslane, due to its omega-three and vitamin A content. But it also has medicinal benefits when ingested. For example, its juice can be extracted to treat a dry cough, or the leaves can be brewed into a tea and gargled for toothaches.

Where it grows

Purslane isn’t picky. It’ll grow in just about any type of soil.

How to harvest

The leaves can be snipped right off the plant.

Horsetail6. Horsetail

If you see clumps of bright green, reed-like plants with just a few small, pointed leaves, it’s most likely a weed known as horsetail—especially if you’re near a water source.

Healing properties

Horsetail is a known diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial. It’s also high in silica, with helps with bone density and collagen production.

Topical uses: Horsetail can be made into a powerful anti-fungal foot soak to cure foot infections or remedy brittle nails. It can also be used as compress for boils, a tincture to be applied at your roots (to increase your hair strength) or steamed and inhaled to relieve sinus congestion.

Ingested uses: Typically ingested by brewing the leaves into a tea, horsetail is known to improve bone health and circulation.

Where it grows

Horsetail is found alongside marshes, rivers, or other water sources—anywhere the soil is usually saturated.

How to harvest

To eat, you must harvest the young, tan stalks before they mature. Once the reeds turn green, they’re too mature to eat. The leaves, however, can be snipped for tea at any stage. Mature stalks can be harvested for topical medicinal purposes.

Found in these ASC products: Anti-Aging Eye Cream, Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, Beauty Blend Tea, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin (and for Oily Skin).

Have you spotted horsetail in your yard? Read more about horsetail’s skincare benefits.

7. Sassafras sassafrass

What do root beer and ecstasy have in common? Sassafras. The plant was once the main ingredient in both the soda and the popular club drug. And though sassafras is a tree, it’s often considered a weed because of how quickly it spreads. It can grow up to 100 ft and has yellow-orange bark and dense, green leaves.

Healing properties

Generally, when people speak about the myriad healing properties of sassafras, they’re referring to its root bark. It has antiseptic, analgesic, diuretic, antioxidant, and aromatic properties.

Topical uses: Made into a poultice, sassafras can reduce inflammation from rashes and sores and even speed up the healing of shallow wounds. It’s antiseptic properties (not to mention the delicious, root beer-like taste) makes it a great natural mouthwash.

Ingested uses: Sassafras can be ingested by boiling the root bark into a tea or by eating the tree leaves. It can help alleviate gout, arthritis, and headaches. It also provides an immune boost, improves energy and relieves menstrual pain.

Where it grows

The sassafras tree prefers acidic, moist soil. It’s native to the eastern United States.

How to harvest

The leaves can be cut directly from a sassafras tree to be used in salads, but harvesting the root requires a little more effort. You must dig around the tree until you find a good, thick section of root and use a knife to peel off the first few layers of root bark.

Found in these ASC products: Anti-Aging Eye Cream.

8. Milk thistle

Milk thistle is a funny-looking flowering plant. A bright green stem holds a round, spikey, bright pink flower. If it hasn’t flowered yet, you can recognize it by its smooth and jagged leaves with white veiny patterns.

Healing properties

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle includes anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and antioxidant properties.

Topical uses: The high antioxidant content in milk thistle makes it ideal for use on the skin for anti-aging benefits.

Ingested uses: Maybe the biggest health benefit for ingesting milk thistle is the detoxifying affect is has on the liver, but it’s also been said to improve digestion, prevent gallstones, and control diabetes. You can ingest milk thistle by brewing the leaves and seeds in a tea or eating any part of the plant directly.

Where it grows

Milk thistle, like a true weed, can grow just about anywhere, regardless of sunlight or moisture level.

How to harvest

Harvesting milk thistle is a little tricky. For one, you’ll want to wear gardening gloves to avoid the plant’s thorns. Cut off the flowers when they show signs of drying out but before they’ve fully matured and released their seeds. Then, further dry out the flowers until you’re able to crush the flower and retrieve the seeds within.

Found in these ASC products: Anti-Aging Serum, Anti-Aging Eye Cream, Coconut Body Oil, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin (and for Oily Skin), Anti-Aging Facial Oil.

Have you spotted milk thistle in your yard? Read more about milk thistle’s skincare benefits.

At ASC, we know there’s always something to learn from Mother Nature: she’s always prepared, and she’s always got something to nourish us. Happy foraging!

Where do you live?  And what is your favorite plant to forage in your region? Let us know in the comments!

 

The following post In Your Own Backyard: 8 Inspiring Plants in the Northeast was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.