Beauty Blog

5 Activated Charcoal Uses

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This coal-black powder holds inside-out beauty benefits—from whitening your teeth to clearing acne.

Activated charcoal is nothing new on the health scene. Ancient Egyptians used it as early as 1,500 BC (Cleopatra reportedly lined her eyes with charcoal), and women around the world have used it for teeth whitening, skin care, and natural cleansing. In modern medicine, it’s used in emergency rooms to treat drug overdoses and poisoning by attaching to toxins and preventing their absorption. The theory in beauty products is the same: activated charcoal attracts and binds to toxins, bacteria, dirt, and oil, preventing them from causing harm.

But when we say “charcoal,” we’re not talking about the stuff in the bottom of your grill left over from your last barbecue. Never use that; it’s filled with harmful chemicals. Activated charcoal is derived from wood or coconut husks, and then treated to increase its ability to bind to toxins. The result is a coal-black powder that’s available in several forms, including powders, capsules, soaps, and tooth products.

If you take it internally, drink plenty of water; it can cause dehydration without adequate fluid intake. Because activated charcoal can interact with supplements and medications, check with your health care provider before taking. And try these five ways to include charcoal in your life:

1. Detox Using Activated Charcoal

Used in hospitals and emergency rooms to counteract drug overdoses, alcohol overdose, and poisoning, activated charcoal binds to toxins and escorts them from the body. It can also be used to remove pesticides, chemicals, and other food and environmental toxins from the body, reducing inflammation and making skin clear and bright. Recommended dosages range from 1 to 3 grams before meals to much higher doses. It can be taken in capsule form, or the powder (choose one designed for internal use) can be added to cleansing smoothies, green drinks, or pineapple juice for extra detox action.

2. Activated Charcoal Soap for Acne

Activated charcoal is thought to bind with excess sebum, bacteria, and toxins on the skin that can exacerbate acne and breakouts. To banish your blemishes, use an activated charcoal soap on a regular basis; you’ll find bars combined with hemp oil, jojoba beads for exfoliating, sea salt, salicylic acid, essential oils, and other ingredients designed to combat blemishes. After washing, use an activated charcoal mask to purify skin, draw out dirt and toxins, and balance oily skin. You’ll find masks that combine charcoal with aloe vera, bentonite clay, sea vegetables, salicylic acid, green tea, and other blemish-calming botanicals.

3. Whitening Teeth and Preventing Gum Disease with Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has long been used to prevent cavities and gum disease, ward off bad breath, and whiten teeth. It’s thought to bind to tannins—tooth-staining compounds in red wine and tea—and lift them from the teeth. To keep your mouth healthy and bright, try a charcoal tooth powder; they’re often combined with bentonite clay—used to increase remineralization of the teeth—and may be sweetened with xylitol and flavored with essential oils. Or for an easy, mess-free solution, look for an activated charcoal toothpaste. You’ll find them combined with bentonite clay, antibacterial coconut oil, and essential oils for complete oral health.

4. Topical Use of Activated Charcoal for Bug Bites and Skin irritation

Mix 1/2 tsp activated charcoal with 2 tsp coconut oil for topical ointment to sooth rashes and irritation.

Applied topically, activated charcoal has long been used to treat bug bites and stings, rashes, and skin irritation, all of which can destroy your summer-sexy skin. To treat bites or stings, wash first with activated charcoal soap to remove any surface toxins, then combine a quarter teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with two teaspoons of olive, sesame, or coconut oil and apply liberally to affected areas. Cover with a cloth bandage to prevent staining, and reapply every 30 minutes. For skin redness, rashes, and irritation, make a soothing mask from 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons aloe vera, and 2 teaspoons charcoal powder. Apply to skin and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.

5. Charcoal Hair Treatment Removes Dirt and Toxins

In the summer, a buildup of chlorine, salt water, and styling products can weigh down hair and decrease shine. A charcoal hair treatment can remove dirt and toxins from hair and scalp, allowing them to be easily rinsed away. (Bonus: it’s great for treating scalp conditions such as dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis.) To remove buildup, combine 1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder, 2 tablespoons natural shampoo, and ½ cup warm water; apply to wet hair and shampoo as usual. For a concentrated scalp-healing mask, combine 1 teaspoon activated charcoal with ¼ cup almond oil. Rub into scalp and hair, cover hair with an old towel or shower cap, and let it soak in for 15 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual for a clean, itch-free scalp and lustrous locks. 

Healthy Tip! 

To soothe stings or rashes, combine charcoal powder with coconut oil and apply to the affected area.

What Causes Foot Odor?

You might like to describe it as somewhat cheesy or vinegary smelling and foot odor can be something seriously embarrassing. So what causes this stinky problem?

It’s all caused by a hot messy mix of sweat and the bacteria from your skin. Your feet have over 250,000 sweat glands, producing about one cup (500ml) of sweat per day, so they can really cause some serious moisture. There are also individuals that have an excessive amount of sweat glands, worsening the problem and the smells that come with the territory. The cheesy feet theory isn’t all myth either because the gases that the bacteria on the soles of your feet produce are similar to those that bacteria used in producing cheese gives off.

In essence, sweat on its own is actually odorless, it’s when it comes into contact with nasty bacteria when things go south and start getting smelly. In severe cases, some strains of bacteria can even start eating away at the top layers of your skin. Mix up a hot combo of stuffy shoes, socks and sweat on your feet and you’ve got the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in.

The Details: Foot Odor

What exactly causes foot odor?

Simply put, wearing socks that leave no room for breathing or evaporation of sweat causes bacteria to grow due to the trapped moisture inside. Although in the early stages the bacteria might just stick to the shoes and socks alone, eventually it causes your entire foot to smell horrible. But your shoes aren’t’ the only problem though. Other contributing factors for stinky feet include:

  • Hyperhidrosis, feet that sweat excessively
  • Stress
  • Certain Medications
  • Alcohol and Drug abuse
  • Changes in your hormone levels
  • Bad hygiene

What can I do to prevent stinky feet?

The great news is that there are several ways in which you can keep your feet smelling fresh and clean and clear up any problems with stench. Your main focus should be to keep the feet dry and cool, but we also recommend these top tips:

  • Regularly washing your feet with warm water and soap (preferably mild antiseptic soaps)
  • Keeping your toenails well-trimmed
  • Wearing synthetic socks
  • Using disinfecting spray in your shoes
  • Regularly rotating your footwear and not wearing the same shoes two days in a row
  • Keeping your feet as dry as possible
  • Using baking powder inside of your shoes to kill of unwanted bacteria
  • Using foot powders

When home remedies are not enough

There are some severe cases where the above mentioned methods of keeping your feet fresh and clean just won’t work, and it’s advisable to go see a podiatrist if this is the case. Podiatrists are doctors that specialize in feet so they know all the tricks of the trade and will be able to recommend specific problems to sort out your problem. In severe cases, they could also prescribe some foot powders, creams and ointments.

When it’s bad, it’s really bad, so can it still be treated?

Absolutely, and the methods that we’ve mentioned so far not only work as methods of preventative care but also work as treatments. If you do have a bad case of foot odor and want to see if you can get rid of the problem first before seeking medical help, we’ve got some more great tips and tricks.

Our top methods that are both cures and preventative measures are:

Tea Soak

It has been said that soaking your feet in tea for about 30 minutes, once a day, for a week, will help to get rid of any bad smells. It’s thanks to the tannic acid found in tea, which helps to dry out your feet and prevent excessive sweating.

Salt Water Soak

Another great way of getting rid of excessive moisture levels on your feet is with a salt foot soak. You can use ½ a cup of kosher salt and 1 quart of water and then soak your feet in the mix for about 20 minutes a day. Once you’re done soaking, don’t rinse your feet though, just dry them off with a towel and tread on with your day

Sodium Bicarbonate Soak

It’s not something new; it’s just a nice little word for plain old Baking Soda. Pop 1 tablespoon of baking soda into a quart of water and then allow your feet to soak in it for at least 10 minutes a day. The baking soda foot soak gets rid of bacteria and also helps make it even harder for bacteria to grow on your feet.

Final Thoughts on Foot Odor

Your feet aren’t the only ones that smell, foot odor is actually a very common problem. The great thing is that there’s a lot that YOU can do about it before you need to get help from a medical professional. Anti-septic soaps and solutions, natural fiber socks, breathable shoes, foot powders and topical creams are great aids in the war against smelly feet, and should be used to tackle the problem.

We really hope that this article has provided you with some great insight about what exactly causes foot odor and how you can be victorious on the journey towards rectifying the smelly problem. If you need some more inspirational ideas or home remedies, sites such as Dr. Scholls or Top 10 Home Remedies have really great tips and tricks as well as general info that can help you break free from the evil clutches of the sweaty, stinky feet you’ve always been trying to run away from.

Pomegranate Seed Oil - Why You Should Be Using It, How You Should Be Using It and Where You Can Find It

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Benefits of Pomegranate Seed Oil

It was the early 2000s when pomegranate juice became a pop culture juggernaut, its antioxidant health benefits getting touted everywhere you lookedin magazines, on television and in grocery stores. And the overnight success wasnt an accident. In a 2006 Chowhound article titled Why Pomegranate, Why Now?, author Paul Somerson traces the fruits North American commercial success to one source: Paramount Farming. The major California-based agriculture business bought a 100-acre plot of pomegranates in the late 1980s; after some time, they realized the health (and financial!) benefits of pomegranate juice and began bottling Pom Wonderful.

Since then, pomegranates and their juice have become a staple in grocery stores (and cocktail bars!) and are no longer regulated to natural food stores or farmers markets. But theres another pomegranate natural wellness offshoot that is just as beneficial to both your internal and external healthpomegranate seed oil!

How is Pomegranate Seed Oil Made?

Pomegranate seed oil is made by compressing the pomegranate seeds to extract the oils. Introducing heat to this process helps create more oil output but ultimately robs the oil of its inherent nutrients. So when it comes to pomegranate oil, our motto is simple: Cold pressed is best! Cold press seals in the seedsnatural antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients.

How Do You Use Pomegranate Seed Oil?

You can use pomegranate seed oil two ways; either internally as a pill for internal health benefits or externally as an oil for skincare benefits.

Organic vs. Conventional Pomegranate Seed Oil

We always recommend you use organic pomegranate seed oil (as well as with any other ingredients youre using, of course). As Somerson stated in the Chowhound article, pomegranates are susceptible to aphids, whiteflies and fungus so many plots are treated twice a year with a pesticide.

While its impossible to know exactly what chemicals are used in the pesticide and how harmful they are, we always recommend organic before conventional. If you cant find organic, try and find an oil that is made from fruits at a farm that follows natural farming guidelines as much as possible.

Pomegranates: An Antioxidant Superstar

Antioxidant: its a major buzzword in the natural wellness spaceand for good reason. Whether youve been on the natural wellness tip for years or youre just getting on board, were pretty sure youve heard the term before. But what are antioxidants, exactly, and why are they so crucial to your health?

Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances found in fruit and vegetables that help stop cells from oxidizing in your body. These oxidants, or free radicals, attack healthy cells in your body which causes a chain reaction of unstable, unhealthy cells.

Antioxidants help reduce the number of free radicals in your body and have been linked in helping to prevent cancer, diabetes and accelerated aging due to pollution, smoking, radiation and herbicides.

Punicic Acid - It’s a Good Thing!

It may sound a little scary, but punicic acid is actually an Omega-5 fatty acid that may contain cancer prevention properties and pomegranates contain a high parentage of the acid in its seeds.

Pomegranates are ranked in the top 5 fruits in antioxidant levels and most of its health, skin and hair benefits are derived from these antioxidants in one way or another.

Pomegranate Oil Benefits for Health

  1. Regulates cholesterol. Flavonoids have been shown to help lower cholesterol naturally and pomegranates are (surprise!) rich in the antioxidant.

  2. Strengthens immunity. Pomegranates are also high in both Vitamin B and Vitamin C which help keep your immune system strong.

  3. Fights free radicals. As we stated earlier, pomegranates are packed full of antioxidants, which are scientifically proven to fight free radicals— thus an important natural player in the fight against cancer.

  4. Anti-inflammatory. From eczema to sunburns, psoriasis to hangovers, inflamed skin comes in a variety of forms— and severity. Red, puffy, itchy skin is both unsightly and uncomfortable and the anti-inflammatory properties in pomegranate seed oil help soothe irritated skin by accelerating cell rejuvenation.

  5. Aids weight loss. Flavonoids also help prevent the build up of fatty tissue so pomegranate seed oil pills are an incredibly powerful supplement for people trying to maintain their current weight or as an addition to a weight loss program.

Pomegranate Oil Benefits for Skin

  1. Punicic acid has natural moisture-retention properties that help keep your skin looking and feeling plump, hydrated and young. We love it as a luxe, nourishing nighttime moisturizer.

  2. Helps balance hormones. Pomegranate oil can drastically help those suffering from acne by re-training the oil-producing glands to slow production and by balancing out-of-sorts hormones.

  3. Anti-aging. Inflammatory responses to free radicals and collagen destruction are two major contributors to aging skin. The antioxidants found in pomegranate seed oil help quick cell turnover and reduce inflammation.

  4. Keratinocytes are cells found in the skin’s outer most layer. Pomegranate seed oil naturally stimulates turn over of these cells, which keeps the skin firm and young-looking (bye bye, wrinkles!).

  5. Sunburn relief. Like raspberry seed oil, pomegranate seed oil contains high levels of Ellagic acid which has been proven to help treat sunburns. Apply pomegranate seed oil directly to sunburned skin for instant soothing.

Pomegranate Oil Benefits for Hair

  1. Locks in moisture. In the same way that pomegranate seed oil helps keep your skin plump and hydrated, it also helps keep each strand of your tresses moisture-rich.

  2. Stimulates scalp health. The high levels of antioxidants and vitamins promotes blood circulation to the scalp and strengthens blood vessels near the hair follicles. Long, shiny hair starts at the roots, so a healthy scalp means healthy hair!

  3. Accelerates hair growth. Over time, our hairs natural oils, dandruff and hair products can clog our scalps pores, damaging hair follicles and stunting hair growth. Pomegranate seed oil keeps our scalp clean and free of debris so it can grow freely!

  4. Frizz control. Pomegranate seed oil helps tame flyaways, frizz and unruly curls by coating the hair follicles. When your hair is wet, work a couple of drops of the oil through it, concentrating on the ends.

DIY Beauty Products With Pomegranate Seed Oil

Were not above slathering pomegranate seed oil all over our face on its own; with all the benefits we just listed above, its definitely a skincare all-star in its own right. But were also total product junkies and especially love making our own DIY recipes whenever we can.

Weve rounded up five of our favorite DIY recipes that use pomegranate seed oil as a main ingredient. If youre interested in making a specific recipe, we encourage you to visit the original source; were thankful so many natural wellness bloggers have allowed us to republished their original work here and would love for you to discover them on your own!

Geranium Pomegranate Serum Overnight Skin Treatment 

Pomegranate Serum

Img & Recipe Credit: Jenni Raincloud

A few of the Ingredients:

  • Rosehip Seed oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Pomegranate Seed oil
  • Geranium essential oil

This ultra-hydrating serum is an effective option for those with dry skin, especially in the winter months. It’s full of antioxidants and Vitamin C and won’t clog pores. It also minimizes wrinkles, restores elasticity, regenerates skin cells and fades dark spots. Added geranium and lavender both have anti-inflammatory properties that will help soothe stressed skin.

For the full recipe check out Jenni's blog.

Anti-Aging Rosehip Facial Oil

anti aging serum pomegranate oil

Img & Recipe Credit: Hello Glow

A few of the Ingredients:

  • Jojoba oil
  • Rosehip seed oil
  • Pomegranate seed oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Vitamin E capsules

Carrot seed oil works in conjunction with pomegranate seed oil to deliver skin-healing antioxidant properties. Evening primrose oil helps fade bruises and heal eczema and Frankincense oil is hydrating and contains anti-aging properties. Add ingredients to a 1 ounce dropper bottle and shake well to combine. Apply 3 drops to your face every night to clean skin.

Want to make this? Check out the recipe and instructions on Hello Glow!

Nourishing Skin Serum

Mountain Rose Blog

A Few of the Ingredients:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Tamanu oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Pomegranate seed oil
  • Vitamin E oil

Tamanu oil, from the Tamanu tree found primarily in Southeast Asian countries, is a rich natural oil that has been used for centuries as a topical aid for skin issues like bug bites, eczema, burns, cuts, acne scars, diaper rash, sunburn and blisters. It’s also a favorite for simply promoting healthy, clear skin— a real multi-tasker! (source). This facial serum is great as an oil or an all-over body moisturizer!

Anti-Aging Pomegranate Oil Moisturizer

The Pedicure Room

Ingredients:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Jojoba oil
  • Pomegranate seed oil
  • Aloe vera gel

 If you’re looking for an all-over body lotion, this is simple to make and super hydrating. Make a big batch at once— we have a feeling you’ll be going through this one pretty quickly.

Hair Tonic for Hair

Natural Oils for Hair

Pomegranate seed oil naturally hydrates dull, dry hair and helps keep it healthy and shiny. You can apply a few drops of pomegranate seed oil directly onto damp hair or follow the recipe for this simple hair tonic for an even more nourishing experience.

Ingredients:

  • Pomegranate seed oil
  • Castor oil
  • Almond oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Vitamin E oil

Mix ingredients together in an amber jar and leave in a cool, dry place for one week. Apply 5 to 8 drops in your hair 1 to 2 times a week in the shower. Let sit for approximately 15 minutes before rinsing out; shampoo and condition as usual.

Where To Buy Pomegranate Seed Oil

You can find pomegranate seed oil at most health food stores, natural grocery stores and natural beauty shops. Of course, there are also a number of online stores and brands you can purchase your oil from; weve rounded up five of our favorites below for easy shopping!

  1. Leven Rose Pomegranate Seed Oil
  2. Goddess of Spring Certified Organic Pomegranate Seed Oil
  3. Piping Rock Pomegranate Seed Oil
  4. Neta Cold-Pressed Pomegranate Seed Oil
  5. Nature’s Gift Pomegranate Seed Oil

Oils— Our Favorite Beauty Product

Weve already waxed poetic here on our love for natural oils as an everyday part of our skincare routine. Using oils as moisturizers is such a fantastic way to keep your skin healthy and hydratedno matter if you suffer from oily, dry or combination skin.

In fact, chronically oily skin (and subsequent acne) is often caused by you stripping your skin of any moisture at all in an effort to combat oil. It may seem counterintuitive, but your body is incredibly adaptive; when you take away moisture (in an effort to cut down on oil or acne), your sebum glands actually ramp up oil production to make up for the lost hydration. So, the more you strip, the more oil your skin produces.

Its a vicious cycle and one that can be stopped by using natural oils like pomegranate seed oil as a skincare step. The pomegranate seed oil can help regulate your skins natural oil production, keeping the levels in healthy balance (and your skin looking flawless!).

Pomegranate seed oil is a wonderful addition to any natural beauty cabinet; put your bottle along side your Vitamin E, Argan oil, Jojoba and Coconut oil for a strong oil regimen that’ll get you through even the most serious skincare issues.

Benefits of Raw Shea Butter For Face

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Shea Butter for Face While we wear our “product junkie” badge proudly, sometimes there’s just nothing more effective than a single, super-skincare ingredient. If your mind immediately went to coconut oil, because of course it did, we understand.

But when it comes to our faces, we’re currently craving Shea butter to solve our skincare needs. The best part? Raw, pure Shea butter is all you need. No extra ingredients necessary.

What is Shea butter?

Shea butter is a fat derived from the nut of the Shea tree, a plant most commonly grows in west and central Africa. Extracting the butter from the nut is an incredibly labor intensive process and must be done by hand. It can take up to 20 hours to get two pounds of the butter.

Shea butter is made up of some amazing skincare antioxidants; it’s full of Vitamin A and Vitamin E, both of which help reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite.

Raw Shea Butter Benefits For Skin 

  1. Non-comedogenic. Shea butter has a comedogenic rating of 0 which means there’s no risk of it clogging your pores. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, using raw Shea butter for acne is one of the best ways to safely and effectively moisturize.

  2. Anti-aging. Shea butter is full of Vitamin A and Vitamin E, two powerful antioxidants that fight against premature skin aging. The antioxidants help increase cell turnover and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  3. Hydrating. Raw Shea butter is super hydrating and is especially good to use in the winter, when the drying heaters and chapping wind can really do a number on your skin. Shea butter’s hydrating properties go deep into the skin, rather than just treating the surface, so that its moisturizing effects last much longer than many other natural lotions and oils.

  4. Plumps skin. Vitamin A boosts collagen production which keeps skin looking plump and young. As we age, our natural collagen production starts to taper off which is why our skin begins to look more drawn and slack. Raw Shea butter helps keep that “baby face” glow as we age!

  5. Treats inflammation. Raw Shea butter contains cinnamic acid (also found in cinnamon) that is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that’s been proven to soothe and treat various skincare conditions like eczema, dermatitis and sunburns. 

How to Use Raw Shea Butter

In its raw, pure form, Shea butter is a solid. You can easily break off pieces to melt in your hot baths, to rub onto your skin while you’re in the shower or to use as in place of lotion right after you get out of the shower. Your skin is most absorbent— and will most easily melt the butter — when its still warm and damp from the shower, so be sure to apply right after you get out. 

You can also find raw Shea butter in a whipped form which keeps it in an easy to use texture. When you’re looking for raw Shea butter, be sure to buy cold-pressed; that ensures all its beneficial components are still intact and preserved.

DIY Shea Butter Recipes For Face 

DIY Peppermint Lip Balm (Better Than Burt's Bees!)

Revived Kitchen's Lip Balm

Photo Credit: Revived Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • Beeswax pastilles
  • Shea butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Sweet Almond oil
  • Peppermint essential oil

This basic lip balm recipe is easily customizable; just swap out the peppermint oil for your favorite scent. For the full recipe check out this post.

Creamy & Moisturizing Shea Butter Soap

Lovely Greens

A few of the ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin E

If you're looking for a recipe for homemade soap that helps manage oily prone skin look no further than Tanya's Shea butter soap. You'll need to do a little bit of chemistry with this one so we strongly recommend following instructions and reading about Lye safety (used incorrectly, it can become dangerous) before you begin. 

DIY Shea Butter Recipe for Acne

Beauty Munsta

Ingredients:

  • Raw Shea butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil 

Tea tree oil is a powerful natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it one of our favorite products to fight breakouts. Because Shea butter is non-comedogenic, this DIY face moisturizer recipe is thus a perfect option for those with oily or acne prone skin.

To Recap: Raw Shea Butter For Your Face Is IT

When it comes to natural skincare, less is almost always more. There are so many safe and effective products that stand on their own without the need for adding chemicals, preservatives or other (unnecessary) ingredients. By now, we hope you consider using raw Shea butter for your face for those exact reasons— you just don’t need anything else!

How to Make Aloe Vera Juice

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Homemade Aloe Vera Juice Recipes

At this point we think its safe to say that juicing is more than just a passing trendits a powerful natural wellness choice that has myriad health benefits that any doctor, scientist, nutritionist or dietitian can get behind.

Juicing delivers your body an incredible amount of nutrients, antioxidants and other nourishing goodies to your system in a concentrated, pure way. Spinach, apple, celery, ginger, turmeric, kale and garlic are all popular (and super healthy!) juicing options but juicing aloe vera can be just as healthy for your body.

What Does Aloe Vera Juice Do For You?

Aloe vera juice has many health benefits for all types of ailments, both simple and chronic. Its use for health-related concerns dates back 5,000 years to ancient Egyptian timesthey used the plant both orally and topically as we do today for a variety of the same concerns.

The health benefits of the aloe vera plant are vast and varied. Some of the most powerful and common include:

    1. Alkalizing: helps restore the pH balance in our blood.

    2. Anti-inflammatory: naturally reduces swelling and inflammation by blocking prostaglandins and histamines.

    3. Digestive aid: since it is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, aloe vera juice can help soothe an upset stomach due to gas, indigestion or food allergies.

    4. Detoxifier: once ingested, aloe vera gel helps move toxins through your system quickly. Toxins bind themselves to the gel and get flushed out of your system.

    5. Helps hydration: just as the gel helps hydrate skin externally, it can also help promote hydrating internally.

    6. Helps control glucose levels for diabetics: aloe helps regulate blood sugar levels so it is a powerful natural Type I diabetic helper.

    7. Helps lower cholesterol: the soluble fiber Beta-sitosterol found in aloe vera juice is thought to help naturally lower cholesterol in your blood.

    8. Improves oral health: again, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera juice helps fight gum disease.

    9. Provides amino acids: there aren’t many plant sources with a full set of essential amino acids but aloe vera is one of them!

    How To Make Aloe Juice

    First, youll need an aloe vera plant (obviously). You can find aloe plants at any nursery or home and garden center; we suggest potting your aloe vera in organic soil and make sure youre using a stone or clay pot since plastic can leech into the soil (thus into your plant!).

    Now, on to how to extract aloe vera juice from your plant and how to make aloe vera water.

    Homemade Aloe Vera Juice

     Swasthi’s Recipes

    Ingredients:

    • Water or fruit juice
    • Lemon juice
    • Aloe vera gel

    If youre looking for something a bit more satisfying, there are other options of how to drink aloe vera juice. There are actually quite a few awesome aloe vera drink recipes that will be sure to make it into your regular rotation.

    Lemon and Cucumber Aloe Vera Juice Recipe

    Green Prophet

    Ingredients:

    • Cucumber
    • Apple
    • Lemon
    • Aloe vera pulp

     Blend until well mixed and enjoy!

    Healthy Aloe Juice Recipe

    Food Reality Blog

    Ingredients:

    • Carrots
    • Green apples
    • Orange
    • Aloe vera pulp

    Watermelon and Aloe Vera Juice Recipe

    The Other Side of the Tortilla

    Ingredients:

    • Fresh watermelon juice
    • Cold, filtered water
    • Aloe vera gel

    Exotic Aloe Vera Juice Recipe

    Juicing For Health

    Ingredients:

    • Fresh pineapple
    • Mango
    • Green apple
    • Coconut milk
    • Aloe vera juice

    Aloe Vera Smoothie Recipe

    Healthy Smoothie HQ

    Ingredients:

    • Almond milk
    • Juice from one medium aloe vera leaf
    • Fresh or frozen blueberries
    • Fresh or frozen mango chunks
    • Coconut oil
    • Fresh basil
    • Honey or maple syrup for sweetener
    • Coconut flakes
    • Chia or flax seeds
    • Protein powder

    Green Aloe Vera Smoothie Recipe

    Home Remedies For Life

    Ingredients:

    • Baby spinach
    • Aloe vera juice
    • Celery
    • Parsley
    • Cucumber
    • Pineapple or mango
    • Oranges
    • Lime
    • Spirulina powder
    • Coconut water
    • Ice cubes

    Strawberry Aloe Vera Juice Recipe

    Aloe Vera Review

    Ingredients:

    • Almond milk
    • Fresh or frozen strawberries
    • Fresh or frozen bananas
    • Honey
    • Aloe vera juice

    Zippy Zinger Aloe Juice Recipe

    Jusku

    Ingredients:

    • Ginger root, grated
    • Celery
    • Pears
    • Red papaya

    Not Just For Sunburns

    The aloe plant is such a versatile natural health ingredient to have in your home. Not only is the juice good for your internal health, but we all know that it helps soothe sunburn and other skin irritations as well. Plus, its hearty and low maintenance so even those of us with a brown thumb can enjoy the benefits of the plant!

    Grapeseed Oil For Skin Care

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    Grape Seed Oil Benefits and Uses for Skin and Face

    If you’re a beauty product junkie with lots of prized potions stocked in her medicine cabinet, you probably use grape seed oil more than you even realize.

    Because it’s so nourishing, gentle and effective for skincare, it’s often used as a carrier oil in many beauty products. But it’s just as awesome and beneficial when used on its own, which is just the thing we want to talk to you about now.

    What Is Grape Seed Oil? 

    It’s our second favorite liquid made from grapes! And it is actually a byproduct of the wine making process. Wine grape seeds are often discarded in the process; grapes eed oil is extracted from the seeds themselves. So not only is it a healthy, useful product, it’s also puts a potentially wasted byproduct to good use.

    Skin Benefits of Grape Seed Oil

    Grape seed oil is rich in Vitamin C, D and E, beta keratin, flavonoids and essential fatty acids which work wonders on myriad skin issues and concerns.

    Hydrating. Grape seed oil contains Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps keep your skin hydrated and healthy looking. Vitamin E oil on its own can often be too heavy for those with oily or acne prone skin, so getting it in smaller doses in grape seed oil is often much better for many.

    Anti aging. Grape seed oil is a fantastic natural anti aging product for three major reasons. It:

      • Boosts Collagen production. Plump, firm skin is young looking skin. And that fullness and firmness comes from the collagen that’s found naturally in our skin. Grape seed oil contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (or OPC), which is a flavonoid that encourages collagen production and restoration at the cellular level, thus leaving you with younger looking, fuller skin.

      • Is an antioxidant. Free radicals are “bad” cells found in our bodies that attack our healthy cells— they’re the cause of cancer, and, on a less serious level, speed up signs of aging.

        Cell turnover and new cell growth is what keeps our skin looking young and bright (because our skin cells are young and bright themselves). Free radicals hinder the new cell turnover and thus leave our skin looking tired and dull. Grape seed oil contains compounds called antioxidants that fight free radicals from forming which allows our skin cells to turn over unhindered.

      • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles. As we’ve already mentioned, grapes oil is ultra hydrating for your skin. And when your skin looks fuller and more bright, your fine lines and wrinkles look less apparent

    Anti inflammatory. If you struggle with red, irritated, sensitive skin, grape seed oil will help calm your skin and leave it looking fresh, smooth and even toned.

    Reduces scar appearance. In the same way that grape seed oil reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your face, it can also help reduce the appearance of scars anywhere on your skin!

    Non-comedogenic. Grape seed oil has a comedogenic rating of 2, which means it has a moderately low chance of clogging your pores. For reference, argan oil has a 0 rating (will not clog pores and coconut oil has a 4 rating (fairly high probability it will clog pores). 

    Acne fighting. In addition to being non-comedogenic, grape seed oil is also a natural astringent, which means that it cleans out and closes pores, so that your pores remain small and bacteria free.

    Practical Ways to Use Grape Seed Oil 

    You can find pure grape seed oil at most natural food stores and at a variety of online stores like Target, Amazon and Walgreens. If possible, find a cold pressed version, as added heat can diminish all the awesome healing and restorative properties of the seeds!

    We find it’s an ideal natural night serum on its own, mixed with Vitamin E oil or combined with your regular night cream.

    DIY Grape Seed Recipes

    There are so many options if you’re looking to come up with your own grapeseed oil concoctions! Because it makes such a great carrier oil, the options are practically endless! We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below.

    DIY Grapefruit and Grape Seed Body Oil 

    Scratch Mommy

    Ingredients:

    • Grape seed oil
    • Organic grapefruit peels

    Both grapefruit and grape seed contain a lot of antioxidants. By combining the two ingredients, you get an antioxidant powerhouse that can even knock out eczema.

    You can use this oil straight out of the shower in the mornings (the citrus gives it a nice zip!) or as a massage oil.

    Homemade Grape Seed Oil Lotion

    Lightweight Non-Greasy Grapeseed Oil

    Photo & Recipe Credit: Delicious Obsessions 

    Ingredients:

    • Distilled water
    • Aloe Vera gel
    • Beeswax pastilles
    • Coconut oil
    • Grape seed oil
    • Vitamin E oil or Rosemary extract
    • Essential oils 

    You can customize this nourishing lotion with your favorite essential oils; lavender would be lovely for a nighttime bath routine while peppermint would help wake you up in the mornings. Aloe Vera is incredibly calming for irritated skin (thus why it’s so effective with sunburns!) and will help soothe dry skin, especially in the winter months.

    Check out Delicious Obsessions for the full recipe and step by step instructions.

    Homemade Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleanser

    One Sweet Mess 

    Ingredients:

    • Castor oil
    • Grape seed oil
    • Jojoba oil
    • Tea Tree oil

    Oil-based facial cleansers are highly effective at removing dirt, bacteria and make-up and keeping your skin balanced, clear and healthy.

    Our skin breaks out, becomes inflamed and becomes the most oily when we use harsh products that strip our skin of its natural oils. Once this happens, our bodies begin to over produce oil, to make up for the lost protection, and our skin breaks out.

    Using oil to cleanse helps restore our natural balance and leaves skin glowing. Promise! Plus, tea tree oil is a potent and effective natural anti acne ingredient to help tone your skin as you wash it. 

    Grape Seed Oil— Get On It!

    While coconut, jojoba and argan oil may get most of the props for being effective powerhouses in the world of skincare, grape seed oil definitely deserves its own due. It’s lightweight, nourishing, moisturizing and like we’ve mentioned, it helps ease a whole host of skincare concerns. It’s also affordable and lasts forever, so it makes sense as a skincare staple.

    Sources & Additional Resources: Oregon State, National Technical University of Greece

    Pine Bark Extract Skin Benefits

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    Pine Bark Extract Skin Benefits

    Witch hazel, grapeseed oil, pomegranate seed oil— these natural oils have had their time in the skincare spotlight over the years, with natural beauty lovers and conventional cosmetic companies both touting their benefits from their anti aging properties to their hydrating help.

    But there’s another, lesser known oil called pine bark extract that’s just as potent and may replace your natural remedies and expensive concoctions as your new favorite anti-aging skincare product.

    What is Pine Bark Extract and Where Does it Come From?

    The extract comes from the inner bark of the Pinus pinaster tree which is most commonly found in Europe. The most popular form of the oil is the French maritime pine bark extract which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France (ooh la la!).

    The earliest record of humans using pine bark extract to cure health related concerns dates back to 1534 when French explorer Jaques Cartier and his crew received pine bark extract tea from Quebec natives to fend off scurvy after their ship was stranded nearby.

    Then, in 1934, French researcher Jacques Masquelier found that the extract helped the body absorb Vitamin C with better efficiency, making it helpful, again, to fend off scurvy (among other common skin and health ailments).

    Benefits of Pine Bark for Skin

    Luckily for those of us living in the modern era, where scurvy isn’t a particularly pressing concern, pine bark for skin is also a radically effective method for maintaining a healthy, young looking appearance.

    1. Reduces UV radiation effects. Pine bark extract contains Pycnogenol (you’ll often see the extract go by this name) which is a powerful antioxidant that offers the skin protection from the sun’s UV rays.

    2. Antioxidant rich. Oligomeric procyanidins (or OCPs) contain two major anti-aging benefits: they’re antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are “bad” cells that attack “good” cells, increasing your risk for cancer and a whole host of other health issues. Antioxidants help your skin turn over healthy cells more quickly and new cells = young looking skin.

      Additionally, pine bark extract is a natural anti inflammatory agent. Inflammation can make your skin look puffy, red and dry which are all major culprits in making your skin look and feel older than it actually is.

    3. Reduces hyper pigmentation. Recent scientific studies have shown that pine bark extract decreases age spots and uneven pigmentation. Again, the Pycnogenol works to increase your skin’s cell turnover so you’re left with even, healthy skin.

    4. Reverses signs of aging. Not only does pine bark extract help delay and slow down the aging process, it also can repair existing skin damage, a claim not many natural or conventional anti-aging skin care products can make. In one study, women who used pine bark extract noticed a marked difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after a 12 week period.

    5. Increases skin elasticity. Collagen is a major player in making your skin look young and firm. As we age, our collagen production naturally slows down, making our skin look less tight and elastic. Pine bark extract has been shown to increase production of the collagen genes so that your skin continues to have that youthful, elastic appearance.

    6. Hydrating. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an essential component in keeping our skin hydrated and healthy. Pine bark extract has been proven to increase hyaluronic acid production, thus increasing your skin’s natural hydration levels.

    Invest in a Facelift— the Natural Way

    Pine bark extract is a safe, effective way to reduce visible signs of aging like age spots, wrinkles, sun damage and fine lines.

    The recent research pine bark skincare is an incredible advancement for those of us who are interested in maintaining healthy, young looking skin for as long as possible without the assistant of lasers, knives or scalpels. Plus, a bottle of pine bark extract oil is less than $10, making it an infinitely less expensive option than traditional anti-aging techniques and products.

    2016 Homemade Christmas Gifts in a Jar

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    There’s nothing better than giving - and receiving! - handmade Christmas gifts. The thought, planning and personalization that goes into a homemade Christmas gift makes it so much more special than a store-bought gift. Even better is when you can put together those homemade Christmas gifts when you have no money and are in a bit of a time crunch. Which brings us to the magic of gifts in a jar.

    Homemade Christmas Gifts Cookie Mix Jar Recipes

    If you’re looking for homemade Christmas gifts for mom or homemade Christmas gifts for sister, one of these cookie mix jars make a sweet stocking stuffer. And hey, maybe if you stick around long enough after the presents are opened, you’ll get to taste test! 

    Triple Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar 

    Photo Credit: The Frugal Girls

    Ingredients:

    • Milk Chocolate Cake Mix
    • Dark chocolate chips
    • Milk chocolate chips
    • White chocolate chips

    Who doesn't love triple chip cookies? Nobody, that's who. This recipe turns out great batch of delicious cookies which make a perfect Christmas gift.

    Please visit this post on the The Frugal Girls blog for ingredient quantities and step-by-step instructions.

    Cranberry Cookies in a Jar

    Ingredients:

    • All-purpose flour
    • Rolled oats
    • Baking soda
    • Salt
    • Light brown sugar
    • Granulated sugar
    • Dried cranberries
    • White chocolate chips
    • Chopped pecans or walnuts

    Please visit this post on the My Baking Addiction blog for ingredient quantities and step-by-step instructions.

    M&M Cookies in a Jar 

    M&M Cookies in a Jar For Christmas

    Photo & Recipe Credit: Damn Delicious

    Ingredients:

    • All-purpose flour
    • Baking powder
    • Baking soda
    • Salt
    • Old fashioned oats
    • M&Ms
    • Brown sugar
    • Sugar 

    My favorite part about this recipe is that it's even X-mas colored. Red and green M&M's plus the white flour makes this a perfect Christmas gift on a budget.

    Get the full deets here.

    DIY Christmas Gift Liquor Recipes

    Who doesn’t love a little liquor around the holiday season?! These homemade liquor recipes will elevate your loved ones’ bar carts to something seriously special.

    Now you just have to wait for happy hour! Just remember that liquor infusions need about a few weeks to really get to optimal taste so make them before Xmas! 

    Pineapple Infused Rum

    Booze In a Jar Xmas Gift

    Photo Credit: Grain Changer

    Ingredients:

    • Fresh pineapple
    • White rum

    This may not be the most festive of holiday infused drinks but it's certainly delicious. Two ingredients and five minutes of prep time, it's that easy. 

    Check out the recipe.

    Apple Pie Bourbon

    Xmas Gift Idea Booze in a Jar Bourbon

    Photo Credit: Just Putzing

    Ingredients:

    • Gala apples
    • Cinnamon sticks
    • Zest of 2 lemons
    • Bourbon 

    Who doesn't like Apple Pie? This bourbon infused booze-y drink is sure to be a hit at your X-mas party or during that awkward family dinner. 

    Full recipe here.

    Homemade Christmas Gifts Nuts Recipes

    Nuts are a definite crowd pleaser and there are lots of ways to dress up basic mixed nuts to something super delicious (and super easy!).

    Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Candied Nuts

    Candied Nuts in a Jar for the Holidays

    Photo Credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction

    Ingredients:

    • Pecan halves
    • Whole almonds
    • Egg whites
    • Water
    • Granulated sugar
    • Ground cinnamon
    • Salt

    PeThese are delicious. They're also addictive, like really addictive so make a small batch or ensure you have lots of friends around to share them with. 

    You can check out the full recipe here  

    Homemade Christmas Gifts Sugar Scrub Ideas

    If you’re looking for homemade Christmas gifts that is not food, there are lots of great beauty options you can make and gift in a jar. So whether you’re looking for homemade Christmas gifts for your girlfriend or homemade Christmas gifts for your wife, look no further than our round-up of these easy Sugar Scrub recipes! 

    Simple Sugar Scrub Recipe

    Brown Sugar and Coconut Body Scrub

    Photo Credit: Perry's Plate

    Ingredients:

    • Brown sugar
    • Coconut oil

    This is such a simple scrub but it'll leave your skin feeling ah-mazing. Check out the full recipe, there are also some other suggestions to add if you want to make it take it up a notch.

    DIY Gingerbread Sugar Scrub 

    DIY gingerbread body scrub

    Gold Mountain Beauty

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Ground Coffee
    • 3/4 cup Sugar
    • 2 tbsp Ground Ginger
    • 2 tbsp Cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup Olive oil, or coconut oil, sunflower oil etc.

    I just made this scrub and love it. It reminds me of Christmas and that's enough to make my morning.

    Coffee Body Scrub with Coconut Oil

    Ingredients:

    • Organic coffee
    • Organic sugar
    • Organic coconut oil
    • Cinnamon
    • Vanilla

    If you're not already aware, organic coffee scrubs are all the rage. And for good reason, they're amazing at treating a variety of skin conditions and issues. Plus there is something about the smell of coffee grinds that always gives me a little boost. Check out the full recipe here.

    Homemade Christmas Gifts for Boyfriend

    Health and beauty gifts don’t have to be all about the ladies; men need grooming products too! Below, you’ll find two super simple shaving product recipes he’ll definitely love.

    The Best Homemade Shaving Cream for Guys and Gals 

    Modern Hippie Housewife

    Ingredients:

    • Oil (olive, grape seed, coconut, etc)
    • Honey
    • Castile soap
    • Pine, rosemary or mint essential oil 

    DIY Shaving Oil 

    Hybrid Rasta Mama

    • Olive oil
    • Grapeseed oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Something delicious smelling

    Men will love this hydrating, luxe oil to put on before they shave to keep their skin super smooth and their stubble softened.

     

    When you’re thinking about gifting the jars, traditional brown twine doubled with a festive green, red or metallic ribbon makes an excellent wrapping. 

    We hope you’ve found some useful inspiration for your next round of Christmas gift giving. We think homemade Christmas gifts in Mason jars are seriously the best; we’ll be making one of each for all of our friends and family!

    DIY Gingerbread Coffee Body Scrub

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    DIY Gingerbread Coffee Scrub for The Body

     

    A simple, delicious smelling DIY for super soft skin! This coffee body scrub is cheap and incredibly easy to make, it’s also perfect for giving as a homemade gift this festive season!

    We combine antioxidant rich coffee with sugar for some good gritty scrubbing action and add nourishing olive oil that together will leave skin baby soft and smooth. Cinnamon and ginger add a warming winter scent and help to boost circulation, too!

    Ingredients

    • Clean airtight jar
    • 1 cup Ground Coffee
    • 3/4 cup Sugar
    • 2 tbsp Ground Ginger
    • 2tbsp Cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup Olive oil, or coconut oil, sunflower oil etc.

    Directions

    1. Combine everything in your jar and mix!
    2. If making several jars worth in bulk for gift giving it’s easier to measure everything and mix together in a large bowl and then divide into jars.

    Use on clean damp skin during the shower and massage all over the body with firm circular, sweeping motions for 5 or so minutes, then rinse away. If skin feels too oily you can use a body wash to wash it away.