Oil Pulling- Your New Morning Routine

I spoke last week about how I really miss detoxing, so I’ve been folding in ‘everyday detox’ measures into my daily routine to help avoid the buildup of toxins during my pregnancy and help support my health in general. Here’s one you may not have heard of, but you definitely need to give a try!

When I lived in Florida, I spent a brief period of my natural health learning studying Ayurvedic medicine. This is normally associated with Indian/middle eastern culture, and is completely fascinating in how far removed it is from western tradition, yet how completely effective it is! Many common health tricks (such as the Neti Pot and starting the morning with warm lemon water) have their roots in Ayurveda, but there are many Ayurvedic traditions that are not as well know. Oil pulling is one of those- it was on my radar for a few months, then I forgot about it until I got involved with a stellar group of crunchy mommies on Facebook, many of whom are devoted oil pullers!

HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
Swish 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil (or another lighter healthy oil, some like sesame) around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Don’t let it get in your throat, though- no gargling!
Spit the oil into the toilet and flush the gross stuff away. Don’t spit in the sink- the oil can clog the drain!
Rinse with warm water.

POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF OIL PULLING:
Remineralizes teeth and prevents cavities and tooth decay
Pulls bacteria, parasites, congestion, and mucus out of your system
Coats teeth with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral goodness from the coconut oil
Clears skin on the face
Gently cleanses the system of bacteria and parasites
Relieves congestion in the sinuses and mucus in the throat (similar to kapalabhati in yoga)
Heals chronic skin disorders such an eczema, psoriasis, and tinea versicolor
Gently whitens teeth and strengthens gums
Helps alleviate arthritis
Gently detoxes the liver

I’ve been oil pulling semi-regularly for a few months now, and I really do love it. It takes some getting used to (the texture of oil in your mouth is likely a foreign one haha) but the effects are undeniable! I have struggled with bleeding gums since being pregnant, but much of that has disappeared since I’ve started pulling. My mouth feels cleaner, my skin is very clear, and much of my chronic sinus congestion has been kept at bay. In short, I’m a believer!

Cheap & Quick Detoxifying Deodorant

Quick and Easy DIY Detox DeodorantOne of the most unfortunate things about trying to live a pure, natural, healthy life is the price tag that often comes with those choices! It’s sad but true that quality products made with responsible ingredients just cost more money to manufacture. This is especially true when it comes to health, beauty, and hygiene products.

My husband and I have had a pretty significant change in finances recently, which has spurred me onward in my quest to be able to homemake everything I can and be frugal whenever possible. I recently remarked on Facebook that I am quickly learning that everything in my bathroom can be replaced with come combination of baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and bentonite clay, and it’s pretty true! It’s amazing what a few (cheap) quality ingredients can do.

One of the first natural hygiene products I tried back in college was a natural deodorant. It was horrible. It smelled awful, made me sweat more- it was just nasty. Now, I realize that my body was probably detoxing from the years of using normal antiperspirants, which simply clog the pores rather than absorbing moisture. Sweat is natural and good! When the body sweats and you’ve used an antiperspirant, it continues to produce sweat as it fights the blockage of the pores, causing an overproduction of sweat. When you make an abrupt switch to a deodorant that doesn’t block the pores (such as this one), there can be an adjustment period as the body learns that it doesn’t have to overproduce anymore!

That said, it is important to note that this is a DEODORANT, not an ANTI-PERSPIRANT. You will sweat! However, with the addition of cornstarch and bentonite clay, I think you’ll find that you stay very dry- I know I do.

Today, I want to share a recipe that I had been dying to concoct for quite a while, and I think I’ve finally got it down. I received a lovely sample of a cream deodorant in a Conscious Box I got a few months back, and I fell in love with the concept. It took me a bit, but I adapted this recipe from Body Unburdened, which made a batch that I totally love, cost next to nothing, and will sat a really long time. Exactly what I needed!

YOU’LL NEED:

6 Tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 5 at room temp, 1 warmed
4 Tablespoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons organic cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder here)
2 Tablespoons Bentonite Clay
Essential oils, to your scent preference (I used patchouli because I like the scent, but Melaleuca/Tea Tree is a great antibacterial and anti fungal)

Combine all ingredients except for the warmed coconut oil. It is a little thick and messy! As everything starts to combine, add the warmed coconut oil, and mix together quickly. You’ll see that this binds everything together and forms a beautiful, creamy consistency. Transfer to a glass jar and you’re done!

To use, simply scoop out a bit on your fingertip and apply to your underarm. Coconut oil warms with body heat so it will spread easily.

WHAT YOU’RE GETTING:

Coconut Oil: A natural antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral. Provides a smooth, spreadable consistency and is moisturizing and healing for the skin.

Baking Soda: Neutralizes body odors.

Cornstarch/ Arrowroot: Great for absorbing moisture- I actually use cornstarch as a dry shampoo and as a mattifying powder for my face!

Bentonite Clay: Also absorbs moisture quickly, as well as helps pull out toxins from sweaty pits.

Essential Oils: You’ll get different properties depending on the oils you use. Like I said above, Melaleuca is a great antibacterial and anti fungal, which is great for funky pits. Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon would also work for this same purpose.

Let me know if you try the recipe and like the results! I know I do 🙂

Links used in this post are affiliate links. I do earn a very small percentage when you purchase through these links, which allows me to continue doing what I love: writing!

Help Me! What’s My Skin Type?

What's Your Skin Type? via Feed Me MamaOne of the most important tools I was taught during my time in working for a retail skincare and beauty company was the ability to help a customer figure out their skin type. I think that, a lot of the time, we assume we know our skin type based on how it usually feels or what products we use- but in my case and the cases of many others, it’s easy to be pretty off. Try this little trick tonight and see if you’ve been properly diagnosed.

-Before you go to bed, wash your face with a gentle soap, nothing special. Skip whatever normal regimen of products you use at night and go to bed.

-In the morning observe how your face feels. Is it oily all over, or only in certain areas? Do certain areas feel dry or rough?

-Take note of these areas. It might even be helpful to draw out a diagram of your face to help you map out what is oily and what is dry!

-You may want to repeat this test for several nights, giving your skin a rest from whatever products you normally use to see how it behaves normally. Compare your skin maps from each day and you’ll get a more accurate result!

Now, let’s take a look at those maps and see what we can do to support your skin in it’s normal state. The following are the three most common skin types:

What's Your Skin Type? via Feed Me Mama

OILY– almost completely oily when you wake. Maybe a few areas that might qualify as “dry”, but probably just “less oily” instead.

What's Your Skin Type? via Feed Me Mama

COMBO (also known as T-ZONE). Forehead, nose, and possibly chin are oily, but cheeks are dry. Dryness may extend to sides of nostrils or chin.

What's Your Skin Type? via Feed Me Mama

DRY (sometimes described as MATURE)- almost completely dry. Skin will likely feel tight, flaky, possibly itchy upon waking.

If you’re like me, your skin might behave differently during the various seasons- summer makes me a combo, but winter makes me flaky and dry!  If this is you, fear not: just make some simple adjustments as the seasons change. Knowing these things is essential to treating your skin with the proper products.

Here’s a few tips for each skin type:

OILY– Make sure that you are using ingredients that aren’t completely drying your face out. When this happens, your skin overcompensates and produces more oil, which has you worse off than when you started. Instead, skip moisturizer (or use a very very light one-coconut oil can be a great choice) and look for healing ingredients- tea tree oil being one of the most effective. It is a blemish fighter and a natural antiseptic and antifungal, and it’s going to clear your face up in no time! Worst enemy of this skin type: butter-based moisturizers, or anything with “alcohol” in it: acetyl alcohol, ceteryl alcohol, etc.

COMBO– My favorite. Who the heck knows how your skin might react? The best thing that I have ever come across for combo skin is LAVENDER OIL. The stuff is magic. See, something about the chemical compounds in lavender oil make it almost identical to your skin’s sebum (which manages oil production), which allows your skin to properly balance out oil production on your face. It’s pretty incredible, and I don’t totally understand how it works, but it does- so look for moisturizers that highlight this ingredient (LUSH’s Imperialis moisturizer is a favorite of mine, but it is a bit pricey). Also, focus on getting the right moisturizers- not too heavy, not too light, but effective. In the summer, you may not need a moisturizer on your face- maybe just a wash with coconut oil every few days. In the winter, you may find you need something heavier.

DRY– use moisturizers- yes, you probably knew this. But are you using the right ones? Many commercial moisturizers are full of ingredients that your skin can’t actually absorb. One of the most common, mineral oil, actually sits on top of your skin instead of sinking into your pores! Butters, like shea, cocoa, or mango, are a better alternative, but can sometimes be too heavy to use under makeup or may even clog pores making matters worse. The best alternative is actually to use natural oils, like coconut, grape seed, olive, or even castor oil. These oils mimic the oils that your skin naturally produces, as well as creating an environment that is difficult for bacteria to flourish. Try washing and moisturizing your face with coconut oil, and see what a difference it makes!

One final tip that goes for all of these skin types- don’t forget to exfoliate! Moisturizers and corrective ingredients can’t work properly if there is a layer of dead skin on top of your living layers. Aim to give your skin a good exfoliation AT LEAST once a week- maybe more, if your skin isn’t too sensitive. You don’t need any fancy products either- try baking soda, or even cornmeal, for a simple but effective scrub. If you need some inspiration, here’s our guide to the full at-home facial 🙂

Do you have a miracle product that you swear by for your skin type? Share it in the comments!

BEAUTY WEEK: Healing Scalp Treatment

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You guys, truth be told, I have had some serious scalp issues already this winter. I’m thankfully not someone who suffers regularly from dandruff, but from time to time my scalp will dry and get itchy, which results in me wearing my hair back for days. Anyone who has seen me recently probably hasn’t seen me without a topknot. Thank God it’s fashionable right now!

Usually I just tough it out until it gets better on its own, or begrudgingly use some terrible dandruff shampoo to clear it up. However, I started researching and I found out that these shampoos are full of nasty chemicals (of course) and that scalp treatments are a really easy and enjoyable way to treat acute cases of dry scalp at home!

Even if you don’t suffer from the dreaded flakes like I do sometimes, a scalp treatment feels great and boosts your hair growth and body. It’s just really fun.

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You’ll need:

A cheap toothbrush (you could use a used one but it skeeved me out)

Coconut oil

Rosemary oil

Tea tree oil

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Melt a few tablespoons of coconut oil until liquid, and mix in 4-5 drops each of tea tree and rosemary oil (these are soothing and cleansing oils that work to heal the scalp). Part hair, dip toothbrush in oil, and scrub the scalp with mixture. Repeat all over your head, exfoliating as much of the scalp as you can! Then, let the mixture sit on your scalp for 15-20 minutes. Yes, your hair will get oily, and will be full of skin flakes. Yes, it is kind of gross. It’s better than a constantly flaky scalp so deal with it for a few, nobody’s gonna see you!

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yes, your scalp may look like this. But it won’t soon!

When time is up, rinse and SHAMPOO OUT in the shower. Rinse well! Note: if you made the shampoo from yesterday’s post, this is not the time to use it. Way too much oil in your hair! I did that the first time by mistake and my hair was oily for four days. Use whatever other natural shampoo you have.

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much better!

Enjoy your flake-free head! Whenever problems start to creep up again, repeat as necessary. I actually scrub my scalp with just the toothbrush before every shower and it seems to keep the flakes at bay!

BEAUTY WEEK: DIY Shampoo!

Hello again, friends!  I am really enjoying this beauty week experiment- I really hope you are, too!  If you have any beauty product you’d like to see me try to DIY, let me know- I’d love to do a Beauty Week Pt. 2!

Today’s beauty item is a little more mainstream- I mean, not everyone is a scrub-a-holic like me and exfoliates in every shower, but pretty much any person reading this blog uses shampoo in some form.  For the past four or so years, I have refused to use anything but natural products on my hair- and I must say, my hair has never been better.  However, those products have come with a price tag- sometimes as much as $30 a bottle for shampoo.  I found myself thinking- if all this stuff is really natural, can’t I just make it myself with a little effort?

Now, I have done most of the popular shampoo experiments- no-poo (where you literally rinse your hair daily with water, and that’s it), baking soda only, apple cider vinegar.  No-poo was great after I shaved my head, but after a while I really noticed the grease, and I know that others could, too.  I’m not the type of person who religiously showers daily- maybe if I was, then no-poo would’ve worked.  But only using water on my hair every other day at best just didn’t look great on me.  Baking soda actually worked really well for a long time, but it was difficult to get out of my hair, which has a lot of texture, and only got worse as my hair grew longer.  Apple cider vinegar, using the raw kind that you really are supposed to use, was just too expensive for my budget- though I do know people who use regular ACV from the store and enjoy the effects.  All this to say, I tried all these things, and they weren’t for me.

I have previously extolled the virtues of the LUSH Shampoo Bar ($10 for about 4 months of use) but even they have drawbacks.  Really, I’m just a curious person.  I wanted to see if I could make my own shampoo.  I scoured my natural health and beauty books, various magazines, and Pinterest pages, and this is the simplest, easiest recipe I’ve found:

You’ll need:

1/4 cup Coconut Milk

1/3 cup Castile Soap (we use Dr. Bronner’s in peppermint)

10-20 drops Essential Oil

Other Oils (optional- start at just 1 teaspoon)

Simply mix together and use!  Make sure you shake before each use, too, as sometimes the coconut milk will separate.

Just the basic ingredients of Coconut Milk and Castile Soap are really what forms your shampoo.  My husband actually uses castile soap exclusively on his hair, but I find it a bit too drying and don’t care for the texture in my hair.  The coconut milk smoothes and moisturizes the hair, while castile soap cleans and shines!

You can add other oils in to suit your hair needs- olive oil or coconut oil to moisturize, or certain essential oils, like rosemary for scalp issues. My final product- coconut milk, castile soap, a tiny bit of olive oil and rosemary oil, felt like washing my hair with fresh snow- it smelled so wintery and clean!

Make-Up Musts

You guys, let’s get real here: The stuff make-up is made of these days is straight up scary. Crazy synthetic chemicals, bug parts, animal byproducts, plastics, carcinogens, petroleum- no thank you. I’d rather face the world the way I was born than slather myself in those harmful things! Thankfully, there are many companies doing a great job making eco-friendly, healthy, sustainable cosmetics for us to enjoy. Today, I want to share my own collection with you. Hopefully you’ll get some good ideas of what is out there!

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Facial wash– I recently started doing oil and water cleansing, which has done wonders for my skin. Admittedly, I don’t really struggle with acne, and because I have used natural products for a long time, I don’t deal with too much skin irritation either. Usually I just wash my face with warm water, and massage in coconut oil while I’m in the shower, which gently pulls out impurities, moisturizer, and kills bacteria. Is type of cleansing can be adapted based on your skin type, too- different oil blends, different frequencies, etc. Here is a great article on oil cleansing.

FoundationPhysicians Formula Organics Tinted Moisturizer. I love this stuff because it’s very light, completely natural, and contains a healthy amount of SPF which is ESSENTIAL for your face. It comes in several shades and blends easily because of it’s lightweight, lotion like formula.

EyeshadowsNature Girlz. These are actually hand-me-downs from my mother, who didn’t care for the cream base. I, on the other hand, prefer to use my fingers to do my eye makeup, so I love these little pots! Made with natural dyes and a nourishing cream base, I love how these blend together. Best of all, they are really inexpensive!

MascaraLush Eyes Right. I absolutely love this stuff. Made with the least amount of preservatives on the market, it’s pretty pigment comes from a wheatgrass base that is actually nourishing for your lashes! Though the bottle is not the traditional shape, it contains much more mascara than the normal tube you’ve been buying. A bit on the pricey side, but worth it for the quality of product. It will last forever!

Lips– I have several favorites here. For Chapstick, I am loving my new Aubrey Organics Peppermint and Tea Tree stick, which is especially healing for the winter time. For lipstick, I frequently use Lush’s A Million Kisses, a gorgeous ruby red that has the same scent my toothpaste and is made with all natural pigments. Favorite gloss has to go to Mentha Organics, though I confess that there is probably a more natural, responsible option out there (Mentha is sold at Bath and Body Works, which doesn’t have the greatest rap for being socially responsible).

I have to admit that I am still searching for a good liquid eyeliner alternative, though I have high hopes for Lush’s emotional brilliance line when I get the money! For now, I am using Elf, which is cheap cheap cheap and probably a terribly irresponsible purchase, but hey, I have to be honest with you. I also am using Elf bronzer, until I can get home to make my own!

Over the winter, I am excited to be off the road and start crafting my own homemade cosmetics. What kinds of things would you like to be able to make yourself? May I can take the guesswork out of it for you!

Until then,
Karli