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!

THE FEED GIFT GUIDE!

You guys, it’s the Christmas season! Did you know? Oh…

Shopping with responsible consumerism in mind is downright terrifying, especially with Black Friday and every commercial ever and family wish lists breathing down your throat. Well, I hope to lend you a helping hand with a lovely Responsible Gift Guide!

FOR HER:

Etsy– this is a no brainer! Girls love jewelry, and no matter what her style, you can find something beautiful on Etsy. The great thing about Etsy is that it connects you directly to artisans- there isn’t any greed-crazed corporate middle man to deal with, just you and the creator. Now, in terms of materials or ingredient sourcing, you’ll have to investigate each shop to make sure that they fit your responsibility standards.

Light Gives Heat– amazing organization that partners with women in Uganda to create beautiful, handmade jewelry items, while teaching them life skills and providing counseling. Many of the women have been affected by or lost family members to the LRA forces. In addition to jewelry, the company also has many other lovely accessories, such as bags, tees, and scarves. Inventory is updated frequently and new styles come out all the time. I own several of their pieces and they are lovely! I’m loving this banana tree jewelry stand.

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Conscious Box– Full disclosure, I already know that I am getting one of these for Christmas, and I absolutely cannot wait! This is a package subscription program, and every month you are sent a box of goodies from socially responsible companies. They even have a vegan option!

Julep– Nail polish that is free of nasty chemicals, yet it affordable and on-trend. Similar to Conscious Box, they also have a monthly subscription program. Try the promo code “penny” to get your first box for, well, a penny!

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Roozt– This is a great outlet site for organizations and conscious brands to get their names and products out to consumers- and for consumers to score them for less. You can search based on “humanitarian gifts”, “eco-friendly gifts”, and more! Anything from body products to jewelry to belts to tees.

Everlane– this site operates on a new business model where they work directly with manufacturers to bring you high quality product for a lot less money. I’m not terribly sure about their sourcing, but I own a few of their tops and the quality is truly unmatched. Plus, you get rewards for referring friends!

LUSH– yes, everyone knows I love LUSH. If you’ve been my friend or read this blog for more than five seconds, you know. But do you know about their gifts? They really are spectacular. Gifts are themed and products are picked and wrapped- it’s all beautiful, colorful, and smells amazing. The recipient of a LUSH gift will be the happiest at the party, no doubt. It’s basically all I ask for for Christmas.

FOR HIM:

Dudes are intrinsically harder to shop for. Maybe its because I’m not a dude that I think this, but I really believe it’s true. However, there are some things that guys in general enjoy, and so I will try to play to those. If all else fails, check out Society6 or Roozt and find something fun there.

Patagonia– This clothing company is amazing. One of Better World Shoppers, highest rated companies for sustainability and responsible practices, they make high quality clothing, especially for outdoorsmen, that every guy on your list will love.

Society6– This is a super-cool site for artists. They upload their artwork, you pick the printing medium (canvas, card, iPhone case, etc). Really efficient way to find great artists and own some of their work for less.

REI– this is the place for a gift card. REI is every adventurers dream- if you can do it outdoors, they will have it. Another very highly ranked BWS company.

Coffee from a responsible company. Locally, we love Furnace Hills Coffee Company, a direct trade group that employs adults with disabilities, roasts here in town, and works directly with farmers worldwide. More readily available is Equal Exchange, which also makes the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

Hello Somebody watches are a great find for the fashion-forward man in your life. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, and sometimes with interchangeable faces. Their organization focuses on providing care to children through food, hydration, education, and freedom.

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Falling Whistles is an organization that focuses on advocating for peace in the Congo. Their product is one for a particular man of fashion- a large whistle on a chain necklace cannot be rocked by just anyon. They are also great for girls, too, but work really well as a masculine piece for a male that wears things like this.

THE GIVING GIFTS

Some of my favorite gifts that I have given, or received, are what I like to call ‘giving gifts’. These are gifts that someone else receives on behalf of your loved one- someone that needs it more. They are meaningful beyond just your relationship, and they help build the Kingdom with our generosity.

FH Catalog– Food for the Hungry is one of the most effective Christian holistic development agencies in the world. Their Gift Catalog allows you to bless a global family with something they need- be it a cow, chicken, mosquito net, or job training.

The Hunger Strike– When you buy a Mobilization Kit, you receive a tee, necklace, and more- and 48 meals are sent to famine-stricken areas of East and West Africa, as well as funding missionary programs and anti-poverty advocacy events.

Cure International– This organization works with children worldwide suffering from Hydrocephalus- something that two of my siblings are affected by as well. Your purchase helps to fund a lifesaving surgery for one of these children.

Save the Storks– This is a great small-scale pro-life organization run by our friends, Joe and Ann Baker. They work directly with Crisis Pregnancy Centers to equip them with sonogram buses to operate outside of abortion clinics, as well as providing counseling resources, support groups, and even alternative employment for abortion clinic workers. Their clothing is beautiful and makes a great ‘giving gift’.

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

Solid Toothpaste?

One of the last things that I converted to “natural” branding was toothpaste. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m using all of these natural shampoos, lotions, soaps, but then I’m using conventional toothpaste? Is there even an option?”. For a while, there really weren’t any great options that were readily available to the public. Now, however, a trip to the nearest grocery store will often present you with a plethora of “natural” toothpaste options. Tom’s, Trader Joe’s, even Burt’s Bees are all producing their own lines of natural toothpaste in all the usual flavors. Add in the fluoride or no fluoride debate and picking a toothpaste can get a little overwhelming! Today, however, I want to introduce you to one product that is revolutionizing the toothpaste industry: the Toothy Tab.

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Lush products, having worked for the company and used their products for quite some time now. I have to admit, though- I was skeptical about these guys. Toothy Tabs are the world’s first solid toothpaste- comprised of baking soda, essential oils, and flavors, the tabs foam up as you chew them, giving you a great lather to brush your teeth with. I actually find that I can bite a tab in half and it’s plenty for me- and they last twice as long.

The abrasive nature of the baking soda makes this a safe and natural way to whiten teeth but remain gentle enough for sensitive smiles. The absence of water allows these tabs to be made preservative free, so you can be sure that you aren’t ingesting anything funky when you’re trying to get clean. Even better, Toothy Tabs come in a tiny, compostable box that allows for virtually no waste!

The best part of Toothy Tabs is the impressive and creative litany of flavors:

Sparkle- vanilla, lemon, and grapefruit
Chou Chou I Love You- rose and lemon
Dirty-spearmint and neroli
Atomic- coffee, cinnamon, and clove
Breath of God- sandalwood, vanilla, fennel
Ultrablast- mint and wasabi
Aquatic- earl grey, lime, and jasmine

While some of these may be too adventurous for your taste-literally!-Dirty is a great mint flavor that will please anyone (I can personally attest to this). While wasabi flavored toothpaste scares me to death, I am currently using rose and lemon flavored Chou Chou and it is incredible! I love the taste. I have also read testimonies of pregnant women who would get sick from minty toothpaste but tried these alternative flavors and were able to curb the morning sickness. Of course, any Lush store will be happy to give you a sample so you don’t buy one you hate. I want to try Sparkle next!

Sending fresh breath and pretty smiles your way,
Karli