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!

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: The Full Facial Treatment

This is one of my absolute favorite ways to treat myself!  When I first started working for LUSH, I probably used a face mask every single day, and my skin loved me for it!  Well, I cant exactly afford that anymore, but I’ve learned how to get the same results at home, and ever kick it up a notch.  Give yourself 45 minutes tonight and indulge in this at-home mini facial!

 

PART ONE: DIY MICRODERMABRASION

This is as simple as getting out your box of baking soda.  Microdermabrasion is one of the most expensive (and, admittedly, effective) spa treatments out there.  It involves slowly exfoliating the skin with a diamond-tipped rotary device that sort of feels like sandpaper, but makes your skin glow afterwards for the low low price of $150+ per session (6 sessions usually recommended).  I had microderm three or four times when I worked for a spa, and it really is nice.  But baking soda is just as effected and a billion times cheaper.  See for yourself!

Take a tablespoon of baking soda and splash in just enough warm water to make into a paste.  Smooth it over your skin and gently exfoliate in circular motions, focusing in areas that are problematic, dry, or scarred.  Take your time, enjoy it!  Your skin will thank you.  Massage your face and rinse with warm water.  Admire.  You can stop here and apply a moisturizer and be done.  OR…

 

PART TWO: DIY HERBAL STEAM

This is the fun part because you get to just relax!  Boil some water, and while you’re waiting, fill the bottom of a glass bowl or a stopped sink with any of the following:

Lavender buds

Strips of basil

Rose petals

Chamomile buds

Rosemary needles

Green Tea

Any combination is fine, too!  Whatever you have on hand.  Pour in the boiled water (allow to slightly cool) and then add any of the following:

 Tea tree oil

Lavender oil

Eucalyptus oil

Chamomile oil

Again, whatever you have on hand!  Now, throw a towel over your head, drape it over the bowl or sink, and make yourself a little tent.  Seal the edges. Breath.  Enjoy that lovely herbal steam soaking into your pores!  Continue until your mixture ceases to steam.  Now, you can finish with a moisturizer and be done.  OR…

 

PART THREE: DIY FACE MASK

Here’s the really fun part.  What do you have in your kitchen?  Honey? Bananas? Yogurt? Avocado?  I’m sure you have something.  Finish with one of these on your face!

Banana (great for sensitive skin)

Oatmeal (raw oats mixed with some milk, gently heated)

Honey (mix with cinnamon and nutmeg for acne scarring!)

Yogurt (great for brightening skin)

Crushed aspirin and lemon (again, brightening, good for problem skin/swelling)

Avocado (moisturizing)

Slather on, relax for 20-30 minutes, and rinse with warm water.  NOW you can finish with a moisturizer or, like I do, a little bit of coconut oil!  Be sure to moisturize lightly around your eyes to prevent aging lines 🙂 Enjoy your fresh holiday face!