Best Moisturizer for Dry Skin

thumbnailIt’s that time of the year again: Flaky, dry skin brought about by the freezing wind outside is only exacerbated by the artificial indoor heating. While you might be accustomed to preparing for the subzero temperatures with gloves and hats, don’t forget about moisturizing to prevent dry, itchy skin from becoming a chronic problem.

But not all lotions are created equal. Here’s a few things to look for (or avoid!) in your moisturizing regimen.

Almond Oil: Extracted from (you guessed it!) almonds, this sweet oil isn’t just great for your heart. It provides lightweight moisture that won’t leave you feeling greasy. Bonus: It can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Aloe Barbadensis: More commonly known as Aloe Vera, this Ayurvedic remedy has been used as early as the 16th century to soothe and heal skin. A review of academic literature supports its use as a powerful moisturizer.lotionpurple

Shea Butter: Rich in Vitamins A and E, this natural moisturizer quickly absorbs into skin without clogging pores or leaving a greasy residue. It’s been shown to aid in treating blemishes, wrinkles, stretch marks and even burns. Is there anything it can’t do? (Well, to be fair, there’s lots but as far as moisturizing skin goes, Shea butter is a catchall).

When choosing a moisturizer, the most important thing is to find something that works for your specific skin type. For a natural moisturizer free of chemicals, try Adama Minerals Lavender Lotion.

5 gifts for under $10 that’ll wow any woman

It’s that time of year again: time to build snowmen, eat deliciously large meals and, of course, buy presents for the ones you love (or in some cases the ones you don’t). Everyone loves getting presents, especially ones that are perfect for them. Although thoughtful gifts are great and inexpensive gifts are even better, what if there existed gifts that were both thoughtful and inexpensive? There does!

Here are five gifts for just $10 or less that are sure to please even the pickiest women in your life.

BEFINTLIG Scented block candle, set of 3 IKEA1. IKEA Set of 3 Scented Block Candles — $7.99

Perfect for the spiritual girl in your life, these candles are incense and mood lighting all in one. And, while the coordinating colors and step-down height make these perfect as a set, they’d also be great to use individually.

Get it now: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50265795/

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2. Adama Minerals River Spring Bar Soap — $7.99

Adama’s natural clay soap will give her some much needed (and deserved) pampering time. The coconut oil and shea butter combination gently cleanses without harsh chemicals and the lotus blossom scent calms and soothes. This special gift soap features an inspiring Native American tale to cleanse not only her body but also her soul.

Get it now: http://www.adamaminerals.com/body-soap/Skin-Clearing-Kit

http://s7d5.scene7.com/is/image/Teavana/30954%20400%20014_d?$slge$3. Teavana Rabat Blue Infuser Mug — $9.98

Made of Moroccan-tiled stoneware, these infuser mugs come with an infuser and a lid so steeping is super easy. The many evenly-spaced holes allow for perfect brewing, while the lid gives her something relaxing to look at while she waits for that perfect cup of tea. Both items are dishwasher and microwave safe.

Get it now: http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea-cups-mugs/infuser-mugs/p/rabat-blue-infuser-mug

Easy-Cinch Yoga Sling 4. Gaiam Easy-Cinch Yoga Sling — $9.98

A perfect combination of comfort and function, this yoga sling is perfect for getting a mat from where it is to where it needs to be. It’s made with a durable nylon strap and D-ring sliders make it a gift that’ll last.Available in an assortment of colors so you can make sure to get her favorite.

Get it now: http://www.gaiam.com/easy-cinch-yoga-sling/05-61346.html#ixzz3GijAim6N

5. Pottery Barn White Alphabet Mugs — $6.99

These stoneware mugs are not only durable and adorable, but each has a letter printed on it making this a gift with a slightly personal touch. Whether you get her one with her initial or one with her favorite letter, this is sure to be a gift that will make her think of you fondly with every morning cup of tea.

Get it now: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/alphabet-stoneware-mugs/?pkey=cgifts-below-twentyfive&cm_src=Quicklook

Five gifts for active men – UNDER $10

Once again it’s that magic time of year where we take a special moment to appreciate our loved ones, our liked ones, and sometimes even our coworkers with thoughtful gifts. My friends and fam have called me a particularly good gift giver, so I thought I’d take a minute and share some of my secrets.eric bike

Gifts for active guys for $10 or less!

Here’s some gifts that will be sure to please your more outdoorsy or earth-conscious male friends, from the kind of guy that runs the Tough Mudder to the guy who just likes eco-friendly products when he shaves. Here we go:

big river new blurry photo-600x6001: Adama Minerals Big River Soap – $7.99

Adama Minerals makes some dang fine soap, and Big River in particular is ideal for active men. It has a robust, musky scent that accentuates a man’s natural dudeliness. It’s got all the lady-appealing power of AXE, but none of the harsh chemicals. This soap features Bentonite clay that detoxifies and hydrates the skin as it makes suds. Great for sensitive skin, and oh so affordable!

31Cc1PoEjRL._SY355_2: Contigo Kangaroo Water Bottle – $9.71

For a guy that loves to run, hike or work out, this one is a no-brainer. It’s a water bottle, WITH A FRIGGING STORAGE COMPARTMENT INSIDE IT. You can park all your stuff in your gym locker and carry your new water bottle with confidence that it contains all the essentials for your survival – keys, membership card, moola for the vending machine. The Kangaroo is so handy that it’s sure to become your guy friend’s new activity buddy. This is selling at a special price now, so grab it before it changes.

for-men-maca-root-razor-relief_l3. Body Shop Maca Root Razor Relief– $8.40

This is one that I’ve used personally and really just love. It’s a soothing aftershave that cools the skin and fights irritation and razor burn. You’ll feel relieved right after you put it on – it absorbs so quickly it’s like your skin is drinking it in. It includes Maca Root which is great for your skin, and most of the ingredients are certified Community Trade, which means this is a socially and environmentally responsible way to shave.

61sKowIXmbL._SL1500_4. Asone External Portable Power – $4.71

When you’re out on an adventure far from any three-pronged outlet, this little guy will ensure you can power up your phone to call civilization, or snap a picture at the summit. Asone has introduced a super-cheap portable cell phone power bank that’s micro-sized and easy to fit into any size pack. The active bro in your life will love it, and it’s so affordable you’ll want to grab yourself one too.

bike5-iphone-5-water-resistant-bicycle-mount-white-main-view5. Bike5 iPhone Bike Mount – $9.95

This is another super-handy device I spotted on the train to work. It’s a little mounting system that lets you attach your iPhone 5 to the handlebars of your bike so you can more easily use it while you ride. Having your phone right in front of you will make following GPS directions way easier, and if you plug in some headphones you can safely ride and listen to some tunes. Making calls on the road, maybe not so much. The Bike5 is water resistant too, so you can use it in all weather conditions. It’ll make your wettest biking experiences more bearable.

That’s it for now. Check back soon for more great gift ideas that won’t break the bank!

Seriously, why would you put mud in a toothpaste?

There must be an answer to gum recession

When I turned a certain age, it became time for me to stop going to the friendly familiar pediatric dentist. No more video games and toys in the waiting room – it was time to finally see the “Grown Up Dentist.”

I thought it would be mostly the same – get a checkup and my picture put on the Happy Teeth Chart for yet another year. Little did I know.

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Art by Alexander Blue

Once I was in the chair and my defenses were lowered, the first thing the dental hygienist did was grab a gum-measuring stick and go to town. She started reading off numbers to the dentist, “3…1…4…3…”

It turns out she was checking my gums for recession – and I wasn’t doing so hot. As the 3’s and 4’s started to rack up, I had to wonder if there was some corrupt judging on the Happy Teeth Chart Committee.

Gum recession is a major problem in American adults – almost 75% suffer from some kind of gum disease, but only 60% have any knowledge of the problem! Gum recession can lead to chronic bad breath, tooth crowding, and even (gasp) tooth loss!

The worst thing about gum recession is that it has a million contradictory causes. Brushing too little, brushing too hard, not flossing, flossing too aggressively. For me, it was bruxism – I grind my teeth at night, which sends gums running.

As the bad news broke, I thought: there has to be a way to keep my gums where they belong!

ClayBrite toothpaste – a natural way to fight gum disease

The natural body care company ZionHealth has a pioneering product that can fight gum disease gently and naturally, and you don’t have to do anything tricky or expensive. It’s called ClayBrite Toothpaste.toothpaste

ClayBrite Toothpaste works just like your ordinary toothpaste, but it has a few special ingredients up its sleeve for healthy gums, fresh breath and strong teeth.

The “Clay” in ClayBrite is Calcium Montmorillonite, a unique kind of mineral that can be found in soft crystal formations all over the world. The clay has been found to have all sorts of health benefits, and it’s especially effective for oral hygiene.

Also known as Kanwa, this edible clay naturally detoxifies by attracting and removing environmental contaminants on contact. It pulls harmful bacteria right out of the gums! The finely-textured crystals in the clay can really get in there and scrub between your teeth too, for a deep clean feeling and healthy smile. For more about how ClayBrite works, visit their website.

ClayBrite is a natural fluoride-free toothpaste, and it’s available in a few different varieties. ClayBrite Original has Xylitol and Green Tea Extract to fight plaque and gum inflammation, and ClayBrite Extra includes some extra mint and natural sweetener for that more conventional experience.

ClayBrite is available at Adama Minerals, along with a wide selection of other natural detox products. Try it and you’ll be amazed!

Ancient Clay Skin Repair kills the itch!

Seeking a natural bug bite remedy

I’ve got a roommate with an unfortunate superpower: As a result of a bizarre science experiment (or just genetics), she’s able to attract every mosquito in a ten-mile radius.

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An artist’s impression. She actually uses a crowbar instead of a pasta fork.

Whenever she visits a new town people will assure her – “Don’t worry, we don’t get any skeeters around here.” She’ll just give them a cold stare and say, “Yes you do. They’ve just been waiting for me.”

As sure as sunrise, every morning she’ll discover new bites on her arms and legs. Her only choices to deal with this unfortunate and itchy scenario is to either cover herself with smelly repellents or just suck it up and deal with it.

She’s mindful of her skin’s health, so using chemical repellents isn’t her favorite. And even with the repellents, some bugs just won’t be deterred. So, long story short, she gets bitten by bugs. A lot.

An effective treatment at last

Enter the Adama Minerals Ancient Clay Repair Cream. I brought my roommate a sample of this natural rash remedy, and we both were impressed with how effectively it killed the itching from her bug bites.

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The cream, made by Zion Health, is a combination of natural anti-microbial oils from Oregano, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, mixed with the company’s signature Kanwa Clay.

Oregano in particular has some surprising disease-fighting properties. A 2010 study by the McCormick Science Institute – yes, the spice company – found that oregano oil is effective at killing harmful bacteria and reducing inflammation when applied topically.

As if that wasn’t enough, the same study also found evidence that oregano oils can act as an antidepressant! It sounds a little far fetched, but who hasn’t felt an emotional lift when you smell marinara sauce cooking?

The clay is also an essential part of the cream. Kanwa clay has a superpower a little more practical than my bug-bait roommate. Its chemical structure naturally draws toxins out of the skin and can accelerate the healing process from bug bites and rashes.

And that’s exactly what my roommate’s experience was. The itching stopped right away, and over the next two days the bug bites faded and disappeared.

Part of what made it so effective is that the clay forms a sort of poultice as it dries, and this helps protect the skin from any outside contamination. Also, it helps the other ingredients really stick instead of rubbing off throughout the day.

This cream is awesome. It’s a natural itch remedy that really works!

Try it at Adama Minerals or ask your local health food store!

Getting Clean with Clay – A Soap Sniffer’s Guide

The Great Zion Health Soap Smell-Off!

Hexed with giant pores and skin as delicate as a glass flower, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect body soap for a long, long time.

That’s why today I’m going to try out THE ENTIRE LINE of Zion Health’s Ancient Clay Soap. These are all-natural soaps made from coconut and olive oils – like all real soap should be! On top of that, they’ve got a special ingredient: Calcium Montmorillonite clay, also known as Kanwa.

According to the company’s website, and a fair amount of scientific studies online, Kanwa is a surprisingly effective treatment for all kinds of body ailments. From dry skin to nausea to mineral deficiency to, yes, even food poisoning, Kanwa can help. (I’ll have to test the food poisoning claim in a later post.)

So without further ado, here’s the FULL LIST of Zion Health soaps, and a report on what my nostrils – and other senses – discovered about each one. PREPARE YOUR SINUSES.

Round 1 – The Lightweight Division

I’m going to be using the 1 oz soap bars for this round, but all these soaps are available in 6 oz and 10 oz bars too. You can find them at Adama Health online or in person at your local Whole Foods!

moondanceLet’s get things started with MOON DANCE, Zion Health’s fragrance-     free soap bar. Moon Dance is going to be our control group here, because guess what it smells like? Nothing. Like hotel soap, only even less scent. The paper it comes it has more fragrance. So safe to say, if you have skin sensitive to fragrances, this is the soap for you.

mountainrainNext up: MOUNTAIN RAIN. Mountain Rain comes on strong, like a spicy, almost Irish Spring-like smell. It’s enhanced with Lavender Essential Oil, which gives it its powerful floral bouquet. Seriously, it’s like washing up with a bundle of fresh Lavender flowers. Very fragrant and very tasty.

eaglesunContestant #3: EAGLE SUN. This soap has a mellow, incense type fragrance. It smells a bit like Patchouli, which is that lingering smell you always encounter at hippie health food stores. It’s more subdued than Mountain Rain, a choice for people who like to live on the mild side. It’s got Lemon Verbena essential oil.

goldensunI have to say that this next soap is my absolute fave: GOLDEN SUN. Yes, another “Sun” scent – but this one doesn’t blend into the crowd. Golden Sun boldly engages your nose with a bright, citrusy scent. Right out of the gate, you get a mighty waft of Grapefruit oil, which transitions smoothly into earthy Lemon Verbena. This soap is a brave choice, and a real wake-up call for your whole body. 10 / 10 would smell again.

windMoving on, we have our next soap WIND. Easily the shortest name on this list of soap, Wind is a confident, well-rounded entry. It has a mild, creamy smell that reminds one of a Vanilla Yankee Candle. This smell is in fact Tea Tree oil, which in addition to smelling awesome helps control skin breakouts and is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal! Not that I’m implying you have any issues with fungus.

whitecloudLast in our Lightweight Division is WHITE CLOUD. White Cloud is like a toned-down version of Golden Sun – still a strong citrus note, but not the intensity I loved about GS. That’s because it’s infused with Tangerine Peel oil, which is a natural source of Vitamin C and antrioxidants that can help prevent wrinkles.

Phew! I’m going to give my nose a quick break here, and I’ll be back soon with Round 2: The Heavyweight Division

The Quest for Soap Harmony

I’ve spent a long time trying to find the right daily soap for my skin. It’s a lot tougher than it sounds – like finding the right key to unlock a vault at Gringott’s. (Yes, I will reference a fantasy adventure film in every blog post – Try and stop me!)

Back in the day I had it all – acne, greasy skin, even the dreaded “backne.” Then when I started using medication for my skin, everything switched. Now my skin was desert-dry and couldn’t even stand to be out in the sun without SPF! It was tough to find a soap that could help my ever-changing skin distress.

Eventually, after the maelstrom of adolescence, I finally gleaned some wisdom about healthy skin: Natural is better.

SHOCKING FACT: A lot of the soaps you can find at your local department store are actually much closer to “detergents” than they are to true soap.

How to spot detergents disguised as soaps

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WATCH OUT TYLER THE DETERGENTS WILL GET YOU

The key difference here is that soaps are natural, while detergents are not. Soaps contain things like plant-based oils, saponified oils and glycerin. Detergents on the other hand contain things like sodium laryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate – chemicals that once started their lives as plants but passed through about ten different processes before ending up in the final product.

These heavily processed chemicals can spell disaster for those of us with sensitive skin. They can cause overdrying, resulting in the skin producing extra oils to compensate – not to mention itching and irritation. And “sensitive skin” for me I think would be an understatement.

Making a change for healthier skin

So once I realized the dastardly “soaps” I was using were actually detergents, I made a major change in my skin regimen. The detergents were history. I started using all natural soaps instead of chemically-based cleansers.

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Have you ever looked at soap under a microscope? Me neither, but I’m glad I Googled it!

Results were almost immediate! Within weeks my skin felt and looked better – neither oily or dry. Just right.

Stepping out of the shower, my skin felt clean and oil-free, and I didn’t get that stretched-tight feeling that detergent “soaps” left me with. My complexion cleared up, because my skin was finally able to balance its daily oil production and not suffer the onslaught of drying detergents.

One small change made a world of difference. It was a long road to the promised land of Healthy Skin, and finding the right soap was a major part of that journey.

So when I heard that Zion Health had a line of natural soap including ancient clay, I decided to give them a shot. My experiment with them I will detail in my following blog post – Stay Tuned!