Toners – Their Uses, Benefits, and So Much More

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. I am slowly but surely drowning in homework (so much fun!)

Today’s post is on toners. I know, I know….

Why am I talking about toners?

Well, because not everyone understands what they are or what type they should be using for their current skin conditions. Don’t worry, I’m also in this group, I only figured out what toner I needed this past summer.

Toners are used right after cleansing but before serums/essences. They are used to add moisture back into the skin barrier.

In other terms, our society is obsessed with things that foam and having our skin squeaky clean. This is bad because using harsh surfactants disrupt the delicate skin barrier by getting rid of / shrivelling up the lovely microbes (the good bacteria that heals and protects you and your skin).

What do they do exactly?

Toners are water-based liquids with a very liquidy consistency that generally contain certain active ingredients and extracts. They are used to prepare the skin for the products coming after it. By using a toner, it balances the skin’s PH to a safer level and moisturizes skin so that it can also get rid of any last remnants of dirt, oil, or makeup.

They also soothe skin (or should) and contain large amounts of extracts and nourishing ingredients.

Think of it this way: You know when you’ve just woken up from a 6-8 hour sleep in the morning and you’re really thirsty? Think about eating a sandwich or something that is pretty dry without any water to help push it down. That’s what you’re doing to your skin when you skip toner and move on to your next product (unless you’re only using an oil cleanser).

What Type of Toner do I Need?

To be honest, toners differ and cater towards individual needs. But there are certain ingredients everyone should steer clear of.

Personally, I use toners that focus on hydration because that is what my skin lacks. Not in moisture, but in hydration.

Mature/ Dry/ Dehydrated skin: nourishing and hydrating

Sensitive: soothing

Normal: hydrating

Oily: Calming, relaxing

Either way, always look for something that is alcohol free because (more often than not) alcohol will dry out your skin and speed up the aging process (over time) and cause wrinkles and stress faster.

How to Apply

There are two ways of applying toners — either with a cotton round that you can swipe all over your face, neck, and chest (this is very important. Don’t forget about this other delicate places!)

You can also use your hands and pat it into your skin which will give you the full benefits of the toner as well as being absorbed quickly.

How often should I use it?

Generally, morning and night. If it’s a spray then use it whenever you feel like. Especially when your skin is dry. I also recommend doing a few layers of toner in the morning and at night for extra hydration that really sinks in. This practice is referred to as ‘skins’ and anywhere between two and six skins is great.

Do I need a Toner?

Depends on the type of cleanser you use and your skin concerns.

If it’s a foaming cleanser, don’t skip a toner because foam strips the moisture barrier and speeds up aging and attributes to other problems.

As long as the toner doesn’t have alcohol or mineral oil in it, there is no downside to a toner. They are used to restore skin moisture after cleansing and I really think they’re great.

Some of my favourites:

Make P:rem Hydrate Me Micro Essence Toner

Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner

Rose Water

Belif Bergamot Toner

I recommend the Make P:rem toner to everyone because it’s a hydrating toner and everyone can benefit from a little more hydration.

Do you use a toner? If so, which one?

Homemade Night Body Oil with Natural Plant Based Oils

Hello, everyone! Hope you’re day is off to a great start.

Okay, I’m going to start doing this as a weekly thing because I love helping people. Every Friday will now become DIY Friday! I will be sharing some of my favourite and trusted recipes for get skin, wellness, and everything in between.

As a person with extremely dry skin, I really need as much moisture as possible. However, I dislike the feel of body butters because they’re pretty thick. This night body oil is jam-packed with nourishing properties like omega fatty acids and antioxidants that protect the skin barrier from dryness. It also lightens pigmentation and scars, quickens the healing process of wounds, and leaves skin smooth and insanely soft. I suggest putting it on at night because some of these oils need a little extra time to really sink into the skin. But it’s so worth it.

Below I have included two versions of the body oil-a short one and a long one. The short one is cheaper to get the ingredients because oils can get a little pricey.

So, for this body oil to work, it should be used alongside a lotion. I love this one from skinfix because it’s lightweight and crazy nourishing.

As I also hate long intros, here are my secret formulas!

Short version of Night Body Oil

  • 4 oz dark amber glass bottle

Full Ingredients List for Night Body Oil

  • 4 oz dark amber glass bottle
  • 1/2 oz Avocado oil -smooths skin, high in vitamin E
  • 1/2 oz Macadamia nut oil- locks in moisture
  • 1/2 oz Safflower oil -heals wounds, soft skin
  • 1/2 oz Tamanu oil -Heals wounds, protects skin, tones body, helps with hyperpigmentation
  • 1/2 oz Hemp seed oil -antioxidants, omega fatty acids
  • 1/4 oz Kukui nut oil -smooths skin, gives nice glow
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil -anti-bacterial
  • 20 drops Grapefruit essential oil -anti-inflammatory, natural preservative
  • 10 drops Cypress essential oil -reduces appearance of cellulite
  • 5 drops Carrot essential oil -helps with hyperpigmentation

Don’t laugh…I know the full one is pretty extensive. But this is my secret to soft skin. The order really doesn’t matter because they’re all oils. I also like to close the bottle and gently swirl it upside down rather than shake it.

And although this oil will last you a few months, you might be wondering why or how it’s any better than store bought ones.

Well, store bought ones tend to contain fillers and preservatives and you spend a lot of money on them. With this, you have at least enough to refill your 4 oz bottle two or three times. Or you can use the rest on other places like your hair!

Side note, if you want some nice lingering scent, I suggest using a few drops of geranium essential oil because it’s beautiful and fresh smelling.

And here is what the finished product looks like. It’ll look the same despite which recipe you use.

What are your thoughts? Do you already use a body oil?

Top 10 Benefits of Oolong Tea for Your Well Being

Are you a fan of tea? Do you drink it often, fully reapping in the benefits for one or more cups a day?

As the second most consumed beverage in the world, very few people drink oolong tea.

As a person who drinks at least 1 cup a day but strives for 4, oolong is one of my top favourites.

What is Oolong Tea?

Oolong (wu-long) is partially fermented tea between 8% and 85%. It is known as the in between tea as it is in between green tea which is not fermented at all, and black tea which is completely fermented. It is grown mainly in China from the Camellia sinensis plant which is the plant that all tea except herbal come from.

This type of tea is extremely popular in China and Taiwan where there are many different types of oolong and even rare types too!

Oolong tea contains flavonoids, theanine, and tannins.

Flavonoids: One of the best types of antioxidants because they fight free radicals and slows down aging.

Theanine: An amino acid found exclusively in the camellia plant. 

Tannins: Also found in all three types of tea (green, oolong, black). This is what calm nerves and relaxes the body.

Now, let’s talk about these benefits.

The Benefits

High in antioxidants

Because it’s partitally fermented, the leaves are loaded with tons of antioxidants that fight signs of aging, free radicals, and stress that is visible on the skin.

anti-inflammatory

Drinking Oolong tea actually soothes the skin because of the amount of flavonoids present within the tea. Flavonoids are amazing and eating onions, which also contain large amounts of flavonoids clears up skin congestion and redness. Score!

promotes weight loss

All tea actually promotes weight loss because it fills you up. Great to have tea before a meal because it will keep you feeling full. So, with this, there’s no need to buy into those ‘detox’ or ‘skinny’ teas because all teas do this. Of course for better results, get better quality teas like loose leaf teas not bogus teas.

lowers risk of cancer

Like green tea, it has the ability to limit the growth of cancer due to flavonoids found in food.

aids digestion

After a nice meal, it can take up to a few hours for the stomach to fully digest food. Oolong tea aid digestion by absorbing fat and moving fats quickly in the body and away from fat cells. One of the greatest ways to loose fat is to drink tea right after meals.

calms nerves

Like mentioned before, tannins are really present in oolong and black teas which give them a sort of bitter taste (some people get headaches from this so please be careful). Tannins are the plants chemicals that relax nerves despite having a large amount of caffeine (it’s strange, I know).

Why is Oolong better than other teas?

While all teas have their own unique benefits and amounts of antioxidants and properties, oolong has beautiful characteristics.

Each kind of oolong taste different

Because they are fermented differently and then fried or roasted differently, they have different tastes. Like wine, they can be sweet and floral, savoury and meaty, smoky, spicy, etc. It’s amazing! So many different types it’s hard to ever get bored or need a different type of tea (though I do like changing it up).

Contains Depth

Green tea is very light and refreshing while black tea is deep, bold, and quite bitter. Oolong is in the middle. It is generally light but full bodied with so much depth yet still has that sweet flavourful hints that many black teas lack because they are so strong.

The leaves and the colour

Okay, if you haven’t had oolong before, the colour is generally a yellow colour, usually a dark yellow one. What’s amazing about this tea is that it blossoms from these tight balls in full blown leaves. This is different from both green and black tea which are generally straight and thin.

Multiple steeps

Most types of teas, especially green tea should only be steeped once because of its delicate properties. Oolong however, can be steeped so many times. I remember actually buying one type that could be steep 6 times! And still contain all of its flavours and strength. That’s a blessing for anyone who drinks tea daily because good tea is not cheap.

Where can I buy this amazing stuff?

If you live in Canada or the United States, I absolutely recommend Taotealeaf because they only sell the best stuff. They actually go to China for tea tours and bring back their favourites for us to try. Moreover, they actually created Toronto’s tea festival (something I am forever grateful for!)

SOe of my favourite types is Jade (very floral and lovely), Taiwan ginseng (can’t go wrong with ginseng!), and Rou Gui (This is the one that can be steeped 6 times. Has a beautiful cinnamon taste and a bit smoky)

Of course look for yourself on the benefits of oolong from some of your trusted sources. But I do love oolong and enjoy drinking it because if not for the benefits, just for the taste and the one of a kind flavours. I hope you give it a shot and fall in love with it as much as I have.

The Essential Oil You’re Missing for Healthy Skin

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you’re all doing really well. Hopefully you don’t have the winter blues! In Toronto, it plus 7 Celsius. Not Fahrenheit. It’s so insanely warm some people are wearing dresses. It’s supposed to be winter.

Anyway, if you’ve been to my blog before, you know I absolutely adore grapefruit essential oil. In this post, I’ll be explaining exactly why I love it so much as is just as essential in ones arsenal as tea tree, lavender, and frankincense.

What is Grapefruit Essential Oil?

Grapefruit oil is steam distilled and made from the peel rather than the pulp of the fruit. It has a fresh and slightly sweet tangy smell to it.

So, why is pink grapefruit essential oil one of my top essential oils? Because it’s an awesome multipurpose oil. It’s a naturally beautiful oil with an insane amount of benefits that range from clear and balance skin, uplifting moods, and cleaning.

The Benefits

Balances Oily Skin

Because this oil contains limonene, it cuts the body’s sebum creation by adding a layer of moisture.

promotes weight loss

When you’re craving some snacks, diffuse this and inhale deeply. It’ll cut down your cravings while it excite your nerves.

Lymphatic support

Remember when I said not to dry brush your delicate boobs (if you have them)? Well, I suggest using grapefruit! It naturally supports blood circulation and releases toxins caught in the body (source). It also keeps breast smooth and plump as it slows the aging process through messaging the oil into this area (must be done daily).

Reduces depression

Have you ever deeply inhaled citrus fruits? They are instantly uplifting, taking the mind back to sunny, simpler days with happy thoughts. Whenever I need a good pick me up, I tend to put this in a diffuser mixed with frankincense or just take a few good whiffs straight from the bottle.

Natural Preservative

The essential oil and extract are great for prolonging a natural / homemade product’s shelf life. Because it is so high in antioxidants and limonene and citronellol, it can also enhance the product’s effectiveness. However, they are not full preservatives so it won’t make them last more than an extra month or so.

Glossy hair

Just like your face gets glowy and sooth thanks to antioxidants, your hair does too!

boosts immune system

When inhaled, vitamin C and citrus fight throat and respiratory infections and helps the liver detox the body.

anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial

Grapefruit is high in phytochemicals (source) that reduces stress and inflammation. It also contains properties that are antimicrobial and eliminate harmful bacteria. It’s soft enough to use topically (diluted with a carrier oil like tamanu) but tough enough to be used to clean your whole house!

How I Use it

I add this to at least one of my oils per routine. So it’s mixed in with raspberry seed oil for mornings and hemp seed oil for nights. I also use this in both of my body oils and homemade cleanser. And in my all-purpose cleaner. And I diffuse it. See? I use it for everything.

I love this and this but this and this are good ones too!

Of course grapefruit has other great benefits but these are the ones I really love and mention to friends and family. They also are the reasons why I keep buying it again and again. Hopefully you enjoyed learning about this essential as much as I had fun explaining it!

What are some of your favourite essential oils? I’m dying to expand my collection!

This is Why Dry Brushing is Amazing for Your Body

Good morning everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Time to get back at it (for me, that would be school).

It’s also time to take your detox game to a whole new level.

Now, I’ve spoken about the amazing benefits of chlorella for detoxing the inside of our bodies but what about the outside?

What’s the largest organ in the body? Skin. What probably doesn’t get as much love as it deserves? Skin. What organ visibly reflects the results of toxicity?

That’s right. Skin!

How can you give your body some love while increasing blood circulation, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and get some soft silky skin?

By dry brushing of course.

With winter comes dry and flaky skin. And who likes that? As someone with severely dry skin, dry brushing has helped a lot. It’s exfoliating but without the mess. It’s the key to getting naturally softer skin.

What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is the practice of brushing the skin with a specific type of brush. The proper way to dry brush is to start at the feet and move upwards to the heart. This process naturally tones, softens, and detoxes the skin.

The Benefits

Lymphatic Support

Dry brushing releases toxins caught in the blog and naturally detoxes the skin.

Exfoliation

By running a firm brush over the body, it removes dead skin cells and leaves skin soft and smooth without disturbing the delicate layers beneath. After dry brushing and a nice shower, applying lotion, oil, etc. sinks into the skin faster for better absorption. This type of exfoliation can be safely done daily because it’s not abrasive.

Fades Appearance of cellulite

Ah. Those pesky signs that show the world that we are human. How I hate those!

But all joking aside, brushing increases circulation to the skin which releases toxins. Cellulite is toxic material accumulated in your body’s fat cells. This will roll the, smoothing out their appearance and potentially reducing them appear smaller. (Fat cells do not disappear. They can only be smoothed out).

Increases Blood circulation

Once you start dry brushing, you’ll feel this warm rush flow throughout your body. It’s exhilarating and a great pick me up in the morning!

Tones the body

While it won’t give you amazing definition, it will tone the body enough to notice a nice outline and more defined muscles and curves. Why? Because it’s all about circulation!

How to Dry Brush

With short yet firm strokes, divide the body into parts (eg. foot to knee, thigh to hipbone). Always start from the feet upwards towards the heart. The stomach should be done in a circular motion as well as the chest. Skip over the boobs if you have them! This delicate area is too fragile for that firm brush and might lead to micro tears which are never fun. In the future, I will be posting a great recipe for what to do for increasing the circulation for this delicate area. For the arms, start out but brush inwards.

Taken from The Health Nut Mama

The best time to dry brush is right before getting into the shower/tub because the water will wash off any lingering dead cells and give you a nice, thorough clean.You can also add some essential oils like grapefruit to the bath to get a nice hydrated feel before going in with lotion. It will also let you apply lotion better!

I love going over each part of my body two or three times. This way I can make sure I’m hitting every part and getting rid of some dry skin.

How to Properly Clean Your Brush

Simple is always better. I clean mine once a week because I use it everyday. I use Dr. Bronner’s soap with a few drops of tea tree oil. Make sure to only soak the bristles for about ten-fifteen seconds face down in the solution. After this, hang it (again, face down) over a ledge. I use my makeup brush drying rack to dry it.

Last Note: Please do not dry brush your face. Your face is super delicate and does not need the same firm touch as the rest of the body.

I use this one because it’s made from plant fibres rather than boar.

This essential step in a great skincare routine will do wonders. It will change your life whether done daily or simply three times a week. It’s also a crazy cheap alternative to regularly buying exfoliators.

How to Get Healthy and Strong Hair with Natural Oils

Hello, everyone!

I hope your day is going well. I know mine is off to a great start. Finally got around to refilling my bottles and getting some post started for this site. Today is all about getting your hair into top shape to fight against this dry winter weather. But, in order to do that, we gotta make your day a little worse.

Did you know that hair products contain a lot of fillers and chemicals? This could be because since hair is essentially dead, it is easy to use one moisturizing ingredient (like shea butter or coconut oil) against many chemicals like synthetics dyes and Mineral oils. Moreover, drugstore brands are notorious for using large amounts of Cyclopentasiloxane (a silicon based compound that is an endocrine disrupter and increases organ toxicity (source)). Unlike certain alcohols that help with spread-ability on the skin, within hair care products they are bad.

Garnier’s Whole Blends Argan and Camilla oil $7:

1041707, PS3, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONOL, CAMELLIA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL, TOCOPHEROL, PARFUM / FRAGRANCE, LINALOOL, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, COUMARIN, LIMONENE, HYDROXYCITRONELLAL, CITRAL CITRONELLOL HEXYL, CINNAMAL, BENZYL ALCOHOL, BENZYL SALICYLATE, F.I.L. #D184855/1

This list was not easy to find and I can see why. The amount of crap in it is awful.

Let’s look at something a little more expensive. 

Moroccainoil Treatment Original $44

CYCLOMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE, ARGANIA SPINOSA (ARGAN) KERNEL OIL, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, LINUM USITATISSIMUM (LINSEED) SEED EXTRACT, CI 26100 (RED 17), CI 47000 (YELLOW 11). MOT01

The first and third ingredients are silicone based. Cyclomethicone has a low hazard rating on EWG while dimethicone has a low-moderate one, contributing to organ toxicity especially in high doses (like in this!). 

Hair care is expensive, but I am very wary of store bought oils because they tend to be packed with silicones and other fillers and very little real nourishing oils. 

Now, for the better day!

There are a few great natural oils that can be used as hair oils. Like most plant based oils, they are moisturizing yet these five specifically promote hair growth, leaves hair soft and shiny, and easy to detangle.

Oleic acid: Is a monounsaturated fatty acid. Fatty acids are the main components of food fats, oils and fat deposits in animals and man. Besides the work they do inside the body, monounsaturated fats like oleic acid are less susceptible to spoilage than some other fats, which makes them useful in food preservation (source).

#1 MACADAMIA Nut oil

This oil is probably the most well known of the bunch. Macadamia nut oil is bursting with monounsaturated fatty acids that are able to spread the oil throughout the hair from root to tip. As the oil is made up mostly of oleic acid (source) This oil reduces hair loss and hair breakage as it contains palmitoleic acid which is know to slow down the aging process. Macadamia nut oil also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and linoleic acid.

The Benefits:

  • Reduces hair loss and improves health of hair
  • Revitalizes skin and hair (get that nice gloss)
  • Contains antioxidants to fight free radicals
  • Locks in moisture, tames frizz and strengthens hair follicles

#2 Tamanu Oil

If you are interested in buying Tamanu oil from this site, there are two different types: one from Vietnam and one from Madagascar. The only difference is the price; they are both cold-pressed and unrefined. I buy both but usually the Vietnam one because it’s cheaper.

Tamanu oil is probably my favourite oil. It is a cure all. I also recommend this oil above all else. While I love Rosehip, Tamanu can be used for rashes, wounds, pigmentation, hydration…just everything.

The oil is composed of phospholipids and glycolipids which are known to protect skin’s moisture barrier by creating a barrier over the skin to protect it (source). It contains tons of fatty acids and soothes dry scalp because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The Benefits:

  • Protects the skin barrier
  • Tons of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (great for scalp burns and wounds)
  • Quickens the healing process and smooths out split ends and frizz
  • controls acne and hyper-pigmentation

#3 Babassu

Only a few stores actually use Babassu oil in their hair care which is sad because this stuff is amazing! Babassu is obtained from the kernels of the Babassu palm found in the southern regions of Brazil. Moreover, it contains a high content of lauric and myristic acids (source of antioxidants. Good in moderation only). Babassu oil is used as a substitute for coconut Oil because of their similar properties. It is a superior emollient for both dry and oily skin, and gently moisturizes the skin without contributing to an oily sheen (source). I really enjoy using this oil mixed in with my conditioner/co-wash and letting it sit for roughly twenty minutes to soothe my hair (source).

The Benefits:

  • Treats dandruff and split ends
  • Reduces hair loss
  • Soothes acne and eczema
  • Increases hair strength
  • Balances hormones

#4 Avocado Oil

Avocado Carrier Oil contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E, and Beta carotene. It is classified as monounsaturated oil and is used for topical skin application (source). Moreover, because of the large amounts of vitamins in this oil, it instantly revitalizes the hair and nourishes it throughout the day!

The Benefits:

  • Contains antioxidants which fight free radicals
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Quickens healing process of burns and wounds

#5 Broccoli Oil

I don’t think anyone knows about broccoli oil. It’s still a hidden jem. I also like putting this in my conditioner to give it a nice boost (source). Its excellent antioxidant profile makes broccoli Seed Oil an easy substitute for  silicones where the film forming activity results in a natural shine, and cuticle smoothing of the hair while preventing oxidation. This oil is light, non-greasy, and is easily absorbed into the skin (source). It also smells exactly like broccoli!

The Benefits:

  • Gives insane amounts of shine, more than any other oil
  • Known as nature’s silicone
  • Promotes hair growth and healthy hair
  • Controls frizz

Tip: I love mixing macadamia nut oil, broccoli seed oil, and babassu oil (mixed with kukui nut oil and some essential oils) into a bottle and using that as a pre-shampoo treatment. This oil mixture is great for clearing up built up grease, oil, and dirt. Also makes getting rid of dandruff a lot easier.

Nonetheless, If you have to choose just one oil, I would choose Tamanu because it’s an all around pleaser. However, specifically for hair, it would be broccoli seed oil. I just love it so much. I love broccoli.