The Organic Beauty | Natural, Radiant Beauty from the Inside Out!
I'm Natasha Uspensky, holistic nutritionist and healthy lifestyle expert. I created The Organic Beauty to be your resource to celebrate and learn about everything from healthy eating and living for your whole family, to natural beauty and sustainable style. I hope to inspire you to live beautifully and healthfully, in a life you love!
When my husband and I were trying to get pregnant with our first kiddo, we ran into hurdle after hurdle. When all was said and done, we had gone through 8 (maybe 10?) cycles of IUI (intrauterine insemination), two surgeries between us, and a whole host of testing, stress, drama and strain on our relationship over the course of nearly two years.
Then, we took a trip out west, had a wonderful long weekend together planning for an eventual cross-country move, took all the pressure and stress off, and got pregnant naturally, with no interventions. I’m not going to say that getting out of dodge (or stressful NYC) was the magic bullet, but I will say that among the major fertility issues we experienced, stress and living somewhere that was just no longer making us happy was a big factor.
The second time around, 3 years later, we assumed we would run into the same issues. But lo and behold, we got pregnant on the first try. Again, I’m sure there were many factors that contributed to our success. Our lives were very different — we were settled in lovely Santa Monica, California; we had a much higher quality of life than we did in bustling New York, with much more exposure to nature, sunshine, and farm-fresh food; we were healthier, happier, and much more balanced (even with a precocious 3 year old in tow). And of course, we had the benefit of having remedied a lot of the fertility health issues that we had discovered the first time. But I was still astounded.
Needless to say, as a holistic nutritionist specializing in fertility and pregnancy, I’ve always strongly believed in a non-Western approach to boosting fertility. Looking at all contributing factors such as diet, stress, lifestyle, quality of relationships, happiness, is just as important to fertility as identifying and treating underlying medical issues, but these factors are all too often ignored, even by the best reproductive endocrinologists.
So let’s dig into them, and let me share with you the 5 most important things you can do, at any age (within reason), to boost your fertility and get pregnant naturally.
Adopt a fertility boosting diet
As with all aspects of our health, our diet is one of the greatest contributing factors to fertility. Sure, there are plenty of people who eat fast food 3 times a day and drink gallons of soda and coffee who get pregnant without any issue. But for those of us for whom things might be taking a little longer, diet is the first place to start.
A fertility diet is pretty much identical to a general, healthy, disease-prevention diet I would recommend to anyone (male or female). Eating whole foods, predominantly brightly colored vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and clean proteins (like beans, raw nuts and seeds, wild-caught fish, pastured eggs, and moderate to low amounts of other animal protein).
Getting those fertility busting foods out of the diet is important as well — particularly coffee, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and non-organic meat and dairy. Although having a glass of wine a few times a week, or indulging in the occasional sweet treat or weekend cup of coffee is certainly not keeping you from getting pregnant, consuming these foods on a daily basis very well could be. These foods create hormonal imbalance, can mess with your cycles, and create an overload of toxins in the body that can make it very difficult to conceive naturally.
I do a fertility cleanse with my clients, where we eliminate all those big bads and eat all the good stuff outlined above for 1-3 months, and the fertility results are staggering. Best of all, this is the easiest shift to make.
Stress is such a huge factor in fertility. I know for my husband and I, living and working in New York was a major stressor. Everything was just so much harder than it needed to be, and our fertility was definitely effected. Not that life now is a walk in the park– we definitely have our fair share of stressors, but they are manageable, and the overall impact on my body, hormones, and fertility is thereby minimized.
Stress can cause hormonal imbalance, impaired ovulation, irregular cycles, and decrease sperm health.
So do what you need to do to decrease the overall burden of stress on your life. Do you need to move? Get a different job? Go to couples counseling? Do you need to go out with your friends more? Do more traveling? These are all big picture factors that can deeply impact the amount of stress you are experiencing.
On a simpler, day-to-day level, I recommend a regular meditation practice, spending more time in nature, and yoga as three non-negotiable for decreasing stress in your mind and your body. Acupuncture is another amazing modality that helps reduce stress and boost fertility. Making space for these stress-busting practices helps bring your body (and thereby your hormones) into balance, and signals to your system that you are in a safe and stable place to bring a baby into the world.
Use the right supplements
Natural medicine has a wealth of age-old wisdom to bring to the process of getting pregnant, but most women just don’t know what to take, or even that they should be taking any herbs or supplements at all.
Depending on your unique situation, and the state of your health, you may need different herbs and supplements, and you should consult with a holistic practitioner (like myself!) to figure out what those are.
But very generally speaking, all women trying to conceive should be taking the following supplements:
FertiliTea is an amazing tea that is loaded with fertility boosting herbs like Chasteberry, Red raspberry leaf, Green tea, Ladies mantle, Nettle leaf, Peppermint leaf. Many women drink this tea for a few months and get pregnant naturally after months or years of trying.
Of course, fertility is a two-person game, and all too often the health of the male is ignored. To that end, all men trying to conceive should be taking the following supplements:
Zinc to improve sperm quality and increase fertility
CoQ10 to improve motility and overall sperm health
L-Carnitine for healthy overall sperm function, count and motility, especially important for vegetarians
Vitamin B12 for improved motility and sperm count, also especially important for vegetarians
Vitamin C to improve sperm quality and protect sperm from DNA damage, reducing chance of miscarriage
Ashwagandha to decrease stress, improve sperm count and boost libido
Maca to increase libido, as well as sperm volume, count, and mobility
As with all supplements, consistency is key. You need to take them every single day (many of them twice a day) for these magical formulas to make a difference in your fertility. But do they ever make a difference! Again, with the right supplements, tailored to your constitution and particular fertility challenges, can make the difference between getting pregnant naturally and experiencing a healthy, vibrant pregnancy, or years of stress and gobs of money spent on fertility treatments. I’d say it’s worth giving them a try, wouldn’t you?
Move your body.. in a way that feels GOOD
It’s no secret that regular exercise is a big part of the fertility puzzle. But the part that is often left out, is that not all forms of exercise are healthy (or enjoyable) for every body type. I’ve had many clients (most of them Vata dosha women) who were doing entirely the wrong forms of exercise for their bodies (HIIT, intense cardio) and doing way too much of it — instead of reaping the benefits of movement, they were stressing out their bodies, completely messing up their menstrual cycles, and unintentionally causing infertility. A few months into an exercise routine that was more appropriate for the body type, combined with the other fertility enhancing measures above, made all the difference in the world.
A good way to gauge if you’re doing the right forms of exercise for your body type is how you feel afterwards. If you feel energized, alert, pain-free, clear-headed and calm — great! You’re probably on the right track. If you are exhausted, achey, anxious, irritable, or if you feel like you’re slogging through the workout because you “should,” you may need to change things up.
Once you know your ideal forms of exercise, stick to it for at least 45 minutes at least 3 times a week. And mix it up! Don’t just do cardio or boot camp or weights. Throw in a yoga class or two a couple of times a week, lengthen with some pilates, go for a swim. Adding variety keeps your body engaged and can increase your benefits.
Identify and treat any underlying fertility issues
Although more often than you’d think, trouble conceiving naturally is simply due to high stress, poor nutrition, and the resultant hormonal imbalance, sometimes there is something more serious going on.
If you’ve been trying for more than 6 months (4 months if you’re over 40) with no success, it’s worth getting everything looked at to identify what else might be going on. I highly recommend seeing an integrative fertility specialist, who will know to look for some subtler factors (such as elevated NK cells or MTHFR gene mutation) that could be contributing to infertility. But sometimes the issue is clear — PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or cysts, hypothyroidism — these are all common causes of fertility issues that many women struggle with.
But again, there are natural routes to treat and heal them that don’t require surgery, prescription drugs, or other intrusive therapies. Finding out what’s going on with your body before you start trying to conceive can give you the time and ability to focus on healing before you start working on getting pregnant. But many women have no idea that something is wrong until they’re already years into their fertility struggles.
If you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, see a holistic practitioner or integrative doctor as soon as possible to start on your path to healing:
Chronic fatigue, or chronic low energy
Abnormally heavy periods
Abnormally light periods
Very painful periods (many women don’t realize that having debilitating cramps every month is not normal, and is a sign of a larger issue)
Other PMS symptoms that interfere with your life
When we were trying to conceive our first, I didn’t know I had endometriosis, quite possibly for years. By the time I had it diagnosed by my integrative reproductive endocrinologist, it had reached moderate to severe status. I did a ton of work to decrease symptoms and treat the condition naturally, and through herbs, acupuncture, diet, and other natural treatments, I was able to decrease the severity of my condition to “mild to moderate” status. Because we had already been trying for so long, I opted to have a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to remove the remaining scars and growth. Had I not done the work holistically first to bring my body back into balance, I wouldn’t have had such success and immediate results.
Getting pregnant naturally can require diligence and some effort on the part of both parties to bring your bodies into optimal health for conception, but it is 100% doable. If you need some support figuring out your ideal strategy for boosting your fertility and getting pregnant naturally, schedule a consult with me!
Is your skincare and beauty routine ‘clean’? Most of us know to avoid products with parabens and chemicals, but it can get tricky to determine if your favorite shampoo or skin cream is safe – especially because the government isn’t doing anything to ensure safety in beauty product ingredients. Meanwhile, some manufacturers hide chemical components under other phrases on their labels, since the FDA doesn’t have the authority to regulate the manufacturer’s labeling when it comes to ‘trade secrets’.
But we’re getting smarter about the harmful effects of chemicals in our skin and hair care products. Consumers are questioning the science behind the treatment and beauty products they use, while celebrities and product brands are pushing forward toward natural and clean beauty.
As a result, brands have been forced to be more transparent and honest about the formulations behind their products, and the Clean Beauty space has exploded in recent years.
Some of the top clean beauty product trends to look for this year are…
Clean beauty without the frills.
Consumers are done with clutter. As Marie Kondo’s tidying craze hits the bathroom cabinet, we’re streamlining our approach to beauty and focusing on using fewer products that multi-task with more effective ingredients. ‘Skip-care’, a new Korean beauty trend, is all about using hybrid products and products with higher-concentrations of ‘hero’ ingredients such as Vitamin E and green tea.
‘Naked’ products are hitting the shelves.
Zero-packaging is another clean beauty trend that has picked up momentum. Clean beauty is about more than just the ingredients in the products themselves; it’s about reducing the harm on the environment as well. Several brands such as Lush are making products in solid form so that they can be sold ‘naked’, or without packaging. For online orders, packaging-free skincare products are wrapped in biodegradable materials instead of plastics and packaging that just ends up in a landfill.
Waterless beauty is better for the environment.
Water is the beauty industry’s most common ingredient, but due to environmental concerns, demand may soon exceed supply. Beauty brands are responding by creating more waterless beauty products such as sheet masks, powdered cleansers and other ‘dry’ products. L’Oréal and Unilever are brands who have committed to a significant reduction (50-60% by 2020) in water consumption per finished product.
One of the biggest challenges with beauty products is ensuring the freshness and potency of active ingredients like Vitamin C and glycolic acid. Serums and treatments individually packaged in vials (also called ‘ampoules’) keep highly-concentrated formulas fresh for maximum benefits. Some brands are even using organic, plant-based, and 100% biodegradable material vs. glass for product packaging.
Products get more user-friendly.
Beauty brands are taking product testing to another level, focusing on more user-friendly containers and packaging for their products. For example, Glossier’s gesture-based packaging for their solid balm fragrance is designed to fit a user’s thumb as they flip open the compact. Other product packaging is magnetized or specially shaped to make everyday use easier.
Ready to get clean with your beauty routine? It’s not as hard as you might think!
And as you continue to check those labels for not-so-clean ingredients, don’t forget to consider the container they come in; choose PET 1 packaging over HDPE plastic, since PET 1 is the least harmful and is post-consumer recyclable. Whenever possible, choose glass unless it’s larger than 8 oz., since larger glass containers can have a huge carbon footprint impact on the environment.
Valeria Cole is the Founder of TEADORA, an independent Clean Beauty start-up that crafts powerful, proprietary blends of Amazon rainforest superfoods while sharing ancient Brazilian beauty secrets. TEADORA uses technology to inform product development and drive consumer engagement. It aims to become the Patagonia of the Beauty Industry by becoming a leader in Amazon Rainforest conservation.
She is a mother of 3 and lives with her husband and co-founder Tom Moran in Portland, OR.
There is something magical about mornings. Before the kids wake up, before we start checking our email or dealing with our never-ending to-do list… there is quiet. There is calm. Taking time for yourself in the morning is one of the most powerful things you can do to cultivate wellness, ease, focus, and a sense of control in your busy day. By creating an intentional morning routine, you will find yourself making healthier choices for your body throughout the day, experiencing less stress, exhibiting more patience with your family, and getting more done in your work. Enter: your Morning Power Hour.
In Ayurveda, the daily self-care routine is called dinacharya, which is a customized set of practices (most of which take place in the morning) that drastically improve your health and mindset, balance your body, and set the tone for your entire day. Though the full, traditional dinacharya is rather extensive and can take multiple hours, I have had great success in creating a modified routine that takes no more than an hour (and can even be accomplished in less if need be), fits into our busy modern lives, and yields amazing results.
Below is a basic Morning Power Hour dinacharya that you can modify, add to or subtract from based on how much time you have to dedicate to self-care in the morning, and customize for your body/mind type (or dosha).
Wake up early. You’ll want to give yourself enough time to enjoy some peaceful quiet and not feel rushed. For those of you with kids, that means before the kids wake up. For those of you with strict start times at work, that means leaving enough time to fit everything in and leave on time. Take into account how much sleep your body needs and go to bed accordingly. For example, I need to be in bed by 10:30pm to wake up rested at 6:30am. Your ideal wake time will also vary according to your dosha:
For Vata types: this means waking before 7am for optimal balance and focus
For Pitta types: this means waking before 6:30am for optimal calm and mood-balancing
For Kapha types: this means waking before 6am for optimal energy and clarity
Drink some lemon water. A tall glass of lemon water every morning hydrates, alkalizes, and energizes your body and will help wake up your gut and encourage a healthy morning BM. It also kickstarts your metabolism and helps to flush out accumulated toxins.
For Vata and Kapha types: drink warm water with lemon
For Pitta types: drink room temperature water with lime (as lemon is too acidic for high Pitta bodies)
Have a good poop. Yes! This is a crucial part of a healthy morning routine, and ideally, you want it to happen right when you wake up (but up to 30 minutes after waking is still considered normal). Clearing out your intestines first thing in the morning helps you feel lighter, more energized, and is important to maintain healthy digestion and detoxification throughout the day. If you have trouble pooping every morning (and the warm water with lemon doesn’t do the trick), try taking Triphala before bed. This tridoshic (meaning, good for all types) Ayurvedic herb has a gentle, non-stimulating and non-habit forming laxative effect, and is a wonderful bowel toning and weight managing herb for all bodies. It’s also awesome for immunity and total body wellness. Start with 3 capsules before bed, and work your way up to your ideal dose to get a comfortable morning BM (this may be up to 10 capsules, which is perfectly fine!).
Scrape your tongue and brush your teeth. You wake up with tons of bacteria and naturally accumulated toxins in your mouth. Getting these all cleansed out has all kinds of magical benefits, like improved immunity, decreased cravings, less headaches, and more. A copper tongue scraper works fine, or if you’re extra super fancy, Vatas can use gold and Pittas can use silver. Use a natural toothpaste — I recommend a fluoride and SLS-free formulation — my favorite lately has been Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste.
Salute the sun. Starting your day with 10-12 sun salutations wakes up your system, clears your head, and promotes total mind-body wellness. And it just takes 10 minutes! Everyone has 10 minutes to move their bodies. If you’re feeling inspired and have more time, segway into a longer workout or asana practice after your initial sun salutes. And don’t be afraid to mix it up! For example, I do 5 Sun Salutation A’s and 5 Sun Salutation B’s, and throw a few twists into the mix.
For Vata types: Focus on calming, steady, and fluid motions, with an emphasis on deep breathing and adding grounding poses like Tree Pose and Warrior 1/2. In the colder months, pick up the pace to warm up your body. Check out this video for more tips.
For Pitta types: Focus on a graceful, calming, moderately paced practice, with an emphasis on forward folds and twists. Moon Salutations can be a lovely, cooling addition to your practice. Don’t overdo it, and avoid too many heating, fast paced movement like jumping to and from chaturanga. Check out this video for more tips.
For Kapha types: Focus on a stimulating, faster paced practice. Generate heat with more emphasis on Sun Salutation B, and jumping to and from chaturanga. Check out this video for more tips.
Meditate. Of all the morning practices, I would say lemon water and meditation are the two most important. A daily meditation practice (even for just 5-10 minutes!) is the solution to SO many of life’s stressors and challenges. It calms the mind, helps you focus, decreases stress and cortisol levels, increases patience, happiness, immunity. It’s AMAZING. I know it can be hard to start, but what helps so much is a guided meditation series that keeps you accountable, motivated, and supported along the way. My absolute favorite is the Deepak Chopra & Oprah 21 Day Meditation Series, which has so many beautiful themed series to choose from, each more illuminating than the last. My current favorite is Desire & Destiny. Every few months, they launch a new free meditation series, so get on their mailing list so you know ahead of time!
Eat a healthy breakfast. I don’t necessarily believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (that would be lunch!), but fueling your body in the morning will give you energy and stave off cravings and blood sugar drops. The foods we choose for breakfast, however, can make or break our day, so it’s important to pick the right foods for your constitution.
For Vata types: a warm, comforting option like oatmeal with some maple syrup, ghee, nuts and seeds, and fruit. AVOID anything cold (smoothie, yogurt) or dry (toast, cereal, granola), which will increase anxiety, constipation, and dryness.
For Pitta types: a cooling and energizing option like oats or a green smoothie with plant protein, raw greens, coconut oil, and seasonal fruit is awesome. AVOID anything too heating or acidic like eggs (1-2 times a week can be ok), bacon/sausage, or fried foods, which can increase acidity, inflammation, stress response, and shorten your temper.
For Kapha types: a lightweight option like a slice of Ezekiel toast or a rice cake with some hummus, a room temperature green smoothie (without the coconut oil), or just some seasonal fruit works great! AVOID anything too heavy like eggs, bacon, dairy, etc., which will increase heaviness, fatigue, and congestion.
Those are your basics. I get all this (minus breakfast) done in less than 30 minutes. If you’re running on a similar timeline, you may have room left in your Morning Power Hour for some optional add-on’s! If you’re craving more, add on from the list below or be creative and come up with some balancing, energizing habits of your own!
Your Morning Power Hour Optional Add-On’s
Gratitude journaling or intention setting. These beautiful practices allow you to set the tone for your day from a place of intention and love. I love to use my Desire Map Planner to journal and set my intentions for the day and week; I also close out my meditation practice with a daily intention.
An oil self-massage. This practice, called abhyanga, is one of the most effective tools in Ayurveda for anti-aging, anxiety, joint pain, skin issues, boosting immunity, and calming the nervous system. Although it’s traditionally performed using warm oil, standing on a towel before showering, I like to do a modified version in the shower (it’s faster and less messy). When I’m all done with all my shower stuff, and with the hot water still running, I take some oil and massage my body starting at my feet and moving up through all my limbs and torso, adding more oil as necessary. Then I get out and pat dry. My skin is hydrated and supple, no added moisturizer needed! And my mind is soothed throughout the whole day.
For Vata types: use a Vata Massage Oil, or make your own using unrefined sesame oil (mixed with a little castor oil if you have extra dry skin). Great essential oils to add are geranium, myrrh, patchouli, and/or lavender.
For Pitta types: use a Pitta Massage Oil, or make your own using organic sunflower and/or raw coconut oil. Great essential oils to add are gardenia, jasmine, lavender, lotus, rose, and sandalwood.
For Kapha types: use a Kapha Massage Oil, or make your own using jojoba oil and essential oils like eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and sage. Some particularly oily Kapha types feel better with dry brushing instead of an oil massage, so you can try both and see what works best for you!
Breathing exercises. Different breathing exercises, or pranayama, are amazing for addressing what ails you. There are different exercises to calm you down, wake you up, focus your mind, and heat you up. I like to do a few minutes of pranayam before I meditate.
For Kapha types: heating and stimulating Breath of Fire is a win-win. It busts fatigue and boosts the immune system.. Plus it can help clear those sinuses!
Reading. Taking some time to read in the morning slows everything down and tells your nervous system that everything is OK. Whether it’s reading a spiritual book (I’ve been loving Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening, which has a passage for every day), or flipping through your favorite magazine over your morning tea, this lovely bit of self-care is a wonderful addition to your morning. Just one rule: no news/email/work!
Sip some tea. There is something so calming and nourishing about a cup of tea, which is so much better suited to a calm, collected day than coffee. I love to sit for a few minutes after breakfast and sip some tea while my kiddo plays. It’s such a lovely way to relax into the day and start things off with a bit more mindfulness. And depending on the tea you choose, you can get some immense health benefits as well!
For Vata types: forgo caffeinated teas (and definitely no coffee) for a warming, soothing tea that will calm your mind, focus your energy, and enhance digestion. Best options are ginger tea (make with fresh ginger), 3 Seed Tea (1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds), or cinnamon and licorice. Or try this Vata Tea Blend!
Towards the end of summer, those of us blessed with sensitive skin seem to be in a constant state of redness. All that sun and heat combine to create a perfect storm of oily/sweaty skin, breakouts, and sun damage which don’t seem to clear up until the cool fall weather kicks in.
For sensitive skin (Pitta skin, if we’re going to get all Ayurvedic about it), there are two skincare ingredients that can’t be beat: aloe vera and rose. These two are great for use year round, but are particularly beneficial during the hot summer months, when sensitive skin can get particularly inflamed. Here’s why these two cooling, calming ingredients can’t be beat:
Aloe vera has been used since ancient times for it’s healing properties, and though it has many benefits, skincare is where it really shines. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, aloe is used to soothe inflamed skin, counter the signs of aging, heal sun damage, and to treat chronic conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis. It’s loaded with antioxidants and skin-feeding nutrients, and features two phyto-hormones (Auxin and Gibberelins) that heal wounds, soothe inflammation, and promote cell turnover. It’s pretty much the perfect skincare ingredient!
Rose is another ancient skincare ingredient that is basically a magical beauty potion. Perfect for all skin types, rose petals distilled into rosewater are anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial and antioxidant. It balances skin’s pH and oil production, unclogs pores, reduces redness, heals inflammatory skin conditions (like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea), and promotes cell regeneration. Women (and men, I’m sure) as far back as ancient Egypt and India have touted it’s ability to keep skin youthful, glowing, and beautiful. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the scent of rose is soothing to the nervous system, and promotes feelings of calm, joy, and openness.
These two ingredients are such a perfect match that combining them in your skincare routine really amplifies their soothing and beautifying effects. So you can imagine how pumped I was to discover Green Leaf Naturals, an entirely organic, all-natural skincare line that harnesses the beautifying, soothing power of these two all-star ingredients.
The Amazing Aloe Vera Facial Cleanser is lightweight, hydrating, and super purifying for those clogged pores. With organic aloe, rooibos and white tea extracts, lavender and calendula, this creamy cleanser soothes and calms inflamed skin, and hydrates dry skin without being too heavy for combination or oily skin.
I follow the cleanser with the Amazing Aloe Vera Facial Toner, which is super balancing and anti-inflammatory. Filled with organic aloe vera, witch hazel, and green tea, the toner cleanses deep into pores, refreshes, hydrates, and soothes inflamed skin. I’ve been using it every morning, and have noticed less redness and breakouts, and clearer, cleaner skin!
The Organic Rosewater Spray has quickly become my favorite part of my skincare routine, and I use it several times a day to soothe my skin, rehydrate, balance oil, and boost glow. My favorite use for the Rosewater Spray is as part of my skin-glazing routine (which you totally need to start, if you haven’t already), which gives me the glowiest, most hydrated skin I’ve ever experienced. I even spray it on throughout the day as a little skin pick-me-up!
For deeper hydration and skin healing, I love the Amazing Aloe Vera Moisturizing Cream. This skincare powerhouse is loaded with a who’s who of hydrating oils (sunflower, coconut, jojoba, avocado, macadamia, evening primrose, and flaxseed, just to name a few) alongside soothing chamomile, lavender, calendula, and gotu kola. Of course, aloe vera is the star of the show, rounding out the list of anti-aging, anti-inflammatory skincare ingredients that regenerate skin cells, heal, soothe and hydrate without any heaviness. This moisturizer is perfect year round, but I especially love it as my summertime night cream for it’s cooling effects that balance my summer skin.
For the men in your life, Green Leaf Naturals also has some great unscented men’s skincare products that soothe irritation and redness (especially after shaving), combat the signs of aging, and leave skin hydrated and healthy. The Aloe Vera After Shave & Body Gel harnesses the power of pure aloe to cool and perfect skin naturally, and is ideal for a multitude of uses — a cooling post-shower hydrator for body, an aftershave gel, or a super lightweight daytime moisturizer. For more substantial hydration, soothing and anti-aging benefits, the Amazing Aloe Vera Moisturizing Cream for Men is ideal. My husband uses it as a night cream and has noticed less redness, breakouts, and oil production — and his skin looks great!
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To learn more about holistic skincare for inflammation-prone skin, check out our Pitta Ayurvedic Skin Type Guide!
As a Pitta dosha, your body and skin match your fiery personality. You run hot, both physically and emotionally, which means you are the most productive, organized, and Type A of all the types. You like things to get done, and to get them done your way. You are passionate about the things that matter to you, and never shy away from a heated debate. When out of balance (eating the wrong foods, overheating, not managing your stress and perfectionism), you are quite literally inflamed — prone to irritability, digestive issues (IBS, colitis, loose stool), breakouts, rashes, and inflammation of the skin and organs (pretty much anything with an -itis suffix). Download your Pitta Dosha Guide to learn more about your type and get more tips to bring your body into balance!
PITTA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Pitta-type body, Pitta skin is characterized by inflammation and sensitivity. Combination (in terms of oiliness), fair, and prone to rashes, redness, breakouts and other reactions, Pitta skin needs cooling, calming, and gentle treatments to balance it out and keep it happy. When in balance, Pitta skin is radiant and seems to glow from within. Other Pitta skin characteristics are:
a congested T-zone, often with large pores
reddish skin or blushing easily
sensitive to the sun and harsh chemicals
lots of freckles, moles, and sun damage
prone to eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and pimples
The number one best treatment for Pitta skin is cooling ingredients and foods like cucumber, aloe, and rose, internally and externally. Keeping cool helps balance Pitta both inside and out, and since Pitta skin is very sensitive to diet and lifestyle changes, keeping cool and soothed needs to be a lifelong mantra as well as a skincare prescription.
Eat cooling and detoxifying foods like dark leafy greens, cucumbers, seasonal sweet fruits, light grains, and mostly plant proteins. Eat a big green salad and/or a green smoothie at least once a day. Include aloe gel in your smoothie for added anti-inflammatory, cooling benefits.
Avoid spicy foods, vinegar and other sour foods, fried foods, and red meat, all of which are too heating for Pitta body and skin.
Use cooling oils like ghee or coconut oil in cooking and external treatments (ghee is amazing for healing most inflamed Pitta skin conditions).
Drink cool or room temperature water or tea throughout the day. Cooling teas like peppermint, chamomile or fennel seed are wonderful for pitta as well.
Make time daily for calming, soothing practices that decrease stress and cortisol levels in the body — yoga, meditation, listening to soothing music, and walks outside in the moonlight or during the cool early morning or late evening are all great options.
Stay cool! Avoid hot showers, saunas, and being outside during the hottest parts of the day (or stay in the shade). Minimize intentional sun exposure (lying out on the beach is not a great idea for Pittas). Dress in cool, breathable clothes and keep the AC or a fan on when it gets hot. Sleep with the window open when you can.
Get to bed (with some chamomile tea if you need help unwinding) before 10:30pm, after which point it will be more difficult to get to sleep and stress levels could rise.
As a Vata, you are no stranger to feeling like a leaf blowing in the wind, from one thing to the next. You are creative, introspective, and social, but can be plagued with anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Your Vata skin is similar to your Vata body — dry, cold, and a bit uneven. When you’re in balance, you look and feel like a million bucks. But when you’re not — when you forget to eat, don’t drink enough water, skimp on sleep, get stressed out and overwhelmed, overdo it with travel — your skin (and your gut) are the first places that show it.
VATA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Vata-type body, Vata skin is characterized by dryness and coldness. Thin, dry, and prone to patchiness and premature aging, Vata skin needs warmth and moisture (particularly from oils) to balance it out and keep it happy. Other Vata skin characteristics are:
dark circles under the eyes
leathery or uneven texture
dark spots or uneven skin tone
cold hands and feet
dry, cracked lips and hands
The number one best treatment for Vata skin is oil. Oil, oil, oil. Oil keeps Vata skin hydrated, lustrous, and can even help to heal other symptoms of the Vata constitution, like constipation and anxiety.
My early 20’s were characterized by a few things: opera, boys, NYC, and digestive issues. Though the origins of my digestive disorder were a medical mystery at the time, in retrospect, I can pretty confidently point the finger at the overuse of antibiotics (due to recurrent UTI’s thanks to.. boys) that completely wiped out my intestinal flora. My symptoms ranged from stomach aches, sudden extreme weight gain, and food cravings to depressed mood, fatigue, and headaches. I was miserable, and my doctor’s could do nothing to help me.
DID YOU KNOW?
Candida overgrowth can cause so much bodily and mental drama, including:
gas, bloating and distention
sugar and carb cravings
diarrhea and/or constipation
anxiety and panic attacks
migraines or headaches
impaired focus and concentration
attention deficit and/or hyperactivity
frequent ear infections
toe or fingernail fungus
hypersensitivity to fragrances and/or other chemicals
After finally self-diagnosing with a systemic candida overgrowth (which just wasn’t as well known 10-15 years ago), I completely overhauled my diet and lifestyle, leading to the creation of this here little blog forever ago and finally healing my gut. Throughout the process, I became wary of Western Medicine (which had never thought twice about putting me on antibiotics 6 times a year and just couldn’t seem to figure out why I was so sick) and embraced the power of holistic healing and plant medicine. I eventually went to nutrition school and changed careers to spread the wisdom I had benefitted from myself, and my life was forever altered.
In addition to the myriad of dietary, lifestyle, and herbal practices I employ to keep my body in balance and keep my gut happy, I now avoid taking antibiotics at (almost) all costs. Yes, sometimes we really need them, but on the whole, antibiotics are drastically overprescribed in this country, which, among other things, has led to our national epidemic of imbalanced gut flora. Our gut micro biomes in this country are substantially less diverse than cultures in other parts of the world, and our rates of digestive disorders, anxiety/depression, and autoimmune disorders are much higher. Yes, our terrible national diet (ie: too much processed food and sugar, too much meat, not enough veggies and fermented foods) plays a huge role, but overuse of antibiotics surely takes much of the blame as well.
So you can imagine my frustration when I had a horrible eye infection last month, one that I threw everything in my herbal arsenal at with only moderate results, and had to succumb to a 5 day course of antibiotics. I diligently upped my probiotic foods during the course and did all I could to keep my system in balance, but like clockwork, a few days after finishing the pills, my stomach started acting up. My mood was all over the place (though some of that may be mercury in retrograde and all the other astrological insanity going on). My energy levels were sapped. I was having deja vu to my 20’s!
I knew I needed to do a bit extra to support my system in restoring gut flora and undoing the damage done to my gut.
To restore the gut (and by extension, the entire system), here’s the protocol I follow:
1. High dose probiotics 2x/day + probiotic foods with every meal
For intensive use, I always recommend a probiotic with at least 50 billion IU, like Renew Life Ultimate Flora. As far as probiotic foods are concerned, I make sure to include some with every meal. That may be a forkful of lacto-fermented veggies (like sauerkraut or kimchi), sipping on some kombucha or coconut kefir (just 2-3 oz. a day), and adding goat’s milk kefir to my morning smoothies.
2. Increase prebiotic and fiber-rich foods
Prebiotics are the fuel for probiotics, that help them establish and thrive in the gut. Just taking probiotics without sufficient prebiotics won’t do much good, so it’s just as important to bump these up, especially when working on restoring gut flora. Great sources of probiotics are greens (especially dandelion greens), garlic, onion, oats, lentils, psyllium husk, and apples (especially stewed). I had a tall glass of water with psyllium husk every morning, and made sure to include at least one of these other prebiotic foods at every meal. Friendly gut flora also feed on undigestible fiber like beans, veggies, nuts, and whole grains (GF), so it’s important to increase these as well!
3. Eliminate sugar, dairy, and gluten
Sugar feeds yeast in the gut, which is the number one way to get yourself into a toxic systemic candida situation, especially after the beneficial bacteria that keeps yeast in check has been wiped out by antibiotics. Getting off sugar for at least a week (or possibly much longer, depending on the severity of the candida already present) is crucial for restoring gut health. Dairy and gluten are tough on the digestive tract and end up feeding yeast and unfriendly gut bacteria, proliferating the systemic conditions. Plus they’re generally inflammatory and are usually a safe bet for elimination whenever any gut symptoms crop up.
4. Increase natural anti-fungals
Herbal medicine does a fantastic job at killing off yeast, unfriendly bacteria, and fungi, and because they are gentle on the gut, you don’t have to worry about them killing off the good guys along with the bad (as antibiotics do). My favorites are garlic, pau d’arco (I use it in tea form), oregano oil, fennel seed, and turmeric. These, alongside dietary changes, can fend off systemic yeast, boost immunity, and help to restore healthy intestinal flora better than any prescription.
5. Be patient with my body and give it lots of extra love
Fighting off systemic yeast and other after effects of antibiotic use can take time, depending on the severity of the imbalance. So it’s important to keep stress to a minimum (as it messes with the gut flora almost as much), and do lots of self-care. Yoga, meditation, massages, and saunas are all extremely beneficial from a holistic standpoint, and do a lot to help restore balance in the body (and the mind!).
With so much amazing natural skincare to choose from out there, there is no longer any shortage of lovely, organic and chemical-free products to feed your skin. But just because a product is all-natural doesn’t mean it’s going to work for YOUR skin. Determining the best products for your unique, individual complexion is more than just choosing between lines for dry, oily, or combination skin. There is so much more intricacy in different skin types, and really knowing your skin can mean the difference between results that are just ok (or even bordering on ineffective) and straight-up gorgeous skin.
The qualities of our skin, and the types of products that really help it stay healthy and beautiful, are directly related to our body type, our digestion, and our constitution in general. This bio-individuality is where Ayurveda really shines, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why I have been practicing this ancient healing philosophy for 8 years now (and I’m never going back).
Our Ayurvedic constitution (or dosha) gives us invaluable insight into how our bodies work and what we need to thrive — from the specific foods to eat more of or avoid to stay energized and healthy, to the herbs and supplements that will really keep our systems in balance, to the beauty and self-care products that will keep us looking young and radiant.
Your Ayurvedic skin type will generally correspond to your dosha, but in some rare cases, it may stray from your general constitution if there is a particular imbalance your body is currently dealing with. Knowing your dosha is the best place to start, but definitely read through the Ayurvedic skin types below to make sure yours matches up. I’ll be coming out with holistic skincare guides for every dosha over the next few weeks, with step-by-step skincare routines, favorite products, and dietary/lifestyle recommendations for your most beautiful and healthy skin — so be sure to check back or subscribe so you don’t miss yours!
In the meantime, download your free dosha guide and follow the recommendations for your type to experience healthier skin and a happier body inside and out!
VATA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Vata-type body, Vata skin is characterized by dryness,coldness, and aging. Thin, rough, and cold to the touch, Vata skin is prone to patchiness, dark spots, wrinkles and premature aging. Vata skin needs warmth and moisture (particularly from oils) to balance it out and keep it happy.
Key Vata skin care components:
Mild exfoliation, especially with hydroxy or citrus based acids
External hydration, especially from oils like sesame and castor
Internal hydration — more warm, cooked foods like whole grains, root vegetables, healthy fats, and warm/hot teas; less dry, cold foods like popcorn and granola, iced drinks, and ice cream
Stay tuned for our Vata Skincare Guide!
PITTA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Pitta-type body, Pitta skin is characterized by sensitivity, inflammation and redness. Soft, warm, oily and fair, Pitta skin is sensitive to sun and prone to acne, rosacea, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Pitta skin needs to stay cool and balanced to soothe inflammation and protect it from the elements.
Key Pitta skin care components:
Cooling and anti-inflammatory natural skincare ingredients like aloe, rose, manuka honey, and coconut oil
A cooling and anti-inflammatory diet — less spicy foods, red meat, and vinegar; more greens, cucumber, fennel, celery, ghee or coconut oil
Lots of natural sun protection with a non-nano zinc based SPF and shea butter
Stay tuned for our Pitta Skincare Guide!
KAPHA SKIN TYPE
Like a Kapha body type, Kapha skin is characterized by oiliness,congestion, and accumulation of toxins. Thick, oily, and cool to the touch, Kapha skin is prone to enlarged, clogged pores, pimples, white heads and blackheads, and milia. Kapha skin needs regular exfoliation and detoxification to stay clear, lustrous, and healthy.
Key Kapha skin care components:
Moderate regular exfoliation with sea salt, raw sugar, or grain powders, followed by a steam
Regular detoxifying masks (mud masks are great)
A detoxifying diet (less dairy, refined grains, sugar, and fried foods; more greens, spices, beans and plant-foods in general)
Stay tuned for our Kapha Skincare Guide!
Just like your body, your skin can also be a combination of two (or even three) doshas. For example, I have a Vata-Pitta constitution, and corresponding Vata-Pitta skin (warm, pink, oily, prone to irritation, but can definitely get dry along my jawline in the winter time, or if my Vata is out of balance). If you find that you fall into more than one skin dosha, feel free to select products and remedies from both of your affected types.
I am a sucker for skincare that is good (and clean) enough to eat, so when I find a line of products that’s made entirely of organic botanicals, with not a single additive, preservative or chemical in sight, I get giddy.
Bee All Natural has a lovely line of products that are not only so clean and natural you could eat them (thought to be clear, I generally don’t recommend eating your skincare), but are absolutely jam packed with skin feeding nutrients to soothe, protect, nourish, and heal. Every single organic ingredient has been carefully selected for it’s skin feeding properties, and after using the line on myself and my little on for the last month or so, I can attest to the difference that level of attention to detail makes.
I’ve been using the Organic Luminous Face Serum every day, and am obsessed with the way it leaves my skin glowing, hydrated, radiant, and never greasy. The super absorbent formula is made with pretty much a who’s who of the most potent organic oils (argan, rosehip, evening primrose, hemp seed, and jojoba, just to name a few) that are known for their anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.
At night, I slather the Whipped Organic Raw Shea Butter on any dry patches on my body (feet, elbows) as well as on any areas prone to stretch marks (hips, thighs). With only one ingredient, the purest raw organic shea butter, I can feel my skin reaping the benefits of this remarkable skin food. In addition to being remarkably hydrating, shea butter feeds the skin with essential fatty acids and nutrients that are necessary for collagen products, making it supremely healing for aging, scarred, or stretched skin.
Shea butter is also the star ingredient of the Organic Lavender Baby Body Butter, which is lovingly blended with soothing organic coconut oil, cocoa butter, sunflower and avocado oils, along with organic lavender essential oil and rosemary extract. The result is a luxuriously thick and hydrated baby moisturizer that hydrates and protects baby’s skin, while healing irritations like rashes and eczema, without the use of harsh chemicals or preservatives. I use the body butter on her thighs and back that can get a bit dry and bumpy. For all over use, I am in love with the Organic Lavender Baby Oil, that has just four organic ingredients: sunflower oil, calendula infused avocado oil, rosemary extract and lavender essential oil. We’ve been using it every night after bath time, and not only does it smell absolutely heavenly, but it is so healing and nourishing for my little one’s sensitive skin. Both products are amazing for babies with eczema, cradle cap, or other skin irritations, as well as babies with normal skin that you want to protect with the most natural and clean ingredients. For a beautiful gift, check out the Bee All Natural Organic Baby Gift Set that features these two lovely products, along with Diaper Rash Salve, Baby Powder, and the Baby Body Butter Stick.
Check out Bee All Natural on their website, Facebook page, and Instagram. And use the code “FACEBOOK” to receive $10 of an order of $30 or more.
I want you to feed your beautiful skin too!
Head over to Instagram and enter to win the lovely Bee All Natural Soft Feet Gift Set and All-Natural Room Spray!
The gift set includes a trio of Organic Intense Hand and Foot Salves (in Natural, Peppermint, and Lavender/Tea Tree), which harness the power of shea butter alongside other powerful plant oils to soothe, heal and hydrate chapped hands and cracked heels. You also get a pumice stone/foot brush to help your tootsies stay in tip top condition. And because I love you so much, I’m throwing in the Room Spray in delicious French Vanilla to have your home smelling comfortingly delicious, without any added chemicals.
This guest post comes to us from Emily at The Bouqs Company. We love The Bouqs Co. for their eco-friendly, sustainable farming practices, support of boutique artisan florists, and gorgeous, unfussy arrangements.
If I told you that you could relieve stress by simply placing some fresh flowers or plants within your surroundings, would you believe me? A few sunflowers or daffodils arranged in a mason jar on your bedside or in your office will leave you feeling more optimistic and motivated to tackle the day’s challenges. We feel this way because we associate the color yellow with the sun’s rays, which naturally helps us feel happier. In fact, “flower power,” as Chinese healers have referred to it, gives us the ability to control the flower’s emotions and the secret is held within the flower’s color. It’s not just bright yellow sunflowers that improve our mood, all kinds of flowers and their colors can provide positive health benefits.
Here are a few ways to add more stress relieving flowers and plants into your daily lifestyle:
Incorporate flowers into your morning routine
What’s better than the idea of waking up in a bed of your favorite flowers? While it might not be in our best interest to actually do so, there are more practical ways to infuse florals into your morning routine.
Keeping a vase of lilacs on your bathroom counter makes waking up and brushing your teeth seem more peaceful, considering the shade of violet releases tension fighting endorphins in the brain. And a display of greens, like peace lilies will naturally purify the air we breathe, making your morning meditation practice that much better. The mood enhancing properties from flowers will keep you motivated and happy throughout the day.
Keep flowers at your work space
Keeping fresh flowers or leafy greens in the office has been known to improve overall job satisfaction.A recent study shows that nature plays a significant role in the workplace when it comes to creativity, performance and overall business success.
If your office space is dimly lit, try incorporating some greenery that’s simple to maintain like succulents and ferns. The cool green color adds a calm and relaxing property. If you work in a more open environment, a colorful bouquet of orange daisies would be a perfect touch, and not to mention friendly for those coworkers who might have allergies.
Receiving a flower delivery will likely change your mood for the better, seeing as 88% of individuals expressed an improvement in their mood after receiving flowers. Signing up for a flower subscription service like The Bouqs Company can make keeping a bouquet of fresh blooms around the office effortless and joyful.
Keep a vase beside your bed
Pair your nightly routine or bedtime yoga practice with a bunch of bluebells in a small vase beside your bed – or a blue orchid which also provides more dimension to your decor. The color blue triggers the production of melatonin and stimulates thyroid glands that release hormones which helps regulate your sleeping patterns. The color also serves as a confidence booster, so waking up in the morning will seem more welcoming for the day ahead of you.
It’s uplifting to know that our natural surroundings can impact our mood and overall well being. How do you plan to add more flowers and plants to your lifestyle?
Author Bio:Emily S. is a content creator who enjoys writing about health and wellness topics, especially when it comes to fresh flowers. When she’s not writing about flowers, you can find Emily spending quality time with her rescue dog playing catch on the beach.