Can Clay Face Masks Shrink Your Pores?

Do you know how to shrink your pores and make your skin look more refined? While nothing can actually shrink pores, clay masks can help to make those tiny holes on your skin look smaller. Large pores not only take away from your gorgeous look, they also make it easier for dead skin cells and oil to collect, which can lead to a sea of blackheads. When debris sits in your pores it also has the super negative impact of actually stretching out your skin, making the pore problem even worse!

It is time to break out the facial clay powder. Clay sucks oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells out of your skin, detoxifying and cleaning out your pores. If you start with a thick enough layer of wet clay and let it dry long enough  (expect 20 to 30 minutes to really let it dry) you can actually see the hardened oil deposits when you peel of the dry clay. Amazing!

I mix clay powder with purified water for an easy mask. When I am adventurous I will use essential oils, milk (for dry skin) or rose water when I have some in the house. Start with two tablespoons of clay and almost the same amount of water, adding more to create a thick, wet paste that is easy to spread. You don't have to spend a lot for this remarkable beauty treatment.Bentonite clayworks really well. You can spend a couple dollars more and use green clay or red clay. These cosmetic clays are supposed to contain more nutrients for your skin.

Spread the paste over clean skin. I wash with a gentle facial cleanser first, and then pat dry. That way my pores are somewhat open from the warm water and my face is dry, but slightly damp. It takes practice to master the art of clay mask application. Investing two or three dollars for a face mask brush is not a bad idea. The trick is to have a smooth, thick layer over your skin, especially oily areas like the chin, forehead, and around your nose.

Now, this I learned after dozens of masks, sit still! Don't talk, don't smile, keep your face still. When you use your facial muscles, especially as the mask dries, it cracks. This isn't the end of the world, or of your pore refining treatment, but I feel that the mask can really do its magic when it doesn't crack. This is the world's best time to soak in a bubble bath or just clothes your eyes (cucumber slices please!) and relax for 20 minutes.

I admit I love to peel off the mask when it is dry to check out the underbelly of the dried clay. The easiest way to clean your face is to jump in the shower and let the warm water melt the mask. Follow with your serums and a facial moisturizer.

The downside is that the effects are not permanent. I try to use a clay mask two or three times a week, but it takes time. Still, clay face masks are a tool that you can use to tighten your pores, fight blackheads, and make your face look smoother and more radiant. 

5 Steps for a Home Anti-Aging Facial

Mature skin beauty care secret alert! Regular facials help to keep your skin magnificently young-looking. Follow these steps for a home anti-aging facial to leave your skin feeling pure and renewed. Even if you can't make it to the spa every month, you can take excellent care of your skin at home. Cleanse, exfoliate, steam, mask, hydrate, and repeat.

1. Cleanse
Removing dirt, oil, and bacteria from your skin is the first step of this powerful beauty treatment. You can use your facial cleanser; creamy cleansers are ideal for dry, aging skin. To go all natural with your anti-aging facial, make a homemade cleanser by drizzling virgin olive oil on a tomato slice and then massaging over your skin. Rinse with tepid water.

2. Exfoliate
The next step for creating your own amazing anti-aging facial is to make a scrub with ingredients that will gently remove dead skin cells while also stimulating your skin. Stir a tablespoon of raw sugar crystals into one and one-half tablespoons of plain yogurt. Add three drops of neroli essential oil. Gently massage over your skin, taking your time to slough away dead skin while boosting circulation.

The sugar (don't use refined white sugar) and yogurt supply your skin with exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids. Neroli is a wonderful anti-aging ingredient. It stimulates cell turnover and promotes skin elasticity.

3. Steam
I use the same neroli, four drops, along with two drops of anti-inflammatory lavender essential oil for a home facial steam. Fill a glass bowl with a quart of freshly boiled distilled water. Add the essential oils. Rub a tiny amount of grapeseed oil over your skin and then hold your face over the steam for five minutes. Pat dry.

4. Mask
For aging skin, hydrating masks are the best choice. Skin naturally becomes drier and thinner as the body ages. Antioxidants are also key, they help to neutralize those destructive free radicals. Green tea is a great source of free radical fighting compounds. To make your homemade mask, stir one teaspoon of matcha powder and one teaspoon of lavender powder into two to three tablespoons of whole fat coconut milk. Stir in a teaspoon of raw honey. Whip all the ingredients together with a fork and spread over your open pores. Slip a couple of thin cucumber slices over your eyes, lie down, and relax for 15 minutes before washing off the mask.

5. Hydrate
That's it! Put on any serums and then your favorite moisturizing cream or massage a dab of softening argan oil into your skin. Make your home facial time about you. Sip a cup of mint tea. Play some soothing meditation music. Make sure you have some relaxing aromatherapy oils wafting through the air. Ah! homemade skin care can be sublime.


Homemade Eye Serum With Age-Defying Botanicals

Eye serums are irresistible. A beauty product that can reduce puffiness, fine lines, dark circles, essentially making you look younger, what more can you ask for?  I am all for creams and serums that are high in nourishing, soothing, moisturizing natural ingredients. I don't believe that even the most expensive serum can work wonders, but I believe if you double check your list of ingredients, you can find a product that helps on any budget .... or make your own.

Because beauty products that are designed to fix all of those tired, sagging under eye problems are a must-have for women over 30, the prices can be pretty steep for a tiny bottle or jar of a miracle eye cream. My money savvy solution, you've heard it before, make your own.

To make an amazing homemade eye serum, all you need are the following ingredients:

  • 1 ounce rose hip oil
  • 1 ounce argan oil
  • 6 drops carrot seed essential oil
  • 4 drops sandalwood essential oil

Rose hip and argan are two of the delicate skin moisturizers. They are high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids to keep skin soft and smooth looking and to slow down the oxidative damage. They won't weigh down the delicate area of skin under your eyes.

Carrot seed essential oil is made from the seeds of Queen Anne's lace, which is also known as wild carrot. It is one of the best skin rejuvenators with a high carotol content. It is also great for relieving puffiness with diuretic properties. Sandalwood essential oil helps the skin by helping it to retain moisture; less dryness, less of that aging, loose skin.

Add the rose hip and argan oil to a darkly colored glass dropper bottle and then add the essential oils. Shake well before each use. You only need a drop for each eye, morning and night. Store away from light, moisture, and heat. If you like it, then make a bottle of this homemade eye serum for your friends. They will love you for it.
Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Eat a Diet to Boost Collagen Production

What nutrients does your body require for healthy collagen production? Can you help your skin stay smoother and more supple through your diet? Here are my own food recommendations to help boost collagen production and to keep your skin as young-looking as possible.

The skinny on collagen

Collagen fibers, which are made from proteins, make up part of our connective tissue. This tissue is part of our skin as well as other materials — tendons, bones, cartilage. Having plenty of collagen is key for firm, smooth skin. As we age production slows, while at the same time there is a tissue breakdown due to free radical activity. Why this waterfall of collagen loss? Well, we absorb less nutrients as we get older (that's why keeping your body in amazing shape with juice cleanses, etc, to revamp the digestion system may not be a bad idea) and we are exposed to more sunlight and environmental toxins, increasing free radical activity over the years. The well-oiled machine of childhood (think of the perfectly smooth skin and silky hair of a child) fades and dulls.

A healthy diet, in theory (why not?), full of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support healthy collagen fibers should help. There isn't exactly a lot of research in this area, but for your own benefit, here are the nutrients that may help to boost collagen production and where to find them.

Collagen vitamins and more

First, the amino acids, which are the protein building blocks. World's Healthiest Foods lists proline and lysine as key amino acids. Eggs, wheat germ, and legumes are great sources, as are fish, lean meats, and dairy – essentially, protein. Don't take this to mean that a meaty diet is a skin healthy diet, quite the contrary. You need things like fiber and antioxidants for a beautiful complexion.

My suggestions, start snacking on raw nuts. Prepare beans from scratch once a week (sultry Sunday afternoons?) and then enjoy them throughout the week. Eat tofu, a lot! Go for one to two servings of fish (wild salmon is best) a week. Throw boiled eggs on your salads once in a while. A yogurt a day is a great healthy eating choice, and then enjoy lean meats as your body craves, which for me is about once every couple of weeks.

Vitamin C and silicon are two other important nutrients for collagen production. Vitamin C is an easy one; berries, citrus, green leafy vegetables, onions, mangos, papayas. Silicon is found in brown rice and oats as well as soybeans, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, apples, almonds, and flaxseeds. Herbs such as horsetail, oatstraw, and burdock root are all good sources as well.

And finally — antioxidants, which protect your collagen fibers from breaking down. They are found in all the fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and beans listed above, as well as the queen of healthy skin foods, green tea. Drink a cup a day. It is so worth it.

3 Vitamin C Mask Recipes

Vitamin C is really good for your skin. Why? There are two major, anti-aging benefits that are enough to make you put one of these vitamin C mask recipes on your to do list.

1. Collagen boosting

Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue that helps to keep your skin smooth and young looking (the other is elastin). It naturally breaks down as time passes, aka you age, and because of sun exposure. This breakdown = wrinkles, sagging, and thinner skin.

There are a lot of factors that go into the collagen boosting solution matrix — diet, lifestyle habits, daily skin care products — vitamin C face masks are a small piece of the puzzle, but a helpful, attainable piece. Vitamin C is a nutrient that is used for the production of new, healthy collagen.

2. Antioxidant protection

The other reason to love this vitamin is antioxidant activity. Powerful C scavenges free radicals and helps to stop, prevent, and sidetrack some of the destruction to your skin from time and beautiful, golden sunlight.

Try these homemade vitamin C mask recipes and give your skin a fighting chance against wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Rose hip face mask

  • 1 tablespoon rose hip tea
  • 1 teaspoon rose hip oil
  • 1 tablespoon rose clay powder

Brew a cup of rose hip tea, take out one tablespoon (drink the rest) and mix with the oil and clay powder.

Berry face mask

  • 1 tablespoon acerola berry powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed berries of choice
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • orange blossom water, enough to form a workable paste

Acerola berries are packed with super C. Mix all, adding just enough orange blossom water.

Tomato face mask

  • 1/2 tomato or 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

For this face mask, blend all in the blender. Smooth over clean skin. 


Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Spa Facial Benefits — Are They Worth It?

What are the advantages of splurging on a spa facial? Is it worth it or can you do the same work at home yourself?

Let's face it, treatments are expensive. It is not easy for many people (myself included!) to fit a regular spa visit into the budget. Alright ladies, and skin care conscious gents, why not take a look at the cost-benefit ratio of professional spa services.

Putting your skin in the hands of a facialist

Time is money. When you go to the spa for a facial treatment, you are taking the time of a professional facialist, someone who has probably put in (and paid for) at least 600 hours of training. She does deserve a reasonable fee (think of how much you pay for an hour with a lawyer, doctor, mechanic, or other professional!). Unless you are her first client, you get the benefit of her experience as well; skilled blackhead extraction, peel application, facial massage, and other skills are a huge plus for your complexion. You may even get a few good skin care tips from a pro, although watch out for product pushing.

Sure, you can do an at home facial, which I highly recommend. Depending on your budget (don't forget to ask for a spa gift certificate for your birthday or x-mas) getting a facial treatment once every month or two or once a year is solid value for your dollar. 

Doing the work 

A facial involves cleansing, steaming, exfoliating, extraction, a mask, and then your finishing serums and moisturizers. This does take some effort on your part to do at home — you have to set up all your ingredients, make the facial sauna, etc.. At a spa you get the advantage of high-quality products, professional application, and effective techniques and add-ons that you can't do at home like oxygen infusion and microdermabrasion.

At home you have more control over the ingredients and what is actually done on your skin. Once you do the whole process one or two times, the set-up, etc., isn't that big of a deal, it can even be enjoyable steaming your skin, massaging, relaxing with a mask and a cup of tea in the comfort of your home.

In a nutshell, a spa facial treatment is worth it, even if it is a once a year splurge. You simply cannot recreate everything (the equipment, expertise, products) that a good spa can offer. However! Do your own home treatments as well to keep your skin beautiful and healthy in between visits. Also, keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. Going to the spa all the time is not as valuable as going on occasion, unless you just really love it.



Do I Need an Eye Cream?

The cost of anti-aging skin care products can really add up; are all the creams, serums, and other add-ons really necessary? Do I need an eye cream, adding another $20 to $100 dollars to my quarterly skin care bill, to have beautiful eyes? Isn't a good nourishing, hydrating cream enough for my entire face?

Skin care companies will of course go into great detail about the benefits of using an eye cream or serum. Depending on which product you use, they are said to reduce puffiness, dark circles, and of course, fine lines and wrinkles. When I searched the web (our modern day library of information for better or worse), I found a resounding no when it comes to the eye cream question from about a dozen dermatologists.

What no one disagrees about is that the under eye area is delicate, so no harsh ingredients close to your eyes! I, now that I've reached my 30s, of course think about that anti-aging skin care strategy a lot. Not one wants wrinkles, fine lines, and tired-looking eyes. So, yes, I've experimented with eye creams and I do like them, although I'll admit some have seemed worthless. I ran out of my homemade eye serum (will post on recipes this week) and recently purchased the Acure Eye Cream. It contains a lot of antioxidants from pomegranate, acai, and goji berry. Full disclosure, I have no affiliation with Acure. I do at least imagine a difference with the eye cream. I also don't put my rich and creamy moisturizing cream up to my eye countour, so for me using a homemade serum or reasonably priced, antioxidant-rich eye cream has its advantages.

What is the secret to gorgeous eyes? From my experience, the simple formula to all good health — plenty of sleep, yoga in the morning, a walk in the afternoon, a healthy fruit and veggie based diet, and plenty of water and tea. This formula will do more for your eyes than any high-end product.

Have you had any luck with eye creams? If so, please share; we are all looking for those holy grail anti-aging products!

5 of the Best Teas for Skin Health

Having amazing skin takes more than bi-weekly face masks. You need to nourish and purify your skin from the inside out. This is my list of the best teas for skin health. They are chosen not only because they are great for keeping your skin glowing and gorgeous, but they also score in the taste category.

1. Red clover

Red clover is a staple ingredient found in a lot of detoxing herbal tea blends. It is a cleansing, balancing herb, one of the blood purifiers. It also has a sweet, gentle flavor. Try blending with peppermint and adding a little honey. According to Mountain Rose Herbs, it is recommended to stay away from red clover if you are pregnant or on any blood thinning meds.

2. Burdock root

When I took a healing with herbs class years ago, my teacher spoke very highly of burdock root as a natural solution for acne — wish I had known about it when I was a teenager! It takes time to see results, be patient and enjoy sipping on this tea.

3. Dandelion root

Ahh, I love a cup of dandelion root tea with a little honey and coconut milk or cream. It's a great coffee alternative, and excellent for supporting your body's natural detoxing process by supporting the liver. Blend your burdock root and dandelion root for an amazing skin health tea (one teaspoon of each, steep in one cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes).

4. Oatstraw

Oatstraw is one of the best teas for skin health because it is a great nourishing herb — B vitamins, silica, vitamin A, vitamin C — and because it is great for managing stress. If you have adult acne and could use a bit of stress relief to help keep your body and acne under control, then oatstraw is an excellent option. With excellent nutritional content, I also drink it to help keep my skin smooth and young-looking. This is a great before bed tea.

5. Green tea

Packed with antioxidants, don't forget your green tea. It has a reputation for having anti-aging, anti-inflammatory benefits, and it is supposed to have detoxing benefits. Drink up! Find a type of green tea that you love, there are so many. My favorite right now is green tea with toasted rice. Numi makes an excellent nutty, refreshing version. Matcha is also really fun for adding to smoothies.


Sugar Cane and Lavender Face Mask to Balance Oily Skin

Battling runaway sebum production? Aren't we all! Try this super simple raw sugar, lavender and jojoba recipe. Jojoba oil, which is actually a wax ester not an oil, is great in face masks to balance oily skin. Word on the street is that it teaches your skin not to ramp up the oil production. I like to use it when my skin feels on the greasy side; it absorbs so quickly. Perfect for before bed skin treatments.

Lavender is one of nature's skin normalizers. It balances overly oily or overly dry skin. The essential oil also comes with those oh-so-lovely antibacterial properties to help stop the breakouts that are an inevitable side effect of oily skin.

For a cell renewal boost, this natural face mask also uses raw sugar cane, a source of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a type of alphy hydroxy acid that is found in a lot of anti-aging and anti-acne skin care products.

To make this balancing face mask, you will need:

  • 1-2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • boiling water

First, melt your sugar! Add just enough boiling hot water to the sugar to melt the crystals. Mix with the jojoba oil and then add the lavender. Apply to clean skin, gently massaging into your skin for a little circulation stimulation. Leave this sweet mask on for about 15 minutes. Rinse, pat dry, and spritz with witch hazel.

5 Steps for a Home Acne Facial

I love going to the spa, but, je regrette, it is not always in the budget. When you don't have a spa appointment but your skin is congested, do your own home acne facial. It is not that difficult, actually it is kind of a treat. My advice — go into spa mode and have fun with it.

To give my skin a spa-like super cleansing I get out my supplies (lavender essential oil, blackhead remover, jojoba oil and oats, clay powder and rose water, moisturizers), I dim the lights, put on my comforting aromatherapy blend (ylang ylang and cinnamon is presently my favorite) and pop in my soothing soundscape CD (yes I still use discs!, call me old-fashioned).

1. First is the lavender facial steam

While you bring two cups of filtered water to a boil, prep your skin by washing with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. Then pour the boiling water into a glass bowl or pan and add five or six drops of lavender essential oil. Hold a towel over your head like a canopy, and let the steam rise up to your face. You have to get close, so shut your eyes!

2. Next is the extraction 

If you are not comfortable with a blackhead remover, then you can skip this step, although removers are really not that hard to use, especially when your pores are open. Sterilize the tool with your boiling water or a swab of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Press the small loop end over your blackhead, applying even pressure until the blackhead comes out. If it doesn't work, move on to the next blemish, you don't want to damage your skin, besides, there is always the next home acne facial to try again.

3. Homemade facial scrub

Now it is time to exfoliate to get rid of any dead skin cells. I whip up a quick homemade scrub by mixing ground oats and jojoba oil. You can also use cornmeal or coffee grounds, two other common kitchen gritty substances. Gently massage over your skin.

4. The clay mask

For fighting acne, clay masks are amazing. You can use whatever recipe that you like. My standard is the rose water and green clay face mask. Add enough rose water to the clay powder to make a paste, spread a thin layer over your face, and relax until the mask dries. Rinse with warm water.

5. Moisturize

That's it, you are done. Mist on your facial toner if you like and then put on your serums, moisturizing cream, and eye creams.

Inflammation, Aspirin, and Your Skin: Study Reveals Interesting Link

Spilled PillsI have never been one to pop an OTC pain killer for headaches and the other aches and pains of life, but for those of you who keep a bottle of aspirin handy, you may find this news interesting. Science Daily has reported on research performed by the Women's Health Initiative. The researchers found that taking aspirin seems to be linked with a reduced risk of melanoma, aka the serious type of skin cancer.

Strange, but maybe not that surprising. Sun exposure, inflammation, increased free radical production, a loss of skin elasticity; it's all one downward spiral of skin aging. This study, which involved nearly 60,000 Caucasian women, aged 50-79, found a direct correlation between aspirin use and reduced skin cancer risk, with an overall 21 percent risk reduction for those women who took aspirin regularly.

Should you start taking aspirin to protect your skin? I don't know about jumping to that conclusion, but these findings do convince me to reach for the aspirin over other anti-inflammatory pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which was not associated with a reduced risk. It also bolsters the argument for a high-antioxidant diet to help protect your skin from photoaging and from skin cancer. Give me the green tea, the pomegranates, red cabbage, and dark chocolate. Antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties and they help to neutralize free radicals.

Eat well, protect your skin from the sun, and don't forget a great face mask once in awhile to help nourish your skin from the outside. As for aspirin, if you already take it, perhaps you are doing your skin a great favor!

Do Honey Face Masks Really Work?

Sweet as honeyWe've all heard about the skin beautifying benefits of honey face masks, whether you've heard about this magical beauty remedy from a friend or from your great aunt. Do they really work? Should you be putting this sticky, gooey stuff on your face?

Well, honey has proven its benefits in clinical trials as a good antibacterial agent and skin healer — definitely a plus for acne prone skin. It is also known to reduce inflammation and have overall soothing properties; making it useful as a base for sensitive and dry skin diy treatments.

My preference for honey face masks is rooted in the fact that I always have a jar in my cupboard anyway, and I'm a practical girl. I love the stuff, especially a good, thick raw honey, the kind that you know is just loaded with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. I put it in my tea and coffee and have been enjoying peanut butter and honey sandwiches since my college roommate introduced me to this sweet spin off on a lunch time classic.

Here are three recipes that you can try out. And yes, from my homemade face mask experience, honey — the raw, minimally processed, nutrient-packed kind (manuka if you want to spend a little more) — does work.

For a honey mask for aging skin, mix together:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 3 drops carrot seed essential oil

For acne:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teapsoons jojoba oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil

For all skin types:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 inches of a ripe banana, mashed

Sandalwood and Apricot Face Mask for Younger Looking Skin

organic apricots 2One of the best face mask ingredients for younger looking skin is sandalwood essential oil. I use it in this skin care recipe with apricot kernel oil to help those beneficial constituents penetrate my skin. Apricot kernel is a good skin penentrator, and it is of course a great source of moisturizing fatty acids and vitamin E. I also use coconut milk powder (if you haven't noticed yet, I love coconut for my skin, coconut oil, powder, milk, you name it), for the extra nutrients that mature skin needs; proteins and vitamins to help with cell regeneration.

To make this homemade mask you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon apricot kernel oil
  • 3 drops of sandalwood essential oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut milk powder  

Sandalwood essential oil is expensive! Fortunately you only need a tiny amount, so purchase the smallest bottle size that you can find. Mountain Rose Herbs — full disclosure I am an affiliate! (and a customer) — does have a reasonably priced option, 1/4 oz for $32, totally organic. Other retailers, and larger sizes range from over $50 to well over $100. Essential oils do degrade, so go small.

windy beachSandalwood is a dream for face masks for younger looking skin — moisturizing, toning, and excellent for relieving fluid retention (puffiness!). Add 2 to 3 drops to a tablespoon of apricot kernel oil. Stir in just enough coconut milk powder to make a moist paste. Spread over your skin after cleansing with warm water and your favorite facial cleanser. Rinse off after about 20 minutes.

This is a wonderful hydrating treatment to use to help balance the effects of the elements, and to simply help soften, tone, and to fight wrinkles. It is my Sunday night mask during the windy, cooler months. Easy to make, easy to use, and effective — love it!

5 Ways to Use Aloe for Beautiful Skin

AloeAloe vera is a skin care super plant! There are so many ways to use aloe for the skin. Treat sunburns, moisturize, fight acne, and improve suppleness. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, this desert plant is loaded with beneficial constituents including softening fatty acids, nourishing amino acids, and cell protecting antioxidants. Here are five ways to use powerful aloe vera for your skin care routine.

  1. Anti aging night serum Aloe encourages collagen and elastin production. These two skin proteins are the foundation of smooth, supple skin. Add three drops of carrot seed essential oil to one or two teaspoons of pure aloe vera (not a gooey gel, just the pure liquid). Massage into your skin after cleansing with warm water and your facial cleanser and before moisturizing with your night cream. 
  2. Sun solution Studies have shown that this natural skin aid protects against radiation damage. You should still wear sunscreen to protect against UV rays, but rubbing some pure aloe into your skin underneath your sunscreen is a great way to dose your skin with some protective compounds. I also put some on after being out in the sun on those sunny beach and pool days. I think of it as a little extra healthy skin insurance.    
  3. Hydrating face mask For a quick hydrating mask to battle dryness, stir together raw honey and aloe. Smear over clean skin, rinse, and love that smoothness!
  4. Calming facial toner mist Mix equal parts of aloe juice with rose water in a small spray bottle. Shake and mist over skin after cleansing and before moisturizing. If you have any facial redness like I do, then try spritzing over your skin a few times during the day.
  5. Antiseptic acne mask Use aloe for the skin to help fight breakouts. With six different antiseptic compounds, this plant is great for controlling bacteria on the skin. Mix the pure liquid with bentonite clay powder for a super cleansing, detoxing skin treatment.

A Fruit Enzyme Anti Aging Face Mask That Works — Warning, It Is Not Homemade!

Making my own natural face masks is a passion of mine. I love the control, the versatility, the independence, the potency, and of course, the money saving. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a great store bought treatment from time to time, especially if they have a lot of beauty bang for their buck. The Andalou Naturals BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask is one of my favorites when it comes to anti aging skin care products. It's loaded with antioxidants and nutrients for cell repair and renewal, and it smells like sweet fruit, totally makes me want to have a berry pie baking in the oven. I also love how long it lasts. I have used it about 10 times now and have barely made a dent in my pretty little emerald jar, which of course, I will be reusing.

So what's the magic Andalou Naturals formula? No idea, but from looking at the ingredient list there is a nice blend of alpha hydroxy acids with cranberry, apple, lemon, and sugar. Natural exfoliants are great for keeping pores clean and for diminishing the appearance of fine lines. Then there are those anti aging antioxidants from white tea, resveratrol, and vitamin E, and of course some bacteria fighting manuka honey (even an anti aging face mask should fight acne!).

To use, cleanse as you would before any homemade treatment. Rinse with warm water to help open your pores. Make sure your skin is dry before applying. All you need is a little bit for a thin layer over your face and neck. Leave on for about 10 minutes, rinse and moisturize. My skin does tingle and even sting for about 30 seconds at first. If your skin is very sensitive, you may want to skip this mask, but for all other skin types, this is a great anti-aging, affordable option. With all the oil dissolving fruit acids and enzymes, I give it a big thumbs up for treating mild acne as well.


Why I Love Argan Oil

Argan oil is simply amazing — and this is coming from someone who uses all the nourishing vitamin E rich oils religiously. Sweet almond, apricot kernel, grape seed, coconut, and olive, you name it and I use it. I know my natural beauty oils, how they smell, feel, blend, absorb, and most importantly, how to use them for your skin. Amber colored argan stands above the rest.

Why? Well, where do I begin? It is high in vitamin E and it is packed with essential fatty acids, so you get the power of the restorative antioxidant vitamin and the moisturizing, smoothing effects of the fatty acids. The other beauty oils have vitamin E and essential fatty acids as well, perhaps not quite as many? They definitely don't have that rich, golden hue or the same silky consistency. Argan oil just feels better. Do I sound like I'm in love. Well, I am.

According to cosmetic company Josie Maran, their pure argan oil has been clinically proven to show a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, as well as better skin elasticity. This is after one month of use. Argan is reputed to have anti-inflammatory benefits because of the linoleic acid content, a super plus for redness and sensitive skin.

Melon-Loving GirlWhile this oil, which is extracted from the kernels, inside the nut, inside the fruit of the argan tree of southwest Morocco, may seem like a remarkable anti-aging product, you'll have to try it yourself to really find out — which means shelling out for a rather high-priced skin moisturizer. There are lots of antioxidants to fight free radical damage and there is plenty of hydrating action with each drop, but there hasn't been enough testing to say how much and exactly how effective, especially in comparison to other, less expensive oils.

Should you try it? Your choice. I took a long time before I bought my first bottle. I was a skeptic. Mostly because it costs more than other oils (this is supposed to be because argan oil takes so much work to extract, also I'm sure the import factor has something to do with it). I have noticed, however, that one bottle lasts a long time — I only use about five drops to moisturize my entire face and neck area.

If you aren't ready for argan oil, then stick with your moisturizing cream, or try grape seed or avocado oil if you want to go for a pure, moisturizing oil. If you do take the plunge, I suggest only using your precious argan for the big challenges, i.e., skin aging. Using argan for everything, from dry hair to dry cuticles, is a great way to run out of an expensive beauty product fast.

Disclaimer

While I love my skin, I am not actually a dermatologist or a medical professional. The information on this site is not meant to treat or diagnose any health issues.