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Link Love Friday: Ice Cold

Today is sleety and cold in normally-blue-skied Charlotte, but I’m happy to have settled in with a dog on my feet and some great links to share.

Ever wondered what those little seals on your natural and organic cosmetics actually mean?  This (long but good!) post does a great job of decoding/deciphering. (Scroll to the bottom if you want to get straight to the details.)

Hormone imbalances can have a big impact on your body (including your skin, weight, hair, and more)…and Wellness Mama put together a great list of easy ways to help your hormones get back to where they should be. (That pesky coffee conundrum pops up again…)

Stories like this one from the New York Times make me a little crazy: one woman’s experiences with a three-day BPA detox. (The crazy part isn’t that she tried to detox from BPA. The crazy part is just how much she had to change her daily routine in order to do it.)

If you’re in NYC, mark your calendar for Feb. 7: Jolene is hosting what sounds like an amazing Beauty Food Supper Club event.

Luckily everything around here isn’t frozen: these adorable blooms popped open on my Meyer lemon tree today and they smell amazing. Happy Friday, everyone!

Photo Credit: OakleyOriginals cc

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Monday Musings: Coffee Conundrum

I really love coffee, and I believe that when it comes to skincare, the magical little caffeinated bean can do some really great things. But as with so many things in life, there’s conflicting information out there when it comes to consuming it. In fact, I recently suggested that a reader try eliminating caffeine from her diet entirely as a way to beat her hormonal acne. And a few weeks ago, on the same day, I read two different blog posts from blogs I regularly read—one posted in favor of coffee (heart disease and cancer prevention!), the other against (increased stress, digestive issues, association with insulin sensitivity!).

You guys, this is a prime example of what I always try to emphasize: balance. It’s what I mean when I say you have to look at the information and make a judgment about what works for you. If one of these blog posts rings especially true for you—maybe because you can connect the dots between your specific coffee habits and some of the symptoms you’ve experienced—do what you think is right.

Just know that no matter what you read on some blog (this blog included), you’re always the most important decision-maker in your life. There’s no one acne treatment or facial mask, no one way of doing things, that always works for everyone. So don’t forget to trust yourself, too.

It’s pretty empowering, right? —Aleigh

(Image via Jeff Kubina)

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3 Ways Coffee Can Energize Your Beauty Routine

When I wrapped up my honey month DIY beauty recipes last month, Kelly and I got into a discussion in the comments about incorporating coffee into your beauty routine. She wanted to know if there are ways to use leftover coffee and coffee grounds as a DIY beauty ingredient, and wondered if it would change the color of her red hair if she did a coffee rinse. I started doing some research, (in the meantime, I discovered National Coffee Day), and now I’m officially back with an answer.

Yes, coffee can change the color of your hair, but probably not if you just do a rinse. The extent to which coffee can change the color of your hair depends on a few factors: the color of your hair to begin with, how well your hair absorbs color (drier or already color-treated hair will probably soak in more pigment), and how long you leave the coffee on your hair.

All this coffee research left me wondering: What are the best ways to use your leftover coffee and grounds as a beauty treatment? Here’s what I found:

Exfoliating coffee facial. There are a number of ways to do this one, but you can add used coffee grounds to your regular facial mask product for an extra boost of caffeine or exfoliation, or even just mix them with a facial binder like raw egg, avocado, olive oil or honey, spread on your face and let dry. (Just make sure the coffee grounds are new–use them within half an hour of brewing your coffee.)

Coffee hair rinse for shiny hair. Brew coffee and let cool. Rinse it through your hair in the shower before you shampoo and condition, style as normal. Unless you have very light-colored or color-damaged hair, this shouldn’t effect the color. However, if you’re interested in darker locks, here’s a link to a DIY coffee hair dye tutorial. If you try it, let me know how well it works!

Coffee body scrub. Coffee isn’t just good for facials! You can actually change up any of those facial recipes above by adding salt (for a little more exfoliation than you would use for the delicate skin on your face). And here’s a coffee, clove and orange salt scrub tutorial that I think I may just have to try.

What do you think? Would you put your coffee leftovers to use in your beauty routine? And while I’m at it, do you have questions about natural beauty that I could help with? Leave me a comment or send me an email. I may just make this Q&A thing a regular feature…

(Photo via Professor Bop)

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Perk up your skin with caffeine

Happy National Coffee Day! Coffee isn’t just good for your health; it’s also great for your skin. Caffeine can constrict blood vessels, which makes it a great option to combat dark undereye circles or rosacea. Plus, it’s an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. I’ve read one study about caffeine’s potential ability to repair UV damage, but from what I can tell, that’s emerging science and hasn’t been proven definitively…yet.

You can’t argue with coffee’s skin benefits, though–that’s why you can find it in loads of lovely products like these.

Clockwise, from left: Trilogy Age Proof Eye Recovery Concentrate ($38), 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($19), Kahina Giving Beauty Serum ($90), Suki Exfoliate Foaming Body Cleanser ($31.95)

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