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Out, Out Damn Spot! 6 Natural Brightening Treatments

Natural Brightening TreatmentsI have two friends who recently requested natural product recommendations to help combat melasma spots. One developed the dark spots on her face during pregnancy (totally worth the trouble). The other received them as a fun surprise side effect from a new, insurance-prompted birth control switch (not awesome).

There’s no one-treatment-fits all approach to any skin condition, especially one like melasma that has several potential causes, so it’s important to pay attention to what ingredients generate the best results for your skin — and which ingredients are irritating or ineffective on you. I’ve done the research in the hopes of helping out some friends, but I’m happy to share the results with you as well!

Here are six natural, organic, and nontoxic brightening treatments to help fade dark spots and even out skin tone. (Please note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I could earn some money — at no cost to you — if you click on it. View my full disclosure here.)

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How Pregnancy (and Parenthood) Ruined My Skin

pigtails pregnancy ruined my skin summer day indigo+canary

Hi guys. Remember me? The girl who used to have a little natural beauty blog? We had a pretty good thing going for a while, right? Well … surprise! I’m wading back into the water, and it’s feeling pretty great.

I have missed you all desperately, but it turns out that parenting a tiny human + working a pretty demanding full-time job + busting a move with a freelance side hustle + serving as a board member on a (fantastic) nonprofit organization called Circle de Luz has pushed Indigo + Canary down a few notches on the priority list. (PS: You must, must, must watch the video on the Circle de Luz site. I’m serious. In addition to featuring the story of one of Circle’s adorable participants, it also won an Emmy Award!)

However, a few of those things have changed: My tiny human is a little less tiny (although still pretty darn cute, I must say), I’m rotating off the nonprofit board now that my three-year term is complete (although I am still a volunteer and contributor — they can’t get rid of me!), and so I’ve got a little bit of hustle left. And Indigo + Canary is where I want to put it! Because, as it turns out, becoming a parent didn’t change a thing about my raging addiction to clean/natural/organic beauty products.

Just how did parenthood and pregnancy ruin my skin, exactly?

Sigh. Here’s my sad-but-true tale of skin woes, in chronological order:

  • Before pregnancy: A condition I have — polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — made my skin pretty awful sometimes. People with PCOS often have out-of-control hormones, and I was no exception. It took a pretty regimented system to keep my skin from being a mess, but a combination of medications + thoughtful skincare products helped a lot. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with regular cystic acne, usually during my period. (Cystic acne is no joke.)
  • During pregnancy: My skin was perfect. My skin was flawless. My skin was freaking amazing. Pregnancy sort of “cures” PCOS, temporarily, and that was my experience. Some women experience terrible breakouts, discoloration, and other terrible things during pregnancy, but not me! (I did have other pregnancy complications, however, so I would not say I enjoyed being pregnant.)
  • After pregnancy: All was fine for a few months, but as more time went by, I started to notice my breakouts were getting more severe and more frequent.
  • Post-breastfeeding: By this point, forget about it. My skin was a mess. It was inflamed. I woke up to new blemishes every single day, and almost always had at least one or two cystic acne blemishes to deal with. It got so bad I would re-apply makeup several times throughout the day, and by the end of a workday, I would want to sob when I looked at my face in the mirror.
  • Now: Fast-forward to this morning, and I can see that I’ve made progress, but I’m still completely frustrated by what’s happening with my skin. I frequently have breakouts across my cheeks, which was never a problem area pre-pregnancy. Plus, I have the normal hormonal breakouts near my mouth and chin — with awful flare-ups right around my period.

What am I doing about my awful post-pregnancy/parenthood complexion?

Well: Trial and error. I can tell that I’ve made some improvement. I’m taking baby steps to get back to my original pre-pregnancy regimen of medication + topical treatments (because my old frenemy PCOS is back with a vengeance), but I’m still not comfortable with my skin, and it’s a daily frustration. Lately, however, I’ve tried a few products that seem to be helping a lot.

So if you’re in the same boat, first off: I feel you, girl! It super duper sucks. But maybe these products will help give you some relief too.

Fig + Yarrow Foaming Cleanser, $19.99: I love that this foaming cleanser is at Target, because I already make a weekly pilgrimage to the big red bullseye for pull-ups, wipes, and toddler snacks. It has activated charcoal, which has antibacterial and detoxification properties, making it a pretty powerful acne-fighter.

Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliationg Mask, $50: My Osmia fandom knows no bounds. This exfoliating facial mask has activated bamboo charcoal and manuka honey for a great balance of detox/cleansing/moisturizing properties. If you like facial masks, this is a must-try. I use this or the Acure Organics scrub about once a week.

Shea Moisture Natural African Black Soap, $3.59: Another Target find, this one is supremely affordable and leaves my skin feeling clean but not overly dry. It has oats to help soothe and calm my skin, but it’s also moisturizing in all the right ways. I use this one in the shower and the Fig + Yarrow at the sink.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $9.99: I love this scrub (and Acure products in general), but a word of caution: when you have regular breakouts, you have to be careful about scrubs, which can further irritate already angry skin. If you use a scrub mid-breakout, it can very well make your breakout worse. I use this scrub very sparingly, and only when my skin is in not-great-but-not-horrific shape. I love how smooth my skin feels (and how my makeup just glides right on my skin) afterwards. Hint: I also make sure to give some attention to my neck and decollete, because those are two spots that often show early signs of aging.

Did your skin freak out after (or during) pregnancy? What are your go-to products? Please share! I’d love to know your secrets.

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2013 Black Friday + Cyber Monday Beauty Sales

I can hardly believe it—tomorrow is Thanksgiving! If you’re like me and completely behind on your holiday gift shopping (or just looking for some deals), take advantage of these upcoming sales on some great, natural and organic beauty products. (Psst…there’s also a little giveaway in this post—scroll to the bottom to enter.)

If I’m missing a sale, let me know! Send me an email with details or leave a comment on this post and I’ll add it right away. Happy shopping!  —Aleigh


Beautorium

Black Friday deals: Spend $60+, save 10% (code “SAVE10″), spend $100+, save 15% (code “SAVE15″), spend $200+, save 20% (code “SAVE20″)


Blissmobox

Monday, December 2nd enjoy 20% off ALL blissmobox gifts with code 20off


Dr. Sponge

20% off with code THANKYOU through December 1


Forager Botanicals

15% off on Monday, December 2.


Juice Beauty

Free full-size Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer with $50 purchase. Promo code: BFS13


Leaf People

For Small Business Saturday (11/30): 20% off storewide; free shipping on orders over $75 with code SBSAT2013.


Love Beauty Alchemy

Free shipping on all orders + a coupon for a complimentary hydrating botanical toner with any future purchase through Cyber Monday.


MyChelle Dermaceuticals

Starting on Black Friday, buy one, get one free on all products site-wide, plus 50% off all products on Cyber Monday when you use the code CYBER13 at checkout.

BONUS: MyChelle is offering a holiday giveaway for Indigo+Canary readers! Enter below to win the All/Combination Daily Basics Kit, including Fruit Enzyme Cleanser, Perfect C Serum, and Pumpkin Renew Cream. Scroll to the bottom of this post for details. Winner will be announced December 6. Good luck!


Nature of Beauty

20% off on Cyber Monday only with code CYBER20


Naturopathica

30% off with code 30NOW


Osmia Organics

One-day site-wide holiday sale on December 2.


O&N Collective

Buy two or more of O&N Collective’s exclusive Tata Harper Holiday Beauty Survival Kits (which look fabulous!), and get 15% off with the code HOLIDAY15.


Pangea Organics

Buy one, get one free on all items (!!) + free shipping on orders of $100+, ends at midnight on 12/2. No code necessary.


Pure Citizen

10% off everything with code THANKFUL


Splurge Skincare

15% off all scents of “The Rub” sugar scrub on Black Friday and Cyber Monday through Splurge’s OpenSky storefront; 15% off total purchase with code THANKFUL on their site.


Vapour Organic Beauty

30% off everything (excluding samples) through Monday with code blackfriday13.


MYCHELLE DERMACEUTICALS GIVEAWAY DETAILS

a Rafflecopter giveaway


(Image via ell brown)

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4 Great Natural Perfumeries

Essential oils and distillers at The Burren Perfumery.

There’s a hint of fall in the air lately, especially in the mornings, and I can’t wait for my favorite season of the year! One thing I tend to change about my beauty routine when cooler weather arrives: I’m more likely to wear fragrance. I’m not sure why, but fall and perfume just seems to work for me. Here are four of my favorite natural and organic perfumers to check out if you’re looking for your new signature scent. Enjoy! —Aleigh


Burren Perfumery. I visited this charming perfumery in Ireland a few years back, and I’m still a fan of their fragrances, which take advantage of the perfumery’s location in The Burren, a region that contains 70% of the country’s wildflower species. To try: Summer Harvest, a great light, floral scent, or Frond, a warmer, more complex scent that blends floral notes with earthy Sandalwood.


Forager. One of my latest Beauty Obsessions, Forager is a new discovery of mine, and I love the simplicity of the each scent (and the gorgeous packaging). These perfumes will look just as good on your vanity as they smell on your wrists. To try: Nectar, a honey/cinnamon/yummy fragrance that has just enough warmth for fall.


Osmia Organics. I’m a fan of this whole product line, but Sarah’s fragrances are interesting and unusual—a great option for people who aren’t typically a fan of perfume or who are looking for something a bit different to add to their fragrance lineup. To try: Juniper Fire, a smoky-sweet scent with notes of cedar, or Trusque, a musky, warm fragrance.


Infusion Organique. Two samples from this company arrived in one of my Goodeboxes, and I’ve been developing quite an attachment to one of the fragrances in particular. To try: Sands of Morocco, a charming, curious mix of lemongrass oil and ylang ylang mixed with sandalwood and oak moss.


(Top image my own; product images via The Burren Perfumery, Forager, Osmia Organics and Infusion Organique)

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Link Love Friday: Peony Season!

It’s that glorious time of year when the farmers markets are starting to burst with fresh fruits and veggies, my favorite flower is blooming (see above!), and I can pretend the full heat of summer is still a ways off. I’m soaking it all in—and I’ve scoured the internet to come up with some great links to share this week. —Aleigh

On No More Dirty Looks, there’s an ongoing discussion about perioral dematitis happening right now, and reminded me that Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics has a lot to say on this topic! If you’ve struggled with this skin condition, these links might be insightful.

NASA released a list of the best air-filtering houseplants. I have exactly one of these in my house. Time to add a few more…

I love this list of 6 weird things that make you happy, from Prevention. (Tear-jerker movies for the win!)

I can’t wait to try this double duty beauty parfait from the Whole Foods blog.

What have you been reading + enjoying this week?


(Image via buttersweet)

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