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Natural Beauty Faves: January 2012

It’s taking me a while to get adjusted to the fact that 2012 is really here, but I have some big plans. First up, a new email newsletter! I’m not planning to launch it for a few weeks yet, but if you’re interested in the newsletter-only goodies I have planned, you can go ahead and sign up here. Here are the products I’m loving this month:

  • Florere Deodorant Cream. I raved about this stuff a little while ago and I’m still loving it. My mom and sister both took it for a whirl while I was in Pittsburgh over the holidays, and I think they were both impressed.
  • Hydrea London FSC Certified Classic Long Handle Body Brush. This was a Christmas present from my Aunt Jackie (thank you!). I’d been meaning to try the dry brushing technique I’ve been reading so much about, and so far I’m liking it but it’s too soon to tell much of a difference aside from feeling really invigorated. More on this brush (and the technique) soon…
  • Broo Shampoo & Conditioner. I just discovered this craft beer body care and shampoo line (it’s straight from Asheville, one of my hometowns), and so far I really like it. It’s not cheap, but the shampoo is so foamy that I really only need a tiny amount, and it’s super moisturizing. Look for a full review of this little hoppy duo soon!
  • 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream. I bought this at Ecolicious when I bought the Florere Deodorant Cream. With my (genetic) dark undereye circles, I’m always on the hunt for a new eye cream to try, and I really think the price is affordable for a quality eye cream, especially for such a large container. Plus, in addition to resveratrol (the age-defying substance in red wine grapes), it has hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and tons of antioxidants.

What products are you enjoying lately? —Aleigh

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Fare of Face: Lucky Foods for the New Year

On January 1, to celebrate the new year and help improve the chances that the next year will be a great one, people all over the world eat foods that are considered lucky. Many of these lucky foods have health benefits beyond just luck—so much so that you can often find them in your beauty products! Here are some new year foods that feed your skin and bring you good luck.

Pomegranate. In Turkey and throughout the Mediterranean, pomegranates are eaten at the New Year to bring abundance and fertility throughout the year. For your skin, pomegranates have powerful antioxidant properties. To try: John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil or Saaf Organic Ultimate Moisture Face Serum.

Citrus. In China, citrus fruits are associated with prosperity because the word for “tangerine” sounds similar to “luck” in Chinese. Your skin loves citrus, too: it’s used in a long list of organic, natural products, including Kimberly Sayer Aromatic Night Repair Cream and Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser.

Grapes. At midnight on New Years Day, merrymakers in Spain eat twelve grapes; one for each stroke of the clock to bring luck each month of the year. Both Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser and 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream (which is in my bathroom right now!) include grapeseed extract to moisturize and beautify.

Legumes. Resembling coins, legumes like beans, peas and lentils are symbolic of money—eating them at the New Year is hoped to symbolize earning power for the months to come. If you’re extra superstitious, try using Pangea Egyptian Geranium with Adjuki Bean and Cranberry Facial Scrub—the adzuki bean is also great for skin clarity and exfoliation.

What foods do you eat to celebrate the new year? —Aleigh 

(Image via Dey Alexander)

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Link Love Friday: Confessions

Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before: I went to a dermatologist to get a cortisone shot for a painful cystic acne bump that I’ve been trying to get rid of for more than a month. (Seriously, a month! Cystic acne, I hate you.) I’m disappointed that I had to resort to a treatment that I’m sure wasn’t remotely natural, but after exhausting all the tools in my natural beauty arsenal, I felt like it was my only option. (Aside from continuing to live with it for potentially several more months.)

There’s more to this story, though—as I was walking out of the dermatologist’s office, I was handed a bag of topical samples and a prescription for a topical acne medication. As soon as I could get in front of a computer, I looked up the ingredients in both products: one had methylparaben, the other had methyl methacrylate. I might bend the rules once for a cortisone injection (I’m undecided if I’d ever do it again, although I’m pleased with the results), but there’s no way I’ll be using either of those topical products. And it’s frustrating to me that powerful prescription-strength skincare contains such bad-for-you ingredients.

So, there’s my confession for this holiday week! Here are the things I’m reading+enjoying:

  • According to The Green Beauty Guide, if your skin becomes aggravated after using mineral makeup, it could be from bismuth oxychloride. Luckily, if you have this problem and you love mineral makeup, there are several product lines that leave this ingredient out. Have you had this problem?
  • Siobhan at No More Dirty Looks just started using a vaporizer—and she loves it. If your skin tends to be dry, it sounds like a great idea.
  • Jen at Honey Kennedy did a roundup of cobalt blue items and it’s just gorgeous! (I mentioned in this post about where the name Indigo+Canary came from that indigo is my favorite color, but really just about any shade of blue makes me happy.)
  • Detoxing seems to be on many people’s minds this time of year. I think I’m going to take on the Whole Living detox challenge that starts next month, and earlier this week, Cynthia James wrote about detoxing for the Gaiam Life blog.

What are you reading+enjoying this week? Happy holidays, everyone! —Aleigh

PS: There’s still time to sign up for the 30 Day Reinvention Project, featuring natural beauty advice from Indigo+Canary, along with really great tips and techniques from 10 really inspiring women.

(Image via Markus Schöpke)

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12 Bad Beauty Habits to Break in 2012

Freshly cleaned brushes laid out to dry—took 10 minutes to clean them!

As 2012 approaches, we’re starting to think about the year ahead and our hopes for it—including the habits we want to give up. Here are 12 bad beauty habits to break next year.

  1. Sleeping with your makeup on. Even if you use natural or organic makeup, it’s best if you take off the makeup you’ve worn all day before your head hits the pillow. Sleeping in your makeup can cause breakouts, but it also means you’re not using any restorative and soothing nighttime treatments that can help your skin regenerate while you snooze.
  2. Not cleaning your makeup brushes. It helps them last longer, work better and gets rid of the oils they pick up from your skin, which contributes to breakouts. We shared two brush-cleaning techniques back in October—they’re both pretty quick!
  3. Washing your hair every day. Julie says if you’re washing your hair more than twice a week, you’re probably over-cleansing. She recommends wetting your hair and using just conditioner on the days between shampoos—just be sure to rinse well. (Her favorites: Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Shampoo and John Masters Lavender and Avocado Conditioner.)
  4. Not getting enough sleep. Don’t take your sleep for granted—without it, it’s harder for your body to function. And it’s while you sleep that your body has a chance to regenerate and repair your skin cells. Less sleep=faster aging.
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Pine: Natural Healing from the Outside In

Pine has long been recognized for its healing properties and soothing scent. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, noted its ability to heal the human respiratory system. Native Americans used pine needles in their bedding to prevent bedbugs and lice. Pine extract has antiseptic, antibacterial, pain relieving, aromatic and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great all year (especially during cold and flu season).*

It stimulates your immune system and energizes at the same time, so it’s no surprise that pine and juniper in particular, show up on the ingredients lists of a lot of natural products.

Clockwise, from left: Ctonics Tantra Shampoo ($34), Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Cream ($65), Red Flower Hinoki Mint Mineral Bath Soak ($48), Pangea Organics Canadian Pine with White Sage soap ($8).

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