Skin Care 101

There are many misconceptions when it comes to caring for your face. Growing up, I regularly used Neutrogena’s grapefruit face scrubs, Aveeno’s face scrub and creams, as well as Cetaphil face wash, and Complex 15 face cream. In my mind, these were all high quality, “natural” products thanks to words like "hypoallergenic" and "dermatologist tested" ...little did I know these companies are master greenwashers: projecting health conscious images when in fact their products are total poison. (To learn more about greenwashing and the top ingredients you want to avoid when it comes to skin and body care click HERE.)

 My own bathroom cabinet.  Zero sponsorship, paid for 100% out of pocket- advocating for brands I trust and value.

My own bathroom cabinet.

Zero sponsorship, paid for 100% out of pocket- advocating for brands I trust and value.

You’re going to hear me advocating for Living Libations like a broken record throughout this article and the reason is simple: they are the best (believe it or not this is not a sponsored article). I initially had a resistance to using their products because of the cost, but after investing in my first product by the company (which was the Frankincense “Best Skin Ever” oil)- I was converted. The products are truly in a cosmic league of their own, and worth the investment ten fold. Caring for my face has become my #1 self-care and self-love practice; I truly cherish the time I spend loving and caring for my face, and investing in products made with so much intention and consciousness turns the experience into a holy ritual. The more I connect with my Self and find a deep respect for my body, the less resistance I have spending money on high quality, completely natural, wildcrafted and organic products. It is definitely a luxury, but my priorities have changed over the years. Many people have no problem buying a $12 cocktail at the bar to poison themselves, but won’t spend $40 on a beautifully crafted organic oil that will last them months. Evaluate your priorities, and explore your resistance as it pertains to your self-worth. You are worthy of health, you are worthy of a deep self-love, and you deserve to thrive.

 

CARING FOR YOUR FACE

Your face is what you project in the world, and having a naturally glowing face is first and foremost a reflection of your self-care and your relationship with yourself. Your face does not define you, but the confidence that comes with feeling good in your skin is something that helps propel you forward in life. More than anything, the skin is also like this map that accentuates everything going on inside the body; a naturally healthy glowing face is usually a sign of vibrant health. There are many connections in Eastern medicine between different areas of the face and their connection to disfunction or stagnation inside the body.

 In Chinese medicine, face mapping is used to decode messages of distress from other areas in our body. The skin is one of the largest organs in our bodies, so when it starts acting up, this is an indication of something going on inside the body that is out of balance that we may be unaware of.  Image courtesy of  Acupuncture & Beauty Centre

In Chinese medicine, face mapping is used to decode messages of distress from other areas in our body. The skin is one of the largest organs in our bodies, so when it starts acting up, this is an indication of something going on inside the body that is out of balance that we may be unaware of.

Image courtesy of Acupuncture & Beauty Centre

I don't personally concern myself too much with the semantics of these kinds of face maps because I try to see my body as a whole as much as possible. Everything is connected, so I like to work to support my organs as a part of a system as opposed to individual pieces. I regularly detox my whole body and intuitively support my organs as I feel called to; but these kinds of maps can be useful if you're struggling with a particular area. 

 

Let me make this clear: you cannot “out-product” a bad diet, poor sleep hygiene, stress, and a lack of self-love. Curating a glow is a project you have to commit to, and involves taking a deeply holistic analysis of your lifestyle, and a willingness to live well. In this article I aim to shed some light on key factors that will help you achieve a healthy glow, but the real work is up to you. You are the ultimate guru when it comes to your own body, no one diet or skin care routine works for every person. Let this guide spark the light in you to explore your Self and discover your own personal routine.

Beauty is a light in the heart.
— Khalil Gibran

nutrition

IT STARTS IN THE GUT

Without a doubt, healthy skin begins with a healthy gut. Ancient modalities of healing (Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine..) have known this for a long time, and science is finally catching up. You skin is an organ, and a part of the larger system of your body. Your gut is what processed food into actual nutrients, and is the gate keeper that allows these nutrients to penetrate (and fuel) your body. You are not so much what you eat, but what you digest.

 Carrot, turmeric, ginger, and lemon organic cold-pressed juice: a powerful tonic to help you glow from the inside out (and great for boosting your resilience to the sun!)  Food is medicine.

Carrot, turmeric, ginger, and lemon organic cold-pressed juice: a powerful tonic to help you glow from the inside out (and great for boosting your resilience to the sun!)

Food is medicine.

Another word for functional medicine is “systems medicine,” in which we look at the underlying causes of all the independent, yet interconnected systems of the body... There’s exciting research that’s examining the gut-skin axis and how the health of your microbiome will determine the health of your skin. Because of this, functional medicine sees acne and many other skin conditions as inflammatory disorders of the autoimmune spectrum.
— William Cole, Functional Medicine Practitioner

Common Allergens to avoid to have naturally glowing skin:

  • alcohol 
  • caffeine
  • refined sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, and yes- even coconut sugar)
  • artificial sweeteners (acesulfame, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia)
  • refined vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower, canola, soybean)
  • dairy (in particular “conventional” homogenized, pasteurized, non-organic dairy)
  • highly processed conventional grains 

 

Foods/ supplements to help support gut health:

  • bone broth
  • steamed/ cooked veggies (raw veggies are harder on the digestive system/ less bioavailable if you have a damaged gut)
  • fermented foods (coconut yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, beetroot kvass)
  • grass-fed meats (especially organ meat)
  • wild fatty fish (mackerel, anchovies, sardines)
  • coconut oil
  • a broad spectrum probiotic
  • glutamine
  • colostrum (if you can handle dairy-based products)
  • aloe vera
  • Restore
To see my favourite supplement brands, click HERE

 

digestive aids

A fundamental component of a healthy gut is well digested food. Digestion starts in the mouth: chewing your food (and eating mindfully) is a big part of properly breaking down and absorbing the nutrients in your food, these supplements can also help you break down larger meals:

 My favourite digestive bitters by Surthrival. Click image for more info.

My favourite digestive bitters by Surthrival. Click image for more info.

  • fresh celery juice (learn more HERE)
  • HCL + pepsin
  • digestive enzymes
  • digestive bitters (learn more HERE)
  • apple cider vinegar (diluted in water)
  • lemon juice (diluted in water)

 

 

HYDRATION

Avoid drinking liquids too close to meals (it dilutes your stomach acid, which breaks down food), but drinking adequate amounts of clean water throughout the day is integral not only to your digestive health, but also cleansing and detoxing your blood, and hydrating your organs (including your skin!). I generally consume 4-5L of spring water a day.

  • clean water (spring water or properly filtered water)
  • herbal infusions (learn how HERE)

 

Note: tap water is a healthy skins worst enemy. Never mind the plethora of neurotoxic chemicals, pharmaceutical runoff, and heavy metal contamination; the chlorine alone is enough to bomb your gut and kill the good bacteria/ destroy your microbiome. Investing in a good water filter, or getting spring water delivered to your house is the #1 tip I have for anyone looking to get healthy, and thrive. 

 

 Berkey Countertop water filter + fluoride filter (Click image for more info)

Berkey Countertop water filter + fluoride filter (Click image for more info)

 Cedar Springs water delivery service (use code Becoming Fully Human for your first two 18L bottles free) (Click image for more info)

Cedar Springs water delivery service (use code Becoming Fully Human for your first two 18L bottles free) (Click image for more info)

 Reverse osmosis under the sink water filtration system. (Click image for more info)

Reverse osmosis under the sink water filtration system. (Click image for more info)

 

COMMON SKIN “PROBLEMS”

Spots/ Acne

First of all, it’s important to know that acne has many different causes, but the two main culprits are a bad diet and hormone imbalances. Diet wise, the two key factors are keeping inflammatory foods in check, as well as keeping a balanced blood sugar. Key offenders in terms of trigger foods (that can do some serious damage to your balance) are dairy (especially conventional factory farmed products), refined sugars, and vegetable oils. Tailoring your diet to your own needs and making sure you nourish yourself will do wonders for your skin. When it comes to blood sugar, I truly believe maintaining balance throughout the day is the key to so many ailments, including skin health. By controlling your blood sugar (no big spikes in insulin, and subsequent crashes) you will also help maintain energy levels throughout the day, support your immune system, promote healthy weight, improve gut health, and support a healthy metabolism. The trick is having balanced meals, lower in sugar, moderate in high quality protein, and high in good fats. This is not the same as “keto”; I believe in truly nourishing yourself, which includes a wide range of micronutrients- found mostly in vegetables. Vegetables are carbohydrates- carbs are not the enemy, processed food is. Avoid refined, processed, “food-like-products”, and focus on real, whole, nutrient dense foods. Be mindful that although it is full of vitamins and minerals, fruit can be a major insulin trigger for some people (in particular higher sugar fruits like dates, bananas, and mangos). Get to know what works for you, a great way to know your blood sugar is stable is you feel no spikes and crashes of energy following meals- your energy should be nice and sustained throughout the day.

 

Renegade Beauty Spot Treatment

For acne, bumps, blemishes, melasma, and scars

3ml Lavender

1ml Immortelle

1ml Rose Otto

1ml Frankincense

 

Products: Zippity Dew Dab by Living Libations; no matter how clear your skin is, this natural spot treatment is a powerful tool to treat topically. Avoid touching your face, and apply a few drops of the Dew Dab. They also have BeDew Dab Ozonated Beauty Balm, which cools and nurtures red and irritated skin if your bumps are paired with a more general skin irritation. Another option for spot treatment is creating a paste using a pump of one of the Living Libations Best Skin Ever range, a few drops of dew dab, and a 1/4 tsp of the Living Libations Rosemary Reset Powder, and leave it over night. 
 Zippity DewDab spot treatment

Zippity DewDab spot treatment

 Ozonated DewDab

Ozonated DewDab

 Rosemary reset powder

Rosemary reset powder

Click image for more info.

 

Oily skin

There is a massive misconception about oily skin that if you have it, you need to strip the oil in order to balance it out. I used to believe this too and without ever getting to know my own skin I used extremely acidic and harsh products that would completely strip all the oil from my skin, before reapplying a (toxic) face cream. Bru-tal. I’m going to let you in on a secret: oily skin is often a reaction of over-compensation; your skin is lacking oil, and so it’s making up for it by creating too much. The best thing you can do for oily skin is to give face oil a go! I started incorporating high quality face oils into my skincare routine years ago and haven’t looked back. You needn’t use soap or petroleum/ chemical-based stripping scrubs whatsoever. Apply a couple of squirts of a face-friendly oil to and massage it using your hands; then use an organic washcloth with warm water to gently go over your face. This will clean the face without dehydrating it (forcing it to overcompensate and leave you with an abundance of oil).

 

Products: Living Libations, all day everyday. The oils crafted to majestically by Nadine Artemis are truly bar none. Many oils don’t penetrate pores (including coconut oil), and even some skin-friendly oils (like jojoba) have a harder time really absorbing in the skin. Nadine took the guess work out of face oils, as her synergistic blends of carrier oils, essential oils, herb, and serums are perfectly crafted to work magic on your skin. My favourite products are the Best Skin Ever “Sandalwood” and “Frankincense”- I start my day with Frankincense (which is like a facelift in a bottle), and end the day with Sandalwood, (which is soothing after a busy day...especially in the sun). 
 Best Skin Ever oil range by Living Libations, click image for more info.

Best Skin Ever oil range by Living Libations, click image for more info.

 

Dry skin

Hydration starts inside, so if your skin is very dry make hydration throughout the day a priority. Lots of clean water (tap water is not only filled with chemicals, but fails to properly hydrate the skin), and consider adding a pinch of high quality sea salt as well as some lemon to your water. Herbal infusions are another way to super charge your water with minerals and micronutrients, learn how to make them HERE. Be mindful of dehydrating foods (like fried, over salted, or high in sugar) and beverages (in particular high in sugar or caffeinated, which acts as a diuretic). Once you have your diet in check, there are many things that can dehydrate your skin from the outside in, in particular the elements (excess cold, sun, wind), and environmental pollutants. Including a hydrating serum in your skin care routine is a great way to really boost your skin’s hydration and protect it throughout the day. Hyaluronic acid is a great tool to apply (on a clean face) before applying oils, to help boost hydration and help the oils penetrate the skin. Rose is a particularly healing extract to help heal dry skin, and opt for hydrating masks (like honey based ones). Don’t forget to protect your skin if you're going to be in the sun for an extended period of time.

 

Products: Natural Oz Hyaluronic Acid Serum (with roships and green tea), followed by your favorite Living Libations face oil (especially their “rose” line, like RoeGlow Serum, Royal Rose CoQ10 Serum, or the BestSkin Ever Rose). Living Libations also has a deeply hydrating and soothing Jewel Dab Ozonated Beauty Balm, as well as a Frankincense Honey Mask. See all HERE.

 

Sensitive skin

This is important for all products that anyone puts on their skin, but I’ll reiterate it here because you are particularly sensitive: avoid any products that contain any synthetic ingredients. Many companies out there are using terms like “sensitive skin” or “hypoallergenic” and their products still contain a slo of synthetic, petroleum based, irritating chemicals. I fell into this trap for years with products like Aveno Sensitive, Cetaphil, and Complex 15. These products are full of toxic ingredients and are absolutely not going to help your sensitive skin. These companies are riding the coattails of the health industry and using it as a marketing tool to lure you in. There are many brands out there that genuinely use products made with 100% organic and wildcrafted ingredients, properly crafted to support your skin and overall health. Soothing combinations include oils like sandalwood, rose, aloe vera, lavender, chamomile, frankincense, sage, and rosemary. Just because a brand advertises one of these ingredients, however, does not mean the entire product is "natural". Assume guilty until proven innocent, because most companies these days are selling poison.

Invest in a high quality cream and oil, and find what works for your skin; many health stores will have samples of these creams, spend the time testing a small patch of your skin to see how it reacts. Living Libations actually sells their products in sample sizes, consider investing in a wide range of their trial sizes (unless you can make it to their Venice, Los Angeles store and try them all for free; some health stores that carry the brand also have samples). Also, invest in some gentle, organic cloths to rinse your face with. 

 

Products: BeDew Dab Ozonated Beauty Balm, Best Skin Ever (Sandalwood or Frankincense), Soothsayer Serum, and any of the rose based oils/ serums (Best Skin Ever, RoseGlow Serum, or RoyalRose CoQ10 Serum). 
 Living Libations trial packet bundle will allow you to try a wide range of oils and serums to make sure your sensitive skin reacts well. Click image for more info.

Living Libations trial packet bundle will allow you to try a wide range of oils and serums to make sure your sensitive skin reacts well. Click image for more info.

 

Skin disorders (eczema, rosacea, psoriasis)

Skin conditions truly require an overhaul of your lifestyle. Diet is a key factor to reversing even the most serious cases of skin disorders, and requires restoring the health of your gut (leaky gut/ indigestion) and micro biome, and eliminating triggers (such as allergens and inflammatory foods)- discussed earlier in the article. Another imperative aspect of healing skin disorders is eliminating all synthetic body care products. Aforementioned, cosmetic and body-care companies are masters of deception; from Aveda, to Aveeno, to Dove, companies are charging a premium to sell you chemical shit storms. Be very weary of brands that use the word "natural" especially when a single glance at the ingredient list will show 30 unrecognizable ingredients. Another thing worth investing in would be a basic shower filter. Tap water (filled with chemicals and chlorine) aggravates normal skin, and even more so skin that is already chronically irritated.

Two other factors to master are sleep and stress. Too much stress and too little sleep cause distress on the body, promote disease and inflammation- none of which promotes healing. Read my tips to optimize sleep HERE.

If you are overwhelmed with symptoms and don't know where to start regarding diet, consider an autoimmune elimination diet like GAPS. These (temporarily) restrictive diets allow you to re-introduce foods one at a time to better understand how your body reacts to certain foods. I've linked to guides at the bottom of this article.

Note that the inflammatory trigger of synthetic chemicals go far beyond just what you put on your face and include soaps, cleaning chemicals, laundry detergents, jewelry, animal dandruff, perfume, clothing, alcohol, and food sensitivities.

If you are experiencing a chronic skin disorder, my heart genuinely goes out to you. These conditions are unfathomably difficult to deal with, but please know that your skin wants to heal, your body wants to thrive. Skin conditions, and any pain/ ailment in general is your body's way of communicating with you. You will overcome this obstacle, but you have to be willing to really commit yourself whole heartedly to your wellbeing and your healing journey.

 

As far as topical stuff goes, these topical CBD (hemp, with no THC aka no high whatsoever) products are a powerful healing tool to help heal the skin from the outside in. The company I trust whole heartedly is called  Endoca, not only is their CBD truly medicinal grade and pure- but their products are 100% organic. I use them personally.

Code "becomingfullyhuman" will get you 5% off all Endoca CBD products. (They also ship internationally for free when you spend 100$). 

 

The Soap Lie

Your face has its own micro-biome, and should not be washed aggressively with soaps and scrubs every day. Occasionally if I’ve had a long day downtown and really feel my face is coated with car exhaust fumes and city-dirt, I’ll use highly diluted Dr. Bronner’s unscented (baby) Castile soap to rinse my face and body- but for the most part you should never soap your face (or body in general). Certain areas can do with a little soap (the areas that sweat/ can build up more bacteria, basically your pits and your bottom), but other than that a simple rinse with water will ensure you protect the natural micro-biome of your body. Yes, even after a sweaty gym sesh. Stop fearing dirt and sweat, especially the day to day. When it comes to my face I genuinely just rinse with water and use oils to naturally cleanse. Soaps shouldn't be used everyday. Anti-bacterial soaps should be used never. 

Your micro-biome is actually what keeps your skin healthy, they are like soldiers that fight off infection, bacteria, and keep a balanced environment on your skin (no different than your gut). If you are incessantly using soaps (especially anti-bacterial soaps), you are wiping away your micro-biome in its entirety, and ironically making yourself more susceptible to odour, infections, and disease.

More and more products are coming onto the market that support your micro-biome, including probiotics body products and sprays, as well as soaps that do not kill off all the good bacteria. If you are often exposed to environments that are susceptible to Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria (Staph infections) like gyms and hospitals, opt for Defense soap, and consider supplementing with a topical probiotic spray by a company like Mother Dirt.

Honestly, the best thing you can do to maintain a healthy skin micro-biome  is to spend more time in nature, bare foot, and bare skinned... and shower less.

 

 Dr. Bronner's is a natural castile based soap that can be diluted for safe use on the body.

Dr. Bronner's is a natural castile based soap that can be diluted for safe use on the body.

 Defense soap is a natural soap that is notorious for killing harmful bacteria including Staph.

Defense soap is a natural soap that is notorious for killing harmful bacteria including Staph.

 Mother Dirt is a probiotic enriched spray to reintroduce good bacteria onto the microbiome of your skin.

Mother Dirt is a probiotic enriched spray to reintroduce good bacteria onto the microbiome of your skin.

Click images for more info. 

 

 

essential oils 

Unlike artificial scents (that are endocrine disruptors), essential oils are distillations from actual plant matter. But the benefits of essential oils go much deeper than simply a pleasant aroma. Aroma therapy and topical/ internal use of essential oils has a profound impact on our being and have the ability to help us heal and thrive.

True fragrances offer a direct route to the frequencies of thoughts, and it has been used for eons as a way to open new doors of perception.
— Nadine Artemis, in Renegade Beauty

classic oils and their benfits

Carrot Seed (Dacus Carota): highly regenerative and calming; enhances elasticity, revives and balances (oily and dry) skin, natural sun protection.

Chamomile (Anthemis Noblis): gentle, calming/ soothing.

Frankincense (Boswellia Carterii): Sacred ancient aroma that activates intuition, powerful anti-inflammatory, heals wounds, fades scares, heals melasma, and nourishes aging skin.

Imortelle (Helichrysum Italicum): divine feminine essence that stimulates scar healing, skin protecting, cell regeneration.

Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia): soothing/ restorative essence used to treat insomnia, stress, anxiety; also a powerful anti-inflammatory for topical wounds, burns, cuts, and acne.

Lemon (Citrus Limon): lively, revitalizing, uplifting, invigorating. Detoxifies and supports the nervous system.

Myrrh (Commiphora Myrrha): ancient healing aroma, deep healing properties, detoxifying, and used to treat a plethora of ailments ranging from respiratory conditions, to skin disorders, digestive imbalances, and oral conditions.

Peppermint (Mentha Piperita): cooling essence that pacifies throbbing, reduces redness, and tranquilizes itchiness. Also powerful pain reliever, aids digestion, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis): refreshing aroma that stimulates sluggishness out of its stagnancy; helps lymph, liver, digestive, immune, and skin systems thrive.

Rose Otto (Rosa Damascena): hear-opening aroma that heals (physical and emotional trauma), rejuvenates skin, promotes balances and heals all types of skin ailments.

Sandalwood (Santalium Album): Sensual aroma that is deeply moisturizing, antimicrobial, tones and regenerates skin; soothing and speeds repair of wounds, scars, and melasma.

Vetiver (Chrysopogon Zizanioides): grounding essence, calming, moisturizes and soothes tissue.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia): revered antiseptic properties, heals, soothes, and cleans cuts wounds and inflamed skin.

 

A note on essential oils

It's important to note that essential oils are powerful concentrates, and that you should be mindful of applying them directly onto the skin. You should almost always dilute them in a carrier oil.

1% dilution: 7-10 drops of essential oil + 2 tablespoons of carrier oil

2% dilution: 14-20 drops of essential oil + 2 tablespoons of carrier oil

Carrier oils include jojoba oil (great for the face), tamanu oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, coconut oil (esp. "fractioned"), avocado oil, grapes oil, olive oil.

 

Source the purest quality essential oils HERE.

 

My Skincare Routine

 

AM

2 pumps of Living Libations Frankincense Best Skin Ever Oil (massage with hands into my face)

5 minutes of Gua Sha facial massage (learn how HERE)

Rinse with warm water using an organic wash cloth

3 drops of Oz Naturals hyaluronic acid (massage with hands into my face)

2 pumps of Living Libations Frankincense Best Skin Ever Oil (massage with hands into my face)

A couple of sprays of Everlasting Imortelle (Helichrysum) spray

 

PM

rinse with warm water using an organic wash cloth

3 drops of Oz Naturals hyaluronic acid (massage with hands into my face)

2 pumps of Living Libations Sandalwood Best Skin Ever Oil (massage with hands into my face)

A couple of sprays of Everlasting Imortelle (Helichrysum) spray

 

 Hyaluronic Acid Serum, applied to a clean dry face before using an oil.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum, applied to a clean dry face before using an oil.

 Organic Hemp Cloths

Organic Hemp Cloths

 Living Libations Best Skin Ever in Frankincense 

Living Libations Best Skin Ever in Frankincense 

 Rose Quartz gua sha tools

Rose Quartz gua sha tools

 Living Libations Best Skin Ever face oil in Sandalwood

Living Libations Best Skin Ever face oil in Sandalwood

 Immortelle spray by Divine Essence

Immortelle spray by Divine Essence

Click images for more info.

 

Occasional Face Masks

Face masks are a great way to give your face a little extra loving. I’m not personally obsessed with them.. honestly I just do them once in a while when I feel like it. This can be once a week (I used to be much more regular with the activated charcoal masks) but as of lately I’ve been doing a mask more like once a month.


Get to know what works for YOUR skin. Some masks are more detoxifying/ dehydrating, if you already have really dry or irritated skin, opt for a gentler hydrating mask.

 

 Activated charcoal face mask.

Activated charcoal face mask.

Activated Charcoal: This is one of my preferred masks. Create a paste with activated coconut charcoal and spring water (add about 1/2 tbsp - 1 tbsp of charcoal and add a few drops of water at a time until you have a paste). The charcoal adsorbs and pulls impurities from the skin; it’s an awesome detox face mask (particularly good after a day downtown). Let the mask dry, and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Charcoal is extremely dehydrating, so follow up with a hydrating serum and a nice face oil. NOTE: Charcoal is next-level messy- I suggest either doing this naked or wear an old t-shirt. As the mask dries, the charcoal will start to dust off; it’s not a bad idea to rinse off the mask in the shower.

 

French Green Clay Mask: Feather Eagle Sky has a beautiful french green clay mask that I like to combine with either water or the Feather Eagle Sky face cleansing oil to create a paste. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water. Like charcoal, clay is very drying to the skin, so make sure you follow up with hydration and oil. 

 Feather Eagle Sky french green clay mask.

Feather Eagle Sky french green clay mask.

 An alternative (less expensive) clay mask, with detoxifying bentonite clay.

An alternative (less expensive) clay mask, with detoxifying bentonite clay.

Hydrating Honey Mask: The two previous masks can be quite abrasive, and although they are powerful tools for cleaning/ pulling crap from the pores, this face mask is much more restorative and hydrating. Perfect after a long day in the sun, or if the face is dehydrated or irritated. You can buy honey-based masks online, or make one at home; opt for Manuka honey for an even more powerfully healing experience.

Hydrating Manuka Honey Mask

2 teaspoons plain whole milk yogurt or yogurt

2 teaspoons high quality Manuka honey

optional: 1-2 drops of frankincense essential oil

 

Cooling Mask: A cooling mask is a great option after a long day in the sun, or to help reduce inflammation if you have irritated skin. Ingredients like cucumber, aloe vera, and honey are calming and nurturing to the skin. Oils to sooth and cool include peppermint, lavender, and sandalwood.

Cool As A Cumcumber Mask

1/2 a cucumber

1 tbsp fresh aloe vera gel

1 tbsp manuka (or regular) honey

- blend in a blender, and refrigerate before use.

 

 

Makeup 

I cannot help you too much in this department because I ditched all the makeup years ago. Makeup is a massive culprit of skin problems because conventional makeup is full of shit (both chemically and metaphorically). You'll have to do your own research regarding natural products, but my best advice is to cultivate love for the beautiful little face you were born with. No matter how well women do their makeup, I have yet to see anyone I think is more beautiful with makeup on than without. I'm definitely biased in the favour of nature but truly- there is nothing more beautiful than a fresh naturally healthy glow (and nothing more horrific than the artificial glow coming off of a contoured highlighted face...).

 

Sun Care

Sunshine is the ultimate life force.

 We've been lied to when it comes to the sun. Smart (yet abundant) sun exposure is without a doubt one of the most powerful healing and preventative health tools.

We've been lied to when it comes to the sun. Smart (yet abundant) sun exposure is without a doubt one of the most powerful healing and preventative health tools.

Our bodies and bones need the sun. Our skin is designed for sunshine. Ample time in the sunshine turns on a cosmic conversation, a banquet of information that percolates our pores, cells, and soul. When we merge our bodies with the sun’s cathodic, cosmic rays, pores dilate deeply below the epidermis to receive seminal influence of the sun’s confluence, melting and melding with our body’s way to produce melanin and to lubricate the skin, organs, muscles, and marrow. These secretions turn sunlight into activating body electrons and substantive secretions for the immune, respiratory, digestive, and endocrine systems. Wise interactions with the sun presents revitalizing, illuminating, nourishment for numerous body functions.
— Nadine Artemis, in Renegade Beauty

Sunshine is life, but burning is definitely not on the menu of a thriving body. There are three ways to block your skin from burning: chemical based sunscreen, natural sunscreen (either mineral or oil based), and clothing/ shade barrier. For the better part of my adult life, I have completely omitted sunscreen all together. Let me emphasize that burning your skin is absolutely terrible for your health; not only does it promote skin cancer, it destroys your skin, creates shock and distress in your body, and seriously compromises your skins ability to regenerate/ be elastic/ youthful. Burning is a no no, and my personal go-to for the longest time has been to just cover up or get out of the sun when I've had enough. My skin is naturally very fair (hello blue eyes, blonde hair), but over the years I have transformed my my skins ability to take in sunshine, tan, and not burn- by changing my diet. 

 

Diet

A typical Standard American Diet (SAD indeed) of highly refined, processed foods is a one stop shop for skin that goes from pale to red. A diet full of vitamins, minerals, vegetables, good fats, and high quality animal protein has revolutionized my skins ability to tan... For reals. Foods in particular that support skin health/ your ability to spend time in the sun are: omega-3s in the form of DHA (fish), tomatoes, leafy greens, healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats (grass fed butter/ tallow,  olive oil,  avocados). There are also many supplements that act as internal sunscreens, including astaxanthin (found in fish, but available in supplement form), as well as Chaga mushroom. The top foods to avoid are processed vegetable oils, processed grains, and processed sugar.

 Chaga Mushroom is a powerful tool to protect and repair your DNA. Learn more about Chaga  HERE .

Chaga Mushroom is a powerful tool to protect and repair your DNA. Learn more about Chaga HERE.

 Like Chaga, Astaxanthin has the ability to naturally increase your body's resilience to sun (and sun damage). Click image for more info.

Like Chaga, Astaxanthin has the ability to naturally increase your body's resilience to sun (and sun damage). Click image for more info.

Sun exposure is absolutely crucial for a healthy, glowing, thriving body. Sun exposure (on bare skin!) when the sun is over 30 degrees from the horizon will provide your body with vitamin D via UVB rays. The vitamin D you get from the sun cannot be replicated by a supplement and in fact the benefits of sun exposure go far beyond the vitamin D.

The action of sunshine in the outdoors on the body is of such a nature that sun-baths have a triple significance- as a healing agent in the cure of disease, as a preventative to disease by building up the body resilience, and as a sheer pleasure- giving tonic which increases the feeling of well-being.
— Edgar Mayer, MD

After cleaning up your diet, and spending as much time in the sun as possible (without burning!) it’s good to note your options if you are going to stay outside in the sunshine, but your skin has had enough sun. Heading for the shade (or creating shade with clothing/ an umbrella) is ideal, but not always possible. 

 

Conventional (synthetic chemical-based) sunscreen

Conventional (synthetic chemical-based) is one of the most shit riddled, poisonous, disease causing products on this planet. They contains a slo of toxins, including oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Your pores are direct gateways into your bloodstream- I cannot stress this enough: if something is too poisonous to eat, it should not be placed on your skin. Even worse is the fact that in the heat of the sun, our pores are wide open to facilitate sweat, and also facilitating the absorption of these poisons into the body. These chemicals are nefarious endocrine disruptors and promote a wide range of diseases ranging from endometriosis, thyroid disfunction and even autoimmune diseases. The use of conventional chemical sunscreen is actually a massive contributing factor to cancer. 

Terrible brands include Coppertone, Banana Boat, Equate, but higher end name brand sunscreens like Nutrogena, Avene, Clarins, are just as toxic. You will find all these brand on the Environmental Working Group's list of most toxic sunscreens, and the saddest part is that the worst offenders are almost exclusively the "kids" sunscreens. Shameful. (See EWG's list HERE)

 

Natural (mineral based) sunscreen

- uncoated, non-nanoparticle zinc oxide is a completely non-toxic way to effectively blocks and reflects the sun's rays. But you have to be mindful of all the other ingredients in sunscreen as well. Just because a sunscreen's active ingredient is zinc, does not mean it isn't full of endocrine disrupting artificial chemicals too (like Sun Bum). 

 

Natural (botanical oils) sunscreen

These natural ingredients provide a degree of natural sun protection, but still allow the suns beneficial properties to penetrate the skin. Carrot seed oil is the most potent, followed by raspberry seed oil. A proper natural sunscreen will be a synergistic blend of many of these ingredients, and will generally also contain zinc.

 Living Libations "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" Tanning Oil, filled with botanical extracts made for sun use.

Living Libations "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" Tanning Oil, filled with botanical extracts made for sun use.

 Living Libations "Everybody Loves The Sunshine with Zinc" Oil, filled with botanical extracts made for sun use  plus zinc.

Living Libations "Everybody Loves The Sunshine with Zinc" Oil, filled with botanical extracts made for sun use plus zinc.

 Living Libations "Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc Beach Balm" is more of a body butter, with zinc protection. 

Living Libations "Everybody Loves the Sunshine with Zinc Beach Balm" is more of a body butter, with zinc protection. 

 Sun Face Protect by Feather Eagle Sky (with zinc).

Sun Face Protect by Feather Eagle Sky (with zinc).

You can learn more about these sun-care products by clicking on their image, and also browsing the tab "sun" once you get to the Living Libations website.

 

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DIY sunscreen recipe by Chloe Parsons

 

(of "Wholly Chloe")

- 2 heaping tbsp of cacao butter

- 2 heaping tbsp of shea butter

- 1/4 cup beeswax

- 1/4 cup apricot oil

- 1/4 cup avocado oil

melt all the above together on low heat until melted, then remove from heat and add in: 

- 2 tbsp non-nanoparticle zinc oxide

See full recipe HERE.
Check out my Q&A with Chloe HERE.

 

if you burn

  • aloe vera
  • jojoba oil (as a carrier)
  • peppermint essential oil
  • lavender essential oil

 

sun worshippers

  • imortelle, sandalwood, geranium, frankincense, and rose have the ability to fade hyperpigmintation (sun spots) and prevent abnormal cell growth, so if you are a sun worshipper like me: incorporating these oils/ distillations can be profound in nourishing your skin into older age.

 

Hot Tip: 

The D Minder app calculates the vitamin D generated by the sun based on your skin tone, your geographical location, and the cloud cover. This is a great tool for engaging in safe, smart, sun exposure- and knowing when it's time to cover up.

 

Aging

I felt the need to touch on this in a skin care guide because there is so much talk about anti-aging in the skin care industry, and truthfully I loath it. Aging is an absolutely beautiful, natural process- and I think it is extremely harmful to the psyche to ever seek a reversal of something that is a part of life. Aging is wisdom, aging is grace, aging is life. "Anti-aging" is a profoundly negative way to experience life; instead choose to support your body through this life, to nourish your skin as it ages. Decide to see lines as a sign of a life well lived, a roadmap of memories. Nourish yourself with real food, drink clean water, priorities sleep, manage your stress,  use natural body-care products (full of essential oils, distillations, truly natural creams and serums) and you will ensure your skin glows into old age. Support your body, don't fight it. Love your skin, love your self, love what is. 

Beyond the what-was and what-will-be comparison world of commercial beauty is a reality that communes with the cosmos. Beauty is not a skincare regiment of incessant becoming. Beauty is not another adrenal-driven ambition of self-improvement clashing against the rocks of time. Be free of the dangling carrot that endlessly entices with the chimera of idealized and never fully realized beauty. Let the unseen alchemist of ether whisper in your ear about being in beauty’s revered reception, and move away from the hazy gaze of the convoluted fears of comparison. The desire to be beautiful is beauty. The yearning is desire’s reply. This is the benediction of beauty- it is all right here.
— Nadine Artemis, in Renegade Beauty

I hope this guide to skin care helped shed come light on questions you may have about natural skin care. It is by no means exhaustive, and I urge you to get to know your own body, your own skin, and find out what works for you. Resources below will inspire you to take a deeper dive, but at the end of the day you are the ultimate resource for uncovering the mysteries of your own natural beauty.


DIVE DEEPER

books

Renegade Beauty : Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance-Beauty Secrets, Solutions, and Preparations, by Nadine Artemis

The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy, by Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D.

Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils, by Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D.

Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain –for Life, by David Perlmutter, M.D.

The Healing Sun, by Richard Hobday


Websites 

Why I Eat My Sunscreen by Wellness Mama

Psoriasis Is a Gut Disorder, by Dr. David Perlmutter 

5 Things to Know About Triclosan, by the FDA

The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group

My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment by NYTimes

Gut Healing Foods by Kettle and Fire

Rebalance the Gut, Rebalance the Immune System by Dr. Perlmutter

Autoimmune Diet, by Wellness Mama

Is Dirt The New Prozac? by Discover

Sunbathing : the Benefits are more than Skin Deep 

 

#science

Vitamin D https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/ 

Vitamin D defficiency https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306

Sun exposure risk vs benefit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5129901/ 

Penetration of sunscreen into the blood stream https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168365902000561

Astaxanthin as sun protection https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20219323

Psoriasis as a gut disorder https://www.drperlmutter.com/study/lipopolysaccharide-binding-protein-increased-patients-psoriasis-metabolic-syndrome-correlates-c-reactive-protein/ 

Gut health and healing the immune system https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29119385

Chaga inhibits oxidative damage  https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/biof.5520310306

Chaga anti-tumour https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2836

A New Approach in Topical Hyaluronic Acid: Going Beyond Instant Benefits to Restore Epidermal HA Homeostasis http://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961616S0021X/1 

How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs (Sunshine)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/