I Wash My Face With Clay

 
CLAY FACE WASH
 

I don’t use soap on my face. After battling years of acne in high school, I realized that the more I washed my face, the worse things got. I eventually gave up and stoped washing my face altogether. The wild thing is, my skin got better when I stopped washing. What I didn’t know then was I was stripping my skin of the bacteria and oil that naturally protected it, causing major breakouts.

Human skin has a natural PH of around 5 or lower, using soap, cosmetics and in some cases even city tap water, can disrupt that PH, brining it to more alkaline levels. When we disturb the acid mantle of our skin the bacteria that thrive in the higher PH environment stop thriving and leave our skin vulnerable to infection, breakouts, and dry skin.

How Often To Use Kaolin Clay Mask

I still don’t wash my face every day, but I do use clay at least 3 times a week and my favorite being Kaolin Clay. This clay has a PH of about 5-6 and does not disturb your skin’s acid mantle.

Deep Pore Cleansing & Exfoliating.

I fill a small wide mouthed jar with the clay, wet a cotton ball, dab it in the clay and spread across my face. I let the clay sit on my face for 1-2 minutes. It dries so quickly, if you wait any longer it will start to flake off of your skin, leaving a dusting of clay everywhere. As it dries I can see my pores soaking up the clay. I wipe the clay off of my face with a warm washcloth. I often need to go over my face with the cloth two or three times to get the clay out of my pores and remove all the dead skin cells. The difference before and after is impressive! My face feels smooth, polished and my pores are much less visible.

The days I don’t wash my face with clay, I use the Oil Cleansing Method or a Bentonite Clay & ACV mask. On days I don’t wear makeup, I will often skip washing my face altogether and my skin is still super happy!

I usually like to keep things simple and use the kaolin on its own, but sometimes I feel fancy and add essential oils (lavender to soothe, frankincense for rejuvenating/healing).

Have you ever tried kaolin clay? How do you keep your skin happy?

Make Your Own Eyeshadow with Spices, Clays and Minerals

 
Spice Shadow.jpg
 

If you know me well, you know that I'm not a huge fan the caked-on makeup look. In high school I pretty much never wore makeup, except for once or twice a year, eliciting many shocked and excited comments from friends, especially my mother, when I did. The older I've gotten, the more frequently I wear makeup, but often stick to just mascara and some lip tint. Going shopping at Sephora or any makeup counter, has always been sensory overload for me. Smells and colors and people trying to put things on me...it is not my happy place. That's not to say I don't like the idea of makeup, I actually think it can be really fun to play around with. This time of year there seem to be more reasons to get dressed up and make my face sparkly.   

About 10 years ago I found a recipe online for a homemade face powder and it just so happened I had all the ingredients I needed on hand. The results were pretty great and since that time I have continued to create my own recipes for makeup. The results aren't always perfect and I have had to toss many a failure on the compost pile, but my most recent project I have been really happy with. The first time I made eyeshadow I was experimenting with inorganic pigments, mainly iron oxides. The colors were vibrant and beautiful and I really enjoyed using them. You can be very precise when color matching with inorganic pigments, however not *everyone* has a sample set of iron oxides sitting around the house. I am willing to bet that if you are reading this post, you probably have some cinnamon, cacao and maybe some turmeric in your spice cabinet right now.

Using spices and clays to make eyeshadows are not only convenient, but I feel SO much better about what I'm putting on my face. The ingredients found in common eyeshadows can be pretty nasty: aluminum, coal tar, formaldehyde and parabens, just to name a few. There are also a few companies that use nanoparticles in their mineral makeup. Nanoparticles can enter your bloodstream and accumulate in your body, not something we should expect to happen with makeup. The color from most cosmetic products come from iron oxides. Oxides are generally considered safe and the EWG considers them a low risk. That being said, the process of making pigments from oxides in a laboratory is pretty involved this video gives you an idea of how they are made. I found myself wanting something more accessible that has hopefully gone though less processing.

While lots of companies are starting to change their products due to public pressure, one way to make sure you know what is in your eyeshadow is to make it yourself!


Ingredients

Most of the ingredients I use in these recipes are easy to acquire (especially with the internet) if you don't already have them in your kitchen. 

Gold Mica Dust - Mica is a mineral that adds a bit of sparkle to your eyeshadow. When mica is wet ground it is like a fine glitter dust. A little goes a long way! 

Sericite Mica - Sericite Mica is an incredibly fine mineral that works to help the color adhere to your skin. It also helps to spread the color evenly. 

Beetroot Powder - For pinks and reds. You can purchase (or grow!) your own beets, slice, dehydrate and grind your own powder. Or pick some powder up at your local health food store. I like the Starwest Botanicals brand. Color will vary.

Cinnamon - Not only does it smell good, but it is a lovely warming color. 

Spirulina Powder - A blue-green alge that has numerous health benefits, also is an incredibly vibrant color of green. 

Turmeric - Another powerhouse spice that is amazing internally and externally. Add just a pinch for bright golden yellow. 

Cacao Powder - Cacao adds a light brown color and smells wonderful. 

Allspice - When I want a darker brown, allspice adds a nice depth of color. 

Activated Charcoal - Black. I've been using activated charcoal for years as an eyeliner. It makes a beautifully smokey shadow as well. 

Hibiscus Powder - Reds, pinks and purples. Hibiscus is high in vitamin c and great internally and externally. You can buy dried hibiscus flowers and grind them yourself or buy the powder ready to go. 


Tips and Tricks

Hibiscus eyeshadow dusted and hibiscus sparkle liner

Hibiscus eyeshadow dusted and hibiscus sparkle liner

When using spices for makeup, the effects will be more subtle then store bought products. While adding ingredients like mica help with adhesion and application, they are going to be more understated applied directly. If you are a fan of of the natural look, these recipes will be great on their own. If you would prefer a bolder look, here are some tricks you can use:

Moisturize Well. Applying oil or lotion to your eyelids will help the powder to stay put and adhere better. I like using argan oil. 

Arrowroot Powder. If you really want to show off the color, dusting your eyelid with arrowroot first will give you a good base.

Add Water. For a really clear line, you can wet your brush with a bit of water, dip in the eyeshadow. You can also use this trick with an eyeliner brush to turn your eyeshadow into a liner. 

Aloe Vera. Similar to water, you can use aloe vera juice on your brush to make a little paste with the colors and apply as a liner or eyeshadow. 

Concealer. By adding concealer to your eyelid you can make a nice clean palate to work with. Concealer recipe coming soon!

 

Activated charcoal eyeliner and smokey shadow

Activated charcoal eyeliner and smokey shadow

As you can tell from the pictures...I am not a makeup artist! I just mess around with techniques until I like what I see. 

Just a note on tools: in the recipes I mention the measurements dash, smidgen, tad, and drop. These are clearly non standard measurements! They come from my favorite tiny measuring spoons. When measuring using such small amounts, it really helps to have a uniform measuring spoon. If you don't have these spoons, just wing it! A tad is about 1/4 teaspoon, a dash is less than that, then a pinch, then a smidgen, then a drop. When you want to get really serious about homemade makeup we can talk about scales and spice grinders, but that will have to be another day. 

I should probably mention brushes as well. When you apply your shadow to a brush as loose powder, tap the end of your brush upside down on the counter before you apply. This will help the powder to set into the brush and help you avoid getting loose powder all over your face. All of these recipes can be used as eyeliners as well. A straight angled brush is a great tool for lining your eye and can work wet or dry. 

Have fun experimenting and don't be shy to make it up as you go!

 

Homemade Eyeshadow Recipes

Before you get started you want to get set up with a few tools: Small mixing bowls, a small whisk, measuring spoons, mini funnels (or roll a paper funnel), tiny measuring spoons (for all the dashes, smidgens, drops and tads you see below) and a small container to store your powder (old eyeshadow containers that have been sterilized work great!). Who doesn't love working with all these miniature tools?!

Precaution: You want to avoid breathing in the powders, as you are mixing by hand that should be pretty easy. If you want to be extra cautions you can use a dust mask while working. 

 Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour into your jar using a funnel.   

Deep Green

1/2 tsp Spirulina Powder

Pinch Gold Mica Dust

Tad Sericite Mica

 

Dusk/Mauve

1/4 tsp Beetroot Powder

Dash Cinnamon

Dash Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust (Optional)

 

Golden Brown

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Dash Turmeric

Dash Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust (Optional)

 

Smokey

1/4 tsp Cacao Powder

1/4 tsp Allspice

Pinch Activated Charcoal

Dash Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust (Optional)

 

Hibiscus Sparkle

1/2 tsp Hibiscus Powder 

1/4 tsp Sericite Mica

Drop of Gold Mica Dust 

 

These recipes are just a place for you to start. Play around with the colors and come up with your own combinations! Make sure to take notes so you can replicate if you like the results! And don't forget to come back and let me know what worked for you!

I Rinse My Hair With Rice Water

 
Rice water Rinsed Hair
 

Have you heard of the Hualong village in China where the ladies only cut their hair once in their life? Pictures of these women show up in Facebook articles every so often where they mention they have made it into the Guinness Book of world records for longest hair. Their hair is 6 to 7 feet long, it is thick, shiny and dark. They also say that the women don't start going grey until they are in their 80s. Their secret for beautiful hair is said to be rinsing their hair with the water leftover from rinsing rice. 

This article on Hair Buddha gives a great explanation of why rice water works. In her article she mentions SK-II has a skin care product called Pitera. SK-II say they were inspired to create Pitera based on the hands of older sake workers, which would appear smooth and youthful in contrast to their wrinkled faces. The Birth of Sake is a documentary currently on Netflix and I re-watched in recently paying particular attention to their hands. It is remarkable how compared to the faces of the older workers, their hands were smooth and wrinkle free. 

Strain+Rice+Water

A few years ago I decided to go "no-poo" and detox my hair from my daily shampoo and conditioner routine. I did the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse and tried a few variations. None of them were really my favorite. When I found Morrocco Method shampoos I was so happy to find a non stripping formulation with raw ingredients. My hair had reset and no longer needed daily washing. However...Morrocco Method, due to it's cost is more of a treat to me, once a year I will order a set and enjoy spa like showers for a few months. When I'm out of Morrocco Method I use a shampoo from Rudy's Barbershop (this product does not meet my standards of not putting on your body what you wouldn't put in your mouth, but compared to most store bought brands I prefer it), thankfully since my scalp detox I don't have to wash every day. Once or twice a week works great. My hair routine does not include using conditioner. I have tried many different conditioners, most of them leaving my hair feeling film, oily or just contributed to the build up of product that needed to be stripped. 

When I tried the rice water for the first time it was better than some of nicest conditioners I had used (including Bumble and Bumble, and Morrocco Method). My hair was so soft after using it and it did an amazing job of detangling. Considering that it was so incredibly easy to make and it is basically free, I'm honestly not sure if I'll ever buy conditioner again.

Another benefit of soaking your rice overnight is that you will have rice that cooks quicker and is also easier to digest. In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon talks quite a bit about soaking grains

Traditional societies usually soak or ferment their grains before eating them, processes that neutralize phytates and enzyme inhibitors and, in effect, predigest grains so that all their nutrients are more available. Sprouting, overnight soaking and old-fashioned sour leavening can accomplish this important predigestion process in our own kitchens.[1]

Lovely hair and more nutritious rice. Win Win!


Fermented Rice Water Hair Rinse

1 Cup of Organic White Rice  

2 Cups of filtered water 

Rinse the rice and then pour into a glass bowl with the two cups of water and cover. Let sit overnight. Strain the rice pouring the water into a jar or bottle. If you do not plan to use right away you can refrigerate for a day or two (but let it come to room temperature if you don't want an extremely cold rinse!). Shampoo hair as usual and rinse. Pour rice water over hair and let sit for 3-4 minutes. If you have longer hair, use a separate cup and place the ends of your hair directly in the rice water. You can capture the rice water in the cup as you pour the water from the bottle  over your hair for complete coverage. Rinse hair with warm water and dry as usual. 

 

Have you ever tried rice water for your hair? Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

[1] Fallon, Sally; Enig, Mary. Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (p. 25). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.:

Why I Use Magnesium Oil for Deodorant

DIY Magnesium Oil Lavender Deodorant

Body odor can be so embarrassing. I can think of plenty of times I have have found myself avoiding human contact because I felt self conscious about my smell. I love the feeling of sweating out toxins after a hard workout, but I do NOT love the smell that can often come along with it.

How you smell can be an indicator of a mineral deficiency, not a deodorant deficiency.

Similar to toothpaste, according to the FDA, deodorants and antiperspirants fall into the category of “Cosmetics That Are Also Drugs”[1]. You have probably heard by now about the dangers of aluminum in antiperspirants and their possible link to breast cancer. In this article, Chris Kresser looks at the research and finds the links are not quite so clear, but says that there IS clear evidence that aluminum can be absorbed into breast tissue and that shaving greatly increases the absorption of aluminum. He goes on to say that:

“Estrogen plays a key role in the development of breast cancer, and one study demonstrated that aluminum can interact with estrogen receptors on human breast cancer cells…There is also speculation that the blockage of sweat glands caused by aluminum-based antiperspirants could lead to the dermal absorption of abnormal levels of sex hormones and pheromones, which could contribute to cancer development.”

While today aluminum seems to be more of a contributing factor to breast cancer than a direct cause, there is a very clear link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. Aluminum is the most abundant neurotoxic metal on earth. Very little aluminum is needed to produce neurotoxicity and small amounts over time accumulate in the brain[2]

The first product that came up in my search for deodorant on Amazon lists the following ingredients:

Ingredients

Active: Aluminum Chlorohydrate. Inactive: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Talc, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Steareth-100, BHT.

The EWG labels the risks of Cyclopentasiloxane as the following: Other HIGH concerns: Persistence and bioaccumulation; Other MODERATE concerns: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive); Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption, Neurotoxicity[3]

The three types of alcohol in the ingredients above, while considered to be of low concern by the Environmental Working Group all disrupt the bacteria of your underarms. By stripping the good and the bad bacteria it leaves your underarms defenseless against harmful bacteria. A study done on the on the microbiome of the underarm recently found that people who do not use deodorant or antiperspirants that had the highest amount of Corynebacteria bacteria, which is responsible for some bad smells, but also helps to defend against pathogens. Staphylococcaceae (one of the most common microbes found on our skin) was the next most common and are considered to be beneficial as well.

Why Magnesium?

It is incredibly difficult to get adequate levels of magnesium in our diet due to our depleted soil even if you are eating a real food diet. While you can take a supplement internally the best method for optimal absorption is transdermal (through your skin) via salt baths, gels, lotions or oil. Magnesium oil is my favorite of these options for daily use. One warning however: if you are deficient in magnesium, when you first apply the oil it can sting. Try spraying a small amount first in an area that is not super sensitive and won’t be rubbing against fabric for your first time.

When I bought my first bottle of magnesium oil and sprayed it on my lower back to relieve cramping…it burned! I moved to spraying my forearms until the stinging stopped, about 2 days (It didn’t sting the entire 2 days! Just for a bit after application). Then I moved to spraying under my arms and found myself free of stink! I didn’t even realize how well it was working until it ran out. I could go without it (using my back up crystal deodorant) if I had a low activity day, but I found that if I drank coffee, particularly more than one cup, the stink would be back strong. That all made sense when I found out that while coffee and chocolate contain high amounts of magnesium, caffeine actually depletes our magnesium stores.

Sally Fallon writes in Nourishing Traditions that low levels of magnesium is one of the causes of heart disease and goes on to say that magnesium “is essential for enzyme activity, calcium and potassium uptake, nerve transmission, bone formation and metabolism of carbohydrates and minerals. It is magnesium, not calcium, that helps form hard tooth enamel, resistant to decay. Like calcium and chloride, magnesium also plays a role in regulating the acid-alkaline balance in the body. High magnesium levels in drinking water have been linked to resistance to heart disease.”[4]

Sarah Ballantyne, PHD and author of The Paleo Approach says in her book that magnesium “is important for neuromuscular contractions, and is necessary in the production of testosterone and progesterone...Magnesium is also a cofactor in methylation and is necessary for detoxification functions… Higher levels of dietary magnesium have also been correlated with decreased systemic inflammation in postmenopausal women."[5]

Katie over at Wellness Mama has written a lot about magnesium, I highly recommend you check out her articles, especially this one on magnesium deficiency.  


Magnesium Oil Deodorant

 

1 bottle of Magnesium Oil

(optional) ½ tsp of Essential Oils

If you choose to add an essential oil (I like adding lavender), pour oils directly into spray bottle, or choose a smaller spray bottle, like an old hand sanitizer spray bottle and add just a few drops of oil. Apply to underarms after showering. 

[4] Fallon, Sally; Enig, Mary. Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (p. 42). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.

[5] Ballantyne, Sarah. The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body (Kindle Locations 2423-2427). Victory Belt Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

Remineralizing Tooth Powder with Cloves

 
toothpowder
 

Did you know that toothpaste is considered to be both a cosmetic and a drug by the FDA?[1] I often talk about not putting things on my body that I would not want to put in my mouth, but when it comes to conventional toothpaste, I don’t want to put in my mouth what wouldn’t put on my skin.

Tooth powder is an extremely economical and non-toxic alternative to toothpaste. You can mix and match ingredients to your taste preference. My favorite combo so far has been the following:


Remineralizing Tooth Powder with Cloves

4 tbs Bentonite Clay

2 tbs Calcium Carbonate

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp unrefined salt

½ tsp clove powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp activated charcoal

Sift all ingredients and pour into a small jar. To use: wet toothbrush, dip in powder and brush on teeth as usual.

(Some people add stevia for sweetness, but the cinnamon and cloves are sweet enough for me. I have also seen essential oils suggested, but make sure you do your research on the safety of the oil before you use it internally)

The main ingredient in toothpaste that triggers it for FDA approval is fluoride. The claim is that fluoride prevents cavities, but the data does not back up the claim. In fact, fluoride seems to do more harm then good. There have been many large studies world wide that have shown no difference in tooth decay with fluoridated drinking water and even the American Dental Association has published data showing similar results. [2]

In his book Cure Tooth Decay Ramiel Nagel says about fluoride: “Fluoride is an enzyme and hormone inhibitor, affecting the nervous system as well as digestion. Fluoride is the major cause of brittle bones and teeth, and is responsible for causing mottled enamel, producing white, light gray or brown spots on the teeth. Fluoride actually alters the natural biological creation of tooth enamel and creates false, more brittle tooth enamel (which now contains fluorapatite)… Fluoride may cause brain and kidney damage, a decrease in I.Q., and may cross the placental barrier in pregnant women. Water fluoridation has also been linked to cancer.”

Have you read the warning on a box of toothpaste recently?

Allergens & Warnings: Keep out of reach of children under 6 yrs. of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

Fluoride is the reason toothpaste needs a warning label, however, it is not the only reason to avoid conventional toothpaste. Glycerin, sodium laurel sulfate, titanium dioxide, sorbitol, saccharin, sodium hydroxide and propylene glycol are common ingredients in toothpaste.

Glycerin is added to toothpaste to prevent it from drying out, but it also coats your teeth and create a barrier that prevents your teeth from being re-mineralized by the mineral content of your saliva.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate is a foaming agent that strips surfaces of oil. Most of us are so used to the idea that foaming = cleaning, but removing oils are not necessary for a healthy mouth and can be harmful.

Titanium Dioxide is a pigment that is commonly used in paint and paper and exposure has been linked to cancer.[3]

Sorbitol and Saccharin are artificial sweeteners that should be avoided in food as well as topical application.

Sodium Hydroxide is a highly caustic substance that is used to neutralize acids and make sodium salts.[4] Let’s rub it on our teeth! (jk, let’s not)

Propylene Glycol is a preservative and a solvent that lowers the freezing point of water. The toxicity of propylene glycol is debated.

Now that we know what ingredients we want to avoid putting on our teeth. Let’s look at what we do want to put on our teeth. Here is some background on the ingredients I like to use when making my tooth powder.

Bentonite Clay – In Nourishing Traditions Sally Fallon says: “clay particles carry a negative electric charge and attract positively charged pathogenic organisms along with their toxins and carry them out of the body. Clay compounds not only provide minerals, but also can be used as detoxifying agents. They will also bind with antinutrients found in plant foods such as bitter tannins and prevent their absorption.”[5] The mineral content of clay can aid in the re-mineralization of teeth.

Calcium Carbonate – Aids in the strengthening and remineralization of teeth.

Baking Soda – Studies have shown toothpaste with baking soda whitens teeth better than toothpaste that does not.[6] It deodorizes and is slightly abrasive which aids in the removal of tartar and build up. Sometimes I find baking soda to be too abrasive and will leave it out of my mix every other batch of tooth powder I make.

Unrefined Salt – Truly unrefined sea salt contains sodium chloride, macro-minerals, magnesium and about 80 trace minerals[7] In Cure Tooth Decay Ramiel Nagel discusses the use of unrefined salt to prevent and reduce most tooth and gum disease and prevent bad breath.

Clove Powder – Cloves were historically used to freshen breath in originating in ancient China over 2000 years ago.[8] Clove oil contains eugenol which is responsible for the analgesic and anti-inflammatory affects of clove. Dentist today use clove oil as an analgesic.

Ground Cinnamon – Cinnamon has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also used as an analgesic and has antioxidant properties.

Activated Charcoal – A fine black powder that is odorless and tasteless. It binds to chemicals and toxins to move them safely through the body.[9] Activated Charcoal binds to tannins which helps to whiten teeth (particularly helpful if you drink wine, coffee or tea), but does not bind to beneficial minerals like calcium and iron.[10]

Since using my tooth powder my teeth are less sensitive and parts where they were my gums were receding have started to heal. I love how clean my teeth and mouth feel after I use the powder. It is like a spa day for my teeth.

Have you used tooth powder? Let me know your experience!


[2] Nagel, Ramiel (2010-11-01). Cure Tooth Decay: Heal And Prevent Cavities With Nutrition - Limit And Avoid Dental Surgery and Fluoride [Second Edition] 5 Stars (Kindle Locations 3647-3650). Rami Nagel. Kindle Edition.
[5] Fallon, Sally (1999-10-01). Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (p. 41). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.
[7] Fallon, Sally; Enig, Mary. Nourishing Traditions:The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (pp. 48-49). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.