Products

Fun Home Mask Recipes

Estheticians have used food for facial masks for many years now, but, these days, the ingredients have been a little more out of the norm. Usual ingredients are honey and avocado. But what about wine and acai berries? I did a little research and found two new and unusual at-home masks anyone can try out.

Red Wine in Glass

Resveratrol, a strong antioxidant found mainly in red wine but also in smaller amounts in white wine, may help to repair the damage caused by sun exposure that can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin, according to a growing body of scientific research. Kaolin clay draws out impurities, while the grapeseed oil moisturizes and hydrates, and the oat flour gently exfoliates.

Wrinkle Soothing Wine Mask

  • ¼ cup wine
  • ¼ cup kaolin clay1
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic oat flour1

Combine all the ingredients. Apply to the face, neck, and décolletage. Rinse with warm water after 10 minutes.

  1. Available in health food stores.

Acai Berries

Berries are rich sources of polyphenols, a class of antioxidants that, besides being used as wrinkle fighters, have other benefits. They’re a strong astringent, so they tighten the skin and minimize pores. Fatty acids in high doses, like the ones found in acai berries, seem to fight hyperpigmentation. The sugar and the olive oil form a gentle scrub which also helps in removing dirt trapped in pores.

Pore Tightening Acai Berry Mask

  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons acai powder (or ¼ cup smashed acai berries)1
  • 10 fresh, whole blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a mix
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.

With a potato masher, mash the sugar and acai powder (or slush) with the berries. Slowly add the olive oil and combine coarsely with a whisk. Massage into the face. Leave on for about five minutes, then rinse with warm water.

  1. Available in health food stores.

Six Uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

  1. Makeup Remover

    You have to get the raccoon eyes off somehow, but many makeup removers contain harsh chemicals that are very drying to your skin. It is recommended that you squeeze a bit of pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and swipe away your makeup for a simple and effective alternative.

  2. Shaving Cream

    Pure aloe can be the perfect shaving cream: It’s antibacterial, which is great for nicks; it’s slippery, allowing for a nice close shave; and it moisturizes, too. You can use it on its own, or combine with other nourishing ingredients for a more luxe product.

  3. Soothing Ice Cubes

    Grab an ice cube tray, fill with aloe gel, and freeze. Pop them out and store in a freezer safe container. These are great after too much sun exposure, run-ins with your stove, bug bites, poison ivy, and even psoriasis.

  4. Exfoliator

    It’s not the most pleasant part of grooming, but exfoliation is important if you want to reveal glowing, fresh skin. Aloe is a great base for a homemade scrub because it helps soften your skin and supply oxygen to your cells, strengthening the tissue to create vibrant skin.

  5. Eyebrow Gel

    We love a strong brow and tidiness is key. Dip a clean mascara wand in some aloe vera gel and sweep over stray brows for serious stay-put power without getting hard or sticky.

  6. Hand Sanitizer

    Sick of your hand sanitizer drying out your hands? Mix ½ cup aloe vera gel, ¼ cup alcohol, and 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour into a spritz bottle. The alcohol fights germs while the aloe soothes your skin.

Phomollient Styling Foam

Aveda Product - Phomollient Styling Foam

As a hairstylist, we all have those favorite products that we just love to use. Phomollient just got recruited to your list!

This lightweight styling foam gives you everything you need for the perfect blowout. Weightless volume, light to medium hold, and shine–seriously, can it get any better? Yes, and it does! Phomollient can also give you a nice curl without weighing down your hair, leaving it greasy, or making it crunchy.

Since it is a lightweight foam, it allows you room to pair it with other products. I love to cocktail Phomollient with Aveda’s Volumizing Tonic. These two are definitely a dynamic duo and they never seem to fail me.

With key ingredients like honey, burdock, and marshmallow root, this product is great for fine to medium hair and leaves it smelling amazing! For the perfect round-brush blowout, I totally recommend this product.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is proving to be a spice that not only adds flavor to various dishes but can also cure many infections and diseases. Several research studies are being conducted in various parts of the world about the benefits of cinnamon for diabetes, hair loss, cholesterol, memory, arthritis, skin, and more.

A topical application of cinnamon with honey has been used get rid pimples, ringworms, eczema, and other skin infections. This is a wonderful spice!

  • Anti Aging

    Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin. This means that using cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin.

    Use a mixture of three drops essential oil of cinnamon and two tablespoon olive oil or petroleum jelly. Apply this mixture to fine lines on the skin, taking care to avoid the eyes. The skin soon plumps out and fine lines become less visible. This can even be done to plump up lips and can be used as an alternative to lip gloss.

    Moreover, cinnamon used on the skin seems to increase collagen levels for up to six hours after it is applied. Breakdown of collagen causes the skin to lose elasticity and increases signs of aging. Cinnamon seems to increase collage expression on the skin through cinnamaldehyde, its main chemical component. Topical cinnamon creams could be used to activate growth factors IGF-1 and improve collagen expression.

  • Acne Treatment

    Cinnamon is said to help with treatment of acne and pimples. Mix one tablespoon of cinnamon powder and three tablespoons of honey and apply on pimples. Leave this paste overnight—or for twenty minutes—before washing with warm water. Acne scars can dry out and skin can get rejuvenated. This paste can also de-clog pores and bring oxygen and blood to the surface. However, because of the possibilities of skin irritation, this should not be used more than once a week. Additionally, cinnamon has antiseptic properties. If you have an open cut or wound, just dust a pinch of cinnamon over it. Bacteria will be killed and the wound heals faster.

The next time you are searching for a quick masque with multiple benefits, make sure you feature cinnamon.

Masks for Healthier Hair

Aveda Hair Products Collage

Thick, shiny, healthy hair is something many clients come seeking from their stylist. Every day on the salon floor, we find ourselves offering treatments to enhance the look and feel of hair. Whether it’s color treated, damaged by heat styling, or dry, there are botanical treatments we offer to address these issues. In the salon, we offer botanical treatments for specific issues. These include a relaxing scalp massage with oils blended to meet the needs of dry or irritated scalps. Then we follow it up with a shampoo, botanical serum, and mask. Finally, we finish with a beautiful blowout to display your treated tresses.

Most guests at our salon are well aware of these salon botanical treatments—and frequently request them—but it’s a great next step to try masks at home. This allows you continue the process of addressing whatever concerns you may have with your hair. Aveda offers five great hair masks:

  • Dry Remedy Moisture Mask

    This mask is terrific for dry hair and scalps. It contains buriti oil and has a light scent. It’s a great companion for the dry remedy shampoo and will help maintain hydrated hair.

  • Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Mask

    Helps address dull damaged hair. This mask is great for previously highlighted hair. I always recommend it to anyone who has bleached their hair and notices it becoming frizzy, brittle, or generally damaged by processing. Because this mask has quinoa protein in it to help damaged cuticles, it leaves the hair feeling strong and looking shiny.

  • Smooth Infusion Smoothing Masque

    Perfect for frizz-prone hair. This helps defend against humidity. Especially great if you’re travelling through humid climates and want to maintain your sleek style.

  • Be Curly Intensive Detangling Mask

    This is a great new addition that I have used on my own extremely curly hair. It makes blow drying my hair straight so much easier. It moisturizes with babasu oil and shea butter leaving your hair feeling nourished.

  • Color Conserve Strengthening Treatment

    This mask is perfect for a post color treatment and the sunflower and macadamia nut oils help seal in color.

So the next time you find your hair feeling less than fantastic, think about a mask that can be both relaxing and a great way to treat your hair’s needs.

The Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid IllustrationAs we age, skin moisture can drop significantly, which makes the skin lose elasticity and expose the signs of aging on the skin. Hyaluronic acid (HA) plays a critical role in skin health with its unique ability to hold in moisture. Hyaluronic acid is a natural glycosaminoglycan (polysaccharides that are an important component of connective tissue) and is distributed widely throughout connective, neural, and epithelial tissue. Hyaluronic acid is a major component of skin, where it benefits tissue repair and protection. It is of the chief components of the extracellular matrix (the tissue that provides structural support to cells). It is able to penetrate the skin’s upper layers to improve and benefit the skin when applied topically. In short, hyaluronic acid supports many important areas of the body, with notable benefit to joints and skin.

Hyaluronic acid can be derived from multiple resources, foods, supplements, and HA powders. When applied in an HA cream or serum, hyaluronic acid forms an air permeable layer and penetrates into the dermis, thus boosting the elasticity and hydration of the skin. The protective barrier on the skin locks in moisture, which helps give the skin a youthful appearance. Moreover, hyaluronic acid further benefits the skin by helping protect against UVB rays (and the scavenging reactive oxygen species they generate). Among other effects, UVB can cause sunspots.

Look for these key properties in the various hyaluronic acid serums and creams. Prefer hyaluronic acid from a vegan source. More often than not, a “pure hyaluronic acid” serum will contain alcohol or preservatives that counteract the benefits of hyaluronic acid used as a topical. Avoid these products. Also avoid hyaluronic acid serums that also contain parabens, sulfates, or other ingredients that are harmful to the skin.

Green Science Masque-Age

Female Face with Esthetician's Hands

The Aveda Green Science Masque-Age is one of my all-time favorite Aveda products. It’s great to use during the massage or mask portion of a facial for any skin type. And it’s a great take-home product recommendation for a mature client who has dehydrated, dull, or wrinkled skin.

This masque/massage cream duo contains lots of hydrating and nutrient-rich ingredients including:

Jojoba Oil

This oil is very hydrating and makes an excellent natural moisturizer. Jojoba is said to be the closest oil in molecule structure size to the natural sebum our skin produces. That makes it easy for Jojoba to penetrate nutrients deeply into the skin. It has intensive hydrating properties and also promotes collagen production.

Murumuru Butter

This nourishing butter contains a powerful dose of antioxidants, preventing free radical damage that promotes skin aging. It is high in fatty acids as well as vitamin A, making it excellent for restoring the elasticity of aging skin.

Brazil Nut Oil

This oil is very good for aging skin, giving it a radiant, youthful glow. It contains vitamins A and E which act as antioxidants, minimizing the effects of free radical damage. This oil is also high in selenium, an antioxidant that aids in cell protection. In addition to its anti-aging properties, brazil nut oil is great for treating psoriasis, eczema, chronic dry skin, and other skin conditions.

Overall, this masque is a wonderful product choice for a mature client.

Baking Soda Beauty

Baking Soda

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of baking soda, Grandma’s cookies? Not anymore. Baking soda has become a major player in the beauty realm. It’s inexpensive, easy to find, and you probably already have it in your kitchen. Baking soda has many beauty uses; below are a few of them.

Clarifying Shampoo

If you use heavy hair products especially dry shampoo, your scalp most likely needs a deep exfoliating treatment every once and a while. Baking soda is a natural clarifier to cut right through all of that product buildup. Just add a small amount into your shampoo to give your hair and scalp a refreshing reboot.

Cuticle Care

Us girls (and guys) love our gel manicures, but sometimes they make our cuticles look a little worse for the wear, a small bit of baking soda mixed with warm water can whip them into place. Gently scrubbing your fingertips with this combo will exfoliate all of those dead, dry skin cells and leave you with healthier nail beds.

Exfoliant

For oily and acne-prone skin types, baking soda works as a great all-natural exfoliant. Just mix a little with some water in your palm, making a paste. Then gently scrub in circular motions to shed dead skin cells and reveal that glowing skin underneath.

Detox Bath

Baking soda also could be used in a detox bath to get deep into those pores. Mix it with equal parts sea salt and add your favorite essential oil for a spa indulgence.

Five Essential Oils to Benefit Your Life

Oils in Bottles

The use of oils to treat various issues has been around the since Ancient Egyptians in 1500 B.C. The Bible also referencing remedies using oils. The oils can help with conditions from depression to fatigue, from skin issues to muscle tension.

There is an oil for almost everyone. Oils can have a healing effect mentally, emotionally, and physically. These five oils can benefit your life in a natural, easy, and effective way through the natural healing properties they possess.

  • Lavender is very versatile. Well known for its calming effects, lavender also works on cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. It can reduce stress hormones in your blood. Just add a few drops to your next warm bath or to your pillow for a good nights rest.
  • Tea Tree oil derives from Australia and is for topical use only. It is a natural antiseptic with many uses. Used as a natural deodorant by many, it also helps treat blemishes by dabbing onto skin with a cotton ball. It can be used for fungal infections such as athletes foot. It can be added to your shampoo to naturally prevent lice. The next time you’re camping, bring tea tree with you for ticks. A couple of drops on the tick and they will usually unlatch.
  • Peppermint is excellent for stimulating the mind and creating mental alertness. It is said that inhaling peppermint oil can improve mental alertness. Peppermint can be taken internally and it can help with indigestion by mixing a few drops into a glass of water.
  • Frankincense is one of the oils that has been around for thousands of years. Referenced in the Bible as a gift brought to Jesus, it was valued in ancient times because of its healing properties and uses as a perfume. People across North Africa and the Arab world still believe in the power of Frankincense and use the oil to help treat arthritis. As time has gone on, the rest of the world has been discovering its uses for depression, inflammation, immunity, alertness, and the healing of minor cuts and bug bites. Add a few drops to your next warm bath to ensure deep relaxation.
  • Lemon oil is probably one of the best known oils, and for a good reason. Adding a few drops to warm water in the morning can be a great and natural way to detoxify your body and boost mental alertness. It can also increase focus and concentration with its uplifting properties. Not only does it work from the inside, but also on the outside of the skin to help clear acne. Your pets will love you too by adding a few drops on the back of their neck to help keep fleas away and give them a nice fresh scent.

There are many more essential oils that have proven to provide positive effects on people for thousands of years. Explore these natural products and see how they can benefit your life.

The Benefits of Argan Oil

The Production of Argan Oil Using Traditional Methods

Argan Oil Produced Using Traditional Methods

Argan oil is produced from the plant kernels of the argan tree. It is native to Morocco. In Morocco it is commonly eaten as a dip for bread or drizzled over pasta or couscous. But argan oil also has a variety of cosmetic uses.

  • Nighttime Moisturizer

    Apply one drop to moisturize your whole face and keep it soft and smooth.

  • Skin Toner

    Add 2 to 4 drops to your toner to take advantage of the oil’s nutrients before moisturizing.

  • Exfoliating

    Mix with brown sugar and use as a facial scrub. It will exfoliate and promote healthy surface cell turnover.

  • Acne

    Argan oil’s high linoleum acid content helps to reduce inflammation caused by acne.

  • Razor Bumps and Burns

    Argan oil is an effective treatment for men and women after shaving and also speeds the healing process.

  • Leave-in Conditioner

    This non-greasy oil makes for the perfect leave-in conditioner. Argan oil helps to tame frizz and fly-aways and protects against the heat of hot tools such as blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons.

  • Lip Conditioner

    Argan oil makes for a wonderful lip treatment or lip balm substitute. Rub 1 to 2 drops on your lips and wipe away any excess. This not only heals cracked lips but leaves your lips feeling soft, smoother, and conditioned.

  • Dry Feet and Heels

    If you are experiencing dry, cracking skin on your feet or heels, rub 2 to 4 drops onto your feet paying special attention to the affected areas. Cover with a pair of socks, let the oil soak in, and then remove.

  • Stretch Marks

    Argan oil can help to prevent stretch marks by improving the skin’s elasticity. Warm 2 to 3 drops of pure argan oil in the palm of your hands and gently rub into any problem areas.

  • Whole-body Moisturizer

    Add a couple of drops of argan oil to coconut oil (or any other natural moisturizing carrier oil) to enjoy all-over dry skin relief.

  • Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment

    If you have dry, brittle hair, do an overnight deep conditioning treatment with argan oil once a week. Apply 1 to 2 drops of argan oil from the mid-lengths to ends of your hair and let sit until morning.

  • Nails

    Argan oil’s non-greasy moisture is an ideal treatment for cuticles and nails. Remove all nail polish from finger and toe nails and rinse thoroughly before applying argan oil.

Hair Texture Talk

Brown Hair Texture Types

More and more people are seeking out beachy texture for straight hair or to enhance the natural wave or curl they have. Here are some ideas to help your texture shine.

  • Air Dry

    Thoroughly apply product to your hair, and twist or scrunch and allow it to air dry to see your natural texture come to life. A great product to use is the curl enhancer and a hold product like phomollient. Once your hair is completely dry, apply a finishing product like anti humectant and gently break up the pattern of your twists to reveal an effortless style.

  • Diffuse

    If your hair has a natural texture, you want to use a diffuser when you blow dry along with curl enhancing products. A great diffuser to try is YS Park’s. Simply apply your favorite curl enhancing products, and a little heat protectant, and use the diffuser to speed up the drying process.

  • Twist and Diffuse

    This is the method you’ll see used most often in the salon for enhancing texture. You can sit under a dryer and allow your twisted tresses to slowly dry or have the diffuser do the work. By combining the two previous approaches you get a soft textured style that even the most stubborn curls shine through. The key to this is to twist and then allow the hair to dry without further disruption. It’s tempting, but don’t touch the twisted strands or you’ll find your hair will get frizzy!

  • Thickening Tonic

    Here’s a fun fact: your thickening tonic doesn’t always have to be blow dried to activate its benefits. Thickening tonic works well when the product is blow dried into the hair and the amla fruit extract forms a layer on the hair strand that makes your hair appear physically thicker. That’s what makes your hair look so luxurious and full, but you can also spray it in and allow it to air dry to give a beachy texture. Enhancing your hair with thickening tonic is a great idea in conjunction with a hold product like phomollient which has honey in it, so the hold doesn’t need any heat styling to be activated.

  • Volumizing Tonic

    It’s not just a root boost. Try applying volumizing tonic in a light but thorough mist over all of your hair after you spray at the roots. This will give your hair memory and, when you blow dry at home, you’ll be able to add more movement and curl to your style. This is another tip that’s great in conjunction with your favorite hold product.

Aveda Products in Combination

Aveda Hair Products Collage

When I first started my trial and error journey with Aveda products, I admit to playing the guessing game. Luckily every product had a clear description on how to properly use it.

After a year of playing around with the wide variety of products, I found the perfect “go to” combination. Prepping the hair with some Brilliant Damage Control never hurts; everyone can use a little UV and thermal heat protection. I like to follow with a touch of Phomollient. I find this product helps limp hair hold a springy loose curl while also being beneficial to textured hair that needs to be blown straight. I like to finish with a couple pumps of Light Elements Serum. It smooths and weighs down those pesky flyaways I know everyone gets.

No matter the texture, length, or condition of someone’s hair, I find this combination of products always works for me. It’s definitely not the only combination, but if you ever find yourself stuck in a rut of not knowing which combination of products to use, grab these three and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

But if I had to choose just one product to take with me to a “stranded on an island” situation, I’d take Dry Remedy Oil. Everyone could use a little dry remedy oil, especially if you have chemically treated hair.

It makes your hair feel like it just took a big sip of refreshing water. A great thing about it is that it’s low maintenance. It doesn’t require any sort of styling or heat to work. You apply it as needed throughout the day to damp, dry, or even style hair. It also works when the wind trashes your hair. Sprinkle a few drops into the palm of your hands and gently glaze over that wind-induced frizz.

For those of you who don’t have chemically treated hair, you also can make use of this product. Textured hair, coarse hair, graying hair—throw this tiny travel-sized vial into your bag and run some through your hair when it needs some freshening. Did I mention that it smells pretty darn good too?

After applying, don’t be too hasty to wipe your hands clean. I personally like to let those natural oils hydrate my hands as well.

Aloe Vera Cooling Gel

Aloe Vera Leaf

Herbal medicines are natural, plant-derived treatments used for both internal and external health issues. One of the most common of these medicines is a succulent plant called aloe vera. Because it is so versatile, aloe vera is used by the cosmetic, medicine, and even food industries.

Aloe vera has many healing properties—soothing, cooling, and moisturizing. That’s why aloe vera is frequently topically applied to wounded areas including a sunburn, a sore, or a cut. Also, due to its moisturizing benefits, aloe vera is a common ingredient in cosmetics. Its moisturizing emollient effects aid in many products including soap, shampoo, and moisturizers.

With the sun becoming more present every day, sunburn is a high health risk for many people. Here is a sunburn repairing recipe that will cool any irritation on the skin as well as aid in healing:

  • 120 milliliters aloe vera gel (either store bought or from plant)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops of pure lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of pure peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a clean bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a sealable container and store it in the fridge. The gel mixture may oxidize quickly, so use as soon as possible.

Vitamin E is an effective moisturizer and can neutralize free radical damage. Lavender is calming and antibacterial. Peppermint is cooling and antibacterial.

The Benefits of Rice Water

Bowl of Rice and Rice Water

Rice water is rich in minerals and vitamins that make it fantastic for both skin and hair. What’s more, this beauty secret has been utilized by flawless-skinned Japanese Geishas for centuries. Rice is rich in a complex of B vitamins called “inositol” which helps promote cell growth, slows down the aging process, and stimulates blood flow.

Rice water can tighten pores, bringing an abundance of radiance to the face and body. Furthermore, rice water is moisturizing and contains antioxidant and UV-absorbing properties. It also has the ability to bind to naturally occurring copper in the skin, thereby preventing the formation of melanin (hyper-pigmentation) and age spots. Moreover, the soothing nature of rice water makes it an effective remedy for rashes and other irritating or painful skin conditions.

In a dermatological study at Brussels University, patients with atopic dermatitis—chronic inflammation of the skin—saw a 20% improvement after taking 15-minute baths filled with rice water twice a day.

Not only is rice water great for the skin, but it is also great for your hair. Rinsing or washing your hair with rice water improves manageability and protects it from future damage. In addition, the amino acids in the rice water strengthens the hair roots, adds volume and sheen, and makes hair silky smooth.

Now that you know about the benefits of rice water, your next question is probably: “How do I make it?” It’s super easy to make:

  1. Boil some rice, preferably organic rice boiled in distilled water.
  2. Pour the excess water in a lidded glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Once cooled, the rice water will be a potent ingredient for crystal clear skin and super-shiny hair.

Who knew that something we usually pour down the drain could be so beneficial?

How I Took Control of My Skin

Product - Clinique Number 4

I have extremely oily skin that is prone to breakouts, and I have always had a difficult time finding products that work for me. Products formulated for acne would always irritate and over dry my skin to the point of it becoming flaky. It was a constant battle to find a good system that controlled the oil and breakouts but still left me hydrated. This battle continued until I found my way to Clinique.

I was skeptical at first because Clinique is a brand directed towards sensitive skin. I had it in my mind that something made for sensitive skin could not possibly help control the excessive oiliness of my skin. I was so wrong.

Clinique has a few different skincare systems. They have their regular three-step system that is broken down into four groups and numbered one through four.

  1. very dry skin
  2. dry to normal combination skin
  3. oily combination skin
  4. oily skin

They also have an acne line. I was still nervous about over drying my skin so I avoided the acne line. I tried their 3-step system using number four. This system consisted of a gel cleanser, a clarifying lotion (similar to a toner), and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

I used these three products twice a day, morning and night. To see a difference in your skin after switching skincare products, it is recommended that you use the products for at least one full month. This is so your skin has a chance to go through one full cycle of renewal which on average is 28 days. I kept this in mind when I began using the products.

However, in two weeks I saw a dramatic difference in my skin. I was not having consistent breakouts, my skin was nowhere near as oily and it wasn’t dry either. I’ve been truly happy with this skincare regime. I switched my skin care system to Clinique five years ago. I have tried others in the meantime but I always go back. It really works.

Cucumber for Healthy Skin

Woman with Cucumber on Eyes

Cucumber slices can fight dark circles and puffy eyes.

Cucumbers may do more for your skin than for your palate. These fruits, members of the melon family, have properties that soothe and soften the skin. For an easy do-it-yourself skin treatment, reach into your refrigerator and pull out a cucumber. You can use it to make a toner, or a mask, or simply lay slices over your eyes to help you look refreshed.

  • Antioxidant Power

    The older you get, the fewer antioxidants you have in your skin to fight wrinkles and sun damage. Because your skin has the ability to absorb antioxidants, cucumbers can help restore some of these. Cucumbers are a source of several compounds that fight inflammation and aging, including cucurbitacins and cucumerin.

  • Vitamin Rich

    Cucumbers contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have plenty of vitamin K—also an antioxidant—which fights dark circles under the eyes. That’s why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning helps you look refreshed. Vitamin B-5 is another compound found in cucumbers that helps your skin retain moisture. The vitamin A, or retinol, in cucumbers fights dark spots and freckles because it helps control your skin’s production of melanin.

  • Wrinkle Fighter

    Cucumbers are a source of silica, which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. A May 2011 issue of the “Archives of Dermatological Research” published a study concluding that the presence of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, makes cucumber juice a particular effective ingredient in anti-wrinkle products. You can add cucumber juice to your favorite lotion; or make a toner by grating a cucumber, straining out the juice through cheesecloth, and mixing it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your face.

  • Skin Irritations

    Cucumbers have high water content and a cooling quality, making them appropriate to help soothe mild burns, particularly sunburn. They can also reduce swelling and relieve minor skin irritations.

How to Find the Right Curling Wand

Curling Wand Tips

Gone are the days of curls crimped and crunched by the clamp of a curling iron. The curling wand is here to stay! It’s a great tool to get effortless curls and waves without the spring and hinge contraption of yesteryear. Curling wands are essentially just curling irons with no clamp. They can provide most of the styling options that curling irons create but with a more natural, lived-in look.

The top things to look for in a curling wand are:

  1. Protection

    Many curling wands come with a glove to protect your hand from the heat of the tool. Without a clamp, you’re going to be interacting with the heated portion of the tool a lot more. This is great for getting just the right shape from a curl or wave, but the heat safe glove is a must have for protecting your hands during styling.

  2. Heat

    How hot will it get? How long will it take to get that hot? Check that there are multiple heat settings so your tool can both be customized to your needs and is flexible enough to be shared with friends and family.

  3. Material

    Wands come in a variety of materials from titanium to heat resistant plastics. Look for ceramic or tourmaline ceramic that protects hair during heat styling and reduces frizz.

  4. Size

    The look you’re seeking can be found and a lot of it comes down to the size of the wand’s barrel. Some curling wands come with removable attachments so you can mix it up. If you’re seeking big bombshell curls that fall loosely, then a larger barrel is for you. For shorter hair or tighter curls, you’ll want a smaller barrel.

Using these four criteria, you can narrow down the vast selection of curling wands to find the right one for you.

Men are Vain

Aveda’s Invati Product Line

Aveda’s Invati Product Line

So I’ve come to realize that men are actually quite vain. It’s incredible the lengths a man might go if he fears he’s going bald, either to cover up a receding hairline or try to avoid it altogether.

Time to blast someone I hold near and dear to my heart—let’s call him Bob (sorry, Bob). Bob is a pretty confident guy except that he started showing a receding hairline before he was 21. He wore hats or shaved his head down to a #1 guard (about ⅛″). He would seek my advice on different haircuts or obscure Eastern home remedies.

One day, I suggested this new Aveda product line called Invati. I tell Bob it’s a commitment, but a worthwhile one. He agrees to give it a shot. I bring home the Invati shampoo, conditioner, and spray scalp supplement. It took a few months of daily use, but then even I start to see a noticeable difference. The Invati line took the baby hairs he had and toughened them up to be full grown adult hairs like the rest of them. It also cleansed his scalp so that the hairs he did have could grow to their fullest, thickest potential. Now he swears by the Invati product line and he has made a believer out of me to have seen it first-hand.

You do need patience and diligence for the Invati line to work well—it’s not a quick fix. But if you stick with it, I think you’ll see amazing things happen to your hair and your confidence.

A woman can benefit from it too if she wants a fuller head of hair too.

Go ahead and grab the Invati product line for him or her and watch the “miracle grow” right before your eyes.

Skin Serums with Nanosomes

Illustration showing how tiny nanosomes penetrate skin.

Products encapsulated in tiny nanosomes can more easily penetrate deeply into the skin.

Many of us have heard of incorporating serums into our skin care regimens and some of us already have. Serums are a crucial step in taking care of our skin. They have a more highly concentrated blend of active ingredients than, say, a moisturizer. Serums have smaller molecules that absorb into the skin quickly. However, just like with most skin care products, serums are water-based, while our skin is oil loving. So, most of the time, the product sits on top of our skin and doesn’t penetrate much deeper.

What can you do to get your skin to absorb more of the ingredients and reap the benefits from your serum?

You could use a dermaroller before applying serum, but that’s not something your skin would be able to take every day. You could also use an ultrasound device to help penetrate the product deeper into the skin, but maybe you don’t want to have to purchase another tool.

Both of those methods are great but the easier way is by using a serum with nanosomes—which may also be called microspheres or nanospheres.

Nanosomes, made from phospholipids by using nano-technology techniques, are extremely small single or double bilayer liposomes. They encapsulate active ingredients; and, due to their tiny size, can penetrate skin to deliver products much deeper. Nanosomes aren’t just in serums either, they can also be found in sunscreens and moisturizers. When searching for products with nanosomes, it will always say on the bottle that it contains them.

Importance of Hair Products

Aveda Hair Products Collage

I never really knew the importance of product until I started studying at Cinta Aveda Institute. Aftercare is vital for the longevity of your hair style, cut, or color. Without certain products, your hair won’t look the same when you leave the salon. It’s important to realize this when you’re spending a lot of money on salon services.

If you spend for beautiful hair color, you might not know that the shampoo you bought at your local drug store actually strips away your color in the shower. It’s always important that you ask your stylists questions about aftercare and that they are educating you with their knowledge of appropriate products.

Essential products that I always use are:

  • Shampoo and conditioner: the most important products you can buy. Most drug store brands actually do more damage to your hair because they contain sulfates and chemicals that dry out the hair and strip away color or the essential oils that your hair needs.
  • Prep or style primer: if you don’t like a lot of product, a style prep or primer is a great choice. You just spritz throughout your hair and blow dry. Benefits of some preps or primers are that they can be moisturizerizing, maintain a style, and can protect against heat damage.
  • Hair oil: this is good for dry or damaged hair. You just take a pea-sized amount, emulsify through your palms, and add to your mid-lengths and ends. Oils add moisture and some contain damage repairing vitamins and proteins that can help restore your hair.

Next time you visit your favorite salon, make sure you are using the right aftercare products. This will help your hair look fresher longer.