Nature's way to gently remove dirt and toxins for a glowing, clear complexion. Learn how to add them into your Skin care routine
I love a good facial exfoliation! I really enjoy this part of my skin care rituals for its massaging moves, and the almost instant payoff of skin that feels soft and smooth, refreshed and reset.
Plant powders are my go-to for facial exfoliation. They are straight out of my grandmothers’ beauty playbook and I have been using them since childhood. I love them for their ability to gently remove dirt and toxins for a glowing, clear complexion. Using natural ingredients, like plant powders, gives you all that without destroying your skin biome. Win-win, right?
Your skin is in a constant state of cell turnover: As new skin cells are made, the older skin cells rise to the surface, dying in the process. Over time, the surface of your skin becomes host to a buildup of dead cells on the skin’s surface. Add pollution and other forms of environmental stressors to the mix, and-- hello, dull, rough and itchy skin.
That’s where plant powders augmented with plant oils can really bring some beneficial goodness to your skin and its biome. Here’s why plant powders are a brilliant ingredient to add to your skin care routine.
1. Plant Powders are Gentle on the Skin
When mixed with water (ideally distilled) and a few drops of plant oils, plant powders transform into a luxurious paste that draws out toxins and smooths the skin. They are incredibly gentle on the skin, exfoliating without scratching. No extra pressure is needed -- the granules will do the work. The massaging action you bring helps promote circulation and skin cell turnover.
2. PLANT POWDERS CONTAIN MUCH NEEDED SKIN NUTRITION
Plant powders are high in minerals and naturally derived proteins, vitamins and acids, all of which help draw out toxins, enhance skin cell health and provide additional exfoliation by dissolving dead skin cells.
3. YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE PLANT POWDERS TO WHAT YOUR SKIN NEEDS AT THIS MOMENT
Depending on the day, season or your skin type, you can customize your plant powder paste to suit your skin’s needs. If you want more of a mask feel, use less water. If you want more of a general soft cleanser, use more water. If you need more moisturizing, add a few drops of oil to your blend. If you are having breakouts or skin irritation, add yogurt. If you need more antioxidants, add lemon juice. If you need to even out your skin tone and bring down inflammation, add turmeric. The possibilities are endless.
4. PLANT POWDERS HAVE A LONG SHELF LIFE, NO UNNEEDED PRESERVATIVES AND ARE TRAVEL FRIENDLY
Plant powders have a long shelf life. They don’t need preservatives, as they are not pre-mixed with liquids. You mix them up fresh, every time you use them. And because they are liquid-free, they can be carried while traveling with no fuss. Your face care will be there with you, where ever your destination.
HOW TO USE PLANT POWDERS IN YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE
Now that you know the overall benefits of using a plant powder to your skin, here is how to use them as a gentle cleanser:
8 FABULOUS USES FOR ALOE VERA GEL
Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family. Known as the "Lily of the Desert", it is thought to have originated in the deserts of Sudan and then transported to the hot desert climates of the ancient world--Africa, India and China.
In ancient Egypt, Aloe Vera was known as the “plant of immortality.” Cleopatra used it in her daily skin treatments. Otherwise, it was used to treat burns, wounds, infections, parasites and fever in both China and Egypt. Legend has it that Alexander the Great, advised by Aristotle, conquered the island of Socotra, off the coast of Africa, for its supplies of Aloe Vera in order to treat wounded soldiers. Why he couldn’t have just traded for it, I don’t know. But it gives you an idea of just how valuable a plant Aloe Vera was to the ancients. More recently 1n 1944, the Japanese who were exposed to nuclear bombs applied aloe gel to their wounds and reported faster healing and less scarring. Wowza! That’s one powerful plant.
THE BENEFITS OF ALOE VERA IN HEALTH, WELLNESS AND SKIN CARE
Aloe Vera contains over 200 biologically active, naturally-occurring constituents including polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals that promote nutrient absorption, digestive health, a healthy immune system, and a reduction of nitrates
Here’s a video from the Raw Chef showing how to remove Aloe Gel from the leaf.
SO NOW YOU'VE EXTRACTED THE GEL. HERE ARE 8 WAYS TO USE IT
1. Treat sunburn.
Aloe Vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish its moisture. Because of its nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, the skin heals quicker. You can put pure gel onto your skin. You can also lay the aloe vera leaf rind that you took the gel from, gel side down on your skin.
2. Moisturize Skin.
Aloe moisturizes the skin without giving it a greasy feel. It`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion because it will moisturize while healing breakouts and their aftermath scars. Aloe vera gel can be used as an aftershave treatment as its healing properties can treat small cuts caused by shaving.
3. Treat Acne and Eczema
Aloe vera gel contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that gently and effectively reduce skin inflammation. Giberellin in aloe vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.
Aloe is soothing and can reduce skin inflammations, blistering and itchiness, while helping the skin to heal more rapidly. In Ayurvedic medicine Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
4. Fight aging.
Need a little extra help on the fine line front? Aloe Vera gel to the rescue. As we age, we lose elasticity in the skin. Aloe gel contains a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin's natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated. It can work beautifully as a soothing eye gel.
5. Lessen Stretch Marks
Think of your skin as one big piece of elastic that’ll expand and contract as needed to accommodate growth. But if the skin stretches too far, too fast (due to pregnancy, say, or rapid weight gain or loss) the skin’s spring-back factor can be damaged, due to minor tears in the layers of the skin caused by sudden and excessive stretching And so…hello stretch marks. Aloe vera gel can help by healing these wounds and when they do, they fade. Goodbye stretch marks.
6. Nutritious Superfood
This solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid. Whew! That’s a mouthful but what does Aloe Vera ingested do for your body?
It can help boost your immune system. A major part of the immune system are the white blood cells that form the first line of defense by creating a barrier that hunts down and kills foreign particles, helping the body fight off infection and disease. A compromised immune system drops in white blood cell count; ingesting aloe Vera gel can help increase the body’s white blood cell count.
Aloe vera can also help the body clear out environmental toxins by boosting metabolism. It has a significant amount of antioxidant properties and it also helps the body absorb antioxidants from our foods and supplements.
Aloe Vera gel has also been shown to support healthy muscle and joint function, when ingested.
7. Soothes in Periodontal Disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Aloe Vera is extremely helpful in the treatment of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. It reduces bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gums. It is a powerful antiseptic in pockets where normal cleaning is difficult, and its antifungal properties help greatly in the problem of denture stomatitis, apthous ulcers, cracked and split corners of the mouth.
8. Digestive Aid.
Aloe Vera helps maintain a healthy intestinal pH while promoting a friendly environment for probiotics in the digestive tract. It also can assist in controlling bad bacteria growth that can inhibit nutrient absorption. Aloe Vera has been known to improve digestion and to relieve ulcers. Some people consider it a laxative, while others attribute that effect to its digestive qualities (which normalize the system and induce regularity).
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
Do you have any favourite uses for Aloe Vera Gel? Please share in the Comments Section.
THE MAGIC OF CALENDULA TEA
A VERY SHORT HISTORY OF CALENDULA USE
Calendula has been revered as a magical medicinal plant for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used it to rejuvenate their skin. Bathing in water infused with calendula petals was thought to give give you a healthy, sunny glow, just like the flower itself. The Greeks and Romans used it as a culinary garnish. In India it was strung into garlands for weddings and religious rituals to call in powers of protection and good luck. Europeans and early American colonists used Calendula in soups and stews, relying on its gentle immune boosting properties to protect against the damp cold of winter.
What's not to love about this bright, yellow and orange, cheery member of the daisy family?
Calendula flowers are one of nature's most precious and useful gifts. The flower is loaded with powerful skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, yet is gentle enough for most people and animals to use safely. Calendula can help get circulation moving and stimulate the immune system. My gardener friends tell me the flower is really easy to grow and requires low maintenance. Flowers and leaves of the calendula may be dried and stored for later use in making Calendula Tea. I'm not there yet in being able to grow my own for the amount I need to make Free Lion products. So here is where I get my Calendula Petals
And now here's the "how to" on Calendula Tea.
HOW TO MAKE CALENDULA TEA
One way of making a tea is basically pouring boiling water over plant materials and allowing it to steep. This is primarily the East Asian and European way. Then there's the way India does it--which is boil the water; add the plant materials and let it boil some more before you turn the heat off. That is how I do it. But I'll give you options. See which works for you.
1. The Steeping method
Place around 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried calendula flowers in a canning jar and pour around 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) boiled distilled water over them. Cover and let steep for around 15 to 20 minutes. Strain petals out of tea before using.
2. The Sun tea method
Fill a canning jar 1/4 full with dried flowers and cover with cold distilled water. Cap and place in a bright sunny spot (like a windowsill or outside porch rail) for at least 5 or 6 hours. Strain out petals before use.
3. The Boiling Method
Bring 10oz/375ml of distilled water to a boil Place around 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried calendula petals into the water and let boil 3-5 minutes before you turn the heat off. Let the tea cool. Strain out petals before use.
HOW TO USE CALENDULA TEA
Now that you've made your Calendula Tea, here are some things you can use it for:
1. Use as a gargle for sore throat. Or use as a mouth rinse to help relieve canker sores, inflamed gums or thrush. Calendula's soothing properties will calm that gravely throat while its anti-microbial properties will go after infection-causing bacteria.
2. Pour some into a small, clean spray bottle to make a disinfecting wound spray. Spray clean strips of cloth or gauze with the tea and apply to wounds or scraped, itchy, scratched or otherwise inflamed skin conditions.
3. Take heavy duty paper towels and fold them into a container, one on top of the next. Pour Calendula tea over paper towels and let them soak up the tea. Voila! Now you have natural baby wipes to help ease diaper rash.
4. Strain through a coffee filter to remove all fine calendula flower particles. You can use this as an eye rinse to ease itchy eyes due to allergy, dryness and pink eye.
5. Wash your face with Calendula tea in the morning and at night if you're prone to acne and breakouts or have dry sensitive skin. If you don't want to make the tea, you can get our Face Chai Foaming Wash for Oily and Break-out Prone Skin or Face Chai Foaming wash for Dry and Sensitive Skin.
6. Pour some Calendula Tea into a foot bath for fungal conditions like athletes foot. Add some to your regular bath to help soothe and heal inflamed skin or rashes.
7. Use as a hair rinse, after shampooing to help ease an itchy scalp situation.
8. Calendula tea can be safely used on most non-pregnant animals as a soothing rinse for flea bites, scratches, scrapes, itchy coats or to help cleanse and heal minor wounds. You can also spritz it onto hot spots or chapped sun burnt noses, too.
So there you go, 8 ways you can use Calendula Tea. It's an amazing flower and it is no wonder that its popularity has not waned over centuries all over the world.
Before I go, let me leave you with this lovely flower bath surrounded by flower garlands. Treat yourself tonight!
Free Lion Team
When I say “Avocado”, do you say “Guacamole”? Well hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be saying, “Beautiful Skin and Hair”.
Avocado Oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E, which provide skin with deep moisturizing. The oil of an avocado easily penetrates and is quickly absorbed by the skin. And it’s also thick enough to serve as a protective barrier.
Avocado can also help repair damaged hair. Its rich fatty acids coat your hair shaft and help it retain moisture while providing your hair with long lasting and deep hydration. Its rich cache of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals help condition hair, promoting damage repair, healthy hair growth and nurture frizzy hair. And it just may soothe that itchy scalp issue, too!
Where Does Avocado Oil Come From?
The fruits of the Persea gratissima – better known as the Avocado tree – are native to Mexico, Central, and South America. For its countless benefits, the Avocado was considered a precious fruit. It was believed to bestow immense vigour, maintain good health, relieve intestinal issues, and promote healthy hair growth. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans also spread the fruit pulp on their skin for cosmetic purposes. Yep, these wise people knew a thing or two about how to stay healthy and beautiful.
And then along came the Europeans. Due to the value placed on the Avocado, European conquerors loaded up their ships with it and other fruits and vegetables they then introduced to other parts of the world. And this, folks is how avocados, potatoes and tomatoes (among many other plants) circumambulated the world.
Avocados Are Nature's Gift to Good Health
Avocado fruits have greenish or yellowish flesh with a buttery consistency and a very rich, nutty taste. Avocado oil is pressed from this yummy fleshy pulp, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from seed. Most fruits are high in carbohydrates, but not avocados--they are uniquely high in healthy fats. including oleic acid and essential fatty acids. They are also rich in Vitamins A, B, C and E. Studies have found avocado oil helpful in preventing the onset of diabetes, high cholesterol, triglyceride levels and obesity. In France, it even has prescription drug status because of its proven ability to counter the negative effects of arthritis
Avocados are a wonderful fruit or oil to eat, for health and beauty from the inside out. And a beautiful oil to use on the skin due to hits very high skin penetration and rapid absorption properties. Yay Avocado! Oh but wait. There’s MORE!
Aids in Treating Wounds
Avocado oil can help heal wounds, according to a 2013 study. Researchers found that avocado oil can promote increased collagen synthesis while decreasing numbers of inflammatory cells during the wound-healing process. How cool is that?
Soothes Sunburned Skin
In addition to providing the skin with moisture, the antioxidants, flavonoids, and phenolic acids found in avocado oil can help soothe sunburned skin. Ok, this is even “cooler”. :)
If you’ve been in the sun and feel your skin is a little dry from the heat, or sunburned, try this hydrating and cooling body mask. Combine mashed avocado, 1/2 teaspoon of honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of lime juice in a bowl. Apply liberally over the skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes to enjoy the healing and hydrating effects.
Boosts Collagen Production, Reduces Itching and Inflammation
Avocado oil also contains sterolins, natural steroids that may be effective in boosting collagen production and in treating age spots. Sterolin is known to soften the skin and reduce the appearance of age spots. Its also high in lecithin, a lipid that helps deliver nutrients directly into the bloodstream and deeper layers of skin.
With its high level of vitamin E, avocado oil may reduce itching and skin inflammation and is also beneficial in softening rough and cracked patches. Dry skin needs soothing foods like avocados to stay moisturized and hydrated. Ok, Menopause, bring it on. I’ve got Avocados!
Can help repair damaged hair
Avocado’s rich fatty acids coat your hair shaft and help it retain moisture while providing your hair with long lasting and deep hydration. Its antioxidants, vitamins and minerals condition hair, promoting damage repair and healthy hair growth. It’ll also help nurture frizzy hair and repair split ends. And it just may soothe that itchy scalp issue.
We use Avocado Oil in some of our products, too!
We use Avocado Oil in some of our formulas, like our Body Butters. I’ve designed these butters to keep your skin moisturized, smooth and supple. Avocado oil plays a big role in making that magic happen.
It’s also a big part of our Face Chai face care system for Mature/Dry skin, soon to be explored in further detail in forthcoming newsletters. Stay tuned. In the mean time, here are some DIY recipes you can try at home. See if Avocado is YOUR magic fruit.
Coco-Creamy Green Moisturizing Mask--
An anti-wrinkle, healing option for dry skin
1/2 teaspoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Oat flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Scoop out avocado and mash it in a bowl until its smooth, no lumps. Add yogurt, lemon juice, oat flour and oil. Mix well. Spread a small amount over the face. Pick a good book to read for about 20 minutes. Wash from face followed by gentle massaging motions. That’ll help stimulate your circulation so you don’t have to go get one of those crazy face vibrators that are out there right now. Seriously. Not making that up.
Simple Hydrating Avocado Hair Mask
This one is very old school.
1 avocado, mashed smooth, no lumps
After shampooing your hair, apply mashed avocado directly onto your hair, massaging it into the scalp and the hair, from root to tip. Work some extra into those split ends. Clip up your hair and wrap in a towel or put on a shower cap.Leave the mask on for about 10 minutes before rinsing clean.
Avocado And Banana Hair Mask
Deep Conditioning Treatment For Dry Hair: This recipe can even maintain your naturally curly hair gloss.
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-3 drops of your favourite essential oil, such as lavender, rose, sweet orange or jasmine.
Mash banana and avocado together in a bowl, until they form a smooth paste without any lumps. Add olive oil and essential oil drops. Stir all the ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture of uniform consistency.
After shampooing your hair, apply mashed avocado directly onto your hair, massaging it into the scalp and the hair, from root to tip. Work some extra into those split ends. Clip up your hair and wrap in a towel or put on a shower cap. Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes or longer before rinsing clean. Rinse as many times as needed to remove the mask entirely.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
What's your favourite Avocado health or beauty recipe?