Best Non-Toxic Moisturizers for Dry Skin

The skin is the largest organ on our body, so it is very important to use a natural beauty routine that does not harm it. Using a moisturizer is a must for everyone, especially during winter months when the skin gets incredibly dry. Finding a safe moisturizer that does not contain harmful toxins should be top priority.

Below are some of the best natural, non-toxic moisturizers on the market that are suitable for Dry Skin:
(Courtesy of Hopkinsuniv

Cocoa Butter
It is a great inclusion to many of the natural non-toxic moisturizers you will find on the market. It gives the lotions a delicate chocolate scent, and it even smells better if mixed with mint and citrus in lotions. It has velvety texture and emollient properties that are very useful for smoothing the skin.
It also has natural antioxidants that make it long lasting. It has powerful moisturizing capabilities that are good for prevention of stretch marks in pregnant women and treatment of burned or chapped skin and lips. You can also use it as a daily moisturizer to prevent dry as well as itchy skin.

Shea Butter
This one has a natural nutty and earthy smell and it is an incredible for the skin's nourishment. It has natural antibacterial properties that prevent stretch marks, heal wounds and also work as anti-aging treatment for the skin. You can use it as a daily sunscreen since it naturally has a sun protection factor of about 5.
Shea butter can be used in deodorants, face cream, baby lotion and many other recipes. Shea Butter is also great for soothing the symptoms that accompany eczema.

Coconut oil
Coconut is one of the best natural, non-toxic recipes that can be used for moisturizing dry skin.  It is great for the skin, and blends well with other essential oils to create salves and creams for the bath and body.
When used in hair, coconut oil prevents protein loses. Coconut Oil adds a nice shine to your hair without weighing it down. It can also be used as a hair detangler for children.

I tend to find that most over-the-counter non-toxic moisturizers contain of either Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter or Coconut Oil as the primary ingredient. When shopping for a natural moisturizer, be sure to check the ingredients and look for natural ingredients that you know and trust. 

Best Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin and Excessive Sweating

I've been on my journey to a greener beauty routine for a while now, and there is one traditional beauty product that I decided I need to replace as soon as possible: Deodorant. Let me start by making one thing clear- I sweat A LOT! Because of my heavy perspiration, I've always been hesitant to try a natural deodorant simply because I thought I needed the "strongest" antiperspirant on the market. Antiperspirants reduce sweat by blocking the sweat ducts temporarily.

The armpits are one of the most sensitive areas on the body, and women, the armpit provided a directly pipeline to the breast and the tissue and muscles surrounding the breast. Traditional antiperspirants contain a number of toxins that can be easily absorbed into the skin, including Aluminum and Parabens.

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in deodorants. Aluminum is used as the sweat blocking agent in antiperspirants.  Parabens and Aluminum compounds can mimic estrogen in the body, and since estrogen has been known to promote the growth of cancerous breast tissue, there is definite cause for concern. If there is even a slight chance that I am contributing to my risk of getting breast cancer, then I am cutting traditional deodorants out of my beauty routine!

Finding a Natural Deodorant that works well has not been an easy task. I need a deodorant that will be gentle on my sensitive skin, and that is strong enough to handle the heavy sweating I produce throughout the day. I have tried three Natural Deodorants and I think I found the best Natural Deodorant for both sensitive skin and excessive sweating:

1. Crystal Stick Body Deodorant

Where I Found It:
This was the first natural deodorant I tried because it seems to be carried by most of the big box stores. I saw it on the shelves at WalMart and figured I would give it a try.
Why It Works:
The Crystal Body Deodorant is comprised of 100% natural mineral salt crystals. The "stick" is actually a solid mass of salt crystal . When you roll on the deodorant, the salt crystals work to kill the bacteria in the armpit that causes odor, and inhibits the growth of more bacteria.
How to Use It:
The directions state that you are supposed to moisten the crystal stick and then apply it to a clean, dry armpit. Unfortunately, after I applied it, I remained sticky, and moist under the arm for what seemed like hours. It was as if the deodorant would not set. I tried the crystal deodorant for about a week, but I couldn't get past the damp residue that the application leaves behind.
The Verdict:
The product did work well for masking odor, but overall I need a natural deodorant that will leave me odor-free as well as DRY. This deodorant left a lot to be desired in the dryness department.

So, my search continued...

2. Homemade Baking Soda Deodorant

 Where I Found It: 
Since I failed in my first attempt at finding a natural deodorant, I decided to try to make my own. I did a little research and came across quite a few recipes for a natural deodorant that I could make using some products that I already have around the house. I decided on the following recipe:
3/4 cup melted Coconut Oil
1 tablespoon Baking Soda
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
Why It Works: 
The coconut oil naturally has antibacterial qualities, so it makes a good base for the homemade deodorant paste. I added in the baking soda and the cornstarch because they act as a natural antiperspirant and would help keep me dry.
How to Use It:
I mixed the ingredients well and let it sit for an hour or so until it set into a paste.
Using my fingertips, I dabbed a little of the paste under my arms and spread it around. The paste goes on a little damp as well, but it dried in 5 minutes or so.
The Verdict:
For the first few days, I thought I had found my solution! It worked wonders with controlling odor, and I felt dry and fresh all day. However, on Day 4, I started noticing two things- 1) My armpits were starting to darken, and 2)My under arms were starting to itch and burn. I have read that others experienced similar reactions to a baking soda deodorant, so this was not uncommon. I tried to suffer through the entire week, but my pits just couldn't take it.

And so again, my search continued...

3.  PHresh Natural Deodorant
Where I Found It:
After the first two failures at finding the right natural deodorant, I was more motivated than ever to find one that worked! I stopped by Goodness Grocery, a local whole foods market in my neighborhood, and headed straight for the natural beauty section. There were a TON of natural deodorants to choose from of various brands, consistencies, and sizes. I had no idea which product to try, but luckily, there was an attendant on staff that came over and asked if I needed any help. I told her about my search for a natural deodorant, and she said that she has tried a lots of these deodorants over the years, but there was one that would recommend for a newbie: PHresh Natural Deodorant. (I bought the Phree Unscented option because I'm not big on fragrances.)

 Why It Works:   
The first ingredient is Organic Aloe Vera, which is very soothing to the skin, especially an are as sensitive as your underarm. The natural deodorant also contains Cornstarch to help keep you dry. These ingredients are paired with other antimicrobial agents, and skin moisturizers and conditioners.  It is All Natural, Vegan, and Cruelty Free. It is also Propylene Glycol Free, Gluten Free, Petroleum Free, and Aluminum Free.
How to Use It:
You use PHresh Deodorant just like any other regular stick deodorant.  Make sure your underarm is clean and dry, and just roll it on. It goes on a little sticky, and needs 2 or 3 minutes to set. Also, it dries pretty clear on freshly shaved skin. Once it sets, it's set for the day, and I haven't experienced any staining on clothing.
The Verdict:
I was very impressed on Day 1 of trying this brand. The deodorant set fairly quickly and provided me with a clean, dry feeling all day long. I have been using it for a little over 2 weeks, and I haven't experienced any irritation at all. I have shaved my arms 3 or 4 times, and I don't have any burning or itching putting it on right after a shave. The deodorant holds for a strong 8 hours or so, and I don't have to re-apply during the day. Once I get home from a long day's work, I can feel a slight dampness, but my sweating is controlled throughout the day. Overall, this is my recommendation as the Best Natural Deodorant for sensitive skin and excessive sweating that I have tried. Granted, I've only tried 3 varieties, but I'm so pleased that I don't feel a need to look any further!

What is the Best Natural Deodorant that you have tried?
Have you tried one of the others I mentioned? What was your experience?
I would love your feedback!

DIY: How To Get A Spa Experience At Home

Spas are relaxing, refreshing and invigorating. Unfortunately, achieving these enjoyable feelings usually comes with a high price tag.   Most of us go to the spa as a special treat or day out with the girls, which is often simply not often enough.

Luckily, you can get the same feeling you do at a professional spa right at home, without even having to buy too many extras. After creating a spa at home, you will be ready to take on the rest of your week, or at least the rest of your day.

Below, you’ll find some easy tips on making your home into a temporary spa:

1) Create a Relaxing Ambiance. Decide what you want to include in your spa day, and what you will need in order to maximize your experience. Choose a relaxing music playlist, put on that bathrobe and slippers, choose some nail polish, and lay out some healthy, delicious snacks.

2) Include exercise. Although this may seem like an interesting addition to your spa day, exercise is a great precursor to any spa treatments you may have planned. A brisk walk around the block will open up your pores and allow your skin to really soak up the masks and products you want to use. The exercise you choose does not have to be strenuous, but it should be invigorating enough to produce a healthy flush to your skin.

3) Create a sauna. By turning your bathroom into your personal sauna, you can further cleanse your skin and pores before any skin treatment you have planned. Spray a washcloth with some lavender oil and hold it up to your face. Not only is it cleansing, the lavender oil also helps you to relax and unwind.

4) Make a scrub. This scrub is not just for your face—your whole body needs to be refreshed, too. All it takes is two ingredients that you probably already have at home! Mix granulated white sugar with vitamin E oil so that it creates a paste. Scrub this all over your body to remove dead skin cells! It will feel amazing, and it only takes two ingredients.

5) Make your own rose water. We all know that rose water is a great toner for skin.; however, the price tag can really make you reconsider if it’s worth it. Fortunately, making your own rosewater at home is extremely simple!

For an even mixture, cover one cup of rose petals with two cups of boiling water. Steep this like tea until the water has cooled. Strain the liquid from the petals and keep covered in a clean jar in the fridge in between uses.

6) Create a face mask. A cleansing face mask feels rejuvenating on your skin, and it is incredibly easy to make one yourself with ingredients that you already have.

For face mask suitable for all skin types, mix 1 tablespoon of finely ground oatmeal, 1 tablespoon organic yogurt and a few drops of honey. Stir well, and then apply to your face, letting it sit for ten minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.

After employing all of these tips at home, you can expect to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. To make it even more fun, invite some friends over and turn it into a party!

Guest Post-
Author Bio: Marcela De Vivo is a writer for Bellezza spa, a Miami-based salon and spa, whose writing offers several beauty tips for the busy mom. As a mother of three, she does not often find time to make it to her local spa. Instead, she has turned her home sauna into a mini yoga studio and loves to have Spa days with her 3-year old daughter. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for other DIY home spa tips.

Hair Care: The 5 Best Natural Oils For Your Hair

Need your hair to be just as fabulous as you are? One of the best ways to nourish your hair is to use natural oils, especially if you have Black hair that is prone to dryness. Some of the best natural oils, especially for African American hair, include emu oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, olive oil, and coconut oil — all of which have their own benefits to keep your hair looking naturally healthy.    
Image Courtesy of Diophoto.

Emu Oil Emu oil, which is derived from the fat of this flightless bird, is used medicinally for many purposes. For instance, when taken orally, it can reduce cholesterol levels. When applied topically, it can be used to treat certain skin conditions. It also has the following benefits:
  1. Stimulates hair growth
  2. Good scalp and overall moisturizer
  3. Alleviates eczema symptoms
  4. Can fade stretch marks
  5. Anti-aging factor
  6. Removes buildup of residue in the scalp and roots
  7. Creates stronger, healthier, voluminous hair
Jojoba Oil A golden colored liquid at room temperature, this oil is derived from a shrub called the Jojoba plant, which can be found in Arizona, Southern California and Northwest Mexico. Although it is considered to be an oil, Jojoba oil actually has more of a waxy texture to it. It has been used by Native Americans for centuries, specifically to treat wounds. Nowadays, because it has so many benefits, this oil is used as an ingredient in many beauty products, including cosmetics and shampoos. Other uses for Jojoba oil include:
  1. Treatment of dry, damaged or thinning hair
  2. Skin cleanser – treats acne-prone skin and unclogs pores
  3. Treats oily skin as it mimics the skin’s natural oiliness, making the skin think it is producing enough oil
  4. Hair cleanser
  5. Hair moisturizer
  6. Removes buildup of residue in the scalp and roots
  7. Promotes hair growth
Castor Oil Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil derived from the castor seed, and it has many medicinal purposes. For instance, it can be used as a laxative; however, ingesting too much can cause painful cramps. In terms of hair, castor oil is great for natural and healthy hair growth. Its benefits also include:
  1. Skin and hair moisturizer
  2. Emollient to make your skin and hair smooth
  3. Prevents scalp dryness and itchiness
  4. Can prevent and treat skin and scalp infections due to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties
As castor oil is very thick and can become sticky, a small amount is all that is needed to achieve great results for your hair.

Olive Oil As the name suggests, olive oil is derived from the fat of an olive. It has many uses ranging from cooking, creating soaps, medicine, cosmetics and fuel for oil lamps. For the skin and hair, it has the following benefits:
  1. Cleanser
  2. Exfoliator
  3. Moisturizer
  4. Nail and cuticle care
  5. Treatment of dandruff
  6. Eye makeup remover
  7. After shave for men
  8. Control frizzy hair (and again, less is more)
  9. Treatment of hair loss
  10. Hair strengthener
Coconut Oil Coconut oil is edible and derived from the meat or kernel of a coconut. Aside from smelling simply divine, coconut oil has plenty of health benefits as well:
  1. Can reduce cholesterol
  2. Can prevent skin damage and aging by providing positive antioxidants to your body
  3. Can improve blood sugar levels
  4. Skin and hair moisturizer and protectant
  5. Treatment of damaged hair
  6. Treatment of dandruff
  7. Hair thickener
  8. Prevents hair and hair protein loss
  9. Controls frizz
Any of these oils can often be found already in natural black hair products. Use any of them as often as needed and you can have great looking skin and a healthier head of hair!        

Guest Post-
Author Bio: Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in California whose writing covers several different topics, ranging from hair and skin care, to personal health and fitness, to business and marketing. She advises using natural black hair products that use these natural oils to maintain shine and moisture for healthy locks. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook to find more tips like these!

DIY: Edible Anti-Aging Face Mask

Image: (Africa)
Sometimes I can’t believe how many anti-aging products are on the market these days. Even more, many of them contain harmful ingredients, like parabens. Knowing the dangers, we still diligently purchase these products and let’s be honest, they aren’t cheap.

If you are anything like me, you probably live on a budget and would rather use something that is a little healthier and safer for you. What better way to do this than to make it yourself?
I love a good DIY because then I know exactly what is put in my products. Making it yourself allows you to avoid potential allergic reactions and of course, avoid the use of chemicals.

I believe that if what you eat is good for your skin, then what’s good for your skin should be worth eating. With that in mind, I started using this potent anti aging mask that isn’t just great for your skin, but is darn tasty!

All you need is 4 simple ingredients to make this tasty skin care recipe:

- 1 ripe Avocado
- 3 tablespoons Raw Chocolate Powder
- 1 teaspoon Matcha Green Tea
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

Making this face mask is super simple. Just whip all of your ingredients together until they are nice and smooth. Give your face a quick rinse then slather on your mask. I’ll warn you now, you will want to lick it off your own face! If you cool this mixture in the fridge it makes for a very tasty pudding!

Feeling vegan? Use vegan chocolate powder instead! Vegan, gluten-free, edible and effective against fighting age? Not too shabby for only 4 ingredients.

Carrying on...

Once you’ve slathered on your face mask, let it soak in for 20 minutes. When your time is up, rinse it off with lukewarm water, pat dry with a clean face towel then apply your favorite anti-aging moisturizer.

Each ingredient plays a beneficial role in the anti-aging process.

Avocados are incredibly moisturizing fruits. They are made up of 85% fatty acids (think, Omega-3’s!) and are incredibly water-dense. They are also a valuable source of vitamin E and antioxidants so they effectively fight premature signs of aging.
The power of the avocado doesn’t stop there. These little powerhouses also contain anti-inflammatory properties to reduce skin inflammation and retain your skin’s elasticity.

Raw Chocolate is not only incredibly tasty, but carcinogen crushing, antioxidant rich age-fighter. It also helps regulate your pH balance, which can cause your skin to go crazy if unbalanced.

Matcha green tea is an exotic ingredient in many Japanese green tea blends. It offers 500% more antioxidant powers than the fad fruit goji berries. It is also 10 times more powerful than regular green tea because of its polyphenol content. Polyphenols fight fine lines and wrinkles for a smoother, younger looking face.

Finally, unsweetened almond milk is a great source of vitamin E. The inclusion of this hydrating beverage is beneficial for fighting damage caused by overexposure to the sun. For the purposes of this mask, you must use unsweetened, as the sugar content in regular almond milk could wreak havoc on your skin and cause an acne outbreak.

Whether it be as a tasty treat or a potent anti-aging mask, this recipe is amazing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Guest Post-
Author Bio: Sabrina is a beauty blogging jet-setter who loves sharing tips and tricks on how to look and feel your best via While she's on the go she creates quick and dirty DIY remedies like Fight Cellulite with Sage.
Connect with Sabrina on Twitter or Facebook.