Best of Body: What I Love

Yes, this looks like a lot of stuff and yes I use almost all of them daily because I am obsessed with pampering myself because if I don’t who will? Little luxuries like these don’t have to be expensive, but the time you dedicate to keeping your skin and body happy and healthy is priceless.

giphy7Body Lotion – Your skin is your largest organ, and it does a lot to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. It takes a lot of stress from the sun, heat, cold and wind all while keeping you safe and alive. Find a great body lotion to pay it back for all that hard work. If anti-aging is a concern for you, as it should be at any age, then the St Ives Renewing Body Lotion with Collagen Elastin is your new best friend. It smells like cucumber melon and can be found at any drugstore for a super reasonable price. It absorbs nicely and leaves your skin nice and hydrated. Another favorite of mine solely based on scent is the Hempz Original body lotion, I am a sucker for that floral banana smell!

Body Oil – I use a body oil on certain parts that need a little extra TLC. For me, that is the back of my upper arms and the back of my thighs and butt. I have a little bit of that pesky keratosis pilaris that manifests as little red, flaky bumps, so a good body scrub in the shower followed by Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil keep it all in check and help fade any scarring that can happen.

Bust Cream – I am by no means a big busted girl, but since the bust can show a lot of signs of aging, it’s not a bad idea to have a cream dedicated to tightening and firming that delicate skin. Again, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Cream makes it easy to get familiar with your breasts and perform self-breast exams.

giphy6Self Tanner – Everyone needs a little boost in the cold, winter months. I only use self-tanner when my tan starts to fade in the late fall and when I need to start showing my legs again in the spring, and the Alba Botanica Sunless Golden Tanning Lotion is the perfect product to give you a chemical-free glow with a pleasant scent and no orange tone.

giphy8Body SPF – I was at a BBQ one summer and ambushed a girl to find out what she was using that smelled so good, turned out to be this Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Dry Oil Sunscreen SPF 15 and I’ve been using it ever since. I love that it is in an oil form so I look great at the beach, and my skin feels and is very moisturized.

Hand Lotion – For a super moisturizing, non-sticky hand lotion without any icky ingredients AND supports a good cause, look no further than Out of Africa Shea Butter Hand Lotion. It comes in a variety of scents, but the Vanilla, Almond and Lavender are my favorites. With every Out of Africa purchase, you help provide education and medical care to children and women in West Africa.

Body WashDr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap in Tea Tree is by far my favorite body wash. The tea tree scent gives me that spa experience every time I shower, plus its antibacterial properties help with body acne. I got a pump for the bottle so it’s easy to dispense.

IMB_WaFhdz.gifBody Scrub – I like my super simple DIY Coffee Coconut Scrub, which is really just ground coffee, coconut oil and maybe some sugar if you’d like some more grit. You can totally customize the amount of oil to scrub to your liking! The caffeine works wonders on cellulite while the oil helps to moisturize while you exfoliate. You can add some essential oils if you’d like but the coffee and coconut combination is heavenly.

Body SprayRose Water is the best full body spray you will find. You can use it head to toe without worrying about any greasy feeling or getting oil all over your bathroom. It is very refreshing, hydrating and soothing for all skin types.

Deodorant – Native makes hands down the best all-natural, aluminum-free, effective deodorant on the planet. They come in great scents and they actually work.

Eczema CreamAvalon Organics Eczema Relief Body Cream helped me when I needed it the most late this winter when the skin on my arms and back decided to freak out and get all red and flaky. The colloidal oatmeal is soothing and made my skin feel like silk, I was tempted to use it all over!

Cellulite Cream – I am obsessed with the scent of this Sol de Janiero Bum Bum Cream. Not only does it smell good but it has some good things coming for your rear. Moisture is your booty’s best friend.

Foot Cream – Yes I use a foot cream nightly, I hate it when dry foot skin scratches against the sheets when I’m trying to sleep. Our feet do so much for us so we should repay them with a mini foot massage regularly. There are a few I’ve tried, and as long as they are pepperminty they’re all the same to me. Burt’s Bees Peppermint Foot Cream, J.R. Watkins Peppermint Rejuvenating Foot Cream and Out of Africa Peppermint Menthol & Tea Tree Foot Cream are all great options, the J.R. Watkins one may be the biggest bang for your buck though.

Foot Care – I have seen first hand how important it is to take care of your feet. You literally walk all over them every day all day and all they get in return is to be crammed in pointy high heels and exposure to athlete’s foot. There are a lot of preventative steps you can take to ensure that your feet are happy and healthy for a long time. YogaToes Gems are one of my favorite nighttime rituals, wear them for 10-15 minutes per day to give your feet a nice stretch and realign some common issues. Bunions, hammer toes and plantar fasciitis are all remedied with a little TLC.

tumblr_owkhsvp8qx1veenguo3_540FitnessClassPass needs no introduction as I am always talking about it. So many people get expensive gym memberships and then never go. This is beyond me, what a waste of money! Plus you aren’t going because you don’t want to go, so why pay for it in the first place? This is why ClassPass is genius, sign up for classes you want to go to, only pay for classes you actually go to and nothing in between. I have found my perfect balance of realistic and enjoyable types of classes at studios that I love to meet my fitness goals. Personally, that is ballet, hot yoga, dance, barre, row, kickboxing, rock climbing and booty boot camps.

What is your perfect class combo? Do you have any body care products that you swear by? Let me know!

Header Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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The Order of Things

giphy5The Koreans have a 10-step beauty regimen that has become more of a lifestyle. Their obsession with perfect skin and the latest products has made the K-Beauty scene very popular, but how early are you willing to wake up to accommodate a sheet mask every morning? Below is a more realistic plan that can maximize the best products that are available to give you your best skin day every day.

Morning

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliate with a scrub to prep your skin for makeup, it is super important to exfoliate in some form every day. Just ask Beyonce’s dermatologist, I’ve been meaning to read his book!

2. Tone

Tone your face with a cotton round and alcohol-free witch hazel. This step makes it feel like my face is really truly clean.

3. Face Mist

Spray with DIY glycerin face mist, let dry. In the Korean 10-step routine, it is also imperative to never let your face dry, the mist is a good way to prevent that.

4. Eye Cream

Apply your favorite eye cream, I sing the gospel of Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate, I also put whatever is leftover on my fingers on my laugh lines and forehead lines. They have honestly gotten smoother since I started using this eye serum.

5. Serum

Depending on your skin concerns, find a serum that works for you. I need one for acne, discoloration, hyperpigmentation and scarring like this one by Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum. I’ve been trying a lot of serums out lately from Birchbox and Petit Vour, I am a big advocate of trying as many samples as you can for a fair period of time in order to find what really works for you. There is something for every skin type!

6. Chemical Sunscreen

This only goes before your facial oil if you use a chemical sunscreen. It needs to be able to soak into your skin to be fully effective.

7. Face Oil

Oils seal in everything you layered on to your face and is why this is the last step (unless you use a mineral sunscreen). For day I like to use a face oil that has a natural SPF in it because, why not? Carrot Seed Oil and Red Raspberry Seed Oils both have naturally high SPF factors. This is also a good time to get in a little facial massage while applying and distributing your face oil!

8. Mineral Sunscreen

If you use a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide for example, this needs to go on last. I would let the face oil absorb for a few minutes before applying. Mineral sunscreens work by physically blocking out the suns rays so it needs to sit on top! I have probably mentioned before, but the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB is by far my favorite.

Night

1. Double Wash

The double wash is very important if you have makeup and/or sunscreen on. This shouldn’t be an exfoliant since they can push the grime and makeup from the day further into your pores. Take a nice sulfate-free face wash and do one thorough wash, rinse, then wash again! If you have acne concerns find one with salicylic acid, using the acid in a wash is better than in a cream since that can be very drying. This way the salicylic acid has a chance to get into your pores for a brief moment. The Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser With Salicylic Acid is so gentle and removes makeup while clearing out pores.

2. Remove Eye Makeup

I know most will say to try and remove makeup before washing, but I like to get it wet so that it comes off more easily instead of tugging at my skin and delicate eye area with a face wipe. Once you wash and pat dry, then you can go in with a wipe and remove your eye make up thoroughly. I just focus on the eye makeup with the wipes and make sure the skin is clean in the next step.

3. Toner

Just like in the am, tone your face with a cotton round and alcohol-free witch hazel to make sure that your pores are not going to be bogged down by any dirt overnight under your hydrating serums and creams.

4. Face Mist

giphy15Spray with a face mist, I like to make my own DIY glycerin face mist with lavender and tea tree oil. After cleansing and toning it’s a nice step to start layering the humectants and get the skin hydrated. Let dry.

5. Eye Cream

I use the Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate day and night. I like to apply it first before any serums since the eye area is so delicate and shouldn’t really have harsh retinols or serums applied.

6. Serum or Retinol

I alternate between my serum and retinol every other day since the retinol can make my skin pretty dry, especially in the dryer winter months.

7. Moisturizer

Find a nice hydrating moisturizer to work it’s magic overnight. I have a ton of samples I’m always trying to get through, but one of my favs is the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter.

8. Face Oil

In the evening I opt for a nice thick oil like tamanu or squalane and do an extended face massage that extends down to my neck and chest. This Aura Cacia Organic Tamanu Face Oil Serum with lavender and tea tree oils is so nice to apply before bed. Another wonderfully luxurious option is the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil.

Shower

I have been plagued by little bumps and pimples on my chest and back and for the longest time and I could not understand why. No amount of tea tree or salicylic acid would help. Turns out the order of things in the shower matters just as much as your routine once you get out.

giphy2If you are like me, you do most of your business in the shower while your conditioner is settling in on your head. This means you are rinsing your head last, and all that comes down from your head then settles on your back, shoulders and face. Conditioners have silicones and panthenol which can clog the pores on your skin. Get ready to have your mind blown.

Wash your face and body last.

Ever since I started doing this the back and chest acne has considerably gotten better. My routine now looks something like this (mind you I shower at night unless it’s after a ClassPass class on the weekend):

1. Wash Face

giphyWash face, shoulders and chest with salicylic acid face wash, I like this one by Neutrogena (the pump is convenient in the shower!). Remember we are double washing since I shower in the evening, second wash comes last. If It’s the weekend I’ll use a face scrub instead like St. Ives Coconut & Coffee Scrub, it’s pretty coarse so it is best used ~ once a week! It does smell like you mashed a slice of tiramisu on your face.

2. Shampoo

Any sulfate-free shampoo for your hair type works! If you are a blonde invest in a good purple or blue shampoo to use every other wash to keep those blonde tones bright.

3. Conditioner

One of my favorite conditioners is S-Factor Smoothing Conditioner, it smells like a green jolly rancher and makes your hair feel amazing.

giphy6Now normally I would have washed my body, washed my face again and fit in any other things like shaving or pumicing my feet, but now I needed to find something else to bide the time while my conditioner did its magic.

4. Body Scrub

I made a glorious DIY Coffee Coconut Body Scrub that I like to use on my thighs and butt, but any body scrub is a good time waster!

5. Miscellaneous

Pumice your feet! I literally do this every day in the shower and my feet look like a newborn’s. It may seem excessive but again it’s just another way to pass the time while your conditioner sits. This is a good time to shave as well (optional, especially in the winter).

7. Rinse Conditioner

Now we can rinse the conditioner and clip up your hair to move on.

8. The Final Wash

Wash your face again and then move on to your body, you want to work top down here to make sure you rinse all residue. Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Liquid Castille Soap is my jam, it will make your home smell like a spa and since tea tree is naturally antibacterial it will help with body acne!

9. The Final Rinse

Take hair down and do a full body cold rinse, this is great for the hair and seals your pores.

These all should be pretty self-explanatory but when you really break it down and pay attention it all makes so much more sense. Why spend so much money on all these products if you aren’t going to use them correctly? Any order life-hacks you have to offer? Let me know in the comments!

Header Photo by STIL on Unsplash

What Not To Wear: Ingredients To Avoid

giphy3There is nothing worse than looking at a favorite product and realizing it has sulfates or parabens or petrochemicals. Ever since I have become more conscious of the ingredient list on my beauty products I’ve been able to educate myself on what is worth using and what to toss or retire.

Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals can come in many forms: mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, petroleum, propylene, ethylene, butadiene, benzene or xylene. These are found in most candles, many beauty products such as Neosporin type gels and of course, Vaseline. The scary thing about petrochemicals is that they cannot be metabolized by your body, which means once they go in, they don’t come out. Ever. They just accumulate in your body, and on top of that they aren’t nourishing, are possible carcinogens, hormone-disruptors and they don’t let your skin breathe. There are so many alternatives out there, so pay attention to the labels and try to swap out any products with petrochemicals for ones that don’t mess with that ish.

Parabens

animated 4.GIFLook for any word ending in -paraben on a label and you will find a product that uses this hormone-disruptor as a preservative. It is usually found at the end of the ingredient list, which means the ratio is small, but still not worth risking. To my dismay one of my favorite angry, winter-skin products the Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream for Dry Skin had parabens. I haven’t decided if I won’t replace the tube once it’s gone, you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to hold on to the products you love.

Sulfates

giphy3Sulfates are used as a foaming agent is many shampoos, face washes and hand soap. It strips the moisture out of your skin and scalp and can also make your hair color fade faster. It is very easy to find products that don’t have sulfates, it’ll usually be the second ingredient but most shampoos will advertise sulfate-free right on the bottle! Sulfate-free shampoos won’t be as foamy and it may feel like your hair isn’t getting squeaky clean, but this is better in the long run. I like to use a buildup removing shampoo every other wash since blonde hair likes to cling to the minerals in the water. Fairy Tales Lifeguard Clarifying Shampoo doesn’t have any nasty ingredients and smells like Juicy Fruit gum. You use the clarifying shampoo first then your regular shampoo and you’ll notice even if it’s sulfate-free the shampoo you follow up with will be very foamy. That’s because you’ve removed the product and mineral buildup and it can do its clean thing.

Aluminum

giphyAluminum is an ingredient found in most deodorants to serve as an antiperspirant. It does so by blocking your sweat glands from perspiring, which already sounds pretty bad since your body needs to be able to release some steam that way. It has also been linked to breast cancer and disrupts the lymphatic system, which is unfortunate given the proximity of the breasts to the armpit. I love these deodorants by Native, the scents are great and they are all-natural, effective and aluminum-free. While I have tried to make my own deodorant with coconut oil, arrowroot powder and essential oils, this stick is way more convenient.

Oxybenzone

giphy1Chemical sunscreens are very effective and convenient, but oxybenzone can contribute to cellular damage and hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreens are a great alternative but they require some more babysitting and reapplication. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed by your body while mineral sunscreens using, for example, zinc oxide, sit on your skin and block the rays that way. My fav mineral sunscreen is Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB. It is so moisturizing and does not feel or smell like a sunscreen at all.

Triclosan

giphy2Another hormonal nightmare, triclosan is often found in anti-bacterial washes, toothpaste and mouthwash. It also has been linked to having a negative environmental impact when it gets into the water supply on UV contact as well. My favorite triclosan-free toothpaste is Tom’s of Maine Luminous White, it has fluoride which my cavity-prone teeth need and whitens wonderfully.

While we’re on the topic of teeth, do yourself a favor and get a new-gen Philips Sonicare toothbrush (with the clip on heads, not the screw tops) and get the DiamondClean heads. My teeth have never been whiter and they feel like I just left a dental cleaning.

Dedicating yourself to paying attention to and adhering to avoiding chemicals in your beauty products is hard work. Looking at a beloved product hoping that it has been serving you well all this time only to find that it is filled with parabens or petrochemicals will absolutely break your heart. It can feel like losing a best friend, a confidant, someone you have relied on for so long and now you have to find a replacement. Which means you get to go shopping!

What ingredients do you look out for? Are there any I’m missing? Let me know!

Header Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Relieving Pain Naturally

Many of the following options have been used for centuries, we got it right the first time and have been trying to make pain relief easier ever since. Drugs are great when used properly and very convenient, but if you can try one of these methods it will most likely bring long-term relief instead of just putting a band-aid on it.

Detox Bath

I love taking a weekly detox bath to carve out time for myself, put on a hair mask, a face mask and to soak uninterrupted for 40 minutes. Soaking in hot water no matter what you add to it can help relieve pain, lower blood pressure and make arteries more flexible for vascular health.

DIY Detox Bath

giphy17Mix all these ingredients in the hottest water you can stand to sit in and soak for anywhere between 20-40 minutes. Your heart rate will go up and you may get a little sweaty, but power through it. Initially, you may only be able to handle 20 minutes but if you make it a routine you will be able to watch an entire episode of your favorite show. Drink a ton of water before, during and after.

The Epsom salt relieves inflammation that could be causing pain, and soaking in it can also helping with bruising and allow you to absorb magnesium through your skin. Magnesium can help give you some good feels and offset depression. Apple Cider Vinegar can also help with joint pain but I really add it for the skin benefits. It’s also a fungus fighter and can help with hemorrhoids since sitting in the bath is kind of like a big sitz bath. We all know and love Bentonite clay as a face mask mixed with water or apple cider vinegar, but your skin if your largest organ and extends past the face! Soaking your whole body in it is great for the skin and is a big part of the detox process since it draws out the toxins.

Topical Lotions

Boiron Arnica Gel is one of my favorite topical muscle pain relievers. This one is not greasy and it doesn’t have a strong scent like tiger balm, yet it still is nice and cooling. As a bonus, it works on bruises and stiff joints as well!

Peppermint lotion is a nice, natural way to soothe soreness due to it’s tinging and cooling sensation. I love this one by Dr. Bronner’s, their products are all natural and use high-quality oils very liberally. You can also take any one of your favorite lotions and add Peppermint essential oil to it, just don’t be too heavy handed with it and make sure you mix well before every use! One of my favorite combos is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and peppermint oil, it smells like mint chocolate!

Infrared Sauna

giphy16Infrared Saunas use a modest 115-130 degree heat that penetrates your skin to heat you up internally, sounds scary but it’s really not compared to a traditional dry sauna that can get between 170-200 degrees. It helps relieve pain by improving circulation while detoxing and aiding in weight loss. The benefits are huge and you don’t even have to leave your home to get to one, you can get one of these portable infrared saunas that fold up under your bed when you aren’t using it.

Acupressure

Acupressure consists of laying on a mat of plastic spikes, or a “bed of nails”. This stimulates the skin and accesses pressure points that release endorphins to relieve pain. You can lay on it, you can stand on it, though admittedly that is hard, and the neckroll pillow feels great. They also have a neck and head pillow that cradles the back of your head and an acupressure body strap you can apply anywhere, even at work.

Foam Rolling

Anyone who has been in a gym or a physical therapists office has seen a foam roller, but they are great for targeting muscle pain from lactic acid build up. Those couple days after a hard workout can be pretty brutal, so invest in a foam roller and embrace more pain because foam rolling is not a walk in the park. I contributed to a Kickstarter for this travel foam roller called Neofit, and it’s now on pre-order.

Heating Pad

Yes, the heating pad has been around for a while, but its effectiveness in soothing a variety of muscle pain makes it a popular option for many people. Just don’t rely on it too much or you put yourself at risk for toasted skin syndrome! This is when you slowly and minimally burn the top layer of your skin and it creates and splotchy pattern. This can happen if you sit in front of a fireplace for too long as well. Using a heating pad before stretching or foam rolling can help loosen up those muscles.

Swearing

giphy18Yes, folks, studies show swearing can get you through a painful situation. So when all else fails, use your favorite expletive, it increases your heart rate and decreases your pain reception.

How do you deal with muscle aches and pain? Any tips I missed?

HeaderPhoto by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

Wonder Woman Made Me Do It

giphy2I started by doing a little research on what Gal Gadot did to get in shape for the film (while pregnant??) and vowed to work it all into my routine. Okay so a lot of it admittedly requires a full gym and a trainer to keep you on track, but I picked out some realistic activities I could see myself enjoying. I’ve been a huge ClassPass fan for almost a year now and I quickly found studios near me that could help me get that Gal Gadot-ness, even though I’m not a 5’10” Israeli bombshell.

Row

giphy5Rowing is not only a great workout, it’s also a great skill to have in life just in case you are thrown into a boat to row for your life like Gendry here. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but it ended up being one of the hardest and most rewarding workouts ever, and as a cardiophobe, this is a sneaky way to get my heart pumping. It helps that my fav instructor is so wonderful, beams positive energy and has a great playlist. The 50-minute class consists of a combination of wave songs, off the row circuit and races. At the start of class, you figure out your low, medium and full pressure row metrics which you use in the wave songs. Typically it’s low pressure on the verses and high pressure on the choruses.

I like to compare it to a spin class on a rower but you aren’t chugging away on the machine the entire time, which is a nice break and also a killer workout on its own. You’ll use the sliding seat for abs and the oars for arm/back strength, along with weights and squats for full body toning. Then you get to the fun part, the races; a race against time, and a race against yourself. Using the built-in screen on the machine you push yourself as hard as you can for 90 seconds and then try to beat your own distance a second time by at least 10 meters. By now your limbs are trembling and you can’t imagine putting forth any more energy but you somehow make it through and may even surprise yourself.

giphy4

I highly recommend some sort of grippy fingerless gloves to protect your palms from calluses and to enhance your grip so you can relax your hands a little. I have something like these weightlifting gloves but anything that covers the heel of your hand and grips the oar will suffice. The rower has a screen to track your meters rowed and other metrics which keep you accountable when you inevitably come back for more delight/torture. I may even take it up a notch and find out where I can find the real deal once summer comes along to row on actual water but until then check out ClassPass to find a row studio near you!

Kickboxing

I have always wanted to try kickboxing, but after watching Wonder Woman kick so much ass I finally got the courage to try a beginner class at a small, instructor-owned studio by my apartment that I found on, you guessed it, ClassPass. I ended up buying my own gloves after the first class, not only because the rental gloves were kind of gross but because I loved the meditative quality of punching and kicking a heavy bag and knew I would be back soon.

giphy5

Since then I have also been going to CKO Kickboxing which has locations all over the US, Canada and is a ClassPass studio! It’s a much larger gym but both studios have a similar MO. First, they get your heart racing with some jumping jacks and burpees, then you get to some simple drills that build on each other as they add on more complicated punches and kicks. I have a ballet background so the kicking is by far my favorite part, but the boxing compliments the strength I have built up from rowing and yet my arms have not gotten as bulky as I thought (which is a good thing).

As for equipment I bought these 12oz Everlast Gloves at Target for under $30. I rented 14oz gloves in my first class but my wrists are quite small so the velcro fastener on the 12 oz fit better. I also recommend wraps, they did not offer them in my first class and my left wrist was a bit sore afterward. I’ve tried gel wraps but don’t like how stifling it can get around the fingers. I bought these Everlast Hand Wraps at Target as well for under $7, and after a quick YouTube tutorial I figured out my best wrap. Plus they’re machine washable, I just toss them in a garment bag and air dry them. To keep the gloves fresh I got little sachets of cedar shavings to pull out moisture and bacteria, this little Cedar Storage Set had a great selection that I ended up using in my closets and drawers as well.

Have you ever taken a row or kickboxing class? Tell me your experience in the comments! Let me know if you have any other Wonder Woman worthy workouts to share.

How to Detox Through Your Skin

They all have one thing in common which is to stimulate the lymphatic system and create blood flow to your skin to move and transport toxins out. This can help with existing and budding acne (even the deep cystic kind), promote healing, anti-aging and create that healthy glow only a good rush of blood can offer. Here are a few ways to detox and flush out your system without a cleanse.

Jade Rolling

Jade Rolling and Gua Sha trending.The Jade Roller is a great tool keep handy in the fridge for those times when you have a headache, hangover or puffy eyes from watching This Is Us. Rolling the cool stone on your skin feels lovely, but I wasn’t able to work it into my routine. Taking the time to roll in front of an open refrigerator door isn’t realistic in the long term, I need one of those refrigerated medicine cabinets! I have not tried Gua Sha yet but it seems to be the 2018 buzzword, this crystal place by my office has it on their chalk sign. It takes the stone part from the jade roller but instead is shaped into dull blades that you can use to give yourself a smooth facial massage. With both of these tools, you start at the center of your face and swipe outward with as much pressure and speed as feels comfortable. Do not wipe them back and forth, you want to drain everything OUT of your face. The good thing about the Jade Roller is that you can also gently roll it over your eyes, and has the smaller end to get into the nooks and crannies around the eye socket.

Honestly, instead of using all these tools, I like to take my last three fingers (middle, ring and pinky) to do a quick facial massage after I apply my facial oil morning and night. This low maintenance, tool-less technique is free and ensures that you actually get the thing done and get that blood flowing! Just make sure that you start at the center of your face and work outward with every stroke. Don’t forget the jaw and neck!

Cupping

I found out about cupping from Farah Dhukai, her Instagram is amazing and she slathers all sorts of weird things all over her face and hair (but beware of Tumeric, it will stain your skin and everything you love). I won’t give a step by step instruction, just the video below. Note: this is not Michael Phelps cupping, if you google it you will see scary bruises and blood. This is nice and gentle facial massage that you can do for five minutes a few times a week.

I use chia oil as a lubricant for these, any edible oil is best since you will be applying this on your lips, and make sure it is not too thick like castor oil so that the cups can glide smoothly on your skin without tugging. One note about chia oil is that it can stain a little bit, my cups and the white bag they came in are a little yellow, but it is full of Omega-3s and is very nourishing for your skin. After coating your skin with it and massaging it in, you use the two small face-sized rubber cups to suction and massage the skin in outward motions. Just make sure to avoid thin-skinned areas like under the eyes and eyelids. Keep the cups moving, don’t let them sit on your face as you will give yourself a hickie!  This is best done before bed since you will get flushed, but it shouldn’t persist. BONUS: Steaming your face before cupping is a nice way to open up the pores and stimulate the skin even more.

You can also cup your body! Get yourself a cup set that includes all size cups for different areas of the body. The large cups can be used on your thighs and butt to help remedy cellulite and spider veins. The face cupping doesn’t hurt at all (or at least it shouldn’t if you are doing it right) but the thigh cupping can pinch a little bit. Videos online will show them moving the cups in circles, but I think it’s best to push stuff towards the heart so that it can get pumped out. I haven’t noticed a difference in my spider veins behind my knees but maybe I’m not doing it frequently enough. Again you apply an oil like chia oil and suction the cups to your skin and sweep them around to bring toxins to the surface and hopefully out.

Dry Brushing

IMB_7INTZv.GIFLast but not least, dry brushing can be done all over your body aside from the face. You take a natural bristle brush and starting with your limbs brush your skin in circular motions towards your heart, circling around it once you get to your abdomen. This is best done before hopping in the shower since you will be exfoliating a bit and might want to rinse off the dead skin cells. As much as I like the sensation of this, I NEVER REMEMBER TO DO IT when I’m standing naked outside the shower. I get in and curse myself for forgetting yet again even though the brush is in a basket next to the tub. The one time I do remember is before I take my weekly detox bath since that whole process is a little more deliberate. It’s such a quick easy thing to add to your routine that can really have great health benefits.

giphyIf you want to pay someone to do all this for you there are plenty of people willing to do it! You can find jade rolling and gua sha facial massages, body cupping and good ‘ol massages that will get those toxins flowing right out of you. And while it must feel hella nice to have someone else rub stones on your face, unless you’re Gwenyth Paltrow you are probably going to have you maintain it on your own with whatever tools you choose. Look at this cow, she knows dry brushing is good for her.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Any magical results? Any other recommendations? Let me know!