Winter vs Skin: How to Combat Dry Air

kfalpezWhether you are heating your home with central air or radiators, dry winter skin only gets worse once that heat kicks in. If you are lucky to live in a nice new home with a built-in humidifier then you may not know what I’m talking about, but living in an NYC apartment means I have noisy radiators. There is the bowl of water trick to disperse some humidity in the air with the heat, but mine are all covered up. I had to invest in a good humidifier to make my skin, sinuses and plants happy this winter.

IMB_kL23aq.gifI had a small essential oil diffuser which doubled as a humidifier, but once I got a larger bedroom it wasn’t cutting it anymore. I have since moved the small one to work which my co-workers are very thankful for. I did a lot of research and fell on this warm/cool mist humidifier by VAVA, not only does it look cool but it had all the features I wanted in a humidifier. It has a water filter but if you are concerned about the quality of your water the warm mist feature will take care of most of the impurities for you.

It also has a sleep mode to disable the screen light and sounds and a remote for all the controls. I have it running pretty much 24/7 and I have to refill it once a day. My plants seem to be suffering a little bit less and my lips aren’t as parched every morning. You’ll know it’s overkill if your rugs and carpets are damp or if your windows seem to be fogging up. If your bed is in a large living space, like say a studio, try to keep the humidifier close to your bed and on a higher surface, at least two feet from the ground.

If your face and sinuses seem to be suffering the most, you can also invest in a face steamer for a direct hit. I have this same facial steamer in pink which comes with a sinus attachment as well if you don’t want to smudge your eye make up. It boils water in the metal pan below and gives your face a nice steam facial, you can also add a drop of your favorite essential oil to make it an aromatherapy steam! Eucalyptus would be great for the sinuses while Lavender or Geranium would be lovely for the skin. I like to follow it up with a clay mask since the pores are open. Start with a clean face and use a toner after rinsing the mask to close the pores back up.

What do you do to combat dry air in your home? Any humidifiers or tools that changed your life?

Header Photo by Breather on Unsplash

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Keeping It Clean: Natural Home Products

giphy20If you hate turning on all the fans and opening all the windows to escape the fumes from your cleaning products, then read on. I don’t like to think that my cleaning products are lacing my home with chemicals so I’ve slowly been transitioning to natural options, even if it costs a little bit more. I don’t have any kids or pets, but I think this is even more pertinent with kiddos and animals crawling around!

Baby Products

giphy22It’s kind of messed up that we use all natural, gentle products for babies and then promptly start using more and more chemicals on ourselves and our loved ones as adults. Beauty and cleaning products aimed at babies are usually fragrance-free, natural and gentle for skin and don’t include any hormone disrupting, cancer-inducing chemicals. I am a big fan of the Babygenics line, they have a natural tub cleaner that I use before I take my weekly detox bath, and all surface wipes which don’t have any ammonia, bleach, phosphates, phthalates, sulfates, artificial fragrances or dyes. Perhaps my favorite is the unscented, alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer because the absence of alcohol means you don’t dry out your skin and the lack of scent means I’m not offending a subway car full of people. Your hands feel very clean afterward instead of sticky and caked with chemicals.

Antibacterial Tea Tree Oil

Sulfates and Triclosan lurk in a lot of our body and hand washes (and toothpaste and other products sigh). Sulfates are very stripping and will dry out your skin, while Triclosan is an anti-bacterial agent that is a hormone disruptor. I am a big fan of this antibacterial hand and face wash with tea tree oil which is naturally antibacterial, so no need for Bath & Body Works. Dr. Bronner’s tea tree soap can also be used for all over cleaning. The Tea Tree scent is so refreshing and makes me think I’m in a spa, plus using it as a body wash can help curb bacne.

Apple Cider Vinegar

giphy21Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, all you have to do is mix it with equal parts water to naturally disinfect surfaces in your home, no rinsing required. Have your mix ready in a spray bottle to have it on hand! It can also be used as a natural produce rinse to clean off pesticides and dirt. The vinegar smell will not linger for long, and you can take solace in the fact that the fumes aren’t causing you any harm. If you need something with a little more grit you can mix cornstarch in the ACV to give your tub a good scrub. Baking Soda may seem like a natural choice but actually, it neutralizes the acidity in the vinegar and doesn’t make it as effective.

giphy19Don’t stop until you feel like this! This is one of my all-time favorite bad day movies, Baby Mama. No need to throw away products, just replace them when they’re empty with natural versions.

Do you have any favorite cleaning products? Any natural home hacks? Let me know!

Header Photo by huyen. on Unsplash

Natural Ways to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

giphy1Most chemical air freshers, plug-ins, mists and scented candles have a cocktail of chemicals that are known to be hormone-disruptors and cause cancer. They’re easy and cheap to deploy but the results are not worth the health risks. There are so many natural ways to scent a room, so put down the aerosol can and read on.

Soy Wax Candles

Most candles are made out of paraffin wax unless otherwise specified, and using them is equivalent to burning plastic in your home. Next time you are picking up a candle, pay attention to the wax it is made out of (soy and beeswax are safe) and how it is scented. Naturally scented candles may not be as potent as the chemical laden ones but your lungs will be happier. You can try making your own candles with soy wax and essential oils, I’ve made a few but the effort was not worth it. Some of my favorite brands for candles are Scentsational and Meyer’s.

Automatic Air Freshener Hack

You know those timed automatic air fresheners in public bathrooms that spray right in your face and get in your mouth? I’ve found a great hack to replicate this effect (sans the terrible parts) for your small spaces, like bathrooms that have a flip top or swing top lids.

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I take some cotton coil and soak it in essential oil, here I’m using Eucalyptus essential oil because it’s a very refreshing, spa-like scent. Any citrus or strong smelling oil will work, try to avoid woodsy or mellow smells since it may not have as potent of an effect. Then you take this soaked cotton and put it under your trash can liner. This way every time you throw something away you get a nice whiff when you open your trash can. I re-soak the cotton coil every time I replace the trash can liner. This won’t work very well on open trash cans since the scent will evaporate much too quickly.

Carpet Powder

I love sprinkling carpet powder to deodorize carpets and rugs in my home, but they too are filled with carcinogenic ingredients that you could be breathing in. If you have children or pets, they could also come into contact with the powder since it is impossible for you to vacuum it all up. Luckily you can simplify the ingredients to the most basic and make a DIY version that is safe to use.

DIY Carpet Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils
  • Borax (optional)

Pretty simple and easy to throw together. You can also customize and change up the scent based on the seasons or your mood. Just sprinkle it on like you would any other carpet deodorizer, wait for as long as you can and vacuum it up.

Essential Oil Diffusers and Nebulizers

There are a few ways to propel essential oils to fragrance your home. Diffusers are a popular option, plus they double as a humidifier by diluting essential oils in water. They come in a lot of pretty shapes and colors to compliment the space they’re in, I have this one on my desk at work by Smiley Daisy. These work best in smaller spaces so if you have a large room a diffuser will neither scent or humidify your space. For that, you need a larger humidifier and an essential oil nebulizer.

IMB_5H7heGI have no idea what it’s doing in there, but it looks super cool! Well, I have a small idea of what it’s doing, the pressurized air is atomizing micro-particles of essential oil when they come into contact with each other, whatever that means. This SpaRoom AromaLuxe Micro-Air Nebulizing Diffuser has a two-hour automatic shut off and runs for two-minutes with one-minute off. You can put any mixture of ~15 drops of essential oils in the opening and let her rip. It has a battery you can charge so it does not have to be tethered to a power cord. If you need a humidifier recommendation I love the look and features of this one by VAVA!

Himalayan Salt Lamp

IMB_kJowtv.GIFHimalayan Salt Lamps already purify the air on their own, but you can buy one with an additional feature to give it a little extra kick. These Himalayan Salt Lamp Essential Oil Diffusers have little metal trays on top that you can put essential oils in, the heat from the lamp over time will distribute the scent. It’s subtle but it’s another way to fragrance your home naturally.

I am partial to Lavender essential oil because it makes my room smell like a spa, but in the evening I add Cedarwood since it is good for sleepytime.

DISCLAIMER: I have read that essential oils can be harmful to cats, I do not have a cat but please take caution when using essential oils in your home if you have a cat! Take care not to allow them to inhale the oils or have it come in contact with their skin, their livers and lungs are sensitive to them. Unfortunately, this means the diffuser, nebulizer and carpet powder are a no-go for cat owners, but the other hacks should be fine unless they knock over/drink from the salt lamp tray or come in contact with the cotton coil soaked in EOs.

How do you keep your home smelling great? Got any other natural hacks? Let me know in the comments!

Header Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash