The beauty of simplifying

The question I get most when I get to meet with people at the markets is about my skin-care routine. I am an uncomplicated person and my skin-care routine is even more so. And I am not at all missing the days when I used to cleanse, scrub, tone and moisturise my skin with patience every night only to find it patchy and pore-clogged the next day.

One thing I’ve changed is the time when I put something on my face, always in the morning as the best moisturiser we have already built-in (aka the sebum) is produced at night. This way, in the morning I only top-up the natural reserves. Just because nothing beats nature. (I’ll talk about the illogic of rich night creams soon, promise!)

The other thing I’ve changed is the number of things I put on my skin. From many to just a couple. The first I ditched were the cleansers and scrubs. I used honey instead. Until I didn’t feel the need for it either. I just have a few splashes of water at night and in the morning. Then a spritz of sandalwood hydrosol which is totally optional, but I love the scent and it actually helps the oils to absorb deeper into the skin. And, at last, a few drops of facial oil massaged nicely for a couple of minutes onto my face and neck. Eyes included, of course. I don’t need to have a separate eye cream or serum, my facial oil is more than gentle to take care of the delicate skin around my eyes too.

Another important shift is the frequency of “pampering” the skin. While I moisturise my face and neck every morning and my whole body once or twice a week (we live in a dry area, so my skin gets thirsty, particularly in summer), it’s only once a month or even less often that I use a treatment that does all the nourishing, exfoliating and deep cleansing at once. However this is rather a treat than a real need for happy and healthy skin.

I know I’ve said it before, but I really believe “less is more”.

Much love,

Stefania

All you need is less

images-1It’s raining, raining, raining and I am in the mood for making confessions today. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve thought I had bad-tempered skin, ugly breakouts, acne scars, oily nose and front, dry patches, uneven dull appearance overall. Nothing to be proud about. Or at least ok with.

And makeup wasn’t the answer for me either.

So I had to accept that I wasn’t lucky to have porcelain-soft skin. I just wasn’t gifted with that. It took me many years but eventually I gave in. I thought it was just an over-extended adolescence, which would eventually pass. But even when I was pregnant well in my 30’s I didn’t have the glowing skin that everyone talks about. So I surrendered, I wasn’t going to ever have happy-go-lucky skin.

And then, years later, ta-dah: I began realising my face started being even, supple and smooth to the touch. I started loving my skin, a totally new and unexpected feeling. I really felt blessed. Even if still having breakouts every now and then. :)

You’ll ask me what actually happened. Nothing over night. It took about one year of consistently following the same skincare ”routine”. It wasn’t actually a routine, but rather the lack of a laborious routine. I only washed my face with water and a bit of honey sometimes. And massaged a few drops of my herbal infused oils in the morning. Nothing else. Nothing more.

For me it was all about simplifying my skincare routine. The new look of my skin was a bonus. A HUGE one! And I am immensely grateful for it.

 

Love wine? Try this quick mask

With this cold start to the spring here in country Victoria I just fancy a nourishing face mask. I love my shiraz, so why not try something containing this wonderful antioxidant?! Plus honey. Double joy!

This quick and easy recipe contains only 3 ingredients to give your skin an extra healthy look:

  • red wine, which tightens the pores
  • honey, to hydrate and promote blood circulation
  • chia, rich in omega-3, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals

This mask is for immediate use, so you will only need to make a small amount at once. Here is what you need

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons red wine
  • 1/2 ground chia seeds

Stir together and use straight away. Apply a thick layer of the mask onto skin, leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Enjoy! ♡

Benefits of using facial oils

This is an introductory article on the awesomeness of facial oils I wrote recently for a larger online community with keen interest in all-things natural. I thought I’d share it with you too. 

We have seen various facial oils popping up on the market for years, but what are they? How are they different from creams or lotions? And why would you use them instead? Will they leave your skin look oily? 

All these are valid questions, so let’s answer them one by one.

 

Facial oils are basically a blend of carrier oils (think macadamia, almond, olive, rosehip, coconut) or infused oils (my absolute favourite Calendula, Green tea, St John’s wort) enriched with essential oils. Some manufacturers add some other less natural ingredients like gliding agents, preservatives (tocopherol), fragrance, emollients (lecithin) and even parabens, however a good quality facial oil doesn’t require the addition of such synthetic ingredients because carrier/infused and essential oils love each other and mix beautifully together.

 

Are facial oils different from creams or lotions?

Cream = water + oils. While tipically a facial oil is 100% oils. A cream is about 30-40% water, with lotions scoring 60-70% water. Nothing wrong with water, but water and oil don’t mix together and that means you need an emulsifying agent to bind them together. And emulsifying agents are plain synthetic. 

Coming back to the water content in creams and lotions, another issue is that water is a good environment for bacteria to develop and that is why various preservatives need to be added to creams. The good news is bacteria doesn’t like oil. So if you are after a pure moisturiser, without synthetic ingredients or preservatives, your only bet is the oil. Plant-based oils that is, not mineral/petroleum-based oils. 

 

This gets us to our next question: why would you use facial oils? 

Because they can be 100% pure, natural. 

They are cost-effective – they come in small bottles because they go a long way, you only need a few drops at once. 

Oils are exactly what your skin needs for a healthy glow – the nourishing, moisturising and rejuvenating properties in a cream come from the oil content only, not from water. So why buy water so dearly?

Last but not least, you can use a facial oil as a moisturiser, a toner and a cleanser. This saves time, money and bathroom shelf.

 

Would facial oils leave your skin look greasy? Not at all! Facial oils are for everybody, not only for people with dry skin. They come in different formulations for various skin types and needs. From the rather heavy ones (like avocado or castor seed oil) to the lighter ones (like jojoba, which is actually a wax), there is a large range of nutrient-dense oils to suit every skin. The key is to massage the oil for a couple of minutes so it doesn’t just sit on top of the skin but penetrates deeper into the layers of the skin. And best is to use your facial oil on wet skin as the water will help the oil sink in quicker. Your face will feel fabulous then, no doubt!

 

One last thing, if you ask yourself whether facial oils and serums are different, the simple answer is no, they are no different. :) 

So happy to get this feedback

 

IMG_20160617_120603Happy over the moon to get such wonderful message about our baby balm today. Thank you Rebecca Boyd:

Hey Stefania

Hope all is going well with you.  Just wanted to let you know something interesting about the baby balm you gifted me (thank you so much by the way)

My daughter recently had some pretty bad cradle cap that had made its way onto her forehead and eyebrows (apparently this can be normal with newborns) it looked horrible!  I tried a couple of things without success (including almond oil which I used with my other daughter) with no luck.

One day when changing her nappy I thought I’d give your baby balm a go – more out of interest and knowing it contained all organic ingredients.

Within 12 hours the cradle cap was almost gone, and within 2 days there was nothing there at all!  It worked tremendously!  I’ve since used it behind her ears which get quite dry and on some other dry skin on my husband and with both it has cleared up within a day.

So you have a multi use item there that you may want to look to promote as things other than baby balm!!

You’re onto a winner there…

 

Yummy face treats

20160714_160319Have you tried any of the ideas in my previous post? Let’s continue with more easy homemade treats for face.

Your pantry is full of goodies to nourish your face, so let’s have a look:

Avocado is simply wonderful to massage into your skin. Just get some on your fingertips and spread all over your face and neck in circular motion until it soaks in. If you only dabbed a tiny bit you won’t need to wash it off until you shower next. If you applied it more liberally and can see excess on your skin, then wash off with lukewarm water after 10-15 minutes.

Oatmeal + honey + yougurt – mix one tablespoon of each and apply to your face massaging gently for a lovely exfoliating action. If you would like to add more zing, feel free to mix in a pinch of cinnamon for a polishing effect or a pinch of yeast for a stimulating action.

Egg masks are amazingly easy and effective. Just remember: only the yolk for dry skin, only the egg white for oily skin and both the yolk and the egg white for normal skin. You will only need about a tablespoon for your face and neck. Leave on while you are doing your yoga routine, then wash off with warm water and follow on with a few drops of your facial oil.

Would you like something more tailored? Just let me know, I’d love to help!

There are countless ingredients and combinations to pamper your skin. Use whatever you feel like. The key is to enjoy it.

Until next time, have fun and stay beautiful!

Love, Stefania

Little treats for your face

Gorgeous like a poppyIn my opinion most of the complaints we have regarding our complexion are rooted in our habit to overcleanse our face. Our body works hard to produce the best moisturiser on earth, aka sebum, and we stubbornly wash it away every day, sometimes even twice a day.

I’ll be talking natural cleansers in a post soon, but now I want to give you some ideas on how to nourish your skin rather than how to peel nutrients off.

So here we go:

Green tea bags on your beautiful and treasured eyes. I love this little treat especially when I go on holidays as I don’t use tea bags at home. After you take your tea bags out of your cup, leave to cool a little bit and apply to your eyes while you are enjoying your tea. Leave on for a minute, then slightly squeeze your tea bag and spread the wake-me-up juice all over your face and neck. This will give you some natural sun protection as well.

Beer / ale / stout your face: soak a cotton ball in your drink – or your partner’s if you are enjoying bubbles – and wipe your face and neck. No need to wash your face afterwards as the beer will quickly evaporate and you won’t smell like teen spirit.

Papaya peel – Love paw paw? Just don’t discard the peel. Wipe the inside all over your face and neck, smile and dance for 15 minutes, then wash your face with lukewarm water.

Honey + lemon – combine one tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply the mixture onto your face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, then wash with lukewarm water. If your complexion is on the dry side, add only one tablespoon of lemon juice, enough to make the honey easy spreadable. If your skin is rather oily, then play up the lemon juice.

Enjoy and stay beautiful! ♡♡♡

 

More hand treats

It’s banana season now and we have such an abundance in Australia!

If you treat yourself to a banana, then treat your hands too. To the peel!

Just don’t discard the peel. Rub the inner side of the peel to your hands and let dry. If too much ”meat” on your peel, feel free to wash the excess off your hands. But the point is to leave on as long as possible.

And then treat your garden too. Or pot plants. Chop the banana peel finely and spread on the soil. Your plants will love it!

 

If you have got an aloe vera plant, even better. Pick an old leaf, cut it open and rub the gel onto your hands. Let dry. Don’t wash immediately. Your hands will feel wonderful. Plus it will soothe and heal those cracks.

 

Until next time, stay beautiful!

Love,

Stefania

Easy skin care tricks. Or rather treats

image by Artie TharpWho doesn’t love skin care tricks to make you feel in tip top shape in no time?!

I like simple, quick and effective. I just don’t have time to apply and wash layers upon layers of cleanser, scrub, exfoliation, stimulation, nourishing or soothing masks, toner, moisturiser, day/night, before/after, etc etc…. You get me.

I won’t keep you any longer with my ramblings, let’s get started on this mini-series of skin care treats to go a long way.

Let’s look at the hands today. We always clean them to the point that the skin’s own sebum gets washed away every day, incessantly. Our body just doesn’t have the opportunity to play catch up.

Applying a rich moisturiser is definitely the best thing to do. On a daily basis.

But if you want gorgeous hands in a minute – for a special occasion or just because you feel like – there is an extra step: go to your pantry, get a teaspoon of dessicated coconut into your palms, add a squeeze of lemon juice (or milk or just plain water) and rub your hands together for 30 seconds. Wash with lukewarm water and voila, perfect hands in no time!

Enjoy!!! ♡♡♡

To water or not to water

Courtesy of motherearthliving.com

Courtesy of motherearthliving.com

I think by now everyone knows how much I dislike water in my products. But I totally love to put my skin-loving goodies on wet skin – it just makes them get deeper into the skin layers and the feel afterwards is amazing.

Plain water is great (mind you we enjoy rain water), but floral waters take it to a new level. Call them floral waters, hydrosols or herbal waters, it is the same thing. And they are a fantastic addition to skin care.

Even if I quite like the ‘floral water’ appellation, it’s not quite right as you can have wood essences like sandalwood water. And a floral water is not water infused with flowers.

Hydrosol or hydrolate sounds quite technical to me. And there are 2 different terms which denominate the same thing.

Confusing?!?

What are floral waters then? A floral water is a by-product of the essential oil steam distillation process. It’s the water left behind after the essential oil gets separated from, however it’s not plain water, it contains traces of the processed essential oil. It’s a beautiful water to use liberally on your body. And it smells magnificent!

Should I say more about how much I love floral waters? My absolute favourite is actually a combination of rose water and sandalwood water. I just couldn’t settle for only one of them, so I mixed them and loooove the scent. Not to mention the amazing effect on the skin! While I don’t actually like rose otto or rose absolute as such – the scent is so strong that I feel like it suppresses my nostrils – I find rose water absolutely delightful. About my love for sandalwood I’ll talk in a future post soon.

In the meantime I am looking forward to hearing what YOUR favourite floral water is.

Love,

Stefania