Winter Product Obsessions 2018

2018 Winter product obsessions.png

New Year, and new natural and organic products to love. Here are the picks that have been favorites in my shower, stationed at my bedside, and stocking my bathroom cabinet through the winter season and beyond—

Maya Chia The Eye Achiever, $70

the-eye-achiever-beauty-heroes

I had to share this product first; it’s now a permanent bedside fixture and has already been quite effective in counteracting the visible effects of holiday indulgences (cheese! cookies! salty snacks!) that showed up as morning-after puffiness around my eyes. It’s The Eye Achiever— a new product from the amazing Maya Chia brand that arrived in my January Beauty Heroes Discovery Box. Picture this: you gently press The Eye Achiever’s cool metal rollerball underneath your eye and glide it back and forth. It’s so cooling that it feels akin to the old trick of resting a chilled spoon under your eye to dissipate puffiness (only so much more comfortable and chic). The roller delivers a layer of a light, incredibly nutrient-dense serum formulated with ingredients like antioxidant-rich astaxanthin, wakame brown algae (famously used by La Mer),  raspberry seed oil, and Maya Chia’s patented supercritical chia seed oil. It addresses the unwanted trio of wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles all at once, and feels so, so good in the process. If you’re searching for an eye product to love, this is a must try! And while you’re at it, consider a Beauty Heroes membership this year; it will honestly be the very best thing to arrive in your mailbox every month.

hyperbiotics-toothpaste
hyperbiotics-pro-dental

These two products feel like harbingers of an oral health revolution. I’m so excited to share them with you. Hyperbiotics, a company whose probiotic supplements I’ve been testing and sharing over the last year, recently launched a probiotic toothpaste formulated with super-binding activated charcoal and a strain of probiotics called lactobacillus paracasei to gently cleanse and whiten teeth without destroying beneficial bacteria that resides in your mouth. This is pretty amazing, given that conventional toothpastes commonly contain antibacterial ingredients like triclosan that wipe out bacteria— both the good, protective kinds and the bad. After you’re finished brushing with this toothpaste (which does take some getting used to— it’s not as minty as standard toothpaste and doesn't foam), you can pop one of Hyperbiotics’ minty PRO-Dental chewable tablets, designed to restore beneficial bacteria to your mouth. These chews contain 3 billion CFUs of oral probiotic strains like S. salivarius that, unlike your usual probiotics, are meant to stay in your mouth instead of being swallowed. Long-term, a better oral microbiome can improve your dental health and your breath, and actually help your sinuses, ears, nose, and throat too.

Seed Phytonutrients Daily Hair Cleanser and Lightweight Conditioner (price to come).

seed-phytonutrients-hair

I’m sharing this amazing shampoo/conditioner duo now, because it’s about to hit shelves in January. But—confession— I’ve actually been using it since last June, when I first received a travel-size sample. I savored that little bottle (seriously, it made my hair so silky that I used it only on days when I was taking photos, hosting an event, or otherwise needed to have flawless hair) until the fall, when a full size product arrived on my doorstep— not a moment too soon because I was completely out. The combination of these formulas seems to be magical for my hair (fine, dense strands that can air-dry to unruly waves), far outperforming my other natural favorites. These formulas are 99% natural, and do a great job at bridging the gap between hair products that are healthier choices for your body, and those that perform the way conventional hair products do! What I notice most is the softness of my hair after using them; my husband has also been using these products and his hair texture feels silky where it used to be coarse. Will this dup be the perfect match for everyone? Probably not— and Seed is developing products to suit other hair types too. But these really area a must-try! (Other hair types should check out products from brands like Innersense, Acure, Josh Rosebrook, and Ahnesti as well.) Congrats on your upcoming launch, Seed Phytonutrients, and thanks for this amazing gift to my hair!


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or a product from the Beauty Heroes store, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and the Maya Chia Eye Achiever product was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

2018 Beauty, In One Word

flow state.PNG

At the end of each year, I choose a single word that sums up how I want to feel in the year ahead, or how I want the new year's events to feel to me. Almost like a year-long affirmation, in place of traditional resolutions. In the past, I’ve chosen words like VITAL, MAGICAL, and even RELAXED.

My word for 2018 is…flow.

As in, ‘in the flow,’ ‘go with the flow,’ ‘ebb and flow.’ Just flow.

This year, I plan to do more of the things that get my body into a state of effortless flow, whether that means writing what I love, cooking more of the meals that inspire and challenge me, finding opportunities to relax without interruption, or spending time with the people who bring joy and ease into my life.

Kind of like yin and yang, I see ‘ebb and flow’ as uniting to create balance. 2016 and 2017 put me into a place of paring down, re-prioritizing, and introspection—an ebb that in a way feels like it has prepared me to flow easily once again. I love that the idea of flow also presumes the loss of self-consciousness, of comparison, even of time. It’s a freedom to be as you are and truly be in the moment.

Here’s a definition of ‘flow state,’ from wikipedia:

“In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity."

Beyond a flow state, I also want good things to flow from me to others in 2018. I want it to be a year to continue to build positive energy in myself and share that energy with the world.

What word is inspiring you as we begin 2018? Can you choose a word of the year and post it somewhere where you’ll see it throughout the 12 months ahead? It may just keep you on track and inspire you far better than a January resolution.

If you are looking for support to reach your 2018 health and beauty goals, consider joining my Eat Pretty Together global coaching group, a virtual community of women that meet twice each month for an hour of learning, conversation and inspiration. For more info, check out my Eat Pretty Together program page.

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

warm pear bake bite.JPG

This winter, eat more cranberries and pears! These two naturally sweet beauty foods are ideal for cool weather, as they reduce inflammation and detoxify naturally. Eat them raw, or use as little added sugar as possible when you cook with them, to preserve their benefits. 

Here's a perfect way to use them in a naturally sweet dish that you can cozy up to all winter long:

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

This quick-to-make dessert is packed with skin benefits from fresh pear, cranberries, cinnamon, cocoa, and walnuts. Dried plums, also called prunes (which just never sounds as appealing) are packed with iron, antioxidants, and natural sweetness, and fabulous for digestion and elimination in small amounts. Enjoy this simple treat when you have a sweet craving this season.

warm pear bake square.JPG

Makes 3 individual servings

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe pears, cored and chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

unrefined salt

Heaping 1 cup raw walnut halves

12 dried plums/prunes

4 tsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

Equipment: 3 ramekins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Toss pears and cranberries with ¼ tsp cinnamon and a dash of salt. Divide pear/berry mixture among three ramekins. In a food processor, combine walnuts, plums, and cocoa powder, and add in a generous sprinkling of salt. Divide and roll mixture into three even-sized balls and flatten each to create a top crust for your ramekin. Carefully (use a spatula if needed) transfer one crust to the top of each ramekin.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.


Beauty Food Focus:

Cranberries. You’ll only find these berries readily available in stores from about October through January, so don’t miss your chance to take in their powerful skin and body benefits. The skins of cranberries contain anthocyanin pigments that protect our cells and collagen. These anthocyanins also lower inflammation, reducing redness, blemishes, and slowing the wrinkling process. Other phytochemicals in cranberries increase your skin’s UV tolerance and blood flow, giving you a radiant complexion. Cranberries support healthy digestion and lymph flow, making them perfect for the cold weather months when we’re eating larger meals. Be sure you don't just eat cranberries sweetened with refined sugars; try the Warm Pear Bake for a sweet way to eat them without added sugar.

Pears. Pears are beauty foods with so much natural sweetness, making them ideal choices for desserts or sweet snacks. Their pectin fiber helps detoxify the body, as well as support good digestion and elimination—keys for radiant skin. Phytochemicals in pear skins reduce inflammation in the body, which supports a gorgeous complexion, good moods, and a healthy weight. All varieties of pears have beauty benefits, but red-skinned pears are especially high in anthocyanins that protect your skin’s natural elasticity.

Can Squalane Save You from Dry Winter Skin?

squalane-oil.jpg

Here we are again, in the cold, dry, harsh weather season of year in the northern hemisphere. The first snow of the season is falling outside my window, and the dry heat is (thankfully) blowing steadily indoors. Scrolling back in my phone feed of pictures, I see my summer skin glowy and radiant, with no trace of fine lines or redness. Can my skin make it through the winter months without looking winter-weary?

This year, I have a new secret weapon in my corner: squalane oil.

Squalane oil is a shelf-stable version of squalene, a natural oil produced by your skin that peaks in your early 20s and then declines in production. Restoring squalane topically is a smart way to add topical moisture, which is a must to combat winter dryness.

What's remarkable about squalane: Besides being a natural (not irritating) fit for any skin type, squalane is a powerful antioxidant, antibacterial oil that helps protect skin from UV damage. I was amazed to find that it absorbs into my skin like a dry oil— no heaviness or greasy layer. Sometimes, like at night, I actually like a greasy layer because it feels ultra-hydrating. So at times I will layer a thicker balm over squalane oil for bed.

A few compelling stats about squalane: it’s 53% better at accelerating cell turnover than argan oil, and 39% better at accelerating cell turnover than jojoba oil (my usual fave). Better cell l turnover = smoother, glowier skin— even in winter.

In my own experience, I found that my skin actually felt drier during the first few days of using products with squalane. But after about 3 days, my skin normalized and started to feel smoother and more hydrated with less need for topical hydration. I tell you this in case you experience a little bit of a transition period too— wait it out.

I am loving using a few drops of squalane oil under makeup during these cold, dry months, which adds dewiness and extra moisture that comes in handy if you normally find that your skin loses its radiance as the day wears on. Try this!

Beyond squalane oil, you’ll want to target dry skin from the inside as well. Make sure your digestion is happy and healthy (eat those fermented foods and plenty of plant fiber!), as much as you can cut down on inflammatory foods (sugar and alcohol are big inflammation triggers during the holidays), boost your intake of healthy fats (more avocados, please), and sip your way through warm beverages like herbal teas, lemon/ginger/turmeric water, and superfoods (check out my moringa latte recipe on Instagram!).

If you’re looking for a super high-quality natural skincare line with squalane, you must check out Biossance. This brand uses squalane that's sustainably derived from sugar cane, with no unwanted ingredients. My favorites are the 100% Squalane Oil that you can apply head to toe (use it to nourish dry hair), and the ultra-lovely Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil (and I’m not usually a fan of cleansing oils!). This line is one to reach for.

Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Thanksgiving Meal

BEAUTIFUL-THANKSGIVING.PNG

1. Add cranberries—but not the ones you think. Yes, you probably already plan to serve cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table. And you should, as cranberries are antioxidant-packed berry with phytochemicals that preserve your skin elasticity. But the standard cranberry sauces (both store-bought and traditional recipes) contain about 88 grams of refined sugar (think of that as almost a full half cup of sugar) in just one cup—enough to spark inflammation, speed up signs of aging, and promote unwanted weight gain.

This year, make the Antioxidant Cranberry-Apple Sauce featured in Eat Pretty Every Day, or try your own recipe with less sugar. Your skin won’t miss it!

2. If you eat meat, upgrade to a high quality source, like organic free range turkey. If it's a part of your diet, Thanksgiving turkey can be a source of valuable building blocks for your beauty—but it's extremely important to choose well. Factory farmed meats are commonly fed poor-quality feed and given antibiotics to prevent disease, both of which have a negative impact on your overall beauty and wellness when you consume them. This year, make organic a priority at your table (wherever you can, but especially for animal products and Dirty Dozen produce!). Organic meat has significantly higher levels of beautifying omega-3 fatty acids and fewer harmful fats.

3. Put greens on your table. Traditionally, (not so beauty-friendly) green bean casserole is the rare glimpse of green we get on Thanksgiving Day. This year, make room for leafy greens among the regular dishes you serve, as they're a daily essential for radiant skin. Greens are powerhouse sources of skin-clearing vitamin A and collagen-building vitamin C, and they work hard to feed the healthy, probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. For Thanksgiving, look beyond a green salad to a sauté of greens and garlic, or a seasonal dish like the Warm Fall Salad featured in Eat Pretty (a favorite in my family!)

4. Make time for gratitude and mindfulness at mealtime. Ensure that your body is able to break down and assimilate all of the wonderful beauty nutrients in your Thanksgiving meal by creating a mindful space in which to eat. Appropriately, Thanksgiving centers around gratitude, which has been shown to increase our happiness, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and have beauty benefits long-term. This Thanksgiving, take time to think or speak about what you’re grateful for; consider finding a mantra to recite or share before your meal; and breathe and relax while eating. You’ll change the way your body digests and uses your meal—as well as how you feel afterward. 

5. Spice up dessert. You’re probably already having pie, and cookies, and cake, right? To make them more beauty-friendly, add spices to all of your holiday desserts. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are just a few of the antioxidant-packed spices that offer phytochemical benefits like a reduced blood sugar spike from sugar, digestive support, and an immune boost. And I challenge anyone not to love baked apple slices, which are free of added sugar and taste like the inside of an apple pie. To make them:

Simple Baked Apples: Core and slice fresh organic apples and layer them in a heat-proof dish. In a bowl, melt a few tablespoons of organic, grassfed butter, and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, plus a little unsweetened apple sauce. Brush this mixture over your apple slices and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

  • As a bonus, I also love to serve something bitter— like this Bitter Is Beautiful Salad or a cocktail made with digestive bitters— to support healthy digestion of this filling meal!

What are your favorite ways to beautify your own Thanksgiving table?

Sweet Autumn Soup

Ready for a sweet and comforting fall soup that will supercharge your skin with its beta carotene content and support natural fall cleansing to prepare your body and beauty for winter? Head over to actress and author Beth Behrs' website, totalmetox.com for my latest beauty food recipe!

Here's a sneak peek: Kabocha squash is one of the most delicious fall foods, and it’s naturally sweet. The addition of apples to this recipe lends it even more sweetness, making this soup perfect to complement a savory dish. Or you can eat light and fill up on the soup by itself—if you do, try adding avocado chunks for extra healthy fats.

Simple Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

I’ll be honest, I’ve wasted many a shower composing emails in my head, or tallying up a mental list of to-dos to check off the minute I’m dried and dressed. I think it was becoming a mother that made me realize that a routine shower (or bath) is less a task to perform on autopilot and more of a self-care ritual to be savored.

I challenge you to seize those precious bathing moments to incorporate some simple wellness practices that will help you look and feel your best— mind, body and spirit. I try to incorporate a few of these 8 practices every time I bathe, whether I’m hopping in for a quick rinse or taking time out for a long soak.

wellness-shower-bath.JPG

8 Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

1. Gratitude. You’ve probably already made a mental note to bring more gratitude into your life, but you may not have found the time to be consistent. So incorporate it into your bathing ritual. When I shower in the morning, it wakes up my senses and I’m instantly grateful for another sunrise, the calming feeling of warm water flowing over my body, a roof over my head, and food that will be my breakfast meal.

2. Healthy Beauty. Your bathing ritual just won’t support your body and beauty if the products you use contain hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic ingredients. Put thought into the products you choose, and remember that your dollars are well-spent on products that absorb into your body in seconds, and influence your overall health. For ideas, I’ve shared lots of my favorite natural and organic products on this site!

3. Head massage. You know how drool-inducing a head massage can be at a salon, now slow down and bring those techniques into your regular routine. The benefits are way more than just pleasurable: gently massaging your scalp encourages the flow and drainage of lymph from your brain that keeps your brain and waste-removing lymphatic system in top form.

4. Deep, steamy breaths. If you’re showering, take a few moments to deeply breathe in steam that rises from the stream of water. You’ll calm your body, open up your airways, and help your body detox naturally.

5. Aromatherapy. In addition to steam, there are so many benefits to adding natural scents to your bathing routine; I recommend using small amounts of essential oils to avoid any synthetic fragrances. You can sprinkle a few drops of essential oils on your shower floor, make or purchase a baking soda-based aromatherapy tablet that dissolves on the floor of your shower and emits scent as you bathe, or mix essential oils with a carrier oil and/or natural salts to add to your bath. I share some of my favorite essential oils in this post.

6. Single-tasking. You’ve heard of multi-tasking, now single task— mindfully perform one task at a  time. I see this as kind of a mini warmup or trial run for meditation that strengthens the brain’s focus and calm in the same way. Pay attention to the details of your bathing ritual (even though I bet you could bathe in your sleep, it’s so routine) like scents, textures, and sensations, and you practice a habit that will serve you outside of your bathing ritual.

7. Dry brushing. I love dry brushing after I bathe— when my skin is clean and my circulation is already flowing. I think it’s the perfect addition to a bathing ritual, as it speeds up the flow of waste-removing lymph and brings glow and tone to your body (it can even reduce cellulite!). Get your own natural-bristle body brush and add this quick, transformative step to your routine using instructions found here or in the Eat Pretty books.

8. Skin-nourishing oils. The final wellness-boosting step I’d encourage you to adopt in your bathing routine is applying high-quality natural or organic oils to your skin. This practice gives you a chance to touch your skin, head to toe, and love your body. And plant-based oils will enhance the effects of your beauty diet from the outside-in.

What wellness practices do you love to incorporate in your own bathing ritual?

The Beauty Benefits of Bitter Foods

bitter-is-beautiful-salad.jpg

Sure, you love sweetness. Or maybe you're more of a saltiness person. But bitterness? It really deserves more fans— especially given its major benefits for your beauty!

Bitter foods stimulate digestive enzyme production and bile flow, seriously helping your digestive process, which in turn has a visible impact on your skin (as well as your weight, moods, and immunity!). Bitter foods also support liver detox (very important in the fall as well as the spring), further supporting skin glow, and help reduce cravings by satisfying a very important taste on your palate.

My favorite bitter beauty foods include radicchio, endive, arugula and sesame (all featured in the addictive recipe below), as well as turmeric, artichokes, dandelion greens, and grapefruit. Digestive bitters are another way to reap the benefits of bitterness in your routine— a few drops of bitters into a small amount of water before a meal also jumpstarts the digestive process.

If you make an effort to include more bitter foods in your diet (fall beauty goal?), you'll notice that bitterness can be a strong taste on your palate. it's not a taste we encounter very often anymore. Try to embrace it, remembering how amazing it is for your body. I love pairing bitter foods with something naturally sweet and tangy, like a dressing that mixes apple cider vinegar and honey, or one that incorporates balsamic vinegar and a splash of maple syrup. The dressing below includes pomegranate vinegar (I found a naturally fermented and super delicious version at Trader Joe's) with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, and the end result is so satisfying and very balanced when paired with bitter greens.

Aim to eat your bitter foods early on in your meal, to get the most digestive benefits. Make this salad the first course at a fall dinner or holiday gathering, and you'll feel it work magic on your digestion even after the dessert plates have been cleared.

Bitter Is Beautiful Salad + Sesame-Pomegranate Dressing

bitter-is-beautiful-salad-2.jpg

This salad combines the beautifying bitterness of radicchio, endive, arugula, and sesame with the natural sweetness of pomegranate. It's a perfect first course that supports healthy digestion.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head radicchio, chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula
  • 2 small heads endive, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds separated
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate vinegar (can sub ACV or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • unrefined salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp warm water

DIRECTIONS

In a serving bowl, toss radicchio, arugula, and endive. Top with pomegranate arils (seeds). Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, oil, vinegars, maple syrup, and salt to taste. Add about 2 Tbsp water to thin dressing. Plate each serving of salad and drizzle with dressing to serve.

Fall Detox with the Green Pumpkin Smoothie

sunpotion-green-pumpkin.JPG

Did you know that, in addition to spring detox, your body is naturally working to detox from the inside out during the fall months? Fall is the season of letting go and releasing— especially when it comes to toxins that you don't want stored in your body all winter, the season when detox naturally slows.

While you don't necessarily need to adopt a restrictive 'detox diet' this season, it helps to support your body in its efforts with naturally detoxifying foods. One of my favorite foods to support detox in the body is chlorella, a type of blue-green algae that is incredibly nutrient dense and prized for its ability to remove heavy metals while supporting your immune system. Chlorella is packed with plant-based protein and vitamin A, as well as beauty minerals like iron and zinc.

As with all algae and seaweed products, you should take extra care to make sure that you're buying high quality foods that are not themselves contaminated with metals or toxins. Sunpotion's chlorella powder is certified organic and sourced from Taiwan. It comes packaged in a dark glass jar to preserve its nutritional value. Sunpotion generously allowed me to sample it, and I will definitely be reordering.

Here's my favorite way to eat chlorella this season— in a smoothie that is rich in healthy fats, skin-smoothing beta carotene, and a dose of green goodness that supports my fall detox. These ingredients work in tandem to prolong your summer glow, while preparing your body and beauty for the colder months ahead. I love the combination of chlorella and spirulina (another nutrient-dense algae) in this smoothie to enhance the detox effects of each individual ingredient.

The Green Pumpkin

green-pumpkin-2.JPG

This silky smoothie is mildly sweet and very filling. Its natural detox benefits make it an ideal autumn smoothie staple.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup cooked pumpkin or winter squash (butternut, acorn, kabocha, etc.)
  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, like coconut or almond
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1 1/2 tsp chlorella powder (I like Sunpotion)
  • 1 1/2 tsp spirulina powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 soft pitted dates

DIRECTIONS

In a high powered blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more liquid if needed.

Beauty Heroes x Gressa's Minimalist Makeup Collection

As a beauty editor, I interviewed countless makeup artists who would use a *hint* of shine— gold, silver, rose gold— to make their celeb clients' eyes look bright and youthful. It's all about subtlety (no allover metallic lids pls); just a dot in the inner corners of your lids to give your eyes a little wake up.

When my Beauty Heroes September Makeup Discovery box arrived last week, I found that the creamy Gressa Aureo Eye Tint inside was so perfect for this trick! It's become my new favorite, along with the lovely Gressa Lumiere, a pigmented serum that works kind of like a subtle liquid bronzer on my skin. This, along with beta carotene-rich veggies, are helping me prolong summer's golden skin glow!

This set (which also includes a smoky brown cream shadow and a brush) is super subtle, versatile, and minimalist—the way I like my makeup (it's actually called the Minimalist Collection). With this kind of makeup, your healthy skin glow gets to shine through, which is what you want.
.
If you're looking for some healthy new makeup to bring sparkle into your routine this fall, definitely check out this box! It's $45, for $104 worth of gorgeous Gressa makeup.

You can shop the collection here.

NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or one of the aforementioned products, I will receive a small commission on behalf of these companies that helps to offset the cost of maintaining this site. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and this Gressa makeup was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.