My Grown-Up Skin Care Must Haves (Product Review)

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.I have a confession to make: I’ve never had a real skin care routine. Yes, I am a real life, grown-up, mom of three, that has never taken the time to actually care about my skin. Sure I’d buy moisturizer here and there. But never really cared what it was made of, or what it did for my skin. And I never thought of needing products beyond that, face wash, and maybe a toner here and there. I definitely was never consistent in caring for my skin, it just wasn’t that important to me.

But then I moved to Colorado, where dry skin reigns with an iron fist thanks to the cold air and constant winds. Also, as I inch closer to the big 3-0 I have started to notice these horrible creatures called fine lines inching their way into the corners of my eyes. It wasn’t hard to come to the conclusion that it was time to take my skin care seriously and fast.

But I feel like I’m kind of in a hard market. I’m too young to require major anti-wrinkle products, but I’m too old for products geared towards teenagers. And it didn’t help that I was looking for natural/organic product. As well as ones that were under 40.00 and would last a long time, and had eco-friendly packaging.  Needless to say, it took me awhile to find products that fit all these categories. And it took even longer to find ones that worked with my skin. But now that I am done, I am so excited to share my must have with you.

Face Wash

The problem with most face washes is they either do not seem to wash my face enough or are too harsh on my skin. There is nothing like using a toner on what you thought was a clean face, only to find tons of makeup coming off on the wipe. But after scouring the for months I came across the by Hello Organic Facial Cleanser by True and Olive. It’s a deep cleansing oil made with ingredients like lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary. And the best part was it was made to use on crazy acting grown-up skin like mine! I quickly emailed the company asking if they would allow me to review their product, and I got the sweetest email back from Christine, agreeing to send me both their face wash and face oil (more on that later).

The only thing I can say is this product is amazing. It is formulated for breakouts, which I do not have and almost made me skip past it. But it also promises to be balancing and nourishing, so I was intrigued. It gave me hope that it wasn’t drying like most acne formulas can be.

I’m glad I went with my gut, this face wash is fantastic! My skin doesn’t feel dry or tight after using it, and on top of that, it really deep cleans my skin. Two pumps of this formula lathers nicely and manages to get all of my makeup off in one wash. This allows me to skip the step of using coconut oil to get my makeup off, saving me time. The scent is also pleasant and refreshing,  without being overwhelming. And it comes in a glass jar which satisfies my minimal waste desires.

Overall I can honestly say I love this product, and will definitely by it again once my bottle runs out. I don’t think that will be for awhile though because I’ve used it every day for the last month and I’ve barely made a dent. Which makes the 24.95 it costs per bottle well worth it for my budget.

Serum

It took a lot to sell me on the idea of having a serum. I really just did not want to add another step to my skincare routine if I’m being honest. But then I started reading up on Vitamin C Serum and now I don’t think I will ever go back. Vitamin C helps to protect you from sun damage, prevents wrinkles and fine lines, promotes collagen production, provides moisture, and helps to reduce under eye circles. That’s a lot of punch packed into a tiny bottle.

I’ve been using this one from LilyAna Naturals for almost a year now, and have only had to rebuy it once, which makes the 19.99 price even more affordable. And just like the True and Olive Facial Cleanser, this comes in a glass bottle, which makes me happy that I can repurpose it or recycle it without hassle.

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Moisturizer

Ah Colorado, the land of dry air and skin that begins to look like scales as soon as the first cold wind blows in the fall. My first winter here it took me by complete surprise. I had never lived somewhere that moisturizer was actually a necessity before. I mean, Texas and Hawaii were humid enough to provide my skin with all the moisture it needed most of the year, and even in California, I did not notice a major difference. But here, well it’s a whole new ball game.

Searching for a moisturizer was almost just as hard as searching for a face wash. I wanted something that was anti-aging, but also natural/organic, affordable, and came in good packaging. After several months of searching, I finally settled on the Mirakle Cream by The Better Skin Co.

This product is definitely the least eco and budget-friendly on my list. But y’all, my skin has never been better. None of the more natural products, even more expensive ones, were able to touch what this cream can do.

Featured on the likes of Wendy and The Zoe Report, this 2017 Clean Beauty Awards Best Face Care winner lives up to it’s promises. It hydrates, reduces the appearance of all those lines and wrinkles, and leaves my skin feeling soft and silky. Plus I do give it points for being vegan, paraben free, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. And although the packaging is plastic, I can recycle it in my community.

The worst part about the product is it’s 34.00 price tag since the bottle is so small. But for what it does it’s really not a lot at all. I tried cheaper drugstore options, and they just did not compare to this cream. The good thing is a little goes a long way, in the month I’ve been using it I’ve barely made a dent in the bottle. I’m excited to see how long it lasts, and I’ll make sure to update everyone in the future!

Face Oil

Similar to my thoughts about serum, it took a while for me to come around to the idea of face oil. Even with my dry skin I was scared that a face oil on top of a moisturizer would be too much. I didn’t want my skin to turn oily in the process.

But through my search for a face wash, and my finding of True and Olive’s Facial Cleanser, I also found their Bloom Face Oil & Serum, and the reviews left me intrigued. Several reviewers noted that this oil did not leave their skin feeling oily at all. And even Christine (co-owner of the company, and who the products were originally made for) had oily skin before trying this product and used it to combat her own adult skin care issues. The company’s claim that oil will fight oil seemed to the case for many reviewers.

I was so excited when Christine agreed to send me this to try on top of the facial cleanser. And my excitement was not in vain. This face oil does exactly what I want it to do, providing a great final layer to my routine. Plus, the amazing scent of it’s natural and organic ingredients (such as lavender and bergamot essential oils) lingers lightly throughout the day. It’s heavenly.

Since my skin is so dry I use this product on top of my moisturizer each day. I simply pat it in lightly to help it soak into my skin. The two together have left my skin feeling soft and angelic. No more scaly patches on my jawline! At 34.95 this is the most expensive item on my list. But it’s a 2oz bottle and it only takes one pump to cover my entire skin and face. Which makes me think it will last well over 6 months, if not the whole year. That and the fact that it comes in a glass bottle like it’s counterpart make me sure that I will buy this product for years to come. I can definitely see them becoming permanent places in my skincare routine for years to come.

My Favorite Detox Bath

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Being sick sucks.

Being sick as a mom sucks even worse.

I just can’t afford to be sick, literally. Because who else will make the food, clean the house, and get the kids to all of their activities?

Yea, being sick is not an option.

But sometimes everything I do to boost my immunity just isn’t enough, the tingle begins in the back of my throat and my head starts to ache right above the bridge of my nose and I know it is coming.

It’s at the point that I bust out my super secret method. I detox bath that is absolutely miserable while it’s going on, but that I swear by. Is it all in my head? Maybe. But I’ve been doing it for over seven years now and it has never not worked. I’ll take that, in my head or not.

Detox Bath

Draw a bath with as hot of water as you can stand. Today is not the day to worry about water rationing, fill that thing as high as you can.

Add in the above ingredients.

Now get into the bath and soak up to your shoulders. Sit in the bath as long as you can stand it, but at least 20 minutes, sipping your ice water throughout to prevent dehydration.

When you are done in your bath rinse off with cool water. Do not eat for awhile after, it might make you nauseous, instead I sip on water throughout the evening to keep me hydrated.

You might sweat throughout the evening and night, that’s normal, but I swear in the morning I wake up feeling 100% better than I did the night before.

 

My Top Ten Winter Medicine Cabinet Must Haves

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If you have follow me on Twitter or follow Austen’s Facebook page (which you should totally follow me on both, just saying), you know that the winter germs have hit us hard this year. In January we had a respiratory virus that put Atlas in the hospital and caused a massive influx of seizures for Austen, then a stomach virus rampage through the house, and to round out the month we all got colds.

Needless to say, it was miserable, and I’ve had enough.

So the researcher in me came out and I have spent the last week pouring myself over ways to both help build our immune systems as well as cut the sicknesses out when they do enter our doors.

So folks, I would like to introduce to you our winter medicine cabinet. And yes, I have taken the time to explain why I chose each and every thing. Because I’m a nerd like that.

      1. Multivitamins: In an ideal world we would get all essential vitamins and nutrients through the foods we eat, but then there are days that my children refuse to eat anything other than chicken nuggets. In short, life happens. Multivitamins help fill in the gaps that our diets leave behind. I like the Rainbow Light multivitamins because they are food based, meaning the nutrient sources are as close to those they would get in their ideal diet as possible. They also contain no sugar, no preservatives, and no artificial flavorings which make me even happier about giving them to my kids.
      2. Probiotics: According to Harvard Health, probiotics secrete a protective substance that some believe turn on the immune system and can help to prevent major diseases. This happens because the good bacteria balances out the bad bacteria in your gut, which can make you sick. I like the Kyo-Dophilus chewable probiotics. The vanilla flavor makes my kids think they are candy, and I don’t have to worry about refrigerating them.
      3. Cod Liver Oil: When I first told my family I was giving my kids cod liver oil the response was a unanimous ‘why?!’. All my grandparents remembered was being forced to take it in school when they were kids, and how awful it tasted. There was a reason they were given it in school though. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are not only great for brain health, they are also provide excellent cardiovascular and immune support. But what about the taste? Carlson Labs makes a kid version of cod liver oil, and their lemon flavor is very easily hidden in my kids morning orange juice. They never even know they are taking it.
      4. Essential Oils: I’ve written before about my love for essential oils. I diffuse the Plant Therapy Immune Boom every day in our house to try and boost our immune systems. I’ve also  started rubbing a roller onto the kids spines every morning to see if that helps as well.
      5. Emergen-C: Everything mentioned above has been focused on building the kids immunity. When that isn’t enough and I get sick I turn to Emergen-C for myself. The high dosage of vitamin C has always kicked my colds in the butt, especially if I start taking it when I first start feeling symptoms emerge. The new pink lemonade flavor is my favorite, if you’re wondering.
      6. Elderberry Syrup: Many take elderberry syrup daily to help build immunity, but I like to save it for when we start to feel something coming on. Black elderberries offer excellent immunity support and anti-viral properties. I make mine by myself with honey and ginger. The kids love it and think it’s candy. Mom win!
      7. Bone Broth: I admit it took me awhile to jump on the bone broth band wagon, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to get off. Bone broth is super easy to make, is a great use for all the veggie scraps that get left behind, and is actually really good for you. It’s an awesome source of protein, the collagen supports skin health, and studies show that chicken broth in particular really does help us get over colds and illnesses faster. Plus, nothing feels better going down a sore throat than a nice warm cup of broth or tea.
      8. Natural Cough Syrup: Let’s face it, hearing your little ones hacking away at night is not only heartbreaking, it’s freaking annoying. Having our babies sick beside us already has parents on edge and unable to sleep peacefully, and the sound of their coughs kills any kind of rest we might get. Cough suppressors are simply a must if anyone is going to get any rest. In our case Austen is too little to take most cough medicines, and even when she is big enough we have been told to avoid anything labeled DM, PM, or benadryl unless it’s in an emergency situation due to her disease. Because of this we have decided to try and rely on natural cough medicines as much as possible to help our kids get some rest. We have tried several brands but the Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold and Cough seems to be the winner amongst the kids for taste and effectiveness.
      9. Garlic, so much garlic: The National Institutes of Health might say that there is insufficient evidence to support whether or not garlic helps with a cold, but from my experience it does wonders. Because of that if one of us is sick, or pretty much all winter really, we go through a lot of garlic. I’m talking a whole head in a chicken soup recipe. It’s a good thing we like the taste!
      10. Tylenol and Ibuprofen: And last but not least, the good ole fever suppressors. Let me start off by saying that I know fevers are not actually bad. In fact they are a good sign that your body is trying to fight whatever is attacking it. The problem in our household is that fevers also cause seizures. Austen has been known to seize with a fever as low as 99 before, so if her normal 97.6 temp rises about 98.6 I bust out these bad boys and start on an every two hour swap. It sucks, but it’s a lot better than the alternative. For Addi and Atlas though, we use these a lot more sparingly. They do not get them unless their fever reaches at or above 102.

And those, my friends, are my top ten winter medicine cabinet must haves. What does your winter medicine cabinet look like? Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping all those nasty winter germs away?

6 Reasons I Love Plant Therapy Essential Oils

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Over that last few years I have had a love/hate relationship with essential oils. I love the way they (well, most of them)  work, that they are natural, and don’t require a doctors visit to get my hands on. But I hate how expensive they tend to be, researching which ones were safe to have in my home, and always seemingly having to go to a friend or sign up to sell with a company in order to get a product that was worth my money.

Not anymore folks, not anymore.

Last year while looking up affordable diffusers on Amazon (because really, who can afford to pay 85.00 for a diffuser) I came across Plant Therapy essential oils and I was intrigued. I figured I might as well try them, and y’all I’m telling you my world was changed.

Plant Therapy is now my favorite, and currently the only essential oil company I use in my home. Here’s why:

They have a kid friendly line.
One of the things that I have the most trouble with when it comes to essential oils is that many of them are not safe to use with kids. This means that because I diffuse many oils all around my home I need to be extra careful with every oil I use. But what mom really has time to sit down and look up each and every essential oil? Not me! Plant Therapy to the rescue! They offer a Kid Safe line of essential oils in both singles and what they call synergies (mixtures of different oils to help with different ailments). This means I can focus on what best will help my kids, without worrying about it hurting them too.

They have something for everything.
Eczema? They have a synergy for that. Sniffles? There is one for that to. There are also synergy’s for calming, sleeping, paying attention, bug shield, even head lice. Seriously if you can think of it, they have a synergy for it, and that is awesome.

They really work.
Now let me start off by saying that I have not tried every oil and synergy that Plant Therapy sells, but I have tried a lot of them. And each one I have tried has done what it says it will. I love to put the A+ Attention on Addi when she goes to school, or even on me when I want to reign in my own (self diagnosed) ADD. The Sniffle Stopper is my go to as soon as we feel a cold coming on, and I diffuse the Nighty Night every day in our home. We still get sick, but I have noticed our illnesses are a lot shorter in duration when I am diffusing Immune Boom as well.

They are inexpensive.
A 15ml bottle of lavender essential oil retails for 28.00 from DoTerra and 30.92 from Young Living. That’s a big investment! But with Plant Therapy you can get a 30ml bottle of lavender essential oil for only 14.95, and a 10ml bottle for 6.49. And it’s not just lavender, every essential oil single and synergy I found with Plant Therapy was shown to be significantly cheaper than the counterparts from other companies. As a mama on a budget I can really appreciate Plant Therapy for making an affordable product I can enjoy.

They come in all sizes.
I’m going to touch base on the mom on a budget thing once again here, but if you are anything like me you like to buy things in bulk. There is nothing I hate more than going to put oil in my diffuser and suddenly being out. I love, love, love that with Plant Therapy you can buy oils in sizes ranging from 10ml to 100ml. You can even buy pre-diluted rollers of your favorite oils! Now I do not need every oil in 100ml bottles, but for the ones I use every day this definitely comes in handy!

I do not have to attend any parties, or hit up my friends to make an order.
My last, but definitely not my least favorite reason why I love Plant Therapy? They are not a direct sales company. Do you know how nice it is to be able to go to a companies website and order a product without having to sign up as a seller? Or not having to hit up your friend or attend a party just to get some product?  It’s awesome, that’s what it is. Thank you, Plant Therapy, for allowing me to not have to socialize in order to buy my oils. Seriously, you rock.