Can Squalane Save You from Dry Winter Skin?

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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.

The Beauty Benefits of Bitter Foods

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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

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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.

Eat Pretty Every Day Sneak Preview: Gingered Purple Kraut

With Eat Pretty Every Day hitting shelves in just two weeks (!), I wanted to give you another sneak peek at some of the beautiful things that you'll find inside. I've included 24 favorite seasonal recipes in this new book, each with its own essential beauty nutrition benefits.

Today I'm sharing one of my personal beauty food staples: Gingered Purple Kraut, a probiotic-rich fermented food with just enough spice (from fresh grated ginger) and just enough tangy crunch to top any meal, and time of the day. I pair it with scrambled eggs, use it to add interest to a sandwich, and pile it on top of veggies and grains for incredible skin benefits. This recipe is part of the summer chapter of Eat Pretty Every Day, and I'm sharing it here with you first.

Fermenting is one of those kitchen skills that takes confidence—but surprisingly little skill. This recipe only has 3 ingredients! One of the most important things to remember when fermenting kraut is to keep the cabbage under the surface of the water by checking on your ferment every few days, and regularly pushing it down below the surface, or adding more brine to cover the cabbage if needed. Beyond that, just let it sit for a few weeks and do its thing. The benefits for healthy digestion are many, and you'll be so proud after developing the skill of fermenting at home.

Enjoy this Gingered Purple Kraut, and don't forget to get your copy of Eat Pretty Every Day for 364 more pages of beauty inspiration!

Eat Pretty: My Second Baby Arrives Today!

Dear readers,

As I write this post, I'm propped against the island in my kitchen, with a 1-month old baby strapped to my chest. My multitasking skills have been put to the test over the past few weeks as I worked, with every free moment, to get the word out about the launch of another baby that I've been working on for over 2 years: Eat Pretty.

Back in the fall of 2011, when I first decided to pitch the idea for a book about the fundamentals of beauty nutrition (brimming with fresh, colorful, delicious recipes that would make any reader want to pack her diet with beautifying foods), I had no idea that it would enter the world at very the same time as my little boy, Jack. I've been through a range of emotions this month, from elation to exhaustion, from extreme stress to overwhelming peace. My little boy was born. And now, the book is here.

I want this book to empower and inspire, to transform the way you view simple daily activities like snacking, sleeping, exercising and caring for your skin, and to give you tools and information that hasn't been made available to you before. The Eat Pretty approach to beauty helped me out of a deep beauty rut, at a time when breakouts, eczema, allergies, digestive issues and weight gain were a daily frustration. I want you to have access to this information too, so you never have to feel stuck, or less than your best.

Even if I haven't been able to make this, the launch day for Eat Pretty, into a blockbuster celebration, there has already been so much amazing feedback and love for this book, and it's allowed me to share it in ways I never expected. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to so many in the beauty and health community, and to so many members of the media who have picked up Eat Pretty, loved the info inside, and chose to share it with others. Your endorsement of the book means more than I can ever express!

I hope you, my readers, will pick up a copy as well, since this book was written for YOU! It's filled with over 200 pages of information that is absolutely essential in understanding your body and beauty— the info inside gives you the tools to look and feel your best by creating a lifestyle that supports you as an individual. Inside, you'll find a book broken down by seasons, with grocery shopping lists,  beauty intentions, and pampering rituals that help you embrace all that nature has to offer you during each season of the year. The book wouldn't be complete without an explanation of the nutritional info that will transform your skin, hair, nails, mood and weight, and chapters that help you connect your digestion, hormone balance, sleep patterns, emotional wellbeing and pH balance to your appearance. It's the information I sought years ago, and couldn't find.

Now it's in one place, in one pretty package.

Thank you for your support of Eat Pretty!

In beauty and health,

Jolene

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Sleep-deprived, makeup free, hair in a messy mommy ponytail— and happy as ever holding my two babies!

Beauty Is Wellness Cheat Sheet: Eczema

          Got dry, flaky, kinda-like-sawdust skin?  Is it eczema?  (Image 
Andreanna Moya Photography)

What's a Beauty Is Wellness Cheat Sheet? It's your in-depth guide to a common beauty concern— from weight gain to skin redness, acne and thinning hair— and your plan to remedy it from the inside out. Like everything at Beauty Is Wellness, beauty foods are the foundation, and healthy habits and products support you on your path to gorgeous.

The Beauty Issue:

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis

This common skin issue (which often flares up during the cold, dry winter) ranges from mild to quite harsh. It can be dry and scaly, moist and blistery, or it can bleed and form rough callouses. It's common to get eczema near joints (behind knees, inside elbows) and on legs and arms.

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6 Ways to Energize your Beauty when the Nights Get Colder

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There’s nothing quite like a day in the sunshine to make your complexion glow. But weeks spent indoors with the heat on full blast? That’s what you have to look forward to this winter, the season of looking pale and parched— right? Not necessarily. There’s more than one way to bring out your natural radiance, and the winter season offers some unique excuses to rest, replenish and rebuild beauty while nature does the same. Check out my favorite ways to use winter’s quiet darkness to look and feel your best:

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Traveling? 4 Key Ways to Look and Feel Your Best

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It's a familiar snapshot: a sunglasses-clad celebrity strolling through LAX on her way home from a glamorous international trip. Is she wearing those dark glasses to evade paparazzi? Maybe. Are they also hiding the effects of jet lag from the cameras? Most definitely.

Short of remembering to pack a pair of dark glasses in your carry-on, what's the best way to arrive at your destination looking refreshed? As you might expect, looking at your beauty from the inside provides some particularly effective jet lag remedies.

I had a chance to test out these fabulous techniques on a recent trip to Ireland. I didn't sleep a wink on the overnight flight, but these tricks kept me from looking haggard and feeling exhausted during my travels. Next time you cross time zones, keep these beauty from within tips in mind:

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Ojas: The Secret to Radiant Beauty?

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You've heard me talk about the importance of good digestion for optimal beauty many times before, since your digestive system breaks down and assimilates all of the glow-boosting nutrients you take in when you eat beautifying foods. Of course you want to max out the benefits in every bite of beauty food, and healthy digestion allows you to do that. But a few months ago I stumbled on yet another convincing reason why good digestion is at the heart of your beauty—it's called ojas.

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Top 10 Detox Tips for Spring Renewal

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Beauty Food Supper Club — Spring Beauty Renewal

Top 10 Instant Detox Tips for Mind, Body and Beauty

If you missed the spring meeting of the Beauty Food Supper Club at Sun In Bloom in Brooklyn, you can still apply some of the top detox tips that myself and experts Sara Jane Mercer, Rebecca Casciano and chef Aimee Follette shared with guests during the delicious first course (a yummy Kimchi Avocado Salad!). Feel free to contact me if you have questions about these tips, and happy detoxing!

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Which Coconut Water is Best for Beauty?

If you've sipped a coconut water lately, you're in good company. Coconut water drinks are everywhere.

So, is coconut water as healthy as some companies claim?

Which of the coconut water brands on the grocery store shelf packs the most beautifying bang for you buck?

To answer that question, let's look at the reasons we drink bottled* coconut water:

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