Autumn Product Obsessions

What's on my vanity, tucked in my purse (or diaper bag!) and stocking my bathroom cabinet this season? Here are the natural and organic products that have become my absolute favorites for beauty this fall...

Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $42   

I'm always on the lookout for exceptional foundations and tinted moisturizers that meet my natural standards, so when I heard that Ilia was releasing a new product, I had to check it out. This tinted moisturizer has light, buildable coverage (hence the 'sheer vivid' moniker), and SPF 20 from zinc oxide (12%) and titanium dioxide (2%). The first time I wore it, I felt like my skin stayed strangely tacky (I'm not a fan of powder in the fall and winter), even though the formula is slightly matte.  Sure enough, on subsequent tests I found that it leaves a layer of dewiness on the skin, thanks to its moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid. While that took a little getting used to, the product doesnt look greasy on your skin. It covers lightly and evenly— no streaks. A winning combo!

Pursoma Hot Tub Bath, $34

I'll admit it— I was a bit intimidated before using this mix of potent detoxifying bath salts. After all, the brand itself calls the blend, complete with spicy organic ginger root powder, 'no joke.' Fortunately, I met Pursoma's amazing founder Shannon Vaughn at an eco-beauty event we co-hosted at Brooklyn's Shen Beauty, and she promised me I could handle it. At the first sign of a fall cold, I dumped this warming mix of ginger, sea salt and French clay into my bathwater, soaked as long as I could, and wrapped myself in a heavy robe to sweat out the toxins. I awoke the next morning feeling awesome (and in need of another bath after all that sweat!). Keep one around for cold & flu season.

Organic Bath Co. Stress Less Organic Sugar Scrub, $27

When I'm not taking toxin-flushing ginger soaks, I like to chill out with more relaxing aromatherapy. This Stress Less sugar scrub combines Fair Trade sugar with super-hydrating organic oils and a mellow lavender scent, from organic essential oil. I'm using it this fall to smooth my skin (cell turnover naturally slows down when the weather cools) and remind myself to breathe deep. 4-7-8 breath anyone?

Zoe Organics Mama's Ritual Roll-On Aromatherapy Oil, $26

Being a mom makes me wonder, what did I ever do with so much free time before?! Caring for an energetic 9-month old who desperately wants to walk on his own, I totally get why Zoe Organics wanted to create their new 'Mama's Ritual' line of products. If I dont reserve a few daily moments for myself, I might forget how amazing it feels to just sit quietly and breathe in the calming scents of sandalwood, geranium, lavender and peitigran. This oil blend helps me to be present too, because when mama is cared for, she's better at caring for everyone else.

 

Farmaesthetics Warming Oil, $18

The ultimate cold weather body oil. Infused with clove, lavender and orange, this rich oil produces a mild circulation boost in your skin a few minutes after applying. It's just enough to chase away a chill, and give you a just-left-the-fireside glow. It's also intended to rev up a stagnant system, warm the spirit and open the heart, and I feel like it does just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1, 2, 3: Your Fall Beauty Focus List

I’m always amazed that this time of the year— the transition between summer and fall— has its own unique look, feel and smell. The sun and air are changing, ever so slowly, but for a time we’re smack in between two distinct seasons, “living at the instant where the pendulum reverses its swing,” describes nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford his book Healing with Whole Foods. My body and skin feel that difference!

While you savor the unique energy of this transitioning moment of the year, I wanted to share some of the best areas of focus for your beauty and body this fall. If you could keep just three ideas in mind for the fall season, make them: digestion, connection, & repair.

I explain why (and how) ahead.

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Preserving Your Summer Herbs

Now that the cool morning air has me pulling the covers a little closer, I can no longer deny it— summer is waning.  And while the sun still feels hot at noon, plants now get fewer hours of sunshine. This month, leaves begin to turn and our gardens start their seasonal decline. The garden plants that I miss most when the growing season ends are herbs. I love stuffing handfuls of fresh parsley, basil and mint into my blender for morning smoothies. I depend on a library of fresh thyme, oregano, dill, rosemary, sage and chives to season my meals. I also adore their beauty benefits.

Many of us don’t consider the incredibly beautifying properties of fresh herbs. Basil protects cells from oxidative (pro-aging) damage, parsley is rich in the beauty mineral iron, while thyme is a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory (bye-bye blemishes), and sage helps regulate bile flow for healthy digestion. Mint and cilantro are powerful detoxifiers.

Every fall, I hatch plans to extend the life of my herb garden so that I can continue the flavorful, beauty-boosting harvest into the winter. After years of trial and error, here are my favorite ways to preserve your herbs:

Dry them.  This seems to work best with more potent herbs like oregano and thyme, two varieties that retain their flavor when dried. I like to cut their stems near the soil, wash them and leave them to dry on the counter for several days. When they’re fully dried, slide your fingers over the stems to remove the leaves and transfer them into a jar.

Freeze flat. Freezing the leaves of some herbs (basil, for example), retains the delicate flavor better than drying. Freeze clean, dry leaves flat on a baking sheet first, then transfer to a freezer bag or container. When you need basil for a winter recipe, pull it out, chop it and toss it into your meal.

Freeze cubes. Fill empty ice cube trays with fresh herbs (chopped or whole), cover with a little water and freeze them into cubes. When a soup, stew or baked dish calls for herbs, pop out the ones you need and add them to your creation. You can freeze measured amounts (eg: 1 tbsp chopped parsley), or base quantities on taste.

 Make pesto. Pesto is a delicious way to preserve the flavor of your basil, though basil isn’t the only herb that works well in this style. Try making pesto with fresh parsley, thyme or cilantro as well. Add olive oil and raw nuts (walnuts, cashews or pine nuts work well), season, and freeze to preserve the flavor.

Bring them indoors. This is the hardest, and least foolproof, method of extending your herb season. I’ve had healthy green herbs wither as soon as the indoor heat switches on in November, and turn a pitiful shade of yellow without the strong midday sun. For the best results, give your indoor herbs the sunniest spot in the house, and water them consistently (but don’t over-water, especially herbs like rosemary and sage that like drier, sandier soil).

What’s your favorite method of preserving herbs?

Reader Q: How Can I Sweeten Smoothies Without the Sugar?

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Q: How can I sweeten smoothies without the sugar?

A: Add naturally sweet foods that offer extra beauty benefits.

One downfall of smoothies you buy at chains like Jamba Juice and Planet Smoothie is the major sugar content- 30, 40 or 50 grams of sugar (50 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 12 sugar packets!).

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Autumn's Perfect Beauty Fruit

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Just as blueberries and peaches are starting to disappear from local markets, we’re heading into the high season for one extremely powerful beauty fruit: apples.

What makes the apple a perfect fall fruit for our looks?

Its unique combination of cooling, cleansing and nourishing properties gives our bodies a balancing fall treat each time we eat one. Fall is the season to explore apple varieties beyond Red Delicious, Gala and Granny Smith; get creative, and choose organic varieties to support your beauty and body.

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5 Natural Ways to Get Endless Summer Beauty

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Many of us feel summer beauty slipping away at this time of year.

Why does the end of summer have to feel like a let-down?

Summer beauty is more than just radiant glowing skin and boundless energy— it's a feeling of freedom and relaxation. But you don't have to let go of your summer radiance just because it's fall.

Here are five of my favorite ways to maintain the beautiful appearance and mood of summer well into the chilly months...

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DIY Pumpkin Cream Pie Facial, from a Natural Beauty Pro

I've already gushed about the beauty benefits of eating fall squash (Fall Spice Smoothie, anyone?), since our favorite squashes have vitamin A to spare (wonderful for maintaining healthy cell growth and renewal). But if you've got a little extra pumpkin in your fridge (2 Tbsp is all it takes), you might want to whip up this DIY Pumpkin Cream Pie Facial, from Cecilia Wong, NYC esthetician and founder of the beautiful Cecilia Wong Skin Care line.

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