Winter Product Obsessions 2018-19: Light Edition

Have a look at these beautiful natural and organic favorites…

Once I gathered up these products from where they’d already found permanent homes in my bathroom, purse, and nightstand, I realized that they’re connected by the theme of light and glow— something I hold close throughout the cold, dark winter season. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe these should be the next items you reach for if you’re craving a little extra glow in your winter routine too. Happy Solstice!

Kindred Baton d’Or, $38 (or Limited Edition 2018 Set for $45)

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Literally ‘stick of gold,’ this creamy, shimmering product leaves your skin subtly illuminated and deeply moisturized. With only 5 ingredients (mango seed oil, evening primrose oil, calendula-infused sweet almond oil, geranium oil, and mica), it feels like a pared-down, everyday essential and a special occasion item all at once. I’ve decided to make it an everyday item this winter, with the goal of restoring some of the sun-kissed bronze that has long left my skin. It works instantly to create luminosity— especially around my collarbone and décolleté (about all the skin I show this time of year!) or on cheeks and lips— and is surprisingly natural-looking and buildable. This product comes from (local to me) Delaware-based natural beauty company Kindred (maker of the most beautiful body oil ever), and you can purchase it paired with a cheerful sparkling pink La Femme candle as part of a special Limited Edition gift set. If you order, use the code JHART for 10% off.

 

The Organic Skin Co. Task Force Nine, $48

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Task Force Nine— the name alone sounds like it means business. And this cream does just that, by soothing skin and reducing inflammation while imparting a healthy glow thanks to golden-hued organic supercritical turmeric, sea buckthorn, and calendula extracts. This cream is a medium weight (it’s water-based, with rose hydrosol and aloe juice), has a soft, non-sticky dry-down, and is 78% organic and 100% natural. I am in love with its natural vanilla scent too— so calming on face and hands.

 




VitaVie Repair & Restore Elixir, $29

I’ve only had this oil for a few days and it’s already one of my winter favorites. Repair and Restore Elixir is instantly calming for my nervous system— you can credit the mix of frankincense, helichrysum, vetiver, neem, and lavender that is super grounding to the senses. I’ve been using it for a beautiful ritual: warm one pump of the oil between your palms, cup your palms over your nose and inhale slowly and deeply, then apply the oil to clean skin that you’ve just misted with a hydrosol. It soaks in well, leaves your skin dewy and your body feeling peaceful.

 

 
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The first time I pumped a drop of Light Reveal (a creamy, balm-like serum) onto my hand, I gasped. It’s completely orange, from brightly-pigmented supercritical sea buckthorn oil. But don’t fear, once you distribute it and massage it into skin, the orange hue creates a subtle warmth that becomes a natural-looking glow. The serum’s other antioxidant-packed ingredients include exotic buriti, pequi, and andiroba oils, plus caffeine from guarana that boosts blood flow to skin. Wabi Sabi Botanicals is a brand new indie beauty addition to Beauty Heroes, and you can purchase Light Reveal alone, or in a special Limited Edition Indie Beauty Spotlight discovery box from Beauty Heroes. The gilded packaging will be the prettiest thing in your beauty cabinet.

 

Axiology Soft Cream Lipstick in Reflection, $30

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I fell for this lipstick (dressed up in new packaging from Axiology) because it reminded me that sometimes the colors you think you can’t wear become your biggest wins. In the tube, Reflection is a pearlized purple, but on lips, it softens into a bright, berry-hued pink/purple with medium payoff that feels fresh, trend-setting, and joyful. As always, Axiology lipsticks are made with natural oils and pigments, are vegan and cruelty-free, and completely free of fragrance.


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 Wabi Sabi Light Reveal was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

How to Keep your Body and Beauty in Balance when the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Fall is the season of letting go. And of all the things that we say goodbye to at this time of the year— alfresco dinners, beach days, an abundant garden, longer evenings— the sun is the thing I miss the most. I truly am a solar-powered creature. I feel deeply, deeply connected to the sun and to the earth, yet fall and winter gradually force me to retreat indoors, away from those life-giving aspects of nature.

Does this sound like you? What’s the best way to stay in balance in spite of reduced exposure to solar rays and lack of barefoot moments in the grass and sand? Here are a few of my top recommendations for fall and winter habits to keep your body and beauty in balance in the months ahead, if you live in a place that also lacks sunshine. I’ll be practicing these right along with you:

Prioritize morning light. Get 15 to 20 mins of light exposure every morning, outside if possible. It won’t always be sunny, but even a clouded sky in the morning is enough to balance your circadian rhythm and boost your mood. The light from a computer screen doesn't count! The more bright light exposure we have during the day, the more sleep-supporting melatonin is produced at night, studies have found. (Cool side note: melatonin may also impact gut health) Some people swear by a light box or sun lamp in the morning to mimic bright AM light, but I haven’t found this route easy to incorporate into my day. I’d rather aim for some time outdoors or near a window every morning.

Supplement vitamin D. I like a liquid D3, and I boost my dose significantly in the fall and winter to make up for lack of sun exposure. Talk to your doctor about your D level and the dose that will keep you feeling good, with strong immunity this season.

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Bring nature indoors. I like to incorporate elements of nature in my home all year, but in fall and winter it feels like a must because I don’t get outside into nature as often. Pinecones, pine boughs, pumpkins, fall leaves, and branches are natural elements that also work well inside at this time of year. I also love decorating with pretty stones, and any green plants that can’t survive outside that I want to preserve until next year (it makes my home and my south-facing windows feel a bit like a greenhouse!). See what other natural objects you can bring indoors during the fall and winter to boost your connection to the earth.

Know the dos and don’ts of lighting. Sadly, you cant simply turn on more lights around your house or your workplace and get the same physiological boost that you get from the sun. In fact, turning on lots of bright lights later in the evening can prevent your body from adequately preparing for sleep. Your pineal gland begins secreting melatonin, which helps you fall asleep easily, when the sun goes down in the evening, but LED lighting and devices that emit blue light (think TVs, smartphones, tablets) actually interfere with melatonin production, making it harder for you to get restorative beauty sleep.

Get infrared light. The infrared sauna, which uses infrared light to heat the body at lower temperatures than a traditional wood sauna, is rather new to me, but I plan to use it all winter long this year. Infrared saunas emit the same warming-from-within infrared rays given off by the sun, but without the ultraviolet light that we use sunscreen to block. A fire in a fireplace or firepit also emits infrared light that warms from within, so you could plan to get cozy around the fire more often this fall and winter too.  

Rely on other ways to support your immune system. Adaptogens like reishi, chaga, tulsi and astragalus, extra sleep, vitamin C, grounding root vegetables, extra zinc, turmeric, ginger and warm lemon water, manuka honey— there are so many amazing immune-boosters to incorporate at this time of the year to make up for the sun’s immune-boosting effects.

Embrace, rather than resist. Digging your heels in and resisting makes this natural transition even harder for your body (take it from me). This, too, shall pass and spring will of course arrive again. And the sun-filled yang months of spring and summer wouldn't be as balancing without the dark, damp, cool yin months that lie ahead. So I’ll be focusing on the autumn and winter things I enjoy, and staying warm as best as while I let nature take its course in the cycle of the seasons. And I will be following every sliver of sunshine that enters my windows, drinking hot teas, eating warm soups and stews, taking steamy baths, eating grounding foods and spicing them to create inner warmth. How about you?

For more inspiration that will help you stay in balance in autumn and winter, check out the Eat Pretty book series— each of which incorporates the shift of the seasons as it relates to beauty and health. Writing about the wisdom of the seasons and living my own advice has helped me embrace all 4 seasons for their own inherent beauty!

Do you live in a place where the sun shines less in fall and winter? How do you make up for the lack of sun exposure?

Top 5 Winter Beauty Foods

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Need inspiration for tonight's meal? Include one or more of these in-season winter fruits and veggies and you'll be doing your body- and your beauty- good.

1. Citrus Fruit: Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines- you name it. Their high vitamin C levels are fantastic for collagen production and free radical defense. To borrow a little natural exfoliation (via the citric acid in the peels of these fruit), rub the white part of a fresh citrus peel on clean skin and leave on for a few minutes before rinsing. You'll be treating your skin from the outside and in!

2. Kale: Choose kale for its calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and iron content. As a bonus, kale also contains sulforaphane, a nutrient that encourages the body to produce the powerful antioxidant glutathione (the potential of which beauty and health researchers are just beginning to tap into). Note: look for organic kale- it's one of the most pesticide-laden varieties of produce.

3. Radishes: Sulfur and silicon, beauty minerals found in high levels in radishes, combine with vitamin C to do wonders for the skin. Radishes also stimulate the liver and circulation and encourage cleansing throughout the body.

4. Pomegranates: The antioxidant levels of pomegranates beat even blueberries and cranberries- making them one very potent defense against free-radicals that lead to visible aging. Vitamins C, B and potassium round out their total-body benefits.

5. Sweet Potatoes: Just one cup packs 377% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is one of the most important antioxidant vitamins for beautiful skin!

Soup Tonight, Glowing Skin Tomorrow

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I’ve always had an amazing resource for holistic health info right at my fingertips. My greatest teacher about natural health was, and is, my mom. As a nurse, her knowledge of how the body works combined with her fascination about the natural remedies and nutrition impressed me more than any encyclopedia or textbook.

On to the beauty angle: every time I complained about lackluster skin or a breakout during my teenage years, my mom would tell me to eat a few carrots. “They help your complexion,” she told me dozens of times. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually true. Carrots themselves aren’t going to clear up breakouts but they are so rich in beta carotene that you do see a glow in your skin after adding them to your diet.

How does the overnight magic work? Carrots are pro-retinol, that is, their beta carotene easily converts to vitamin A, which is one of the skin vitamins. Vitamin A is responsible for cell division and new cell growth. Sans vitamin A, your skin won’t rid itself of old cells as easily and you’ll be left with a less-than-smooth, noticeably dull complexion. The beta carotene in carrots is also a strong antioxidant that boosts immune function and helps protect against UV damage. It’s suspected to be anti-cancer and anti-aging.

The below recipe for Curried Carrot Soup one of my favorites (adapted from Martha Stewart’s own Curried Carrot Soup). It’s going to get me through the winter, and any other time of the year when I’m having doubts about my complexion.

Curried Carrot Soup:

1 tbsp butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 tsp curry powder

3 ½ cups vegetable broth

2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

1 ½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Sautee onions, salt, pepper and curry powder in melted butter for about 5 mins, until onions are soft. Add broth, carrots and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, 20 mins or more. Puree batches in a food processor or blender until the soup reaches your desired consistency. I like to leave a few carrot chunks. Season to taste.

*Just to note, plenty of other veggies are packed with beta carotene as well- try sweet potatoes, kale, pumpkin or apricots.