As wonderful as the holiday season is, it can be a stressful and sometimes difficult time for many of us. The family gatherings, holiday parties, traveling chaos—uff dah. It’s a lot. Taking a few moments each day to unwind is so important, especially during times of stress. As a mother who has struggled with anxiety both pre- and postpartum, I admit that it’s hard finding a balance between being a total giver to my family and also carving out a few precious moments to myself. I am so happy to have discovered The Mama’s Ritual collection from Zoe Organics which was created support, uplift and nurture wellbeing. These products have become staples in my household, and I know you’ll love them, too.
The Mama’s Ritual collection is packaged as a gift set ($86) but you can also purchase products individually; they’d all make beautiful gifts on their own! The Aromatherapy Oil ($26) is a purse-friendly rollerball that instantly calms with essential oils of organic lavender, bergamot, chamomile, petitgrain and sandalwood. The notes are familiar and soothing, but also rich and warm. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to pack in your purse, although mine faithfully dwells on my nightstand as a part of my bedtime routine. I dab a little on my wrist and temples, breathe deeply and prepare for a restful sleep. If I need a little more pampering, a hot bath with the Mama’s Ritual Bath Soak ($34) becomes a great cure-all after a hectic day. The epsom salts soothe tired, sore muscles, while the signature oil blend helps to whisk your cares away. Zoe Organics suggests drinking a large glass of water after soaking in these bath salts, and I agree—you will feel refreshed and hydrated! Second to a hot bath, there is nothing more soothing than the glow of a candle. Made with the Mama’s Ritual oil blend and organic beeswax, this candle imparts relaxation and fills the room with it’s comforting scent. When I’ve had a stressful day or am feeling particularly overwhelmed, I light this candle to help me focus and slow down.
Mama’s Ritual products are handmade and certified organic. Please note that while the bath salts are not for pregnant women, Zoe Organics has a great selection of products for the mama-to-be!
When it comes to beauty essentials, the eyelash curler never gets enough love. Nothing makes lashes them look longer, thicker, fuller and opens up your eyes like a proper curl . There are lots of methods for getting the perfect fringe, but my technique promises no eyelid pinching (ouch!) or unsightly crimped lashes.
Holding the curler the way you would a pair of scissors, open it completely and bring the base up to the root of the lashes. Take a second to make sure all the lashes are inside the curler and then place the curler upright, so the curve of the curler faces outward.
Carefully close the curler on your lashes by squeezing slowly. Pulse a few times to make sure you get every lash. Without opening the curler, turn it upwards so that the curve of the tool is flush with the curve of your eyelid crease. Squeeze + pulse a few more times. This will give your eyelashes an open curl, instead of a sharp crimp, which we all hate. Open the curler and slowly “walk” it up from the root to the tip of the lash, squeezing and pulsing gently as you go.
Before you slip those feet into ballet flats for the next six months, show them some love with a DIY foot mask. This treatment is a breeze to whip up and a great way to use the last of the season’s herbs. The pineapple juice contains natural enzymes that breakdown dead skin, while the lactic acid in the yogurt softens and gently exfoliates.
What’s you’ll need:
2 t. chopped fresh mint leaves
2 t. chopped fresh rosemary
2 T. pineapple juice
3 T. plain Greek yogurt
How to do it:
1. Place all the above ingredients into a blender and puree until combined into a thick mixture. 2. Spread the mask over clean feet, taking time to massage it into any dry, rough skin. 3. Wrap your feet in plastic wrap and slip on some cotton socks. 4. Put your feet up + relax for 20 minutes! Then either just rinse off the mask with cool water or use a pumice stone to gently buff rough areas. Massage in your favorite lotion or foot cream and you’re done! –Hannah
Beauty Bets is officially joining the baby boom! Our resident esthetician Hannah is nearly eight months pregnant. We are thrilled that she’ll be sharing her mama + bebe beauty wisdom.
I can now say from experience that pregnancy brings on a whole bunch of new skincare concerns (hello dry skin + hormonal acne!). It’s incredibly frustrating when those go-to ingredients like salicylic acid and retinol become big no-no’s. These are the skincare solutions I’ve discovered work wonders when you’re expecting—or even if you aren’t! –Hannah
Hormonal Skin Acne is one of the biggest challenges pregnant women tackle is hormonal acne. One day, you have clear skin, and the next, your face looks like the Rocky Mountains. Most doctors will ask you steer clear of traditional acne treatments. I had great success with the sulphur-rich mask Mario Badescu Drying Mask ($18). For big time breakouts, I use it all over as a mask. It also works wonders as an overnight spot treatment. Along with the acne, pregnancy-related skin sensitivity is also very common. The Soothing Mask from Dr. Hauschka ($53) is my favorite way to calm a fussy complexion. . Itchy Bellies + Stretch Marks As your skin stretches to accommodate that beautiful bump, your need for super-rich moisturizers grows, too. Stretch marks are (unfortunately) genetic, but a great moisturizer will help minimize them. I use Kiehl’s Superbly Restorative Argan Body Lotion ($38) day and night, all over my body. For being so lightweight, this lotion is ridiculously hydrating. The fair-trade argan oil also leaves skin with a gorgeous glow! I have so much love for One Love Organic Skin Savior Balm ($18). I use it to take off my makeup, moisturize my face and tame frizzy hair. But my current favorite application is as a belly balm. I massage it in after a shower or before bed. After 3 months of use, my skin looks tight and toned. When my belly feels super itchy, I add a capful of Noodle + Boo Elasticity Oil ($18) to a warm bath or layer under my OLO Skin Savior Balm to help soothe discomfort. I should also mention their signature scent is incredibly addictive. . Healthy Alternatives Since so many ingredients are off-limits, pregnancy can become a great time to swap out your old standbys for natural alternatives. Hormonal hot-flashes create a definite need for a really good deo. I’ve fallen in love with LAVANILA Healthy Deodorant ($14) and have no intentions of going back to my old stick. Basq Citrus Sugar Body Polish ($26) is satisfying if you have a tight, itchy skin (thanks to whipped shea butter) and the orange blossom scent smells like a cocktail (sigh). Pregnant or not, you need SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk and Body Wash ($10). It’s organic, lathers like crazy and is a total steal.
Since starting “Ask An Esti,” we’ve been getting loads of questions about exfoliation: what is it, how often to do it, which product to use for what skin type. After a few months of heat, sweat and self-tanner, I’d we’re all due for a proper epidermal pick-me-up! Simply put, exfoliation is the removal of dead, dull skin to reveal a brighter, smoother complexion. If you’re an avid BB reader, then you already know we are obsessed with any kind of skincare treatment that will give us that ethereal glow.
There are two main types of exfoliants: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical involves physical sloughing of dead cells by way of a scrub, washcloth or a rotary brush, like the Clarisonic. This type of exfoliation is ideal for normal, combination and dry skin types, but not for skin with active breakouts. Manual scrubbing of the skin can worsen any blemishes you might have and can spread infection. Chemical exfoliation, however, uses chemical action via acids (alpha + beta hydroxy) or enzymes (papain + bromelian) to break down dead skin. Vitamin A (retinoic acid) also encourages cell turnover. Depending on the level of active ingredients, chemical exfoliants can range from gentle to very strong. So, which should you use and how often? Frequency depends on skin type and product, but as a general rule once or twice a week is safe. Below is a quick list of suggested products for common skin types and conditions. Happy resurfacing! –Hannah
Dry or Dehydrated Skin: Choose an exfoliant with a manual scrub (to get rid of visible flakes) or one that contains lactic acid which is extremely effective at reducing fine lines and promoting hydration. Try Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser ($32.95) or PCA Skin Nutrient Toner ($32).
Aging & Premature Aging Skin: Since aging skin tends to be thinner and more delicate, avoid manual scrubs. A chemical treatment that includes glycolic and or lactic acid will activate collagen and elastin production, brighten skin tone and impart moisture. Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask ($55) does so without the use of synthetics.
More Exfoliating Tips From Our Esti:
– Avoid scrubs that use nut kernels or shells (you know the one!) as these ingredients cause tiny cuts on the skin’s surface.
– No waxing for at least 48 hours after using an exfoliant.
– Do not use any chemical or manual exfoliants if you’ve been on isotretinoin (Accutane) within the last 6 months.
– Always wear an appropriate SPF during the day to protect resurfaced skin.
– Consult with a licensed esthetician or dermatologist for any questions about advanced treatments or peels.
Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.