I think I went a good 30 years before I even know what epsom salts were besides my grandmothers had mentioned in passing. Surely they were something for aches and pains and old people? Leave it to Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham to make me pay more attention. At first I was skeptical. How could a soak in some salt take off inches? But it makes sense. I’ve experienced similar benefits sitting in hot springs and mineral baths around the world so why not in my own tub? So for the past year I’ve kept a stash of this drugstore staple on hand, adding a couple cups to my baths whenever I feel tired, sick, stressed, or want to look my best in a bathing suit (embarrassing but true). My understanding is that Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulphate which are absorbed through the skin. The reverse osmosis that takes place draws toxins and excess fluids out of the skin. What I can tell you is that it works. I’ve consistently experienced the following benefits from a 20-minute Epsom salt soak:
* reduced bloating and a flatter stomach
* inches lost (albeit temporarily); clothes fit better
* helps cure jet lag and hangovers
* soothes muscle tension and body aches
* relaxes the entire body for a better night’s sleep
Have you tried Epsom salts? Pick up the basic, unscented stuff at your local drugstore or supermarket, or for a few dollars more try Dr. Teal’s Relax & Relief Blend with essentials oils. Divine.
If you’re anything like me you’ve probably tried every detox you can get your hands on, from whacky juice cleanses to those bizarre Hollywood cookie diets (yup. google it!). I’m always ready to jump onto the latest bandwagon, so when Adina of S.W. Basics recommended the Dirty Lemon Detox as her favorite ways to alkalize your body, we had to give it a try.
Dirty Lemon is much more than an awesome name (with striped bottles to boot). It’s got lemon juice, yes, a raw and natural detoxifier. But it’s made with activated charcoal from coconut shells, which absorbs thousands of times its own volume in toxins. While it might seem weird to drink charcoal-infused water (especially when it has a black tinted glow), it really does a number to cleanse your body from the inside out. Plus, it’s boosted with ginger and dandelion root, which aids in your body’s natural digestive process. For that reason alone I like to drink it before bedtime or after an insane meal.
Unlike other detoxes we’ve tried in the past, Dirty Lemon is all about balance. While most detoxes require cutting out everything delicious (which obviously never really works out), this one complements your lifestyle instead of bringing it to a screeching halt. Meaning, you can have your cake, and eat it too – as long as you wash it down with a little Dirty Lemon!
Well first there’s the packaging. Let’s get that out of the way right now. Like me, you’ve probably seen Fig + Yarrow pinned to death and wanted some for every room in the house. I, too, have been a-flutter for ages and am happy to report that this indie darling lives up to its visual hype. Since we’re all in freshy-fresh spring mode, allow me to direct your attention to these detoxifying discoveries which also happen to be my favorites from the line. They’re first and foremost for you, but I have a feeling we’ll all be giving lots of Fig + Yarrow as gifts going forward!
I didn’t really get into baths until I discovered mustard soaks. They’re warming, which tells me that they’re working to pull out the gunk. Also spectacular when you feel a cold coming on. Light a candle, sip some herbal tea and away you go. Fig + Yarrow’s ($12) version is almost too lovely looking to rip open but you’ll be so glad you did. Also available in a big glass jar ($32).
You don’t need a professional facial to give yourself a steam. I’ve been doing them for years with essential oils or whatever’s in the garden but Fig + Yarrow’s Spring Herbal Steam ($16) really turns the ritual into something special. An assortment of purifying petals and herbs that deep-cleanse pores while soothing skin, it’s one of those fancy hippy treats that we all need more of in our lives!
I’ve always assumed that there were shower people and bath people. I’ve been in the former camp my whole life. Who has time for a bath! What will I do in the tub for that long? What if I drop my iPhone in the water?! Yet I’ll spend hundreds of dollars and travel thousands of miles to soak in someone else’s mineral baths. So silly. But a few weeks ago when I felt like I was coming down with that first cold of the season the only thing I wanted to do was crawl into a hot bath with a cup of tea. I added a generous scoop of Nell’s Remedies Champion Soak ($25) and, after an hour sans a single electronic device emerged a bath person. I also felt immediately better and slept like a baby that night. This is what happens when someone who understands the healing powers of salt and organic essential oils creates her own line of products. Nell’s Remedies is the earth child of Spot Spa proprietress and massage therapist Nell Rueckl. Her scrubs and soaks are intended to help heal skin and reset the body’s energy field. The Champion Soak actually draws lactic acid from tired muscles and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients including turmeric, balsam and fir and ginger and bergamot, to thoroughly revive and soothe. The scent is herb-y and exactly what you want from an aromatherapy experience. Baths for everyone!
More lovely gift ideas from our Indie Holiday series right this way . . .
Up until a few weeks ago I had never even heard of oil pulling. Then one day HuffPo ran a story about that ritual and my inbox and social streams flooded with inquiring minds. Even my mother, a dental hygienist, started fielding questions from patients. What sounded to me like something akin to water boarding or an enema (had to be said) turned out to be an Ayurvedic approach to oral health, with the added yet scientifically unsubstantiated benefits of preventing disease, relieving a hangover and detoxifying the body. All music to my ears. Except for the actual act, which requires swishing coconut, olive or sunflower oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Yup. Gwyneth does it while she packs gluten-free lunches for Apple and Moses.
I decided to give it a whirl while I worked. The key is to find a distraction, because once you start swishing it’s game on. The oil became foamy in my mouth after a few minutes, making it too easy to swallow—the last thing you want to do if, in fact, there are a bunch of toxins swirling around in there. I made it the full 20 minutes, then spit out the milky mess in glass. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but nothing really happened. I didn’t feel any different. My teeth didn’t look and different. I still needed to floss. Which brings me to the underscore of this story: Oil pulling doesn’t replace brushing and flossing. It’s a supplemental thing. And if I had more time and patience (or a personal chef and body double) I’d give it a month. Nothing holistic happens over night. I will, however, give it another go next time I have a hangover.
Have you tried oil pulling? Anxious to hear about your experience!
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.