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Brown & Coconut

7 Things You Should Know Before Switching to Face Oil

7 things you should know before switching to face oil

It’s likely that you’ve seen an influx of face oils being sold by skin care brands — I’ll admit that it has been interesting to see everyone’s reaction to this growing skin care trend. Some have embraced face oil with open arms, while others have been a bit skeptical. Whether you’re someone who’s reluctant to try face oil or are interested, but have yet to take the plunge, or even if you have given face oil a try and had a bad experience, read on for the 7 things you should know before switching to face oil.

I am writing this because we know that face oil as a moisturizer (or just putting oil on your face in general) is still so new to a lot of people in the United States, but hopefully, this clarifies a lot of misconceptions and confusion and makes the transition seamless. First, I’d love to delve into why face oil is a great moisturizer:

  • Oils are a natural substance and more easily recognized by our skin.
  • It’s going to work with your skin’s natural processes, rather than replace them, improving your skin for the better.
  • The right face oil or oil blend is pure and when stored properly, it doesn’t actually need preservatives. This is a win for your skin because you’re avoiding unnecessary and potentially detrimental ingredients.

To be completely transparent though, not all oils are created equal. Different oils are going to be better for different skin types. In fact, there are so many elements that go into what will make your face oil experience successful.

7 things you should know before switching to face oil:

  1. What you were using as a moisturizer before the switch to face oil will impact how your skin transitions.
  2. Your old and current skin care routine can also impact your success with face oil.
  3. Not all oils are created equal.
  4. Your lifestyle affects your skin health and will affect your success with face oil.
  5. Your environment has an effect on your skin too.
  6. Pay attention to genetics.
  7. Be patient.

What you were using as a moisturizer before the switch to face oil will impact how your skin transitions.

This one is super important and relates to what I previously mentioned about how face oil is going to work with your skin’s natural processes rather than replace them. To understand this further, we need to break down face lotion/creams. Lotions and creams, generally speaking, are made up of a blend of ingredients (water, lipid, and sometimes proteins) that are meant to mimic the skin’s natural moisturizing abilities. When applied regularly, this signals to your skin that it is hydrated enough and ultimately suppresses our skin’s ability to moisturize itself. As a result, you become dependant on your face cream or lotion. Not being able to produce its own moisture also weakens the skin’s defense mechanism which works to keep dirt and bacteria out and seal in nutrients and moisture. This leaves your skin sensitive and vulnerable to the outside world.

When we then stop using traditional moisturizers and switch to face oil, the skin doesn’t immediately “wake up” as it takes time for the skin to relearn how to hydrate and balance itself in harmony with the topical face oil. During that transition, one can experience dryness and flaking. This can leave an unsuspecting new face oil user confused and feeling like their new oil is bad and won’t work for them, when in fact, it was their previous lotion or cream that was doing the damage.

Your old and current skin care routine can also impact your success with face oil.

Any skin care you were using before you switched to face oil — and anything you continue to use after the switch plays a role in how your skin adjusts to the face oil. Harmful ingredients in your skin care like sulfates, DEA, MEA, TEA, DMDM hydantoin/urea, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), isopropyl/ethyl alcohol can cause irritation, rashes, and chronic dry skin. To have a successful transition to face oil, you’ll want to make sure all of your other skin care products (i.e. face wash, masks, and other treatments) are only made of ingredients that are pure, gentle, and appropriate for your skin type. Continuing to use skin-damaging products or products not suited for your skin, while also using your new face oil is not going to have a good end result. Let’s say you have super dry skin and are trying a new face oil, but at the same time, you’re still using the same face wash you’ve used for years. The only problem is, that particular face wash contains chemicals that zap your skin’s moisture. No amount of face oil can fix that.

Not all oils are created equal.

There are so many types of oils that serve different purposes, so be sure to choose one that is meant for faces. You’ll want to avoid comedogenic (pore-clogging) oils and super heavy oils that are going to sit on your skin and leave you shiny all day. Opt for oils that are non-comedogenic, gentle, lightweight, and absorbs quickly into the skin. The right face oil or face oil blend is not going to clog your pores or contribute to your acne. If you have dry skin, it’s going to add protection and seal in moisture. If you have oily skin it’s going to help balance sebum production. The right face oil is going to work with your skin to support and balance its natural moisture barrier, without disrupting your skins inherent and essential functions.

Your lifestyle affects your skin health and will affect your success with face oil.

At the risk of sounding too philosophical, nothing in life is black and white. Healthy skin goes far beyond just what we put on it, but how we live our lives. What are we fueling our bodies with? People often shoot themselves in the foot by caring for their skin externally but aren’t caring for it internally.

To ensure a smoother transition to face oil, be sure you’re drinking enough water and are limiting excess sugar and alcohol. If you can avoid them altogether, that’s even better! You’ll also want to avoid heavily processed foods/foods riddled with chemicals, cigarettes, and over-the-counter drugs if possible. A lot of us misuse drugs like Tylenol and Motrin which can wreak havoc on our bodies, but that’s another post for another day. You’ll also want to avoid washing your face or showering with super hot water which can be drying to the skin.

Of course, there’s also the age-old recommendation make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It may sound played-out, but it’s true. I’m a huger stickler for getting adequate sleep. I aim for about 8-9 hours a night and try to never get less than 7. I look terrible and 100% cannot function on anything less than that. When we sleep, our skin gets to work repairing itself. Plus, a good night’s sleep is essential to proper circulation. When we aren’t getting enough rest, we aren’t allowing our skin the time it needs to rejuvenate. The blood flow to our skin also becomes compromised, which is why we often look pale or washed out when sleep deprived. Diminished circulation affects the flow of oxygen and nutrients to our skin and lowers our skin’s defenses. For this same reason, exercising is essential to skin health. A good workout session increases circulation (and nutrients) to the skin and causes sweating, which is how the skin rids itself of dirt and bacteria.

Your environment has an effect on your skin too.

The climate you live in, whether it’s cold and dry, hot and humid, or even hot and dry, is going to have an impact on your skin. I visited Las Vegas a few years ago and let’s just say my skin was not happy. The transition from Boston to the dry heat of Nevada took its toll and left my skin dry and flakey. Know your external environment and adjust where you can. If you know you live somewhere dry, don’ be shy with your face oil. Lather up to seal in moisture and be sure you’re drinking a ton of water to protect yourself. If you know you live somewhere humid, you may not need to apply a face oil as often. Perhaps only once per day as opposed to morning and night would be sufficient for you.

Your environment indoors matters too. Does your home have forced air for heat or air conditioning? Both can be really drying to the environment and your skin and are something to take into consideration when deciding how to best care for your skin.

Pay attention to genetics.

Everyone is different, has different skin types, conditions, and needs. A face oil that works for one person, may or may not be the best thing for someone else. You have to choose what works best for you and your needs. Some oils are great for people prone to acne, others good for those who are prone to dry skin. There are also oils that work well for anyone looking to combat signs of aging, and so on. If you have oily skin, for example, choose a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil and considering using a small amount, and/or applying it only once per day instead of two. Listen to your skin and what it needs and be sure to choose the right oil for you.

Be patient.

Your skin is not going to change overnight and I’d be wary of anything that promised as much. Give it time. Your skin can take several weeks, even up to several months to heal, depending on both the condition of your skin before switching to face oil and the various other factors discussed above. If you experience dryness and flaking, think about other steps you can take to help your skin.

A few other last minute tips I’d like to leave you with:

  • Try exfoliating 1-2 times per week to aid cellular turnover.
  • Apply face oil to a clean, damp (not dry) face to seal in moisture.
  • Be sure to patch test to ensure your skin agrees with the oil and there are no allergies
  • Customize your routine. Apply oily once per day, twice, or as-needed. Use a lot of oil, a little oil, or somewhere in between depending on what your skin likes.

Ready to give face oil a shot? Try out our Hydrating Face Oil and get 10% off with the code FACEOIL10.

 

– Letisha

How to Exfoliate — Everything You Need to Know

how to exfoliate

Should I be exfoliating? How often should I exfoliate? What should I exfoliate with? Is exfoliating okay for my sensitive skin?

These are all fantastic questions that we get asked regularly. Quite often, in fact, people will dive into a new product or in this case, a new exfoliant, before having all of the answers. It’s important, however, to know how to exfoliate before you touch that precious face of yours!

Let’s first start with what exfoliating IS. Exfoliation is essentially the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. It is super beneficial for cell turnover (the process in which your skin produces new skin cells and sheds the old), keeping your complexion bright and healthy.

Not exfoliating can leave your skin dull-looking, dry, and rough to the touch, as well as lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Plus, as we age, cell-regeneration slows down, all the more reason to give your skin the boost it needs by exfoliating. Removing dead skin cells will also allow for your moisturizer and any treatments applied to your skin to properly penetrate.

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

The quick answer is…it depends. The frequency with which you exfoliate should really be determined by your skin type. In fact, you should approach your entire skin care routine with this same mentality. Your skin is entirely unique and should be treated as such! What works for someone else, may not work for you and vice versa. One rule of thumb though is to exfoliate no more than 3 times per week. Your skin needs time to heal and regenerate and it cannot do that if you’re continually removing its layers. You run the risk of irritating your skin, causing redness, inflammation, and even acne. If you have sensitive skin, we suggest sticking with exfoliating no more than once per week.

If you’re new to exfoliating, start with once per week. You can always build up to 2 or even 3 times per week if you’re finding that your skin is doing well with it and can handle the increased exfoliation.

Exfoliation 101

There are two main types of exfoliation, chemical and mechanical.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation is the process of using chemicals, such as acids (e.g. alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, glycolic acid) or enzymes (e.g. fruit enzymes), to exfoliate. This is a great choice for anyone whose skin does not fair well with scrubbing. Chemical exfoliation can also sometimes work well for those with oily skin and/or acne. Chemical exfoliants work by loosening the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. There are various types of acids and enzymes that all function differently, so it’s important to do your homework before trying something new to ensure you’re choosing the right product for your skin type and needs. Chemical exfoliants can also leave your skin sensitive to the sun so be careful and wear sunscreen!

Enzyme-based exfoliants can be finicky and must be kept under strict conditions and maintain their pH to ensure they remain stable. When stored under the wrong conditions (such as in direct sunlight or a super warm room) they can be rendered useless.

Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation is the process of loosening or removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin through some form of friction/abrasion. You can do this with tools or ingredients in skin care. Some tools may include a brush or specialty exfoliating pad. Common exfoliating ingredients include sugar, oats, and rice, however, there are many more out there.

Mechanical exfoliation is a quick and simple way to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells, however, not all mechanical exfoliants are created equal. Avoid any exfoliants that are overly sharp or harsh which can cause micro-tears in the skin and lead to irritation. You should also be sure to avoid applying too much pressure or scrubbing too harshly, light pressure is enough. If you have acne or active breakouts, steer clear of mechanical exfoliants until you’ve healed, or avoid the areas of your skin with active breakouts. Scrubbing over acne can cause the breakouts to burst and spread bacteria across the skin, leading to further breakouts.

How to Know if a Product will Work Well on your Skin

Make sure you do your research before you try a new exfoliant to ensure it suits your skin type and you aren’t allergic to its ingredients. If all checks out and you purchase a new product to try, you should still patch-test before fully using the product to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to it. These steps will give you a pretty good idea as to whether or not a product is going to be safe for you before you apply it all over your face. Again, make sure you start slow when trying a new exfoliant to avoid shocking and irritating your skin.

What Do You Do if You’ve Over-exfoliated

Over-exfoliating your skin may cause redness, inflammation, dryness or oiliness. If you think you’ve over-exfoliated with your chemical or mechanical exfoliant (or both), give your skin a break. Apply a really good moisturizer to protect your damaged skin. Wait a week or two, then reassess how your skin looks and feels. Be sure to ease back into your exfoliation routine and be gentle with your skin! Less is more.

Check out how Carolynne Cantila of Cary Day Yoga exfoliates with Brown & Coconut using our Hibiscus Cleansing Grains.

How to Exfoliate - Cary+Day Hibiscus Cleansing Grains

Photograph Courtesy of Michael Benjamin Blank. Instagram: @michaelblankphotography

How the Humidity Cleared my Cystic Acne

You know those summer days where the weather is hot, sticky, and feels like a wet blanket? Yeah. My face loves it. My skin has always been fickle, which has been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I can easily tell when my skin loves something, on the other hand, I can REALLY tell when my skin hates it (yeah, I’m talking to you, almond butter…).

During a recent trip to Florida, my pores got the ultimate spa day: constant warm, humid temperatures. I even stopped eating 100% paleo during my trip and still had the best skin of my life. (hello delicious Mexican fajitas, cocktails, and fried chicken wings..I’ve missed you!).

I was ready to keep this yummy food and clear skin train going!

My happy train skirted to a FULL stop, (more like derailed) the day after I returned home to Boston.

I wasn’t surprised to see one or two breakouts the next day, but the real shock came when my face was a  complete cystic war zone mid-week! Could it have been the food? No. I react very quickly to food I shouldn’t have eaten. Maybe I forgot to take some vitamins? Nope. If I forgot, I took them as soon as I remembered. Maybe I was just less stressed on my trip? Nah. I’m usually as cool as a cucumber!

The realization didn’t come until I noticed that my otherwise healthy nails were splitting and on the verge of breaking. This didn’t make much sense either since I hadn’t even bothered to do my nails during my trip and they were as strong as ever (even after being exposed to chlorinated pools all week!).

I started researching humid weather x acne and lo and behold:

Other people in the google world noticed this correlation, too! Of course, there’s plenty of people who’s skin despises the hot, humid temps, but I am not one of them!

Dry air affects that fabulous moisture-rich barrier our skin has in place. When my skin is dry, it becomes very irritated.

Ready to try anything to mimic that glorious Florida weather, I purchased a warm-mist humidifier. I woke up the next morning to a nice, cozy and warm bedroom. The eager beaver that I am, I ran to the nearest mirror and noticed my skin looked much calmer than the night before.

Humidity-1, Acne-0.

For the last week, I have been consistently running the humidifier each night, with the door cracked for fresh air. I have had zero painful, cystic acne breakouts! My nails are back to their strong, talon-like strength and I am no longer waking up with a dry throat.

Am I sold? Yes! I will continue to use the humidifier as long as we have our AC blasting cool dry air. I may not need it as much in the fall, but once the heat kicks on the Winter, I’ll have my trusty humidifier ready.

So come on Summer, bring on the 85% humidity days. I’m ready!

What Happened After I Quit Sugar

quit sugar

Okay so the title may sound a little overly dramatic, but about 2 months ago I decided that I wanted to quit sugar (added sugar to be exact) and simple carbs completely. Not that my diet consisted of massive amounts of sugary sweet treats, but on occasion I would enjoy frozen yogurt with WAY too many rainbow sprinkles from one of the 50 ice cream shops near my apartment. One night I was up way past my bedtime, doing nutritional research, finding ways to improve my diet even more and decided I needed to eliminate sugar, not because I wanted to play some twisted game of deprivation with myself, but because I wanted to take another step and improve myself for the better.

I’ve known for a while that sugar does absolutely no good for my skin. I was born with eczema and while most people that are born with it, grow out of it, I never did. I’m able to keep it at bay through a healthy diet, fish oil, and a probiotic supplement, but whenever I have sugar, it exacerbates my symptoms. So if it will make me break out in rashes, who knows what else it’s doing. I should also note that right before I decided to eliminate sugar, I was beginning to notice that I was suffering from an increase in breakouts after eating anything with added sugar.

What exactly did I cut out of my diet?

I removed any occasional dessert that I would eat. I also removed ketchup and sauces which almost always have added sugar. I never usually have simple carbs, but I reinforced my habit of avoiding breads, pastas, crackers, cereal, etc.

What am I eating?

My only real carbs right now consist of sweet potatoes, fruit, and plain (unsweetened) oatmeal. Now I am not saying this will always be the only carbs I’ll ever eat as I do like homemade popcorn while watching a great movie on a cozy rainy night 🙂 and even a nice warm cup of tea with honey, but for right now, I’m keeping it simple and clean to test the results on my skin. Let me just say that after 2 months I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner.

Here’s everything I experienced after I quit sugar:

  • My body looks and feels great
  • My sugar-related breakouts are no more
  • I literally don’t bloat anymore (seriously…)
  • I crave sugar and carbs even LESS
  • I’m sleeping better
  • I feel clear headed
  • I’m more energized
  • I have better control over my eczema
  • My body feels balanced (you know that feeling where your body just feels off? Yea that went away)
  • My cravings for salty snacks have practically disappeared
quit sugar

Feeling good and my skin is looking great! (Photo = unedited!)

Some other benefits that you might see when eliminating added sugars and simple carbs are:

  • Weight loss
  • Improvement of some autoimmune disease symptoms
  • Decreased risk of cancer
  • Decreased occurrence of common colds and infections
  • A healthier heart
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Decreased irritability and better moods

I truly think it’s worthwhile to give sugar elimination a shot. I vouch for the results 100%. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, especially if you are someone who has a carb-heavy diet or regularly eats sweets. Our brains become addicted to sugar much like a drug so the more you consume, the harder it will be to give up. My diet was not carb or sugar heavy so eliminating added sugar and simple carbs wasn’t too difficult of an adjustment.

If you want to give it a shot, you can most definitely go cold turkey (more power to you!), but for anyone else, try making weekly adjustments. One week try swapping your bagel or sugary yogurt in the morning for fruit and protein. The next week, try swapping your soda at lunch for ice-cold water (yum ☺). In another week, skip the sandwich at lunch and go for a salad loaded with protein and veggies or use giant lettuce leaves in place of your lunch wraps.

Would you ever give up sugar and simple carbs or have you already tried it? I would love to hear your thoughts! xx

~ Letisha

10 Dairy Milk Alternatives for Those Giving Milk the Boot

10 Dairy Milk Alternatives for Those Giving Milk the Boot

As a lover of all things dairy, transitioning to a dairy-free lifestyle has been tough. I am a sucker for everything related to cheese and ice-cream. It doesn’t help that I live across the street from a froyo joint and countless restaurants with cheesy goodness.

My love passion for dairy took a backseat, however, when I began experiencing extreme stomach discomfort after an innocent bowl of coconut flavored frozen yogurt. I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. Could it be that my beloved dairy was causing me harm? No, it couldn’t be! Could it?

It wasn’t long before I realized that my body just couldn’t comfortably process dairy. I tried everything from cheesy pizza, frosted cakes and those fancy Starbucks drinks. Like clockwork, I would be doubled over with sharp pains and an upset stomach. This is not ANY way to live, even if you once loved dairy. 🙁

After quitting dairy, I have experienced zero stomach discomfort. My cystic acne has also subsided. Before giving dairy the boot, I refused to admit that it was making my acneic skin worse. If you do suffer from acne, I highly suggest eliminating dairy to see if it is negatively affecting your skin.

The transition to a dairy-free life has certainly not been an easy one. For the first few weeks I craved froyo like nobody’s business. I wanted ALL the froyos. Once the cravings subsided I began experimenting with different dairy alternatives.  Some have an acquired taste, but I found that all of them were very comparable to cow’s milk.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of going dairy-free, check out these 10 dairy milk alternatives for those giving milk the boot:

Rice Milk

Rice milk holds a special place in my heart. Currently my favorite dairy-free alternative, rice milk is mild in taste and easy to digest. Rice Dream, my brand of choice, is fortified and contains 30% daily value of Calcium and 25% daily value of Vitamin D and B12. This lovely alternative to cow’s milk has a delicious nutty flavor that goes well in cereals and smoothies.

Almond Milk

For those without a nut allergy, almond milk is a great dairy-free, soy-free and lactose-free option. Made by straining almonds and water, most almond milks are primarily water with other thickening agents. Fortunately, unsweetened almond milk is full of healthy fats!

Cashew Milk

Similar to almond milk, cashew milk is a blend of cashews and water. If you prefer the taste of cashews this creamy milk is for you. If you looking to obtain more nutrients from your milk, try making your cashew milk at home.

Hazelnut Milk

Like most dairy-free alternatives, hazelnut milk doesn’t contain much protein but is full of nutrients that our body needs. This low calorie alternative is also a great source of vitamin D and E, calcium, and riboflavin, which is naturally occurring in hazelnuts.

Coconut Milk

If you’re someone who loves the taste of coconut and enjoys milk with a thicker consistency, coconut milk is a great alternative. Consisting of good fats (medium chain fatty acids), coconut milk is highly nutritious. Our favorite brand (So Delicious Coconut Milk) is fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients — we’re talking vitamin A, B, B12, C, and D, calcium, zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, and selenium. Not to mention, it’s dairy-free!

Hemp Milk

Made from hemp seeds and water, hemp milk has somewhat of a nutty flavor. Full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, hemp milk provides our bodies with a burst of vitamins and nutrients. Much like other dairy-free alternatives, hemp milk contains vitamins A, B12, D, and E, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, and zinc.

Soy Milk

Produced from soybeans and water, soy milk is the most widely consumed dairy alternative. Unlike its alternatives, soy milk is actually a common allergen. My sister and I no longer consume soy milk due to an adverse reaction (itching of the mouth and hives). This is not to say that soy milk won’t work for you. It’s best to find the healthiest option for your body.

Flax Milk

This low calorie option, much like its competitors, is filled with essential vitamins and nutrients (vitamins B12 and D, as well as calcium). If you’re someone looking for more protein in your diet, flax milk can also be infused with protein (5g to be exact). The taste is a bit unique and may take some getting used to, but it’s worth a try!

Sunflower Milk

Made from sunflower seeds and water, sunflower milk is a unique way to enjoy the pleasures that come with drinking cow’s milk without actually consuming it (such as enjoying a bowl of cereal or milk and cookies). Sunflower milk can be easily made at home or purchased at natural health food stores.

Oat Milk

An easy and inexpensive dairy alternative to make at home, oat milk is great for our skin and hair. Those with gluten allergies should avoid oat milk unless it is specifically a gluten-free version. Oat milk is naturally high in sugar though so be sure to limit your intake! You can also use a homemade version topically for added skin benefits!

What is your favorite dairy-free alternative? Have you given cow’s milk the boot?

-Zeena

Facial Steaming: The Key to Flawless Skin

Facial steaming comes with a plethora of benefits, and like most facials, when done correctly steam is the perfect addition to any beauty regimen.

Clogged pores? Gone. Dry skin? See yah! Blackheads? Blackheads, who? 

Transform your skin in just 5 minutes with a bowl of steamy water and a towel. Beautiful skin is that easy, people! 🙂 Now, let’s talk benefits.

Benefits of Facial Steaming:

Unclog Pores

Steam softens the dead skin cells and gunk from your pores making it easier to remove. After steaming, apply a mask to gently exfoliate softened debris. Be careful not to force open a pore that doesn’t want to be messed with. It won’t be pretty, trust me.

Increase Blood Flow

Steam increases the blood flow to the skin, which brings with it plenty of oxygen and nutrients improving the overall appearance of your skin.

Increase Perspiration

Simply put, steaming will make your face sweat. This increase of perspiration from your pores brings out the dirt and oil. Once on the surface of your skin, this can be easily washed or exfoliated away.

Remove Dry Skin

Removing dry skin is even easier when it is softened by steam. Somedays it seems no matter how much I scrub my skin, dry spots remain. Steam makes removing dry skin 100x easier. Halle-luh-yer.

Relaxation

Okay, this is a bonus benefit however relaxation speaks volumes when it comes to the appearance of your skin. When I’m stressed, my acne flares, causing the overall appearance of my skin to look not-so-good. Steam facials can be very relaxing, especially when you add calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile to the water.

Ready to get started? Here are the steps:

Begin by boiling a pot of water. Make sure there is enough water to fill a good size bowl without overflowing. Once the water begins to boil, carefully pour the water into the bowl. Add essential oils or dried flowers for added relaxation benefits. Place a towel over your head and the bowl, preventing the steam from escaping. Allow the steam to penetrate your skin for about 3-5 minutes or less depending on how your skin reacts to steam or heat. Be careful not to steam too long to avoid damaging your skin. After steaming, cleanse your skin or exfoliate, depending on your preference. Everyone’s skin is different! Then, mask, tone and/or moisturize. Wallah!

**Like most treatments, too much of anything is never good. Avoid oversteaming your face. Make sure you keep your face a safe distance from the steam to avoid burns (about 12-18 inches away). Steam is very dangerous. Wear oven mitts while handling the hot bowl and pot.  Be careful!

How do you steam?

XOXO

You’re Invited!

Brown & Coconut is proud to be participating in the first ever Mall Street Market, an indoor market featuring a local collection of New England sourced makers, artisans, and foodies!

Come stop by The Mall Street Market to say hello and check out our brand spankin’ new line of all natural skincare! After years of preparation, we are so excited to finally share this exciting time with you! You can find us every Sunday this May from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston).

Click here for more event details.

Can’t wait to see you there! xoxo

~ Letisha & Zeena

Exciting News from Brown & Coconut

Exciting News - The Official Brown & Coconut launch

Hello lovelies! We have some news for you all that we are super excited about! After a long journey, we are happy to announce the Brown & Coconut launch of our plant-based skin care.

The Start of Our Journey

When we began our blog 3 years ago, we wanted to share our health and beauty journey with you. Throughout our journey, we often found that what we were looking for in quality skincare, we weren’t finding. Instead, we were surrounded by products that contained ingredients we were allergic to or ingredients that are known to be highly pore clogging. What’s worse is we found too many products that claimed to be natural that weren’t. And as acne sufferers with very fickle skin, we are extremely cautious of what we put on our faces. So what did we do? We began crafting our own skincare.

It reached a point where we found that our products worked better than anything we’d ever bought. We realized we can’t be the only people who want quality, natural skin care that’s really going to work, that are going to be gentle enough not to disturb our skins delicate balance, but strong enough to make a noticeable difference.

An all new Brown & Coconut

Finally, we are thrilled to be able to officially announce the launch of Brown & Coconut skincare!

We’re ecstatic you joined our journey as bloggers and wanted you to be the first to know about our official Brown & Coconut launch. ☺ In the next few weeks, you’ll see our website transition from its current look, to a new one. All of the content from our blog will still be there, but the new site will include our shop. We will of course let you know once the switch has officially been made. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates and surprises!

Talk to you soon!

Zeena & Letisha


 

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The Amazing Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile, a daisy-like plant of the Asteraceae family, has been used for centuries for its vast health and healing benefits. Today it is used across the globe and only continues to amaze for its medicinal properties. Although there are a number of species, German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile tend to be the most sought after in the chamomile family. Chamomile is commonly used in the western part of the world in teas to help settle the stomach and aid in sleep, yet there are so many reasons to love chamomile that some may not fully grasp the scope of this flowering plant’s wonders. Read on for all of the amazing benefits of chamomile…

 

The Amazing Benefits of Chamomile

  1. Heals common skin conditions — Helps to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis and helps to heal damaged skin tissue.
  2. Reduces inflammation
  3. Reduces fevers
  4. Soothes the digestive system — Can help to alleviate gas, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness, and also protects against ulcers
  5. Helps to flush out toxins by inducing perspiration
  6. Fights allergens and infections — Anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-fungal
  7. Alleviates muscle spasms
  8. Acts as a pain reliever — Alleviates pain from sore muscles, arthritis, headaches and migraines, as well as eases colic and teething pain in babies
  9. Can help to manage diabetes and regulate blood sugar
  10. Acts as a sedative — Calms nerves, reduces anxiety and treats hysteria, nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep problems
  11. Prevents cell damage (from antioxidants)
  12. Anti-aging
  13. Stops the growth of and destroys human cancer cells

It should be noted that German Chamomile is known to be better suited for external uses while Roman chamomile is better suited for internal uses.

How do you use chamomile? Comment below, we’d love to hear!


A special thank you to Cara Cooperman for her knowledge, her love of chamomile, and for her inspiration! Studying to be a herbalist, and like us, she is a believer in using what nature has to offer, rather than pharmaceuticals when it comes to health and healing.  Learn more about Cara here and browse her website for tons of articles about natural and healthy living!

Smoke Hookah? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

Do you currently smoke hookah? If the answer is yes, you may want to reconsider after reading this.

Hookah, with origins tracing back to India, has been around for at least 500 years. More recently, it has made its way across the globe and is continuing to increase in popularity particularly among teens and young adults in the United States. Unlike cigarettes, which have become a social stigma in the U.S., hookah is considered more socially acceptable and a group activity despite both being vehicles for smoking tobacco.

It seems that many hookah smokers view this often social activity to be much less harmful than cigarettes or other tobacco products. Some hookah smokers make it a point to not actually inhale the smoke, arguing that this is completely safe and no damage is really done by simply rolling the smoke around the mouth and exhaling.

Unfortunately this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What is hookah?

Hookah consists of a pipe and a long flexible tube connected to an urn of water through which smoke passes upon inhalation from the tube. The act of the smoke passing through the water cools the smoke before it is inhaled.

Shisha generally refers to the tobacco that is smoked from a hookah pipe (yes, you are in fact smoking tobacco — this fact comes as a surprise to some hookah smokers). Shisha is often sweetened with molasses or honey and flavored extracts. During a hookah session, charcoal is used to heat the tobacco to produce the smoke for inhalation.

The Potential Dangers of Hookah

Tobacco, which naturally contains the compound nicotine is extremely toxic. It enters the body via the smoke you inhale and is absorbed by mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, and lungs.

So, even the hookah smokers that don’t inhale the tobacco smoke into their lungs, still absorb nicotine in their mouths.

It’s also worthwhile to point out the fact that it would be difficult to ensure that absolutely zero smoke slips past your mouth and into your throat while inhaling, so it is quite likely that your throat is exposed to the hookah smoke more than you realize.

Nicotine is extremely addictive and considered by the U.S. Surgeon General to be just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. It’s side effects extend throughout the body, affecting the cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

The immediate affects of nicotine include irritation of the mouth and throat, nausea, pain in the abdomen, an increase salivation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Longterm effects of nicotine include:

  • DNA damage
  • DNA mutations
  • An increase in cell growth

All of this essentially creates the perfect environment that promotes and accelerates tumor growth.

Nicotine alone has been linked to lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer, as well as coronary vascular disease, erectile dysfunction, and altered hormone production. Nicotine also causes a delay in wound healing and an increased risk of infection.What’s more is nicotine can also cause insulin sensitivity or resistance and poses an increased risk of smokers developing type 2 diabetes.

While smoking hookah, you are also inhaling carbon monoxide and other toxins that are a byproduct of the heated mixture. These toxins include Acrolein (irritates the nose, eyes, and throat), Acrylamide (damages the nervous system), Naphthalene (damages the red blood cells), and Benzene (linked to cancers such as leukemia).

One common misconception is that the water in the hookah urn absorbs or filters out all of the toxins in the smoke, but this is not the case. According to a report released by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers analyzed the urine of 105 hookah smokers and 103 nonsmokers who were exposed to smoke from a water pipe. The results revealed that after an event in a hookah lounge, the levels of S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA), a byproduct of benzene was 4 times higher than normal in the smokers and 2.6 times higher in the nonsmokers. The same analysis was done after a hookah smoking event that took place in a private home. The SPMA levels in the urine of the hookah smokers were 2 times higher than normal and levels were normal in the nonsmokers. It should be noted that there is no safe level of exposure to Benzene.

More research needs to be done to fully understand all of the risks associated with hookah, but what is currently known about hookah is definitely cause for concern.

Do you currently smoke hookah or have you in the past? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

~ Letisha

 

Sources:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hookahs-deliver-toxic-benzene-in-every-puff/
http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/04/105236/smoking-hookah-not-harmless-alternative-cigarettes
http://www.cdc.gov/features/hookahsmoking/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363846/