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Nail Care

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!

1 Key Reason to Listen to Your Body’s Symptoms

Recently I noticed my nails were breaking…A LOT…and I tend to have very strong nails that grow fairly quickly. So, you can imagine my surprise and frustration when my nails were peeling out of control and I had no idea what was causing my symptoms. Now before you get grossed out, when I say “peeling” I just mean any extra length that extended beyond the finger would just become brittle and peel, then break off. Annoying.

So, what did I do?……I IMMEDIATELY CALLED 9-1-1!

…Just kidding, I didn’t do that…I wouldn’t recommend it either. I should also mention that I did NOT run to the drugstore to buy Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength Nail Top Coat.

Is it just me, or does Sally Hansen have like 30 different (but secretly the same) diamond top coats?

So, here’s what I DID do…

Listen to Your Body’s Symptoms

 

After having a mini melt-down staring at my mangled nails, I thought to myself, what is my body trying to tell me?  I then examined my lifestyle and asked, what changed?

  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Hydration
  • Supplements
  • Products

I thought about my diet over the last few weeks and noticed I was eating a TON of fruit. I had been extremely busy for months on end and was on autopilot with my food consumption, eating a lot of fruit, some vegetables, and really nothing else. While it’s good that I was eating fruits and vegetables, I was missing out on one important macronutrient that is essential to nail health.

Cue the Jeopardy music….“What is Protein, Alex?”

Ding Ding!

Protein. My nails were falling apart because my diet was lacking protein.

The Meaning Behind Your Body’s Symptoms

All too often, we seek temporary solutions where we can simply throw a bandaid over a problem rather than get to the root of the issue and seek a solution. Long term protein deficiency, for example can do quite a bit of damage to your body. Figuring out my deficiency now, BEFORE any irreversible consequences occurred saved me a lot of future health issues, wouldn’t you agree?

If more people took this approach when dealing with their health and bodies, a lot of chronic conditions could be avoided. By not waiting until something small manifests itself into a much larger, harder to fix problem, we are saving ourselves time, money, unnecessary distress, and bodily harm.

The next time you have a headache, rather than just pop a few painkillers to mask the problem, ask yourself why you have a headache. The more knowledge you have with regard to your body and lifestyle, the smarter you’ll be when it comes to making the best choices for yourself.

If a child is crying, the mother doesn’t just tell the baby to be quiet and go about her day, she tries to figure out why, is the baby hungry, tired, need to be changed?.

Think about your body as if it were a child who can’t talk and next time your body is crying, ask it why, then give it what it needs.

~ Letisha

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20 Reasons I Can’t Live Without Lemons

Lemons are one of my favorite fruits. They have a unqiue flavor and can add pizazz to just about any recipe! I love lemons for everything from skin care to cooking to treating colds. Check out my list below for 20 ways you can use the lovely lemon!

lemons

1. Lemons are chalk full of Vitamin C which helps prevent and reduce the common cold. Try adding a lemon to your smoothie or mixing up a refreshing glass of water and lemon. Plus, you’ll get a burst of energy!

2. The acid in lemons does an amazing job of exfoliating dry areas like your face or elbows. It also helps to brighten your complexion!

3. Consuming lemons boosts the immune system by providing the body with a good amount of Vitamin C.

4. The pectin in lemons aides in weight loss by helping to stabilize the insulin levels and keep the body feeling full.

5. The healing properties in lemon juice helps to treat and heal acne. Try rubbing a small amount of the juice over your spots for calmer skin in the morning.

6. Treat your feet to a relaxing home pedicure! The acids in the lemons help remove the dead skin from your heels while softening your feet. Add the juice of a whole lemon to your footbath. Rub the excess lemon on your heels and between your toes!

7. Heal that annoying itch from those pestering insect bites by rubbing a wedge of one lemon on the bite! The lemon’s acids help reduce the need to scratch, scratch, scratch!

8. Adding lemons to homemade body scrubs is an excellent treat! Mix the juice of one lemon with sugar and honey for a nighttime body exfoliator that will melt the stress away.

9. Try drinking lemon juice to aid the liver in flushing out harmful toxins.

10. The antibacterial properties and refreshing scent in lemons make it a fantastic household cleaner! Simply mix the juice of one lemon with white vinegar and water. This mixture is non-toxic and great for cleaning household surfaces, chemical-free!

11. The cleansing properties of lemons make it a great remover of hair buildup! Mix a few drops of lemon juice with fresh water. Apply the mixture to a freshly washed scalp to remove product buildup.

12. Lighten acne scars and even your skin tone by rubbing half of lemon on your skin.

13. Spice up your traditional fish recipe by adding a few lemons! The powerful flavor in lemons really adds a nice kick. Bake your favorite kind of fish drizzled in lemon juice with a few shakes of sea salt and black pepper.

14. Boost your electrolyte levels by adding a few lemons to your favorite veggie and fruit smoothie recipe.

lemon honey

15. Soothe a sore throat by sipping on warm lemon water with a few drops of honey. The antibacterial properties in both the lemon and honey help cleanse and soothe the throat.

16. Make a homemade cuticle remover by rubbing a wedge of one lemon across your nails. The juice will gradually remove the dry skin around the cuticle leaving you with fresh, soft hands.

17.  Much like ACV, lemon juice can add the shine back to dry, dull hair. Add the juice of one lemon to fresh spring water. Pour the mix over hair for fresh smelling, shiny hair.

18. Freshen breath by eating a lemon wedge! Be careful to not do this too much since the acidity of lemon can wear down tooth enamel.

19. The Vitamin C and Limonoids in lemons are great for preventing cancer.

20. Restore the body’s natural pH by consuming lemons. A proper acid-alkaline balance in the body keeps the body functioning correctly while preventing headaches, fatigue, and even osteoporosis.

 

I’d love to hear how you use lemons! Comment below!

 

Peace, love & coconuts!

-Zeena

*These tips are not meant as a cure. Please consult your doctor to find the best treatment for you and your needs.

Amazing Benefits of Castor Oil

We’ve previously talked about the ability of castor oil to aid in hair growth, but what are some other amazing benefits of castor oil? Read on…

1) Castor oil is great for the skin. It is easily absorbed which makes is a great Benefits of Castor Oilmoisturizer and if often added to skin care and cosmetic products.

2) Can fade scars with regular application and can help prevent the formation of new scars when applied to cuts and scrapes, for example. It is also great for wrinkles, stretch marks, and dark under eye circles.

3) Has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. Can heal cystic acne and even scored low on the comedogenic scale so it isn’t extremely pore clogging.

4) Can increase lymphocyte production, detox the organs, and relieve constipation. See here.

5) Castor oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation and aid relieve arthritis symptoms.

>> Opt for cold pressed castor oil, as this process of extracting the castor oil preserves the benefits from the oil’s phytonutrients.

 

 

Click here to purchase your bottle of castor oil!

*Be sure to use castor oil in moderation and do a patch test on your skin to assure you do not have an allergy. May cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation. Always consult your physician before incorporating a new treatment into your lifestyle, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an existing condition, or illness.

– Letisha

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DIY Fixes for Yellowed & Stained Nails

One of the pitfalls to polishing your nails is the dreadful yellow staining. DUN DUN DUN… But, have no fear! Removing and preventing your nails from staining is super easy and cheap!

 

Here are some fantastic options:

1) Lemon Juice

Soak your nails in lemon juice! Add warm water to a bowl and squirt in some fresh lemon juice. You can dilute the lemon juice with the water or you can just soak your nails in the lemon juice! I typically soak for about 5-10 minutes depending on how distracted I get.

 

But wait!! Don’t throw away that lemon squeeze! After the soak I rub the lemon squeeze over my nails for added stain removing benefits! Don’t be discouraged if you only see a small difference! Feel free to repeat if your nails are heavily stained.

2) White Vinegar

Another option is using white vinegar as your soak. You may need to wash your hands or feet a few times to get rid of the vinegar smell, but it will fade eventually! I mix equal parts warm water and vinegar and soak for about 10 minutes.

3) Baking Soda

I absolutely love using baking soda as a stain remover. Baking soda removes stains and exfoliates your cuticles! To make the paste, I mix enough water and baking to create a  paste. The mixture can be any consistency. We just need the water to help the baking soda stick to the nails. I let the paste sit on my nails for about 10 minutes (enough time for a cat-nap??) then rinse with warm water.

4) Nail Buff

This method goes great coupled with one of the above soaks. After I finish soaking my nails in lemon juice, I buff (ever-so-gently) the top layer of my nail. This helps remove a small amount of the stained area. Be careful not to buff too hard or too long! Doing so will make your nails thin and brittle.

 

5) Base Coat

When I don’t use a base coat I feel like a criminal! I love dark polishes so I always make sure I have a good base coat to act as a shield against staining.

6) Go Bare

Going without nail polish for a few days allows the stains to fade naturally. Give your nails a week or so to be natural.

 

What do you guys do to remove and prevent nail stains? Have any favorite products?

Peace, Love & Coconuts

– Zeena

Professional Looking Pedicure at Home!

I’m going to cut right to the chase…

I hate going to the nail salon and spending a ton of money on a pedicure. Getting your toes done just a few times a month can really add up. I’m all for splurging every once in a while to pamper yourself, but I refuse to regularly spend money on a pedicure that can easily be done at home!

No lie, people ask me where I get my toes done all the time and are surprised when I tell them I do them myself — Further proof that you don’t have to spend money on pedicures to have great looking feet! If you invest in some quality nail tools, you’ll end up saving tons of money in the long run!

Anyway, Here’s my regimen 🙂

What I use:tools2

  • Pumice Stone: Removes dead skin from the heels and balls of feet
  • Nail Brush: Helps sweep away any debris after filing and clipping
  • Cuticle Clippers: Removes excess skin from the cuticle
  • V-Blade Cuticle Knife: Removes excess cuticle growth while pushing back cuticle
  • Cuticle Scraper: Removes cuticle that has grown onto the nail
  • Nail Clippers: Cuts the nail
  • Nail File: Shapes and smoothes the nail

You’ll also need…

  • Nail polish removerphoto 2
  • Cuticle Remover
  • Nail Polish Color (if you’d like)
  • Clear Base/Top Coat
  • Toe Separators
  • Cotton Balls/Pads
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Foot Lotion or any Thick Moisturizer
  • Basin to soak feet
  • Bath salts
  • Warm water

Here’s what to do:

Fill foot basin with warm water and add bath salts. Remove any polish from toes with nail polish remover and cotton ball/pad. Take nail clippers and trim nails to desired length, then use nail file to shape and smooth the nail.

Now, place feet in basin and soak for at least 10 minutes (longer if you feel like relaxing!).

TIP: Trimming and filing before soaking feet prevents fraying of the nail.nails

Take one foot out of basin and dab any water off. Add cuticle remover to each cuticle on that foot and take cuticle scraper to remove any excess cuticle from the toenail. Grab v-blade cuticle knife and run along cuticles to further clean the cuticle. Use cuticle clippers after this to clean up any spots you missed. Be careful with the cuticle clippers as it is very easy to cut yourself and over-clip your cuticles causing you to bleed.

TIP: Be gentle with your cuticles, you don’t want to cut yourself and risk infection. ALWAYS be sure you are working with clean tools.

Place foot back in basin to rinse off excess cuticle remover. Let this foot soak again. Take out other foot and repeat the same steps. Place second foot back in the basin to re-soak, and take first foot out again, towel it off and grab pumice stone to exfoliate heels & balls of feet until smooth. Then, take nail brush and scrub toes/nails to remove any final debris. Do the same to the other foot. Rinse both feet again and towel off. (Done with the water now.)

Next, apply cuticle oil to cuticles and massage thoroughly. Then, apply foot moisturizer and lather into feet. Feel free to give yourself a little foot massage if you want! 😉

Remove any excess oil from the nail and prep for the nail polish by taking a cotton Feetball/pad moistened with nail polish remover and running it over each toe nail. Try not to remove the cuticle oil from your actual cuticle.

If you’ll be painting your toes, grab toe separators and put them on. First apply base coat and let dry. Then apply nail polish color, as many coats until desired color is achieved. Be sure to let each coat dry before applying the next. When your done. Apply top coat and let dry. If you’re in a rush, take a can of spray oil ( I use Pam) and spray directly onto toenails. The chemical reaction between the oil and the nail polish speeds drying time.

TIP: Apply nail polish with clean strokes, making sure you don’t go over the same area repeatedly in an attempt to cover the entire nail in one coat, this will cause the nail polish to bubble and look chunky/sloppy. Be patient, wait until that coat is dry, then add another if you need to.

ALL DONE! 🙂 Give yourself a treat and try doing your own pedicure at home!

– Letisha

Bubble-Free Nails

Ever notice those tiny bubbles in your freshly done manicure? THEY. ARE. SO. ANNOYING. But have no fear! Bubbles are an easy fix! Try following these great tips for bubble free nailsa bubble-free paint job:

1. Before you paint, make sure your nails are clean and dry. Wipe each nail down with   nail polish remover (acetone-free, please!)

2. Let each coat of polish dry thoroughly before applying a second or third coat.

3. Don’t viciously shake the nail polish bottle before applying. Simply roll the bottle between your hands to get those nail polish juices mixed.

4. Avoid painting just one or two thick coats of polish. Instead, apply many thin coats.

So there you have it! These simple steps will have you on your way to a bubble-free manicure!

– Zeena

Tips for a Perfect Manicure

Taking care of my own nails at home is fun and a great way to save money! Here are my top 7 tips for a perfect at home manicure:

1. Look for an acetone-free polish remover. Although it may remove the nail polish faster, the acetone can dry out the nails and cause breakage.

Image

2. Soak nails in lemon water. I like to do this to help remove dead skin around the nails and to help strengthen them. The lemon juice also helps rid nails of yellow stains and gives them a bit of shine. Once a week I soak my bare nails in warm lemon water for about 5 minutes.

3. Invest in a great cuticle remover! This will remove any dead skin around the nail. My favorite is Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover. I leave it on for about 30 seconds and use a nail file to remove any dead skin. I find that lemon juice works well too. Simply rub the lemon around the nail, let it sit for 30 seconds, and remove the dead skin with the nail file. This may be repeated a few times for the desired look.

4. Rub nails and cuticle with oil. Moisturizing nails is especially important after removing nail polish and using nail polish remover. One of my favorite cuticle oils is Borghese Rejuvenata Cuticle Oil. I also use warm olive oil and find that this works just as well. If your nails are prone to splitting, try moisturizing them multiple times throughout the day, concentrating on rubbing the oils into each nail bed and cuticle. I also love using Avon’s Vitamin C cuticle gel before bed for extra moisture!

5. Use glass nail files. Glass nail files are much more gentle on nails then metal ones. Glass files have a much smoother surface therefore reducing the amount of splitting that may come from using a metal file. I picked one up at Sephora between $5-$8. They are a bit pricy but they last forever and are so gentle on the nails.

6. Buy a good base coat. I find that when I use a base coat my polish lasts longer and my nails are stronger! A great base coat is Sally Hansen’s Triple Strong Nail Fortifier. Within 2 weeks of use, my nails were so much stronger!Image

7. To finish off any manicure, exfoliate your hands! A great homemade exfoliator is olive oil, honey, and sugar. Rubbing this mixture into your hands removes dead skin while the olive oil moisturizes. For added moisture, add other ingredients like Vitamin E oil, castor oil, and essential oils. After a few minutes of rubbing, rinse hands and dry! Your hands will be so soft!

After a manicure like this your hands will most definitely feel pampered!

Try out my tips for a perfect manicure then come back and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

– Zeena