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SELF CARE NEWSLETTER

March 2020: Skin Care

Skin Care Do's and Don'ts



Merely mentioning skin care invokes images of 300 step routines with costs ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. However, skin care doesn’t have to be a huge, life-and-schedule altering endeavor, it can be personalized to your needs and wants.

This month, I will share with you the do’s and don’ts of skin care, and allow you to customize your own comfortable, doable routine.

DOs

  1. Remember that acne, scarring, or discoloration are not the end of the world. You are a human being that exists in three dimensions. While everyone wants to look their best, there’s a select few that the ideal “best” works for. Remember that every photo you see in magazines, commercials, movies, and even Instagram are heavily edited, and end up being more like art pieces than reality.
  2. Visit a dermatologist. While not necessary to start a simple skin care routine, a dermatologist specializes in skin and can help you accurately hone down what’s best for yours. They can also search for signs of cancer in your skin, so it’s good practice to pop down for a visit at least a few times a year.
  3. Eat plenty of vegetables. Wolfing down a salad for every meal won’t give you dewy, glowing model skin overnight, but eating your five-a-day will promote healthy skin and hair, and boost your energy (goodbye, dark circles!)
  4. Drink water. Hydration is very important for all of you, not just your skin. Try to replace a soda or energy drink throughout the day with a glass of water.
  5. Change your pillowcase. Your pillow is the last thing you see before you fall asleep, and the first thing you see when you wake up. And it remembers. Your pillowcase absorbs oils and dead skin all night long, so remember to change and wash your cases at least once a week.
  6. Use products you trust. Popular skin care trends nowadays may use products with skin lighteners or other harmful ingredients.

DON'Ts

  • Use undiluted essential oils on your face. Just… Don’t. Not only does that expose essential oils to your mouth, nose, and eyes (all not good-- essential oils are highly toxic to consume), but they may erode your skin over time.
  1. Use exfoliants on your face. The smooth finish may be tempting, but it will cause microtears in your skin that, overtime, can be exposed to irritants and cause more problems than solutions.
  2. Use sugar scrubs on your privates. Sugar is bad for the junk, and is annoying to wash out, too. Save the scrubs for your legs, arms, and lips!
  3. Leave the house without sunscreen. Even on foggy or overcast days, you should at least cover any exposed skin in a 15 SPF.
  4. Beat yourself up. Forgot a step? Too tired to wash your face before bed? That’s okay! Life is unpredictable, and your skin will forgive you.

DIwhy?

The humble DIY project! For some, an impossible, weekend-long task that starts out fun and ends poorly. For others, it’s a wonderland of fun little projects that fulfill your free time! I am notoriously bad at finishing DIYs, but today, I will share with you some skincare mini projects that are quick, simple, and worth the time.

Coffee hand scrub.

Coffee smells great, is a natural, biodegradable product, cheap, and a great exfoliant! The caffeine tightens and nourishes the skin, and the coconut oil in this scrub leaves your hands feeling lovely and soft.

You will need:

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Mason jar with lid

Directions

  1. Combine oil, sugar, and coffee grounds in a mason jar.
  2. To use, smear a small amount into your palm and gently massage your hands. Rinse under warm water.


Avocado Honey Face Mask

Avocados are a creamy, dense fruit, and have many health benefits. They help moisturize and soften your skin, and the oatmeal and honey included in this recipe help soothe sun damage and reduce acne. Moreover, this combination is entirely edible! Great for your next sleepover.

You will need:

  • 1 ripe avocado.
  • 1 packet plain instant oatmeal.
  • 1-4 tbsp honey.

Directions

  1. Cut and deseed avocado and mash flesh in a bowl. Prepare instant oatmeal via packet instructions and add to the bowl.
  2. Add honey a tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly until the mixture is a thick, spreadable paste.

  3. Apply all over face, and leave for 20-30 minutes.

  4. Wash off.

Sugar Scrub

A sugar scrub is a good, cheap exfoliant and the easiest way to get baby smooth, soft legs. It’s also environmentally friendly-- the sugar merely dissolves. For best results, try and find ethically-sourced sugar.

You will need:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups oil
  • (optional) food grade lemon extract
  • Jar

Directions

Rub scrub all over the desired area (legs, arms, etc).

Rinse.

Food for Thought

Tea is commonly thought of as a healthy, relaxing beverage, and that’s correct. But, that led me to thinking: What if it was a cookie instead? The result of this train of thought?

London Fog Shortbread Cookies!

London fog lattes are wonderful-- a creamy blend of Earl Grey tea with the light, elegant notes of lavender. These cookies are no different-- citrusy and strong, with that same delicate floral flavor, melded with buttery, flakey shortbread. These cookies are surprisingly light and make great gifts, if you don’t squirrel them all away for yourself.

My shortbread recipe is modified from Martha Stewart’s classic shortbread recipe, and the editions of tea and lavender make them a very special treat.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken.

1 ½ large carrot, chopped

1 ½ ribs celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic

2 small bay leaves

5 whole black peppercorns

Enough water to cover


Recipe

  1. Add chicken to a pot of cold water and bring up to a boil. Boil for a minute, then remove chicken and dump and clean the pot.

  2. Add chicken back to the pot, along with veggies and spices and more water until covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Skim anymore foam with a spoon, and adjust temp until only a few bubbles break through the surface. Continue to let simmer for eight to twelve hours.
  4. Set a large strainer over a large bowl. Use a slotted spoon to place the solids in the strainer, and let sit for two minutes. Discard solids and place any accumulated juices in the bowl back into the pot. Strain the soup into another stock pot, or into the bowl, with a fine-mesh strainer.
  5. Put soup on to boil and skim fat, and reduce by half.
  6. Season with salt as desired.
  7. (Optional) Strain broth one last time through cheesecloth for an incredibly clear tea.
  8. Either let cool and refrigerate, or serve immediately in a teacup.

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. In one bowl, place flour and salt; whisk thoroughly to declump flour. In a separate bowl (or, if available, stand mixer), cream together sugar and butter, until pale and creamy. If using lavender extract, add to sugar and butter mixture at this time.
  2. If using a stand mixer, reduce speed to low and carefully add flour/salt mixture a spoonful at a time. If mixing by hand, slowly incorporate flour/salt mixture. Add tea and lavender and fold to combine.
  3. Place down plastic wrap and place the dough on top. Roll the dough into a log and wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Once dough is chilled, place onto a buttered cookie sheet. The cookies can be placed a bit close together, as this dough doesn’t tend to spread (¼ inch space recommended). Prick around 5 holes into the surface of each cookie with a toothpick.
  5. Bake at 300F until they are golden and firm in the center, about 1 hour. Let the cookies cool, then garnish with lemon zest. Stored in an airtight container, these cookies last for 2 weeks.