Pumpkin Face Mask

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We’re a big fan of pumpkin desserts (cookies, and popsicles, anyone?), but we also like our pumpkin in the form of brews and stew too! And if you’re looking for more skincare posts, check out some of our essential oil posts.
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Today I’m here to talk about what to do with that little bit of pumpkin sitting at the bottom of the can. You’ll be faced with this problem if you make our pumpkin cookies or the whoopie pies muffin tops, as both recipes call for slightly less than a whole can of pumpkin. I’ve been giving some of that pumpkin to Luc, but the kiddo can only eat so much before he’s going to turn orange. And we put some in our oatmeal and yogurt… but I’m already making so many pumpkin treat that I don’t want every to tire of pumpkin before the season’s over. So, if you don’t eat it, wear it (at least that’s Luc’s motto!).

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Lemon Foot Scrub

Lemon is our ingredient of the season! So far we’ve used it in a bucklein barsin a savory pasta, and in the shower. Oh, and there are a couple of lemon popsicle recipes! This is also one of our many essential oil posts.

Hands down, one of our favorite perks at the beach is the outdoor shower. We love it for clearing away the sand after a day at the beach, but we also love to bring sand INTO the shower in the form of scrubs. Today’s lemon, sugar, and sand scrub is the perfect zesty indulgence as we’re looking to make the most of these late summer days.

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DIY Mineral-based Sunscreen

Now that we’ve moved to a higher altitude, I think about sunscreen year-round, but particularly in the summer when we are spending more time outside and wearing shorts and t-shirts. Additionally, I’ve started to have an internal debate about my use of sunscreen, because while I use it every day to protect my skin from aging, I’m starting to think that a little bit of tanning is Ok and even good for my health by naturally increasing my Vitamin D levels. Do you know about the negative health concerns associated with Vitamin D deficiency?

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The other concern I have while using sunscreen are the chemicals found in many over-the-counter products, especially since I’m still nursing little Luc. The problem is that a number of the chemicals in certain sunscreens can enter your bloodstream and some act as or disrupt the natural hormones in our body. The Environmental Working Group provides a detailed overview of both the chemicals and minerals used in sunscreens and the toxicity concerns associated with each. So, what’s a person to do? Read on to find out a little bit more about sunscreens and my current solution…

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Summer Face Oil

We’re exploring the many uses for essential oils for both our home and body. You can see our archive of essential oil posts here. liveseasoned_summer2015_faceoil8-1024x768 copy

Oh my skincare routine has changed throughout the years, and I only wish that I was as gentle on my skin in high school as I am now. Back then I thought my skin was too oily and would never have dreamed of actually applying oil to my face to moisturize and nourish it, instead, I would be drawn to any cleanser that promised to dry out my face. In reality, I’m guessing that all of those harsh, drying products likely irritated my skin, stripped it of its natural oils, and caused it to over produce oil in order to try to hydrate my face and reverse the damage I was doing. Jump ahead ten years, and I slowly came around to the amazingly beneficial characteristics of plant oils for the skin. Jump ahead another couple of years, and I’m now adding some essential oils to my basic routine.

I like to shy away from the camera when it comes to our posts, but if any post calls for a headshot, it’s this one! So I’m putting my face in focus for this post, and hopefully it will stand as a record that I can refer back to when looking at how my skin responds to a few years of essential oil use. I should also mention that I really believe that healthy skin starts from the inside. So while I’ve found these skin oil potions to be effective, I also make it a point to drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.

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Natural Bug Sprays

This is part of our ongoing series on using essential oils for home and body care. You can see our archive of essential oil posts here.

We’re celebrating Pollinator Week around here with a series of pollinator-related posts. When you grab a bottle of bug spray, I’m guessing that “pollinator” is not the first word that you think of, instead, it’s likely “mosquito” “f-ing mosquitos”. Am I right? But guess, what?! Mosquitos are pollinators!

Pollination aside, we will never grow to love the pesky mosquitos, ticks, and fleas. Today we’re sharing a natural, non-toxic bug spray. I find that this works well when the mosquito populations aren’t too high, but I admit, there are still times, particularly in the swampy waters at the shore, that I have to use something containing DEET. What this spray lacks in DEET, it makes up for in its beautiful scent, and in the ability to personalize (there are so many mixing options below!).

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Homemade Lotion Bars

I feel like these homemade lotion bars should be rose scented to keep with this week’s unintentional theme.

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Does your skin resemble dry, cracked, dusty earth? Mine does.  It’s the worst, especially in the winter.  Poor, poor me.  No, but really, my entire body has dandruff and I know you probably didn’t want to hear that, but I said it.  It is disgusting and it plagues me.  Dry skin is the monkey on my back.  You might think I’m being a little dramatic, but applying lotion six times a day (REALLY) is no joke!  This is my life. Welcome. Instead of spending a quarter (maybe I’m being a little dramatic here) of my annual income on lotion, I mixed up a double batch of this homemade version and called it a day well spent.  This easy lotion bar concoction only requires three ingredients! Yeah Kate, we know, your no-heat rosehip jam only has two. Congratulations.  No, congrats to YOU after you read through this lotion bar recipe and immediately order the supplies. I applaud you.  Happy moisturized skin to you my friend.

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Dandruff Shampoo. seriously.

You are now well aware that Sarah and I like to mix our own cosmetic and beauty products, which we jokingly refer to and tag as potions. So far we’ve shared the gamut from dry shampoo to pore strips to deodorant along with the more mundane (yet totally sinus opening and skin smoothing) body scrubs. Just to add fuel to the fire, I recently learned that my local herbal apothecary offers classes in mixing your own salves, balms, perfumes, and more. It looks like our potion blending isn’t going to slow down anytime soon! But today I’m going to share a potion that’s a bit less glamorous ~ homemade dandruff shampoo. 

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I moved to Colorado and my head turned into a blizzard. Why? In general terms, dandruff is caused when the skin cells on your scalp grow and die off too fast. In some people it coincides with the dry air of winter, in others it may be compounded by stress, and commonly it’s due to the fungus malassezia. The fungus requires fat to grow, and so it’s commonly found on our scalps, where we have plenty of oil producing sebaceous glands.

In my case, I would like to blame the outbreak on a change in my body chemistry after becoming pregnant, or Colorado’s dry weather, but if you ask Sarah, she will quickly laugh and tell you that I’m a great host for fungus*. We won’t go into detail, but being the great host that I am, I have some experience treating the fun-guys, and every time I’ve turned to tea tree oil. A vast number of studies have shown that it’s a great fungicide and has proven effective in treating a number of different fungal infections on and in humans (everything from dandruff to toenail fungus to athlete’s foot). You’re starting to get grossed out, aren’t you? How about some cute mushrooms to return you to your happy place?

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Since tea tree oil is powerful in its concentrated form, you want to be careful about using it at full strength (and some people are extra sensitive or allergic, so test your sensitivity if you’ve never used it before). An easy way to use tea tee oil as a cure for dandruff is to mix it into your shampoo. As little as 5% tea tree oil is enough to do the job. Rather than mixing it with each shower, I like to make up a large batch using 5% tee tree oil and 95% Dr. Bronner’s crazy magic amazing wonderful liquid heaven. As you can see in the photo, I put it in its own labeled bottled and am good to go.

I’m sure you never get dandruff, but if you happen to run into a stranger with flakes, now you have a homemade and totally effective potion to share with them!

 *If you’re interested in learning more about the fungus world, Sarah’s been reading Mycophilia by Eugenia Bone. She’s been raving about it and has me excited to read about the fungus among us. 

Mushroom image from createnature.com.
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DIY Pore Strips

Kate and I are always concocting potions. You may remember Kate’s DIY dry shampoo, deodorant or her rosemary body scrub.  Today we’re teaching you how to make homemade pore strips so call your girl friends and schedule a sleepover, because you’ll make more than enough for one nose!

Have you ever tried Biore pore strips? They’re the amazing!  I mean, it is creepy how much I love seeing tiny stems of dirt, oil and blackheads, but it is also awesome knowing that the gunk is no longer in my pores.  Even though I love the instant gratification of pore strips, I do have a few complaints.  For starters, they are expensive.  I don’t have a big budget for bath and beauty products so spending at least $6 ($1 for each strip) on a box of pore strips is an extremely rare occurrence.  I also feel like I only have a 75% success rate with the store-bought strips.  Sometimes they work SO well and other times they don’t adhere to the side creases of my nose, which is where I have the most black heads. When a friend told me about DIY pore strips, I decided to try them out for myself and share the results with you guys and gals.

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Dry Shampoo to the Rescue!

It’s no surprise that Sarah and I like to make our own cosmetic and household potions whenever possible. We’ve tried our hands at deodorant, body scrubs, and laundry detergent. We like to know exactly what’s going into them, but we also really enjoy personalizing the potions to our tastes, and we often find that homemade is cheaper than store bought.

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Today we’re sharing yet another cosmetic potion: dry shampoo. I didn’t start using dry shampoo until after Alex was born (it really is every new mom’s best friend), but truthfully, I probably should have started using it sooner! I’m not a big fan of showering; I think it just strips my body of the good oils, drying out my skin and hair. I usually take a shower every three days or so, and in between you can start to see my hair gets greasy – that’s where dry shampoo saves the day. It soaks up those excess oils and gives my thin, limp hair a bit of body! The potion I’ve settled on is a mash-up of the different recipes I’ve seen out there, simplifying and using measurements that seem to fit my hair.

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Minty Fresh Deodorant

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We love to use it in drinks, both alcoholic and not, in salads, both savory and sweet, and in the shower!

There couldn’t be a better time for this post. Why? Because it’s about deodorant, and I bet you’re getting your smell on by late afternoon this summer. And because this recipe requires coconut oil, which is sure to be in a liquid state on any given 80+ degree day, making mixing easy!

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Now, to back this truck up, today we’re talking about making our own non-toxic, totally biodegradable deodorant that’s safe for your body and smells great too! I’ve been using this exact recipe for close to four years now and feel no need to go back to the store-bought stuff.  You may already have the ingredients in your house, but if you don’t, they are relatively cheap* and each have other uses in your house/kitchen. Finally, it’s always fun to mix up a potion, particularly one that you can personalize with your favorite scents!

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