Awesome Natural Products to Beat Stress

And I’m back! It has been way too long since I have blogged last, my life got a little hectic for awhile. And I have to share something personal: my life has been stressful. I have had a lot of changes and challenges the past year and a half. I quit my job to get a PhD, have had ongoing back issues which has caused a lot of physical pain, have had major changes in my personal life, and been in not one but two car accidents. But this isn’t a pity party, I promise. I have also learned that stressful times pass, and ultimately – they leave you stronger than before with a greater understanding of who you are and what is important. I’m thankful for all of these challenges, as odd as that sounds. But that doesn’t mean it has been easy! I’ve leaned on my friends and family more than ever in my life. I’ve also learned some great stress management techniques to keep me afloat during crazy times. So while I have lots of fun beauty products to share, I felt my first post back should be about wellness. I called this blog “Well Beauty” for a reason. Makeup is fun, but more important than anything superficial is wellness – physically and emotionally. So this post is about what is most important to me – and that’s staying well. And I’m happy to say I am doing very well! I’m thankful to have free time again so I can blog and have so many great products and fun makeup to share with you all! But first, I wanted to share what I have been using lately which have kept me sane, relaxed, and looking good during these stressful times.

Aromatherapy

Fragrance has a way of uplifting a mood that’s almost magical. I have written about my love for lavender before and shared some of my favorite lavender products. This past school year I have also been reaching for Vitruvi’s Focus Aromatherapy Oil.

Vitruvi-FOCUS

I was introduced to Vitruvi by Petal & Post – an online shop based in Toronto. The aromatherapy oil is in rollerball form, making it super easy to keep in your purse or backpack and apply to wrists when needed. The scent is truly lovely. It’s both energizing and calming at the same time. The peppermint oil provides a pep, but is grounded by frankincense and clove. Lemongrass and citrus petitgrain keep the oil light and fresh. Sometimes petitgrain can bring a bitter woodsiness to fragrances, but I don’t smell that at all. It’s a bright yet deep scent that I really love.

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I’m also a big fan of candles. I’ve talked about Blissoma candles here and there, but really – I can’t get enough! She makes some of the best all-natural candles I have ever used. The scent is strong without being overbearing, and all of her candles use a blend of scents that support and enhance each other. I have tried a few of the candles, but keep reaching for Peace – a blend of frankincense and palmarosa. It has an earthy, grounded scent that is truly calming. I love to burn it while I work at my desk at home. It keeps me focused and relaxed.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Last year I wrote a post about sleep hygiene. I have been fortunate that for most of my life, I have not had sleep issues. Unfortunately the past 6 months or so I’ve had difficulties sleeping. Not sure if it’s life stress or just getting older, but I have definitely come to realize the importance of a good night’s sleep!

As well as the products mentioned in my sleep hygiene post (all of which I still highly suggest to help you sleep!), I’ve also been using a memory foam pillow called My Face Pillow.

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My Face Pillow was originally sent to me to try as a pillow that helps prevent wrinkles and breakouts. I have to say though, this pillow is so soft and comfortable I don’t even care anymore if it helps with my skin! That’s just an added bonus. Its shape takes a bit getting used to, but helps support your head upright when sleeping on your back. I also sometimes turn it over and use the back side to sleep on my side. The memory foam supports my neck and head very well.

Having used memory foam products in the past, I know they can give off noxious smells. This pillow did not at all. The owner of the company explained they allow the pillows to air out for 30 days prior to shipping. He also does not use any flame retardants or other chemicals found in other memory foam pillows, making them safer than traditional memory foam. Another added bonus!

If you are a back sleeper, or are trying to sleep on your back more, I really recommend this pillow. It is SO SO comfortable.

Chamomile Tea

I love tea. I can’t even count the number of different teas I have.  I’ve written in the past about all the reasons you should drink more tea. Chamomile tea is my go-to tea for stress. It has calming effects and is good for digestion as well. Some chamomile can taste a bit too floral or bitter for my personal preference, but I really like TAZO’s Chamomile tea.

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TAZO’s Calm Chamomile also contains hibiscus, spearmint, lemongrass, blackberry and licorice. All of these balance the bitterness of the chamomile, providing a smooth and slightly sweet chamomile tea.

I also have recently been drinking Organic India’s Tulsi Honey Chamomile tea.

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Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is known for its adaptogenic properties. It helps the body respond to stress and is calming without being sedating. The holy basil has a slight earthy, herbal flavor. The sweetness from the honey helps balance this and any potential bitterness from the chamomile nicely. I have tried teas with honey in the past that ended up tasting artificially sweet. This does not at all. The honey flavor is subtle and provides a true honey taste. I really love this tea and it is staying as a staple in my tea collection.

Relaxing Baths

Oh baths, how I love you. There is nothing as relaxing as a warm bath, glass of wine and good book! I’m sad that it is summer now and WAY too hot for a bath (it was 117 degrees today). I have been known to turn the a/c way down and take a bath anyway though in the past heehee

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I always add some sort of salt to my baths. Whether it is basic epsom salts or luxurious bath salts like True Botanicals bath salts, I find adding salts really helps relax my muscles and soothe my skin.

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I also will sometimes add a few drops of my own fragrance to the bath. I picked up NOW Naturally Loveable Essential Oil blend on a whim and am really loving it. It is a blend of lemon, orange, sandalwood, jasmine and ylang ylang – some of my most favorite scents! It is sweet (from the orange), bright (from the lemon) and floral (from the jasmine) but has a sensual earthiness from the sandalwood and ylang ylang.

After the bath, I like to massage in a body oil before sleeping. My skin has been pretty sensitive lately so I have been using organic jojoba oil.

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My skin really loves jojoba oil, which is actually not a true oil but a liquid wax. It is very similar to our body’s own sebum. It helps calm any redness or irritations and moisturizes well without being greasy. As a side note, you can use it on your scalp too if you get dandruff or scalp irritation.

A Good Book

Along with the relaxing bath and glass of wine (OBVI), a good book is a must. Especially during stressful times, it’s important to take a mental break and focus on something other than whatever is causing the stress. My go-to book for times of stress has been Power of Now for years.

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I honestly can’t even say how many times I have read this book over the past 10 years or so. While at times it can be a little new age-y, its message is amazing. When my mind drifts to the past or present, I can pick up this book, read a chapter or two and be reminded of the importance of living in the present. If you haven’t read this book before, I can’t recommend it enough. It really is life changing (and I don’t say that lightly).

Calming Skincare

And of course, what would be a beauty blog if I didn’t talk about skin care at least a little? ;o)

When I am stressed, my skin shows it unfortunately. It becomes red, irritated and flakey. Couple that with the abundance of sugar I love to eat when stressed and my skin is a hot mess. Thankfully I have a few skin care products that have become my go-to!

I don’t think I have ever done an official review of Pai Skincare’s Camellia & Rose Hydrating Cleansing Cream, which is crazy because it has been a staple for years now.

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This cream cleanser is super gentle and removes makeup really really well (even super stubborn waterproof makeup). It also comes with a muslin washcloth which is probably the best facial washcloth I have ever used. I have about 5 of them now (shows you how many times I have bought this!). I’ll be honest that it’s a bit pricey, but one bottle lasts a few months and calms and hydrates my skin like nothing else.

True Botanicals launched their soothing line last year and I instantly fell in love with their Soothing Face Oil.

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The Soothing Face Oil is a blend of calming and anti-inflammatory oils like calendula, hemp, evening primrose, pomegranate and cranberry. It also contains essential fatty acids which help repair the skin and chamomile and helichrysum which are soothing to irritated skin. This oil is nothing short of amazing (really). I had a friend with incredibly dry and flakey skin so I gave this to her to try and this healed her flakey skin overnight. She was sold. I’m very sad in that I’m getting pretty low on my bottle. I have been using it regularly since last fall so it has lasted a long time. When I first started using it, I used it daily and now I use it a few times a week (trying to make it last as long as I can!). While it is pricey for one bottle, since you only need a few drops, one bottle lasts a very long time.

And last but certainly not least is Blissoma’s Smooth A+ Correcting Serum.

Blissoma Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum

I have mentioned this serum a few times throughout my time on the blog, and that’s because it is a staple for when my skin is breaking out. It helps keep my skin clear without drying it out. Here is my full review from a few years ago when I first discovered it.

 

And that’s it! These products have kept my body, mind and skin calm and happy. What do you use or do when stressed? Share in a comment below!

 

 

Disclosure: Some of these were provided to me to try. Opinions and the choice to review are 100% my own! I was not financially compensated for writing this blog post. This post contains affiliate links.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide!

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The holiday season is officially here! Well, it’s been here for a few weeks now but I’m showing up a little late to the party ;o) Here are seven products that I have been using lately and LOVING. These would make a great gift for anyone on your list or something to add to your own wish list!

Gifts Over $50

CHI Ultra Pro Glitter Hair Dryer

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I have been using CHI hair tools for years. Literally, years and years. Both their hair dryer and straightening iron are my favorite hair tools. They work well and don’t damage my fine hair like other brands. I have tried other hair dryers and straightening irons and keep going back to CHI. When I saw that Ulta was releasing a glitter version of my favorite hair dryer, of course I had to try it!

I have naturally curly hair that I still straighten occasionally (you can read my curly hair post here), and this dryer is my go-to. It also comes with a diffuser for when I want to add extra oomph to my curls. The glitter version works just like my trusted low EMF non-glitter hair dryer. It has two settings: high and low. I use low when I use the diffuser and the high setting when I am straightening my hair. I have tried CHI’s professional line, but actually prefer their low EMF dryer. It is more gentle on my hair yet still dries it very quickly. Plus, it has pretty glitter! Who doesn’t love glitter? (Don’t worry, the glitter is under a sealant so you will NOT have glitter all over the place)

I’ll be doing a post on straightening curly hair soon, so stay tuned! The CHI Ultra Pro Glitter Hair Dryer retails for $99.95, available at Ulta only.

Go Wood Wooden Sunglasses

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I admit it, I have joined the wooden accessories bandwagon. It all started with the JORD wooden watches (past review here). I still get compliments when I wear that watch. Then I tried the wooden iPhone cases (below) and then lastly the sunglasses – and I love them all!

I have two sunglasses from Go Wood: the Montreal (red) and the New York (brown). I absolutely love the Montreal shape but unfortunately the bridge opening is a little low so didn’t quite work for my nose/face. The New York are a very similar shape but the bridge sits higher and work a lot better for my face. What I really love about both of these are they are not super wide. I have a more narrow face and most sunglasses, even ones for woman, end up being way too big for me. These fit perfectly. The website has all dimensions as well, and I found their team to be super helpful in figuring out what glasses would work for me. If you want a fashionable and unique gift for someone special (or yourself), I would recommend checking these out!

Also, Go Wood is having a contest right now and you can win two sunglasses AND two phone cases! Enter here. The sunglasses retail for $49-129, depending on the style.

 

Gifts $50 and under

Jane Iredale In the Blink of a Smoky Eye Palette

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I have tried (and reviewed) quite a few Jane Iredale palettes in my day. I have to say though, this is the best one I’ve ever tried, hands down. Jane Iredale really outdid themselves with this year’s holiday palette! For one, you get a lot of eyeshadow, especially with the top 3 colors. The top 3 colors are over an inch in diameter (larger than their full size eyeshadows, which are 1″) and the bottom 5 are 3/4″.

What I really love though is that all of these colors are super wearable, and included are some of my favorites. The top 3 are neutral shades (Bone, Pure Gold and Dawn) that would work on any skintone. Dawn is a beautiful medium brown that is a favorite of mine. The bottom has three colors that while I may not wear every day (Rose Gold, Iris and Forest), are very pretty and wearable and make a great addition to a daily look. I really love that they included double espresso and ebony. Double espresso is another favorite of mine, it is a very dark brown that also makes a great eyeliner or smoky eye. I had never used ebony before but it is my absolute new favorite black eyeshadow. I didn’t know that black eyeshadows could be so black! This is SO pigmented. It is perfect for applying to the base of my lashes to help them look thicker.

Here is a look I made with the palette. I used Bone right under my brows, Pure Gold all over with Dawn in the outer corners. I then used ebony at the base of my lashes with double espresso blended right above it.

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The palette also includes a mirror, double-ended brush and even a booklet on how to get different smoky eye looks. The palette retails for $50.

True Nature Botanicals Dead Sea Bath Salts

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I swear, True Nature Botanicals makes the best products. They recently launched a bath salt line and I was very fortunate to be able to try Vitality. With a name like Vitality, you might think of a scent with mint or something energizing, but this scent is incredibly calming and relaxing. The scent is a blend of bergamot, neroli and ylang ylang. The two strongest scents are bergamot and ylang ylang – two of my most favorite fragrances. The neroli adds a hint of freshness to this, and helps balance out the earthy ylang ylang. And while I haven’t tried the other two scents, they both sound wonderful. Tranquility is a mix of chamomile, lavender and orange. Bliss is a blend of rose, rose geranium and sandalwood.

The salts come in a large metal tin. These would make a lovely gift for anyone special in your life! The Dead Sea Bath Salts retail for $48.

Go Wood iPhone Cases

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Like I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of wooden accessories. I have two Go Wood iPhone cases, one with a tree and one with a deer. I love them both! What I love is that they are super unique. Not only is it actual wood but the designs are engraved in the case, giving it texture. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on both of these.

The only thing to mention is that these are real wood, so are not drop-proof. Unfortunately, I dropped my phone and did crack a corner. I was still able to use the case and fixed it with some glue, but this is something to keep in mind with having a wooden case. Cases are $34.95-$39.95 each.

Update: Go Wood let me know they now offer iPhone cases with polycarbonate sides for more shock-proof protection!

Gifts Under $20

These gifts are perfect stocking stuffers or small gifts for friends or coworkers.

Jane Iredale PlayOn Lip Crayon

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The PlayOn Lip Crayons came out earlier this year and are gorgeous. They are super pigmented and glide on really smoothly. I have three colors: Hot, Naughty and Saucy. Hot is a bold red, Naughty is a merlot, and Saucy is a pinky coral. What I really like about these is the colors are buildable. With one swipe, Hot is a bright pinky red but two swipes make this a solid, bright red. One swipe of Saucy adds just a tint of color but two swipes gives a bright pop. One swipe of Naughty gives a slight dark red tint to lips but a few swipes gives a dark merlot that is really pretty for the holidays.

These would make fun stocking stuffers or gift for a girlfriend. The Lip Crayons retail for $18 each.

Rustic Dandelion Soaps

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I have mentioned it before and I will say it again, I really love handmade soap. I was introduced to Rustic Dandelion and love not only the scents, but also the look of them. Look at the twine bow and little tag! So stinkin’ cute! I tried three bars: Lavender Calendula, Miracle Bar and Day at the Beach. I love all three. I think my favorite is the Lavender Calendula bar. It smelled divine and was really moisturizing. The Miracle Bar doesn’t have a strong scent but has little poppy seeds in it that provide a nice exfoliation. Plus, $1 of each bar sold gets donated to charity. The Day at the Beach bar has sea salt blended in it for a nice exfoliation. Thankfully, the salt was mild and was perfect for light exfoliation without being too harsh. This is also a charity soap, with $1 being donated to charity.

The best part? The soap bars are only $6 each! This would make the perfect small present or stocking stuffer for someone who hasn’t experienced the wonder that is handmade soap.

 

That’s it for this year’s Holiday Gift Guide! What items are on your wish list?

Disclosure: These were provided to me to try. Opinions and the choice to review are 100% my own! I was not financially compensated for writing this blog post. This post contains affiliate links.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals!

Hey everyone! I know I haven't blogged in way too long, and I have a ton of great products to share with you! I'll be working on that post next week but in the meantime I wanted to share all of these fabulous Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals … [Continue reading]

Summer Favorites!

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I can't believe it's already August - where has this summer gone? I've been super busy this summer so haven't been able to blog much, but that hasn't stopped me from trying new products (I have my priorities after all) and have developed some … [Continue reading]

3 Body Oils Perfect for Summer

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Oh goodness, it is hot. It was only 111 today - no big deal. You would think that with so much heat, who needs body oil? Well, the humidity is less than 10% so the air is practically sucking the moisture out of my skin. But the last thing I want is a … [Continue reading]

Houston: We Have Volume ~ Josh Rosebrook Hair Care

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You know those girls that have fabulous, voluminous, shiny hair? Ya, I hate them too. My hair is not like that. It's fine, thin and not naturally voluminous. But if you can't naturally make it - fake it! I have been using Josh Rosebrook hair care and … [Continue reading]

Tinted & Fabulous: Alima Pure Lip Tints

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Alima Pure came out with a new line of Lip Tints and I.Love.Them. First, Alima released a line of lipsticks and then they reformulated and updated their line of lip tints. What's next Alima? There are 5 lip tints in the new line (with their … [Continue reading]

Gentle & Effective: Osmia Skincare

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I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again - I have sensitive skin. Very sensitive. As in - don't look at it the wrong way or it may just get irritated. Because of this, I have to be very particular when it comes to what I put on my face. As … [Continue reading]

Summer Bronzed with Jane Iredale

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And I'm back! I know it's been FOREVER since I blogged, and I'm sorry. I will not lie - life has been very crazy and stressful for me the past several weeks but school is out and I'm ready to get back to blogging! Jane Iredale has come out with a … [Continue reading]

Celebrate Mom with These 4 Luxuries

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And I'm back! I know I haven't blogged for a few weeks and I'm sorry, my life has been crazy pants! I have two finals and a paper all due within the next 10 days, but I had to take a moment and share these awesome finds. These are all perfect gifts … [Continue reading]