Up for this months install of "Peek Inside a Clean Girl's Medicine Cabinet" is the wonderful Sarita Coren, from the green beauty blog, Peace on the Skin and Peach Within. She has been using holsitic health for her family of five children for over 23 years and has a mean stash of clean & green beauty products. Sarita understands that what we put on our skin is part of the puzzle to our whole health. Her blog is filled with tips for radiant skin and a peaceful spirit. Check out her beautiful instagram @sartiacoren and follow her on twitter and facebook. And don't forget to scroll down for an exclusive interview with her about her journey with clean beauty and a holistic lifestyle.
Rituals & Regimens
Let’s start with my top shelf products. In the back I’ve got two gorgeous bottles of Mullein & Sparrow bath salts. Quality salt poured by the cupfull into a bath creates a wonderful soak for muscles, helps remineralize the body, and grounds and re-energizes the body, when feeling scattered and not centered.
During a shower, if I have not had a chance to dry brush my skin before, I have been using Hydrea London Carbonized Bamboo Exfoliating Gloves for years while in the shower. They reduce negative ions from computer use and other electronic devices. And they exfoliate like nothing else!
Following a bath or shower, when I get the chance, I rub in a beautiful serum to seal in moisture. Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum is pure luxury in a gorgeous moiron glass bottle brimming with oils that have been ethically and globally sourced and that nourish and heal even the driest skin. For those who truly wish to protect their skin, I highly suggest dowsing your body with an inexpensive organic olive oil prior to entering the shower to prevent moisture loss. Chronic dry skin sufferers take note!
For Skin Care
Mornings, I’ve been diligently cleansing with YULI Halcyon Cleanser. At first, I was not blown away by this cleanser since it took quite a bit of product to remove makeup. So I’ve been using it exclusively in the a.m. because it really is a gorgeous formula. It does not strip skin at all. Usually, my skin reddens after I’ve washed it, but this cleanser doesn’t alter the pH of my skin, so it stays calm. I can’t rave enough about how much I’ve grown to appreciate that in the morning when you really don’t need to clean much off the face. Preserving the acid mantle of skin is key, especially since there are so many aggressive cleansers or environmental factors that affect it during the day.
I follow cleansing with one of these toning mists
- Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator Mist for extra hydration, skin balancing nutrients, and skin firming to decrease fine lines.
- Stark Skincare White Willow Bark Toner for when my skin needs help warding off blemishes. This is formulated to be astringent that gently exfoliates and and cleanses the skin. [Perfect for acne or breakouts.]
- May Lindstrom’s Jasmin Garden Mist because it’s stunning and feels decadent. [It is also very soothing which is great for breakouts and irritated skin.]
While skin is damp I’ve been layering products to protect it from the harsh weather. My skin seems to need some healing lately so a clear layer of aloe vera gel from Mountain Rose Herbs usually goes on first (this product was recommended by a holistic skin specialist in NYC). If not aloe, then I’ve been gravitating to vitamin C in my skincare too. [Check out the recipe for the CTNB DIY Vitamin C Anti-aging serum here.]
La Bella Figura’s Modern Radiance Concentrate gives my skin its daily infusion. This lovely gel protects my skin both morning and night with kakadu plum oil for maximum, whole plant-sourced Vitamin C potency—as opposed to the less viable synthetic version, ascorbic acid. [Check out what vitamin C can do for your skin here.] My skin feels toned and treated after these weightless gels absorb.
On top of the gel, I’ve also been using a drop or two of serum as hydration. Lately Organic Bath Co.’s Enhance Face Oil has got me covered with the perfect combination of rosehip seed oil plus a blend of acne-reducing, free-radical fighting oils. And it smells like Jasmine to boot!
I included two products that I’m also trying out and loving. One is the incredible new release from Josh Rosebrook’s line: Oculus Formula, a roll-on serum for the eyes. It’s kinda everything you’d want in an eye serum, including easy, mess-free application and stellar ingredients to nourish the delicate eye area. The other is a line called Holiskin. The founder and creator, Joshua Alexander, took time to determine that my ongoing breakouts may be stress related. He put together a custom-blended toner with skin-balancing apple cider vinegar combined with chamomile to soothe my stressed skin, to be followed by the Renewal Facial Serum for acne prone skin. So far, I’m impressed by the founder’s knowledge in sourcing ingredients, curated formulations, and care for the customer. This is the small business difference and it shows every time.
At night, I love a double cleanse and lately I’ve been enjoying this combination of an oil massage with One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil & Makeup Remover (enter the Piña Colada song!), followed by Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser or Om Aroma Perle Cleanser for sensitive skin. It feels like the oil cleanse offers a protective barrier to plain water cleansing and removes a considerable amount of makeup, dirt, and grime. If any residue remains, the follow up cleanser gently removes it. A swipe or two of Vered Botanicals Herb-Infused Toner closes pores and feeds skin with nourishing whole plants. This toner is a deep red color which indicates how herb-rich it is!
As for serums, which are nutrient packed powerhouses that deliver maximum benefits in a light formula, they are on constant rotation. At night, I believe skin needs to breathe so I rotate between these.
- Lighter layer of an anti-inflammatory serum like Laurel Whole Plant Organics, which is great for sensitive and inflammed skin.
- A calming serum like Olie Biologique Huile Claire 006
- The light Antioxidant Dew by Kypris mixed in with Beauty Elixir I, 1,000 Roses
- Super light skin boost with Pelle Beauty’s Stellar
- YULI Skincare Cell Perfecto PM which is a skin correcting treatment that lightens hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and scars.
Sarita's Tips For Super Dry Skin
Balms for lips, face, and body play a big role. In winter, they feel like a necessary protective layer. I’m loving balms by Earth Tu Face, The October Union, De Mamiel, R.L. Linden (for lips), Laurel Whole Plant Organics, and Metta Skincare. Think of them as sealing in moisture. Check out a post over on my blog explaining more here!
Use a cool mist humidifier to combat drying heat. This is a must!
Apply oils before showering and bathing to lock in moisture. Water can pickle the skin because it’s drawing out moisture. Think of your pruned hands when you’ve been swimming for a long time.
Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated from within.
Don’t over-wash with water. If you can use a good hand sanitizer like the one from Intelligent Nutrients instead, then go for it. Shower less frequently if possible. (It’s a great opportunity to try some awesome dry shampoos.
Sarita's Tips On Aging Well
At 44, aging gracefully is high on my radar, though I don’t abide by the term “anti-aging.” It carries a negative connotation. To keep my skin’s collagen levels up, I supplement with Neocell Super Collagen + C or Rejuvenated Collagen Shots as a drink. Glam Goes Green introduced me to Frownies and Silc Skin Pads, simple, reusable patches that can be applied to iron out fine lines and wrinkles. These work!
For ways to keep stress down for myself or the kids (I have five), I use flower essences created by Lotus Wei, Bach, or Alexis Smart (not all at once except for the Rescue Remedy which is used as needed). Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a staple in my medicine chest. At the end of pregnancy when I could not sleep, this combination of five magical flower extracts eased me into a restful sleep without harmful drugs. It calms nerves for kids as well as adults safely, with no side effects or addictive qualities. I’ve also worked privately with Alexis Smart and am doing the Flowerevolution with Katie Hess of Lotus Wei, so I’ve experienced the dynamic effects that the flowers can have on our emotional and physical systems. I’d say they’re amazingly gentle, in that they’re non-addictive, but profound treatments.
The homeopathic remedy Ignatia Amara helps take the edge off when times are rough and is specifically used to relieve grief, disappointment, anxiety, and anger. Aromatherapy oils can be incorporated too such as Essence of Vali Sleep: A Bedtime Ritual, Holiskin Stress Relief, and Blissoma Stress Relief Serum (not shown).
For those times when I do get stressed, a hard-working natural deodorant is essential. It’s exciting that there are now many natural deodorant options on the market that work without harmful ingredients and that allow the body’s natural detoxification processes to function. Blissoma Scentless Stick natural deodorant is a great pick and a good starting point for someone new to clean products because of the easy, mess-free stick application. For a scented version, Greenbody Deodorant works like a charm. However for those who get easily irritated by baking soda, Meow Meow Tweet has a version without it that I’ve heard is AMAZING....[check out the CTNB review here for the Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant.]
Sarita's Holistic Health Tips
Much of my attitude about health has to do with prevention and strengthening the body’s natural immune-building potential. The body is truly an incredible system with countless checks and balances to help it run normally. When my kids or I show early signs of feeling run down, I head straight for these. I might add that we do not take supplements daily, nor do I feel that a functional body necessarily needs to.
Some supplements in my wellness cabinet include:
Vitamin D drops because they’re highly absorbable, unlike pill form, and they help ward of illness. I call this the natural flu shot!
Echinacea, Astragalus, and Goldenseal as tinctures derived from the entire plant versus an extract from part of the plant. (This is an important distinction and the reason why there are many contradictory studies about these herbs—it’s possible that some were conducted using the whole plant form while other studies did not and that altered the results! Thank you to R.L. Linden’s Lynn Till for that tidbit!)
Water Oz Water of Life contains vital minerals to nourish vital body functions (with 84 minerals and 70 trace elements in a water soluble form), and Water Oz Silver Water (not to be confused with colloidal silver) acts as a natural antibiotic, both taken as needed. Controversy around silver aside, these work, and none of us have turned blue! (Yes, the silver tastes a bit metallic like a silver coin.)
Raw, organic manuka honey works both internally to comfort sore throats, as well as topically for wound healing with its naturally antibacterial properties. Raw honey also makes an incredible add-in to bolster the results of mask powders or as a stand alone mask that can be mixed with natural ingredients like cinnamon or lemon juice.
Breathe Right Nasal Strips (not shown) are amazing! They open sinus passages immediately with no drugs. Kids breathe easier and sleep better and it’s great to relieve chronic snoring.
Take high quality tea tree oil and swipe a bit on the inside of each nostril to moisten the nasal passages and keep harmful bacteria at bay. I’ve been doing this occasionally and it clears my sinuses fast! When my babies would get stuffy while nursing, I’d put a dab of tea tree oil near their noses (away from eyes!), and they’d be able to nurse comfortably.
For coughing, especially at night, slather on a layer of Maty’s All Natural Vapor Rub, a more natural alternative to Vick’s VapoRub, over the bottoms of feet, then put socks on over it. Coughing should ease up. This tip really works!
Simple hack if you don’t have an aromatherapy diffuser: boil a pot of water on the stove and add drops of lemon essential oil or lemon + eucalyptus oils. This will eliminate bacteria and scent the air in your home.
What Is Your Clean Beauty Story?
It has been a journey and not always a straight one but rather a winding path. About 20 years ago, I began choosing healthier food, as I learned about the correlation between a poor diet and illness. However the bridge to natural products came later after I started having kids. I wanted to use clean products on their pure, newborn skin. Also, more and more studies started coming out in the early 2000’s pointing out the damaging effects of formulas that contained ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors, releasing formaldehyde when combined with other ingredients, or are found in breast tissue of cancer patients. The information fascinated and appalled me. Then I realized that I was so careful about what was going inside my body but not paying attention to the many unhealthy ingredients that I was using on my body. There was no turning back after that. [Read this article to learn more about the toxins in our beauty products.]
Why Is Clean Beauty Important To You?
Aside from the damaging effects mentioned above about mainstream products, it feels good to use products that have been developed by a smaller company. Those natural lines are deeply invested in every step of the process, from sourcing plant-based, whole, live ingredients mindfully to packaging them sustainably. They take into consideration the importance of vital, powerful ingredients as much as a respect for the ecosystem.
Have you noticed a difference in your skin and body since you have been using clean products?
Here’s what changed: I got to know my skin better because being in tune with nature, spirituality, and holistic wellness bared something else—that our skin and body have a story to tell if we listen to them. Lately, the mantra that I’ve been repeating is: my body informs me. So too with my skin and health.
When I get an eruption on my skin, which I do, there are a few questions that I now know to ask.
- Where is it located? Depending on what part of my face, there is a correlating body mechanism or organ that is sending a distress signal and I’ve got to determine the underlying the message. For instance, if the blemish is located on the sides of my chin, that corresponds to the digestive meridians of my body, according to Chinese medicine. That means that I need to take a closer look at what I’ve been ingesting as well as how well I’ve been eliminating.
- What have I been using topically that may not be working? Not every natural ingredient agrees with every skin type. Eventually, through trial and error and research, I find out which ones do or don’t. For me, coconut oil on my face is a no no, even though it’s great for other people.
Going all natural is not a guarantee that issues will go away. It’s important to align with your body’s changing needs with lots of variables that are in play. I think it’s good for people to know that so that they’re not set up to give up too early in the switch. You WILL find what works for you with persistence and willingness.
If you had to pick one product from your medicine cabinet that you couldn't live without what would it be?
Hmmm…that’s tough because I function on intuitive healing and reaching for the treatment that calls to me for myself or my kids. But if I had to pick one thing, I’d say I reach a lot for magical, miraculous Vitamin C at the first signs that immunity seems low. I’ve seen sore throats—that would normally be the precursors to getting sick—heal thanks to its immune boosting properties, and even allergic reactions reverse thanks to the anti-histamine effects. It’s such a simple treatment, yet so effective. I’d say no one should overlook it.
What is a secret home remedy of yours when you are feeling under the weather?
Arnica for sure! For bangs, bruises, and muscle pain—oh yes, with five kids, we get our fair share!—arnica is the best both topically and taken orally as the small homeopathic pellets. I’ve given them to my kids’ school to keep in the medicine kits, that’s how much I swear by it.
I’d like to include another underestimated remedy: castor oil as a rub but also to take internally very sparingly, as needed. Most diseases and poor skin are linked to an unhealthy gut. Keeping the body’s elimination cycles moving is crucial. When someone is backed up, rub their belly with castor oil, cover with plastic wrap to seal it, then add moist heat in a pad or warm cloth. This should gets things moving very quickly! If not, a teaspoon taken internally will help lubricate the process. Then clear the path to the lavatory. (Great for mamas who want to get labor moving too. Always consult a midwife or doctor first, of course.)
Oh! And always keep a bottle of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar on hand too. Books have been written about the many, many ways you can use this wonder food for everything from digestion to blemish healing to infection fighting. One teaspoon apple cider vinegar in water every morning keeps the doctor away.
What is Your Favorite Natural Health Item Right Now?
Well, I’d say there are two new items that I’m incorporating into my wellness arsenal. One is bitters, used for digestive health, and the other is flower essences, that balance body, mind and spirit. Both operate completely differently but with visible results. If you want to curb a sugar addiction [ahem], a dose of bitters helps reduce the craving, plus aids the digestive process. I’m just at the cusp of beginning my research into this field, so I look forward to uncovering more about it.
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Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary or other types of compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I always give my honest opinion and findings of the products and would not recommend anything that I do not use for myself or family. All of the products recommended will adhere to the Standards of Clean, listed here.