Milk - Queens’ Beautifier

Over the years I contemplated about what could be the most natural and easiest way to cleanse and nourish my face for the night from everyday pollution and make-up. There is of course an entire arsenal of products available in drug stores, supermarkets and also pharmacies (the latter does NOT guarantee healthier and more natural products!). However, as I mentioned in my previous blog posts, I really do think that nature is generous enough in giving us its remedies. Well, I recently rediscovered something that was used by queens since centuries: milk from goats, cows or donkeys (Cleopatra’s favourite).

There are manifold uses of this invaluable food, but because I was curious how far milk is also useful as a cleanser, I gave it a try and was not disappointed. On the contrary, my boyfriend keeps telling me how smooth and soft my facial skin became.

First of all I have to say that I solely use make-up for special occasions so I can wash my face only with water and two or three times with a mild children’s soap without perfume. Also my skin went through a bad patch recently where the entire right side of my face got incredibly inflamed. This was the turning point in my daily facial care: a pause from all the creams and make-up removers I used to use and decided to wash my face with plain cow’s milk. I really did not see any difference between goat’s or cow’s milk (I didn’t have the possibility to buy donkey’s milk yet). 

So firstly I washed my face with lukewarm water with clean (!) hands to subsequently rinse it again with milk. Milk can produce a strange smell on your skin if you leave it on too long, so I washed it off immediately with cold water (remember, cold water has a nice lifting effect on your skin). I do realize however that milk will not be able to clean off make-up. Nevertheless I believe that after going through your regular routine with cleansers of your usual choice, milk can be a wonderful toner.

My skin looked immediately more glowing and my complexion, to put it in one word, was majestic! Additionally, as my better half said, it became incredibly soft to touch. This cleansing method has proved to be really worthwhile and I truly enjoyed the experience and can only recommend it!

"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Love,

Irina

Comments

Henna

Henna is my new -old hair obsession. From now on I feel I should be recommending henna shampoos for gals with dark hair! Henna can be many types and while some can be used for deep conditioning, others can leave a short-term color (red or black). Like any herb it should be approached with caution if used in herb form: certainly no more than once a month as it may eventually have a negative effect on your hair. If you would like to dye your hair with henna or similar natural products I highly recommend it!

Hair

However do read the instructions carefully to avoid a Sienna Miller disaster.

I used to dye my hair with red henna when I was in highschool and I experienced very positive results: my hair was shiny and grew stronger and with less split ends. And it was also colored which was a bonus.
Then I moved to a blonde hair color and the quality of my hair went downhill from then on. 3 years of constant coloring and highlighting took their toll and my hair was noticeably thinner than before and I was 19.
So I stopped dying it, went back to brown, and have been waiting for the past 3 years for it to grow out completely. I have learned the hard way that my natural hair looks better with my skin, eyebrow and eye color..
Now I use a french shampoo and conditioner from Nectar of Nature with henna and hazelnut, but I have also tried other brands with henna and have noticed them to be quite nice.
My hair is visibly shinier and has a nice rich color, but is not dyed.
If you don’t have the time to search for a completely natural henna and apply it, then I recommend finding a good quality shampoo that fits with your hair type. I also recommend that you should avoid washing your hair more and more often as washing daily may make your hair more oily in the long term.

People keep asking me if I am having more fun, being blonde, but I always have fun! Whether I’m blonde, redhead, or brunette! I always have fun.
Kelly Clarkson


Love, Ina


Comments

Confessions of a Siberian Beauty

My cousin looks like Claudia Schiffer. Really. She does. Only brunette. Her outstanding outer and inner beauty made her the sensation of our Siberian village. What she really was admired for, though, was her hair. Long, thick and voluminous…achieved entirely without using expensive masks or conditioners. With only one small grocery shop there that was only selling, well, a limited amount of groceries, it would be a miracle to do so.

So how did she do it? My cousin’s trick was as simple as it was imaginative: She REGULARLY used nettle leaves for her hair (check out my last post about the advantages of nettle tea). Nettle starts growing in spring so you can pick the new fresh shoots around that time or alternatively collect the already maturing nettle leaves in the Summer to dry them (I always lie them to dry in my attic). Make sure to wear gloves when collecting the leaves! Wait until all the moisture has leaked out of the leaves, but don’t wait until they are brown. Gather enough together so the supply lasts through the winter. This is also a great chance to get out of the house and to appreciate nature outdoors!

Now you can make tea of the completely dried nettle leaves or, of course, a nettle hair water. Simply take a handful of the leaves and boil them. Then sieve them, wait until the water is only medium hot to pour the water over your entire hair. Leave it there as long as possible or simply overnight, then wash it out with your regular shampoo. Repeat once or twice a week.

Congratulations! You are on your way to healthy, thick and just gorgeous hair while appreciating the gifts of mother nature!

Women…Who made’em? God must have been a… genius. Their hair. They say that the hair is everything, you know? Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls, and just wanted to go to sleep forever?

Bo Goldman in the movie Scent of a Woman

Love

Irina

Comments

As Fresh as Spring

One of the best items I ever bought this year has been a crystal deodorant. It is an opaque push-up mineral salt oval in a plastic container. It is the same price as other more mainstream sprays or roll-ons but the quality of this product and how much it lasts are simply outstanding features!

First I have been using a mineral salt crystal deodorant for over a year now. I have tried different brands from Loccitane to The Healthy Option, and I believe quality of both of the brands of deodorant to have been outstanding.

I personally prefer The Healthy Option one due to its packaging: it has a plastic cap and is easier to hold, being very similar to a stick deodorant. The Loccitane one is more like a round bar of soap, and sadly it is very easy to drop and break, which is why I had to replace it. Be careful not to chip to crystal’s smooth surface, it can get quite sharp if dropped. Both of them felt very nice on the skin: not sticky at all and they worked better than any other deodorant I’ve used before. There are many benefits to this type of deodorant: It is quite natural, it has no odor, does not stain, does not block pores. And my personal favorite: it isn’t a liquid, so you can always have it in your carry-on luggage during low-cost flights, plus it isn’t bulky like a spray. It generally works very well for 12 hours: amazing for odor control.

Crystal Deodorant

  • Before use, wash up and moisten the deodorant, apply, and then dry the crystal in order to keep it long lasting. Mine has been lasting for more than 5 months now, and there is still more than half left.
  • It is great for sensitive skin due to the fact it does not contain any perfume, alcohol or aluminium chlorohydrate, or any other irritating chemicals for that matter.
  • Try to buy items like these from Amazon if they have good, numerous, and thorough reviews or research them through forums. There are many fake ‘natural deodorants’ that might turn out to be very bad for your skin. I usually research all beauty products I buy to make sure that I only use well- rated items that are legitimate.

“Success is a great deodorant. It takes away all your past smells.”

 Elizabeth Taylor

~Ina

Comments

On the dark side of the moon

Today I want to write about my personal experience with dark eye circles. If you were born with them like me, trust me, I know how you feel… There is absolutely everything I tried to combat these nasty things that always make me look as if I only had a two-hour sleep. It is incredibly frustrating… That is one of the reasons I never ever have the courage to go out of the house completely without make-up.  Even if you weren’t born with dark circles, you will know how hard it is to cover them up with a concealer after having had a rough night.

I won’t lie to you. This is not going to be yet another blog post about “miracle” remedies for dark circles. I will tell you honestly what I think about those miracle cures and what really “helped” me, and I am not saying that I found something that completely vanished my dark circles. But there is some stuff that can make it EASIER for you to cover them up.

First of all the stuff that didn’t work for me. Cold slices of cucumber for example. There are brilliant for swollen eyes but showed no effect whatsoever on the dark shadows under my eyes. Also potato slices did not help to diminish the dark circles. However, here I have to stress again that I am only writing about my personal experiences, so these remedies might work for you. 

Now the stuff that worked for me. Relaxation and a lot of sleep are two of my personal favourites. I know, I know… you might think: Duuuh! Tell me something I don’t know… Well, I have to tell you that this is the most potent remedy I can offer you. Even if your dark shadows are innate, with a lot of sleep and a feeling of inner peace those nasty things under your eyes will be at least a little diminished. A healthy diet (I know…again “duuh”) will give you naturally a healthier complexion and so fewer people will notice your little predicament…

I mentioned in my last post that I normally use almond oil for my face and neck in the mornings as moisturizer. Now I have read that almond oil also helps you to diminish dark circles which came as a surprise to me. I never thought that my beloved almond oil could help me combating the shadows under my eyes. Well, it did not combat it, but slightly diminished it which is just great! (My boyfriend even told me that he did not notice any dark shadows in the mornings. Note: I was completely without make-up!)

Right, so after applying a thin (!) layer of almond oil under my eyes, I like to use a light eye cream. I usually use one with Vitamin E, SPF and glittery particles (don’t worry, you won’t look like the girls at the Carnival of Rio). The particles will just help to illuminate your eye area and thus give you an additional cover-up. Remember to always use your ring finger when you apply the cream and not your index finger that is able to press too hard on the delicate eye area and causes wrinkles. Now would be the time to apply your concealer or just keep it natural. Below I will show you a “before-after” picture of my own eye area, so you can judge for yourself whether you see a significant change or not.

Now, ladies, always remember to take great care of your eye area, but please don’t obsess with your minor flaws. At one point I got so paranoid about my dark eye circles that that was all I saw when I looked into the mirror. Find a lovely person who thinks you are the most beautiful person, with or without dark shadows under your eyes and you will feel like you are the most beautiful person in the world!

P. S. Check out Ina’s great post about how the right deodorant can make all the difference!

My eyes are an ocean in which my dreams are reflected.

Anna M. Uhlich


Love,

Irina

Comments

Dry Body Brushing

Dry brushing or body brushing has become more and more popular lately and I can see why. For more than a month I have been using my pure bristle body brush on a daily basis, before showers in the morning.

Body brushing is promoted for removing cellulite, but I also use it for exfoliation and reduction of stretch marks. It takes around 2 minutes or less to body brush, plus the benefits of keeping your skin oxygenated and exfoliated are worth it and are obvious within a week.

Always try and buy good quality items for the best results. When it comes to body brushing, pure bristles are natural, safer, and generally the quality of the brush would be better. This means that less bristles will fall off, and the whole build of the brush would be much sturdier. I started with a boar bristle brush since my skin is sensitive. The next step in dry brushing is a cactus bristle brush, which presses harder and is generally gives better results. However, don’t jump straight to this one unless you know you can handle it. It may cause irritation! Some brushes come with a handle to help with brushing the back and the lower parts of the legs.

Body Brush

Method for brushing:

Start with your legs, doing large sweeping movements towards the heart. This encourages circulation and lymphatic flow. And this is where some of the most important benefits of body brushing come from. Go towards your abdomen, where you should brush in a circular motion. With your hands and back, remember the golden rule of brushing towards your heart.

  • Don’t use a cactus brush on your chest or neck. There are goat bristle brushes for the face or other sensitive areas (usually baby brushes with natural bristles can be used for example)
  • My first brush has rubber nodules for better results with cellulite. With this brush you can also make circular movements on cellulite areas.
  • Don’t over brush or press too hard initially! Your skin will get irritated.
  • After body brushing and showering, apply a natural cream to moisturize your skin and keep it young. I use a 100% natural Bulgarian rose cream. 

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.

Gwyneth Paltrow


      ~Ina

Comments

Homemade scrubs

Making your own facial scrubs at home is easier than you think. Because you use automatically only a few ingredients and leave out preserving agents, the scrub will be incredibly mild to your face, plus it is easy to tailor the scrub to the specific needs of your skin.

My personal favourite is the sugar-honey scrub. For that you need to mix one tablespoon of plain soft cheese or quark with one tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Add sugar at the end because it quickly melts in the quark. Finally, apply the mixture gently with clean finger onto your skin in circular motion. Alternatively, you can simply take one tablespoon of olive oil and mix it with sugar. These two scrubs go very well with any type of skin. After having tried both of them, you will soon see what scrub suits your skin better. 

I like to use a scrub directly after I had a chamomile steam bath (I will write about it in my next post). Leave the scrub on the skin for a minute and then wash your face with cold water. The moisturising ingredients make your skin divinely smooth. The sugar removes dead cells and helps to unblock clogged pores, making you look like a new-born goddess. What’s not to like? 

  • Use fine-grained sugar to avoid irritating the skin surface
  • Use the sugar-honey scrub especially for sensitive skin
  • The sugar-olive oil scrub especially for dry skin
  • Do not store the scrubs for more than three days in the fridge

Anyway, what makes people look youthful is the quality of their skin and I don’t think you can change that. 

Nigella Lawson

Love, Irina

Comments

Thoughts on beauty

You are a beautiful woman…”

But what does this mean, when in today’s world, women have to measure themselves according to both sexes. Be thin, but have curves as well. Wear make-up, but don’t be overdone. Be a successful professional, but also a good mother. Having so many roles, we, women sometimes forget that the most important person we should please is ourselves. And the order should be as follows: a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy wardrobe ;).

One of the most important lessons I learned was in high school. I knew dozens of girls who felt that a kilo here and there was the end of the world. But no matter how much they limited themselves, simply the fact that they were dieting in the first place made them miserable. More often than not, they were more attractive before the insane regimes. Being confident, as hard as it is, does wonders to your charms. Of course, it’s a work in progress, I’m still working on it, hell, probably no one has perfected it. But it’s worth the effort.

As cliché as it is, inner beauty matters more than the newest miracle cream on the market. Really, unless you feel good in your own skin, nothing will hide how uncomfortable you are. And despite the temporary confidence boost it might give, don’t you just wish that after your remove the make and the high heels you can go out negligée and still feel good about yourself?

With so many tasks to juggle it’s hard to prioritize, but your healthy beauty should be number one. Whether it’s a weekend spa treatment, or an evening manicure in your own home, do take the time to take care of yourself. Tasks and chores will always be there, but every day you should do something to surprise yourself and make your life a little bit better.  

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair.

Audrey Hepburn


       ~Ina

Comments

Miracle soap!

In my search for a new item to try out I end up discovering some amazing little secrets! One of the highest rated products I found was African Black Soap (Anago Soap, Alata Simena,or Ose Dudu). It is not much pricier than regular soap, nor is it prettier or better smelling. On the contrary, the dark brown color and the natural, strange smell are far from attractive, but it did make me initially very optimistic about its’ ingredients, being less refined than regular soaps. It is 100% natural and handmade, with a high percent of Shea butter, coconut oil , and cocoa ash. High in vitamins, such as A and E, it is nourishing and gentle, especially to sensitive or aging skin. But it is also thought to heal acne and blemishes. It can be used not only for cleaning the face, but also for washing the body and hair.

From what I read it is made from the ash of sun-dried and roasted plants such as palm tree leaves or the bark of the Shea tree. It is based on traditional African recipes, and used in tribes particularly in Ghana.

I have been washing my face and body regularly with the African Black Soap, and have noticed no new breakouts. Since my boyfriend has been regularly washing his hair with it, being more adventurous than I am, I gathered up the courage and tried it too. It is definitely just as good for me as a normal shampoo.  I saw great results on my skin, as well as his. He uses it twice a day, once when he shaves, and once in the evening when he washes his face. I can definitely say it’s an amazing little purchase and will become an integral part of our household items.

  • The soap should be various shades of brown, but not black. If it’s black it isn’t genuine.

  • You only need very little, as it foams very nicely. It also lasts a very long time.

  • I have sensitive skin, but I have been able to use it on a daily basis without it irritating it.

  • If you wash your hair with it, you might not need a conditioner, as the soap is very moisturising. It also seems to clean just as well as a regular shampoo. 

  • From my experience, your hair might dry slower than usual after washed with African Black Soap.

  • Great way to use it as a scrub is to apply it with scrubbing gloves, rather than a body puff. Gets rid of the dead skin cells, moisturises and cleans better this way, and adds a nice, healthy shine to the skin.

The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this. 

Mark Twain

           ~Ina

Comments