It’s 2019 and are you still using deodorant that harms your body?

By Arthur Cunha

 Sweat. That smelly black circle underarms - No one really enjoys it, but it’s a natural and necessary process to prevent the risk of your body overheating. But is not the act of sweat that causes bad odor – well, not exactly at least.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 5.55.22 PM.png

 Your body has two types of sweat glands – eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are distributed all over the body and directly on the skin’s surface, while apocrine glands usually develop in areas where there is an abundance of hair follicles, like the underarms and groin area. Since the eccrine glands are more surface level, they produce sweat that is usually odorless and almost unnoticeable on the skin and clothes. The apocrine glands produce a heavier, distinct odor when mixed with the bacteria on your skin during times of emotional stress. Yikes!

 In summary, sweating doesn’t actually smell. It’s when it mixes with the bacteria on your skin that it releases an odor.

 One of the easiest ways to tame your sweat glands for the day and mask body odor is by using deodorant. Traditional deodorants usually contain antimicrobial ingredients like ethanol, which swoop in for the rescue to kill the bacteria to prevent odor. 

 Ok. Sweat. Deodorant. Done

NO!

 Store-bought deodorants have harmful artificial ingredients that can potentially have detrimental long-term effect in your body, and we should be aware of that like aluminum, parabens, and Triclosan.

 

What is aluminum doing in my deodorant?

Certain aluminum salts like aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex glycine (try saying that one fast enough) are the main ingredients found in many traditional deodorants that help fight the bacteria and block the sweat glands in your underarm area. Although, when absorbed by the skin, they can have estrogen-like hormonal effects, which can lead to health risks and even cause cancer. Alongside this harmful compound I used on my skin each and every day, there were a range of other toxic chemicals that worked together to reduce my body odor and kill the bacteria that caused it. Parabens, artificial fragrances and triclosan were also some of the ingredients that were doing more harm than good.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 5.56.29 PM.png

  

What are parabens and why you should avoid them?

The beauty industry’s current debacle is the use of parabens in their products. Parabens are chemicals that are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and act as preservatives in deodorants, lotions, and other products. Studies find that parabens can imitate the hormone estrogen, and it is known that high levels of estrogen are associated with certain types of breast cancer. Studies also find the presence of parabens in breast tumors. Constant or daily use of parabens can be stored in the body and cause medical issues over time.

What is an FDA-certified pesticide doing in my deodorant?

What shocked me the most was the addition of Triclosan, an FDA-classified pesticide that is present in most brand name deodorants. Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many household items, like toothpaste, body washes, and cosmetics. It’s used in deodorants to help fight odor. Doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you, though. Using products that contain triclosan can be hazardous to your health in the long run in the form of prompting cancer cells to grow, disrupting normal hormone function, and make it easier for antibiotic-resistant bacteria to grow. Heather Patisaul, PhD., an associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University says that Triclosan can actually “impair thyroid function, which is crucial for brain development.”

NATURAL DEODORANTS

So, I made the switch to natural deodorant, and I couldn’t be prouder of that decision and want to share with you why you also should do it.

 Natural deodorants have the same purpose as artificial deodorants but the brands focus using potentially non-irritating and detoxifying ingredients that are less harmful to the body in the long-term, like baking soda, coconut oil, and shea butter.

IMG_4124_1024x1024.jpeg

 

Why using natural deodorant is better and healthier for you

Here’s the cool thing about using natural deodorant: it contains plant-based and non-toxic ingredients like shea butter and olive oil that treat your underarms delicately. Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F, which are necessary for maintaining the skin’s balance. Olive oil is considered the holy grail of moisture and contains antioxidants vital for skin regeneration. The best part is that these ingredients let the good bacteria on your skin get to work, which reduces odor. You’re basically experiencing an underarm detox in full effect. This is not to say that regular deodorant does not deal with the bacteria on the skin. They are just composed of more harmful ingredients like the ones mentioned above, while using natural and good-for-you ingredients works to produce the same results.

Some natural deodorants contain ingredients like witch hazel, a natural plant-based liquid that reduces the appearance of pores and calms skin irritation. Most natural deodorants also consist of baking soda, which is a natural deodorizer that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. With that being said, some people have baking soda allergies, so it’s best to consider other natural deodorants that don’t have this ingredient. Instead, consider looking into coconut oil-based or beeswax-based deodorants. Most natural deodorants also contain essential oils like Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, which has antibacterial properties. In other words, they help fight bacteria that cause B.O.

The transition, what should I expect?

Some things you should expect and be prepared for when riding on the natural deodorant wagon is sweating. You are still going to sweat because there’s no more aluminum, and you need to accept that for the sake of your health. But, the essential oils used in natural deodorant will help fight off the bacteria that produces odor. Natural deodorant brands have this in mind and aim to help you feel fresh despite the inevitable perspiration. Remember, sweat is not what causes body odor; it’s actually the bacteria in the underarm area that does the awful trick, so keep that in mind. If you’re really worked up about an important event you have coming up, go ahead and use an antiperspirant, which is a substance that creates a barrier around the sweat glands, preventing sweating by almost 20-30%. But, make sure you bring it out during the times when you really need it as antiperspirants are known to contain the unfriendly aluminum salts that the body absorbs. This absorption can alter cell function and cause disease. Another positive and highly important side note: you are limiting skin issues and diseases from potentially coming about by making the switch. Irritation-free armpit? Yes, please.

My natural deodorant suggestions

There are two types of deodorant you should be aware of - sticks and sprays. Deodorant sprays offer a lighter spritz in the underarm area, while using a stick is a stick-to-skin application that might feel heavier for some people. It all comes down to personal preference. When it comes to my natural deodorant options, I prefer 100% essential oil-based deodorant. I always loved aromatherapy and diffusing essential oils, but was recently nudged by a friend to look into essential oil-based deodorant. I use Way of Will’s 01 Bergamot and Elemi Natural Deodorant Spray twice a day – once in the morning and before bed. I don’t care about sweating anymore because there is little to no odor! The best part is that I feel amazing using it because it doesn’t contain any harsh metals, parabens or artificial colors. Bergamot essential oil is gentle, and Elemi essential oil rejuvenates the underarm skin. Both oils have deodorizing qualities that I truly appreciate.  

Natural deodorant usually contains all-natural baking soda and aluminum-like mineral salts, called Potassium Alum, which are naturally-occurring mineral salts that mimic aluminum but behave differently. Potassium alum consists of molecules that are just too large to be absorbed by the skin. They form a shield around your underarm skin, which inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria.

If you prefer deodorant stick over spray, try Way of Will’s 02 Tea Tree and Pumpkin Seed Natural Deodorant, made with a blend of coconut oil, shea butter, kaolin clay and of course, Tea Tree and Pumpkin Seed essential oils. Tea Tree is known to have antibacterial properties and Pumpkin Seed can reduce redness and itching in the underarm area. The 02 deodorant has baking soda in it, which has detoxifying effects that help neutralize the body’s acidity or alkaline properties, which works to absorb odors.

Alongside making the healthy switch, you can also shave your underarms, which can reduce excessive sweating. Since hair is porous, it is easy to absorb odor. Drinking plenty of water has also been linked to a reduction in underarm sweating because your body stays cool when hydrated. Try to lay off the caffeine and cigarettes. Both raise body temperature and increase heart rate.

 

A Guide To Winter Binging

By Ankita Mehta

  After braving the cold and the brutal Canadian wind all day long, I find devouring a steaming bowl of chicken veggie soup or a plate of spicy lamb curry as comforting. Eating has always been my go-to cure for stress and now from binge eating in stress I seem to have evolved to binge eating in cold; well, since eating makes one happy (yes, I fact-checked this), it helps combat the gloom that the cold brings with it. And when there are diets for summer than so are diets/foods meant for winter (I think of it as a diet cause these are healthy alternatives).

eiliv-sonas-aceron-1347293-unsplash.jpg

Soul-food:

How a cold body reacts to a warm touch, similarly, eating or drinking something hot sends a rush of blood in our body giving us a sensation of being warm. And this is not just limited to eating literally hot food but also food which is hot in nature. From where I come (up North in India) we eat some of these ‘superfoods’ as we like to call them. Horse gram, Mutton (Lamb or Goat meat), ginger, poppy seeds, flax seed, ghee/Indian Clarified Butter (I legit put a spoon in my Indian food even here!) are a few to name. These superfoods are not just going to keep you warm but will also keep your gut strong! For a South Asian take on “hot” foods, making your meals spicy can make you feel warmer as well. And this food feels warmer when had in the comforts of home, it not only ups the temperature in your kitchen -- but often the entire house -- becomes warmer (both figuratively and literally). When the air is frigid outside, your house always has your back!

monika-grabkowska-591806-unsplash.jpg

Food for lifting your mood:

During the peak of winter, natural sunshine may decrease by 60%, significantly reducing our vitamin D intake. The only deal-breaker for this brutal winter has been shorter days and longer nights here, for one I have started sleeping early! But lack of sunlight common cold weather phenomena also causes something known as ‘winter depression’, the reason why we sometimes feel gloomier than other days! Known as S.A.D., or seasonal affective disorder. And craving carbs is common when is struck by winter depression. I like to switch my options and choose complex carbohydrates over cake or cookies or anything sugar. Whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice, legumes, millet, and whole oats are some of the best choices for complex carbs. According to a Canadian government study, About 40% of Canadians are below the cut-off for Vitamin D levels in winters, nearly one-third of the population is vitamin D deficient. However, in winter, between the two equinoxes (September 22 to March 20), at our latitude, there is very little UVB radiation (thank god for that!). Vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin D deficiency, contribute to depression and mental health instability.

ieva-vizule-1159104-unsplash.jpg

Staying supple and hydrated:

I have been awake for over three hours now and I still don’t feel thirsty! Bravo. Well, if you are living in the cold, you empathise with me better, the last thing on our (fellow-cold warriors) minds is a glass of cold water or iced tea! Unfortunately, one becomes dehydrated just as easily in cold temperature as one does in warm weather. A cup of warm tea is an excellent choice to combat the cold weather. I like to start my day with a glass of hot water with either cinnamon powder or lemon with honey, followed by a cup of green tea. Yes, I am not a coffee-person (you can pick a beef with me after you finish reading this article). Well, A cup or two of coffee is fine to drink but it does not count toward your day’s water intake. Drinking tea counts toward a healthy daily intake of 2-3 six or eight-ounce cups of water. Ginger in normal or green tea, is particularly a good option, as the spice naturally warms the body. Spiced tea is a good alternative if you are a South Asian you know what I am talking about. Hot cider is also another hydrating yet comforting choice. And let’s be fair, no one goes off alcohol in winters so, a few healthier options to stay hydrated and warm, a glass of brandy or a hot toddy is just what your doctor would also approve. And my favourite sources of hydration has to be orange since it is what I call a double-whammy; you are Vitamin-D fed and also hydrated!

Ok, a little winter fat won’t kill us:

joseph-gonzalez-176749-unsplash.jpg

Just as clothes act as a layer, fat too acts an as insulation in winters to protect us from the cold, but that’s not the only reason why we could use some fat. Studies show that our body uses fats to facilitate the absorption of vitamins A, E, K and D. Foods such as oily fish, milk, fortified cereals, yogurt, egg yolks, nuts, nut butter, olives, avocados, and tofu are a few healthy carbs. If you are a sucker for red meat (mutton not beef in my case), keep in mind the serving or portion size and try to limit it’s consumption to three, preferably two times weekly.

Well, just because we’re more likely to crave mugs of hot chocolate and bottomless bowls of cheesy pasta or noodles from late fall to spring, it doesn’t mean we necessarily need all those extra calories.

 

 

 

How To Dress For the Winter

The weather in Toronto has been terrible recently! Don’t get sick because of improper attire! Check out the winter weather dress guide by Dieu Linh Nguyen – a content creator of the Lifestyle-TO team.



Avoiding the Inevitable Toronto Winter Flu

By: Rashika

Winter is the time of the year when not falling in sick is a challenge. Toronto being a multicultural Canadian city consists a great number of people. With the deadly cold season approaching fast, it’s crucial to think how to avoid getting infected by flu when we enjoy winter to the maximum. Besides, winter at its worst can make you eat a lot of food, drinking too much of booze and lazing around. On top of that, with cold and snow in winter can bring Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which creates severe mood swings.

Here are some tips to charge up your immunity that shields you from colds and flu.

Images courtesy of Unsplash.com

Your Winter Wellness Guide

By: Ariadne

Toronto’s winter season can be though and while it’s still settling in, it’s important to start making changes on your daily routine to boost that immune system and kiss goodbye those countless sick days.

Here are my top 3 favourite natural remedies:

Images courtesy of Unsplash.com

How To Fight Winter Fat

Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

By Ankita Mehta

It's cold, it's slushy and slippery, and it's a whole lot easier to wrap up and sit comfortably in front of Netflix and chill with Christmas leftovers in tow. With holiday season/spirit one month in the past and winters setting in, one is easily tempted to stay in and binge eat. But this three-four month of gap can sure take a major toll on one’s fitness goals for the upcoming year! Know this, whether it is for the New Year’s resolution or for that summer beach body that you are eying- staying fit is totally worth all the effort. It has wide-ranging benefits and the most important of them is combating symptoms of anxiety and depression in cold countries like ours (Toronto).

Here are some simple mantras I swear by to get up and moving on these cold, dark mornings:

  1. Maintain a food journal as you partake in all of the holiday season cuisine. An actual account of calories adding up can motivate you to shed the laziness and adapt an active approach to live.

  2. Avoid wearing oversized, layers or comfy clothes when indoor. Why? Because your appearance maybe deceiving you and remember you don’t wear baggy stuff to the beach!

  3. Start programming the internal heating/thermostat to a cooler temperature before going to bed, it is hard to leave a warm and comfy sack.

  4. Start exercising at home, yoga or floor exercises is the best way to stay in and stay fit. You can download fitness apps to do.

  5. Find a workout buddy, someone who shares the same passion as yours. Having someone wake up for a morning run or to go to gym with can be a good motivation! A bit of friendly competition can do wonders to both. Also, You don't want to leave a friend waiting alone in the cold.

  6. With a goal one is usually less likely to slack, so set one for summer/spring! It could be a marathon or a much-anticipated vacation, find your want and commit to it.

  7. Always warm up before a run outdoors or in the gym! During winters our body is more prone to getting injured and it is no secret that the healing process is also slower around this time.

  8. Pick a winter sport or an indoor dance class, this will not only help you shed those extra pounds but it will also help you near-master a skill!

  9. And if you are a stoner(recreational), stop with the munchies. As amazing as it maybe to wake and bake, eating junk and at erratic hours is the last thing your body wants during the cold!

  10. Follow a set plan to achieve that body,  don’t try and test random diets or workout plans. Be systematized, cause every day counts in winters.

Lastly, as the saying goes, ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’. Exercise is the only thing closer to a miracle drug but having said that, listen to your body. Push yourself but don’t rough it out. You still want to be able to play through the winters, eh?

F I V E ways to get out of a rut 

By: Jonquil Jardine 

Life can be challenging. It will test your patience but you CAN and WILL overcome whatever is making you unhappy. I am not a specialist. I am a person that has encountered various challenges, in particular, the transition from university to the work force. I remember feeling lost, unaccomplished and lonely. You are about to read the techniques I used and continue to use.

 F I G U R E out what is making you unhappy

This is crucial. It can be challenging to face reality, sometimes it’s easier to remain in a specific state of mind because you’re familiar with that feeling. When you face reality, new feelings emerge and that can be frightening. 

Sit and write down what’s bothering you. Things seem less daunting on paper. Once you’ve made your list, place items in numerical order from what’s impacting your mood the most to least. Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you may want to tackle one problem at a time or a couple problems at once. 

 D O what you love

Ask yourself what makes you smile. Whether it’s creating art, taking long walks or simply listening to music, do it. This also applies to your profession. Society can and will place a lot of pressure on you. You need to decide what you standby and stick to it. If not, you will feel like your floating by and going wherever the breeze decides to take you.

 R E A D and E M B R A C E inspirational content 

There’s nothing more refreshing than content that moves you. Words on a page or images on a screen can be inspirational. It can take you on a journey even if it’s only for a couple of minutes. Inspiration comes in many forms and it’s there for you to experience. 

 In particular, books that discuss mental health may not only be relatable but also a breath of fresh air. 

It’s comforting knowing that people have gone through similar experiences. You’re not alone. 

M E D I T A T E 

You’d be surprised what ten minutes of relaxation can do. There’s a lot of noise surrounding us,  actual noise and noise we create within. Create a space that encourages peace and tranquility. Many people feel like meditation is intense but it can involve walking or simply laying on grass. Don’t limit yourself to a mat. 

 G E T out 

 Sometimes a new environment can stimulate creativity, happiness and curiosity. Whether the destination is an hour or a plane ride away, get out! A new environment will force you to come out of your comfort zone and also embrace another side of yourself. Although a trip to Bali would be nice, it may not be ideal for someone on a budget therefore research and find alternatives that best suit you. 

 These techniques are simply guidelines which can be customized. You are the only person that can create the change you wish within yourself. 

PHOTO TAKEN BY: JONQUIL JARDINE

PHOTO TAKEN BY: JONQUIL JARDINE


Minimalism and How it Can Benefit You

By: Isabella Figliano

Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

The idea of minimalism and simple living allows us to disconform from societies consumerism lifestyle.  Today more than ever, the idea that physical objects will make us happier is extremely relevant.  We look for a false sense of happiness in the things that we own and think that the shiny new car will make all our problems go away.  When in reality, it won't, and minimalism does not stop there.  There is so much more to minimalism than just what we own in a physical sense, it is also relevant in other aspects of our lives such as our digital space and relationships.

Why Should I Become a Minimalist?

Minimalism at its core has to do with the idea of owning and surrounding yourself with the things that add value to your life.  A few of the benefits of minimalism include the elimination of distractions and stress, strengthening your relationships, and allowing you to have more control of your income.  By ridding yourself and your surroundings of the things that do not add value to your life, you can focus more strongly on the things that do add value. 

How do I start?

Starting minimalism is easy.  First, you should look at the big picture of your life and your possessions and decide what is adding value and what you truly enjoy.  This should extend to not only your physical space but also to your digital space.  According to a statistic, courtesy of Business Insider, the average person does not wear more than 20 percent of the clothes in their closet.  Meaning, that there is the possibility that right now more than 80 percent of the clothes in your closet do not add any value to your life.  So why keep them? 

Digital Minimalism

Although it is “invisible” sometimes our digital lives can be just as cluttered as our physical clutter.  It may be that you have hundreds of unread emails from subscriptions you do not care about, or are constantly getting annoying notifications for apps.  Taking time to unsubscribe from unwanted emails, deleting unused apps, photos, contacts and conversations will allow you to connect with your digital space in a way that feels more like you are in control. 

How Minimalism Can Save you Money

Having no debt and being completely in control of your finances might seem impossible but by changing a few bad habits it is very possible.  Although it may be common sense that spending less money will allow you to have more money, not many people follow that.  For example, when buying a house, often times people will look at their finances and budget as much money as they can to buy the biggest house possible.  But why put yourself into a 20-30 year mortgage.  Instead, if you own less possessions then your home has the opportunity to be smaller.  If you purchase a house that is just right for you and your living situation (not too big and not too small) then this may give you the opportunity to spend your money on other things that add value to your life, like travel for example.  Although this is an extreme example, because houses are expensive, applying this theory to all of your purchases can still make a lot of sense and allow you to take control of your finances.

Minimalism Inspiration

Minimalism: A documentary about the important things is a documentary on Netflix that dives into the idea of minimalism and simple living and truly shows how it can improve every aspect of an individual’s life. 

9 Ways to Boost Those Happy Hormones

“Happiness is a feeling of contentment, that life is just as it should be” 

by Ariadne Rojas

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

The last couple of months I was not feeling myself. I felt so weak, tired, cranky and sad all the time. To the point that I couldn’t get out of bed, my life was no longer making sense and literally, everything was going just wrong. These all eventually transformed into so many lost opportunities that I started thinking why am I feeling this way? So unhappy and lost.  

I guess we all have been there, whether is feeling demotivated, lost or just not feeling yourself and the truth is that sometimes it can actually feel really hard to keep happy. But what exactly is happiness and how do we boost it?

According to the Happiness International Organization, Happiness means satisfaction and fulfillment. “Happiness is a feeling of contentment, that life is just as it should be. Perfect happiness, enlightenment, comes when you have all of your needs satisfied”. 

After reading this definition I automatically start thinking when I was a child; why are kids so happy? It’s not because they have no responsibilities like almost everyone says, but because they accept life as it is. Every time my mom found me angry or sad, she used to say: “Remember, you can’t control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it”, and now that I think about it, it’s one of the best advice she could have given me. 

This means that the key to happiness is the ability to be present, be grateful and transform each negative situation into a positive one. And you can do that just by always taking the most out of every situation, learning from them and creating situations that bring joy and positivity every day. 

Some of you may be wondering but how do we actually do that? How do we reach that state of mind? Like everything in life, it takes practice and dedication. Luckily here are 9 simple ways to reach and boost that happiness based on the WE PROMISE theory, built on scientific discoveries on how the brain works and universal human needs.

 WE PROMISE

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

 

Wellbeing: Be present in every moment and be thankful for it. It’s our mind and body connection, taking the time to just stop, breathe and think about the now. 

Environment: Accept the things you can’t control and surround yourself with things you like and love. It’s interesting how the environment can shape our moods, so it’s important to know what affects us, how and what to do to make it comfortable and work to your advantage. And please keep toxic people OUT!

Pleasure: Hobbies, Hobbies, Hobbies and well... sex and pizza. Make time to do the things you enjoy, those things that you know fulfills your life. Whether is dancing, painting, eating, swimming, drawing, going to the movies, eating chocolate (like me), etc. 

Relationships: Get out there, make new friends, skip the small talk and go deeper. 

Outlook: Fill your life with excitement. Get out of your comfort zone, travel as much as you can, experience other cultures, make unexpected plans, dress differently and be curious; ask, ask, ask.

Meaning: Do things that matter. Find things that are meaningful to you, have a purpose and ACT.  

Involvement: Engage in different activities, volunteer on events that matters to you, get involved in your community and HELP, give your hand to others. 

Success: Celebrate. Every time you achieve a milestone or you do something right, take the time to compliment yourself and celebrate because YOU are valuable and everything you do has a value as well. 

Elasticity: Keep on going! Never lose hope. Don’t be afraid to fall and always remember, when you do, STAND UP and keep going, because everything happens for a reason and life is too short to be stuck in one situation. 

Remember, always loveYOURSELFand whenever you are feeling sad you can just look at this cute puppy. 

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

5 DIY Home Spa Treatments under $30

spa treatment.png

Cover: To Vogue or Bust

to go out and splurge on a full spa package when you can just pamper yourself at home, for a fraction of the cost. Here are a few budget-friendly DIYs to rejuvenate your body this winter season:



 

1. Lip balm ($30)

lip balm.png

 Source: Twinspiration

The frigid winter winds are not the only things that can chap your lips during the winter months. The air conditioning and saliva from licking your lips can also be just as drying.

For this treatment, all you’ll need is 3 ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, and an essential oil. Make sure that you’re using a premium-grade essential oil to get the full nutrients it provides. I recommend Saje Wellness' 100% pure peppermint oil.  Buying the best quality ingredients will definitely show in the results!

 

Melt the coconut oil and beeswaxes in a metal bowl over a pot of water on very low heat. Once the mixture is liquefied in a bowl, add a few drops of your essential oil and stir lightly. Take the bowl off the heat and let it stand for a few minutes to cool slightly. Pour the balm into a small container and let sit. Once it’s at room temperature, it will become solid and ready to use!

Give your nose a little love too! This balm can also be used on an irritated nose. Whether you find yourself blowing your nose too often or dry from the harsh weather, put a tiny amount on your nose too!

 

2. Facial Steaming ($28)

facial steaming.png

 Source: Express-0

The skin on our faces is the most sensitive skin on your body, but it tends to take the brunt of the damage that winter causes. It’s so important to maintain the health of your skin during this time to prevent signs of premature aging!

Preparing a homemade facial steam treatment is a quick and cheap fix! All you will need is a big bowl full of steaming hot water (be very careful not to burn yourself!), a few towels (one placed under the bowl and one to drape over your head), a few lemon slices, as well as a few drops of Eucalyptus and Patchouli essential oils.

Eucalyptus oil stimulates and regenerates your skin. it is also known to help soothe respiratory discomfort, which is great since you will be breathing it in! Patchouli oil is also amazing for your skin, known for relieving acne symptoms, skin inflammation, and dry skin.

Hold your face over the defused hot water mix, with the towel over your head for 10-15 minutes at a time. Make sure to breathe deeply and relax. And don’t forget to take breaks in between. Rinse your face with cold water to close your pours at the end of this treatment. Remember to moisturize when you’re done.

 

3. Massage Oil Treatment ($30)

massage oil.png

  Source: Mountain Rose Herbs

All you need for this DIY message oil is 1 part essential oil and 2-part pure carrier oil ( for example almond oil, olive oil, or coconut oil).  Rosemary oil works wonders because it's stimulating and warming. It’s known to relives the feelings of stress and soothes the skin. Relaxing tension, rosemary remedies aches and pains!

Combine Rosemary oil with a bit of Jasmine oil for an extra kick of relaxation! Jasmine is an aromatherapy oil that helps relieve the feeling of nervousness and restlessness. It promotes muscle relaxation, as well as to help relieve dry and irritated skin.

4. Clay Facial Mask ($30)

 

clay mask.png

 Source: Glossier Instagram


Don’t forget to focus on those pours! Nothing says luxury more than a clay mask with a few cucumbers on your eyes.  Bentonite clay in itself has numerous nutritious benefits including boosting probiotics and removing toxins. It even allows the cells on your face to absorb more oxygen. Basically, using this as a base for any mask is a good idea!

Adding a little apple cider vinegar and Lavender oil only boosts the power of this mask. Apple cider will actually soften and exfoliate your skin, reducing red spots and balancing your skin’s pH level. Lavender oil will calm and soothe minor skin inflammations.

Here’s what you will need for this simple at-home clay mask:

1 tbsp Bentonite Clay

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 drops of Lavender Oil

5. Mix Your Own Humidifying Air Freshener ($28)

ultra diffuser.jpg

Source: Rose City Style Guide

Releasing soft soothing oils and moister into your air is the best way to combat the drying nature of this season. There is nothing worse than being cold and dry outside and coming inside to be warm and even dryer from the AC.

All you really need is a diffuser, some water, and a few oil drops. I recommend a combination of Lemongrass oil and Clary Sage oil. Both of these oils cleanse and helps the body feel more relaxed. They also have properties that relieve headaches. This duo will be sure to make your home even more of an oasis from the winter weather outside.

How do you treat yourself during the winter months? Let us know about any DIY spa treatments we missed

Sponsored by Saje Wellness

Comment

Abby

Abby Walker is a Toronto-based freelance writer obsessed with DIY’s, staying healthy, and keeping up with her gym-obsessed friends. She is a graduate of Centennial College’s Lifestyle Media program and is the brains behind the bi-monthly publication Dare to Be Magazine. When Abby's not Photoshopping, she can be found indulging in her Pinterest addiction late into the night and, since we’re being honest- most mornings.

The No-Squats Workout That Will Shape Up Your Booty, Thighs, And Belly

Every woman works towards the golden Kardashian standard of booty - we do endless squats and lunges to tone our legs and glutes perfectly, but those moves can be repetitive, boring, and really hard on your knees. So we found some low impact moves that are just as effective and will still make you feel the burn, without the unnecessary strain. Protect your body and perfect your booty with these ass-kicking moves!

 

1. Wall Bridge

A normal bridge can be hard on the knees, but a wall bridge is a modification that also kicks ass! Start with your rear against the wall and walk your feet about 4 feet up. Then raise and lower your pelvis with shoulder blades planted on the ground. Raise and lower your hips from the ground, intermittently pulsing.

 

2. Toe Reaches On Wall

Line your butt and heels up to the wall until your legs are straight and pressed flat against them. Lift your shoulder blades from the ground, and alternate arms reaching for the opposite toe.  This will really wake up your core, and different parts of your legs.

 

3. Plank Donkey Kick/Leg Lift

This is a full body move that's way better than any squats and will tone you up in no time. A plank position combines with a leg lift - get into a plank (modify to forearms if necessary), then bend one leg 90 degrees, and pulse with your heel towards your booty and a flexed foot, kicking the ceiling. Sort of like a reverse mountain climber. Then switch legs.

 

4. Wall Scissors

Doing scissors lying flat on the ground can often be tough on your lower back, and hard to maintain your spine in the right position. By pressing your feet up and against the wall, you get some extra glute activation. Starting with straight legs against the wall, supporting hips with hands, lower one leg towards your head keeping legs straight, and alternate.

 

5. Hydrant + Leg Extension

If you're looking to attain some juicy, IG model hips, this cheekily named position starts on all fours with knees hip width apart and wrists over shoulders. Bend one knee to 90 degrees at hip height, then lift it to the side and extend. Burn feels so good.

 

6. Frog

We're not used to working our back body so much, so these movements might seem counterintuitive. But they really work! Lie on your face, resting stacked forearms on your forehead. Bend your knees and open them to the side, flexing your feet and firing up the glutes. Press your forearms into the ground and squeeze your heels and glutes, lifting the thighs off the floor, then lowering with control.

 

7. Extended Glute/Leg Circles

This is another one done on hands in knees, starting in a neutral cat-cow position. Keeping your spine neutral, extend one leg straight out behind you and lift it high, squeezing the glute. Then, draw slow and controlled circles with your ankle - this will really tighten up the entire leg, even the inner thigh! Make sure to switch directions about halfway through - this move is so great because of all the tiny muscle groups it targets within the legs and glutes.

 

8. Clamshell

Lying on your side, you can really tone up your outer thighs and glutes with this abductor-strengthening move, in a low impact but effective way. Use the arm you're lying on propped up on your head, with the other supporting your core by pressing into the ground in front of it. Bend both knees, keeping them closed, and then lift the top knee to open, slowly returning it to the closed position, like a clamshell. An added resistance band will really make you work!

Plus Size Fitness Babes On Instagram Who Will Inspire You

There’s been a surge of interest in plus-size models - and why shouldn’t there be? Voluptuous and inspiring stunners are all over Instagram rocking their beauty, so we wanted to give a shout out to the fit plus size girls of Instagram who dedicate their lifestyles to staying mindful and healthy, at every size. And they still look amazing doing it. These fitness babes will be your workout inspiration, and they’ll also inspire you to let your inner beauty glow, and focus on the things you love about yourself.


 

1. https://www.instagram.com/mynameisjessamyn/

Apart from having a badass name, Jessamyn is an incredibly flexible and curvaceous Yogi and self-proclaimed “fat femme” with an envious Grace Jones hair cut. Her 234k followers can watch her stretching her bootylicious bod in bed, a handstand, or artfully in the studio.

 

2. https://www.instagram.com/glitterandlazers/

This blond babe is a jack of all trades - she’s a pioneer in not only fitness, but fashion and yoga, with her own lifestyle sites and 122k loyal followers. Her side plank game is on fire, and she’s been to over 30 countries, so follow her inspiring lifestyle here.

 

3. https://www.instagram.com/nolatrees/

Dana the yogi is part of the thick and fit club, and we love her. Whether she’s posing in the woods or on the mat showing us some moves, she always snaps shots with positive self-love comments. Also, her pose game is so much stronger than ours.

 

4. https://www.instagram.com/followthelita/

Lita’s silhouette might not pack as much of a punch as the other buxom ladies on this list, but her muscle definition and thickness is no joke and she is definitely still part of the #thickgirlclub. I mean, look at those thighs and try not to be jealous. She runs training programs and boot camps, and both her fitness lifestyle and beauty are infinitely inspiring.

 

5. https://www.instagram.com/cbquality/

This breathtaking babe is takes artful yoga shots that are cool enough to frame on a wall, somewhere. Her modeling chops might have to do with that -  this babe is signed to Wilhelmina NYC, and is #thickandtoned at it’s finest. Her booty is inspiration for days, and that nerdy girl glasses swag is so cute. Plus she teaches a class called Trill Yoga, so you know she's cool.

 

6. https://www.instagram.com/CeCeOlisa/

You might recognize this vibrant Nigerian cutie from her regular appearances on Refinery 29’s Body Positive Workout. She's iconic in the plus size community and one of the first pioneers to say, “Hey, big girls can do yoga too! And we’re good at it.” Her blog Plus Size Princess talks about everything from dating as a plus size girl to promoting her belief in “healthy curves at every size.”

7 Steps to becoming more productive and hate mornings less

Abby photo.png

 

As I give side eye to those extra peppy morning goers on the train to work at 7 AM, I fantasize about thoughts of naps and fluffy pillows. The worst thing about morning people is that they assume everyone else is a morning person. I have never understood people who can be fully functioning member of society before 10 AM. Now that I have a 9 to 5 job, I find that I need to move further outside my comfort zone, actually needing to function at the break of dawn.  As an adult, early mornings is just one aspect that we need to come to terms with. If you’re like me and struggle with early starts too, here are 7 steps to help you be more of a morning person this New Year:

 

Step 1 Set a bedtime

Do you remember when you were a kid and your bedtime was at 8 PM? You hated it, but you were always bright eyed and bushy tailed for school the next morning. Our mom’s had something right! Going to bed so you can get at a full night’s sleep, is essential to a productive day. The national sleep foundation recommends adults (ages 18-64) sleep around 7-9 hours a night. So set a bedtime that works for you and stick to it.

Chelsea, from wellness blog Inspiration Indulgence, recommends to start incorporating earlier bedtimes in intervals throughout a 3-week span. The first week that “You plan on changing your routine, go to bed half an hour earlier than you normally do. The second week, increase it to an hour. The third week, increase your time by another 15 minutes.” By the end of the month, you will be sleeping at your goal bedtime!

Step 2 Turn off electronics before you lay down to sleep

After I close my laptop for the night, I always browse Facebook or Instagram on my phone in bed. It seems like I’m always staring at a screen.  Supposedly I’m not alone in this habit.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, this late night exposure to screens, causes “Both mental activity and light exposure [that] promote wakefulness.”

Sleep experts Helene Emsellem, MD and Taylor Bos, BA, say that “Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark, signaling our brain about the status of the outside world. This signaling of light and dark helps us to be alert in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate time at night.” When we look at our electronics at night, we tell our brains that its daytime. Even “Our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness.”

Put down that phone when you’re getting ready for bed. Picking up a book or magazine before you sleep instead. This is a great alternative to scrolling through social media feeds. Chelsea of Inspiration Indulgence recommends having a nightly routine to help you wind down from the day. Keeping “the same routine every night will eventually become habitual and will calm your brain.”

Step 3 Stick to a schedule

I’m a repeat offender of this one. I hit snooze for at least 30 minutes before I reluctantly roll out of bed. I can’t seem to pry myself away from my body pillow and flannel sheets -- especially when it’s cold out.

The Sleep Foundation recommends to “Make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your "to-do list" and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.” In order to form a healthy habit your body needs consistency. Make sleeping at your bedtime every night a priority (yes, even on the weekends)!

Step 4 Establishing a morning routine

Creating a set of tasks to do every morning makes it easier to get up and go, even when you’re half asleep. Knowing you have a set list of to-dos in the morning will also help you feel less rushed and prepared to start your day. 

One of the most effective ways to start off your morning routine is so simple: open your blinds and curtains to let in some natural light. Your brain will know its time to get up and the rest of the tasks will fall into place like clockwork. If the sun isn’t out yet, consider artificial sunlight.

Step 5 Put down the wine glass

Ok, I love a glass or three of wine before I go to bed after a tough day. But alcohol isn’t the best thing to consume before bedtime.  Although a little wine at the end of the night can make you feel sleepy, it may cause more damage than good in the long run.

PH. D Russell Rosenberg says that “Using alcohol for sleep is a bad idea because it can affect sleep stages, lighten sleep and cause abrupt awakenings. Chronic use of alcohol may lead to needing higher and higher doses to achieve the same sleep-inducing effect. Alcohol generally acts as a sedative and a small amount can and will induce sleepiness.” So to avoid going too overboard, stick to more natural ways to falling asleep.

Step 6 Incorporate exercise into your daily routine

Whether you decide to stretch, do some yoga, or do a full on fitness routine; being more active will help you feel more balanced in your day. You can break a sweat in the morning, which will give you a boost of endorphins starting your day with a kick of energy. Or you can work out in the evening, tiring your body out just in time for bed which helps reduce restless nights. Either way, you can’t go wrong with leading a more active life.

 

Step 7 Take a Shower

Aside from being apart of your general hygiene routine (hopefully), this simple tip can help you with your quest in training your body for early mornings.  Taking a shower before or after bed can help you either wake up or fall asleep depending on the temperature. Save the cold showers for the morning, and warm for the night.

Not a morning person either? Well according to the Huffington Post research, morning people are happier, get better grades, are more productive, are more thorough, have a lower risk of depression and may even be nicer. You can’t knock it until you’ve tried it. You don’t need to completely change yourself, but you can adapt some of your bad habits to make it easier a little easier on yourself in the mornings.

Abby

Abby Walker is a Toronto-based freelance writer obsessed with DIY’s, staying healthy, and keeping up with her gym-obsessed friends. She is a graduate of Centennial College’s Lifestyle Media program and is the brains behind the bi-monthly publication Dare to Be Magazine. When Abby's not Photoshopping, she can be found indulging in her Pinterest addiction late into the night and, since we’re being honest- most mornings.