Me walking in Lake Wanaka this week (plus my 36 week old bump)
It's beautifully warm here in New Zealand at the moment, with lots of long sunny days. However the sun can be a bit of a killer, particularly given the hole on the ozone layer above where we are, so its extra important to take care of your skin during this time.
Unfortunately, most skin care products you find in chemists, supermarkets, department stores and even beauty spas are loaded with toxic chemicals that have been shown to cause everything from auto-immune disease to breast cancer (you can read more about this in an earlier post of mine on the beauty industry here). They're also virtually all tested on animals, which means fluffy bunnies locked in wire cages with their heads poking out, having Maybelline or Clinique mascara rubbed in their eyes to see if it irritates. Clearly not something we want to be advocates of!
Luckily there are a number of small family-owned businesses that have started up over the past few years, creating gorgeous, organic, natural, chemical-free and cruelty-free skin care products that work far better than their toxin-filled counterparts. So you can have beautifully flawless and glowing skin, without having to expose it to toxins or be a cog in the skin care industry's animal-testing machine.
As part of my healing journey to cure myself of Graves' autoimmune disease (you can read more about that here), I switched all of my skin care to natural and organic alternatives. Along with transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle and reducing stress, the combined result is my Graves' has successfully been in remission for almost two years, a result the doctors never thought was possible.
PS if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen my wee announcement this past week that I've got a bun in the oven! Yep, a little baby girl is on her way in just 4 weeks time (there she is in the photo above, popping out like a basketball). My partner Tony and I are super excited, it's been a long wait following my Graves' disease recovery, but now she's on her way and looks to be in perfect health. Right now I want to focus all my love and attention on making sure she arrives 100% healthy and happy, but once she pops into the world I'll write a bit more about my experiences, and answer some of the questions you'll no doubt have.
Til then - enjoy reading this list of my top 10 favourite natural and organic skin care tips for summer. I'm rocking out all of these right now so know you'll love them too.
Whenever you head out into the sun, you should always be wearing a good quality sunblock to protect yourself from too many rays and skin cancer. Particularly on delicate skin areas that are heavily hit by the sun's rays, like your face, chest and shoulders. Most standard sunblocks however are full of harmful chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer themselves.
My favourite sun screen for the face is Annmarie Gianni's Sun Love - it's made from 100% organic and natural ingredients, isn't thick, cakey and whitening as most other natural sunscreens are, and has a light subtle tint to it. It uses physical barriers (zinc oxide as well as natural herbs and oils for protection) as opposed to standard chemicals, which provide full natural cover without nasty chemicals being absorbed into your skin. For body meanwhile I like using COOLA's Mineral Sunscreen Sport SPF 35 (which uses physical barriers of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide), or Oasis Sun (which contains a very small amount of chemical barrier with the rest of the product being organic). When I eventually let my wee bub out into the sun, I'll be using COOLA's Mineral Baby SPF50!
To read more about my favourite Sunscreens click here
Us too. So we're using Sally B's Skin Yummies "B Unbitten", a 100% natural and organic solution for keeping those mossie friends at bay. Most mosquito sprays contain harmful chemicals including DEET, which can be harmful when absorbed into your (or your kiddies) blood stream.
Sally B's Skin Yummies B Unbitten is the first natural organic repellant I've found that actually works. Really well. It's a blend of coconut oil and organic essential oils such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, spruce, patchouli, pine and vetiver, that are naturally designed to ward off unwanted friends. It also doesn't feel greasy or sticky afterwards like other insect repellants. Simply apply a few drops on your palm, rub onto arms and exposed areas, and enjoy a bite-free summer!
To learn more about Sally B's B Unbitten click here
If there's one makeup product most of us ladies can't live without, it's mascara. Especially for us fairer folk, mascara has an amazing way of opening up your eyes and making you look fresh and awake instantly.
Problem again (there's a recurrent theme here), is there are a bunch of nasty harmful chemicals in almost all commercially available mascaras. Not to mention almost all of them (Maybelline, MAC, L'Oreal, Revlon) test horrifically on animals. What's worse - some of these big beauty brands actually stopped their animal testing programmes after immense pressure from consumers. However to break into the Chinese market, the Chinese government requires all products to have undergone animal testing, and so they've all taken up the practice again. I feel ashamed that once upon a time these brands were all in my make-up bag!
Since then, I've tried almost all the organic and natural cruelty-free mascaras on the market, and unfortunately most are dry, crumbly and flake giving you unwanted panda eyes. Until I met my true love - Ere Perez's Natural Mascara. It's by far the best natural mascara I've ever tried - the almond and sunflower oil in the formula means it goes on silky smooth no clumps, and moisturises your lashes at the same time. The black waterproof version is also tear-proof, run-proof, and swim-proof too - perfect for summer. I personally use the brown for every day, the black if I'm going to an evening event, and the black waterproof if I'm off to the beach. Try them out - I think you'll love them.
Read more about Ere Perez's natural mascaras here
My other favourite summer makeup item is bronzer. I've tried a number of natural organic alternatives including Dr Hauschka and Inika, but my hands down favourite is Ere Perez's Pure Rice Powder Bronzer. It comes in two shades, "My Blush" which is a lighter tone, and "Bronze" which is a darker tone.
I've used the My Blush every single day for the past two years and absolutely love it - it's the perfect shade and has a gorgeous yet subtle shimmer to it. The coverage is so good I never even use foundation - just moisturiser, tinted moisturiser, or Annmarie Gianni's tinted Sun Love, a sweep of this bronzer, a lick of my Ere Perez brown mascara and some organic lip balm. It's amazing what a difference these four tiny things make to your complexion - your skin will look flawless. If you're a blush type of girl, Ere also does a gorgeous blush called "Bondi Blush" which is a super cute pink colour - perfect for summer.
Browse Ere Perez's natural bronzers and blushes here
As you no doubt know, there are significant dangers to baking for hours in the sun, especially in New Zealand and Australia where our ozone layer is thinner and less protective. Fake tanning has become a popular and supposedly 'safe' alternative to sun tanning. However most fake tans contain some really nasty ingredients, which are absorbed into your skin and bloodstream and can disrupt your hormonal system.
My favourite way to get a glowing summer tan is using Eco Tan's natural range of tanners. They are certified organic, cruelty-free, contain no synthetics or toxic ingredients, and whenever possible use eco-friendly natural inks and recycled paper. Their tanning lotions contain almost-edible natural and organic ingredients such as cacao, herbs, flower extracts, fruit extracts and chamomile to create their beautiful colours. Their Invisible Tan is great for a quick and strong tan overnight if you're going to a wedding or event, while their Winter Skin allows you to build up a more subtle tan over time. I personally love the Winter Skin.
You're probably already well aware that moisturising is beneficial for our skin all year round. Particularly to replenish natural skin oils that may have been washed off from traditional body washes and soaps, which strip the skin of its natural oils. Moisturising becomes even more important in summer, especially if you've been out in the harsh sun during the day.
The three body moisturisers I have on high rotation are Annmarie Gianni's Coconut Body & Face Oil, Sally B's Skin Yummies Eco Body Lotion, and Annmarie Gianni's Radiant Skin Silk. All of them are packed with certified organic natural plant oils and butters such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Coconut, Tamanu and Aloe Vera that will soften your skin, sooth dry patches and ease any accidental sunburn. I recommend applying them just after you've hopped out of a warm shower while your skin's still a bit damp - that way they'll rub in more easily, spread further, and also water helps the beneficial oils absorb into your skin.
To browse our body moisturisers click here
As mentioned above, I'm not a massive makeup wearer and much prefer a more natural look. I do however definitely love to keep my skin hydrated and protected year round, both on my face and body. My favourite daily moisturiser right now is Sally B's Skin Yummies Tinted Moisturiser (I use the light to medium colour).
It's super lightweight, packed full of only good-for-you organic and natural ingredients, has a natural touch of colour giving you a beautifully even complexion, and of course is not tested on animals. It also really nourishes and hydrates your skin with ingredients such as organic aloe leaf juice and hibiscus flower extract. Applied under a few sweeps of Ere Perez's natural bronzer, this is all you need for flawless natural looking coverage.
Check out my favourite Tinted Moisturiser here
The last of my must have summer make-up items is lip balm, with my favourites being Sally B's Skin Yummies Lip Yummies. Made with 98% certified organic ingredients, these delicious lip balms are free of mineral oil, petroleum-based ingredients, gluten, soy, artificial flavourings, and are of course never tested on animals. They include ingredients such as moisture-rich coconut oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, sweet almond oil, vitamin E and organic essential oils for flavour.
My favourite flavours right now are the Lavender Grapefruit for something sweet, and Mints in Harmony for something refreshing. My partner loves using the Unscented when his lips are feeling a bit dry, and I'd happily use this on kiddies too.
Try out Sally B's delicious Lip Balms here
Everyone loves a beautiful fragrance. Unfortunately however, the word 'fragrance' in a perfume can actually refer to up to an incredible 3,100 different chemical ingredients, most of which are synthetic and artificial. Many of these chemicals have been proven to cause asthma, respiratory disease, skin irritations, cancer, and disrupt the nervous, immune, endocrine, hormonal, and reproductive systems.
Instead I love using organic solid perfume balms, which you just rub with your fingers and apply wherever you like. As they're natural rather than synthetic, you have to apply them a bit more frequently during the day, but their handy mini cases mean then slot perfectly in a handbag or pocket. My personal favourite at the moment is Sally B's Skin Yummies Solid Perfume in Just B - a beautifully romantic floral mix with notes of rose, jasmine and neroli. I also love our INDAH Perfume Balm in Dewi.
Browse my favourite natural fragrances here.
So you've been using natural sunscreen (see tip #1). Wearing a hat. Covering up during the peak hours. And running for the shade where you can. But sometimes, especially in New Zealand and Australia, you still get nailed by the sun and wake up looking like a lobster on that strip of your back you couldn't quite reach.
My favourite way to repair sun damage, particularly on the face and decolletage, is with Annmarie Gianni's new Repair Serum. This stuff is amazing, and full with incredible herbal botanicals that have been shown to help fade sun spots, freckles and discolouration, and even out skin tone. It uses plant-based stem cells derived from oranges (rather than animals) to help your skin build collagen, repair itself and prevent aging. This active blend of plant-based stem cells and antioxidants makes a noticeable difference to aging or damaged skin when used continuously over the course of 30-40 days. This amazing serum is also high in Vitamin C and has essential oils of Lavender and Sandalwood, which are skin-lightening and balancing. The perfect fixer for any sort of sun damage your face is harbouring!
Read more about Annmarie Gianni's Repair Serum here
And there you have it. My top 10 natural and organic skin care tips for summer. If you found this article helpful I'd love you to share it on Facebook or Twitter (click the like or tweet buttons below). Thanks so much, and have a wonderful weekend!
VIDEO POST! Banoffee Pie is always a favourite, and this healthy version tastes just as good as the original, without leaving you feeling heavy or bloated afterwards. Luscious, low sugar, and delicious!