Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet

a.k.a. One Step You Can Take Today To SimplifyYour Skincare Routine

For many years of my life, I practically lived at my dermatologist’s office. Even though the responsible thing to do is to get your skin checked every year for any early signs of skin cancer (especially if it runs in your family, you’re very fair, you’ve had bad burns, etc. but EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT), that was not the schedule I was keeping. I was showing up at my derm’s office every few months. My frequency had much to do with the fact that my problem skin was ruthless and was in turn being treated like a mad scientist lab experiment. I’d be prescribed one stroooong cream after another, told to wait a few weeks and see what happens. Talk about suspense. With each new trial-by-tube, I was warned to expect things to “get worse before they got better.” Show of hands if you’ve heard this foreboding phrase before (you have, you have, you have). Really, things only ever got worse.

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On Skincare Rules

Shrewd beauty marketers have figured out one important thing about us consumers: We like rules. In fact, we’re deeply reliant on them: We need rules to navigate the treacherous world of beauty; without them we’ll become pimply, wrinkly, haggard, unattractive, smelly messes. Or at least that’s what we’re told.

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Teatime for Your Skin: Three Tea-Centric DIYs with Teapigs

If you were to rummage through the kitchen pantry here at the S.W. Basics HQ, you’d find some staple items: Nut butters of all varieties, several jars of honey, a healthy stockpile of Purely Elizabeth granola, and lots and lots of tea. Yep, we’re huge tea drinkers over here — and not just because we like the taste of it, either. Indeed, medical research keeps confirming that tea varietals of all sorts (from black to green) can promote good health. And, given that a healthy body begets healthy skin, it should come as no surprise that tea has also become a darling ingredient of the beauty industry. While products laced with, say, green tea extract can be effective, we prefer going straight to the source to reap the benefits.

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Three Things That Might Be Causing Your Skin to Freak Out – And How to Help

We’ve all bemoaned good or bad hair days, but how about good or bad skin days? To me, there’s far more day-to-day variation in one’s skin than one’s hair, plus far less control. I mean, when I am having a bad hair day, the cause is clear (I haven’t brushed and/or washed my hair) and the answer is equally clear (I must wash, then brush, my hair). Yet when I am having a bad skin day, the answer and solution seem inexplicable. What went wrong? How can I fix it?

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Ingredient Debrief: Five Facts About Tea Tree Oil

Of all the essential oils out there, I’m betting you’re most familiar with tea tree oil. A widely marketed and disseminated natural ingredient – I mean there’s a whole web page dedicated to tea tree oil shampoos on Walmart.com (!) – it’s a “key” component in both drugstore staples and high-end beauty counter splurges. Yet how much do you really know about tea tree oil?

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A Word (Actually, A Lot of Words) on Oils

Five years ago, if you had asked me to rub olive oil on my face and leave it on I would have been horrified. As someone who possessed freakishly sensitive skin – for example, after plucking my eyebrows, I would develop whiteheads the next day – the thought of applying oil directly to it was simply incomprehensible. Wouldn’t my skin freak out? Wouldn’t I break out more? Olive oil was for salads, not my face, dammit!

Boy, was I wrong. Now that I’m older and wiser (and, incidentally, clearer-skinned), I’ve come to understand that oils are amazing for your skin. Aside from the fact that they are crazy hydrating, they’re loaded in antioxidants and nutrients, plus possess an array of neat properties that can actually help prevent and treat skin ailments like acne.

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Rosewater Spray

A Love Note to Rosewater

Rosewater is one of those ingredients that can be utilized just about everywhere: It can be misted onto your face, applied to your hair, or even incorporated into your favorite culinary creations. It’s also one of the world’s most ancient health and wellness treatments, having first been documented in ancient Iranian love stories.

I was first exposed to rosewater a few years ago, but our new DIY Skincare Essentials Rosewater Spray (made from steam-distilled Bulgarian roses) has spawned my own little love story with this beautiful ingredient. For one, I find it amazing that a plant that has been revered for centuries has a distinct place in our current climate. In a world where complex lab formulas and “cutting-edge” synthetic ingredients tend to dominate the beauty market, rosewater continues to captivate, a testament to the tremendous restorative and healing properties of this powerhouse ingredient.

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5 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar, A Miracle Product You Probably Already Own

As I sit here drinking a vaguely urine-colored drink – which tastes like pee, too – I ponder the miracle tonic that is apple cider vinegar. I mean, seriously: This stuff is downright magical, despite the fact that it smells kind of rancid and tastes like wee-wee. Not that I know what wee-wee tastes like. I digress!

Apple cider vinegar, aka ACV, has lately become sort of a health and wellness darling, and deservedly so. The benefits are well documented, and wide spanning: You can use ACV, apparently, for anything. Have a yeast infection? Drink some ACV. Breaking out? Dilute some ACV and dab it on. Have a sore throat? Chug the stuff. Heck, I think there’s an argument for saying that ACV is perhaps the most important staple you’ve got in your kitchen pantry.

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