Today we're sharing a blog post from Maria Koutsogiannis, a Calgary based food stylist, recipe creator, photographer and writer for FoodByMaria. Check out how she uses Neal's Yard Remedies to keep her skin healthy and hydrated!
So I guess it’s time I introduce to you Neal’s Yard Remedies. This fair trade, organic and ethical British company has been around for about 30 years, and first started on Neal’s Yard Road in Covent Garden, in England. I first discovered Neal’s Yard while I was living in Bromley, London. At the time I was going through some hormonal break outs (damn you birth control), but I was sort of in a pickle because I refused to use anything that wasn’t organic, and good for my skin…. but then Neal found me. I haven’t turned back since guys. So I’ve taken the time here to list 7 of my go-to techniques, DIY’s, and products for really healthy, and nourished hair and skin!
Just before we get started on those I want to highlight some pretty crucial points to healthy hair and skin: get in your 7-8 hours of sleep, try your best to be relaxed and relieve your stress, drink at least 2L of water (if you know me I drink around 3-5 depending on where i am in my cycle), avoid booze and cigarettes, use great products and most importantly eat well.
So here we go, lovelies.
1. Here's a really good body scrub to shed the dead skin from the surface of your skin! But before doing this, try dry brushing to get that blood flowing, this helps with the exfoliating process! For this scrub I used 50g of sea salt, 5 drops of peppermint essential oil, 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil, 3 tbsp of avocado oil, and 1 tbsp of peppermint leaves. I apply it whilst in the shower and it completely transforms my shower experience. You can choose to use as much or as little essential oils as you want! DYI can be fun, just don’t be afraid to experiment.
2. It's the little things that seem to be making a difference for me lately. It sounds a bit odd but the less I do, the better my skin and hair seem to get. I’ve noticed that there are loads of products made by Neal’s Yard that work for me, but it’s up to you to narrow down the important ones. My all-time favourite product made by them is their Wild Rose Beauty Balm. I’ve noticed my skin becomes more hydrated, it reduces the appearance of my red spots from my old acne marks, and it gives me much more glowing skin. It has loads of different uses, it is a staple in my home.
3. For my hair, recently I’ve been blending my own treatments, but I do have the fantastic Rosemary & Cedarwood Hair Treatment (light blue jar in the photo). It’s really as simple as taking around 50-75g of coconut oil and blending it will an essential oil of your choice. For example, as stated in the Beauty Book, for Dandruff add 5 drops of Sage, for hair loss add 5 drops of rosemary, and for irritated scalp add 5 drops of cedarwood (pg.225).
Hair Mask: 1 medium ripe banana, 1 ripe avocado (can substitute for almond, olive or coconut oil), and 3 tbsp of coconut milk. Using a fork, mash together the banana and avocado, then stir in the milk. Massage into hair immediately as the ingredients are fresh, and leave it in your hair for 15 minutes. Option: using a warm towel cover hair for optimum effect.
4. Just like how I’ve started blending oils for my hair, I’ve done the same for my face! My newest favourite is the Cocoa Butter Moisturiser – this is for dry skin types, so it’s perfect for myself in Calgary, as the climate is even drier this time of year! This doesn’t necessarily mean that I have dry skin, it just means that during the winter seasons my skin needs more nourishment to stay glowing and healthy looking. The ingredients for this moisturiser are all so amazing, it includes oils such as Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Cocoa Butter and Beeswax. The Beeswax is particularly important as it is what helps prevent water loss, thus increasing hydration to your skin. This moisturiser can be used on your face and body! The exact recipe for this is on Page 109 of the Beauty Book!
5. As mentioned above, eating and drinking healthily is a huge factor in having great hair and skin. I am a perfect example of this. Since I was young I have been told I have great hair, but since I adapted to a more raw, organic, and plant based diet/changed my lifestyle my hair has reached double thickness and has doubled in length…. and I honestly have only changed the products I use. I also no longer blow dry or straighten and I am 100% even more aware of the foods I consume. It sounds like a lot, but it is nothing you cannot do! Foods I suggest for really shiny, lucious hair and skin are Amino Fatty Acid packed foods, like salmon, coconut oil, almonds, olive oil, walnuts, spinach, blueberries and avocados… not only are these foods going to help nourish your hair but they are also going to help combat against free radicals which cause premature aging! So make sure to eat your whole foods, keep your diet rich in vitamin E, and drinks lots of organic teas (shown above are peppermint, nettle, dandelion (this will not hydrate you, it is a diuretic so helps with removing excess water and toxins, but nonetheless a great tea to drink when in need of a recharge), and water!
6. So, as I mentioned above, I was going through hormonal breakouts when I found Neal’s Yard, and because I am blessed with olive skin it marks easier. I initially used their Palmarosa line to heal my blemishes, and then as soon as they left I turned to the beautiful Rose line to repair, protect, tone and relieve my skin. Rosehip oil is honestly my god-sent saviour. I use it on everything, but especially on my hair and on my face. It contains trans-retionic acid which the body turns into Vitamin A – so basically it helps with the little marks, and any acne that wants to come back (but it doesn’t because this stuff rocks)! So now I use the whole line of Rose, and the Rosehip oil as well! You can try the cutest little starter kit that they offer, it’s perfect for travelling…. I know I'll be taking one with me to London this Christmas.
7. So my last little secret to Hair and Skin health in keeping my soul calm. I come from a family with anxiety, and as you can imagine because I’m like 100% more ENERGETIC than most people my anxiety can get realllllll bad, and really quickly. My whole life I have overanalyzed every situation, been way too hard on myself, and sometimes suffered from self-esteem struggles. I think I have come to a point in my life where I can control it all, it is hard to say for sure though as I have refused to ever take medicine for it, so maybe it has just become a part of me now? Who knows. Anyways, I turn to essential oils to help keep my soul calm, mind focused and body driven. I put them into my diffuser, blend to create lotions, and add them to my face & hair regimes as listed above. Great essential oils for anxiety include Bergamot, Neroli, Frankincense, Yarrow, and so many more! For more information of this check out this amazing informative book on essential oils.
As a bonus I just want to mention the magic oil, Neem, certainly not known for it’s luxurious and pleasant scent but like Buckleys “it smells awful, but it works”. Its ability to heal a lot of everyday symptoms, and skin care problems are immense. If you have a zit get that sh$t and lather it up on it, using a circular motion of course and soaking it all in. I use it with a carrier or base oil, and I apply it on my dry areas, zits, on my scalp, split ends, and can even be used as a cleaner, lice repellent, and the list goes on, honestly. If you’re hesitant about using any of the products above that’s fine, but I strongly suggest this one. It will change your life.
I really hope all this helps you, and better understand how I maintain healthy hair and skin! Please let me know what you think, any feedback is so greatly appreciated. Have a lovely weekend, my loves!!
Your Greek Food Goddess XOXO