Author Archives: Debi Calabrese

  • Play up your best feature

    LipstickAll of us have a feature that make us uniquely beautiful, be it eyes, lips, cheeks or skin…learn to celebrate it with targeted skin care treatments and natural, good-for-you makeup!

    Play up: Sparkling eyes
    Focus attention on your eyes with—believe it or not—navy blue mascara. ZuZu Luxe Mascara in Navy is surprisginly wearable and works with all eye colors, making the whites of your eyes appear brighter and your eye color more intense. B vitamins and sea fennel extract thicken and strengthen lashes, and its non-smudging lasting power makes it a customer favorite.

    Smoky shadows are another good way to showcase your eyes, says esthetician Tessa Wilson at our Berkeley store, who likes jane iredale Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Eyeshadow Kit with neutral, smoky dark and highlighting gold shadows that work for both day and night looks. Treat the delicate eye area with One Love Organics Vitamin E Active Moisture Eye Balm, Tessa adds; it’s an all-in-one cream that reduces puffiness, smooths fine lines and hydrates like crazy.

    Play up: Cheekbones
    If you’ve been graced with sculpted cheekbones, emphasize them with dual-purpose creams that highlight and moisturize your skin. Pacifica Radiant Shimmer Coconut Multiples Highlighting Creams is a do-it-all palate of light iridescent, shimmery pink and golden bronze colors. To use, apply the lightest cream at the top of your cheekbones, rosy pink on the apples of your cheeks and bronze for underneath the cheekbone. These coconut-based creams blend into each other easily for a natural, dewy look.

    For a more minimalist approach, Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi Use Classic is an all-purpose stick that highlights cheeks, eyes and lips in one easy swipe for a genuine-looking glow. It’s nourishing, soothing and full of organic botanicals like holy basil, myrrh and lotus leaf extracts.

    Play up: Luscious lips
    Does your smile light up a room? Play up lips with jane iredale’s PlayOn Lip Crayon in Luscious, a creamy rose brown that looks great on all skin tones, says Tessa. For on-trend red lips, try Dr. Hauschka Inner Glow Lipstick in Red Quartz—customers love its satin finish and staying power. And keep lips smooth with Jurlique Love Balm, which Tessa likes for its fresh tangerine scent and moisturizing olive oil.

    Play up: Luminous skin
    Hydration and protection are essential for showcasing skin and keeping it healthy. Get skin glowing with Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer, Tessa’s recommendation for a lightweight lotion with a hint of color, sun protection and natural botanicals that provide age-defying benefits.

    If you prefer a mineral powder, try ZuZu Luxe Mosaic Illuminator to create a light-reflecting glow and infuse skin with natural moisture from avocado and jojoba extracts. And to keep your skin radiant even without makeup, Tessa likes DeVita Hyaluronic SeruGel used under moisturizer for extra hydration. This oil-free gel combines 65 percent hyaluronic acid with soothing aloe to draw water into the skin to make it plump, firmer and with less noticeable lines and wrinkles.

  • Quick Treatments for Damaged Hair

    Brown hairHas your hair lost its bounce? Shine? Thickness? Tackle the problem with some serious hair repair treatments that work fast. Here’s what you need to know about the anatomy of your hair and what to do when things go awry.

    It’s all about follicles and cuticles
    Hair grows from hair follicles in our scalp, and the hair shaft is made up almost completely of a protein called keratin. Each shaft is comprised of three layers: the inner most medulla, which determines the thickness of the hair, the middle cortex, which gives hair its color, and the outer cuticle, which forms a protective barrier. By keeping our scalp healthy, our follicles can produce hair that’s stronger, and by nourishing the exposed cuticle (it’s semi-permeable so products can penetrate), we protect the hair shaft from damage.

    Help for: Processed or color-treated hair
    Chemicals like hydrogen peroxide used in permanent coloring and highlighting products, glycolic acid in straightening products and even formaldehyde by-products that are present in certain salon Brazilian straighteners, open the cuticle and allow color or a relaxing agent to be deposited into your hair’s cortex.

    These chemicals also make your hair strands weaker, drier and lackluster. That’s where a serious conditioning treatment comes in, like Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Hair Mask. It penetrates and smooths hair cuticles with moisturizing coconut, avocado and olive oils, while silk proteins form a protective barrier on strands to improve elasticity and shine. Plus it works on both fine and thick hair. Another one to try: Alba Botanica Hawaiian Deep Conditioning Minute Mask, which restores hair with super nourishing argan oil and cocoa butter, and smooths with plant-sourced keratin.

    Help for: Sun and wind damaged hair
    Outdoor enthusiasts know that the elements can take a toll on our hair, leaving it dry and brittle. That’s because the sun’s UVA and UVB rays break down the keratin proteins and pigment in our hair, and wind can cause tangles and split ends. Treat your hair to Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, a blend of five botanical oils that remoisturize hair, smooth cuticles, increase elasticity and protect the hair shaft from UV rays.

    Help for: Thin or slow-growing hair
    Thinning hair is often the result of heredity, hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause, or even certain hairstyles that pull hair too tight. A healthy scalp can keep your follicles functioning optimally and help encourage hair growth. Peter Lamas Chinese Herbs Regenerating Scalp Serum massaged in to the scalp twice daily invigorates hair follicles and detoxifies the scalp with herbal swertia extract and apple stem cells.

    You can work on thinning hair from the inside out, too: Try incorporating supplements rich in the B vitamin biotin—like Pharmaca Biotin Capsules—to strengthen hair and help it grow faster.

    Help for: Flaky, itchy scalp
    Itchy scalp and dandruff can be caused by several factors; the most common are dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis or a yeast-like fungus. But embarrassing flakes and itchiness can be treated with products that restore your scalp to health. John Masters Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner blends organic arnica and white tea to detoxify your scalp, while lavender oil hydrates and calms skin to relieve symptoms of eczema or dermatitis. Badger Organic Jojoba Hair Oil for Dry Scalp is another effective treatment, quelling itchiness and dandruff with nourishing plant oils, scalp-stimulating rosemary and peppermint essential oils, and antibacterial and anti-fungal tea tree oil.

  • Fermented Foods: Add Some Culture to Your Diet

    EatingYogurtCan’t tell your kombucha from your kimchi? If you’re wondering what’s behind the buzz about fermented foods, here’s what you need to know.

    Bring on the bacteria!

    Fermentation is all about the chemistry of breaking down a complex substance into simpler parts, with the help of bacteria, yeast or fungi. It’s a process that’s been used for centuries to preserve food and aid in digestion.

    There are two common ways to do this: lacto-fermentation, which converts sugary lactose into lactic acid and gives food a distinctive sour taste; and alcohol fermentation, which uses yeast to convert natural sugars in fruit and grains into alcohol.

    Good for your gut, skin and mood

    Fermented foods have a wide range of health benefits, but perhaps the most important is their function as a probiotic. Fermented foods with active bacterial or yeast cultures supplement the many beneficial strains of bacteria that live in our gut. And because our gut houses the largest part of our immune system, keeping it healthy with fermented foods can help us fight infections, allergies and inflammation, say experts at Tufts University.

    Another benefit of fermented foods? A mood boost. If you’ve been feeling slightly down or anxious lately, fermented foods can help, nutritional psychiatrists tell us. That may be because 95 percent of serotonin, the chemical in our bodies that regulates mood, is produced in our digestive tract. A healthy, probiotic-rich diet plays a big part in keeping the production of serotonin strong, helping reduce anxiety and improving our mental outlook.

    Skin conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea may also be improved through consumption of fermented foods, as dermatologists are looking at the relationship between a probiotic diet and good skin health.

    Kimchi, kombucha and more                                                         

    There are more fermented food options than you may realize—just be sure to look for labels featuring “live” or “active” cultures, meaning the food hasn’t been pasteurized, a process that kills good bacteria. (Note: Even though beer and wine are fermented, their active bacteria is killed off during production, sorry!)

    Try adding some of these into your diet for a probiotic boost.

    Kefir and kombucha beverages both have beneficial yeast and bacteria cultures. Kefir is usually made with cow or goat milk, coconut milk or water; it tastes tangy and packs a powerful punch of gut-helping probiotics. Kombucha is fizzy and made from fermented sweetened black or green tea, and has a slight vinegar smell—but fans love that it’s also high in antioxidants.

    Other fermented favorites: Yogurt (look for ones with low sugar content) and tempeh are readily available and are excellent sources of protein and calcium. Tempeh, a whole soy food with a nutty flavor, can be used as a meat or tofu substitute. Sauerkraut and kimchi (a popular Korean condiment) are made from fermented cabbage, offering not only probiotic power, but also high levels of glucosinolate (which may lower the risk of cancer, say researchers at University of New Mexico). Just make sure you look for “live cultured” versions of sauerkraut and kimchi (pickles, too!), usually found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

    Fermented…supplements?

    Fermented nutrition is becoming a popular component in supplements, since the fermentation process helps make nutrients more bioavailable, and easier to digest. Ones to try: Genuine Health’s Fermented Whole Body Nutrition and Genuine Health’s Fermented Vegan Proteins+, made with fermented grain proteins and organic vegetables.

  • Easy Switches for a Healthy Thanksgiving

    SaladEaterIf you’ve got dinner guests following a Paleo, Gluten-Free or Vegan diet—or just anyone concerned with all the calories that come with Thanksgiving dinner—planning a meal that will suit everyone’s needs is no small task. But fear not: A few easy switches can accommodate them and help everyone celebrate and enjoy the holidays! We got ideas for simple swaps from Nutritionists Liz Gilliam in Albuquerque and Toni Eastwood in Redmond.

    Traditional trade outs
    Thankfully roasted turkey (white meat without the skin) is low in fat and calories. But traditional side dishes can be loaded with hidden fat and sugar. Canned cranberry sauce is full of high fructose corn syrup, Liz says. She suggests making a cranberry side dish with fresh cranberries (like this Cranberry Apple Sauce—it’s super easy, tastes better and is loaded with healthy antioxidants).

    Other healthy ideas

    • Bread stuffing comes packed with carbohydrates that can leave us feeling bloated, says Liz. Instead, try a stuffing made with whole grains that are rich in protein (like this Quinoa Stuffing).
    • Homemade gravy can be high in fat, so be sure to skim the fat off before using pan drippings.
    • For dessert, Liz tell us to choose pumpkin pie over pecan; it has about half of the calories and pumpkin is rich in vitamins A and C, and potassium, to boot. Fruit desserts are an elegant and healthy option, too—try these Vanilla Poached Pears that are naturally high in fiber to aid digestion.

    Paleo swaps
    Paleo dieters enjoy all things that could be hunted or gathered in the caveman era. Roasted poultry or meat and root veggies are ideal, but grains, dairy and refined sugar are a no-no—so traditional foods will need some tweaking. Bread stuffing can easily be Paleo-fied by using only chopped onions, apples and celery. Or try a pork, apple and cranberry recipe like this Best Ever Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing.

    Instead of mashed potatoes whipped with milk or cheese, try blending boiled or steamed cauliflower with a little butter or almond milk in a food processor, then adding roasted garlic or chives. Finally, think nut crusts when you’re looking for a flavorful switch for pies. This Grain-free Pumpkin Pie is Paleo-friendly with an almond and coconut grain-free crust and yummy pumpkin-honey filling.

    Vegan swaps
    Adding a veggie, grain and bean dish will keep vegans (and non-vegans, too!) happy at holiday meals. Fall produce like squash, apples and pumpkin are especially welcome. Stuffed butternut squash filled with rice, Brussels sprouts, garbanzo beans and flavorful spices is an easy make-ahead dish. Traditional Style Vegan Shepherd’s Pie cooked in individual baking dishes is a full-flavored side or main dish (and can easily be made with regular dairy products for vegetarians). And celebrate the fall harvest with Vegan Pumpkin Pie Blondies, moist brownie-like bars with a spicy twist.

    Gluten-free swaps
    For those with celiac disease, or gluten sensitivities, think beyond traditional bread stuffing for a side dish and try protein-rich ancient grains or rice, Toni tells us. Baked Rice flavored with shitake mushrooms and saffron pairs beautifully with roasted poultry or meat dishes. Or choose a quinoa-based salad like Quinoa with Currants, Dill and Zucchini. Using nuts instead of flour, this Pecan Nut Crust is a perfect accompaniment to your favorite creamy pumpkin filling.

    And don’t forget about digestive support
    Regardless of what foods you eat, keeping your digestive tract functioning well is important, especially during the holidays when stress and over-eating is more common. Pharmaca’s Chewable Papaya Enzymes feature natural papaya and pineapple enzymes that help break down food so it’s more easily digested. And vegetarian-friendly Doctor’s Best Digestive Enzymes and Enzymedica’s Digest Gold with ATPro (great for Paleo and gluten-free diets) are a good bet for helping your body digest fats, proteins and carbs.

  • Five-Minute (or Less!) Stress Busters

    SnowPlayThe holidays are coming! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed during this busy season, so take five with these quick and easy stress relievers.

    Take a walk, breathe fresh air.
    Sometimes the best way to reduce the emotional intensity of stressful feelings or events is to take a break and remove yourself from that environment. A brief 5-minute walk can help clear your head as you breathe in fresh air and take more oxygen in, letting you deal with stressors more calmly (check out this recent study about how engaging with nature can physically change the brain). Even just using that 5 minutes to take slow deep breaths on an outside balcony or terrace works since measured breathing prompts our nervous system to stop releasing cortisol, the stress hormone.

    Diffuse calming scents.
    Aromatherapy helps relieve stress because when we smell calming scents, receptor cells in our nose send signals to the part of our brain that regulates emotions, lessening feelings of anxiety. Try Pharmaca’s Be Calm Lavender Essential Oil Blends, balancing Bergamot or relaxing Rose Moroccan in SpaRoom Essentials’ new Natura Diffuser and within minutes your air will be filled with soothing scents. This beautiful diffuser is crafted from fallen trees in Thailand and uses ultrasonic technology to provide a fine aromatherapy mist for up to 4 hours.

    Sip a cuppa.
    Take it from English mums and nannies who know that when you’re upset or stressed, sitting down for a few minutes and sipping a cup of tea makes the world seem right again. Scientists agree that a cup of black tea brings stress hormone (cortisol) levels back to normal. Pamper yourself and try Tea Forte’s Noir Single Steeps Black Tea Sampler, blends of hand-picked black tea leaves with scrumptious flavors like Blood Orange and Chocolate Rose. If you prefer herbal teas, chamomile and lemon balm are natural soothers and both are found in Traditional Medicinals' Organic Chamomile with Lavender, made with organic, Fair Trade certified chamomile.

    Chew something.
    Simply chewing a stick of sugarless gum can help relieve stress. It can also make you more alert and help you multi-task, say researchers from Melbourne's Swinburne University who saw anxiety levels drop 17 percent and efficiency during multi-tasking exercises improve 67 percent when people chewed gum. Flower remedies calm and reduce anxiety too; Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pastilles blend five emotionally balancing botanicals into one tasty drop.

    Rub your feet.
    There’s an acupressure pressure point on your feet called Bubbling Spring that can calm and ground you during stressful times, or even help with insomnia. To find the Bubbling Spring point, use your thumb to find the natural depression about 1/3 of the way down your foot from the base of the toes, directly under the second and third toe. Firm pressure and kneading on that point will release tension and relax you. Add to this massage’s bliss factor by adding in Pharmaca’s Massage Lotion in Lavender…and try to have someone do it for you!

  • Spice Up Your Makeup with Marsala This Fall

    Have you spotted Marsala in your travels this fall? #Pantone #ColoroftheYear 2015 #Marsala

    A photo posted by PANTONE (@pantone) on

    It’s time to put away the pastel eye shadows, pink lip glosses and brightly painted nails of summer....and turn our attention to fall-inspired red-browns, like Marsala, the Pantone Color of the Year! This earthy, warm color gives you a look that says you just came in from a brisk walk in chilly air. To help you find the marsala that’s right for every skin type, we turned to cosmetologist Cintya Lull in Portland.

    Fair skin tones
    Marsala’s deep tones can stand in sharp contrast to fair skin during the day, so it’s best to stick with sheer tints of this rich color. “Start with one light swipe at first,” says Cintya, “and build more layers until you get the color you want.” For a hint of marsala-hued color on your cheeks and lips, try jane iredale’s In Touch Cream Blush in Charisma and Mineral Fusion’s Sheer Moisture Lip Tint in Adorn. At night, marsala’s rich wine color is perfect for adding a touch of glam to pale skin. We love jane iredale’s PureMoist Lipstick in Katerina for its saturated color and nourishing botanicals.

    Medium skin tones
    Medium skin looks great with a pop of marsala on one feature and more neutral or nude tones for the rest. W3LL PEOPLE’s Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick 3 in Berry Aubergine lets you choose which feature to emphasize with marsala since it’s made for eyes, cheeks and lips. Turn to their Universalist Multi-Use Colorstick 9 – Nude Flush to highlight other features in a more subtle way. The lightweight creamy formulas are extremely blendable, Cintya tells us, and help nourish skin with aloe, vitamin E and green tea extracts.

    Olive or dark skin tones
    Marsala perfectly complements darker skin with its warm richness (“This color is made for you!” says Cintya). Start with a blush that gives your skin a soft glow like W3LL PEOPLE’s Purist Luminous Mineral Blush in Rose. Paraben, talc and chemical free, this powder can also be used as eye shadow for a monochromatic look. At night, amp up your look with jane iredale’s PurePressed Eye Shadow in Merlot, a highly pigmented color that’s crease-resistant. For lips, try Burt’s Bees’ Lip Crayon in Napa Vineyard, a full-coverage matte color that’s creamy and moisturizing with shea butter, jojoba oil and kendi oil.

    Every skin tone
    Want to dip your toe into the marsala trend? Spice up your fall pedicure with Deborah Lippmann’s Nail Color in Lady is a Tramp, a matte cream polish free of toluene, formaldehyde and DPB (dibutyl phthalate), and rich in nail-saving botanicals including green tea extract and aucoumea. If you prefer a little sparkle, try SpaRitual’s Fall in Love Nail Lacquer, a vegan polish that uses mica for shimmer instead of guanine (fish scales that are often found in mass-marketed nail polishes). Keep your nails chip-free longer with a base coat that bonds your polish to nails with a rubberized basecoat like SpaRitual’s Lacquer Lock Colorstay Basecoat, that’s free of nasty chemicals (and vegan, too).

  • Which Makeup Foundation is Right for You?

    Woman with makeup brushThe secret to the perfect foundation? Not letting anyone know we have it on! We look radiant and our skin looks poreless, glowing and youthful—not caked with color. Choosing the wrong color or type can actually detract from our looks. To get the low down on how to pick and apply the best makeup for a flawless face, we turned to Pharmaca cosmetologist Joyce Anderson at our Los Altos store.

    Start with a primer or color corrector

    Using a sheer primer or color-correcting base under foundation helps makeup last throughout the day, and corrects any unevenness in skin tone, Joyce tells us.

    If your skin looks dull, a brightening primer is a good bet. Try jane iredale’s Smooth Affair Primer & Brightener with fruit, tea and algae extracts that minimize large pores, boost skin’s radiance and create a smooth, satiny finish.

    If you flush or get red splotches easily, use a green-tinted primer that balances redness, like ZuZu Luxe’s Color Correcting Primer Anti-Blotchiness. For sallow or very pale skin, try jane iredale’s Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15, in either Lilac (to balance yellowness), or Peach to bring subtle warmth to skin. These can be used alone too, if you just want a hint of color.

    Liquid, powder or stick?

    Mineral-based foundations are free of irritating chemical preservatives and come in formulations that work for every skin type.

    For normal-to-combination skin, Joyce says customers rave about W3LL PEOPLE’s Narcissist Foundation Stick. It’s a super easy-to-use cream—just swipe it on. Plus, it comes in eight easy-to-match shades for medium coverage with a velvety matte finish.

    If you tend to have oily skin, try jane iredale’s PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation in a refillable gold compact case. This sheer pressed powder comes in 26 shades, can be layered for just the right amount of coverage and gives a semi-matte, weightless finish. And it has broad-spectrum, SPF 20 coverage! For perfect application, use their Handi Brush.

    For dry or mature skin that needs coverage with a boost of moisture, look for liquid-based products like jane iredale’s Liquid Minerals Foundation. This light-reflecting (read: flaw-hiding) foundation feels moist and light, comes in 12 shades and nourishes skin with hydrating botanicals and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid.

    Set it up

    A translucent powder helps set your foundation, making it last longer, and is also a great way to touch up your makeup during the day. Mineral-based powders work best since they won’t clog pores with waxes or silica, and don’t leave an unnatural white sheen on your skin, Joyce says. Customers love the 100 percent mineral-based Realist Satin Mineral Setting Powder from W3LL PEOPLE for its weightless feel and ability to control shine. And oil-absorbing silk powder and tapioca come together in Dr. Hauschka’s Translucent Face Powder that leaves skin soft and smooth with a clean, natural finish.

    When applying, be sure to use a fluffy brush that picks up just the right amount of powder, like EcoTools’ Bamboo Powder Brush. Just dab it in the powder, tap off the excess and lightly dust over your face.

  • Got Sun? Helpful Post-Sun Treatments for the Whole Body

    SunShoulderA sunny day outdoors does wonders for our spirit, but it can take a toll on our bodies. Even if we’re diligent about slathering ourselves in broad-spectrum sunscreen, there’s always room for error: we miss a spot, or the lotion wears off and the sun’s UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays damage our skin. Maybe it’s our hair that feels the burn, getting dried out from wind, salt water and chlorine. And at the end of a day in the sun, our bodies can all too often become dehydrated. Here are a few after-sun remedies that help repair and restore the entire body.

    Treat a burn

    When UVB rays reach exposed skin they cause sunburns that need calming treatments. Try easing the pain with witch hazel or cold water compresses. Avene’s Thermal Spring Water Spray is particularly soothing and provides healing nutrients for damaged skin, says Tammara Denninger, esthetician at our Greenwood Village, Colo. location.

    Natural botanicals like calendula and aloe vera calm tender skin and reduce inflammation, too. Jurlique’s Calendula Lotion combines highly concentrated calendula flower extract with witch hazel to relieve sunburn symptoms and help prevent peeling. (Note: those with ragweed allergies should avoid calendula since it comes from the same plant family.)

    Aloe is another good choice, Tammara tells us, as it has been used for centuries to treat skin irritations and burns. All Terrain’s Aloe Skin Repair blends aloe gel with skin-soothing chamomile, cucumber and lavender.

    Revitalize skin and hair

    Even if we aren’t sunburned, the sun’s UVA rays can damage cells below the skin’s surface by creating free radicals in our skin. Free radicals make our skin look older by damaging cell function, breaking down collagen and causing wrinkles. Sun exposure dehydrates our skin, too, as fluids are lost through sweat.

    Look for relief in antioxidant-rich facial products that neutralize free radicals and moisturize with botanicals. One we like is Jurlique’s Rose Moisture Plus Revitalizing Gel-Lotion with Antioxidant Complex. This cool gel blends powerful antioxidants like rosehip fruit oil and grape seed extract with hydrating white mushroom extract. Treat your body to extra moisture, too, with a lush cream like 100% Pure Coconut Whipped Body Butter, rich in nourishing cocoa, shea and avocado butters and damage-repairing acai and goji berries.

    Start repairing hair that’s been dried out from sun, wind and swimming, with a gentle clarifying shampoo that removes buildup, like MOP’s Mixed Greens Shampoo with detoxifying rosemary and peppermint, and chlorine-removing vinegar. Next, add a deep conditioning hair mask that can restore vitality to dry hair. Try 100% Pure Sea Algae Hair Mask with healing aloe, argan oil and shea butter, and super-hydrating red algae collagen.

    Hydrate your body

    When we’re outside in the sun for any length of time, we lose fluids and salts through sweat as our bodies try to keep us cool. To ward off dehydration, be sure to drink plenty of water—both during your time in the sun and after. And to help replace electrolytes lost through sweating, try Skratch Labs’ Daily Electrolyte Mix which makes a tasty raspberry drink that’s great for post-sun hydration.

  • Why Circadian Rhythms Matter

    SleepMaskHave trouble falling or staying asleep? Occasional insomnia from stress, injuries or even caffeine is common. But something else could be the cause. Circadian rhythms play a big part in our sleep patterns. Circadian rhythms cause changes in our bodies during a 24-hour cycle and tell our brain’s master clock when to prime us for sleep or wakefulness. The daily flow of these rhythms affects sleep through the release of hormones and highs and lows in blood pressure and body temperature.

    It’s All about Light and Timing

    Light is one of the biggest external triggers that control circadian rhythms and cues us to feel sleepy or alert at different times during the day. When it gets dark our brain releases melatonin, a hormone that prepares our brain for sleep. And when daylight breaks, circadian rhythms raise our body temperature and release cortisol, a hormone that promotes alertness. We actually have two sleep drives, one from 2 to 4 a.m., and another weaker one from 1 to 3 p.m. caused by an afternoon circadian rhythm dip in body temperature that releases melatonin. Harvard researchers say a 20 minute afternoon nap is an ideal pick me up.

    Circadian Rhythms Out of Sync

    When something goes awry with our circadian rhythm clock, due to travel, working the night shift or even just being a certain age we can end up with insomnia and other sleep disorders.

    Jet Lag

    We’ve seen what happens when we cross several time zones; insomnia sets in because our internal clock is different than the new time zone we’ve entered. Travelling eastward is harder since our day is shortened and our natural circadian rhythm cycle is cut short.

    Remedy: Try a homeopathic medicine targeted for travelers like JetZone Jet Lag Prevention to avoid symptoms of sleeplessness, headache and drowsiness.

    Shift Work Disorder

    Working at night and sleeping during the day can cause circadian rhythms disruptions that can lead to poor quality of sleep and leave you exhausted. This is especially true for those who rotate shifts.

    Remedy: Bright light therapy with a light box can help adjust your body clock and timing of sleep. Melatonin supplements taken at bedtime will cue your circadian rhythms to sleep mode.

    Sleep Phase Disorders

    Teens and seniors are susceptible to circadian rhythm troubles. Many teens hitting puberty (researchers say up to 16%) experience Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome where circadian rhythms are off by two or three hours. These night owls have trouble falling asleep at usual times, and are often alert hours after normal bedtime, and usually have trouble waking the next morning.

    Remedy: Experts say sticking to a sleep schedule, especially during weekends and holidays helps, as does avoiding back light from phones, computer screens and TVs a few hours before bedtime.

    Others, especially seniors, may develop a condition that’s just the opposite, known as Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome. These folks can’t stay awake, often going to sleep at 6 or 7 p.m. and waking up in the middle of the night.

    Remedy: Researches say using a light box for an hour at night (between 7 and 9 p.m.) can help adjust your internal body clock, and delay sleep.

  • Easy DIY Pedicures

    80311_P_UncomplicatedSandal weather is here! And that means it’s time for perfectly pedicured feet and pretty polishes. Follow these simple, at-home steps for terrific-looking toes.

    Exfoliate for Smooth Skin Three Ways

    Soak & Scrub

    Flaky, dry skin is best removed with softening baths and exfoliating scrubs. First, soak your feet in warm water with Kneipp Healthy Feet Foot Bath Crystals that soothe and refresh with calendula and rosemary. Or, for a Cleopatra-style footbath, soak your feet for 20 minutes in a milk bath (lactic acid softens feet), using one cup of milk for every 6 cups of warm water. Next, rinse and buff skin with an exfoliation scrub. Kiss My Face Foot Scrub blends zesty organic peppermint leaf extract, sunflower oil, pumice and finely ground walnut shells to smooth skin.

    Peel

    To bring fresh baby-soft skin to the surface on very rough feet, try a peeling product that gently dissolves dead skin cells. Customer-favorite Baby Foot Deep Skin Exfoliation for Feet uses natural fruit acids to break apart dead skin cells and highly moisturizing plant extracts to keep your soles smooth after peeling. After the initial 1 hour application process, peeling starts in 3-7 days and complete peeling takes up to 2 weeks.

    File

    Built-up calluses can easily be removed with foot files. Microplane Foot File has a wide paddle style blade that safely smoothes away dead skin, and works best on dry feet, no soaking needed.

    Use the Right tools for Shaping

    To keep nails healthy and prevent ingrown toenails, trim straight across with an extra sharp clipper like the Tweezerman Power Nail Clipper, then shape and round slightly at the corners with a nail file. Choose a file with a medium grit (amount of abrasive material) such as Pharmaca Nail File Yellow Mylar Medium Grit for shaping, and a fine grit like Pharmaca Nail File 2-Way Pink Fine & Extra Fine Grits for smoothing edges and buffing out ridges.

    Moisturize and Treat Your Feet

    Keep your feet smooth and moisturized with ultra-nourishing foot creams like Desert Essence Organic Foot Repair Cream Pistachio that hydrates with pistachio nut oil, shea butter and macadamia seed oil. If your day involves hiking boots instead of pretty sandals, try Fieldworks Supply Company Feet of Endurance Protective Foot Balm, rich in arnica to relieve swelling and bentonite clay to wick moisture and toxins away from the skin. To keep feet fresh and deodorized, check out Badger Foot Balm with anti-bacterial tea tree, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.

    Polish like a Pro

    Summer is the perfect time to experiment with fun polish colors, from beachy pastels to shiny metallics. Get in the mood with the SpaRitual Gathering Collection inspired by summer, with six rich shades to choose from. Or go bright and sparkly with Deborah Lippmann Candy Shop, a bubblegum pink glittery color or Mermaid’s Dream, a shimmery seafoam aqua color. To be totally on trend, try SpaRitual Fall in Love, an earthy red-brown color that matches Pantone Color of the Year 2015, Marsala.

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