Beauty Haul: 3 Natural Products That Your Body Will Love

I confess that I’ve spent a good portion of my life as a goo-hoard. (If you’re not too sure what that means check out this video by Jenna Marbles.) My drawers were filled with too many lotions, creams, lip balms, face products etc. Until one day, I convinced myself that most of my products, if not all, contained ingredients that were toxic to my skin so I decided to toss them out on an impulse. My original goal was to take a natural, holistic approach to my beauty products however it was a lot harder than I thought. But through trial and error I eventually found a few products/treatments that I love.

1) The Dry Brush

The body brush is easily the most underused/unknown tool. This ancient technique has many amazing benefits such as improving skin texture by removing dead skin cells, increasing circulation to the skin (allowing your lymphathic system to detox), stimulating your nervous system, and reducing the appearance of cellulite.

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I bought my brush from the body shop for around $15. The technique is to softly brush your dry skin; it is recommend that you do it first thing in the morning before your shower. Experts suggest that you move slowly, working from your feet, up your legs and towards your heart. Be careful not to go over any cuts, bruises, or sensitive areas. Although dry brushing is not exactly as soft as a pillow, the exfoliating sensation somehow becomes addicting if you incorporate it into your morning routine. For super soft skin, you can follow up with a moisturizer. With persistant use on my sensitive skin, I noticed an increase in skin elasticity, decrease of cellulite and a disapearance of my eczema.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is one of my absolute favourite products to use for my hair. I use it as a rinse after shampoo, in place of conditioner. First, you’ll have to dilute the vinegar with water. I use equal parts water to vinegar, but if that is too strong you could try increasing the water. Pour the rinse over your hair and allow it to sink in but make sure you rinse it thoroughly! ACV smooths the hair cuticle and balances the pH level making your hair extremely soft and shiny! ACV is all natural, made from apples, as opposed to products that are filled with many complicated ingredients. I’ve personally used organic ACV and the non-organic king and noticed a few pleasing differences with the organic. For best results, use an ACV rinse no more than twice a week or whenever you want to increase the shine in your hair.

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3) Olive Oil VS Coconut Oil

When I threw out all my body lotions I was convinced that I could moisturize with extra virgin coconut oil all the time with no problem. At first I really enjoyed how well the coconut oil moisturized my skin but after a week I noticed my skin was more dry than anything! Not only that, but the smell of spoiled/rotten coconuts lingered on my clothing and sheets. This was just my personal outcome but I’ve met people who have had the opposite experience.

On the flip side, I absolutely enjoy coconut oil as a hair mask. It’s solid consistency is much easier to spread through my hair and it washes out with much less trouble than extra virgin olive oil. I apply the coconut oil to my ends and try to keep clear of my scalp, only to avoid those hard to wash places. For best results, leave the coconut oil in your hair for a minimum of 30 minutes.

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Previously, I used extra virgin olive oil as a hair mask but I would opt for coconut oil in my hair instead. For my skin however, I love to add EVOO to my body lotion. Or apply it directly to skin after dry brushing and a shower! It’s bonuses include a strong source of vitamin E and A.

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Review: Polar Heart Rate Monitor

Investing in a heart rate monitor is one of the best things that happened to my fitness routine. Originally, it was the count of calories burned that appealed to me. Becoming aware of my heart rate helped me develop a new realization of my body and my cardiovascular health.

Mine is the Polar FT4. It’s functions are basic; it records my heart rate through a waist band (seen below). I can look at my wrist at any point during my workout to see what my heart rate is at and how many calories I’ve burned. Each time I workout with my Polar FT4 it records my workout and I can look back at previous workouts as well. I can also set a “heart rate zone” and at the end of my workout see how much time I spent in that specific zone. At first, the waist band was uncomfortable to wear but after the first few workouts it wasn’t a problem.

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Why has my Polar HRM improved my workouts?

Whether you are looking to burn fat or improve your cardio, knowing your heart rate while working out is extremely important. Personally, I like to do interval training at the gym so being able to look at my heart rate at any point is vital. Discovering the heart rate zones specific to your body can help you achieve any fitness goal you have in mind. Try this link to learn about the heart rate zones specific to your body and needs.

Cardio Equipment Vs. Polar HRM

Today’s cardio equipment will calculate how many calories you burn however, this number is frequently false. There are many factors such as height, weight, and heart rate that will affect the amount of calories you burn. My polar watch uses all those factors to give me an accurate number of calories I burn. For example, the elliptical told me I burned 78 calories in 9 minutes, whereas my polar watch gives me the correct number, which was 60 calories.

Polar HRM for Strength Training

Aside from cardio, my HRM also tells me my heart rate during any strength training exercises. Before my polar watch it was always a mystery to know how many calories I burned, or what my heart rate was during strength training exercises. By knowing your heart rate during strength training you can establish interval workouts and learn how your body responds to certain stress.

The Only Negative

Learning about your body’s heart rate and calorie expenditure is a great advantage to achieving any fitness goals you have in mind. However, it’s easy to become obsessed with the amount of calories you burn. Use the watch with healthy goals in mind. Remember that calories are energy and obsessing over the calories in and out of your body can not only lead to stress but unhealthy habits.

Check out the Polar website!