I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Vitamins and Supplements I Purchase Again and Again

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: The Vitamins and Supplements I Purchase Again and Again

Raise your hand if you eat a well balanced, inclusive diet? What about eating the full recommended daily servings of fruits? Veggies?…no? Me either.

Whether it be a hectic lifestyle, or a picky palette, some of us aren’t getting all of the vitamins and nutritional benefits that our bodies need to perform at its best. But don’t panic, it’s okay. There’s help.

Ideally, doctors and nutritionists say that we should be eating our vitamins and minerals. Good for them. I like french fries. And sometimes, I don’t eat 6 small meals a day (I rarely am able to do this). Sometimes, medications wipe out my appetite for days. Other times, I just have a craving for one thing, and I’ll eat it obsessively for four days straight before moving on to other things. And then sometimes, I’m on prednisone and will inhale everything in sight (good or bad). My lifestyle could definitely be healthier. I’m working on it.

It’s because of this unhealthy fluctuation that I take my vitamins and supplements seriously. I don’t feel guilt about needing and taking the extra help, because something is better than nothing in this case. Stalling my vitamins is better than not getting them at all. But I don’t go overboard. I take enough medicine so I try to keep the ingestion of vitamins to a very strategic minimum. Read on for the top 3 vitamins/supplements that I always make sure are stocked up:

*Disclaimer: I have consulted my physicians, and you should to, before beginning a new vitamin or supplement regimen. These are my personal opinions and are catered to my needs; this is not meant to be or take the place of medical advice* 

Sundown Naturals Cherry Flavored Vitamin B-12, $12.13, Amazon

Courtesy: Sundown Naturals/Amazon

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which very simply means that Lupus has gradually worn down my thyroid and it is now under active. This can cause weight gain, fatigue and just a general feeling of not having enough energy (among other symptoms). I’ve tried many Vitamin B supplements, but this is the only one that I have tried that has made me feel even remotely better. I’m still sluggish, but less so when I am taking these consistently. And the great thing about this is that it’s dissolvable and tastes like cherries!

Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Formula, Lemon Flavor, $22.07, Amazon

Courtesy: Nordic Naturals

I can’t explain to you how much persuading it took for me to even try this. My doctor had recommended it for its overall benefits (heart, cognition, etc.) but also because my joint pain was getting gradually worse. I heard the word “fish oil” and balked, almost completely shutting him down. I had all the excuses, the most amusing being: “I don’t want to smell fishy.” He was ready for them all and even told me how his children take the kids version and actually looked forward to it everyday. His children. Little people were taking this with no complaints and there I was looking at him like he’d grown another head. I bought the smallest bottle I could find that same day and reluctantly agreed to take it for 30 days–as a trial (because I’m still in control after all!). That was years ago. I take this almost everyday (I forget a lot of days because it’s behind a close cupboard door) and while my joint health hasn’t substantially improved, it hasn’t substantially deteriorated either. It’d be probably be a lot better if I could just remember every single day to take it. Add this to wellness resolutions ;)

On a side note: the version I take is a liquid/ointment consistency and you take it by the spoonful. However, I’ve just recently been alerted that this also comes in capsule form and the capsules are actually a combination of Omega-3 and vitamin D. So, I’m probably going to give those a try. Drop me a comment if you’d like me to share my thoughts.

Olly Women’s Super Foods Multivitamin, $16, Target

Courtesy: Olly

Confession: I hate the way these taste. They taste terrible to me. However, they’re $16, and they contain super foods. So, because I didn’t want to waste money and because they contain ingredients that I need, I started and finished this. And because I felt a mild improvement over all, I keep purchasing this and holding my noise when I go to take my daily allotment. Is it magic? No clue. But probably not. They’re just good vitamins. Maybe not good, effective is the right word. It’s fine. It does the job, but I don’t have to like it.

3 supplements. Once a day. Lifetime of benefits.

If you feel you’re lacking in the vitamin department, I’d encourage you to see a physician, have your levels checked and if you’re in fact in need of anything, do talk to your doctor about how you can address this and help keep your body in its best condition.

Do you have any fave vitamins and supplements? Let me know in the comments below. You know I’m curious!

Talk soon, xo-Layla

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The 6 Products I’m Using Obsessively To Keep My Skin Hydrated This Winter

The 6 Products I’m Using Obsessively To Keep My Skin Hydrated This Winter

(Bring this with you on your next beauty shopping trip!)

Winter isn’t inherently evil. Sometimes it’s beautiful (first snowfall), and sometimes it’s it’s just got annoying bits to it (when first snowfall leads to next snowfall, and the next…)

But however you may feel about Winter, we can all agree that it can wreak total havoc on our skin, from head to toe. Between the indoor heating that sucks moisture from the air, and the freezing temperatures that can make your skin dry, chapped, cracked and otherwise uncomfortable, our skin has got its work cut out for itself.

But I’m not going down without a fight. So, keep reading to my personal winter weather skin arsenal. It’s relatively easy and all but one of the products are under $20!

Now, these are not in the order of my love and preference, but rather the order in which I apply them, let’s get into it:

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk, $28, Sephora

Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk
 Courtesy: Clinique/Sephora

I originally purchased this product after a particularly rough bout of dry, rash ridden skin. It was so sensitive to the the touch and this creamy makeup remover/cleanser felt like a calming dream. You apply this dry, massage it over your face and then add a bit of water to your hands and massage again. Then, rinse off and feel refreshed. It’s pricey, and honestly, after I’m done with this product, I’m most likely try a drugstore equivalent (Yes To Cucumbers makes one that’s got me curious), but for now it’s what I have and I don’t want to waste product, and it’s wildly effective. If you have Ultra Sensitive skin, skip the drugstore and go for this tried and true allergy-free formula. The cost is worth it for peace of mind and it lasts you quite a while because you only need a little at a time to do a big cleansing job.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (Mini Tube), $12, Sephora

First Aid Repair Cream Mini Tube
Courtesy:                                 First Aid Beauty/Sephora

I have the full size tube of this cream. It’s fantastic. I first got hooked on First Aid Beauty through a few samples that were included in an online Sephora order. Ever since then? Nothing but my complete devotion. Don’t get me wrong, Clinique is a classic when it comes to tending to sensitive skin, but First Aid Beauty is innovative in the way it caters to the same market. Products like oatmeal masks, lip exfoliants, glycolic peel pads, serums, firming sleeping cream, and body lotion mists (just to name a few), there truly is something for everyone. You can read about their lip hydration set here.

This cream comes in a variety of formulas and packaging. Their tub boasts intense hydration, which must be superhuman level because their plain old tube is incredibly hydrating already. I prefer tubes because I feel they are more sanitary. You can use this cream any time of the day for a non-greasy, heavy dose of hydrating and soothing goodness.

Boots Hydration Burst 3 in 1 Micellar Cleanser, $6.69, Target

Courtesy: Boots/Target

I will forever sing the praises of Micellar Water, the gentle, effective way to remove makeup and cleanse your skin, without leaving it stripped, dry or tight after. This particular formula is for dehydrated and sensitive skin, which I think can be anyone during winter. Bonus points for being alcohol-free. All you need is a cotton pad and 2 minutes, then you’re good to go! Double bonus points for also being available at Walgreens (although not in every location sadly).

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, $5-12, Ulta

Courtesy: Mario Badescu/Amazon

The only thing that I might be more obsessed with than sheet masks are facial mists and sprays. I love the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist ($18, Sephora), but sometimes a girl’s gotta skip the fancy packaging and go the the simple ingredients that just work. 

This mist is the quintessential basic but better situation. 3 soothing ingredients, all packed together to give you a refreshing, completely saturating dose of moisture and hydration. This mist comes in other varieties, including lavender and rose water, but when it comes to perking up dry, irritated skin, this aloe, cucumber and green tea combination cannot be beat. Bonus points for being available in a $5 (!!) travel size so you can mist and refresh throughout the day.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Body Oil, $6.99, Walgreens

Courtesy: Palmer’s/Walgreens

I have tried so many lotions. So. Many. Only one has been able to provide the kind of hydration my skin needs year round but especially in the winter. Problem is, it’s pretty rich and after applying, I experience muscle aches and pains and need to lay down (#LupusSucks). So I decided to cut myself a break and find something easier to apply that would still moisturize my skin for a full day. Heellooo body oils. I was first thinking about almond, grapeseed or argan oil. But, on a quick trip to Walgreens, I discovered this product. For the price, I was willing to give it a try and not love it. I tried it. I don’t love it, but it does a nice job so I’m definitely not complaining. Instant hydration? Check. Greasy skin? Nope, not here. Smooth and soft? Double check. The caveat here is that coconut oil can be cosmogenic (that is, pore clogging). I wasn’t too worried about this because I use a soap that mildly exfoliates everyday. If you don’t or can’t exfoliate regularly, I would think twice about using coconut oil on your skin. If you need recommendations on alternatives, drop a comment below.

And last but certainly not least…

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Treatment, $8.99, Ulta

Courtesy: Neutrogena/Ulta

…this surprisingly good lip product. I’ve already hit bottom in one area of this pot. Don’t let the color fool you, this super hydrating balm goes on completely clear. It has a bit of slip at first but seems to thicken a bit when applied and sinks into your lips beautifully. I use in the morning before applying any other lip products and before bed as a lip mask. Put this on and allow some time for this to naturally go to work and do its thing. The best part about this treatment is that it doesn’t make you feel like you need constant application. One application, twice a day will do you just nicely.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post and find it helpful. Please feel free to comment below with any questions. And I’d love to hear how you protect and hydrate your skin in the winter too.

Talk soon-

xo, Layla

 

 

 

Head to Toe: My Fave Exfoliators

Head to Toe: My Fave Exfoliators

How long is your daily body care routine? Does it change on the weekend when you (presumably) have more time? My body care routine is about 30 minutes on weekdays. On weekends? All bets are off. I get to luxuriate and it’s fantastic. Self-care is important and it can look like anything to anyone. For me, weekends are for the additional at-home spa moment. Whether it’s a calming shower or bath, followed by a rich moisturizer before I go back to bed, or it’s a DIY manicure and/or pedicure, it’s all important and it all feels absolutely wonderful. Whatever your energy level allows, do it.

One of my most loved things to do is to exfoliate head to toe while I’m in the shower, when I step out I feel like a new, pampered person. Keep reading for the products that I use, and love:

Face: 

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $3.99 for 1 Fl. Oz, Target 

This is one of my newest facial scrubs, I think I received the trial size (1 fl. oz) as part of a Target Beauty Box. No matter how it came to me, I’m just glad it did. This is a nice scrub for the face, but it requires a light hand, as it can be too abrasive if you scrub your face with too much pressure. Just a light, circling motion will do you just fine. And yes, your face instantly looks a little brighter after rinsing off.

Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion, $21-40, Origins 

Not one of my most beloved scrubs and I think it could be more gentle, especially since the word is included in its title and packaging, but it’s effective. This is your pick if you are more mindful of ingredients, environmental impact, and the like.

Derma-E Anti-Wrinke Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub, $13.99, Ulta  

I don’t use this scrub often, but I do like it when I use it and I have a feeling that with its specific targeting towards wrinkles, I’ll be using it more and more (hello, year 29). Give this a go, if you’re starting to see wrinkles in places on your face that you’re not okay with (for me, I’m okay with laugh lines, forehead wrinkles though? No, thanks)

Hands:

Just A Minute 60-Second Manicure Scrub, $12, Bath and Body Works 

This citrus fragranced, sugar scrub isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice treat to have around. Your hands take a beating daily from all of the touching, shaking, washing, typing, etc. Keep the skin on your hands looking young, and bright by using this about once a week, and following it with a rich, creamy lotion or oil.

Body:

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish, $13.99, Target  

I had been hearing about this sugar exfoliator for months before I decided to finally give it a try. That was almost a year ago, and I have literally used every ounce of this gentle, moisturizing product since first trying it. It took a little getting used to, as my skin is typically dry and itchy and so I was unsure of how often I should use this, but once I got the hang of it and starting using it once weekly, my skin began to rebel less and become less dry and itchy, and it holds moisture much longer. If you have dry, sensitive, itchy or otherwise timid skin, sugar exfoliators are going to be your go-to, leave the salt scrubs alone. Your skin will thank you.  Also, I have to mention this scrub’s scent, which is the brand’s Original Pink fragrance and includes bergamot, mandarin, rose, peach, strawberry, jasmine, and a few other yummy notes. You’ll be hooked immediately.

Shea Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub, $7-$24.00, The Body Shop 

If you’re like me and sometimes want something more less fragrant (this smells faintly like the Shea nut it is derived from), and more down to earth, then this is the sugar scrub for you. Also, for the sensitive or irritate skin types, this scrub gets the job down with no fuss. It’s also moisturizing, although less than the Soap & Glory polish, so you’ll have to be ready to hop out of the shower, apply another moisturizer and lock it in before your skin has a chance to fully dry. If you’re looking for a way to try out sugar exfoliators, this is a good introduction as you can purchase a small size (1.7 fl.oz) for only $7. Can’t beat that!

Feet: 

Earth Therapeutics Refreshing Foot Scrub, $4.96, Walmart 

I use this in the shower, even though the directions explicitly tell you to use this on dry feet. The shower is easier for me. This is great for use in between professional pedicures to keep your feet from becoming too dry, cracked and crusty–not cute in warm weather, sandal season. This scrub is quick and easy. Note: if you use this on dry feet, as directed, then you may experience some tingling as it contains peppermint and tea tree oil. That’s normal, but of course, if you feel uncomfortable in any way, rinse your feet, and find something more soothing for your dogs.

Those are my exfoliator picks, I hope you enjoyed reading about them and that you’ll give one, two or a few, a chance. How often do you give your body a fresh skin start? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Talk soon, xo-Layla
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No More Scrubs: What You Need To Know About Microbeads

No More Scrubs: What You Need To Know About Microbeads

woman-washing-her-face

I love exfoliating: just the idea of scrubbing and rinsing away old, dead skin to reveal newer, younger more glowing skin is my happy place. I know that scrubbing too hard is certainly bad for your skin (it creates lots of mini tears) but I never gave a second thought to those helpful little beads in many common exfoliating products on shelves everywhere.

Welp, leave it to CNN (and other news sources) to burst my very pink, rosy cloud of ignorance. On January 8, 2013 (I know, why is this JUST becoming a huge story??!!) CNN posted a story online about Unilever, the manufacturers of Dove, Vaseline, Pond’s and other popular personal care products announced that it’d be phasing out the use of microbeads as marine science researchers have found them to be harmful to environment (just think about and google what happens when your exfoliator rinses down the drain.)

Wait! Don’t panic: you can still exfoliate your way to glowing, healthy skin. Here are some alternatives–sans microbeads:

  • Origins Never A Dull Moment Face Polisher, $27, Origins locations and origins.com
  • Palmer’s Gentle Exfoliating Scrub, $9, Drugstores nationwide
  • Alba Natural AcneDote Face and Body Scrub, $7, Drugstores nationwide
  • Mario Badescu Almond and Honey Scrub, $15, Ulta and mariobadescu.com

Will you be switching out some products in your routine now? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Scrubbing!

xo, Layla

Product Review: Weleda Skin Food

Product Review: Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Skin Food
Weleda Skin Food

Wintertime is definitely getting the best of my skin. This has been the worst winter for my skin so far, and I feel for it. I mean seriously: I’ve been moisturizing double and triple time and there are still stubborn dry patches.

I’ve heard about Weleda’s Skin Food for a while, and I hear it’s a great favorite of none other than Julia Roberts, so while shopping at my local co-op I decided to just pick it up and give it a try. What the heck right? I picked up the smallest bottle my store had available: 1 fl. oz. and it retailed for about $11.99.

My first impression of this was entirely about its smell: it has a semi strong scent of herbs and hemp. If you’re used to slathering your moisturizer on, the smell may be a huge turn off as it gets stronger if you squeeze a lot of product out (duh, I know, but I felt I had to say it anyway)

Weleda says that Skin Food is “for dry and rough skin such as on hands, feet, and elbows.” This is a very thick moisturizer so I would stick to its intended use to a T, otherwise you’re almost guaranteeing your personal disappointment.

I especially use it on my elbows and it works wonders. It clears my dry patches right away and locks the moisture (via essential fatty acids and Vitamin E) in all day and night. I don’t have to reapply until my next shower, and even then it’s never as dry as it was before my first use.

Overall, I like this product. The only downside is the smell but I can get over it: it goes away pretty quickly.

I’d give this product a thumbs up.

If you’re experiencing really dry hands, feet and/or elbows: I would definitely give this a whirl.

xo, Layla