In The Flesh

These harsh winds,

and their bone cold fingers,

can take us,

forcefully,

in their clutches,

and strip us bare 

of our juicy-ness.

Flesh

We can't let that happen.

We need our flesh ripe and soft,

our hair shining,

our glow undimmed.

My Loves, here are my five most potent, yet simple Winter rituals to restore your shimmer, and make sure the tides of sensuality rise ever-so-high, even when the mercury plummets. Even if you don't live in a harsh clime, you lucky little devil, these are purrfect tips for any dry environment.

GET STEAMY. If you don't have a humidifier in your Lair, go out and get one. Immediately. They range in prices and functionality, but you can pick up a little portable one that gets it done for about $60US. It's worth it. (Look for the kind that gives off a cool air mist - you'll sleep like a baby.)

Why? Because dry, stagnant indoor air drains precious moisture from you, inside and out. Not only does it leave your hair brittle, your skin parched, and your lips cracked, but it also dries out your sinuses, leading to a full-on bout of sniffling, congested grossness. Sinuses, you see, are fickle things. When enough moisture isn't naturally produced, they take the reins and begin to produce it themselves, putting you on the fast train to a never-ending cycle of stuffy-head misery. To hell with that. Use your new best friend the humidifier (I've dubbed mine "Froggy" for the little bullfrog sounds it occasionally makes) as an essential oil diffuser, and you've got what you need to add aromatherapeutic divinity to the air. Try a few drops of eucalyptus to clear nasal passages, chamomile and lavender to help you sleep, peppermint or citrus to get you moving, or something extra sexy like frankencense to spice things up in any room.

Your animal familiars will love it too. My felines  like to lie at the end of the bed with the mist rising behind them. In a dim light, it looks like they're in front of a dry ice machine. Hilarious little rockstars.

BLESSED NAKEDNESS. Now, more than ever, we have to take special care to keep our skin soft, touchable, gorgeous. Even under many pounds of clothing, isn't it our delicious secret weapon? 

The tendency is, of course, to shower or bathe in scalding water just to get the chill off, then rush madly into a strange dance with a towel so we can get back into our swaddling layers before the cold air hits us. This will never do for our Goddess (and God) selves. We need to connect with our bodies, especially during these frigid months of covering up like mad.

Here are a few little ticks I employ: Let a space heater work its magic in the bathroom 10-15 minutes before you enter. (And, yes, shut it off before you start running your bath water.) The warm steam will rise and fill the air, taking over where the heater left off. I like to warm my towels and my robe on the radiators while I'm in, reminiscent of those fantastic towel heaters in UK hotel bathrooms. (Why are these not standard features in every bathroom?)  Soak for a while in very warm water, but compensate by adding lush oils to your bath, then further up the moisturizing magic by coating your skin twice daily (do the space heater thing in the morning also, to get the chill out of the room) in a lush body butter you can make in no time at all...

Naked Body Butter

Naked Body Butter

At room temperature, this should keep at least a month. If it gets melty, just refrigerate. You can find the butters online, just shop around for the best deal, as it changes. 

  • 1/2 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 C shea butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 C cocoa butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 13-30 drops essential oils

Combine the coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter in a small saucepan on a gentle flame. Allow it all to melt slowly as you stir it, sending beautiful energy into your potion. When everything is melted and combined, remove it from heat. Mix in your vitamin E and essential oils. Pour it into a bowl, and chill in the fridge for two hours.

Now the fun part: Take a hand mixer and WHIP IT! Once you get a fluffy consistency, you'll know it's ready. Spoon it into pretty jars...your skin is waiting...

WHAT YOU PUT INSIDE.  Hydration begins and sustains by what you choose to eat and drink. It's so easy to forget to drink enough water in the cold weather, but, Beauties, you absolutely MUST. Make sure you are getting at least a few good glasses of pure water in every day. Add some high quality, food-grade essential oils (see end of post) to your glass to keep it interesting. My faves? Lemon, wild orange, and grapefruit. Instead of going for that second (or sixth) cup of coffee, consider that caffeine is dehydrating, and dehydration causes fatigue, creating a vicious cycle. Oh, and it's hell on your complexion. Drink water instead. 

You can also hydrate from within by adding chia, fresh aloe, and coconut water to your shake elixirs, which you drink every day...right?

Hot, brothy soups and herbal teas also have a dual function: not only are they warming and nourishing food medicine, but they also open up and moisturize the sinus/nasal/bronchial passages and clear the way, fighting colds and other horrid nonsense. We have no time for that.

FACE IT. Your sweet faced is exposed to the elements, all the time. This is particularly ravaging during Winter months, when most of us forget to wear sunscreen, or skimp on the moisturizers. My fave products for giving good face are:

Shikai Borage Oil Hand Cream (Travel Size)- This is precious. It's inexpensive and potent as hell. Borage oil penetrates, feeding your cells directly with a major Omega-6 fatty oil called gamma linolenic acid, which lets skin retain its moisture. I use it not only on my hands, but on my face before heading out into the elements. These tiny tubes are so affordable, you can stash one pretty much anywhere. Bonus: It can repair chapped lips gloriously. Magic Bonus: Borage brings courage those who carry or wear it.

Derma E BB Cream - This goes on top: light and dewy, with a subtle foundation effect and a 25 SPF. It's so good, I use it all year long!

Acure Organics Seriously Firming Facial Serum - Ohhh, this is a most delightful potion! Day or night, alone or under a moisturizer, this baby is about to become your intimate friend. You two will have sensual rituals together every day.  Its velvet texture and your flesh were meant to be together, to revel in a dew-like glow of complexion purrfection...

 Acure Organics Eye CreamAnother gem from the alchemists at Acure. Stimulating new cell growth (!) while delicately drenching your eye area with feather-light moisture. You'll look so refreshed, people will think you actually slept last night. You're welcome.

HAIR TODAY... Tresses get hit hardest of all it seems. The constant in and out of dry indoor heat and cold outdoor moisture forces the hair shaft to expand and contract at a maddening pace. It's exhausting. And it weakens hair. You can condition to your heart's content, but you still need reinforcements.

My secrets? Always, always, always cover your hair when you are going in and out of doors. It helps. A hood, a scarf, even a hat if you pile the bulk of your hair into it. It will protect the outer layer from damage, and keep you warm.

Second, you cannot have enough moisture on the ends. I'm in lust right now with Holistix Light Argan Oil Treatment. You know I've been obsessed with argan oil forever, but oils in general can weigh hair down. I've got a massive mane, but the strands themselves are quite fine, especially around the face, and can get lank and gooey all-too-easily. If your hair is coarse, go for the straight oil. But if you have a medium-to-fine texture, this is it. 

Lastly, whenever I can get away with it, I coat my ends with conditioner, and make multiple braids. My weapon of choice is Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Stem Cell Conditioner, assuring my mane of not only intense conditioning, but protecting it with a layer of heavenly-scented armor. Bonus: when you take them out at night you look like a Norse goddess. *wink*

And on that note,

I will leave you to beautify and hydrate yourselves,

while I consult the runes...

All my love, always.

xxx Alise

P.S. All the essential oils I've mentioned can be found here, in their absolute highest quality. ENJOY!

The March Hair

"The March Hair will be much the most interesting,

and perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad –

at least not so mad as it was in March."

I am taking some artistic license with my friend Alice here,

for just a moment.

It is not yet May, but the Hair is indeed raving mad after a long winter, being tossed about by fierce winds, stripped of moisture by dry indoor heat, and ravaged by raging outdoor chills. It's enough to make us eschew reality, and stay forever in eternal Tea Time.

(and, yes, I will be hosting that Mad Tea Party very soon...hint...hint #2)

But for now, let's deal with our tangled and tattered Winter tresses, shall we?

To greet Spring with a magnificent mane, I'm going to spill a few secrets...

Begin Anew

Get rid of all the dead stuff. Go for a new cut with a pro, or DIY at home, but get rid of the split, stringy, over-tired bits. I cannot sit still in a salon chair, so I have a habit (okay, it's a little more of an obsession) of snipping rough ends on an almost weekly basis, especially in Winter. It's astounding how ratty your hair can get in a short period of time! I know it's not exactly even all over, but really...I don't care. It's healthy. And if I accidentally do something weird, I just say it's "layered."

Masque

Mmmmm! Coconut oil and avocado. Should we eat it, or slather it in our hair? Both! Super beauty fats like these should be a part of our everyday dining for sure, but let's play with our food a bit...

Here is an easy and insanely great hair masque that adds luster to dry hair, it gets rid of flaking and dandruff, and it keeps your hair safe from the sun, which can be just as damaging to your hair as it is to your skin.  

Gently heat 1-2 Tbsp (depending on your length and texture) of coconut oil on the stove for about 10 seconds, then massage it into your hair from the roots to the tips. While it sets in, mash up a very ripe avocado until you end up with a smooth paste. Now massage the avocado into just the tips of your hair. Let the mixture set for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and shampoo as usual. Make sure the paste is very smooth, and the fruit very ripe, otherwise you will be dealing with a chunky guacamole on your head...not so much on the easy rinsing. And don't forget to apply it only to the tips. You can do this once a week if you like. 

Shampoo & Conditioner

I've recently hit the hair jackpot with this pair of aces: Acure Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner. I am loving them!!! Lots of volume, shine, and light but potent conditioning make this such an awesome duo. With quinoa protein, babassu oil, and echinacea stem cells for promoting cellular regeneration at the root level...how awesome is that? My hair, no matter what I use, has always required a boat-load of detangler every day. But guess what? I haven't used a drop since I got on board with these! Bonus: as with their entire line, a little goes a long way, so in addition to being the best hair products I've found anywhere, they're very kind to your wallet.

Styling

I've been through endless styling-product phases, all aimed at one thing: the amplification of my natural state of bed-head. Going cruelty-free and natural narrows this field down significantly, unfortunately, to the tune of some pretty lousy concoctions. I've tried literally every mousse and spray in health food store existence, and I'm always tossing them, due to sticky gross ineptitude. Then along comes my shining star: Acure Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo. I'm telling you, this company knows. I use the teeniest bit of powder in the root of the crown, give it a little fingertip massage, and oh yesssss...the hair that says, "did she just...?" 

No tacky residue, no powdered-wig weirdness, and no reason to wash it with actual shampoo four hours later, as every other dry shampoo despairs. 

Now, my Loves, that we're all giggly,  tossing our revitalized manes about like lionesses, let's remember the first tenet of beauty: It comes from within. On so many levels.

So, last, but never least...

Diet

Remember what the Doormouse said? Feed your head.

The absolute key to awesome hair is what you put into your body.

I'm talking lots of raw organic fruits and veggies, beauty fats (like avocado, coconut oil, nuts), lean plant proteins (spirulina, chlorella, hemp, chia), fermented foods (kombucha, raw sauerkraut, kimchee, sour pickles, miso)...and, of course, some cooked goodies in there for good measure and pure pleasure...

Here's to a full head of glossy tresses,

a happy heart,

and a f**king amazing weekend!

Love and flowers,

xxx Alise

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