Friday, June 12, 2009

5 Nourishing, Natural Ingredients

Natural ingredients feature a host of surprising skin benefits. Many add hydration, protect the skin from damage and speed up healing. Learn about some of these ingredients and how you can incorporate them into your skincare routine.
5 Nourishing, Natural Ingredients

1. Lavender

Known for its therapeutic properties, lavender essential oil is also antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal. Plus, it’s said to promote a calm and sound sleep.

Skin benefits:

* Lavender essential oil speeds cell turnover to repair and replenish skin, especially following a burn or trauma.

* Lavender can also benefit acne, small cuts or bruises, burns, fatigue and stress.

Find it in:

* To get your daily dose of lavender, try Ole Henriksen Lavender Body Oil. Slather it on for skin softening, hydration and a pleasant, relaxing scent.

* ExerginC Lavender Toner calms skin and balances pH levels.

* Sundari Lavender Moisturizer for Dry Skin replenishes hydration and defends skin against free radicals.

2. Macadamia nut oil

Macadamia nut oil is known as one of the healthiest oils, becoming a staple in many households. In topical treatments, it helps to retain moisture and protect the skin.

Skin benefits:

* Macadamia nut oil is rich in palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that’s similar to skin’s natural sebum. So, it’s an excellent moisturizer.

* It’s especially helpful for mature skin, because sebum production diminishes as we age, contributing to dryness.

* Macadamia nut oil is a potent antioxidant. Because it contains vitamins E and A, it’s a key factor in protecting skin from damage and signs of aging.

Find it in:

* SkinCeuticals Emollience hydrates and protects dry, irritated skin.

* Because nut oil penetrates quickly, it’s a superior base for body moisturizers, like Pevonia Nymphea Dry Oil Body Moisturizer.

3. Shea butter

Another superior natural hydrator is shea butter, also known as karite, because it comes from seeds of the karite tree.

Skin benefits:

* Because it’s an emollient, shea butter helps the skin retain moisture, so the skin is super-soft.

* Shea butter encourages skin repair by helping to heal wounds, burns and other skin injuries.

Find it in: You’ve got loads of options. Shea butter is a go-to ingredient in shower gels, body creams and hair care products.

* L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Cream Bath is perfect for sensitive skin. Add it to your bath and then enjoy the soft fragrance and hydration.

* Slather on L’Occitane Shea Butter Body Lotion with vitamins A, B, C and E for a moisture burst.

* Frederic Fekkai Shea Butter Moisturizing Shampoo hydrates dry, hard-to-control hair, making it more manageable.

* Follow with Frederic Fekkai Moisturizing Conditioner to remove tangles and smooth your hair.

4. Olive oil

In addition to being a staple in healthy diets, olive oil also helps protect the skin from damage, strengthen nails and deeply moisturize the skin and hair.

Skin benefits:

* Similar to vitamin E, olive oil’s polyphenols are potent antioxidants. They combat free radical damage, caused by pollution, environmental stressors and UV exposure.

* Got over-processed hair and dry, split ends? An olive oil treatment can help treat damaged tresses. To nourish the hair, try this treatment: Massage a few teaspoons of olive oil into your hair and scalp; cover with a plastic cap; let the olive oil soak in for about 30 minutes and rinse well.

* Are your nails brittle and prone to breaking? Soak them in a bowl of olive oil, which “can help new nails grow in stronger,” writes Elizabeth Einstein in Allure.

Find it in:

* L’Occitane Olive Harvest Olive Radiance Moisturizing Cream features pure olive oil, olive water and beeswax to hydrate and soften the skin.

* Korres Olive and Rye Night Cream is a rich moisturizer that’s ideal for mature skin.

5. Lemon

This zesty fruit might taste tart, but it’s very sweet for your skin and hair. It exfoliates the skin and highlights and deep cleanses the hair.

Skin benefits:

* Because it contains alpha hydroxy acid, lemon essential oil can effectively exfoliate and clarify the skin. It removes dry, dead skin cells that clog pores and create a dull complexion.

* Lemon juice can also add blonde highlights to hair. To try this, apply several drops to wet hair before spending time in the sun. However, be aware that natural highlights with lemon juice aren’t right for everyone. Women with chemically-treated blonde hair should skip lightening with lemon juice — it could lead to brassy tones.

* Is your hair extremely greasy? Lemon juice also acts as a natural cleanser. After shampooing, try this lemon rinse recipe to thoroughly cleanse the hair and scalp: Steep a few cut lemons in just-boiled water and let it cool to room temperature. Then, strain and pour over your hair. Be careful to avoid the eyes. Rinse completely and follow with a hydrating conditioner.


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