Olive Oil Basics

Olive oil can prove quite beneficial to the skin, since it is rich in all kinds of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins which are great for the body, whether you choose to eat it, or use it on your skin.

Among the natural antioxidants to be found in olive oil, there are A and E vitamins, as well as some polyphenols, well-known for their ability to postpone aging. By taking out free radicals, freed in the body, these special agents are guaranteed to prolong your life, as they contribute to cell repair. The same thing is valid when you apply olive oil on your skin. As you may well know, our skin is many times exposed to pollution and other factors that cause it to grow older. By caring for skin with olive oil, you will limit the actions of these factors, and enjoy a beautiful skin for a long time.

Olive oil also contains a natural moisturizer, called squalene. Sebum is what makes our skin too greasy, but squalene has the incredible ability of regulating its secretion. This means that, when used on your skin, the sebum will be reduced, and you will experience less skin problems than before.

Another nutrient that exists in olive oil is chlorophyll. This helps a great deal in healing wounds and other scars. Acne blemishes will be nothing but a bad dream, after you apply plenty of olive oil on your skin.

    From http://www.oliveoilbenefits.org/olive-oil-for-skin/

Olive oil skin care is pursued by those individuals who are looking for a natural way to take care of their skin. There are many products manufactured with artificial ingredients for skin care. Some of these are great because they target specific skin problems. However, many of these products are cheaply made with poor quality ingredients and often do not do anything to promote proper skin health. In addition, such products may do more harm than good.

For this reason, many people are looking at the use of olive oil and olive oil skin products as a natural way to make and keep their skin healthy. Olive oil benefits for the body are well advertised, but what about the olive oil benefits for the skin?

Olive oil can be used in a skin care regiment in a number of ways.

  • As a bath oil. Substitute regular bath oil with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
  • As a skin moisturizer. Apply olive oil to dry skin on any body part (face, elbows, feet, etc.) to help the skin regain its natural oil balance. Olive oil can be added to many of the natural facial home recipes that exist. When combined with some sugar, olive oil makes a great hand exfoliant and moisturizer.
  • As a night cream. When combined with vinegar and water in equal proportions, olive oil will soften and moisturize the skin as you sleep. The vinegar acts to lighten skin discolorations and helps to exfoliate the skin.
  • Olive oil has antioxidant properties and thus protects the skin from those harmful and damaging free radicals. It is beneficial in slowing the aging signs such as fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Olive oil can be used as a lip balm, hair moisturizer, nail soak, dandruff treatment, etc.
  • Some research has indicated that applying olive oil on the skin after being in the sun may help reduce the damage caused by sun exposure.
  • Other potential benefits of olive oil as an olive oil skin care product include: treatment of – minor skin wounds, eczema, and psoriasis.

 
Whether you purchase olive oil skin products or mix up your own olive oil skin care recipes, your skin will benefit. Always look for extra virgin olive oil or organic extra virgin olive oil in olive oil skin care products or when formulating your own olive oil skincare recipes. Pure or light olive oil is likely chemically processed and would be lacking the beneficial skin care elements.

From: http://www.healthy-skincare.com/olive-oil-skin-care.html

US Standards for Grades of Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil

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8 Surprising Uses for Olive Oil

8 Surprising Uses for Olive Oil

Olive oil has many valuable uses beyond cooking, from personal care to home improvement, natural remedies and beyond.

By Brian Clark Howard

Olive Oil

Olive oil is more than a cartoon character, historic symbol of peace and glory or food staple of the much-vaunted Mediterranean diet. It is actually tremendously useful stuff, finding applications in personal care, home improvement, green cleaning, natural remedies and other areas.

It’s long been reported that there are a number of health benefits of olive oil. As a foodstuff it has a high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids, which studies show promote “good” cholesterol (HDL) while lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Olive oil is also known to be gentle on the digestive system, and even may help prevent gallstones and soothe ulcers. Good quality olive oil contains valuable vitamins and nutrients, and it is loaded with antioxidants, which many believe help protect the body from cancer.

These days there are an increasing array of organic and boutique olive oils offered for sale, some of them quite pricey. In general, the less processed an oil the more nutrients it contains, although the more expensive it tends to be. “Extra virgin” olive oil comes from the first pressing of olives, and retains the most flavor and aroma. Most better brands are also advertised as “cold pressed,” meaning they aren’t heated up beyond room temperature during processing. Unsurprisingly, high heat can damage the flavor and nutrients in the oil. “Virgin” olive oil generally comes from the second pressing. Cheaper brands sold as “regular” or “pure” olive oil are made with chemical refining and filtering, which standardize and neutralize flavors and acid contents. They have lower nutrient levels as a result.

To help protect the fragile environments of the Mediterranean and elsewhere, it’s a good idea to buy organic olive oil when you can. It also will tend to be of high quality and flavor, great for spaghetti, oven-roasted vegetables, fresh salads and many other dishes.

It’s true that you won’t be consuming the olive oil in a number of the uses below, and part of the point of this post is to help you save money by suggesting alternative uses to things you already have, so you don’t have to make a trip to the store and buy some additional products to get the job done. Therefore, we’d understand if you preferred to use the cheapest, lowest-grade oils for some of these tips. You probably aren’t going to crack open that vintage bottle of herb-infused oil your aunt brought you back from Tuscany in the event that you have a squeaky door. But since readers seemed to find everyday alternative uses for vodka, vinegar and ketchup useful, we thought we’d look into olive oil:

1. Get Healthy Skin (And Fight Cancer!)
People have used olive oil for centuries for personal care. It is a great skin moisturizer, in part because it contains linoleic acid, a compound not made by the body, but which prevents water from evaporating. According to Leslie Baumann, M.D., author of The Skin Type Solution, consuming olives and olive oil can promote healthy skin, as can applying it directly as a moisturizer. You can also add a bit of olive oil to a warm bath for a good healthy soak.

Some of the most exciting news, according to Baumann, is that olive oil also contains at least four different antioxidants, which can help “neutralize damaging free radicals that can lead to skin aging and skin cancer.” Baumann writes that in studies mice that drank extra virgin olive oil developed less skin cancer after exposure to UV light.

Olive oil can also provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close shave. As a soothing aftershave, rub in an extra teaspoon of the stuff after rinsing off. In fact, some products from The Art of Shaving are based on olive oil. Similarly, olive oil can soothe chapped lips. Make your own balm by mixing olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ratio (add an essential oil if you want a nice fragrance). According to the handy new Website AltUse, you can moisturize your cuticles by soaking in olive oil mixed with water, or apply olive oil directly to cuticles before applying polish or buffing nails.

2. Tame Tangled and Damaged Hair
Olive oil also has benefits for hair. Comb a bit of the stuff through dry or frizzy hair to help tame and moisturize your locks, especially in winter or on humid days. Olive oil can also provide some relief for damaged hair.

In his new book Clean Body, Zen Cleaner Michael de Jong suggests treating your tresses by kneading a few tablespoons of olive oil into your scalp and hair. “Swathe your oiled-up curls with a shower cap and take a thirty minute breather…snooze, toss back a latté, whatever. Then just shampoo as usual to reveal a refurbished mane that even Fabio would envy,” he writes.

3. Care for Your Cat
Just as Frank and Millie can benefit from grooming with olive oil, so can Fluffy and Mittens. According to curbly.com, add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, as well as promote a shiny, healthy coat. Olive oil is likely to be more gentle on a cat’s system than petroleum-based anti-hairball lubricants. Plus, it has the benefit of coming from a renewable resource, as opposed to oil from the ground.

4. Ease Snoring
Kitties aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of natural lubricating properties of olive oil (yes it can be used as a “personal lubricant,” in case you were wondering). And according to AltUse, taking a sip of olive oil before heading to bed can help lubricate your throat muscles, cutting down on snoring. We won’t tell if you drizzle some extra olive oil on Grandma’s salad the next time she comes to visit!

Others have noted that downing a teaspoon of olive oil can help soothe a scratchy or ticklish throat.

5. Polish Furniture and Metal (and Condition Leather)
Silverware, copper and other metal items can be polished with ketchup or toothpaste. After you’re done rub a bit of olive oil on to prevent streaks, corrosion and tarnish. According to Michael de Jong, to polish your desk, use two parts olive oil mixed with one part lemon juice.

Pour just a few drops on a soft cloth, wipe away the dust, scuffs and fingerprints, and make your desk shine. In fact this technique works well for a range of wooden furniture and objects. You can also condition and revitalize leather goods, such as baseball mitts, by rubbing in olive oil. Let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.

6. Free Stuck Zippers
There are few things more annoying than stuck zippers (remember that episode of Seinfeld when George visits his therapist?). So if you are vexed by this particular problem, break out the olive oil. Swab some of the stuff on the teeth of the zipper, then try gently easing it unstuck. Good luck!

7. Fix Squeaky Doors
Olive oil can actually be used as a lubricant in many applications. It’s safe to keep around the house, so you don’t have to worry about children or pets getting into it. Try it out on squeaky doors, hinges and anywhere else you might consider using WD-40 or another lubricant. While WD-40 may work well, it’s also based on hydrocarbons, so anytime we can use less of those we’re taking a step toward a cleaner world.

8. Cure an Earache
A number of folks swear by olive oil as a natural remedy for earaches. One suggestion is to “very carefully use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.” Another user suggests: heat up some olive oil in a microwave for 30 seconds then apply it to the ear that hurts for relief.

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/olive-oil-benefits-uses-460609#ixzz112TsaCx4

30 days to go (August 5, 2010)

This post was originally scheduled to post on August 5, 2010.

Getting the final details planned and coordinated for our wedding was insane! There were so many things that I let slide to the side… one of those things was this blog.

I had been working on this entry that was to be dated for early August – unfortunately life threw me a few curve balls and I had to focus.

I have 30 days to go! My fiancé and I are marrying on September 4, 2010 and I need to put my final touches on everything.

While I still have a TON of things to do regarding the wedding details and production (which is what a wedding is), I’m also trying to streamline my beauty and workout routine to get the most out of my 30 days left. I’m going to try to update this for 20 days and 10 days left, too.

The first thing I did is create a list (I’m a little anal, lol) of the things I want to get accomplished for my last 30 days. This list does NOT include stuff like body waxing which I consider extra or normal daily routines like facial cleansings. This is just what I do to get myself ready for the wedding.

I broke my list down into daily, every other day, and weekly. If you create a list you might want to do something different.

Daily List
8 Minute Abs 
30 Day Shred Lvl 2 
Shoulder/Arm Exercises 
Moisturize/Oil Cuticles 
Take Biotin & Prenatal Vitamins 
Bleach Teeth 
Corn Huskers w/socks for feet 
Moisturize Hair 

Every Other Day
Shave (legs, etc) 
Full Body Scrub 
Facial Scrub 
Paint Nails w/hardener 
Pumice Stone for feet 

Weekly
Wash Hair 
Deep Condition hair 
Manicure 
Pedicure 
Run/Walk 2 Miles 

My Hair Care Regimen (Caution! This is for people with mature – at least 2+ years – locks. If your dreadlocks are not mature, constant conditioning can unravel your locks by over softening)

I try to moisturize my hair on a regular basis. I’m going to wash, maintain, and set my hair myself for the wedding while my friend and stylist Glenda is going to style my hair. The product I use the most to moisturize my hair currently is Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme. I also love her Rapid Recovery Treatment conditioner. I’ve really got to do reviews on both of those!

Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme

Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Treatment

I love to wash my hair with Carol’s Daughter’s Rosemary Mint Shampoo, apply conditioner and then rinse. I then do a deep condition with Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery Treatment by completely coating my hair, wrapping my hair up with saran wrap, wrapping a small damp towel around that and sitting under a hood dryer for about 1 hour (I’m going to write a post on this process with pictures later).

After I’m done rising out the deep conditioner, I oil my hair lightly with Orofluido Oil and then begin maintenance with Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme. Let dry straight or set and go.

My Exercise Routine

I fully believe that every person needs a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day just to maintain current weight. In order to lose weight, I had to ramp that up a little bit. I need to get about ½” off of my waist for the dress so I can breathe, so… (Update – stress and my crazy workout schedule helped me to lose that extra ½”)

I start with Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred (early mornings, before work). I picked up my copy of the 30DS from Target, but you can also get one at amazon.com for $8.99. I know that everyone has their own weight loss video that they swear by, but I have to say that Jillian gets results. The 30 Day Shred has 3 different levels: 1, 2, and 3. All three levels have someone you can follow in the “easy,” “normal,” and “advanced” difficulties. I started on level 1 and worked my way up to level 2. I don’t think I will make it to level 3 but I’m going to try. (Update: I have tried level 3 several times now – it’s a butt kicker but I did it! I’m more partial to level 2)

Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred

In addition to the 30 Day Shred, I also do 8 Minute Abs. This is an old, old DVD so I’m not always sure of availability. We picked up a copy for $5.00 but I haven’t been able to locate that deal again. It is available at Amazon as well as on YouTube. It is a very simple 8 minute workout for abs and I love it! I don’t always get both workouts in before work, but I do try. Recently, I’ve been slacking off so I’m about to get “Gazelle Intense” on this workout.

8 Minute Abs

I also have a set of arm and shoulder exercises that I do. They are great for toning but they are actually for physical therapy for a neck problem I have. There is one that I really recommend for arms, however. Clueless to the name but here’s the instructions: take a tension band (I’m using yellow) and put a knot in the middle, making two bands. Place the middle knot in a door jamb to secure it at about eye level. Grab both ends of the bands, pulling until you create some tension. Put your arms by your sides in a reverse 90 degree angle (make an “L”), holding your bands in your hands – your hands are like fists. Pull downward on the bands until your arms are straight. Release the tension slowly, bringing your arms back to “L” position. Repeat. I usually do about 30 of these (3 reps of 10).

Nail Care
In the past, I’ve tried both acrylic and gel nails and overlays to have long strong nails. As time went past I realized that the cost and damage associated with these types of procedures turned me off. Typically a full set can run anywhere from $25 – $50 and a fill-in can cost $10-$25 (or more!). This cost repeats itself every TWO WEEKS. If you average the cost out to be $25 per each time – at 26 weeks a year (52/2) you are spending about $650 a year. Wow. Not worth it in my book. In addition to the cost you have to add in the damage that is done to the nail bed due to all the filing and chemicals and lack of air to the nail.

I decided to NOT go down that path. I keep my nails very simply. I try to give myself a home manicure once a week (see my articles on manicures). My nails have a tendency to split and break, so I take prenatal vitamins as well as 1200mcg of Biotin daily. If you want to know more about Biotin, I have an entry about Biotin as well.

In addition to the vitamins, I also try to take good care of my cuticles, too. The major cause of hang nails is dry cuticles. I try to lotion my hands often and apply a cuticle oil at least once a day. If you don’t have a specific cuticle oil, Vitamin E oil works great, too (pure if possible, I get mine from CVS in the medicine section). I like to lotion my hands, use some creamy lotion, push back my cuticles, and then oil my cuticles. When I do this on a consistent basis, I never have hangnails. If I miss more than 3-5 days, hangnails start to appear.

Another thing I do for nail strength is nail polish. I try to paint my nails with a thin coat of clear at least every other day. Of course, I remove the polish weekly, but the coats of polish are great for maintaining strength. A lot of people prefer color, I prefer clear. As an FYI – very dark colors like reds stain the nail after a period of time. ALWAYS USE A BOTTOM COAT, especially with color polishes.

For my feet, I pretty much have the same procedure. In fact, I need to work on my pedicures soon, too. In addition to a regular foot bath I also have a paraffin wax bath [insert link] that is lovely!!! In addition to using the paraffin wax bath, I also like to coat my feet in a layer of Corn Husker’s Lotion before putting on my socks in the morning (and evening if I can remember).

Corn Huskers Lotion

Corn Husker’s Lotion is an old, old treatment for people who do hard work with their hands (i.e. husking corn). It really helps to soften the foot. If you have the patience, wrap your foot in plastic before putting on socks – it will make your feel extra soft! (Update: After all the hard work I did with my feet, when I went to get a pedicure the nail tech destroyed my toes using those damn electric files! She cut into my cuticle and it took weeks to completely heal.)

All Natural Sugar Body Scrubs

I like to try to give myself a body scrub every other day. I began making my own scrubs a while ago in order to control costs (the most simple scrubs costs between $10 and $30 each) and ingredients. When you look at the stuff they put in commercially sold body scrubs…well, This made me look into mixing my own scrubs. I can control the ingredients, all of my ingredients are fresh, and I am 100% sure of the shelf life.

I used to use Carol’s Daughter exclusively for my scrubs and body oils (I still love her body oils), but I noticed that as Carol’s Daughter grew into a large company the ingredients didn’t seem to be as fresh and the shelf life seemed to shrink. I would buy two body scrubs at a time and one would always lose its scent before I completed both containers.

I decided to use sugar rather than salt for two reasons:
• No matter what you do, a little bit of the scrub always gets in your mouth
• If I happen to shave and scrub on the same day, the salt burns

Both of those things were enough to steer me towards sugar rather than salt.

I have three scrubs in rotation, and they are all pretty simple. All of the scrubs I make have a decent shelf life, too – I need them to last at least 10 days. Most of the things I use in my scrubs are things that normally can be found in the (at least my) kitchen, with only a few extra purchases needed to be complete. I try to make all three at the beginning of the week and I keep them refrigerated until the night before use. The night before I plan to use the scrub I take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up overnight. If you don’t do this, the scrub will be cold, clammy, and the oil will be congealed.

Lavender Lemon Sugar Scrub
This is the most simple of all of my scrubs. I usually get at least two body applications.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
8 drops lavender essential oil

Lavender Lemon Sugar Body Scrub Ingredients

Steps:
Combine the sugar and oil in a container and mix until a pasty consistency forms. Add your oils and stir.

To use, just massage on to wet skin to exfoliate your skin. Rinse and pat dry.

Lavender Lemon Sugar Scrub

Lemon, Lavender, and Honey Scrub

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey – room temperature
5 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil

Lavender, Lemon, and Honey Sugar Body Scrub Ingredients

Steps:
Combine the sugar and sweet almond oil in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Then add the lemon juice and honey and stir again. Finally, add the lavender and lemon essential oils and stir to mix.

To use, just massage on to wet skin to exfoliate your skin. Rinse and pat dry.

This mixture is really oily so you be careful that you don’t slip!

Lemon, Lavender, and Honey Scrub

Chocolate-Ginger Body Scrub
I got this scrub from a friend of mine. It’s the most luxurious in my opinion – and smells the absolute best! I always feel like I’m scrubbing down with chocolate.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
3-5 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil on hand)

Chocolate-Ginger Sugar Scrub Ingredients & materials

Steps:
Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl. Mix well to combine completely.

To use, just massage on to wet skin to exfoliate your skin. Rinse and pat dry.

Chocolate-Ginger Body Scrub

Coochy Cream – Product Trial

Couldn’t resist that name, lol! I’m always on the search for the next great product, so when one of my girls from WW told me about this new shaving cream, well…let’s just say I was intrigued.

Coochy Cream is a shaving lotion created by a company named Classic Erotica. It was formulated to be gentle to sensitive skin areas, give a close shave, and claims to be usable as a hair conditioner, too. There are five different scents (lavender, plumeria, pear berry, green tea, and fragrance free) but I chose the original. They come in several sizes (1oz, 4oz, 8oz, and 16oz), as well. I purchased the 16oz size and I have been using it for about a month now. I would say about 1/8th is gone and I still have a pretty full bottle. I never stint when trying new products, so I’m not going light on the lotion at all.

It comes in a pump bottle just like lotion. When you get a squirt out, it’s white-ish but in a cloudy kind of way. It doesn’t look or feel thick but it does feel very moisturizing. When I smooth it on my skin, it feels like I have a layer of lotion sitting right on top of my skin. While this stuff feels like lotion it doesn’t act like lotion.

The product instructions state that it can be used as a hair conditioner. It is MUCH thinner than the conditioners I use on a regular basis. I’ve never tried it as a hair conditioner…don’t think I will any time soon, either.

I did try it on my most sensitive area and I wasn’t impressed. I got shave bumps immediately. After that, I decided to try it on other body parts – my legs and underarms. My underarms seem to be the same as they always were – not noticeable difference there.

I am VERY impressed with my legs. Before I started using Coochy Cream my legs were very dry from all the shaving. I noticed a difference about the 2nd time I used it. My legs weren’t as dry as they normally are after shaving. Each time I shave now, it seems my legs get a little softer.

I got my bottle from Amazon.com

Cost: $11.65 + S&H

Coochy Cream 16oz

The Pampered Bride Manicure

A Bride’s hands are on showcase throughout her engagement. The crowning point of this timeframe is her wedding day.

On a bride’s wedding day, she knows she is going to be the center of attention. Everything about her will be noticed, remarked upon, and remembered. Most brides realize this and take care to make sure their coif is perfect, their dress- divine, and their jewelry gleams. But what about her hands?

A bride’s hands will be on prominent display on her wedding day, but also the days leading up to her wedding as well. Once a bride announces that she is engaged, scores of people – friends, acquaintances, and adversaries (AKA those bitches at work) will want to stare at her engagement ring – and thus her hands.

No matter how glorious your ring is – no matter how large and sparkly the diamond – if your hands feel like scales and your nails look like claws, people will notice, remember, and talk.

Luckily, there is no need to spend a lot of money for these little fixes. I’ve been working on a series of manicures – just for you :-). As I complete them, I’ll update this post with additional links.

The Pampered Bride
The Practical Bride
The Busy Bride

The Pampered Bride Manicure
This manicure is for the bride who wants to pamper herself and has the time to do it. This manicure can take up to 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Step 1: Hand, Nail, and Tool Prep
In order to get the most out of your manicure, you need properly prepare. The first thing is to gather all of your tools. Here’s a list of some things that you will need:
• Nail File/Emery Board (Try to avoid metal files)
• Nail Buffer
• Cuticle Nippers
• Small Bowl
• Warm water
• Fingernail Clippers
• Cotton Balls
• Hand soap
• Hand Scrub
• Orange Stick
• Nail Polish Remover
• Cuticle Oil/Vitamin E Oil
• Towel
• Nail Polish (bottom coat, top coat, and color if desired)
• Lotion
• Paraffin Wax Bath (pre-warmed)
• Q-Tips
• Shea Butter
• Lemon Juice

Step 2: Shape Nails
Once you have gathered all of your materials together and gotten comfortable, you’re ready to shape your nails. Always start a manicure (or pedicure!) by removing any nail polish that you may have on your hands. After removing the polish, make sure all of your nails are cut to your chosen length. You also want to check your fingers closely for the beginnings of hang nails. If you see any, clip them with the cuticle nippers.

Once you have finished removing polish, you can start to file your nails. The two most popular shapes are rounded edged square and oval. Pick the shape that works best for you – square looks best when the cuticle is oval shaped and oval looks best when the cuticle is slightly more pointy – then file your nail into that shape. My personal preference is for the rounded edge square. Try to file your nail in one direction, only. Filing your nails from side to side can weaken the nail.

After shaping your nails, put a drop of cuticle or Vitamin E oil on your cuticle. DO NOT CUT THE CUTICLE. Hangnails are caused by overly dry and/or damaged cuticles. When you cut your cuticles you damage them, since the purpose of the cuticle is to protect the body from bacteria. Instead of cutting the cuticle, soak the finger tips in a small bowl of warm soapy water. You are only looking to soften the cuticle, so only do this for 2-5 minutes per hand. Once the cuticle is softened, take an orange stick and GENTLY push back the cuticle. Once the cuticle is pushed back, move the stick around the base of your nail bed in small circles to remove any additional skin/cuticle that may be left behind. Once done, place a drop of vitamin E oil or cuticle oil on each cuticle. Massage the oil in well.

Step 3: Soften those hands
Having soft hands is a trait that has always been associated with femininity. Throughout our daily lives, however, our hands are exposed to the worst the environment has to offer. My favorite way to soften hands is to use a natural, homemade scrub. I love the Lemon Sugar Scrub! There are scrubs that you can buy in a store, too. It’s up to you.

After scrubbing, I love a hot paraffin bath. Nothing says pampered like a paraffin bath! Paraffin Baths, if you’ve never used a paraffin bath before, are a “luxurious” spa treatment. It is intended to moisturize and soften skin. The major use for paraffin wax bath treatments is for the hands and feet during a manicure or pedicure. It is also great for people who have arthritis or simply aching hands and feet. I always slather my hands with 100% pure shea butter prior to doing a paraffin wax dip.

Step 4: Polish
Once the paraffin wax dip is complete, wash your hands with soap and water again. This will remove the excess oils. At this point I give myself a homemade, all natural cuticle bath. The cuticle bath is not necessary but it is glorious! I love the way it gives my cuticles a little extra moisture. Some people prefer to do cutcicle baths prior to a paraffin wax. This is personal preference.

After the cuticle bath, I wash my hands with soap and water, then moisturize with a creamy lotion. Then I take an orange stick, wrap a piece of cotton around one end and wipe off my nails. This removes any excess oils and I am ready to polish.

I never use colored polishes – I’m a clear kinda girl – so I can’t give any tips on color. The darkest color I wear is Cotton Candy 😉

Always apply a base coat, even if you don’t use colored polish. Begin with a single stroke of polish down the middle of the nail, then an additional single stroke on each side of the nail. This should cover your entire nail. Let the coat dry.

If you like color in your nail polish, you would apply that between your bottom and top coats. Color polish requires 2-3 coats with a drying time between each coat. The darker the polish color the more coats you need to apply.

Once the polish is dry(ish), do your top coat, allowing your nails to dry to touch.

All Natural Skin Care – Scrubs

Lemon Sugar Scrub
This recipe will gently exfoliate your hands and/or feet and remove dead skin, leaving you soft, silky and refreshed!
Yield: one application of both hands and feet
Prep Time: 2-5 minutes
Shelf Life: 1-2 weeks, keep refrigerated
Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar (or salt, if preferred)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Blending Procedure:
1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Apply to hands or feet above the tub or sink, so you don’t make a mess. Scrub thoroughly for 2-3 minutes.
3. When done scrubbing, rinse briefly with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Lemon-Honey Cuticle Bath
This recipe softens the cuticle, preparing it to be groomed as part of your manicure. It has a fresh, lemony scent and will help your cuticles remain supple and pliable.

Yield: 1 application for both hands
Shelf Life: None, keep refrigerated

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon warm (runny) honey
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup warm/hot water

Blending Procedure:
1. Mix honey and lemon juice very well with a teaspoon, and quick movements.
2. Add the water next and stir to incorporate.
3. To use, soak finger nails in the mixture for 5 minutes each. Blot dry and gently push back the cuticle skin around the nail using a cuticle stick or a pop sickle stick.
4. Use a creamy lotion right away to moisturize your cuticles. Continue with your manicure as usual or leave nails natural and fresh.