Summer Beauty Guide – Updated

Summer Beauty Guide – Updated

This post was originally written in 2019, and was updated July 2020.

Everyone lets loose a little in the summer. Long weekends, picnics, days at the beach, vacations, fun drinks and bbqs under the summer sun are good for the soul, but maybe not as much for the complexion.  Here are some quick and easy tips to keep your complexion glowing while you’re livin’ easy.

Summer Beauty Guide: 10 Tips for beautiful skin all summer long.

You’ll be spending more time in the beauty of the outdoors, exposing your skin to sun, wind, water, possibly chlorine, and maybe a more rigorous shaving routine than you applied this winter.  All this can leave you with an irritated complexion. With just a little time and planning, you can avoid the pitfalls of sun, razor, and wind burn.

1. Stay Hydrated

With warmer weather (eventually) upon us, you need to stay on top of proper hydration.  You can become dehydrated from even simple tasks while working and playing in the hot summer sun.  Proper hydration keeps your skin and body functioning at optimum levels, so load up on water based drinks and watery fruits and veggies such as melons and cucumbers to stay hydrated.

2. Wear SPF?

It’s important to remember to apply sunscreen. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 30. Apply a generous layer (about a shot glass for your entire body) to all exposed skin about 15 minutes before going out into the sun. Remember to reapply after sweating or swimming, or about every 2 hours.  Always look for a sunscreen that has the active ingredients listed, and please don’t make your own.  (Zinc is a charged particle, and it’s difficult to make a formulation that doesn’t end up having microscopic holes in the coverage because the zinc microscopically clumped together over time.)

Newer studies are showing that being in the sunlight without sunscreen may increase your risk of skin cancer, but won’t decrease your life expectancy. In fact, being in the sun has been shown to actually increase your life expectancy (as well as your risk of non-lethal skin cancers).  Sporadic and extreme sun exposure has been shown to increase your risk of lethal skin cancers, while consistent exposure increases nitric oxide in the blood, which decreases blood pressure.  See the study by Lindqvist and this blog post discussing Dr. Weller’s work for more information.

This obviously doesn’t address the dreaded sun spots and premature wrinkling from being in the sun, but it’s really given me food for thought and some good information about sunscreen!

3. Boost Your Topical Anti-oxidants

Free radicals are not your friends, and unfortunately, sunlight, chlorine, alcohol, some of the best parts of summer are full of them.  The best defense is to avoid them, but that’s not always possible.  Using a cream that contains green tea extract, niacinamide, vitamins C and E, or CoEnzyme Q10 will help minimize the damage to your skin from free radicals.  (Keep an eye out for our newest product, Repair and Restore After Sun Cooling Gel)

Our Repair and Restore After Sun Gel is full of antioxidants and vitamins to protect skin from the after effects of too much sun.  It also contains cooling essential oils and aspen bark extract to help with the heat.

4. Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage

The skin around your eyes is delicate and all the sunlight and swimming can be especially harsh on it.  Wear a hat and/or sunglasses with UV protection and wear goggles while swimming.  A soothing anti-oxidant rich cream, like our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream can soothe delicate skin and provide a bevy of topical vitamins and minerals.

5. Exfoliate

The best way to recharge your skin and keep it looking bright and beautiful is to exfoliate your skin once a week. Apply a natural body scrub once a week to slough off dead skin cells and reveal younger, glowing skin.

6. Moisturize

Sweating, swimming, salt, chlorine, sunshine and air conditioning all take a toll on skin. The need for moisturizing might not be as obvious during the warm summer months, but you still need to moisturize. Using a gentle all natural body butter can keep skin plump and rejuvenated.

7. Eat your SPF

Eating a healthy diet full of anti-oxidants, healthy saturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, and leafy greens can boost your body’s ability to handle the free radicals from UV light. Drinking iced green tea can help keep you hydrated, as well as provide your body with a powerful poly-phenol called EGCG. You could also try supplements like astaxanthin, vitamin D3, and resveratrol to boost your anti-oxidant protection.  You should avoid sugary and processed foods, as well as too much alcohol, as these promote inflammation and hinder the body’s ability to handle free radicals.

8. Get a Faux Glow

We all know that too much sun isn’t good for us, but who doesn’t love a healthy, sun-kissed complexion.  You can opt for a sunless tanner to get your glow on.  Sunless tanners do still cause some oxidation on the outer layers of skin, so it’s not ideal for every day, but it’s a safe way to glow for special occasions. Make sure to shave and exfoliate before applying sunless tanner, and take your time making sure there are no streaks.

9. Keep Bug Bites at Bay

It’s only a matter of time before a biting insect finds you too delectable to pass up. Itchy bug bites can lead to infection and scarring. Ward them off with a natural insect repellent like our Happy Camper Lotion. You’ll keep mosquitoes away while moisturizing skin with organic oils and probiotics.  You can also lather up with a gentle soap scented with insect repellent essential oils, such as our Happy Camper Bar. (Keep the bar in your dresser drawer until you’re ready to use it to impart the scent of essential oils onto your clothes.)

 

10. Wear Breathable Fabrics

Loose, billowy clothes made out of natural fabrics, such as cotton or linen, allow air flow on your skin and help wick moisture away.  This protects skin from staying damp and chapping and chafing.

Don’t neglect your skin the summer!

Summer is full of fun and busyness, and it’s easy to neglect your skincare routine, but the effects of dehydration and too much sun can last long after summer is gone. It’s important to take time to take care of yourself. You only get one body, and it’s got to last your entire life!

 

 

Sources: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010903092015.htm

https://www.instyle.com/beauty/25-best-summer-skin-tips-ever

https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/summer-skin-problems

Immune Boosting Elderberry and Rosehip Syrup

Immune Boosting Elderberry and Rosehip Syrup

Where the elderberries grow

Every year at about the time of our anniversary, Josh and I scope out where the delicate lacey blooms of the elderberry tree are plentiful.  They often grow along the road or beside vacant houses.  You’ll basically find them anywhere a bird might find a snack and poop out some elderberry seeds.
You have to be careful that you can recognize elderberries, as some of their cousins, such as dogwood or virginia creeper, get berries that could look the same to the untrained eye, and are poisonous.

Elderflowers bloom in Michigan around the third week of June.

Elderberries on the bush. They grow in clusters a little larger than a cup saucer.

Alternately, you can buy dried elderberries from most herb or health food sites. If you’re not sure what is or isn’t an elderberry, definitely go this route.

Benefits of Elderberry Syrup

You might not be sure why you should about elderberries.  These dark purple little berries have been used for centuries to protect from colds and the flu. Modern science is now proving what folk lore touted, too! Science has proven that elderberries have anti-viral properties, and that their high anti-oxidant and polyphenol content help boost the immune system.  One study showed that patients taking elderberry syrup had flu symptoms shortened by 4 days compared to the placebo group.  Another Australian study showed that travelers who took elderberry syrup before travelling were less likely to catch a cold on the flight, and if they did, it was less severe and shorter duration than those who didn’t take elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup may be an easy way to decrease the odds of someone coming down with a cold on your winter vacation to Disney World.

Precautions to be aware of when making elderberry syrup

So, now that you know why you care about elderberries and you’re gung ho to make some yourself, there are some precautions that you MUST be aware of before starting.
1. As I mentioned before, many poisonous wild berries could be confused for elderberry. Make sure that you can properly identify elderberry if you’re going to pick your own.

2.  The sticks and stems of elderberry contain a type of cyanide.  This means that you need to properly remove all the stems from your berries before making syrup. The berries grow in a large cluster with tiny little stems, sort of like a grape stem.  It takes quite a while to destem even a small amount of elderberries. It’s the most labor intensive part of the whole process.

3. The berries also contain cyanide, so they should be cooked before being eaten to deactivate the hydrocyanic acid. Also, pick out all the unripe berries.  (If you’ve ever tried a raw elderberry, it’s not a problem waiting until their cooked. They have a very bitter, almost metallic taste.  It’s hard to believe that a berry so unappetizing can make such a delicious syrup or wine.)

Alright, the fine print is out of the way, and it’s pretty benign compared to some of the side effects listed on some drug commercials, so don’t let it scare you!

 

 

 

Benefits of Rosehips

Rosehips are another key ingredient in this syrup.  Hey, if elderberries are good for you, they can only get better when they’re combined with other immune boosting compounds, right?  Rosehips are an excellent source of vitamin C, and have been used as an immune booster to help the body fight foreign invaders. They also have some anti-inflammatory properites, as well, which is why they’re used as in treatment of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. (Some studies have shown that rosehips decrease blood levels of CReactive Protein – a culprit contributing to many autoimmune and metabolic diseases.)

If you’re into wild crafting, you can find wild rose hips easy enough.  Watch around mid-june for wild roses.  You can let your nose lead the way! They usually grow in groups on wild land, and they make the air heavy with their rich aroma.  Mark where you found the bush, because you’ll have to come back in the fall to get the rosehips.

Wild Rose Flower

Wild Rosehip (Fall after the blooms fall off)

 

 

The rose hip is the seed pod that is left in the fall after all the flower petals are gone. We have a few wild rose bushes in our yard, and we try to gather them after the first frost.  The frost makes them a bit sweeter, I’ve read. If you’re not into traipsing through the brambles in search of rosehips, they’re readily available at health food stores and amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juicing the elderberries

After carefully destemming the elderberries into a tub of coldwater, we skimmed the unripe berries and any other unwanted things off the top of the water. The ripe berries generally sank, while the unripe berries, little pieces of twigs, or any unlucky little creatures usually floated.
Most recipes call for dried berries boiled in water, but we decided to use actual elderberry juice extracted from the berries with a squeeze-o-strainer.  I think this method is the best way to go to get all the goodness from the elderberries, but it’s considerably more work than using dried berries and boiling them in water (and you won’t find fresh elderberries anywhere this time of year.)

Our first attempt to juice the berries was using our old cast iron enterprise wine press and sausage stuffer. The elderberries are so small and firm that it just didn’t squish very many of them. Our second attempt was to use a food mill, which also produced lackluster results.

Our third attempt with the squeeze-o-strainer worked wonderfully.  Just a heads up, though. Elderberry seeds are full of some sort of REALLY, REALLY STICKY STUFF.  We had a hard time getting the squeeze-o-strainer cleaned up.

And Finally…..The Elderberry and Rosehip Syrup Recipe!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups elderberry juice or 1/2 cup dried elderberries + 3 cups water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon of cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup dried rosehips or 3/4 cup fresh rosehips
  • 1 Cup BLB Raw Honey

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients EXCEPT THE HONEY to the pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp.
  4. Pour contents of pot through a strainer to remove ginger, cloves, rosehips, (and dried elderberries if using)
  5. Add honey to juice and mix well.
  6. Keep refrigerated for up to 6 months, or freeze to use at a later time.

 

If you’re looking to purchase supplies for elderberry syrup, check out Starwest Botanicals or Atlantic Spice Company for dried elderberries. If you’re looking for an all in one kit, try pairing Alex’s Elderberries with some raw BLB honey!

This elderberry syrup is really tasty, and I feel like it’s helped me over the hump with a few colds now. I highly recommend it!

Have you ever wildcrafted any recipes or made elderberry syrup before?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

N-Acetyl Glucosamine NAG

N-Acetyl Glucosamine NAG

N-acetyl Glucosamine – Precursor to collagen

N-acetyl Glucosamine, or NAG, is “skin identical”, meaning that it is a natural part of our skin, helping to keep it moisturized and maintain it’s barrier function.  Studies have shown that NAG can increase collagen production, increase moisture levels in skin, and increase the elasticity of skin.

NAG- Boosts Hyaluronic Acid Production

Because NAG can boost collagen production and helps skin stay wonderfully moisturized, it decreases the appearance of lines and wrinkles. A study using niacinamide and NAG on women 35 to 60 showed an increase in the production of hyaluronic acid, which resulted in improved hydration. This reduced the appearance of fine lines, and an increased the elasticity of skin.

N-Acetyl Glucosamine reduces hyper-pigmentation

N-Acetyl Glucosamine has also been shown to reduce hyper-pigmentation, especially when used in combination with niacinamide.  One study showed that a formulation of niacinamide and NAG significantly reduced the appearance of age spots and uneven hyper-pigmentation.

Studies have shown that NAG can induce changes and increase proliferation of skin’s fibroblasts, which can lead to increased healing of wounds. It can also lead to increased collagen expression and proliferation of keratinocytes.

The research is sound to prove NAG is an exceptional ingredient that can boost collagen production, improve skin elasticity, stimulate fibroblast production, and decrease the appearance of age spots or hyper-pigmentation.

 

Sources: https://patents.google.com/patent/US8658219B2/en

https://patents.google.com/patent/US6444699B2/en

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09477.x

Disclaimer 
Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional skin care provider.

10 Tips for Summer Skincare

10 Tips for Summer Skincare

This post was originally written in 2019, and was updated July 2020.

Everyone lets loose a little in the summer. Long weekends, picnics, days at the beach, vacations, fun drinks and bbqs under the summer sun are good for the soul, but maybe not as much for the complexion.  Here are some quick and easy tips to keep your complexion glowing while you’re livin’ easy.

Summer Beauty Guide: 10 Tips for beautiful skin all summer long.

You’ll be spending more time in the beauty of the outdoors, exposing your skin to sun, wind, water, possibly chlorine, and maybe a more rigorous shaving routine than you applied this winter.  All this can leave you with an irritated complexion. With just a little time and planning, you can avoid the pitfalls of sun, razor, and wind burn.

1. Stay Hydrated

With warmer weather (eventually) upon us, you need to stay on top of proper hydration.  You can become dehydrated from even simple tasks while working and playing in the hot summer sun.  Proper hydration keeps your skin and body functioning at optimum levels, so load up on water based drinks and watery fruits and veggies such as melons and cucumbers to stay hydrated.

2. Wear SPF

It’s important to remember to apply sunscreen. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 30. Apply a generous layer (about a shot glass for your entire body) to all exposed skin about 15 minutes before going out into the sun. Remember to reapply after sweating or swimming, or about every 2 hours.  Always look for a sunscreen that has the active ingredients listed, and please don’t make your own.  (Zinc is a charged particle, and it’s difficult to make a formulation that doesn’t end up having microscopic holes in the coverage because the zinc microscopically clumped together over time.)

3. Boost Your Topical Anti-oxidants

Free radicals are not your friends, and unfortunately, sunlight, chlorine, alcohol, some of the best parts of summer are full of them.  The best defense is to avoid them, but that’s not always possible.  Using a cream that contains green tea extract, niacinamide, vitamins C and E, or CoEnzyme Q10 will help minimize the damage to your skin from free radicals.  (Keep an eye out for our newest product, Repair and Restore After Sun Cooling Gel)

4. Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage

The skin around your eyes is delicate and all the sunlight and swimming can be especially harsh on it.  Wear a hat and/or sunglasses with UV protection and wear goggles while swimming.  A soothing anti-oxidant rich cream, like our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream can soothe delicate skin and provide a bevy of topical vitamins and minerals.

5. Exfoliate

The best way to recharge your skin and keep it looking bright and beautiful is to exfoliate your skin once a week. Apply a natural body scrub once a week to slough off dead skin cells and reveal younger, glowing skin.

6. Moisturize

Sweating, swimming, salt, chlorine, sunshine and air conditioning all take a toll on skin. The need for moisturizing might not be as obvious during the warm summer months, but you still need to moisturize. Using a gentle all natural body butter can keep skin plump and rejuvenated.

7. Eat your SPF

Eating a healthy diet full of anti-oxidants, healthy saturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, and leafy greens can boost your body’s ability to handle the free radicals from UV light. Drinking iced green tea can help keep you hydrated, as well as provide your body with a powerful poly-phenol called EGCG. You could also try supplements like astaxanthin, vitamin D3, and resveratrol to boost your anti-oxidant protection.  You should avoid sugary and processed foods, as well as too much alcohol, as these promote inflammation and hinder the body’s ability to handle free radicals.

8. Get a Faux Glow

We all know that too much sun isn’t good for us, but who doesn’t love a healthy, sun-kissed complexion.  You can opt for a sunless tanner to get your glow on.  Sunless tanners do still cause some oxidation on the outer layers of skin, so it’s not ideal for every day, but it’s a safe way to glow for special occasions. Make sure to shave and exfoliate before applying sunless tanner, and take your time making sure there are no streaks.

9. Keep Bug Bites at Bay

It’s only a matter of time before a biting insect finds you too delectable to pass up. Itchy bug bites can lead to infection and scarring. Ward them off with a natural insect repellent like our Happy Camper Lotion. You’ll keep mosquitoes away while moisturizing skin with organic oils and probiotics.  You can also lather up with a gentle soap scented with insect repellent essential oils, such as our Happy Camper Bar. (Keep the bar in your dresser drawer until you’re ready to use it to impart the scent of essential oils onto your clothes.)

 

10. Wear Breathable Fabrics

Loose, billowy clothes made out of natural fabrics, such as cotton or linen, allow air flow on your skin and help wick moisture away.  This protects skin from staying damp and chapping and chafing.

Don’t neglect your skin the summer!

Summer is full of fun and busyness, and it’s easy to neglect your skincare routine, but the effects of dehydration and too much sun can last long after summer is gone. It’s important to take time to take care of yourself. You only get one body, and it’s got to last your entire life!

 

 

Sources: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010903092015.htm

https://www.instyle.com/beauty/25-best-summer-skin-tips-ever

https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/summer-skin-problems

 

 

Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream Giveaway!

Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream Giveaway!

 

We’re launching our new Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream today!

We named our business Bee Lovely Botanicals because you can’t get better natural skincare than when you combine the power of botanicals with the awesomeness of bees! In our new Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream, we’ve added ingredients to focus on diminishing the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.

Just like when we formulated our Royal Jelly, Green Tea, and Vitamin B3 Face Cream, we researched many ingredients for safety and effectiveness. We chose the ingredients that were first and foremost safe, and second, proven to give your eye area a renewed youthful appearance.

We have chosen to use Blue Chamomile and Blue Tansy, along with Geranium and Frankincense essential oils. These oils will calm the delicate, stressed skin around your eyes, and promote a healthy, youthful appearance. Coupled with natural compounds like caffeine, plant peptides, haloxyl, raw beeswax, Vitamin K, and minerals like copper and magnesium, these ingredients markedly decrease the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines.

I have suffered from dark circles pretty much all of my life. I would carefully cake on light colored concealer, yellow concealer, I tried “baking” it in, just to try to hide those dark circles.

When I would run into someone in the store without my concealer I would hear, “Aww, are you sick? You don’t look well.”

“Yes [fake cough] I think I’m coming down with something,” I would say to save us both the embarrassment of “Ah, no. This is just what I look like.”

If you can relate to my tale of woe, you should try our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream. It’s full of skin loving ingredients to diminish the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. For a limited time, we’re running a contest and one lucky winner will receive a Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream free! In addition to the chance of winning a free eye cream, when you share our posts and giveaways, you’re helping our business succeed! Recommendations of our business are such a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing!!

If you’re still on the fence about our Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream, here’s what our testers had to say about it:

“The Bright Eyes Cream is amazing! I’ve been using this product every night and whether I get a good sleep or not with a newborn no one can tell. I highly recommend it!” Wendy

“Bright Eyes Eye Cream is superb to any eye cream I have used! Not oily, very rich and smooth. I use it in the morning and at night I love it so much! The best part it’s toxin free. I can’t get enough of this eye cream! I know I have less wrinkles since using it!” Joanne

“So this product is amazing! My eyes have way fewer crinkles and as a positive side effect I have longer thicker eyelashes!!!!” Christine

“After Jodie gave me a sample of the Bright Eyes Vitamins & Minerals eye cream, I couldn’t wait until they were able to get it packaged to purchase! The cream worked so good on taking the puffiness and darkness away under my eyes! This is an awesome product!!” Anne

 

If you’d like a Bright Eyes Vitamins + Minerals Eye Cream of your very own, click here for a special one time offer after checkout!

Cure What Ails Ya Master Tonic

Cure What Ails Ya Master Tonic

This is a take on Master Tonic or Fire Cider, a popular folk remedy. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

You can drink 1-2 ounces a day, or mix with water or seltzer water. You can also use in place of vinegar in recipes, such as a vinaigrette.

Add different herbs or turmeric for additional health benefits, or use our lemon ginger infused honey to simplify the recipe.

We’ve tried this, and one way or another, I think it will put you out of your misery. CHEERS!

1/2 cup thinly sliced ginger
1/2 cup diced horse radish
1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs rosemary or thyme
2 jalapeño peppers
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1/2 small onion chopped
1 lemon cut in 1.5” chunks
1/2 orange cut in 1.5” chunks
2 cups + apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup BLB raw honey
Yields approx. 2 cups.

Pack first 9 ingredients in jar and cover with apple cider vinegar. (You might need a little more than 2 cups.) Cover with cheesecloth or parchment paper between jar and lid to prevent corrosion. Store in a cool dark place, shaking every other day for 21 days. Strain through cheesecloth. Discard solids and add raw honey. For additional health benefits, mix 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric with the raw honey before you add it to the vinegar.