Plant Derived Exotic Oils

March 29th, 2011

When I was a child, several doctors prescribed a slew of ointments, dietary restrictions and supplements to calm a severe case of eczema that I was born with.  Like any normal child, I was appalled with the idea of swallowing “fish oil” capsules.  As I get older, though — and as I learn the importance of greater overall health — I am eager to swallow Omega-3 rich supplements that nourish my the skin from the inside out.  On a hunt for great oil-based skin care remedies, I found these industry favorites – derived from plants, trees and flowers:

Argan Oil: If you haven’t heard of this oil, you will soon. Rich, rare, and indigenous to a small region in southwestern Morocco, the Argan tree provides concentrated oils that for centuries have beautified the women of sub-Saharan Africa – where the women are very, very, beautiful.

Prized as a skin, nail, and hair softener, Argan oil is super rich with vitamin E, phenols, carotenes, and fatty acids, and has been used to soothe the following:

Rosacea | Eczema | Wrinkles | Psoriasis | Acne | Scarring

This prized oil has been named endangered by UNESCO, mainly due to the small region it grows in. The extraction process is quite intensive — taking many days to produce just one liter. The seeds from this tree are harvested and extracted by native women of the region (also called “Berber’s”). The use of Argan is providing work for women in co-ops across this impoverished region, and has established a project to ensure that profits from this oil continue to give back to the community. Because of this scarce beauty ingredient, native women of Morocco continue bringing money into the region for the education of women, and for a reforestation project that keeps this fantastic tree from growing extinct. (Applause!)

Meadowfoam Oil: Packed with healthy, fatty acids, this miraculous oil prevents loss of natural moisture from skin by quickly penetrating and building a non-greasy barrier.

Used as a hair treatment, Meadowfoam adds shine, and promotes growth and a healthy hair cuticle. Applied to skin, it reduces wrinkles, reverses aging, and contains UVB protection.
Bhringaraj Oil: Traditionally used to encourage hair growth by massaging into the scalp, Bhringaraj oil is also known to fend off premature hair-loss, thinning, and repairs the cuticle with emollients and antioxidants which fight free-radical damage. (Free radicals are also known as environmental toxins and strip hair of natural shine.)

Oldies but goodies: Rose Hip Oil, Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil.  Just pour into your bath or mix with your daily moisturizer for a surge of healthy moisture. 

Calm Face Redness After a Workout

March 16th, 2011

Sucking ice cubes immediately after a workout reduces redness in your face almost instantly by cooling down your body temp and calming capillary dilation (which leads to blotchy skin.)  Cleanse and moisturize with products containing natural antihistamines such as feverfew, oat extract, and green tea, and you are good to go.

Try the following:

Cleanse with Green Tea: Rhonda Allison Beta Green Tea Cleanser

Moisturize with Feverfew: Aveno Active Natural Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer

and/or Oat Extract, Try: Lubriderm Nourishing Moisturizing Lotion with Premium Oat Extract.

Barre Las Vegas: Where Small Movements Make Big Changes

March 3rd, 2011

By JoAnna Haugen

I took dance classes growing up, and I’m still a relatively active person with a passion for running, so when I learned that Las Vegas had a ballet barre workout studio, I quickly signed up for a few classes. After all, a girl can always use a little more flexibility and balance in her workout routine—not to mention her daily life.

Upon arrival to my first barre class, the instructor gave me a quick briefing about proper posture and showed me where the mats and hand weights were (she suggested I use one-pound weights). Without wasting a minute of class time, we began our workout with small, calculated movements using the weights—pulsing up, to the side and behind. The instructor led us smoothly from one exercise to the next without giving us an opportunity to pause between the micro motions. After only a few minutes, my arms were fatigued, the one-pound weights felt like 15-pound bricks and I was already sweating.

So much for being an athlete.

I quickly learned that barre class is not strictly limited to ballet stretches and movements. In fact, the motions used in class tend to be small and contained, not sweeping and elegant like those found in a dance studio, and it’s these tiny movements that are key to a successful workout.

After using the weights, we actually did move to the barre, which lined the perimeter of the studio, and then we moved to seat strengthening, abdominal exercises, planks and push-ups. Using controlled motions, I made my way through a leg-shaking, ab-tightening, toe-pointing workout that left me both exhausted and excited for my next class. (Admittedly, I was also a little humbled, given the fact that the one-pound weights had kicked my butt.)

When I got home, I dropped the owner of Barre Las Vegas, Sue Harragan, an email to learn a little bit more about the barre workout in general and her business in particular. It turns out that the workout itself has been around for awhile, was introduced to the United States in the 1970s and was really only known by models and dancers in New York City until just a decade or so ago. She discovered the workout in Southern California and introduced it to Las Vegas in 2009 when she opened a studio at Town Square (a second studio opened in Summerlin in July 2010).

So what’s the point of a barre class? It turns out that barre workouts are exceptional for toning and firming muscles. Some clients lose several inches off of their waists without bulking up. The goal is a slimmer appearance with long, lean muscles. Nothing happens overnight, though, and those interested in a better body shape are encouraged to attend class 3-5 times a week.

As for me, I’ve got a few more barre classes lined up, in which I’ll tighten, lift, stretch and quiver. And you better believe that I won’t be upgrading to two-pound weights any time soon.

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