Salt Is Of The Devil

Okay.  Admittedly, that was a bit over-dramatic.  But if we are to rely on the media, any time sodium is mentioned, it is about how bad it is!  So of course, in my limited understanding, I thought abandon all salt!  Eradicate it from my life – now!

salt2Until I took a moment to learn about the areas in our world where salt is quite necessary. Salt, or sodium chloride as it is scientifically called, is used in a multitude of applications. It was used in ancient times as well as today to help preserve our food and add flavor to our otherwise bland meals, but beyond that, it is needed in many other applications:  like in making toothpastes, laundry soaps and shampoo, glass and fire extinguishers. It it needed in the process of water-softening, curing concrete, de-icing  roads, in leather treatments, and in the manufacturing of bleach. (to name only a few)

So you can see where the production of salt is big business.  In 2010, the world salt production was a staggering 270 million tons; 45 million tons of which were produced solely in the United States –  according to Wikipedia, anyway.   World-wide, we mass-produce salt from seawater, brine wells and salt lakes.salt

If I am to base my thoughts on the shear production demand alone,  I would conclude salt has become an integral part of life here on earth, as we know it.  So I don’t think we can “eradicate it” at this point.  But should we control our use where we can?

YES!  All things in moderation is a great piece of advice, especially when talking salt.

We here in the great Northwest do not use salt to de-ice our highways, for example.  We have found that using sodium on the icy roads, causes the salty, melted run-off to enter into the local fresh water ecosystems.  Salt in fresh water is no good for the plants and creatures residing there.  And we love our fish, so no salt shall land in our fresh waters!  That’s good!  Let’s hope the manufacturing facilities of the world would consider such ecological consequences when using sodium in their productions.

What about salt and our bodies?  Now here is an area where we each can have a greater control over its use.  Humans do need salt for good health.  Our bodies need sodium to maintain proper water balance and blood pH, as well as proper stomach, nerve and muscle function.  But, a little salt goes a long way in meeting these needs – which is WAY less than what we Americans consume in our highly-over-processed-convenience-is-king lifestyle we live.     The American Heart Association, (AHA) once held the standard of 2,300mg of salt a day (that’s about 1 tsp) for a healthy lifestyle.  But now their recommendation has changed to only 1,500mg of salt (or approx. 2/3 of 1 tsp).  Why?  Because salt is associated with conditions that raise your risk for high blood pressure – which can lead to stroke, heart failure; also osteoporosis; stomach cancer; and kidney disease.

So why do we add so much of it if we know salt is bad for us?  Because, according to a recent Prevention magazine article, salt can be addictive.  Who knew!  When we consume salt, it triggers the release of dopamine, in the pleasure centers of our brain.  Because it makes us feel good, we want more of that good feeling – thank you very much!  Thus making salt something we crave.  Ultimately having the potential to be as addictive as nicotine or alcohol.  Another reason to “just say no” to salt.

Not to worry though.  This is an easier thing to control than you think.  We just don’t need to worry about the salt that is organically occurring in the natural, raw foods we eat.    We just need to put down the salt shaker more and avoid processed foods that add sodium to their list of ingredients!   According to the AHA, 75% of our overuse of salt comes from the salt that is added to our food.  So stop adding it!  Wean yourself off the added sodium.  With a little willpower you can kick the habit of excess salt.  Within a couple weeks, according to The Mayo Clinic, your taste buds should acclimate to a less-salty world, and you will be better for it!

shampooingAs far as our outer bodies are concerned, sodium (by means of sodium lauryl sulfate) is something to avoid as well.  Although it is great at creating an awesome lather, it definitely is a culprit in stripping our highly treasured, and often expensive salon hair colors.

Solution:  READ LABELS.  Avoid products where you see the words: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in the ingredients.  Find food products that have a sodium level of 140mg of sodium (this is considered ‘low sodium’) or less per serving.  As I love to say so often, be an informed consumer!

After my investigation into this salty matter, I apologize for being hasty in declaring salt is from the devil. But as with so many things in this world, I learned there is a good side and a bad side to consider.  So for me, I guess I will continue in my love/hate relationship with salt.  But from now on, with a little more balance.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Are You Blue Over Yellow Nails?

If you are a smoker or just a lover of  bright or dark colored nail polish, I am willing to bet at one time or another, you have cringed at the yellowish tint that has stained your nails.  No reason to feel blue about it.  Here are some interesting, natural options to help lessen the appearance of that pesky yellow discoloration.

Before you begin, remove any nail polish you may have on your nails, then lightly buff your nail plates with a super-fine grit nail file to remove small amounts of the yellow. Note:  whenever buffing the tops of your nail, the strokes should go in one direction only, or in a criss-cross pattern starting from cuticle to tip, not side-to-side.

yellow smoker nails

Then try one of the following ideas:

  • Soak your fingertips in a bowl of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Sit for 5 minutes or so.
  • Mix a paste of baking powder and lemon juice and apply to each nail.  Allow to sit 5 minutes or so.
  • Mix a paste of 3:1 baking soda and [3%] hydrogen peroxide.  Apply to nails with a cotton swab.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Wash your hands under running water using soap and a nail brush or old tooth brush to help remove the loosened debris.  If after drying your nails, there is still slight yellowing present, try applying a dab of buffing cream (this is a nail cream with a super-fine grit) to the nail plate. Then buff your nails lightly with a chamois cloth style buffer.  Again, whenever buffing the tops of your nail, the strokes should be gentle and go in one direction only, or a criss-cross pattern starting from cuticle to tip, not side-to-side.

Be sure to follow up with cuticle oil and hand lotion, as these methods can dry your skin.

I found these tips in an industry magazine for nail technicians.  I would love to hear back from any of you who give these approaches a try.  Sharing knowledge is beneficial to all.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Sleep Isn’t Just for Sleeping

We all know that a restful night’s sleep is essential for our health – aiding the immune system and memory retention – but did you know that a good night’s sleep can rejuvenate your skin?

Daily, our skin is bombarded by the constant weather changes and the pollutants in our environment.  These environmental influences are known as extrinsic factors.  In fact, it is estimated that 80 to 99% of what we see happening to our skin is because of these extrinsic factors.  The obvious result being signs of photo-aging (a.k.a., wrinkles, fine lines and saggy skin).  How can we possibly help our skin against such an attack?  Other than wearing that essential sunscreen every day to protect against UVA and UVB rays, start with drinking plenty of water throughout your day; decrease the free-radical attack on your system by eating a diet rich in whole foods that contain vitamins A, C and E; and get a full night’s rest. Take advantage of those 7 to 9 hours of dedicated nighttime sleep! Woman Sleeping

Our body’s repair processes go to work at night giving our skin relief from the stresses of the day.  However, during the night our skin excretes less sebum, loses more water, is warmer and has a more acidic pH.  So before you lay that head down to rest, prepare your skin to effectively repair and restore balance once more.  This is simple enough to do by just remembering every night to wash and moisturize your face and neck before you go to sleep with products that feed your skin with water attracting, skin softening, lipid barrier-builders and collagen stimulaters by means of a premium skin care regimen.  With rejuvenating products like that, you will rest easy, confident in knowing your skin will be working at its best all night long to revive and restore all that this big bad, free-radical-wielding world has tried to degrade.  Fight the good anti-aging fight while you sleep.  It’s just that easy.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Yes or No

I have many people in my chair or on my treatment table expressing to me their frustration with really wanting to say No to someone’s request of them or wanting to say Yes, to something good that’s come along, but feel like they don’t deserve it.

WHY?!

Even though these are simple, one syllable words to utter, it takes great strength at times to say them.  We don’t want to watch the neighbor’s dogs this weekend again – but maybe out of fear of being disliked or not wanting to feel guilty – instead of saying No, we say Yes.  After all – we lie to ourselves – any “good” person would never say No.  Right?

yesorno8.11.14      We place ourselves on a slippery slope with constantly saying Yes to every single request made of us when we really need to say No sometimes. These countless-Yes’s-that-should-be-No’s may leave us feeling resentful making us dislike ourselves for lying about our true desires. Which in turn, may even cause us to begin to dislike the very people we are helping out all the time with our Yes’s.  We can feel quite trapped. Caged.  But there is a key available for freedom: Just say No.

We could all benefit from learning how to say No when we really mean no.  In this way, we stop lying to ourselves, we gain control over ourselves again, and believe it or not, others will adapt to our more truthful answers.  They in fact, may even trust us more for our honesty.  They will learn to respect our boundaries.  They will come to believe our No’s mean no, and our Yes’s mean yes. We will begin to enjoy the freedom this gives us.

We also should say Yes when we want to say yes!  There is no shame in getting what we want when it is reasonable, acceptable and healthy to do so. We are as deserving as the next guy to say Yes to fun; accepting help; our own feelings… DO do for others when it makes us feel good, sincerely for ourselves to do so. That is the best kind of Yes!  We need to practice saying Yes to ourselves – giving ourselves permission to: take a break when we need one; accept that occasional homemade cookie offered; go for that walk; ask for that hug, or anything else that helps ourselves feel more nourished.

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

IMPORTANT: I am no therapist, nor do I claim to be one.  But when I read something from a reliable source, and it just makes sense to me, I want to share these ideas with you.  Remember the choice is and always will be yours to accept or reject any “pearls of wisdom” I say here. You ultimately have the final say as to whether or not to put whatever you learn in life into practice.  You are in control of you.

I gathered these ideas from a fantastic book called The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie.  You should check her out.  She’s a good read.

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What’s Your Face Shape?

What does that question mean?  How can you figure out your face shape?  Why does it matter?  Ahh, so many questions….  let me help enlighten you just a quick minute:

Your face shape is the shape your face is when you follow the perimeter of your head, when looking straight on into your face.  This question is often handy to have an answer to when figuring out what hairstyle best “fits” your face shape.  The way to figure out your face shape is easy!

faceshape8.4.14While looking in a mirror – say, just after you have showered and your hair is nice and wet – comb your hair all slicked back off your face so the volume of your hair is not considered while looking straight at your image in the mirror.  Next (I like this handy trick) take your least favorite, last season’s lipstick and carefully trace your face’s image along its perimeter all the way around your head.  Now step back and take a look at the tracing you just drew on your mirror.  That is your face shape!

(Of course, if you are not sure you were accurate in your drawing, you can always pop into my salon and we will be happy to look at you to determine your face shape.  We are good at that, being professionals and all.)

Why is this so important?  Well, the “ideal” face shape is an oval.  An oval face can wear just about any hairstyle and look fantastic.  If you have something else, then you can either work toward an illusion of an oval face, or just embrace you face the way God made you and accentuate your positive features.

For example, if you have a long face, you may want to consider a short bob hair style that lands right at your jawline.  This horizontal line right at the jaw, will help shorten the look of your face.  But if you have a round face, wearing your hair long, to at least your shoulders, will help elongate your round face to appear more oval.

Or, if you have a square face, you may want to consider a sweeping bang to soften the “edges” of your forehead.

faceshape8.4.14aJust remember that the place on your face where you draw attention to with a horizontal line will automatically bring other’s eyes to that point.  To divert the stare of others – or to lessen the appearance of a feature – work with angled lines, like diagonal cuts or shattered, tapered ends.  These technique helps to soften or break up the unfavorable places.

There are lots of ways to soften or accent your facial features.  And that doesn’t go just for women. Men can benefit from knowing their face shape too.

Well, I hope this has enlightened you, if only a smidgen, on the whole face-shape thing.  Now go find your window cleaner and wipe that lipstick off your mirror before your mother comes over!

Until next time, remember to take care of you!

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Pets & Healing

Blog - article - Pets and healing

That’s it.  I’m getting a dog!  Whose with me!?

Until next time… remember to take care of you.

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Pearl Powder – Who Knew!

Were you aware that pearls, for thousands of years, have been considered a medicinal treatment source as well as being something to adorn our body?  It’s true! Cultures like China, India and medival Europe have cultivated and ground pearls into potions, salves and other remedies to treat a great variety of ailments through the years.pearl

Did you also know that in more recent years, the beauty industry scientists have found many benefits of pearl powder – when applied topically to the hair or skin.  Because pearl powder is rich in nutrients – primarily calcium carbonate – proteins and a score of amino acids, the industry has found ways to use these nutrients for our benefit!  Pearls also have an ingredient called Conchiolin – this is what gives pearls their distinctive lustrous and illuminating finish.

The International Dermal Institute – from which Dermalogica Skin Care was born – through research studies have demonstrated that pearl powder, when applied to the skin helps stimulate cell regeneration; protect cells from free radical-induced damage; protect collagen fibers; enhance the water-holding capacity of skin; and inhibits melanin formation that lead to hyperpigmentation (those pesky brown spots)

Where can you get your hands on wonder products containing pearl powder?  Well right Skin Perfect Primer SPF 30here!   Dermalogica AGE Smart® SkinPerfect Primer SPF30, and their Sheer Tint SPF20 and Cover Tint SPF20 all have pearl powder in them!   I understand Dermalogica is looking to include this incredible ingredient in future products as well!  Who knew!

Until next time,  remember to take care of you!

 

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Vitamin D & Your Immune System

Did you know that not only does vitamin D help your body absorb calcium better, but it also helps to give your immune system a boost which will help you fight off or lessen the severity of that cold or flu you may battle each year.sunshine

Also if you suffer from seasonal depression, improving your vitamin D intake may help.   Keeping in mind that the sun’s UV rays are terribly damaging to the health of your skin, 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week is all you need to sufficiently maintain good vitamin D nutrition. If you choose to enjoy more time in the sun, it is in your skin’s best interest to protect it with [in my opinion] SPF 30 sunscreen or higher.

MD SolarScience Tinted Creme SPF 30However, if exposing yourself to sunlight is unavailable (cuz well, we do live in the Northwest!) or you are unable, you can also find vitamin D in such foods as eggs, fatty fish – like salmon, or in fortified milk.

 

 

 

MD SolarScience sunscreens are available at my salon.

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Another Mystery

I hear this question on a regular basis in my salon:  “Does my hair and nails grow faster in the summer?  It sure seems like it.”  The truth of it is Yes!  Why, you ask?  No one really knows for absolutely sure.  They (i.e., doctors, scientists, cosmetology professionals, etc.) just know that is does indeed happen.

There are many theories out there on the web,  and I was surprised to discover as I read, no single site would declare with 100% scientific proof what we all seem to know as true anyway.  But I was able to determine these top 3 possible explanations:a lot of hair

1)  Warmer weather increases blood flow to the skin and scalp.  Increased blood flow causes increased cell production, which means quicker growth – reportedly by as much as 10 to 15%!

I, personally, have a tenancy to believe this one.  It just makes sense.

2) The sun comes out in the summer, so we humans come out more frequently to enjoy its warm rays.  As a result, Vitamin D is produced, which is an important nutrient for cell growth.

3) Increased nail growth is linked to fluctuations in hormones.  (This is why children’s nails grow faster than the elderly.  Also, due to significant pregnancy hormone changes in the last trimester, hair and nails will grow faster in mommies-to-be.  It’s a myth to give the prenatal vitamins full credit for this increased hair and nail growth spurt.  Pregnant women experience increased hair and nail growth regardless of vitamin intake.)

So there you have it.  Theories abound, yet the mystery remains.  Yet another question I will add to my list when I meet up with God one day.

Here are a few other factoids of trivia to share at your next party:

Nails grow faster on the dominant hand, due to increased blood flow to the working hand.

The middle finger nail grows fastest and the thumb nail grows the slowest.nails

Toe nails grow slower than finger nails.  Toe nails take 9 to 12 months to grow from matrix to free edge whereas the finger nails only take 4 to 6 months.

Hair and nails, in fact, do not continue to grow after death.  Due to dehydration of the skin after death, the skin retracts, giving the allusion that the hair and nails have grown.

Til next time…. take care of you!

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The Hair Shape Mystery

Have you ever wondered why some people have poker-straight hair and you are a curly top?  Why is their hair shape so different than yours?  Is it genetics or just the way your hair grows?  The answer is yes.  You can talk to a Biology geek as to why you got gramma’s curls while your brother got dad’s wavy mane.  I, however, can talk to you about why your hair looks the way it looks.   Let me give you a quick Hair 101 bit of trivia you can share at parties.

Your hair shape is one of three basic groups: straight, wavy or curly.  How hair is identified is by taking a cross-section examination of your hair, in its natural state, of course.hair shape cross section

If your hair is round, you have straight hair.  If it is a less-than-round shape, you have wavy hair. If it is an oval, you have curly hair.  Of course, the more or less within each of these groups you have would determine the variation in each group.  (i.e., the flatter your oval shape, the curlier your curls)  That is why your waves are uniquely your own and not identical to your sibling.

But what makes your hair round, less-than-round, or oval you ask?  First blame your genetics, then blame your hair follicle.  The shape of your hair follicle will determine the shape of your hair.  Straight follicle, straight hair.  Slightly curved follicle, wavy hair and a hair folliclevery curved follicle gives you those curly curls!

(Extra bit of trivia:  The reason straighter hair is typically shinier is because sebum from the sebaceous gland can travel down the hair more easily. The curlier the hair, the more difficulty the sebum has traveling down the hair, therefore the more dry or dull the hair looks.)

So there you have it.  The mystery of your hair shape de-mystified.  But not to worry, if you don’t like what Mom or Dad or God determined would be your natural hair shape, we are always here to help you change your locks into what ever shape you like!  Whether with a perm, relaxer or smoothing treatment: you can make your world the way you want it!

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