Israel’s Olea Essence: Olive Oil & Natural Skincare

Olea Essence feat

Olea Essence tour Qatzrin Israel via @poorandpretty

One of the places Stan visited during his Israel trip was a family-owned olive oil press in Qatzrin, in northeastern Israel. Founded by the Talmon family in 1997, Olea Essence is known for its high quality olive oils and sustainable farming and manufacturing processes. It was this ecological focus that led to the introduction of their 100% natural skincare line.

Olea Essence Skincare via @poorandpretty

Olive residue, a by-product of olive oil manufacturing, is harmful to the environment due to its excessive concentration of antioxidants. But the Talmon family found that this made an excellent base in cosmetics, especially for its anti-aging benefits. No wonder Israeli women have such beautiful skin!

Olea Essence tour ancient press Qatzrin Israel via @poorandpretty

Stan (who hates olives but loves olive oil!) learned about the olive oil process from harvesting through pressing, including ancient and modern-day techniques. He also taste-tested Olea Essence’s different flavored olive oils and brought home a delicious bottle of Tabha Olive Oil, which I’ve been instructed to “only use for dipping good bread in.” And of course, he picked up a few all-natural cosmetics for me:

Olea Essence Skincare products via @poorandpretty

I was a little skeptical to try these at first, thinking they’d all smell strongly like olive oil, but they really don’t. The body milk is lightly scented with lemongrass, pine, grapefruit, and tea tree oils and absorbs very quickly into the skin.

Olea Essence Hand Cream via @poorandpretty

The hand cream is barely scented, and is more like a balm than a cream. It’s really good for Stan’s very dry, cracked hands. My hands usually don’t need as much attention, but I like using this on my cuticles.

Olea Essence Olive Wash and Exfoliate via @poorandpretty

Olive Wash and Exfoliate is mostly olive pulp and has an invigorating but light lemongrass scent. It’s a wonderfully gentle all-over body cleanser and exfoliator, and reportedly great at treating acne. I follow it up with the body milk or my whipped body butter.

Don’t worry: you don’t have to go all the way to Israel to try these! All of these products can be purchased online.

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DIY Beauty: All-Natural Homemade Face Wash

DIY natural face recipe wash via @poorandpretty

I have been testing my all-natural homemade face wash for about two months now, and I’m happy to say that it has performed better than any store bought product! Because it contains no harsh surfactants, it doesn’t strip away my skin’s natural oil. Rather, the jojoba oil and castile soap combine to gently remove dirt without drying out my face. It’s pretty fantastic, and perfect for those with sensitive or problem skin, dry or oily. See more details about each ingredient below.

DIY natural face recipe wash ingredients via @poorandpretty

You will need:

  • 1 8oz bottle — I recommend these.
  • a funnel
  • 1 cup castile soap — a very mild soap made from olive oil
  • 1 tbs jojoba oil — similar to our skin’s natural oils; it penetrates deeply without leaving an oily residue & is suitable for all skin types
  • 1 tsp rose floral water or rose hydrosol (they aren’t exactly the same thing, but pretty close) — works as an astringent to balance skin; fights acne
  • a few sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary — rosemary is an antiseptic and encourages cell regrowth
  • 11 drops of lavender essential oil — antiseptic, heals blemishes

DIY natural face wash via @poorandpretty

Place the funnel on top of your bottle and add the castile soap, jojoba oil, and rose floral water into the bottle. Remove the funnel and drop in your rosemary, then add the lavender. Shake it up!

DIY natural face wash with lavender and rosemary via @poorandpretty

And that’s all there is to it! Be sure to shake well before each use, as your ingredients will separate. As with any new body products, you will likely need to try this out for 2-3 weeks before your skin becomes acclimated to it. I’d love to hear what you think!

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DIY Beauty: All-natural bright & fresh strawberry face mask

DIY Strawberry Honey Mask poorandpretty

How about starting off the new year with a bright & fresh face? This is yet another easy mask, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Let’s get to it!

Strawberry & Honey Mask ingredients 1 poorandpretty

Bright & Fresh Strawberry Honey Face Mask. This should make 4-5 applications, which you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

Ingredients:

  • 4 strawberries — rich in vitamins A & C, contain salicylic acid, which rids the skin of dead cells and heals & dries acne
  • 1 tbs unsweetend coconut milk — high in antioxidants, removes dirt build-up, replaces moisture in dehydrated skin
    • I highly recommend using coconut milk (you can use the rest to make these coconut cupcakes!), but you can use soy or regular milk as substitutes if you need to.
  • ½ tbs honey — antibacterial, great humectant (it rehydrates skin by drawing on moisture from the air)

Strawberry & Honey Mask - cut strawberry leaves - poorandpretty

Step One: Cut off the strawberry leaves. But don’t throw them away! You can boil the leaves and use the water as an astringent after you rinse off your mask.

Strawberry & Honey Mask - mash up strawberries 2 - poorandpretty

Step Two: Mash up the strawberries in a blender, food processor, or with a fork if you need to get some aggression out ;)

Strawberry & Honey Mask - finished - poorandpretty

Step Three: Add in the coconut milk and honey, and mix well.

Step Four: Apply to your face with your fingertips, carefully avoiding your eyes. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, until dry. Enjoy the Fruit Rollup scent.

Step Five: Rinse thoroughly, massaging the strawberry mixture over your skin gently as you rinse. This gives your face a little extra exfoliation.

Follow up with an astringent and your favorite moisturizer. Enjoy your deliciously-scented, super smooth skin!

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Winter skincare tips & top picks

Remember my Summer Skincare Tips post? I thought I’d do another for winter. I know it isn’t officially winter yet, but since we saw our first snow fall earlier this week, I’m thinking it’s close enough. Truthfully, many of the tips I shared in my summer post are relevant for winter skincare, but given how dry the air is, it’s even more important to stay hydrated and moisturized. Here are my favorite ways to do so…

winter-skincare-faves-poorandpretty

1. Drink lots of water or coconut water. Some people aren’t big on the taste of coconut water, but if you can get past that, it really is an amazing hydrator — some say it hydrates even better than water because it’s choc full of electrolytes. It’s also rich in potassium. Try adding it to smoothies if you don’t like the taste.

2. We’re all tempted to take hot baths or showers in the winter to stay warm, but this can actually dry out your skin. So if you do take a bath, try to keep it warm rather than hot and add some milk and honey to your bathwater. As celebrity esthetician Catherine Ianelli says in her milk and honey bath soak recipe, “milk makes the skin soft, is rich in AHA’s (alpha hyroxy acids), which promote exfoliation, and gives the skin a glowing complexion.”

3. Just as it’s important to exfoliate your face, it’s crucial to exfoliate your body, too, especially in the winter. My homemade vanilla coconut sugar scrub is my go-to body scrub. The sugar gets rid of dry, flaky skin and the coconut oil swoops in to moisturize. I’m also partial to my Jar of Frosting, a whipped soap body scrub made with jojoba beads to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize.

4. My Coco Body Balm packs a super-moisturizing punch because it’s made from cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil. Liquid lotions tend to contain chemical preservatives, whereas my Coco Body Balm is entirely natural, and therefore entirely good to your skin. I use it on particularly dry patches of skin like my elbows, knees, heels, and slather it on my hands before I go to bed.

5. Whether or not you’re prone to dry skin, it’s better to use a natural bar soap for your face in the winter. Not just any bar soap, of course, you’ll want one specifically formulated for the sensitive skin on our face. Why? Because natural facial bar soaps are made with skin-loving oils that provide your skin with more moisture rather than removing it. Most liquid face washes contain surfactants (also in household cleaning products!) which strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving your face too dry. I like this oatmeal & lavender facial cleansing bar from Blissoma.

6. Hopefully, if you’ve followed all of the above steps, your skin will be well-moisturized, but if you need a little extra help, you’ll want to keep a face serum handy. Facial serums can be pricey, but they are packed with rejuvenating oils, so you only need a few drops for your whole face. The best serums — like this Organic Face Serum from Antho — contain Rosehip and Argan oils, loaded with powerful antioxidants and natural essential vitamins.

What do you do to keep your skin soft in the winter?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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Summer skincare tips & top picks

A few of my friends have asked me for tips on getting rid of acne or basic skincare maintenance. Skin is either too oily or too dry; there’s almost never a happy medium. We all have this problem (even me!), and of course it varies with the seasons. I thought I’d share my summer skincare routine with you, along with some of my go-to products.

summer skincare tips and top picks - poor and pretty

1. I notice my skin is the clearest when I wash my face at night. Right now, I’m using a cream cleanser I’m developing myself, but my favorite retail cleanser is the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. It’s made entirely from natural ingredients and doesn’t include harsh chemical detergents that cause your skin to dry out.

2. I always, always, always follow up with my homemade rosewater and witch hazel astringent. I used to be terrible at using astringents, but now that it’s a part of my routine, my skin stays much cleaner. It’s super easy to make — you can find most of the ingredients at your local health food store, or online. After using your cleanser, put a few drops of the astringent on a cotton ball and swipe over your face (avoiding your eye area, of course). I sometimes use the astringent throughout the day to freshen up.

3. Exfoliate at least twice a week. Admittedly, I’m still working on this one. When I do remember to exfoliate twice a week, I get less acne. My favorite exfoliating masks are both homemade: DIY strawberry mask (strawberries contain salicylic acid, which fights off acne-causing bacteria) and DIY oat & cornmeal exfoliating facial scrub & mask (this one’s easier to keep on hand).

4. Traveling is no excuse not to take care of your skin! If you need a good on-the-go cleanser, try the Yes to Cucumbers Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes. Infused with aloe vera, cucumbers, and green tea, these babies remove makeup, soothe, and clean your skin. Plus, they smell great, too!

5. Now that you’ve got the cleaning part down, don’t forget to moisturize, even if your skin is typically oily. One of the biggest reasons why skin becomes oily is because we wash it with all of these harsh cleansers, strip its natural oils, then we don’t bother replacing any of those oils. This makes our skin work extra hard to compensate for those missing oils, pumping them out and resulting in shiny, slick, yucky skin. Gross, right? So always replenish those oils — just like you would drink water after sweating. My favorite moisturizers are both from DressGreen: Purifying and Blemish Controlling Face Serum (best for drier skin) and Calming and Clarifying Face Cream (better for oilier skin). Like most people, I have combination skin, so I use these interchangeably. They’re both 100% natural and free of toxic chemicals.

6. Of course it’s Summer, so we can’t forget the sunscreen. Dermatologists suggest wearing sunscreen on your face daily because our facial skin is most susceptible to sun damage. My natural sunscreen of choice is Naked Bee’s Face & Body Moisturizing SPF 30 Sunscreen, which contains 70% organic content and is enriched with Vitamin C. It smells lovely and has no Parabens, Propylene Glycol, Laurel/Laureth Sulfates, or alcohol.

Be safe, don’t forget to drink lots of water and share your Summer skincare tips in the comments!

Bonus: want naturally beachy hair without going to the beach? Try making my DIY sea salt hair spray!

This post is a part of Independent Fashion Bloggers Project #104 Summer Essentials.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.

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