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DIY Facial Toner

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

I remember when I was a teenager, how I was always very conscious of what was going on with my face. It's probably because my Asian family was extremely blunt about the imperfections of hormonal acne, but hey, I'm okay now. I remember going through a 5 step facial regimen every night to ensure my face would be clear of any sign if pimple growth. Of course, it didn't really help much - nature has a way of being cruel sometimes. 

My skin has since greatly improved (largely because of a grown awareness of what can cause acne and other issues), but that does not mean I do not need to take care of my skin anymore! I have found that what I eat has a large effect on my skin, but washing the impurities off my face (which is exposed all day long, I might add!) at the end of the day helps as well. Since, as you know, I like to keep the chemicals off my face, I set out to find the perfect solution.

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Easy, all natural, 3-ingredient DIY face toner. Love this stuff! | www.maplealps.com

One thing I love about this toner is how inexpensive it is to put together! I had all the ingredients already on hand so I whipped up a batch right away to use. Another thing I love is how clean it makes me feel! Seriously, not to be gross or anything, when I would see that extra dirt come off onto the cotton pad even after using my face wash, I rejoiced! It doesn't use any harsh ingredients like alcohol or fragrances.

I have heard mixed reviews about using a toner with witch hazel or apple cider vinegar, but I've found this mixture to be successful for me (that was my disclaimer). It has now been a year since first making and using a homemade face wash and this toner. I don't use it every day (you'll see one reason why in the next paragraph), but I have noticed a definite change. I also find it extremely soothing on hormonal acne.

I do have one thing I feel a duty to mention: You could truly call this potion a husband spray, because, like bug spray, my husband will not get too close when I use it. Unless your significant other enjoys the smell of apple cider vinegar, use at your own risk ;-)

DIY Facial Toner

DIY Facial Toner

1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Witch Hazel (Alcohol-Free!)
1/4 cup Distilled or Filtered Water
Essential oils - lavender, lemon, tea tree (optional - I don’t usually add them)

1) Mix apple cider vinegar and witch hazel into desired glass container.

2) Slowly add the water, and finally the essential oils.

3) You will need to give a good shake before using a cotton pad (or a reusable cotton wipe) to wipe your face.

4) Do not rinse off

 

What kinds of homemade facial cleansers have you tried and loved? Let me know below!


 
 
DIY Facial Toner | www.maplealps.com

6 Natural Ways to Make Your Common Cold More Bearable

Health, Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

It is definitely that time of year when colds start trying to invade our space. I personally dislike colds even more than the flu, simply because I usually feel mostly well, and just have an annoying sore throat and stuffy (or runny) nose. At least if I have something worse, I just feel completely awful. I guess I’m just strange. Of course, as a teacher (and most everyone will have this problem), I’m exposed to a lot of different germs in a day (and the kiddos have been coming in lately with sniffling noses), and as life will have it, sometimes because of teaching demands, I sometimes don’t get the nutrients, exercise, or sleep I need.

Of course, the best thing to do for a cold is to prevent it. You can do this by making sure you are eating the necessary nutrients your body needs, getting plenty of rest and water, and making sure you are exercising regularly! These simple things will help you keep your immune system up and colds away!

Whenever we do get a cold, we start pulling out our natural remedies. Now, our remedies don’t necessarily heal our colds (though some of them may help shorten a few of the symptoms), but they definitely make the colds more manageable and bearable. I have friends who eat whole onions and others who make the most intense sounding concoctions, but I'm not at that level yet. Then again, my colds don't get too terrible...

Do take note that none of these remedies replaces medical advice, so if you think your cold is worse than a cold, please go to a doctor!

*This post contains affiliate links

6 Natural Ways to Make Your Cold More Bearable

Ginger Lemon Tea

 

This is a simple mix I like to keep in our fridge during sickness. It’s pleasant to sip on, tastes great and is good for you too:

Ginger
Lemon
Raw Honey

Slice the ginger and lemon and layer it in a jar, making several layers.
Pour raw honey (make sure it really is raw honey - bonus points for local too!) over the layers until the jar is filled.

Spoon out the mixture into your mug and add hot water when ready! Keep it in the fridge when you aren’t using it. I drink a few mugs of this each day I’m sick!

Note: ginger keeps well in the freezer, so go ahead and freeze what you didn’t use!

Natural Ways to Make Your Cold More Bearable | www.maplealps.com

 

Ginger Tea

 

If you don’t like the ginger/lemon mix, just plain ginger tea will do as well!

Add ginger (thinly sliced or grated if it was frozen) to a pot of water and boil! Strain into your mug and you will have a nice strong ginger tea! You can add a bit of raw honey to offset the spice if you like.

 

Sinus Bath Salt Mix

 

This is another great recipe to keep in your cupboard! Enjoy this sinus-clearing bath mix!

1 Cup Epsom Salts (try this one from Amazon!)
3 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
3 drops of Lavender essential oil
3 drops of Peppermint essential oil

Put 2-3 TBSP in your bath water and enjoy your soak! Don’t forget to breathe in deeply!
 

Natural Ways to Make Your Cold More Bearable | www.maplealps.com

 

Stay Hydrated, Rested and Warm

 

Be sure to drink plenty (I’m serious!) of water and stay rested and warm. Sleep is not a bad thing at any time - especially when you’re sick. Use a hot water bottle (this one from Amazon is super cute) or heat pad (I have this adorable one) to keep you warm (and to help with those sinuses too)!

 

Eucalyptus Oil in Shower

 

Similar to a face steam (hot water + eucalyptus oil in a bowl and cover your head), put 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil in the bottom of your shower to help clear your sinuses. It smells and feels great!

 

Avoid Refined Sugars

 

Sugar affects your immune system and keeps you from getting better! Avoid sugary treats! Opt for healthy Whole Foods instead.

 

 

 

Of course, I hope you are all able to avoid the common cold this year! It’s definitely my goal to stay on top of my health so I can avoid the annoyance of this little bug!

How do you combat your colds? I have friends who eat whole onions and others who make the most intense sounding concoctions.

I’d love to know your remedies too!


 
 
Natural Cold Remedies | www.maplealps.com

I Quit Makeup. Here's What Happened.

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Health, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps13 Comments

I quit makeup.

Over two years ago.

Now, before you stop reading because you think I’m going  to tell you to stop wearing makeup, I’m not going to do any such thing.

I just felt like writing about my experiences - good and bad - when I stopped wearing makeup. Consider this more a personal reflection, and take from it what you wish!

This girl quit makeup | www.maplealps.com

Why did I do it?

I’ll be honest: I have no radical reason as to why I stopped wearing makeup. I just….decided to one morning. Don’t get me wrong - I really did enjoy wearing it and putting time and effort into my appearance, but when I questioned my motives (and some of the ingredients and testing methods of certain companies), I didn’t like what I was seeing. It was all about me and what people saw when they saw me. I realized that what I looked like shouldn’t matter as much as what my character was - so I took a break. My break has stretched to two years now, and I can’t say that I don’t miss it at times (again, for mostly superficial reasons), but I took some time to reflect on it.

 

It saves me time

I seriously used to be really good at getting up really early in the morning and getting myself together and ready. Over the years, however, it has gotten harder and harder to do that - mainly due to my light sleep and having a husband who goes to bed later than I would prefer. I am still obligated to wake up much earlier than I would like with these circumstances, but when I need the extra ten minutes, I take it. When I don’t need the extra time, it is now used in a much more productive way; I can extend the time for prayer, or eat a slower breakfast. It’s nice to not rush. It’s also nice to not spend so much time in front of the mirror looking goofy.

 

It saves me money

As I was going through the cosmetic aisle the other day, I was shocked to see some of the prices on brands I used to buy regularly. I did some quick math in my head and the number that came up was quite large. Being much more intentional about my money is important, and prioritizing what I spend it on is part of that. I was glad to realize that a large portion I would normally not even think about spending on makeup “essentials” now goes into savings.

 

It saves me stress

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand the extra stress. Why should I have to worry about whether my mascara is truly waterproof when it rains, or if my nail polish is chipping in an unattractive manner? I have enough to worry about in a day, so adding on these factors was just making me more of a basket-case than I already am! Honestly, going back to the time thing as well, the stress of running out of time in the morning is too much for my delicate heart.

 

It saves my skin

It is nothing new that a lot of makeup and other toiletries are made with questionable ingredients that harm our bodies. Yes, there are fantastic alternatives I’m sure, but I’ve not explored these [often expensive] alternatives. Honestly, I could do with putting fewer layers of “stuff” on my extremely absorptive skin anyway. I don’t have the best skin, and skipping the chemical-filled cosmetics has improved it so much.

 

My Husband Still Loves Me

Yup.

 

In Conclusion

I never set out to see how long I could go without painting a nail or lining my eye (sounds so weird when I say it that way). I just got fed up and started on a journey I didn’t know I was going on. I doubt that I’ll ever go back, and if I do, I do. For now, I am content with my choice and glad for the extra time, money and peace of mind it contributes to.

 


What do you think about my experience? Experienced anything similar?


 

5 Anti-Aging Natural Oils for Gorgeously Beautiful & Ageless Skin

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

The market is flooded with numerous beauty products which help in hiding uninvited signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. Though it’s great to have too many options in the anti-aging products, a lot of women are usually left confused or unsure about what will work for their skin or what will not. Instead of wasting time in searching one of the best anti-aging products, it would be great to turn towards Mother Nature to get gorgeously beautiful and ageless skin naturally. When talking about nature and natural products, one cannot ignore the essence of natural anti-aging oils. Extracted from leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and resins, essential oils comprise several potent and effective ingredients which are proven quite effective for skin and overall health. Keep reading to know about the 5 natural oils which are known for their amazing anti-aging properties and incredibly beautifying effects.

5 Anti-Aging Natural Oils for Gorgeously Beautiful & Ageless Skin | www.maplealps.com

 

1. Lavender Oil

Extracted from the flowers of Lavandula angustifolia through the steam distillation process, the versatile essential oil of lavender is known for its magical effects. Being a great source of natural vitamins and antioxidants, lavender oil works wonderfully in slowing down the aging clock and preventing wrinkles. A gentle massage of skin using a blend of lavender oil with any carrier oil is proven every effective in reducing the appearance of age spots. Moreover, it freshens up the complexion as well.

                                               

2. Frankincense Oil

Comprising great anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antiseptic properties, the essential oil of Frankincense is proven quite effective in slowing down the visible signs of aging, including wrinkles and sagging skin. Its powerful astringent property is also helpful in protecting the skin cells from getting damaged. Besides removing the age spots, the essential oil of frankincense is also effective in reinvigorating the skin, improving skin elasticity, balancing skin pH, and promoting healthy cell regeneration. You can also use this as an effective solution to combat acne, stretch marks, and wrinkles around your eyes. Mix a few drops of frankincense oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil and apply it gently over your skin for a younger look.

5 Anti-Aging Natural Oils for Gorgeously Beautiful & Ageless Skin | www.maplealps.com

3. Geranium Oil

Extracted from the leaves of Pelargonium odorantissimum plant, geranium essential oil works wonderfully for those who are struggling with premature signs of aging. Being a great anti-inflammatory and astringent agent, geranium oil is appreciated for its ability to make the skin flawless and youthful. When used regularly in combination with a carrier oil, geranium oil tightens the skin, regulates the production of sebum, reduces the appearance of pores, tones skin, so on. This is probably why it is so popular among women from all walks of the life. Mix a few drops of this oil with your regular body lotion and apply it gently over the affected area regularly before going to bed to get a young, beautiful, and glowing skin within few days.

4. Pomegranate Seed Oil

Botanically known as Punica grantum, pomegranate seed oil is the flag bearer when it comes to the selection of anti-aging natural oils. Comprising a lot of bioflavonoids, the pomegranate oil penetrates deeper into the layer of skin and works best in protecting the skin from the harsh rays of the sun. High in Omega-5 fatty acid and antioxidants, this oil works magically in reducing the free radicals which cause skin thickening, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. Mix a few drops of this oil in your regular moisturizer and gently apply it to your skin to get younger, toner, and beautiful appearance.

5 Anti-Aging Natural Oils for Gorgeously Beautiful & Ageless Skin | www.maplealps.com

5. Jojoba Oil

The carrier oil of Jojoba is proven quite effective in diminishing the fine lines, age spots, wrinkles, and other common signs of premature aging. Jojoba oil comprises various Vitamin contents which are effective in speeding up the rapid regeneration of the skin cells. A regular massage of the facial skin with a blend of jojoba and any other carrier oil like almond is one of the best options to get a firm, smooth, and younger skin within no time.

This is all you need to know about the five effective natural anti-aging oils. If you want to get the best benefits, you need to approach a reliable supplier for buying 100% pure natural oils. As some of the people have quite sensitive skin, it is advised to consult with an expert before buying any oil to avoid any kind of skin problems.

 

This was a guest post by Abhinav Kumar Singh, who is a renowned aromatherapist and essential oil educator with 8 years of professional expertise. His passion is to help others by sharing crucial information about aromatherapy, information, usage and tips from essential oils and allied natural extracts. He has been advocating about the benefits of natural essential oils through writing and speeches to reach out thousands of persons through his blogs, articles, and speeches. Find more of his works at Allin Exporters. Apart from this, he loves traveling to new places and spending time in his backyard.

If you are interested in guest posting, check out the guest posting guidelines for Maple Alps, here. 


 

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps11 Comments

It finally happened. I ran out of my precious Body Shop body butter. Let me tell you about this butter: I've been using it for YEARS, and since my favourite flavour is blueberry, I would wait till it came out every year, and then buy enough to last me a year. And that is all I would use. Because lotion never cut it for me. Plus, who can resist those blueberry fumes?! Not this girl.

Well, that is until I found cocoa butter, smelled it, and figured out it was WAY cheaper to make my own amazing body butter - plus I didn't have to wait a year to find my favourite flavours!

This post contains affiliate links.

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Butter Body Butter

It amazes me how far I've come in my quest for homemade and natural alternatives for every-day essentials. I've always been a fan of being more on the natural side, but never in my wildest dreams would I have seen myself making my own products to save money and save myself from the chemicals that are lurking in many toiletries on grocery store shelves - the ones I've been using for a long time! 

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter | www.maplealps.com

I vowed that once my blueberry body butter ran out, I would make the switch to homemade, and let me tell you: I've not yet looked back!

This body butter is so smooth, soft, luxurious feeling and SMELLS AMAZING. It also feels so great and does not feel greasy at all. It's also super easy to make, and easy on my wallet.

I'm confident it will be a perfect moisturizer as Winter makes it's way here. 

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter | www.maplealps.com

1/2 C Cocoa Butter (I used this one)
1/2 C Shea Butter
1/2 C Coconut Oil
1/2 C Sweet Almond Oil

1) Using double boiler, melt everything together.
2) Add to mixing bowl and place in the fridge until solid, but still soft (about 50-60 minutes).
3) Using electric hand mixer, whip mixture until light and fluffy.
4) Transfer to glass jar and store in cool place. 

Note: mixture will hold texture perfectly fine at 75 degrees F (about 24 degrees C) and below.


Needing a new body butter to prepare for Winter? Ever tried making your own?


 
Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter | www.maplealps.com