Hair Health + Big Moves


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Hello from Greenville, South Carolina! I wrote a long post about why I moved and what I'm doing (or think I'm doing) here, but I decided to not post it. Here's the long and the short of it: it was time for a change. Instead of that post, I wanted to write about what I've been doing for my hair health, and better yet my scalp health, lately. 

I think I've always had an itchy, dry scalp. One of my New York co-workers and I have discussed our scalp history at length because we both have the same issue. If I put too much conditioner in or too much oil on, my fine hair becomes an oily mess. Strip too much and my hair is crunchy. The hydration issue is a balance that I don't always seem to get right. 

I've been practicing/utilizing four things consistently for a few months now that I think are making all the difference. While my scalp is still a little dry, the itch has gone down significantly. I'm also not finding as many little white bits at the base of my hair as I used to, hallelujah! 

While this is an on-going experiment, I can tell that this is what is working best now. My hypothyroidism and excessive stress had caused a lot of hair loss over the past 2 years. That on top of an itchy, dry scalp resulted in a self-confidence drop. My hair helps me feel beautiful. It's vain, I know. But there are things, you know, that just make you feel pretty, like a great dress or the perfect eyeliner. My hair felt like a safety net and when it was failing, I felt insecure. While that's probably (definitely) a deeper issue, it feels like my friend is back and healthy and things feel right again. So I'm taking this win, and hoping one, or all, of these steps help you too.

Step 1: MINERALIZE

Hair and scalp health is not just a topical issue. Your scalp is your skin. If there are things happening on the inside, they are coming out. To help get more vitamins and minerals, I've turned to a blend of herbs for an infusion that I try to drink at least once a day. Horsetail, nettle leaf, and oatstraw (with Gotu Kola thrown in occasionally) all provide nutrients key for building strong hair and nails, as well as providing a moistening component to aid in hydration. I use them in equal parts and steep in hot water for at least 10 minutes.

Step 2: PURE SHAMPOO

I have seriously tried so many shampoos and between me and my co-worker we probably tried almost everything on the (affordable) market. I started using Enfleurage's Rosemary & Atlas Cedar Shampoo a few months ago and I honestly couldn't be happier. It's a really clean, herbal-infused shampoo (with all the herbs I've been drinking amazingly). It has a great lather but doesn't seem to be as stripping as a lot of the ones out there. It's not the cheapest option, but it's also not the most expensive one I've tried. And a little can go a long way. It's apparently not available online so here's hoping I can call the store and have them ship it to me!

Step 3: OIL

Pre-shampoo: Sarada Ayurvedic Remedies' Hair Vitality Elixir. For 10 minutes before I shampoo or sometimes hours before I shampoo. I section my scalp into quarters and put about 10 drops in each quarter. Be sure to massage in, but more on that in the next step. 

Post-shampoo: Cocokind Organic Chia Oil. Chamomile infused so it has calming and anti-inflammatory properties. But just a little. Like 3 drops on the tips of your fingers that you spread over your whole scalp. And then massage. 

Step 4: STIMULATE

Perhaps the most important step. Once I get out of the shower and towel my hair off (with a proper hair towel, also important for hair health), I put the chia oil on the tips of my fingers and really massage my scalp. The point here is to stimulate blood flow to help in detoxification, so really get in there. It has also helped increase my hair's volume so added bonus. If you do nothing else, change nothing else in your routine, do this. And then get back to me and let me know how it goes. 

 

What kind of confidence challenges are you experiencing? How are you beginning to overcome them? What are your healthy hair tips?

The Wellness Project Book


While I still am not 100% sure whether or not I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis (GP says no, naturopath says yes), I'm taking all my happy thyroid cues from Phoebe Lapine, the leader of the #HashiPosse. I was so excited to help launch her new book The Wellness Project, which started as a year-long experiment of monthly challenges to improve her health. 

As part of helping launch her book, I participated in the #4WeekstoWellness challenge. I decided to work out some of my gut issues and proper elimination. I began my making my own bone broth (see recipe below) and drinking 1/2 cup to a cup every morning. I also tried to up my leafy green intake to help the process along. The second week I tried to up my hydration level, which is so hard! I always think I drink so much, but I am always so thirsty when I leave work. In the book Phoebe says that if our body goes thirsty one day it can replace the thirst desire with a hunger desire. I have definitely noticed that feeling, especially mid-morning when hunger strikes, but I really just need to drink more water. 

The third week I began to cut out sugar. While my sugar level has significantly dropped from a year ago (I no longer eat a bag of gummy bears in a sitting), I have been eating a lot of dark chocolate. It's been a stressful year and dark chocolate is my go-to de-stresser. These days I'm trying to cut out the sugar and see if the acne that has set up shop on my jaw dissipates. It's been two weeks and, while I'm also doing my best to stop leaning on my hands so much, it seems it's finally starting to fade. I've been upping my fruit intake to curb the sugar cravings which includes lots of fruit: frozen fruit smoothies, dried fruit, & fruit with nut butters. Fruit, though high in sugar, contains fiber which slows the release of glucose into your system (which is why they say smoothies are better than juices). 

I'm happy to report that even though my digestion has been upset with some of the foods I've event lately (ugh, onions!), I've been fairly regular and that is pretty fantastic. Why did I choose focusing on my elimination patterns? For anyone with a hormonal imbalance, it is imperative to have a regular system of elimination. I'll get into this further in another post, but our excess sex hormones are flushed out through the large intestine and if they sit in there for a longer period they can be reabsorbed back into the body. That re-absorption can lead to further imbalance which can manifest in a myriad of ways, acne included. 

If you're interested in learning more about how you can start your own #4WeekstoWellness challenge and focus on a specific issue you may be dealing with, check out Phoebe's site, Feed Me Phoebe, or order the book! It was such a great (and funny!) read filled with so much valuable information on healthier lifestyle patterns. 

Want to make your own bone broth? Here's the basic recipe I used from The Bone Broth Miracle by Ariane Resnick:

Basic Bone Broth

1 lb of grass-fed (VERY IMPORTANT) beef bones. You can use more, but it will be equal to how much water you can fit in whatever pot you use.

1 quart of water per pound of bones

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per quart of water

1 teaspoon of sea salt per quart of water

1 bay leaf or tablespoon of dry herbs of your choosing

Roast the bones slightly for added flavor, if desired. If using a crockpot, combine all the ingredients and set on low for at least 24 hours, but it can go for up to 48 hours. If using the stove, set the temperature to as low as possible and simmer for 24 hours or longer. 

Strain the bones, bottle, and store in the fridge up to a week. Reheat on low whenever desired. 

Reading The Wellness Project? Making some bone broth? Tag me @lisammagee and @phoebelapine. If you begin your own health challenge be sure to use the tag #4WeekstoWellness. 

Everyday Essentials


Little bag season is starting and nothing makes me happier than wearing a small purse instead of my backpack. I have a tendency to shove all sorts of things for winter into my backpack, especially when I need a place to put my gloves, hat, and scarf when I'm inside. For the summer I try my best to pair down to the bare minimum, which leads me to today's post: everyday essentials. I'm sharing the things I fit in my little bag that help me get through the out-and-about-all-day kind of days.

Baggu Bags - From the leather, Made in the US crossbody bag, to the foldable tote in its own carrying case, Baggu has me covered for little bag season. I try to always carry a tote because I really do not like getting plastic grocery bags. It's large enough to carry a lot of groceries and not crush things. 

Blue Avocado Reusable Produce Bags - I have three varying sizes of these mesh bags and they all roll up to fit into my Baggu crossbody. If you are trying to cut down on your plastic consumption, this is definitely the way to go. I don't always remember them, but when I do I am ecstatic that they can fit a bunch of kale, mushroom, and whatever else I might find in the produce aisle. (These seem to be possibly discontinued, but just search "reusable produce bags" and there are lots of options.)

Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters - ALWAYS in my bag. If I eat too much at a restaurant or start feeling gassy or nauseous, these bitters are my BFF. The fact that they come in a spritz make them that much more magical. I also like that I can buy a bigger container of bitters and then just refill the spritzer when it runs low. P.S. Bitters are just like they sound, bitter herbs steeped in alcohol (but they come in cider vinegar now!) which aid in digestion. 

Cocokind MyMatcha stick - A necessity from my dry hands to my dry lips (working on that inner hydration, but not quite there!). It has the best smell of any balm I've ever used. P.S. You can now find these sticks at Whole Foods in the New York area and in Louisiana!

Cocokind Raspberry Vinegar toner - Just made up this little glass spritzer with my new favorite toner this weekend, but it will be a mainstay come summer. I'm definitely a sweater (sweat-er?) and I'd like to avoid the sweat acne I inevitably get around my hairline during summer. 

Bite Beauty Lush Lip Tint - Apparently this is now discontinued (sorry! Try the Multistick!), but Bite makes my favorite lipsticks and tints with natural and organic ingredients, meaning when you inevitably eat your lipstick (as we all do consciously or not), you aren't ingesting harmful chemicals. I use my lip tint similar to the Multistick on my lips and cheeks if I forget to put blush on in the morning.

Bach Flower Rescue Remedy - Another good spritz! This one is a combination of flower essences that aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety. New York City is full of stress, from missing the bus to being in a crowded train, and this little bottle helps your body deal with it. Delve into more information on the Bach Flower Remedies website. 

Handmade Salve - I made this salve with calendula-infused apricot kernel oil and rose geranium essential oil a while ago. It's a do-it-all salve from dry hands to elbows to hair ends. 

Foldover elastic hair ties - If it's not on my wrist, then it's in my bag. My former roommate, Sarah, made some for me and I'm eternally grateful for the introduction. I can't use any other tie now!

Teaonic glass bottle - Love My Liver tea is delicious and a great herbal flush to aid one of the hardest working organs, but it also is a tiny reusable bottle that I like to fill with homemade kombucha or tea. AND it just so happens to fit into my Baggu. Magic!

 

What's in your little bag? Any reusable items I should know about? Share in the comments below or tag me @lisammagee! 

Three Face Masks to Soothe Your Soul and Face


I don't know about you, but I'm feeling this influx of daily news on a pretty deep level. And while all I want to do is talk to you about why I marched in the Women's March or why pushing through the DAPL cuts to my core, I also recognize that we are being bombarded on every side and every social media network with people's political opinions. So for now, I just want a little respite. It doesn't mean I'm not fired up and ready to go and that I'm not here to listen to how you're feeling about everything. Please use the comments as much as you like! But it does mean that I want to shine a little light into a world that's feeling a little dark with some fun face masks. Sound okay to you? Great! Let's jump in.

My face is breaking out. My naturopath had me do some blood tests which concluded it's most likely not hormone related. Great! Then WHAT IS IT? She says it's stress. I say, whatever it may be it's annoying. So, to combat the stress and the breakouts, I'm taking to face masking. DIY-ing lifts my spirits and I'm incorporating some skin and soul soothing ingredients. *P.S. All of these masks are strongly colored, especially the turmeric, so take care to watch what they come in contact with. 

First up, Cocokind's Organic Ultra Chlorophyll Mask. This detoxing, nutrient-rich mask is easy to use with just a little bit of water, but I love to add raw honey for its skin healing elements. After 10-15 minutes, my skin feels refreshed. Want to up the ante? Take it to the steam room! Cocokind founder, Priscilla Tsai, says the steam helps open up the pores which allows the chlorophyll to clear out more dirt. No steam room? I like to put it on before I shower and just sit in the bathroom for a few minutes before hopping in to wash it off. 

Second, Jessa Blades' DIY turmeric, honey, & yogurt mask. Mix about 1/2 tsp turmeric powder with 1 tbsp full fat yogurt (or I used goat kefir, which is different but still has a good bacterial count), and 1 tsp raw honey. A little goes a long way here, but the slight exfoliation of the turmeric and the cool kefir was so lovely and soothing. The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric, skin healing honey, and cooling kefir is a great way to keep my redness level down. 

Lastly, Adina Grigore's Dessert Mask from Skin Cleanse. For about one use, mix 1 tbsp organic olive oil, 2 tsp raw cacao powder (not heavily processed), and 1 tsp fine grain sea salt. This mask is like a brownie for your face. The olive oil is really nourishing, while the cacao is antioxidant rich, and the sea salt scrubs away the bad leaving glowing skin behind. 

Do you have a favorite DIY mask? Leave the recipe in the comments below! Or better yet, make some and tag @lisammagee in your instagram photo so I can see!