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Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin

Bae Yoon Young for Beauty+, April 2015

Bae Yoon Young for Beauty+, April 2015

While we are all about slathering our face and body with nurturing oils, beautiful skin starts with nourishment from within. In fact, what we eat has a direct effect on our skin, and a healthy diet abundant in antioxidants, vitamin C, good fats, collagen, and amino acids can mean the difference between a fresh, radiant complexion and a weary, puffy, one. Older skin cells are continuously shed and replaced by younger ones, and a steady supply of micronutrients is essential to support this rapid growth. When you eat the correct balance of foods, you feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to stay, soft, supple and blemish-free.

To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of eight beauty superfoods that will significantly enhance your complexion. Keep reading to see what they are.

BEETS

The powerful antioxidants in beets help fight signs of aging to keep skin firm and youthful. Their combination of minerals and vitamins (folate, Vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium) stimulates cell production and repair, protecting our skin from premature aging and wrinkles. Add the vibrant root vegetable to your morning juice along with apple, carrots and a hint of ginger for a delicious cleansing boost.

CHIA SEEDS

These antioxidant-rich seeds are packed with minerals and fiber as well as the perfect balance of essential fatty acids (packing almost 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per 1-ounce serving). Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is credited for giving our skin that "glow" we all strive for while also leading to a visible reduction in inflammatory skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Sprinkle chia seeds into smoothies and fruit salads, or soak them in almond milk overnight for a satisfying dessert.

BRAZIL NUTS

While you probably already know that Brazil nuts are a healthful snack, they are also a beauty food, as they’re a rich source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant which is essential for the immune system. A selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. Just four nuts will provide you with the recommended daily amount. Sprinkle them on your salad alongside other seeds, or carry as nutritious snack.

SWEET POTATOES

Adding these delicious beta-carotene-rich starches into your daily diet can combat lackluster complexions. The wondrous, skin-brightening combination of Vitamin A and Vitamin C in sweet potatoes works to neutralize cell tissue-damaging free radicals that cause the dreaded dulling effect. Sweet potatoes are also rich in biotin, which stimulates hair and nail growth.

SPINACH

This leafy green is high in Vitamin A, essential for promoting growth in skin and hair. Spinach is also loaded with Vitamin C, which is imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, making it a no-brainer for any meal, juice, or smoothie.

PINEAPPLE

Tangy and exotic, pineapple benefits the skin by improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and removing toxins from the body. What’s more, it also helps in the production of collagen.

 

Antioxidant fantasy

Anti-oxidant fig fantasy

FIGS

The tiny seeds in figs are loaded with nutrients that help rid the digestive track of toxins and mucus, which may prevent important nutrients from getting to the skin. High in fiber, figs are a perfect sweet treat to aid in cleansing and detox. 

 

AVOCADO

Besides being a delight smashed on a crispy toast, avocados are an abundant source of vitamin E. Praised as a skin-beautifying antioxidant, Vitamin E is present in the human epidermal tissue, where it creates smoothness and suppleness. Studies also found that vitamin E  helps fight signs of aging by protecting the skin against oxidative cell damage as well as supporting healthy skin growth.

And lastly, it goes without saying water is imperative for a dewy, healthy complexion. Our skin needs moisture to stay flexible, and even mild dehydration will cause it to look dry, tired and slightly gray. After all, H20 isn't a beauty secret — it's a basic human need. So make sure to keep hydrated at all times (especially during these hot summer months). If you work in an office, keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind yourself to drink regularly.

 – Written by Sofia Sosunov

Africa’s Beauty Secret: Marula Oil

It’s easy to be a skeptic in the skincare world, where every product is often prefaced by the word “miracle,” and every ingredient seems to possess “age-defying” properties.  But once in a while, something comes along that not only lives up to the hype but is worthy of a permanent spot in our beauty cabinets. Case in point: Marula oil. Hand harvested from the kernels inside the sweet exotic fruit of the indigenous African Marula tree, the multi-purpose oil has been a skincare staple for the Ovambo women in northern Namibia for generations. In fact, the Marula is an African botanical treasure; often regarded as sacred, the tree is imbued with cultural significance, romance, and legend. It grows only in sub-equatorial Africa making the oil a rare commodity. 

But Marula oil is certainly not the first ingredient claimed to soften skin, so what makes it unique? The key to Marula’s outstanding performance is its fine molecular structure which contributes to its effectiveness not only as a skin hydrator but also as a protector. It boasts a high concentration of antioxidants such vitamin E and C (four times as much as an orange), essential amino acids and flavonoids that help cells renew and resist the harmful effects of free radicals in the environment, including UV damage and air pollution. 

Marula Oil is also incredibly rich in essential omega 9 and omega 6 fatty acids, which provide deep, long-lasting hydration and reduce redness while nourishing, healing, and improving the skin’s elasticity. By helping to reduce transepidermal water loss, it increases the overall smoothness of skin. The oil has an appealing, surprisingly lightweight consistency and non-greasy texture and is both fast absorbing and non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores or lead to blackheads). The indulgent oil sinks deep into the skin, leaving it silky and luminous.

As for who should use Marula oil? It’s suitable (and in fact recommended) for all skin types as it is naturally soothing and effectively combats inflammation.

Here are a few simple ways in which you can integrate the oil-du-jour into your beauty routine:

  • Warm 2–3 drops of oil in the palms of your hands, gently press onto clean, slightly damp face, neck and décolleté.
  • Add a couple of drops of Marula oil to your facial cleanser for added hydration and to offset the drying effect of washing your face.
  • Use as a serum booster under foundation or cream to intensify hydration and restore radiance.
  • Apply a few drops to clean damp hair before blow-drying or styling.
  • Massage oil on your nails to fortify fragile, brittle nails and moisturize the cuticles.
  • Rub all over your body, ideally on slightly damp skin post-shower or bath. 

­– Written by Sofia Sosunov

Legends of Our Top Winter Oil

For a tiny brand with a small curated selection of oils, we often get the question, which oil should I use?  Of course this depends on what your particular issues are, what your skin type is, and what else you are doing in your skincare routine.  We have an oil guide where you can easily choose yourself here.

Nevertheless, our winter beauty hero is definitely the Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil.  This rare plant grows in cold climates, like Siberia, the Himalayas and northern China, and has to be harvested by hand.  Even richer and more hydrating than Argan Oil, it has a superior antioxidant profile.  The berry has been called "the Holy Fruit of the Himalayas."  Legend has it that horse traders would feed older horses the berries to achieve a miraculous transformation in a few days, passing off older mares as being younger.

The Sea Buckthorn plant is the only one known to contain all four essential fatty acids (Omega 3s, 6s, 9s and the elusive Omega 7s).  Studies show that using the oil topically can help in skin repair and healing, of particular importance during a time when cold temperatures can lead to irritation and extra dryness.  The only one of our oils classified as an essential oil, it is extremely concentrated, and must be used sparingly; start with one drop for the face.

We love its effects, but don't love the orange stains it can leave on the face; this is why the Ko & Humble version has been strained through pink clay, to minimize odor and color, but keep all of the amazing antioxidants and essential fatty acids.  A salty/nutty scent still remains, but it is much milder than the unrefined version.

This oil is a pure, natural variant of an antiaging serum, an antioxidant boost, a hydrating balm, or a moisturizer for hands, nails, hair and body.  Let us know if you have any questions about its use...