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5 ways to improve your skin and hair

We all know that eating a natural plant-based diet is beneficial to our general health and wellbeing. A healthy approach not only offers us the perfect fuel for our bodies but it can also make us look and feel fantastic. But we can even go one step further - by decluttering our beauty regime. This too can be just as pure and simple as our diet.

In today’s world, we are inundated with products and brands that promise us smooth and youthful skin as well as silky and voluminous hair. These wild claims and unpronounceable ingredients make beauty seem confusing and complicated, in turn making us feel like we have to buy the latest gimmick or miracle cream in order to get a healthy glow or shine.

These products are not only expensive but can be filled with toxins – phthalates, which are endocrine disrupting chemicals. Studies suggest that these toxins can have a negative accumulative effect on the human body, which in the long term can contribute to ill health, namely reproductive issues and cancer among women.

According to new research by the Environment Working Group, a non-profit organisation based in the United States, “the average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day.” These include cosmetics, perfumes as well as personal care and feminine hygiene products, which penetrate into the skin.

A simpler and safer way to look after our skin and hair might be to consider natural and organic skincare alternatives. As a result, our beauty regime could quite happily consist of just a handful of ingredients, which when combined can achieve great results.

By using ingredients found in nature with gorgeous properties that repair and enhance our skin and hair, we would avoid what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called in a 2013 report “toxic environmental agents” from entering our bodies.

Here are some natural ingredients for you to try:

Shea butter

Shea butter is perfect for dry, dehydrated or damaged skin. It is moisturising, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging.
Originating from Africa where it has been used to protect skin and hair for centuries, shea butter is fantastic on all areas of your body and can be used as a facial moisturiser, cleanser or hand and foot cream. Made front the nut of the karate tree, it can also be whipped into body butter.
When used raw and unrefined, shea butter brings the benefits of vitamins A and E as well as essential fatty acids. Experts say it can help to soothe inflamed skin and acne as well as such conditions as eczema and psoriasis.
Moringa oil

Native to Asia and Africa, it is derived from the moringa oleifera plant which offers its rich seed oil.
Called “the miracle tree” and “tree of life” because of its nutritional and healing benefits, it is packed with vitamins as well as antibacterial, antioxidant and antifungal properties, thereby making it a fantastic oil for our hair and skin.  
It contains a powerful combination of antioxidants and high oleic acid content, which allows the distribution of vital nutrients deep into facial tissues and strengthens skin cells for improved moisture retention.
Gently massaging the seed oil into the skin’s surface will help to rebuild the skin’s collagen fibres, thereby reducing fine lines and improving blemishes. 
Moringa oil also helps to protect the skin cells from free radicals, which can cause damage to skin tissue and lead to premature ageing. 
Argan oil
    Hailing from Morocco, this oil comes from the argan nut, which is the fruit found inside the argan tree.
    It has been traditionally and extensively used to treat dry skin, wrinkles and joint pain, thus making it quite a versatile product.
    It is not only a great facial moisturiser with anti-aging properties but also a fantastic hot oil treatment for your hair as it restores a shine and brilliance by repairing and hydrating it.
    Packed full with fatty acids and vitamin E, it can also act as a hair serum and body moisturiser. 
    Rosehip seed oil
      It is pressed from the seeds of a specific variety of rose, the Rosa aff. rubiginosa or Rosa moschata.
      Used for generations by the Andean Indians of Chile, it has been recognised for its natural nutrients and great benefits for the hair and skin.
      Packed with essential fatty acids, vitamins E, C and B-carotene, it is, like moringa seed oil, renowned for its anti-aging properties.
      It is a fantastic serum, which is a perfect and natural way to minimise fine lines and hydrate skin cells.
      It can also be used as cuticle oil and for the treatment for scars or sunburn.
      Borage oil
        Extracted from the seeds of the borage plant, it is a herb that is grown in the Mediterranean but can also be found in other countries, including the UK.
        Referred to as the secret of natural skincare, it is wonderful for dry and damaged skin because of its very rich source of GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid, which helps to stimulate skin and hair growth.
        Studies have shown that borage oil can be highly effective at replenishing the body’s levels of GLA, in turn improving the appearance of dry skin areas.
        It can also be used as moisturising and hydrating oil, which can help to reduce puffiness and fine lines.

        By Annie Yates

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