Category Archives: Natural Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits


In our house Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple.   We drink it, use it for cooking, cleaning and even to balance the pH of my hair.  Check out some of the wonderful benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar in this blog.

Apple cider vinegar lowers glucose levels, and may be helpful for diabetics. It has also been touted as a weight-loss aid, as it is said to help you feel fuller and eat less. The enzymes in apple cider vinegar also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, and can help regulate candida issues.

Apple cider vinegar can also be very helpful in reducing gas and bloating. Just take a tablespoon of ACV diluted in water or tea before a meal. It can also help aleviate symptoms of heartburn. Take a dose as soon as you feel heartburn symptoms coming on.

Apple Cider Vinegar, despite its acidic taste actually promotes alkalinity in the body. Since  cancer cannot live in an alkaline body, the primary way to heal many ailments is by bringing the body into an alkaline state which makes it an inhospitable environment for cancer.

How to take apple cider vinegar orally: Mix 1 tablespoon with a cup of water or herbal tea. (Apple cider vinegar is quite strong, and when taken straight can be harsh on the esophagus, so you’ll want to dilute it).   We also add some Himalayan Salt and Tumeric for an added mineral and nutrient boost.

And, of course, apple cider vinegar is a classic salad dressing ingredient, which you can definitely get a little creative with! While olive oil, the most commonly used oil for salad dressing, it is not recommended, you can mix your ACV with flax oil, avocado oil, lemon or orange juice, and perhaps even whirl it all together in a blender with a clove of garlic and fresh ground pepper and Himalayan Salt to taste.

Here is one of my favorite ACV dressing recipes:

Honey Chia Seed Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan salt

Finding Quality Apple Cider Vinegar

The quality of the Apple Cider Vinegar that you use is important.  First you have to get ACV with the “Mother”.  The Mother of Vinegar which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules.    In ACV particularly, “the mother” is a complex structure of beneficial acids that seem to have health benefits. Unrefined vinegars have a murky appearance and typically still contain the mother culture. Clear and pasteurized vinegars typically do not contain the mother culture and don’t carry the same benefits.  Second you need to make sure that the ACV that you get comes from Organic Sources.  Refined and clear vinegars are great for cleaning as they don’t leave residue. Raw, unfiltered and unrefined versions contain many more beneficial properties for culinary uses.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar is the brand we use almost exclusively for eating and cooking.  I totally love the whole Bragg Brand and what they stand for.  This information is an excerpt from Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System.  I highly recommend this and other books written by the Bragg family.  Here is a link if you would like to purchase the book.

Research worldwide supports and commends what Hippocrates (the father of medicine) found and treated his patients with in 400 B.C. He discovered that natural, undistilled Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV)* is a powerful cleansing and healing elixir, “a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria” for a healthier, stronger, longer life!

The versatility of ACV as a powerful body cleansing agent is legendary. It’s been traced to Egyptian urns as far back as 3000 B.C. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and preservative, while Julius Caesar’s army used ACV tonic to stay healthy and fight off disease. The Greeks and Romans kept vinegar vessels for healing and flavoring. It was used in Biblical times as an antiseptic and a healing agent and is mentioned in the Bible. In Paris during the Middle Ages, it was sold from barrels by street vendors as a body deodorant, healing tonic and a health vinegar drink.

Even Christopher Columbus and his crew on his voyage to discover America in 1492 had their vinegar barrels for prevention of scurvy as did the soldiers in the American Civil War. For centuries in Japan, the feared Samurai warriors drank it for strength and power. ACV has been used for thousands of years not only for health reasons, but also as a cleansing agent to remove bacteria, germs, odors, and even stains and spots.”

ACV – Mother Nature’s Perfect Food

Natural (undistilled) organic, raw ACV can really be called one of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods. It is made from fresh, crushed apples which are then allowed to mature naturally in wooden barrels, as wood seems to “boost” the natural fermentation. Natural ACV should be rich, brownish color and if held to the light you might see a tiny formation of “cobweb-like” substances that we call the “mother.” Usually some “mother” will show in the bottom of the ACV bottle the more it ages. It never needs refrigeration. You can also save some “mother” and transfer it to work in other natural vinegars. When you smell natural ACV, there’s a pungent odor and sometimes it’s so ripened it puckers your mouth and smarts your eyes. These are natural, good signs.

Why Has Natural Apple Cider Vinegar Disappeared from Grocers’ Shelves?

The blame for the disappearance of natural raw Apple Cider Vinegar from supermarkets lies on the shoulders of the general public, as well as the producers of vinegar.

Most people buy food with their eyes, not thinking of good nutrition. The vinegar producers failed to enlighten the public on what powerful health qualities were locked within natural ACV. Why? Because most of them had not the slightest knowledge of the health values of natural, organic, unfiltered, cloudy (and to some, less attractive-looking) Apple Cider Vinegar with the “mother.” They produced pasteurized, refined and distilled vinegars because the public demanded the clear look. It was simply filling current supply and demand.

Powerful Health Qualities Removed

You cannot completely blame the producers of vinegar. They are not nutritionists, nor are they biochemists. Their business is to give the customers what they want. Most people purchase vinegar for flavoring, also for pickling and marinating their foods. Some women use it to rinse their hair after shampooing, as it leaves it squeaky clean, softer and much easier to manage.

ACV is also a germ fighter in the home, lab, etc.. Some mix it with water to wash windows, as it removes sludge and keeps them sparkling clean. ACV has hundreds of uses and its versatility is legendary as a powerful household cleansing and deodorizing agent free of dangerous chemicals.

ACV Has Powerful Health Qualities

Both the general public and the producers of vinegar have been informed as to the powerful health qualities of organic, raw, unfiltered, fully ripened ACV. Ignorance isn’t always bliss! When most people see natural apple cider vinegar with the brownish color and the tiny, cobweb “mother” floating in it, they think it looks unappetizing. The general public has been educated and brainwashed to want everything they purchase to have perfect eye appeal!

To meet this demand of clear, light-colored vinegar sans the brownish, cobweb “mother” is the reason producers distill their vinegar. In distilling, the vinegar is turned to steam by heating, thus destroying the powerful enzymes and evaporating the life-giving minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, natural organic fluorine, silicon, trace minerals and pectin as well as many other powerful nutrients! Distilling also destroys the natural malic and tartaric acids which are important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria.

You can see how the public, with their obsession for eye appeal foods, reacts. The producers of Apple Cider Vinegar, who agree to sell their product for a profit, put a death warrant against healthy, organic, raw, fully ripened ACV. The public got what they wanted—a clear, appealing, but dead ACV. When natural ACV was hard to find, other strange vinegars began to appear on grocery shelves. The first was malt vinegar, a refined vinegar. It’s clear and acceptable to the public. It tastes like vinegar, but has none of the healing qualities of natural, raw ACV.

The universally accepted #1 fruit, the apple, is popular across America and around the world. Early American settlers, the Pilgrims, brought apples to America in the early 1600’s and became Johnny Appleseeders, starting apple orchards that eventually spread throughout America.

Commercial Vinegars are Real Tragedies

Then came the real tragedy: a food chemist produced an imitation vinegar from coal tar! It looked clean, white and tasted like vinegar. Today it’s the most popular vinegar in supermarkets. It’s cheaper than distilled vinegar or malt vinegar. Most people buy these worthless vinegars. There is nothing redeeming about commercial vinegars, besides their clean look and vinegar-like taste. They have no health value! They don’t contain the health values of organic, raw ACV with the mother. Millions worldwide never get the health benefits of this natural ACV as Hippocrates used in 400 B.C.

ACV Helps Stiffness Vanish from Body

You will find, after several months of ACV and honey cocktail taken 3 times daily that the stiffness and misery will be gone from your joints and body. You will discover you can walk or run up several flights of stairs without any effort and pain! You will notice that you look and feel younger!

Make The Bragg Healthy Lifestyle a life-long daily habit! Over the years we have seen many stiff-jointed, prematurely old people transform themselves into new, youthful, healthy people! We can’t do it for you. You must make the effort to give this ACV and honey program a chance to prove what it can do for you!

Question About Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people have some preconceived idea that Apple Cider Vinegar is harmful to the body. However, it is actually the distilled, pasteurized, filtered, malt and synthetic dead vinegars that must be avoided for human consumption!

Let us assure you that there is nothing in this wonderful, organic, raw ACV that can in any way harm your body! People ask us about the merits and benefits of ACV. See the inside front cover for a list of some of the miracles it can perform.

Animal proteins and fats have a tendency to thicken the blood, while natural acids and enzymes in ACV help to keep the blood healthier and thinner. Also, that’s why people naturally crave and serve cranberry sauce (which contains four different natural acids) with turkey and fowl. They serve applesauce with roast pork dishes, a slice of lemon with fish, or mushrooms with steak —all rich in natural acids.

Herbs for the Maiden, Mother & Matriarch

By this point you are aware of how important hormone balance is in our bodies, if you are not, check out these blogs before continuing.

  1. What are “Female” Hormones?
  2. How to Know When Your Hormones are Outta Whack

Now that we have a basic idea of what hormones are and how they get out of balance, let’s look at how to get them back in order.  You know me, I’m all about the solution and not dwelling on the problem.

As you probably know there are three phases of a female’s life cycle:  The Maiden, The Mother and The Matriarch (or Crone, but I hate that term so I use Matriarch).  The first step to balancing hormones is by honoring the cycle that you are in.  Here is a brief description of these cycles:

  • The Maiden represents enchantment, inception, expansion, the promise of new beginnings, birth, youth and youthful enthusiasm, represented by the waxing moon;
  • The Mother represents ripeness, fertility, sexuality, fulfillment, stability, power and life represented by the full moon;
  • The Matriarch represents wisdom, repose, death, and endings represented by the waning moon.

There are many herbal remedies that nourish and support the female reproductive system in all the cycles of life: Maiden, Mother, and Matriarch. Since the beginning of time women have always reached instinctively for natural remedies to support their overall health and hormone balance.  It is only within the past few hundred years that we have gotten away from our natural roots and began to rely on modern “medicine”.  I use that term lightly because I don’t even see it as medicine, but rather a system that focuses on band aiding the symptoms and not treating the whole person.  This leads to a myriad of other symptoms, check out a commercial for prescriptions, have you seen even 1 without side effects?  I haven’t and generally the side effect symptoms are worse than the initial symptoms.  That being said, click here to read The Full Medical Disclaimer.

I do believe highly in Nature’s Medicine.  Our bodies are made of the same elements as nature and it is through Nature’s Medicine that we will heal ourselves.  There are many wonderful herbs, foods and elements that can help us maintain homeostasis and specifically hormone balance in each life cycle phase.  This blog will focus mainly on herbs to help balance the female hormones.  I will first go over which are good for females of all ages, then I will break down the ones that are best for the Maiden, Mother and Matriarch.

All Life Cycle Phases:

Alfalfa sprouts are a staple of salads and contain nutrients, but the leaves hold the best healing potential and contain phytoestrogens that are beneficial in menopausal and breast feeding women.  Sprouts in general are a great way to maintain balance without putting undue stress on your digestive system.

Note: It is always best to purchase Organic Alfalfa since it is one of the more highly GMO crops.

Asparagus racemosus known in India as Shatavari, has been a treatment for infertility and lack of libido in women for thousands of years, and is regarded as one of the most important herbal tonics for women.  In India, it is often boiled with milk and consumed.

Note:  They cherish their cows in India, we don’t here.  I don’t recommend use of milk unless it is raw and even then, in limited amounts.

Clary sage oil has a special affinity with the female system in general and is recommended for women who are experiencing hot flashes, pain and tension associated with menopause, menstrual problems and PMS.  It is also relaxing, soothing and tends to be earthy and grounding.

Note: Do not use during early pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage.

Red Raspberry Leaf is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium and B, C & E vitamins which are helpful for immune properties & energy.  It also provides ample blood flow to the pelvic area.  (I will get more into this herb in the Mother Phase however it is great for all cycles.)




Burdock (root) and Dandelion (root) are a great pair as liver cleansers and the burdock helps greatly with teenage acne.  Teas of these two roots are excellent with a little bit of honey to sweeten.


Milk Thistle will help with adolescent surges and the emotional roller-coaster.


Pau d’arco from South America is rich in calcium and has positive effects on a growing endocrine system.

Siberian ginsing is a major endocrine gland tonics and have properties similar to the adrenal cortical hormone, this is great for exhausted teenagers.  It also supports the liver and bloodstream.

Wild Yams beneficially effect the adrenals, digestive system, liver and endocrine system.



Avena Sativa better known as oats are an alleviator of menstrual cramps.  It increases blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system.  Avena Sativa is also thought to free bound testosterone, an essential hormone for both females & males.

Dong quai and wild yams (not to be mistaken for sweet potatoes), along with other estrogenic herbs can be used in combination to treat menstrual difficulties and other conditions where a woman’s hormones need to be brought back into balance.

Note:  Dong quai is not to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Galactagogues are those herbs that establish and promote the flow of mother’s milk. They often have high calcium contents and vary in taste. Below are a few examples of Galactagogues:

  • Alfalfa
  • Anise Seed
  • Basil
  • Black Seed Oil
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Borage Seed Oil
  • Caraway Seed
  • Castor Oil
  • Chaste Tree
  • Dandelion Root
  • Dill
  • Fennel Seed
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Goat’s Rue
  • Hops
  • Jasmine Oil (not to be used during pregnancy)
  • Lemongrass
  • Milk Thistle Seed
  • Sesame
  • Tribulus terrestris

Red Raspberry Leaf is a must for anyone trying to conceive as it clears toxins that can prevent pregnancy.  It also strengthens uterine walls making implantation easier reducing the risk of early miscarriage.  While pregnant Red Raspberry Leaf will continue to strengthen, and tone the uterus.  Trick is finding the right balance for your body, if you drink too much you can throw yourself into early labor.  I drank 1-2 cups daily until about Week 36 when I increased to 4-5 cups daily.  This worked well for my body however all bodies while similar are different.  I was lucky enough to have a healthy baby boy in under 1.5 hours.  I believe this was because the Red Raspberry Leaf had allowed me to dilate over time instead of all at once.  Just listen to your body and if you feel anything more than slight creamping, be sure to cut back on consumption.

Note:  Always consult with a licensed herbalist before taking any herbs during pregnancy.




Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which disrupts endocrine function and prompts premature aging.  It stimulates blood flow to a woman’s reproductive organs and also helps to produce positive effects on hot flashes, anxiety and depression.


Avena Sativa better known as oats are known as a libido enhancer and alleviator of menstrual cramps.  It increases blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system.  Avena Sativa is also thought to free bound testosterone, an essential hormone for sexual desire in both genders.

Black cohosh contains numerous chemical constituents, among them isoflavones which mimic hormonal activity. This makes this herb useful for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and even the depression sometimes associated with menopause.

Note:  This is never to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Catuaba bark has been used by the Tupi Indians of Brazil for thousands of years.  It stimulates the central nervous system, thereby providing energy and a more positive mood.  It is also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Epimedium better known as Horny Goat Weed, it not only encourages blood flow to the reproductive organs but also has menopause symptom relieving effects.

Maca (root) also known as Peruvian Ginseng, has been used for centuries by the indigenous people of the Andes, to treat infertility, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, sleep disruption and night sweats associated with menopause.


Muria Puama this little known herbal gem calms the nerves, relieves anxiety and also increases blood flow to the pelvic area.

Red Clover greatly benefits the body’s arterial strength and flexibility while helping to relive menopausal symptoms.  It also helps to maintain bone strength.

Shilajit revered in both traditional Indian and Chinese medicine is used as a tonic, which aids in physical energy, mood enhancement and sexual drive.


Suma known as South American Ginsing, is commonly used to improve the mood, stimulate sexual desire and encourage overall reproductive health.

Tongkat Ali used in Malaysia by women to stimulate libido, increase sensitivity to erogenous zones, supports energy levels, cognitive function and creates positive responses to stress.

Tribulus terrestis stimulates androgen receptors in the brain and encourages the body to use hormones more efficiently.

Now that you have this information you can start honoring the stage you are in by doing research on the herbs in the correct category.  Some herbs may have contraindications with certain medicines, so be sure to check with your physician before beginning any new herbs or adding to your current.


In this section, we covered the different phases of a woman’s life cycle as well as herbs to help with each of those cycles.  Next we will focus on how to balance your hormones through diet adjustments and lifestyle changes.




Summer is my favorite time of year!  Time to let the toes out!  I love setting my feet free from the confines of shoes.  Most people don’t give much thought to their feet but they really take a lot of wear and tear.  Think about it, every day you get up and walk around without a thought as to what your poor feet go through to support the weight of your body.  If you have ever had a foot injury you can probably understand this more than most.  I know that my car accident gave me a new appreciation for my feet and the realization that I needed to take care of them.

Usually after having your feet trapped in shoes all winter long, there tends to be a buildup of dead skin. These callouses form to protect your feet from where your shoes rub against them.  Whether you choose to get one in the spa or do it yourself at home, pedicures are a great way to keep your feet healthy & pampered.  Check out these tips below for the Perfect Pedi!


Let me start this section by saying that I love pedicures.  I love the massaging chair that you get to sit in, the glass of wine & plate of snacks that I get served all while having my feet & calves massaged…it is the ultimate in pampering experiences.  For many centuries having well-manicured hands & feet has been a sign of wealth & privilege.  Here is a link to an interesting article on the history of pedicures.

ancient egypt pedicure


Pedicures in our times are much different from the ones in the days of old.  Servants would come to your chamber and give your feet personal attention, sometimes even with happy endings.  Since salons now a days are designed to get people in and out of the “chair” as fast as possible, important disinfecting procedures are not usually followed.


Giving yourself a pedicure at home is a great way to save money and protect yourself from the bacteria & fungi lurking in most salons.


Perfect Pedi Steps:

  1. Soak. Soaking your feet for 10 minutes will help to soften any dry skin and cuticles.  Here is a simple detox foot soak recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Wellness Mama.  Click on the photo below for seven more natural foot soak recipes.foot-soak-recipes-600x399Source:
  2. Cut & File. Cut your toe nails straight across with a large nail clipper and don’t cut them too low. This will avoid painful ingrown toenails.  File with emery board to shape and smooth edges.  Here is a video on how to properly cut your toenails.
  3. Remove Dry Skin. Use a pumice stone to remove callouses then use a foot scrub to remove any remaining dry skin.  You can make a simple foot scrub using 1 part sugar or salt and 1 part olive oil.  If you want to get fancier here is a link to some more DIY scrub recipes.                                 91BTgKn9HJL._SX522_ Source:
  4. Moisturize. This is the most important step in the whole process if you want to keep smooth, soft feet.  Apply a liberal amount of natural butter or oil and massage into feet.  Then put on a pair of thick socks to help it soak into your skin.  Leave the socks on for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.  I make an amazing natural Peppermint Foot Cream that soothes, cools & moisturizes sore, tired feet.                                      il_570xN.689408707_tvu2
  5. Polish.  It really is healthier to go polish-less as most polishes contain TPHP, an endocrine disruptor.  Please take your time to read this article about the findings by Duke University on the effects of TPHP.  That being said, I do understand how pretty it feels to have a nice bright hue on your newly pampered toes.  If you do decide to go with polish here is a great blog on finding less toxic nail polish brands and another on how to perfectly polish your toenails.






Being pampered in the salon is great if they follow all of the proper procedures to make sure that everything is sanitized.  Make sure you ask the owner about the cleaning procedures.  You can also watch to see what happens when each person leaves the chair.  Did they take apart the foot bath components and sterilize for at least 10 minutes? Did the tools get sanitized?   Probably not…check out these other tips to consider when going to the salon.

  1. Make Sure Tools Are Sterilized. Barbicide is often used in salons to sterilize metal tools, you’ve probably seen that blue cool-aid colored liquid on each manicure station.  Please note that plastic or wooden tools should not be reused, this includes nail files as they cannot be sterilized.  It is best to bring your own non-metal tools to be safe.  Simply have a small container with all of your tools and bring to each session, that way when you get home you can ensure that they are cleaned properly.  I have even seen some salons that keep a box of tools for all of their regular clients. (3)
  2. Don’t Turn On the Bubbles! While the pedicure chairs may be cozy, the whirlpool jets are not easy to properly clean quickly.  While it is optimal to sanitize the jets after each client, it never happens, remember how important turn-over is to profit in the salon industry.  Since they are not often sterilized they can harbor bacteria & fungus. (3)
  3. Wait at least 48 hours after shaving. Your skin is a protective layer designed to keep bacteria & fungi out of the body.  Each time you shave your legs, it causes microtears in the skin.  These tears that are often unseen, can allow infectious disease into your skin. (4)
  4. Don’t Cut Cuticles. Cuticles protect your nail bed from infection from bacteria & fungi.  While it may appear “neater” at the time, cut cuticles tend to grow back faster.  There is also a chance of cutting more than just your cuticle.  If you have ever had that happen, you know how extremely painful that can be.  (1)
  5. Bring your own products. In my teens & 20’s I always had issues with the foot soaks, scrubs & lotions that salons used.  They left my skin dry and irritated.  I always attributed this to having sensitive skin.  Now I know that most, if not all commercially produced products are laden with toxic chemicals.  Especially the ones that are purchased in bulk and have an unlimited shelf-life.  This however is a very easy problem to remedy.  Simply make your own.  You can use the same recipes from the At Home Pedi section above.  If you don’t have time to make your own, make sure you take a product that you can read the ingredient label on.


  1. “Foot Hygiene: 3 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Cut Your Cuticles.”SteriShoe. N.p., 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 May 2016.
  2. “History Of Pedicure.”US Pedicure Spa. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.
  3. Oliver, Dana. “5 Dangers Awaiting You At The Nail Salon.”The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.
  4. “Pedicure Safety Tips.”com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.





So I have often been accused of being a feminist since all of my blogs are mostly related to female related topics.  What can I say, I’m a girl so I can talk about girly stuff first hand.  Luckily I have men in my life and sometimes customers with special concerns that I get to address.  This time the topic is mostly masculine although females can suffer from razor bumps too, think bikini area & under arms.  However; this one will be geared mostly to the boys, so here we go…

The Dreaded Razor Bumps or Pseudofollicultis Barbae, can occur anytime you remove hair by shaving, waxing or plucking.  It happens when the hair begins to grow back without breaking through the skin.  When this happens, your body treats the ingrown hair as an invader and sends white blood cells in to attack.  Usually there is some kind of bacteria involved too, thus leaving you with irritated pussy bumps.  Let’s set aside how it looks, it is super uncomfortable, itchy & just plain annoying.


That’s enough of what it is…how do we get rid of it is more important.

Avoid it!!  You know me, always one to be pro-active and not re-active.  Dermatologists actually recommend that you don’t shave at all if you are prone to razor bumps or only 1x a week if you must shave.  This will allow your skin time to heal in between shaves.  However; with a consistent, healthy shaving routine you can help to stop them before they begin, if you have to shave.  So my opinion is don’t get them and you don’t have to treat them.  Here are a few tips on avoiding razor bumps & shaving irritation.



Know your hair & skin type.  Hair comes in all different colors and textures.  Curly textures tend to have more cases of Razor Bumps because the hair grows in different directions.  This makes it difficult to shave “with the grain”.   If you have this problem it is sometimes possible to “train” your hair, to grow in a specific direction.  Simply use a medium boar bristle brush and brush your hair in the direction you want it to grow.  This will only work if you stay on top of it, so keep the brush with you and brush through-out the day.  Also people with more melanin in their skin tend to have thicker skin, thus making it harder for the hair to escape the skin and ending in ingrown hairs. It is best to avoid shaving or keep it limited, to avoid ingrown hairs.

Gently exfoliate.  When you suffer from Razor Bumps it is imperative that you exfoliate at least every two days.  This will allow you to remove the dead surface layers of skin and make it easier for your hair to break through your skin.  Exfoliating will also give you a smooth even skin tone.  Bentonite Clay Facial Mask, Oily/Acne Formula is a product that I make to gently exfoliate the skin while moisturizing and detoxifying.

Detoxify.  With so many toxins from the food, to the water and even the air, it is also important to detoxify the skin.  The first step in detoxing is to stop putting toxins on or in your body.  Read the labels, what are the ingredients?  Are they all beneficial to your body and not just the shelf life of the product?  Do your research, if it has unnecessary, toxic ingredients…Don’t use it anymore!!  The second step is to get the toxins that you already have in you, out.  I have a Total Body Detox Program designed to help you detox from the inside out.  You can also detoxify with Bentonite Clay and other natural ingredients.  Bentonite Clay Facial Mask, Oily/Acne Formula is a product that I make to help detoxify and exfoliate the skin.  The ingredients are specifically designed to combat bacteria while still being gentle on inflamed skin.

You should use the mask 2 times a week on days that you are not shaving.

Make sure you have the proper shaving device.  Electric shavers, cartridge razors, double edge razors (aka safety razors), and straight razors, OH MY!!  Too many options…seriously I almost got a headache reading about them all.  I found a great article all about the pros & cons of each type of razor on a site called Tools of Men.  Check it out there is a lot of great info.  What I got from my research was the following:

  1. Both the Electric Razor & cartridge razors tend to increase razor bumps. You probably want to stay away from these types.
  2. Double Edge Razors (DE) & Straight Razors (SR) are more sanitary and do not cause razor bumps as much as the previously mentioned. They also give you a close shave with only one pass (thus avoiding irritation).  While this sounds great please be aware that there is a learning curve and you may slice yourself a few times in the process.
  3. Beard Trimmer is your best bet while fighting razor bumps. Since it doesn’t touch your skin, it avoids irritation and bumps.  I recommend this if you are having an outbreak of razor bumps it will give your skin much needed time to heal.  It will not give you a close shave, just a trim, but it is neater than not shaving at all.

Photo on Left: Hair cut with straight razor/Photo on Right: Hair cut with electric shaver


Sanitize your tools.   Everything from your razor to the towel that you dry your face with after your shave, need to be as germ free as possible.  The razor is fairly easy to keep clean if you use a DE or SR, you can boil them as one way to sanitize.  You can use a mixture of 1 part white vinegar & 1 part water and soak for 30 minutes.  In both cases make sure that you dry the razor thoroughly to avoid rust.  Never use a razor that has rusted.

Here is a great video that I found on cleaning your shaving brush, probably the hardest shaving tool to keep clean.



Thoroughly wet your skin & hair before shaving.  Never dry shave.  It is best to wash your face in the shower before shaving.  That way your hair will have time to soak up as much water as possible and the warmth will help open up your pores.  When hair is wet it is weaker & easier to shave.  If you can’t take a shower then simply wash your face & apply a warm, wet wash cloth for 5-10 minutes to help moisten hair and open up pores.

The Bentonite Clay Facial Mask, Oily/Acne Formula can be used as a face wash for this step.  Simply use less clay and more water, massage as you would any facial cleanser.  Don’t leave on longer than 2 minutes.  You should use as a mask on days you are not shaving but no more than 2-3x a week.

Use a shaving cream or balm.  This is a step not to miss, it gives your skin a critical layer of protection from the razor blade.  I recommend using a natural moisturizer like coconut oil, the blade will easily slide over it and it is naturally anti-bacterial.  I make a mixture of Coconut Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil infused with Peppermint & Tea Tree Essential Oil.  It isn’t in the store but e-mail me if you are interested in purchasing.  If you would rather make it on your own the recipe is below:


4tbsp Unrefined Coconut Oil

1tbsp Apricot Kernel Oil infused with Peppermint

35 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil


Use a shaving brush.  Shaving brushes help to apply your shaving cream as well as helping your hairs stand up.  There are lots of different bristle types unfortunately most are made of animal hair & I can’t promote that.  So here is a link to an inexpensive synthetic shaving brush that is animal friendly & has good reviews.

Never pull your skin taught.  It is tempting to pull your skin when shaving to get a closer shave, this will only cause the hair to grow back into the skin causing painful bumps.  So just don’t do it.

Shave in the right direction.  Shaving against the grain will give you a very close shave, however it will also cause more irritation & unwanted razor bumps.  You should start with the sides of your face, then your moustache and lastly your chin.

Don’t over shave the same spot.  Going over the same spot too many times will cause unwanted irritation.  If you have to go over the same spot then it is a very good idea to reapply more shaving cream on that area.

Rinse your blade after 1 or 2 strokes.  It is a good idea to rinse the blade after every stroke, this is time consuming but will provide the best & least irritated skin.

Don’t press hard when you shave.  Make sure that you shave gently to avoid cutting your skin.  It helps to take shorter strokes and let the blade do the work.



Gently pat skin dry.  It may be tempting but you don’t want to rub your freshly shaven face with your clean towel.  It is best to simply pat the skin dry.

Apply after shave toner.    My son loves the Vodka Toner for this step.  It will give your skin an extra anti-bacterial boost, moisture & will help to tighten your pores.  I don’t have this one in the store either but you can e-mail me if you want to try it or you can make your own, the recipe is below:


1oz Aloe Vera Juice

1oz Witch Hazel

.5oz Lavender infused Vodka (90proof)

.5oz Calendula infused Vodka (90proof)

Moisturize.  This step is so important and often forgotten.  You really can use many different natural oils for this step.  Jojoba, Hemp Seed, Apricot Kernel, Sweet Almond & Coconut Oil are all great for after shaving.  I like Coconut Oil especially because it has the added anti-bacterial properties.  You can use the same Coconut Oil Recipe from the earlier section, Proper Shaving Procedure: Use a shaving cream or balm.  Again if you prefer I can make for you, simply shoot me an e-mail.  The mixture may be a bit more “oily” than you are used to.  Don’t freak out…it will soak in, it just takes a bit more time than the moisturizers with water & alcohol.  This will soak into your third layer of skin and nourish it, so just let it.


So what if you still get an ingrown hair?

Ok so you did everything right.  You sanitized your tools, followed the proper pre-shave routine, shaved with the grain & you still manage to get an ingrown hair.  Unfortunately, every time you shave you take that risk.  Keeping your skin clean & exfoliated will allow your hairs to grow through more easily but sometimes even without shaving, ingrown hairs can occur.  So then the question becomes, Do I pop it or leave it???

“…pop it or leave it?”

So before I give you my opinion on this, I think it necessary to give you some background.  So we have already gone over how bacteria & fungus plays a role in razor bumps & irritation.  It is important to know that there are thousands of different bacteria that we not only come into contact with daily but also that live on our skin and inside of us.  It’s kind of creepy when you think about it but I have come to the understanding that this symbiotic relationship is part of being a human.  I found this article Humans Carry More Bacterial Cells than Human Ones it goes into depth on the subject.

The important thing to remember is that these bacteria are ok as long as they stay in the right place.  So anytime you pick, scratch or pop open your skin, you run the risk of allowing these bacteria into a place they don’t belong.   Then your body goes into action fighting the invader with white blood cells, bump grows….blah, blah you know the rest.  Sometimes the bacteria are “nicer” than others, meaning the aftermath is limited to a small puss filled bump with redness.  I know it doesn’t look great but it is better than bacteria like staph infection.  The point to all of this is that you be aware of the risk you take if you do decide to manually remove an ingrown hair or pop any bump.

So here we are with an infected ingrown hair, not only is it super painful but unsightly as well…what to do?  If the infection is minor then it may simply clear up on its own.  In this case you can use Tea Tree Oil or other antiseptics such as benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, lemon or apple cider vinegar.  Simply apply to the area as needed until the irritation goes away.  Using a warm, wet compress will also help to open the pores to allow the hair to come to the top but will also promote drainage.

What about the cases where you feel like you just have to get in there to relieve the pressure on the skin and ultimately get the hair out?  Well kiddos this is the part where I have to refer you to my Medical Disclaimer before I go any further…ok did you read it?  Good…please proceed.

I must say that I am a little bit more unconventional than most (in case you hadn’t figured that out already), so when it looks to me like I need to intervene, I do.  That being said there are steps to take to safely remove the hair or help the infection drain.

  1. Make sure that all tools have been sanitized & wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Wet a clean wash cloth with warm water and apply a compress on the affected area. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes.  This will help the puss & hopefully the hair closer to the surface.
  3. Now comes the part where you want to be super careful, removing the rogue piece(s) of hair. Make sure you use something with a sharp tip like pointed tweezers (again make sure your tools are sanitized).  Be careful not to break the hair off at the skin or you will just have to go through the same thing in a few days when the hair grows back.  The longer the hair, the easier this will be.
  4. Next wash your face with an anti-bacterial face wash to kill any germs that may be on the surface. Remember you have an open wound on now & you must treat it as such.
  5. The next step is to help the inflammation that is inevitable after the process. You can use aloe vera, witch hazel, tea tree oil or rosewater (or a combination of them all).  It is best to keep the ingredients cold as that will add extra relief to the irritation.
  6. Make sure to keep the area clean and dry so it can heal. I recommend using Tea Tree Oil 2x daily until it heals.

Well that is all I have for you on this topic so far, I’ll update as I learn more.  Oh yeah…here is that Medical Disclaimer one more time.

Please leave your comments if you have any more tips or ideas.  I would love to hear what has worked for you.