A Journey Into Oil Pulling

Hot Mom Angel shares her experiment with an interesting new wellness trend with Spa Week.


Confession: I am an internet trawler.

I scour the abyss of online information every free moment I find. I peruse the sales of stores in countries I’ve never been. I pour over blogs comparing my life to the glimpses of others. I get ideas in my head from my online explorations, both good and bad – like the life-changing pork roast that has found it’s way to every family celebratory buffet for the last few years (good) or the time I self-diagnosed with an incurable malady (bad).

For the most part all the tidbits I absorb collect in my mind, waiting for an occasion to surface and make me look awesome or awesomely foolish. We’ve all been there, right?

Oil pulling is one bit of information I’ve discovered and decided to try. I’m intrigued. It just sounds interesting and worthy of an investigation.

A centuries-old method of oral hygiene, oil pulling is also said to help with everything from achieving a clear complexion to improving kidney function. The concept behind oil pulling is that harmful toxins and problem-causing bacteria are leached out in the oil when it is swished in the mouth for as part of frequent regime.

It seems like an easy method to remedy plaque and tarter build-up and terminate bad-breath, if nothing else. And it’s just up my alley as I am not so fond of the chemicals found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes.

I am not expecting overnight miracles but here goes nothing, I’ve embarked on a slick swish-and-spit journey to a cleaner mouth and whiter teeth; whatever other benefits I achieve will be icing on the cake.


The three things to remember when oil pulling are:

Choose a quality oil. Don’t use vegetable, corn or peanut oil, but instead a cold-pressed, organic, unrefined oil, like olive, sesame or coconut oil. Be sure it is organic and all-natural – read your labels. I chose to pull with coconut oil for the other health benefits it offers, such as its anti-fungal properties and nourishing properties. Plus, it has a mildly sweet taste making it pleasant and palatable.

Start small and work your way up. The recommendation for optimal results is swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. So far I’ve managed a teaspoon for five to eight minutes. Baby steps – I will get there.

Mind your spit. Do NOT swallow the oil when done swishing. Gross. You definitely don’t want to swallow all those toxins you’ve just pulled out. Also, don’t spit the oil into the sink, it can clog pipes and cause a plumbing nightmare. Simply keep a paper or plastic cup handy to expel the used oil, then discard the cup.

I’ve been oil pulling a few days now and I haven’t noticed much difference yet, but I’m not expecting overnight miracles. I know this regime is going to take some time, consistency and dedication.

Hopefully this experiment inspired by my online ventures will prove to be useful knowledge and result in making me look awesome, with gleaming white teeth and glowing skin.

Tune in next month for my full report on how things are coming along.

Angel-150x150Angel is a stay-at-home mama to a feisty, rambunctious toddler girl named Jacquelyn (aka Jax). A lover of all things adorable, Angel enjoys party-planning, cooking, napping with her daughter and date nights with her husband. You can catch up with Angel at Yay! Baby blog where she muses about motherhood, shares delicious family favorite recipes and offers tips for fabulous entertaining. There’s always reason to shout out loud – Yay Baby!

Lose Weight By Accident: The Healthy Cooking Oils You Should Be Using

By Tanya McCausland of Home Cooked Healing

For years and years we’ve been told that eating too much fat is making us fat. But not all fats are created equal!

Industrial factory-made oils go through a very high heat process that damages the oil. This causes them to be inflammatory ingredients and studies have linked them with significant weight gain. Plus, they are loaded with deodorizers and other chemicals to make them odorless and shelf-stable.

To keep your metabolic engine humming it’s crucial to supply your body with high quality, unprocessed, un-refined fats that won’t bog down your system. These fats from whole foods will give you more energy, keep you satisfied longer and give your metabolism a boost. Healthy skin, hair and nails are an added bonus! 3 healthier fats to keep you lean:

Instead of… Vegetable Shortening (like Crisco). This is the ultimate trans fat, which we all know by now is a big no-no!
Use this: Organic unrefined coconut oil. This oil boosts your metabolism so you are a fat-burning machine. It’s great for cooking, too. Try it when pan-frying turkey burgers or melt it and toss with root vegetables before roasting in the oven.

Instead of… Margarine and imitation butter spreads. These products have been processed at a very high heat creating damage. Plus, they’re loaded with a slew of unnatural ingredients.
Use this: Organic unsalted butter (my favorite brand is Strauss Organics). Organic butter is loaded with omega 6, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it’s free of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics that can put the breaks on your weight loss goals. Put a small pat of butter on your broccoli, green beans and other veggies to make them more satisfying.

Instead of… Vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, corn, cottonseed oils. These are found in nearly every packaged product. Not only are they highly processed but often come from genetically modified foods.
Use this: Organic extra virgin olive oil. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, EVOO is a monounsaturated fat which has been shown to aid in weight loss and keep you full longer. This oil is great for sautéing veggies or making homemade salad dressing.

About this Contributor: Tanya McCausland is a Health and Culinary Coach in Alameda, CA She inspires, encourages and motivates her clients to create a life of health and balance through delicious food and simple lifestyle changes. She believes that our kitchens have the ability to heal – we just have to stock our pantries with real food and not be afraid to wield a wooden spoon every so often!

21 Genius Beauty Tricks From Mom

You may not have wanted to admit it when you were 14, but now you realize: Mother really does know best. That mean kid at school really did grow up to be a loser, it’s probably better you didn’t get that bellybutton ring, and yeah, being tan really isn’t the greatest accomplishment in the world.

She taught you everything she knows about life, and this includes her best beauty secrets. Here, in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, soak up the advice from moms across the country with these 21 pearls of motherly wisdom from Spa Week staffers’ mamas, along with the smart moms of our Twitter and Facebook friends.

Remember, if you’d like the perfect way to say thank you and return the favor, Spa & Wellness Gift Cards are still on sale, redeemable at over 5,000 spas, and you can print them instantly for a last minute gift!

What’s the best beauty trick or tip you learned from Mom?


“Use whole milk around your eyes to brighten and de-puff under eye bags.” – Kelly’s Mom


“Take your make up off every single night and when you do, never use tissue or toilet paper – it dries out your skin.  Always use cotton wipes.” – Samantha’s Mom


“For the most supple feet on the block: 1. Soak in warm soapy foot bath. 2. Lather in heavy, intensive cream or Vaseline. 3. Wrap in plastic wrap. 4. Put socks on over plastic wrap and go to bed. 5. Don’t take them off till the morning.” – Erin’s Mom


“Use Fair & Lovely to “bleach” your skin and make you lighter!” (This is very popular among Indian women). – Mel’s Aunts. And… “Never use Fair & Lovely! You are beautiful just the way you are.” – Mel’s Mom


“Start using wrinkle cream way before you have wrinkles – in your early twenties.”  - Kaitlin’s Mom

“Always take care of wrinkles. Start when you’re twenty!” (My skin is flawless thanks to that tip.) - Katrina’s Mom


“Do facial exercises to prevent wrinkles. You can do them while driving – don’t worry about what the passerby thinks!” – Anne’s Mom


“Use fresh coconut oil to hydrate your skin – it’s a Caribbean thing. It’s best when applied right after a shower, when your pores are still open. Also, never use foundation, because that clogs your pores.” – Melissa’s Mom


“Mason Pearson brushes can fix any bad hair day.” – Michelle’s Mom


“Always blend your makeup into your neck so you don’t look like you’re in a mask.” – Stephanie’s Mom


“Sugar and honey makes perfectly good exfoliant!” – Lilly’s Mom

“Use granulated sugar as an exfoliant.” – @Float_Center’s Mom

Ole, Ole!

“Use Oil of Olay – it’s the best.” (now it’s Olay) – Snow’s Mom


“ALWAYS, always wear gloves when washing the dishes.” – Lei’s Mom


“Try it yourself! Mani-pedis and makeup applications can be done at home.” – Keonte’s Mom


“Sun block!!!!” – Lilbit’s Mom


“Don’t pick your face!” – Emily’s Mom


“Stocking static? Use a tiny bit of unscented lotion on your tights when you have a static cling. Works every time!” – Stephanie’s Mom


“If you want to preserve your lipstick, lick your drinking glass before drinking.” – @CourtneyLeiva’s Mom


“Always get a good night’s sleep.” – Cure Spa’s Mom


“Always remove your makeup at the end of your day.” – Maritza’s Mom

“Never, ever go to bed without washing your face.” – @Spillerus’s mom

“”NEVER go to bed with makeup on, and never use soap on your face – just lots of cold water to avoid wrinkles.” – Noemi’s Mom

“If you’re not going to be responsible about washing your face twice a day, don’t wear makeup.” (So… she doesn’t.) – @EnvylikeJewelry’s Mom


“Always buy the BEST products you can afford. Your body will thank you later.” – Vanessa’s Mom

“Never skimp on quality skincare.” – @ChrisOhCOH’s Mom

“Never skimp on yourself.” – Ruth’s mom


“Stay natural. You don’t need so much makeup.” – Shirin’s Mom

“Taking care of yourself is ageless in itself.” – Yvette’s Mom

“Smile.” – @shanegibson’s Mom

“Smile.” – Sarah’s Mom

“Smile often.” – @TheZenGirl’s Mom

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” – Shayna’s Mom


Top photo via this post about beauty tips for lazy moms… perhaps the moms not listed here.

Hot Mom Monday: 6 Cheap & Easy At-Home Beauty Escapes

Another Hot Mom Monday is upon us, and Hot Mom Natasha Rao of Fashionalities is here for every single one of you – mom or not – who craves to make her daily life at home just a little more spa-like. Natasha is a mommy of a one-year-old daughter and a wife to an Air Force officer. She has exited the full-time fashion career path temporarily to be a stay at home mom.  But, she still works freelance doing what she loves in fashion occasionally and maintains her fashion blog, Fashionalities, that she has had for almost six years. Here, Natasha divulges six of her super simple beauty escapes around the house that make her feel wonderful in her spa-deprived life.

But Natasha – we have to say – a trip to the spa now and then does the mind and body SO much good, helping you tackle motherhood in the best of health! Your manicurist called, and she misses you.

By Natasha Rao

Ever since becoming a mommy, I’ve promised myself I’d still get some “me time.” However, I no longer get my nails done once a month, and I can’t remember the last time I got my hair trimmed. That being said, I try to find quick and easy spa treatment-like rituals I can do at home.

Here are a few to try that I love. I get these ideas from all different places, from the Martha Stewart Show and Whole Living Magazine to books like Passport to Beauty and an oldie-but-goodie Beauty Recipes: Cosmetics You Can Whip Up at Home; Over 100 Natural Beauty Aids at a Cost of Pennies!

6 Cheap & Easy At-Home Beauty Escapes

1. As mothers, we wash our hands all the time and our hands get dried out. It’s as simple as having a lotion or oil at every sink in the house. And, taking the time to (mini) massage and nourish your hands. It really goes a long way.

2. Martha Stewart made a great point recently if you don’t have time to steam your face. Get the dishwater really hot and open the washer and hold your face over the steam for a minute or so and relax. It’s like a mini-steam facial.

3. Every morning drink a cup of hot water with lemon. It’s great for your skin!

4. Take a 10 minute break: Dip a dish or hand towel in hot water with rose petals or chamomile, then cover your face with the towel and for 10 minutes. This will clean and open your pores and acts as an antioxidant/anti-inflammatory treatment. It’s great for treating stressed out skin and smells great! Wash your face before, and rinse with cool water afterwards.

5. I saw another great tip recently on TV – after your shower, put Vaseline on your feet at night and cover with plastic wrap (loosely). This really helps soften your feet.

6. Once a week, I have my husband massage my head and hair with coconut oil. You can leave the oil in your hair for an hour and then wash it out. Or, do like I do and keep it on all night and wash the next day for a deep conditioning treatment.

Have you tried any of these at home? Will you try one tonight? Comment below, and check back next week for more from our Hot Mamas!

Winter Essentials: 14 Beauty Bloggers’ Top Moisturizing Picks

“Very dry”
“Dry and itchy”
“Dry and ashy”
“Drier than toast”
“Fatter and dryer”

Yikes! These were YOUR responses to our Facebook/Twitter fill in the blank on Monday:

“In the winter, my skin gets _________.”

Oh, winter, why must you be so harsh? What did our skin ever do to you?  The winter’s pretty, but when it comes to our pretty faces, we are always desperately seeking the cure. So, after you indulge in your winter-ready facial, the key is to have the best possible face and body moisturizing  products in your beauty arsenal to shield against the wind, the snow and the frigid cold. (Unless you’re down south, in which case we don’t want to hear a word from your lucky, ne’er-frostbitten self.)

Bloggers get to play with all the latest products, so to get the scoop on the best moisturizers on the market for the 2011-2012 season of freezing your tuchas off, we asked some of our favorite beauty bloggers:

What face and body moisturizers will you be using this winter, and why?

Sarah from Beauty Banter says:

Face: I am eternally loyal to Amore Pacific’s Moisture Bound Vitalizing Creme. Come winter – it is hydrating without being greasy and leaves my skin looking so healthy.

Body: It’s always changing but one of my favorite body lotions for the season is Level Naturals Body Butter. It’s a delicious shea butter concoction that is ultra moisturizing for even the harshest days of winter. Currently using the grapefruit bergamot but lusting over the lavender chamomile as well.

Jessica of Beauty Woo Me recommends:

Face: Mario Badescu Control Cream and Sophyto Multivitamin Facial Serum.

Body: Coconut oil, Weleda Calendua Oil and Emma Hardie Amazing Face Rejuvenating Cream. Yes, I use it on my body! All amazing. I have hideously sensitive, easily reddened, rosacea-prone, acne-prone, perpetually superficially dehydrated skin and these all work miracles for me!

Jamie from The Beauty of Life Blog loves:

Face: I’ve been in love with Lierac Creme Mesolift for YEARS. It’s hydrating and extremely moisturizing, which is great when falling temperatures wreak havoc on my skin.

Body: I’ve actually been using Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel! It’s done wonders for my ashy legs and parched, raw elbows.

Romy Raves about:

Face: The Serum & Shea Cream by Elizabeth Dehn. This is my dry winter skin fighting dynamic duo created by a fabulous beauty blogging sista! First, I apply one pump of the super-potent lightweight serum that contains a luxurious blend of plant oils and essential fatty acids that restore and rejuvenate my skin, then I follow it up with this yummy rich velvety soft cream that moisturizes and replenishes my parched skin.

Body: Votre Vu SnapDragon Crème. I adore this yummy tropical smoothie scented antioxidant-rich citrus body crème because it wonderfully hydrates my dehydrated winter skin and it’s infused with fabulous anti-aging ingredients.

Amber the Beauty Blogging Junkie recommends:

Face: I love 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer. It’s the only moisturizer that provides light coverage without clogging my pores and it comes in my exact vampire skin tone shade. Love.

Body: Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Lotion is a bargain, fragrance and preservative free and deflakes my sensitive skin like a dream.

Alexis of The Beauty Bean enjoys:

Face: I am using Estee Lauder’s Re-Nutriv on my face. It’s expensive, but WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY. It makes my skin soft and supple, prevents seasonal dryness and pretty much makes me feel like I’m seriously pampering myself every time I put it on. It’s luxury to the extreme.

Body: I’m using Eucerin Everday Body Lotion SPF 15 on my body – because just because it’s cold out, doesn’t mean you don’t need SPF! I especially love this one because it goes on smoothly like a regular lotion and doesn’t smell like sunscreen. And since melanoma runs in my family, I’m pretty much sun-phobic!

Chrissy from She Knows knows what she loves:

Face: I’m loving First Aid Beauty’s 5 In 1 Face Cream/SPF 30 this winter! I never go without SPF but some SPF moisturizers can be a little harsh on my acne-prone skin, so I love that the light, non-greasy feel of this moisturizer and the fact that it’s formulated without parabens or other harsh chemicals!

Body: I’ve been digging Avalon Organics’s Lemon Hand & Body Lotion since the summer and plan to use it throughout the winter! The light scent reminds me of summer but this is one moisturizer that is great for dry winter skin too.

Danielle the Style & Beauty Doctor says:

Face: Since it looks like winter won’t be as harsh this year, I may use my year-round moisturizer Perricone M.D. Face Finishing Moisturizer. It contains Vitamin C Ester, DMAE, and Alpha Lipoic Acid, is great for moisturizing the skin without feeling heavy, and leaves my skin with a soft radiance. If winter does turn out to be a little harsh, I’ll use Perricone M.D. Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturizer made with olive polyphenols for deep hydration and super soft skin.

Body: For my body, I’ll be using LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner. It’s like the perfect medium between a lotion and a body butter, gets the skin hydrated without feeling greasy, and smells INCREDIBLE.

Laurie of Product Girl enjoys:

Face: I’m relying on the multi-tasking genius of One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm. It’s a waterless balm made with cold-pressed plant oils, vitamin E, vanilla extract and chia extract –smells delicious and a total treat for my face.

Body: I’m all about J.R. Watkins Naturals Grapefruit Body Oil Mist. The spray nozzle makes this the easiest body oil in the world to apply and the subtle grapefruit scent is a perfect twist to your typical citrus! And it’s only $9!

PJ, the Senior Editor of Style + Beauty at Betty Confidential, says:

Face: This winter I’m using Elizabeth Grant Vitamin C Day Treatment ($40) for day and night. Well, until the bottle runs out, then I might try something else. Check out Michelle’s recent post on her obsession with Elizabeth Grant’s Vitamin C line.

Body: I’m pretty bad about this as I’m not consistent and I know that you really need a body moisturizer for the winter time. The closest that comes to a body lotion for me (right now anyway) is the Avon Moisture Therapy hand cream ($5). It’s amazing! It immediately makes my hands soft and happy, not dry or chapped.

Mildred of Beauty Logic Blog enjoys using:

Face: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizer. I love that this leaves my super sensitive skin incredibly hydrated, but doesn’t break me out at all.

Body: Caudalie Vine Body Butter. This contains grape seed and shea butter which leave my dry winter skin feeling so moisturized and silky and I love the light citrus scent as well.

And now from your *favorite* bloggers of all…
the 3 of us here at Spa Week Daily!

Michelle recommends:

Face: My moisturizers are on rotation and I’m always trying something new! A few weeks ago I started on Sebamed’s Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin and I love how light yet protective it is at the same time. Great price too.

Body: Since 2002 I’ve been addicted to Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion, and this winter will be no different. It’s inexpensive and keeps my skin soft and smooth, and a decade’s worth of friends think of me every time they smell it.

Stephanie likes:

Face: I have been using Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense Daily Tinted Moisturizer since high school and I love it! The tint helps add that soft glow back into peachy completions like mine.  Plus, it has SPF 30 which protects me from sun damage and free radicals which can make you look older and harm your skin, even during the winter!

Body: This Eucerin Calming Itch-Relief body lotion is an Analgesic (pain/itch numb-er) which instantly stops itchy and flaky skin with a soothing combo of menthol and a moisturizing oatmeal formula. This cream is perfect because it’s non-irritating, fragrance free and great to slather on right before bed after a nice warm shower.

Kimberlee uses:

Face: I typically use Cetaphil’s daily moisturizer but really had to step it up for these cold East Coast winters. Benefit’s Total Moisture Cream has been working wonderfully for my sensitive skin.

Body: I have trusted Clinique’s Body Butter for so many years – wish I could buy it in bulk!

Featured photo via sweetestdarkness.tumblr.com