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As I was thinking about the upcoming holidays it occurred to me that while this is a festive time of year that it is also one fraught with heightened stress. All of the running around to the grocery store and the mall can leave one feeling a bit worse for wear, and the stress of the season can make people careless, accident prone and cranky. Furthermore, hosting events, and both the foreseen and unforeseen house guests, means needing to be stocked and prepared for come what may.
As I thought about these things, it occurred to me that there were certain items, or item types, that would be worth having on hand for everyone's pleasure, and for any unforeseen bumps and bruises. I picked a few of my favorites, but would to hear about yours!
Cleansing:Wonderful hand soaps and special bars of soap are a really lovely way to treat yourself and your guests since they transform the mundane activity of hand-washing to a wonderfully luxurious sensory experience.
My favorite hand soaps are the wonderful creations from J.R. Watkins. Their *Foaming Hand Soap in Lemon (reviewed here) and Hand Soap in Lemon and Aloe & Green Tea (reviewed here) are refreshing and lusciously scented soaps that leave hands clean, soft and moisturized. I buy them in multiples whenever they go on sale at the grocery store, but always have them on hand because they are so wonderful to use.
Castelbel Savon Passion Flower & Coconut Soap is a fresh fruity scent that is intoxicatingly beautiful and moisturizing– a true treat for the senses.
Kopa Haiku Lilikoi Guava Cream Soap is an otherworldly soap that my friend bought for me during his last trip to Hawaii, and when he handed it to me I was so overtaken by the sweet scent of paradise that I sniffed it and sniffed it and sniffed it until I felt as though I was in Hawaii!
*SAI-SEI Mineral Loofah Body Polish Soap is a "dual purpose soap has been created with essential minerals, moisturizing glycerin and a segment of natural loofah sponge to gently buff and purify the skin." It gently exfoliates and moisturizes leaving skin soft and supple. It's a lovely addition to the shower.
When the weather starts to cool down I like nothing more than a nice variety of rich creams, lotions, body butters and oils to keep my skin soft supple and hydrated. If you have lots of guests throughout the holidays it's especially nice to have a variety from which they can choose in the guest bathroom. Here are a few that have been getting lots of love at my house lately.
*Lavanila The Healthy Body Butter in Vanilla Lavender (reviewed here) is a delectably scented fusion of vanilla and lavender that delights the senses while the luxuriously emollient formula moisturizes the skin.
*Alaffia Coffee & Shea Cafe Au Lait Body Butter in Orange Vanilla is a wonderful Fair Trade richly emollient body cream that smells edible. If you have ever enjoyed Alaffia products, then this one is a definite treat worth having.
*Desert Essence Island Mango Hand and Body Lotion is a rich cream that has the heavenly scent of the tropics. If it's snowing outside then this might be the perfect catalyst for imagining warm tropical breezes and a cute cabana boy handing you a fruity drink on the beach!
*RITUALS Fortune Oil Sweet Orange & Cedar Wood Caring Shower Oil (reviewed here) is a wonderfully moisturizing cleansing oil that has a warm sweet scent that envelopes the senses. It leaves skin soft, supple, silky smooth and hydrated.
*Mario Badescu Summer Shine Body Lotion is a wonderful vitamin rich lotion that imparts the perfect luminous glow that captures the light subtly. It is absolutely holiday perfect, and it's perfect all year long.
For the Shower:
Both expected and unexpected overnight guests during the holidays means that your shower is going to see a lot more traffic than usual. Nothing makes people feel welcome and loved than your attention to the details of their daily life in your home. Having lovely high quality products in the shower means making everyone feel pampered and happy.
*Shiseido Ibuki Gentle Cleanser is a wonderful non-stripping foaming cleanser that is gentle enough for people with sensitive skin. It creates a nice dense foaming lather that cleans skin thoroughly. It is very concentrated– so the smallest amount goes a very long way. It is amazing alone or used with a Clarisonic, and the convenient squeeze tube makes it perfect for the shower. You will love it, and so will your overnight guests.
*Mario Badescu Citrus Body Cleanser is a an utterly delectable fusion of Grapefruit and Orange extracts that gently exfoliate dry skin, while the Linden extract hydrates. It makes the skin feel amazingly refreshed, smooth and hydrated.
*Beauty and Bees Tasmanian Real Beer Shampoo Bar (reviewed here) is a wonderfully hydrating bar shampoo that works wonders on dry hair and scalp, but is wonderful for all types of hair. It leaves my curly hair soft, shiny and manageable.
*Beauty and Bees Tasmanian Real Beer Hair Conditioner (reviewed here) is a super concentrated highly moisturizing bar conditioner that is unbelievably effective at taming unruly hair, and leaving hair glossy and gorgeous.
Conquering Chapped Lips:
Nothing will prevent you from wearing your new Holy Grail matte lipstick faster than chapped winter lips. So the next time you are at the drugstore buy a wide assortment of lip balms to have on hand for you, your family and your guests. In fact, Keep a bowl of them in the bathroom so that guests can choose one!
*ChapStick Moisture Hydration Lock in Vanilla Cream (reviewed here) is a staple in my house because it is so emollient, hydrating, and a true enemy of dry chapped lips. It is affordable enough to have on hand for family and friends.
*ChapStick in Citrus Jelly Bean (reviewed here) is one of the fun flavors that will make fending off chapped lips a pleasant experience.
*Body Drench Lip Drench Eucalyptus Moisturizing Lip Balm is a very refreshing lip balm that moisturizes parched lips while making them tingle just a little bit.
For Whatever Ails You:
When boo-boos occur, as they often do, have a few essentials on hand just in case! Other than obvious things like band aids and antibiotic cream– it's a good idea to take stock of what you have, and what you need just in case.
*Painted Earth Skincare Boo-Boo Gel is brilliant multitasker that heals pimples. minor burns, bites and cuts. According to Painted Earth, "Smooth it on daily for blemish free skin. Then grab it when you need it for burns, bites, and small cuts. It’s full of great ingredients that calm and heal the skin.…just about anything skin related. No home should be with out this natural fix all, safe and effective for the old and young . For quick relief, this natural anti-inflammatory will soothe, heal, and nourish your skin. Preventative treatment as well as anti-aging for the skin and body...."
*Painted Earth Legendary Blend of Thieves Oil "is a blend of five different therapeutic grade essential oils, including cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This combination of healing oils covers a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity and contains properties that strengthen the immune system. Due to its effectiveness against highly infectious germs, including viruses and bacteria, it is one of nature’s most powerful natural home remedies."
Painted Earth suggests using this oil for the "flu, colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throat, strep, toothache, cuts, poison ivy, and as an immune stimulant. We use it to eliminate odors, disinfect around the house, and so much more."
*CapriClear Moisturizing Spray 100% Fractionated Coconut Oil (reviewed here) is a very hydrating oil that is perfect for those with dry and sensitive skin, and it has the National Eczema Associations seal of approval.
Inevitably accidents do happen during the holiday season since so many activities are done in great haste, and periodically that leads to an overzealous curling iron the the face, or a burn from the oven rack because one's mind may be running through the list of what needs to be done, rather than focusing on the task at hand. When these unforeseen and unfortunate accidents lead to scarring there is a really handy at-home product that can be used on healed scars to help diminish their size. It helps to flatten and soften raised scars in order to make them less noticeable. These should not be used on open wounds of any sort, and certainly should not be used in lieu of a trip to your doctor. That said, if your doctor says this is a viable option for you it may be just what you are looking for to make an existing scar less prominent.
*ScarAway Professional Grade Silicone Daily Discs are "indicated for use in the treatment and prevention of small abnormal scars, including hypertrophic scars and keloids, often resulting from: Mole Removal, Biopsies, Acne, Small Surgeries, Injuries/Burns, Kids' Scrapes, Bug Bites and much more".
ScarAway medical grade silicone Daily Discs are made with an advanced silicone technology, the latest innovation used by plastic surgeons, burn centers and hospitals around the world.
ScarAway's clinically proven technology diminishes the appearance of scars both new and old, restoring skin to a more natural texture and color. Used after surgery or injury, our advanced technology helps treat and prevent abnormal scar formation. It is safe for anyone age three and up and for all skin tones. ScarAway helps alleviate the itching and discomfort associated with scars.
ScarAway uses an advanced silicone technology, which mimics the natural barrier function of healthy skin. Research suggests that silicone acts to hydrate scar tissue, which in turn works to soften the scar, reducing excessive scar formation and causing it to fade.
*ScarAway Advanced Formula Scar Gel 100% Silicone for Scars carry, "the only patented, transparent, self-drying silicone gel technology which improves the appearance of scars and prevents abnormal or excessive scar formation."
Intended Use: "ScarAway is intended for the management of old and new scars, including hypertrophic and keloid scars, resulting from surgery, trauma, wounds and burns. For prevention of abnormal scars, use as soon as the wound is closed or sutures are removed. Scar Away is suitable for use on children or people with sensitive skin."
*ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets "effectively shrink, flatten and fade hypertrophic (raised) and keloid scars. Using Advanced Patented Silicone Technology, previously available only through hospitals, burn centers and plastic surgeons, this medical-grade scar treatment product brings you the ultimate in non-invasive, drug-free scar treatment. Scars may feel softer in just a few days, with visible results in just weeks. Optimal results are achieved in about 12 weeks."
For Those Beautiful Pearly Whites:
There is absolutely nothing nicer than having new toothbrushes and toothpaste on hand for unforeseen house guests or those who simply forgot to pack theirs. It is such a small thing to remember, but your guests will remember the extent of your hospitality.
*Colgate 360 Enamel Health Sensitive Toothbrush is really nice gentle toothbrush that will work well for everybody, but if you have overnight guests with sensitive teeth they will be thanking you for not giving them a hard toothbrush!
While plaque fighting mouthwash might seem to be a less than interesting product to include on my list– it strikes me as a perfectly reasonable thing to have on hand during the holidays when one tends to eat, drink and be merry in excess, and this is a good line of defense against all of those indulgences.
Dentyl Active has a cult-following in England and throughout the world, but can be procured from Amazon in the US. This is a really unusual mouthwash because it is completely alcohol free, and has the unique distinction of having a dual phase formula that one needs to shake before using.
According to Dentyl Active,
Dentyl Active's advanced antibacterial action remains effective, and essential oils continue to help protect the teeth and gums from further build up, for up to 18 hours after use. As Dentyl Active is alcohol-free it does not dry the mouth (which can make bad breath even worse), is gentle to mouth tissues and does not burn or sting. For more information visit their website here.
*Dentyl Active Plaque Fighter Alcohol Free Mouthwash Clove (500ml)has a really wonderful and refreshing clove flavor that is neither too strong and assertive, nor does it have any tendency to burn the mouth as one might expect of such a pungent and potent oil. It is both pleasant and effective, and unlike any mouthwash that I have ever tried.
*Dentyl pH Smooth Mint Mouthrinse (500ml)is a delicious mellow mint that doesn't have the synthetic taste of so many of the drugstore brand mouthwashes on the market. It's not just highly effective, but it's also pleasurable to use.
While this list is hardly a conclusive one, these items do give me some peace of mind knowing that they are there for all to enjoy and use.
What must-have items do you keep on hand during the holidays? What would you add to my list? What is the one thing that you never seem to have enough of, or constantly run out of?
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