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  • 5 Skincare Tips for Pregnancy Travel

    What to pack in your carry-on to save your pregnancy glow from traveling.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    I’m a firm believer in the importance of self-care. Pregnancy can be a difficult time to remember to take care of you, between all the preparation, the doctor’s appointments, the anxiety and fatigue. And when you travel, it’s easy to forget to be extra good to ourselves. But be careful, when you combine travel and pregnancy, you have a double-whammy of not great self-care waiting for you at your destination.

    Fear not, that’s pretty easy to fix. Here are 5 easy steps to take better care of your pregnant body while traveling.

    1. Start as you travel. As they say, it’s the journey, not the destination. Whether you are flying, driving, or taking the train, travel is hard on your body. So don’t wait till you arrive at the hotel or at your parents’ house to start taking care of yourself — your mode of transportation is where good self-care should begin. Since dehydration is common during travels, drink more water than you usually do. It’s not only good for your skin, it’s also good for your body and baby!

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  • Pregnancy Acne and How to Treat It

    We hear all about how pregnant women are supposed to “glow,” right? Sometimes, though, that infamous glow takes a backseat to another common side effect of pregnancy: acne. Acne is quite common during pregnancy and can affect women no matter their skin type. The most likely cause of pregnancy acne is—you guessed it—hormones. During the first trimester especially, your hormone levels increase, along with your skin’s production of natural oils. An increase in the hormones called androgens causes your skin to overproduce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum clogs pores and can also cause bacteria buildup and inflammation, which then leads to breakouts.

    Pregnancy acne is natural, and once hormone levels even out post-pregnancy, the acne usually disappears. It's safest for you, and your growing baby, to avoid heavy-duty acne medication, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through breakouts for nine months. Here are some safe, at-home solutions that can help you deal with pregnancy acne.

    Amend your cleansing routines. You want to be kinder to your skin, so stick to two gentle face washes a day. Washing more than two times a day can overstimulate your oil glands, which can lead to more breakouts. When you do wash (ideally at the end of the day or after a sweaty workout), choose calming cleansers free from alcohol and oils. It’s suggested you use lukewarm water to rinse and avoid harsh steaming water on the face. Since your hairline is close to where acne may form, you also want to be careful of the shampoo you’re using. Shampoo every day using a gentle, pregnancy-safe wash like Nine Naturals Citrus+Mint Nourishing Shampoo. If you find acne breakouts in other areas, follow the same guidelines and check out Nine Naturals Citrus+Geranium Soothing Body Wash.

    Be mindful of your diet. If you’re expecting, you’re probably already hyper-aware of the foods you’re eating. But if you find you’re dealing with problem skin all of a sudden, you might do a diet check-in. Are you focusing on eating whole foods and foods that have been minimally processed? Are you getting hefty daily doses of veggies and fruits? Are you doing your best to avoid sugar? Are you drinking enough water? The food you eat makes a difference in your skin, so be sure you’re being mindful of what you’re consuming. Some foods that make your skin happiest include avocados, salmon, and leafy greens.

    Go for straight-A’s. Speaking of food choices, upping your intake of vitamin A could help out with your pregnancy acne. Vitamin A is instrumental in keeping skin healthy. Avoid the supplements and go straight for the vitamin-rich foods like milk, fish, eggs, and carrots.

    Change how you wear makeup. During pregnancy, you may find it helpful to switch up your makeup routine. Ditch the makeup that are oil-based and opt for water-based products with the label noncomedogenic; this means that the makeup is not pore-clogging. You could also try an oil-free moisturizer or moisturizing product to help maintain balance in your skin.

    Notice the little ways you can take care of your skin. Acne is caused by bacteria, so the more you can avoid bacteria on your face (or wherever your breakouts occur), the better. Keep your hands away from your face, and try not to pick at the pimples. Change your pillowcases frequently as a defense against bacteria buildup. Keep your cellphone at a slight distance, and not pressed against your face. These small tricks can help you battle a massive amount of acne-causing bacteria.

    Talk with your doctor, because not all acne treatments are pregnancy safe. Pregnancy acne is a major pain, but it’s also usually temporary. With that said, it’s best to steer clear of chemically laden, and potentially dangerous, over-the-counter or prescription acne medications and treatments. If you want a natural at-home acne treatment, here’s a recipe we’ve tried: blend together raw honey, cooked (and cooled) oatmeal, and a touch of lemon juice. Apply to your skin and leave on for about 10 minutes. Wash off, then lightly moisturize. Save the intense acne treatments for postpartum, if you still find the need to restore balance in your skin.

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  • Hairstyles for Fall and Winter

    With the weather shifting, it’s time to change up more than our jackets and shoes. The seasons ahead call for their own hairstyles, specific to the cooler weather, darker days, and the looming forecast for snow. Fortunately, when you use Nine Naturals shampoo and conditioner, you’re taking the first steps to gorgeous ‘dos. If you want a stylish look, start with keeping your hair healthy and well-nourished. The dry air of autumn and winter can be tricky for your locks, which is why it’s even more important to pamper your hair during these cooler months. Then, go ahead and pick your favorite stunning fall and winter hairstyle trend.

    Get the crimping iron out of the attic. Crimped hair is making a major comeback this season, much to the delight to those of us who coveted these crimping irons back in our school days. But you’re not a kid anymore, so don’t be afraid to get creative with the crimped look. Try wearing crimped hair in a low ponytail or braid non-crimped hair around the textured locks.

    (c) Barefoot Blonde

    Braided crowns will give you a princess-like flair. Braids are always popular, but right now, inspiration is coming from the decidedly feminine and elegant medieval look. Try a single plait across your head with straight hair or wavy hair. If you’d rather go bold, try an entire head of braided crown. This hairstyle is especially lovely with neutral makeup and only a hint of bling - you want this gorgeous hairstyle to be the center of attention.

    (c) Camille Styles

    Simple knots are your stylish, easy go-to. When you’re expecting a baby, you might not always be in the mood to execute a fully polished hairstyle. Knots are a wonderful compromise between low-maintenance and chic. Twist a knot a the nape of your neck, leaving out just enough strands to create texture. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the double-knot style, too.

    (c) Harper's Bazaar

    Channel your inner flapper with finger waves. Another fall/winter throwback style is the finger wave. This hairstyle is perfect for holiday parties and special evenings out (take advantage of pre-baby date nights!). Match the hair with dramatic makeup and a chic maternity gown for a stunning look. If your attire is more nonchalant, finger waves add a sweet accent to your look, all without the curling iron.

    (c) Hair and Makeup by Steph

    Voluminous ponytails go the extra mile for your look. If you’re stuck in a rut of pulling your hair back in an everyday ponytail, try adding a bit of pizzazz. Match high-volume hair with a slight bouffant for a fashionable ‘do. You can also try adding in a glossier look by slicking hair back, then volumizing the pulled-up ponytail.

    Add shine and glamor with well-placed hair accessories. So many appealing options can be found for dressing up your hairstyle: metallic bands, jeweled clips, and even tiaras can all be added on for a gorgeous adornment. Be sure your outfit and other accessories match your hair and create a streamlined look, as it can be easy to overdo it.

    Messy top-knots give your hair effortless charm. These top-knots are on trend and gloriously simple to pull off. For long hair, this is a go-to hairstyle, whether you dress it up or down. It’s a versatile look, so you can make it your own. Be sure to stock up on bobby pins so you can manage just how messy, or polished, you’d like your top-knot to be.

    (c) A Beautiful Mess

    Center parts are on-point this season. You’ll want to use a thin comb to get your part perfectly straight, which makes or breaks this particular look. Center parts work especially well with long curls, textured hair, or stylish updos with a few strands framing the face. This part really brings out your features, so keep makeup and accessories neutral.

    (c) Anh Co Tran

    Deep side parts are the center-part’s counterpoint. If center parts don’t work for you, no need to fear. Deep side parts are also very much in style this fall and winter. For this hair style, it’s all about upping the drama in your look. With a deep part, match it with a glossy, slicked-back updo or hair styled down in waves.

    (c) Abigail Spencer, The Wrap

    Beveled bobs are the new bob to wear. In past seasons, shaggy and messy bobs have been all the rage. For fall and winter, you’ll want a sleek, blunt cut for your bob. A beveled bob has a structured and deeply refined look, which makes it easy for your entire look to be chic. You can also match the bob with thick, straight-across bangs for an extra vivid hairstyle.

    (c) Ashley Greene

    Tags: Beauty, Haircare

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  • Best Salons in the US for Pregnant Women

    When you’re pregnant, your highest priority becomes taking care of your growing little one. Taking care of yourself is crucial, too! But when you want to pamper yourself with a trip to salon, it can be hard to know which ones are safe to frequent while you’re expecting. We’ve tracked down salons nation-wide that have gained reputations as agreeable to expectant mamas. It’s best to speak with your doctor about the safety of specific hair and beauty treatments during pregnancy. Craft your personal do and do-not list to bring with you as you book your next appointment. When you’re ready for a trip to the salon, there are fantastic picks across the country for you to choose from.

    Breathe clean in Hale Salon: New York, New York. Touted as the most environmentally friendly salon in NYC, countless expectant mothers come here with peace of mind. It’s a clean-air salon, which is particularly blissful when you’re living in the Manhattan area. Hairspray and similar products are off-limits, save for a specially designated room. The salon’s mission revolves around clean living, so the products they use are thoroughly vetted to be the most natural and clean they can find, including some vegan products. The rave reviews for Hale aren’t only for their nontoxic environs, but also the gorgeous beauty work they do. For the eco-minded, Hale Salon could become a main fixture even after the baby is born.

    Evolve your pregnancy style Evolve Hair and Art: Seattle, Washington. With an all-inclusive passion for holistic living, Evolve is an organic salon in the heart of the Emerald City. The products used here are the purest available, and even the hair color is organic and clean. Maintaining a toxin-free environment is a priority, and the stylists here are passionate about their mission. Customers call Evolve a peaceful and health-conscious place to be, which means you’ll be in like-minded company while you’re there.

    Blend style and substance at Garbo: Austin, Texas. Garbo is a salon and spa in Austin with a reputation for excellent service and an eco-conscious mindset. While you’re getting your hair done, you can relax knowing that the products used here will be as safe for your baby as for yourself. The award-winning salon is not only known for its cutting-edge style work, but also for its dedication to being green. Garbo also offers skin services and facial treatments, and remember to check with a doctor before you book your trip, to be sure about which treatments are pregnancy-approved.

    My Hair Trip Salon gives an offbeat, but eco-conscious, experience: Denver, Colorado. If you’re in Denver, book at appointment at the city’s most-frequented certified green and organic salon. The 5-star rated salon boasts hair stylists, but also a commitment to using organic, chemical-free products for every stage of haircare. An earnest commitment to nontoxic products and sustainable haircare choices makes My Hair Trip a special place to enjoy a pre-baby haircut or hair treatment. The offbeat salon also sells art, jewelry, and apparel, and with the clean-living environment, you’ll feel comfortable lingering and browsing in the stunningly green-designed long after your appointment is over.

    Go for the full treatment at Asha SalonSpa: Chicago, Illinois. Asha focuses on a natural approach to haircare and style, which makes this salon a worry-free choice for your haircare needs. Not only is their all-natural philosophy attractive for salon treatments, they also offer a stellar array of prenatal spa packages. With options like gentle mother-to-be massages, hydrating belly treatments, and prenatal waxing, this is a must-stop destination before the baby arrives. They also have a mother-friendly attitude: childcare (for children 8 weeks and older) is available for you during your time at the SalonSpa, just be sure to make a reservation first. Enjoy the eco-conscious spirit of Asha while you’re expecting, and you’ll want to make yourself a regular customer post-baby, too.

    Salon NOVO is your Bay Area pick: Sonoma, California. Sonoma County’s first eco-friendly certified salon, Salon NOVO makes green hair care hip. The main mission of the salon is to “detoxify the salon experience,” which makes it a comforting choice during pregnancy. They use a selection of the best all-natural hair, body, and skin care and are enthusiastic about their choices, which means they’ll tell you all about them if you’d like to know specifics. The salon receives rave reviews for their work, so you don’t need to feel like you’re trading quality for peace of mind.

    Go to Maria Heckscher Salon for an afternoon of care: Atlanta, Georgia. At MH Salon, going clean and green is a full-on philosophy that you and your bump can get behind. They are so dedicated to an eco-conscious (and pregnancy-friendly) environment, even the hand towels are made of soft, sustainable bamboo. The salon uses organic and all-natural hair products so as you’re maintaining your look, you can be certain that unwanted toxins will be avoided. Maria Heckscher Salon also has a boutique and cafe to spend a few blissful hours truly enjoying in worry-free relaxation.

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  • Nine Naturals Ingredient Story: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract

    At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story, featuring Aloe Leaf Extract, is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.

    Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe), is best known for its use as a topical treatment, but its healing powers go far beyond its popular role as a medicinal ointment. With its cactus-like spikes, the aloe plant may look fierce, but the gel found on the inside is gentle and revitalizing. Aloe extract boasts a long history as a multipurpose remedy, as far back as 2000 BC Mesopotamia. Aloe is commonly used worldwide and across cultures, with roots that trace back to ancient times. Legend has it that Cleopatra fondly used aloe leaf extract to keep her skin smooth and soft.

    The Aloe Plant

    Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract comes from the green leaves of the aloe plant. The genus of aloe contains approximately 500 plants, and “true aloe,” or aloe vera, is the most well-known and cultivated. The succulent plant is often grown ornamentally, but many keep aloe plants for their verdant beauty as well as their at-home healing properties. Aloe leaf extract is a breeze to remove from the plant. Simply clip one of its leaves and gently squeeze out the gel. Aloe leaves grow from the inside, creating a layered effect. When clipping, choose the leaves on the very outside of the plant to harvest, as these are the most mature. The gel can be applied to the skin, straight from the frond. If your hectic mother-to-be schedule keeps you up and running, you can also save gel from an aloe plant for future use in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature, or slightly cooler.

    The Science of Aloe Leaf Extract

    Aloe Leaf Extract consists primary of water - in fact, 99% water. But the other 1% is where the powerhouse healing properties reside. The transparent gel is made up of many active components, including necessary vitamins, minerals, sugars, enzymes, lignins, amino acids, anthraquinones, saponins, fatty acids, and salicylic acid. All of these components work to make aloe a highly restorative extract, with each ingredient performing different functions. For example, glycoproteins speed the healing process by stopping pain. Polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair. Amino acids and uronic acids detox cells. Fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Aloe leaf extract has many uses for personal care.

    Aloe Leaf Extract’s Benefits for Skin and Hair Care

    For mild burns and abrasions, aloe leaf extract is one the most-used natural remedies. But, the gel has so many other benefits beyond the healing variety. Aloe contains aloin, which can help protect skin from UV damage. It’s extensive array of vitamins -  including A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, E, choline and folic acid - rejuvenates aged tissue, purifies pores, and promotes healthy skin. Aloe gel also acts as a moisturizing agent, restoring suppleness to the skin. With an ever-changing pregnant body, retaining moisture and elasticity is key, and aloe leaf extract will help your skin feeling soft and smooth. Aloe leaf extract can also be used directly on the skin as a shave gel or a makeup remover.

    Why Nine Naturals Loves Aloe Leaf Extract

    Pregnancy is a time when we moms-to-be need all the self-care we can get, which is why we love using the ultra-soothing aloe leaf extract in our products. What better way to find calm than a peaceful bump massage with our Vanilla & Geranium Replenishing Belly Butter, with aloe leaf extract? While these luxurious moments of tranquility are imperative while you’re expecting, aloe’s comforting properties can relax and restore us in our every-day routines too, with our Citrus & Mint Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner, and Citrus & Geranium Body Wash.  

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  • Diaper Bag Essentials – What Every Mom Needs To Carry

    A tote, satchel or clutch may be your handbag of choice now, but once your baby arrives those fashionable beauties will be tossed aside in favor of the mini van of handbags – the diaper bag. If packed correctly, your diaper bag will rival Mary Poppins’ carpetbag, due to its contents ability to fill an empty belly, soothe a fussy baby to sleep, and treat ailments of any size.

    Selecting the right diaper bag is important, so keep the following in mind when registering or shopping for your go-to bag:

    • It must have enough space to hold all essential items
    • It should be compartmentalized so that feeding supplies can be kept separate from medicines and skincare products
    • It should require no more than a simple wipe down to clean and
    • It should be made of flexible material so that it can be tossed, tucked or thrown into the smallest of spaces. A few of our favorite diaper bag brands are Diaper Dude, Skip Hop and Lock & Key Leathers.

    Diaper bag essentials may vary if you’re a soon-to-be mom of multiples, or if baby will join a big brother and/or sister upon arrival; however, the following staples are the same for every parent:

    • Diapers: If using cloth diapers, be sure to pack a wet bag or plastic bag to store used diapers
    • Baby wipes: For bums, hands, faces and everything else that needs a good cleaning
    • Diaper cream/ointment
    • Tissues
    • Nursing shawl/blanket for breastfed babies
    • Infant formula and bottles for formula fed babies
    • Burp cloth
    • Bottle (or cup) of water
    • Hat: A wide brim hat for spring/summer and a fitted cap for fall/winter
    • Sunglasses
    • Nine Naturals Natural SPF 32 Sunscreen: Sunscreen should be used all year round on the whole family. Natural Suncreen SPF 32 is safe for mom, baby & the whole family.
    • Pacifiers
    • Teething toys: Not needed right away, but come in handy for entertaining
    • Small books and toys
    • Blanket: To cover your baby if (s)he falls asleep (can also be used during breastfeeding to eliminate the need for a nursing shawl)
    • Nine Naturals Repairing Body Balm: Great for adding moisture to chapped lips and skin
    • Snack: Pack a KIND bar or Mamma Chia pouch in case you don’t get a chance to eat a full meal when out and about
    • Extra set of clothes for baby

    Your diaper bag is only helpful to you if you keep it stocked with the necessities. So, at the end of every day, replace the amount of used diapers with the same number of fresh ones, swap out a dirty outfit with a clean one, and wash any toys/pacifiers/teethers that were dropped and/or placed on grimy surfaces.

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