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SKINCARE

Iceland's Blue Lagoon: A Skin-Saving World Wonder

Doug Arnaudin

iceland_blue_lagoon

Being a skin therapist (and fanatic skin health enthusiast!), I've spent years dreaming of soaking in the healing waters of perhaps the world's most famous spa, Iceland's acclaimed Blue Lagoon. Last month, that dream was realized as I found myself waist deep in the magical mineral-rich water. What makes this destination so special? I'm glad you asked! Here's the need-to-know about masking + basking in the Blue Lagoon. 

Blue Lagoon is a short half-hour drive from Keflavik International, Iceland's largest (award-winning) airport. (Insider tip: swing by Joe and the Juice on the upper level before exiting the main terminal. Beat jet lag with "The Bodyguard" juice, a verdant blend of cucumber, kale, spinach, broccoli and apple!) The Reykjavik terrain is otherworldly. Bursts of tiny purple wildflowers growing among craggy, moss-covered volcanic rocks, modern apartment complexes, and impressive stacked stone formations that look hauntingly like human silhouettes in the distance. 

On the horizon, a smokestack rising toward the heavens. Plumes of smoke unfurling from metallic chimneys. Is that a power plant? Could it be a factory? Nope! It's the Blue Lagoon. In fact, it was once used as an experimental facility studying geothermal energy, and the industrial equipment still remains onsite. Interestingly enough, the lagoon also shares real estate with Svartsengi geothermal plant, which heats and filters the water being circulated through the spring. 

Fast forward past the not-unexpected line (this is a bucket-list destination, after all!), the issued bracelet which tracks your spending, and the mandatory rinse-off shower before entering (a welcomed request after hours on a stuffy plane), and you've made it. You stand before the pale milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. 

The swimming area of the lagoon is a pleasant soaking temperature, 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's loaded with a trio of earthly ingredients -- silica, algae, and a powerhouse cocktail of minerals. All of which play a role in its skin benefits including clearing acne, eczema, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Experimental Dermatology published a report, which concluded silica mud and microalgae to "improve skin barrier function and prevent premature skin aging." It's true! After the day spent hopping from lagoon to sauna and back to lagoon again, my skin was absolutely glowing. My advice is to skip the Blue Lagoon in-house line of skincare and come prepared with your own eco-luxe moisturizer to apply after your visit (I used Om Aroma & Co. Pumpkin Serum, $58 omaroma.com.) This photo was taken later that afternoon... hashtag no filter! 

Want to enjoy these Icelandic skin benefits, no matter where you are in the world? Here's a DIY mask recipe that I dreamed up to recreate the geothermal adventure anytime, anywhere!

Ingredients:

1 tsp. Rhassoul clay | contains hightest percentage of silica & magnesium compared to other clay

1/4 tsp. Spirulina powder | super antioxidant blue green algae harvested from warm inland lakes

 1/4 tsp. Sea salt (not processed table salt) | rich in minerals which balance skin

Mix together with warm water until a paste consistency is formed. Apply to skin, neck, and décolleté for 10-15 minutes. Remove with a warm towel or rinse with water and pat skin dry. 

Have you every visited the Blue Lagoon or similar thermal spring? I'd love to hear your questions, comments & feedback about this #globalbeauty ritual. Share your comments below or email me directly at jessica.arnaudin@gmail.com! 

PROTECT & REPAIR: all eyes on eye cream

Doug Arnaudin

om-aroma-eye-cream

Fun facts for your next dinner party (Ok, ok, only if your dinner party is full of beauty nerds!)

  • The skin around your eyes is the most delicate on your entire body
  • It lacks sebaceous (oil) glands
  • It lacks collagen & elastin fibers
  • The eye blinks about 10,000 times per day
  • There are 22 muscles in constant motion
  • Because it's thinner, this skin is the first to show dehydration
  • Eye strain, lifestyle, stress, and aging can cause sluggish micro-circulation 
  • This area ages 36 percent faster than other areas of your face

It's important to understand how the skin around the eyes differs from the rest of the face in order to treat it properly. First and foremost, a good sunscreen and fierce pair of sunglasses are key! I've gone a step further and added a protective UVA & UVB shield to my reading glasses, too. The last piece in the trifecta is eye cream! SPF & protective eyewear are preventative. Eye cream is for any damage already done. 

caviar-eye-cream

My fave is Om Aroma & Co Caviar Eye Cream. It's loaded with omega 3 & 6 (from caviar extract), organic botanicals, CoQ-10, and an energizing dose of caffeine to increase circulation of blood & lymph (which helps with those pesky under eye circles). 

Here's an at home ritual for perky peepers: 

  1. Leave two spoons in the freezer overnight
  2. In the AM, rinse face with cool water & apply eye cream
  3. Gently massage inward with your ring finger (weakest on hand)
  4. Use rounded side of chilled spoons on eyes as cool compress. 
  5. Zen out for 10 minutes, then enjoy a warm green tea with lemon/

I wish you all a lifetime of laughter & joy (and hey, perhaps a laugh-line or two). May we always look deeply and see beauty in the most unexpected places. Our eyes are a delicate gift. Let's protect them always! 

Skincerely,

Jess

Seeing Green: from celtic ancestry to green beauty

Jess Arnaudin

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, eco-beauties! Today is the day for whipping up matcha green tea DIY face masks, unironically drinking green juice (and the occasional green beer), and avowing love for all things verdant! It's also a day to celebrate Irish heritage and culture --  which for me, means taking a look back at my ancestry. 

There's beauty found in a sense of belonging. It's empowering to know our history. To feel connected to our ancestors. To find kinship in this magnificent tapestry of the world. My family came from Celtic lands. They traveled from Scotland to Ireland thanks to the British government's initiative giving away plantation acreage to anyone willing to uproot their families for the sake of expansion and promise of abundance. 

Fast forward to the 1700's. Times were tough in Ireland. My family immigrated across the Atlantic to ports in Philadelphia & New York. Historians describe this voyage as arduous and daunting, but thus, they endured and later found their new home in the swampy southern states of America. 

View from inside Lady Liberty's crown. If you're interested in seeing the statue from this vantage, sign up in advance! It took us three months to secure one of the limited spots!

When I visited the Statue of Liberty last summer, I wept. She loomed above me, patina green and iron strong. I saw her through the eyes of the hope-filled immigrants who sought new beginnings on a new shore.  How courageous they must have been! No matter what your heritage, we are all sons and daughters of immigrants (of the human race!). Through their stories, timeworn wisdom is passed on through the ages, and we stand united.

Cheers to St. Patricks day, green beauty goodness, gratitude, and (of course!) Guinness.

Skincerely, 

Jess