Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Soapwalla Magic Deodorant

Probably everyone who writes about clean beauty products has written about Soapwalla Kitchen deodorant, giving it the highest of praise. Nevertheless, soon after receiving and using this little deodorant pot, I knew I also had to write a post about it, in order to spread the word on this amazing natural deodorant. 
 There is not too much to say except that Soapwalla deodorant works. As simple as that. It works just as good as my old dirty deodorant that was full up of aluminium and parabens. Aluminium blocks cell glands, blocking sweat from getting to skin's surface. It is suggested to be able to penetrate the skin and accumulate in the body. There is some research suggesting a link between aluminium and Alzheimer disease. Aluminium is said to influence changes in estrogen receptor cells.  Read my post on parabens here. Those deodorants kept me dry and smell-free during the day and after sports sessions, so I would not have thought that an absolutely natural deodorant could do the job. That was until I tried Soapwalla deodorant. 
 Just have a look at this wonderful list of ingredients:

Organic jojoba, sunflower, and rosehip seed oils; shea butter; a combination of all-natural and gluten-free vegetable clays and powders; aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate; organic vegan kosher glycerin; a combination of organic lavender, peppermint, sweet orange, 
bergamot and tea tree essential oils

The deodorant comes in a small jar, is a creamy-yellow colour and has frosting-like consistency. I put a little on my finger and apply to under my arms like it was cream. I usually wait a little before dressing fully so that the deodorant can dry a bit and therefore work better. But not long at all. It smells quite fresh, but the smell is not over-powering and does not linger, which I particularly liked.  I have been using it for almost a week, and I did not have any irritation to any of the ingredients. But most importantly, it works just as wonderfully as a non-clean counterpart. I have been to work, rushed to meetings, ran somewhere, did exersize  and the deo kept me fresh, dry and absolutely smell free! So here we have it. An absolutely clean and natural deodorant that actually undoubtedly works!
 This deodorant can be purchased from Soapwalla Kitchen Etsy shop and costs very reasonable $10 USD. All Soapwalla Kitchen products are freshly made in small batches by Rachel in the kitchen of her Brooklyn apartment! Do you have a favourite natural deodorant? 

Food for Skin

What I've learned through my experience with different skincare products is that no matter what amazing skincare creams and treatments you use, great skin in the long run can never be achieved if our body and therefore skin is not fed from the inside as well. There are numerous vitamins and nutrients that are essential for our overall health and skin health too. Here is the list of some foods that are high in concentration of vital vitamins and nutrients for a healthy, glowing skin!

Oily Fish
Fish like salmon , tuna and sardines are high in healthy fats. We need essential amnio acids to build and maintain healthy skin cells. Fish has a high content of Omegas 3, 6 and 9, all required for maintaining skin barrier and keeping moisture in. In addition, they are anti-inflammatory, helping soothe digestion and are therefore very effective in helping with various skin problems such as acne.

Similar properties to oily fish, providing a vegetarian option. High in the Omegas, it also contains Vitamins A, D and E, potassium and magnesium. These vitamins and elements are all vital for healthy skin. In addition, avocados have great antioxidant properties, aiding to get rid of free-radicals, which helps slow down the aging process. It has also been found that avocados help the absorption of other nutrients too. 

Acai Berries
Termed as one of the 'superfoods' acai berries grow predominately in the Amazon rainforest. These berries are packed with Omega 9 (about 1.6 grams of Omega 9 per 5 gram serving) and various antioxidants. 

Goji berries
My favourite superfood! These little berries are rated as one of the highest sources of antioxidants. In addition, they contain vitamins C, B1 and B2, beta-carotene, minerals and amino acids. Their amazing antioxidant properties make goji berries a great food for a healthy skin!

Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds have many great properties to make them a super food for healthy skin. For one, they have great anti-inflammatory properties. Eating some nuts or seeds per day can help resolve problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Seeds contain Vitamin E, magnesium and zinc, which are all needed for glowing skin, in addition to helping skin regeneration and fighting off bacteria that may lead to acne. Some nuts, such as pecans are very high in fibre, which helps elimination of toxins and waste. It therefore helps problems such as acne, skin dullness and excess oil. Many nuts (e.g. walnuts) contain Vitamin B in abundance, which helps stress management, also slowing down the aging process. 

Green Veggies
Green vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli) contain numerous vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium and plenty of iron, all powerful antioxidants that nourish the skin and help protect it from premature aging. They also contain inflammation-fighting nutrients and plenty of fiber which make green vegetables a great food for acne-prone skin. 

Monday, 29 August 2011

Pai Avocado and Jojoba Moisturizer

 I think I have quite openly declared my love for the UK certified organic brand Pai here, but I wanted to write another post about this lovely moisturizer I have recently started using. I was immediately drawn by its ingredients. What could be better for normal skin than nourishing avocado, and the moisturizing jojoba oil? Avocado oil contains various amino acids needed to keep skin membranes healthy and lock moisture in. Jojoba oil is great for moisturizing the skin and is also said to have great acne-healing properties. 
  The cream comes in a lovely glass bottle and if of beige colour. It absorbs very fast, does not leave any oily or sticky residue and smells divine. When switching to a clean moisturizer I was worried that the cream will be too rich and over-powering for my skin. This was not the case with Pai at all (I have also used and loved their Sensitive skin Rosehip moisturizer). They are incredibly light but very nourishing at the same time, making you feel that your skin is getting everything it needs without being overpowered.
The ingredients list is also super clean, check for yourself:

purified water, geranium water*, avocado oil*, jojoba oil*, coconut and corn derived emulsifier, thistle oil*, shea butter*, natural vitamin e, vegetable glycerine, corn extract, manuka oil*, rosemary antioxidant*, basil extract, lavender oil*, lactic acid, may chang oil*, rosemary oil*

  All Pai products are certified by the UK Soil Association, which is a very strict organization: a product must contain at least 95% organic ingredients to be fully certified organic. A product can still be certified if it contains at least 70% organic ingredients, but the exact percentage has to be stated on the product packaging. It is very important to look for certification of brands, where many call themselves ‘organic’ just because their product contains a couple of organic ingredients. Pai is completely trustworthy in this sense: they have all their products certified. However, apart from certification they also contain some of the most beneficial ingredients for your skin, and are perfect for people with sensitive or allergy-prone skin. I now cannot wait to try their BioAffinity Toners, which seem amazing. I will update you all on those! Has anyone else tried Pai, I would love to hear your thoughts or questions!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Organic Glam: Jasmine

  After learning about all the nasty things in my skincare, I speedily started changing everything in my bathroom and my make-up bag. One thing that remained unchanged was… my perfume. To be honest, an idea of clean perfume never even entered my mind. Perfume is perfume! However, it turns out that fragrance (the thing that make your perfume smell as lovely as it does) may contain some pretty toxic chemicals. The biggest problem is that manufacturers are not required to disclose their fragrance ingredients, in order to protect their secret combinations. However, we get a problem where we do not know what is in our favourite perfume. Legally, manufacturers are allowed to cover over 200 different chemicals by the term ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’.

 And so, I set out to find a perfect natural perfume. I always loved jasmine, so I wanted to try out essential jasmine oil. However, I found that it did not really smell much of jasmine to me. Not the same intoxicating, deep smell of a Jasmine flower you pass on a June evening in the country... 
  Then, one day I was in London, passing by the windows of the Organic Pharmacy shop. Just as I was walking past the door a lovely display of large shiny perfume bottles caught my eye. I went back, and there in front of me stood a line-up of huge glass bottles labelled 'Organic Glam'- a new line of 100% natural based perfumes from Organic Pharmacy. And there, among the 5 lovely bottles, I saw one labelled 'Jasmine'
 'Well’-, I thought as I picked up the bottle from the stand-,’it will probably smell too sweet or of something else completely unrelated to jasm....' And my thought stopped right there as I inhaled the content of the bottle. There it was: the white jasmine bush on a light summer evening, packed up nicely in a bottle. The full scent consists of Egyptial Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, with a delicate hint of Sicilian Bergamot and sensual Sandalwood. I sprayed my fist a couple of times, and left the shop to see how the smell sets. It smelt beautifully on my skin, just like in the bottle, the smell becoming gentler soon after, but nevertheless lasting a long time
 Well, I thought, this fragrance is too good to be true, what's in it?? I emailed the Organic Pharmacy team, who promptly emailed the full ingredients list, specifying that ALL the ingredients are of natural essential oil origin, and the perfumes are 85% organic.


   My only downside was the price for this perfume (£112.50 for a 100 ml bottle) but if you are planning to splash out then I'm sure it will be worth the money and will last a long time! Maybe Organic Pharmacy will someday make these fragrances in smaller bottles and then they will seem more affordable? 
 Organic Glam line also holds 4 other scents: Citron, Oriental Blossom, Oud and Orange Blossom. I have not tried these yet, but if you have, please share!
 The Jasmine perfume to me stands out among all other natural fragrances I have tried as it managed to capture the natural intoxicating smell of jasmine and keep it in the beautiful glass bottle. I now know what I want for my birthday present!..

Friday, 26 August 2011

A Delicious Home Made Scrub

  Don't want to spend too much money on a scrub right now? Ran out of the one you have? Don't fret, here is a recipe for an easy and effective home-made scrub to exfoliate and reveal your skin's natural glow!
 All you need:
  •  A few spoons of Ground Coffee 
  •  A tea spoon or so of Honey
  •  A tea spoon or so of Olive Oil (or any other oil you like,e.g. Jojoba oil)
  Mix all ingredients together and scrub your face clean, then wash out with warm water! You can leave on for 5-10 mins for the benefits to penetrate the skin better. The coffee awakes your skin and helps the gentle exfoliating action. Honey nourishes. The oil feeds and cleans your skin, and makes the scrubbing action more gentle. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Pretty nails with Priti NYC

  In light of my previous post about formaldehyde, which is so often present in nail polishes, I wanted to review a nail colour that prides itself in being formaldehyde-free. Priti NYC!
 Priti was launched in New York by Kim D'Amato in 2005. The idea for Priti came about during D'Amato's pregnancy when she made a decision to switch to organic food and skincare. Not satisfied with options for non-toxic nail polishes available, she decided to create Priti: a brand of organic and non-toxic nail polishes, without having to compromise on quality or choice. 
 Priti nail colours are made without formaldehyde and two other toxic chemicals (beware, I will get to you both in later posts!): toluen and dibutyl phthalate (DHB),known cancerogens. The nail colours are cruelty-free and 100% vegan. They disclose all their ingredients, and attempt to use plant-derived and non-toxic chemicals. 
 Like promised, you will not need to compromise on either quality or choice. Priti has over 100 different colours and shades, ranging from pale nudes and pinks to bright reds, blues and even metallics. 

 I have recently bought and tried a bottle of pink Priti colour. What can I say? I saw no difference between this nice juicy nail colour and department store stuff I used to have. It stays on for days, does not chip (only a good few days later) and they have an amazing selection of colours. My favourite thing was the brush: it made the nail polish go on so smoothly, really mistake-proof (and I am not the smoothest nail polish operator...). And at £9 per 9 ml pot, it won't harm your wallet too much!

  Another great product offered by Priti NYC is their non-toxic nail polish remover (the ingredients list of ordinary nail polish removers just sends a shiver down my spine...). Priti remover is organic soy and corn based, infused with coconut, soybean esters and lemongrass oils. Amazingly, it contains no acetone, and no petroleum. To be honest, I have not tried this yet, but am hoping to do so soon. If anyone already has, I would love to hear what you think!
  Overall, nail colours still contain chemicals that may not be too favourable for skin. However, if you really want to use some once in a while, I would definitely go for the '3-Free' (formaldehyde, toluen and DHB), and Priti NYC colours would be my highest recommendation!

Skincare Chemicals to Avoid: Formaldehyde

  Today I will talk about a  toxic chemical called Formaldehyde. It is a colourless gas with a very strong odour. Despite being toxic, formaldehyde is widely used because of its low cost. It is used for things like pressed wood items, furniture, wall paneling, counter tops, permanent press fabrics, glues and adhesives. It can also be used to kill germs and as a preservative, and can therefore be found in skincare products.
 Formaldehyde is considered to be a cancerogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and United States Environmental Protection Agency. A recent study from the National Cancer Institute found that industrial workers who were at the highest levels of exposure of formaldehyde were several times more likely to develop various cancers. 
 You may think: how on earth can they manage to squeeze such a toxic chemical into skincare products? Well, somehow, they do. Formaldehyde is widely used in products like nail polish, due to its adhering properties. That stuff goes on our nails and stays on for days. Even more worryingly, a recent survey by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported that the majority of children's bath products contained traces of the chemical. Formaldehyde is present in the currently fashionable Brazilian Ceratin treatment, or Brazilian Blowout: a hair treatment aimed at taming unruly curly hair. Many women undergoing the treatment have complained eye and skin irritation, which is similar to the response to formaldehyde. You have to wear a gas mask and gloves for the treatment (see pic below!) which is not usually necessary when dealing with non-toxic ingredients. Administering the treatment also puts the salon workers at risk of increased exposure to the chemical. What is wrong with nice curly hair?!  
  You may think, well it's ok, I have checked the ingredients lists of my favourite products and they do not say 'formaldehyde' on them. The annoying thing about this chemical is that it has over 28 different names, making it hard to identify on labels. Examples of formaldehyde/formaldehyde-releasing chemicals are:

Dowicil 75; Dowicil 100; Dowco 184; Dowicide Q; 1-(3-Chloroallyl)-3,5,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane chloride; N-(3-chloroallyl) hexaminium chloride; hexamethylenetetramine chloroallyl chloride; 3,5,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane; 1-(3-chloroallyl)-chloride, DMDM-Hydantoin (especially present in shampoos:avoid!!), quaternium-15; diazolidinyl urea;  imidiazolidinyl urea (or Germall II); butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)(may be formaldehyde-releasing, present in lots of skincare)

  This makes it slightly more difficult to know how to avoid this toxic chemical. My advice is that if you see an ingredient on the list of some product and it looks suspicious, it is safer to check it out in case it is formaldehyde-releasing chemical. In terms of nail polish, there are numerous brands that pride themselves in not using formaldehyde and some other toxic chemicals in their colours (e.g. Priti, Zoya, Scotch), and explicitly say they are formaldehyde-free. They are just as good as any other nail polish brand. 
 Have you had any experience in finding out about formaldehyde being present in the most unexpected products? Please share!

Fun Recipe of the Week: Egg Hair Wash

  Yes, you heard right. You can wash your hair with... raw eggs. It may not sound so appealing, but it is actually not bad at all. I mean, it is great for your hair, but it is not at all as yuky as it may sound. 
  I first hear this from a friend who read it in some grandmother's recipe book. Her hair looked nice, soft, clean and shiny. She assured me it was from washing it with eggs! I told my mum about it and she tried it too. That one I could be sure: she washed it with eggs, and her hair looked just as nice and shiny (if not better) as when she washed it with shampoo. I knew it was my turn to try.
 Break a few eggs into a bowl (I have medium length hair, just below the shoulder) and I needed 4 eggs. Stir them up, so they get nice and foamy, and just put them on your head over the bath and lather up. It feels just like normal foam, does not smell grose or anything like that. Once you finish wash out thoroughly. It nourishes hair, and can be used once in a while to give hair extra treatment. Amazingly, it cleans hair just as well as a shampoo would. I do not know how, but I know it does! Has anyone ever tried it??

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Healthy Oils for Beautiful Skin

  Before turning to clean products, if I ever heard about oils used in skincare, I would always think: how grose. Oils must be sticky, greasy, and would just sit on your skin all day, right? Turns out: completely wrong!
  Vegetable oils contain numerous beneficial ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin. They are very easily absorbed, and do not just sit on your skin as a layer of oil. They are effective in fighting signs of aging, regenerating skin, calming breakouts, moisturizing. Vegetable oils contain amino acids and vitamins that are vital for healthy and glowing skin.
   Another impressive property of oil is its multitasking ability. Oils can be used as moisturizers, instead of expensive serums, as make-up removers, body moisturizers, shaving creams, acne treatments, hair treatments and probably much more!
  Today I will briefly go through some of the most beneficial beauty oils, their properties and uses. I hope you find it useful and interesting!

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a well-known source of amino acids and vitamins when added to fresh food. What is probably a little less known is the cosmetic properties of pure virgin olive oil. It consists of 77% monosaturated fatty acids, 14% saturated fatty acids, and 9% polysaturated fatty acids, vegetable mucilage, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Olive oil can be applied to skin, especially dry patches like elbows and great for nails. It is fantastic at restoring dry hair: just rub some very lightly warmed olive oil onto your hair ends and/or head scalp before bed, pop a towel on your pillow and wash out in the morning. Result: beautifully moisturized silky hair!

Coconut oil

This is a true multi-tasking wonder oil! For a while considered unhealthy because it mostly consists of saturated fat, it is now recognized that the structure of the fats is special. Saturated fat consists of strands of fatty acids. The fatty acids in turn consist of carbon chains of varying length with hydrogen atoms attached. What is special about coconut oil is that its carbon chains are made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which may be more easily absorbed and metabolized by our bodies than long-chain fatty acids (being either saturated or unsaturated)Medium-chain fatty acids are said to be rejuvenating for the skin. Coconut oil is therefore moisturizing and is easily absorbed. In addition, it has great antiseptic properties: it is effective against fighting a variety of infections due to its anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.  
 The topical uses of coconut oil are countless: moisturizing, amazing natural make-up remover (even for eyes), shaving, hair treatment, it can even be used as a deodorant! And on top of everything, smells divine too... 

Rosehip oil

  Rosehip oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It has a very high absorbing level, penetrating the skin and restoring the needed moisture balance. Rosehip oil is rich in many vitamins and essential fatty acids. It contains vitamin A (great for balancing skin and fighting signs of aging), Omega 6 oils (for protecting the natural barrier of our cells to environmental damage, critical for cell membrane structures), Omega 9 (for supple and moist skin), Omega 3's (for softening and moisturizing the skin, Lycopene (a powerful antioxidant found in the skin of the rosehip), Beta-Carotene (a pro-vitamin A and an antioxidant to help sun-damaged skin).
  It is well known that rosehip oil can help fight signs of aging and scar healing. What is a little less known is that rosehip oil can help heal breakouts as well, due to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. And it is less irritating to the skin than tea tree oil or even lavender oil. 

Jojoba Oil

  Jojoba oil is very beneficial for skin. It is very rich in natural elements such as zinc, copper, silicon, iodine, chromium, Vitamins E and B group and various acids. Jojoba oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and soothing properties.  Because of these, jojoba oil is great for moisturizing the skin, nourishing it and making it more glowing. Jojoba oil is also considered to be good acne treatment as it is soothing and anti-inflammatory. 

Argan Oil

Last but most definitely not least we have argan oil. Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which grow predominantly in Morocco, it is one of the rarest and most expensive oils.  Argan tree groves can survive 125-450 years! Berber women have long known the healing power of argan oil and have been using it to protect their skin, nails and hair against the harsh weather conditions for centuries. Argan oil is now gaining popularity in Western skincare also. It contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids, and 0.8% plant sterols, which improve skin metabolism, reduce inflammation and promote moisture retention. In addition, argan oil has extremely high content of Vitamin E. Because of all these wonderful contents, argan oil is considered to be a great anti-aging oil. It is said to help reduce wrinkles by restoring the skin's hydro-lipid layer. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Organic Food to your Doorstep: Riverford Organics

  As I was changing everything in my bathroom cabinet to natural and organic, I had a thought: obviously it is equally as important what goes into me as what goes onto me... So I started looking for a place where I could conveniently buy organic produce. I knew of a farmers market, which is very nice, but it only happens on Sundays, and if you want to get anything good, you better be there by 10 am. Some Sundays, I can be that dedicated, others not so much... Apart from the market, the only option was to buy organic lines of large supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Tesco's. That was not ideal either.
 Then, one rainy Sunday I picked up an Observer paper that had Ethical Awards issue of its magazine. There I read about this Riverford Organics: apparently they grow organic, Soil Association approved fruit, vegetables, meat and lots of other things and deliver it to your doorstep free of charge. Too good to be true? That's what I thought, but it was all true nevertheless.
Their website, www.riverford.co.uk is very easy to use.
You register, then either buy ready boxes of fruit or veg, or pick what you want (that's what I do, I am too picky). In addition to fruit and veg, Riverford sell fresh meat, olive oil, hams, delicious pastrami, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, milk, yogurts, porridge, musli, eggs and much more!  

Riverford Box
  What about the delivery? They deliver on a specific day a week, depending where you live and what farm the produce will be delivered from. If you are out on that day, you can leave a note at checkout explaining where to leave the box. They put it away nicely, and if it is a rainy day, cover it with a large plastic bag. They do not charge for delivery, you just need to spend over £12, which is fair enough! They deliver across UK, you can check if they deliver to your postcode on their website.
 Now, the produce. What can I say, I have been more than happy with everything I received. Always fresh, and carefully picked produce! Delicious fruit like apples and pears, berries, fresh and tender lettuce, ripe avocados to name a few!

 Finding Riverford organics has made a huge difference to my shopping. It is actually much more convenient than doing a big shop at the supermarket, and has made organic food much more attainable. If I am just shopping fruit and vegetables, I do not find that I spend much more than I would in a supermarket. But everything is so much nicer! I get excited every week when I get back from work and see the large box of goodness waiting by my front door... Where do you shop for organic food?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

RMS for your core Beauty...

  I do not know how I managed without this wonderful make-up brand, RMS beauty. I know how my skin managed: not very well at all. Harsh make up from ‘leading’ department store brands were making it dry and breakout prone. I could hardly imagine going to work or out without foundation on my face. As I was looking for clean make up, the first thing I wanted to change was the foundation. How and where could I find natural stuff that worked?

Un-Cover Up  

I stumbled across RMS wonder-product, Un-Cover Up, by chance and was surprised by some reviews of this product where ladies spoke about not wearing any foundation after finding this little magic pot. My first thought was: how can this TINY thing ever substitute a foundation? And if it can, will it ever last longer than a week? The answers are: yes it does, and yes it will!

Un-Cover Up (11)

 RMS Un-Cover up is a completely natural concealer, enchancing how your skin looks and feels without blocking pores or masking your face. Instead it blends with your natural skin tone, evening it out and improving it. It is extremely concentrated, so all you need to do is dab your fingers lightly into the small glass pot, and dab it around problem areas of your face, such as breakouts, under-eye bags or redness. Works wonders on all! Importantly it is moisturizing so it does not dry out the sensitive eye area. I now simply dab Un-Cover Up around my face and blend. I have been using it for about a month now, and there is about a millimeter dent in the small pot, so it will last for ages. Handy for travelling too, no need for heavy foundation bottles.
  RMS products consist of natural and organic ingredients. Un-Cover will benefit your skin as it includes coconut oil, caster oil, the lovely jojoba oil, rosemary extract among its main ingredients. Here is the impressive full list, enjoy:

*Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (non-GMO), *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain: [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI 77891, Iron Oxides CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 7749

  The concealer is available in 4 shades, I have shade 11 and it suits light skin tone. But I can easily use shade 12 if I have a bit of a tan. They blend very well with your skin colour, and so don't be too cautious about giving a shade a try.


  The arsenal of RMS products does not end here. Today I will also discuss my other favourite product so far: the Lip2Cheek colours. These come in 6 gorgeous shades, especially chosen to complement any complexion.
 These are also made with organic and natural ingredients that are extremely beneficial to your skin and contain no nasties. Smile contains some synthetic colour, but it is less than .2%, and it was the only way to create that lovely coral shade. I first tried Modest, a lovely dark pink, very natural colour. It matches the real lip colour just makes it look more bright and juicy. It is perfect for cheeks too, as it gives a natural, just pinched’    look without any artificial glitter or shine I’ve always not been happy about in other blushes. With a bit of a summer tan I am now also enjoying Smile, it gives my lips and cheeks a nice coral glow. This shade would be perfect for olive skintones.

Rose-Marie Swift
  Overall, RMS beauty is a natural make up brand in the league of its own. Its creator, a well-known make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift has managed to come up with products that capture the true essence of what natural beauty products should be all about: clean and organic ingredients without compromising on the fun of make up, its beautiful packaging and efficiency. More information on RMS at www.rmsbeauty.com/
  I now plan to try out their eye shadow and the magic product that I heard so much about: the living luminizer. I hope to update you all on them soon! Has anyone tried these already?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Skincare Chemicals to Avoid: Parabens

Today, I will write about a group of chemicals that can be present in almost any product, from shampoo to deodorant, but at the same time it is placed on numerous ‘to avoid’ watch lists.

What are parabens?
Parabens are used as preservatives in many personal care products. Any product that contains water requires a preservative in order to prevent growth of microorganisms. Using synthetic parabens is an easy and inexpensive way to prolong the shelf life of products, which works very well for large brands. Most commonly used parabens are propyl, methyl, butyl and benzylparabens. They are easy to identify in the ingredients list and are usually (hopefully!) located toward the end of the list (i.e. smaller quantities at the end)

The controversy
What is the fuss surrounding parabens you may think? What’s wrong with using a preservative in order to protect my product from yucky microorganisms? Well, to start with, parabens can imitate the effects of hormone oestrogen on a weak basis. All women need oestrogen to function properly, however, it is important to keep oestogren levels on an individual balance. Too much or too little oestrogen can have unfavourable effects. Main concerns about parabens are connected to them being found in breast cancer tissue. It is said that if cancerous tumours develop, increased oestrogen can encourage their growth. During treatment, doctors usually attempt to decrease oestrogen levels in the body, so the tumour does not get extra encouragement in its growth.
The influence of parabens on cancer development and its growth are not fully understood. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has relatively recently
(October 2007) updated information on parabens, still concluding that these preservatives are safe to use in cosmetics. Main reasons for this conclusion came from a study (from 1984!) that has shown that it is safe to use parabens at levels under 25% of a product, and typically these are used from 0.01 to 0.3%. The FDA seems satisfied with the use of parabens because they are present at such low levels. However, these studies do not take into account the frequent use of each cosmetic product: for example on an average day a person can use soap, shampoo, shower gel, shaving products, moisturizers, serums, conditioner, numerous make up products (and some products more than once!) all of which may contain parabens. And that happens on everyday basis!
It is worth noting that according to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben, and isopropyl and isobutylparabens may disrupt endocrine system and can be linked with reproductive and developmental disorders.

If your head is spinning with all the blablawhatareyoutalkingabout-parabens, you are not alone. The evidence is not conclusive, but if there is a potential risk, why not avoid all together? It is not as hard as it may seem. It seems many brands pride themselves in not including synthetic parabens in their products (e.g. Pai), and go for natural preservatives. It may cost just a tiny bit more, but I believe it would be worth it. Have you got experiences in trying to avoid parabens that you could share? 

Monday, 8 August 2011

On a Mission for Safer Skincare

  Every week I plan to write about nasty chemicals in everyday care 
products that may pose potential dangers to our health. These chemicals are so common that I never imagined their potential harm. After stumbling over a natural skincare brand by chance, I was becoming more and more involved in learning about potentially harmful chemicals present in all my products. What struck me most is how large cosmetic brands present these chemicals to be so ‘ordinary’ that you would never think twice about what they really were. Synthetic preservatives in my cream, powerful toxins in my nail polish, aluminum in my deodorant? All there. Who would have thought? At the same time, skin allergies are on the increase, everyone probably knows of a person or two who cannot use many skincare products and are forced to look for natural alternatives. So, if some ingredients can be so harsh for some skin types, then why use them at all? If before natural skincare and makeup was associated with hippy earth loving, then now natural products can be just as glamorous, and most importantly they work just as well and if not better, than the old ‘dirty’ cosmetics. So I want to dedicate a post a week to going through some chemicals to look out for!