Thursday, October 4, 2012

When should I start my Prenatal Vitamin?

All reproductive age women should be on a vitamin containing Folic Acid (B9). Even those women who are not planning conception should consider taking a vitamin containing folic acid in case there is an unplanned pregnancy.
It is important to be on the vitamins before you attempt to conceive as your baby will be forming its nervous system BEFORE you even know you are pregnant. Many birth defects associated with folic acid occur in the FIRST FEW DAYS OF PREGNANCY. Taking folic acid (B9) can lower the chance of brain and spinal cord birth defects. Closure of the neural tube is complete by the 28th day of pregnancy (6 weeks after the last menstrual period). Failure of this tube to close can lead to serious birth defects of the skull, brain, spinal cord and vertebra.
B vitamins including folic acid/folate are important for the development of new cells in the body. Most women do not get enough of these vitamins in their food which makes supplementation important. It is also important to note that we do not store these vitamins in our bodies, again making supplementation necessary.
Most vitamins contain at least 400 mcg of Folic Acid so it is OK to take a multi-vitamin if you prefer since this is the minimum dose recommended in women wishing to conceive. Prescription prenatal vitamins contain a minimum of 1000 mcg of folic acid in them. There are certain conditions that require you to take a higher dose of folic acid. Folic acid is considered to be non-toxic; therefore, taking higher doses should not be of concern .Speak with your ObGYN prior to attempting conception to be sure you are taking enough. The most important thing when choosing a PNV is to choose one that you can tolerate and that you will take on a daily basis. You may have to try several to find one that is right for you.
You can get folic acid from food as well! Try eating lost of green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Natural lip plumping.

Brush your teeth - brush your lips. First thing in the morning when you wake up and brush your teeth, don't leave out your lips. It may sound crazy but it gets the blood moving to the area and it will pump your lips up. Apply some gloss and you are ready to face the day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and how you can do it yourself

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are the hottest ingredients to hit the beauty Business. They are found in a number of expensive businesses. They are found in a number of expensive beauty lines and are perfect for sloughing off dead skin. But before you go spending hundreds of dollars; just know that foods such as pineapples, strawberries, apples, and even milk are overflowing with AHAs. So why not go directly to the source? Many of the recipes we will be highlighting on this Blog are filled with AHAs. When applied to the skin, they penetrate the upper layer to peel off dry skin and welcome new healthy cells. If you pamper your skin constantly with AHAs, it will begin to regularly exfoliate — as it did when you were in your teens. 

Here is one to try. One popular combination for a homemade facial mask is banana, honey and yogurt. Honey is a natural antiseptic, and it tightens the pores. Bananas are nutrient-rich, so they nourish the skin. Yogurt has lactic acid (AHA), which smooths and softens the skin. Once you know how to put these three ingredients together to make a natural facial mask, you can use it once or twice a week to keep your skin looking healthy.


    • If your banana is ripe, it will mash better.
      Peel the banana, and cut it in half. Put half of the banana in the mixing bowl, and mash it until it is creamy. Use only a ripe banana, because green bananas won't mash so well.

    • Yogurt should be well blended before using in a mask.
      Mix the plain, unsweetened yogurt well before you measure it out for your homemade facial mask. Add the two tablespoons of yogurt to the mashed banana, and blend the two ingredients well. 
    • Honey is a natural antiseptic.
      Use honey that is pure, with no additives. Pour one tablespoon of honey into the bowl with the banana and yogurt. Blend all three ingredients together.

    • Apply the mixture to your face and decollete evenly (remember your face starts with decollete), avoiding getting it in your eyes. Pop a couple of cucumber slices on your eye lids and you are ready. Leave the mask on for fifteen to twenty minutes (take a power nap if you want to), and then rinse the mask off with cool water. Then, pat your face dry with a wash cloth. 

      Follow up with your favorite moisturizer. We recommend Lumi*Essence Organic Advanced Brightening Repair Treatment, which contains Kojic Acid and Alpha Arbutin to further brighten and rejuvenate your skin.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What is BB Cream?


BB Creams are latest craze in cosmetics among the women in Asia and now US.

BB Cream (an abbreviation for Blemish Balm Cream) is among the hottest beauty products in Asia right now. This cream is said to have originated in Germany as an ointment dermatologists would prescribe to patients who have undergone laser skin surgery for its soothing and skin-regenerating properties.

Popular Korean celebrities were the first to start using the cream for beautification purposes and because K-Dramas or Koreanovelas (a.k.a. Korean drama shows) are pretty big at the moment -- here in Asia at least -- a craze was born. The beauty trend has now spread from Korea to Japan to South East Asia and, last I heard, is already quickly making its way to Europe and the USA.

So what exactly is BB Cream and what does it do?

It is a skin care product that offers a few properties at the same time: Wrinkle Care + UV Protection+ Moisturizing + Tint/ Foundation
Doesn't it seem like every Asian actress is blessed with naturally flawless skin?

Well, maybe so, but now we know that they are also armed with a secret weapon, called the BB Cream.

BB stands for "Blemish Balm" and dermatologists initially used it to help laser surgery patients protect, soothe and regenerate their highly sensitive skin while also providing good coverage for post-laser scars and redness.

Asian celebrities (who I assume underwent aforementioned laser surgery) discovered this wonder cream and started using it. Korean cosmetic companies got wind of it, realized the business potential and adapted the technology and started making their own formulas, thus making it available to the public.

This "public" version of BB cream is suitable for all skin types and are targeted specially to those who have sensitive and acne-prone skin. It has the advantages of both skin care and makeup as it improves the skin's condition and evens out the skin tone while providing coverage for dark spots and other blemishes.

Stay tuned for new 2013 season, as we are getting ready to offer 2 BB creams with SPF 30 and SPF 50 all natural (mineral) sun protection.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Beauty Foods: The Cherry

One of the things I look forward to during the summertime is that stone fruits are back in season. Juicy plums, apricots, and peaches are everywhere and I couldn’t be happier. Another fruit in their family is the cherry. These fruits are not only delicious, but rank high in the anti-inflammatory kitchen. Cherries come in sweet and sour varieties, but the sour cherries have a shorter peak time.

1. Cherries are definitely a super-fruit, filled with antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help reduce heart disease and cancer.

2. Their potent anti-inflammatory properties reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout. To reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pain, athletes have been known to consume tart cherries.

3. Cherries contribute to the quality of your beauty sleep. These fruits are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant and hormone that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.

4. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which helps protects the cells. This in turn slows the aging process.

5. Cherries also give more power to your brain! They aid in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss by protecting brain cells against oxidative stress. So remember to eat cherries, and you’ll start remembering a lot more.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Anti-Aging Skin Care Shouldn’t Stop at Your Face

How to keep your chest, neck & décolleté from looking older than you are
(It's easier than you think!)

Just like your hands can give away your age, your neck, chest, and décolleté can do the same. So, it's no wonder cosmetics counters are packed with endless creams and treatments targeting these areas. The truth is that buying a separate neck, chest, or décolleté cream is a waste of your money. These “specialized” products are not any differently formulated, and they almost always are overpriced—plus, they are completely unnecessary because the product you use for your face will work beautifully too. 

The cut of your clothing often exposes your neck and chest to the sun, making them especially vulnerable to sun damage and the signs of aging, just like your face. Wrinkles, crepiness, or discolored skin all show up sooner on areas that haven't been shielded from the sun or routinely protected with sunscreen. This is especially true for the neck and chest because we tend to neglect those areas far more than our face.

That's why skin care really needs to start at your boobs!

Abundant research makes it absolutely clear that what it takes to keep skin anywhere on your body acting and looking young requires the same brilliant ingredients. Gentle cleansing, products loaded with antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, and cell-communicating ingredients along with dedicated use of a well-formulated sunscreen work for your face, neck, chest, and décolleté.

The very same ingredients you use on your face simply need to be applied down your neck to your breasts. You don't have to open any other products. It's that easy.

What You Can Do:
  • Any skin-care routine you assemble for your face (cleansing, toning, exfoliating, etc.) needs to extend to your chest, neck, and décolleté. An extra dollop or two of your products will go a long way to helping. Think of it like this: If the skin on your face looks young and healthy, but the skin on your neck and chest is wrinkled and leathery, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.
  • To see improvement and keep your skin looking healthy and young, you need to be as consistent in your routine with your neck, chest, and décolleté as you are with your face routine.
  • There is no need for separate products unless you are addressing specific skin-care concerns (dry skin, acne).
  • If all else fails, always protect your neck, chest, and décolleté with liberal application of broad-spectrum sunscreen. It's the best single step you can take to keep this area of your skin (and femininity) looking gorgeous for years to come.
  • Sun damage on the chest and décolleté is treatable: If you notice brown spots, start with a skin-lightening product that contains kojic acid, arbutine and vitamin C , and always use sunscreen that provides sufficient broad-spectrum protection to prevent further damage. At night, follow up with a well-formulated anti-aging treatment.
We've said it before, but it bears repeating: Skin is skin, and what works for your face absolutely will work for your neck, chest, and décolleté. Just like you don't need a separate eye cream, there's no need to buy extra products for signs of aging below the face. As long as you don't have any specific concerns (like acne, eczema, or rosacea), your facial moisturizer will keep your chest, neck, and décolleté looking healthy and young.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nearly Half of Men in U.S. Don't Use Suncreen, Study Finds

Nearly half, or 49%, of men in the U.S. admit to not using sunscreen in the past 12 months and 70% of men don't even know skin cancer's warning signs, a recent survey has revealed. 
"These results are especially concerning when we consider that men over age 50 are more than twice as likely as women to develop and die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer," said Joshua Zeichner, a spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Reports show that 58% of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed this year will be men versus 42% in women."
The Skin Cancer Foundation conducted the survey, which also revealed that men typically do not follow recommended sunscreen usage guidelines. The vast majority of male sunscreen users, 79%, are not aware that the recommended amount of sunscreen to use per application is one ounce. A significant majority of men, 61%, mistakenly believe that one sunscreen application protects skin for at least four hours, even though the recommended reapplication is every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Only 32% of men consider themselves extremely or very knowledgeable about how to properly use sunscreen to get adequate protection. Additionally, nearly two-thirds, 64%, of men believe (or are unsure if) women need more sunscreen than they do, because of their misconception that female skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
In addition, the survey revealed that 85% of men are dangerously unaware that they are more likely to die of melanoma than women. Also noted, 70% of male respondents admit they don't know how to perform a skin cancer self-exam or what to look for. More than half, 57%, of respondents stated they are unlikely to see a medical professional for a skin exam. And only about one in four men, 26%, realize that the chest and back are the most common places on the body that men develop melanoma.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone adopt a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade between 10am and 4pm, covering up with clothing including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses and wearing sunscreen every day. When asked, nearly a quarter of male respondents, 22%, said they would consider using sun protection in the future if they learned they were at high risk for skin cancer. Across the board, there is a need to simplify sun education messaging. According to the survey, less than one third, 29%, of male respondents feel confident, or very knowledgeable, about what to look for or how to choose sunscreens.  
For more information about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, visit

Good news from Sweetsation Therapy. We are soon to launch men's after shave daily moisturizer with natural built in sun protection. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Skin cream: killing you softly?

In the book, Slow Death by Rubber Duck Rick Smith turns himself into a human science experiment. He lathers himself with shampoos and shaving creams, all in the sweetly-scented spirit of chemical exposure. To phthalates, that is. A type of chemical commonly found in cosmetics as well as plastic toys and PVC. After three days, the amount of phthalate byproducts in Smith's blood spikes. One of the by-products has notably been linked to male reproductive problems.
Reproductive problems are not the only issue phthalates have been linked to. They have also been variously associated with DNA damage, birth defects and altered pregnancy outcomes.
The issues associated with phthalates (pronouced tha-layts) are not new and have lead many countries to ban their use in toys. How hazardous the quantities are in cosmetics however, remains hotly debated.
But, new studies suggest that phthalates from 'personal-care' product-use relate to diabetes prevalence, as well as to insulin resistance.

One recent study looked at over 1000 elderly women. While phthalates were detected in nearly all the participants, high levels of the phthalate metabolites were associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes, even after lifestyle and other health factors were taken into consideration.
"There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors," study author Monica Lind told WebMD. "Even at relatively low levels of phthalate metabolites in the blood, the risk of getting diabetes begins to rise."
Similarly, another study, just published, analysed the urine samples of 2350 women, aged between 20 and 80. After adjusting for sociodemographic, behavioral and dietary factors, the researchers found that women with more phthalates in their urine were more likely to have reported diabetes.
Those with the highest level of certain phthalates in their urine had double the risk of diabetes of those with the lowest levels. "This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes," said study leader Dr Tamarra James-Todd. "We know that in addition to being present in personal care products, phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed."
As Dr James-Todd said, because we are exposed to phthalates in so many forms, it cannot conclusively be linked to cosmetic-use. But, we do pickle ourselves in the stuff. Considering that the average woman, and increasingly man, applies an estimated 200 chemicals to her skin each day, are the results of these studies really any big surprise?
No, says Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, Senior Advisor to the National Toxics Network. "I think it's just another nail in the coffin of phthalates. It is certainly confirmation of studies that are already out there," she says. "Consumers are being exposed [because] it's difficult for the average consumer to understand what's in [the products] ... We shouldn't still be waiting for action by regulation moderators."
The moderators she speaks of are NICNAS, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme.
While the European Union (EU) and the US have banned DEHP [diethylhexyl phthalate - a type phthalate] for use in cosmetics, Australia has not.
In regards to phthalates, NICNAS states that "Currently there are no restrictions in Australia on the use of DEHP in cosmetics and there is a potential for introduction and widespread use of cosmetic products containing DEHP." They do, however recommend that it be added to the list of substances considered dangerous to human health.
More recently, they have reviewed other forms of phthalates.
"The delegate has decided that body lotion preparations for human use containing more than 0.5 per cent diethylphthalate or dimethylphthalate be added to the existing prohibited uses in the respective Appendix C entries for diethylphthalate and dimethylphthalate. The delegate also decided an implementation date of within six months of the delegate's publication of final decisions (i.e. 1 September 2012)."
But, this is still higher than in the US and the EU, where the concentration of phthalates in many products cannot exceed 0.1 per cent, Lloyd-Smith says.
"Why is it different in Australia than US or EU?" she queries. "It has the footprint of an endocrine-disrupting chemical. We need to take action as soon as possible - and protect the future of generations to come."
In the meantime, she suggests women, and men, take matters into their own hands by minimizing their exposure through cosmetics.
Her advice
-  "Reduce ... the number of products you put on your skin and in your hair on a daily basis. Lipsticks in particular, as we tend to eat a lot [of what we put on our lips]."
-  Really look at a product before buying it. "Products have to give full labelling, so avoid all phthalates and seek out toxin-free cosmetics and shampoos."
- "When you see long scientific-sounding, chemical-based names [it's a red-light]."
- Do google searches for phthalate-free products or take a look at the Environmental Working Group's database of phthalate-free personal-care products.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Addicted to coffee? You may be dopamine deficient

Many of us depend on an early morning "Jo" to get us on the go. Some of us need refills as the day progresses.

Still others use coffee to get over depression or anxiety, even though caffeine can create more fight or flight hormones and tax our adrenal glands by pumping us with adrenaline. The adrenaline rushes lead to more retention of cortisol, leading to a vicious cycle of more stress and anxiety.

Many of us may have to look into our coffee drinking habits to determine whether to decrease consumption or quit altogether, even with the threat of withdrawal symptoms.

Although caffeine is in some foods and beverages, for example chocolate and tea, the bulk of our caffeine consumption is carried by coffee.

The first thing to consider is whether you can do without. If not, there is some level of addiction. There is a way to ease caffeine withdrawal mentioned later in this article.

How coffee elevates our moods and gets us going

Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical stimulant called trimethylxanthine. It can be addictive and debilitating as well as helpful, as both Bach and Beethoven, heavy coffee drinkers, would attest.
Caffeine stimulates the brain to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine by occupying the brain's adenosine receptors. Adenosine is what helps us feel like sleeping, but the adenosine receptors don't discriminate between adenosine and caffeine.

Dopamine elevates our moods to make us feel better and stave off depression, which is why there is so much coffee consumption in areas that lack sunshine for extended periods, such as the USA Pacific Northwest and Scandinavia. Dopamine also helps create motivation and contributes toward conscious body motion.

Some research even points to coffee drinkers having fewer problems with depression and Alzheimer's disease than non-coffee drinkers. While feeling better from the dopamine, the caffeine also increases the brain's activity and neuron firing.

This alerts the pituitary gland to release hormones that signal the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline (aka epinephrine) for "fight or flight." The adrenaline rush makes you more alert.

Adrenaline injections are sometimes administered to help overcome extreme breathing problems or cardiac issues. Caffeine can help get over an asthma attack by elevating one's mood, increasing heart rate, and dilating bronchial passages.

Coffee's adverse effects and kicking the habit

as the adrenaline wears off toward a crash, cortisol slowly builds up. If this cycle is repeated often enough, the cortisol builds up and creates the same effects as chronic stress: Fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and lowered immunity.
A recipe for disaster is working a stressful job and drinking lots of coffee to cope with it! Adrenaline rushes can be addictive, just ask any gambler or sports nut.

But it appears dopamine's mood elevation may be the hook that makes it hard to kick caffeine and remove the adrenal stress that causes long term negative health effects.

Sometimes the caffeine from drinking coffee habitually can cause gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. Caffeine is a cross reactive substance, meaning it can create gluten intolerance even though it doesn't contain wheat. Ironically, wheat products usually accompany that cup of Jo.

Many experts consider the caffeine cure for dopamine deficiency the most addictive quality of coffee drinking. Getting off caffeine slowly or cold-turkey can create withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, mild depression, and mental fogginess.

Nutritional consultant and author of The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Gates, recommends a naturally sourced non-essential amino acid supplement L-Tyrosine to help you kick the caffeine habit effortlessly. It is a natural precursor to the brain's dopamine production and it helps people be alert.

Source: Natural News

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

17 Simple Definitions of Common Natural Beauty Buzzwords

Beauty buzzwords are nothing new. Companies and marketers have been throwing these terms around for decades, most with the sole purpose of selling their revolutionary, innovative and ground-breaking product to you, the ever wise consumer. Some buzz words make sense and are actually truthful. Others only insinuate or suggest a benefit without any backing scientific evidence.

In the natural beauty market, you’ll spot even more beauty buzzwords that are incorrectly used interchangeably, or don’t really explain anything. Others may sound obvious, but still confuse the average buyer.

Sustainability – According to the EPA, sustainability “calls for policies and strategies that meet society’s present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The official definition is “of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged”. So, there’s no real definition, as it’s interpreted in many different ways.

In general, it refers to products that were made using techniques or ingredients that doesn’t destroy the source, and allows constant re-usability.  Some people consider biodegradable products to be sustainable as well, or recyclable packaging.

Fair Trade – Fair Trade means “trade in which fair prices are paid to producers in developing countries”. When you participate in buying and thus supporting Fair Trade, you’re ensuring the farmers and producers of the ingredients that form your products are paid a fair and livable wage. This can drive up the price of the goods, but it’s worth it for many consumers.

Transparency – In the natural beauty industry, it simply means being completely and 100% honest, accountable and open about one’s practicies, mission, and most importantly, the ingredients in one’s products. Listing EVERYTHING, including the components of “fragrance”, means a company is transparent with it’s formulations. Beauty consumers who are more aware of what goes onto their bodies look for this aspect, so businesses should start to take note.

Natural – This is a big one. “Natural” is a vague term that can mean different things to different people. The term is unregulated and technically, anyone can throw the word around when describing their product. Here are the most common definitions:

    Ingredients and products that are solely derived from nature or the Earth, like herbs, flowers, essential oils or other botanicals.
    Anything not synthetic or created in a lab.
    Any product or ingredient derived from nature that is unprocessed and without chemicals.

Organic - This term is constantly being misused. In general, “organic” refers to the conditions an ingredient or product was grown from. Officially it means “organic produce or ingredients that are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.” This term is also thrown around a lot since it’s tough to really prove. This is why consumers look for certification..

Certified Organic - Because a product or ingredient being claimed as “organic” just isn’t enough. Certification from organizations such as the USDA, ECOCERT, NSF and OASIS have requirements where a product must meet a certain percentage of organically grown ingredients before the business can claim the product itself as organic.

Each organization offer different thresholds, if any synthetics are allowed, and required minimum percentage of organic content, so it’s best to check each one separately to know what you’re getting into.

    USDA Organic
    Soil Association
    Australia Certified Organic (ACO)

Antioxidants – The best definition can be found at How Stuff Works and ”Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed as part of our natural metabolism but also by environmental factors, including smoking, pesticides, pollution and radiation.”

The basic definition? Antioxidants are substances that fight, prevent and repair damage caused by harmful free radicals which come from the aforementioned, as well as UV rays. These free radicals are believed to contribute to illnesses, speed up the aging process, and interfere with our immune system. Most often found in fruits like berries, antioxidants are often included in natural beauty products. They’re good stuff!

Cruelty-free – It’s supposed to indicate that the ingredients and/or products were not tested on animals. This term is interchangeably used with “animal-friendly”. This term heavily preys upon the ethical and moral nature of consumers, especially those with a soft spot for animals. Because the term is normally meant for the final product, the ingredients could have been tested on animals.

However, this has recently made the news due to several beauty companies being called out for testing on animals, such as Avon and Estee Lauder. Because there’s no legal definition of the term “cruelty-free”, the ingredients used or the manufacturing of the product could have involved some animal testing. Recently, university researchers have challenged law makers to finally define the term “cruelty-free” to protect consumers.

(ingredient)-free - This could be anything. Paraben, phthalate, formaldehyde, preservative, chemical, synthetic – anything could be tacked in front of the word “-free” to indicate that the ingredient in question is absent from the final product. This is tricky, though – a company claiming to be preservative-free may use GSE or Vitamin E, so while they’re not official preservatives, they serve as a preservative.

Companies claiming to be chemical-free can also be misleading, as there is no single definition of the word. Normally, they mean anything derived solely from a lab. A company that clarifies it, such as “no chemical preservatives”, is much better.

Vegan - This is straightforward. A vegan beauty product contains no animal by-products. Milk, beeswax, honey and even lanolin would not be considered vegan. Vegan products are normally not tested on animals, either.

Green –  Another term with a broad definition. A “green” beauty product just means it’s environmentally friendly in some way. It normally refers to the recyclable or post-consumer packaging, since it wouldn’t harm the Earth in any way. This term can also extend to the product’s ingredients and can be used interchangeably with “natural’, and even “organic”.

Greenwash –  This is when a beauty business (or any business, really) gives off the impression via labeling, package design, marketing terms or even colors that they’re green and environmentally friendly. Oftentimes, they are not. They could say stuff like “Made with Ingredients derived from coconuts and lavender” with a picture of said coconut, along with a green bottle and flowy typography. At first glance, the product looks natural and safe, right?

Not so fast – always read the ingredients so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

DIY - An acronym for “do it yourself”.

Eco-Friendly - About the same as “Green”, eco, short for ecological, means any product that is friendly to the environment in some way. The “official” definition is “are terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.”

Holistic –  In the natural beauty industry, the term holistic is defined as “the practice of applying natural methods of wellness and treatments for the mind, body and spirit of the whole patient, and addresses the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of a patient as well as their physical treatment.” Often used with aromatherapy and traditional methods of treatment or beauty related practices. Also used interchangeably with “alternative medicine”.

Patent Pending - Simply defined as “a warning that inventors are entitled to use in reference to their product or process once a patent application has been filed, but prior to the patent being issued or the application abandoned. The marking serves to notify potential infringers who would copy the invention that they may be liable for damages (including back-dated royalties), seizure, and injunction once a patent is issued.”

So, if a particular technique or cocktail of ingredients are patent pending, it means no one else can copy the invention. Doing do puts them at risk for getting sued.

Botanical – Usually means anything plant, flower or herb related. Derived from the term “botany”, or the study of plants.

Did you find this article useful? Others would too! Let’s spread the word and make sure we all know what these often confusing buzzwords actually mean, and decide whether it’s worth investigating or doing additional research on BEFORE spending money on a beauty product.
Source: Garden of Beauty

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three Anti-Aging Products You Don’t Need

With the thousands of anti-aging products available in stores, online and even in vending machines at your local airport or shopping malls, it’s no surprise that consumers get overwhelmed when deciding what to buy. Over time, some of us end up trying the entire drugstore, while others just play it safe with the same rotation of products that they’re never completely happy with.

My goal is to help those who want to look as young as they feel but don’t want to spend their hard-earned cash on marketing gimmicks or experimental, yet-to-be-proven products. Cut through the clutter and make practical, scientifically sound choices with my advice on what you don’t need in your anti-aging routine.

1. Cleansers With Botanical Extracts

What they are: Botanical extracts are ingredients extracted from plants (flowers, roots, stems, trees, etc.) for use in skin care for everything from healing blemishes to reducing fine wrinkles. They have been used for centuries and have anecdotal purposes in just about, if not, all cultures. In anti-aging creams, toners and serums, they work effectively.

The issue: Botanical extracts need to remain on your skin in order to work. In cleansers, there is simply not enough contact time on your skin for any true anti-aging benefit to take place. Another issue is that most botanical extracts are water soluble, which means that the moment you wet your skin and begin to wash your face, they’re watered down and rendered useless. 

How to solve it: You may love how your cleanser makes your skin feel, or how it evens out your skin tone, but it’s the effects of the balance of surfactants (cleansing agents) that you actually like – not the botanical extracts! To save on your cleanser, but still get the feel you love, find a formula containing similar surfactants – matching botanical ingredients does not matter.

2. Lip Exfoliators

What they are: Dry, chapped lips are uncomfortable, but you don’t need to purchase a special product to relieve them. Most lip exfoliators consist mainly of sugar and natural oils in a wax base to hold everything together. 

The issue: Lip exfoliators work, but they’re pricy, ranging from $10 to $25.

How to solve it: Spare yourself this unnecessary expense! Before going to bed, apply olive oil and with a light hand, rub a toothbrush on your lips in a circular motion to get rid of the dry skin. This quick-and-easy exfoliation technique will leave your lips feeling smooth and soft.

3. Retinol and Acids in One Product

What they are: Retinol is one of the best anti-aging ingredients available. It can help reverse the visible signs of premature aging due to excessive sun exposure, help control acne and reduce wrinkles. Likewise, acids such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or beta hydroxy acids (i.e. salicylic acid) are wonderful chemical exfoliants that breakdown the gunk holding dead skin cells together. The end result is silky smooth skin, a more even skin tone, and a reduction of fine lines. It’s no wonder skin-care manufacturers want the benefits of these ingredients in one power-packed anti-aging product.

The issue: These ingredients, retinols and acids, can’t coexist in the same product without one of them being compromised. Retinol is notoriously unstable and can breakdown if proper caution is not taken when creating the base formulation. One factor that helps keep retinol stable is the pH. Simply speaking, pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. For example, vinegar is very acidic and has a pH of about 3, water is considered neutral with an average pH of 7; and hair-removing creams are very alkaline with a pH of about 12. Retinol’s pH comfort zone is about 6-8.

Acids by their very name are acidic and are most effective at pHs below 5; in fact, the lower the pH the more effective they are. I think that you can see where this is going. If acids are more effective with pHs below 5 and retinol is more stable above pH 6, then one of them is going to be compromised if placed in the same formulation. That doesn’t mean that the product won’t work; it just means that you will be reaping the benefits of either the retinol or the acids, but not the comprehensive benefits of both that you are paying for!  

How to solve it: Some companies understand this problem, and solve it by encapsulating one of the ingredients so they are chemically “hidden” and will not be affected by the outside pH. Encapsulating means one ingredient is enclosed in another (similar to the way an egg yolk is enclosed in the egg shell).  This is the best way to make sure that you are getting the full benefits of both!