Writer’s Block, Acupuncture, Sleep, and Reviving Your Creativity

Writer’s Block, Acupuncture, Sleep, and Reviving Your Creativity

For the first couple of months of fall this year, I had a serious creativity block. I had to press myself to sit down and write, and when I did it often felt bland and not up to my usual standards. This meant I had to put in a lot more time and effort than usual just to get what I was writing up to my standards. And even then, sometimes I didn’t feel like my work was as good as I’d like.

It’s a sucky feeling to lose your creativity when you are in a line of work that requires you to be creative. There are certain tricks that help to get your writer juices flowing. Reading is one of them. Meditation doesn’t hurt. But sometimes, it just ain’t happenin’.

I’m glad to say, I feel like my writer’s block is gone and creativity has returned, thank goodness. Those two months seemed like an eternity and I felt like something was missing in my whole life, not just work. It’s hard to single any one thing out as to why this happens or what makes it better, but I will share one thing that I’ve started doing that I feel is making a huge difference in how I feel.

And that’s acupuncture.

I tried it because I was getting a migraine every week. You guys, imbalanced hormones are no joke. I can deal with fluctuating between freezing cold and burning hot a few times throughout the day, or not being able to eat the way I used to, or having to slow down my beloved coffee intake. But having a headache that had me couch bound for several hours each week was not an option. I felt like I was missing out on life and drained of anything that was me.

So, the medical acupuncture my doctor performs is designed to alleviate the migraines. But there is an unexpected bonus. I am sleeping better.

Of all the complaints I’ve had of late, sleep problems were not among them. But now I am able to see that, while I may not have been unable to get to sleep, I was waking up several times each night and the sleep I was getting wasn’t restful.

Now that I am sleeping better, I feel energized, upbeat, and … creative! My headaches are coming about every two weeks now, which is an improvement, and I’m feeling more like myself.

Why am I telling you this?

One, because I want you to know that not getting enough sleep can make you feel all sorts of off. And you may not even realize you aren’t getting enough sleep or that the quality of the sleep you are getting is not ideal. Maybe acupuncture is for you, maybe it’s not. But if you are experiencing low energy or a creativity drought and none of the usual tactics are helping, take a look at the quality of your sleep.

The second reason I’m writing this long and winding post? Because I want you to have a mini arsenal in your back pocket for getting your creativity back on track. When I wasn’t writing my best, I totally knew it. But when you are feeling low on energy and inspo. It can be tough to think of things to turn it around. Write a list or put a note in your phone of things that help you get your mojo back. Maybe you exercise or binge your favorite creative inspiration on Instagram. Maybe you add in daily naps or get some outdoors time. Maybe you play with your pet or simply take some time off. Make your list of creativity boosters when you are feeling good, so you can check in with it when you are feeling not so good.

Stuck on what saps your creativity or gets you out of a slump? Use my Creativity Boosting Checklist to add to your feelgood arsenal of inspo boosters.

Creativity Booster Checklist

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

Writing emails for your list. Falls somewhere near updating your blog on the priority list, huh? You know both things are super important to keeping your crowd up to date on your brand happenings and growing your audience. But email marketing is so dang time consuming. Plus, you have to dream up what to write about too.

What if I told you I could show you a way to save time on email marketing and make it feel a lot easier too? Well, sit tight because I’m about to make your day.

If you took the time to grow a list, don’t leave your followers hanging. They signed up because they want to know what you are up to, keep tabs on the latest happenings in your biz, and learn a thing or two along the way.

List kinda on the short side? There’s no better way to grow that puppy than by sending out emails people want to read. Share link included, of course.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for. The solution to your email marketing wishes.

3 Simple Steps to Easier, Faster Email Marketing

1. Come up with a plan: You probably aren’t surprised that I’m suggesting an editorial calendar for your email marketing. I believe in creating ed cals for pretty much everything you write on a regular basis, from blogging to social media posts. It helps to keep you on track and give you a longterm vision. Plus, there’s no better feeling when it comes time to write something up than a next step. Completely eliminates the guesswork and time spent staring at a blank Word doc.

So, make a list of what you want your audience to know about your biz, your products, your events, and yourself. Yep, your followers want to know more about YOU too. Emails that pop into your inbox only when it’s time for a sale or promo get boring fast. You can talk about your products, of course. But offer stuff up for free too. Like application tips, seasonal recommendations, ingredient and formulation info, and anything else you feel makes your products and brand interesting and unique.

Now that you have the list. Take a few minutes to chunk the items out into months. November is the perfect time to talk about moisturizing ingredients or warm makeup tones. Plan on giving gift ideas or ways to keep skin glowing in December. January is all about making skin feel detoxed and revived. You get the drift.

I like to put my ed cals in a Google doc. This makes them easy to share with your collaborators or team, add notes, make edits, etc. And don’t forget to mark them off after you’ve written about them.

2. Take a day or two to write for the month: Do you send emails out weekly? Twice weekly? More? Schedule a day or two each month to devote to writing your emails. Not only will this knock the task out and get your email marketing ready to go, but sticking with one task will set you on a roll and you’ll have those guys finished up in no time. You can even add them to your email editor and schedule them in advance.

3. Make your writing even easier by using email templates: Like ed cals, templates are one of my favorite writing tools. Why come up with a brand new format every single time you write an email? This is a huge time waster and totally unnecessary. When I create templates for my clients, I usually do two or three different types. For example, I may make one template for informational emails that link back to a blog post, and another that is shorter and features scannable tips.

Not sure where to begin with creating these templates? To get your creative juices flowing, I have come up with one for you. Download my email template by clicking the link below, add your own info, and off you go.

By taking a bit of time to come up with an ed cal and a template or two, your email marketing will feel like a snap. Keeping customers happy couldn’t be easier.

If you have questions on creating templates for your email marketing plan, get in touch!

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

 

Product Review :: Mahalo Skin Care Rare Indigo Beauty Balm

Mahalo Skin Care Rare Indigo Beauty Balm

I haven’t done a product review in a while. The real deal? I seriously do not try out as many new products as I used to. My time is spent mostly writing copy for my brilliant clients and l’m doing far less blogging. Which means, far less product sampling.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try out new items. It does mean that what I do try is carefully selected by moi because I really, really want to try it. For example, Mahalo Rare Indigo Beauty Balm.

I’d seen the brand around but it was after watching Mahalo founder Maryna’s Instagram live for A Night For Green Beauty this past August that I decided I had to try some of her products. Maryna’s vivacious spirit made me stick around to watch more and learn more about her line.

Her products are super tempting, but since I don’t like to splurge big on beauty items until I’ve tried them out (sensitive skin) I bought some samples from Integrity Botanicals. And the Rare Indigo Beauty Balm … Oh, my gosh, a new favorite for sure!

Aside from being sensitive and prone to redness, my skin is also super dry. While I love a good balm, I tend to use them at night when I don’t mind being a bit greasier. But this beauty sinks into skin so well that I use it both day and night. It doesn’t leave skin feeling oily, but soft, smooth, and cushiony. And you only need the tiniest little dab.

I usually avoid anything too strong smelling because it often makes my skin irritated and sometimes gives me a headache. This balm does have a scent going on, but it quickly fades away and I don’t smell it at all during the day.

My skin loves this stuff! It evens out my skin tone and my skin looks so glowy and, dare I say, younger. I warm a small bit, about the size of lentil, between my fingertips and pat all over my face and neck. Then, after I let the balm set for a minute or so, I get out my trusty ReFa facial roller and make sure it’s spread around evenly and well absorbed.

I keep my hair away from my face for around 3-5 minutes to let the balm sink in well, then I’m off and running. I can’t wait to order the full size. A true keeper.

The other samples I bought were the Pele and Bean masks, and Vitality Elixir Facial Serum. My skin has been so well behaved with the balm that I haven’t even tried them out yet. Will keep you posted, though.

Why Doing What You Do Best is Key to Success (Plus, Help With Your Content Plan)

Why Doing What You Do Best is Key to Success (Plus, Help With Your Content Plan)

It’s so easy to start an online business these days. Got a domain, some hosting, and a business name … you are off and running.

It may be a cinch to get all of that stuff but where do you go from there? Your website won’t create itself, sadly. It needs two things. Words and pictures.

Yep, content and images are the crux of a good looking, customer attracting, audience pleasing site. Sounds simple enough, right?

Anyone who has been in those shoes knows otherwise. Unless you have serious photog skills (and if you do, yay you!) then you will have to find a source for those pretty images that align with your brand.  And even those of you who love to write need a solid content plan. Journal style writing isn’t going to cut it online, sorry to say.

While I am the first to admit I definitely do not have picture taking skills, my biz is all about writing. And while it’s something I love to do, and my clients seem to love too, whether I’m writing for a client or my own site, it takes a bit of prep.

Here I will walk you through the basics of setting up a content plan for your site. Those of you who already have a site can use this as a checklist to see if you need to add anything new.

As for those images … I’ll let you in on where I source mine. As I said, this is all about doing what you do best. And if pic taking and writing copy aren’t two of them, hire them out so you can do what you are all about. It’s the key to a successful biz and a happy you.

 

How to Plan Copy for Your Website-2

How to Plan Copy for Your Website

Decide on pages: First off, what pages do you want to have on your site? A good natural beauty site has the basics: home page, about page, ingredient commitment page, and product pages. You may also want a blog on your site.

What you’ll share: What will you share on these pages? A home page should introduce your brand, tell your visitor why they are there, and offer the solution they are looking for. Your about page should tell your readers about you, why you started your brand, interesting facts, a bit about your team if you have one, all in a format that sounds like YOU. Ingredient commitments are pretty straightforward. Use mine if you want and add in your hero ingredients. Product pages, huh? These need to be super enticing and make your customer’s trigger finger twitchy. And if you are an online store, copy and pasting from brand sites is not acceptable.

Get it down: Write it all out on paper or put it in a word or google doc. Read it and read it again. Have someone else read it if you need a fresh set of eyes. If you are happy with it, feel it delivers what your customers are looking for, and feels like it jibes with your brand, go ahead and upload that good stuff onto your site.

Blogs and email: Blogs are so yesterday, right? Wrong! A healthy site blog lets you share new info with your followers and is a place where more personal info can live. Super into drinking chlorella at the moment? Talk about on your blog. Have a unique way to use that new facial serum you created? Tell ‘em all about on your blog.

Guess what? Your blog content also makes great email content. Yes, it’s almost too good to be true. But it is, it’s true! Take a piece from your blog post and use it as an excerpt, along with a fresh intro, as your email that links back to your blog, where your followers can read more, browse around, buy your stuff, you get the drift.

Editorial calendar (yep, you need one!): One rule of thumb I swear by, for myself and my clients, is an editorial calendar. You can come up with one for each week, each month, or each quarter. Heck, you can create one for the whole year if that’s your kinda thing. Don’t worry, you can always go in and switch things around or add to it, but having an ed cal in place is key to consistently delivering new material, sticking with your plan, and eliminating that gut wrenching feeling of having to come up with a new post spur of the moment.

Two things that make my life a ton easier.

Ok, remember it’s all about doing what you do best and supporting others who do what they do best. For me, writing comes easy. Making my site look gorgeous, not so much.

To make the site layout a ton easier, I use Bluchic templates. They are designed for female entrepreneurs, super easy to use, and affordable. There are templates for ecommerce too, so go check them out. If you are wondering, I use Jacqueline here.

Those images I keep referring to? Here’s where I source mine. They look profesh, can be used in a thousand different ways, are totally in sync with my brand, and worth every cent I’ve ever spent.

Hope this info helps you get your site snazzed up. If the whole content process sounds like a mind blower, time sucker, or completely out of your wheelhouse, let me know. It is what I’m all about and I’d love to help you with it too.

How to Format Your Blog Posts for Easy, On Brand Content

How to Format Your Blog Posts

Writing new blog posts is often one of the last things to get done. You know it’s important to deliver content and maintain a connection with your audience, but this task seems to drop to the bottom of the priority list.

While fresh, multi-weekly posts used to be blogging de rigueur, this is no longer the case. Evergreen posts (content that is always relevant) have become more popular. Not only does this make blogging easier but eliminates the need to produce 3-5 posts each week.

Whether you are writing evergreens or sticking with the regular method of posting, it’s important to come up with a standard blog post format. This keeps your blog cohesive with your brand and makes blogging a snap.

You may have a few different types of post formats to suit the different types of posts you write. For example, you could have one for product reviews, another for ingredient highlights, and another for how-to posts. As you write and research your post, insert info and links into the appropriate area of the template so they are there when you are ready to write that section.

If this sounds like another huge item for your to do list, never fear. I’ll show you how to come up with your own blog post formats and exactly how to use them to ensure your posts are on brand, super engaging, and ultra clickable.

Formatting Blog Posts

How to Create Your Own Blog Post Format

Think of your blog post format as an outline. Yes, similar to those from high school English class. Only streamlined and less stodgy.

blog post format

I like to write my posts in a Word doc (see screenshot above of the outline for this post), so I’ll copy and paste the format into the doc before I get started. Then I simply drop in the links, keywords, and info bites into the appropriate section. Once I’m ready to start writing, everything I need is right there.

Let’s go!

Headline: Let’s start at the top. Whether you prefer to write your blog post headline first, after you’ve got the intro nailed down, or once you’ve finished the entire post, a good headline is key to attracting readers. I select the keywords I’m using for the post, come up with a few headlines, and run them through Coschedule headline analyzer.

Intro: This doesn’t have to be long, even two decent paragraphs will do. People skim when reading online and can’t wait to get to the good stuff. Use your intro to insert keywords and entice your visitors to read on.

Subheadline: Not using these? They are super important as they help readers zero in on the meat of the article. The subhead can be the same as the post title or a variation.

Body: This is where you put the good stuff … the info your visitors are on your blog to read. Make this section super readable by highlighting important terms and phrases, laying the information out in a numbered list, or creating sections with short headlines. Tip: If your head or sub head includes a number (5 Best Ways to Use Facial Oils) be sure you list your info in a numbered format.

Conclusion: A conclusion wraps up the post and doesn’t leave your reader hanging. It should be short and sweet, 2-4 sentences will do. For me, this is the toughest part of an article to write. It can be hard to come up with a few more lines of content that haven’t already been said and don’t sound bland. There are times that I skip a conclusion. Listicles often seem to be fine without. But generally, you should get used to writing an ending for your posts. Hint: This is the perfect place to tout your product or service, offer your reader a freebie, or include a signup link for your list.

Images: Now to gather the images you’ll use in your post. This is as important as the writing itself. Think of the top image as selling your post by drawing attention and creating a connection with your reader. Say you are writing a post on the best red lipstick to wear for summer. What image would you expect to see on an article like this? It needs to have a summery feel (no girls in winter coats, scarves, etc.) and a decent set of red lips.

The top image can double as your subhead image. Switch it up by adding text (Canva makes this a snap), which also make the image Pin-able. When writing a product round-up I also like to include product images.

That’s it! Not so difficult and it will save you time. Simply come up with a format for each of the most common blog posts you write, insert your information, and you are off and running. A good format makes the writing process feel smoother and keeps me on track.

To get you started, I’ve created a blog post format for you to download. Go ahead and get that baby here!

 

Image via Twigy Posts

Addressing Spring Skin Problems

Addressing Spring Skin Problems

Spring weather is finally starting to make an appearance. Winter is the season for skin concerns, right? It may not seem like lovely breezes, fresh air, and mellow sunshine could possibly bring along spring skin problems … so why are my skin and lips so parched and rough?

You too?? Just when skin starts to get the hang of freezing temps and cold winds, spring shows up and throws things off balance. This dry skin dilemma has less to do with the weather, and more to do with the products you are using.

Your skincare regimen changes in the winter, as it should. Richer oils, moisturizing creams, and skin balms all make the scene and help you get your complexion through those chilly months in one piece.

So what about the change to nicer weather causes this skin upheaval?

Most of us probably tend to slack off on exfoliation and moisturizing treatments once nicer weather arrives. Also, you are likely spending more time outdoors, and spring breezes and sunshine can sap skin. Plus, spring is notorious for random weather. One day it’s 75 and beautiful, the next it’s dark and snowing. Dust and pollen also increase in spring, and outdoor time means skin comes into contact with more pollution. All tough on skin.

So what’s a spring lovin’ gal or guy to do? Read on for healthy spring skincare tips that’ll have you tip-toeing through the tulips, healthy glow intact.

5 Steps to Dealing With Spring Skin Problems

1. Switch up your exfoliation game: Yes, it’s important to exfoliate year-round. But did you know there are a variety of ways to get this job done effectively and it all depends on what your skin needs at the moment. If your skin is feeling sand papery and taut, your exfoliator needs to have a bit of moisture. My go to right now is Amala Hydrating Face Polish.

2. Keep on keepin’ on with the moisturizer: If you’ve been using facial oil, moisturizer, and balm during winter months, don’t put any of them away just yet. Sure, higher temps and a touch more humidity make skin that’s in flux feel like it needs less oil. A great way to make sure your complexion still gets its healthy oil infusion is to layer those rich products on before you go to bed. This way you can avoid any daytime greasiness and still get in on the hydrating goodness.

3. Treat with care: No mindless skincare treatments. When it comes time to add in the extras, like masks, special serums, and nighttime treatments, choose with care. Hone in on what your skin is lacking and deliver in a targeted solution. If it needs softening, use a mask made with honey. Need smoothing? A treatment made with fruit extracts, like True Botanicals Antioxidant Booster does wonders. Just add a pinch to your favorite serum. Want a supercharged hit of moisture? In Fiore Fleur Vibrante Healing Floral Essence Face Balm Concentre can’t be beat for slathering on at bedtime.

4. Protect like it’s summer: It can be tempting to sit in the sun without sun protection. We have been waiting months, after all. You can still get sunburn, dark spots, and skin damage even in the spring. If you have been skipping the daily facial sunscreen this winter, now’s the time to start. A cool new product I’ve been using is Raw Elements Tinted Facial Moisturizer for non-whitening protection that is also offers hydration.

5. Don’t forget your lips: Has anyone else been experiencing super dry lips lately? Lip sunscreen helps to prevent dryness and skin damage when outdoors. As for healing that poor pucker, Vapour Organic Beauty Luxe Lip Balm is the most awesome.

Image: Social Squares from SC Stockshop

 

The whole affiliate disclaimer thing: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I make a percentage of purchases from them. It’s one of the ways I support my business. The two things you need to know about that … I only recommend products I 100% believe in and only support shops I care about.

Why Words are So Important When Shopping Natural Beauty

Why Words are So Important When Shopping Natural Beauty

Natural beauty is all about being good to your skin and body. Using the best, healthiest ingredients. Getting a glow that’s as naturally gorgeous as your products are good for you. Right?

Of course, using natural beauty IS healthy, and better for you and the enviro. And yes, it IS all about the highest quality, natural and organic ingredients. So what the living heck do words have to do with all of this?


Words are the first tip off to who you can trust, and who you can’t.


If you’ve even tip toed around the natural beauty world, you know that not all brands are as pure as they’d like you to believe. Yep, greenwashers have always been (and still are!) a big ugly zit on the face of healthy beauty products.

Why? Money, honey. The natural beauty biz is a-boomin’ and folks want in. For a more in depth look at how this looks in today’s natural beauty climate, check out an article I wrote for Organic Authority with the help of some of the most authentic natch beauty brand founders around.

Back to those faux naturals. It’s all about marketing and most greenwashers are good at it. They use words that make them seem super natural and nontoxic and hot button phrases that catch consumer attention. Once you get the hang of how these posers work, you’ll be on your way to identifying fakes in a flash and stick with supporting the authentic brands who make the planet a better place for all of us.

Think words can’t possibly sway your view of a product so easily? Think of it this way. You meet up with a new acquaintance for coffee. She seems super nice, smiles a ton, and makes appropriate eye contact. But once you are seated and sipping your coconut milk latte, she can’t quit complaining. She looks sweet, her expression is happy, but she’s bitching and bashing to no end. Would you overlook her words and set up another coffee date simply because she looks good on the outside? Please tell me you would not.

You choose friends based on what’s on the inside. You should do the same with your beauty products. That cool label means nothing compared to what a product is truly made of, and hopefully that’s healthy ingredients.

Words to Look Out for on Natural Beauty Product Labels

Natural — I know, I know. We ARE talking about natural beauty products here. Is it really so weird that the word would appear in product marketing? The problem with the word natural is that it has no legal definition, and is flung far and wide on beauty product labels. Don’t put stock in a product that is merely labeled as “natural”.

Organic — This one seems like a no brainer, right? Organic is good, but it’s the other ingredients comingling with the organic ingredients you need to be concerned with. If a product is labeled “100% Organic” you can trust it is made entirely with organic ingredients. Otherwise, more investigating is required to ensure a product is toxin free.

Pure — Again, no legal definition. This one can be spotted on authentically healthy products and those who simply want to appear that way.

Paraben Free (or Phthalate Free, Petroleum Free…(you get the picture) — A decent marketer knows which ingredients have made the most headlines and will grab consumer attention. A product can be free from parabens or phthalates or petrolatum or any other nasty ingredient and still contain other toxins.

The moral of this story? Read ingredients listings. Check out a brand’s story and commitment. Follow and support brands who back up their labeling with clear information, and have values that align with your own.

Best Places to Find (and Ways to Use) Stock Photos for Your Beauty Site

Does the phrase “stock photos” turn you off? Not all that long ago, stock phots were basically those Shutterstock-y, unnatural, fake poses of overly perfect looking people doing ordinary things with a much too happy disposition.

Not only is it hard to keep things real when using those types of photos, but who wants their blog to look like the next person’s? Not me and not you!

Good thing for us, stock photos are not what they used to be. You can get beautiful images that match your brand aesthetic, and that are totally customizable too.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Well, not so much a secret if you scroll back through to some of my older posts, but … I used to try to take my own pics. Not gonna lie, it was cringey then and still is.

See, I once thought that in order to be good at running a website, you had to know how to do it all. And this included creating graphics and making your own images. Thankfully, today we solopreneurs are embracing our best attributes and hiring out the rest.

You wouldn’t fix your own car if you knew nothing about mechanics, right? Well, why wouldn’t that same level of professionalism go for the images you use with your business? There are people who are beyond great at creating gorgeous photos. Let them do what they do best. It not only makes your site, blog, social media, and emails look hella better, but keep things simple so you can do what you do.

My 4 Favorite Stock Photos Sites for Beauty and Lifestyle Brands

As you may have guessed, I like images that fit in with the beauty theme. Of course, they also have to match my site design and brand aesthetic. Most often I like images that speak for themselves, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to add text too.

There are three sites that are my go-tos for choosing images. They can be found here on the pages of OBS, at the top of most of my blog posts, in my emails, and even on my Instagram account. These gals make it super easy and their skills are over-the-top awesome.

1.Social Squares: Created by Shay Cochrane of The SC Stockshop, this vast (and growing all the time) collection of easily searchable images are tailor made for your social media, but can be used anywhere you like. They are simple and versatile. When I hop over to SS, I usually search by color or item, like “gold”, “glasses”, or “green leaves”. And you can’t go wrong at $6 an image.

2. TwigyPosts: These classic, natural images are soft and neutral with a bit of warmth. Also totally modern and a bit romantic. Shop by individual image or super affordable photo bundles.

3. Haute Stock: Clean, crisp images that are perfect for modern biz woman office vibe. This membership site offers a YouTube tutorial library that shows you how to do pretty much anything you can think of with stock images, from creating a pop-up graphic to customizing photos in Canva.

4. Styled Stock Society: Beautiful and bright images that work for beauty, lifestyle, wedding, and female business owner brands. I discovered this brand through the creators of my website theme Bluchic, also a fabulous resource for solopreneurs who love gorgeous stuff. Shop bundles and great sale prices, or grab yourself a membership.

No matter where you get your stock images, be sure to read the company license agreement to ensure you stay within the boundaries of proper use. The four I’ve listed above can be used pretty much however you see fit, other than on items you intend to sell or give your customers, like in a digital download or something. ALSO, all three offer free images monthly and they are always gooood!

Now go get yourself some pretty new pics!

Image :: Styled Stock Society

How to Write Copy That Meets FTC Compliance

How to Write Copy That is FTC Compliant

One thing that is universal in the beauty industry right now? Concern over Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. Big name companies like Goop coming under fire for misleading advertising has been a wake up call for small businesses and large retailers. Do you know how to write your own copy and make sure it meets FTC compliance?

Even if you hire most of your copywriting work done for you, there will still be times when you need to come up with some brand words on your own. And when you do, it’s handy to know how to write in a way that is FTC compliant.

The problem with FTC compliance is that all of this is pretty ambiguous. I called both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the FTC to get the down and dirty on writing copy for natural beauty brands and retailers (that is my bread + butter, after all), and after being rerouted several times and turned down for comment once (!) I did get some decent info and have since compiled my own guide to writing for FTC compliance.

So, today I am sharing with you my guidelines on staying out of trouble with the FTC when writing for your website, email campaign, or social media, while still sounding like a real human being.

How to Write Your Own Copy That is FTC Compliant (A Guide to Keeping You Out of Trouble)

I’ll shoot it to you straight — this subject gets pretty in depth. In other words, there’s a legit learning curve here. I’ve spelled it out below as concisely as possible. Believe me, it is worth it to learn the ins and outs of this stuff.

What is FTC compliance? First of all, it’s helpful to understand what’s behind these regulations. The FDA regulates cosmetic product labeling. The FTC regulates cosmetic marketing and advertising, which includes product description and sales pages, blog posts, printed materials, social media, and how product ingredient, products, and uses are described. Yes, you read that right, social media posts count too. (that’s one tidbit I did get out of a representative at the FDA)


The FTC pays closest attention to ads that make claims about health and safety, like “this sunscreen will reduce the risk of skin cancer”.


Many brands run into trouble with misleading claims. Remember, according to the FDA definition of a cosmetic product, it cannot claim to treat or prevent disease, or affect or alter the structure or functions of the human body in any way. The FTC pays closest attention to ads that make claims about health and safety, like “this sunscreen will reduce the risk of skin cancer”.

Another hot button area for the FTC is with essential oils and aromatherapy claims. Steer clear of saying that EOs will help your customer sleep, get rid of anxiety, quit smoking, get rid of headaches … you get the picture.

Even if you aren’t making anti-cancer claims, it is still important to stick with FTC regulations when writing about cosmetics. Claims that a product will eliminate wrinkles, prevent acne, cure rosacea, or anything else that does more than affect the appearance or feel of skin or hair is considered misleading advertising.

What you can say: Under FDA rule, cosmetics can beautify, cleanse, promote attractiveness, and alter the appearance. In order to stay within FTC guidelines, it’s important to tell the story of the product in terms of how it makes the skin, hair, and body look, feel, and smell.

How do you keep from writing copy that sounds awkward or boring? This is a good question and one I’ve been asked by clients before taking on a project. Remember, tell the story. If you were to use a facial serum, how does it feel in your hands when you apply it to your skin, how does it make your skin feel, how does it smell, how does your skin look right after you apply the product, how does your skin look after using the product for a couple of weeks?

The bottom line is consumer perception. After reading your product description, will the consumer feel the product is intended to make their skin look radiant and youthful, or that it’s going to eliminate wrinkles and reverse aging? There’s a big difference when it comes to FTC compliance.

How natural is it? The terms “100% natural” and “all natural” are also no-nos when writing for FTC compliance. You can say that organic ingredients are organic, or that organic or natural ingredients are used to make the product. But because the term “natural” has no legal definition, all natural and 100% natural should be avoided.

A Snapshot of Dos and Don’ts to Use In Your Copy

Don’t Say These:

Eases pain/disease/skin issue
Prevents pain/disease/skin issue
Heals pain/disease/skin issue
Treats pain/disease/skin issue
Helps sleep/stop smoking/lose weight
Kills bacteria
Controls oil production

Do Say These:

Cleanses skin/hair
Conditions skin/hair
Moisturizes skin/hair
Lessens/diminishes the feeling of…
Lessens/diminishes the look/appearance of…
Improves the look/appearance of…
Makes skin look better
Reduces signs of …
Makes skin feel better
Beautifies

Yes, it’s a lot to take in and it’s a lot of work, not gonna lie. But since you can get your fanny in a jam by not taking time to figure this out, it’s the only way to go when writing any ad copy for your business.

Have questions? Get in touch and I will help guide you on your path to writing for FTC compliance.

Let’s Talk Healthy Ingredients In Cosmetics

Let’s Talk Healthy Ingredients In Cosmetics

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of covering all of the nasty ingredients in mainstream cosmetics. Yes, it is super important to know which ingredients to avoid and why. Of course, you want and need to know how to ID them on products labels. But sometimes it’s nice to talk about the healthy ingredients making up beauty products. Here are some of my absolute faves!

5 of My Favorite Healthy Ingredients In Cosmetics

1. Natural oils: Oh, man. Do I love plant oils. Not only are they more compatible with skin than synthetic oils, there are oils for every skin type. Yep, even oily skin types can benefit from the right oils. The key is to find the ones your skin loves. I am crazy about jojoba (most closely matched to skin’s own natural oils, so pretty much works for everyone), sweet almond, rosehip, and sea buckthorn just for starters. I have, however, found that my skin does not get along well with argan and coconut, but I know many people who get great results with those two oils. So, do some experimenting and find out which are best suited to your skin.

2. Natural butters: Nothing beats slathering dry skin in a rich balm when dryness has reached it’s peak. Using natural butters, like mango seed, cocoa, and shea, before you get to the chapped and irritated stage helps. I love to pat In Fiore Fleur Vibrante onto my skin right before going to bed at night to wake up to skin that looks supple and glowing, and feels super soft and smooth.

3. Witch hazel: This astringent ingredient is much milder than alcohol or other harsh ingredients, and great for quickly cleansing the skin. I use it on nights when I don’t need to remove much makeup or am too tired for a full on cleanse.

4. Caffeine: Yep, the same stuff that puts a pep in your step perks up skin too. Green tea and coffee bean extracts are both good for making skin look firmer and brighter. LOVE caffeinated eye cream or serum to diminish signs of dark circles and puffiness.

5. Rose: I know, rose may seem old fashioned. But over the years it’s turned out to be one of my all time fave ingredients. There’s rose oil, rose extract, rose hydrosol … so many ways to get in on the goodness of this lovely ingredient. Rosehip oil is lightly moisturizing and doesn’t feel greasy on skin, and is perfect for lessening the appearance of dark spots, uneven skin tone, and dullness. Rose hydrosol, used on its own or as the main ingredient in a toner, is so gentle on skin, and has a refreshing and softening feel. Plus, the smell is light and not at all obnoxious.