Change of seasons always leaves me hankering for new stuff. New beauty stuff, new home stuff, new closet stuff. Here’s what’s on my list for fall…
RMS Beauty has come out with…wait for it…nail polish! How exciting is that? And it gets better. Each polish shade matches up to one of their makeup colors. Living Luminizer in a polish? *swoon* Of course, they are 5-free.
One of these headbands from Domino.com would also make a pretty cool bracelet.
My white faux sheepskin obsession has branched off into a black faux sheepskin obsession. So. Dang. Cool.
This Aster + Bay Glow Body Serum is said to make skin glow, slow aging, and smell like jasmine? I’m in. Update: It looks like the Aster + Bay Body Serum is no longer available, but I love this one just as much:)
That’s it for now. What’s on your shopping/wish list for fall?
You know how you’ll go to an online shop who is doing a great job of making themselves and the products they carry look green? No this, no that, all natural … Then you go to the page of an interesting looking product. Sounds good, looks good, let’s take a peek at what’s in this pretty little beauty.
And there it is. Or shall we say, there it isn’t. No ingredient listing to be found. Or maybe it has one of those key ingredient listings. You know, where they list all of the natural-ish ingredients in the product but don’t give up a full ingredient listing.
Guess why they may be doing this? It usually is not in the name of being more concise. Both of these scenarios are red flags. Even the one that lists those wholesome sounding key ingredients.
You’ve been around the block enough times now to know that just because a product contains a few natural ingredients, doesn’t mean it is free from toxic ingredients. And the good old none-of-this-or-that-disclosure you see on sites? Forget those and get straight to the nitty gritty, the ever important ingredient listing.
Ok, so you shop places that list everything in every product they carry. Yay! Dazed and confused once you are faced with deciphering this mess of words? Even some natural ingredients sound not so natural?
I’m going to arm you with a powerful tool. An ingredient decoding cheat sheet. This will help you to differentiate healthy ingredients from nasty ones on the fly.
Ingredient List Decoder
1 :: Check the first 5 ingredients. These ingredients make up the majority of the product. Like food, cosmetic product ingredients are listed in order of concentration, from greatest to least. So if a product is comprised mostly of water, it will be the first ingredient on the list, and so on. Synthetic emollients and harsh foaming agents hang out here. Use my Ingredients to Avoid list for help.
2 :: Check the last 5 ingredients. These may be used in lesser amounts but the end of an ingredient listing is where you will usually find fragrance and preservatives.
3 :: If you’ve made it this far, fairly safe to say you have a safe product. Now scan those ingredients in the middle of the listing, if there are any, to see if anything comes up dirty.
4 :: Not sure on an ingredient name? Many brands follow the European INCI ingredient listings, using Latin names for ingredients. Check the INCI listing here.
5 :: Wondering whether or not the ingredients are organic? Organic ingredients are often marked with an asterisk. “100% Organic” means a product contains only organically produced ingredients, “Certified Organic” means the product is made of at least 95% organically produced ingredients, “Made with Organic Ingredients” means the product contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients.
So there’s some help in decoding those pesky ingredient listings. Have more questions? Ask away!
So you’ve written up a sweet little post for your blog. It is chock full o’ helpful info and juicy knowledge. You’ve linked to other useful articles, resources, and products. Now all you need to finish this baby up and make it completely irresistible is … the dreaded image.
You’ve heard images are supposed to be highly focused, tell a bit about your post, and entice readers to click, right? And for good reason. The perfect image is not only good looking, it is the lead in to your article. So, why are you having so much trouble getting the hang of this whole picture thing?
Don’t worry. Any blogger who is not a photographer has had image issues. You have to make sure you are using those with a sharable license so you won’t get into any copyright trouble, but also want them to look great and make sense with your posts.
This can be tricky. There have been times when it’s taken me longer to find the appropriate image than it did to write the post. Many times. For a while there I even resorted to creating my own text “images” to avoid the whole hunt. Nasty example can be viewed here.
Bottom line is, if you are taking the time to write a worthwhile post it must be accompanied by a worthwhile image. Anything less is like wearing a brand new, beautiful outfit with old, doggy shoes from high school.
You have a couple of options here. Either use images from royalty free image sites or take your own. And I promise, you definitely do not need to be a pro photog to take great pics. I finally did some investigating prior to launching my latest blog design and it was well worth the time.
Here’s how I take the images I use on my blog. I use two white poster boards for a blank background and to reflect light, and set it up right by a window for natural light. I set up by my back door because all of the windows in my home are paned, and that makes for some funky shots. Natural light always looks so much better than artificial, even on a cloudy day. You can always brighten your image up with a filter. That info coming up next.
What camera am I using? My iPhone. I have a big fancy Nikon and like the pictures my phone takes better for the blog. Plus, it is so much easier to use. Once I have a pic I like, I run it through a filter app. Pic Tap Go is super easy and I think only cost me a few bucks. I use Lights On filter because I like my images bright. You can see that my shot was not very bright before I ran it through the filter app. For quick and simple online editing, try PicMonkey.com.
An important note: We are talking about blog photos. Product shots for online shops should be taken by a professional or ask for high res shots from the brand.
I also use images from free image sites from time to time. My faves are Unsplash.com and Morguefile.com for gorgeous photography that really shouldn’t be free. When going this route be sure you credit the photographer and site you grabbed the pic from at the bottom of your post.
That’s it. Not hard or scary at all. Added bonus is, you can use these pics on your Instagram too. No excuse not to have a picture perfect blog.
Here’s the deal. Sometimes your eyes look tired. Even after a restful weekend. Even when you’ve been doing your daily meditation. Even when you’ve eaten your organic fruits and veggies like a little champ.
Sometimes your peepers just need a bit of help to pop.
And that’s ok, because guess what? There are products built to do just that. Check it out…
Nothing creates instant awake-ness like a white liner. Line lower rims of eyes and lash line with Benecos Natural Eyeliner in White and you will be amazed at how alert and raring to go you look. This little trick may be all you need.
But if it’s not, this one will definitely get the job done. You know that luminizer you are such a fan of? Did you know it can be used places other than cheeks? Use it as an under eye concealer, or patted over your usual concealer, to brighten this area and reflect light. Promise you won’t hate this. I, like the rest of world, am in love with RMS Living Luminizer.
What are the most important words on any organic beauty store’s site? Any guesses?
More important than product descriptions. More than expert notations. Possibly even more than product reviews.
Like, complete product ingredient listings. The full meal deal.
Know why? Because it is the only true way to tell what is in a product and if it is safe.
Have you ever been to an online shop and found lots of great looking products, all advertised as clean? But alas, no ingredient listings. You search their About page, their ingredient commitment. Still, the fact that you can’t find out what exactly is in this product you’d really like to push the Buy Now button on is bugging you.
You Google the product to see if you can find the ingredients on another site. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. You spend several more minutes on this product than you feel it warrants. You start to get frustrated because you just want to know what’s. in. the. dang. product.
Right there. That’s a customer’s red flag to click the heck out of your site, away from your shop for good.
People selling safe, nontoxic cosmetics aren’t afraid to tell you what’s in them. Even more, they actually want you to know what they are made of. So they tell you. In the form of complete ingredient listings on every single product page.
For organic beauty shoppers in the know (and make no mistake, the majority are savvy these days) this no listing thing is a deal breaker. An almost sure way to tell if someone is being a little less than honest about the safety of the products they sell.
So do your customers and yourself one huge, big, fat favor. List ingredients on your site. It’s a copy and paste thing that is super important to your business and the faith your potential customers put in you. Have your intern set aside a day to get this done or peel your teenage son out from behind his Xbox for the weekend and pay him to do it. You won’t be sorry.
I recently had a short stay in the hospital. While I was there, a nurse asked what I do. I vaguely remember telling her that I write about organic beauty and wellness through the gas induced fog. What I thought was just a way to keep me talking while I passed out apparently resonated with this nurse.
Once I came to, she had questions for me. In particular, what I thought of the hand sanitizer these hard working gals and guys use every day, countless times.
This health savvy nurse was concerned about the alcohol and other nasty ingredients in the sanitizer. Since hospital personnel all use that squirty foam each time they enter a room, that is huge daily exposure. And you know what we organic beauty advocates like to say about exposure.
While it sucks that these professionals pretty much have to use this chemical cocktail in such large quantities, it is good to hear that some of them are thinking about it and looking for ways to use healthier products.
So, how bad is conventional hand sanitizer? Let us take a look…
Alcohol is the main ingredient in most hand sanitizers. No surprise there.
Yes, it is drying and can be too harsh for most skin types. Definitely not an ingredient to be overused. But what about its safety? As in, does it cause DNA damage, cancer, birth defects or any of the other major health concerns we worry about?
There are different types of alcohol, but ethanol is the one commonly used in hand sanitizers and other personal care products, like spray deodorants and bug repellent. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the same thing as drinking alcohol but, when used in cosmetics, is denatured (made undrinkable).
Ethanol has been found to act as a skin penetration enhancer. Meaning it allows other chemicals to more easily enter your body. So if there is a bunch of nasty junk in that hand sanitizer you are using, like synthetic emollients and fragrance, they are getting sent express mail into your system.
Then there is the contamination factor. Low quality and brands who are not committed to safety may be using ethanol that contains contaminants, which could cause damage when they enter the body and mix with other chemicals.
That is the shortened version of the potential detriments of using ethanol topically. This post would be a mile long if I went into full detail, so take a look at this study on topical use of ethanol for the full deets. Like the study says, the “very high use” of ethanol could cause toxic effects but in the case of hospital workers, benefits to patients greatly outweigh the risks.
The bottom line as I see it? Using a hand san that is made with the cleanest ingredients possible is the safest choice. Choose products made with ethanol that is organic and GMO free, and other natural ingredients. I would wager that hospital variety hand sanitizer contains triclosan, a heavy duty antibacterial that the rest of us do not need to use on a regular basis.
Wish I had better news for nurses and hospital personnel. But hey, keep speaking up and asking questions! Let the industry know about your concerns. Maybe someday that foam will be made with cleaner ingredients.
Kahina FEZ Body Serum :: Cuz everything Kahina is just so gosh darn great, this serum is a must try. Probs wont’ wait until Christmas to treat myself to a bottle of this. PS: I’ve heard very good things.
Summer is such a blast. My absolute favorite time of year. Good for having lots of fun, hanging with the kids, eating yummy summery treats, chillin’ poolside, and mini golfing it up. And that’s just for starters. What it’s not so great for? Getting loads of writing done. Which is why it has taken me so long to get this much awaited and final installment of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys green makeover to you.
Natural hair care. I’m not gonna lie to ya, it’s the toughest part of going green in beauty. There’s plenty of high performance organic skincare. Body care too. Sunscreens have even come a long way, baby. But hair care? It seems to be the toughest row to hoe.
In the past, natural shampoos and conditioners have left hair limp, waxy, or straw like. And styling products? Even worse. This tress stress has left green gals in a lurch. No wonder so many are going the way of no ‘poo.
But there are hair care products out there, free from nasty ingredients, that perform like you want them to. Promise. You just have to know where to find them. Take a seat, put your feet up, and get ready to be pleasantly surprised by your nontoxic hair care options.
SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER
For Fine HairAcure Organics Pure Mint + Echinacea Stem Cell contains quinoa protein extract and Echinacea stem cells to support keratin and cellular regeneration. More importantly, this stuff works! I have fine, dry hair and this is one of my favorite shampoo and conditioner combos. Smells great and is budget friendly too. Another line that I absolutely love is Rare El’ements. A luxurious shampoo and conditioner that acts like a high-end chemical brand without the harsh detergents or synthetics.
For Normal HairRahua is a natural hair care favorite amongst the green beauty crowd. These products are suitable for all hair types, even color treated.
Big Gun Conditioner Hair overly processed? Looking damaged or aged? Otherwise dried out to a whispy version of its former self. You need Rare El’Ements Hair and Scalp Serum. You know how oil serums are the absolute bomb for restoring glow and health to sallow skin? That’s what this baby does for down in the dumps locks. Also great for warding off damage in the first place.
HairsprayRahua Voluminous Hairspray adds body while keeping coif in place. The light hold means you can brush through it too, if you want.
Pomade Not that I have ever used much pomade, but if I was going to start…have to go with John Masters Organics Hair Pomade. Cuz that company knows hair and I just love mango butter.
Color Oh gosh, the ultimate organic beauty question. What’s the safest way to color hair? There are a couple of ways to go about making your color job healthier. Yes, you can purchase less toxic hair colors which have received mixed reviews. Or you can use the toxic stuff as carefully as possible, which I’ve spelled out here. Unfortunately, there is no nontoxic way to achieve that traditional salon color. Sometimes a gal has to make beauty choices, ya know?
**Right here I have to stop you for a minute and interject my thoughts on InStyle’s “Eco-Friendly Line” choice. As you may have noticed I side stepped all the InStyle eco friendly picks throughout because, well, all of my picks are eco friendly. But I couldn’t go further without speaking up on this one. IS gives huge props to Aveda as an eco friendly line. I, of course, took a closer look. Aveda has lots of claims on the sustainability and safety of the ingredients they use. Hey, guess what they don’t have? Full ingredient listings for their products. And you know what I say about MIA ingredient listings, don’t cha? It’s your first red flag that a product or brand may not be quite as healthy as they say they are. Sadly, such is the case with this brand. Yes, it smells herbal-y and good. Yes, lots of people buy and use it. Yes, it has a green image. NO, it is not nontoxic, synthetic free, or what I would consider safe. And, moving right along.**
Volumizer for Dry Hair InStyle lists a spray here with polymers and proteins to lift and plump. But you know what dry hair really needs? That’s right, it needs moisture. My fave trick to add life to dry, lifeless locks is straight up avocado oil. Massage a palm full into scalp and work through to ends of hair. Wrap in a towel and leave for a good 15 minutes. Wash as usual. Seems unlikely that an oil would add oomph? Trust me on this weird one, it truly works!
Well, we made it to the end of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys green makeover. Yay! If you’d like anything else reconstructed in a green manner, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to help you out.
Hey, my organic beauty lovin’ peeps! Did you think I forgot about body products? Nope. That’s what we are talking about today as we continuing breaking down InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys guide and swapping out their picks with healthy natural beauty options. In case you missed it, we’ve already covered Sunscreens + Self Tanners, Skincare for every skin type, and makeup for Eyes + Lips, and Face + Cheeks.
Yes, this one is all about creams, cleansers, and scrubs. I know body care isn’t as tricky to swap out as skincare, but we still have to be sure we are making healthy choices, right? I’ll let you in on my top picks for daily essentials and some fun products too.
Here it is…
CREAMS, CLEANSERS + SCRUBS
Body Oil Love body oil. It is moisturizing and makes skin super soft and lasts a long time AND smells really great. One of my faves is Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil. It soaks right into skin, so you are not all greasy, and smells divine. Soapwalla is a fab brand that makes a great body oil that is a bit more budget friendly. InStyle suggests using Sesame oil if you’d rather. That’s great. Just be sure it is not toasted Sesame oil (you know, the kind you cook with) or you’ll end up smelling like a plate of stir fry.
Deodorant Oh, the dreaded natural deodorant. No way! This is actually one of my favorite products to recommend. It dispels all myths about the ineffectiveness of non-antiperspirant deods. My true love? Pit Putty by Bubble and Bee. It’s nothing new or fancy, but gets the job done every single time. I’ve tried maaaaany natch deodorants and always come back to this one. New top pick is Orange Vanilla. Contains sweat absorbing organic arrowroot powder and baking soda. Your pits smell just as fresh at day’s end as when you put it on.
Exfoliating + Anti-Aging Body Lotion InStyle lists a body lotion that sloughs away dead skin cells and gives a boost of anti-aging ingredients. I’d recommend One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum with antioxidants, green tea, and pumpkin seed Oil (a natural salicin). This product also contains one of the best natural glow inducing ingredients…sea buckthorn oil. Gotta love it!
Bar Soap Yes, there is still a time and place for bar soap. Some like to use it on their body, others as a hand wash. Osmia Organics is my top pick of bar soaps because of their wide selection of ingredient combos and, well, just take a look. They are absolutely gorgeous. Even if you are not a bar soap fan, these are lovely enough to give as gifts or sit in your bathroom for beauty alone.
Body Scrub InStyle chose a moisturizing, brown sugary scrub. A natural version? SW Basics Moisturizing Body Scrub is made with demerara sugar, coconut oil, and shredded coconut. That’s it. Gets skin super soft and smooth, and smells yummy too.
Body Lotion The lotion InStyle picked is supposed to hydrate and heal dry skin, and, they say, you can go a few days without reapplying. That’s probs because it is full of petrolatum and dimethicone. Like a thick, slick, synthetic coating for the skin. Let’s go with Acure Organics Ultra Hydrating Body Lotion. It is moisturizing, nourishing, and skin-supportive. It also needs to be applied each day because it is completely natural, washes off, and doesn’t sit on top of skin like a foreign-body grease slick.
Shaving Cream Ok, I have to admit something. I’ve been waiting to present you with this product since my daughter first tried it over a month ago. Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream is the bomb for shaving. It provides a good, close shave, leaves skin ultra smooth, and prevents razor bumps. It has Aloe so I couldn’t try it out (sad face) but my daughter raves over this stuff. And a tween-ager raving over shaving cream ain’t no small thang.
Ok guys, we’ve practically wrapped up the InStyle BBB green re-do. Next week we give hair products a makeover.
Have any summer beauty issues you’d like tackled? Hair giving you attitude? Not sure how to get your makeup to beat the heat? Whatever it may be, shoot me your questions and I’d be pleased as punch to answer them!
What if I told you the days of enduring the grossness of mineral sunscreens are over? Well, that’s the truth. Formulators have figured out how to make mineral sunscreens that are not sticky or greasy, go on skin with no white film, and still provide that same effective protection you want. And I am going to fill you in on which are best, along with some pretty sweet all natural self tanners.
And away we go…
SUNSCREENS + SELF TANNERS
Self Tanner for Body My all time top pick in this category has to be Lavera Sunless Tanner. I’ve used it for years and have found no other I like better. It goes on like a lotion, meaning it is lightly hydrating and easy to apply. It also provides a super natural looking tan with no orange tinge or streaks. And it smells great too. Another popular choice is Chocolate Sun Self Tanner. I have yet to try this one myself, but it is on my list.
Invisible Sunscreen for Face with Anti AgingSuntegrity Sunscreen Face Protection SPF 30 leaves no greasiness or white film on skin, provides UVA and UVB protection, and doubles as a makeup primer. It also contains anti aging ingredients, green tea, algae, and pomegranate. Woot!
Overall Sunscreen for Body Sticking with Suntegrity because it is just that awesome, Suntegrity Sunscreen for Body SPF 30 is your new go to. Easy to apply, feels like lotion, and has a light citrusy scent.
Facial Sunscreen Surprise, surprise… Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Sunscreen is my pick for those looking to protect the face and also add a bit of makeup coverage. Think of this as your summer BB Cream. SPF 30 provides more than adequate UV protection, this baby is packed with antioxidants to support skin and prevent premature aging. Comes in 5 shades.
Overall Sunscreen Think: A sunscreen you can use on face, body, kids … the whole enchilada. True Natural Zinc 30 Baby & Family Sunscreen is the only one you’ll need in your beach bag this summer. Gentle, unscented, and non greasy. White factor?, you ask. This one requires a bit more rubbing in, but you definitely won’t be the ghost at the beach.
Self Tanner for Face I love Lavera Organic Self Tanning Face Creamfor the same reasons I love the Lavera for body. Easy to use, doubles as moisturizer, looks super natural, and is not at all greasy. Apply every few days to maintain a natural glow. You’ll fall in love with this stuff.
Okey doke. We are by no means finished with the greening of the InStyle BBB. Still have body and hair products to go, so don’t forget to come on back now, ya’ hear?