Shop Talk: Why It’s Important for Online Beauty Stores to Be Pretty

Why It's Important for Online Beauty Stores to Be Pretty

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them, and share their message with the world.

Know why it’s important for online beauty store to be pretty? Other than the obvi, which is that a pretty shop is more fun to look at than a less attractive site.

Shows effort, yes. But what else?

The experience!

Ah yeah, we gals and guys who are into beauty love the feel of walking into a pretty little beauty shop. It is not just about the products stocked (thought that is why customers keep coming back!) it’s about the energy, the vibe, the whole package.

I recently wrote a story for EcoSalon on shopping organic brick + mortars in NYC. And most of the comments I received were centered around the gorgeousness of the shops.

Remember, when people shop online there are certain elements they miss out on. They can’t touch, apply, or smell the products. That’s where great descriptions and messaging come in, more on that in a minute. They also don’t get to experience the overall fun factor of physically being in a super cute shop.

The great news? This is so totally fixable. There’s no shortage of web designers out there creating beautiful sites. There are even templates designed just for women biz owners.

Like what you see here? I use Bluchic template Isabelle on OBS and had my header designed by How Sweet Designs. Very affordable and the look conveys exactly what I was going for…fresh + clean with a bit of glitz. If OBS were a store IRL, it would be all white with touches of gold and blushy pink, packed with the best organic beauty and tons of vivid information to help shoppers make their decisions. For reals, it might be a library or book shop since I’m more into the writing aspect, but for the sake of the theme here…

Now back to that messaging we touched on earlier. Sharing your products and message with people who come to your site is key. And it has to be done right. No clue where to begin? Check out these 3 things to keep in mind when crafting product descriptions.

Now you see why a pretty online shop is pretty important. Let me know if I can help. xxoo

Chemical Free Cosmetics :: Not All Bad

Chemical Free Cosmetics :: Not All Bad

I’ve seen a few articles lately and fielded some questions on the  whole chemical free cosmetics labeling issue. Following is my opinion on the subject. Feel free to love or hate.

Some green beauty experts feel labeling a cosmetic as “chemical free” is misleading because all ingredients, natural or synthetic, are chemicals.

Oh gosh. This reminds me of the kid in class who always (always!) had to pipe up when someone called white or black a color, and expound at length on why these two are not technically colors. We all already knew that, had heard it plenty of times, but still called white and black colors. Why? Because who says My new black dress is the perfect absence of color to go with my new shoes or I’m having trouble choosing the best light of white for my bathroom.

Answer? No one.

Here’s the deal. We have to call them something. While I prefer the term “toxic” over “chemical” as a means to relay the harmfulness of certain cosmetic ingredients, I also get that people relate to the term “chemical”, so I use it often when I write about harmful ingredients. And toxic can be just as questionable. What constitutes a toxic cosmetic ingredient? Are all cosmetic ingredients on the avoid list toxic? … you get the picture.

Same with the term “natural.” Does it carry any true weight in terms of a safe product? Not really, but it is a term we use in the green (there’s another one) beauty industry. Natural Perfumes for Summer or Natural Makeup for Summer are better headlines than Synthetic Free Makeup for Summer. That last one is not going to get many hits and this means less good synthetic free beauty advice in front of eyes looking for healthy information.

We organic beauty experts have been making lists for over a decade now titled “Chemical Ingredients to Avoid”. Yes, we could easily begin calling them “Toxic Ingredients to Avoid” or “Toxins to Avoid in Cosmetics” or even “Unhealthy Cosmetic Ingredients.” That’d be fine with me.

But the real problem here is under regulation of cosmetics and personal care. We are on our own here, as consumers, and doing our best to protect ourselves from unhealthy junk, and purchase what’s best for us and our families.

Shooing shoppers away from products labeled “chemical free” entirely? I get the good behind this strategy and the desire to educate, but it is too soon for this. There are good, safe, high quality brands creating products they choose to call chemical free because it speaks to consumers. Is it sometimes misleading labeling used by less than safe companies? Yes. Always? No!

The best way to protect yourself from ingredients you wish to avoid is to familiarize yourself with potentially harmful ingredients and read ingredient listings.

Awareness surrounding toxic ingredients in cosmetics is much huger than it was a decade ago. This is good stuff. But, at least for now, I feel that shunning all cosmetics labeled “chemical free” is not only misleading to shoppers in general, but sort of like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Yes, right now words like chemical, green, natural, and even organic are tossed around without a whole lot of street cred. This not only makes it harder for shoppers to know they are getting a safe product (remember: never trust the front label!), but difficult for truly safe brands to market their healthy products.

We are on the right path. Read labels, follow brands you trust, and ask questions.

Image :: Neill Kumar at Unsplash

List Love :: Glorious Summer

List Love :: Glorious SummerSummer is my true love. It’s so casual and fruity and glowing.

How fun is it to buy new stuff for summer? Gotta have a new bathing suit and some fresh flip-flops. Maybe a cute dress or two. And then there’s the beauty. Mmm mmm.

Here’s what is hanging out on my shopping list for the hot season…

May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden :: Jasmine gets my attention every time. And dewy, glowing skin? For sure!

Lina Hanson Global Treasures :: You know how you put your heavy moisturizers away once winter disappears? And then you realize summer is parching your skin too? People, there’s pearl, gold, and coffee in this spectacular balm. It’s like a decadent dream come true for thirsty skin and I want it now.

Kypris Beauty Cleanser Concentrate :: You know the luxe oil brand, right? I love Kypris and I love cream cleansers. So, done deal.

Chocolate Sun Cocoa Fleur 2 :: You know how Chocolate Sun is one of the best nontoxic self tanners? You don’t? Well, you totally need to get some. I can’t wait to try this spray version.

RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Myth :: Solar seems the obvi choice for summer, no? But the sweet kinda lavender/kinda silver-y-ness of Myth has me all kinds of excited. Going to use on lids, cheeks, lips, collarbone…try to stop me.

La Bella Figura Beauty – Happy Therapy (Mood Booster) :: I’m thinking a new scent for summer. Gardenia, Coconut, Guava, and Rose? Maybe the ladies at LBF can read minds.

Now go play.

Reconstructed :: Gwen Stefani Instagram Selfie

Gwen Stefani Instagram selfie

I’ve had a crush on Gwen Stefani for, like, evah! But really, who hasn’t?

Earlier this week, Gwen posted a selfie on IG sporting a very natural look. So pretty I had to do a reconstruction.

And away we go…

Of course, you’ve got to get yourself that smooth, even look. And since the sun is out most of the time these days and we are heading into summer (yay!), I’m recommending Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Sunscreen. This stuff goes on like a dream and provides some healthy mineral sun protection. Gots to have.

For eyes, let’s get some smudgy brown pencil going. I cannot live without my fave, Benecos Natural Eyeliner in Brown. Or try W3LL People Hypnotist Eyeliner in Brown. And it looks like Gwen has used a peachy/gold shadow on upper lids, like Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Cloud Nine.

Can’t forget to handle the brows. While I’ve never been one to fill mine in, lately I’ve been using Benecos Eyebrow Designer. It is super easy to apply (I advise using a feathering motion while holding the pencil at a slant against brows) and comes with a convenient brow brush on the other end.

This look is lash game strong, so get yours out there with a smooth, thickening black. Try Ilia Beauty Mascara.

Those neutral lips are what is so surprising about this stunning look on Gwen. I mean, she can rock red and neutral? C’mon. Go with a lip that is close to the shade of our shadow. I choose Ilia Beauty Lip Crayon in Come Undone, cuz there’s nothing un-fun about picking out lippies.

Do You Have Energy Work Burnout?

Do You Have Energy Work Burnout?

Evolution is good. It’s why we are here, after all. But too much of a good thing can be bad.

Have you ever experience evolution exhaustion? Growth burnout? Enlightenment fry?

You know what it is. When you are meditating like a mad dog, reciting your mantra like your life depends on it, and willing yourself to think the happiest of happy thoughts at every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment.

You are giving it your all, trying to manifest the heck out of your dreams and putting work into your good stuff. Then you hit the wall. And it’s not a nudge, but a huge, horrific, noisy, messy crash.

You feel tired. Grumpy even. You don’t like any of your favorite stuff quite as much. You feel like you are slogging through the day, waiting to return to bed. This is called burnout.

I’m just coming out of one of these babies.

I was doing it all – had a dream plan, a brand spankin’ new mantra, was listening to fresh words of wisdom, making time for stuff that furthers my dreams. I even did a daily viewing of my Pinterest vision board before taking my first sip of coffee. Every. Single. Morning.

Sounds like all good stuff, right? Well, as has happened in the past, it turned on me. I ended up a headachy, sleepy, foggy brained mess. I read once that when you hit this phase it is the universe readying you for a launch into something bigger. Ok. I’m ready, already.

So I prayed and meditated on this some more. And waited. And then it happened. One morning my inbox filled up with email from several different people, all up to different things. But there was one thread that ran through all of them. The word “exhaustion” was in the title.

And it was true. I felt exhausted. What started out as an energy boosting plan to the max, fizzled into a daily grind. I put the question “can positivity be a form of resistance” out to a wonderful group of women I am lucky enough to associate with, and received many solid and helpful replies. But one in particular caught my attention. Like, big time.

“If the underlying emotion is fear and the positive is a veil on top trying to keep from feeling the emotions that are coming in, then absolutely. “

I love it! With all of my visioning and praying and positivity attracting I was forgetting one very important part…to feel the shiz I was feeling.

I guess the moral of this story is: Even your daily program to wellness and abundance can become work if you let it. Do what works for you the day, or even moment, you are living. As my Mom always said, everything in moderation. And don’t forget to feel what you feel while trying to improve your sitch.

OBS is 10!

Pineapples at Unsplash

Yep, I started this little blog a decade ago. Since then, my business has definitely evolved. And my blog design along with it, thankfully. Just for chuckles, check out the OBS original home page, below.

OriginalHomepageSmall

Ouch, right?!

Way back when it all began I had a preschooler and a kindergartener, and would spend any time they were sleeping researching this whole toxins in beauty products thing. In March of 2006, after spending a good 6 months reading and asking and emailing, I decided to start a blog sharing this knowledge with others. The plan was to eventually open an online store selling my favorites.

But the writing bug soon took over and before I knew it organic beauty professionals were asking me to write for them. I may spend most of my time now writing for other businesses and websites, but I am still just as passionate about the organic beauty/heath + wellness movement.

Not only have I and my blog changed, but the organic beauty scene has changed big time too. Back when I was starting out, researching my brains out and scouring the web for organic brands that were actually walking the talk and not just utilizing good marketing skills, naturals were different. Sure, there were those that have always been both high performance and safe at the same time (Lavera, Primavera, Dr. Hauschka, I’m lookin’ at you), but many were sloopy, sticky, stinky concoctions I did not enjoy using.

I think these days women are looking for products that act, look, feel, and sometimes even smell like conventional products. I know I am. Lucky for us that is happening. Today we have a huge selection of nontoxic products and brands to choose from. Truly safe, high quality, act like you want them to, beauties.

We are fortunate. There is nothing standing in our way of looking and feeling great while making healthy choices. I’m so happy to have been a part of the organic beauty movement over these past 10 years and want to give a huge shout out to my sisters and bros in the organic beauty game too. All of the amazing bloggers, editors, online shop owners, brand creators, and PR peeps who’ve lent their time and products to my journey…a big smooch to you. Couldn’t have done it without you!

If you’d like to talk about my writing services, please get in touch via my contact page. For organic beauty info, hit up the Resources tab. The Shop page will get you started on some beauty products I’ve picked out from one of my fave shops. Or dive into the posts to see what’s going on in my green beauty world.

As always, thanks for reading and come back soon!

Top image by Pineapples at Unsplash.com has absolutely nothing to do with OBS turning 10. I just love pineapples and beaches:)

List Love :: Spring Beauty

List Love SpringBeauty

Isn’t this a weird time of year? It’s warm, it’s not warm. Our skin is dry, then it breaks out because of the up and down temps. We want to bust out the fun springtime makeup hues, but our face is still stuck in hibernation mode.

Know what fixes those end of winter, almost spring blues? An exciting beauty shopping list! Here’s what is on mine right about now:

French Girl Organics Bronzing Oil :: Ummm, cuz oil + bronzing sounds a-freakin’-mazing. This brand was featured in the latest issue of domino. Domino is one of my all time favorite magazines (I have every single issue ever published and now write for domino.com, in case you didn’t know) and what they say goes.

One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum :: We’ve talked about body serums here before. And boy, are they perfect for spring. Nix the heavy balms and greasy moisturizers. Let a luscious oil blend sink into your skin and give the ol’ bod a sweet glow. This one smells fabulous and is one of my staples.

RMS Master Mixer :: Because I am, possibly, RMS Beauty’s biggest fan, this one is definitely a must try. Rose-Marie Swift, creator of RMS and green beauty icon, has a knack for coming up with super cool, unique beauty products that turn into cult hits. This is for sure gonna be one of those.

OM Caviar Eye Cream :: This baby is receiving rave reviews and is said to diminish wrinkles and dark circles. When anything says that, I say…bring it on.

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist :: The idea of misting my skin with rose water when the weather is warm is so appealing. Think I must do. These guys were also featured in that domino green beauty round up I mentioned before, so there’s that.

SW Basics Oil Serum :: It’s no secret I worship facial oils. If they were a person, I’d bff them for life. If they were edible, I’d drink them for breakfast. If they were a song, I’d have them on repeat. You get it. This beauty has both turmeric and coffee oil, which is pretty dang exciting. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and gives skin a lovely glow. Coffee helps to tighten and brighten. Come to mama.

ILIA Beauty Lip Exfoliator :: Lipgloss is my favorite makeup item. Heck, it’s my favorite beauty item. I’m sure most of you are with me. Since your lipgloss glides on so much better if your lips are soft and smooth, we all must try this cool new lip exfoliator in a stick. For smoothing your pucker on the fly.

Olio e Osso Balm French Melon :: I’ve been hunting for the perfect blend of peachy-pink lip color since binge watching every season of the new 90210. This may be it, guys. I shall try it out and let you know.

Here’s to the most gorgeous spring you’ve know yet!

The Heck With Balance! Are You Doing What You Want to Do?

The Heck With Balance! Are You Doing What You Want to Do?

Have you read Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte yet? Well, she just ran a free audio course that wrapped on Monday, and it was as inspirational as anticipated. So much feel good, juicy dreams, get ‘er done info! It’ll make you feel like canning everything you hate and hitting those big dreams of yours hard.

The one shining memento I came away from the course with was this…Do what feels right to you. The heck with expectations and balance. Feel free to mix things up, take the less beaten path, do what you wanna do.

This way of thinking helps me big time. I tend to do the things that I feel need to get done first. Like the work you don’t love but feel obligated to do. You know what I’m talking about. For real, what would happen if we all did the things we love? The things that feel right?

Obviously, we have to pay the bills and this means some stuff we aren’t absolutely head over heels for. But how many of your daily tasks could have waited a day or two to get done? Or maybe never need get done at all?

Let’s say you have deadlines or meetings one day. These would fall into the “must get done” pile. Then there are the items you feel are necessary for a balanced existence, like returning those phone calls or sorting your sock drawer. Those babies fall into the “don’t really need to get done” pile. No one is going to get stood up or fired if your gym socks are mixed with you dress socks.

Next is that list of what you’d really like to do. One day. Some day. The stuff that lights your fire and makes you feel instantly energized. What if you did some of that every day? Or at least most days? Feels like freedom, right?

So I’m doing a little experiment. I have a day where no assignments are due and no appointments are on the calendar. Of course, there are articles I could be working on and inboxes I could be sorting through and files I could be organizing. But not today.

Today I am dedicating to writing. For me. My blog and other creative projects I’m working on. Stuff I usually do once my “real” work is done. It feels super indulgent and exciting.

What do you think? Does this idea feel liberating to you? Or like a disaster in the making? I’d love to know!

Image :: Lea Dubedout at Unsplash.com

Replaced :: Aquaphor

Replaced :: Aquaphor

Are you so tired of cracked skin on your hands? Or maybe the skin on your face is looking irritated or ruddy? How about eczema? These skin conditions all come with the winter territory.

Go to the doctor or dermy and they’ll tell you to pick up a tube of Aquaphor, or some similar petroleum jelly type product, at the drugstore and you’re all good. Why is that? Because petroleum jelly works in the short term. It almost instantly makes skin feels softer and soothed, and helps to seal in moisture our skin is crying out for right about now.

Trouble is, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) often contains cancer causing contaminants. As a matter of fact, the European Union considers the ingredient carcinogenic and restrict its use in cosmetics.

Aside from that nasty news, petroleum jelly is occlusive, meaning it forms a barrier on the skin. In the moisturizer world, there are humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Humectants draw moisture from the air to the skin. Emollients are moisturizing ingredients that soak into the skin, filling dry cracks and areas.

Occlusive agents are meant to hold in moisture and prevent dryness. They usually feel greasy on the skin and can cause clogged pores and acne. Some natural ingredients are also occlusive (beeswax, mango butter, cocoa butter…) and work the same way as petroleum jelly, creating a water loss barrier on the skin only sans the carcinogenic contaminants. Due to the comedogenic nature of occlusives, it’s a good idea for those with oily or acne prone skin to use minimally.

But here we are in the midst of dry skin season. Even if you are on the oilier side, now is the time to get in on some of the benefits of these ingredients to deal with problem skin.

I have three favorite petroleum-jelly-type products that are all natural and work even better. You are going to love them!

True Organic of Sweden All You Need is Me :: Love the name, love the product. This one is new to me this season and can’t imagine going through another winter without it. It looks and feels just like Aquaphor coming out of the tube, but once you rub it into skin…seems to evaporate with no oil slick left behind. I use it religiously on my fingertips, cuticles, dry spots on face, and anywhere else that is just a little bit ( or a lot bit) too dry.

Waxelene :: Called “The Petroleum Jelly Alternative” this is the one to get if you are into using petroleum jelly straight up. It’s a simple four ingredient mix that comes in a either a tube or jar. No icky stuff, just real deal moisture for ultra parched skin.

SKIN Claramint Lip Balm :: I had to include this one here, even though it is decidedly minty, unlike Vaseline or Aquaphor. It is the exact consistency of petroleum jelly, super smooth and clear, and works like a charm on dry, chapped lips. I use it every single night before bed and it is always on when I wake up in the morning. Oh, and a lil dab’ll do ya.

Image :: Yegor Chekmarev at Unsplash.com

Highlighter Goes Old School

Highlighter Goes Old School

Happy New Year! How were your holidays? Mine were fun, fast, and full of activity. Now for the not so fun part…repairing your skin and body post holiday festivities.

My skin was left looking like uncooked pizza crust, lightly dusted with flour (only minus the elasticity), once I got back into reality this month. All of that extra salt, sugar and fat, paired up with no exercise and less sleep, was not exactly a recipe for gorgeous skin.

My first inclination? Reach for the self tanner. It is a great way to fake it til you make it. But then I came across a new idea. Well, actually an old idea. As in, back to basics.

While writing an article on earth toned makeup I came across a makeup artist who uses a throwback way of instilling glow. No highlighter required, though I am a huge fan of some highlighter.

What’s the trick? Good old fashioned cleansed and exfoliated skin. And lots of moisturizer. Love this idea for dry ol’ winter.

Here’s what I’d use if I were going this route, and I definitely am:

Exfoliating is the insta-remedy for dry, lack luster, or otherwise down in the dumps skin. It feels good and leaves skin looking renewed. Here’s the deal though. Going nuts on this step can leave you with a whole new problem in the form of redness and irritation. Not the look we are going for here. So let’s do this thing right. I love One Love Organics Brand New Day for jump starting a good glow. Go ahead and use on your neck and décolletage too.

For good clean skin that isn’t stripped of natural oils I couldn’t be happier with Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser, which you can pick up at your local Whole Foods. Just foamy enough to get skin nice and clean, but emollient enough to not dry it out. When my skin is feeling super dry, I use Lavera Basis Cleansing Milk 2-in-1.

Ah, now for the best part. Let’s ramp up our moisture! I like to start with a good layer of my fave facial moisturizer, Lavera Mattifying Balancing Cream. I’ve tried many and just keeeeep coming back to this baby. It is light yet hydrating, not greasy, works well under makeup, has no weird scent, and even helps to balance oil. Perfection!

Ok, next up let’s add some oil. This is the step that takes your complexion to the next level. Choose one that works for your skin type. RMS Beauty Beauty Oil works well on everyone’s skin and is like silk in a bottle. Getcha some pronto.

Worried makeup will slip right off of your well oiled skin? Here’s the trick: Use a dusting of powder on areas you don’t want shiny (tip of nose, chin, forehead) and where you want makeup to stick (eyelids).

Whatd’ya think? Gonna give this old school highlighter look a try this winter?

Image :: Brooke Cagle at Unsplash.com

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