green beauty

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.

How to Write Copy for Your Brand (The Formula I Use for My Clients)

How to Write Copy for Your Brand

Branding. It’s all about creating a cohesive and memorable experience for your followers. Know what is one of the most important elements in any brand? Your words. Yep, they should be as consistent as your brand colors, fonts, and images. Today I’m sharing my formula to teach you how to write copy for your brand that is 100% YOU!

Writing in your own voice seems like it should be easy, right? Then you imagine it going out to your followers and you think twice about that snarky line or slang term. Or maybe your voice is inconsistent. As in, sometimes you write in a casual, creative way, and other times you tend to sound more by the book.

The best way to keep you on the same track when writing your own copy is to have a formula. A guide that you can refer to that keeps your words sounding like your brand.

How to Write Copy for Your Brand

My Formula for Creating Cohesive Brand Copy


  • When I take on a new client, the first thing I do is have them give me a few words or phrases that they feel best describes their brand. I may or may not use the actual words in their copy, but they definitely give me a vibe to base things on.
  • Next up, I ask them for any keyword terms or tags that they would like included in the copy I write for them. These are usually well researched and highly important to the brand.
  • Third, I work up a voice and tone. Most often brands will have an idea on this already. If not, I give them an idea on voice and tone for their copy based on the description they give of their brand.
  • I also like to know the main demographic a brand works with. Who reads their blog, follows them on social media, and subscribes to their list? Are they thirty to forty year old mothers who are strapped for time? Are they twenty-somethings with less disposable income? Are they 50-ish and looking for high-end items that make them feel fabulous? It’s important to dial in on your target audience before you start writing.

If you are wondering how the heck you are supposed to make all of that happen, let me break it down for you. Fill in the blanks below and you are on your way to creating your own brand copy formula.

4 Key Elements to Creating Your Brand Copy (Fill In the Blank)

1. Your Brand Terms and Phrases: Which three words or phrases best describe your brand? Do you feel your brand is authentic? Luxe? A catalyst for change? A mother’s best friend? Try to think of how you want the user of your products, services, or site to feel.


2. Your Brand Keywords and Tags: You probably know which keywords and tags are most important to your brand for use on your site, blog, and social media. If not, head on over to Google Analytics keyword analyzer and get busy.


3. Your Brand Voice and Tone: These two terms are thrown around a lot in terms of copywriting. But what are they, really? Voice is your brand’s overall personality, while tone is the feel of your brand. For instance, my brand voice is straightforward and knowledgeable. My brand tone is casual and fun. I like to communicate my message in clear terms that are backed up with experience and know how, but in a way that is relatable with a bit of slang thrown in. Make sense?


4. Your Brand Demographic: You know who you are dealing with. Jot down the demo!


Now, follow these guidelines whenever you write any copy for your brand. From product descriptions, to emails, to that new downloadable guide you are wanting to write. This way you will have a professional brand that conveys your important message, and your followers will recognize you in a heartbeat.

There you have it. My formula for writing cohesive brand copy. Not feeling the DIY method? Get in touch so we can talk how to create your brand copy!

Is Fresh Copy On Your New Year’s Resolution List?

Is Fresh Copy On Your New Year's Resolution List?

I’ve had my nose so buried in client work lately and getting things tied up for the end of the year, that I almost forgot I have a blog of my own! I didn’t really forget about it but, as you online biz owners can probably relate, my own blog often gets the least of my attention.

It’s still here, I promise, and I am currently booking for next year. If you are a natural beauty brand or retailer and fresh copy for your site is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, let’s get you penciled in and start setting up a plan for your project.

Not sure exactly what your project looks like or if you need help at all? We can set up a Free Discovery Session for your site and see what may need to be brushed up.

Some things that you may need help with in the copy department:

FTC compliance — Did you know FTC advertising regulations apply to your product descriptions, information pages, ebooks, etc? You can learn more about FTC regulations and how to comply here, or feel free to shoot me a message for more info.

Product descriptions — You retailers aren’t using the brand description on your site, are you? And you product creators, do your descriptions share the full experience? If not, it’s time to get some super juicy product descriptions rolling on your site.

Standard Pages — Did you know this is one of the first places your visitors go when they get to your site? Whether you have decent About and Commitment pages that need a brush up, or haven’t gotten around to those yet, I can help. For now, feel free to use my Ingredients to Avoid page. All I ask is that you give me credit with a link back to my site.

Let’s get one thing checked off your to do list for next year and set up a time to talk more about your copy needs. Send me a message to get things started.


Image via Haute Stock Photography

What You Need to Know About Getting Started With Natural Beauty

What You Need to Know About Getting Started With Natural Beauty

When I first started out in the natural beauty biz over a decade ago, I wrote about greening your routine and how to get started with clean beauty a lot. Back then high quality natural brands and products were slimmer pickin’s, research and knowledge on ingredients and practices was skimpier, and there weren’t as many experts around to share their good stuff.

Even though there are loads of clean products today, and the market is continuing to grow at lightning speed, many are still wondering … how do I get started with natural beauty?

I love this question! It’s like a reality check. Whenever a reader posts this in a comment or email, it reminds me that people want to know more and they want to use healthier products.

It also reminds me of how difficult it was when I tried to clean up my own beauty cabinet. All of those ingredients to avoid, where to buy new products, how to buy new products.

So, I’ve compiled many of those posts I wrote on getting started into one handy guide. Whether you are looking to get started with natural beauty and personal care, want a refresher, or even if you would simply love a great list of places and products to shop, this guide has it.

Your Guide to Getting Started With Natural Beauty

What’s Your Type?

We All Have Issues

Choosing Skincare: A Worksheet

Choosing Skincare: Some Real Life Examples

How to Make the Switch to Natural Products

Dealing With Cheats

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

Ingredient Listings Decoded: A Handy Cheat Sheet

Ingredient Navigation: How to Tell If a Product Is Truly Safe

Favorite Places to Shop Natural Beauty

Now that you are armed with the tools to ID safe products, know what you and your skin want, and have a plan for getting started, it’s time for the fun stuff. Where to shop! My two favorite online shops are Beauteabar and The Detox Market. As for products and brands? There are so many, but here are some of my top picks.

A Handful of My Favorite Brands

The brands and products I love are too many to list in one blog post. But here are a sampling of some of my top picks, must-haves, and daily use items.


La Bella Figura


Kjaer Weis

RMS Beauty

In Fiore

May Lindstrom

One Love Organics

W3LL People

Vapour Organic Beauty

Kypris Beauty

Vintner’s Daughter

Rare El’Ements

Acure Organics


Amala Beauty

Image: at Unsplash


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.

Shop Talk :: Product Descriptions That Make Shoppers Want to BUY

Product Descriptions That Make Shoppers Want to BUY

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.

I look at organic beauty websites. Like, a lot.

Not only because I am way into organic beauty, which I am, but because I write about organic beauty five days a week. Ok, sometimes six.

There are certain sites I go to constantly. Others I check in with once in a while. And then those that I want to like, but…don’t.

Why? It’s not the products they sell or the way the site looks (pretty beauty sites are a must!). It’s the words. Or lack of.

When you are looking at beauty products online, the experience is dramatically different than when you are shopping in real life. Duh, right? Hear me out here.

Beauty products are used on your face, your body, your hair…You want to know what it feels like, what it smells like, how it makes your skin (hair, nails…) look. Who doesn’t open up a sealed bottle in store if there is no tester? I’ll totally cop to that on the reg.

So, the only way you can know what the product is like, how it feels, looks, and smells IRL, is through the words that are on the website. No words? Disappointment to the max.

And sometimes the words themselves are disappointing. A too generic or just plain blah product description is not, well, descriptive. C’mon, we want the deets, here.

So, what I am urging you shop owners and product creators to do is get some super ripe and juicy product descriptions on your site, pronto. Customers want to know if a product is floral or herbal, or citrusy, or even unscented. Is it lightweight or ultra rich? Does it feel velvety or quenching? Does it smell like a single crisp, chilled rose or like a walk through the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden on a freakin’ 90 degree day in June?? They want to know. And, most often, they want to know before they’ll buy.

When I write product descriptions for brands or shop owners, I request samples of select products. Not the entire product line-up but certain items to get the feel of the range, so I can tell visitors what the product is all about. Not just what it will do for their skin or hair, but what the experience is like.

So, do your customers and yourself a favor. Can the standard (read: boring) product descriptions and get to know the products you sell, then tell the world about them. And, I promise, I’ll visit your site.

Have trouble putting those mouth watering words together? Have the words but no time to get them down? Lucky for you, words are my thang and I’d absolutely love to help you with some fresh, juicy, super shop-able product descriptions. Get in touch!

Image :: William Iven at

4 Beauty Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

4 Beauty Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

I’ve always loved beauty products. From playing in my Mom’s makeup, to putting together my own style, to writing about it today…I’m into it.

But when you write about eyeshadow colors for the season, and how to use highlighter, and stuff like that day in and day out, you can get in a rut. Like, nothing new.

And then you stumble on something that is so good you can’t quit thinking about. And your fire is lit again.

Here’s what’s been lighting my fire lately:

1 Baby skin :: Sounds like something you want, right? Wait ‘til you see a pic of it! I came across this article while writing a story on facial mists and cannot quit thinking about it. The deal is, you give your face a light misting between each layer. So, moisturizer, mist, foundation, mist, powder, mist…you get the idea. I want.

2 The New Brow :: While brows have taken a slightly more demure turn over last year’s big and bold, definition is still definitely in. This can be tricky. How many bad brows have you witnessed in the past 12 or so months?

I found a trick in InStyle mag that works like a charm. You simply brush brows up, feather a line on the under side of brows (I give it the slightest of blends with a q-tip), and brush brows into place. It gives brows definition without looking overly filled in or mad scientist-y. Give ‘er a try.

3 Exotic Oils :: Facial oils have sorta been my thing for a long while now. I love ‘em and no one is gonna change my mind. But I recently came into a sweet little stock of facial oils I had never tried. We are talking Berbere, Tamanu, Marula, and Baobab. Exotic, oui? They are all mighty lovely and create super soft skin, but my face seems to be crushing hard on the Berbere in particular. I’d say run, don’t walk, to one of these babies.

4 Hair Game Changer :: And last, but not least, I’d like to share a life changing hair moment I had recently. My daughter, in attempt to get the most from a new hair conditioner we were trying, read the directions on the bottle. It appears you are supposed to squeeze the water from your sopping wet locks before applying your conditioner.

Oh. Em. Gee. Do you all already know about this? How many other daily life things have I been doing wrong forever? If you too are one who slathers her soaking wet hair in conditioner and wonders why she isn’t getting super soft locks, try this trick. If you’ve been doing this your whole life, take pity on my feeble mindedness.

Image :: Aki Tolentino at Unsplash

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 light to go with my new shoes or I’m having trouble choosing the best shade of light 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

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.


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 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, 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!