natural 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.

Lavera

La Bella Figura

Soapwalla

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

Benecos

Amala Beauty

Image: freestocks.org 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.

How To Avoid the Writing Errors That Put Gwyneth Paltrow Under Investigation

How To Avoid the Writing Errors That Put Gwyneth Paltrow Under Investigation

Uh-oh. Looks like Gwyneth Paltrow is getting some public flogging over her health and wellness website, Goop, once again. She’s taken flack over the sometimes silly-seeming products she promotes, but this time it’s not coming from consumers and bloggers. Or even Martha Stewart.

It looks like Goop may be in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Those of us who are beauty bloggers recognize these guys as the ones who make us put up those disclaimers telling our audience things like “this post is sponsored by …” or “there are affiliate links in this post from which I receive a small compensation”. Yep, if you’ve ever wondered why we bother with those obtrusive disclaimers, it’s the FTC.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs cosmetic labeling, the FTC regulates advertising claims. This includes product descriptions on brand websites.

As a beauty copywriter I am very familiar with FTC regulations. Basically, when marketing a cosmetic product for sale you cannot describe the product as altering or affecting the structure or function of a human body, or curing or preventing disease or health issues. In the eyes of the FDA, drugs do those things, cosmetics do not.

Even if I absolutely swear a client product has done something amazing to my skin, like made it firmer or erased a wrinkle, I can’t say that in the product description I write for them. It has to be all about making the skin look and feel more attractive. That’s the law.

But it looks like the copywriting team at Goop missed the memo. I love to read the health articles at Goop and Jean Godfrey-June has long been my beauty editor idol. The problem isn’t with the articles recommending products or remedies, it’s when health claims are used to market the products, as in product descriptions on sales pages.

For example, one of the products in question is a flower essence blend that can be used on the skin for “trauma repair”. The trouble spot is “this formula helps clear, stabilize and soothe emotional trauma.” They could have said “this formula lends a feeling of clarity, stability, and soothing to emotional trauma.” (I’m also a fan of the Oxford comma 😉) or “designed to offer a clear, stabilized, and soothing feeling to mind and body.” Either of those would have worked with FTC law but making health claims is the no-no.

Another example is a moisturizer on the site that is said to “work throughout the day to firm and rejuvenate the skin.” It can “give the feeling of firmer, rejuvenated skin” or “increase the appearance of firmer, rejuvenated skin” under FTC law, but it cannot claim to physically alter the skin.

If all of this is a bit too word nerd for you, the main issue is this. If you read any cosmetic product advertising that claims to improve your health or the actual structure of your skin, it is in violation of FTC laws. Authentic natural beauty brands know this and product descriptions that follow FTC regulations are proof you are dealing with a pro.

If you are a natural beauty brand or shop owner who would like help coming up with product descriptions that won’t get you in trouble with the FTC, contact me. It can be tricky to work within these guidelines and not repeat the same words and phrases over and over. I’m well versed in FTC laws and would love to help you put together fresh product descriptions that are as creative as they are legal. Let’s talk!

Photo by Lauren Mancke on 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.

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 :: Body Serums

LLBodySerums

Can. Not. Believe. Summer is already over. That lasted a whole millisecond. Hope yours was fantastic!

While summer is my fave season. And I already miss it. I am excited to get back to writing more often. So, away we go.

I have been wanting to talk about body serums. Because face serums are so gosh darn awesome, a body serum has to be just as great. Only for the bod. Do you want to try them as badly as I do?

With no further ado, these delish serums for body have definitely been added to my shopping list…

One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum :: For real? Gardenia + antioxidants + firmer, smoother skin? I want.

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.

Bottega Organica Body Contour Formula -Peppermint and Chili Pepper :: Interesting, no? Not sure that my skin will love it, but I absolutely must find out.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil :: This product is supposed to smell wonderful. But I am excited about the olive oil and papaya. Softening and smoothing at once.

Reconstructed :: InStyle Best Beauty Buys Part V

InStyle Best Beauty Buys Body Green Makeover

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.

Hand Cream Oh gosh. So many to choose from. For slathering on at night I actually recommend a balm, like Suti Purity Moisturizing Balm. But for a good, old fashioned, carry in your handbag, moisturizing yet won’t leave you greasy hand lotion I pick Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream.

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!

Body Wash One that gets skin clean but is also moisturizing and non-drying? Acure Organics Ultra Hydrating Body Wash smells great, is gentle on skin, and reasonably priced.

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!

Shop Talk :: Why Organic Beauty Shoppers Love Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

Why Organic Beauty Shoppers Love Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

Shop Talk is a new series I’m starting here on OBS. It’s geared toward the organic beauty professional – shop owners, larger web sites, brand creators… But anyone is welcome to join in the conversation.

We’ll be covering things like what consumers love/hate in organic beauty, ways to connect with your audience, how to make your shop or site the best it can be, content ideas, and more. Whether you are an organic beauty pro or not, I’d love to have your input on this. Feel free to contribute to the comments or contact me with ideas or questions.

So, here we go with the first official Shop Talk post. Today we are covering samples, why shoppers love them, and why shop owners should love them too.

Why Shoppers Love Organic Beauty Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

This may seem obvious at first glance…because everyone wants to try stuff for free or almost free, duh. But there truly is more to the whole organic beauty sample game than just getting to try something out for free.

Remember when, in your pre-organics days, you’d walk through the department store beauty section and score some high end samples? You’d take those suckers home, feeling like you’d just won the mini lottery, and commence to using them like a fiend. Or was that just me? C’mon, you know you did it too.

You’d feel like it had miraculously turned your skin into someone else’s and you simply had. to. have. more. So you’d hop your sweet little buns back out to the mall for a bigger score. This time, on you.

In short, you bought the dang products, didn’t you?

Me too. Even if they didn’t work for the long term. You bought them because you got to try them out. You bonded with them. A connection was made.

Sure not all products are a match made in heaven. Plenty of them get pitched and never again see the light of day. But some blossom into a full on love connection.

Samples are even more important with organic beauty products than conventional. And that is because not everyone is sold on the fact that clean beauty products can behave themselves the same way the department store brands do. We know they do, but some people are still skeptical. Another reason, lack of experience. Most people simply have not tried as many organic beauty products as they have conventional.

Let’s think about this organic beauty samples thing in terms of food. Say, almond milk. When almond milk started to become popular you may have wanted to try it, but maybe not enough to buy an entire carton. What if you didn’t like it? What if it sat in your fridge and no one drank it? What if it was downright gross? And did you really want to be someone who drank almond milk, anyway?

Then one day as you strolled through your favorite Target, there was a sample of almond milk. You tried it. You weren’t that into it. You didn’t buy it.

The next week there is yet another sample of almond milk. Been down that road before, you are thinking. But this time it’s different. This time they are offering vanilla almond milk. Hmmm. You try it. You love it. You buy it every week because you just can’t get enough. You put it on your cereal, in your coffee, use it to make smoothies. How did you ever live without your precious almond milk? The rest is history.

Would you ever have considered buying the vanilla almond milk without a sample? Probably not. Target got the sample of vanilla almond milk in your hand and you weren’t so scared of it because they’d already introduced you to the regular almond milk the week before.

Green beauty shoppers are at you store, so they are already interested in green beauty. You just have to help them find the stuff that is right for them.

Samples are a super helpful way of getting organic beauty products into the hands of buyers. They may not love each and every sample, but it is introducing them to different products and brands. They are interested in investigating further. A connection has been made.

Whether you offer standard samples with each purchase, give options, or make sample sizes available for purchase, this is a valuable way of helping consumers find products they like and getting your items on their radar.

Time to up your samples game.

How to Make the Switch to Natural Products

Girl with Dog

This summer we’ve talked a lot about finding the right skincare for YOU. Your skin type, your issues and desires, what is important to you and works for your skin. If you didn’t see it, last week I posted a worksheet to really narrow things down. Fill in those blanks and you have your own personal skincare recipe.

Now you may be wondering … How do I make the switch?

There are several ways to go when first switching to nontoxic products. Sure, you could throw out everything that contains nasty ingredients and make a fresh start all at once. I would advise against this mode, as it can be pretty expensive and time consuming. The best way is to choose where you’d like to begin and go, gradually, from there.

Most exposure Switching out products that offer the most exposure to toxic ingredients is a great place to start. Items like facial serums and moisturizers, makeup, and body lotions (products that sit on the skin all day). This will immediately decrease your daily exposure to toxic ingredients.

Easiest substitutions Certain products are easier to swap out than others. Facial cleansers are pretty straight across the board and simple to replace. Same goes for body wash, make up remover, and toner. This type of product is also on the less expensive end of the skin care spectrum, making them a feasible place to begin.

What can’t you live without? Most of us are fairly attached to our moisturizers, for example, and may even use several – one for daytime, one for nighttime, one for winter, another for summer. You may have to experiment in this area, but as long as you follow the product specs and guidelines it should not be a difficult transition. Choose for your skin type and check labels to see if there are any ingredients that may irritate your skin. Certain skin types are sensitive to particular essential oils, but usually if a product is labeled “Sensitive” it will be safe for finicky skin.

Another rule of thumb – once you find a product that you love try other products from the same brand. Many online retailers offer samples with purchase or trial sizes at an affordable price. Some even have estheticians ready to answer your questions. Read product/brand descriptions thoroughly and if you have further questions contact customer service. Or ask me. I have tried most brands on the sites I love to shop and would be happy to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.

*Image by Matthew Wiebe at Unplash.com, cc