• What to Keep in Your Organic Baby Bag

    Going out just got a lot more interesting since you’ve had kids. Instead of remembering to throw your favorite lipstick in your bag, now you’ve got to remember the 10+ items that may come in handy when you’re out and away from home base with baby. If you’re looking for the best organic baby products to keep permanently stowed in your baby bag, look no further. Here are our top picks.

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    Erbaviva Baby Cream

    Completely nourishing and thoughtfully made with the highest quality natural emulsifiers and organic essential oils, Erbaviva Baby Cream moisturizes tender and sensitive skin with its super-clean and luxuriant blend of premium ingredients, including aloe, and shea and cocoa butters.

    Soothingly scented with Erbaviva’s custom blend of organic lavender and chamomile essential oils, this is a purely perfect formula for body and face, on both baby and sensitive adults, freshly made with loving care at a facility in Southern California, USA.

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    Erbaviva Buzz Spray

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency, you can start using insect repellents when your child is 2 months old. For children age 3 and older, you can also use products that contain oil of lemon and eucalyptus.

    Insect repellents are an important part of protecting your child from tick- and mosquito-borne viruses, especially when you're traveling in places where these illnesses are common. Erbaviva's mission to create the highest quality organic products available continues as we introduce our Organic Buzz Spray!

    Meeting our highest standards of USDA and Biodynamic certifications, this spray can be used without worry of harsh chemicals and mysterious synthetics. A special blend of essential oils create a pleasant sweet citrus and woodsy aroma that is sure to be kind to even the most sensitive of senses. It is dry to the touch.

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    Erbaviva Sunscreen

    Out for a summer stroll? Even newborns can wear sunscreen — but some are better than others. Choose a formula that’s specifically for children and waterproof (even if your little one won’t be getting wet). To prevent rashes, check the ingredients for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide — hypoallergenic ingredients that sit on top of the skin rather than absorbing into it.

    Light and free of chemicals, this Erbaviva Organic Sunscreen is organic and gives full-spectrum UV-A and UV-B protection at SPF 30, but is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin — perfect for babies and adults. Erbaviva's mission was to c reate an all-natural sunscreen, with the highest possible SPF, without using any synthetic ingredients.

    This organic sunscreen is delicately scented with organic lavender and chamomile essential oils. Erbaviva offers mommies and babies a full line of upscale organic products, free from detergents, chemicals, and other harmful additives. These baby products and pregnancy products carry the USDA Certified Organic seal, which means they contain at least 95% organic ingredients. The ingredients, facility, and manufacturing processes must meet the same stringent National Organic Program standards as food products.

  • Brand Focus: All About Rahua

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    For centuries in the Amazon, women from the Quechua-Shuar tribes traveled deep into the Amazon rainforest to follow a beauty ritual and prepare a highly potent, restorative oil they call Rahua (ra-wa) — believing it to be the secret to their thick, flowing, and lustrously shiny hair.

    In the 1990s, these women shared Rahua’s power with renowned New York stylist and colorist Fabian Lliguin, a native Ecuadorian of Quechua descent. Intrigued, Lliguin studied Rahua’s revitalizing effects on his own clients’ hair. Dry, damaged strands sprang to life with renewed, bouncy elasticity. Hair color remained vibrantly true and shiny. Long hair became super healthy, and irritated scalps were calmed under Rahua’s soothing care.

    The key to Rahua’s outstanding performance is its molecular structure. Unlike other botanical oils that simply coat strands, the extraordinarily small Rahua oil molecule deeply penetrates the hair’s cortex — bonding and repairing it — while simultaneously smoothing the hair’s cuticle.

    Amazon Beauty and the Rahua brand are passionately committed to creating the most clean and efficacious 100% natural formulas on the market — all of which are vegan, organic, sulfate free, paraben free, gluten free, and cruelty free. They are dedicated to the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that live there, and owe the native people a boundless debt for keeping the Amazon, its flora, and its fauna in great health for thousands of years

    Rahua Organic Hair Products contain natural ingredients that make your hair healthy and vibrant on a daily basis. Rahua oil is the key ingredient in Rahua natural hair products, and it nourishes all hair types and repairs damage for unmatched hair health — even on color-treated locks.

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    Need a daily natural hair cleanser that leaves your hair better than ever? Rahua Shampoo is luxury in a bottle: a simple, organic hair treatment to achieve the healthy and bouncy hair you desire. Containing Palo Santo oil for aromatherapy, coconut and shea butters to be gentle, and Rahua oil to fortify all your strands, this shampoo is everything you want for your hair.

    Strong, healthy hair is something that every woman wants, yet it remains something we always struggle to get. This isn’t surprising, considering all the elements that can damage our hair every day. There are some elements you do have control over ― switch to an ion blowdryer, remember to condition your hair, and try to wear a hat in the summer months. One of the best ways to strengthen and protect your hair is to start at the beginning of your routine, with Rahua Shampoo.

    This powerhouse cleanses your hair to create healthy, lustrous, bouncy strands, and it’s ideal for color-treated hair. On a strengthening note, Rahua oil fortifies weak, damaged strands, while nourishing and regenerating the scalp and hair follicles, allowing hair to grow longer and stronger.

    Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) offers delicate fragrance, providing a soothing aromatherapy experience while shampooing. It also contains goodies like coconut and shea butter, which safely, gently, and effectively remove oil, dirt, and bacteria without stripping necessary nutrients.

  • Myths About Face Washing

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    The ritual of washing our face is something that humans have been continuing practically since we’ve been walking this earth. A clean face is an essential element of daily hygiene. So, why is there so much debate about exactly how and when to do it? We’ve found that the key is moderation. In this post, we’ll explain the benefits and downsides to the most popular myths and theories out there.

    Myth: You need to wash your face twice a day.

    Reality: False. The jury is still out on how often to cleanse (every a.m. and p.m., or just once at night), and all dermatologists agree that over-washing can lead to irritation and a lack of moisture. Plus, we all have different types of skin chemistry that react differently to washing.

    The rule is to use common sense: Always wash your face after a workout to prevent breakouts, and wash excessively oily skin morning and night. For very dry or sensitive skin, stick to cleansing once daily in the evening.

    "Unless you use heavy creams at night and feel greasy, you don't need to wash your face in the morning," says Jessica Wu MD, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and author of "Feed Your Face." "Just a simple splash of water is enough. It's much more important to wash your face at night, to get off the grime and pollution and makeup."

    Myth: Eating chocolate causes breakouts.

    Reality: Not necessarily. This is one we’re all hoping isn’t true — because, really, what is life without chocolate? Yes, researchers have found a link between acne and chocolate, but they're not sure how many of the young adults they’ve surveyed were eating chocolate, and how many were eating other sweets that could have contributed to skin problems. Plus, the researchers asked very little about the rest of the participants' diet and lifestyle habits, meaning it's impossible to definitively connect the dots between chocolate and acne, in this case, at least.

    According to Dr. Lamees Hamdan, founder of Shiffa skincare, "I haven't seen sufficient evidence from studies to support this."

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    Myth: Dairy is bad for your skin.

    Reality: True! Turns out that glass of milk your mother was always forcing you to chug was actually doing damage to your skin. Cow's milk — even organic — contains its own hormones and growth factors that are absorbed into the bloodstream. These hormones have androgenic effects that can cause acne in women. Dairy products are also pro-inflammatory, which means they can worsen acne issues and also accelerate aging, says dermatologist Nicholas Perricone.

    4. Myth: You need two separate moisturizing creams for day and night.

    Reality: Not necessarily. Many "night" creams contain the same ingredients as "day" creams. The differences, however, can be huge. A daytime moisturizer will have SPF in it to protect you from the sun when you’re walking around outside, and also tend to be more lightweight.

    A nighttime cream, on the other hand, can contain ingredients like retinoids (to plump) and glycolic acid (to polish) that make your skin extra sensitive to sunlight, and should not be worn during the day. A word to the wise: if you use any products with Vitamin A (e.g., retinol or retin-A), it is wise to invest in a separate night cream, as sunlight breaks down Vitamin A derivatives.

  • Summer Body Products for Men

    With summer upon us, all eyes turn to our suddenly very exposed bodies, whether at the pool, the beach, or the bar. This includes men as well as women―and, let’s be honest―men want to smell good just like we do. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of easy go-to’s for any man wanting to enjoy a healthy summer body while looking (and smelling) great.

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    Powerful Deodorant

    A necessary staple of every man’s routine, it can be difficult to find a deodorant that is powerful, effective, and natural.  Luckily for you, the search is over.  Our recommendation is Schmidt’s Ylang-Ylang Deodorant. The elegant aroma of Schmidt's Ylang-Ylang and Calendula Deodorant is sweet with delicate floral notes while maintaining a masculine overtone. This formula is also soothing to the skin with enhanced antibacterial protection.  The best part is that it’s free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, and phthalates. 

    Don’t Forget the Soap

    Showering is important. We know this. But showering with the right soap is even more important for men. Our pick is Dr. Squatch Bay Rum Soap. This traditional men's scent is a timeless blend of crushed cloves, cinnamon sticks, crisp pine needles, and a sweet orange freshness. It’s presented as a smooth and creamy bar with a tropical twist that will transport him to the islands before that big day at work.

    Men Should Moisturize

    Men’s skin is no different than women’s, in that it needs all the moisture it can get. Moisturizer isn’t exactly a staple in most men’s regimens, but it certainly should be. Just one daily application of moisturizer can keep skin from feeling tight and dry after it’s washed, creates a more supple feel, and lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Not bad for one extra step during the day.

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    Care for the Hands

    When we think of soft, good-looking hands, men don’t usually come to mind. Many have hobbies in woodwork, brewing, mechanics, and more―which is hard on the hands and can damage them in many ways. Cuticles tend to be a particular trouble spot. A good intensive cream for the tough skin on hands can take care of these problems after just a short period of initial use.

    If you’re looking to get your hands back in shape, try 80 Acres of McEvoy Hand Lotion. Rich in antioxidants and deeply hydrating, this natural hand lotion soothes and heals skin. It also blends olive, sunflower, jojoba, and grapeseed oils infused with aloe vera, chamomile, and lavender.  Its cedarwood scent is a sensual blend of warm wood and delicate floral notes while still retaining a masculine overtone.

    Shield from the Sun

    We’ve all heard the horror stories―and some of us have become them. Sunscreen is an essential component of any outdoor summer fun. It’s especially important for men, who tend to go shirtless when working outside, swimming, etc. Repeated sunburns on the chest, back, and shoulders dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer, but remembering your sunscreen can make all the difference.

  • 10 Essential Tips for Summer Hair Care

    Hair. Some of us love it, some of us hate it – all of us have to deal with it. It’s considered the most high-maintenance bit of any girl’s beauty regimen, and what’s best for one may not be best for another. Now that summer is upon us, we’ve put together our top tips for keeping your tresses clean and healthy no matter what adventures you get up to.

    Give It a Trim

    A quick trim with a sharp pair of scissors throughout the summer removes any split ends that may worsen with the conditions that summer brings. Removing an inch or two is all that is necessary to improve the overall health of hair.

    A trim will also help to keep your ends from splitting and looking frayed, which gives you the appearance of healthier and longer hair. When ends split and are severely damaged, they can cause breakage, and that breakage travels up the hair shaft, which leads to playing catch-up. We all know it can be easy to skip haircuts when you’re doing everything in your power to grow your hair out, but this is when you should be on top of it.

    “Many people make the classic mistake of forgoing trims because they are growing their hair longer,” says Cunnane Phillips. “This is in fact the time to be most attentive to the care of the hair, and that should include a trim every six (perfect world) to eight weeks.”

    Don’t forget to do another trim at the end of the summer to remove any split ends prior to the cold, dry winter weather.

    Hair Needs Sunblock, Too

    Just like the skin, hair needs protection from the sun, too. However, we recommend that you take a moment before heading to the nearest drug store to find the appropriate potion. If there’s anything worse than using products with unnecessary chemicals, it’s using them while being exposed to the summer sun. The summer heat tends to leave the pores of the skin and scalp open, allowing for further absorption of ingredients in hair products – so make sure your hair and body are absorbing only the good stuff!

    There are UV hair products such as leave-in conditioner and heat-protection sprays that can help to protect your hair from the sun’s damaging rays, but always be cautious. It is important to read the product labels carefully to find products with adequate SPF and the least amount of toxic chemicals. If you cannot find these products, a scarf or a hat is helpful to protect both the hair and the scalp from UV ray damage.

    For a natural alternative to chemical laden products, we recommend sunflower oil. It acts as an emollient, providing much needed moisture alongside UV protection.

    Wash After Being Outdoors

    The outdoors may be great, but it can also be harsh on hair. After working out, spending hours in the sun, or swimming, we recommend giving your hair a wash in order to remove pool chemicals, lake and ocean debris, oils, sweat, and dirt. This helps to prevent buildup, and it removes chemicals that may damage and dry out the hair, such as chlorine. It is best to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to help tame frizz and give the locks a little extra hydration.

    Be careful to avoid washing your hair too much during the summer; it strips your hair of the essential oils that moisturize it naturally. When you do wash your hair, use brands that are gentle and nourishing, and which have a high SPF.

    Pre-Treat for the Pool

    Your hair is basically a giant sponge, and, like all sponges, you’d rather not have one filled with dirt and other nasties. The goal is to absorb as little ocean, lake, and pool water as possible.

    Start with wet hair before you enter any body of water that isn’t your bathtub. Hit the pool shower room (you’re supposed to rinse off first, anyway) and give your hair a good soaking with tap water—even water from a hose is fine. Then, start slathering on the conditioner. If you can find one with SPF, that’s even better. Why pre-treat? The conditioner acts as a secondary barrier to the pool water, protecting your locks, without leaving a gross residue in the water.

    Afterwards, treat your hair post-swim. You may be in a hurry to get to your next destination, but we promise this is worth the time. Stop back by that pool shower and take the time to shampoo and condition your hair. For healthy hair, that should do the trick to stay green-free.

    Put Away the Hot Irons

    When it’s summertime, natural is the name of the game. We think it’s a good idea to take advantage of natural hair during the summer months and put the styling tools away. You’ve probably already heard about the damage these tools can do. Heat styling strips natural oils from hair, which leads to hair drying out and being prone to breakage. It is best to allow the hair to air dry, using a little texture cream or spray to achieve a natural, beach look.

    If you must style your hair, try to keep it to a minimum and use the lowest heat setting on your styling tools. You should always make sure to use a heat-protecting treatment prior to using heating tools, in order to protect the hair.

    Condition Regularly

    Pool chemicals, salt from the ocean, regular styling, and sun damage wreak havoc on the hair. A deep conditioning treatment, while sometimes costly, can help to restore your hair’s lost moisture and improve its health. There are multiple options for deep conditioning, including pre-made conditioners and natural homemade ones. Just like you moisturize your face, you need to moisturize your scalp, too.

    Don’t forget that conditioning your hair also makes it smell fabulous, which people will appreciate. If you have short hair, just make sure you wash it all out so your scalp doesn’t get greasy.

    Comb, Don’t Brush

    If you want to be gentle to your hair, consider dumping the hairbrush and taking up the comb. This is especially important when dealing with wet hair, which is much more fragile. Wide-tooth combs tend to be way less harsh when it comes to untangling your locks.

    Combing your hair is the best way to manage your hair if it’s wet, tangled, or needs styling. If your hair is particularly tangled, remember to comb from underneath the tangle, don’t comb from above. You can also use a comb when you are pulling, parting, and styling your hair. Combing is the best precursor to brushing, as it gets your hair ready and can be used to divide strands easily into sections after it has been combed.

    Accessorize – Wear Hats and Scarves

    Another great summer hair care tip is to opt for a hat, hair scarf, or both. Not only do hats and head scarves provide extra (almost total) UV protection, they also help the hair to retain moisture – a big-time summer hair care issue.

    Remember, just like your skin, your hair can burn. According to hair care expert J. Kingsley, “Summer’s strong UV rays act on your hair in a similar way to bleach; they oxidize and degrade the disulphide bonds that hold it together, reducing cystine content and causing brittleness, dryness, breakage and lack of manageability.”

    The expert continues, “Chlorine can be similarly drying, and, as pool water often contains traces of copper, it may even turn blond hair green. Salt water is also bad news; being osmotic, it leaches water out of each strand, rapidly reducing moisture content and elasticity.”

    You might not always be able to feel the burn, but the sun’s rays will take a toll on your hair in the long term.

    Style Accordingly

    The summer heat and humidity call for gentle up-dos and stylish braids. We know everyone is loving the top-knot and sock buns, but be aware that putting hair up high and tight can cause a great deal of damage during the summer months, when hair tends to get frizzy and dry.

    Messy braids and gentle up-dos are low maintenance and will keep the hair from further UV exposure and add another layer of protection for the scalp. Don’t worry about your hairstyles being the image of perfection – the laid-back nature of theses summer styles will embrace the natural elements of summer and look fabulous!

    Salt water Is Good Water

    A little salt water won't hurt hair. In fact, a dip in a salt water pool or the ocean can be beneficial. A simple towel-dry and scrunch can add gorgeous beachy waves to hair. However, a lot of time spent in salt water is another story. It can make hair hard and dry, and damage its color. Applying a serum that is made specifically to protect hair from salt water is key. A pre-shampoo conditioning treatment and leave-in conditioner before a dip can help, too. If your hair has already been damaged by salt water, a leave-in conditioning treatment may soften the hair follicle.

    If your hair is colored or dry, sea water can dry it out even more. The solution is to coat it in oil (we recommend coconut oil), which shields the hair while allowing the scalp to benefit from the minerals in the water. If you have very oily hair, on the other hand, you'll probably find that the seawater helps in keeping the oiliness at bay! Be sure to wash your hair after your salt water dip – you don't want the salt to remain on your hair and scalp once your natural “therapy” is over.

    Sea water has gotten a bad hair rap over the years, but there’s really no justification for it. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, with an antibiotic effect on the skin. Salt has been used extensively in ancient medicine, particularly by Hippocrates, who employed it in all sorts of ways – including hair care. Experts also suggest that seawater can be used to treat eczema and psoriasis, both of which can impact the scalp and cause hair loss. It's also known to promote circulation – a real boon for healthy hair growth.

  • Organic Makeup that Beats the Heat

    We’ve all been there―getting ready for a date, applying the last bit of coverage before dashing out the door―into 90 degree heat. By the time you arrive at said date, it feels like all the careful work of the last hour has literally melted off of your face. Never fear, ladies! There are organic makeup solutions out there. Better yet, they’re good for you and your skin. Here’s how we use our makeup to stay cool under pressure.

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    Minimize Application

    Luckily, summer is all about minimalism. Wearing less in all aspects―and that includes organic makeup. A fresh, natural look is desirable and works out well if you’re looking to prevent melting. A light tinted moisturizer with SPF is preferable in this case―something that provides even coverage, which doesn’t feel heavy, and that protects your skin from the sun.

    We recommend Dr. Hauschka Translucent Makeup.  It’s a gentle liquid foundation that enhances the skin's naturally radiant glow for a dewy, flawless look. Mineral pigments blend uneven pigmentation, while plant extracts, oils, and waxes moisturize and protect the skin. Carrot and witch hazel extracts calm, nurture, and tone, while avocado and jojoba oils join rose wax to moisturize. This lightweight makeup goes on smoothly and stays in place all day!

    Waterproof Mascara

    You may not be actively weeping, but waterproof mascara is still a must for summertime. It has a plethora of benefits. Dive into the pool and come back out looking just as fabulous. Get caught by a random summer shower? No problem. That mascara isn’t going anywhere―especially in streaks down your face.

    If you’re still looking at such phenomena, we humbly suggest 100% Pure Mascara.  This natural mascara lengthens, separates, thickens, and glosses lashes with fruit and black tea pigments. It also includes lash conditioning provitamin B5, vitamin E, oat, and wheat protein for healthier lashes. This small black tube of awesome is gentle, all natural, and suitable for everyone, even if you wear contacts or have sensitive eyes.

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    Blotting Papers

    Blotting or oil papers are the secret weapon of many a southern lady. When 90-100 degree weather is the norm, staying power is even more essential for makeup.  They come in portable containers that easily slip inside even the smallest bag. See some shine coming on? Just grab yourself a bit of this magic and away it goes.

    A Solid Foundation

    When looking for a great summer foundation, there are a few key elements. Oil-free is desirable; mineral is even better for staying power. Whatever you do, stay away from heavy bases, as these will cause melting from the bottom up once they are overheated. Also, remember that most foundations which claim 24 hours of wear usually fall short. 

    Go for Gloss

    Leave behind the lipstick and choose lip gloss for the summer. A lighter option, gloss will also add to the fresh, natural look you’re going for overall. A good gloss with moisturizing elements can be reapplied without damaging your lips. Our favorite is 100% Pure Pigmented Lip Glaze.  It’s a gorgeous fig color, derived from fruit pigments and set in a moisturizing base of avocado and cocoa butters. The 100% natural formula will give your lips a sheer wash of fruit pigmented color while nourishing them with vitamins and antioxidants.

    A Solid Foundation

    When looking for a great summer organic makeup foundation, there are a few key elements. Oil-free is desirable, mineral is even better for staying power. Whatever you do, stay away from heavy bases, as using them will cause melting from the bottom up once they are overheated. Also, remember that most foundations which claim 24 hours of wear usually fall short. 

  • How to Care for Your Feet in Summer

    Since you were stuffing your feet into socks and heavy-duty boots all winter, going sans-pedicure was no biggie. Let’s be honest; no one was looking. You didn’t have to worry about strappy sandals giving you blisters, and since you definitely weren’t waltzing around barefoot outside, calluses and splinters were the least of your worries.

    Now, the care-free days are gone and feet are front and center. The good news is that you really don’t need to blow tons of money on salon pedicures which usually involve harsh and dangerous chemicals. There are plenty of natural alternatives out there. To help get your feet ready for summer, we’ve lined up our foot care favorites.

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    Strengthen Your Nails

    If your feet and toenails are in generally good condition and in a healthy state, a little bit of “preventative maintenance” goes a long way in keeping them looking and feeling good. A toenail in healthy condition should be light pink in color and have a nice natural shine to it. Nails are made from a strong protein called keratin, and they develop best if you are eating a well-balanced diet which includes protein, vitamins, and minerals. Keeping nails properly trimmed reduces the risk of hangnails or ingrown toenails.

    For a great go-to that’s portable and easy to use, we suggest Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Nail Oil.  It promotes strong, healthy nails by using Neem leaf and anthyllis combined with soothing chamomile to soften cuticles and fortify soft or brittle nails. Chamomile soothes and softens cuticles, while Neem leaf encourages healthy nail growth. It’s even available as a handy travel pen with felt tip applicator.

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    Get Rid of Dead Skin

    When it comes to feet, exfoliation is key. Our feet taking a beating each and every day, and especially during summer, they are constantly exposed to the elements as well as all of the dirt and dust on the ground. This yuck can easily build up if you do not properly exfoliate.

    To do the job well, we recommend ilike Nettle Exfoliating Wash.  It has a refreshing, smoothing and moisturizing effect for dry, itchy, dehydrated skin which is usually found on feet. Apply this cleansing concentrate and rub thoroughly with a loofah sponge, which gets rid of the dead keratin cells while massaging your skin and leaving a soft surface. This effective wash contains refreshing organic nettle and is rich in rejuvenating phytoestrogens. 

    Moisturize to Protect

    Cracked heels, dry cuticles, and other eyesores are commonplace if you’ve been neglecting a moisturizing routine for your feet. Summer is the time to turn this around and get your feet glowing with healthy moisture. For extra points, look for a moisturizer that includes SPF―your feet get plenty of sun in the summer!

    For great moisturizing power on the go, we reach for 80 Acres of McEvoy Lotion. Rich in antioxidants and deeply hydrating, this natural hand and body lotion soothes and heals even the toughest skin―perfect for your feet. It’s an ultra-rich, natural lotion that blends olive, sunflower, jojoba, and grapeseed oils infused with aloe vera, chamomile, and lavender.  Its cedarwood recent is a sensual blend of warm wood and delicate floral notes. Even better, it’s perfect for men and women!

  • The Best Shampoo for Summer

    Summer hair care is a beast all of its own. There are many elements of our summer routine that could potentially damage your tresses―beach visits, sea water, harsh sun, and wind are just a few. The best way to protect and treat your hair throughout the summertime is to start at the beginning―with the best shampoo for your needs. Here are our picks to help you and your hair enjoy summer to the fullest.

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    Antioxidant Application

    Antioxidants are wonderful things to be putting in your hair this summer season.  As the body turns food into energy, it creates byproducts known as free radicals. These chemicals have the potential to damage human cells and genetic material. Free radicals are also in the air you breathe, and may be found in food or even produced when the sun shines on your skin. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals. There are hundreds of antioxidants, but the most common are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and other carotenoids, selenium, and magnesium.

    Our hair is constantly bombarded by reactive species of molecules that slowly tear apart the complicated structure of each strand. Without adequate protection, damage grows continually worse until it becomes evident. Curly hair is even more susceptible to this type of degradation. Fortunately, it has been found that some botanical oils and antioxidants do provide protection against these environmental sources of free radicals. They also provide emollient properties and other benefits to the hair, and thus seem to be good additions to products for curly hair.

    For a great antioxidant shampoo, check out Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Shampoo. This is an antioxidant-rich organic shampoo that leaves hair full of body and feeling soft. It's safe for color-treated hair, it is non-frizzing, and it delivers antioxidant-rich volume to all hair types. It’s also formulated without sulfates, parabens, silicones, ethoxylates, PEG, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Your scalp, hair, body, and mind will thank you.

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    Hydration Station

    Hydration is the key word of summer skin and hair care.  “Summer includes overexposure to the sun, swimming, and products with alcohol, which can all dehydrate hair,” says celebrity stylist Richard Marin. There are also other internal factors to consider that can negatively dehydrate your hair. “Birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause are all times of physiological shifts within the body that can have an adverse effect on the hair, including dryness and brittleness,” says professional stylist Sylvia Vaught.

    For a go-to product that provides hydration plus a plethora of other goodies, try Briogeo’s Avocado and Quinoa Wash.  It’s a super hydrating hair wash for those with textured, thick, coarse, dry, and/or color treated hair. It also gently, yet effectively rids the hair of dirt and buildup. It also does a bunch of jobs in one―cleansing, conditioning, and hydrating. As always, expect no sulphates, parabens, or silicones.

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    Strengthen Your Strands

    Strong, healthy hair is something that every woman wants, yet it remains something we always struggle to get. This isn’t surprising, considering all the elements that can damage our hair every day. There are some elements you do have control over―switch to an ion blowdryer, remember to condition your hair, and try to wear a hat in the summer months. One of the best ways to strengthen and protect your hair is to start at the beginning of your routine, with a great shampoo.

    We recommend Rahua Shampoo.  This powerhouse cleanses your hair to create healthy, lustrous, bouncy strands, and it’s ideal for color-treated hair. On a strengthening note, Rahua oil fortifies weak, damaged strands while nourishing and regenerating the scalp and hair follicles allowing hair to grow longer and stronger. Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) offers delicate fragrance providing a soothing aromatherapy experience while shampooing. It also contains goodies like coconut and shea butter, which safely, gently, and effectively remove oil, dirt, and bacteria without stripping necessary nutrients.

  • Safe and Organic Alternatives to Microbeads

    The inclusion of plastic microbeads in cosmetics has recently become a thing of the past, banned by the United States Congress starting in 2017.  It has come not a moment too soon― microbeads have long been ingested by fish and other wildlife after they are rinsed down our drains and washed into lakes and rivers. This has caused large numbers of deaths and health problems among smaller animals, as well as damage to the environment―microbeads do not dissolve and can persist in the environment for decades.

    There is a negative human health effect as well―small fish eat beads, big fish eat small fish, and that big fish eventually ends up on your dinner plate, filled with toxins.

    Most microbeads are currently used in cosmetic products such as facial scrubs, soaps, and toothpastes. They’re so common that almost every American household has some. Now that they’re being banned, what are the alternatives? Here’s a list of our favorite “natural microbeads” and how to use them.

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    Cornmeal Exfoliant

    Organic cornmeal is the secret weapon of many beauty buffs the world over.  Cornmeal is considered a fine exfoliant for skin. Apart from removing dirt and dead skin cells, it leaves your skin soft and supple. Moreover, it gets rid of excess oil, but does not dry out your skin. The simplest way to apply cornmeal is to mix it with water, enough to form a paste. You may use this exfoliating recipe on your face as well as body. Make sure you don’t confuse cornmeal with cornstarch, as the former is simply ground up dry corn, which has a grainier texture than cornstarch. Moreover, cornmeal has a yellowish color, whereas cornstarch is white.

    If you’re looking for a great cornmeal facial scrub with added soothing ingredients, look no further than ilike Rosehip Exfoliator. It revitalizes, soothes, and boosts moisture levels in chapped, inflamed, and dehydrated skin. The cornmeal exfoliate helps to remove dead skin cell buildup, decreasing the appearance of chloasma, age spots, and blemishes, and controls excess oil

    production. Rosehip also helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles while keeping the skin hydrated.

    Rice Powder Exfoliant

    Exfoliating powders have recently been making waves in the beauty world.  Designed for sensitive skin, most blends rely on rice powder, one of Asia’s best-kept beauty secrets since the 16th century—until now. Rich in antioxidants, raw brown rice’s chemical structure is similar to that of ceramides—moisture-restoring fat layers in skin. Because the flour granules are much smaller than those in your typical scrub, the effect is much more gentle.  Those with normal or hardier skin may benefit from using an exfoliating powder daily, while those with sensitive skin may do better using it only a few times a week.

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    Sea Salt

    Sea salt (not table salt!) makes a great exfoliant. The granules are large and coarse, and don’t dissolve easily. This makes it fantastic for use on the rougher parts of your body, like elbows and feet. Another nice thing about sea salt is that it isn’t at all sticky. To use, simply mix with a small amount of oil (coconut or sunflower are our favorites) and rub into your skin.

    If you’re looking for a great exfoliator with sea salt and other beneficial ingredients, we recommend S.W. Basics Exfoliant. This awesome little scrub takes organic oats and almonds, grinds them to the perfect texture, and adds mineral-rich sea salt harvested from the coast of Maine. Created from three humble ingredients, this sassy little scrub will leave you soft and glowing.

    Brown Sugar

    Sugar grains are naturally small and rough, which makes them perfect for sloughing skin cells from your face. When added to an oil, such as grapeseed or olive oil, sugar is a fantastic exfoliant. Another benefit to sugar? It’s full of glycolic acid, which helps to naturally break down dead skin cells and decrease fine lines. People pay a lot of money for glycolic acid facials, but you can have a bit of that power from your own sugar facial at home.

    Looking for a quick and easy sugar scrub to throw together?  Mix 1 tablespoon brown sugar with coconut oil and, honey, and a splash of lemon juice. Voila! Skin scrub joy.

  • The Organic Alternatives List

    If you’re looking for organic alternatives to your current skincare products that may be filled with chemicals and synthetics, you’re not alone. Every day, more people discover the benefits of switching to organic products. To show you how easy it can be, we’ve taken a list of products typically found in the average market, and provided a healthy organic alternative that’s just as (or more!) effective.

    Mascara

    Common Ingredients :

    Coal Tar Dyes - These dyes contain heavy metals and are carcinogenic (cancer causing).

    Formaldehyde - Used in mascara as a preservative, it is a known carcinogen.

    Parabens - These nasties wreak havoc on your hormones and have many negative effects.

    BHA & BHT – These preservatives are derived from petroleum, and are carcinogenic and harmful to mammals.

    Retinyl Acetate - Forbidden in Canada, this is a carcinogen known to cause reproductive issues.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Organic Green Tea, Honey Beeswax, Blackberry Extract, Oat Protein, Seaweed Powder, Cocoa Butter, Powdered Coffee Beans, Lavender Honey, Oregano Extract, Rosemary Extract.

    Comparing the two lists, which would you rather put on your eyes, and potentially into your bloodstream? The eyes are lined with blood vessels, and so even though you apply eye makeup externally, there is still a high chance that it can enter your body either through these blood vessels or the skin itself.

    The real kicker? Organic mascara looks just as good (if not better) after application. Our personal favorite is the 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara. This entirely natural and vegetarian-safe pick comes in four shades (black, dark blue, dark purple, and brown). With all of the colors derived from black tea and berry pigments, you can be sure your loaded lashes will be safely and stylishly colored.

    Body Lotion

    Common Ingredients :

    Prefixes Ethyl, Methyl, Butyl - Parabens that mimic estrogen and which are linked to breast cancer.

    DEHP, DHP, DBP 5 - Phthalates that have been known to cause sperm damage and infertility.

    Polyethylene glycol - Petroleum byproduct that is a known carcinogen and affects the liver.

    Petrolatum - A derivative of petroleum that is a carcinogen.

    Isobutene - Propellant made from petroleum and a known carcinogen.

    Nano zinc oxide - Nanoparticles that can enter the bloodstream and damage internal organs.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Beeswax; Vitamin E, Blood Orange Essential Oil Blend, Jasmine Extract, Myrrh Resin, Coconut Oil.

    This time of year, it is crucial to hydrate your skin after any sun exposure. Your skin can start to resemble leather more than anything else if you don’t keep it hydrated. You’ll also want to re-hydrate the skin before the cold and dry winter months wreak havoc on it.

    When considering a lotion, remember that our skin is porous, which basically means anything that soaks in deep enough can, and usually will, enter our bloodstream, being redistributed to our brain and internal organs.

    Would you rather be dumping carcinogens or coconut extract into your blood? Not a difficult decision for most people; but, then again, many large cosmetic companies have done a great job at making consumers believe they don’t have to make that decision in the first place.

    Shampoo

    Common Ingredients :

    Triclosan, Chloro, Phenol, Irgasan - Endocrine and thyroid disrupters.

    Placenta - Placental extract filled with hormones that upset your own hormonal balance.

    Sulfates - A detergent and surfactant that penetrates skin and leaves toxic residue internally.

    Parabens - Chemical preservatives linked to reproductive damage and cancer.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Black Cumin Seed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Peppermint Oil, Cinnamon Bark Oil, Spearmint Leaf Oil, Xanthan gum, Ginger Extract, Biotin.

    It takes just a minute or two to give your hair a thorough washing, but when you multiply that by every day or so for an entire lifetime, it adds up to many minutes, and loads of exposure to the chemicals in your shampoo. During that time, you want to be sure that the shampoo you're putting onto your scalp is safe and non-toxic for your body.

    There are no federal regulations for beauty products, including shampoo, so it's really a buyer-beware market. That’s why we ask you to consider, for a moment, what exactly you may be rubbing into your skull and, thus, into your bloodstream. Remember that many organic shampoos use fortified ginseng and ginger to support follicle growth, while biotin strengthens and encourages new hair growth. Sulfate-free formulas also won't strip hair of color or moisture. Organic formulas can get your hair just as clean, without the added chemicals and preservatives.

    Face Wash

    Common Ingredients :

    Triclosan, Chloro, Phenol, Irgasan - Pesticides linked to endocrine and thyroid disruption.

    Alcohol - Used to lighten the product, it strips away the skin’s natural protective layer.

    Petrolatum - A derivative of petroleum that is a carcinogen.

    DEHP, DHP, DBP 5 - Phthalates that have been known to cause sperm damage and infertility.

    Diethanolamine (DEA) - Chemical used to balance pH that causes organ damage.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Sugar, Rice Powder, Lemongrass Oil, Calendula Flower Extract, Orange Peel, Seaweed Extract, Shea Butter.

    Natural and organic alternatives to modern-day toxic face wash have been around for centuries. Mix some sugar with honey and shea butter, and, bam, you’ve got yourself a natural exfoliant that’s completely safe and good for your skin.

    Microbeads found in many exfoliant face washes have already been banned, as they cause damage to the environment at large. Sugar or sand, however, are great natural alternatives. The next time you think about face wash, check out what your own kitchen has to offer before resorting to products with toxic chemicals.

    Lipstick

    Common Ingredients :

    Methylparaben - A preservative that’s been linked to several different cancer types.

    Propylparaben - A paraben linked to endocrine system disruption and cancer.

    Retinyl Palmitate - A synthetic form of Vitamin A that is toxic to pregnant women.

    Tocopheryl Acetate - A toxic Vitamin E acetate linked to severe skin reactions.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Jojoba Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Avocado Butter, Beeswax, Fruit Extract, Sweet Almond Oil.

    Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health enlisted a group of 12 girls between the ages of 14 and 19, who were part of an Asian youth group and lived in low-income neighborhoods of Oakland, California. They were asked to record the brands and product names of all lipsticks and lip glosses they regularly carried and used at home.

    When these lipsticks were analyzed, they found detectable levels of lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum, and five other metals in the products. Lead, a neurotoxin, was found in 75% of all those tested—and all examined products also contained the metals manganese, titanium, and aluminum.

    The researchers determined the estimated chromium intake from 10 products tested exceeded acceptable daily intake levels when measuring average use. Chromium is a known human carcinogen, according to the researchers, that has been linked to lung cancer and stomach tumors through inhaling the metal or swallowing it

    This is just a small sample of the damage you may be doing by applying common brands of lipstick. Do yourself a favor and remember that simple is better. Chapped lips? Rub on some avocado mixed with honey. Need a colored lipstick without the toxins? There are several great brands out there on the market.

    Deodorant

    Common Ingredients :

    Aluminum - Linked to several forms of cancer and an increased risk of Alzheimer’disease.

    Parabens - Chemical preservatives linked to reproductive damage and cancer.

    Triclosan - Pesticide linked to endocrine and thyroid disruption.

    Steareths - Carcinogenic additives that make harsh chemicals more mild on skin.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Arrowroot Powder, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Baking Soda, Vitamin E, Green Tea Extract.

    Let’s be real, here. Who thinks it’s a good idea to rub several known cancer-causing ingredients directly into your underarm lymph nodes? Probably not many people, yet that is what is done Arrowroot Powder, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Baking Soda, Vitamin E, Green Tea Extract thousands of times a day, every day.

    According to the National Cancer Society, “Reports have suggested that many deodorant products contain harmful substances, which can be absorbed through the skin. Some scientists have also proposed that certain ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants may be related to breast cancer because they are applied frequently to an area next to the breast.”

    Doesn’t really take a stretch to put two and two together. Now, have a look at the common ingredients found in organic deodorants; doesn’t that look like a safer prospect? Granted, no organic deodorant can also be an anti-perspirant, because they don’t contain the aluminum that blocks the pores. For our part, we’d rather smell lovely and sweat naturally than slather a slew of toxins on our skin every day.

    Nail Polish

    Common Ingredients :

    Toluene - A solvent that helps nail polish go on smoothly but which is neurotoxic.

    Formaldehyde - A cancer-causing preservative.

    Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) - A chemical known to interfere with reproductive hormones.

    TPHP - Used as a hardener, it causes changes in hormones and reproductive systems.

    Common Certified Organic Ingredients :

    Fruit Extract, Alcohol, Naturally Mined Titanium, Salt, Sand, Iron Oxide.

    Any nail polish labeled as organic will not contain any toxic chemicals, and all ingredients will be natural derivatives. If you don’t go organic, don’t always trust the labels of common brands. Nail polishes may contain undisclosed TPHP.

    A Duke study tested 10 polishes for TPHP and found the chemical in eight of them. Two of the eight with TPHP did not list the ingredient on their labels. A number of laboratory studies have found that exposure to TPHP caused endocrine disruption, while in animal studies it has caused reproductive and developmental problems.

    The chemical probably functions as a plasticizer in nail polish, rendering it more flexible and durable. For years, it has been used in plastics manufacturing and as a fire retardant in foam furniture.

    “It is possible that TPHP is now being used in nail polish as a replacement for phthalates, which also have endocrine-disrupting properties and are toxic to the reproductive system,” said Heather Stapleton, Ph.D., associate professor at Duke University. Clearly, this is not something you want to put on your body and introduce to your bloodstream.

    conclusion

    We hope you’ve learned a bit more about the chemicals and toxins that could be hiding in your everyday beauty routine. Take a moment to consider an organic alternative, and you could be doing more than just your skin a favor.

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