• Natural Hair Care Tips

    The business of hair care has been a serious one since … well, since we’ve had hair. It’s been a status symbol, a venue for rebellion, a personal statement of style. Regardless of what it is to you, one thing that’s for sure is that you want to keep it healthy. With all the chemicals found in today’s hair care products, and the almost daily fads in care, how do you know what’s best for yours? We’ve put together a quick cheat sheet so that your tresses get the best natural hair care.

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    Know When to Shampoo

    Ah, the great shampoo debate. Some say every day, some say no way. So, how often should you wash your hair? The first thing to consider is texture. Those lucky enough to have natural curls can go up to five days without shampooing, while normal and fine hair needs to be shampooed every other day at minimum. However often you end up shampooing, make sure the product you choose is gentle. Washing strips hair of its natural oils, so you should find a brand that helps to counteract this. We recommend Be Gentle Be Kind Green Tea Shampoo. It’s sulphate-free (always a must) and adds antioxidants to boost your hair’s shine.

    Conditioner Is King

     Unfortunately, conditioner has also earned a bad rap, as many people think it might weigh their hair down or add to their problems with oil. We’re happy to report that quite the opposite is true. The right conditioner will add shine, luster, and movement. When you don't use conditioner, the hair often becomes dehydrated, and looks lackluster and coarse. Look for conditioners that contain fruit based ingredients, and which don’t contain sulphates or parabens. Now that you know what to look for, how often should you use it? Most experts recommend that you condition after you shampoo (see point 1).

    The Secret of Hair Oil

    For thousands of years, women have been putting rich oils in their hair to boost vibrancy, strength, and health. In modern times, this nifty trick rather fell off the radar, but now it’s making a mighty comeback. Oiling hair has “a multi-dimensional effect,” says Dr. Rohini Wadhwani. “It helps by increasing the tensile strength of the hair, reducing the frizziness and preventing breakage.”  The oil, by coating the hair, forms a protective layer for the hair shaft. So, oiling your hair can be especially beneficial if blow drying or straightening with heating tools is part of your daily routine.  We recommend Roscaro Hair Oil for deep conditioning and protection.

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    Keep Damage to a Minimum

    We’ve already covered the damage that over-washing can do to your hair, but what other factors come into the damage done to your hair? You may be surprised. First, be aware the wet hair is much easier to damage than dry hair. Never brush your hair while it’s wet; instead, opt for a wide tooth comb to work out tangles. The next big offenders? Blow dryers and irons. No surprise there, but how to mitigate the damage when heat is a must? First, try to use hair products specifically designed to keep heat damage to a minimum.

    Hair Likes Masks, Too

    What is a hair mask? It's basically super-pumped up hair conditioner. The conditioning ingredients are multiplied and the results are immediately apparent. If you have fine or thin hair, we recommend sticking with a lightweight conditioner (on only the ends and rinsed out well), as that will offer all the smoothing you need. If you have long hair, though, hairstylist Riawna Capri recommends that you use a hair mask instead of a lighter conditioner every time you shampoo. ”Long hair is old, and it needs more attention,” she says. To avoid overdoing it and keep buildup minimal, remember that less is more. Stick with the amount specified on the product instead of getting overzealous in application. Always apply a mask to dry hair where possible; since water repels oil, you will get the most benefits from an oil-based mask if it is applied to dry hair. This method will take a bit longer (at least 20 minutes), but the results will be worth it. In contrast, water-based masks should be applied to wet hair. In both cases, hair should be washed first using a gentle shampoo.

  • The Benefits of Organic Baby Products

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    Mothers want what’s best for their babies, so why settle for harsh and damaging chemicals? We’ve put together a list of our top organic baby care products and natural alternatives to get your little one off to a healthy start in life.

    Sunscreen

    Summertime rays can damage anyone’s skin, and the sensitive skin of children is especially vulnerable. If you’re looking for a lightweight and safe sunscreen for your little one, look no further than Erbaviva Sunscreen. Light and free of chemicals, it’s also organic and gives full-spectrum UV-A and UV-B protection at SPF 30, but is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin. Erbaviva's mission was to create an all-natural sunscreen, with the highest possible SPF, without using any synthetic ingredients. It’s also delicately scented with organic lavender and chamomile essential oils.

    Diaper Rash Treatment

    Ah, the dreaded diaper rash. Almost inevitable, mothers around the world want relief quickly for their babies. Diaper rash is a particularly uncomfortable skin irritation, and, while it’s not dangerous, it’s no walk in the park, either. The moist, warm, and enclosed environment of a diaper, combined with loads of bacteria, make a baby's bottom the perfect place for a rash to pop up. Other factors that can contribute to rash development include hot and humid weather, skin allergies, and new materials in diapers that irritate sensitive skin. The old standby treatment has long been jellies such as Vaseline, but these still contain harsh ingredients that you may not want to rub on your baby’s skin. Consider natural alternatives such as a mix of kefir and coconut oil, a 50/50 solution of water and apple cider vinegar, or tea tree oil.

    Cradle Cap Remedy

    Cradle Cap’s proper name is seborrheic dermatitis. It can result from oil buildup, hormones, and even fungal activity. Not what you want on your little baby, right? Many doctors suggest using a dandruff shampoo to clear it up, but, if like many mothers you’d rather not use something so harsh on your baby’s head, there are alternatives. We recommend Erbaviva’s Organic Cradle Cap Oil. It’s as gentle as you can get for baby’s head, while remaining an effective and soothing treatment. Its ingredients include organic almond oil, organic safflower oil, organic rosemary extract, and organic essential oils.

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    Bath Time Bubbles

    When it comes to keeping your baby clean, there’s a dizzying array of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an organic wash, a soapless cleanser, or a 2-in-1 product, there’s something out there for every mom and baby. Many soaps are too harsh and can strip a baby’s skin of moisture, much like they do to adults. Look for products that are hypoallergenic and free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. The more natural power it can pack, the better. Many products have fruit derivatives and organic coconut or sunflower oils, which are perfect to sooth baby’s skin and retain its natural moisture. Don’t underestimate the power of aromatherapy. Look for organic products with scents like lavender, chamomile, or vanilla to help keep your baby calm and feeling soothed throughout bath time and beyond.

    Body Butter

    Adults aren’t the only ones who appreciate luxury moisturizer! A great organic body butter for baby can keep skin soothed and protected, preventing rashes and other skin irritations. If you’re not sure which direction to go, we recommend Erbaviva’s Baby Body Butter. Apply a small dab to the skin and watch as it melts with your baby’s natural body heat and glides over the skin, leaving it moisturized and protected. Using Fair Trade Cocoa Butter and being USDA Certified Organic, you can rest assured that this is one of the purest products on the market today. Lavender and Chamomile essential oils also combine to create a scent that is both nurturing and soothing for baby.

  • Why You Should Use Organic Body Wash

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    Everyone wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, very few of us are able to achieve that goal. This is primarily because many people are simply not aware of what it takes to live their lives in a healthy manner. It is not just about having a balanced diet or eating healthy food. A healthy lifestyle should cover every aspect of your daily life, including your personal hygiene. This is why organic body wash is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It is also an organ that often goes unnoticed. People simply don’t care enough about their skin to ensure that it is well maintained.


    Protecting Your Skin


    Lack of attention to skincare can lead to some terrible ramifications in the near future. Your skin protects the rest of the body from pollutants and germs. Hence, the onus is on you to make sure that your skin is protected from these contaminants. This cannot be achieved by simply using ordinary soap and water. You need to take your time in cleaning and cleansing your body thoroughly. If you can do that, you will be able to prevent a number of different illnesses that are contracted as a result of poor attention to skincare.


    The Need to Start Early


    The type of soap that you are using to cleanse your body can make a huge difference. This is why you are strictly advised against using soap that has a compromised quality. It is worth knowing that your skin regenerates much faster and more easily when it is young, as opposed to when it ages. This is why you should start using the very best skincare products from a very early age in your life. The sooner you start, the better are your chances of having healthy, soft, and supple skin. When you start young, you increase the probability of having beautiful, glowing skin for a very long period of time in your life.


    Organic Soap


    Regular water can be used to “clean” the skin, but it will do no good when it comes to cleansing. There is a significant difference between the two words. The water used has to be softened with soap. Essentially, soap is nothing more than a mixture of alkali with animal or plant fats.

    One of the common types of alkali that are used in soap is lye. Traditionally, lye was derived from wood ashes and rainwater. Back in the old days, the fat from which the soap was made came from whatever meat the users consumed. With the development of modern science, researchers have come up with alternatives to the natural ingredients with which soap was made. These synthetic equivalents have given rise to a wide variety of products in the body care industry.

    This does not mean that organic soaps offer no variety. You can create a number of different products with organic soap as well. The difference between these products and the others is that the organic ones are not filled with harmful chemicals. In addition to that, no animals are harmed during the production process of an organic soap.

     


    Organic Fragrances


    Perfumes are chemical cocktails with an alcohol base. These perfumes are included in the formula of soaps and lotions to make these products more aromatic and appealing. The alcohol in the soap tends to dry out the skin despite moisturizers being added to the host product. The moisturizers usually work on the surface of the skin, while the deeper layers get dried out by the presence of the alcohol.

    This is why organic fragrances in body washes and soaps are a much better option. They are extracted from the pure essential oils of well-known aromatic plants. They do not have the same drying effect on the skin as alcohol does. Moreover, our skin is better at absorbing organic moisturizers. In other words, these moisturizers are able to penetrate the deeper levels of the skin.


    Read the List of Ingredients


    You can find a wide variety of organic body wash products on the market today. The term organic has multiple meanings. Sometimes it is used to refer to products that do not contain any synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides or artificially modified ingredients. If you are not sure whether a particular product is organic or not, then your best option is to read through the list of ingredients. Buy organic body washes made with ingredients that are as close to their natural form as possible.

  • How Important Is It for Men to Exfoliate? 


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    It is usually quite difficult to convince men that they need to take good care of their skin. Most men are too obsessed with pulling off the perfect hairstyle and facial hair to even be bothered about paying their skin a bit of attention. Women are not the only ones who should be careful about the condition of their skin. If a man continues to ignore body care, then his looks are bound to deteriorate at some point in time. It is particularly important for men to take care of the skin on their face.

    Sometimes, using a face wash simply isn’t enough. You need something extra to rejuvenate your face and make it look lively. This is where an exfoliator proves to be really helpful. Some people may think that it is a little too excessive for men to use exfoliating scrubs, but that is usually not the case. There are a number of reasons why you should exfoliate during your daily routine. It goes without saying that the benefits of exfoliation are absolutely crucial in giving your face a fresh, new look every day. Here are a few perks of exfoliation that will make you feel the need to buy a face scrub:


    1) Makes Your Skin Smoother


    Men are not known for having smooth skin. However, that does not change the fact that it is still a highly desirable facial feature. For those of you who are not aware, the primary purpose of using an exfoliating face scrub is to “buff away” the dead cells that accumulate on the surface of your skin. Once these dead skin cells are removed, the fresh patch of skin underneath them is revealed in all its glory. If these dead skin cells are not removed, they lead to rough patches on your face. You may think that having rough skin on your face is very manly, but in reality it is not. If anything, it is quite unhealthy to let skin cells gather on your face. Exfoliation serves as a simple and easy way to achieving smoother, cleaner skin.

    2) Makes Your Morning Shave More Enjoyable


    Getting up in the morning to shave your facial hair is not exactly the most exciting thing to do in the world. It can also be quite annoying at times when things do go as imagined. For those of you who are frustrated with your daily shaving routine, it would be a great option to buy an exfoliating face scrub. This is because exfoliation removes the dead cells on the surface of the skin that make it difficult for your razor to seamlessly slice through your facial hair.

    The end result is a closer, more comfortable shave. Furthermore, if dead skin cells are not removed, they can clog up freshly shaved hair. This leads to the development of the horrible ingrown hairs.


    3) Prevents Breakouts


    Dead skin cells can be a real menace. People with oily skin that is vulnerable to acne should definitely resort to the use of exfoliating face scrubs. This is because the dead skin cells can clog up skin pores, reduce the size of pores, and increase the probability of breakouts. Exfoliation ensures that the breakouts are reduced to a minimum. 


    4) Hides Wrinkles and Fine Lines


    Aging definitely takes its toll on your body, especially your face. You may not be able to roll back the years, but you can definitely suppress the unwanted effects of aging. The most common indicators of aging are wrinkles and fine lines on your face. An exfoliating scrub is not exactly the perfect substitute to an anti-aging product. However, it does contribute significantly to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is one of the handiest tools that you will ever use in your battle against Father Time. Make sure that you use an exfoliating scrub alongside a proper anti-aging product for the best results.


    5) Works Well with Other Skincare Products


    Skincare products work best when they complement one another. Exfoliating scrubs have a knack of doing just that. They are known to enhance the effectiveness of other skin care products that are currently being used by an individual. It does not just improve your overall complexion. By alleviating the buildup of dead skin cells, exfoliating scrubs allow useful skincare products to penetrate the skin. Examples of these products include moisturizers, serums, and toners. In simpler words, regular exfoliation removes the roadblock and allows other products to work their magic on your skin.

  • The Real Difference between Natural, Organic, and Non-Toxic Beauty Products

    Over the last ten years, the demand for organic, natural, and non-toxic products has risen exponentially. The biggest consumer demand is in the food sector, with stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s leading the way toward more wholesomely farmed and gathered food. However, the demand for products untainted with synthetic chemicals and compounds is bleeding out into the world at large as well.

    In the cosmetic industry, consumers want more natural health and beauty products, and they have every right to demand them; the beauty industry is rife with synthetic chemicals, many of which are also used in industrial manufacturing to make pesticides more stable, and degrease
    warehouse and factory floors. Obviously, a compound that is used to clean the caked grease on production lines probably shouldn’t be used on your face.

    The problem is compounded because cosmetic products are used so frequently. Day in and day out, people apply these beauty products onto their skin, often around already sensitive areas like eyes. Over time, the hazardous chemicals will leak into and build up in your bloodstream, leading to a myriad of negative health effects.

    Part of the problem with having so many chemicals in the products is researchers aren’t really sure of their effects. In the United States, over 80,000 chemicals are approved for commercial use, but the EPA has only analyzed the health risks of 570 over the last 30 years. Loopholes in federal law give the personal care industry the bility to inject thousands of chemicals and damaging compounds into health and beauty care products.

    To avoid the damaging effects of these chemicals, it’s a good idea to start making the switch to more wholesome beauty products. Before you do, however, you have to educate yourself on the natural, organic, and non-toxic beauty industry. In this post, we’re going to give you an in-depth look at alternative skin care products, as well as go over some key terminology you’ll have to know before you make the jump.

    What Does “Natural” Mean?

    The short answer? Not much. Legally, the term means nothing and doesn’t imply a higher degree of regulation. All manufacturers have to do is include a few—like a very few—natural ingredients, and they can slap the label on their products. “Natural” products can contain up to 30 percent synthetic compounds, so you’re still getting potentially hazardous chemicals on your skin. If you look at the product’s label, and it’s full of ingredients like red #11, ethyl acetate, or nitrocellulose, and the only ingredient you can pronounce is way down at the bottom of the list,
    then the product really can’t be deemed natural in any way.

    However, you do need to be aware of the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients’ (INCI) Latin names or various products. The names—like sodium cocoate for coconut oil—may look like they are synthetic ingredients, but, in reality, they are all-natural and should be much safer to use on your skin.

    You also need to be aware that many “synthetic” ingredients can be derived from natural compounds, but, because they go through so much processing, these end up being much more toxic than the initial ingredient. For example, the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Cosmetics Database classifies sodium laureth sulfate as a skin irritant which has also been linked to organ toxicity. As a consumer, you should definitely avoid this product, but it is processed from coconut oil, which means companies can label any product with sodium laureth sulfate as atural.”

    In short, think deeper than the marketing ploy of “All-Natural,” and analyze every ingredient before you buy.

    What Does Organic Mean?

    As opposed to “All-Natural” or “Natural,” labeling a product as organic means there are strict regulatory guidelines that are enforceable in court. Every “Organic” product will have an accompanying label printed on the packaging. In most cases, the label will be a circular logo that says “USDA Organic.” If it doesn’t, and the company is still calling their product organic, then they will most likely be in serious trouble pretty soon.

    If the logo is there, it means that a percentage of the ingredients are organic. What does organic mean? It means that each ingredient was grown, harvested, and processed according to a strict cleanliness code that forbids the use of pesticides or fertilizers, as well as the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    There are three levels of organic certification: if a product claims it is “100 percent organic,” then that means every single ingredient was produced according to good organic manufacturing standards. A product can also be labeled “organic,” which means that at least 95 percent of all the ingredients are organic. Or, a product could be labeled “made with organic ingredients,”
    which means that at least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic.

    Besides the USDA organic certification, there are four other programs that claim to measure the “naturalness” of personal care products in the United States. All four are in use today: one is the Natural Products Association qualification, which puts a logo of a green leaf on all the products it deems to be organic. Another certification is Whole Foods’ Premium Body Care Label, which is a green-and-blue sprout sticker.

    The NSF 305 logo is another certification label, which came into use after the two above. It’s logo is a circle and a leaf, with the acronym NSF in the center. When the organization started in 1994, it stood for the National Sanitation Foundation, but, because their mission expanded to include responsibilities beyond sanitation, the acronym doesn’t stand for anything anymore. The Oasis Seal is the final organic certification logo, and it features a stylized circle with the acronym OASIS printed in the middle. OASIS stands for “Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards.”

    It’s important to understand that the organic standards between each label are not always the same. What is considered organic under OASIS labeling may not be the same under the USDA’s. So, always check that each product is organic enough for you. Of course, just because a product isn’t labeled organic doesn’t mean it isn’t; the certification programs are very new, and the standards can still be somewhat confusing, so many companies just haven’t decided how (or through what certification program) to get certified.

    But don’t get discouraged. Every one of the above labels at least makes gestures toward good sustainability practices. All of the certifications promote organic agriculture, which, for the most part, is much more sustainable than conventional farming. So, by choosing to go organic, you’re probably reducing your environmental footprint.

    What Does Non-Toxic Mean?

    The term “non-toxic” is a relatively new term, and, just like its cousins “Natural” and “All-Natural,” it is just a marketing ploy. By putting the “non-toxic” label on products, companies are saying that they have left out ingredients and compounds that have been proven to have toxic effects in humans, like cancer, neuro-disruption, hormone disruption, or death. So, the bar is set pretty low; as long as an ingredient won’t kill you or lead to a horribly destructive adrenal disease, then “non-toxic” is perfectly okay to put on the label.

    The Federal Hazardous Substances Act defines toxic products as ones which can cause illness and/or personal injury to humans when they are swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Additionally, a product is considered toxic if it produces long-term effects, like birth defects, cancer, or neurotoxicity. The Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the agency responsible for enforcing the act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, don’t define the term “non-toxic.” Therefore, some companies might assume that an ingredient is non-toxic if it
    doesn’t fall under the definition of toxic as described by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

    But, a chemical cannot meet the definition of “toxic,” as laid out by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and still be harmful. Toxicologists classify the acute toxicity of chemicals along a spectrum, rather than rating them as toxic or non-toxic. A commonly used scale rates substances on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being super-toxic and 1 being non-toxic. Substances that are considered toxic by the Consumer Product Safety Commission generally fall in the 3, 4, or higher range. So, if the substances in a product fall below this threshold, they could be labeled as non-toxic, even though they are still toxic to some extent.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission also classifies a substance as chronically toxic if it contains a probable or known human neurotoxin, carcinogen, or developmental toxicant. However, as we mentioned above, of the 80,000 chemicals allowed in consumer products, only

    570 have been analyzed for their health effects over the last thirty years. That means that the majority of substances haven’t been tested, and we don’t know what their health effects are.

    To sum it up, the label “non-toxic” is pretty meaningless. It doesn’t mean the product is necessarily healthy or good for you, or not damaging. In fact, because we don’t know what the effects are of the majority of the chemicals, “non-toxic” products could potentially be more dangerous. If you can, it’s best to avoid “non-toxic” beauty products.

    Harmful Chemicals
    Commonly Found in Beauty Products

    Triclosan

    If you’ve ever used an antibacterial soap, then you’ve run into triclosan, though it’s also used in toothpastes and deodorants to stop bacteria and mold growth. Technically, triclosan is a pesticide, and can have deleterious effects on your body’s hormone system. It also may limit breast growth and development, as well as contribute to the increasingly dangerous resistance of bacteria to antimicrobial agents.

    Phthalates

    Phthalates are nasty little chemicals that disrupt your endocrine system. They can be found in nail polish and synthetic fragrances, whether that is in perfumes, or in fragrance ingredients in other products. Phthalates have been shown to initiate early puberty for women, which puts them at a greater risk for breast cancer later on. Phthalates can also behave like estrogen in certain situations, which can throw off humans’ natural hormone balance.

    Parabens

    Parabens are compounds that are typically used as antifungal agents, and antimicrobial and preservatives in ointments, creams, lotions, underarm deodorants, and many other types of cosmetic products. They are directly absorbed through the skin and have been linked to breast tumors.

    1,4-dioxane

    You won’t ever find 1,4-dioxane on a product’s ingredient label. It’s still there, though, and is produced during the manufacturing process of children’s bath products, body wash, shampoos, and many other products used to create suds. The National Toxicology Program has classified it as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled it a possible carcinogen.

    1,3-butadiene

    Any product, like spray sunscreens, foundations, anti-fungal medication, or shaving creams, that uses isobutene as a propellant may be contaminated with 1,3-butadiene. Exposure to the contaminant usually occurs through inhalation, and it has been linked to mammary tumors.

    Ethylene Oxide

    Ethylene oxide is usually used to sterilize surgical instruments. However, it is also used in the production of shampoos and body washes as a buffering agent against other harsher chemicals. Unfortunately, some of it often gets left behind in the product. Ethylene oxide is labeled a known human carcinogen and is among the 51 chemicals that the National Toxicology Program classifies as mammary carcinogens in mammals.

    Placental Extract

    Yes, we’re talking about placentas. Placental extract is taken from animal or human placentas and added to shampoos and conditioners, especially products geared toward women of color. Progesterone, which is the major compound found in placental extract, has been classified by the National Toxicology Program as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.

    Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

    You can find polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons naturally in crude oil, coal, and gasoline. Coal tar is used in the production of some shampoos and cosmetics, and so they may contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons have been demonstrated to cause an increased risk for breast cancer.

    Sunscreen

    You might want to stop and think before you put on that non-organic sunscreen. Sunscreens often contain estrogenic chemicals that can interfere with your body’s natural hormonal processes, as well as increase the risk for breast cancer and other disorders.

    Lead

    Lead is one of the most ubiquitous substances in beauty products. There are estimates that lead may contaminate over 650 different types cosmetic products, like sunscreen, nail colors, foundation, whitening toothpaste, and lipsticks. Almost everyone knows that lead is extremely unhealthy for you; it’s a guaranteed neurotoxin, and it has been linked to behavioral, language, and learning problems. It’s also been shown to lead to miscarriages, reduced fertility in both men and women, and puberty delays in girls.

  • Body Wash vs. Bar Soap: Which One Should You Use? 


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    There was a time when people would use nearly identical bathing products in the United States. As the years passed by, manufacturers came up with new, innovative products that gave consumers more interesting options. Despite the numerous brands and types of products that you can find on the market, it would be fair to say that all bathing products can be basically categorized into two groups. You can either use the body wash when taking a bath or rely on the conventional bar soap.

    As a consumer, it is important for you to know the differences between the two products so that you can make an informed decision at the time of the purchase. These products are used to cleanse 90% of your body. Hence, you wouldn’t want to make the wrong decision. The simplest and most effective way of understanding which product is more suitable for your body is by comparing the two on the basis of the most important criteria for a bathing product. In other words, you should pit the body wash and the bar soap head-to-head in a range of performance categories to find out the product that is more deserving of a spot on your shower ledge.


    1) Skincare


    It is commonly believed that bar soaps have the potential to dry out your skin. This is not true for all kinds of bar soaps. There are plenty of them that can moisturize your skin. In fact, a majority of the high-end bar soaps are just as hydrating as the high quality body washes that you can find on the market. These bar soaps are enriched with moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, aloe vera, and botanical oils. Therefore, when it comes to skincare, bar soaps and body washes are pretty much equals.


    2) Ease of Use


    Most people would side with the bar soap in this performance category. All you have to do is remove the packaging and start rubbing the bar soap on your skin. You keep using the soap until it completely disappears. Some people might say that it becomes quite difficult to hold on to a slippery bar soap or pick it up once it falls on the ground. However, rubbing the soap is still an easier thing to do than constantly pushing body wash out of a container. As a result, the bar soap is the clear winner in this round of the competition.


    3) Portability


    Portability of the bathing product is very important to people who are always on the move. If you travel a lot, you would want to bring your bathing products along with you, especially if you don’t trust the hotels where you will be staying at. A bar soap is unlikely to explode in your carry-on. However, moving around from one location to the other with a wet bar soap can be quite troublesome and embarrassing. This is why the travel-size body wash was invented. It is without a doubt the best option when it comes to traveling.


    4) Space Usage


    If you have a huge bathroom all to yourself, then space usage is probably not an issue for you. However, there are many consumers who have to share a tiny bathroom space. Whoever is sharing the bathroom with you will not appreciate the sight of the entire shower ledge space occupied by your bathing product. Under these circumstances, it makes more sense to fit a bar soap in the specially built wall soap unit instead of placing a huge bottle of body wash on the shower ledge. Seems like the bar soap has a 2-1 advantage in the competition so far.


    5) Cost-Effectiveness


    This depends a lot on the kind of product that you would prefer to purchase. But, in general, it is fair to say that you have a lot more control on the amount of body wash that you squirt out, as compared to the amount of soap that diminishes during every shower session.


    6) Hygiene


    This one is going to surprise you quite a bit. It was previously believed that the surface of the bar soap is a breeding ground for germs. Recent studies disprove this age-old belief. There is very little risk in using a bar soap, even if it has been used by someone else. On the other hand, the loofahs and wash cloths used to apply body wash are known to contain a significant amount of bacteria and mold. Once again, the bar soap edges ahead at 3-2 in the competition.


    7) Usability


    It feels great to use a freshly unpacked bar of soap. The smooth and firm texture along with the blissful aroma overwhelms you for the first few days. As the bar soap gets smaller, it loses its charm. By the end of the product’s lifespan, it becomes nearly unusable. The body wash, on the other hand, stays fresh pretty much until the end.


    The Final Verdict


    After seven rounds of intense competition, it looks like we have a tie on our hands. It is a little too close to call. Both products are great for your body. Your ultimate selection will depend entirely on your personal preferences and requirements.

  • 4 Most Common Skincare Mistakes People Make



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    Having great skin is like having money. Everybody wants it, but most people are not willing to work hard enough for it. There are some people who are blessed with marvelous skin from birth. However, even those people have to follow a certain skincare routine to make sure that their skin quality does not deteriorate over time. Some people like to take skincare shortcuts by relying on one or two synthetic skincare products that guarantee success. But that’s the wrong approach. Your entire skincare routine cannot be based on a single product. You need a collection of the finest skincare products to ensure that your skin stays radiant, beautiful, and fresh throughout the day.

    One of the main reasons why people are unhappy with the results they receive from their skincare products is because they do not know enough about skincare to choose the correct product. Lack of knowledge combined with widespread misconceptions has made it very easy for people to make silly skincare mistakes.

    You could be the person making these mistakes. If you are, then that is completely understandable, but it is time for you to make a change and rectify those mistakes. Before you start doing that, you need to first familiarize yourself with the most common skincare mistakes that people make.


    1) Using Too Many or Too Few Products


    Using too many products could potentially lead to skin damage. Using only one or two products could prove to be ineffective. Essentially, there are four types of products that you need to purchase to take good care of your skin. This includes a cleanser, a moisturizer, a toner and an exfoliator. You should also avoid using a single product in excess. For example, there is no point in using too much acne treatment, as it can lead to more severe breakouts.

    While we are discussing ill effects of excess usage, it is worth noting that it is harmful to use too much of exfoliating facial scrub. A good skin care product is absorbed directly into the skin. In other words, the products come into direct contact with the affected area. As a result, a small amount of the product is enough to fix your skin problem. This rule is applicable for body lotions as well. Even though you are smearing your entire body with the lotion, there is no need to use too much on any one particular area of the body.


    2) Not Wearing Sun Protection


    The sun can be both beneficial and harmful for your skin, depending on how you choose to expose it. Too much exposure will lead to wrinkles and sun spots, which are caused by the UV rays of the sun. In certain extreme cases,  it can also lead to skin cancer. This is why you should never forget to put on sunscreen when heading outdoors during a scorching hot day in summer.

    The sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from sun poisoning, sun burns, wrinkles, and a host of other skin-related medical complications. If you are staying outdoors for an extensive period of time, you should re-apply the sun block after every two hours. It is also worth mentioning that a good pair of sunglasses should be worn along with the sun protection so that your fragile eyes remain protected.


    3) Being Inconsistent and Impatient


    We currently live in a generation where people seek instant results and gratification. This is something that you cannot achieve with body care products. Your body takes time to react to the action of the products that you have applied. Expecting overnight changes is nothing but wishful thinking. Some people are too impatient to stick with a moisturizer or a wrinkle cream. Once they don’t notice any positive results within the first couple of days, they tend to discard the product and replace it with a new one.

    Constant switching of skincare products can cause havoc in your skin. The key to skincare is consistency. You need to find products that suit your skin the best and place your faith in them. Give them time, and they will soon prove to you why they are worth the price that you paid for them.

    You can use all the moisturizer you want, but a lack of water in your digestive system will have a drying effect on your skin. In fact, a sufficient quantity of water is needed daily to regulate the rate of metabolism in your body. By drinking plenty of water, you allow your body to flush out dirt, toxins, and bacteria from the skin more efficiently.

  • 4 Essential Steps to Keeping Your Skin Fresh, Radiant, and Beautiful

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    The face or the facial skin is the first thing that people notice when they look at you. The way you take care of your facial skin will go a long way toward determining the kind of first impression that you leave upon people. If you are inattentive about skincare, then people are going to assume that your sense of personal hygiene is not very strong. You will probably look tired, exhausted, and worn out in front of people, which will give them the idea that you are a lethargic individual. On the other hand, if you step outside your home with beautiful, radiant, and smooth skin, people will instantly admire your appearance. They will find it easier to approach you and will feel a lot more comfortable talking to you.

    Taking care of the skin is important for cosmetic reasons, as well as for avoiding the increasing signs of aging, acne, or blemishes. Applying skincare products once in a blue moon is not going to be of much help when it comes to making your skin glow. You need to be a little more proactive. Specifically speaking, you need to come up with a complete skincare routine. Any good skincare routine has four very important steps. You require diligence, determination, and dedication to carry out all four of these steps on a regular basis. If you are successful, your skin will appear young, vibrant, firm, and healthy.


    1) Cleansing


    This is your first step to maintaining a healthy skin. Most people clean their face or wash it once a day at the least. This is a step that you cannot ignore under any circumstances. You do not have an excuse to not splash a bit of water on your face after you come home at the end of the day. This is literally the least bit of effort that you can put into daily skincare. The reason why it is so important to clean your face with water every day is because it removes the dirt, grease, grime, dust, and extra oil in the skin to a certain extent.

    That being said, wetting the face is not enough. You need to get your hands on a good facial cleanser that can be applied both on the face and the neck. Do not be hasty when applying the cleanser. You need to take your time and massage the cleanser gently on your skin. Leave the cleanser on your face and neck for about a couple of minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Use a soft washcloth or cotton wool towel to wipe the moisture off your face. You should look for organic cleansers that contain no harmful chemicals.


    2) Toning


    This is the next step in the skincare routine. Facial toners are useful in alleviating dirt, grease, or excess cleanser that has been left behind as residue on your face. It basically removes all traces of contaminants that you wouldn’t want on your face. Some people like to use a toner on a daily basis, although you are not required to do so. If you think your cleanser has done enough, then you can pass on the toner. As a rule of the thumb, use the toner during the morning facial routine.


    3) Exfoliation


    This is an essential part of the skincare routine, and one that is often ignored. For some people, using an exfoliating face scrub is a little too much to handle. These people are clearly not aware of how important it is to exfoliate your skin from time to time. The purpose of exfoliation is to basically alleviate the dead skin cells that gather on your face. Even though the body does get rid of the dead skin cells eventually, using an exfoliating scrub speeds up the process considerably. Exfoliation is something that should not be done too often. Do not make it a daily routine. Applying a face scrub three times a week should be good enough for any skin.


    4) Moisturizing


    The ill effects of not moisturizing your skin cannot be stressed enough. Simply put, if you do not moisturize your skin, it will dry out. Dry skin is very susceptible to damage. If the skin remains dry long enough, you are eventually going to notice cracks, fine lines, and wrinkles on your skin. Your skin will also lose its radiance and glow. Make sure that you buy an organic moisturizer so that your skin is not exposed to detrimental synthetic chemicals.

  • How to Get Rid of the Mask of Pregnancy without Harsh Chemicals

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    Melasma is a skin condition marked by a skin darkening on the face – particularly the forehead and cheeks. It’s associated with hormonal changes. When these hormonal causes occur during pregnancy, it’s called chloasma, otherwise known as the mask of pregnancy. It’s so common that 50% to 70% of pregnant women develop it in their first or second trimesters. According to an old wives’ tale, if a pregnant woman developed the mask of pregnancy, she would have a boy, if she didn’t, she would have a girl. Women taking oral birth control, those taking hormone replacement therapy, and women in menopause can experience melasma as well.

    Causes, Characteristics, and Prevention

    While melasma can be caused by sun exposure, sun damage, hypothyroidism, and certain medications, deodorant soaps, toiletries, and cosmetics, chloasma – pregnancy mask – comes from hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy and from contraceptives, hormone replacement, and IUDs or implants.

    Chloasma can show up as freckle-type spots and flat patches of brown pigmentation that can take on different patterns: cheeks and nose; cheeks and jawline; or forehead, cheeks, and nose. The hyperpigmentation of chloasma is most often associated with the female hormone progesterone. The condition generally begins to fade within weeks after childbirth.

    There is no way to prevent chloasma; you can only hope to contain it. Women with a family history of chloasma, or who are darker skinned to begin with, are more likely to experience it. It tends to get more prominent with each pregnancy; sun exposure exacerbates it, and medications and cosmetics that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight also make it darker.

    Make sure you’re taking prenatal vitamins and eating foods rich in folic acid like green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, and whole-grain cereals (folate deficiency is associated with hyperpigmentation). Wear organic SPF 30+ sunscreen during the day every day and reapply every 20 minutes. Also, stay in the shade or covered up as much as you can. Avoid cosmetics and soaps with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Stick to organic deodorants, skin and hair care, and cosmetics.

    Over-the-Counter, Prescription, and Natural Treatments

    One topical therapy is melatonin inhibitors. Hydroquinone is the drug of choice; it acts as a skin bleaching agent. Use a 2% to 4% cream at night for two to four months. Beyond that, prolonged use may cause a different skin condition that leaves bluish gray discoloration. Other popular topical treatments are prescription retinoids like Retin-A and Retinova, and prescription tretinoin creams. None of these over-the-counter or prescription treatments may be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

    New topical and oral agents are being tested that have shown promise. They include arbutin (from berries), licorice extract, rosehip, and resveratrol. Organic dark spot removers that are free of chemical lighteners and bleaching agents rely on a mix of aloe, bayberry, licorice, and other natural ingredients that work together. Another organic product made specifically for reducing the appearance of chloasma and other pigmentation problems is a rosehip exfoliator. These organic products are 100% natural, but check with your midwife or doctor anyway.

    Home Remedies for Chloasma

    The go-to home remedy for lightening chloasma is apple cider vinegar. Dab some on the affected areas twice daily to gradually lighten the skin. Lemon juice is another popular choice, but you really have to be diligent about staying out of the sun with this one. Dab freshly squeezed lemon juice on the affected areas twice daily. You can also try aloe gel or fresh aloe vera on the discolored areas. Other home remedies like horseradish and essential oils are not recommended because of possible side effects during pregnancy. As with everything you put in or on your body while pregnant, check with your doctor or midwife first.

    Other Things to Try for The Mask

    Relaxation techniques like meditation, Lamaze breathing, or Yoga may indirectly lessen the effects of chloasma. Stress has a big impact on hormones, so controlling stress may also help manage your hormonal imbalance, aka your progesterone surges that are producing chloasma. Like wearing sunblock every day, it’s something you can add to your routine that will be helpful, but not a cure.

    Honestly, none of the home remedies are going to work overnight, especially while you’re still in the throes of pregnancy hormonal imbalance. It’s like digging a hole in dry sand – hard to see progress. What you can do to make yourself feel better, if your chloasma is bothering you, is wear concealer or makeup. Make sure you use organic concealer to avoid harsh chemicals that may affect your baby.

    Once baby is born, and you’re done with breastfeeding, you can take a more direct approach if your chloasma hasn’t faded as much as you’d like. Until then – organic sunscreen, skin care, and makeup are your friends.

  • New Makeup Tricks for the Older You That Give a Modern Look

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    The objective of makeup should always be to enhance your beauty no matter what stage of life you happen to be in at the moment. Whether you’re struggling with post-adolescent acne, the mask of pregnancy, dark circles under your eyes, or matching your skin color to your new gray hair, you should always go with the most natural approach possible. Makeup routines that follow the path of least resistance enhance the real you and don’t take hours to do. So skip the age-defying hype, and embrace your natural beauty.

    Foundation

    Start your natural fresh-faced look with a tinted moisturizer. Your tinted moisturizer should be something for mature skin that hydrates and provides a smooth, translucent finish, leaving your skin protected and looking natural. Apply it with either a brush or your fingertips, and blend it well for a nice finish.

    Put a touch of concealer under your eyes near your nose, and pat it out to the outside of your under eye. As women age, light reflection under the eyes makes it look too white, and concealer evens out the darkness of the inner corner of your eye with these white areas underneath. Choose a very light, sheer concealer, and don’t use too much.

    To add a hint of color to cheeks, use a sheer cream blush that blends into your tinted moisturizer and gives you a dewy, natural glow. Stroke the tint with your fingers, and blend it over your whole cheek upward and outward toward your ears. You shouldn’t have two discernable circles of color on your cheeks, but instead a translucent glow that’s blended around the edges.

    Eyes

    Enhance your eyes by first adding a touch of color to your eyelids. Choose something light like a soft mauve or pink, and apply lightly from your lid almost to your brow. Layer a bit darker colored shadow like a cappuccino along the outer half of the eye crease and the outer edge of the lid to add more color. Be sure to blend it completely so there are no lines.

    To define your eyes and give you a polished look, use eyeliner. Take your liner pencil in black, navy, coppery brown, deep purple, or a sapphire blue. Make a thin line at the base of the upper eyelashes and blend it with Q-Tip. Start at the outside of your lower lid and add a few dots from your colored pencil as well; blend it halfway along your bottom lid. Add a natural mascara that lengthens and conditions your lashes at the same time, using 100% pure fruit pigment in black tea. It’s long-lasting and waterproof, and is suitable for sensitive eyes.

    For eyebrows that look well-defined, yet natural, fill them in with short strokes of an eyebrow pencil turned on its side, and blend with an eyebrow brush. The idea is to make the most of your thinning or graying brows without giving them a drawn-on appearance. You just want them filled in and defined. Other ways of approaching this are brushing them with a tinted eyebrow gel or dyeing them. Even with gray hair, eyebrows will need to be at least light brown to look defined.

    Lips

    Stay away from contrasting lip liners. What was once all the rage will make you look dated today. If you want a clean, modern look, you can line your lips with a nude pencil to give definition. Be sure to blend and pat the color into your lips so they don’t appear lined. Fill in your lips in with a color that enhances your skin tones.

    For lip color, depending on your shade of gray – if you’ve allowed your hair to gray – harsh colors like vibrant reds may prove to be too much, but don’t be afraid of color entirely. Moisturizing lip color in subtle shades of mauve, rose, pink, rust, or coral glide on effortlessly and add just the right amount of pop and brighten your smile. Add a dab of gloss to make lips shine.

    Embrace the natural beauty of aging and continue to let your vibrant look shine through. There are plenty of beauty tip resources for women of all ages on the Internet, so you won’t have trouble finding step-by-step directions for whatever it is you want to learn. Choosing organic skin care and makeup products will offer the subtle beauty enhancement that you deserve, while loving your skin as much as you do.

    What tips and tricks have you found to bring out your natural beauty?

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