Tag Archives: Beauty Products

Wellness Living That’s Good for the Planet

Child Tending Broken Baby Seedling free creative commons

We all know the health of our planet takes a daily beating from us. A few of today’s major environmental problems include water contamination, air pollution, soil depletion, overflowing landfills, and global warming – all influenced by conventional industrialized production and our daily routines. While none of us want to give up our modern conveniences, there are ways that you (yes, I’m talking to you!) can decrease the toxins that enter your body, support the wellness of the planet, and entice businesses to do the same – all without quitting your day job.

  • Check Wellness & Beauty Product Labels: Today, chemicals and additives are in practically everything, including common products you put on your body, face, and hair. Unfortunately, many of these products contain petroleum-based ingredients, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and pesticides – all ingredients linked to a host of health problems including skin issues, hormone problems, endocrine disturbances, allergies, liver/kidney damage, and cancer. These nasty chemicals and side effects not only affect you, but they contaminate the fresh water supply and contribute to environmental issues. One easy solution is to start incorporating natural health and beauty products such as shea butter, essential oils, herbs, and beauty supporting foods for your skin and hair into your routine. Also, the next time you plan to buy commercial beauty and wellness products (sunscreens, face creams, lotions, etc), be sure to check the ingredients for harmful chemicals and additives before you buy. If you don’t like what you find, consider switching to products with less or no chemicals or additives.
  • Opt for Organic: I know it’s practically impossible to choose organic food, beauty, and wellness products all the time (hopefully one day it won’t be!). For now, make an effort to buy the organic option as much as possible. You don’t want to expose yourself to the harmful effects of pesticides that include birth defects, nerve damage, hormone changes, headaches, and cancer. Luckily, one of our modern conveniences is the Internet, which is a great place to find organic products (often less expensive than brick and mortar stores) and get them delivered directly to your door. Not only is organic the way to go for your body’s health, it’s better for the environment too. Those same ingredients you and your family should be avoiding, the Earth’s soil and water don’t want either.
  • Choose BPA Free Water Bottles (and other products): Part of wellness living involves drinking plenty of quality water. However, if you’re still using plastic bottles, you could be exposed to a harmful chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is in most plastic bottles (including baby bottles) and the harmful toxin leaches into the water when the bottles are exposed to heat from the sun (a common occurrence). Exposure to BPA is linked to endocrine system disruptions, reproductive problems, heart disease, and diabetes. Additionally, plastic bottles are terrible for the environment as they take an average of 450 years to decompose (and some never do). The best way to limit your risk to BPA and decrease waste in our landfills is to use a reusable, BPA free water bottle. Many companies are also eliminating BPA from their packaging and products – choosing these companies’ products is a great way to avoid BPA’s harmful effects.
  • Support Conscious Companies that Focus on Sustainability: It’s vital that you support companies that consider the health of the planet in their business decisions. For example, in addition to understanding the health risks to consumers, a conscious company might choose to produce organic products out of concern for water contamination, destruction of wildlife, and the worldwide increase in soil erosion. We need more companies like these, and not only do you support them when you purchase their products, but you support them by sharing your experiences with others. It’s easy to do – if you love a product or company tell your family, friends, co-workers, and mention it on your social media sites. Word of mouth and personal experience is huge to creating conscious consumers who make purchasing decisions that are not only good for them, but also good for the environment. This leads to more companies creating organic, chemical free products that align with your personal health and environmental values.

These four wellness living tips give you tremendous power to enhance your health, share health with others, and help combat global environmental issues that we all contribute to. You may be one person, but your daily actions and choices do matter and make a difference in the world.

What ways do you practice wellness living that’s good for the planet? Share in the comments below. 

3 Easy Ways to Green Your Health for Summer

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 12.39.58 PMIf you’re like most people, a little voice inside your head has probably been telling you for a while that it’s time to get back to a more natural way of living and take a more serious look at the toxins in your everyday life. Even so, you may feel confused about the simple, practical things you can do to minimize your exposure and maximize not only your health, but your contribution to a cleaner planet.

What if I told you that making small, simple changes in your everyday routine could make a huge impact on your health and well-being, as well as the health of our planet?

Studies are coming out frequently about how everyday chemicals in our bodies are resulting in health problems like learning disabilities, autism, cancer and infertility. Often, the impact chemicals have doesn’t show up for decades, like with tobacco, for example. What is also unclear is what happens inside our bodies when we come into contact with different chemicals from lots of different sources. What are the risks for us and our children? Don’t wait to find out! You can do something today, right in your own home. Become aware of what goes IN you, what goes ON you, and what SURROUNDS you.

IN You: Your drinking water

If you think the water coming out of your tap is clean and health-giving … you’d be mistaken. In 2008, an investigation by the Associated Press showed that America’s tap water is contaminated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including antibiotics, pain medications, antidepressants and sex hormones “in significant quantities.” Scientists are concerned that, even in small concentrations, these drugs could harm us over time because water is consumed in such large amounts every day. Our bodies may be able to deal with a big one-time dose of a chemical, but if a small amount is consumed continuously over years … no one really knows what can happen to our health.

Green Tip #1:
Play it safe: Buy a water filter and fill up your own reusable metal or glass water bottles at home. Get off plastic bottles. 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles used in the U.S. become garbage or end up in a landfill, contributing to global warming.

(To check your local water quality, go to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s site at www.nrdc.org and then go to “What’s on Tap”? You should be able to access your community’s Annual Quality Report, or you can ask your water utility company for a copy of its annual water quality report.)

ON You: Your personal care products

Most of us use at least 10 cosmetic and personal care products a day and according to the Environmental Working Group, people apply an average of 126 unique ingredients to their skin daily. No one really knows what happens in our bodies when we repeatedly expose ourselves to minute amounts of synthetic chemicals from a variety sources. Another way to absorb chemicals in our personal care products is through the mouth. When a drug like nitroglycerine is administered for a heart condition, it is given under the tongue for fast absorption. So are natural homeopathic remedies. So what happens with your toothpaste?

Green Tip #2:
Switch one thing you use most often in your bathroom. Your toothpaste, for example.
Chemicals like fluoride, saccharin, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), triclosan and acetylpyridium chloride are in there. Switch to a natural brand that doesn’t contain these chemicals.

SURROUNDS You: Your household cleaners

If you’ve ever walked down the household-cleanser aisle at the market and your eyes began to burn or your nose became irritated, it’s because common cleaning products contain chemicals that can be more dangerous than the germs themselves. Every time your children roll around on the carpet or your pets lick crumbs off the floor, they are being exposed to noxious chemicals. Don’t make the assumption that if it’s on the grocery shelf it’s been tested and is safe. Most of us, unwittingly, buy products for our home with ingredients that are either poorly studied, not studied at all, or are known to pose potentially serious health risks. Of the roughly 17,000 chemicals found in common household products, only 3 in 10 have been tested for their effects on human health. Why? Because the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not require manufacturers to test household cleaning products before they appear on store shelves.

Green Tip #3:
Use hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and baking soda to clean your home. Fill one spray bottle with a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide and a second one with vinegar. Spray one right after the other. Use it to wipe kill salmonella and bacteria on counter tops, appliances, and cutting boards. Do the same for the shower to kill bacteria and viruses. Use baking soda instead of commercial abrasive cleaners. Put it in a grated cheese container made of glass with a stainless steel top that has holes in it, and just sprinkle it on the surfaces and scrub.

***

Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom®, is a syndicated radio talk show host, former president and co-owner of The Learning Annex, Certified Build It Green® healthy home makeover specialist, and holistic health educator, who eliminated a sizable tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery. She’s author of the bestseller, “Super Natural Home,” endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Ralph Nader, Peter Coyote, and Dr. Joe Mercola. Visit her at www.supernaturalmom.com 

Originally published December 2011

Chia Seeds Take Over the World!

chiaheart-article-chia-seedsWe’re declaring it: Chia seeds are the new avocado.

The formerly obscure seeds beloved by ancient civilizations are now a superfood staple of modern urbanities. Lauded for their omega 3s, fiber, and protein, chia seeds are fast becoming a culinary darling among healthy types. Warning: If you haven’t been offered a chia smoothie yet, your chia-free days are numbered.

And it’s not just the seed form that people are flipping for. Chia seeds are now found in nearly every section of the grocery store—including the beauty aisle. You can find chia bars, chia oil, and chilled chia snacks. Innovative chefs are adding it to their menus—witness the Chia Seed Muffin, one of Pain Quotidien’s most popular bakery items (which online recipe writers love to try to replicate). Just how did this happen?

HISTORY

Chia’s got a rich history, starting with its pre-Colombian past as a food that fueled Aztec warriors. And, in Born to Run, Christopher MacDougall explains how the long-distance Tarahumara runners of Mexico chowed on chia. The backstory lent itself to awesome possibility—and marketing with mass appeal.

WHO IS CHIA FOR?

Chia’s a shape-shifter of the Safeway and a chameleon of the Kroger. (And if you don’t see them in those groceries, it’s just a matter of minutes.) It’s got a masculine or sporty side (Health Warrior bars) and a feminine side (Mama Chia beverages and squeezable Vitality Snacks). Both call to the marathon-running athlete and the health-conscious woman working marathon hours. And in between, there’s a healthy, culinary middle range. More on that in a minute.

NUTRITION PROFILE

Chia shotsChia’s nutrient density—high omega 3s, loads of fiber (5g per serving), and nice bump of protein (3g)—and its capacity to expand (and become a tad gelantinous like tapioca) provide stamina, endurance, and a feeling of satiety, says Dan Gluck, co-founder of Health Warrior. (So it’s no wonder chia’s also beloved by women looking to stay trim and away from the office cupcakes and vending machine.) It contains all 10 essential amino acids that you must get through your diet, so it’s considered a top source of complete plant-based protein; and it has an impressive amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

CHIA’S CULINARY CRED

Lately it’s been looking more culinary, with chefs sprinkling it on salads, bakers turning out chia muffins, and a stateside newcomer, The Chia Co., a company based in Australia. It sustainably farms the salvia Hispanica in the equatorial Kimberly region. (“It’s a latitude specific crop that grows best and achieves optimum omega 3 levels at 15 degrees from the equator,” explains The Chia Co. CEO John Foss.)

And from its harvest The Chia Co. makes Chia Shots that slide out of a skinny packet into a smoothie or over yogurt, a Chia Oil that can be drizzled over greens, and to-die-for chia pudding called Chia Pods (made from just a few all-natural ingredients) that just launched in Whole Foods. Its peppy, poppy orange packaging looks a piece with an edgy urbanite’s set of Le Creuset pots and Breville Juicer.

 

Read the rest about Chia-infused beauty products and more at Well+Good NYC >>

 

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More reading from Well and Good NYC:

Non-Toxic Make-Up Is Totally Possible: How To Completely Detox Your Beauty Kit and Supplies

shutterstock_99606218Is it possible to wear non-toxic make-up?

Short answer: yes, and it will require some time, self-motivated research and a little extra cash (to replace those toxic products that have been your old stand-bys) on your part.

But here’s the long-term benefit: you are treating your body so much better by not shoving toxic chemicals into your skin pores on a daily basis.

And a little extra reading and a few extra trips to your trusty natural make-up supplier is really not so bad if it means you are eliminating the possibility of extremely harmful ingredients entering your body system, messing with your hormones and permanently damaging some very vital internal functions.

The animated video below illustrates with urgent clarity just how little regulation is done to ensure the safety of our personal care products, and what we can do as consumers to take power into our own hands. I guarantee you will never look at your own beauty products the same way again.

(And yes, while the majority of self-care and beauty products are aimed at a female demographic, you men also are not safe from the toxic ingredients contained in aftershave, shampoo, body lotion, toothpaste, sunscreen and other common self-care products, not to mention the shampoo and baby lotions found in self-care products marketed for children.)

So what’s a make-up maven to do? Thankfully, as collective awareness grows on the issue of toxic make-up products, more and more websites are serving as valuable pointers to what all of us can do to completely detox our beauty kit–once and for all.

Educate yourself: visit SafeCosmetics.org. Education is empowerment, especially when it comes to substances that can detrimentally affect your long-term health, and the long-term health of men and women everywhere. SafeCosmetics.org has articles, ideas for getting involved, homemade make-up recipes, a calendar of events, and other valuable resources.

Know which ingredients to steer clear of. How annoying that synthetic ingredients always have those long and complicated names that’s hard to remember. Hence why education is empowerment: the more you become familiar with these complicated ingredients, the less likely you will use them again in the future. Skin Deep has a downloadable pdf of ingredients to avoid. GOOD.is has a great visual list of ingredients to avoid in face products. For starters: start avoiding anything that lists “fragrance” or “paraben” / “-paraben.”

Throw out your old make-up and self-care products with toxic ingredients. If that’s too hard for you, make a point to NOT buy new products with toxic ingredients when you run out.

Buy only non-toxic make-up products. Visit Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Review. At this website, you can search beauty products by category to see which products have the lowest toxic impact and which products get a red flag for high toxicity.

Never trust the terms “organic,” “natural” or “dermatologist-tested.” These wishy-washy terms listed on products are usually complete BS. Think about it: companies want to make profit even if it means delibrately misleading the consumer; they certainly aren’t twisting their underwear in knots worrying about your personal well-being and long-term health. Just read the ingredients.

Go au naturale and save your make-up for special occasions. Want to look young, vibrant and healthy? Rather than slathering your face with anti-aging toxic gunk, how about drinking 8 glasses of water, regularly exercising, going easy on the junk food and eating lots of fruits and vegetables? Amping up my raw fruit and veggie intake has done wonders for my skin, and it will for anybody else.

Roll up your sleeves and go DIY. Why use a facial scrub loaded with synthetic chemicals when you can just use olive oil and brown sugar? Or why buy designer shampoo when baking soda and water with a rinse of apple cider vinegar will probably work just as well? There are seriously TONS of resources on how to make your own facial scrub, body scrub, facial masks, shampoos, and more, usually involving very common household ingredients such as fruits, baking soda and cooking oils.

The easiest and cheapest GREEN-BEAUTY tip of the DAY!

A SMILE is one of the most beautiful things on a persons FACE.

To smile, is  the fastest, safest, FACE-LIFT.
Think of it? It can get done within seconds, nanu-seconds and unless you charge yourself it’s for FREEEEE! It’s a MASTER TOOL at your beck and call.           "S   M   I   L   E" 
 
You didn’t even have to have a happy thought did ya’. See how, just by SMILING you changed
everything. It immediately spreads out into your entire body. And that beautiful energy travels and you’ve just changed the temperature within you and in the room you are in. Something beautiful just begun!!  
 
Smiles are like a beautiful fragrance. I’m not suggesting that you ought to smile all the time. I’m sure ‘ the Mona Lisa’ -if she had a way of communicating might say, "This SUCKS, people!" And who can blame the patient dame? But if you are in the middle of something -NOT SO FUN –  FEEL UGLY – IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING AND NOT SEEING YOUR WAY OUT FOR THE MOMENT –  IF YOU FEEL HELPLESS AND HOPELESS – FEEL AS IF YOU ARE BEING BURIED ALIVE, 
 
take a DEEP BREATH and then  remind yourself  that YOU HAVE YOU and because of that FACT you have the power to change THIS MOMENT. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that!! 
 
Exercise:
One of my favorite things to do with clients in order to calm them down is to ask them to put a 
SMILE into every part of their body!! 

Let’s do it:
Put a smile on your for-head -right at the third-eye spot. 
You can use you finger as a magic wand and gently, like a butterfly landing and take off, tap the places on your body. And just think       "SMILE" 
Tap your ears, your eyebrows, your cheeks, your lips, your chin, the tip of your nose, the back of your neck, your shoulders, your chest, your knees, your lower back, your kidneys, your liver, your lungs, your brain, your prostate, your eyeballs, your teeth, the bottom of your feet, your breasts, your hips, your wrists, your intestines, your gall-bladder, your but ….Everything you just tapped is now SMILING perhaps even laughing? Maybe your gall-bladder just told a joke to your eyeballs… imagine that? 
 
NOW FEEL THAT FULL BODY-SMILE 
AND ALL THE BEAUTIFUL ENERGY THAT COMES WITH IT, if it’s flourished 
into LAUGHTER by now then HEAR THAT. Every cell in your BODY IS SMILING, GIGGLING, LAUGHING telling jokes right now!! They are cracking up rolling on the floor laughing. FEEEEEEL that!
 
You might start to experience other emotions all of the sudden surfacing as well. Tears might come up etc. Please DON’T JUDGE ANY OF IT, don’t SUPPRESS any of it!  This exercise isn’t about doing it right but to do it so you get the best out of it.   
Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to FEEL without any labeling and let it KISS YOU on the WAY OUT, as if you’ve hosted an INNER BALL that has come to an end and now all your GUESTS/EMOTIONS are stepping up to thank you, they shake your hand and kiss you good bye. 
 
SMILING is exhausting as well, but it only adds natural BEAUTY and not just to your FACE. 
And like with any workout make sure you stretch before and after:)) 
 
 
love & laugh             Patricia  
 
 

Nude Cleansing Facial Oil review

I was first introduced to this product last summer during a facial I received at Barney’s Beverly Hills. Previously, due to my tendency toward oily skin, I was a bit leery of a straight oil facial cleanser. Not anymore!

Cleansing_facial_oilProduct:
Nude Cleansing Facial Oil, 200 ml/6.76 oz, $52

INGREDIENTS: glycine soja (soybean) oil, polyglyceryl-4-oleate (vegetable oil), squalene (olive oil), tocopherol acetate (plant sources), natural fragrance (parfum), benzyl benzoate (essential oil), linalool (essential oil), eugenol (essential oil)
Number of times used : 20+

Overall : A bit pricey in terms of ingredients, but offers great results and is nourishing and moisturizing without being greasy. Works well as an after cleanser when using medicated washes or other products that may tend to dry your skin.

Quiz: How Green is your Self-Care?

Do your green DIY beauty masks help save our planet’s resources, or are your fashion choices creating more holes in the ozone layer? We all may be occasionally guilty of super-long hot showers or dry-cleaning our expensive dresses, but how green or un-green are your self-care and beauty habits compared to other people?

Take this quick quiz to evaluate the green level of your self-care, and don’t forget to use the handy cheat sheet of green self-care information at the end of the page to continue your journey of beautifying yourself–and Mother Earth.

1.)    How long are your showers?
a.)    Sweating is your natural shower.
b.)    10 minutes to an hour—depending on how you’re feeling that day.
c.)    You’re more of an indoor Jacuzzi kind of person.

2.)    How many organic beauty products do you own?
a.)    Too many refrigerator shelves to count.
b.)    Does The Body Shop count?
c.)    Organic? Is that like a new line from Philosophy?

3.)    How often do you take your clothes to the cleaners?
a.)    Never
b.)    A few times a year
c.)    There is no such thing as laundry-friendly couture

4.)    Do you DIY any of your self-care?
a.)    All the time
b.)    What’s DIY?
c.)    I only DKNY

5.)    Did you know that bamboo can be used for self-care products, such as towels and blankets?
a.)    Old news
b.)    Really?
c.)    Who cares?

6.) Are you open to the idea of wearing used clothing?
a.) You prefer your own hand-woven hemp dresses, thanks.
b.) Maybe—so long as it’s from friends, or it’s a ridiculously fabulous deal.
c.) Please—you don’t even like wearing your own clothes more than once!

7.) How green is your work-out?
a.) Green as the natural forest habitat that you jog in
b.) Green as the envy you feel—for your roommate who can eat donuts for breakfast and never gain weight
c.) Green as in the $1,000 greenbacks you just spent on your cute new running boots!

Mostly A’s:
Goddess of the natural earth, do you prefer your seasonal offerings in fruit, vegetables or generous checks to your favorite earth-friendly organization? We can do all of the above.

Mostly B’s:
Hello, human! We applaud your efforts for showing interest in bringing more green into your everyday life. It’s time to clean up that carbon footprint and replace the trail of manufactured waste with a trail of good green karma. Keep reading this week for more… and the end of this quiz for a quick green self-care cheat sheet of useful information! 

Mostly C’s:
We would lecture you more on your carbon excesses, but we don’t want to make you late for your test drive appointment of your new Hummer.

Your Green Self-Care Cheat Sheet of Useful Information

On showering:
•    Cutting your shower time by one minute can save more than 500 gallons of water each year. You also save money on water.
•    Did you know that even a quick shower fills up one third of the bath tub? Order a low-flow showerhead to reduce water usage.
•    Turn down your house’s water heater to 120 degrees F. Just a 10 degree reduction will reduce 500 pounds from your annual CO2 output.

On organic beauty:
•    We highly recommend Trader Joe’s toothpaste and deodorant for natural products that don’t use harmful chemicals.
•    The most organic beauty product you can put on your face is fresh fruit!

On taking your clothes to the dry cleaners:
•    85% of dry cleaners use the chemical PERC–which has been linked to cancer and reproductive damage. Don’t even get us started on all the material used to wrap your clothes in plastic when they are done.
•    Buy clothes that don’t require dry cleaning—or minimize it as much as possible.
•    Bug your local dry cleaners to start using (link) paper hangers instead of the cheap plastic ones that poke holes in your garbage bags and end up in the landfill.

On DIY (Do It Yourself):
•    DIY self-care is not only cheaper, but better on you because you are using 100% natural products—like fruits and vegetables!
•    Some simple DIY facial masks include but are not limited to: mashed bananas, avocados, olive oil and egg yolk.

On bamboo:
•    Bamboo is the future of sustainable natural products. They don’t require fertilizer or pesticides, stabilizes the soil, and generates 35% more oxygen than trees.
•    If people planted one million acres of bamboo, 4.8 million tons of CO2 would be eliminated every year.
•    You can buy bamboo cutting boards, dishes, utensils, sheets, towels and flooring.

On used clothing:
•    Clothingswap.org and swapstyle.com are two great places to check out used clothing. Also try Craigslist and your local thrift stores. You never know what you might find!
•    In supporting used clothing and used items, you are taking advantage of what is already manufactured, instead of encouraging companies to manufacture more. You also save tons of money!

On green work-outs:
•    Who says you need to buy any equipment to get a good workout? Go out for a morning jog, jump-rope, or rent workout DVDs, or do yoga podcasts!
•    No more water bottles! Use the water fountain, or invest in a sturdy travel mug or sports bottle.
 

Do you know what’s in your favorite jar of face cream? Toxic Beauty just might enlighten you

Toxic_beauty Every day I write about green products, but really, how many of you out there have a degree in chemistry or has the time to do in-depth research and interviews in order to really understand each ingredient? This new book from Dawn Mellowship, just might be able to help you figure out the good, the bad and the ugly of beauty products.

On average, Britains spend £120 per year on beauty products, but do we really appreciate the true cost of beauty? Do we know the whole truth about the beauty products we use or are we actively harming ourselves for the sake of vanity? Dawn Mellowship’s new book, Toxic Beauty is a compelling and timely read which provides the essential low-down on the products we use on a daily basis.

Beauty products have become objects of art, beautifully packaged with alluring scents to entice us, but inside those appealing boxes lurks a cocktail of synthetic chemicals. There are over 100,000 chemicals registered in the European market, most of which have never been tested or barely tested for safety on humans, or their impact on the environment. Chemicals found in skin lotions, deodorants and hair dyes have been linked with tumours, cell mutation, allergies, reproductive complications, endocrine disruption and even cancer. Isn’t it about time we all paid more attention to exactly what goes into those eye shadows, body washes and lipsticks we love to use?

With quotes from leading experts in the field and straightforward, stress-free natural beauty tips,  Toxic Beauty is a truly fascinating look at the beauty industry and will open your eyes to what is really sitting in your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet. The book reveals:

•    Key chemicals you should avoid
•    Just how natural ‘organic’ beauty products really are
•    A directory of natural brands

 Taken from the forthcoming book, expert author Dawn Mellowship has some of her top tips to help you get started on the road to becoming a more natural and healthy beauty: 

  • Use coconut oil or olive oil as a natural conditioner for your hair. Apply the oil when it’s dry and massage into your scalp. Wrap the hair, leave overnight and rinse thoroughly the following morning.
  • Alternatively rub ½ cup of honey into your hair, leave on for 30 minutes (you may want to cover your head with a shower cap or wrap) and then rinse off, leaving your hair looking and smelling good enough to eat!
  • For smooth silky pins, use a mix of jojoba and chamomile essential oil when you shave. Wait until you have been in the bath or shower for a few minutes to give the warm water a chance to wet and soften the hairs. Don’t use this method on dry skin or you may suffer from skin irritation.
  • For a more natural alternative to everyday makeup remover, use almond, wheatgerm or jojoba oil to cleanse make-up from your face.
  • For a relaxing bath, add dried or fresh herbs such as lavender, majoram, basil or lemongrass. Wrap them in cheesecloth tied with string, or place them in an old (but clean!) nylon stocking, tie the end in a knot and fasten under the water tap as you run the bath.

Switching to natural beauty products might seem a tad daunting at the outset, but with this book it becomes a whole lot simpler. Think of it as your very own natural beauty consultant in the comfort of your home, at your beck and call, and without the hefty price tag.

Toxic Beauty is available online at Amazon.

Baking Soda Beauty: 13 Reasons To Move It from Your Fridge to Your Medicine Cabinet

As elements of spring start to peak through, I’m inspired to freshen up my "beauty routine," which has always minimal. Winter has taken its toll on my skin and hair, but enough is enough. It’s time to peal back the curtain. Influenced by these 10 beauty essentials totaling $75, I started to think about glow- and shine-inducing products that I already have on-hand and my favorite of the bunch, baking soda.

How can my favorite multi-purpose (beauty) product enhance your grooming routines? Read on. (More than a dusted off Redbook list, these applications for baking soda are a compilation of research, polls and personal use, the last indicated by an *).

WHERE TO BUY?  FOR HOW MUCH?

  • Baking Soda is ubiquitous. It does not vary by brand nor fall into different price brackets. It’s reliable and will always come to the siren call of your beauty needs.
     
  • It’s available. You can purchase it at supermarkets, bodegas, drug stores and gas station mini-marts.
     
  • The price is right. Drugstore.com offers buy-one-get-one for $2.99.
     

HAIR

  • Remove buildup. Mix a small palm-full of baking soda to your shampoo to remove buildup from conditioners, mousses and hairsprays.*
     
  • Dry shampoo. No time for a shampoo? Baking soda can be used as a dry shampoo when your hair is oily. Sprinkle some on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer.
     
  • Chlorine-damaged tresses. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 pint warm water.*
     
  • Combs and brushes. Remove product and oil buildup by soaking your utensils in a bowl of warm water with about 3 tablespoons of baking soda. You can also add a splash of bleach.*
     

SKIN

  • Facial Exfoliant. In the palm of your hand, mix some baking soda with your facial cleanser to make a gentle exfoliant. Use circular motions to apply gently then rinse as usual for very soft skin.*
     
  • Rough skin. This also works for the rough skin on elbows and feet. Make a thick paste with baking soda and water (about 3 parts baking soda to one part water) and scrub away.
     
  • Shaving. A solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda in a cup of water works as a pre-shave product of aftershave rinse for men with sensitive skin.

MOUTH

  • Tooth polish & whitener. Baking soda toothpastes have been long-time shelf staples for a reason. The baking soda works to freshen breathe and whiten and polish teeth. Dip a damp toothbrush in baking soda and brush away. My personal twist, dip a toothbrush with toothpaste in baking soda for mouth cleaning times two.*
     
  • Toothbrush. Soak your tooth brush in a mixture of water and baking soda and let it soak overnight.*
     
     

NAILS

  • Soft cuticles. Scrubbing your nails or toenails with a nailbrush (or old toothbrush) dipped in baking soda will soften and gently exfoliate cuticles.

Have any other beauty tips that incorporate baking soda? Or perhaps another ingredient from your kitchen cabinets or refrigerator? I’d love to know. Who knows, before long I could be making lipstick from cherries, shampoo from apple cider vinegar and conditioner from mayonnaise!

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