December 29, 2014


10 New Years Commitments for Radiant Skin and a Healthy YOU!

                                                                                                                                                   photo: Lee Scott


I normally dislike New Years Resolutions as they set me up for failure and disappointment. Here are 10 easy commitments in no particular order that I have compiled for you (and me) to incorporate into our daily routine to achieve the best skin and best you ever. No pressure, no judgement, just suggestions.

 1. I will begin every morning with lemon water.

Add the fresh juice of 1/2 lemon to a glass of room temperature water. Consume first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Lemon water provides an energy boost by oxygenating the body, promoting good digestion, boosting your immune system, detoxifying the liver, helping you lose weight and detoxifying the skin. 

A good rule of thumb for keeping your body hydrated is to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water/day ( 160 lb person should drink 80 ounces of water = ten 8-ounce glasses of water/day).

2.  I will limit my coffee intake and start my day with a green smoothie.

Instead of reaching for the coffee maker (coffee is hard on the adrenals), I will make a green juice. Leafy greens are full of phytonutrients, protein, vitamins, antioxidants…they nourish the body with pure nutrition, oxygenate the skin and stimulate lymphatic drainage.

If you have never made a green smoothie, here is an easy, delicious yet nutritious recipe

1 kiwi (peeled)
½ c frozen or fresh strawberries
½ c frozen or fresh pineapple
½ lemon (peeled and seeds removed)
2 c fresh spinach
1-1 ½ cups of water or coconut water (unpasteurized)

If you aren’t quite ready to use leafy greens, make any fruit smoothie a green smoothie by adding cucumber, celery, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint leaves or spirulina to your smoothie. Slowly work your way up to 2 cups of spinach (ideal for beginners), kale, spring greens or romaine lettuce (swiss chard may be too bitter). Make sure to rotate your greens. Add 1-2 servings of fruit and super charge it with ¼ cup raw nuts or seeds. Add coconut water or nut milk for the liquid and super foods such as goji berries, chia seeds, acai, maca, or raw cacao. Make sure you have a high power blender.

3. I will honour my body with real foods and healthy fats.

One of the best things that anyone can do for their health is to embrace a whole, plant based-diet of fruits, vegetables, starchy root vegetables, whole grains & legumes), reduce your meat, dairy and highly refined and sugar food intake. Fat is another story as some fats are actually healthy.

A balanced diet contains unsaturated (healthy) fats. Replace saturated (unhealthy) fats found in palm oil, fried food, margarine, processed meats, animal fat with unsaturated fats.  Omega 3 & 6 EFA are critical to good health and great skin. They are found in:

omega-3 EFA: oil (flax, hemp, olive and canola), pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, spirulina.

omega-6 EFA: seeds, nuts, grains, avocado, vegetable oils (corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower), green leafy vegetables.

4. I will honour my skin with natural, organic beauty products

Take the leap into healthy beauty with natural and organic beauty products. You do not need to compromise your health for beauty and organic beauty products contain active ingredients that are highly effective and results-oriented. 

5. I will purge toxic & negative energy out of my life.  

Instead, I will surround myself with kind, generous, like-minded people who support and nurture me.

6. I will put myself first.

I will make time for myself and practice a healthier lifestyle by ensure proper rest, meditating, exercising, getting together with girlfriends, reading and doing whatever I need to in order to reduce stress in my life.

7. I will exfoliate my skin.  

Although facial exfoliation is a commonly overlooked step in one's home skin care routine, it makes a substantial difference in the way that your skin looks and feels. Skin regenerates every 28 to 40 days. Exfoliating your skin weekly with a gentle exfoliator helps to create a smooth complexion and to allow for better skin penetration of product for maximum benefits.

For the body, I prefer dry brushing to remove dead skin, stimulate circulation, help prevent cellulite and increase elasticity in the skin.  I use a soft jute body brush with long cotton cords. In the morning before showering,  start at the bottom of your feet and work your way up the back and front of your legs always brushing upward towards the heart. I spend extra time on more stagnant areas (i.e. belly, inner thigh, buttocks).  A great pre-shower wake-up!

 8. I will introduce a serum into my skin care routine.

 A daily skin care routine is vital to great skin. In addition to cleansing and moisturizing, adding a facial oil serum to your daily routine (regardless of your skin type) will help you achieve dramatic results with very little effort. Seek serums containing rosehip, argan, jojoba, seabucktorn oils. Add a few drops directly onto your skin or into your moisturizer for an instant healthy, radiant glow.

9. I will take a probiotic supplement

Our gut guides our overall health and well-being. A daily probiotic supplement helps to boost the good bacteria in our gut which boosts our immune system, improves digestion, clarity and balance. Although ideal as a daily supplement, a probiotic is most critical when taking or have taken antibiotics which destroy bacteria (both good and bad) to reintroduce good bacteria back into our system.

10. I will remove the word 'fat' out of my vocabulary.

No more resolutions to lose weight.  I will not be so hard on myself.  Instead, I will start loving my body by getting it healthy and staying healthy.

Will you incorporate any of these? What are your commitments for 2015?


December 03, 2014


Do I Need To Have Regular Facials?


Do you need to exercise regularly? Do you need to eat well regularly? Of course you do. A facial is more than candles, soft music, cucumbers over the eyes and a masque applied to the face. Although some may consider a facial a luxury or something to experience every once in a while, regular facials are exercise and nourishment for the skin. They not only relax and pamper, they are an essential part of your skin care plan to create healthy skin.

What is a facial?

A professional facial treatment is performed by an aesthetician who will properly diagnose and treat your skin with deep cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, corrective masques and a facial, neck, shoulder, arm and foot massage. Eyebrow cleanup is also included. 

Why do I need a facial?

Our skin is continuously exposed to the elements including sun, wind, cold and pollution which have an adverse effect on the skin. Professional facial treatments will help to minimize or correct these harmful effects. It is much easier to protect than to correct and by taking good care of your skin with regular facials, you can treat or correct a variety of skin conditions/concerns that include loss of tone, dehydration, blemishes, sun damage, congestion and dullness. You work with an aesthetician (a skin care specialist) who will properly assess your skin, customize a facial to address your specific skin concerns as well as create an effective home care regime.

How often should I get a facial?

Facials are recommended once every thirty days however frequency depends on individual goals. Chronic breakouts or hyperpigmentation may require a series of weekly treatments followed by monthly facials after improvements have been achieved. Monthly facials ensure that skin issues are treated regularly. With monthly facials, your aesthetician will get to know you and your skin, making it much easier to treat your specific skin care concerns as they arise as well as recommend home care products and treatments.

How do I prepare for a facial?

Decide about what you are hoping to achieve - what bothers you about your skin or what issues or concerns you have. By completing a confidential client card and skin care assessment, the aesthetician will be aware of what you are presently using on your skin, any allergies or sensitivities and your skin concerns and goals. Do not exfoliate or wax your face for a week to minimize irritation and allow for a deep exfoliation. Men should not shave the day of their appointment.

What facial do I book?

As facial treatments are customized, there is no need to self-diagnose. Leave it to your aesthetician to create a facial specific to your skin concerns.

What is my post facial recovery time?

Although dependent on ones' skin sensitivity and the intensity of the facial, most clients will continue with their day following their facial. No need to rush home and hide. There may be a rosiness to the skin that can last one to two hours however, we can ensure that every clients skin will look better following the facial than it did when they arrived for their facial.

Can I wear makeup following my facial?

Although you won't need to, yes, you can, however we recommend using organic makeup. It is a real treat for your skin to have a chance to breathe and soak up the effects of the treatment so no makeup is ideal.

Why do I need to do home care?

The reality is that having regular facials without proper home care is just not sufficient enough if you are trying to improve your skin. Caring for your skin between facial treatments with quality organic skin care products is critical to encouraging the longevity of the facial as well as achieving results in treating or correcting your skin. Remember to keep it simple and pleasurable - you need to look forward and enjoy your home care. A simple regime includes daily facial cleansing followed by application of a skin-specific serum and moisturizer. Adequate and frequently reapplied sun protection is critical. Weekly exfoliation and a skin-specific masque are also essential to achieving healthy, radiant skin.

The holiday season filled with parties, late nights and over-indulging (although fun) is a stressful time of year. Call ORESTA to book a facial for yourself. Take time, make time to decompress and pamper yourself. 







November 01, 2014


Fall Skin Care

With the beautiful fall leaves come cooler temperatures. My rule of thumb is that when you need to turn on your furnace on for the season, it’s time to change your skin care routine to increase the hydration levels in my skin. In addition to drinking more water, here are our favourite tips:

1. Avoid foaming facial cleansers that strip oils in the skin. Skin should never feel squeaky clean after cleansing. instead, use a hydrating oil, cream or gel cleanser. Use only tepid water when cleansing as hot water dehydrates the skin.

2. Combat dry skin by switching to a richer moisturizer which contain natural butters like shea butter. The extreme temperature fluctuations between the cold outdoors and heated indoors are especially difficult for sensitive skin. Seek products with chamomile, linden, rosehip, calendula and rose which hydrate, calm and soothe inflammation.

3. Exfoliate your skin twice weekly to remove dull, dead skin and enhance the penetration of your moisturizer. Do not limit your exfoliation to the face. Dry brush your body daily with a natural-fibre brush to exfoliate, detoxify and stimulate circulation. This is reduce the necessity for over-application of body lotion. Do not neglect your lips. they need extra TLC as well. Use a petroleum-free lip balm to heal dry, chapped lips.

4. The ultimate cold weather skin-saver for every skin type is an antioxidant-rich facial and body oil. Use the oil as your daily moisturizer, as a serum to be worn under your moisturizer or add a drop or two of oil to your moisturizer. Seek out oils that are skin specific however remember that EVERY skin type can wear oil. Apply a small amount to your hair to avoid fly-away hair and keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

5. Add a hydrating masque to your skin care routine. There is no need to wait 20 minutes. Apply a cream mask as your night cream, wear it to bed and remove it in the morning to reveal a glowing, hydrated complexion.

6. Sun protection is not just for the summer months. the strength of ultra- violet (UV) rays doesn’t diminish significantly during the winter months. Snow acts as a reflector and can bounce UV rays back at you, greatly increasing the chance of sunburn. apply a full spectrum SPF to the face, ears, hands and lips. reapplication every two hours is key!

Visit ORESTA for a free consultation to help you customize your skin care regime.


October 10, 2014


How Safe Are Your Beauty Products?

photo: AMB photo

Did you know that everyday, we use, on average, 12 personal care products, exposing ourselves to over 168 unique ingredients? We begin the day with shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, shave cream, body lotion, deodorant, hair styling gel, facial moisturizer, foundation, mascara, lipstick, blush and the list goes on…….

Did you know that we absorb up to 60% of what we apply topically to our skin (think of the birth control and nicotine patch) and that children’s bodies absorb even more?

Did you know that there are no rules governing the use of 'natural' and 'organic' on beauty products? That anyone who puts a few drops of natural or organic ingredients into a product and label the product natural or organic. Misleading labelling has become a problem with personal care companies who are capitalizing on the big buzz words: organic, natural, green, pure and producing substandard products that are none of the above. The cosmetic industry has an 'iinnocent-till-proven-guilty' approach to ingredients. Unless a chemical used in beauty products is proven to cause harm to human health, it is classified as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe.”


So, when did shopping for a moisturizer, mascara, shampoo or deodorant become so complicated?


In Canada, cosmetic products are required by law to list ingredients using the Latin-based scientific terms of the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients system. There is however NO regulatory definition of organic and natural for labelling purposes. What is the difference between natural, botanical and organic products? With beauty products, natural ingredients come from the land or sea and botanical ingredients are derived from plants however the soil in which these natural ingredients must be grown in soil free of herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers to be considered organic.

The only guarantee that a product is organic is a certification logo. This requires the product to undergo a thorough evaluation of its ingredients and standards of manufacturing. ie: EcoCert (France), USDA (US) , Soil Association (UK). However, just because a product does not have a certification logo, do not assume that it isn’t natural or organic. We carry many high quality, organic-containing skin care products that do not bear certification labelling because they cannot cover the yearly costs of certification, don’t believe the ‘hype’ around certification or are waiting for clearer, cosmetic-specific regulations before getting involved. 

I believe that an educated consumer is a healthy consumer. so although there are many chemicals found in personal care products, I’d like to review 12 common toxic chemicals to avoid in order to maintain your health, that of your family and the environment. I went out shopping in search of personal products containing these chemical ingredients and was shocked at the abundance of products containing these ingredients.

1. PARABENS are a synthetic preservative used to extend the shelf life of products and prevent bacteria and fungus from developing. There has been much controversy about this ingredient but paragons are suspected of mimicking estrogen, disrupting the endocrine system and of being associated with breast cancer and fertility problems. Parabens can cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis and studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. 


2. FRAGRANCE/PARFUM is a ‘cocktail’ of hidden chemicals, many toxic and carcinogenic. Products labelled as unscented or fragrance-free often contain chemicals that mask the scent of other chemicals. Exposure may induce headaches, asthma, rashes, coughing and sneezing. Seeki out plant sources for natural fragrance oils (rose, lavender, vanilla, cedar).

3. ALUMINIUM is an ingredient commonly found in most antiperspirants. It prevents sweating by clogging the pores which results in an inability to eliminate toxins. It is a common skin irritant with suspected links to Alzheimer's disease. There are many natural yet effective deodorants (not anti-perspirants) on the market.

4. CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS are oxybenzone and avobenzone which accumulates in fatty tissue and is linked to  allergies, hormone disruption and cellular damage. Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are safer sun protection alternatives. However, the key to effective sun protection in reapplying broad spectrum sun protection every 2 hours. The SPF system is misleading when it comes to how much of the sun's harmful rays different factors absorb: SPF15 absorbs 93% of harmful rays, SPF30 absorbs 97% and SPF 50 absorbs 98%. Using an SPF50 does not offer you double the protection of a product with half the SPF.

5. SULFATES (labelled primarily as Sodium Laurel Sulfate) are foaming agents found in everything from bar soap to shampoos to toothpaste and bath products. They are a detergent that can cause irritation of the skin and eyes and disrupt natural skin oil production. Sulfates can become contaminated by 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen.

6. PROPYLENE GLYCOL is a humectant which enhances product absorption and prolongs product shelf life. It was developed for use in anti-freeze, as a de-icer, in brake fluid and is found in many skin care products. Side effects include irritation and sensitivity to the eye and skin. If sufficiently absorbed by the body, it may cause serious health conditions (liver and heart damage and damage to the central nervous system). it’s often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens.

7. FD&C COLORS are synthetic dyes used to make eye makeup remover bright blue and facial cleanser lime green. Banned in Europe, these pretty colours are often coal derived and possess carcinogenic health risks. They are labelled FD&C followed by a colour and number (FD&C Yellow 5). I recommend seeking natural pigmented products.

8. FORMALDEHYDE is a probable carcinogen and irritant which acts as a preservative in nail polish, make-up and sunscreens. Urea is a formaldehyde releaser with links to asthma, headaches and is a known human carcinogen. Instead, seek products containing natural preservatives.

9. DEA TEA MEA are suspected carcinogens restricted in Europe. They are used as emulsifiers (to make products creamy), foaming agents and pH adjusters found in most personal care products that foam as well as in hair dye, mascara, foundation, fragrance + sunscreen. They can cause hormone disruption, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory tract, sore throat, asthma and allergic contact dermatitis.

10. PHTHALATES (DMP, DBP, DEP) are being slowly removed from many products in Canada and the U but are still present in many beauty products (synthetic fragrances, nail polish and hair spray). They are plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable.  Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and accumulate in the body, especially in fat cells and milk, making it easy for a woman to unknowingly contaminate her children through breastfeeding. Phthalates also disrupt the environment as they break down because they release harmful dioxins, which pollute the soil, air and water and promote health problems in animals.

11. MINERAL OIL is a petroleum derivative found in baby oil, lip balm, lip stick, lip gloss, petroleum jelly, mascara, moisturizers, concealer, foundation, face powder, hair gel and body wash which acts as a conditioning agent.In reality, it seals the skin creating a barrier which feels slick, but hinders the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins and decelerates skin function and cell development = premature aging of skin and other health & skin disorders (contact dermatitis).

12 TRICLOSAN prevents bacterial contamination and is found in anything antibacterial (soap, hand sanitizer, deodorants, toothpaste, and cosmetics). 
Although there is not enough evidence for Health Canada to ban it, studies have proven that triclosan alters hormone regulation in animals, may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs and may be harmful to the immune system. Minnesota became the first state to ban triclosan this past spring. Triclosan reacts with chlorine (in tap water) to produce chloroform.

How can you shop for healthy beauty products?


1. Place our credit card-sized guide of '12 TOXIC ingredients to avoid when shopping for personal care products' in your wallet to refer to when the shopping for beauty products.

2. Choose products carefully by reading labels and asking questions in order to make informed choices about what you put on your skin every day.

3. Seek the advice of a skin care professional to recommend the appropriate organic, chemical-free alternatives for healthy skin, both inside and out.

4. Shop at a business that you trust has done their homework and retails personal care products that are truly good for you.

5. Your journey to healthy beauty should be gradual. Do not become overwhelmed. Replace products with organic and natural products as you need them. Have fun with it!


(Excerpts from Oresta's talk at the Glebe Community Wellness Day - October 2, 2014)

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