Many of us have greened our skin care routine but replacing our makeup is a daunting feat. We all have our 'cannot live without' foundation, concealer or lipstick shade. Trust me, I had my favourites however, to celebrate Earth Day, I'd like to offer you 10 easy tips for greening your makeup bag without breaking the bank or feeling that you need to compromise results.
1. Understand what’s in your personal makeup bag.
Visit any ORESTA location to pick up a convenient wallet-size list of the TOP 12 INGREDIENTS TO AVOID when shopping for personal care products.
Here is our list of the TOP 12 INGREDIENTS TO AVOID:
1. Parabens (aka methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben): a synthetic preservative, may interrupt hormone function, associated with breast cancer.
2. Fragrance/Parfum: a cocktail of chemicals, many toxic and carcinogenic found in unscented products, exposure may induce headaches, asthma and allergies.
3. Aluminum: found in antiperspirants prevents sweating which causes an inability to eliminate toxins, a common skin irritant, suspected links to Alzheimer's disease.
4. Chemical sunscreens (oxybenzone, avobenzone): shown to disrupt hormone activity, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are safer alternatives.
5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: a harsh foaming agent found in cleansers and shampoos which creates suds, strips natural oils, highly allergenic and can cause skin & eye irritation.
6. Propylene glycol: enhances product absorption and prolongs product shelf life. Originally developed as an anti-freeze, side effects include skin and eye irritation.
7. FD&C colours: synthetic dyes, coal-derived, carcinogen
8. Urea: a formaldehyde releasing preservatives used in nail polish, make-up, sunscreen, carcinogen, linked to asthma and headaches.
9. DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine) or MEA (monoethanolamine): regulates pH, creates lather and consistency in products, known carcinogen
10. Phthalates: (DBP, DEP, DEHP, DBP, MEP) found in any products containing parfum or fragrance, makes nail polish flexible. Known endocrine-disruptors, mimics hormones, linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
11. Mineral Oil: petroleum derivative, found in cosmetics (especially lip products) as a conditioning agent, inexpensive ingredient, promotes photosensitivity, drying, clogs pores, hindering the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promotes skin disorders and decelerates skin function and cell development causing premature aging of skin.
12. Triclosan: prevents bacterial contamination, used in anti-bacterial products (hand sanitizer, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, creams and toothpaste). Although not enough evidence for Health Canada to ban, in studies it has proven to alter 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.
2. Only replace products as needed.
A client will visit our store in dire need of new makeup. She tells us that she read an article about the toxic ingredients in conventional makeup so she has thrown everything out and needs to replenish everything in her makeup bag. I cannot stress enough that it isn't necessary to throw everything out, especially if the products are relatively new. Instead, wait to replace products with a cleaner option the next time you need to replace it.
3. Start with your lipstick.
If there is one product that I would suggest replacing first, it would be your lipstick, lipgloss or lip balm. The reality is that most of what we apply to our lips is ingested and since many lip products contain harmful ingredients, replace your lip products first. Then proceed with foundation since it is used to cover a large surface area of the skin and then follow with blush, eyeshadow and mascara.
4. Seek certified organic, natural and biodegradable products.
Choose products that are certified organic or natural. Plant and plant-derived products are not only healthier for you and the environment but also more effective for the skin. Seek out 100% biodegradable products which safely break down so that they do not pollute our waterways after going down the drain. Avoid plastic microbeads in products.
5. Be conscious of purchasing only cruelty-free or animal-friendly products.
Look for products with the Leaping Bunny logo which provides assurance that no animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers.
6. Seek products with green packaging.
Ensure that packaging is minimal, recyclable and printed with vegetable and soy based inks that are low-VOC and solvent free. Choose products in recycled HDPE, PET, or glass. These materials are the most widely recyclable, food safe and 100% BPA-free.
7. Choose socially responsible companies.
Seek skin care companies that practice social responsibility as part of their everyday business model by giving back to choice initiatives.
8. Seek companies that are concerned about the environment and minimizing their carbon footprint.
Many companies participate in renewable energy programs to offset all aspects of operation. Look for the green-e.org logo
9. Avoid Pinkwashing and Greenwashing companies.
There are many companies that make the claim that they are GREEN (free of harmful chemicals, made with natural ingredients and act in ways to minimize their impact on the environment) or PINK (in support of breast cancer). On closer examination, many of these companies are guilty of Greenwashing: although they claim to be green, their products actually contain harsh chemicals that are harmful to your health. Pinkwashing is the practice of companies supporting breast cancer "awareness" (with the famous pink ribbon) with products contain harsh chemicals and ingredients that are harmful to ones health.
10. Organic makeup will not compromise efficacy or your wallet.
Organic makeup, created with natural, certified organic, biodynamic and/or ethically wild-crafted ingredients deliver superior results for your skin, offer great staying power, an extensive selection of shades for every skin type and prices similar to conventional makeup brands. You do not need to compromise you health for beauty!
At ORESTA, we are committed to promoting earth loving companies and products and would like to help you clean up and green up your beauty routine.
What are you doing to detox your makeup bag?
photo credit: Gord Weber
On Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th, ORESTA is excited to be participating in the Live The Smart Way Expo at The Shaw Centre, formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre. Show times are Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.
Live The Smart Way Expo is a one stop health & wellness show for people who are seeking out ways to maintain or take their first steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Visit us at Booth #620. We will be offering Eminence Organic Skin Care facial demonstrations:
11am: Clear Up Hormonal Acne With Probiotic Skin Care
12:00 pm: Reduce Rosacea and Redness with Healing Herbs
1 pm: Erase Pigmentation and Sun Damage with Natural Hydroquinone Alternative
2 pm: Diminish Fine Lines & Wrinkles with Natural Retinol Alternative
We will also be offering complimentary FITGLOW BEAUTY makeup applications as well as a SHOW SPECIAL.
Get your free ticket online at: http://livethesmartwayexpo.com/register/
Tickets will be $10 at the door.
The Live The Smart Way Expo is the brainchild of Kathy Smart: nutritionist, fitness trainer and multi award winning chef. As a child, Kathy struggled with illness until at the age of 12, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Today, she is considered North America’s leading expert on gluten-free diet and nutrition. When she isn't speaking at health expos and conferences around the globe, you can find her at home in Ottawa and on air with Global TV. Kathy has just launched her first line of gluten-free products. She is an inspiration. She is sweet, funny and down to earth.
Here is my chat with Kathy:
O: What do you typically eat each day?
K: I typically eat a protein rich breakfast like plain Greek Yogurt and berries or a green smoothie, a large salad with at least 4 ounces of protein and a sweet potato for lunch and for supper that varies depending on what my husband I are in the mood for. But supper always has a portion of protein, half a plate of vegetables and some type of gluten free whole grain like quinoa for supper.
O: Do you recommend a detox in the spring?
K: I recommend people to eat foods all year that help support their body’s detoxification process like the cruciferous family of vegetables and lemon water during the day.
O: What foods would you recommend eliminating during a detox?
K: During a detox I recommend individuals to remove gluten, dairy, soy and sugar for 30 days and increase their fibre to 35 grams per day and at least 4 cups of raw vegetables per day.
O: What is your favourite detox juice?
K: Fresh lemon squeezed in water throughout the day.
O: What beauty foods do you recommend for clear, youthful skin?
K: The beauty foods I recommend are plenty of protein, salmon, coconut oil, avocados and nuts. This is especially helpful for people who have dry skin from the winter.
O: What is your favourite beauty product?
K: My favourite beauty product is organic coconut oil. As a celiac since I was 12 there were not many beauty products that were gluten free so coconut was my go to for moisturizing and removing makeup~ I have been using it for years!
O: When 3pm hits and my stomach starts to growl, what snacks would you recommend to keep me satiated until dinnertime?
K: I always recommend individuals to have a bit of protein to help stabilize their blood sugar with whatever snack they are having. Some examples are:
1 ounce of cheese + 1 apple (love this combo)
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with fresh berries and honey
1/2 cup of fresh pineapple + 1/2 cup of 2% cottage cheese (if you like salty- sweet combos this is great!)
1 low sodium V8 Juice + a handful of hemp seeds or your favourite nuts ( pecans, cashews, pistachios)
2 boiled eggs with a bit of butter in the middle with sea salt and pepper
O: What is your advice for busy moms who don't have much time to get fresh groceries or cook dinner for their families?
K: My advice would be to keep it simple. Buy a vegetable tray to cut down on prep time for fast veggies snacks, bake up a large batch of chicken breasts all at once, buy already washed and prepped salads and try frozen vegetables. Just having all the above on hand you can whip up a healthy meal by adding in a serving of cooked brown rice, baked potato or sweet potato in just 20 minutes
O: How do you encourage kids to go for the healthy snacks instead of junk food?
K: Keep it interesting and tasty. Children love to dip foods so make it fun for them. Try doing veggies with a small serving of hummus for them to dip, fresh cut up fruit to dip in Greek Yogurt and do a whole grain wrap with nut butter and a banana inside for a fun twist
O: What has been your clients' secret to keeping unwanted weight off permanently?
K: The secret to keeping unwanted weight off permanently is to make healthy living a lifestyle and not a diet. Do small lasting changes over time and the results are for a lifetime as opposed to following a restrictive plan for a short period of time.
To learn more about Kathy Smart visit www.LiveTheSmartWay.com
Free radical damage leads to premature aging and disease. Year-round UV rays (no, not just the summer ones), computer radiation, pollution, pesticides, lack of sleep, stress and an unhealthy diet all contribute to free radical damage. These free radicals attack healthy skin cells (as well as other cells in our body) and destroy the collagen and elastin that provide tautness and elasticity in our skin. As we age, our ability to fight back against free radicals lessens.
At ORESTA, we fight free radicals with organic facial products and LED light therapy. Spring is the ideal time to detoxify and strengthen your skin in preparation for the summer with an ORESTA organic facial and LED treatment.
LED is a state-of-the-art, effective and non-invasive skin correction treatment which diminishes the visible appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, rosacea, sun damage and hormonal acne. Designed by dermatologists, LED conditions the skin with photo-pulsations. It is different from laser technology as it doesn’t cut any of the body’s tissues and has no harmful UV components.
The RED light is an advanced anti-aging treatment which stimulates cellular renewal to firm, smooth and lighten the skin. The BLUE light is FDA-approved for effectively treating inflammatory acne by killing acne bacteria.
LED treatments are safe, have no downtime, are painless and have no risk of infection, scarring or discolouration. As results are cumulative, following a facial with LED treatment, a series of weekly LED treatments for 6 to 8 weeks (depending on the clients age and skin condition) is recommended to achieve desired results with maintenance treatments every 6 to 8 weeks.
We are so excited that spring is finally in the air, however with spring comes allergy season: sneezing, sniffling and red, itchy, watery eyes. Here are our top 6 solutions for keeping the ‘spring’ in your step this season:
1. Anti-inflammatory diet: Remove acidic and mucus forming foods from your diet and replace with more calming foods.
Eat more green vegetables, raw nuts, fish & healthy fats (avocados, extra-virgin olive oil). Avoid dairy, sugar, white flour, dried fruit and processed foods.
2. Clarisonic Opal: This palm sized sonic device is used with your favourite eye cream to massage your eye area with 125 sonic massages/second allows for deeper absorption of eye cream, drains fluid around the eyes, reduces puffiness and clears the sinuses. Eminence's Wild Plum Eye Cream is ideal for dark circles while Kahina's Eye Serum is a favourite for those with sensitive eyes.
3. Quercetone: is a supplement that reduces inflammation and symptoms of seasonal allergies. A flavonoid, it is commonly found in particularly high concentrations in apples, berries, citrus fruits and onions. Rich in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces the release of histamines in the body.
4. Afterglow's Triple Eye Treatment: Allergies=dark circles + puffiness. The triple eye treatment is a MUST HAVE creamy concealer for under eye circles, for reducing puffiness, for brightening the eye area and preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Organic marshmallow extract reduces puffiness and increases circulation while antioxidant-rich organic white tea extract inhibits enzymes that attack collagen and elastin.
5. Neti pot: Don't knock it until you try it! Flushing your nasal cavity with a warm saline solution offers instant relief by removing excess mucus from the nose and sinuses.
6. Simple home remedy: Reduce throat irritation by adding 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar + 1 Tbsp honey to 1 cup of warm water. Decrease sinus irritation by adding 1 Tbsp raw honey to a cup of elderflower tea.
Happy Spring to all!
It is a pleasure to feature my chat with Katharine L'Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty. I first met Katharine in 2012 when she attended the launch party of Kahina at ORESTA. She spoke about the magic of argan oil: Morocco's 'liquid gold' and her creation of Kahina: a luxurious holistic line of organic argan oil skin care products.
Katharine is a dynamic and inspiring woman who exudes radiance and grace. Kahina's philanthropic philosophy is 'Women Helping Women Through Shared Beauty Rituals' and Katharine works with the Berber women of Morocco who extract the argan oil using techniques that have been passed down through generations. All of Kahina's products are produced from start to finish with consideration of cultural and environmental sustainability. Katharine visits the women's cooperatives in Morocco and donates a percentage of Kahina profits to support programs that improve the lives of these women whose signatures grace Kahina's packaging.
Katharine introduced me to the wonderful world of oils and I'm excited to share with you Katharine's experience and wisdom on empowering women around the world with healthy beauty.
O: How did you discover argan oil?
K: I was on an extended trip through Morocco and was in desperate need for a moisturizer in that extremely dry desert climate. I asked my guide what the local women use and he proceeded to tell me all about argan oil and how it was made. I was intrigued by the story of the oil, unique to Morocco, that I had never heard of before, and made by hand by the indigenous women of Morocco. When I tried it and discovered how well it worked on my skin, I was convinced that I needed to share this miraculous ingredient with women at home. I never dreamed at that time that this discovery would turn into a full-blown skincare company.
O: What makes Kahina's argan oil superior to the many other argan oils on the market?
K: First of all, our oil is certified fair trade and organic. Just because an oil is sourced from a women’s cooperative (as most are) doesn’t mean that the women in the cooperative are being paid. Also, our argan oil is the finest grade, meaning that the nuts are carefully picked by hand from the argan tree, not gathered from the ground where they may have been pre-digested by livestock. The nuts are then sorted by hand to ensure quality, and cold-pressed and filtered by machine to eliminate the chance of bacterial contamination. Region pays a part also, delivering our signature mild, nutty fragrance. Our oil is never deodorized, which many argan oil manufacturers do to disguise an inferior quality oil.
O: What role does Kahina play in supporting women?
K: We purchase certified fair trade argan oil, which means that the women who are doing the work of harvesting and cracking the nuts for our oil are paid a fair wage. We also donate additional funds programs in Morocco that support these women who are very poor and mostly illiterate.
O: What is Kahina's latest project?
K: We have a few projects going on right now that I am really excited about. First of all, we recently donated clothing to the women and children of a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains that was devastated by floods over the past winter. We are in the midst of a fundraising effort to raise money to purchase more sheep to use for wool and dairy for the women who extract our oil, and we are working with the High Atlas Foundation to deliver a clean water system to a school outside of Marrakesh. Because there is no clean water or facilities, girls’ attendance has been steadily dropping off.
O: What is your beauty routine?
K: Night and day, I cleanse with the Kahina Facial Cleanser, followed by the Kahina Toning Mist and Brightening Serum then an oil or Serum. Right now, I’m using the Prickly Pear Seed Oil, but I switch this up with the Kahina Serum from time to time, and in the summer I love the pure argan oil. In the morning I layer this with the Kahina Facial Lotion, which makes a great skin primer before makeup and works well to protect and deeply moisturize the skin. For the eye area, I layer the Eye Cream over the Eye Serum to make my eyes look more fresh and awake and to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. And twice a week, I apply the Kahina Antioxidant Mask, letting it sit for approximately 20 minutes before massaging it into my skin as an exfoliating and detoxifying treatment. For body, I use a dry brush 3 times a week. I love my Mio Dry Brush. Then jump into the shower with our Rosemary Lavender Soap for some extra exfoliating. As a special treat, I use Savon Noir with Eucalyptus that I bring home with me from Morocco. Its made from the pits of olives and really softens skin. After the shower, I slather on the Kahina Fez Body Serum before jumping into bed. I love the way it makes my sheets smell!
O: What is your beauty motto?
K: Beauty does not simply come from a product that you slap on your face. It comes from taking care of yourself, and feeling good about yourself. Eating well, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty sleep are crucial. So is trying to eliminate stress and making time for the things that bring you pleasure. Beauty rituals can play a huge role in making you feel good and good about your appearance. An all-natural regimen will contribute to your health. Make the investment in high quality ingredients and take the time to enjoy the fragrances and textures that they provide.
O: What woman do you admire most and why?
K: Right now, I am obsessed with Joan Didion. Obviously, she is an amazing talent, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of her books, which have resonated profoundly with me at different stages of my own life. She is a complicated person who has lived a fascinating life, according to her own rules, and shown us how to bear up under the most difficult of circumstances. She has always had a very laissez faire style, which is incredibly chic. As the model for the Celine ads, she is a perfect role model for women on how to age gracefully without conforming to anyone’s rules or conventional ideas of beauty.
O: What is a valuable lesson that you would like to share with your daughter?
K: I was a late bloomer in life, and very insecure growing up. My daughter is a junior in college now. I want her to know that she is beautiful and talented, and that she deserves to expect so much in her relationships. I also want her to trust that the universe has a path for her, and that she needn’t worry. There is no prescribed timeframe for life events to take place. She should trust in herself and life will work itself out.
O: What message would you like to share with women on International Women's Day?
K: That we, as women, working together, can be such a force for positive change. We need to work to support each other and lift each other up.
There is no denying that the fresh white snow is beautiful but these Arctic vortex temperatures are really getting to us. We are avoiding going outdoors, and instead want to spend all of our time cocooning indoors. We are feeling tired and sluggish. Call it what you may: the February Funk, the winter blues or seasonal sadness, we are feeling just plain blah.
1. Get a tan: If you aren't lucky enough to escape the cold, fake it with a self tanner. Get that sun kissed glow without looking orange. Sunless Strip! Natural Self Tanner tans and nourishes the skin with pigment in DHA form derived from sugar beets as well as green tea and aloe. Blend it with your favourite body lotion for a flawless healthy glow.
2. Wear colour: My entire winter wardrobe is black or charcoal grey and I know that I am not alone. Black is easy to wear, it's chic and slimming. It's the midlife uniform however black is not necessarily flattering. It drains the color from your face and signals "do not notice me." Whenever I wear colour, I always receive a compliment about how good I look. Of course I do, it brings colour to my face. So, introduce a dash of colour into your wardrobe: a bright fuschia blouse with your black skirt or maybe a bright multicoloured scarf and refuse to purchase anything black or grey. Instead, opt for red, fuchsia, lime green, blue or lavender.
3. Get a pedicure: With sandal season nowhere in sight, we often tend to neglect our feet in the winter months. Pedicures aren't just meant for the summer months, indulge your feet in the winter too. There is nothing more cheerful than pulling off your thick wool socks and seeing pretty polished toes and smooth, hydrated heels. Nourish dry, cracked heels with a healing salve like Fortissimo! Serious Salve.
4. Plant a bulb: Nothing makes me smile like daffodils, hyacinths, tulips. Bring spring into your home now by buying a bulb or a grouping of bulbs and placing them in colourful pots throughout the house to brightness your home with the colours and scents of spring.
5. Try a new lipstick colour: dark lipsticks have made their way from our mothers' purses back into the hands of collegiettes. Though some are weary of the bold statement a dark shade can make, we promise there is a color that can work for you - you just have to find it. Ilia's Lust for Life and Femme Fatale are winter favourites.
6. Eat more chocolate: There is a God!!! Serotonin is the feel good hormone. During the winter months many people do not produce enough serotonin so their bodies naturally crave trytophan. Chocolate with a high cocoa content contains trytophan so go ahead and indulge.
7. Socialize: Maintaining a social life when it's cold outside can be challenging. It's easy to become a shut-in but friendship is good for the soul so make a conscious effort to spend time with family and friends. Plan a girls night, an evening cross- country ski date or if it is too cold outside, host a movie night. Reconnect with faraway friends via Skype, FaceTime or the good old fashioned telephone.
8. Plan a staycation: It's fun to play tourist in your own city, to discover little hidden gems and enjoy a mini escape from your routine. Create an itinerary of activities that you wouldn't normally have time to enjoy: visit the latest installation at the National Gallery, go to a matinee at the movie theatre or visit the latest shoe store that everyone is raving about. Enjoy Jao's Staycation Kit and have fun right in your backyard!
9. Book an Arctic Berry Facial: Pamper your skin while embracing the winter with Eminence Organic's Arctic Berry Peel.
Enjoy the dramatic results of a Natural Chemical Peel treatment for all skin types, even sensitive and rosacea. Eminence Organics' Arctic Berry Peel and Peptide Illuminating System contains a powerful blend of organic arctic berries, lingonberry seed oil and hibiscus seed extract with natural peptides to dramatically reduce wrinkles, illuminate skin, improve skin tone and lighten pigmentation.
10. Get out of Dodge: Book a vacation to a sunny destination.
Embrace the winter and remember that spring is officially only a month away!
Red lipstick is the little black dress of makeup. Everyone can wear it, however you must choose the right red for your skin tone.
FAIR SKIN TONES should aim for a classic 'English Rose' or 'Just Bitten' look to their lip colour. Look for a softer red with pink undertones, ideally with a creamy texture. After applying, blot then reapply for longer wear and a natural finish. Keep your look fresh and modern by using a soft pink or coral cream blush blended towards the outside of your cheeks. Keep eye makeup minimal and rosy, using a gentle dab of blush along the crease to bring definition.
MEDIUM SKIN TONES have the most choice when it comes to wearing reds. Anything from a rich true red to a bright orange red will suit you- the key here is a perfect application. Line lips and fill them in before applying your final coat of lipstick (Hint: many of Ilia’s bolder shades have a thicker formulation that makes them perfect for lining your lips as well- just use the tip of your lipstick tube!). To further prevent bleeding, you may want to use Eminence’s Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum to smooth fine lines around the lip area, and blot concealer around the outer edge of your lips. Pair with contoured or lightly blushed cheeks.
DARK SKIN TONES suit a range of reds and will get the most benefit from going bold.Try deep tones reminiscent of your favourite Shiraz. Since deep lip colours may appear flat against darker skin tones, applying a gloss over top will add depth and luminosity to the shade. Lining lips with a dark lip liner will help extend the wear of your colour. If you have trouble finding the right shade of lip liner, don’t be afraid to try an eyeliner!
Leslie-Anne's other tips for wearing red lipstick:
1. For a romantic look try dabbing lipstick on your cheeks and lips and using a soft powder to set.
2. For anyone who doesn’t want the upkeep of a red lipstick, or wants a sportier look, a sheer red gloss will give your lips the colour you crave without taking you out of your comfort zone.
3. Red lipsticks tend to have thicker, matte formulations to minimize bleeding and maximize staying power. This does mean however, that dry lips may appear especially flaky. Combat this by exfoliating lips before applying lipstick. We love Ilia’s Balmy Nights and Eminence’s Lip Trio.
Leslie-Anne Barrett, also known as the Beauty Bartender, is a make-up, hair and stylist working in television, film, print and runway. Leslie-Anne is the makeup director at CTV and Ottawa Fashion Week, an alumni of Project Runway and the NYC's Black Book of Stylists.
We know that our skin absorbs many of the chemicals found in the facial moisturizers, body lotions and other personal care products that we use daily and according to studies, approximate 60% of what we apply topically onto the skin can be absorbed into the blood stream.
Mucosa (mucous membranes) which are found on the mouth, eyes, vagina, rectum and penis tip are especially vulnerable, as they do not have the stratum corneum which is the protective layer of skin. As a result, without this protective barrier, chemicals can more easily be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Many women have allergies and sensitivities to mainstream intimacy products and would prefer not to put the chemical ingredients of traditional personal lubricants in their bodies. Some of these ingredients include:
- propylene glycol: a popular lubricant ingredient also found in brake fluid and anti-freeze, paint solvent & plastic.
- paragons: used as preservatives
- glycerin: drying to the tissues
Which brings us to the topic of Vaginal Dryness - a topic that women do not want to discuss however, the reality is that most women will experience vaginal dryness and discomfort at some stage in their life.
Between 50-80% of menopausal women will experience vaginal dryness caused by declining estrogen levels which can result in painful intercourse, in elevated vaginal pH which can lead to thrush and in atrophic vaginitis where even sitting down can hurt. It is however not exclusive to menopausal women. Women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, on the birth control pill, anti histamines, anti depressants, women undergoing breast cancer treatment, a hysterectomy, chemically induced menopause or women dealing with stress can also experience this problem. As a result, most women have a need for additional lubrication at some point.
We want to feel comfortable on a daily basis and during sexual intercourse, however we don’t want to use lubricants with nasty synthetic chemicals. Traditionally, women have resorted to using petrochemicals like Vaseline and mineral oil. However, healthy alternatives which offer exceptional performance without compromising purity for everyday moisture retention as well as for maximum lubricity and long-lasting glide are now available.
YES is a certified organic, plant-based natural range of lubricants available in water-based (condom compatible), oil-based and fertility-friendly versions. They are:
- free from hidden synthetic chemicals (harmful or not)
- free from all known mucosal irritants
- contain only natural ingredients (plant based and occurring in nature)
- beneficial (using plants that are known to benefit the mucosa and skin)
- feel really good on skin and work really really well
- look good, no smutty images or demeaning language on the packaging
- are transparent about their ingredients and benefits
So what is the difference between the various types of lubricants?
Water-based lubricants are condom compatible yet offer a dual purpose. Formulated from water-retaining plant polymers, they treat vaginal dryness and discomfort by rehydrating delicate tissues. As a sexual lubricant, water-based lubricants provide realistic lubrication and they are pH balanced to maintain the typical vaginal environment and to combat thrush & irritation.
Oil-based lubricants are not condom compatible yet offer a natural alternative to synthetic chemical lubricants such as silicone or vaseline. They contain sweet almond oil, shea butter and cocoa butter which act as a strong, long-lasting lubricant. Although oil-based lubricants protect the tissues, they will not rehydrate dry and sensitive vaginal tissues. They are suitable for use as an intimate massage oil or all over the body.
Fertility-friendly lubricants enable couples trying to conceive to use lubricants that are pH and osmolality matched to semen during ovulation and to typical vaginal pH after ovulation. Semen is neutral to alkaline, so using an acidic lubricant at ovulation may damage sperm motility. The vagina is typically acidic, which maintains a healthy defence against infection, so using a neutral to alkaline lubricant all month may impact vaginal health. The typical acidic vaginal environment protects against infections such as Bacterial Vaginosis and Thrush.
Sex? YES but love organically.
There is no doubt that winter has arrived. My skin and hair are telling me. It's time to take necessary precautions against dry, dehydrated, itchy and flaky skin. Here are 5 tips to help you winter-proof your skin.
1. Moisturize from within
It doesn’t matter how much water you're consuming. If your diet is deficient in skin-friendly oils and fats, your skin will not retain the water you are drinking. Consume healthy Omega 3 and 6 fats (nuts, fish, hemp, flax, evening primrose and olive oils) to retain moisture in the skin and prevent itchiness.
2. Exfoliate or dry brush the skin
It's easy to create a simple organic coconut oil + sugar/salt scrub for use in the shower or brush your body with a jute dry brush before the shower to maintain soft, smooth skin.
3. Avoid petroleum in your moisturizer and lip balm
We have all at some point been told that petroleum based moisturizers and lip balms will heal our skin and lips and keep them hydrated. The reality is that they do neither. Petroleum is a by-product of the oil industry. This inexpensive ingredient offers the appearance and immediate feel of hydrated skin however in reality, its thick texture merely clogs pores and seals in the dirt.
Instead, opt for products containing skin healing ingredients (beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and cocoa butter) to heal and hydrate.
4. Limit hot baths & showers
It's so tempting to hop into a hot bath or stand under a steaming hot shower to unthaw during these icy cold winter days but remember, heat further exacerbates dehydration (not to mention broken capillaries). I suggest a warm water bath or shower, immediately followed by the application of your favourite nourishing facial or body oil to seal the moisture into the skin.
5. Use a humidifier
Winter offers a double-dose of dry: the dry air of central heating + the dry outdoor air. As soon as it gets cold, we crank up the furnace resulting in dry heat emanating from the heating ducts. In addition, I spend more time enjoying the outdoors in cold temperatures. Installing a humidifier truly helps combat the dryness of the house or work space.
Embrace the winter and treat your skin with kindness to maintain soft and well-hydrated skin throughout winter.
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?