Category Archives: Organic beauty products

organic beauty products – organic skin care, organic hair care, organic makeup and herbal remedies

Natural shaving oil for men and women

For people conscious of their health, shaving creams or shaving gels can seem a bit hazardous considering the ingredients they contain and if you prefer using a natural shaving oil alternative, we have a great organic shaving oil substitute for you, may it be for men or women.

In men, shaving is the most obvious cause of skin inflammation on the face because it needs to be performed almost every day. Some women also prefer regular shaving for legs, armpits and private areas instead of waxing which also dry and inflame their skin. The purpose of a shaving product is to moist and soften the hair and create a film that will reduce the effects of the razor and protect the skin. A natural shaving oil will perform this function just fine and here is what you could use to produce your own shaving oil:

Use 3 parts of safflower oil (17ml)
Add 1 part of evening primrose oil (5ml)
Add 2 drops of vitamin E
Add 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
Add 2 drops of vetiver essential oil
Add 10 drops of copaiba essential oil

Apply on the shaving area and use the razor as you usually would do with a regular shaving cream. Once done, remove the excess of oil using a soap for sensitive skin and it’s done! This shaving oil will bring the same expected results and will leave the skin smoothe.

You can make your shaving oil on a daily basis or increase the quantities above to make an oil that will last a bit longer. However, home-made cosmetics do not resist shelf-life so long because they do not contain preservatives so you should make sure not to keep this oil too long. Also, because it contains essential oils, the oil should be tested on a small skin section before application to make sure that no allergic reaction occurs.

About the ingredients:

Safflower oil:
Safflower oil is produced from the safflower seeds, a plant from the sunflower family with red, orange or yellow flower heads. The plant measure from 30 cm to 150 cm and can grow in dry climates but is not very resistant to intense colds. Safflower is typically used to produce dyes, and the seeds to produce oil. The safflower is also being tested to produce insulin.

The safflower oil is colorless and odorless is used in cooking for salad dressing (you should ensure the oil is cold-pressed) and in cosmetics. Safflower oil is rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, omega 6 and vitamin E. The safflower oil contributes to weight loss and is recommended to people suffering from type 2 diabetes to lose weight but also to reduce blood sugar. It also helps to regularize menstrual cycles. It is also recommended for dry hair or hair loss, for dry skin, skin inflammation and acne-prone skins.

Organic evening primrose: See our article dedicated to organic evening primrose

Copaiba essential oil:
Copaiba tree belongs to the Copaifera genus and grows in South America, mainly in Brazil, in the Amazon region where Indians have been using the copaiba resin for centuries due its healing properties. Copaiba essential oil helps with wounds healing, pain, inflammations, sore throats, bronchitis, urinary tract disorders, ulcers and cancer. When used on the skin, it is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal, it stops skin from bleeding, it is recommended for skin disorders, even psoriasis.

Tea tree essential oil:
Tea tree essential oil is extracted from the tea tree leaves. Tea tree is native to Australia where Aborigines have been using it for its healing properties. The name originated from Captain’s Cook who drank a mix of leaves as a tea substitute. Tea tree has powerful anti-bacterial and antiseptic effects and can be used for cuts, insect bites, rashes, burns and acne.

Vetiver essential oil:
Vetiver is a type of grass originating from India but is also grown in tropical regions such as Haiti. Vetiver helps to combat soil erosion because its roots grow downwards. Vetiver grows up to 1,5 meter high, has long stems and large leaves. The vetiver essential oil is extracted from the roots and has a smoky, earthy and sweet scent and is used as a sedative to fight stress, nervous conditions, to improve blood circulation and in case of acne, cuts, and as a cicatrisant. It is commonly found in cosmetics and perfumes for its scent and its fixative properties.

Organic sunscreen

The Dangers of using regular sunscreens

We know the damage sun can have on our skin and the health consequences that go with it; this is why we have been taught to always use sunscreen before exposing to UVA and UVB. However, while sunscreens help prevent a sunburn, it does not prevent skin diseases, far from it, because of the ingredients used to make sunscreens. Regular sunscreens made in the US typically contain oxybenzone which is a chemical that can change the way hormones act in our body and is said to be even more dangerous than the sun itself. Oxybenzone only blocks UVB radiation and starts acting only when exposed to the sun. In Europe, oxybenzone has been labelled as toxic and any sunscreen containing this ingredient must have it mentioned on the packaging. Sunscreens can contain other ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to name a few. Titanium dioxide is used in sunscreens for its UV-absorbing capacities. It is used in cosmetics as a pigment or a thickener. It is used also to manufacture paint or window cleanser. Used on the skin, titanium dioxide actually creates free radicals that damage the skin at the core level of the skin cell. Zinc oxide has binding properties and used in the manufacturing of plastic but also in many skin care cosmetics, shampoos, powders for its anti-bacterial properties. It is widely used in sunscreen for its ability to block UVA and UVB and if not absorbed into the skin, there is no consequence. However, sunscreen manufacturers often use nano zinc oxide (smaller particules of zinc oxide) that can penetrate the skin and that is actually being studied for its hazardous consequences on health.

Why choose organic sunscreens?

Organic sunscreens should be the number one choice when planning on exposing our skin to the sun for an extended period of time. Not only organic sunscreen will protect our skin against sunburns, it will also protect and nourish our skin without inducing further skin damage thanks to the natural and organic ingredients present in it.

A truly organic sunscreen is a titanium dioxide-free sunscreen and an oxybenzone-free sunscreen, does not contain chemical UV-absorbers, parabens, fragrance and other chemicals but instead contains botanical ingredients. However, organic products are in fashion and we should be careful with all those marketing tactics and messages displayed on product packaging such as “natural” or even “organic”, “your natural choice” etc…. Not all products labelled “natural” are natural and your best bet is to read the list of ingredients to find out. If one ingredient looks suspicious to you, ask the company or do a little research to ensure the sunscreen that you are buying is truly an organic sunscreen or a natural sunscreen. In doubt, you can also consult this environmental working group website called EWG that has put together a list of safe sunscreen brands.

I am suggesting this truly organic sunscreen by Badgers that is available on Amazon. I have tested it and while this cream has a quite pleasant smell and is easy to apply, it is also one of the safest cream out there. It doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and all of them are known ingredients including Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Shea Butter, Essential Oils of Lime Oil, Lavender essential Oil*, Sweet Orange Oil*, Sicilian Orange Oil*, Moroccan Blue Tansy Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil, and CO2 extract of Seabuckthorn Berry*. The * means that these ingredients are issued from organic farming.

As a final note, try to limit your exposure to the sun for long period of time. While a nice tan is in fashion, it is very unhealthy and tanning can cause skin diseases.

Organic shampoo: a wise choice

Why choose an organic shampoo?

One of the reason why many people turn to organic shampoo is to avoid the harmful toxins and chemicals that they contain and that enter our body, leaving the most sensitive persons with allergies, irritations, itching in the eyes and sometimes worse conditions.

Regular synthetically-made shampoos do not go back far. They were introduced in the 60’s to replace the regular soap people would use on their hair. Shampoo formulations are created in the lab and are carefully thought in terms of colors, smell, texture, purpose to ensure that the product will appeal to consumers. Shampoo formulations include the following:

water: that makes up for 80% of the formulation
surfactants: Surfactants are the detergents or cleaning agents. The common detergent used in shampoos is called sodium lauryl sulfate. Truly organic products are sodium laureth sulfate free shampoo.
foaming agents: also called alkanolamides, are the agents that give the shampoo its foaming action (some shampoos foam more than others). Typical alkanolamides include lauramide DEA or cocamide DEA.
thickeners: They make for the thick consitency of the shampoo and include methylcellulose (derived from plant cellulose) or chloride sodium (salt).
preservatives: they keep away bacteria growth. They include DMDM hydantoin and methylparaben.
modifiers: added to give the shampoo its specificities or to adjust the Ph. Modifiers include citric acid or sodium hydroxide.
additives: additives give the shampoo its color or its smell and include dyes and fragrances.

The surfactant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is known to penetrate the skin and our body easily and cause allergies, skin irritations and is a well-known carcinogenic (gives cancer). This is a common ingredient in car engine degreasers. The foam booster, lauramide is also known to be a carcinogenic ingredient. The preservative DMDM hydantoin is known to be toxic to our immune system and methylparaben can induce cancer and disrupts our hormonal system. The modifier sodium hydroxide can induce cancer and is toxic to the nervous system, the brain and the organs even at very low dosage. The additives, dyes or fragrances can be neurotoxic or harmful to the immune system. So why such ingredients would be used in shampoo formulations? Because shampoos are part of the cosmetics industry, which is not regulated in the United-States and therefore, all kinds of ingredients can be used in the formulations, even harmful ones.

How to know a shampoo is truly organic?

There are alternatives though and one of them is to use organic shampoos that are free of chemicals and toxins. However, the organic products industry is booming and many companies take advantage of it for their marketing and sales pitch and some allegedly organic shampoos also contain harmful ingredients. So how to know which organic product is real and which is fake? For one, it is better to choose an organic shampoo that carries the USDA organic seal of approval. Secondly, always check the ingredients of your shampoo and don’t rely on the marketing blurp of the packaging. If your organic shampoo contains any of the listed ingredients above, put it back on the shelf.

Organic shampoos contain an organic liquid soap base that serves as a detergent, that is made of saponified oils and that is chemical-free. Other organic ingredients are added to the base to give the shampoo its effect, its smell. Natural preservatives are also added to make sure that the product does not get contaminated with bacteria. One common natural preservative is grapefruit seed, known to have anti-bacterial properties.

Also, if you want to make sure that the brand you chose is not harmful, you can consult the Skin Deep website database that will show you the list of ingredients contained in your product and how harmful or harmless they are.

Choosing the proper organic shampoo for your hair type is not only beneficial to your health but also to the environment. Think about all those harmful chemicals that pass through the drains and end up contaminating the water and soils. This won’t happen with true organic shampoos. So follow your organic lifestyle but wisely: always read the labels and the list of ingredients.

Visit our organic shampoo section.

Remove stretch marks

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks also known under the name striae, striae atrophica or vergetures are irregular scarring of the skin in the form of discolored lines, bands or stripes. Stretch marks form at the dermis level where elastin and collagen are not produced enough to keep the skin elasticity or when stretching occur and as a result, the skin can not retain its shape and breaks. This usually happens during a sudden weight gain (during pregnancy particularly), during sudden growth (puberty), during hormone changes or even during the intake of certain medication such as cortisone. Stretch marks commonly appear where the largest amount of fat is stored such as on the thighs, hips, breast, buttocks and can touch both men and women.

Preventing stretch marks

Prevention is the solution when weight gain occurs or during pregnancy by applying organic vitamin E or organic cacao butter on the concerned areas before the stretch marks become too deep. Also, a good diet rich in Vitamin K can help slowing the formation of stretch marks (green vegetables) or essential fatty acids (fish, nuts, organic evening primrose oil, organic argan oil or organic borage oil and other healthy organic products).

Home remedies for stretch marks

gotu kola1- According to a study, applying Gotu Kola extract on a daily basis would help prevent the formation of stretch marks and even reduce existing ones. Gotu Kola also known as Centella asiatica is small plant from Asia belonging to the Mackinlayaceae family that grows annually. It has green rounded leaves and the flowers are of pink to red color. Gotu Kola has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. It is also said to be beneficial to the circulation, the brain and nervous system functions. It has antioxidant and anti-aging properties and can be used to speed up wound healing as well as diminishing the scars thanks to the stimulation of collagen production. It is traditionally used to treat leprosy. organic gotu kolaOrganic gotu kola can be found in the form of powder, cream, extract, infused oil or tea.

2 – Try as well using essential oils. Helichrysum essential oil is the most beneficial essential oil to get rid of stretch marks. It is however very expensive and this is why not a lot of companies use it. If you want to try it, you can buy it here online. Mix it with jojoba oil or another carrier oil before applying to the skin. Organic lavender essential oil mix with chamomile essential oil in a carrier oil can attenuate stretch marks as well.

3 – Mixing organic aloe vera, organic vitamin E and organic vitamin A and rubbing on the stretch marks area can also help.

4 – Organic cocoa butter, organic emu oil and organic argan oil are also said to do wonders to stretch marks. Choose organic products to ensure they are 100% natural and chemicals-free.

5 – Exercise combined with the use of your topical remedies will help as well as it will tone your muscles and skin. You can use an exercise routine that focuses on the arms, thighs, buttocks and abs.

Those remedies might not get you rid of the stretch marks completely but it can however attenuate them.