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Real Beauty

Tips and tricks for natural body care

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4/23/2015

I like the ideas behind Kahina Giving Beauty and I was excited when the marketing director of a natural skin care and supplement distribution center asked me to try it. The line features handpicked ingredients by women in Morocco, specifically very high quality Argan oil. The line boasts ethically and sustainably sourced raw materials; certified natural and organic formulations that incorporate organic materials whenever possible; recycled and recyclable packaging; and donations to the Moroccan women who work to provide the raw materials. This sounded great to me, so I shelved my Dr. Hauschka for 10 days to give the line a try.

For 10 days I used Kahina Facial Cleanser, Toning Mist, Brightening Serum, Eye Serum, and Facial Lotion. I am 39-years-old with combination skin, a fair complexion and freckles.

Kahina Giving Beauty Skin Care

I read and reread the ingredients as I am an ingredient hound and must know absolutely what I am putting onto my skin. Here is what I found.

The Review

The Cleanser is in a base of aloe vera leaf juice and argan oil, containing bamboo and papaya, which I like. The first thing I noticed was the scent. Yum. It smells of neroli and chamomile. 1 point for Kahina.

The Toner is sticky and advises to avoid contact with your eyes. It is a base of aloe vera juice and rose water with rice seed extract, white tea and glycerin. Pretty good ingredients, but very sticky. 1 point against.

The Brightening Serum is also a base of aloe vera juice, argan oil and glycerin. It smells of rose geranium and frankincense, which I love. It also contains some potent, nourishing ingredients like spirulina and shea butter. It’s also sticky and cautions to avoid spraying into the eyes.

The Eye Serum is a base of water, argan oil and glycerin. It contains the powerhouse sea buckthorn and carrot oil combo I love for sun repair and anti-aging. It smells like ylang ylang and neroli, yum but again TOO STICKY! Take the glycerin out of everything for goodness sakes!

The Facial Lotion is a base of water and argan oil, with glycerin, shea butter, alcohol and beeswax. It smells like honeysuckle. It is light and non- sticky.

I also received a tiny dram, each, of Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil. These high quality oils absorb easily into the skin with no residue or stickiness! I enjoyed these very much.

The Verdict

Kahina Giving Beauty smells delicious, has quality ingredients and is definitely ethical, but very sticky! I would recommend this line only to those who can stand having sticky glycerin on their faces all day. If you really want to try something, go for the pure oils.


Shar VedaShar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook!



3/23/2015

It might surprise you to learn that acne is essentially caused by inefficient skin turnover. If your skin doesn’t renew its cells properly, it can lead to some dead cells staying behind. This prevents oil glands from working correctly, due to these cells blocking pores and causing breakouts. Although you should implement a good skin care regimen (and sometimes medication) to deal with acne flare-ups, food plays an important role in keeping your skin healthy and clear as well.

Foods for Skin
Image courtesy Shutterstock

5 Skin-Clearing Nutrients

You should also know what foods to eat more of! There are certain nutrients that help to make skin much clearer and they work in different ways to achieve this. Some of the best acne-fighting foods include:

1. Zinc-Rich Foods
Adding zinc to your diet can help you in your battle against acne. The reason is that zinc makes your skin less appealing to bacteria that cause breakouts and it also soothes skin irritation after pimples strike. Common sources of zinc include meat, poultry and oysters. If you’re vegetarian you will need to choose non-animal, zinc-rich foods, such as fortified cereals and dairy or take a zinc supplement.

2. Omega-3s
Since acne is really just a form of inflammation, you want to eat foods that are anti-inflammatory. Omega-3 foods can be found in sources such as fatty fish like salmon, flaxseed and walnuts. If you don’t get enough omega-3s from your diet, consider supplements as well.

3. Clean Foods
The trend of clean eating, which basically involves eating foods that are in their natural state without being processed, is highly beneficial to clearer skin. Research has found that teens in the Kitava island region do not show signs of any acne problems because they eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables, while including little to no refined foods, such as white flour and sugar, in their diet.

Try to get in as many daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables as you can since they contain a variety of nutrients and antioxidants to give you healthier skin. When shopping for fresh produce, choose fruits and vegetables with the richest color as these have the most antioxidants!

4. Vitamin C
Foods that contain high levels of the antioxidant vitamin C, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, are great for skin because they strengthen the walls of cells. This prevents horrible scarring from occurring after breakouts, helping you achieve stronger and clearer skin. 

5. Vitamin E
This is another must-have antioxidant. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, whole grains and vegetable oils (be sure that they are not highly processed so that you get the most benefit). Vitamin E helps skin heal after a breakout, while keeping it moisturized.

Clear Skin
Image courtesy Shutterstock

More Tips for Clearer Skin

Start a Food Diary
There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all approach to beginning an acne-preventing diet. That’s why it’s important to keep track of what you’re eating. For instance, some people find that after eating dairy their skin breaks out. This is because the hormones in dairy are thought to lead to sebum production. By keeping a record of what you eat on a daily basis you can see first-hand what foods may be irritating your skin and avoid them in future.

Throw in Some Spice
Don’t forget about herbs and spices! Turmeric is a great example of a spice that’s especially good for blemish-prone skin. It contains an antioxidant known as curcumin which helps fight inflammation. Aside from sprinkling it on foods, you can also use turmeric, topically, by mixing it with olive oil and then applying it to your blemishes.

When blemishes are zapping your confidence and making you want to hide away, reaching for foods that encourage a clearer complexion can help you face the world with more beautiful skin.



3/18/2015

Female hair loss is an emotive issue and a worrying time for anyone who experiences this problem, but there more options than ever before to help you do something positive and find a long-term solution.

Effective treatments, like hair transplant and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), are performed on a regular basis by specialists such as Longevita. These promising and pioneering techniques are a real breakthrough in the fight against female hair loss.

three girls
Photo by Fotolia/Monkey Business

Menopause and Hair Loss

Hair loss is not one of the primary symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, but it is definitely one of the most emotive aspects linked with this change in the life cycle.

It is believed that hair loss during menopause is becoming more common due to the fact that more women are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, due to work and family pressures. This can lead to loss of hair as result of the menopause itself combined with these other aggravating factors, and the condition is known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium.

The positive point to consider when talking about menopausal hair loss is that the effects are only permanent in a minority of patients, but the effects of the condition can lead to other issues such as depression, so it should be addressed if it occurs to you.

Other Common Causes for Female Hair Loss

Telogen Effluvium can also occur during pregnancy, as a result of extreme weight loss or for a number of other reasons.

Hair loss may continue for 6 weeks to 3 months after each trigger episode, such as extreme stress, and your doctor should be able to advise you on what may have caused the symptoms and possibly provide some assistance in dealing with the cause with appropriate medication. The medication won’t tackle the hair loss itself, but may help resolve or lessen the cause, and in turn the symptom.

Another point to consider is that hair loss can be hereditary. If androgenetic alopecia is in the genes on either side of the family, this can be a valid reason for why you are experiencing hair loss.

Thyroid disease is another known cause. If your body does not produce enough, or too much, thyroid hormones, a bout of hair loss may be trigger. This may also affect your skin and nails.

Other possible causes include Lupus, which is when your body’s immune system attacks your healthy tissues; or having an iron deficiency, known as anemia, can also lead to hair loss amongst other things, such as extreme fatigue and regular headaches.

Always consult your doctor if you are suffering from poor health or start to notice hair loss, so that you can address the symptoms and find a resolution for your hair loss problem through other specialist sources, if necessary.

Remedies for Female Hair Loss

Whatever the cause may be, losing your hair can cause great anguish and a loss of self-esteem. Many women, quite understandably, wish to take positive action to resolve the problem and feel normal again.

Lotions and Other Topical Treatments
These can be applied directly to the scalp and may help in some cases. Permanent hair loss, however, requires hair replacement procedures to remedy the situation.

Hair Transplants
Specialists in the field can offer the latest technology and methods such as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), which are used in combination to treat most cases.

FUE is a hair transplant method that does not require any removal of the scalp, as individual hair follicles are carefully removed from the back of the head (known as the donor area) and subsequently transplanted into the areas of the head where the baldness and hair loss has occurred.

Only hair—no skin—is removed during the process and results have shown that a FUE hair transplant combined with PRP will often give the patient the best possible results after treatment has concluded. This is just one example of private treatment that may be able to save you a substantial amount of money, should you seek treatment at a specialist centre outside of the United Kingdom.


Ozgur Taskaya is the Marketing Manager at Longevita, Turkey’s leading medical travel company. Stay in the loop on the latest health, beauty and wellness breakthroughs on Twitter.



2/25/2015

Everyone has a favorite type of soap, but whether you’re exclusively loyal to antibacterial body-wash or an advocate for plain soap bars, it’s worth our time to analyze which are the healthiest options. 

From the look, texture, and feel, all soaps are substantially different and do not offer the same health benefits when it comes to long-term skin care. From antibacterial and scented to organic, soap has a clear purpose and may be used to clean a variety of things—vehicles, pets, children and even ourselves. In a society that fears germs, we always want the most potent product to cleanse with. But would we clean our bodies with the same substance we use on our dishes?

Organic Soap
Photo courtesy Castile Soap Bar

Antibacterial Soaps

Antibacterial soaps have active antimicrobial ingredients added to them. These chemicals are typically non-organic and are specifically designed to kill bacteria and microbes. One of the main ingredients in antibacterial soaps is triclosan, an ingredient that is nearly ubiquitous in liquid hand soap. Unfortunately, triclosan has been linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and may disrupt thyroid function (even with low levels of the ingredient). There is also early research indicating triclosan can interfere with the skeletal and muscular systems. Interestingly, antibacterial soaps are not any more effective than plain soap and water at removing bacteria and microbes. The FDA has completed a series of studies over the past 40 years that looks into the efficacy of antibacterial soaps and the use of triclosan. The USDA concluded that the ingredient is not as effective as manufacturers claim.

Chloroxylenol is another chemical compound commonly used in antibacterial soaps and cosmetic products. It’s used in hospitals and households for disinfection, sterilization and wound-cleansing. But excessive use of soaps containing chloroxylenol may lead to dehydration of skin cells, itching and rashes. The manufacturing process of soaps containing this ingredient is highly polluting to our world. 

Antibacterial soaps do kill bacteria and microbes, which may be a great option when treating a mild—and temporary—skin infection. However, if antibacterial soaps are not as effective as advertised, and may actually pose a health risk, then we must reconsider their daily use as a simple and desirable cleansing product. 

Scented Soaps

Who would not be delighted to discover and experience a new fragrance in their soap? There is an extraordinary variety of smells available, from warm lavender to bold calendula. Olfaction, or the sense of smell, is significantly more acute in humans than any other sense. That is why we remember certain scenarios, settings and events easier when encountering a familiar smell. Our lavender soap may indeed paint a vivid image in our minds of strolling through lush lavender fields. Even though scents themselves don’t add any cleaning power to our soaps, they are nice to experience. However, many aromatic essential oils—pure botanical oils derived from nature—can contain antimicrobial properties, including lavender and tea tree oil. But not every scent used to accent soap is derived from natural sources.

Sad to say, most commercially available soap bars and body washes are artificially scented. Surprised? Hope not! Manufacturers may cut costs by using chemicals and artificial fragrances (or phthalates) rather than actively growing and harvesting their own natural ingredients and extracts. Most of these products are also loaded with preservatives (yes—soaps do expire) and questionable ingredients. This leads to an ever-growing need for hydrating lotions, skin nourishment and other forms of moisturizers. In the noble effort of maintaining our long-term health without exposing ourselves to harmful side effects, we must actively select soaps that are scented with natural ingredients only—not chemicals.

Organic Soaps

What is better than a product directly made from Mother Earth? The healthiest soaps are typically bars made from vegetable oil blends such as castile soaps or pure organic soaps. For foaming soaps, liquid castile soap is slightly more costly but far healthier for the skin. In addition to being available in liquid form, castile soap is also available in bar form—an exciting option. The term “Castile Soap” originates from the Castile region of Spain, where the soaps were stricly made from olive oil. Today, castile soaps have evolved and now refer to any soap made from the saponification of vegetable oils. Castile soaps don’t contain harmful antibacterial ingredients, cleaning agents or neurotoxins disguised as fragrances or artificial colors.

Any pure organic soap is also an option to castile soap. Organic soap ingredients may include olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, sweet almost oil, jojoba oil, glycerine, deionized water, sodium hydrate and natural extracts (for scents or exfoliation). These soaps provide a refreshingly natural and clean feeling. They typically don’t have an overpowering scent as they contain no chemicals or unnatural additives. Organic soaps simply smell pleasant and get you clean without over-drying your skin. At the end, the lather rinses away completely and leaves your skin feeling fantastic! Indeed, there is something special about the perfect soap: a beautiful lather and a smooth feeling without sacrificing long-term health.

Have you tried any castile soap or organic soap before? If so, let us know what you think. 


Audrey LefebvreAudrey Lefebvre has been practicing holistic health-care in Florida for the past four years. She currently assists with patient care at the offices of doctor Ron N. Shemesh, and is a featured blogger and presenter for Castile Soap Bar. To learn more about her, holistic living and castile soaps, visit Castile Soap Bar.



2/23/2015

I love using natural beauty products. I live for lotions, lip balms, moisturizers and facial cleansers enriched with organic, nourishing ingredients. But if I’m being totally honest, natural deodorants have always eluded me. As someone who sweats a lot (TMI? Sorry.) I’ve had a difficult time committing to natural deodorants on a regular basis. (Read “Why You Should Use Natural Deodorant.”) Thankfully, my job has allowed me to try and discover a number of natural deodorants that I really like. A few have even become staples for me on low-impact days. (Read “Natural Deodorant Options” for a list of the deodorant products I am currently digging.) The natural deodorant that I’ve been enjoying most recently is Primal Pit Paste’s Thyme & Lemongrass Natural Deodorant Stick.

Primal Pit Paste

Primal Pit Paste’s Thyme & Lemongrass Deodorant Stick Ingredients

Before I dig into this natural deodorant stick, here is a full list of its ingredients:

Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Organic Beeswax, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, Essential Oils

That’s it folks! This is as natural as it comes—all of the ingredients listed on this product are easy to pronounce and zero of them have been flagged on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, so use the product to your heart’s content.

My Thoughts

Primal Pit Paste offers an array of natural, handcrafted deodorant products, from sticks and creams to extra-strength blends. But I chose to review this particular paste stick for one main reason: It smells amazing! It’s infused with thyme and lemongrass essential oils, two natural antiseptics that are great-smelling and wonderfully healing oils for deodorants. I love citrus-smelling anything, so this “pit paste” had already won me over with its scent alone.

The working ingredients in this stick deodorant include arrowroot powder, baking soda, shea butter and coconut oil. Arrowroot powder is a great thickening agent; baking soda has natural antibacterial properties that kill odor-causing bacteria and neutralize the smell of sweat; and shea butter and coconut oil are antimicrobial ingredients that soothe skin.

The product can be a little difficult to apply without knowing what needs to be done: You can’t just start rubbing it under your arm, as it needs to use your natural body heat to soften up. Place the stick directly on your armpit and let it sit for five to 10 seconds. This will soften it, making it easier to apply. Two to three swipes are all you really need to use. Just make sure that the blend feels soft enough to apply or it will leave small chunks under your armpits that are sure to show up on your clothing. If this is something you worry about happening, just use your fingertips to fully wipe the deodorant blend into your skin.

Even though I still sweat just a little with this product (a natural process that your body needs to go through anyway), my sweat didn’t stink. So if you love anything citrus-scented and are looking for a natural deodorant, try this 2-ounce paste stick for $11. Visit their website to buy it online or find it at a store near you. You’ll smell great all day long! Primal Pit Paste also offers paste sticks in Lavender, Orange Creamsicle, Lemonade, Primal Spice, Coriander Sage, Royal & Rogue, Jacked-Up Jasmine and Unscented.


Gina DeBacker Headshot Gina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients. 



2/17/2015

Naturally healing oils can give our skin some replenishment after the harsh, dry conditions of winter. Use the following editor-recommended oils by themselves or in homemade moisturizers, skin softeners, massage oils, make-up removers, leave-in hair treatments and much more.

Pomegranate Oil

Rich Renewal

This edible Pomegranate Seed Oil is certified both organic and kosher.

To Buy:  $17, Mountain Rose Herbs

Argan Oil Facial Serum

Morning Magic

Boost your morning facial regimen with this Daytime Argan Facial Oil Serum, which is also enriched with sunflower and jojoba oils.

To Buy:  $20, Aura Cacia

Sea Buckthorn Cream

Rapid Replenishment

Alleviate dry skin while protecting from moisture loss with Sea Buckthorn Body Cream.

To Buy:  $15, Sibu Beauty

Argan Oil Balm

Balm Bliss

Argan Oil Balm softens and improves skin texture; reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; and nourishes chaffed or irritated skin.

To Buy: $20, Nourish Organic

Lavender Oil

Amazing Everyday

Heal skin with the all-over moisturizing formula French Lavender Everyday Body Oil, enriched with jojoba oil to naturally restore skin’s softness.

To Buy:  $15, EO Products

Learn more about skin-nourishing oils in Naturally Healing Body Oils.



1/19/2015

I feel like I review a lot of lotions, but to be honest it’s the beauty product I go through the fastest—especially during the winter when my skin is dry and cracked. So it never hurts to share another great lotion that’s landed on my radar, right? Good, because I really enjoyed using Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion.

Erbaviva is a natural beauty company that creates organic, handmade skin-care products for babies, mothers-to-be and everyone else. With an array of products, including Mommy-To-Be Milk Bath, Belly Butter, Baby Sunscreen, Diaper Cream, a variety of lotions and even pure essential oils, it’s fair to say that Erbavia has a well-rounded line fit for just about everyone.

Erbaviva Relax Body Lotion 

Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion Ingredients

Before I get into why I love their Relax Body Lotion, let’s look at its full list of ingredients:

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Beeswax, Xanthan Gum, Algin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Flower oil, *Geraniol, *Limonene, *Linalool, *Citronellol

Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are flagged by the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a low-moderate risk (3). In addition, geraniol (7), limonene (6), linalool (5) and citronellol (5), which are naturally occurring scents, are flagged with higher risks. Why is this? I suspect it’s because certain people can have skin sensitivities to them. Geraniol, for example, is a naturally occurring scent ingredient found in various essential oils such as rose and citronella. And although the FDA considers geraniol generally recognized as safe (GRAS), the International Fragrance Association restricts its use because of potential sensitization.

Fortunately, these four ingredients are components of certified organic ingredients, so if you don’t suffer from supersensitive skin, then it’s likely that you won’t have a poor reaction to these natural fragrances. If you are worried, conduct a small patch test on your skin.

My Thoughts

Naturally scented with a number of relaxing ingredients, including lavender, rose and neroli oil, Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion is just that—wonderfully relaxing. It’s blended with nourishing cocoa butter, skin-healing aloe and natural anti-inflammatory jojoba oil, making it a healing treat for the skin as well. Milky and lightweight, this lotion is non-greasy and perfect for storing on your office desk to hydrate hard-working hands in the afternoon. All you need is a couple of pumps from this bottle to effectively moisturize.

To snag a bottle of this 6-ounce pump for $20, find it a store near you or buy online. If you’re not looking to relax, try one of Erbaviva’s other lotion blends, including Awaken, Embrace and Breathe.


Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living. She loves that part of her job entails testing beauty products enriched with natural ingredients. 





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