Real Beauty
Tips and tricks for natural body care

8 Benefits of Cannabis Oil

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never smoked or have taken illegal drugs. I know several people who do use recreational intoxicants, and have made my distaste for anything related to cannabis well known.

So, it was a huge surprise to my husband when he opened the box of free body oils that Eden’s Garden recently sent me to review and found a bottle of Yuza Cannabis body oil that contains essential oils. Why would someone like me even consider using this oil? Well, the benefits of the oil intrigued me. I linked to several sources below. Because the topic of cannabis-related products is so controversial, it's difficult to find credible sources. Feel free to comment in the box under this post if you have any corrections for me!

Benefits of Cannabis Essential Oil

Can help fade the appearance of scars and shed dead skin
Promotes good sleep
Acts as a pain reliever.
Has antioxidant properties.
May protect the skin against eczema and psoriasis.
Can relieve headaches.
May treat PTSD
The oil is not an intoxicant (and is legal in the U.S.). It does not contain any CBD or THC.

Disclaimer

As a common disclaimer for using any herbal remedy, I suggest that you talk to your care provider before using Cannabis oil. I particularly advise that you discuss this oil with a doctor before using on children, or pregnant or nursing women.

Review of Eden’s Garden Yuza Cannabis Oil

I hate the smell of cannabis when I’m around people who smoke it recreationally. However, the oil that I received smelled citrusy (thanks to the yuza) and not how I expected. Honestly, the patchouli-coconut-oil-salve that I use on my pores smells more “hippie-ish” than this body oil. I apply a little to my acne scars, and have seen some fading in those scars. Although I make my own salves with coconut oil and essential oils, I appreciate that I don’t have to mix this oil with a carrier oil for topical use. This means that I can directly apply the oil to my skin without first diluting it. I tend to use this particular body oil on acne scars on my face shortly before going to bed. It’s quick to apply (I use it after applying rose hydrosol to my face as a toner). The only issue that I have with this body oil is that it pours from the bottle too quickly. A little goes a long way, as with most oils. I suggest transferring the oil to another glass bottle or adding a roller ball to the orifice. Currently, this product is only offered from Eden’s Garden in their “Create Your Own” set of body oils. Their four-ounce bottles of body oils come with a little “pump”, so finding a soap or serum pump that fits the bottle may be another way to not waste product.

While I’m not about to change my stance on recreational drug use, I do appreciate other uses for cannabis plants and recognize that there is a difference between intoxicating and non-intoxicating products of the plant.


Marissa Coyle is a mother, blogger, and digital content assistant. You can follow her blog Transitioning to the Good Life, where she chronicles her adventures in learning how to live healthier, cleaner, and happier.

Counterfeit Beauty Products: Protect Yourself from Damage

Makeup has always been a fun hobby and the rise of YouTube's beauty vloggers and Instagram influencers has taken the obsession for the precise application of the perfect product to new heights. Also on board are celebrity makeup lines, from Kylie Jenner Lip Kits to Rihanna's newly launched Fenty Beauty. Makeup obsessed but cash-strapped teens and young adults sometimes turn to street vendors, eBay and other outlets to nab these coveted brands at a lower price. What they don't know is that these products may be counterfeit and could cause major damage, from eye infections to allergic reactions.

“The flood of fake products is a health crisis for consumers and an economic crisis for the beauty industry. Unfortunately, the flood of illegal, counterfeit cosmetics products coming into this country from abroad has escalated, and we need to bring awareness of these health risks involved with the use of counterfeit make-up to the consumers,” says James Ricaurte, founder and President of Allegiance Protection Group in New York City, a leading private investigation and security firm based in New York City. Ricaurte recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show to explain the dangers of counterfeit beauty products to consumers.

makeup application
Photo by Pixabay

Why are Counterfeit Products Bad for Consumers?

A recent Bloomberg investigation showed that counterfeit products are often made in unclean conditions, typically in China. Dirt floors, vats of dye and powders left open and exposed to bacteria, and the materials used even contain carcinogens. FBI investigators have found that toxins are rampant in these products, leading to rashes, burns, allergic reactions and even permanent disfigurement. Another danger is the long-term effects of these products, some of which may include high blood pressure and infertility.

Lead, mercury, arsenic and paint thinner are some of the most common dangers found in counterfeit beauty products. Some were even found to contain waste products from both humans and rats. Needless to say, these are things you don't want to be putting on your body — let alone your face.

Big Money Business

Counterfeiters literally do not care about the safety of the products they sell. Money — and lots of it — is what drives them to create these products. In fact, seizures in 2015 ended up costing the beauty industry about $75 million. Counterfeiters are targeting the YouTube generation, not only the typically expensive brands like La Mer, Chanel and Armani. Instead, they're counterfeiting Tarte, Benefit, Kat Von D and Ben Nye.

Big Brands Protect Their Customers

Clearly, beauty brands seek to protect their bottom lines, which are greatly affected by counterfeit products. But they also care about their customers and do not want their brand name associated with products that they don't manufacture and cause major damage to consumers.

It's becoming more and more difficult to spot fake products. In response, beauty brands are beginning to instill watermarks, holograms and RFID chips to their packaging so that consumers will know when they have an authentic product. They're so concerned that the industry reportedly spent $37 billion on defending brands through the packaging in 2014 alone. In fact, many of the largest brands, like Estee Lauder, employ their own global security divisions to track down counterfeits and help prosecute offenders.

How to Avoid Buying Counterfeit Beauty Products

The best rule of thumb is to only purchase beauty products directly from the manufacturer, or through authorized vendors like Sephora, Ulta or any department store. “Counterfeit products can destroy consumer trust and cause irreparable harm to a brand,” says Sujoy Bhattacharya, Founder and CEO of Falls River Soap Company, a handmade soap company specializing in natural and organic beauty products.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported a 25 percent increase in counterfeit beauty product seizures from 2011 to 2013. These seizures took place in China, Dubai, and coast-to-coast in America. The most terrifying part is that buyers of counterfeit products are often not aware that they're buying a knock-off; they assume that the products are regulated and safe, therefore, don't realize the danger of using them.

M.A.C. makeup, owned by Estee Lauder, is one of the most commonly seized counterfeit products. In 2016, more than 2.8 million counterfeit M.A.C. items were seized by customs agents. Operation Plastic Beauty is one investigation in the U.S. that has seized over $8 million worth of counterfeit cosmetics. Items that slip through customs can be found at flea markets, eBay and other online retailers.

The overall message from the Department of Homeland Security, which is also involved in prosecuting and seizing counterfeit products, is that consumers must be vigilant. If you're buying a Kylie Lip Kit for $3.99 on the street, it's likely not the real deal.

DIY Green Tea Face Toner Recipe

For the past several years, I had been using witch hazel as a toner and loved it! It didn’t over-dry my sensitive skin and seemed to help with breakouts. However, since moving to a dryer climate it wasn’t providing the same results; my skin constantly felt dry and tight no matter the moisturizer I used and breakouts were becoming more frequent. So, I resolved to give something new a try once the bottle was empty.

Rather than spend a pretty penny on a product I could 1) irritate my skin or 2) not work well, I tried my hand at making a homemade facial toner. A few friends had raved about a chamomile toner they’d recently made, but after a bit of research that didn’t seem quite right for my skin. Although my concoction varied slightly, to accommodate skin type and skin-specific issues, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

skin care ingredients
Photo by Adobe Stock/kerdkanno.

Green Tea Toner Recipe

Makes approx. 2 ounces

• 1/4 cup green tea, cooled
• 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (ACV)
• 1-3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
• 1-2 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)

1. Boil water for tea.

2. Place 1 tea bag into 1/4 cup of hot water (I recommend a glass measuring cup for easy transfer later). Let steep until cool.

3. Add ACV and essential oils to tea in measuring cup.

4. Pour into cobalt or amber bottle for storage.

To use: Gently mix ingredients by tilting bottle. Apply to cotton ball or round. Then apply to skin moving upward or outward toward the edges of face and down the neck.

The first time I made this, I only included lavender essential oil to help keep blemishes and redness to a minimum (plus, it smells good!). Since adding the tea tree oil, I’ve noticed even fewer breakouts and faster healing times! Although the finished product does have a slight, vinegary scent it dissipates quickly. And if you choose to include essential oils, they help mask that odor. The combination of lavender and tea tree has made any vinegar scent barely noticeable, in my opinion.

As with most forays into natural or DIY beauty, I was skeptical. I tried the original toner for a month—maybe a bit more—and saw quite a bit of improvement. Most notably the pores, particularly, around my nose seemed smaller, which was one of the main problems I had hoped to address, and my skin no longer felt dry, tight or itchy.

Although this recipe only makes a small amount (the only size bottle I had on hand, at the time), the recipe can be adapted so you don’t run out as quickly. Since it is made with green tea, it’s more prone to spoiling than if only made with water. Personally, I don’t mind the little bit of time this takes to make since most of the process is hands-off.

This recipe was adapted from The Nourished Life.

7 Recommended Cleansing Masks

1. Simply Exfoliate

dermaE

Derma E combines simplicity and effectiveness with its Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask. The deep-detox mask uses activated charcoal to cleanse pores of dirt, oil and environmental toxins. Apricot seed powder exfoliates skin for a smoother, healthier appearance.

To Buy:$19, Derma E

2. High Five

C&Co

In just five minutes once a week, C&Co. Chamomile & Oats Clay Facial Mask uses its five simple ingredients to promote gentle exfoliation and healthier new skin. Nourishing oatmeal and soothing chamomile balance natural oil production and promote increased circulation.

To Buy:$25, C&Co.

3. Prickly Hydration

MyChelle

If you suffer from dry skin, consider MyChelle Dermaceuticals’ Hydrating Cactus Mask. Blue agave and prickly pear cactus extracts are the surprising stars here, restoring natural hydration and balance, renewing prematurely aging skin and calming irritation.

To Buy: $18, MyChelle

4. Ancient Treatment

Auromere

Auromère’s Ayurvedic Mud Bath & Mask is based on a recipe that’s been handed down for generations in a single family. Auromère products follow Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic art that uses plants and minerals to promote whole-body health. The powder can also be used as a body wrap or body wash.

To Buy:$36, Auromere

5. Hot Chocolate

CalmSkinCare

Calm Skin Care’s Hot Chocolate Powder Aromatherapy Facial Mask is a sweet-smelling treat that fights blemishes and tightens pores. For maximum effectiveness, warm the mask for 10 to 15seconds before applying.

To Buy:$16, Calm SkinCare

6. Facial on the Go

Bask&Co

Try the variety of clay masks available from Bask & Co. with the travel-ready Mini Clay Mask + Facial Blend Kit. The kit’s four blends include powerful natural ingredients such as activated charcoal, rose and matcha, and can be mixed with a number of liquids — water, honey or even plain yogurt — to apply.

To Buy: $39 for a set of four, Bask & Co.

7. By the Sea

SeaweedBathCo

The detoxifying Firm + Lift mask from The Seaweed Bath Co. penetrates the skin’s surface layers to restore natural elasticity and firmness, promoting soft, youthful-looking skin, no matter your skin type. Use one single-use mask once or twice per week.

To Buy:$6 each, Seaweed Bath Co.

Spring Beauty Products for 2017

Spring is my favorite season. A Mother’s Day Baby, I was born in May and I adore everything about the season of REBIRTH. Flowers both wild and domestic, after a long season of cold, dark winter, emerge from Mother Earth reaching fresh, precious faces towards father sun and mother moon. And we like the flowers, all shapes, sizes, and colors emerge from the womb of winter as well. So beautiful!

CELLULAR TURNOVER, FRESH NEW SKIN at any age, and SMILE LINES are on my mind and in my heart!  So here are 4 SUSTAINABLE SPRING BEE-AUTY PICKS to help us polish our pretty petals and emerge as glorious as the flowers. All Products and Companies are clean, sustainable and powerfully plant based.

Khus Khus SURYA BODY POLISH with Mimosa, Neroil, Red Mandarin, Benzoin, Argan, Coconut, Babasu oils, & Bolivian Pink Salt stimulates cellular turnover, creating healthy new cells, while smelling like an alluring tropical oasis. It also stimulates lymph to drain, reduce + eliminate toxins, promotes muscle relaxation, balances PH and e-mineralizes the skin.

Kristi Blustein, Ayurvedic Specialist and founder/creator of Khus Khus Modern Herbal Fusion says, “When we think about our skin (issues) we think it's surface related most times, because that is what is reflected outward, but in reality (skin is) a reflection of internal health and balance and in this sense nothing compares to plants when it comes to supporting internal maintenance of the body and mind. They are our support system for true in depth healing.... Health begins with the mind and is then translated within the body and then reflected in the manifestation of skin health. Which is what KHUS+KHUS was created for, the maintenance and balance of deeper skin health”.

Para New York- Jasmine Sandalwood Tonic Mist with Silver Hydrosol and Ylang Ylang has become one of my spring staples. I use it liberally to freshen after workouts and counseling shifts at the teen mom shelter. Featuring Silver Hydrosol's anti-bacterial abilities to keep breakouts at bay and skin soothing Vanilla, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, superb mood enhancers for when you need a little TLC.  It’s hydrating and calming, anti bacterial and aromatically on point.

Maya Chia HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY Illuminating Face Serum is not like any makeup you’ve ever tried. I never use face makeup because it feels stifling to my skin but this gal is ....different. The plant based highlighter adds a nice soft glow without looking or feeling makeup-y. It's got broccoli and calendula in a nutritious chia seed oil base. Feels nice, not heavy or sticky. It’s moisturizing and blends easily with your favorite face balm or lotion.

Spring Beauty wouldn’t be complete without a lip pick! Jane Iredale Pure Moist Lipsticks add just the right amount of color for those of us who don’t use a ton of makeup and drench lips in moisture so you don’t have to re apply often. Star plant ingredients in this luxurious lipstick include Moringa Butter, Avocado and Sunflower Oils, and Coffee Seed Extract. The Pure Moist Lipstick line also features Vitamin A and C for daily antioxidant protection that really makes a difference with long-term use. Lips feel protected, luxurious, conditioned and quenched.


Shar VedaShar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, offers deep healing through loving touch and compassionate counsel. She is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, yoga therapist and herbalist. Shar has been blessed to study with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for 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 and Instagram!


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3 Kitchen Remedies for Hair

On average, the human body has approximately five million hair follicles and 100,000 of those are on the head! Above the scalp, and the part of hair we’re probably most familiar with, is the hair shaft or strand. Strands of hair are made of several layers: the medulla, cortex and cuticle. Together, these layers determine the characteristics of your hair, such as color and texture.

Although hair is already dead once it emerges from the scalp, it can still become damaged in a multitude of ways, from environmental factors (i.e. pollution and sun damage) to styling and care practices (i.e. hot tools). Protect and revive your hair with these kitchen remedies that are sure to keep your tresses looking fresh.

coconut oil
Photo by Fotolia/xuanhuongho.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most effective conditioners and can help prevent protein in loss for some hair types due to the levels of lauric acid. Create a deep conditioning hair treatment with coconut oil using our recipe that also includes honey. Honey and coconut oil are excellent moisturizers, but will also add volume and shine.

apple cider vinegar
Photo by Fotolia/anjelagr.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Healthy hair, typically, has a neutral pH, but if the acid mantle — the slightly acidic coating, including sebum, that contributes to overall hair health — becomes too alkaline the cuticle (outer layer of hair) can lift which makes hair more likely to break or appear frizzy. Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse to re-balance your hair’s pH, cleanse your locks of product residue and promote scalp health.

avocado half with oil
Photo by Fotolia/marrakeshh.

Avocado

Moisturize, inspire growth and maintain scalp health with avocados. These delicious fruits are loaded with potassium and amino acids, both of which are essential for hair growth. Whether you choose to use avocado oil or the avocado “meat,” your hair will appreciate it!

Naturally Care for Your Hair:

Natural Shampoo Alternatives: Lather, Rinse, Do Not Repeat
8 Herbal Hair Rinses
Using Plant Pigments to Color Your Hair

Morrocco Method Hair Care Product Review


Photo by Fotolia

Morrocco Method is named after founder Anthony Morrocco, a renowned stylist who’s had the honor of styling many notable people, like Jackie Kennedy Onassis. He realized, early in his career, that health should not be sacrificed to have beautiful hair. He spent years developing the Morrocco Method brand, a full line of holistic hair products made with natural botanicals and minerals.

While the products have a consistency that is far from what we are used to, they are designed to be effective, yet detoxifying. This is quite the opposite from the chemical-based hair products many of us are used to using. I tried a few of these raw, vegan and gluten-free products firsthand.

The Products

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

Aloe Vera, green tea and apple cider vinegar are the major components in this shampoo. Designed to strip product buildup from the hair and scalp, I think this is a great one to start out with. Being naturally antibacterial, it can be especially beneficial to those suffering from bumps or infection around the follicles. While the formula is cleansing and clarifying, it’s also extremely gentle.

The consistency is a little shocking at first, almost resembling clay or mud. Without toxic foaming agents, you will not experience the lathering effect you may be used to. Take a little more time to work the product into your hair; we should be massaging our scalps to increase blood flow for beautifully, healthy hair.

I also noticed that my hair was harder to comb afterwards, but it looked fuller and thicker after it dried. Basically, this shampoo only takes the slightest bit more effort and the benefits are profound, especially considering that you are not exposing yourself to harmful substances.

Pearl Essence Crème Rinse

The Pearl Essence Crème Rinse will solve the tangle problem, but won’t leave your hair slippery silky like Pantene might. This conditioner softens strands while reducing winter static. Made with lavender and patchouli, the smell is amazing. Using it more like a mask, allowing it to soak into your scalp and hair for about 15 minutes, will reap greater benefits than quickly swirling it into your locks for 10 seconds, then rinsing. Try your best to be patient-- the longer it sits, the more time the product has to detox and balance PH levels.


Karyn Wofford

Blood of the Dragon Styling Gel

Just like the shampoos and conditioners, this gel nourishes and heals while keeping your hair in place. While I haven’t tried it for heavy duty uses--like a killer Mohawk--I’ve found it very useful for polishing my look or securing a nice ponytail. Before blow drying in the winter, I rub a small amount through my wet hair; my blowouts last much longer when I do this. Aloe, White Willow Bark and kelp are the main ingredients.

Final Verdict

The transition from phthalate-filled, synthetic formulas was a little difficult, but I needed to switch. I had become so used to chemical-laden products from Pantene and other big name companies. After a week, I was completely used to the new texture, and I noticed a profound improvement in the overall health of my hair. Less strands break off during styling; I could’ve made a wig from the hair that used to be on my floor after every shower. How I am not bald, I do not know. It always comes back to the same thing, natural products are simply better.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.



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