Real Beauty
Tips and tricks for natural body care

5 Safe Beauty Product Alternatives


Photo by Fotolia

Open any mainstream women’s magazine and glossy pictures of shimmering airbrushed women; their perfect pouts slightly parted revealing gleaming white teeth beckoning you, the consumer to buy ...Toxic Beauty products! Mainstream Beauty, is a sneaky, very real danger to women’s health!


Photo by Shar Veda

In case, you need a reminder of why putting chemical laden beauty products on your skin can be more harmful than eating it:

Skin is permeable and beauty products bypass filtering organs like the liver, carrying toxic chemicals directly into the bloodstream!

In 2009, when Dr. Samuel S. Epstein MD’s book Toxic Beauty came out revealing the long list of cancer causing (in extreme cases) ingredients used in mainstream beauty products, more people started reading labels and researching companies before buying beauty products.

Even with this knowledge, however, people (mostly women) of all ages continue to buy their toxic faves because they think organic beauty brands don’t deliver the same results—and, admittedly, because of price points.

If you are someone who prefers buying quality skincare rather than trying to make it in your kitchen, here are 5 beauty products good for you—and the Earth—that deliver the results you want without the health risk!

Instead of Oil of Olay Regenerist Night Cream to reduce fine lines & wrinkles try Laurel Whole Plant Organics Restore Nightly Facial Balm

 

A waterless, soft, smooth balm that absorbs quickly into the skin, Laurel Facial Balm is the ideal nighttime moisturizer, featuring a whole plant blend of Calendula, Pomegranate, Sea Buckthorn, Astragalus, Comfrey, Gotu Kola, and many more to stimulate and lengthen the life of collagen, regenerate skin cells, even skin tone, reduce fine lines, and scavenge free radicals.

I absolutely adore this line. It delivers spa quality results while you sleep! Way better than Oil of Olay, loves! Fine lines are smoothed and plumped, skin feels relaxed and cared for. Use it nightly for one month, and you will see and feel the difference.

Instead of Estee Lauder Perfectionist [CP+R] try Elizabeth Den’s One Love Morning Glory Caffeinated Facial Serum.


This caffeinated energy, blend plus probiotics and Gardenia plant cell actives, tightens, tones, and smoothes the appearance of fine lines with no bad stuff or synthetic fillers to weigh on your conscience. A little goes a long way.

Instead of Cetaphil for sensitive skin, try Osmia Organics Purely Simple Face Cream.


“Purely Simple Face Cream was created by Dr. Sarah Villafranco as a non-toxic alternative to Cetaphil because so many people are battling sensitive skin these days (me being one of them!)”, says Brittany Hailey of Osmia Organics. “This is a great green product that works so well for people with even the most sensitive skin. Not to mention when paired with the Nectar Vital Rose Drops it creates a soft, velvet texture on your skin. Sigh, it is just my favorite!”

Instead of Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream try Blue Beauty Balm by Isa’s Restoratives.


Blue Beauty Balm is formulated, like Clinique Redness Solution, to calm irritated skin. Superior anti-inflammatory ingredients Cupuaco, a Brazilian super fruit, Blue Chamomile, and Carrot Seed oil diminish redness and balance skin tone. It is also an excellent balm for restoring skins elasticity and it moisturizes without leaving an oily sheen.

Instead of Murad Hydrating Toner try Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner.


Like Murad’s toner, Indie Lee Co Q-10 won’t dry out skin. Unlike the Murad toner, it won’t deliver the toxic ingredients of PEG-12, PEG-40 and Dimethicone etc etc. Indie Lee features only healthy, safe ingredients you don’t have to worry about: Aloe, Sage, Cucumber, Papaya, chamomile, and Coenzyme Q10. Another excellent, totally healthy, hard working beauty product that delivers amazing results without the toxic chemicals!


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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“All-Natural” Personal Care Products to Avoid: Aveeno Sun Care

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to reduce the number of skin- and personal-care products I use on a daily basis, and transitioning to natural products whenever possible. It’s been hit-or-miss on occasion, but with a little trial and error I have been able to find quality alternatives that meet my needs.

fall sun through trees
Photo by Fotolia/VanderWolf Images.

I know…summer is over. So, why are we talking about sun care in September? Well, the Earth is actually closest to the sun in winter—especially during the winter solstice—and the sun’s rays cover a larger area. Winter may be gloomy at times, but it’s still necessary to protect ourselves from those UV rays. If you live in sunnier areas, such as Hawaii, Arizona or Colorado, sun protection is a year-round need!

AVEENO has been part of the natural health and beauty industry since its beginning in 1945. Today, they’re known for their use of high-quality, natural ingredients and have even added the tagline “Active Naturals” to their branding. Although this sounds amazing—and is for the most part—their sun care products are anything but all-natural. AVEENO offers several SPF-enhanced lotions and moisturizers, along with actual sunscreen, ranging from SPF 15-50+, including products for babies.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database rates the majority of AVEENO’s sun care products a moderate hazard (3-5) to human health. However, looking more closely at the ingredients that comprise these items, it becomes clear that most include one or more high hazard (7-10) ingredients.

AVEENO sun care products
Photo courtesy The Binder Ladies.

Ingredients of Concern

Parabens: A number of parabens are present throughout AVEENO’s sun care line—propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben—all of which are ranked 7 out 10 by the EWG. Often used as preservatives in a variety of personal care products, parabens have been linked to hormone and endocrine disruption because they mimic estrogen in the body. These disruptions may lead to a number of health concerns, such as developmental problems in children and certain types of breast cancer.

Oxybenzone: A common ingredient in sunscreens, oxybenzone acts as a UV absorber or filter. It has been ranked by the EWG with a hazard level of 8. Most often the hazards associated with this compound are allergic reactions and bioaccumulation, due to how well the skin absorbs it, but it is also a known endocrine disruptor.

Benzyl Alcohol: Although this ingredient occurs naturally (rated a 5), it can have a drying effect on skin and may cause contact dermatitis.

The Bottom Line

Protecting our skin from sun damage is essential to avoid premature aging, sun spots and skin cancers. But when it comes to choosing safe sun care products, be sure to read ingredients carefully before making your purchase.

As we become a more health-conscious society, limiting the number of toxins in our homes has become a larger priority. Personal care routines shouldn’t be an exception, even though simplifying these routines isn’t always easy—trust me, I know—it’s well worth it in the end.

4 Perfectly Pure Summer Beauty Products for an Effortless Yet Polished Look

If ever there is a month where you can bare it all, it’s August. Sultry, steamy and HOT; the look is “Effortless Yet Polished”. Here are 4 divine delights to add to your late summer toolkit to get the look now.

Sibu Sea Berry Therapy Exfoliating Face & Body Scrub deep cleans pores, removes dead, surface cells for a radiant shine down the line (try it on your legs for the runway model shin shine). Sustainably sourced Turkestanica Sea Berry is the star ingredient in the SIBU line. Containing over 190 bioactive compounds it thrives in the Himalayan Highlands, and is an unsurpassed source of hard to find Omega 7. I use it as an all over scrub a few times a week. A little goes a long way.


Photo courtesy of Sibu

Herbivore Bontanicals Lapis Facial Oil contains Azulene from Blue Tansy, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial that reduces redness and clarifies the complexion. Jasmine and rose give this premium oil a delightfully divine scent. Add a few drops to your AM Sun Protection and kiss redness goodbye!


Photo courtesy Herbivore Botanicals

Ecco Bella Vitamin E Lip Soothers' concentrated core of Vitamin E and tocotrienols delivers and locks in extra moisture to keep lips smooth and soft for hours. In 4 flattering colors to enhance every skin tone plus clear. Soothers pair perfectly with their Soft Eyeliner Pencils. Ecco Bella, a pioneer in the Organic Beauty Industry, has long created high quality, affordable beauty products. I bought them for the first time when I was 12 and working with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).


Photo courtesy Ecco Bella

Kjaer Weis Mascara creates incredible volume and length with no clumping. The revolutionary line formulated by Kirsten Kjaer Weis, a Danish born Hollywood makeup artist, whose work has been featured on countless magazine covers, is changing the mainstream perception of the organic beauty industry one application at a time.


Image courtesy Kjaer Weis Mascara


Shar VedaShar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, 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. 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.

“All-Natural” Personal Care Products to Avoid: Burt’s Bees Lotion

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to reduce the number of skin- and personal-care products I use on a daily basis, and transitioning to natural products whenever possible. It’s been hit-or-miss on occasion, but with a little trial and error I have been able to find quality alternatives that meet my needs.

Since I’ve been a fan of Burt’s Bees lip balms over the years, I thought trying out a few of their other products would be a good place to start. My primary needs for a good lotion are that it’s non-greasy and water-based, the latter of which is harder to find than you might think. Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive lotion met both requirements, but left me very disappointed and itchy…keep reading to find out why.

Burt's Bees Body Lotion

Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive Body Lotion (Aloe & Buttermilk)

Burt’s Bees is widely available at big box retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target. Although Burt’s handcrafted lip balms have been popular for quite some time, the company was purchased by Clorox in 2007 and has been adding new items to their product line ever since. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database ranks this particular lotion 5 out of 10 on its safety scale (moderate risk).

Ingredients of Concern

Fragrance: Commonly found in most personal care products, fragrance—may also be listed as parfum or perfume—is a mixture of unnamed chemicals, often containing phthalates. Fragrance is by far the most hazardous ingredient (scoring 8 out of 10) in this product, as it may contribute to allergies, skin irritation and respiratory disease.

Phenoxyethanol: This ingredient ranks 4 out of 10 (moderate risk) and is used as a preservative in moisturizers, sunscreens, deodorants and several makeup products to reduce the chances of bacterial growth. Skin exposure to products containing as little as 1 percent of phenoxyethanol may cause eczema, hives or other skin irritation in the area of application.

Lactic Acid: Also scoring a 4 out 10 on Skin Deep’s hazard scale (moderate risk), lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) used to in skin care products to reduce the occurrence of breakouts and signs of aging. Although lactic acid and other AHAs are decent exfoliators, they leave our skin more vulnerable to sun damage, increasing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive lotion is also populated by a host of plant extracts, including aloe which may cause developmental and/or reproductive issues. Many of the plant extracts received hazard scores of 1, with little to no data to suggest they pose any risk to human health.

As we become a more health-conscious society, limiting the number of toxins in our homes has become a larger priority. Personal care routines shouldn’t be an exception, even though simplifying these routines isn’t always easy—trust me, I know—it’s well worth it in the end.

3 Tips to Get Glowing Skin Naturally

Every season offers its own set of benefits and challenges to our skin—in summer, it’s the drying sun and breakout-causing sweat, not to mention the deluge of toxins our bodies fight every day. Fortunately, it’s easy to use simple, natural recipes to bolster the brightness and clarity of our complexions. These recipes were provided by the skin experts at Derma-E,  whose extensive line of natural skin care products offers healthy solutions for just about any complexion.



Photo by Fotolia

1.  The get-your-glow-on natural detox drink:

Don’t let the summer heat wreak havoc on you skin.  Keep hydrated, detox, and keep skin clear and glowing with this amazing natural DIY detox water.

Shopping List:

12 mint leaves –  Great for digestion, and adds a fresh crisp taste

1 medium cucumber – Excellent source of hydration, and has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties

1 medium sized lemon – ”The detox queen” with abundant detoxification properties & helps cleanse and neutralize acids in the body

• Cut up cucumber & lemon in thin slices, scrunch up mint leaves, add into pitcher and fill with water
• Refrigerate over-night
• Enjoy in the morning for a refreshing treat that tastes great and keeps skin clear and radiant.


Photo by Fotolia

2. The oh-so-easy charcoal soap

Toxins are everywhere and they have tons of negative effects on our skin.  Neutralize these nasties with this easy to make recipe, which is especially great for oily and acne-prone skin.

Shopping List:

15 drops tea tree essential oil 

1 lb shea butter soap base

5 activated charcoal capsules (buy at your local pharmacy or online)

• Melt shea butter, add tea tree oil & charcoal, mix together, and let cool down.
• Store in a lidded jar for up to two weeks.
•To use, simply massage onto wet face in a circular motion, then rinse.
•Use daily.


Photo by Fotolia

3. Get Your Radiance On

The summer sun can really take its toll on your skin.  The main concern:  it dehydrates, making your complexion oh-so-dull.  This easy handmade mask will help reverse sun damage while adding a radiant glow.

Shopping List:

½ teaspoon finely ground coffee beansrich source of antioxidants, fights free radicals, helps reverse the damage caused by UV rays, and increases your production of collagen.  Wow!

½ teaspoon coconut oilAlso loaded with antioxidants, deeply nourishing to your skin, and naturally antibacterial, making it great for all skin types, especially oily & acne prone skin.

• Mix together and apply to your face using circular motions. 
• Avoid sensitive areas like your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Leave on for at least 15 minutes and up to a full hour.
• Rinse off with warm water and enjoy glowing skin!


Photo courtesy Derma-e


For more great summer detox choices we recommend the DERMA E Purifying collection, with 6 deep detoxing products perfect for naturally drawing out toxins, replenishing nutrients, and restoring radiance.

3 Sustainable, Travel-Friendly Beauty Products

Whether you are packing for an island adventure, a weekend camping trip or a five star hotel, the general trend for summer is:

Travel more. Sleep less. Keep beauty basic.

For brilliance on the go, these three beauty essentials will be your new summer besties.

Coola facial sunscreen 

COOLA Cucumber Face SPF 30 Matte Finish is no fair weather friend. Lightweight, TSA-approved, and water resistant up to 40 minutes, it comes with me on the most trying adventures! Rose hip seed oil, vitamin C, omega 3 and gamma linolenic acid improve elasticity and make this formula one of my favorite easy-to-wear and -pack, natural facial sunscreens.

Neal's Yard Remedies Rose Beauty Balm 

Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm is equally at home at a five-star hotel as it is in a tent. This shape-shifting, nourishing balm is an all-in-one makeup remover, dry skin mask, gentle exfoliant and cuticle rescue cream. It contains rosa canina fruit oil, shea butter, beeswax, cannabis sativa seed oil, borage and boswellia oil. And its sturdy packaging—a thick, reusable cobalt glass jar—means you can knock it around some without fear of breakage.

Kypris night serum 

Kypris Moonlight Catalyst is like a cooling, hydrating magickal dew. Created with organic, wildcrafted and sustainably-sourced plants, it enhances and refines the complexion while you sleep! Stellar ingredients, such as fermented pumpkin enzymes, gently exfoliate and reduce the effects of an inflammatory-inducing lifestyle (sun, iced mocha lattes, wine). Hawaiian sea algae deeply hydrates, extracts of rose hip and sea buckthorn oil deliver essential fatty acids (EFAs) and phytonutrients.

It comes in a reusable lapis blue dropper bottle with artwork so pretty it reminds me of ancient castles. “Some things are best done under the moon & stars.” Note: This product is only to be used at night.


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!

Recommended Products for Troubled Skin

girl with sun hat

Photo by iStock

The middle of summer means we’re spending lots of time outdoors, whether it’s in the garden, camping or simply relaxing on the porch. Plenty of commercial products aim to keep us bite- and blemish-free, but they often achieve these goals with iffy ingredients. Take care of yourself naturally this summer with allergen- and fragrance-free personal-care products.

1. Naturally Dry

Nourish Organic Deodorant

Made for sensitive underarms, Nourish Organic’s fresh and dry deodorant uses coconut oil, beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter to keep you feeling fresh. The Pure Unscented variety is both cruelty- and fragrance-free.

Buy Nourish Organic deodorant: $10

Photo courtesy Nourish Organic

 

 

2. All-Ages Hair Care

Everyone Shampoo

Give dry hair the sulfate-free clean it deserves with EO’s Everyone Hair Nourish shampoo. Quinoa protein and coconut extract bind in moisture and give overworked hair a royal treatment. It’s fragrance-free and suitable for all hair types.

Buy EO shampoo: $13

Photo courtesy EO

 

 

 

3. Fix Follicles

Adore Botanicals

Specially developed to heal and protect a sensitive scalp, Adore Botanicals Flourishing Scalp Nectar contains argan, jojoba and rosehip oil along with a signature botanical blend, helping prevent everything from dandruff and psoriasis to split ends.

Buy Adore Botanicals scalp nectar: $10

Photo courtesy Adore Botanicals

 

 

 

 

4. Intensive Nourishment

Badger

Made with organic beeswax, antioxidant-rich oils and scented with sandalwood and ylang ylang, Badger Body Care’s Argan Beauty Balm is a nourishing treatment for face, neck, hands and undereye areas. It’s highly moisturizing yet easily absorbed with no greasy residue.

Buy Badger beauty balm: $15

Photo courtesy Badger

 

5. Baby Smooth

California Baby Eczema Cream

This botanically based eczema cream protects and heals cracked and irritated skin without the sulfates that can dry or irritate already-sensitive skin. On top of that, the product is allergy tested and suitable for all skin types, from babies to adults.

Buy California Baby eczema cream: $32

Photo courtesy California Baby

 

 

 

6. Repair and Renew

SIBU

Sea Buckthorn oil is a powerful source of healthy omega fatty acids, including omega-7, which is vital to producing collagen. Its naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial and repairing properties help soothe inflamed and troublesome areas, diminish blemishes and reduce redness and discoloration.

Buy SIBU oil: $20

Photo courtesy SIBU

 

 

7. Positively Pampering

Poppy and Someday

If you’re looking to treat yourself, try this luxurious organic face oil. Poppy and Someday’s Neroli Blossom Serum is high in fatty acids and its organic essential oil blend is designed to provide positive energy and an intoxicating, all-natural fragrance.

Buy Poppy and Someday serum: $45

Photo courtesy Poppy and Someday