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Skincare

How to Fight Acne with French Green Clay

Beauty, Blog, DIY, Skincare

Perfect skin is not something I would honestly say I have. But what I can say is that it has gotten better. I have suffered from adult acne and trust me I understand that it is not pretty nor is it fun. It’s definitely a struggle and what works for some may not work for all. Clear skin is a commitment to constantly work on your skin and ultimately find a routine and or products that will produce the best results.

In my last post on Infinity Jars I talked about getting back into DIY beauty products and treatments. In comes french green clay also known as sea clay. This clay contains healing properties such as bentonite, magnesium, calcium, potassium, silica, and selenium. French green clay is green in color like it’s name states; the pigment determines the quality. You want to make sure your clay is green in color and not too gray.

If you’ve never heard of this powerful clay here’s a couple facts:

  • Great clearing blemishes
  • “Drinks” oils, toxic substances, and impurities from your skin
  • Helps to remove dead skin cells and promote circulation for new healthy skin cells
  • Used in acient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to treat skin and digestive problems

There’s really no wrong way to go when making a clay mask. You can mix it with water, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, or any other form of liquid. I used apple cider vinegar because of it’s astringent properties and the ability to tone, heal and treat blemishes. Plus ACV is great for removing dark spots and evening out the skin tone.

French Clay Mask for Acne Recipe

  1. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of french green clay
  2. add enough liquid to form a paste
  3. apply to face with finger or a brush
  4. allow to dry, rinse and cleanse face as normal

As an oily girl I try to use some form of a clay mask at least once or twice a week. You can purchase french green clay at Mountain Rose Herbs or From Nature with Love.

Infinity Jars Review

Beauty, Body, Health, Natural Hair, Skincare

I love DIY beauty and cosmetic formulations using herbs, oils, and butters. I haven’t made my own products in a while but I’ve been itching to get back into it. There was a time when I made my own deep conditioners and body oils. So when Infinity Jars sent these to me for review I thought this would be the perfect time to start again.

Infinity Jars is an ultra violet glass which blocks out visible light and keeps contents fresh with an air tight seal. Plus they are gorgeous! They just motivate the kitchen chemist in me to start concocting beauty treatments. You can also use these to store herbs, spices, and other kitchen items as well.

I decided to get the 100 ml jar for DIY deep conditioners and face masks, 50 ml spray bottle which is great for hair or facial mists, 100 ml pump bottle for gels and oil mixes. I’m so excited to start making us of these jars. Stay tuned for some DIY beauty mixes coming in the next few weeks.

Apple Rose Beauty Skincare Review

Skincare

Okay this post is embarrassingly overdue. I met the lovely owner of Apple Rose Beauty at the Indie Beauty Expo last year. We connected frequently since then and she was gracious enough to send me full size bottles of her skincare line to try. What I received was the facial cleanser, moisturizer, and vitamin C serum. Apple Rose Beauty provides natural and organic spa quality skincare. My skin is oily and sensitive and prone to breakouts. So you can imagine how hard it is to find quality skincare that works for me without causing side effects. As with any new skincare products I always say test it out for at least 3 weeks before making a determination. I’ve had these products for over a month and here’s my review:

 

Naturally Nourish Cleanser: This is a gentle and effective facial cleanser made with organic ingredients. A little goes a very long way. I noticed that I only needed a small dime size amount in order to get a good lather. It works well with your hands or any scrub brush you may have. What I love most is that it helps to fight acne but doesn’t dry my skin out. It’s got that perfect balance of acne fighting ingredients and moisturizing properties. Most cleansers marketed for acne prone skin tend to be very drying.

 

Ingredients: Organic Lavender Distillate, Organic Aloe Leaf, Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower, Organic Castor Seed, Witch Hazel, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Guar Gum, Organic Salix Willow Bark, Vitamin E, Carageenan, Vitamin C, Clove Essential Oil, Organic Juniper, Organic Cayenne, Vitamin B5, Rosemary Seed Extract.

 

Nourish Naturally Moisturizing Treatment: This is a highly concentrated treatment for the skin. The consistency is kind of thick which did alarm me a bit because for my oily skin I usually shy away from heavy creams. Just like the cleanser a little goes a long way. I definitely didn’t need much. I should note that I don’t use it every night just every other. This didn’t leave my face looking like a grease ball in the morning. The best part is that it contains licorice extract and turmeric which is great for fading dark spots.

Ingredients: Water, Organic Jojoba Oil, Carbomer, Arginine (Natural Amino Acid), Organic Lavender, Wildcrafted Comfrey, Organic Echinacea, Organic Gotu Kola, Organic Sage, Organic Thyme, Organic Goldenseal, Wildcrafted Propolis, Organic Oat, Organic Turmeric, Organic Licorice, Sandalwood Essential Oil, Melissa Essential Oil, Geranium Essential Oil, Ethylhexyl Glycerin (natural preservative), Phenoxyethanol (nature identical preservative), Aloe Vera Extract, Organic Gotu Kola Extract, Organic Horsetail Plant Extract, Organic Geranium Extract, Organic Dandelion Extract.

 

Bloom Beautifully 20% Vitamin C serum: I must admit I’m a little late to the serum party. I know you’re supposed to start using them in your early 20’s before you actually need it. But hey it’s never too late. This vitamin C serum also contains hyaluronic acid and collagen boosting properties. It tackles and prevents many problems into one. It works to repair sun damage and brightens complexion. Vitamin C serums normally take time to notice their effects but after using this for a few months my skin feels smoother to the touch. I use it on my face, neck, and chest nightly.

 

Ingredients: Water, Organic Aloe Leaf, Organic Vitamin C, Organic Sulfur, Plant Based Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel, Vitamin E, Carbomer, Arginine (Natural Amino Acid), Vitamin E Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Jojoba Oil, Phenoxyethanol (nature identical preservative), Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin (natural preservative), Organic Gotu Kola Extract, Organic Horsetail Plant Extract, Organic Geranium Extract, Organic Dandelion Extract.

Natural vs. Organic vs. Cruelty Free vs. Vegan

Health, Info & Tips, Skincare

So if you’re new to this world of green living I’m sure you’ve heard of the terms organic, vegan, and cruelty free. But maybe you’re not sure what this all means and what you should be looking out for. It can get confusing when you’re trying to make healthy purchasing decisions. I’m here to help clear up any misconceptions and equip you with the knowledge and understanding that may make it a little easier.

Now that all these terms are trending you are seeing them everywhere. It’s hard to come by a product and not see it labeled as natural, organic, vegan, non-GMO, or something along those lines. Trying to decipher between all these labels and chose the one that best suits you can be a daunting task. So overwhelming that it’s tempting to give up and just go the most economical option that makes you feel safest. Hopefully I can clear up a lot of common misconceptions and give you some practical knowledge so that you feel confident the next time you’re strolling through the isles of your local grocer.

 

“Natural”- People often assume if a product is natural then that means it’s also organic however this is false. The term natural is often used by manufactures as a marketing ploy to make you think the product doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. There is no regulation from the FDA about labeling a product as “natural”. This means that anyone can use that term without any stipulation. This is also why it is important to read your ingredient list and labels carefully. Something labeled as “natural” can contain artificial ingredients, pesticides, hormones, and other additives. Some manufacturers cover this by including one ingredient that is natural and or plant based. Currently the only terms that are regulated are USDA Organic, Cruelty Free, and Non-GMO.

Source: usda.gov

Organic- The term organic basically means to be derived from living matter. Simply stated organic means to be grown or produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic ingredients, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms. The easiest way to tell if a product is organic is to look for the USDA seal. The USDA Organic Program is a government-approved certifier that takes the manufacturer through a rigorous process that examines the farming practices the ingredient or animal derived from. Unlike the term “natural” only organic offers government-backed assurance that products are grown and processed without the use of toxic chemicals, antibiotics, or synthetic growth hormones.

Source: peta.org

Cruelty Free & Vegan Cruelty free is means that no ingredients in the product were tested on animals. Vegan means that the product does not contain any animal ingredients. Just because something is cruelty free doesn’t automatically mean that it’s free of animal derived substances, even if they don’t appear in the final product. The most common cruelty free & vegan label is verified by PETA; People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. You’ll know by the bunny symbol in the logo. When a product has this label a company or manufacturer is agreeing not conduct or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and do not contain any animal by-products. PETA requires companies to sign a statement of assurance and they pay to license the cruelty free bunny logo on the label.

Source: nongmoproject.org

Non-GMO- This labeling is something fairly new seen on the market. The Non-GMO Project was founded in 2005 as a non profit organization aiming to provide labeling for products that did not contain any genetically modified organisms. In case you’re not familiar with the term GMO essential it’s an organism that has had it’s DNA altered or modified in some way. In common terms it’s when scientists get involved to create or duplicate something derived from nature, or in others words trying to recreate nature through genetic engineering. The mission of the Non-GMO project is to preserve and build sources of Non-GMO products and educate consumers. Currently in the US the most common items that are genetically modified are soy and corn. This is because of the mass production, feeding, and use for agriculture purposes. As a general rule of thumb if you are eating or using a product that derives from corn or soy make sure that it has the Non-GMO Product or USDA Organic label on it. For meats and dairy look for that label as well or animals that are 100% grass fed or pasture-fed.

 

Here are some final tips and food for thought. When shopping look for any of the afore mentioned labels. Another work around is to shop at your local farmers markets. You’re more likely to find non-GMO food from local farmers. Most large industrial farms use some form of GMO. I love farmers markets because not only are you supporting small businesses in your community but you can talk to the famers directly and ask them questions about their farming practices.

 

Do you have any tips? Please share them in the comments below.

Lack of Healthy Beauty options for Black Women

Featured, Info & Tips, Lifestyle, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

Recently the Environmental Working Group did a study on the market for black cosmetics. According to the studies less than 25% of products marketed to black women score low in potentially dangerous hazardous ingredients. This means that the majority of products currently on the market targeted at black women contain ingredients that can potentially cause serious harm to our health. They also updated their Skin Deep database to include over 1,000 products marketed to black women. This is awesome news because now you can check the hazardous levels of the products you probably use regularly.

I’ve been pushing the green lifestyle for a while now and it amazes me just how much women of color are still not aware. Even in my everyday life I meet women who have no idea that their personal care products are not safe. The looks on faces is one of shock and astonishment when I proceed to tell them that they cannot trust crafty marketing or even the government for that matter when it comes to beauty product shopping. Just a few days ago I was having a conversation with a black woman from my church about Secret deodorant. I stopped using traditional deodorant and actually go without most days. I wrote an article on the blog discussing the dangers of using traditional deodorant and natural alternatives. To sum it up I explained to this woman that she should stop using Secret deodorant because of the aluminum and other carcinogens that are linked to breast cancer and other diseases. Thankfully her response was one of gratitude as if I saved her life. In actuality I pretty much did in the long run.

createher-stock-care-free-curls-19

Even though I’m still able to educate people I come in contact with in person and online via this blog; what that conversation and EWG’s report tells me is that there is still more work to be done. Research has mostly focused on chemical hair straighteners for black women and girls. As a woman sporting her natural hair, I think it’s awesome how the natural hair movement has exploded. However it’s bigger than just our hair. While it’s great that we are embracing our curls and staying away from parabens and sulfates in our hair products, what about our lipsticks, lotions, etc.?? And truth be told not even all the natural hair products are actually “natural”. You still have to read your labels and be cautious when purchasing those items as well. It’s sad that it feels like you need a degree in chemistry in order to buy beauty products but unfortunately until better regulation is in place this is what we have to do. We have to continue to educate ourselves about the ingredients in everything that we use.

ewg_bwc_straightners_c02

image from ewg.org

As I look around at the various blogs, events, and social media platforms I don’t really see a wealth of information about being conscious when it comes to every other beauty product that is used in the black community aside from our hair. This gives off the message that all we are focused on is our hair. So as long as our hair is slayed then we’re good. Sorry (not sorry) ladies but this is not enough! With black women being the highest on the list of fibroids, infertility, and other health concerns we should be much more prevalent about the practices of our whole body not just hair.

source: ewg.org

source: ewg.org

“This report makes clear the lack of safer alternatives for black women. Demand for these products is increasing and the cosmetics industry needs to provide healthy beauty options for black women” –Women’s Voices for the Earth. This is one of the many reasons why I created my holiday gift guide featuring black owned green beauty brands. While there aren’t as many as others there are still options.

You may be reading this article and thinking; well what can I do about it. Continue to support green beauty bloggers like myself and other organizations such as Women’s Voices for the Earth and Black Women for Wellness. Stay up to date on what hazardous ingredients are by checking websites and databases like Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep and the ThinkDirty app. Think twice before just picking up an item at your local retailer and placing it in your shopping cart. Take the time to read the label, read the ingredients in the product. If you’re not sure what an ingredient is look it up through one of the databases I mentioned. If you see that a product has harmful ingredients start looking for safer alternatives. Start supporting organic natural beauty brands like the ones I mentioned in my holiday gift guide.

Major companies only see and understand money. People always tell me that buying organic or going green is expensive. I admit that yes at times it can be a bit pricier than traditional items. However I believe in the buying power we have. The beauty industry is a trillion dollar business with black women accounting for the majority of that. If more people made conscious decisions when it comes to buying beauty products a lot can change. If you can get companies to stop using sulfates I believe we can push them to create all beauty products without toxic ingredients. Trust me they will take notice of people opting not to buy toxic beauty products when they start losing money.

 

Have you read EWG report? What are your thoughts?

Resource: ewg.org Big Market for Black Cosmetics but less Hazardous Choices Limited 

Black Owned Non-Toxic Beauty Brands | 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Feminine Hygiene, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

This platform is all about uplifting and spreading the word on healthy non-toxic living. In keeping up with the spirit of upliftment and encouragement I wanted to highlight some awesome women of color who have created amazing non-toxic beauty brands. Here is a list of black-owned green beauty and non-toxic brands to support this holiday season!

 

Skin & Body Care

All-Natural & Organic Vegan based skin care line Jacqs Organics

Natural & Organic, Spa Quality Skincare Apple Rose Beauty 

Caribbean Inspired Organic Handcrafted Skincare  Calypso Glow 

All natural aromatherapy skin and hair care line Natural Annie Essentials 

Pure, natural, luxurious skin care LaBelle Femme Products

Artisan natural skin care beauty products Zandra Beauty

Natural handmade skin care with beneficial ingredients Oh Honey Skin Care

All natural, multi purpose vegan beauty product Base Butter 

Natural fun bath & body products Pooka Pure and Simple 

High quality natural skin care products from natural ingredients Okoko Cosmetiques 

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Lavish Cocoa Body Butter | DIY

Skincare

Last week I talked about how much I enjoy making DIY green beauty items at home. Not only is it fun but it’s also a great way to know what’s in your products. In this post I’m sharing a recipe for a cocoa body butter that will leave your skin feeling nourished and silky soft. It’s a combination of coconut oil and cocoa butter so it smells simply delish!

 

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DIY Brown Sugar Hair and Body Butter

Natural Hair, Skincare

 

I love incorporating natural oils and butters into my daily personal care routine . Knowing what’s inside your products is so important because we have to protect ourselves from the dangers of toxic ingredients. What better way to be safe than to create your own beauty products from home! So I’ve partnered with CurlMix to provide this delicious DIY recipe that you can use on your hair and body.

 

What is CurlMix? CurlMix is the first DIY box formulated for curly hair. This subscription box service allows you to create your own natural beauty products in your kitchen. Each month you get a box of raw ingredients to create things like shampoo, conditioner, stylers, or creams for the hair and or body. It’s fun and exciting because not only do they use all natural ingredients but each month you create something different. CurlMix aims to empower the conscious curly consumer through education. They believe that you shouldn’t sacrifice integrity for beauty. This is so inline with my mission here at The Holistic Honey which is not sacrificing health in the name of beauty!

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Calypso Glow Organic Skincare Review

Skincare

Are you looking for nourishing oils and butters with a little Caribbean flavor? I bring you Calypso Glow! I was first introduced to Calypso Glow from attending the Indie Beauty Expo. I met with the Founder & Owner Patricia Bentham who is just as lovely as her British accent! For those that don’t know I’m a little crazy for English accents 🙂 continue reading