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Andalou Naturals Skincare Review

Skincare

Do you struggle with acne and problematic skin? Andalou Naturals clarifying line has been helping my skin so much over the last few months. When it comes to facial care I like to use the products for at least two weeks because you get a much clearer idea on how well it will do for your skin. continue reading

Spring Beauty Must Haves | Natural & Organic

Body, Feminine Hygiene, Natural Hair, Skincare

Even though spring is almost over and we have like one more month until it’s officially summer (yikes!). I thought I would share some green beauty items that I am absolutely loving this spring and will continue to use into the summer. Some of these are products that I’ve been using for a while and others are new.

 

Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Lotion

Whoa I know that’s a mouth full! I have tried so many of the body lotions from Shea Moisture and I have to say that this to one so far is my favorite. The first two ingredients are aloe vera juice and coconut water. Both of which are very light yet hydrating at the same time. Most of the other lotions I’ve tried from this brand a very thick and heavy, the texture of this cream is on the lighter side but still provides so much moisture. Another plus for me is that because the formula is so light weight its makes for easy application. For those who may be curious is has more of a pleasant fruity smell not coconuts.

 

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant in Lavender + Sage

I have been on the hunt for a good natural deodorant that is actually free of toxins and actually works. While strolling through the isles of Whole Body I came across this deodorant and decided to pick up since it was on sale. I notice a lot of natural deodorants are formulated as a cream instead of the stick that we are used to. Although from what I hear Schmidt’s has actually come out with a stick version. However I picked up the cream and at first the texture was a little weird for me I could feel the baking soda. The directions say to take a little and rub it between your fingers then apply to underarm areas. As for smell and protection I would say it did well. I’m not a girl who perspires much so I can’t really give an opinion on the effectiveness of that. But I didn’t walk around with an odor and that is what matters to me! Also another brand (who shall remain nameless for now) gave me a horrible rash afterwards. So I’m happy to say that I didn’t experience that with this product.

 

100 Percent Pure Seaweed Shaving Cream

If you truly follow me or this blog then y’all know how much I stan for this brand. I was sent this shaving cream a while back but wasn’t really able to put it to use until now. If I’m not waxing then I’m shaving or touching up certain areas at home. I was never a fan of shaving cream because most come in a foam and I am not using Nair for the obvious toxic reasons. I was more than happy to test this product out. It’s texture is very lightweight almost runny if you are not careful. A little goes a long way. What’s beautiful about this product is that not only does it help you remove all the unwanted hair but it leaves your skin feeling so smooth and soft afterwards.

 

Karens Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave in Conditioner

My hair has loved KBB since they first started in that little shop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Back in my super early natural hair journey days I would go there personally to pick up some sweet smelling natural goodies for my skin and hair. The best part about this is that their formula has still not changed, the only thing that has is the packing. I have tried many other natural hair products but the Sweet Ambrosia is what makes my hair so uber soft like nothing else has. My hair can get weighed down easily so I light to use light weight products. Sweet Ambrosia is very light weight thin consistency and my hair drinks it up! I included this in my Spring/ Summer favorites because why not and second the essential oil based fragrances this comes in are perfect to have your hair looking and smelling good this season.

 

Okay ladies so those were my Spring Green Beauty Must Haves. Have you tried any of the products listed above? If so leave me a comment and let me know what your thoughts.

 

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Acure Organics Skincare Review

Skincare

Last week when I posted about toxins to avoid in facial wash, I received questions about which products I’m using on my skin. I will do a skin care post in the future but for now I want to share some products that I currently use in my facial care routine.

I found Acure Organics in Whole Foods last year and after researching their website and viewing their ingredients I decided to give it a try. I like the fact that their products are made from all natural ingredients including fruit juices, herbs, and antioxidants. They are also vegan, sulfate free, cruelty free, paraben free, PEG free, petroleum free, phthalate free, silicone free, gluten free, and synthetic fragrance free.

 

So far I’ve only tried 2 products from their facial care product line:

Acure-BathroomPic copy

Facial Cleansing Gel

This cleanser is formulated for combination and oily skin types. It contains super fruit and chlorella growth factor to stimulate new cell growth. The packaging claims it won’t strip your skin’s natural acid mantle for superior moisture balance and protection. I love the fact that this is a gel cleanser because my skin reacts better to gels verses creams. Even though it’s for oily skin it doesn’t strip my skin and leave it feeling dry afterwards. My face feels clean and hydrated. Lately I have been using this day and night.

 

Brightening Facial Scrub

I picked this up because I needed an exfoliator, plus I liked the fact that it contains brightening effects. Who doesn’t want clear bright skin? Just like the facial cleanser it contains chlorella growth factor. Even though it’s a scrub it gently exfoliates the skin removing impurities using organic sea kelp and lemon peel. I’m trying to stay away from using harsh abrasives to exfoliate. A lot of the drugstore brands have harsh particles that can actually create minor cuts in the skin. Thankfully microbeads have been banned in the US. This scrub is safe to use up to 3 times per week.

 

I’ll have a full skin care routine coming soon but until then I hope this review was helpful.

 

You can find Acure at Whole Foods, Target, and online. They are very affordable all of their products are no more than $10. I’ve also tried their line of shampoos and conditioners.

 

Have you tried any products from the Acure line? Leave a comment and let me know.

 

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Toxins to Avoid when buying a Facial Cleanser

Skincare

 

When I decided to make the switch to all natural beauty one of the first items on the chopping block was my facial cleanser. We use it everyday at least twice a day. So one could say that it’s a pretty important step in your beauty routine. It can also be one of the most damaging steps in your beauty routine. As a cleanser that you use twice a day it should be based on what it provides your skin. If you are using a cleanser filled with harmful ingredients your skin is not getting the most it can in terms of your health and beauty.

 

We all want clear, glowing, healthy skin. Wouldn’t it be great if your cleanser could do it’s job of removing dirt, debris, and make up without infusing chemicals into your skin. Our skin is our largest organ and whatever you place directly on your skin goes into your bloodstream. Now there’s something to think about.

 

Most drugstore cleansers do not contain any ingredients that actually nurture the skin. Nourishing things like plant-based antioxidants, omega rich oils, and botanicals. Hopefully with the info you find in this article you’ll be a little more cautious before purchasing your next cleanser.

 

Here’s a list of what to watch out for:

 

  1. SLS (also known as sodium lauryl sulfate)- You often hear about this in the natural hair community as a common ingredient to avoid. The same principals follow with skincare. This toxic ingredient is what creates the lather effect in products. It’s a chemical detergent and surfactant. Not only is SLS drying and striping to the skin but can also cause irritation and blemishes.
  2. Fragrance– Ya’ll know what this is; it’s the stuff that makes products smell good and sweet. And if you think about it why is that really necessary for a facial cleanser?? Whether artificial, synthetic or not this can cause irritation and inflammation, especially in sensitive or problematic skin.
  3. Benzoyl Peroxide– Commonly used with those who suffer from acne. It supposedly works to “dry up” acne lesions. However studies showed it may be possible tumor promoter and produces damage in human cells. It’s really not worth all the risk. Plus there are other more effective naturals ways to clear up acne.
  4. Parabens (methyl, butyl, ethyl, propyl)- Very commonly used preservative however not always indicated on the box. Companies do not have to disclose that their product contains parabens if it’s under 5%. Chose brands that indicate paraben free in their product line. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer among other diseases. Easily absorbed into the bloodstream and organs.
  5. Petroleum or mineral oil– Those can be kind of tricky to find you may also see them in the ingredient listed as propylene glycol, paraffin, butylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol. These oils can actually block and clog pores exacerbating acne. Instead opt for products that contain natural plant oils that provide nourishment.

 

 

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Spring Clean your Beauty Routine

Body, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

Clean out your makeup If you follow me then you know I’m all about green beauty. Out with the old and in with the new. At the start of each new season you should clear out your old makeup. Lipsticks can last over 6 months but just to be sanitary, wipe them off with alcohol just to ensure you’re not applying bacteria to the lips. The biggest health concern is with mascara. You should toss out your mascara after 3 months. If you haven’t switched your mascara out yet here are a few natural alternatives:

100 Percent Pure Black Tea

Red Apple Lipstick Mascara

 

Change your daily moisturizer- The cold winter months leaves your skin needing a rich moisturizer. Since most of us don’t have the same skin care needs all year round you may need to switch to a lighter moisturizer for the spring and summer. Make sure that your sunscreen contains an spf of at least 30. I notice brown girls feel that we don’t need to use sunscreen as much as our other sisters however we do, especially for those who have problem skin or suffer with dark spots. Here are a few non-toxic spf moisturizers I personally like:

100 Percent Pure Green Tea Oil Free Moisturizer

Devita Naturals Solar Protective Moisturizer 

Real Purity Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

 

Increase Hair Hydration- Our hair still needs moisture even in the warmer months. Staying in the sun for long periods of time can actually dry the hair out. Taking long breaks in between washes can leaving your tresses thirty. Try washing your hair at least every 5-7 days. Because our hair contains up to 80 percent water you cannot properly moisturize without water. After washing apply leave-in conditioners that list water as one of the first ingredients. These are creamy water based leave-ins that I keep in my personal stash:

Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia

Soultanicals Knot Sauce

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

 

Brighten up your palette- Spring is all about bright beautiful bold colors. Try introducing new nail polish and lipstick colors that match the season. I personally love pinks, purples, and even yellow. Don’t be afraid to venture out and experiment with colors you’ve never used before.

Real Purity Dew Berry Lipstick

100 Percent Pure Primrose Fruit Pigmented Lipstick

Au Naturale Organic Lipstick in Wild Lotus

 

Exfoliate, Exfoliate-Our skin can accumulate a lot of dead skin during the winter. Of course we all like to show some skin come spring and summer. Show off your beautiful glowing skin by regular exfoliation. You can exfoliate up to 3 times weekly. Opt for a natural body scrub that contains sea salts and sugars with natural oils that slough off the dead skin to reveal a smooth bright complexion. Try these gentle yet effective body scrubs:

100 Percent Pure Lavender Body Scrub

Shea Moisture  Super Fruit Hand & Body Scrub 

 

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Why Women of Color Should Opt for Non-Toxic Cosmetics

Body, Health, Info & Tips, Lifestyle, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

When I refer to women of color I don’t just mean those of Black or African decent. The term includes women from a wide variety of backgrounds including Latina, Native American, Asian, and Indian. As a fellow brown girl my passion and drive for creating this blog is to serve as a resource and motivation to chose organic and all natural options when it comes to cosmetics. My goal with this blog is to at least get women to consider their health when purchasing beauty products and to show that there are safer alternatives.

 

Cosmetics are a $71 billion industry. Of that number women of color spend close to three times as much than any other group. Cosmetic products marketed to women of color have improved in providing safer ingredients. The natural hair care industry has grown from only a select few companies to several; most of which are now offered in local beauty supply stores and big box retailers. I remember a time when there were only a select few available exclusively online.

 

According to the Environmental Working Group many ingredients used in traditional personal care products are known carcinogens, which have been linked to breast cancer. Unfortunately in the United States there is no system in place to regulate potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics. Cosmetic companies are not required to have their products tested for safety by the FDA or any other agency. This means we as consumers have to be careful to read our labels and understand the ingredients in the products we use in and on our bodies daily.

 

The average US woman uses beauty products that contain nearly 200 different chemicals. Of these chemicals many include parabens, mercury, artificial dye, phthalates, formaldehyde, and toluene. All of these substances have been proven to cause many adverse health risks with prolonged use. Some of these health concerns are fibroid tumors, infertility, birth defects, hair loss, cancer, and this is just to name a few! Women of color are at a greater risk for these fibroids, breast cancer, and other diseases.

 

I often hear women of color especially in the black community stay away from certain ingredients in their hair care products but why not extend that to your makeup, skincare, and other beauty products. While it may sound overwhelming at first you can make small changes one product at a time. As a woman of color I understand where the challenge comes to finding cosmetics that are a perfect match. Hopefully this blog will introduce you to some natural alternatives that won’t compromise your health in the name of beauty.

 

Here are some resources if you want to do more research:

Story of cosmetics

Safe Cosmetics.org

Environmental Working Group

 

 

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How to Go Green with your Beauty Routine

Body, Make-Up, Natural Hair, Skincare

If you’re new to the green beauty community and not sure where to start then this post is for you. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way in transforming my beauty routine to toxic free.

First things first…….Don’t throw everything out going on a rampage tossing everything in sight!

 

You don’t have to go cold turkey. If you’re new to the all-natural game take baby steps. When I first started I was so excited and ready to just throw all my toxic beauty products in the trash. Wean yourself off chemical dependency slowly. For example if your normal facial has not so safe ingredients only use it once a day instead of twice. On the alternate days try using a natural alternative instead.

 

Replace products as you run out– One at a time with healthier choices each time. Go for the biggest impact. Body wash , lotion, shampoo, and hair products are the easiest to swap out. If you are a woman with natural hair then you probably already use natural hair products. Although some toxic ingredients are starting to show up in those too as manufactures are getting smarter about using the word “natural” on labels. So be cautious and read the ingredient list before you buy.

 

Learn to read labels. Know your ingredients. If you’re not sure what something means do your research to understand before you apply it to your skin. There are tons of resources like this blog for instance J Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and EWG Skin Deep are also good resources for information. I like using the Thinkdirty app, which allows you to scan the barcode of products while you are in the store. It scans for toxic chemicals and ingredients in beauty products then rates their safety so you can know before you buy. You can find this in the Apple App store or Google Play.

 

Makeup will probably be the hardest and take the longest to replace honestly. Especially if you are a makeup girl whose put in time and money to build up your makeup stash. With makeup start replacing your foundations first. Ask for samples or try smaller sizes. Especially us brown girls who have a hard enough time already finding our perfect shade. Nowadays many companies have a 30 day return policy so even if you buy a full size and it doesn’t work for you, you can get your money back.

 

Sign up for some organic beauty subscription boxes. Here are a few that I personally have tried.

Sometimes you even get full size products to try. The great thing about subscription boxes is they allow you test out multiple products at a fraction of the cost to purchase them individually.

 

Important points to remember: It can be scary and overwhelming especially when you start learning about the dangers in many beauty products. Remember why you are doing this in the first place. Don’t sacrifice your health for beauty. Yes you can still be glamorous and healthy at the same time.

 

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DIY Cocoa Body Butter Recipe

Body, Skincare

Since we are right in the heart of winter our skin can get a little on the dry side. I know this cold wind and snow here in NYC has kept my skin thirsty for extra moisture. I decided to whip up some homemade body butter. I’m a simple girl so I need something without a long list of ingredients that I would need to order from offline. If you’re like me then this recipe is for you!

 

All I used were 2 simple ingredients cocoa butter and coconut oil. Growing up my Granny (RIP, Love you!) always used those cocoa butter sticks on our skin and it always stayed moisturized. So I thought why not stick to what worked. If it’s not broke don’t fix it right.

DIY Body Butter Collage

Cocoa butter has some amazing health benefits and properties known for it’s maximum hydration and gentleness on the skin. Coconut Oil has the amazing ability to deep penetrate the skin so the moisture gets locked in.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Raw Unprocessed Cocoa Butter

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Optional: essential oils like Tea Tree and Lavender.

 

Directions:

Using a double boiler method melt the cocoa butter until it becomes a liquid.

Add coconut oil and mix until it is well combined with the cocoa butter

Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes

Using an electric mixer, whip mixture until it turned into a fluffy almost whipped cream texture.

Place in a mason jar or air tight container

Rub into skin and enjoy soft supple goodness!

100 Percent Pure Skincare Review

Make-Up, Skincare

I’m always on the hunt for all natural organic body care products. Fortunately 100 Percent Pure scent me some products from their fragrance and ingredient of the month. For the month of March the fragrance is French Lavender and the ingredient is Seaweed. I was sent all the products from this line. I tried and tested them out these last few weeks and thought I would share with you all my favorites from the collection.

 

French Lavender Whipped Body Butter

french-lavender-whipped-body-butter

 

 This one is hands down my favorite not only because it smells amazing but the consistency is thick and creamy. Because I’m a compulsive hand washer my hands tend to get on the dry side. This whipped butter goes on smooth and gives me the moisture I need without leaving me with that greasy oily feeling. I would definitely purchase this again.

 

French Lavender Nourishing Body Cream 

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This is actually my second choice next to the whipped body butter. It has that amazing lavender scent just like the butter. Every time I put it on people always ask me what I’m wearing. The smell is intoxicating. This lotion is a lot lighter than the whipped body butter since it doesn’t contain any heavy butters mostly oils. It still leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized. I would say this lotion is better for the warm summer months because it is so light.

 

Organic Olive Oil Soap

100-percent-pure-organic-olive-oil-soap-lavender

I was looking for a good hand made soap so this came right on time. Since it’s olive oil based (organic), it doesn’t leave my skin feeling dry afterward. Most conventional soaps on the market contain harsh detergents and other chemical additives. This lathered up really well and when I rinsed my skin felt hydrated, prepped to apply moisturizer. I received the lavender scented olive oil soap and the seaweed olive soap. Both worked pretty much the same except the seaweed bar gives you those extra skin loving antioxidant benefits.

 

Mattifying Primer with Seaweed Collagen

100PP-Mattifying-Primer-2

Since I’m an oily girl I must use a primer prior to applying makeup or else I’ll look like an oil slick. I’ve tried a few primers but still have yet to find one that works well with my skin and smooth’s out my pores. What I like about this primer is that it has seaweed collagen in it so you’re getting two products in one. The seaweed collagen plumps up my skin. This is important because as we get older we start to loose the elasticity in our skin.

 

Have you tried 100% body care products? If so let me know what you thought in the comments below.

 

If you haven’t tried these yet you can check out the entire collection here.

20% off the scent of the month

 

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The Many Uses of Coconut Oil

Blog, Featured, Health, Natural Hair, Skincare

 

Those who know me personally know that I LOVE coconut oil. The coconut has become one of my favorite food because the meat and the oil extracted from it has so many health benefits that it can be labeled a super food. If i was stranded on a deserted island I would be okay with plenty of coconut. 🙂 Seriously, I use it on my hair, skin, and to cook with. Let me share with you some of my favorite coconut oil uses and benefits.

FYI: I always use Organic Raw Unrefined Coconut Oil to get the most beneficial nutrients.

 

HAIR

This is probably the most common way I use coconut oil as it is a great conditioner for the hair. I love adding coconut oil to my deep conditioners or use it for a hot oil treatment as it is the only oil that can penetrate into the hair shaft. That means super moisturized strong bouncy hair.

 

SKIN

Being that coconut oil is a great overall moisturizer you can also apply it directly to your skin in place of your regular lotion. Coconut oil gets deep into the skin tissues providing excellent hydration to the skin. This is an added benefit during the cold winter months when skin typically gets dry. I also like to add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to my DIY body scrubs.

 

MOUTH WASH

Yes you read right my friends! Coconut oil can be used as a mouth wash also known as oil pulling. Take about 1-2 tablespoons  of melted coconut oil and swish around your mouth. This helps pull the toxins from out of your mouth. Just be sure to spit it out and not to swallow after swishing! After repeated use of this method you will notice your teeth getting whiter and your breath fresher.

 

COOKING OIL

I stopped using butter several years ago for health reasons. I found that coconut oil makes a great substitute for butter. You can use it anywhere you would normally use butter even for baking. In fact it adds a little extra flavor to your dishes. As a cooking oil you can use it in any recipe that calls for some sort of vegetable oil. If you don’t want the coconut flavor in your food just use the refined version.

 

Do you use coconut oil? If so leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve incorporated coconut oil into your healthy lifestyle.

 

 

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