A Blog For The Men
Today is our first blog dedicated to the men in our lives. Read on and/or forward to your son/husband/dad/friend. They will thank you for this one day!
From hair care products to deodorant to fragrance to lip balm, not to mention shaving cream or facial hair styling waxes, your repertoire of daily products adds up. In fact, the average man uses 6 personal care products a day. Sure that number is well below a woman’s average product use (it’s 12), but it is still very much a reason to be concerned. Did you know that because of our almost unregulated skin care industry, your daily products could be exposing you (and everyone you cuddle with) to over 80 unique, toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other chronic health problem? Just like women, you are not immune from cancers, acne skin conditions, or wrinkles. read more >>
Taking Back Unscented
The skincare industry is full of ambiguous marketing terms that are starting to lose their meaning. Take “unscented” for instance. While most of us would assume that unscented means that there is no fragrance added to the formula – essential oil, artificial fragrance, or otherwise – that is not always the case.
The unscented, odorless scent is popular among the beauty store shelves. Since it is known that the ingredients that make up “fragrance” can be irritating to your skin, eyes, and lungs, unscented products are typically the choice for those with sensitive skin. But just because it smells like nothing doesn’t mean there is not some harsh chemical ingredient lurking inside. That completely odorless scent that has become synonymous with unscented is typically the work of a chemical masking agent. Think about it. How do so many products, each with a different product formulation, all smell the same? And how, if a manufacturer is using 'only plant based ingredients,' can an unscented product have an undernote scent of chemicals? If you're like us and accustomed to plant based scents, a chemical scent is like the princess and the pea - you can smell it no matter what. read more >>
My Friends Just Don’t Get It
For whatever the reason, there is a good chance you know someone who just doesn’t get the “whole organic skin care thing.” We spend the majority of our days creating, talking about, and promoting non-toxic, organic personal care products, and even we have these people in our lives that just don’t get it. If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times, “my mom and grandma didn’t use non-toxic products and they turned out fine.” Yes, but they weren’t up against the thousands of synthetic chemical ingredients found in our shampoo, makeup, nail polish, or lotion like we are. But we digress…
When it comes to defending our decision to use non-toxic products, those who posed the question in the first place tend to stop listening (is ignorance really bliss?) or dismiss the notion of toxins in their products. “No, [Company X] would ever put formaldehyde in this lipstick.” Um, yeah they would and they have knowingly been doing it for years. Oh! And that Carmine they use to make it red, that's just a pound of crushed up bugs. No big deal. read more >>
Be Your Own Expert: Choosing The Right Products
Contrary to how a product is marketed or what ingredients it contains, not all products will work for your skin type. We each have skin that is uniquely different. So, what might work wonders for one person, may not work the same way for you. Luckily, however, there are many products on the market to meet the needs of your individual skin type. Arm yourself with knowledge about your particular skin type so that you will be an informed consumer when you shop. read more >>
Be Your Own Expert: Ingredients
We've discussed how to decipher marketing claims and how to navigate an ingredient label, but one of the most important steps of becoming your own skin care expert is understanding the ingredients themselves. There is no easy way to present a topic of such importance and scale, but below we highlight ingredients to avoid, ingredients to question, and what ingredients to look for. read more >>
Be Your Own Expert: Ingredient Listings
One of the most essential lessons in becoming your own expert is how to read an ingredient label. As we’ve mentioned before, marketing claims on a product do not have to tell you the whole truth, so an ingredient label is the best indication as to the safety of a product. Yet, ingredient labels are packed with hard-to-pronounce, unrecognizable names making it tough to know what you’re buying! We understand your frustration and help break down the standards and regulations behind product labeling so you can be a more confident shopper. read more >>
Be Your Own Expert: Marketing Claims
At this point, we all realize that most personal care products on the market contain toxins that could be potentially hazardous to our health. We’ve all heard the outrageous facts about how little control the government has over ingredient regulation, but did you know that there is less regard to product marketing?
It’s not enough to simply commit to using organic or non-toxic products anymore. In terms of regulations, skin care companies are not held to any standard when it comes to product marketing. Companies can create a compelling infomercial about the amazing benefits of antioxidants in their “natural” product and never once mention the slew of carcinogenic toxins lurking in the rest of the formulation. Or they can use misleading claims on their product packaging. We spend a lot of our time jaw-dropped in disbelief that these sort of things are happening in our industry, but when we see how easily duped so many women (us once included!) are into buying these products we become outraged. read more >>
We get a lot of questions surrounding collagen and for good reason. While we all have different skin types, we all share one thing in common: as we age, the collagen in our bodies breaks down and our ability to produce more diminishes. Collagen is the key to firm, soft, and supple skin. Without it our skin loses its elasticity, which is a main contributing factor to wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. While wrinkles are an inevitable part of aging, we all want to remain as youthful as possible for as long as possible. Sure there are many products on the market that claim to be miracle solutions to regaining your lost collagen, but we warn you that these products are typically too good to be true. From natural remedies to diet to toxic ingredients, there is a lot of information in regards to collagen that can be confusing and often times overwhelming. We want to help navigate you through all we know about collagen so you can help pick products that are right for you. read more >>
The Dangers of Lead in Lipstick
You would never lick a wall that has been covered in lead paint. Heck, you probably would wave your red flag of concern about just living between those walls, let alone lick them. While we all seemingly share a general concern about our lead exposure in paint, many women, not to mention government officials, seem to dismiss the fact that the lipstick they use to paint their lips 3 to 4 to 5 times a day may contain the very stuff they try so hard to avoid in their home. While the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) firmly stands the ground that they do not “consider the lead levels found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern,” common sense tells us that the cumulative exposure from applying lead to our lips and letting it absorb into our blood stream cannot be safe. read more >>
Exfoliation 101: Make Your Skin Glow
While it’s true that everyone’s skin requires a different regime of product and diet to look its best, there is one thing that every skin type can benefit from; no matter if you have oily, dry, or combination skin, regular facial exfoliation plays an important role in your skin’s health and appearance.
Why Is Exfoliation Important?
Our skin naturally sheds its outermost later every 28-days, making room for a new, fresh layer underneath. When we were young, these dead skin cells shed away quickly and easily, but as we age this natural removal process slows down. When dead skin cells build up on our skin, they can give us a dull or muddy complexion. And beyond their appearance, they tend to clog our pores and interfere with our skin’s natural oil production, which can lead to enlarged pores, blemishes, acne, and even wrinkles.
For a lot of us, when we notice a dull complexion, we tend to layer on products to help bring out our glow. However, a build-up of dead skin cells will block the beneficial skincare ingredients from reaching your skin and doing their intended job. Proper exfoliation helps to aid in the removal of these dead cells and promotes cell re-growth and renewal. This also helps return the skin to its usual elasticity. And as we know, elasticity of the skin helps to minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
How to Exfoliate?
There are a number of ways to exfoliate the skin, but when it comes to facial exfoliation, gentle is the name of the game. Unlike the calluses and rough spots on your feet that require tough treatments like pumice stones, scrubs or even harsher methods to shed their layers, your face is rather sensitive. Even products that contain “natural” ingredients, like sugar, salt, ground apricot pits and other plant-based ingredients can be too rough and cause torn capillaries on the face. Other body parts can handle these types of scrubs better.
Everyone’s skin is different, so what works for someone suffering from acne may not be necessary for someone with skin that’s considered “normal.” Here are a few different exfoliation options:
- Use a toner with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which is a naturally occurring carboxylic acid found in foods, like citrus fruits. AHAs stimulate exfoliation and do a superb job sloughing off dead skin cells. AHAs are very effective and can affect everyone’s skin differently. Some might be okay with once a day application, when others may only want to use it once or twice weekly.
- Use a mud mask made with French Green Clay. French Green Clay is a versatile mud mask ingredient because it naturally absorbs excess oil, dirt, and toxins. At the same time it exfoliates and improves skin circulation – everything you want for proper facial exfoliation!
- Get a facial. Facials involve using some
sort of gentle abrasive to help slough off skin cells, stimulate cells, improve circulation, and brighten skin in relaxing way. Again, it's important to be conscious of the ingredients of the products you choose.
- Get a chemical peel. Even if you are regularly exfoliating your skin with a toner, mud mask or other product, an occasional chemical peel from your dermatologist or “green minded” aesthetician might be necessary to keep your skin in tip-top shape. A chemical peel speeds up the exfoliation process, helping to quickly shed the dead skin cells and stimulating the re-growth of healthy skin cells. However, it should be noted that not all chemical peels are created equal. Just like with most skincare treatments on the market, there are some treatments that do more harm than good. Avoid chemical peels that use hydroquinone which has been classified as a cancer-causing agent by other countries. It should be noted that since the US is more lenient in its designation of hazardous ingredients used in our personal care products, sometimes we must look at countries that have taken more conscious precautions in this area. For example, Health Canada's Chemicals Management Plan list Hydroquinone as a chemical of "high concern.
We are often asked about the use of retinol, a form of Vitamin A, as a method of exfoliation. Retinol, also known as Retin A and Retinyl Palmitate, is a widely used and very effective exfoliator, however, the research is limited that would determine it’s long term health ramifications. What we do know is that the The Environmental Working Group labels retinol as an ingredient of question, rating it an 8, for its concerns over developmental and reproductive toxicity. We struggle with this because some of our trusted circle of experts not only use a form of retinol but don’t see a problem. For us there is not enough information to make a case for or against retinol, but we always err on the side of caution and until there is more research done, do not include it in any of our product formulations.
If your products don’t seem to be working as they usually do – whether they aren’t absorbing properly into your skin or even “flaking” off – exfoliation could be the answer