Spotlight on Marina Volod of Avitalin Skincare

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

We loved testing Avitalin Skincare’s line of awesome, natural products earlier this year (check out our review), and wanted to know more about the woman behind this line of super nutritious and potent products.   Founder, Marina Volod, shares her philosophy, unique approach to skincare science, as well as some killer tips to fight the signs of aging skin!

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Your Guide to a Perfect Night In

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Living a fabulous life is amazing, and of course, something we’re all striving towards (or should be!), but with all the emphasis on going out, doing, and taking over the world, we sometimes forget the therapeutic effect of a good night in.

Now I don’t mean the kind of sad, pathetic night in where you’re wishing you were somewhere else and bury yourself in reality TV and a pint of ice cream.

I’m talking about the luxurious, pampering, thought-out, fabulous kind of night in that leaves you feeling like there is no where you’d rather be!  Lower your stress levels, feel more in-control of your life, calm your sweet little soul, and get some much needed self-love.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Guide to Staying In

(Clockwise from top left)

1.  Delicious, organic popcorn like Hudson Valley’s Bjorn Qorn, or better yet, make your own (see below)!

2.  A favorite, classic movie or book (you can’t go wrong with Clueless or The Secret Garden!)

3.  An amazing, detoxifying face mask, like Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($8)

4.  A cup of delicious, calming tea, like Yogi Kava Stress Relief tea in Honey Lavender ($3.46)

5.  Comfy and luxurious loungewear (no dumpy sweats here!), like these Bamboo Dreams Sugar Pie Pajamas ($99)

Cheesy-Spicy Vegan Popcorn

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup organic popcorn kernels
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Heat olive oil in small pot over medium-high heat.  Add kernels and cover.  When kernels begin to pop, shake pot every few seconds, keeping lid closed.  When pops come a few seconds apart, remove pot from heat and keep covered for a minute to make sure all kernels have popped.  Toss with nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, and salt.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, if you’d like!

 

How Safe is Your Skin and Haircare Routine?

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

How Safe is Your Skin and Haircare Routine? | The Organic Beauty Blog

For many of us, our skin and haircare routines are habits we stick to like glue.  We find products we love, and we remain loyal to them for years.  But what if your trusted skincare go-to’s are doing more harm to your body than good?  Our health is most impacted by the things we do regularly — foods we eat every day, products we use everyday, behaviors we partake in everyday.  Those are the things that add up and have measurable effects that can either lead to a longer, healthier life, or a higher risk of disease, reproductive issues, and even psychological or mood imbalances.

So how do your products add up?  Is your skin soaking up healthy, nutritive ingredients, or is your skin a sponge for harmful chemicals that are finding their way into your bloodstream?  For example, did you know that CoverGirl mascaras, Blistex lip balms, Neutrogena face washes, Banana Boat suncreens, Biolage shampoos, and Lubriderm moisturizers all got some of the highest scores for toxicity and health hazards? {Tweet it!}  These are brands millions of Americans use everyday, none the wiser that they are exposing their systems to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, organ and reproductive toxicity, and more.

So what can you do?  First of all, get really familiar with the most toxic ingredients, and avoid them like the plague.  (Check out 5 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid for a few of the top big bads).  Second of all, search the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for each and every one of your products.  If any product has a score over 3, (yes 3!) toss it!  It’s just not worth the risk!

Still confused about what is safe to use?  Skin Deep’s searchable database gives you tons of options for the safest, healthiest products, as well as information on where to buy them.  Some of these products are even available at your local pharmacy or big box store.  Convenience or brand loyalty are just not good enough reasons to continue exposing yourself and your family to harmful toxins.  And until our government regulations for cosmetics catch up with the science of safety, YOU are in charge of making sure you’re buying and using the safest products possible!

The EWG is working on a mobile app for Skin Deep, so you can check out a product’s safety on the go!

Donate $10 or more today so EWG can put critical information about cosmetic safety right at your fingertips. They need $45,000 by July 15 so they can deliver this smartphone app to you by September.

Best Organic Sunscreens For Summer

By Callie McBride

Best Organic Sunscreens For Summer | The Organic Beauty Blog

Summer solstice has rung in the season of summer, which calls for more time spent outside in the sun. Hopefully your beach bag looks a little something like this: a bikini, your current beach read, coconut water, perhaps…and SUNSCREEN! Don’t ignore your mother’s age-old advice, protect your skin! How you treat your body now will either show up later on in life, or won’t, depending on your actions. Here are some great sunscreens to try out this summer that are paraben-free, organic, and filled with necessary SPF.

Best Sunscreens for Summer:

1. Coola Sport Sunscreen Spray 

Branded as “Farm To Face Sourced”, this unscented sunscreen has 70% certified organic ingredients to protect your skin in the most natural, chemical-free way. It contains algae, cucumber fruit, and raspberry seed oil for extra nutrients, and its easy spray-on application makes it the perfect spray to throw in your bag and head for the beach.

2. Anthelios 40 by La Roche-Posay

A special sun filter-approved formula, Mexoryl™ SX, makes this sunscreen a great pick this season. Strong protection against UVA and UVB rays is guaranteed, and the ‘screen is fragrance-free and PABA-free as well.

3. Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen

97% natural, minimal processing, and with aloe and vitamins to help soothe and hydrate skin; what more could you ask for? This natural sunscreen can be used on the face and bodies, for kids and adults alike, and is a great bang for your buck.

4. 100% Pure Argan Oil Facial Moisturizer

The words ‘Argan Oil’ is enough indication that this product is a prime choice for summer; you’ll be nourishing, softening, and protecting your skin all at once. The moisturizer also has rosehip oil, green tea, and herbal extracts, which can tighten skin and improve appearance. Yes please!

5. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer

Just check out the list of benefits that this super-product boasts: fragrance free, cruelty free, vegan, paraben free, recyclable, made with natural ingredients. Its everything you could want in a daily use product. Its SPF 40 offers broad protection from the sun, and the lightweight feel compliments a relaxing day by the pool.

6. Beeyoutiful Bee Shade All-Natural Sunscreen

Aloe Vera! Beeswax! Shea Butter, Green Tea Extract, Coconut Oil…just stop me! The ingredients in this fabulous sunscreen are unbeatable for sun protection. Just like we want it, its toxin, chemical, and paraben free. The company is very candid about its ingredient list in order to ensure customers of true quality in all of their products.

With any of these products, you can feel safe under the sun and know that you are only putting entirely natural and organic ingredients onto your skin.

Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Collection Giveaway!

yestotomatoes

This month we’re giving away a trio of fabulous products from Yes to Tomatoes!

This line is perfect combination or oily skin that is prone to breakouts, and features natural ingredients that clear up pimples, reduce severity of blemishes, and control oil.

With these products you can cleanse and moisturize your way to clearer skin with acne-fighting ingredients like organic aloe, tomato, African red bush tea, salicylic acid, watermelon and red pepper.  Nourishing oils like almond, jojoba and olive help nourish skin while clearing clogged pores and balancing blotchiness.

Click here to read my review of the Yes To.. product line, one of our absolute favorite drugstore natural beauty finds.

To enter:

Step 1. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook!

Step 2.  Make sure you’re following us on Twitter!  If you already follow us on both, you can follow us on Pinterest!

Step 3.  Leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite skin-clearing remedy.. Bonus points if it’s a natural remedy!

That’s it!

We’ll announce the winner on Friday, May 17th, so make sure to enter before 6pm EST that day!

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Thank you everyone for entering, and for sharing your skin clearing tips!

Yes To… Everything!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

One of our all-time favorite drugstore natural beauty brands has done it again!  (And again, and again, and again!).  The nourishing, beta-carotene rich Yes to Carrots collection of skin and haircare products has always been there for us in a pinch, when we’re stuck in an unfamiliar town and need to grab some face wash at the local CVS.  All the products are paraben, SLS, and pthalate-free, and feature some potent, organic ingredients.  They are such a major standout among all the chemical and carcinogenic crap products available at most drugstores and box stores, and beauty editors have been noticing, and unloading a bunch of awards on some of the standout products below.  So we have been super excited to witness the growth of the brand to feature lines specific to different beauty concerns, all packing the same powerful botanical punch.

While Yes to Carrots is still a great go-to for dry skin, we love the soothing, calming, and gentle Yes To Cucumbers line for sensitive skin.  For anyone with skin prone to redness, the Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes are the perfect solution for refreshing and cleansing the skin while on the go… I always have a pack in my travel bags!  The whole line features soothing and calming organic ingredients like cucumber, aloe vera, green tea extract, and spirulina.

For acne-prone skin, the Yes to Tomatoes line really delivers.  I’m a huge fan of the Repairing Acne Lotion for controlling and treating mild breakouts.  It’s loaded with acne-busting, natural salicylic acid and witch hazel, healing organic aloe, anti-inflammatory organic tomato extract, and antioxidant and anti-microbial pomegranate extract.  For major, day-ruining zits, I love the Roller Ball Spot Stick.  The roller ball minimizes transfer of bacteria from your hands to an already problematic pimple, and the super potent ingredients also include soothing and anti-inflammatory ginger and bisabolol and healing tea tree oil, in addition to an even higher concentration of acne clearing salicylic acid.  The stuff really works!

The two new additions to the line are no less stellar than their veteran cousins. Yes to Grapefruit is a potent line for dull and uneven skin.  The Daily Facial Scrub is perfect for bringing out skin’s natural luminosity.  Loaded with brightening and smoothing organic grapefruit peel extract and lemon balm, as well as healing and nourishing organic sunflower seed oil, it removes impurities, improves tone and clarity of skin, and lightens scars and dark spots.  For uneven skin on the rest of your body, try the Dark Spot Correcting Body Lotion, with masterwort and capsicum fruit extract to soothe and protect skin.

The other new kid on the beauty block is the Yes to Blueberries collection, perfect for preventing aging and the formation of fine lines.  Blueberries are bursting with skin protecting antioxidants which reverse the signs of aging, so it makes perfect sense that they would be the headliner for this potent line.  Other ingredients like organic cotton thistle, wild acacia and paracress flower are clinically proven to hydrate aging skin, reduce fine lines, and boost natural collagen production.  The whole line is great, but we’re particularly into the  Deep Wrinkle Filler and Brightening Eye Roller, which both noticeably perk up skin.  Check back in to enter to win our giveaway of a collection of six Yes to Blueberries products for face and body!

We are so thrilled that there are non-toxic, natural beauty products like these in the mass market.  It is now easier and more affordable than ever to find safe products that are just as effective as their chemical and carcinogenic counterparts.  Alright ladies, no more excuses!  Clean out that medicine cabinet and say yes to restocking with products tailor-made for your skin concerns, that are actually good for your skin!

Green Tea for Maximizing Health and Beauty

 

By: Stephanie Heino

Green Tea for Maximizing Health and Beauty | The Organic Beauty BlogTea (Camellia Sinensis) refers to Black, Green, White and Oolong teas. The teas differ by the fermentation process where the black tea is fully fermented (oxidized), oolong is partially fermented, white is minimally processed and green is unfermented, which makes green tea the healthiest. This article will focus on the health benefits of green tea, but in general all teas are similar due to similar bioactive health substances, like bioflavonoids (super-antioxidants found in many natural foods), for example.

Green tea, made from a bioflavonoid-containing plant – has been enjoyed as a hot (and cold!) beverage and an herbal remedy in China and Japan for thousands of years. Recently, researchers have investigated green tea’s healing properties and have discovered some interesting health benefits which include protection against certain infections; improved cardiovascular health; better dental hygiene; clearer, healthier skin; and protection from developing some types of cancer.

There are many different types of teas available these days.  Some are sold as herbal teas to distinguish them from black tea. Green tea and regular tea come from the same plant – the Camellia sinensis shrub, which is native to Asia.  The leaves of Camellia sinensis are dried and cured in different ways to yield different types of tea. Instead of fermenting the green tea, the leaves are steamed, dried, and ready for use. The steaming deactivates enzymes present in the tea leaves that can slowly break down the bioflavonoids. Therefore, the green tea process preserves much of the beneficial nutrient content found in the fresh tea leaves. Many people are confused about green tea containing caffeine –it does, but only half as much as a cup of coffee (6-ounce cup of green tea can contain 15 to 60 mg of caffeine). There are also decaffeinated green tea beverages and supplements available for people who want to avoid caffeine intake while experiencing the health benefits.

Some of the major beneficial effects of green tea include a reduced risk of many diseases such as heart disease; a reduction of dental problems; a reduced cancer risk, especially gastrointestinal cancer; the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels; and anti-hypertensive effects. According to Japanese researchers there is a reduced risk of gastric cancers in populations drinking several cups of green tea per day.  According to vital health statistics, the death rate from cancer in both men and women in the Shizuoka region of Japan was found to be much lower than the national average. After conducting animal experiments to see if feeding green tea leaves to mice would suppress cancer cell growth they found that tumor growth in experimental mice fed green tea was indeed suppressed. There is also some evidence that consumption of green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. This can be accomplished by keeping the levels of cholesterol in the blood within a normal range and promoting good blood flow.

There is a great amount of other health benefits of green tea. Due to the naturally occurring amount of fluoride in green tea, as well as the anti-bacterial property, studies have confirmed the positive effect green tea has on teeth. Therefore green tea may be used to prevent dental cavities. Other benefits of drinking green tea before, during, and after meals includes antibacterial action, antioxidant effects, reduction of blood-glucose levels, as well as increased longevity.

The best way to get the benefits from the green tea, take green tea supplements before or with your meals and enjoy a cup of green tea often, in particular with meals. When selecting dietary supplements, look for brands with green-tea extracts standardized to 25-percent or more polyphenols. As part of a total dietary supplement plan, green-tea extract intake of 50 mg or higher will be beneficial.

As for the beauty aspect of drinking green tea, specialists found out that green tea has a special effect on our skinGreen Tea for Maximizing Health and Beauty 3 | The Organic Beauty Blog especially for eczema and acne sufferers. If you suffer from eczema, drinking green tea regularly can be a remedy for reducing the symptoms since green tea plays the role of a moisturizer with its powerful antioxidant properties that are 20 times stronger the vitamin E. Some say that 3 cups a day is enough for a guaranteed result!

Green tea is also good for preventing and fighting existing acne and a much better method that is far less harmful than the chemicals in all products you usually are recommended. You can find several cosmetic products containing green tea extracts, but consuming it is the simplest and best method to receive all possible benefits. It is said that this miracle beverage contains more antioxidants than any of the beauty products rich in chemical antioxidants and vitamins like E, C, and A. Green tea is an amazing antioxidant beauty food for skin and glow, as well as your general health!

Drink it up!

Give Your Water A Delicious Flavor Boost!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

I myself admit that I am not a huge water person.  By which I mean that I didn’t grow up drinking lots of water, and pure, plain water just doesn’t do it for me.  This has made it a bit of a challenge to drink enough water throughout the day.  My trick is making my water super yummy by infusing it with lemon, cucumber slices, ginger, or berries.  At home or at the office, this is easy to do, but it’s hard to infuse water on the go!  Enter this adorable glass Flavor Infuser Water Bottle from AdNArt ($16.00 on The Organic Beauty Store).

Try yummy flavor infusions like:

  • Fresh or frozen raspberries and mint leaves
  • Lemon slices and fresh thyme
  • Fresh blueberries and sliced ginger
  • Fresh mangoes and basil
  • Orange slices and lavender

Drinking plenty of water is vital for detoxification, weight loss and management, beautiful skin and hair. No more excuses for not drinking your 8 glasses a day!