Au Natural Factual Friday: Chia Seeds

Cha-cha-cha-Chia! I’m not going to be talking about those cute plant creatures that grow in a tabletop pot, but Chia seeds, the seeds from those plants.

Chia seeds have been all the health-food rage since it’s 2012 induction, dubbed as a super-foods supplement, chia seeds are super-nutrients that helps control hunger and enhance one’s diet. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and are also considered a concentrated food as the seeds are loaded with antioxidants, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and protein.

It’s no wonder why I couldn’t turn a corner at work without seeing ladies spilling this into their yogurts, mixing it into their drinks, or just plain munching on some seeds. And it seemed my own encounter with chia seeds was inevitable as I walked to work and health-food promoters practically threw packets of free chia seeds to me on the street. (Seriously.) 

A couple of these Chia Shots were thrown to me while walking to work…

Chia seeds are derived from a flowering plant known simply as the Chia plant (salvia hispanica) which are native to many areas in central/southern Mexico. The use of chia seeds date back to the times of the Mayans and Aztecs when chia seeds were also eaten as a staple food and believed to be an energy booster. It’s still used in Mexico today as a nutritious food source, ground or sprinkled into drinks or on food.

Not only are these super-nutritious seeds good to eat, they’re also a beneficial natural beauty ingredient. When chia seeds are cold pressed into an oil they have proven to do wonders for skin. Chia seed oil is very moisturizing and hydrating to the skin and can also calm redness due to a high level of vitamin B3, a natural anti-inflammatory. The antioxidants in the oil also help protect skin from free radical damage such as aging and UV rays. Since Chia seeds are rich in omega 3-fatty acids, as an oil, the acids aid in encouraging collagen and elastin formation, allowing skin to stay firm and supple.

Although I’m not hooked on Chia seeds in my daily diet, I think they are a beneficial health supplement. I’ve seen so many more natural/organic beauty products using Chia seeds or oil as an ingredient and I’d love to try some out in my skincare routine! Would you add chia seeds or chia oil to your beauty and health routine?

Products with Chin seed/Chia oil ingredients:

One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm

I received a sample of this balm with a recent order from BeautySage and I love it! It’s great to moisture the skin, remove makeup and a favorite use of mine: tame flyaway hairs! I think I’ll purchasing a full-size in the future. The One Love Organics skincare line mostly features Chia seed oil.

Annmarie Gianni Anti-Aging Facial Oil

The chia oil in this product is said to provide an ulta-glowing face and lots of hydration.

 

 

 

 

 

Foods Alive Organic Chia Seed Oil

Last but not least, pure cold-pressed Chia seed oil from Foods Alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources (click for links): Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics The New York Times Well + Good NYC Prevention.com Organic Authority 

Look Up Product Ingredients on the Go: There’s An App For That!

When shopping, ever find yourself browsing the newest “organic” or “natural” product on the market and trying to make sense of the ingredients only to find a long, convoluted list of names and chemicals?

Many times I’ve put a product back on the shelf because thinking about the ingredients was too frustrating and due to my inner research-nerd, if the ingredients are too incomprehensible or unrecognizable I don’t initially end up buying it. I’ll usually research products or ingredients on EWG’s Skin Deep database or on Google but I’ve always wondered, isn’t there an easier way?

 

Well, now it seems there’s an app for that. Enter, the Think Dirty app. Think Dirty is a product-comparison app that lets you scan barcodes or search for specific products or keywords which will then give you instant information about the general safety or harmfulness of the chemicals inside products.

The Think Dirty app seems like it could be a game-changer the next time you’re out shopping. The app boasts a growing-database of over 10,000 beauty and personal care products and if you don’t see a product or ingredient you can send specific product information to the database for it to be included.

According to the developer, the app rates products based upon information gathered by U.S. and Canadian-based non-profit and governmental agencies regarding potential health impacts and toxicity of ingredients. Products and ingredients are rated by toxicity level on the app’s “Dirty Meter” scale based on a level of 0-10 and among 3 categories: Carcinogencity, Developmental & Reproductive toxicity, Allergies & Immunotoxicities. The app will also provide you with “Cleaner Options” to the product or ingredient you have searched.

For now, the Think Dirty app is in Beta format and only available for iPhone and iPad though the developer has stated that future versions will be available for Android as well.

This sounds like an interesting resource, though since it’s a bit new, I wonder how much information (and credible information) is really given and what the ease of using the app is like. You could also wait until September when the EWG has announced the long-awaited release of a mobile version of their Skin Deep database, which is known as the world’s largest personal care safety guide. Woohoo!

Would you use the Think Dirty app? Have you tried this app or anything similiar?

Download the Think Dirty app for free at the iTunes store here.

Sources: Think DirtyCrazy Mike’s Apps, What Are Apps For

(Images from Crazy Mike’s Apps and What Are Apps For)

A Countertop-Worthy Makeup Organizer

I have to admit, as someone who’s been buying and trying a bunch of natural skincare and beauty products lately, my bathroom countertop is getting a bit crowded. I’ve been meaning to look into buying some organizers to minimize the clutter but I haven’t quite found anything that seems most space-efficient, made of sustainable materials and is cute as well.

As I was combing through Kickstarter, I stumbled upon something pretty cool that I’d love to keep my counter company, the Beauty StationThis modern makeup vanity is made of bamboo, which is a wonderfully sustainable material to use as opposed to conventional hardwoods or lumber because of bamboo’s natural characteristic of rapid growth; it’s known to be the fastest growing woody plant on Earth. Bamboo also naturally reduces environmental toxins within the environment which it grows in.

I love how simple yet modern the design of the Beauty Station is as well as the delicately designed space that easily  showcases and holds your most-used makeup and tools. The organizer holds 20 to 30 makeup products depending on the size and has a spot with a small, removable mirror. An added techie-bonus is the charging dock where you can place your smartphone or digital tablet amongst all your makeup.

Definitely bathroom countertop-worthy, don’t you think?

The Beauty Station on Kickstarter is available in limited quantities now starting at $109 and up depending on your specific pledge. See the site for more details here.

10/10/13 Update: If you want to snag a Beauty Station, check out the brand’s website where they’re currently on sale for $89! Totally in time for gift-giving season. Thanks for the update, Zenfemi!

What do you use to organize your makeup products? 

Images from Kickstarter

Green Beauties: Mandy Moore

Growing up, I always admired, Mandy Moore for her flawless transformation from a 90s teenybopper-pop princess to an indie/alt.rock singer to a comedic star on the silver screen. (I mean, who didn’t fall in love with her tear-jerking role in A Walk to Remember?)

Confession: I own all her CDs and probably know the lyrics to every single song…

She always seems so poised, down-to-earth and genuine in all that she does. I might also be more in awe of Mandy now as she’s also a professed fan of natural beauty!

Mandy Moore recently shared some of her beauty routine favorites with PEOPLE Magazine at a launch event she hosted in support of a new, clean skincare line called Beautycounter. The company website  features pages with the “Ingredients Glossary”, “Ingredient Selection Process”and “The Never List” (ingredients they never use) with everything clearly listed and explained. Pretty impressive!

In the interview with PEOPLE Magazine, Mandy listed RMS Beauty and Josie Maran as some of her favorite organic and natural beauty brands. Read the full article here.

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I like that Mandy admits she hasn’t gone fully organic or all-natural but mentions she’s been increasingly active in using cleaner, healthier products in her beauty and skincare routine. It’s tough to be in the limelight (and also not, for us average folk) and commit to fully using all organic or natural products but everything is a process that you must be active and willing to pursue.

I respect everyone who is on this journey and it’s encouraging to see others, celebrity or not, who are becoming more beautifully green!

Is there a celebrity you admire who’s gone public with their natural or organic beauty routine?

Image sources: PEOPLE Magazine, Fanpop

Don’t Miss This: A Night for Green Beauty NYFW!

Green beauty bloggers and enthusiasts are abuzz about an upcoming event for green beauty during New York Fashion Week in September. Hosted by the botanical ingredient-based skincare line, La Bella Figura, “A Night For Green Beauty” will be a pop-up event at James Corbett Studio on September 4th, 2013. Attendees will be able to shop, mingle with leaders from the organic beauty industry and get pampered with organic beauty makeovers and tips.

Just look at the list of amazing beauty and skincare brands that will be featured below! I’m such a fangirl of all these brands but a few I’m most excited about are Kjaer Weis, One Love Organics, ILIA Beauty, Kahina Giving Beauty and Lina Hanson.

I first learned about this event from The Chalkboard Mag and am beyond excited to attend. Not only will there be top Organic beauty and skincare brands to shop from (many of which I’ve been lusting to try) but I’m sure I’ll feel starstruck as some of my favorite green beauty bloggers and industry leaders will all be there!

I’ll be the one who’s wide-eyed, happy and with an armful of products…hopefully I’ll see you there!

I’ve definitely penciled this in as a “TO NOT MISS” event on my schedule! Will you be attending?

Check out more details here.

Images from The Chalkboard Mag

Vapour Beauty’s Birthday Sale Today!

Happy Birthday Vapour Beauty!

The legendary natural beauty brand, Vapour Beauty is celebrating their birthday today and offering 15% off of all their products until Sunday, August 11th.

Shop the sale here: http://www.vapourbeauty.com/birthdaysale.asp

Trusted by many makeup artists and celebrities, Vapour Beauty is a leading brand in innovative, high-quality performing organic and natural beauty products. All their products have certified organic and 100% natural ingredients, are cruelty-free and use minimal recycled and recyclable packaging. Plus, Vapour’s foundation shades span a large variety (and a few more have just been added) so anyone ranging from  very fair to girls of darker complexions can find a suitable shade.

I have been wanting to try Vapour Beauty products for a long time and I’m excited to shop the birthday sale!

I’m lusting after the acclaimed, no-makeup-feel foundation, Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation and curious to try the Stratus Instant Skin Perfecter; a primer of sorts which Vapour’s website describes as “the original organic BB Cream…a 3-in-1 moisturizer, primer, and no-color foundation.”

Have you tried any Vapour Beauty products? Have any favorite Vapour Beauty products? 

This post is not sponsored, I just want to let everyone know about this great promotion!

Red Apple Lipstick Eyeshadow Review

I’ve always been an eyeshadow-lover and before I learned about more natural makeup alternatives, it was always the product that gave my skin trouble. In particular, after regularly using a plethora of amazingly colorful, pigmented and chemically harmful products, I was on my way to the dermatologist with itchy and dry eyelids.

When I discovered I had eczema on my eyes, I vowed I’d find a healthier alternative to mainstream eyeshadows without sacrificing color pigmentation or quality. I was also on a hunt for a less wasteful option to eyeshadow palettes. How many empty or half-used clunky, non-reusable palettes did I have in my drawers? Let’s not go there.

And that’s when my constant web-surfing and online research brought me to the Texas-based company, Red Apple Lipstick. Though the company’s name highlight’s their gluten-free lipstick line, there is much more to Red Apple Lipstick than just their natural-based lip products. All Red Apple Lipstick products are 100% gluten-free. You’ve heard of gluten in food, but gluten is often used as a binding agent in cosmetics and is the source of many allergic reactions as well as gastrointestinal problems.

What attracted me to Red Apple Lipstick was that they offered gluten-free, mineral eyeshadow in individual magnetic pans (to be put in reusable palettes like the Z-Palette) AND they also offered pre-made or customized Z-Palettes featuring their eyeshadows. There are not many companies out there selling natural-based eyeshadows in refillable, reusable palettes nor in individual pans. I excitedly purchased 2 individual eyeshadow pans and 1 pre-made Z-Palette named “Autumn Harvest” which came with 4 eyeshadows. (I also purchased 3 lipsticks but will save that for another post.) I ordered during the July 4th holiday weekend where the company was offering a great 20%-off promotion and limited edition lipstick colors. They have frequent deals and are always offering bonus items with every purchase.

My shipment arrived in a timely manner and in quite cute packaging. The lipsticks were individually boxed and in a small canvas pouch with the Red Apple Lipstick logo stamped on it. The Z-Palette had simple, useful instructions on how to apply the brand’s eyeshadow as well as details about the ingredients. The eyeshadows themselves were securely packaged in separate plastic containers with small magnets to keep the pigments in place during shipment and were wrapped in green tissue paper. I received a free floral makeup bag with my purchase in which the eyeshadows and a bonus lip balm were packaged.

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All eyeshadows are 100% gluten-free and contain natural ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter and candelilla wax. Each eyeshadow product contains different ingredients so check the website for specific details.

The colors included in the “Autumn Harvest” palette ($56 including palette) I purchased were a neutral, brown-leaning selection: Iced Mocha (shimmery, light taupe), Violet Vixen (sheer gray-purple w/silver shimmer), Vamp (smokey brown-red) and Lucky Penny (metallic gold-copper). The other 2 colors I ordered for a pop of color in my palette were Midnight Lagoon (deep sea-green w/blue reflects) and the usually sold-out, Olive This Color (shimmery deep-green). Each individual pan is $16.75.

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Swatches (L to R): Iced Mocha, Vamp, Violet Vixen, Copper Penny
Midnight Lagoon, Olive This Color

Did the eyeshadows measure up? I was looking for great quality, pigmentation and ingredients that were better for my sensitive, allergic eyes. I was pleased with the color payoff from one swipe though most of the colors seemed to be sheerer than I expected. Perhaps the colors I chose were on the sheer side of the formulation. The good thing is that the shades I purchased are buildable in color. I found it took about 2 or 3 applications to the most visible pigmentation. The eyeshadows have a smooth, blendable texture and are not irritating to my skin. I did detect a small amount glitter fall out when applying, but mostly from the sparkliest colors (Iced Mocha and Violet Vintage).

I love the idea of choosing the colors I actually want to use as well as having the option to reuse my Z-Palette and purchasing more colors! Red Apple Lipstick has a variety of purchasing options ranging from a pre-made palettes containing 2, 4, 6 or 9 shadows, create-you-own palettes, or individual eyeshadow pans without a palette. Prices range depending on the option you select.

I would recommend trying out Red Apple Lipstick and I really like the eyeshadow options available as well as the fact that they are all created with natural, gluten-free ingredients. I will definitely be trying some more colors from Red Apple Lipstick soon!

What do you think about reusable eyeshadow palettes like the Z-Palette? Have you tried any Red Apple Lipstick products? What are your favorite natural or organic eyeshadows?

Check out Red Apple Lipstick here!

*This post is not sponsored, all products were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

My Birthday Wishlist: Beauty

Birthday Wishlist: Beauty

Guess what? My birthday is this Friday! I cannot believe it will already be August, the summer is just flying by and I am not ready to be one year older…okay maybe it’s not all that bad!

Of course I was easily able to round up some of the products I’m currently lusting after for my very own birthday list. Now if only I were to get all the things on this list…(Are you paying attention, family and friends? haha) Looking back, I could have been a bit more extravagant in my wishing but what can I say, I’m trying to be realistic even in my dreams…

1) Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Desired Glow, $54– I’m a lover of cream blushes and there’s nothing I love more than blushes that also double as bronzer. This beautiful suble tan is said to be perfect for light to medium complexions and is easily blendable, plus the ingredients are 95% organic and how could you not love the super-chic packaging?

2) Kjaer Weis Mascara, $38– Okay, I’m on a Kjaer Weis-kick but this mascara has been raved about by almost every beauty-loving eco-chick and is said to be lengthening, long-lasting and luxurious. As far as organic mascaras go, it is the “creme de la creme” and is also refillable (refills are sold separately) so as to avoid bacteria buildup. So cool!

3) RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Promise, $36– I’ve said it before but I love multi-use products and this RMS Beauty product is one I’ve been dying to try. The Lip2Cheek is a cream product that can be used as a lip or cheek tint. Promise is described as a “warm salmon with a subtle warmth” so I believe it’d be a great pop of natural color on my pale skin, perfect for the remainder of summer.

4) ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Bang Bang, $24– I’ve been dying to try ILIA’s Tinted Lip Conditioners as my lips are normally dry and this specific product is supposedly very moisturizing and soothing. Bang Bang is a popular colors as it’s a beautiful, sheer red that is easily buildable.

5) One Love Organics Morning Glory Brightening Complexion Booster, $48- I’d really love to add some serums to my skincare routine and this One Love Organics serum sounds amazing. The claims are that it “counteracts dullness, puffiness, and unevenness with a intelligent combination of organic ingredients and omega acids. Plus, the zesty lemon peppermint scent provides a natural mood boost.” All the ingredients are soothing to the skin and are organic/plant based including Vegan-sourced Omega 3 fatty acids which “smooth lines and defend against environmental damage.” I also love that the skincare line partners with different artists and designers for unique, attractive packaging designs.

6) RGB Nail Polish in Pool, $18- I’m really more of a nude nail polish color kind of girl but there’s nothing like a beautiful pop of color and from a five-free* nail polish line like RGB (*Contains no Formaldehyde, no Toluene, no DBP, no Formaldehyde Resin, no Camphor). Maybe it’s the influence of the summer season but I’m loving this aptly named, bright baby-blue color in Pool. Perfect against tanned, summer skin whether lounging outside or out on the town. This is also from RGB’s Summer limited edition nail color line.

7)  Bdellium Tools Green Bambu brush set, $89.10- There is nothing more that I love than beautiful makeup besides beautiful makeup brushes. Not only are these brushes super cute (they’re green-colored!) but they are made from soft, synthetic, vegan bristles and sustainable bamboo handles. This set includes 15 professional-grade eco-friendly brushes for face, eyes and brows in a nice rollup pouch.

8) Pai Skincare Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, $50-$70 depending on size- I’ve been lusting over all the products from Pai Skincare as many beauty bloggers and makeup artists have raved about this organic, London-based skincare line that focuses specifically on sensitive skin types. I have very sensitive, reactive skin and am curious about this cleanser, a top-selling product. It’s recommended for all skin types but works specifically well for dry and sensitive skin. The formula is alcohol and detergent-free which maintains the skin’s natural oil balance and doesn’t irritate skin. It has hydrating properties, while replenishes the skin with Omega 3 and Vitamins A, B & E and also acts as an eye makeup remover.

9) Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder, $20- I love the concept of mineral foundation, though I’m always hesitant to try it due to my super-dry skin (it has never been a fan or mineral or powder-based foundation). Alima Pure is one of the best natural, mineral makeup lines and I think their Satin Finishing Powder sounds just divine for setting my makeup. The powders come in 5 colors to suit most complexions and the names are just as pretty: Yuki, Keiko, Hanae, Ami, Sayomi. I also love that this product is free of many yucky ingredients: “no bismuth oxychloride (BOC-Free), no carmine(ci 75470-Free), no nanoparticles, non-comedorgenic (won’t clog pores), high pigmented”.

Have you tried any of these products? What’s on your current wish list? 

Au Natural Factual Friday: Argan Oil

By now we’ve all heard about argan oil one way or another as it’s having quite a moment in the natural and mainstream beauty communities.

Known for its many nutritive, cosmetic and medicinal properties, argan oil is derived from the kernels of the argan tree, which is endemic to Morocco. This is why the oil is now also widely known as Moroccan oil. For centuries, the people of southwestern Morocco specifically, the Berber tribe, have traditionally used argan oil as a staple food ingredient and for medicinal purposes.

Map of Morocco

Besides being adaptable to the harsh environmental conditions of Morocco and the Sahara desert, the argan tree is also listed an endangered plant species and is under the protection of UNESCO (Unite Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). As it is derived from an endangered plant and only grows in such a small, specific location, argan oil itself is considered one of the world’s rarest natural oils.

An argan tree in Morocco

With its growing appeal and many nourishing benefits for skin, hair and body, argan oil is currently in high demand from companies all over the world. Claims in using argan oil are that it strengthens hair, revitalizes and moisturizes skin and is a delicious addition when cooking food. The main ingredient in argan oil is Vitamin-E, a great natural resource for healthy skin, and also comprised of 80% fatty acids.

As with all natural oils, there are also many products on the market claiming to be “Pure Argan Oil” but also include a mixture of chemicals. Be aware of false claims and research products carefully. Check out this list of what to look for in recognizing impure argan oil here.

Traditionally, the Berbers collected undigested argan pits from the waste of goats that climbed argan trees and ate the fruit. Mainly a job for women, the pits were ground and pressed to make the oil used for cooking and in cosmetics. Today, the argan oil you will find in most cosmetic and personal care products are from harvested nuts straight from the tree. (No need to worry about the goats!)

Berber women processing argan oil

The sustainable sourcing of argan oil and the Fairtrade connection that has been created with the local Berber women adds a positive light to the idea of using argan oil and its environmental impact.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the social and economic benefits from the argan oil industry in Mororco could also be life changing for many locals. “It’s hoped that poor rural women in particular would benefit from expansion of the argan oil industry in an arid region with few industries and employment prospects.”

With this newfound hope for the argan oil industry, Bloomberg Businessweek states an increase in exports and eventual sales in Morocco: “Morocco’s exports of argan oil have more than doubled in the past five years, to more than 700 tons”. However, due to the endangered status and slow-growing nature of the argan tree, scientists are challenged with the future of argan oil’s overexposure and rising demand.

Have you tried any products containing argan oil? I’m looking forward to purchasing some pure argan oil for my hair!

Sources: The Christian Science Monitor 

Bloomberg Businessweek

Natural News

http://www.purearganoil.net/argan-oil-find-ou/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argan_oil

Beauty in the Limelight

When it comes to celebrities and beauty, there aren’t too many in the limelight that promote natural/organic makeup or feature themselves wearing it. Nor are there many public figures who advocate for the use of less chemicals and irritants in personal care products without looking like a total-granola-hippie.

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Miranda Kerr- beauty behind the words

And then there is Miranda Kerr: the Australian model, celebrity-married, darling of our day. I’d heard she created an organic skincare line, Kora Organics, but it was not until a recent interview posted by Into the Gloss, that I truly took notice of Kerr’s lifestyle and her insight on beauty.

As a model in the industry where your face and your body is under constant direction and slathered with so many harsh products, it’s a wonder that Miranda Kerr has a good outlook on natural beauty and natural living.

From looking at the website, Kora Organics products seem to be free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, sulfates as well as it is Australian made and owned. Products are vegan and not tested on animals as well as certified by ECOCERT Greenlife.

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Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr

Though many celebrities may come up with a fashion or beauty line as more self-promotion, it seems that Kerr had a respectable mission in mind when creating Kora Organics:

“I started Kora because I was looking for a certified organic skincare line that gave me results and was aesthetically pleasing. I couldn’t find one. I’m not against non-certified products, obviously—I use them all of the time for my job—but I try to minimize my exposure to chemicals. It’s a balance.”

I do empathize with this, finding certified organic products that are effective and aesthetically pleasing are definitely things I always try to check off my list when shopping! And like Kerr states, though it’d be ideal to be totally free of exposure to chemicals, in this day and age we all must find a healthy balance.

“You don’t have to be 100% strict with yourself. It’s about balance, being kind to yourself, and knowing what works, but not feeling like you have to do everything. For me, it’s 80% health-conscious and 20% indulgence. I try to avoid saying ‘always’ and ‘never,’ because we’re human beings, and it’s not always possible. But to be educated and aware of what you’re doing before you do it is the key.”

I too share her ideology that we cannot always be 100% natural or 100% strict in using chemical-free products but it is most important to be self-educated and aware of the ingredients we are using for our bodies.

For myself, I’ve been working towards using less chemically-heavy products and using as much natural ingredients as possibly in my daily life. I believe it is difficult to truly be 100% natural in all aspects of my life but having an awareness of what I am putting on and in my body while understanding the biology of personal care products and educating others is most important to me.

Read the full interview on Into the Gloss here 

Learn more about Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr and shop here

Which celebrities that promote natural beauty are your favorite? Have you tried any Kora Organics products?

*This is not a sponsored post and reflects my own opinion.

Images from Kora Organics