Monday, June 25, 2012

Eco Living/DIY formulating: Natural vs lab actives, and spas

I have been working on a few different questions as all natural beauty's (anb) Eco Living and DIY Natural Formulating Expert.  A couple days ago, I answered a question on spas, and the effectiveness of natural versus lab actives.   I will be posting two more answers to questions very soon! 

I posted some more additional thoughts on Earth Alkemie's (my business) blog about this topic, including an example of many of the uses and nutrients in a single plant ingredient: camellia oil. Here are some more random thoughts related to my anb article.  :)

Many people think that lab actives are always a better choice for everyone.  Personally I don't use most lab actives because currently my skin tends to react badly to many of  them (though there are a couple my skin likes).  For example many people use retinol, lab derived/concentrated acids (like glycolic, lactic, or mandelic acids.  Some may be naturally derived but they are still lab actives), and vitamin C serum (people call this natural but it is a lab active; it has been concentrated in the lab) because they work for them.  These ingredients do not work for me at all, and when I tried retinol many years ago (before I began learning about skin care) it severely damaged my skin (just from using it literally only a few times).  My skin does not react well to many forms of lab derived vitamin C (especially the most common form), and it has only liked one kind of lab vitamin C I have tried (tetra C).  I have never been able to use the lab derived acids because they are extremely irritating for me (even the more gentle ones), and many years ago I could not even use the natural version found in many fruits on my skin (certain fruits contains low amounts of these acids and also enzymes), though my skin loves the natural acids and enzymes in fruits now!  (I use fruits in scrubs and masks to exfoliate my skin).

People's skin also change over time too, so what works for someone now may not work for them later.  I used to not be able to use one lab active, hyaluronic acid or HA, on my face (but my body skin loved it) but now my skin likes that lab active very much (I only use it occasionally though and not on a regular basis, since my skin likes other ingredients more!  Also HA is often derived from roosters, so I use vegan HA instead of the kind derived from animals).  I try the lab vitamin C from time to time, as well as natural ingredients that didn't work for me in the past.  (I will NEVER try retinols again though, because the past damage was that bad.  Plus I like natural ingredients, like vitamin A in plant ingredients, better anyways).  Many other herbalists who have been using naturals for decades have amazing skin.   I truly believe natural ingredients are one of the reasons why my skin is so healthy despite my health issues.  But as mentioned in my anb article, what works for someone else, may not work for you.  So good skin care always takes a bit of experimentation to find out what is right for you, whether you choose something natural, naturally derived or standardized natural extracts, or lab actives (which range from natural to synthetic, and everything in between).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Just wanted to wish all the dads a Happy Father's Day!

I hope everyone is taking the day to spend some time with their dads.  If you can't, at least call and talk to him, and let him know you love him.  :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

All Natural Beauty Website's Summer Sampler, and June Anniversary Giveway

Keeping this entry kind of short, since I just wrote a long entry about it on Earth Alkemie's blog (my skin care business blog), and I really do try not to post too much business related stuff here on SKEB.

The all natural beauty (anb) websites are having a great summer sizzler sampler.  This sampler contains a lot of products from many different natural vendors, including Earth Alkemie.  I always plug about the anb websites' samplers (there are two to three of them each year), even the times when my products aren't featured in them, because it is an excellent deal!  I really love the products from one of the other companies featured in this sampler: Monave (a wonderful mineral makeup company).  They have really nice lippies and powder (which are offered in this sampler).  I met the owner, Deb, once during one of her classes a few years ago: she is very knowledgable about her craft, a great business woman, and super nice too!  I haven't tried the other companies, but some of them have very good reputations, and the rest look like they have nice products too.

The anb websites are also having a June Anniversary Giveaway for a lot of free products (including another Earth Alkemie product).  There will be a total of ten free prizes.  Just wanted to mention for these giveaways you don't need to buy anything, share any personal information, or sign up for anything.  See the link for details on how to enter!

I wrote more about the sampler and giveway on my other blog, along with info on the products I have donated to the samplers and giveaway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberries and Eco Living article on strawberry leaf infusion

I had never gone strawberry picking until a couple weekends ago.  It was so beautiful in the strawberry fields, and I had a lot of fun spending time with family and friends and eating the ripe berries (despite being in a lot of pain that day.  But like most days I just grin and bear it).  The strawberries were so different than the store brought kind, they brought to mind the few small strawberry plants we used to have when I was very, very young.  They were very tender (melt in your mouth), juicy, and sweet (the sweetness was in some ways more subtle, but in other ways more explosive in taste).  And the fragrance: the boxes filled my sister's whole kitchen and my car with its sweet scent!  Pure bliss!  So if you have strawberry farms in your area, I highly recommend visiting one!  Fun activity for the family, and the strawberries are not only super delicious but very inexpensive too.

So for my newest eco living I thought that I would write about strawberries, but decided to focus on the leaves (which are often thrown out instead of used).  My article is on strawberry leaf infusion.  The leaves can be made into an infusion and drunk, or they can be used in skin and hair care!  Very simple to make, and your skin and hair will look great!  Not to mention it tastes pretty good too.  In the article, I included a link to a previous eco living article that included a strawberry scrub recipe.

Last week (a few days after berry picking) I also made chocolate gluten free, no refined sugar strawberry shortcakes with garden fresh mint (I looked at a lot of recipes online but made my own).  I used a little agave to sweeten them (but not too much).  They came out alright, but since I made a recipe off the bat, I think I need to make it a few more times before I perfect it!  It was so nice making a no refined sugar, flour free dessert though (I used to bake a lot, but in past years not that much but trying to bake a little more again).  I used coconut flour so the combo of organic chocolate/cocoa, coconut, fresh peppermint from my sister's garden, cinnamon, strawberries, and organic whipped cream was yummy (needed more organic cocoa powder and to be a little more moist though).  Working with coconut flour is tricky because you have to use a lot more eggs than usual but I really like using it as a flour, and I seem to do well with the combo of not using a grain flour in desserts and eating something high in protein.  (I still use whole grain flours in other desserts though, but the combo of whole grain, agave, AND fruit--so all three-- is often overkill for me: too starchy/sugary and would make me react). I froze most of my berries (we gathered a lot) but used fresh berries in this.  So yummy!

Perfumes (Crafting all natural perfumes)

I have a backlog of posts (what else is new, LOL!) that I will be posting over the next few days.  For some of the posts the same topics will also be posted on my business blog (but even when cross posting, I will still be writing a new post here; it will just be on the same topics.  So there will be some of the same info and some different info in those posts).  But other posts will be totally new posts, only posted here on SKEB.  :)

I try not to post too much business stuff here (though over the next few days will be).  But just posted a post on perfumery and crafting perfumes for a business (what goes into it) on Earth Alkemie's blog.  Part 1 is mostly on the research, and so will part 2.  Part 3 will be on the actual perfume.  I just posted part 1, and thought people might be interested in what goes into perfume making from a small business outlook, so decided to mention it here on my personal eco blog (it is not just crafting it, but perfume making takes a lot of research and experimentation).  Hope you enjoy it!

On a related side note, a few days ago I received the perfumes from the perfume swap I am in.  They all look gorgeous (I wasn't able to smell them yet because I have been so congested but hopefully soon).  I am so excited to receive them and hope to sniff them soon!