Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm Hypoglycemic/diabetic and Veggie: What Can I Eat? (Hypoglycemia/Diabetes/Vegetarian Information)

As some of you know, I'm not only hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) but also vegetarian as well. One thing that I always hear is "What do you eat?". And the answer is: same as a regular veggie but whole grain, no sugar, lots of protein, etc--so at times even healthier than a regular veggie! It does take some time getting used to, but there is no reason a person can't be veggie while being hypoglycemic or diabetic at the same time (though since my B12 levels are kind of low and my metabolism is really fast so I require high amounts of calories, I don't know if I can ever be vegan healthwise; which is why I'm trying to be more cruelty free in other aspects of my life like crafting cosmetics! Anyways...). In addition,the hypoglycemic diet is really similiar to the diabetic one (except in some instances the hypoglycemic diet is probably a tad stricter since diabetics could probably still eat some of the things severe hypoglycemics can't), so the following tips are also helpful for veggie diabetics as well.

So here are some general tips for hypoglycemics/diabetics who are veggie:

1) Avoid white sugar, white rice, white flour, white pasta, and anything highly refined and processed. These four items will shoot your blood sugar up rapidly, then it will drop rapidly, often below what you started (and for diabetics, it'll rise up and stay there). The thing is that white sugar and white flour are in pretty much EVERYTHING so be sure to read labels carefully. I pretty much cook everything all my meals myself, and don't eat too much processed/pre-packaged foods.

2) Also you need to avoid things like honey, maple syrup, brown sugar etc.

3) I don't eat any white sugar or the sugars above--aside from fruit (note: super severe hypoglycemics may not be able to eat fruit at all), agave nectar in small amounts in the very occasional baked good, and the VERY small amounts of white sugar in breads (it's a very small amount of sugar compared to say a cake or something) and in some meat substitutes (again a small amount). The good thing I've found is that once you don't eat sugar, you don't crave it, so it isn't as hard as it sounds. Though some super severe hypoglycemics may not be able to tolerate sugar in any amount (in that case you'd have to bake your own bread).

4) My blood sugar problem is pretty bad so I don't really eat corn or potatoes that much anymore (too starchy). If I do, I only eat it in very small amounts and eat it with lots of protein. Note: when you cook potatoes, boil them in water which removes much of the starches. I've found I can eat a small amount of mashed potatoes with no problems (as long as I eat protein with it) but when I have potatoes that haven't been boiled, I sometimes feel sick.

5) Protein and fiber and fat are good at regulating blood sugar because it helps slow down the absorption of glucose/sugar. Be sure to eat a small amount of protein at every meal. Note: as a veggie, I hate it when people are convinced veggies don't get enough protein--it's actually the easiest nutrient to get! I always get asked "oh you're veggie, how do you get enough protein?" which to me is silly, because basically if you eat you get protein. As a hypoglycemic I eat so much protein it's almost disgusting. Personally as a veggie I am more concerned with getting enough B12.

6) Eat 5 to 7 small meals or snacks a day instead of 3 big meals a day. It is very important for hypoglycemics to eat every couple of hours to regulate blood sugar problems. For some it may be every 1 1/2 hours, for others every three hours. I usually eat three meals and 2 to 4 snacks a day.

So what to eat?

Avocados are your friend! They have protein and fat (good fat) and a natural chemical in them that helps regulate blood sugar.

Garlic and onions and cinnamon help lower blood sugar (I don't eat too much of these, only sometimes in small amounts. These spices/herbs would benefit someone who's diabetic though).

Whole wheat pastry flour is a good sub for white flour since it is not heavy or grainy at all (though don't try making cookies with this, it'll make them fluffy like little cakes. Ask me how I know). Also good: spelt (high in protein but can make breads etc dry so add more liquid) and whole wheat flour. I also use oat flour.

Whole grains instead of refined grains. Eat brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, etc. Spelt and quinoa (which are high in nutrients and protein) are your friend.

Lots of veggie protein: tofu/soy, veggie burgers, quorn, seitan, tempeh, eggs, dairy, lentils, beans, and nuts galore (the nuts may be high in fat but a lot of times has the 'good' fats)

White sugar subs: One sugar I've found that doesn't affect blood sugar levels is agave nectar which has a low glycemic index. It is primarily frustose (which the body takes longer to break down, since the body has to convert it to a usable form: glucose). Also good is glycerin (I use glycerin in making natural cold syrups; make sure you get veggie glycerin).

Chocolate and carob: when I occasionally eat chocolate or carob I get grain sweetened chocolate from Sunspire, and also their unsweetened carob (available in veggie and vegan formulas).

Eat organic. Organic foods have more nutrients and less chemicals

Brown bag suggestions:

Whole wheat french bread with fresh mozzeralla and pesto/basil and tomatoes, black pepper. If you are using basil rather than the pesto add a drizzle of olive oil and basamic vinegar.

Calzones (pizza pockets) filled with lots of veggies, low fat cheese or soy cheese, veggie pepperoni, or maybe something like an indian filling.

Samosas; an indian pastry filled with an indian curry (usually potatoes and peas). Make the pastry with whole grain flour. And maybe other veggies if you can't have potato.

My favorite pita: feta (low fat or use a soy cheese), herbs (I like sage), olive oil and vinegar, a veggie burger (I like amy's california burgers), roasted peppers, olives, artichokes, tomatoes.

Cold pasta salad.

Cold bean salads.

I sometimes like to do an assortment of breads, cheeses (low fat or soy), veggies, fruit, guacamole and other spreads and make a bunch of small different sandwiches.

Veggie wraps with a soft herbed low fat cheese or soy cheese or marinated tofu.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Uses of Carrier Oils (All Natural Skin Care)

What can I use carrier oils for?

There are many uses for carrier oils. Here are some of my favorites:

-use as a hot oil hair treatment (infused with herbs or add essential oils)
-in balms/salves and body butters
-make lotions or creams with them
-use as a body/massage oil or bath oil (mixed with essential oils or infuse with herbs)
-use as a skin cleanser or makeup remover (good for dry skin or some normal skin types. If it's too oily, follow with soap)
-use as a serum (mixed with essential oil)
-add to soap (liquid or melt and pour or rebatched)
-in salt and sugar scrubs, or any kind of scrub
-in masks
-make an oil based perfume

What carrier oils can I use in my hair as a hot oil treatment?

You can use almost any carrier oil, but different carrier oils have different properties, and certain oils are better for specific skin and hair types.

Good alternatives for dry hair include extra virgin olive oil; evoo infused with rosemary is a classic natural hair treatment. If your hair is extra dry try avocado oil (very rich and heavy; better if you mix it with a lighter oil). Rosehip seed oil is very nourishing for dry to normal to dry hair. For normal hair, you could also use sweet almond or apricot oils, or try the evoo. For oily, try grapeseed oil. For all hair types, try camellia oil (which is one of the lightest oils out there, and is easier to shampoo out than the other oils). Be sure not to apply too much oil to your hair or it'll be hard to get out.

Where can I buy carrier oils; can I buy them locally?

Some stores like Walmart or maybe Target may sell jojoba and extra virgin coconut oil. You may be able to find coconut oil in a regular supermarket, but usually it's very refined and not the extra virgin unrefined kind. Usually you can find the oils in health food/natural food stores like Whole Foods (if you buy coconut oil from Whole Foods be sure you get the oils near the vitamin oil and not from the cooking section, since the ones near the vitamin aisle are unrefined/virgin and organic). You can also order them online like from Garden of Wisdom and Mountain Rose Herbs. I highly suggest purchasing organic, unrefined, cold pressed oils which contain more vitamins and nutrients.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Soapwort Cleanser (Herbal information/All Natural Cosmetics)

This fall/winter, the weather has been drying out my facial skin much more than usual. So I've stopped using my beloved shea soap on my face, and have been using soapwort instead.

Soapwort is a very gentle cleanser; it is so gentle that museums use it to clean antique fabrics. It can be used as a skin cleasner or shampoo or for fabrics, but I haven't tried it on fabrics yet!

I like it because it doesn't dry out my facial skin. It is a natural saponin, so doesn't lather as much as soap does but does turn slightly bubbly when you make it. It actually doesn't lather that much at all but it will clean your skin very well.

It is one of the only decoctions that I know of that you can make that actually has a long shelf life. One source (Worwood) says it will last indefinitely, but if you infuse it with other herbs like most recipes recommend shelf life (non-refrigerated) is reduced to 8 to 11 or so days.

Directions adapted from the book "The New Age Herbalist".

To make, pour boiling water (2-3 cups) over 1 oz of the root, let steep for 12 hours, and then boil (covered) for 15-20 minutes. Strain. Let cool and store in fridge.

I like adding a small amount of xanthan gum to thicken it up.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lemon Ginger Tea (Herbal Information/Cold Remedy)

With the cold season coming on, I thought I'd post my favorite cold remedy tea: Lemon Ginger tea. Lemon is antiviral and antibacterial, and ginger is also good for colds and flu. If you add honey, it is good for soothing throats too. (Unfortunately I can not eat honey anymore; but I still love the taste without it--most people don't, LOL!)

Lemon Ginger tea

Boil some water and add some fresh ginger root (a few slices) and simmer for at least 15 minutes (with the cover on). Take it off the heat, add a few slices of fresh lemon and let steep (with the cover on) for at least 20 minutes. Add honey and drink hot (it should still be hot, if you kept the cover on, if not, just bring it to a boil again).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Questions On Various Natural Cosmetic Ingredients (Natural Skin Care)

Random FAQ from a few weeks ago.

What carrier oils are good for my skin type?

Check out my blog entry on Carrier oils and skin type (I actually need to edit this list, as I've just received several new oils!)

What liquid cleanser can I use on my face?

You can use plain castille liquid soap, which is an olive oil based soap. Many natural companies such as Aubrey Organics and Terressentials (see links) also make nice soap based cleansers. I've been using soapwort as a cleanser recently.

My shea butter is so grainy. Is there a way to fix this?

After you melt in your hands, apply only a small amount to really, really damp skin.

I haven't tried this (I haven't had a problem with my shea being grainy) but I've read you can melt all of your shea in a double broiler over very, very low for at least 15 to 20 minutes, and then let it cool quickly, like in the fridge or freezer; cooling it down fast prevents crystals from forming.

Next time, you can also try east shea (a subspecies), which is softer/creamier and very easy to spread.

Which butter is better? Shea, cocoa, or mango butter?

Depends on your skin type. I love shea the most, which is helpful for my dehydrated skin which can get dry and blemished. While shea can be used by most skin types (except maybe the very oily), cocoa butter is better for dry skin, though some people with normal, dehydrated, and combination skin can also use it. Cocoa butter probably needs to melted and mixed a carrier oil before use, or you can just melt a little in the palm of your hand. I like both shea and cocoa butter in creams. Haven't tried mango yet, but intend to soon.

What is whipped shea?

It is basically when you whip shea, like whipped dairy butter! I plan on making this soon.

How do I make my own perfumes? What can I use to make perfumes? Is there a rose scented oil?

I've posted about natural perfumes concentrations and miy and where to buy and more notes and resources. You can make one with rose essential oil (aka rose attar) or rose absolute. Dilute in a carrier like vodka, perfumer's alcohol or jojoba. Rose attar is one of the most expensive essential oils ($1-2 a drop) but so worth it, the absolute is less expensive and some people prefer the smell of the absolute over rose attar. I love rose attar, it's one of my favorites. Though expensive you don't use that much essential oil and it ends up being much cheaper than commerical perfumes once you dilute it. And it smells way more heavenly than the commerical brands.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Insect Repellents on Animals (Aromatherapy)

Meant to post this a while back.

Can I use essential oils on pets for fleas, mosquitos etc?

There are many essential oils that are effective moisquito repellents for use on humans, but I don't know too much about what essential oils are safe to use on dogs (some essential oils that are used on humans are very toxic on other animals). I haven't researched this too much, since I'm a cat person and essential oils are toxic to cats. Some are fine to use on dogs.

There is one book which is supposed to be the best source for essential oils on animals called Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell (who is incidentally the owner of the mineral makeup company Aromaleigh--I am so sad they moved away from being all natural so i don't use their products any longer. Anyways...)

There is another book called "Veterinary Aromatherapy" but Aromaweb (an aromatherapy website) cautions about some of the advice in this book.

I do not have these books yet, but I suggest getting the one by Bell since she is considered the expert in aromatherapy for animals.

Worwood's complete book of aromatherapy also has some info on use on animals, but since it was written in 1995, and she recommends using essential oils on cats which has since been shown to be toxic, the info from that book is dated for animals (though it is considered one of the aromatherapy bibles for humans)

Be sure to dilute the essential oils well (probably only at the 1/2 to 1% concentration or less; remember: less is better!) or consider using hydrosols, which are much more gentle.

It would probably be better to use essential oils on a collar rather than on the fur so your dog can't lick it off.

Vermont soap sells dog shampoo, and Aubrey Organics has dog shampoo, a dip for fleas, and a spray. You can look at the ingredients to get an idea of what you can use. (For cat lovers reading this, please don't use these products on cats. Use plain castille soap to wash kitty if it is absolutely necessary).

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Essential oil storage, shelf life, old oils, and also use in pregnancy (Aromatherapy)

What is the shelf life of essential oils?

Depends on the essential oil. Citrus oils have the shortest shelf life of about 6 months to a year, so be sure to buy from a reputable dealer which has a high turnover rate. For citrus essential oils I highly recommend not buying them in a store (unless it is a store like Enfluerage) but rather an online essential oil dealer, since essential oils in a store may have been sitting there for a while. Most essential oils will last anywhere from 1 to 2 years, some people say they are good for up to four years, with a slight loss of quality. I tend to agree with the 1-2 year opinion, because I have a couple essential oils that are pushing 2 years, and the smell has changed. If you aren't using them often, be sure to refrigerate them, which will extend the shelf life, as much as twice as long. A few essential oils, such as vertivert, frankinscene etc (most of the resinous or heartwood ones) may have a shelf life of several years.

What is the best way to store essential oils?

The best way is to refrigerate them and make sure that there is no space in the bottles so there is no room for air in the bottles (which causes degradation). If they are in the fridge, it won't matter if the glass is clear. But if you store them elsewhere, it is better to have colored glass. If you can't store them all in the fridge than any cool, dark (but not damp/humid) place will work great! Do not store them in the bathroom--too humid. I personally don't store my essential oils in the fridge but I generally use them within a year or two (or less, especially like citrus essential oils).

What do I do with old oils?

I think either a lot of people use or just throw away old oils (moaning and complaining of course since some of them are quite pricey). Though I wouldn't use old essential oils for cosmetic or medicinal uses (old essential oils may undergo some chemical changes and lose their cosmetic/medicinal properties) there is no reason why you can't use them to scent your clothes (place a few drops on a cotton ball), letters, ink etc.

Can I use essential oils during pregnancy?

I'm not an expert in this (since I've never been pregnant) but I have read some about the topic. Generally a lot of aromatherapy authors have stated that essential oils should be used at lower concentrations (1/2 to 1%) and list only a few that can be used during this time, and many should be avoided. Different authors have different lists, but most of the lists of essential oils ok to use include some of the citrus peel oils (like mandarin or tangerine) or lavender (depends on the species; recommended is L. angustofolia. You probably shouldn't use Lavendula latifolia aka spike lavender since that is high in camphor; all camphor rich oils should be avoided). But there seems to be conflict with many authors lists from what I've seen. Like several authors list chamomile and rose as okay to use, but then another listed it to be used with caution during pregnancy (though it can be used). Geranium has been cited by many authors as safe to use; but that never made since to me since geranium can have hormone-like activity. (Tisserand and Balacs listed both chamomiles, rose, and geranium as safe to use, and I generally trust their suggestions since they have conducted a lot of scientific tests on the essential oils; though their book is from 2000 so may be a little dated)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More on Natural Perfume Making and Essential Oil Concentrations/Diluting Essential Oils (Aromatherapy)

I'm allergic to many synthetics which is why I switched to all natural products about 6 years back. Most commerical perfumes are made with hundreds of chemical components, and only a small amount of pure essential oil.

I've previously blogged about perfume concentrations and how to miy and where to buy perfume but I decided to post some more information.

How do I dilute essential oils to 1%, 2%, etc concentration?

To make a 1% essential oil concentration, add 6 drops of an essential oil (or essential oil blend) in 1 ounce of carrier. To make a 2% concentration, add 12 drops of essential oils in 1 ounce. There are 300-600 drops of liquid in an ounce, so you can calculate the rest.

Note: Never use more than a 2% concentration in a massage oil/body oil/cream/serum etc (most products). So whether you use one essential oil or twenty essential oils, don't use more than 12 drops total. The only exception is perfume, in which you would use up to a 30% concentration (the reason why such a high concentration is okay in perfumes is because you'd only use a couple drops of the product versus a teaspoon or more of the lotion etc. So the actual essential oil concentration you put on your skin is fairly low). And never apply essential oils neat to the skin (though some books say you can apply lavender and tea tree neat, this is only during emergencies like insect bites and only like a drop once or twice.) Always dilute for daily use.(When I hear that people apply large amounts of essential oils neat to their skin, I cringe because there have been some reports of fatal toxicity of certain essential oils in large amounts (around a teaspoon)).

What are top, middle, and base notes? And what are the best aromatherapy perfume making books?

A lot of basic aromatherapy texts explain top, middle, and base notes. But the best aromatherapy book I've found that focuses on perfume is Mindy Green's "The Natural Perfume Book". It is a small book but it gives a good overview on perfume making and also contains over 30 recipes; but it is out of print and when you can find it online, it is expensive; so try used book stores or try to request it through your local library. Mindy Green's and Kathi Keville's Aromatherapy: A complete guide to the healing art has a small section discussing perfume making (but only contains a few recipes), and is also a good overall aromatherapy primer. Mandy Aftel's book Essence and Alchemy is considered one of the best, and I think it gives a good overview on the history and also components of natural perfumes, however it hardly contains any recipes (just like 3 or 4). Nancy Booth's Perfumes, splashes, and colonges also has very good background info, however she includes fragrance oils along with essential oils in her recipes. i think it's a good reference but I don't use FOs so I found Green's book to be much more helpful. I've also heard that Chrissie Wildwood's Create Your Own Aromatherapy Perfumes: Enchanting Blends for Body and Home (2nd edition) is fantastic but it is out of print too and I haven't been able to get my hands on an inexpensive copy yet.

See my links for other aromatherapy books and online resources. I highly recommend getting at least three good aromatherapy primers in addition to the books above.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Breakdown of Natural and Synthetic Ingredients in a Cream (Natural Skin Care)

Which ingredients in my handcrafted cream are natural and which are synthetic?

Sometimes it can be tricky separating what's natural from what's synthetic because there is no regulation of what "natural" is.

But I try to use ingredients as natural as possible :)


Shea butter
Apricot kernel oil
Coconut oil
Aloe vera
Distilled water
Essential oils

Synthetic or Natural:

Vitamin E--can be natural or synthetically derived
Glycerine--can be synthetically derived from petroleum or naturally derived from vegetable oils


Germaben or Optiphen--synthetic preservatives

These are tricky:
stearic acid--I would say most people in the natural cosmetic industry consider this natural since it is a fatty acid; it is obtained from the hydrolis of fats or synthesis. But I think some people in the natural industry don't consider it natural because it is a component of fat and not the complete fat (the fat had to be broken down to get the fatty acid).

I should clarify that fatty acids are natural/found in nature; fats are composed of 1 to 3 fatty acid chains plus glycerine.

Emulsifying wax--I've seen this in many natural lines, but I'd say most people in the natural industry consider it synthetic. It can either be plant based or petroleum based; the wax is then treated with some sort of detergent (like SLS) or polysorbates. (So it may have some natural plant components but it is so processed in the end, that it isn't considered natural; it's not found in nature). But many natural companies use it because it is a more stable emulsion than beeswax/borax cream (which sometimes separates).

Shelf Life of Tinctures (Natural Skin Care/Medicine)

What is the shelf life of tinctures aka herbal extracts?

Some books say that tinctures aka herbal extracts have a shelf life of 2 years, but other books (which I consider better herbals) say 6 years or indefinitely. On the other hand, glycerites, a tincture made with glycerin instead of alcohol, have a shelf life of 1 year.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shelf life of kukui nut oil, jojoba oil, and evening primrose oil (Natural Skin Care)

What is the shelf life of kukui nut oil, jojoba oil, and evening primrose oil?

Kukui nut oil has a shelf life of 12-14 months, and evening primrose's shelf life is only about 6 months. Jojoba oil is good for several years because it is really a liquid wax and not an oil. Storing in the fridge will increase shelf life.

Kukui nut oil is one of the lightest oils around and absorbs instantly. Evening primrose oil (EPR) is a bit heavier in weight (but still absorbs quickly) and needs to be mixed with another carrier oil. EPR has a higher concentration of linolenic acid than kukui nut oil. Jojoba is a light-medium weight oil that absorbs quickly and is similar to the skin's natural sebum.

Kukui nut oil and EPR have some of the same properites but are very different oils. For oil properties you can go on Mountain Rose Herbs' website, and next to each oil click on the 'learn more' links. Nature's Gift and Aromaweb also have oil profiles.

Friday, September 29, 2006

More phototoxic essential oils, essential oils for shingles, cedarwood essential oil and insect repellents (Aromatherapy/Medicine)

I've already blogged a bit about orange essential oils and phototoxicity, here's so more info on other citrus oils.

Are lemon and tangerine essential oils phototoxic?

Not all citrus oils are phototoxic. For example, while expressed lemon and lime essential oils are phototoxic, distilled lemon and lime essential oils aren't phototoxic. And also tangerine and mandarin essential oils (C. reticulata) aren't phototoxic . One essential oil that isn't a citrus oil but that is phototoxic is angelica root.

What essential oils are good for shingles?

Chamomile and lemon balm aka melissa. Be sure to buy melissa from a reputable source since it is often adulterated (it is expensive). Be sure to dilute in a carrier, of course!

Is cedarwood essential oil an insect repellent?

There are two kinds of cedarwood essential oil: Virginia cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) and atlas cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica). Virginia cedarwood is actually a juniper; it has some of the similiar properites with true atlas cedarwood, but since it is a different tree species all the properites are not the same.

I usually use atlas to repell bugs but aromaweb mentions you can also use VA. Lavender essential oil is also good.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Facial oils/serums, scars, and discoloration (Natural Skin Care)


What is a serum, and how do you make one?

Basically a serum is a type of moisturizer for your skin that is a liquid, and often jammed packed with ingredients that contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients. There are many kinds of serums. Serums are usually oil based or water based. Some contain both oils and waters. They can be used under or over or in place of creams and lotions, depending on the serum. They differ from creams and lotions in that they are usually not made with emulsifiers, hence are liquid. However there are some made with emulsifiers, and those are usually a little thicker like gels. They are often lighter in weight than creams and lotions, and are seen as special treatment products.

I haven't made a water based serum yet, but I have made oil based serums which are basically made with carrier oils and essential oils. Oil based serums are also called facial oils.

A basic formula for an oil based serum:

1 ounce of carrier oil for your skin type
6-12 drops of essential oils for your skin type
a few drops of vitamin E

To a 1 ounce colored glass bottle, add 6-12 drops of essential oils, and then fill the bottle with a carrier oil. This will make a 1-2% concentration of essential oil. For people with sensitive skin, you may want to use less than 6 drops of essential oil. For women who are pregnant, or people who have medical conditions please consult with a doctor and aromatherapist before use.

Where do I buy facial serums?

If you would rather buy them than make them, Mountain Rose Herbs and Nature's Gift both sell many excellent oil based serums. Garden of Wisdom sells several water based serums. Aubrey Organic sells two night creams (a green tea one and a rose hip/shea butter one) that are more like gel-like serums than creams. I LOVE the AO night creams. Burt's Bees sells an awesome oil based serum called "repair serum" that contains rosehip seed oil, green tea extract, and lavender and neroli essential oils.

What carrier oils and essential oils can I use to improve the clarity of my skin, and help with discoloration/scars?

To improve the health of your skin, I suggest camellia oil (which is from the green tea plant) which is good for all skin types (it is one of the lightest oils and soaks in immediately). To help with the discoloration, try rosehip seed oil which is good for healing old and new scars, so may help with discoloration also. It is usually used for dry to normal skin (and should not be used on skin with acne) so you should probably mix it with another oil.

For essential oils, I recommend helichrysum essential oil. Other essential oils that are good to regenerate the skin are lavender, neroli, frankincense and petitgrain.

A classic aromatherapy serum is rosehip seed oil with helichrysum essential oil.

Rosehip seed oil is usually a carrier oil but you can also get the CO2 extract as well.

Also good product for scars is shea butter

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yet More On Natural Preservatives and Antioxidants (All Natural Cosmetics)

I posted a lot of information on natural preservatives on two different forums several days ago, so here's what I posted (I added some more new information) in case you missed it :) You can also see my links (right hand side of this blog) for several more entries I've written on the topic.

I want to make all natural cosmetics; what natural preservatives can I use?

There are several natural preservatives you can use, however, it should be noted that while they are effective, products preserved with natural preservatives will have a much shorter shelf life than products preserved with synthetic preservatives.

For example, in water based products or products where oils and waters are emulsified together (like creams and lotions), the shelf life is only one to several months (be sure to buy from a company that makes their creams fresh!). Though some companies creams and lotions (for example: Aubrey Organics and Dr. Bronnner's) are usually good up to a year. Another thing that helps prolong shelf life is a squeeze or pump bottle since that prevents bacteria from your hands from getting into the product (which is a problem if the product is in a jar). Also what will help is NOT storing your cosmetics in a humid place like your bathroom.

But in products with no water like balms, butters, oil based serums, perfumes, salt and sugar scrubs (oil based, no water), bath/body oils, etc, and also liquid soap (the exception) the shelf life is several months to a year depending on the natural preservatives used, the kind of product, storage, type of bottle, combination of preservatives, and use.

Products preserved with commerical, synthetic preservatives have a very long shelf life of 2 or 3 years.

Some natural ingredients
have a very, very long shelf life on their own with no preservatives like powder mineral makeup (pretty much is fresh forever), and some carrier oils like plain, pure jojoba oil (nothing else mixed with it) which is good for 2-3 years. Many other carrier oils and butters (plain carrier oils and butters that have not been mixed with any other ingredients, with the exception of vitamin E, A, and C) also have a long shelf life. Also honey (nothing else added) has a long shelf life. (If you mix these ingredients with other ingredients, that of course will shorten their shelf life).

I've found that the most effective preservation method (for personal use; I do not run a business, at least not yet! Wicked laugh! ;) ) is a combination of antioxidants and natural preservatives. I use at least three or more in my creams. Most natural companies that I've tried also use a combo.

Vitamin E, A, and C are antioxidants. I like using vitamin E as some forms of vitamin C can be unstable.

Herbal extracts are both antioxidants and preservatives. Many herbs are antiseptic, and most extracts are extracted with alcohol, which is an effective preservative. (One popular brand, Dr. Bronner's uses a combo of alcohol and essential oils and a pump bottle (so no dirty fingers in product) to preserve their products). But its effectiveness will depend on the herb used of course. Some herbs are more antibacterial or antiseptic than others.

Most essential oils are antibacterial and antiseptic, as well as antioxidant. Some are antiviral and antifungal as well (many scientific studies have been done on the antibacterial properties of essential oils). Lavender and tea tree are all of these. They also have many skin benefits (depending on the essential oil), but be careful as some can be irritating especially if used in the incorrect concentration.

Biopein and Neopein and also Suprapein
are supposed to be very effective. They are basically a blend of certain herbal extracts.
Articles on the manufacturer's website contain results/information from tests done on these preservatives. If you are making products for a business, these are probably your best bet.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

There is conflicting info on how natural and also how effective it is. Some brands are contaminated with synethtic preservatives like parabens. But gfs extract (the ones not contaminated with synthetic preservatives) has been found to be non-toxic. There is a debate on whether it is an antioxidant or a preservative. It seems like half the natural industry claims it is natural and effective, and the other half doesn't! A lot of people also confuse gfs extract with grapefruit essential oil and grapeseed oil, which are totally different ingredients (one is an essential oil and the other is a carrier oil).

I personally have never had a problem with my creams going bad, but I craft in very small amounts and also use up my creams within a month. I used to generally use vitamin E with 3-6 essential oils, and grapefruit seed extract. But with all the conflict with gfs extract, I am looking into using the herbal extracts along with vitamin E and essential oils.

I worry about giving people my creams. I have no problem with giving friends balms, perfumes, bath oils, scrubs, etc, but I worry about the creams. Because many people stick products in their cabinet in the bathroom (gasp! The WORST place you can store your natural cosmetics) and forget about it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

More MIY Mineral Makeup Information! (Mineral Makeup/All Natural Makeup)

Link to EPA's ruling of Ferric Ferrocyanide and the Clean Water Act.

It's so hard to make purple shades since I don't use carmine or Ferric Ferrocyanide but I have made a couple nice purple shades by combining different micas and pigments!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More Tips for Crafting MMU/Definitions of MMU Ingredients (Mineral Makeup/All Natural Makeup)

I posted about crafting mineral makeup not too long ago (click here to see the post), but I wrote about more tips and also info about the ingredients used in MMU on one of the forums I visit a few days ago and am posting the info here with a little bit of added info:

Can I use silca in my eyeshadow, blush, foundation etc?

You can try silca as a base too! I haven't used it myself but it may work! There is debate about the safety of silca though (It is a natural mineral/rock). Still researching about it and deciding if I want to use it or not.

How well do different minerals adhere to the skin? Are all micas shimmery?

For adherence and micas, it depends on the particle size. Micas like serecite with smaller particle size will adhere better than micas with big sparkles. You can add a bit of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to help with adherence but many of the colored micas are coated with titanium dioxide so have good adherence anyways.

Not all micas are shimmery, depends on particle size and what they are coated with; titanium dioxide makes micas shiny. Serecite (uncolored mica) is kind of flat.

Also if you mix colored micas to certain bases like serecite it will make the shimmer colors more flat. Check out the tkb trading blog; I think there are pictures where they show how different bases can make the same color look different.

Can you tell me about certain ingredients used in mineral makeup?

Okay definitions; still trying to compile them myself but here's some explanations.

Iron oxides are pigments and are basically iron oxidation (like rust on a bike!). they occur naturally in the earth, but for cosmetic purposes naturally mined iron salts are taken in a lab and then oxided since natural iron oxides from the earth have a lot of toxins in them. You can buy just the pure iron oxide pigments (which need to be mixed with a base) or many micas are coated with them.

Mica is a type of natural mineral/rock.

Serecite is simply uncolored mica. It is usually a white/off white color.

Carmine is a red/purple colorant made from the crushed shells of beetles used in cosmetics and also food. I do not use it because I am veggie. it is generally non-toxic but can cause heart problems in some people who are allergic to it. Many pink/red/purple micas are coated with carmine.

D&C Alum lake and F D&C colors are synthetic colorants. Many people are allergic to certain colors and there is debate on how toxic/irritating some colors are. I don't use them because I try to use cosmetics that are as natural as I can get and I am concerned with the toxicity of some of them.

Ferric Ferrocyanide
is a blue synthetic pigment. There is debate on whether it is safe to use in cosmetics--some people say no and some yes (hasn't been much testing done on it for use in cosmetics), but it is listed by the EPA as a water pollutant, and is also neurotoxin/respiratory toxin (it is a cyanide). I personally don't want to use it; even if it may be safe to use in cosmetics I am an environmentalist so don't use it.

Chromium oxide: some people are allergic. It is a pigment.

Ultramarines, used to be made from crushed gem stones but now made in the lab synthetically, from natural clays I think. I use them because although some things are bluish (I'm thinking about the coated micas like blackstar blue and splendid blue), there really is no true blue natural pigment in cosmetics (it is really rare and very, very expensive to find natural ultramarine blue).

Talc is a natural mineral/rock but i don't use it because it is often contaminated with asbestos (which can cause cancer) and there has been studies that has shown that non-asbestos contaminated talc may also cause higher rates of cancer.

Maganese violet is a pigment.

Mother of Pearl makes eye shadows shiny. I don't use this because I'm veggie and many colored micas with large particle size are very shimmery!

Bismuth oxychloride is a white pigment. It gives a sheen to MMU. However, some women are allergic to it. I haven't used it yet so I don't know if I am allergic or not, but I don't like shiny foundation so haven't tried any brands that use it yet.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are both natural minerals. Both are great sunscreens and also may help reduce inflammation in the skin (especially the zinc oxide, and also because of the fact there aren't any/many fillers in mineral makeup).

From my understanding, most pigments are lab created/synthetically derived but made from natural ingredients. They are borderline natural, borderline synthetic; depends where you draw the line on what's natural. Most people in the natural industry consider them natural, but critics point out why use iron oxides/ultramarine blue and not D & C colors? My viewpoint is that iron oxides and ultramarines does occur in natural but for safety reasons are made from natural ingredients in the lab, so I consider them natural.

More tips

I've also read that you shouldn't mix colored micas for very long (only a few minutes) because that can damage the shimmer of them.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Assumptions of Asian Beauty (Asian/Asian American Issues)

I know I said I'd be away but just wanted to post today (hey, it's the beginning of the semester, so I'm not super crazy-busy yet!)

I was just on a forum, and someone basically posted 'why do asians try to look non-asian/caucasian: getting surgury on their eyelids, coloring their hair, and bleaching their skin'. That post kind of annoyed me, because a lot of people assume that just because an Asian person colors their hair or has the double lids or has light skin or who don't have perfectly straight hair is trying to look caucasian. True, some people may be trying to, but just because a person looks a certain way or chooses to alter their appearance does not neccessary mean that they hate the way they look and are trying to look like someone else.

As many of you know, I am of Asian descent: Chinese-American actually, meaning my family is originally from China, but I am an American (another assumption a lot people make is that people of Asian descent can't be Americans as well. I guess that they don't know that it was a Chinese-American who won the right in the late 1800s that that if you're born on U.S. land, you are an American citizen. But that is a post for another day).

Growing up I had very, very dark brown almost black hair (not true black), and it's only been within the last few years it's been true black (since I've started using natural cosmetics. I don't know if it's because natural cosmetics don't dry my hair as much, or that I just don't spend as much time in the sun or what; anyways it's black now). Also I was born with curly hair, which straightened out as I grew up. Nowadays I prefer my natural hair color, but in college (eight years ago) I did dye red hairlights in my hair twice, because I thought it was pretty and interesting.

I was born with double lids, similar to everyone else in my family (both my dad's and mom's side). Many people don't know this, but actually about 25% of Asians naturally have double lids.

I have light-medium skin; not as pale as some Asians are, but not as dark as others, but I can get pretty light in the winter time.

Unlike what some people assume, I am not trying to look caucasian, it's just the way I look/was born. I am proud of my Chinese heritage! I just wish some people didn't assume so much about other people.

Craft Mineral Makeup! (Mineral Makeup)

I've been experimenting with crafting mineral makeup for the last few months. I haven't tried making any foundation yet, but I have made eye shadows galore (I've made at least 8 different shades of gold eye shadow!), a couple of blushes (I usually don't wear blush so this is a milestone for me!), and even a few lippies (I made the color but used an all natural pre-made base; plan on making my own base soon).

There are only three mineral makeup books that I know of (I am a natural cosmetic book fanatic, and I've been looking for books on mineral makeup but I haven't found that many).

The first one is Creative Faces by Maxine Nelson. I borrowed this from the library a while back, and I personally didn't like it very much. There was a section on ingredients but most of their recipes for eyes and foundation were based on talc and some (like the lippies) used F D&C colors (ingredients I avoid). Also the instructions were not that specific; they were basically "take a pinch of this" and mix it with a teaspoon of that etc, which is very vague (when crafting you definitely need to use a gram scale). But you may get some basic info from it.

The second one is Recipes for Makeup by Karen Bombeli. I have not read this one, but the amazon reviews are pretty bad (there is apparantly a lot of spelling mistakes). Also I've seen the website of the author's company and many of her recipes have a lot of synthetics that I avoid (more so than the book above).

The last one is from Coastal Scents: Mineral Makeup Secrets Revealed (online book). I don't have this either but someone e-mailed me a review about this book, and it also contains some ingredients I avoid (but still primarily natural), and apparantly contains just basic information.

I personally learned more about minerals from Deb (owner of Monave and Monave's MMU kits (I have two of them). Once a year, Deb hosts and teaches an all day conference on making MMU (the only person I am aware of that teaches how to craft MMU). I haven't taken the seminars but I've e-mailed her many questions about mineral makeup crafting, and she has been very friendly and helpful. She is awesome! In addition to the kits she sells individual loose pigments and micas. Deb is also working on a book--I told her I'd be one of the first ones in line to buy it if she ever finishes it!

Other companies that sell loose micas, pigments, and kits are Tkb Trading and Coastal Scents. Tbktrading sells so many different choices! If you are concerned about using certain ingredients be sure to read the ingredients for every mica and pigment etc you buy. Tkb also has a great blog on minerals!

Gram scales (to weigh the minerals; to keep recipes accurate) or any scales for that matter can be purchased at Oldwill Knott Scales. Monave sells mini grinders, or you can use a blender to mix (please purchase a separate blender for your cosmetics; don't use the same one that you blend food in).

Tips on crafting:

Unblended colored micas are very intense and usually need to be mixed with a base. Though the straight unblended colored micas also make great intense eyeliners and eyeshadows, especially wetlined or foiled!

I suggest trying a variety of different bases (micas), since all of them will make the colored micas look different. To make things lighter: You can mix the colored micas with serecite (uncolored mica; it will make your blends more matte), or with the splendids/highlights/starlights (which are the refraction micas; which look like white powders but in the light have a 'highlight' color; comes in several colors), or silver fine (a whitish silver color). To make things darker: black mica, the blackstars (which are dark/black but with different tones; they are coated with iron oxides; comes in several colors). OR try mixing the colored micas together.

The shades look way different depending on what you mix with what. As an experiment I took one colored mica and then mixed it with each of the other micas I mentioned. The end results looked so different, even if I started with the same colored mica!

You can also try bases/blends of bismuth (if you're not allergic), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and magnesium stearate (avoid this if you are vegetarian).

Don't mix the colored micas for too long, as over blending may damage the mica particles.

If you use pure iron oxides (to make matte shades), they need to be mixed for much longer than the colored micas, and you don't need to use as much of them.

Also try playing with the ratios too!

Micas in creams/lotions; how to make sparkly creams/lotions:

I've read (from Monave) that the easiest micas to use in a product are probably the splendids which refract light and come in a variety of colors: blue, violet, red, gold, green (in the jar they look like a white powder but if you move them in the light or wet them you can see their different colors).

You will definitely need to use either a gum or gel to thicken your lotion (or make a cream which are thicker than lotions), to prevent the micas from sinking (or you could just shake gently).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ecological Footprint (Environmental Information)

Earthday Network and Redefining Process have a great calculator in which you can calculate your ecological footprint. Basically an ecological footprint is the amount of acreage that is neccessary to support a person's life style. Worldwide, there is only about 4.5 acres of land available per person. Sadly the average American ecological footprint is 24 acres per person, which means that it would take at least 5.3 planet Earths to support the human population if everyone consumed as much as we do.

I love this calculator, however, though it is a pretty good assessment, it is only an estimate and doesn't take in account factors as recycling, using more ecological friendly products, and only generalizes how much energy/waste a person really consumes (some people consume less and some people more). However, it is a good indicator that many people, especially those that live in western countries, are consuming much more than the planet can support. Not to mention, this leaves little resources for other species!

Though it is pretty sad how much we actually consume, there are many things we can do to reduce our ecological footprints. First, eat more locally grown, unprocessed, organic, and vegetarian meals. Locally grown foods are more eco-friendly because they are not transported over long distances (so less fuel and pollution) and they also support the local economy. Unprocessed, organic, and vegetarian meals are not only healthier (studies have shown organic foods contain more vitamins than conventional foods), but also more ecofriendly. For example, it takes about 12-16 lbs of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to make 1 lb of beef. Also, try to drive less, car pool, take public transportation, buy a more fuel effecient vehicle, or take a few minutes to plan your activities to reduce pollution/emissions (make 1 trip instead of 2). Use more energy effiecient products--it's not only better for the planet but friendier for the wallet too. Also don't forget to reduce (probably the most important), reuse, and recycle, and, when you can, use ecofriendly products! :)

Though I think it'd be awesome if everyone suddenly became veggie and took public transportation, I realize that it may not be possible or practicable in some instances for people to do so. Being more ecological minded doesn't mean you have to become "new-agey" and accept every new eco-trend you hear about (though there is certainly nothing wrong with that ;) ), but it's about making good choices, taking responsibility for human actions, thinking about the future, and doing what you can.

Making changes can be quite overwhelming, especially with all the conflicting information that's out there. My advice: start slow and do what you can! For example, if you want to eat better, are concerned with the treatment of animals, or have moral or spiritual concerns with eating meat, but find the thought of becoming pure veggie daunting, you can start slowly. One idea: replace a few meals (not all) with some veggie meals. Eating less meat and more veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains is not only healthier, but helps prevent against many diseases (due to the reduction of fats, and the increased source of vitamins and anti-oxidants). Instead of eating burgers for lunch, try an awesome veggie burger or pizza. If you are feeling adventurist, try a tasty tofu stir fry or a delicious Indian Curry. Yum!

Though you may not be able to everything you've heard about to reduce pollution and your ecological footprint, try to do what you can. Every step you do, is a closer step towards a more sustainable and happier planet :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Minor Wounds and Scars/First Aid (Natural Alternative Medicine/Aromatherapy)

What essential oils can I use on minor wounds and scraps (for first aid)?

Many essential oils can be used to clean up/heal wounds (antibacterial and healing; first aid) including tea tree, lavender, and chamomile (which are the most often recommended by aromatherapists) but other good essential oils include: bergamot, helichrysum, geranium, eucalyptus, frankincense, myrrh, pathcholi, and lemon. Aloe is also good. To clean the skin, you can use the essential oils by blending with aloe or diluted apple cider vinegar (1 part water to 1 part acv). Use a 2% concentration of essential oils (add 12 drops of the essential oil blend per 1 ounce of acv or aloe). After cleaning apply an ointment/balm/salve (a carrier oil thickened with a little beeswax, or if you don't have beeswax, just use a carrier oil. Make a 2% concentration of essential oils) and cover with gauze. Natural remedies may take longer than conventional remedies to heal, but I've always found them to heal skin better.

For scarring, an excellent all natural remedy is helichyrsum essential oil and rose hip seed oil (12 drops of helichyrsum in 1 ounce of rosehip seed oil). This blend has been recommended by several aromatherapists and there have been many studies done in south america on this combination. For a review/info on the studies click here, and for reviews of this combination from Nature's Gift click here. I suggest making this combination yourself (since it is easy to make and also less expensive), but if you don't want to, you can buy it premade at Nature's Gift (at a 10% concetration, so you'll still have to dilute it a bit with another carrier oil).

Friday, August 18, 2006

List of Animal Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics (Natural Skin Care/Vegetarian)

If you're vegetarian, vegan, or just want to use cruelty free cosmetics, there may be some ingredients in cosmetics you may want to avoid. Here is a list of animal ingredients that I avoid, or am in the process of eliminating.

-emu oil (from a bird)
-carmine aka cochineal (a red colorant from beetles used in cosmetics and foods; many makeup companies use micas that have been coated with carmine, or use this in red/purple colored makeup)
-elastin (from cows)
-lactalbumin (milk protein)
-hyaluronic acid (usually from rooster)
-makeup brushes (many are made from animal hair; good alternative: taklon, which is a synthetic bristle)
-lanolin/lanolin alcohol/lanolin oil (from sheep wool)

Ingredients in perfumes:

-musk (from musk deer; still used in some perfumes)
-civet (still used in some areas/countries)
-ambergris (from sperm whale; not really used; but apparantly still possible to get but thankfully very hard to find)
-castereum (from beaver)

Ingredients that can be from animal or plant:
-lecithin (can be from egg yolk; can also be from soy)
-squalene (can be from sharks; can also be from olives)
-stearic acid/stearyl alcohol (can be from animal fat. can also be from vegetable fat)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blog update

Hi everyone,

I am trying to complete uncompleted posts (posts that I started but never finished) in the next few days. I had a really, really long (super long--even for me) post on all natural shampoos and conditioners that I was working on, but blogger ate my post! (It's eaten a lot of my uncompleted posts and rough drafts :( ). I just posted a bit on all natural shampoos on one forum so probably will do a shorter post (based on that bit) on all natural shampoos and conditioners rather than trying to rewrite the longer one. I will also post more FAQ type questions, and hopefully add some links within the next couple of weeks.


Aromatherapy Resources (Aromatherapy)

Here is a list of some of my favorite aromatherapy books. There are many others that I've read and love but these are some of the best in the subject in my opinion. For some more book reviews and online resources, check out my Natural Skin Care and Aromatherapy Books and Resources Archives links. Note: be sure to reference at least three different books before using an essential oil, as not all books have the same information on the oil's properties, not all essential oils are safe to use, and some essential oils are not safe to use in certain instances (like pregnancy, or in children or the elderly, or those with certain medical conditions).

A very good book on essential oil profiles is:
Jeanne Rose: 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. I love this book--it lists many of the rarer essential oils that aren't usually described in other books.

Jeanne Rose's "Aromatherapy book: applications and inhalations" also has good decriptions and charts on usages. There aren't too many recipes in this one, but it has a lot of interesting historical notes, and her charts (which were compiled along with the help of another noted aromatherapist: Victoria Edwards) are among the first things I look at when concocting a new blend.

I use Jeanne Rose's books the most for referencing essential oil properties (but I always use them along with others like Tisserand's safety book, see below).

Good beginner books:
Aromatherapy for dummies by Kathi Keville. Highly recommended if you are completely new to essential oils. I love the dummy guides--they really are helpful and often written by experts in the field--and this book clearly explains most of the uses of essential oils. There are some recipes, but perhaps not as many as other books. Good essential oil profiles and also has a section on the medicinal uses in the back of the book. She really knows her herbs (both aromatherapy and herbalism!)

Another good one for beginners is:
Aromatherapy: a complete guide by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green. Maybe a little more advanced than the dummies guide but still great for beginners and also more advanced students. This one has more recipes than the dummies guide (skin care and medicinal uses).

Victoria Edwards has a wonderful book called "Aromatherapy companion" which goes over many aspects of aromatherapy, from some profiles to chemical components to cosmetic to medicinal to spiritual uses. Lots of recipes. She has some interesting blends!

I love the Valerie Worwood books--I have learned so much from them; she goes over a lot of topics not found in other books. Definitely for more advanced students but also good for beginners. "The complete book of essential oils and aromatherapy" is considered one of the 'bibles' of aromatherapy. Not really many oil profiles (get Rose's or Tisserand's books for that), but this book has many recipes and suggestions on a very wide range of medicinal and cosmetic uses of essential oils. I love this book. If I am making any medicinal concoctions, this is one of the first I reach for to see what essential oils are good for whcih conditions. For people with children, there is a very good section on essential oils and children (there are also great sections on women, men, and the elderly as well).

Robert Tisserand's book "Art of Aromatherapy" is a classic (first published in 1978). This book is what spured aromatherapy's popularity in England, and later the U.S. There are only a few recipes but this book has good profiles and also background info on how essential oils work. Tisserand has done many scientific studies on essential oils.
Other books by him: "To tend and heal the body" which contains many case studies from many prominent aromatherapists, and my favorite by Tisserand's and Balacs' "Essential oil safety" which contains many scientific studies and also essential oil profiles on essenial oil safety. I always use this book to check how safe an essential oil really is before I purchase one. This book is the best but it is pricey. A new edition is probably going to be published soon--hopefully!

Kurt Schnaubelt has a great book called "Advanced aromatherapy: the science of essential oil therapy" which breaks down essential oils to the chemical components.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Natural Preservatives in Body Oils and Scrubs and Grapefruit Seed Extract (Natural Skin Care/Aromatherapy)

I've previously blogged on natural preservatives (here and also here), but here is some more information on them.

Do I need to use preservatives in water-less products like body oils, butters, and scrubs?

Many carrier oils and butters are 'self preserving' so have a long shelf life and (when used straight; no water added) don't really need preservation, though using an antioxidant like vitamin E or storing it in the fridge certainly helps extend shelf life. Some carrier oils and butters also have high levels of natural antioxidants present, such as shea butter which has vitamin A. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax, so is an excellent choice as it has a very long shelf life and doesn't go rancid quickly.

Most essential oils are antiseptic or antibacterial, and are also antioxidants. Tea tree is not only antiseptic, and antibacterial but antiviral and antifungal as well.

Some companies also use herbal extracts like rosemary extract or black willow bark extract, which not only contain bacteria busting herbs, but alcohol (the extracting medium) as well. Alcohol is a well known preservative.

I've never had a problem with my body oils or butters (or scrubs) going rancid/moldy (I always use vitamin E and essential oils) but I tend to make things in small batches and use them up quickly (within a month or two).

If I'm not mistaken, similiar to salt, sugar is also 'self preserving'. I just add a little vitamin E and essential oils since they not only prevent them from going bad, but have skin benefits too! :)

This question was not answered on a forum, but I decided to post about it since I've been researching it recently.
Is grapefruit seed extract natural?

I'm actually still researching this! I used to think it was natural, but the more I read about it, I think it is one of those borderline ingredients that half the people in the natural cosmetic industry considers natural and the other half doesn't. From my knowledge, it depends on the company that produces it and how a person defines what's 'natural'. Many brands that have been tested have actually been found to be contaminated with parabens and other synthetic preservatives :( . There are a few that aren't, and it is even debatable if those brands can even be considered natural. Grapefruit seed extract (not to be confused with grapefruit essential oil or grapeseed oil) starts out with with either the seeds and sometimes the pulp. However, it undergoes a long secretive process involving chemicals and UV light, which some people argue completely changes the natural constitute of the seeds and pulps, and others argue it just refines it and enhances certain characteristics. Whether or not it is truly natural, the good thing is that it has been shown to be non-toxic, and an effective preservative (though its effectiveness has been debated as well). Personally, for the present, I do not mind using grapefruit seed extract because it is non-toxic and safer than most of the synthetic chemical preservatives out there. But I am looking into other alternatives like Suprapein and Biopein (Thanks Jen (Camellia Rose) for the articles!) which are all natural, scientific tested preservatives made from essential oils or herbs. But these natural preservatives are made with some of the same essential oils I already use to preserve my cosmetics so maybe I'll just stick to my beloved essential oils!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Photoxicity of orange essential oil (Aromatherapy/Essential Oil Information)

I've decided to post FAQ (questions I've answered on forums) before this summer is over and I start hell semester (errr, year...err I mean go back to school and doing my awesome thesis/own research!) and have no more time to post :(. If you have any questions you'd like answered please ask now. :)

Is orange essential oil phototoxic?

A lot of essential oil resources list all citrus oils as phototoxic but to my knowledge that's not neccessary true (many distilled citrus oils like lime and lemon are not phototoxic unlike their expressed versions which are phototoxic).

For orange essential oil, I regard Robert Tisserand's and Rodney Young's opinion (in "Essential Oil Safety: A Guide To Health Practitioners") as accurate since they have researched scientific tests on essential oil phototoxicity. They state that expressed bitter orange essential oil (from Citrus aurantium) is phototoxic, while expressed sweet orange (from Citrus sinensis) is not phototoxic.

*This post was edited on January 24, 2014, because the 2nd edition of Tisserand's Essential Oil Safety is now available.  The first edition was an excellent resource but definitely get the 2nd edition if you can, because it was totally rewritten and much expanded.  It is several hundred pages longer than the first edition.  Tisserand is one of the best safety experts on essential oils, and Young is a chemist.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Blog update--Small Font/Links fixed!

Hi everyone,

Well it took me a while, but I finally fixed the small text/link problem. I am silly! I accidentally didn't type the / when closing the header tags in the html code for some of the headers for the links, thus causing the weirdness in the fonts. I guess I should've cut and paste rather than trying to add links by typing in the html code manually from memory, LOL! (Still trying to learn html code; I'm really good at using the html editors which automatically generate the html code for you--I used to teach how to use html editors and other webpage/graphic info as an undergrad--but my html skills still need work!). I guess safari, firefox, and netscape didn't care that some of my tags were not closed, but Internet Explorer sure did!

Thanks again for Robin and Sue for mentioning the font size was wacky. If anyone in the future notices anything wrong with any of the links, formatting, etc, of this blog, please post a comment. I generally blog using Firefox or Safari (since many Blogger features only work on Firefox, and I am a Mac user) so don't really use Netscape or Internet Explorer (though I do have those browsers on my computer), and may not be aware of problems on various browsers, or how it may look like on a PC.


Hair Rinses (All Natural Haircare)

Many people love using (diluted) apple cider vinegar rinses or herb infused acv rinses after using all natural shampoos, but I've found them too drying for my hair. I like using herbal infusions as hair rinses, as recommended by Rose, Gladstar, and other herbalists. They rinse away any residue from shampoos and other hair products and leave the hair soft and shiny.

Here is a list of herbs that can be used as hair rinses that I also just posted about on a forum a couple days ago (but I just added many other herbs and suggestions to the list).

All hair types:
Lavender (my favorite)
coltsfoot (both ht and cf have a lot of vitamins that are beneficial to the hair)
Rosemary (a classic often cited for all hair types; I think it is better for oily hair than dry though)

Dry and light hair:

Oily and light hair:

Oily and dark hair:

black walnut hull (I read about this herb in Gladstar's book, and I know many ladies who henna the hair also use this since it really colors the hair dark. I don't know how effective it'd be in a rinse, as suggested by Gladstar, because I think it can stain the skin too if you're not careful, so don't make the rinse too concentrated!)

Dry hair:
marshmellow root

raspberry or strawberry leaves
yarrow leaf

Other good hair rinses:

Oily hair:

beer (yes, you read that right! It supposingly makes the hair shiny, but I haven't tried it because I hate the smell of beer, but I have used a shampoo bar made with beer and it worked pretty well)

Normal/some people with dry hair:

red wine vinegar rinse (diluted with water)--better for drier hair, more mild than apple cider vinegar

You could also use hydrosols (which have a longer shelf life) but that can get expensive; I recommend stretching them with distilled water if you decide to use them.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tips for Mineral Makeup Application (All Natural Makeup)

I love mineral makeup (and now that I'm learning how to craft it, I love it even more!). Just thought I'd share some of my application tips that I posted on a forum just now. Back to doing homework!

1) Make sure your skin is well moisturized and hydrated. Sometimes some ladies find MMU drying because they haven't adequately moisturized their skin. Let the moisturizer soak in for several minutes before applying your minerals

2) Don't use a lot of product. One of the most common mistakes in applying mineral makeup is that ladies use too much to apply, leading to a chalky appearence. MMU is a concentrated product, meaning it doesn't contain any fillers so you don't need ot apply a lot. You really only need a few grains; much less than you think.

3) Procedure: sprinkle a small amount of product into the lid or a swirly bowl, swirl your brush into the powder, tap off the excess, and then buff into the skin. It is better to apply several thin layers rather than a thick layer (which will look chalky).

4) Most women use a kabuki or a flat top brush for med to heavy coverage. I use a taklon brush (I'm vegetarian). Other prefer using a flocked sponge (dry or wet) for heavy coverage, and others still like to mix their minerals with either aloe or an all natural cream for application (apply with fingers, a sponge, or a taklon foundation brush). Find what works for you

5) After application, spray your skin with either hydrosol or try aloe to set your makeup. This is particularly good for dry skin, but also works well for oily skin (esp oily skin that is oily because it is dehydrated)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Blog update: problems with links

Hi everyone,

A reader just posted about a comment about problems on viewing some of the links, and I posted a response (in the comments section), but just in case everyone doesn't see it, I'm posting my response as an entry too.

Thanks Robin for posting your comment! :)

The problem is that some of the links are showing up in really small, tiny, unreadable font.

Here is my response; what I think the problem is:

"I think there may be either a bug in the html code, or it may be just how certain browsers show my blog.

(I'm on a Mac and) I noticed a few days ago that in Safari, Firefox, and Netscape the font size is fine (same as all the other links), but on Internet Explorer the font size is tiny on some of the links, which is strange since the font on all the links is supposed to be the same (I did not change the html code on any of the links, and I had originally written the code for all font to be the same size). I'll have to look at the html code again, and see if it got corrupted. Sorry about that, I'll try to fix it when I have time, but it probably won't be for several days since I have a lot of grad school work now.

Most of the links that are showing up as small font in IE are just the individual entries of my archives.
If you want to read any of the archives/previous posts, you can scroll down to the very last links, and click on the individual months you want to read.

I'll try to fix it as soon as I can! :) "

So is anyone else having problems seeing the links in Internet Explorer or on any other browser? I'll look at the html code and address this prob soon (probably not for a week or more at least--sorry; my rough draft if my thesis proposal is due soon), but in the meantime, click on the individual months of the archives if you are having trouble viewing the links to the individual entries!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Herbs and Oils for Anti-aging (Natural Skin Care)

What are some carrier oils, essential oils, and herbs that I can use for anti-aging?

A lot of carrier oils, herbs, and essential oils are great for anti-aging; many will reduce and help prevent the signs of aging, soften and soothe fine lines, and improve the clarity of the skin. Some plants like lavender can also heal and regenerate the skin. Now I don't have any real lines yet, but I fully intend to prevent them for as long as I can. LOL! ;)

Here are a few carrier oils, essential oils, and herbs that good for anti-aging. This list is by no means a full list as there are many, many herbs, essential oils, carrier oils, and butters that are great for the skin. I've just listed a few of my favorites :)

Carrier oils and butters:
rose hip seed oil (don't use on active acne)
kukui nut butter and oil
camellia oil (from the green tea plant)
shea butter
sea buckthorn oil (this has to be mixed with another carrier oil)

Essential oils:

rose attar
carrot seed
myrrh (the Egyptions used frankincense and myrrh to preserve mummies!)
clary sage (mimics hormones)
geranium (mimics hormones)
patchouli (along with lavender, a favorite of men but great for women too!)

Herbs (used usually in the form of extracts or infusions):
Green tea
rooibos (both are anti-oxidants, and rooibos is great for dry skin)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Quick Blog Update

In the process of reorganizing archives and links (to make it easier for people to find things). Hopefully I'll get around to adding more links too after I finish organizing them. :)

Natural Deodorant; MIY Dusting Powder (Natural Skin Care)


What is a good natural deodorant?

My favorite all natural deodorant is the crystal rock. It is the only natural deodorant that I've found that really works! The trick is to get them very wet (run them under water), and also apply to freshly washed skin (it doesn't work so good if you apply it in the middle of the day!). You can also spray the crystal with witch hazel, rose hydrosol, or aromatherapy spray (water with essential oils and maybe alcohol or witch hazel) for extra odor protection, but note, sometimes the crystal can feel rough if you wet it with something other than water. Some people prefer getting it in liquid form, but be careful, since some liquid brands are preserved with synthetic preservatives, like parabens. They are only good for controlling odor, but for wetness, I'll use my crystal rock first, and then apply a powder (see below). Works great! Using just powder, witch hazel, rose hydrosol, or aromatherapy spray also work great for some people, but I prefer either using just the crystal rock, or combining a few things. The crystal rock is also very cost effective since 1 rock lasts at least a year! Available at health food stores or online, multiple brands.

If you don't want to make your own aromatherapy spray,
Burt's Bees also makes a nice herbal deodorant, as does Mountain Rose Herbs. Terressentials also makes a good all natural deodorant (basically a combination of aloe, herb extracts, baking soda, essential oils). I also once used the one from Aubrey Organics, but I did not like it at all (some people love it though; I think it's the only product they make that I don't love).

MIY Dusting Powders
(for under arm sweating or all over body)

You can use any of the following: clay, baking soda (mix with another powder since it can be a bit gritty), cornstarch (some people are allergic), orris root (some people are allergic), or arrowroot. To any of the powders listed, add about 5-10 drops of essential oils per ounce (to fragrance, and they are also antibacterial), mix well, and let sit for a few days; lavender is a popular fragrance. You can add also finely grind herbs like lavender, chamomile, or rose flowers to add a bit of scent.

I like adding clary sage essential oil (Salvia sclarea) since it not only is a great deodorant, but also reduces sweating. Other good deodorants: lavender, tea tree, and bergamot essential oils. Rose and cypress essential oils also great for reducing odor and also for sweating (though true rose attar is pricey!)

More about powder: though talc is a natural product, I wouldn't recommend it, as it is often contaminated with asbestos. Also talc itself has been linked to ovarian cancer, and is a known carcinogen when breathed into the lungs (Hampton, A. 2000. Take Charge beauty Book).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Natural Skin Care Routine/Dehydrated Skin/MIY Scrub and Mask (Natural Skin Care)

**Although this entry is primarily for dehydrated skin, I briefly mention what products to use on other skin types too.

A few years ago, after my skin became sensitive to synthetic chemicals, I switched to an all natural routine. At first that seemed to make my skin worse; my skin had always been on the sensitive side, sometimes normal and other times slightly oily, but the natural skin care routines that I read about and tried to follow didn’t seem to help. Using natural recommendations for sensitive skin (which are often designed for dry skin) were too rich for my skin and clogged my pores, which caused blemishes. When I tried suggestions for oily skin that made the problem worse because my skin seemed to become even oilier, leading to blemishes. Normal or combination skin products were not either moisturizing enough or dried me out more. At the same time, my skin seemed to become flaky. I read tons of natural skin care and aromatherapy books (somewhere around 40 now), but their skin type profiles didn’t seem to make sense. Oily skin is often characterized as large pores, thick texture, and dry skin is often distinguished as the lack of sebum (the skin’s natural oil/lubrication substance), small pore size, and delicately textured skin. My skin didn’t even fit into the combination skin type since that is characterized as certain sections of the skin (T-zone) being oily and the cheeks being dry or normal. My skin is fine textured with small pore size, and was dry and flaky, but at the same time, the flaky skin was very oily too. I also had more blemishes. Some books did mention sensitive skin could be in any skin type category, but nearly all the recommendations were for the dry skin type. It was with sheer luck, that I was re-reading a couple of books and I found one line (in each book) that there was a kind of dry skin that could produce enough oil. This skin type is called water dry or dehydrated skin. Now these two books did not have suggestions on how to treat dehydrated skin, but through trial and error, and making my own cosmetics (catered to my own needs) I finally figured out what my skin needs. Now my skin has become balanced and I hardly ever get blemishes anymore.

I realized that using the right natural ingredients, and also applying natural cosmetics in a certain way (different than conventional products) is the key to great skin. Just because it is natural does not mean it will work for your skin; certain ingredients are better for dry skin and others are good for normal skin, etc. Also natural products are highly concentrated substances—they contain no fillers—so it is not necessary to apply a lot (in fact that was one of the reasons using natural oils clogged my pores at first. I was applying just as much product as I used to use for conventional products). Since dehydrated skin is a little discussed skin type (at least in the resources I’ve come across), I’ve decided to post my skin care routine here. Hopefully it will point people with the same skin type in the right direction on what to use on their skin; but every person’s skin is different (even with the same skin type), so don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what’s right for you! You may have to try a lot of things before it works, since finding products that work for dehydrated skin is tricky, since most people don't even make products specifically for dehydrated skin (which is different than regular dry skin).

For dehydrated skin, the most important things to remember are to provide your skin with plenty of water and use nothing too drying or too rich, but use enough natural oils to provide a moisture loss barrier and to also lubricate the skin. And to switch products if you need to; if your skin is a more little dry one day, use something more hydrating. If it is a little more oily, use sometime that will gently remove the oil (like a clay) but be sure to use a richer moisturizer later. Note: for the first few weeks of using ANY new skin care routine, your skin may break out more as the toxins rise to the surface.

I found the best thing to cleanse my skin is all natural soap. Some natural skin care users may disagree with me on that point, but other cleansers don’t seem to clean my pores as well (which tend to get clogged). Usually for the regular dry skin type, either a cleansing oil or cold cream is recommended, but I found that using them (and then following with toner and then another oil or cream as suggested) was too rich for my skin (this dry skin routine clogs my pores!). Though people with normal or oily skin like to use clay based cleansers/scrubs, using them every day seems to strip too much oil from my skin (making dehydration worse, which causes my skin to produce more oil in order to correct the problem). Though I do love clay masks!

Truth is, I usually hate most natural bar soaps because every bar soap I've ever tried has left my facial skin feeling 'tight' and dry (I won’t bother discussing conventional soaps which are made of mostly synthetic detergents, cock full of chemicals, and aren’t really ‘real’ soap). But I’ve found some that my skin really loves. I like the soaps made by Karla Moore of Heart of Iowa Soapworks, which are also sold at a few places: Heart of Iowa Soapworks, Jlynne Cosmetics, and Prairieland Herbs. They are the best natural soaps I've ever used; her soaps leave my skin soft, smooth, without any tightness or dryness. They are all natural, and her shampoo bars are pretty terrific too! (Note: some do contain synthetic fragrances, which I personally avoid). My favorite is the shea butter soap, which is great for both dryness and blemishes. I also like the carrot soap, when my skin is less dry and leaning more towards normal. I've also been using the Dead Sea mud soap (which also has shea in it), which is wonderful to deep cleanse when I do get blemishes, but since it has shea in it, it isn't drying at all! I think the secret (to why these soaps work for me when others haven’t) is the castor oil in them. I recently tried the lavender soap by Monave, which also contains castor oil, and it wasn’t drying either!

Sometimes when my skin is very dry, or if I am wearing a lot of makeup, I will use cleansing oil (simply one or a mix of light carrier oils), but I’ll follow it with soap. I also sometimes use liquid castille soap, which removes dirt but has a higher concentration of water in it so it doesn't strip my face as much. I usually add a bit of carrier oil to it (super fattening it like the shea butter soap), so that it doesn’t strip my face. I also found that the (rose mosqueta and green tea) cleansers from Aubrey Organics are pretty good, though I much prefer using his shampoos (rose mosqueta or blue chamomile) as a face cleanser! (I ordinarily wouldn’t recommend using a shampoo as a face cleanser, since most are made with synthetic detergents, but these are one of the only truly all natural shampoos out there on the market that are made only with liquid soap and herbs). I also sometimes cleanse my skin with aloe during the morning (no makeup). I also use to occasionally use Dr. Hauschka’s cleansing milk (a light textured cold cream) and cleansing cream (gentle almond meal in a cream base), which was a cream base but contained a small amount of alcohol, so wasn’t too rich nor over dried my skin, but that was before they started using components of essential oils (versus the whole essential oils) for scent. Using components of essential oils (single isolated natural chemicals) doesn’t sound ‘holistic’ to me! And (once you get to used to real natural scents) they just don’t smell right to me.


For toner I usually make it myself or use some ingredients ‘straight’. A lot of natural toners for oily skin, combination skin, and sometimes normal skin use alcohol, witch hazel (the extract NOT the hydrosol), or apple cider vinegar, but I’ve found that using these ingredients daily was too drying for my skin. Be careful of hidden sources of alcohol in toner—like herbal extracts, which are usually extracted with alcohol.
I usually like using hydrosols or aloe, either as is or mixed together. Sometimes I’ll use an aromatherapy spray or herbal infusion. Rose hydrosol is wonderful for dry skin, and is my favorite hydrosol. During those times of the month when I have a couple of blemishes, I use lavender hydrosol or pure aloe vera gel. Rose and lavender hydrosols are good at balancing the skin's sebum production (rose is more hydrating), and lavender hydrosol and aloe are good for acne. I also like the cucumber toner from Garden of Wisdom which contains rose hydrosol, cucumber distillate (which is great for dry and sensitive skin), and witch hazel hydrosol (which does not contain alcohol so isn’t drying like the extract).

Other hydrosols for skin care:

chamomile (good for irritated, sensitive skin. It is mildly astringent)
rose (dry and dehydrated skin, some authors debate it is good for sensitive, some disagree)
helichrysum (dry and inflamed skin)
neroli (dry, mature sensitive. Can be a tad drying for some people)
lavender--all skin types, balancing

Natural oils are very good for balancing the skin. Skin is naturally moisturized by sebum, a natural oily secretion, and the addition of natural oils can help regulate your skin's natural moisturizing system. The type of oil to use for your skin really depends upon your skin type. Certain oils are better for specific skin types. It took me a long time to figure out which oils to use on my facial skin. The skin on my body can tolerate pretty much any kind of oil, but the skin on my face is a lot pickier. After months of using different oils and breaking out, I finally figured out that if I apply too much oil/moisturizer I get clogged pores, and if I apply too little, my skin gets really dry, and then my pores will ironically pump out more oil, and I get blemishes. I really needed oils that was light (not heavy) and easily absorbed, but that prevented moisture loss and that weren’t astringent. After trying over a dozen oils and butters, I finally found four that really work well for my skin: kukui nut oil, kukui nut butter, shea butter, and camellia oil. All have really balanced my skin.

Kukui nut oil is the lightest weight oil for the skin out there. Though it is light, it is highly nourishing since it is a nut oil. It is good for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin with blemishes. When my skin feels really dry, I like using kukui nut butter. Though it is a butter it absorbs instantly into the skin. Shea butter is also great for both dry skin and acne too. It can be used on most skin types, except perhaps the extremely oily. It is the heaviest out of the four oils/butters, but it absorbs quickly and forms a non-greasy barrier on the skin. My favorite though is camellia oil. It isn’t as light as kukui nut, but it is one of the lightest oils out there. It is good for all skin types, and helps retain moisture and is also good for blemishes.

I usually make my own lotions/creams with these four or use them straight or mixed with essential oils (serums), but sometimes I buy a few natural brands too. When using natural lotions and oils, be sure to apply only a small amount to your face, and apply to really damp skin (best to spray the skin with aloe, toner, herbal infusion, hydrosol, or spring/distilled water). Use only 3-5 drops of oil or a very, very small amount of cream or butter (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon). If you are using shea butter, let it melt in the palm of your hand before putting it on, or use whipped shea. I usually spray a bit of hydrosol (like rose water), aloe, or water onto my face, apply the oils and massage gently in, spray with more liquid and then gently massage again. Let the oils penetrate for a few minutes before makeup application.

Be sure to try to buy oils that are cold pressed, unrefined, and organic if you can (which retain more of the active constitutes than refined, solvent extracted oils). These oils may have a richer smell than you are not used to (some people hate the smells but I love them!), and may be a little more expensive, but they are worth it!

A store/already made cream that I love is from Monave. Their rose cream contains camellia, shea, jojoba, and rose and lavender hydrosols. I also love Aubrey Organics' rose mosqueta night cream, which contains vitamins and shea butter, as well as rose mosqueta (aka rosehip seed). Miessence also makes a nice cream; their cream for dry skin is actually more like a lotion, and since it contains a lot of water, it is very hydrating. I prefer to buy them from Cosmetics Without Synthetic’s website since they have samples of this brand and many other natural brands
There are several other good natural brands but these are my favorite for my skin (but I prefer using my own creams and serums of course!)


For my eye area I either use kukui nut butter, shea butter, or I use Aubrey Organics’ eye crème (I LOVE this stuff). I also sometime use helichrysum/rose hip seed serum. I can’t seem to use rose hip seed oil straight all over my face but in small amounts around certain areas of my face, or mixed with another oil, my face can tolerate it.


I exfoliate or use a mask at least once a week. I love rhassoul clay masks, and I also use a store brought natural scrub (Aubrey Organics’ rose mosqueta scrub or Paul Penders walnut scrub) on my face or I make my own (with various ingredients depending on if it feels drier or oilier). Brown sugar scrub is my favorite, but so is the scrub below, at the end of this long entry.

And once or twice a month I give myself a natural facial with an exfoliating cleansing scrub, either a flower/herb or essential oil steam, oil massage, herbal or clay mask, toner, face cream or serum. A monthly facial really improves the texture of my skin, not to mention it keeps my pores clear. I found that for the oil massage, I can use any oil (like argan or jojoba or olive) with no problem (as long as I remove most of it later, and moisturize with my favorite oils).

If I do get a blemish I apply my pimple remedy directly to the spot. Burt’s Bees and Desert Essence also make a blemish stick. If I make it with alcohol or witch hazel, I apply this on top of a moisturizer to prevent it from drying my skin out too much. Otherwise I make it with aloe.


After applying mineral makeup, I like to spray my skin with hydrosol or distilled water. Sometimes I'll mix my mineral in a natural cream or aloe and apply them that way, to prevent dryness.


Easy scrub:
Oatmeal and/or finely ground almonds mixed with honey. Oatmeal and almonds gently exfoliate and can be used on all skin types, including sensitive. I like using equal amounts of the ingredients. Store in fridge.

Easy mask and cleanser:

Organic yogurt with/without honey and 1-2 drops of essential oil. Yogurt is a great cleanser for all skin types and will make your skin soft. Honey removes toxics and is also a good cleanser by itself. You can also choose essential oils specific for your skin type. Lavender is good for all skin types. Store in fridge.

Vegans can replace the honey in the scrub with aloe, and use clay to remove toxins.