All posts by Heather Stevens

Make Your Belly Smile With Probiotics

You might have heard probiotics in passing as something that’s good for you. Pro- means good, doesn’t it? Well, yeah. Probiotics are often described as being the “good bacteria” in your body. We get them at birth from our mothers so that the body can start recognizing them as helpful.

They live in your gut—gross I know—but they don’t hurt you. In fact, they help with digestion, the immune system and more. Probiotics help move food along in your gut by stimulating nerves. As for the immune system, well, it’s much closer to where these probiotics are than you think. That’s because 70% of the immune system is in the digestive tract.

Using topical application can help treat skin problems while also offering some probiotics. It can soothe inflamed skin by calming the immune system and keeping it from irritating the skin. Probiotics that specialize in helping skin can delay signs of aging and help smooth wrinkles. Finally, it can strengthen the protection of your skin. That’s just what it does on its own. When it’s used in combination with other treatments, it can help boost the effectiveness of it. If you want to give some probiotic cream a try, I recommend Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream.

Now that we know a bit about these helpful little bacteria, how do we get them and how do we lose them?

Get Out Bacteria! Wait, no, not you

Overuse of Antibiotics

Antibiotics fight bacteria, but it isn’t discriminatory between bacteria that are good for you and those that are bad. Typically after a sickness, you’ll lose some probiotics, but they can be easily restored. Using too many antibiotics, however, may start to kill off a significant number of your bacteria buddies. Try to stay balanced in your usage.

Lack of Exercise

Who would’ve thought exercise helps the gut? People who exercise and support themselves often have a higher number of and healthier probiotics. This might be because they eat a wider range of foods to help recover. Research is still trying to find all the connections, but they know that those who live more athletic lifestyles have a wider variety of probiotics.

Poor Eating Habits

As stated above, those who eat a wider range of foods tend to have stronger probiotics. Processed food and foods containing food coloring kill off probiotics. You don’t have to stop eating them all together, however, do limit how much of these you consume. On a similar note, overconsumption of alcohol is a major problem for probiotics. Again, you don’t have to stop. In fact, red wine has a few helpful bacteria of its own. Moderation and balance is the key.

Getting More Bacteria Buddies

Bacteria isn’t supposed to be in food, though. Well, to a certain extent, yes, and that’s why finding food containing probiotics can be a bit of a challenge. Foods considered “sour” typically have some probiotics. Kefir is fermented milk. It contains yeast and probiotics, which is very healthy. Kimchi is a Chinese dish that can contain many probiotics. It’s a source of other health benefits, like cholesterol and colon health. The most typical place you can find probiotics is yogurt. However, some people are picky and don’t like these foods, others may feel a bit squeamish about eating living things. That’s fine, along with creams and toners, you can still ingest some using supplements.

4 Ways to Try Activated Charcoal + Other Benefits

Charcoal is touted to have many benefits from whiting your teeth to riding your body of bacteria. On the market, we’ve seen that response with charcoal masks to tooth-whitening tubes of toothpaste. Activated Charcoal is leaving its carbon “footprint” just about everywhere. But the real question is does it work and is it safe? And what exactly is activated charcoal? 

When we think charcoal we think time to fire up the grill but hold on a moment. That regular charcoal is a known carcinogen, while activated charcoal is medicinal. Activated charcoal is created by the slow burning of wood, peat or even some shells that are treated with oxygen. Activated charcoal is sold and produced in many forms such as scrubs, sponges, fabrics, powders, and pills. The ingredient has been used for millennia by eastern medicine and is now just becoming popular in western countries. It’s now reached the superfood status due to its potent alkalizing detoxification properties and touted health benefits.

Here are 5 ways we love to use activated charcoal that is safe:

1. Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening 

Usually, I would be skeptical of anything saying it would whiten your teeth naturally, but I’m a believer in activated charcoal for teeth whitening. It helps to absorb discolorations in your tooth enamel. I’m in favor of toothpaste that uses activated coconut shell charcoal. Right now I’m really loving Desert Essence’s Activated Charcoal Toothpaste infused with mint. This cool gray, not black formula lets you get all the benefits from activated charcoal without the potential work of cleaning out the black charcoal bits. It also has a hit of Australian Tea Tree Oil that helps defend against sugar acids as the baking soda and sea salt gently clean your teeth. Find it here.

2. Activated Charcoal Masks

I love face masks. I have a stack of them and I choose which benefit I want to give my sink as I sink into a nice warm bath. I lean back and relax as the mask does its work. Recently I tried Derma-E’s Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask with Activated Charcoal and I was pleasantly surprised. This dual-action, deep detox mask purges pores of toxins then gently exfoliates for fresh, glowing skin. I like to keep it on as long as possible, and for someone with sensitive and dry skin, it seems to work on all skin types. This is a great product to dip your toes in the Activated Charcoal pool.

3. Activated Charcoal Scrubs

We all need to exfoliate at least twice a week and I thought I’d incorporate a little-activated charcoal into that routine to see if I saw any benefit. The fact is my pores definitely got cleaner and Indigo Wild makes a Zum Facial Scrub that uses an age-old formula to cleanse your face of dirt and impurities, which stick to the activated charcoal. When the charcoal gets rinsed, so does the toxins and gunk. In other words, the scrub cleanses, detoxifies, and hydrates resulting in beautiful, healthy skin. It comes in a glass container so you can easily just leave it in the shower and use throughout the week.

4. Activated Charcoal Deodorant

While there hasn’t been much study around charcoal in deodorant it is worth a try as charcoal is known not to irritate skin and is a natural byproduct. It claims to help neutralize odor and absorb wetness at the same time detoxifying your pits. If you try it, Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Enriched Natural Deodorant has plant-based powders that are free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, and no artificial fragrance.

Other benefits of activated Charcoal include:

Poisoning

Activated charcoal is primarily used to cure poisoning. It’s able to absorb toxic material so that the body may more easily rid itself of it. You may have heard of someone on the news getting charcoal for an overdose, and this is why. It’s used in hospitals and can be carried in a first aid kit. If someone is poisoned, you may ask a 911 dispatcher if it’s okay to administer activated charcoal while they are on their way. It may help slow the poison until an ambulance arrives.

Gastrointestinal Issues

While not as extreme as poison, some materials can upset a stomach or intestines. Like poison, activated charcoal can help with that. It absorbs material that the intestines have trouble with and make it easier to pass through. This can reduce gas. However, to be effective, it’s best to take 500 milligrams before the meal. Check out these for your tummy.

Hangover

It happens to everyone. A misjudgment on how strong a drink is, had one too many. It’s okay because activated charcoal can help that hangover. It removes harmful toxins that alcohol contains, settling the stomach and making the morning a little more bearable. (Note: research is inconclusive on alcohol poisoning. If alcohol poisoning is suspected, call 911 or go directly to the emergency room.)

While the jury is still out on all the benefits of activated charcoal the decision is that it is safe for use, has properties that help skin and body and plus the color looks really neat!

Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Okay, so ingredients are important. The quality, the type, and the benefit. We all need to focus on what we are putting in and on our bodies and we rely on the brands we buy to ensure they are not putting ingredients in the products we love that are toxic.
With the choice of “natural” and “organic” products, it can be difficult to sort through which ingredients are acceptable and which are downright bad for you. We care as much as you do about ingredients and we carefully review and rate every single product we sell on our shelves and those who do not past muster, well they are banned from our shelves that you shop from.
We are just going to share just a few today you’ll want to avoid when shopping outside of Soap Hope.

BHA

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative linked to cancer, skin irritation, and hormone disruption.

BHT

Butylated Hydroxytoluene s a Toluene-based preservative linked to skin irritation.

Formaldehyde

You won’t typically see Formaldehyde listed as an ingredient, but “releasers” or “donors” often are listed on ingredient labels. These ingredients likely have Formaldehyde tagging along, not specifically indicated because they don’t have to. We ban this ingredient. Other names that Formaldehyde will be listed as is
  • Dmdm Hydantoin
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin
  • Quaternium-15
  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol
  • Polyoxymethylene Urea
  • 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane
  • Glyoxal
  • Methenamine
  • Benzylhemiformal

Hydroquinone

This ingredient is typically used to lighten skin and it inhibits melanin synthesis, causes skin irritation, and may cause discoloration of the skin. It is a metabolite of the carcinogen benzene.

Methyl Cellosolve

While still used in the United States, this ingredient is banned in the European Union. It is a solvent that is used as an additive in perfumes. It can cause skin irritation and may cause effects on the central nervous system, blood, bone marrow, kidneys, and liver.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Again another ingredient banned by our EU friends in leave-on cosmetics and they are restricted to a small amount in rinse off products. They can cause skin allergies and irritation and may be toxic to the nervous system.

Nanoparticles

We recently wrote a blog just on Nanoparticles. These small ingredients are ultrafine and may cross over permeable membranes in our bodies (including our brains and other organs). Since there is not enough research and are unnecessary ingredients, we won’t sell products that carry these in them. Nanoparticles ingredients include Nano-sized Zinc or Titanium Dioxide, Fullerenes, Nanotubes, Liposomes, and Quantum Dots.

Parabens

Parabens have been linked to hormone disruption. We ban Parabens and their cohorts Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben.

Petrolatum and Paraffin

Petrolatum is a semisolid mixture derived from processed petroleum. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, Liquid Paraffin, and several other ingredients are also petroleum distillation byproducts. The concerns with these ingredients are unsustainable sourcing and possible PAHs contamination. PAHs (which stands for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) are linked to cancer.

Phthalates

Certain phthalates (like Dibutyl Phthalate, aka DBP, or DEHP, and DEP) appear on product labels, but most typically remain unlisted, hiding under the term “fragrance.” Since some phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption, we ask that our brand partners to avoid using them as ingredients altogether.

Resorcinol

Usually used in hair dyes, it’s linked to a host of issues including allergies, irritation, and hormone disruption.\

SPF’s

We won’t sell Chemical SPFs at Soap Hope. Why you ask? Some have been linked to hormone disruption. Others, like Avobenzone, appear safer, but remain understudied. Chemical sunscreens include Benzophenone; Diphenylmethanone; Diphenyl Ketone; 119-61-9; Benzoylbenzene; Phenyl Ketone; Oxybenzone; 2-Hydroxy-4 Methoxybenzophenone; 131-57-7; Benzophenone-3; (2-Hydroxy-4-Methoxyphenyl).  We stock (non-nano) Mineral Sunscreens that contain natural ingredients like Zinc and Titanium Dioxide, which physically block the sun’s rays and leave your body toxin free.

Toluene

A solvent that is toxic to the immune system, may cause birth defects, and usually found in nail polishes. We ask our brand partners to find safer alternatives.

Triclosan and Triclocarban

These are antibacterials and preservatives used in personal care and home-cleaning products. They’re persistent in the environment and may be associated with hormone disruption.

How to read product labels

Here’s our cheat sheet for approved product labels and what they mean from ingredients, expiration dates, environmental and animal testing standards.


This depicts the time period the product is good once opened. The number inside the jar indicates the specific number of months. This is called the PAO.

Product lifespan is less than 30 months and will have a “best before” date. The EU requires either the PAO or BBE. The US only requires expiration dates on OTC products like sunscreen.

The symbol is required by the EU for products produced or sold in Europe. The small “e” guarantees the amount of product in the packaging is correct.

This icon lets you know an insert with in-depth additional information and language from other countries if sold internationally is included.

This confirms the packaging is recyclable. Be sure and recycle these great packaged products.

This informs you that the paper used in the packaging did not harm the forest.

This product has passed stringent accreditation by the USDA to be deemed 95% organic.

This is the official bunny. This is internationally recognized as the leaping bunny, which indicates the product has not been tested on animals.

You can rest assured that any product that has this icon that it is non-GMO verified. Non-GMO is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products. GMO means Genetically Modified Organism.

Products stamped with this icon are Gluten-Free. Gluten-Free provides certification services to producers of gluten-free products using quality assessment and control measures throughout.

Soap Hope has a rating system that each product sold from us is rated with. We inspect every single ingredient in every single product to determine each individual rating, only providing products that are Good, Better, or Best.

GOOD = includes one or more ingredients that, while considered safe for use, are not 100% natural or organic.

BETTER = contains 100% natural ingredients, but not necessarily all organic.

BEST = meets the strictest criteria. Every ingredient must be 100% natural and at least 80% must be certified organic.

Learn more about our ingredient philosophy here.

 

Your Journey to Minimalism

Recently I’ve been thinking about ‘Stuffitis’ and what role does it play in my life. Makes me think of “The Little Mermaid” song…” look at this stuff, isn’t it neat, how many collections can one hold.” I have always been nonmaterialistic, but how much stuff do I possess that I really need and what is clutter that is unnecessary in my home. But the thought of reducing all those items in my home seems overwhelming, where to start and with what. So, I thought I would share what I’ve decided are my steps on the journey to minimalism. I hope you’ll join me.

Word to the wise – start slow, clear out one room at a time. Make this journey to minimalism, not a dash, but a habit.

One room at a time

The goal of minimalism is to have fewer possessions and not create unneeded clutter in your home. Less clutter allows you to really focus on the things that make you happy in life, the things you really need. It also helps you focus on family and the time you spend with them, rather than looking for that lost item amongst all your stuff. The stress of needing to organize. There are businesses that have been created to allow you to store your stuff, meaning it is not even in your home to use, but you have placed it in a safe place for future use.

Pick one room, and focus on decluttering that one space before moving on to another. This is the best way to avoid overwhelming yourself. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Create a system and stick to it

Don’t create a mess trying to declutter, this will just create more stress. I recommend labeling four large piles calling them to keep, donate, recycle, and landfill. For most of us clearing out our wardrobe is the hardest, saying just let me keep this when I weigh 10lbs less. If you haven’t worn it in 12 months, you will not wear it again.

Do you have a Capsule Closet?

You know what we are talking about, you say that this one piece of clothing isn’t going to go out of fashion and they go with other items in your wardrobe. Believe me, it goes out of fashion. I recommend creating a closet based on these rules:

  • Don’t keep anything you feel uncomfortable in.
  • If you haven’t worn it in 12 months, donate it.
  • Stick with a similar color palette to make sure all your clothes coordinate.

Go paperless as much as possible

Paperless is the way to go and I love it. I carry all my files around with me wherever I go and I can access them with a moment’s notice. Go through your papers and shred the unimportant letters, don’t put them in a drawer to be forgotten. Going paperless not only declutters the house, but it reduces your carbon footprint.

Spend on creating memories, not gathering materials

Each time you create an experience with those you love, you are receiving so much more than any material item can bring you. For holidays and birthdays give experiences over material gifts. Buy the family an activity they can do together or a trip you can all enjoy with each other.

Replace, recycle – don’t add

It will be hard, but resist adding more possession to your stockpile. When things need to be replaced, replace them, but don’t accumulate more. When my husband and I shop we think about what we are replacing when we purchase something, not what we are adding to our already accumulated possessions. Think about all those items you have in your wardrobe that are worn on average once a year and what you could have done with that money spent. Resist as many new purchases as you can by waiting until you have something that needs replacing. You’ll thank me on the coin in your wallet and the decluttered space you have.

Plan your meals

The average person wastes more food per year then you’d like me to share. This typically happens because you purchase food planning to cook and then you don’t or you just don’t use what you purchased. This is not only wasteful, but it is a shame that so many go hungry and we waste so much food. Planning what you’ll eat will take a little time in advance, but you’ll be happy when you have a shorter grocery bill, you use all that you buy, and your family has good meals thoughtfully planned out to get through the week.

Even though I’ve started my own journey to minimalism I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface and I know I’ll keep learning more about my family and our habits, how we live, and how we can be more minimal, but effective. Would love for you to share your minimalism tips with me. Happy travels!

Rosemary Herb Shortbread

These delicious little savory herb shortbreads are sure to be party pleaser as well as a special treat if just by yourself. These crackers like herb bites have endless concepts, but today we are sharing a rosemary recipe. Think of other ideas to use this recipe with like thyme or sage. My favorite way to enjoy these is with a glass of crisp white wine, but you choose your beverage of choice!

Tips for Recipe

  • Butter should be at room temperature. I typically will just pull the butter out in the morning if I plan to make them later that day or I’ll pull it out the night before.
  • Always use fresh ingredients, so for this recipe, your rosemary should be fresh. Dried won’t be nearly as fragrant or as tasty. Remove the leaves from the stems and give them a quick chop before putting into the food processor.
  • You should mix the dough in your food processor just until it comes together in a lump. This should happen in less than a minute. You may need to add a little tiny bit of water to your dough to bring it together. Start with a 1/4 tsp and go up from there as needed.
  • I believe these taste best in a shortbread cookie texture, but if you want yours crisper, just cut them thinner and bake them a little longer.

Ingredients

  •  1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced rosemary leaves, plus extra whole leaves for the tops of the crackers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • extra whole leaf herbs for laminating onto the dough (if you would like to)

Instructions

Put the flour, cheese, rosemary, salt, and pepper into the bowl of the food processor. At the same time, add the chunks of butter and pulse about 30 times to combine into mixture until the processed dough comes together, this should take less than a minute, but you may need to add a little bit of water to it. If you add water, mix again for good measure.

Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll out until the smooth flat top. The dough should be smooth and consistent, without floury or pockets of air. Wrap the flat disk and place in the fridge for an hour.

Pull the dough out and place on the counter on top of wax paper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 thickness. I recommend doing this between to sheets of wax paper and it keeps everything together. Best baking tip EVER! There should be no sticking if you do this. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out your crackers. Remove the cut dough to a baking sheet. Smooth out your remaining dough and make additional crackers. Roll and repeat until completed.

Bake the shortbread beauties for 10-15 minutes just until they start turning a pale golden light brown around the edges. Cool these for a few minutes on the pan and then remove to the rack. The shortbreads will firm up as it cools and be delicious.

These are really great for gatherings and for parties. As we enter into the Fall arm yourself with this recipe as a great side with a warm bowl of soup.

 

 

Benefits of Turmeric for Body and Brain

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant. Curcumin in turmeric is what gives the powerful benefits. Most of the time it is not that high in concentration unless you are using an extract. Turmeric is considered one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence and we are just learning from many high-quality studies the major benefits for our body and brain. We’ve pulled the top research-based health benefits of turmeric.

Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound

Inflammation has been linked to how the body ages and how our body repairs itself. Inflammation is very important to human health and it helps the body fight, foreign invaders. Without inflammation, bacteria can easily take over your body and kill you. For inflammation to be beneficial it should be short-term. If inflammation exists longer than necessary it becomes a major issue where your body inappropriately attacks its own tissues. Researchers and Scientists believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and a variety of degenerative conditions (1, 2, 3).

Anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. Curcumin, as we mentioned, is a strong anti-inflammatory, so powerful in fact that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side effects (4, 5, 6). What we learned is that inflammation is extremely complicated, and the key takeaway is that curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level.

Increases Antioxidant Capacity in the Body

Antioxidants are important because they protect our body from free radicals. Curcumin, found in turmeric, is a very potent antioxidant. The properties of curcumin have been considered to be associated with its antioxidant properties. Curcumin is thought to play a vital role against pathological conditions. It basically interrupts the process of inflammation in the body. It also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Not only is it an antioxidant on its own, but it also enhances the effectiveness of the body’s own antioxidants. There are many studies and medical professionals who support the claim of turmeric increasing antioxidant capacity in the body (7, 8).

Boosts Brain Function and Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

Love your body and your brain. As we age, our ability to recall information slows. We become slower especially when multitasking. It has recently been discovered that curcumin enhances your brain function, reducing the chances of cognitive decline.

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

The antioxidants in turmeric prevent damage to cholesterol, thereby helping to protect against atherosclerosis. Curcumin lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides, another fat that circulates in the bloodstream and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (9).

Benefits Against Fighting Depression

Curcumin may be a great natural alternative to drugs to fight depression. People who suffer from depression often try numerous medications, in search of one that is effective without horrible side effects. Curcumin helps with depression by increasing the two critical neurotransmitters associated with depression, serotonin, and dopamine (10).

We recommend the herbal liquid form of turmeric to get the best benefits, but there are also capsules and of course adding the spice to your food is always delicious and beneficial.

We Ban Nanoparticles From Our Shelves

Every heard of it?

Nanoparticles are in personal care products. Most nanoparticles serve as delivery agents that help other ingredients penetrate into the skin and homogenize the distribution of colored pigments in cosmetics, making the delivery of sunscreen and other treatments less greasy. They also create a silky texture found in creams and powders. Nanoparticles are smaller than a human cell, so tiny that they are invisible to the human eye.

Why it’s not welcome

This is a new ingredient technology and there are a lot of unknowns in terms of nanomaterials and their effect on human health and our planet. What we do know is that when inhaled, nanoparticles can become embedded into your lungs. Another potential issue is that they are so small they could potentially be absorbed into the bloodstream. We just don’t have enough information on this, and the little we do have suggests that it is not good. So until we know more, that’s not a health risk we are willing to take, especially when it comes to our customer’s health (1). Plus the chemicals these nanoparticles are delivering are typical of a toxic composition.

Although there is little definitive evidence, the health effects of nanoparticles are likely to depend also on their shape. A significant example is nanotubes, which may be only of a few nanometres in diameter but a potential length of several micrometres. A recent study showed a high toxicity of carbon nanotubes which seemed to produce harmful effects by an entirely new mechanism, different from the normal model of toxic dust (2).

Before you panic

The research is contentious and not yet conclusive. But we know that there are safer alternatives, so why risk it? At Soap Hope, we think it’s far more important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to ingredient safety, so when in doubt we ban it for the safety of our customers, their families, and their homes.

We’re in good company

Every Maker (the brands we carry on our shelves) has either never used Nanoparticles or eliminated it from their formulas in favor of safer alternatives that are allowed at Soap Hope. The ingredients in each and every product at Soap Hope are vetted for safety before we decide to carry them. We care as much as you do about what we put in and on our bodies. Learn more about our ingredient philosophy, the ingredients we ban, and our product rating system of Good, Better, Best.

Anti-Aging Herbs to Fight Skin Aging

We’ve put together our best anti-aging herbs to fight skin aging for you. While there are plenty of other powerful herbs, these are our favorites.

Basil

Holy basil helps prevent the signs of aging on the skin. Exposure to UV in high volume damages our skin and causes collagen depletion. Collagen is that beautiful compound that gives your skin the bounce and elasticity of your skin, that youthful appearance. It is proven that topical application of basil helps in retaining skin moisture levels, reducing skin texture issues, and reducing and preventing wrinkles (1). We love the herbal liquid form of holy basil by Herb Pharm in our DIY skin mask recipe. To make our mask all you need is liquid holy basil, flour, and honey. Mix together until you achieve the consistency you prefer and place on your face until dry. Rinse off with warm water.

Clove

Clove oil is widely used for treating many ailments and has immense health benefits. Clove has free radical properties and contains antioxidants that slow down signs of aging. You can make a DIY face mask with just a tablespoon of coconut oil and 3-4 drops of herbal liquid clove. Just wash your face with warm water before applying mix on your face, to open the pores, massage it on your face, and let it sit for about 30 minutes, and wash your face with cold water and a washcloth to ensure it is all removed. Try this herbal clove liquid if you are interested in making this mask or would like to add it to your routine by placing a few drops in your moisturizer.

Ginger

The ginger herb has been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years. Ginger is full of antioxidants and just like turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help in preventing signs of aging. Ginger can control the production of harmful free radicals that affect your metabolism and increase oxidative stress, which can harm your beautiful, youthful skin (2).

Ashwagandha

This powerful herb has antibacterial, antifungal, and cognitive boosting properties,  and as a bonus it is loaded with alkaloids that protect the cells from oxidative stress and damage. Keep your skin healthy, fight acne, and keep signs of aging at bay (3). I love to add ashwagandha herbal liquid to my hydrating moisturizer once a week, and the signs of improvement are really visible.

Oregano

This herb doesn’t just make your dishes delicious, it also helps the slowing of visible signs of aging. Oregano is a powerhouse of antioxidants and flavonoids that prevent free radical damage, and aging, of course (4). Add oregano spirits to your water a couple times a week and allow the benefits to flow throughout.

Rosemary

This soothing herb protects your skin from photodamage. Overexposure to UV rays causes fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of UV related aging. Rosemary prevents photodamage while improving your skin’s collagen reserves and preventing wrinkles (5). We are in love with The Seaweed Bath Company’s Rosemary & Mint Facial Scrub, it’s so popular we sell out all the time (especially since the price is right and everytime you purchase at Soap Hope 100% of the profits  are invested into economic empowerment programs for women), so place your order if you want one and we’ll be sure and get it to you! Seriously detoxifying and gentle enough to use every day.

Sage

Sage, Sage, Sage is so rich in antioxidants, smells amazing, and is also in the infantry army in the fight against aging on age spots, wrinkles, fine lines, and more. Sage contains flavonoids, phenolic carboxylic acids, phenolic diterpenes, and other antioxidants that protect your skin from aging (6). Derma E has an amazing Rejuvenating Sage & Lavender Face Oil that provides a boost of intense hydration for soft, smooth skin. These essential fatty acids work to improve elasticity, support healthy collagen, promote healthy cell renewal, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a healthy, youthful glow.

Thyme

Nobody has thyme for aging, so let thyme work for you rather than against you with this immensely useful herb. This herb provides relief and prevents skin damage and signs of aging. Thyme gives you just a little more as a free radical scavenger and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (7). Take a mixture of alcohol-free witch hazel and herbal liquid thyme and use it is a toner.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant, and is considered one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence not just for the body, but for the skin. But for your skin, it also aids in repairing and protecting your skin from UV related signs of aging (8). Andalou takes the healing power of turmeric and vitamin C to create a facial serum that has fruit stem cell complexes, skin-friendly magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, vitamin C, and turmeric enzymatically to help with skin vitality, aiming for over-exposed surface cells in order to bring about brighter, tighter, and lighter looking skin.

5 Zero Waste Strategies

We live in a society that consumes, consumes, consumes and it is taking a toll on our planet. The average American throws out 4.4. pounds of trash a day and more and more disposables are ending up in landfills and floating in our oceans.

We’ve seen the campaigns about straws, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, our consumption is going to consume our environments if we don’t take care.

On a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, we were on the beach early in the morning visiting with fisherman and watching them go out into the ocean. Along the beach was plastic and trash that had washed up on the shore and there were women picking up the trash, trying to clean it. Trash from other places far away littering the beach in a community. Imagine the fish and other creatures this trash harms.

So with all this consumption, what can we do to move towards a more waste-free life? Here are 5 strategies to try.

Compost

The easiest way to reduce your food waste is to go to the grocery store with a list and be mindful of what you buy so that you actually use it. The second easiest way is to compost your waste. We toss out about one-third of all food we grow. That is a true waste and if we don’t compost properly the food isn’t able to decompose properly. Instead, they break down under oxygen-free conditions, creating gases that include methane that pollute our breathing air.

Many cities are offering curbside compost removal and there are also community compost sites. A favorite tip we learned this year was to reduce odors, freeze your food scraps and add old shredded newspaper to the bottom of the bin.

Leftovers

Instead of storing your leftovers in plastic containers, try reusing containers from products you have purchased or pick up some mason jars and use those beauties. There are also food storage containers like Klean Kanteen’s stainless steel containers.

Cleaning Solutions

Traditional cleaning products are packed full of chemicals that are harmful to you and the planet. They come in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Lucky for you, Soap Hope sells a variety of brands that provide natural, non-toxic cleaning solutions and come in eco-friendly packaging. These cleaning alternatives are excellent for your clothes, body, and home. Better Life, Indigo Wild, J.R. Watkins, and Seventh Generation have great alternatives that won’t harm you or the earth.

Beauty and Body Tools

Our everyday grooming products can be harmful to the planet too. Consider using recycled materials and renewable products that are good for your body and environment. EcoTools is a favorite of ours with their bamboo and recycled plastic products they are putting something old, back to use in a clean, green way.

BYOB

Bring your own bag! Cut down on those plastic bags by bringing your own to the party. Carrying reusable bags with you takes time to create the habit, but when accomplished makes a world of difference to you and the environment. Consider your own produce bags too if you want to take it an extra step.

These are just a few ways to get started, there are more ways to go zero waste and we’ll continue to give you tips!