All posts by Heather Stevens

Navigating the Natural and Organic Terrain | Do you know what you’re buying?

Sometimes we can get overwhelmed trying to figure out what is natural and organic and what is not. With so many misleading ”organic” and ”natural” claims found in thousands of beauty and household products, how’s one to navigate the terrain?

Yesterday my girlfriend Rachael and I were having coffee and she shared a story with about her most recent trip the grocery store. She said she saw a shampoo that really caught her eye. It was aesthetically appealing and its name had a variation of the word “organic” in it, with a slogan talking about how pure and simple the product is. At first, I thought to myself this might be an interesting product for Soap Hope to carry, but then she showed me a photograph she took of the back of the bottle with a long list of ingredients on the back. Rachael continued in frustration that not only might the name make you think that it must be organic, but it also has that simple slogan. In addition, the words on the back state it is a “Unique blend of Natural & Sulfate Free Surfactants for renewed softness,” one would think this is a natural product. I took her phone and started to analyze the image of the ingredients I found that it had DMDM Hydantoin – a formaldehyde releaser that we would never allow in a product – and Red 4 and Yellow #5, two artificial colors!

After reading this I quickly handed the phone back to my friend and realized that many of us are drawn to products with a quick glance, not realizing what we are putting in our bodies, on them, or in our homes. There must be an easier way to sort through the ingredients that are acceptable, and that reminded me of Soap Hope’s Good, Better, Best rating system for the products we sell on our online marketplace. With that in mind, I told Rachael I was going to make this our next blog so others could learn and ask questions, so here we are sitting with Soap Hope’s Fulfillment Manager Jeremy Porter for a quick interview.

H: Jeremy thanks for visiting with me, I’ve got some questions for you. In a market where consumers are increasingly seeking and buying ”Organic” and ”Natural” products, how does Soap Hope meet that demand?

J: Hi Heather! Regarding the demand, we’ve got our Good, Better, and Best rating standard. We inspect every single ingredient in every single product to determine if we will sell that product and what its rating will be.  We wanted to offer a sort of guide to let customers know that:

  1. We have very high standards for the products we carry.
  2. We can show them exactly how those standards work. The rating tiers are really just a way to explain the ingredients and let people know that we are paying as much attention to them as they are, or even more so. We also want to be completely transparent, so it’s a good way to put everything on the table.
  3. Anything that isn’t at least Good is something we won’t use or sell at Soap Hope’s Marketplace.

H: That’s great Jeremy! But what does that breakdown on rating look like?

J: It looks like this and can be found on our website under our ingredients philosophy, as well as indicated on every single product in our inventory. You can find the rating for all of your favorite products just by visiting our online store.

A rating of BEST is reserved for those products that meet the strictest of criteria. For a BEST rating, every ingredient must be 100% natural and 80% or more must be certified organic.

To be classified BETTER, a product must contain 100% natural ingredients, but not necessarily organic.

Products with a GOOD rating include one or more ingredients that, while considered safe to use, are not 100% natural. For example, some of our makers’ products use phthalate-free fragrance oil or may include a preservative necessary to keep liquids fresh.

H: On average, what percent are good, better, or best in your product inventory?

J: Currently the percentage breakdown of our product based on the rating system is Good: 57%; Better 24%; and Best 19%. So you can see that Best is pretty elite. There’s a secret level beyond Best called “Legendary” but even I’m not sure what that is.

H: Do any of your products have the following ingredients: Parabens, sulfates, chemical sunscreens, petrochemicals, glycols, phthalates, PEGs or PPGs, DEA/TEA, synthetic polymers, formaldehyde donors or 1, 4-Dioxanes?

J: The brand Everyone has some Bath Soaks that contain Magnesium Sulfate, which is just an Epsom Salt, and then I think a few other products that have a little Sodium Coco-Sulfate as a foaming agent, but both are safe.

H: On average, what percentage PCR (post customer recycled) is your packaging? Are they recyclable?

J: We put forth as much effort here as is practically possible. The tissue paper we use to wrap products is 100% recycled. The post office packaging is post-consumer recycled. About 90% of the cardboard that comes into our building is reused, usually to make an Ugly Box. The Ugly Box was just a perfect combination of being cost-effective and eco-conscious, and it’s one of my favorite things we do. I have this daydream about being in a sort of MacGyver situation where for whatever reason someone needs to make a cardboard box and I get to jump in. It could happen. We also made a video to show how an Ugly Box is made: https://youtu.be/24LnICCkK3A

H: Are your products tested on animals?

J: Never. NEVER. I mean, we do sell some soaps that are specifically intended for dogs, so I can’t with 100% certainty say that there have never been some trial baths, but baths aren’t tests, although dog baths can be tricky…

H: Jeremy this has been extremely helpful and honestly, I wish more companies rated their products based on quality and ingredients. How much easier it would be for the consumer! Now for a few personal questions, I mean, while I have you!

What are your favorite products and/or brands at Soap Hope that you use?

J: I really enjoy A Wild Soap Bar and Kind Soap Company. I don’t know if I’m just basic or lazy for picking brands with the word “Soap” in the name, but they’re cool products. A Wild Soap has such original ingredients and gets bonus points for being Texan. Kind Soap smells amazing, and I’m a sucker for anything Sandalwood Rose. I am also highly susceptible to a weekly Bath Bomb indulgence.

H: What about Soap Hope drives you in your work?

J: Well, there’s the base level of a paycheck and doing work well because it’s, well, work, but as far as a bigger drive it’s just nice to be with a company that tries beyond bottom lines and profit. It’s tempting to be cynical and jaded, especially in this current climate, but I do get to catch my breath and read about the women and families that have been so positively affected by the programs we support, so that’s really what takes it to that next level. I’m also excited to see how we can branch out and further embrace/earn the banner of “Empowering Women”

H: Any other personal tips for living a more natural life style?

J: Just everyday mindfulness. Stuff like that usually comes down to a personal line, moral or otherwise, and as you feel a little more stable in your convictions or pursuit of health, be it mental or physical or spiritual or whatever, you’ll find the area where you best sleep at night. For me, it’s important to decide that you’re going to pay attention, and then finding that line becomes a personal choice.

H: Do you support reforming our federal laws to protect public health from toxic ingredients?

J: I do, and I really hope that within the current realm of issues which require massive federal attention, public health and the environment can remain high.

Find out more about Soap Hope’s ingredient philosophy and our mission.

Luxurious Soaks Aren’t Just For Winter

Let’s face it – it is hot this summer. While the pool, lake, or beach are great ways to cool off, they come with their own set of problems. So before you think that home spa soaks are only for the winter, think again! I can’t wait to get home and sink into a bath before bed every night. For me, the perfect luxurious soak is best served in summer.

Your summer soak isn’t surrounding yourself with candles and having warm water envelope you. While in the winter this is nice for the summer this won’t suffice. Summer soaks allow for some much needed time alone and cooling off. With a few little tweaks, your regular bathing routine could become your summer soaking in the tub routine. Here’s how to create your perfect refuge from the heat.

Use Cool Water (obviously!)

It’s hot out, so the common sense thing is to use cool water. Immerse yourself in cool water will provide the instant relief from the heat and lower your core body temperature. When it feels like a million degrees this is going to make you feel like a million bucks! It’s the most effective way to cool yourself off. So sink in and soak it up.

Cool Down With the Right Products

You know when you chew gum that is minty fresh and you inhale and feel that icy refreshing air? You can get that same feeling all over your body when using mint or eucalyptus products in your bath. We call it the cool factor, just add some salts to the bath and increase your summer soak. Make sure to pick items that have actual mint or eucalyptus oil, not synthetic toxins or fragrances to get the cooling effect. We love Zum Tub’s Mint Bath Salts or EO’s Eucalyptus & Arnica Bath Salt Soak. These products are packed with minty-fresh vibes.

Mix Up a Refreshing, Hydrating Beverage

Move over wine for bath time, this is the season of beer and cocktails in the tub! But really if you are looking to hydrate, stick with water, tea, and other nourishing beverages. Since you sweat when your body releases heat, you’ll need some extra liquids in the ole’ system to keep you feeling fine. Infused water is a great way to create a spa-like atmosphere. Think berries, pineapple, and grapefruit. So refreshing!

Actually, Relax in the Tub

Part of a great soak is being patient in the tub. You can’t just hop in for 10 minutes and jump out. Find something that gives you at least 30 minutes to relax and take in the work you’ve put into creating this self-care time for you! Grab a book or your kindle. Take in a meditation TedTALK or podcast. Put the laptop on the counter and take in the latest show you’ve been wanting to catch up on. This is your time – enjoy it!

Treat Summer Skin

Finally, what’s the point of a bath without a little pampering? After spending time in the summer heat or air conditioning, which does nothing to condition your skin you need to take care of that beautiful skin. This is a great time to throw on a mask, give your body a good scrub, and refresh yourself.

After being in the sun your hair has taken a toll. We recommend using a hair mask with Marula Oil like Andalou Naturals Exotic Marula Oil Silky Smooth Hair Mask. At the same time slather on a heaping portion of their Argan and Mint Lip Balm. To top it all off put on an Instant Brighten & Tighten Hydro Serum Mask. Now you’re covered from chin to head. If you want to scrub off all that dead damaged skin, try Deep Steep’s Sugar Scrub, my favorite scent is the Grapefruit Bergamot, but they have a variety of scents.

Say hello to your summer bath routine!

Quinoa Summer Salad

We love salads over here at Soap Hope. If there was a Sommelier for salads our Co-Founder Craig would definitely be the “Salad Steward”, for that fact he could probably do the wine part too! In a tribute to the love we have for salads and the love we have for our Co-Founder, Craig, enjoy this healthy, easy to make summer salad!

This salad is obsessive! It is light and refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day. Hello Texas!

Quinoa Summer Salad

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Quinoa:

  • 1 cup quinoa (your choice!)
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt

For the Dress:

  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Mix:

  • 1 Avocado chopped in chunks
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups spinach whole
  • 1/2 cup chopped grapefruit

Directions:

  1. Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to the medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
  2. Make your dressing in a medium bowl, whisk together and set off to the side.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, avocado, pomegranate seeds, mushrooms, spinach, and grapefruit. Pour dressing over the salad and mix until well combined. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Light, delicious, and refreshing!

Ways to go Plastic Free This July

We keep seeing #plasticfreejuly and if you aren’t celebrating, you should! This is a movement that was started in Western Australia in 2011 by a handful of people that wanted to empower individuals around the world to think about their plastic use and how it negatively impacts our world. Today this movement is celebrated by more than 150 countries worldwide. We know at Soap Hope that a simple thought and action can change the world. Just like shopping at Soap Hope helps empower women and end poverty, celebrating Plastic Free July means a world that can have less and less dependency on plastic that pollutes every corner of our world. The most powerful action is your ability to choose how you will cast your vote.

Before you start your path, no matter where you are on the journey to plastic free, be sure and sign up to be counted in this year’s challenge here.

Skip the Plastic Microbeads

Microplastics are a macro problem. As you may know, plastic degrades (breaks down into pieces), but it doesn’t biodegrade (break down through natural decomposition). This is a big problem and has grown over time. Over the last seven decades, we have steadily turned the sea into a gloopy plastic chowder.

These tiny microplastics will end up in our food. That’s right and don’t think you are safe just avoiding seafood, the food chain is more complex than just fish to human. We need to avoid purchasing products that contain these microplastics. These types of plastics can be found in bags, bottles, utensils, face/body washes, toys, laundry detergents, it is even in our clothes – polyester is a plastic.

If you are looking for alternatives to body, face, and laundry soaps look no further than Soap Hope. We work hard to avoid selling products that contain these environmentally harmful contaminants.

Avoid products with known microplastics

It’s in your body wash, your face cleansers, laundry soaps, and kinds of toothpaste. Do not support companies that do not protect the environment. Making a dollar today doesn’t do the world good tomorrow and we know that the choices we make today cast a vote for the type of world we want.

We love this website called Beat the Microbead, they have taken the time to share by a rating system which brands currently contain microbeads in their products by country. Check out the U.S. list here. Find out for yourself and find alternatives! If you want recommendations, send us a message.

Stop using single-use plastics

We have so many options around us to reuse, why use a single-use plastic? Avoid straws, plastic shopping bags, and plastic drink cups and bottles. Think reusable!

Single plastic uses are the biggest pollutant in the plastic world next to microbeads. We are big fans of Klean Kanteen reusable bottles and containers. They are setting new standards for durability and eco-friendly food and beverage containers. Klean Kanteen uses stainless steel bottles and containers that are BPA-free and easy to clean making that transition from plastic one use to everyday reuse simple and easy. Plus it doesn’t hurt they come in amazing colors. So find your hue and let the earth stay greener!

Recycle at home and in your community

Start recycling in your community if it doesn’t already exist and if it does get on board and start recycling at home. Tell recycling centers how much you appreciate and learn about the materials they do and do not accept. We are responsible for our environment and this is a fast way to start reducing plastic pollution in the environment. Looking to start or improve your recycling habits? Check out this great resource from Keep American Beautiful.

Give a Crap

Did you know that most toilet paper comes wrapped in plastic? We recommend seeking out brands that offer a choice of recycled paper. Seventh Generation offers recycled individually wrapped toilet paper and can be ordered right here. It comes in a cardboard box without any plastic wrapping. Come to think of it Seventh Generation offers eco-friendly 100% biodegradable or recycled product packaging for all their cleaning and home care products. A win for you and the planet!

Shop with sustainability in mind

When you shop for your everyday products you have the power to ignite change in the product offerings, we’ve seen this in the last few years where consumers demand more and more transparency in products and packaging.

At Soap Hope we take packaging and sustainability practices seriously and we encourage our customers to do the same in their own lives. The brands we carry on our shelves at Soap Hope strive to continually find more and more ways to package in a more simple and sustainable way.

We, ourselves sought out how we could play our part, we created these boxes called “ugly boxes”. You know when you order from those retail giants and they ship small items in huge boxes filled with plastic and air, that just drives us batty. We package most orders in cardboard ugly boxes that are made from scrap. Large orders are packaged in reused boxes from local businesses and we do not use plastic in our packaging. We use recycled materials only. We work hard to reduce waste in shipping our customers and we think everyone should work towards this effort. No more plastic air filled boxes, please!

What action will you take today to stop the plastic pollution of our planet?

 

 

The Natural Way to Plan your Summer Trip | Your Must-Haves

It’s that time of year again, where the days are longer and the excitement of fun in the sun is in the air. Summer always makes me think of my childhood.

As a child, I was always in awe of lightning bugs and their green glow, trying to catch them late into the evening, long after the sun went down. Running outside to the ice cream truck, getting to pick out what I wanted, and paying for it myself like a boss from that money made from my own enterprise running a lemonade stand.

There were afternoons playing war with super soaker water guns and water balloons with friends in the sprinkler. Pool days, swimming = summer in my mind. My favorite days were lived in my swimsuit. Finally, was the long-awaited road trip,  getting in the car for that one summer family trip. I’m sure we all have our own memories. They might be similar, but either way, there is just something special about summer. Don’t you agree?

Those pool days were the best too. I remember that each time I would come in the house my mother would lather me, or rather slather me in sunblock and bug spray to ensure my safety. She told me it was my “armor” as I went on my adventures. While annoyed at the delay in my play, one can never have too much “armor” on childhood adventures.

As an adult, I still look forward to summer, but for different reasons. Lounging by the pool in the backyard is definitely one of them, drinking a nice glass of wine by the fire pit with friends and family in good conversation, and I still get goosebumps when planning that special summer trip. This summer my husband and I are going hiking in Redwood Forest National Park outside of San Francisco. I’ve already started packing and we don’t leave until the end of July! The kid in me always comes out. Too excited!

But growing up changes how you view what you slather yourself in. I remember the sunblock my mother used smelling slightly like coconut and very oily. The smell was indeed strong! Nothing natural about that smell. Now I choose the products that are right for me and my family – high-quality natural ingredients. In Soap Hope’s marketplace of over 3,000 items, you’ll never find parabens, petroleum derivative, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or anything that doesn’t meet the Good, Better, Best Standards.

As we venture into our own summer trips, travels, and adventures this year make it as natural as possible. If you’re all about making lists, then you know how magical they can be. To bring a little magic into your summer and save you time, I’ve put together a great short list of items to get you started as you shop and pack.

MY SUMMER ESSENTIALS
If you don’t pack anything else, pack these.

Sun Protection
A summer trip without sunglasses is a crying shame and so is not to slather that beautiful skin with sunscreen periodically.

First Aid supplies
Bring along bug repellent, bandages, lip balm, ointments, and hand sanitizer.

Toiletries
My don’t leave home without essential makeup, makeup bag, dry shampoo, deodorant, and a nice travel bag to put all your items in.

Food
If you want to avoid greasy, unhealthy food and save some money, pack your own snacks. I know I do! I recommend these non-messy containers to pack your fruit, pretzels, granola bars, crackers, etc. Also, be sure you have plenty of water with a beverage container.

For me, I keep packing simple, I know you’ll have items to add to your own personal checklist, but I hope this gave you a good start. Be sure whatever you put on your list its good for you, your family, and your body.

I’d love to hear from you and have you share some of your summer essentials.

Raw Vegan Banana and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Today is National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day and I thought I would share my recipe for my favorite raw vegan banana and cinnamon ice cream. This is slightly sweet and more savory ice cream that is decadent and simple at the same time. Best served with a nice espresso in the evening or in the late afternoon as the day is winding down. The cinnamon isn’t strong and is almost like therapy with each bite and certainly less expensive. Enjoy with family and friends, because let’s be honest, that’s the best way to enjoy everything! If you love this, you’ll love my saffron ice cream recipe…

Serves: 1-4

Healthy Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic banana, chopped into chunks (be sure and place these in the freezer before you start this recipe).
  • 1 scoop Plant Protein (love Maca Powder by Gaia Herbs)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 10 to 8 drops of Vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (or just sprinkle on top with each serving)
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid organic sugar

Prep and Make Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor (my ninja is my best friend) and blend until smooth or the texture you enjoy.
  2. Serve immediately (because you won’t be able to help yourself) or if you have restraint, store in the freezer for up to three weeks.

Zero Waste Tip: Don’t throw out those overly ripe bananas. Peel them, break them into chunks and freeze them for up to two months, and use in your favorite smoothie or ice cream recipe.

Enjoy this recipe and National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day!

Refreshing Summer Mint Tea

When I think of Summer I think of swimming, afternoon sun soaks, and my Aunt’s mint tea. This taste so refreshing on a hot summer day. So as I enjoyed a glass this past weekend, I thought I bet there are others who would love this recipe for celebrating the upcoming 4th of July. The crisp mint, the juicy lemons….oh so refreshing.

An hour from refreshing summer joy…

Ingredients

Pro Tips

I use Yogi Refreshing Mint Tea because the taste is divine and this specific blend has Green Tea Extract and Cinnamon Bark with Ginger and Peppermint Leaf. It is the perfect blend. You can use another mint tea, but I’ve yet to find one that compares to this blend.

Don’t use a plastic container, invest in a nice glass pitcher, your body will thank you!

If you are looking to punch up this tasty tea, you can always throw in a splash of Vodka or an afternoon cocktail.

You can put sugar in this recipe if you wish, but I would avoid it.

Directions

In a large teapot pour the boiling water over the 12 tea bags and allow it to steep for 20 minutes.

Pour the freshly brewed tea (sans the tea bags) into your glass container and place in the refrigerator for an hour or until ready to serve.

To serve, place mint sprigs in the bottom of the glass along with a slice of lemon and pour the tea over these ingredients.

Place some ice cubes into the glass as well to keep it chilled.

Serve to guests or family and watch them enjoy!

This recipe serves 8, so double if you want a batch that lasts for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“C” The Benefits of Vitamin C

Pass the oranges, please! Time and time again we hear people talking about the benefits of Vitamin C. What is it? Why should I use it? And what’s so great about it? Vitamin C, which is ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble micronutrient that can transform one’s overall health. Water-soluble means your body doesn’t store or build it up. That’s why daily intake is vital to health. It is considered the “glue” that holds and strengthens the body.

This A-list antioxidant strengthens blood vessels and gives skin the elasticity it needs to stay strong and youthful. Just watch how a daily dose can transform your energy level, hair, nails, skin, and overall health. Best way to absorb vitamin C is through a healthy diet. Be sure you are taking in daily amounts of citrus and dark greens.

Powerful Healing Abilities

Vitamin C doesn’t have to be ingested to gain benefits from it. Your body uses vitamin C to help heal injuries to your beautiful skin. Collagen helps to close wounds and also aid in creating scar tissue to protect the wound area. From wounds to sunburn vitamin C can help to aid in recovery. If you find your skin takes a long time to heal it could be a sign of vitamin C deficiency.

It puts the “C” in Collagen Boost

Vitamin C is a powerhouse for anti-aging. Collagen is a main structural protein found in your skin and connective tissue. Actually, over 70% of all protein found in your skin is collagen.  Vitamin C is required to make hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which in turn makes collagen. Collagen is what keeps skin looking bright, firm and young. This also includes smoothing out wrinkles and other symptoms of aging.

Treat Discoloration 

Vitamin C helps prevent discoloration of the skin. It inhibits the production of pyrimidine dimers, basically preventing the DNA in your skin from reacting with sunlight and causing discoloration. This’ll keep your skin supple and smooth and lighten freckles as well as age spots. Finally, treating skin with vitamin C will help reduce and aid in the prevention of skin cancer.

Hero of Healthy Hair

Vitamin C should be center stage in your hair care regime. It can help revitalize and protect, just as it can with skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it can help protect you from the daily pollutants in our environment. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it reduces free radicals that try to damage your beautiful mane. Protected hair will grow out faster, thicker and stronger. And goodness knows we all like that! It also helps retain hair’s natural color and prevents premature aging.

Finally, it can fight the bacteria on the scalp that leads to dandruff and at the same provide the needed moisturize to maintain a healthy balance. Oh and did we meant that it helps to ward off grays, helping hair retain its natural color for longer as well as preventing hair loss. It helps fight adrenal gland fatigue which is one of the ways hair loss occurs.

Energy. Energy. Energy.

Vitamin C plays a main stage role in helping your body absorb iron and iron contributes to your overall wellbeing. So, it would make sense that it would give you more energy, because without iron we become weak, tired, and can develop anemia. Taking a daily dose of Vitamin C can help you feel vibrant and stay energized.

Top 5 Picks for Natural Mineral Sunscreens

It’s time to get in that summer sunshine! All that fun in the sun means protecting your skin from harmful rays too.

Trying to find the best protection for your skin?  We’d recommend steering clear of traditional chemical-laden sunscreens which have been linked to not only allergic reactions but hormonal disruptions and early onset puberty, low sperm count, and breast cancer.

Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each has their own ingredients for protecting skin and evenly maintaining stability in direct sun exposure.

Chemical sunscreens typically include a combination of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. While mineral sunscreens use natural zinc oxide,  titanium dioxide or a combination of both. There are some brands that will combine both chemical and mineral ingredients.

Want a safer option to traditional chemical sunscreens? Here are our top 5 picks for the best natural sunscreens:

Kiss my Face Mineral Sunscreen Spray – SPF 30

One touch and this air-powered bottle gives a continuous spray sans the chemical propellants. It’s fragrance-free and has a base of both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide so its gentle on you and the environment. This power packing mineral sunscreen is certified organic and 100% mineral active ingredients. Take note that when used properly, it’ll leave a white tint on the body (think of a white wetsuit). We also love Kiss My Face’s Dry Oil Sunscreen.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 30

Don’t just protect the skin, give it some healing as well. With extracts of aloe vera and lavender to nourish, this sunscreen can help repair skin from free radicals, the pollutants in our environment. The 100% natural vegetarian ingredients help prevent sunburns. This sunscreen is hypo-allergenic, biodegradable and is free of gluten, parabens, phthalates and is cruelty-free.  It’s for all skin types so you can enjoy the benefits even if you have sensitive skin. Oh, and did we mention it’s also Reef Safe. Protect your skin and decrease the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

Badger’s Damascus Rose Sheer Tint Face Sunscreen – SPF 25 

It’s great to use alone or underneath makeup. This lightly tinted moisturizer provides sheer coverage and protection from the sun’s damaging rays.  It blocks both UVA and UVB rays with non-nano uncoated zinc oxide – remember that zinc oxide is the safest, most effective single mineral active ingredient. This super sheer sunscreen is packed with Damascus rose, chamomile and lavender to soothe, refresh, and revitalize delicate skin. The Seabuckthorn and rosehip deliver potent antioxidants and vital nutrients. Plus this 95% certified organic and 100% natural sunscreen is made with 100% recyclable paperboard packaging.

Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 for Body

Sheild the body from harmful UVA and UVB rays, prevent oxidative damage and premature signs of aging, this lotion offers both vitamin C and green tea for a fortified extra layer of protection. This super sunscreen was created with the idea that sunscreen shouldn’t just protect, but also help the skin recover. It also absorbs quickly and leaves a sheer, lightweight finish. It’s made for all skin types and is 100% vegan, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, sensitivity tested, fragrance-free, gluten-free and GMO-free. Basically, this sunscreen will give you coverage free of all the harmful side effects.

JASON Natural Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 30

Protect your sensitive skin from sun damage with this hypo-allergenic sunscreen. Its broad spectrum can protect from UVA and UVB rays, and all of JASON’s formulas are non-greasy and absorb quickly. Enjoy the Aloe, Shea Butter, and Jojoba oil in this mineral masterpiece. This wholesome, non-nonsense sunscreen is great to use every day.

 

 

The Benefits of Lavender

Just what are the benefits of lavender? Everyone’s heard of it and certainly smelled it. It’s good for you, especially as an oil.

For whatever reason, the smell of lavender is something that tends to linger and remain in our memory recall for our entire lives. It is a scent that can calm the mind and relax the body. It can conjure up images of the brilliantly purple covered shrub growing in the countryside or even breaking through the concrete jungle of a city center. Wherever you find this incredibly healing plant, lavender has wiggled its way into your subconscious.

The powerful health benefits of ‘lavandula angustifolia’ is immense. This shrub grows naturally in North Africa and the Mediterranean and is exported around the world for its beautiful smelling aroma and benefits.

The first written use of lavender was as a general cure by the Romans. Then it was used in Renaissance Europe as a deodorant and disinfectant. Lavender is one of the many, powerful essential oils to boost your health. Let’s dive deeper!

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Feeling stressed? Anxious? One of the remarkable benefits of lavender essential oil is its ability to influence our mood. Lavender is renowned for its ability to help people relax. Its an antioxidant, which means it helps lower the amount of stress hormones in the body.

Reducing stress loosens tense muscles, lowers blood pressure and can help encourage sleep. When entered into the bloodstream, lavender’s aromatic compounds make their way to the limbic system. This is the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions.

When inhaled, lavender oil’s effects are wide-reaching, spreading from the brain through the body. I’m particularly a fan of KIND Soap Company’s Lavender Fields Natural Perfume Oil. This is a classic herbal scent that relaxes the body and soul. I carry it in my purse and use it almost every day. It is a rich, creamy oil, in glass tube roller, easy for transport and use. Once that cool metal roller ball touches my skin I can feel blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate reducing. It induces a zen-like calmness after application.

You can also take some lavender and add it to a hot bath, and bask in the benefits during a long soak. In what form? Any will do; salts, petals, oil. The scent will relax your mind while the antioxidants work on those sore muscles.

A few of our favorites are Zum Tub Lavender Bath Salts, EO’s Lavender Bath Salt Soak, and The Seaweed Bath Company’s Hydrating Seaweed Bath with Lavender.

Anti-inflammatory and Healing

If you haven’t tried this one, I personally recommend it. Lavender’s ability to prevent acne from scarring is amazing. This is an extension of its antibacterial properties. It is a gentle, natural product so the oil can be applied directly to wounds and burns.

By promoting the growth of new skin cells it accelerates healing. Did you know there are over 150 active chemicals in lavender oil? Let this work directly on those inflamed, cuts, or burns and watch it heal!

Improves Skin Conditions

With the environment being so harsh and so many industrial medicines out there, eczema and acne proven individuals might find more than just a zen-like calmness when hearing that there’s a remedy that is not only natural but pleasant to smell.

Acne is caused by bacteria growing in our pores – YUCK! When sebaceous glands next to hair follicles produce too much oil, dead skin cells come together to create the blockage. Let’s part the red sea with our remedy lavender. Too much of this bacteria creates acne and is damage to tissue and creates inflammation.

Lavender swoops in as your anti-microbial solution, reducing the bacteria and keeping it under control. As we mentioned above it also keeps down inflammation and prevents scarring. That’s a win-win-win on the fight for taming acne.

Check out these skin solving friends to help improve your skin: Avalon Organics Brilliant Balance Purifying Towelettes with Lavender & Prebiotics (perfect when there isn’t enough time for a deep face cleaning or just for a quick wipe after being in the Summer heat). Derma E produces their all-time healing Rejuvenating Sage & Lavender Face Oil, say yes to concentrated boost of intense hydration and powerful anti-aging antioxidants with essential fatty acids to work on improve elasticity. Avalon Organics produces some amazing lavender products, you can see all of them here.

Hair Care Repair

As a woman who recently had a baby, my hair can use all the repair and with summer ticking up to full-force I’m on board with anything that can heal my damaged hair! One of the most exciting benefits of this pungent plant is it can truly repair your hair.

Apply a small amount of lavender oil to your daily routine and you can repair, protect, and replenish all while enjoying those other benefits we listed above. Great hair and a calm aura to slay the day!

Lavender works by increasing the number of hair follicles (it is proven that lavender will help grow hair). Improve your head’s luscious locks by dropping a little oil a few times a week, plus smell amazing.  Check out our favorite lavender infused shampoos and conditioners you won’t be sorry!

Lavender is far from a miracle, but the benefits are truly amazing. From smelling good to an antimicrobial healer, the complex compounds can be applied to any beauty or treatment routine. I challenge you to find a way to enrich your daily routine with lavender.