Category Archives: Brands We Love

What’s Up with This Sheet?!  Sheet Masks vs Traditional Masks

Ever wonder what the big deal is about sheet masks?

When you have a million options for traditional masks (and probably a few hanging out in your bathroom), what makes a sheet mask so dynamic?

With the right ingredients, and maybe even some excellent ones you can find in your own kitchen, traditional masks (or paste masks), are most often a great way to cleanse and exfoliate the skin.

However, they typically require more time, more water, and more steps after its removal to replenish the skin with further moisture and ingredients that re-nourish.

Additionally, how often do you buy a mask, apply it a few times a year, and then the container of a product simply goes bad in the process? Likely, more often than you realize!

Sheet masks, however, provide many ways to infuse, optimize and boost the skin, intensely and easily. No water, no waste, no extra steps. Sheet masks utilize the power of serum delivery, which is my very favorite option to feed the skin.

Serums are made of small, concentrated molecules of active ingredients that have a much easier time penetrating the surface epidermis to fuse moisture, vitamins, and antioxidants back into the skin.

Additionally, the sheet itself, is super-drenched in nutritional serum-based infusion, so that when applied and molded to the contours of the face, creates a seal that deeply pushes nutrients and moisture in, quickly. It can also be removed and repositioned if necessary.

To top it off, it is individually packaged to go with you anytime, anywhere, for a sanitary application that requires no water, no extra steps, and no wasted product.

Here are a few amazing sheet masks to give you the perfect boost!

ACURE Seriously Soothing™ BIOCELLULOSE GEL MASK (With rose, argan & plant peptides, for normal to sensitive skin)

Helpful with inflammation, stress, and irritation of the skin. Supplements with high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant nutrients to boost collagen, help ward off free radical damage and supplement moisture Vitamin C to even and brighten tone while facilitating recovery.

Andalou Naturals Instant Brighten & Tighten Hydro Serum Facial Mask

Vitamin C, tamarind, and fruit stem cells immediately help to brighten, tighten, and lighten by aiming for UV sun damage, and then activating elastin and collagen to bring about bright and smooth complexion.

ACURE Radically Rejuvenating Under Eye Hydrogel Mask™ AGE PERFORMANCE ELIXIR (With cucumber & silk tree, for age performance)

Cooling and brightening to dark and puffy under eye. Relief to inflammation that can encourage pooling under eyes and detoxification support to tissue. Hydration and mineral content to boost and plump. Tip…follow with Brilliant Brightening Eye Contour Gel!

Check out all our natural facial masks and find the right one for what you are trying to achieve. Naturally, we’ve got something for everyone!

Natural Deodorants That Seriously Work

Aluminum! Everyone’s heard about aluminum in deodorant. Is it safe? Is it bad? Does it matter?

Aluminum chloralhydrate is a group of salts that is made by reacting aluminum with hydrochloric acid. Its commonly used in deodorants and antiperspirants because it alters the pH balance of the skin and production of sweat.  Funny thing is, it doesn’t even work that well at preventing perspiration. With that said it’s not worth using aluminum-based deodorants whatever the health risks might be. If you are looking for alternative options without aluminum here are some natural deodorants we are absolutely loving at Soap Hope!

Tom of Maine

No aluminum and a spotless track record should put you at ease. If not, well, this is the brand that my mother taught me to use. She sat me down and said she didn’t care what I used, as long as it didn’t have aluminum in it, and then recommended Tom of Maine. We both still use it today. The deodorants offer ingredients like plant extracts and water.

Schmidt’s Naturals

Want something even more natural? This deodorant uses plant extracts, vitamin E, and essential oils. Give yourself some extra aromatherapy with scents like tea tree and geranium. Several on our staff swear by it.

KIND Soap Company

Containing natural ingredients like beeswax and shea butter, this brand offers deodorants that are multi-purpose. Yes, it’s deodorant, but it’s also a muscle rub, perfume, and lotion. It’s also travel sized.

Hugo Natural

Made with botanicals, Hugo Natural’s deodorants offer a wide variety of scents. No chemicals here, just natural ingredients made from plant extracts.

Nourish Organics

This brand of deodorant was good enough to get our Best rating. That means everything is natural and organic. Makes sense for Nourish Organics. Their deodorant is made using organic ingredients and is soft even on sensitive skin.

With Summer right around the corner, it is a good time to enjoy the weather and smell naturally amazing of course!

Hydrating Herbals

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

If you’re a new mom, you’ve likely heard the common refrain. While ample fluids after birth are critical for your recovery and well-being, as well as making plenty of breast milk for the baby, there’s more to the story than keeping your water bottle full at all times.

Teas and tonics have historically featured prominently in postpartum care. Traditional healing systems like Ayurveda, in which I’m formally trained, recognize the value in herbal medicine and use much more than plain-Jane H2O for hydrating new moms. In fact, they often viewed the unadorned stuff straight from the faucet a lamentable missed opportunity. After all, with so many changes after birth, every sip and morsel can make a difference, so why not give your hydration the biggest bang for the buck?

Common spices like cumin, coriander, and fennel can be brewed into a simple digestive tea, as can ginger and fenugreek, with added support for breastfeeding. Other mineral-rich plants, like nettles, can infuse postpartum hydration, while more substantive tonics, like specially prepared kinds of milk, provide easily assimilated nutrition as well as hydration.

Before we look at each of these options, in turn, notice the emphasis on heating hydrators like herbal teas. In proper postpartum care, warmth is key! Food and drink should be served warm, with even plain water no colder than room temperature.

This is because birth disperses the newly delivered mother’s critical warmth, which must be rekindled from the inside out. Learn more.

Reaching for warm drinks serves another, less tangible purpose: ritual.

Medicinal and celebratory drinks permeate all cultures and cuisines—and not only for their powerful healing compounds. The ritual of savoring a warm drink can steady the mind and emotions far beyond the capacity of the given constituents to heal the body.

Furthermore, sharing a warm drink with a companion or community, or even in solitude if it’s a brew that’s been cherished throughout the ages, can create a sense of unity, a type of soul synergy that defies time, place, and even explanation. Postpartum hydration is indeed nourishment for body, mind, and soul!

Spiced teas

Cumin, coriander, and fennel (CCF) are powerful digestive spices that create a synergistic blend when simmered together. A traditional Ayurvedic remedy for a number of gastrointestinal symptoms, CCF tea especially benefits new mothers. In addition to gently removing gas, relieving abdominal distension, and enkindling the digestive fire, it aids hormone balance and milk production. Mildly laxative and diuretic, this easy-to-prepare tea benefits both mother and baby, since fussiness may be due to digestive discomfort.

While not classic components of CCF tea, fenugreek and ginger can be welcome additions. For new moms, fenugreek is often the go-to lactation aid, but it has other perks: in addition to supporting digestion and rejuvenation, it encourages the uterus to release remaining placental fragments. It also supports normal bile production, healthy pancreatic function, and blood sugar balance.

Ginger is also a well-known digestive aid. Gently warming with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, fresh ginger features liberally in postpartum cooking. In fact, Ayurveda affectionately dubs it the “universal medicine,” so throw in a few slices whenever you can!

Cumin-Coriander-Fennel Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring seeds, water, and optional ginger to a boil on the stove.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes or more.
  3. Strain and serve hot.

Especially for postpartum moms, the thermos method is even easier. Add the seeds and boiling water to a quart-sized thermos. Drink throughout the day, aiming for 5 to 10 minutes before breastfeeding if trying to counteract digestive discomfort in the baby. Chew some of the seeds while you drink for a little extra strength or strain them and add to a meal later.

If tea isn’t possible, you can still benefit from these healing plants. Herbal suppliers like Motherlove, a family business that makes organic products for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and babies, crafts supplements with similar ingredients. Their More Milk Plus and More Milk Special Blend alcohol-free liquid herbal extracts contain both fennel and fenugreek. Motherlove also makes a plain Fenugreek extract.

Herbal infusions

Other time-honored herbal favorites for both pregnancy and postpartum include red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, and oat straw, often prepared as infusions. When used regularly over time, they have myriad benefits, including

  • nourishing both mother and baby
  • strengthening bones, teeth, lungs, nerves, and the circulatory system
  • preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage
  • easing morning sickness
  • providing vital nutrients like iron and protein
  • reducing pain during labor
  • speeding birth
  • assisting milk production

Infusions are stronger than teas, extracting more vitamins, minerals, and proteins from the plant leaves. Yet they are easy to prepare: steep overnight and drink in the morning! Pick two herbs and prepare on alternating days, or combine several herbs into a large glass jar for storage and then infuse together.

Basic Herbal Infusion

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried herbs (like red raspberry leaf or nettle leaf)
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • fresh lemon wedges (optional)
  • stevia to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put a large handful of herbal matter (about ½ cup) into a quart-sized glass jar or a small handful (about ¼ cup) into a pint-sized glass jar.
  2. Fill the jar with boiling water and cap tightly.
  3. Let stand for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Strain and drink, adding a few squeezes of fresh lemon or a few drops of stevia to taste, if desired. Refrigerate what you do not consume, reheating later as needed.

Again, Motherlove offers alternatives, if tea isn’t available. Check out their More Milk Two alcohol-free liquid herbal extract, which is specially formulated to include both red raspberry and nettle.

Tonics

If you tolerate dairy, consider warm milk tonics for additional nourishment and rebuilding. Make sure to choose raw (or at least low-temperature pasteurized), grass-fed, non-homogenized, organic cream-top milk whenever possible. You can also replace dairy milk with nut kinds of milk like almond, cashew, or coconut. Either way, make sure to warm it up and spice it up with tasty digestive aids like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove.

Here’s one new-mom-approved recipe for a warm milk tonic. You’ll notice that I often camouflage traditional herbal medicine, like Shatavari, in my postpartum tonics. Shatavari is a classic rejuvenating herb that promotes vitality and strength, nourishing the tissues and supporting healthy lactation.

While I like the simplicity of powdered Shatavari, it can also be taken in supplement form, like the Shatavari capsules or Shatavari extract from Motherlove.

Proper hydration with heating herbal brews can ease the transition into motherhood for body, mind, and soul. But much more goes into successful breastfeeding and a peaceful postpartum experience. Learn more.

And if you’re interested in other herbal products designed especially for the delicate and sacred season of new motherhood, check out the whole line of Motherlove products. They’re 15%  off right now at Soap Hope, but only for only a limited time! Use code MLVDD.

 

Stacy Claxton is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner (FDN-P) and an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (AHP) specializing in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care. She offers a range of services that merge the laboratory investigation of her FDN training and her foundational background in Ayurveda and yoga. As an educator and a clinician, she believes strongly in the transformative power of diet and lifestyle and desires to inspire wise stewardship in the realm of holistic health. Stacy is one half of the dynamic duo behind Preparing to Parent (P2P), where she and her identical twin, Erin, are “growing families with purpose…on purpose.” To learn more about Stacy’s private practice and the mission of P2P, please visit www.preparingtoparent.com.

Three Steps to Quench Winter Dryness

3 Steps to Quench Winter Dryness

Moisture, moisture, moisture! Where does it go and how can you get it back?

I wouldn’t be doing my job as a healer if I did not clarify that diet is fundamental. The less healthy fats you have in the diet, the worse it gets. In the body, each skin cell is wrapped in a protective fatty membrane that helps to seal in moisture and ward of irritation from chemicals and toxins in our environment. If you don’t have enough fatty acids nutritionally supporting your body, you cannot effectively replenish this protection in the skin. This leads to faster evaporation of moisture from the skin and dryness. This also depletes elasticity, which is what allows your skin to snap back like a rubber band and remain smooth and supple.

Step #1: Eat your moisture-makers!

Loads of beneficial Omega-3s, otherwise know as Alpha-linoleic acids (ALAs) can be found in delicious fatty fish like wild-caught salmon and sardines. Eggs have the perfect balance of omegas (yolk and all) and the perfect touch of useful protein. Grass-fed butter and ghee are fabulous sources of healthy fat without all the antibiotics and toxins. Coconut oil is one of my very favorite cooking oils and sources for healthy fat because of its natural anti-fungal properties, healthy omega ratios and high heat capabilities during cooking. Avocado, hemp, flax and sprouted walnuts are also fat-fabulous!

Another moisture-major factor is to address your environment. Weather, indoor heating, and pollution can really deplete. As your skin’s capillary system works hard to accommodate the blood flow response from extreme cold and heat, higher levels of moisture are lost from the skin in the process. The light, oil-free moisturizer you use in summer may not be the best fit for winter. A refreshing gel cleanser might be a smidge too astringent once the weather turns cooler and you are not producing quite as much oil.

Step #2: Listen to your skin and adjust your regimen based on seasonal needs and environment.

If you are experiencing more depletion in winter months, look for cleansers with a creamier consistency versus a gel. I feel the cleansing step is often the most stripping culprit. Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy Cleansing Milk With Coq10 & Rosehip contains soothing components like lavender, arnica, and my favorite…licorice root extract. For moisture, you find rosehip, sunflower seed, borage, and kukui nut oils all in one pump, to deliver high plant-based omega fatty acid content. CoQ10 supports healthy cellular replication and Aloe makes up the base of the product, giving an added boost of nutritional and hydrating efforts. All of this protects the skin’s barrier function and natural oils while deeply cleansing.

Use a toner to support healthy acidity in the skin, hydration and optimal product penetration. Your skin is best at a more acidic 4-5.5 pH. Those natural sweat and oil secretions in the skin create your natural barrier function, called the acid mantle. Even water can be too alkaline and strip the skin! So the best action is to fortify with a refreshing, hydrating blast of toner after cleansing and before applying your moisturizing products. Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner works to acidify the skin while delivering loads of humectants, which pull moisture from the air into the skin. Additionally, you get the added benefit of vitamin C to boost radiance and help protect the skin from pollution, weather elements, and other free-radical attacks.

Add a humidifier to the room. Indoor heating is the worst at drying the skin and moisture resources. A good humidifier can be an inexpensive way to put a bit more moisture back into the air and help to alleviate dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds and other pesky cold-weather conditions. It’s even been known to reduce some snoring! Just be sure to clean them properly and refresh the water often.

Most heavy moisturizers tend to have a very fat molecular structure. The crazy thing is, those fat molecules are often too big to penetrate the pore! That means, your “nourishing cream” is simply sitting on the surface, hydrating dead skin cells, but never efficiently delivering nutrients to where your skin can actually use it to balance and change its moisture concentration. That’s why many folks have used the same heavy cream for years and their skin is still dry!

Step #3: Heavier isn’t always better!

Look for hydrators and moisturizers that absorb readily but embody powerful nutrition to support the way the skin is functioning and retaining natural moisture. One of my favorites is ACURE’S Incredibly Clear Mattifying Moisturizer. It penetrates easily and relies on the power of essential fatty acids from argan oil and lilac extract, in combination with powerful plant cultures like chlorella, clinically proven to support moisture, cellular rejuvenation and optimal collagen and elastin.

Add nutrient-dense face oils like Avalon Organics’ Intense Defense Antioxidant Oil With Vitamin C to your moisturizer. I call it cocktailing in its highest form! Before applying your favorite lotion or cream, add 2-4 drops of this oil to create a more beneficial boost to the skin’s moisture value and support system. Apricot, raspberry and argan oils, all rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, absorb quickly to reinforce the skin’s natural lipid barrier and lock in moisture. Absorbable vitamin C protects the skin against environmental stressors.

As an added treatment while you sleep, layer on ACURE’s Magical Wonderfluff Hydrating Booster Mask before going to bed. With gardenia and argan extracts and a concentration of high omega-rich oils, you get a light-weight treat that replenishes while supporting more rapid turnover and healthy collagen regeneration.

 

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has been used for thousands of years and you can get the benefits of using tea tree oil and the many uses that are extremely effective.   Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial prowess is powerful.

Some of the traditional uses for tea tree include being used to heal:

  • Acne
  • Bacterial infections
  • Cold sores
  • Earaches
  • Fungal infections
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Head lice
  • Psoriasis
  • Dry cuticles
  • Itchy insect bites
  • Sunburns

There are also many household uses of tea tree oil such as:

  • Anti-microbial laundry freshener
  • Insect repellant
  • Natural deodorant
  • Acne face wash
  • Removes foot odor
  • Removes mold

Check out the many products packed with the power of tea tree oil that you can use everyday to access the benefits both for body and home. 

Get Glowing Protocol

Are you ready for this? I have selected some specific Soap Hope products that work together to support the skin’s optimal turnover, circulation, healthy boost, and supple balance. Sound good? Then follow this AM/PM protocol 1-2 times a week to revive the skin, even out the tone and get it glowing for the next holiday party, special occasion or just because you’re feelin’ it!

P.M. ROUTINE:

At night, your skin is solely focused on rejuvenating itself while you sleep. The following heroes set the stage for success, starting with a super yummy pre-cleanse…my favorite part!

The Pre-Cleanse with Badger’s Sea Buckthorn Face OilSea Buckthorn CO2 Extract, which contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, along with Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids, is awesome to soften and soothe. Massage 2-3 pumps of oil into damp or dry skin to loosen makeup, dirt, and soften debris in the pores. Use light, upward strokes to the face, neck, and chest to stimulate healthy blood and lymph flow, which helps the skin hydrate and detox more efficiently.

Full Cleanse with Andalou Naturals Meyer Lemon + C Creamy Cleanser. Lather up a nickel-sized dollop of cleanser with water and work it over using only your fingertips. Rinse with luke-warm water and gently pat dry. Vitamin C and juice from Meyer Lemons naturally work to brighten and Manuka honey protects moisture balance and healthy microflora on the skin.

Enzyme Exfoliation is never better than with ACURE’s Brightening Vegetable Peel. Pineapple and papaya fruit enzymes digest and loosen the dead, damaged layers, and decongest the pores. Chlorella Growth Factor And Kale dive deep to feed active skin cells firming superfood power to even skin tone and boost collagen regeneration. Apply a thin layer to face, neck, and chest for 4-8 minutes (depending on your sensitivity level). Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Tone with Zum Face’s Lemon-Geranium Zum Face Gentle Facial Toner.  A good toner is key to bring your skin pH back to a more acidic happy place. This one engages aloe, marshmallow root and rosemary to help soothe inflammation, redness, and bring lovely hydration. Apply to an organic cotton ball or cotton round and lightly spread to face, neck and chest.

Moisturize using Olivina Age-Defying Day & Night Face Rescue (a line designed for men but excellent for ladies too!). As the skin works hard rejuvenate while you sleep, it’s also losing a lot of hydration in the process. That’s why I love this light application of omega 3,6 and 9 through two of my favorite oils…Olive and Hemp Seed! They help draw moisture from the air into the skin with their humectant properties. Also full of essential amino acids they help support younger, smoother-looking skin and reduce inflammation. Plant-derived squalene acts as a natural lubricant and skin barrier to protect and slow moisture loss. It also helps boost penetration of other ingredients.

Now sleep tight, beautiful!

A.M. ROUTINE:

Once you wake, it’s key to cleanse all that your skin has shed and purged overnight, and apply optimal acidic protection and support for the day.

Cleanse/Exfoliate with the ACURE’s Pore Clarifying Facial Scrub. Moroccan red clay helps gently draw impurities from the pores as black jojoba beads softly slough away the dead skin cell layers you loosened the night before. It helps improve skin clarity and elasticity, stimulate collagen support, and most importantly, soothe inflammation to moisturize, remineralize, and brighten!

Tone once again with Zum Face’s Lemon-Geranium Zum Face Gentle Facial Toner. Remember, the skin is happiest at a more acidic pH. Even water can be too alkaline and stripping, so a toner like this helps to re-establish your acid mantle and pull more hydration into the skin with aloe and glycerine. Apply to an organic cotton ball or cotton round and lightly spread to face, neck and chest.

Moisturize using Olivina Age-Defying Day & Night Face Rescue. A bean-sized amount will do and don’t forget to apply to your neck and chest too…hey, that rhymed!

Seal the deal with an additional pump of Badger’s Seabuckthorn Face Oil. This extra kick of nutrition in a lightweight oil delivery adds brightening, plumping and skin firming radiance. 1 pump pressed into the skin on top of your moisturizer, protects your hydration and supplements your barrier function for optimal support from the weather, pollution, and irritations of the day….now that’s what I call the perfect cocktail for the skin!

You are ready for the day…glow on with your bad self!

Surprise Those Puffy Eyes! 3 Ways to Detox the Skin

Most people forget or never realized the role your skin plays in the body’s natural detox process. It is designed with over 3 trillion pores to secrete fluids from the body…sweat to cool, oils to lubricate and protect, and toxins to help purge unhealthy substance from the system.

I educate every day on how your internal digestion and body function has a direct impact on the appearance of the skin and one sure way to see how your body is cranking in the detox department is the under-eye area of the face. Do you wake up puffy? Deal with dark circles more often than you like? Constantly struggle with dehydration in the delicate skin around your peepers?

According to traditional Chinese face reading, the eyes are connected to your kidneys and your kidneys filter and facilitate removal of excess water and unwanted waste from the body. Coagulated blood and lymph, the fluid in your body that carries toxins, pool under the eyes and contribute to darkening, tone and texture change.

So, if you have a lot of alcohol during your night out, expect a couple of puffy presents under your eyes when you wake up the next day. The same can happen with excessive salt or sugar intake, processed foods, long-term stress and lack of sleep. These things place added pressure on your kidneys and adrenal glands.

Here are some excellent Soap Hope tools you can use to help keep the kidneys kicking, the skin purging and those eyes bright and tight!

ACURE Brightening Eye Contour Gel – licorice root, cucumber and arnica cool and depuff while red and brown seaweed extracts work to inhibit leaky, dilated capillaries and improve texture of the delicate skin (aka smooth your fine lines…yay!). Additionally, a special argan extract has shown immediate tightening boost in 15 minutes. This gel is the best to put on the minute you wake up and let it soak in, refresh, and boost. TIP: Toss it in the fridge for added cooling benefit upon application…you’ll thank me later!

Timber and Coal Blackland Soap – activated charcoal and bentonite clay are the best at not only drawing impurities but also re-mineralizing the skin at the same time. Give your body a swift once-over with a dry brush, using quick upward strokes towards the heart. This helps shed dead skin cells (another form of detoxification) and stimulate healthy lymph and blood circulation. Hop in the shower and follow with this power bar to facilitate deep cleansing of the skin. Be sure to concentrate in the underarms and creases of the thighs where your lymph vessels and detox pathways are most concentrated.

Pukka Herbs’ Cleanse Tea – nettle leaf, dandelion root, fennel seed…all the best to support kidney function in the maintenance of healthy fluid levels and effective elimination of waste. Nettle leaf is a master at enhancing blood purification and contains lectins that help neutralize toxic agents, and it also helps with allergies.  While you relax and sip, slap a couple of the used, cooled tea bags on the eyes for added support!

Amy Halman is an award-winning skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist. As the owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she connects each client’s diet, lifestyle, body wellness and stress levels to imbalances reflecting on the skin. Utilizing this information, she designs topical, nutrition-packed treatments to feed the skin’s ability to re-engage and optimize. Learn more about her services at ecoblendtherapies.com

5 Top Picks to Win the Free-Radical Battle on the Skin

Oxidative stress is a constant in the body…otherwise known as free radical damage. What is a free radical exactly?

It forms when oxygen in your body splits into an individual atom that has an unpaired electron, making it unhappy and very unstable…which sounds like the making of a romantic drama, actually! The unstable atom floats around the body in search of a partner electron, most often stealing them from other stable atoms. Home-wrecker! This triggers a domino effect called the Free Radical Cascade where we now have another unstable atom on the search for an electron, and so on, and so on. Though free radicals are a necessary part of the body’s ability to turn things like food into chemical energy (like when you work out, for example), when they build up it causes havoc…inflammation, cellular damage, and aging. Gasp! This build up interrupts our healthy DNA structure, causing skin cells to regenerate poorly or incorrectly.

This oxidative stress activity can come from normal body function related to poor diet, stress, excess alcohol or smoking, and inflammation but can also be a response to sunlight, air pollutants and toxins in your products and environment.

Never fear…Antioxidants are here! Antioxidant-rich ingredients are such keywords in both optimal diet and topical skin care because they help to deliver the goods to these unstable atoms before they come after your cells, helping to break the cascade and supporting the body from accelerated aging and breakdown. Having a rich supply of antioxidants in your diet and skincare routine, combined with regular exercise, is extremely effective and beneficial.

Here are 5 amazing products with clean anti-oxidant power:

ACURE’s Facial Cleansing Gel not only has an acidic pH to maintain healthy barrier function, which is crucial in protecting against free radicals, environmental pollution, and bacteria, it also has an antioxidant base loaded with highly-targeted superfoods like acai (rich in Vitamin C), pomegranate, and rooibos tea.

Zum Face’s Argan Oil Facial Serum is a luxurious lipid or oil-based serum that contains Vitamin E from nutrient-packed Argan oil, as well as high concentrations of Vitamin A through Carrot Seed, which contains beta-carotene, as well as vitamin B.

Andalou’s Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream contains a goji peptide to smooth and refine texture in the skin but also touts antioxidant-rich resveratrol from grapes, white tea extract, and CoQ10.

The Seaweed Bath Co’s Hydrating Seaweed Bath is loaded with salts from the Dead Sea. These salts contain multiple minerals that not only ward off pro-aging free radicals but also help exfoliate, hydrate, detoxify and soften skin.

Pukka Herbs’ Clean Matcha Green Teaneed I say more? In addition to its impossibly yummy flavor, this tea blend contains powerful matcha powder that cannot only lend up to 10x the antioxidant support of a single cup of loose green tea, it also contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, magnesium, rich fiber and chlorophyll. Dandelion Root is also featured, which is one of my favorites for aiding healthy detoxification!

Amy Halman is an award-winning skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist. As the owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she connects each client’s diet, lifestyle, body wellness and stress levels to imbalances reflecting on the skin. Utilizing this information, she designs topical, nutrition-packed treatments to feed the skin’s ability to re-engage and optimize. Learn more about her services at ecoblendtherapies.com

Applying Mineral Makeup: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s likely that you’ve seen ads or commercials touting its many benefits, but you might be wondering: what makes natural mineral makeup different? Or, you may have recently purchased some mineral makeup and you’re thinking: Is there anything different to applying mineral makeup versus “regular” makeup?

Applying Mineral Makeup

Before We Start Applying Mineral Makeup

Let’s first look at what is in mineral makeup.

Mineral makeup has been around for several decades now as a beauty product, and it’s known for its light finish and “barely there” feel.

Mineral makeup contains many of the same ingredients as other types of makeups — just without the preservatives or skin irritants that can be found in a lot of other brands. In fact, many dermatologists recommend applying mineral makeup on skin disorders like rosacea and eczema, because it doesn’t contain fragrances or oil that can cause breakouts or redness.

And even better — you can find natural mineral makeup for your whole face. From foundations to eye shadow, you can nail that night-on-the-town or everyday look that you’re going for.

Setting the Perfect (Mineral) Foundation

Natural Medium Beige Foundation from Mahya Cosmetics
Medium Beige Foundation from Mahya Cosmetics

Starting your look with the right foundation is key — and especially during the warmer months, having a foundation that still lets your skin breathe is a bonus!

Before you begin applying mineral makeup, you’ll want to start with clean, moisturized skin. Throughout the application process, you will be adding layers of powder to your skin. If your face is too dry, you might wind up with a “powdered” look.

Once you’ve got a clean and well-hydrated face, applying the mineral foundation is easy — just swirl a makeup brush in the foundation, tap away any excess, and apply as usual. If you prefer more coverage, you can always add an additional layer.

Note: You’ll want to stock up on some quality brushes that will last you a good while. You can generally find a brush set with all your basics just about anywhere. Mahya Cosmetics offers a sweet 7-piece set that’s great for everyday use, even when you’re traveling.

Covering and Concealing

Pure Beige Concealer from Mahya Cosmetics
Pure Beige Concealer from Mahya Cosmetics

For any unwanted blemishes or scars, mineral makeup has you covered. A mineral concealer is perfect for minimizing the appearance of any spots or lines, without clogging your pores.

These concealers also work on dark circles under your eyes, leaving you with a brighter, fresher appearance.

The concealer is applied by using a smaller brush, for a more focused application on blemish areas. Dip the brush in concealer, tap away excess powder, and gently “dot” the area that you want to cover up. Be sure to blend the area a bit so that the look is consistent and not “patchy” looking.

You’re Making Me Blush

Crazy Glimmering Blush from Mahya Cosmetics
Crazy Glimmering Blush from Mahya Cosmetics

Everyone loves some color, and no look is complete without a great blush to highlight those cheeks. You can choose from matte applications or a blush with some sexy shimmer to it.

From fresh and youthful to sultry and dramatic, there are dozens of color options for you to choose from. Remember — mineral makeup is highly pigmented, so you’ll want to use a lighter hand when applying the blush to your cheeks. You can always add more!

The Eyes Have It

You and Me Glimmering Multi-Purpose Minerals Eye Shadow from Mahya Cosmetics
You and Me Glimmering Multi-Purpose Minerals Eye Shadow from Mahya Cosmetics

No look is complete without the perfect eye! Whether you’re heading into the office or out with your friends, there’s a mineral eye shadow for the occasion.

It’s worth noting that mineral eye shadow will stay on the skin longer if a primer is used before you apply it. Don’t have any primer? Just a bit of moisturizer or some of your foundation applied to your eyelid will give the eye shadow something to stick to. Have fun!

Bronze Away!

Istanbul Bronzer from Mahya Cosmetics
Istanbul Bronzer from Mahya Cosmetics

Give your look some additional glam with a gorgeous bronzer. You can use the bronzer to add more color to your skin, enhance your cheekbones, or add highlights and contouring to your look — get creative!

The bronzer is applied just like your foundation, with a larger brush to cover more surface area. Use a light hand here, as well. You can always build on more powder if you’d like the effect to be more dramatic.

Finishing the Look

#2 Mineral Veil Finishing Powder from Mahya Cosmetics
#2 Mineral Veil Finishing Powder from Mahya Cosmetics

After you’ve put the time into creating your perfect look, you’ll want to make sure it stays put, right?

Grab one of your larger brushes after you’ve applied the rest of your makeup, and gently dust your face with the finishing powder. This sets the mineral makeup and leaves you with a soft finish to your look.

So if you’ve been curious about applying mineral makeup, maybe it’s time you gave it a try. Start with something fun like an eye shadow or blush, then branch out into the foundation, bronzer, and finishing powder. Your new look is just a few brush strokes away!

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Not Puppy Love: Why is Formaldehyde in Shampoo

When you last went to the store, did you buy soap or shampoo? Have you recently purchased shampoo for your dog or cat? If so, did you even consider that there might be formaldehyde in shampoo, soap, and other skin care products you use every day for your pets, your baby, or yourself? This is the sad, but sometimes true reality of the products we have in our homes. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Really, there’s formaldehyde in shampoo?!

By now you’ve probably seen the adorable pictures that blogger Jessica Shyba took of her son Beau napping with the family dog Theo.

Puppy and baby got us talking here at Soap Hope about what goes into products for kids and pets.

We picked up a bottle of dog shampoo at the local pet store and had a look at the ingredient list. It started off fine – water, honey extract, and chamomile extract seemed like winners to us — but why was artificial fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, and Tetrasodium EDTA in dog shampoo?

Formaldehyde is for the Dogs

DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative that works by releasing formaldehyde into the product continuously over time. Formaldehyde does a great job inhibiting the growth of mold; but it’s also a known carcinogen, and most people don’t want it on their bodies or on their pets – especially when the puppy is snuggled up with the kids.

The consumer goods industry in the U.S. has a lot of leeway. If they want formaldehyde in shampoo, for example, but you don’t want to tell their customers, they can just add DMDM Hydantoin instead. The DMDM Hydantoin will slowly break down into formaldehyde in the shampoo throughout the life of the product. Problem solved!

(In the European Union, companies can’t get away with this trick: if an ingredient in their product breaks down into formaldehyde, they have to write “contains formaldehyde” on the label.)

In the Dog House

It’s not just Theo’s shampoo we think about at Soap Hope, it’s young Beau’s as well. Until 2014, Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo had Quaternium-15 in it. You guessed it – Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde in shampoo and other products they designed for babies. Years of public outcry finally caused Johnson & Johnson to reformulate their baby shampoo.

J&J Removing Formaldehyde in Shampoo
J&J removes formaldehyde-causing ingredients in their shampoo.
Image Source: NYTimes.com

Shampoo needs a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria. Big manufacturers don’t care that Quaternium-15 and DMDM Hydantoin produce formaldehyde; they care that they are very cheap and give their products a shelf life of over a year. These manufacturers know they can put pretty pictures on the products and make commercials with happy kids and pets, and that most people won’t look any further.

“No more tears!” Not quite.

Better Ways

There are better ways for manufacturers to preserve shampoo rather, than putting formaldehyde in their products. They can use a low-risk food-grade preservative like potassium sorbate, which has the same toxicity level as table salt. Even better, they can use vitamin e (tocopherol).

Some manufacturers don’t even require a preservative. For your pooch, try the totally natural Woof Wild Dog Shampoo Bar. Hand made by Maggie Hanus at A Wild Soap Bar, this shampoo bar has organic oils, aloe, oats, clay, sea salt, essential oils, yucca root and horsemint. It will leave your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and smelling great.

For moms and dads looking for a safe shampoo, we recommend any products from Acure Organics.

For baby’s bath time, try Hugo Natural’s Chamomile Vanilla Shampoo and Wash, followed by Badger’s Chamomile & Calendula Baby Oil, which contains nothing but certified organic essential oils.

What other ingredients are you worried about in your body care products? Let us know.