Category Archives: Brands We Love

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.

Why a Clean Kitchen Isn’t Always a Safe Kitchen: A Case for Natural Kitchen Cleaner

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

As a kid, I always knew when my mom had been scrubbing the kitchen. Not just by how the sink sparkled and the floor shined, but by the pervasive smell of bleach and noxious blue window cleaner.

Like many of us, I grew up thinking that it’s not a clean kitchen unless it “smells clean.” But that particular “smell of clean” can also be the scent of damage to your body.

Toxic Clean

The American Lung Association warns of the dangers of many commercial household cleaners. The risks are plenty:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), bleach, and ammonia are known lung irritants that worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory conditions.
  • When products containing household bleach and ammonia are mixed, they emit dangerous toxic gases into the air that have adverse effects on the body when inhaled.
  • New research shows that fragrances used in household cleaners, when mixed with ozone (O3), can create carcinogenic formaldehyde particles in the air.

Because of all of the risks associated with the use of harsh chemicals in our house, don’t you think it’s high time we reconsider the old “tried and true” cleaners as the benchmark of cleanliness?

Natural Clean

In all honesty, I never liked the smell of bleach or any other industrial cleaner when I was growing up.  As I’ve grown up and taken on the responsibility of managing the care of my own home, I’ve come to love the fresh and light aromas of pure plant extracts and essential oils found in natural kitchen cleaning products.

Products made with safe, natural ingredients instead of artificial chemicals can be just as effective at cleaning and sanitizing your home. And, you don’t have to give up “the smell of clean” just so you can get a product that’s safe enough for even the smallest hands and feet (or paws) in the house.

If you’ve ever caught your toddler (or pooch) eating food off the kitchen floor, you can appreciate the overall safety of a natural kitchen cleaner like Better Life’s All Purpose Cleaner.

Anti-Bacterial or Anti-Effective

When considering the effectiveness of natural ingredients, take for example the recent attention on the overuse of anti-bacterial soaps.

Once lauded as an aid in preventing illness and increasing safety, Triclosan, which is found in many anti-bacterial soaps and sanitizers, has been shown to have no demonstrable benefit in preventing everyday illnesses. In addition, triclosan may pose additional health risks, like the contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and causing adverse hormonal effects, when used long-term.

Top to Bottom

Even though my mom may not have had it entirely right with the “smell clean, is clean” mantra, she taught me that when we know better, we do better. It’s time to do better with our kitchen cleaners.

So when it’s time to clean your kitchen again (When is the kitchen really ever clean?), avoid the temptation of the “old smell test” and instead, opt for the refreshing aromas of natural ingredients that won’t overwhelm the olfactory receptors of your family. They will thank you, and your kitchen will thank you as well.

Here are a few of our favorite natural kitchen cleaners at Soap Hope.

Ingredients We Love: A Damascus Rose By Any Other Name…

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

One of my favorite forbidden treats as a little girl was the delicate glass jar on my grandmother’s vanity, filled with fragrant, pink-tinted rosewater.  I would dab just the faintest drop of the blushing potion beneath my nose so that the heady but soothing aroma of rose lingered well after the car ride home.

It wasn’t until much later, on my own journey that I discovered the benefits of that sweet elixir went far beyond its aroma. As my own path meandered towards natural and plant based solutions for both health and beauty, I came to understand the lasting allure of the rose for both mind and body.

The Symbol of Love

The symbol of love, The Queen of the Flowers, the rose draws countless references in art, history, and culture. With the recent passing of Valentine’s Day, roses have been absolutely everywhere.

Damascus Rose Face Oil by Badger
Damascus Rose Face Oil by Badger

From ancient Asia to Rome and Greece, this flower is steeped in mythology and revered as a most precious botanical. It was said that in India, Vishnu built his bride, Lakshmi, out of 108 large and 1008 small rose petals.

Nearly everywhere you look in ancient history, the rose is revered. What you may not know about this bud, is that it is honored just as much for its health and beauty prowess as it is for its appearance and aroma. In particular, the rose hybrid known as rosa damascena (or the Damascus Rose) offers wonderful benefits for the mind and body.

Not Just a Pretty Flower

The aroma alone of the Damascus rose carries a potent combination of both relaxing and uplifting properties. As an aromatherapeutic, rose oil is touted for improving and helping to stabilize the mood of regular users. I have to admit, even though I’m not wild about highly floral scents, I am unable to close my eyes and take a deep breath with my face buried in a rose without coming out the other side almost mystically happy.

Damascus Rose Beauty Balm by Badger
Damascus Rose Beauty Balm by Badger

But the reasons roses have been used for health and beauty for centuries go far beyond a pretty smell.  From controlling acne to maintaining moisture in dry or maturing skin, rose oil has many phenomenal benefits:

  1. CLEANSER: Like many essential oils, rose carries both antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it an outstanding cleanser.
  2. MOISTURIZER: As we are learning in the world of natural health and beauty, oil cleansers carry many benefits for maintaining moisture in the skin. Rose is particularly helpful to those facing dry conditions or wishing to maintain their skin’s moisture as they mature.
  3. ACNE: It may seem like a contradiction for something that hydrates so deeply to also help prevent and control blemishes on the skin, but rose oil is known for both of these things, making it an ideal ingredient to have in your routine in all stages of life.
Damascus Rose Facial Cleansing Oil by Badger
Damascus Rose Facial Cleansing Oil by Badger

If you’re interested in the benefits of Damascus Rose for health and beauty, take a look at our selection from Badger’s Damascus Rose skin care line.

 

The 7 Products You Need in Your Natural Skin Care Routine

The skin on our face is typically the most exposed part of our body. Harsh winter air, UV rays, and the natural processes of aging can damage skin and slow down cell renewal.

But there’s still hope! You can ensure that your skin is getting the nourishment and protection that it needs by incorporating these natural products into your skin care regimen.

1. The Right Cleanser

Washing away the day’s impurities is essential to your skin’s health. Leaving behind any grime and dead skin on your face can lead to breakouts and further skin damage.

Choosing a cleanser, though, is no easy task! You’ll want to find a product that is effective enough to wash away impurities, but not so harsh that it strips away all of your skin’s natural moisture and oils.

Sensitive Facial Cleanser by Acure Organics
Sensitive Facial Cleanser with Argan Oil and Probiotics

The Sensitive Facial Cleanser from Acure offers a hydrating, soothing solution for even the most sensitive skin types.

Probiotics, enriching argan oil, and omega fatty acids make this cleanser a gentle but seriously nourishing solution.

“It’s the perfect mix between a gel and a cream cleanser,” says one Acure customer, “[it] doesn’t leave skin with a residue and removes every bit of makeup, even smudge-resistant liquid liner and mascara. Very gentle and soothing, doesn’t leave my skin sensitized or raw afterwards. This is definitely a new staple in my face care routine!”¹

“The facial cleanser doesn’t leave skin with a residue and removes every bit of makeup, even smudge-resistant liquid liner and mascara.”

2. A Gentle Toner

Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner by Acure Organics
Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner

Some might not consider this step of facial care to be entirely necessary, but we’re big fans of toners.

Applying a toner after you cleanse helps to balance out skin tone and soothes any irritation.

The Red Tea and Rose Facial Toner from Acure restores balance in your skin, and removes any excess oil from your face, without overdrying it.

3. Moisturizers

Moisturizers are a no-brainer. They deliver vitamins and nutrients, and lock in hydration for your skin, keeping it healthy and nourished. Who wouldn’t want that for their skin?

Picking the right moisturizer can be a chore, though — there are a lot of different options, and finding the right one for your skin’s needs means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

Oil Control Facial Moisturizer by Acure Organics
Oil Control Facial Moisturizer with Lilac Stem Cell

Acure’s Oil Control Moisturizer does just what it says. Combat oily skin and help prevent future breakouts by applying after you wash and tone. The moisturizer contains Lilac Stem Cells, which help to reduce acne lesions and protect against more irritation. The Chlorella Growth Factor renews damaged skin cells, and improves your skin’s tone and texture.

Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream by Acure Organics
Day Cream with Gotu Kola Stem Cell

To support cell renewal and skin elasticity, try Acure’s Gotu Kola Stem Cell Day Cream. It goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly, and protects your skin from free radicals and environmental damage.

4. Night Creams

Night Cream by Acure Organics
Night Cream with Argan Stem Cell + 2% CGF

Our bodies undergo repair while we sleep, and we can help boost this restorative process by using products that benefit cell renewal and deliver extra hydration.

Acure’s Night Cream contains Moroccan Argan Oil, which moisturizes and feeds your skin. Chlorella Growth Factor strengthens the elastin fibers and collagen in your skin, so you’ll wake up looking refreshed (even if you’re not feeling it).

5. Masks and Scrubs

These kinds of products should not typically be used on a daily basis, but including them once or twice a week in your routine will help boost the effectiveness of your existing regimen.

Brightening Facial Scrub by Acure Organics
Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub

Revive dull skin with this Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scrub. It’s great for ALL skin types, and incorporating this into your weekly routine will leave skin feeling fresh, bright, and new.

“I’ve never used a scrub that made my face feel so good after using this one. It’s very effective, and strikes the perfect balance between working and still being gentle. I use this everyday before I use my cleanser,” said one Acure customer.²

“I’ve never used a scrub that made my face feel so good after using this one…I use this everyday before I use my cleanser.”

6. Facial Oils

It seems counter-intuitive to use oil on our skin – doesn’t oil encourage breakouts or unwanted shine?

Marula Oil by Acure Organics
Marula Oil for All Skin Types

But treating the face with oil provides your skin with the vitamins and nutrients that it needs, without stripping away any of your skin’s moisture.

Acure’s Marula Oil treatment uses 100% pure wildcrafted marula oil. Widely known for its anti-aging properties, marula oil is often referred to as a “miracle oil” for its extremely potent moisturizing and nourishing agents. Even better – it’s great for all skin types!

Your Ideal Facial Care Routine

Now more than ever, there is an overwhelming array of beauty products available for your facial care routine. Finding what works best for your skin type and its specific needs – and keeping your regimen consistent – will help to ensure that you maintain healthy skin and a fresh, happy face.

Acure Ultimate Natural Skin Care Collection

You can purchase the entire collection of natural skin care products from Acure here!

¹http://www.acureorganics.com/product-p/047.htm

²http://www.acureorganics.com/Brightening-Facial-Scrub-p/012.htm

Brands We Love: Indigo Wild


“Any more natural and you’d be naked.” (Indigo Wild)

Irreverent, provocative, tongue-in-cheek. Call them what you’d like, but the folks at Indigo Wild have genuine personality.

“You can’t appeal to everyone,” explains Indigo Wild owner and president, Emily Voth, about their company’s “wild” culture.

Their Zum Bar soaps have been on Soap Hope shelves since we first started, and Indigo Wild’s collection of quality, natural skin care is still one of our top selling brands.

It’s a pleasure to work with individuals and companies that are so passionate about the work that they do, and if you’re familiar with Indigo Wild, you’ll know that the same passion extends to the products they create.

Indigo Wild: A Passion for Natural

Emily had been working in the corporate world for several years when she started to recognize how disenchanted she felt with her career.

“I wanted to do something I cared about,” says Emily. “I’d been working in that environment for so long, but I looked up at one point and just thought, ‘Is this it?'”

She’d cultivated an interest for aromatherapy and herb gardening, and her yoga instructor suggested turning one of her passions into more of a business.

“So I started sneaking my lunch into the library, researching everything I could; I started testing and making soaps, and gave those to my friends to try out,” she said.

Her husband helped her out (he designed the Indigo Wild logo on a napkin) and they prepared to set up shop at her local farmers market. Her soap bars were a huge hit.

“We sold out of everything,” she said.

She gave herself six months to get the business going, and did freelance work to help generate an income. Not the easiest route to take, but Emily couldn’t give up the idea. “I had to start something where I felt more like myself.”

But that’s just where things began.

Building a Culture that Cares

This kind of tenacious, self-motivated spirit has carried through Indigo Wild’s overall company culture, as well.

tina-production“It takes a special kind of person to work here. You can’t teach passion or train people to be motivated,” says Emily.

 

And it’s the company’s authenticity and passion for creating such quality products that has brought them so much success.

Building a culture where the employees are not only allowed, but encouraged, to fly their freak flags has helped to establish Indigo Wild as a nationally recognized natural brand. They’ve been recognized in numerous publications, like InStyle and Rachael Ray’s Everyday.

A Recipe for Success

Indigo Wild natural goat's milk soap
The ever-popular Frankincense and Myrrh Bar by Indigo Wild

Indigo Wild’s bar soaps use goat’s milk — which is why they have the adorable goat on all of their bars and products.

Goat’s milk is naturally moisturizing, pH balanced for skin and hair, and full of vitamins that our skin craves.

Combining such wholesome ingredients with aromatherapeutic essential oils makes the Zum soap bar popular with our Soap Hope customers — and it’s now carried in stores all over the U.S. (and Canada!).

Indigo Wild is also dedicated to several worthy causes, including a local dog rescue group and programs that support breast cancer survivors.

It’s that sort of commitment to product and making an impact that makes us proud to carry Indigo Wild here at Soap Hope.

 

Here are a few of our favorite Indigo Wild products!

 

 

Image credit: Indigo Wild

Brands We Love: Pangea Organics

Any brand or product we carry at Soap Hope is one that we’ve tested and believe in. The people behind those brands are just as passionate as we are about their products, and it’s always a pleasure to work with individuals and companies that are so conscientious and committed.

Joshua Scott Onysko founded Pangea Organics in 2000. He started the company with a dedication to creating organic skin care products that are nourishing and effective.

Pangea Organic’s message is clear — everything the company makes is natural and ethically sourced, out of a reverence for our planet and commitment to living mindfully.

“Every decision we make affects the greater good,” says Joshua. “When we live with that in mind, life is more fulfilling, more authentic.”

From the ingredients that are hand-picked for Pangea’s products to the company’s mission of creating a more sustainable future, Pangea is dedicated to creating inspiring experiences for its customers.

A Born Explorer

Joshua grew up in the Northeast, and was certainly not your typical teen.

“I didn’t fit in at school, didn’t do very well in my classes, except for art. At 16, I talked to my parents, and left in a VW bus to travel and explore the world. I wanted to experience different cultures,” he explains.

Joshua spent several years traveling, discovering new traditions and exploring other countries. Those experiences and the people that he encountered during his travels inspired the launch of Pangea Organics.

The Pangea Vision

Joshua had been committed to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle before the idea for Pangea came about, and has adhered to his original vision for the company: Always Beneficial, Never Artificial.

Pangea Organics prides itself on using only organic and nutrient-rich foods in their skin care products.

joshuacranberries

“We spend months discovering the world’s most effective, nourishing ingredients to create the best skincare products available,” says Joshua.

The Pangea Skin Care Line

We’re thrilled to be able to offer Pangea Organics here at Soap Hope. Joshua’s commitment to finding the most effective and sustainably-sourced ingredients and creating a premium skin care line means we’re able to offer our Soap Hope customers some the best products out there.

With a focus on improving and maintaining healthy skin, Pangea Organics’ products help to defend our largest organ against free radicals, support collagen retention and hydration, and nourish aging skin with nutrients found around the world.

It’s that kind of dedication and commitment to sustainable practices and natural skin care that makes us proud to carry Pangea Organics. Check out some of our favorite products below!

 

The Dry Hair Conundrum

Feeling frazzled about your dry hair? You’re certainly not the only one.

Especially in more arid climates, or if you’re using heat to style your hair, you might encounter dry hair on a regular basis.

And while using a quality conditioner can help, there are some other factors to consider when caring for your ‘do.

Your scalp isn’t producing enough oil to lubricate it.

If you’ll remember our post on dry shampoos,  your skin and scalp have tiny little glands all over them that secrete oil, or sebum, called sebaceous glands.

Sometimes hair doesn’t produce enough oil — and as we get older, our sebaceous glands stop producing as much sebum. This can lead to not just dry hair, but a dry scalp, as well (which is what causes dandruff).

Your hair isn’t keeping moisture in.

Each strand of hair is protected by a cuticle, shielding the strand from heat and other types of damage. The cuticle also helps to lock in the sebum that your scalp is generating.

When the layers of cuticle start to separate, oil escapes and leaves the hair exposed.

Excessive dryness can also cause split ends, where the hair shaft splits or frays due to heat applications or “mechanical stress” (like using a curling iron).

Good news!

Some of this damage can be prevented and repaired, with a few adjustments in your hair care routine.

Stop washing your hair daily. This strips the hair of its natural oils and can actually lead to  the overproduction of oils, disrupting your hair’s natural balance.

 

Seaweed Bath Company Argan Citrus Shampoo
Smoothing Citrus Shampoo from Seaweed Bath Company

 

Use a shampoo that’s less harsh on your hair — and especially shampoos with  toxic ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate or synthetic preservative. The Seaweed Bath Company handcrafts their shampoos using quality ingredients that feed and nourish damaged hair.

 

 

Deep Conditioning Root Repair Hair Mask
Deep Conditioning Root Repair Hair Mask from Acure

 

 

 

Try a deep conditioner on your hair every now and then. We’re big fans of the Deep Conditioning Root Repair Mask from Acure, which locks in moisture and protects your hair cortex.

 

 

 

 

And of course, our  diet and physical health will also make a difference. Eating whole foods with lots of vitamins and minerals will help to ensure your hair is getting the love it really needs.

How do you prevent or repair your dry hair woes? Leave your suggestions and comments below!

 

Bugs Be Gone! Natural Insect Repellents for the Summer

During these summer months, while you’re out swimming or camping or picnicking, there’s good chance you’ll have some unwelcome guests.

Whether those guests are in the form of mosquitoes, houseflies,  or ticks, chances are you’ll want some kind of protection from them, so that your summer fun isn’t ruined. And ideally, you’ll want a natural insect repellent to help with that.

Details on DEET

Any discussion around insect repellent inevitably leads to the topic of DEET. Developed as a pesticide by the U.S. Army, it appeared to be highly effective in protecting humans from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other biting insects.

You’ll find a large number of insect repellents on store shelves contain DEET — but they come with some pretty serious warnings.

DEET has been found to be toxic, and is a known skin irritant. Manufacturers recommend NOT using DEET under clothing or on damaged skin, and that once you don’t need a repellent, you should wash off the application.

Oh yeah, and DEET is a solvent. It can actually DISSOLVE materials like plastics, rayon, and synthetic materials.

But luckily there are safe, non-toxic options available that won’t dissolve plastics. Check out these natural insect repellents below!

Basil

Basil is effective in repelling house flies and mosquitoes — and it tastes great in salads and a number of dishes!

You can use basil by placing containers near doors (where bugs like to sneak in), or you can apply a solution of basil-infused water and vodka to your skin to prevent bites. Yes, vodka.

Rosemary

natural insect repellent
Badger Anti-Bug Balm

We love rosemary for all kinds of reasons (you can check out our previous blogs on the rosemary plant here), and, of course, it’s just as helpful as a natural insect repellent. You can make a simple repellent spray by boiling dried rosemary in water and pouring in a small squirt bottle.

Or you can find rosemary in the Badger Balm Anti-Bug Balm, proven to be effective for up to 3 hours.

Mint

Another one of our favorites! Any member of the mint plant family (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, etc.) can be used to help ward off insects.

Citronella

natural insect repellent
Baby Bug from Acure

Citronella oil is obtained from a species of lemongrass plant, and you’ll recognize the smell in some candles used to repel mosquitoes (especially during summer cookouts).

You can also find citronella in Acure’s Baby Bug repellent — safe enough to use for the kiddos!

Flower Repellents

flowers-369666_1280Chrysanthemums, marigolds, petunias — you can plant these lovely flowers near your garden to protect from all kinds of pests.

 

What about you? How do you prevent bug bites and pests when it’s warm out?

 

THE GREAT DEBATE: Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap

For years, the only option for working up a good lather in the shower was limited to one item: bar soap. These days, there are thousands of options for getting clean: scrubs, washes, oils, and all kinds of lovely bar soap to choose from.

soap ad
Image Credit: Flickr

The two big players are liquid soaps and bar soaps — both have their redeeming qualities, but just what is it that makes them unique and different?

If you’ll remember our previous post on bar soaps, “castile soap” became the generic name for the hard soaps that we still use today.

The process for soap making hasn’t changed much – fats get boiled with alkali, which then produces soap and glycerin. But there are so many different kinds of bar soaps too choose from now, it’s hard to pick a favorite! (Personally, I’m loving the Bluebonnet Bar from A Wild Soap Bar.)

Bar soaps are awesome, but there are just as many reasons to love liquid soaps, so we thought we’d enumerate all of the great qualities about both.

Bar Soaps

1. Less waste: Bar soaps don’t get wasted as quickly. People typically overestimate how much liquid soap they use and go through their bottle a lot faster.

Sea Salt Zum Bar
Sea Salt Zum Bar from Indigo Wild

2. Built-in exfoliation: When you rub your skin with soap, this helps to remove debris and dead skin while you wash, especially if you use soaps like the Sea Salt bar from Indigo Wild.

3. Ease of use: Bar soap is pretty straightforward — just remove any packaging and get to cleaning up!

Liquid Soaps

1. OOPS: You’re not going to accidentally lose an ENTIRE bottle of liquid soap down the drain, like you might when accidentally dropping a bar of soap in the shower.

2. A better lather: Liquid soaps tend to work up a better lather than bar soap, which some folks just can’t do without! The luxury of a super sudsy clean can feel great after a long day.

Prickly Pear Castile Soap
Prickly Pear Castile Soap from A Wild Soap Bar

3. Variety of uses: If you’ve got a liquid castile soap in your house, you have an arsenal of cleaning power behind you. Castile soap can be used for cleaning you, your kids, your dog, your floor – just about anything.

 

 

So which side do you fall on, when it comes to getting clean? Let us know in the comments below!