Category Archives: Ingredients We Love

Health Benefits From Burning Candles

Part of living healthy is self-care

We can eat great, workout, and have professional and personal life balance, but taking care of your body and mind, dropping all other things and going zen is necessary to a well-rounded, healthy life. That’s where candles come in. You can add them to your self-care routine easily and receive a plethora of benefits along the way. Burning candles do more than adding a sense of Feng Shui to your home. The action of burning a candle can provide an atmosphere to induce calm and a sense of well-being. Candles play a big part in the power of meditation and when you burn candles that have essential oils in them, you open yourself up to a whole new world of self-care.

Candles with essential oils like bergamot, lavender, and patchouli can fill the space with an easy gentle scent. The oils will quiet your mind and help you clear your stress. Candles are known for their soothing, healing properties and are often used by therapists, such as massage therapists, to create a peaceful ambiance in their service rooms.

My favorite type of candle is aromatherapy candles that can help you relax, feel calm, energized, and help your brain get more focused and productive. Lavender candles help ease your mind and relieve stress. Eucalyptus candles are energizing and improve focus. Lemon candles bring a clean, also energizing atmosphere and can relieve anxiety and depression. Whatever the health benefit you seek there is an essential oil infused candle waiting for you to light up their world.

Know your Candle!

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin Wax is a by-product of the crude oil refinement process. The mass amount of commercial candle companies use paraffin as their wax because it is extremely low cost. But when burned, these candles with paraffin wax release toxins into the air. Paraffin candles also burn faster than beeswax, soy, palm oil, and other waxes. We here at Soap Hope recommend staying clear of paraffin wax for those who are conscious about their health.

Enjoy the Soy

By nature, soy wax is soft, creamy, and burns clean. Soy candles can be made from 100% soybean and palm oil. There are large multitudes of soy candles available. Buyers beware: as long as a wax blend contains 51% soy, it can be branded as a soy candle – so its important to check the purity. We always check all ingredients at Soap Hope, so we’ve got you covered! Soy blends (part-soy, part-anything else) and paraffin candles should be avoided if you’re looking for anything better than a toxic flame.

Just like everyone has different tastes in fashion and music, we also have particular fragrance preferences, and everyone smells scents differently. Show off your individuality and personality by burning the scents that you love.

Why do you burn candles?

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.

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.

Hair’s Best Friend: Moroccan Argan Oil

Miracle Oil

By now you’ve certainly heard of argan oil. It’s been called “the miracle oil” and “liquid gold,” and while it’s a relatively new discovery in the beauty industry, the benefits of argan oil have been known for centuries in northern Africa. In the arid environment where it grows, argan has always been used to keep hair and skin soft and supple. Rich in nutrients, argan was also used topically for skin ailments and to fight infections.

Argan oil is one of the rarest oils on the planet, because it comes from the fruit of the argania spinosa tree which grows in only a very small part of the world.

Focus on Hair

Argan oil has powerful applications for skin, face, eyes, and nails, and as you will learn today, for hair.

Many people who try argan oil for the first time are amazed by its effects. It helps with both oily and dry scalp conditions because it regulates the activity of hair follicles. Argan is used to counteract the root causes of dry or damaged hair. For those with dull or rough hair, it can create shine and smoothness.

Argan oil is rich in the nutrients that your body and hair need – antioxidants, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acid, linoleic acid and oleic acid to name a few. Hair absorbs and retains this oil to create shine and body – but argan is light and does not build up, so hair gets the benefit of these great properties without being weighed down.

Argan oil penetrates the hair follicle and even protects from UV rays and environmental pollutants; it is definitely recommended for color treated hair and to strengthen styled hair.

Everything Good

At Soap Hope we always encourage practices that support our “Everything Good” motto. We love that most argan oil in the world is produced by fair trade women’s co-operatives. Environmentally, the argan forest in Morocco is a designated protected biosphere to ensure that argan fruit production remains sustainable.

I Want It!

Soap Hope’s brands recognize the importance of argan oil in their top of the line hair products. You’ll find argan-focused hair products and more from Seaweed Bath Company, Acure Organics, Hugo Naturals, and more. You can also get pure organic argan oil at Soap Hope from Acure Organics.

Do you use argan oil as a part of your hair regimen? Share your experiences with us in the comments below – we want to hear from you.

Ingredients We Love: The Ever-Useful Eucalyptus

Finding natural remedies is kind of our thing here at Soap Hope. Whether you suffer from a condition like eczema or want to relieve headaches without medication, we’re pretty convinced there are a variety of treatments available if we just look at the natural world around us.

One of those natural wonders is the eucalyptus tree. Specifically, the essential oil that comes from the eucalyptus plant.

Eucalyptus is a type of flowering shrub, of which there are hundreds of species. Most of those species are native to Australia, with only 15 species existing outside of the Land Down Under.

The leaves of the eucalyptus are typically poisonous to most animals — except the adorable koala bear, of course, whose unusually long intestines help it process the toxins in the leaves. Fun fact: koalas can eat up to THREE POUNDS of eucalyptus leaves in one day.

While the leaves are toxic to most organisms, the oil produced from eucalyptus is safe in lower doses.

In fact, eucalyptus oil can be found in a number of skin care and aromatherapeutic products, because it’s just that useful!

Inflammation Be Gone

We discussed inflammation and its complications in a previous post, and it’s a condition that everyone suffers from at some point. Luckily, the oil from a eucalyptus plant is an analgesic, which means that it’s a pain reliever. When applied, eucalyptus oil has a cooling effect, which helps to reduce symptoms of inflammation like swelling and redness.

Immune System Booster

Eucalyptus oil is capable of preventing and stopping infection — its antimicrobial properties make it effective at killing germs and preventing any further infection.

“When administered, this oil [strengthens] the response of macrophages (the cells that kill infections). Moreover, it also helps the immune cells within the body to produce their own innate protective mechanism,” reports a recent study.

No More Pests

You’ll find eucalyptus oil in a number of insecticides and repellents. Its strong aroma makes eucalyptus oil perfect for keeping insects like mosquitoes and flies at bay. The oil is also frequently used to prevent and kill lice and is an excellent alternative to mainstream lice treatments that are severe and damaging to the hair.

Fresh Breath and Sparkling Smiles

You might find eucalyptus oil in your mouthwash if you read the ingredients. Because of its impressive germicidal qualities, the cineole compound in eucalyptus makes it great at fighting germs and preventing cavities.

Cough and Cold Relief

The next time you’re congested, try a steam inhalation treatment with eucalyptus oil for near-instant relief. “[It’s] due to the antibacterial qualities that wipe out even drug-resistant bacterium from the respiratory tract. Moreover, the vapors of eucalyptus oil act as a powerful decongestant which when inhaled help in relieving the symptoms of bronchitis and a congested nose.”

Mental Clarity and Brain Power

Eucalyptus oil is often used in aromatherapy for stress relief and mental exhaustion. The oil is a stimulant and helps to increase blood flow and circulation when used. Incorporating eucalyptus oil in aromatherapy helps to not only clear nasal passages but helps to increase blood flow and bring more oxygen to the brain.

So the next time you’re sneezing or exhausted, or wanting a natural remedy for pain relief, give eucalyptus a try! What other treatments have you used eucalyptus oil for? Feel free to comment below.

Check out some of our favorite Soap Hope products that contain eucalyptus oil here!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Benefits of the Goji Berry: A Tiny, Totally Awesome Fruit

Small, slightly sweet, and packed with antioxidants, the goji berry packs so many benefits that it may just be your new favorite fruit. It’s been used for centuries around the world as a dietary supplement. But the benefits of this unassuming little fruit go beyond the diet, and some of the health benefits might surprise you.

The Healthy Goji Berry: Small But Powerful

We have other favorite fruits at Soap Hope, but the goji berry just might top our list. A goji berry is about the size of the tip of your pinky finger. This fruit is a member of the nightshade family of plants — an important family of flowering plants that range from annual and perennial herbs to vines, shrubs, and trees. The bright, orange-red berry is mostly commonly grown in China, but can also be found in increasing frequency in countries like the Canada and the United States.

Occasionally referred to as wolf berries, they are often damaged during picking. As a result, you’ll often be able to find goji berries in a dried form as a way to preserve them. The most common dietary uses for goji berries are eating the dried fruit or drinking them as a fruit juice. When it comes to goji berries and skin care, the oil from the berries is extracted and used because of its high concentration of minerals and essential amino acids, as we’ll explain below.

6 Benefits of the Berry

This infographic highlights six benefits of the goji berry, including: as a natural remedy for diabetes, immune system boost, healthy & glowing skin, reducing fatigue, antioxidant properties, and amino acid powerhouse.

1) Natural Remedy

Goji berries have been used as natural remedies for diabetes, hypertension, and even malaria. That’s because this little fruit is a natural antioxidant and full of nutrients that support bodily functions.

Antioxidants counteract the chemicals caused by free radicals, substances that occur naturally in our body. When free radicals are produced in excess, it can cause cell damage.

From WebMD: “Chinese research has shown a standardised dose of goji berry extract given over a month-long trial helped boost levels of protective antioxidant liver enzymes, and reduced by-products of oxidative damage in the blood by almost 10%.”

2) Immune System Boost

Because of its antioxidant superpowers, goji berries can help boost your immune system and its functions. The berries also contain vitamin A, which supports your body’s ability to fight off sickness.

3) Healthy, Glowing Skin

Many have praised the goji berry for its anti-aging potential. The fruit contains 11 of the 22 essential dietary trace minerals, including calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc, along with amino acids. All of these vitamins and nutrients make the goji berry a powerhouse of skin care. This berry supports skin hydration and improves the tone of your skin.

4) Lighten Up the Mood

For many years, goji berry has been used in tonics or as an extract to improve mood and overall well-being. Goji berries contain complex starches (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides) which benefit immune function and reduce fatigue.

5) Aging Gracefully

The goji berry has a reputation for preserving long life. In China’s first herbal encyclopedia, “Shen Nong’s Materia Medica,” the goji was deemed a “superior tonic.” People used the berry in teas and tonics to strengthen the liver, purify the blood, protect healthy vision, and promote higher energy.

While there is not yet enough medical research to support the goji berry as a “fountain of youth,” the antioxidant properties, amino acids, and vitamins contained in the berry all support healthier bodily functions and even protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.

6) Overall Powerhouse

The goji berry contains essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are important for the growth and recovery of muscle tissue. While our bodies can make some of these building blocks (called non-essential amino acids), we have to obtain others (essential amino acids) from food or supplements, like the goji.

Small Berry, Big Benefits

All of these amazing properties make the tiny goji berry a powerful addition to any health or skin care regimen.

Natural ingredients like the goji berry deliver so many benefits to the human body. So, it’s no wonder we look for them in our skin and health care products here at Soap Hope.

(It’s important to note that the goji berry isn’t for everyone — people who use blood thinners or other medication could have a negative reaction. You should consult with your doctor first before trying any kind of natural remedy.)

Is this your first time learning about the goji berry? If so, what questions do you have for us?

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.

 

Some Everyday Uses for Castile Soap

This natural soap is definitely making a comeback! With good reason! Castile Soap has tons of uses, from body care, household cleaning, laundry, pet care, and more. Plus, this soap is very concentrated and goes a long way. Castile soap is made all-natural, with chemical-free ingredients. It is one of the most trusted soaps around and Dr. Bronner’s is one of the most popular and known producers of Castile soap. Today, Castile is one of the most popular European soaps and has gained a ton of popularity in the US. We sell Dr. Bronner’s products at Soap Hope and here are our top methods for using Castile soap.

Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soaps are made of pure coconut, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils. The product is concentrated and completely biodegradable that is gentle, but effective – with a ton of uses, making it an excellent value (despite the higher price tag.) Remember a little goes a long way!

We sell Dr. Bronner’s products at Soap Hope and here are our top methods for using castile soap:

Dish Soap
Just replace your regular store-bought dish soap with castile soap and a few drops will take care of those dirty dishes.

Laundry Detergent
Castile soap is a pure laundry detergent and will allow your clothes to last longer since they aren’t exposed to harsh chemicals. It will also aid in irritation of the skin from the heavy dyes and perfumes along with a list of other unnatural ingredients found in store-bought versions of traditional laundry detergents. Here’s an easy recipe:

  • 1 cup liquid castile soap
  • ¾ cup baking soda
  • 2 ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • ¼ finely grated sea salt

Dissolve the baking soda and salt into warm water. Pour into a gallon container and add the liquid castile soap. Fill to the top with water and mix. Use just about ¼ cup per load, meaning that this recipe should last about 64 loads.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
Add 1/4c of castile soap to a quart of warm water, stir in well. Add your favorite essential oil for added scent, cleaning and disinfecting power. Put the solution in a spray bottle and use it to clean any surface in your home!

Fruit and Veggie Wash
To rid fresh produce of any harmful pesticides or other dirt, you can spray a simple and effect spray with castile soap to make them ready to devour. Add ¼ tsp of castile soap to a bowl of water and stir. Submerge your produce into the bowl, rub with your hands to remove dirt or debris, and then rinse under cold water.

Ant Spray
Add 1/4c of tea tree soap to a quart of water and stir to mix. Place in an easy to use a spray bottle and spray indoors or outdoors, wherever those creepy crawlers are spotted.

While there are some creative uses for castile soap, Dr. Bronner’s has tons of products from bar soaps to body care, shaving soap to hair care, toothpaste to lip balm, and more. Definitely, a brand to check out.

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.