Category Archives: The Healthy Life

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here It Comes: Sun Protection Products

We know that the sun’s ultraviolet rays can be harmful to skin, so it’s important to take precautions for yourself and your family – especially during the summertime when they sun’s rays are at their peak, and when our clothing covers less skin. It’s also important to know which sun protection products you should look for, and which to avoid.

Eat Right!

As usual, Soap Hope’s first advice is to pay attention to your diet. Your body uses vitamin C and several B vitamins in its own natural process of protecting your skin from the sun’s rays, so it is especially important to replenish these vitamins during the summer.

Luckily, many of the fruits and vegetables that are abundant in summer are the very foods that can help you. One easy rule of thumb: eat green and red. Up your intake of spinach, broccoli, collard greens, peas, green and red peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes during the summer.

Everything but the Kitchen Zinc

It’s important to use sunscreen on skin that’s exposed to the sun.

There are two main ways to protect skin.  Nonabsorbent sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide for scientifically proven sun protection. They are not absorbed into the skin or bloodstream. These are minerals that are found abundantly in nature and are very safe for use in body care products.

Zinc oxide sits on the outer dead layer of skin – any free radicals generated will not affect living cells below. Responsible companies like Badger Balm blend powerful natural antioxidants like organic oils and vitamin E to absorb free radicals created by exposure to the sun.

Chemical sunscreens use chemicals like oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, or octisalate. We do not ever recommend using products with these chemicals in them! They are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. They disrupt normal hormone functions in humans and should especially never be used on children.

In 2008, a peer reviewed scientific study showed that these dangerous chemicals are also washing off swimmers in the ocean and poisoning our world’s coral reefs. Unfortunately, more than half of the sunscreens in the U.S. have these highly suspect chemicals in them. You won’t find them anywhere near Soap Hope’s lineup!

Nano No-No

There is some controversy about whether it is wise to pulverize zinc oxide into fine “nanoparticles,” or even what size particle should be considered “nano.” But many people who care about natural living currently avoid nanoparticle sunscreens.

For that reason, Soap Hope carries only sunscreens that are tested as non-nano by our makers. Our sun protection lineup consists of the products that people looking for a natural, healthy lifestyle prefer.

Right On Time

Depending on the way a sunscreen is formulated, it can become less effective after a long period of time. For that reason, Soap Hope only carries sunscreens that are stamped with an expiration date. You should replace any expired sunscreen products to ensure you are getting maximum sun protection.

Here Comes the Sun

While we’re on the topic, we thought we would share a little something with you – this rendition of Here Comes the Sun from way back when in 1976 – an acoustic version performed by George Harrison and Paul Simon. Enjoy, and stay protected this summer!

Oh Won’t You Stay Just a Little Bit Longer?

Wish your wonderful natural products would last a little longer? Here are some tips to get more from the natural products you love.

Soap Bars

We love soap bars made from goat’s milk, olive oil, and other natural nourishing ingredients – that wonderful aroma and big creamy lather. But sometimes they can seem to “melt away.” These simple practices will make them last longer.

Keep your soap away from water. This might sound obvious, but many people don’t realize that they are holding their soap bar under the water for much longer than they need to. Just get the bar wet and lather, keeping the bar away from the stream of water under the shower or sink. Kids are especially guilty of this – teach them to lather and put the soap away.

The elegant Spire from Spire Home Products keeps your soap lasting longer and your counter dry.
The elegant Spire from Spire Home Products keeps your soap lasting longer and your counter dry.

Soap bars can “melt” when you aren’t using them, if they are wet. Use a soap stand to help your soap bar air dry as fast as possible, and to keep your counters clean. (Try a Spire from Spire Home Products. They are stylish and will lengthen the life of any bar).

If you buy bars on sale in quantity, keep them in a zip-top bag until you are ready to use them. The essential oils in natural products will escape into the air. In a sealed bag, soap bars will last as much as four times longer than out in the open.

Liquids

The one natural ingredient that big commercial manufacturers use in their products isn’t very useful to the product: it’s water. Body wash, laundry detergent, shampoo – those commercial varieties try to make consumers think they are getting more product, when they are just getting more water.

Natural product makers don’t work that way. They infuse their products liberally with essential extracts of a variety of natural elements. A little goes a long way. So always use a small amount of product first, and see how much you really need. You may have to “untrain” yourself after years of using commercial products that were mostly water.

For instance, just a small amount of Acure Organics facial cleanser is enough to thoroughly cleanse your face and impart its nourishing ingredients. If you double the amount, that’s just washed off!

Same with Indigo Wild’s laundry detergent – just one ounce is plenty in a high efficiency washer to thoroughly clean all your clothes. You should be getting 64 full laundry loads from that 64-ounce bottle!

Light

Light is great for people, but not for essential oils. Keep your products in the cabinet or drawer, or at least out direct sunlight. They will retain their powerful properties as long as possible that way.

Shake It Up

Natural product makers also refrain from putting unnecessary binders in their products – so they should be shaken. Give your natural shampoo, spray mist, and facial toner a shake to ensure all the oils are mixed evenly before use. That way you’ll get the full benefit of your product throughout its use.

If you found these tips useful, your friends will too. Share with others using the social sharing buttons at the bottom of the page. See you next week!

Shine On!

Learn the keys to beautiful, manageable hair in this week’s Good Life from Soap Hope.

“Keeps hair looking healthy, strong, and shiny.” “For stronger healthier hair.” “No more loose ends and frizz!”

You’ve heard it all when it comes to hair conditioner. But what’s really true? And what is conditioner, anyway?

What Makes Beautiful Hair

The elements of hair that make it beautiful and manageable – or when missing that can lead to “bad hair days” – are many. That’s why most conditioners have a lot of ingredients in them – they must address a great many different needs of your hair.

Here are just a few of the roles a good conditioner should play:

Acidifier. Your conditioner should create a slightly acidic environment for your hair that gives it the manageability you want. (That’s why homemade conditioners call for lemon juice or vinegar.)

Moisturizer.  Good conditioners contain ingredients that moisturize hair and lock in that moisture (humectants).

Reconstructor. Your conditioner should contain ingredients that form a protective coating over hair and can even compensate for damaged hair.

Your conditioner also should have ingredients that act as a detangler and lubricant, allowing hair to glide freely; as a glosser, adding shine and reflection; as an antistatic agent to immunize hair against static electricity… so you can see that creating a great conditioner takes deep expertise and knowledge.

Natural and Healthy

It’s not hard to make a conditioner with all these elements if you don’t care what ingredients you use. There are all kinds of artificial chemicals that can perform these functions. But do you want them on your scalp and hair all day? Do you want them absorbed into your system?

Creating a natural hair conditioner that serves all the purposes we’ve discussed is extremely challenging. Only top makers are able to pull it off. Keep reading to see three top-performing conditioners.

It’s Up To You

As with most of what we talk about at Good Life, beautiful hair isn’t just about what you put on your hair – it’s also about what you put in your body. Even more important than the products that you use, be sure you remember the basics:

Hydration. You need to drink plenty of water every day to support the healthy function of your scalp and hair system.

Nutrition. For strong, healthy hair, your body needs a wide array of nutrients.

Clean Living. Toxins in the environment, pesticides in low-quality food, and chemicals in mass produced body care products all take away from your body’s ability to perform at its peak. You’ll see the results in hair, skin and nails when you give yourself the gift of natural and organic living.

Favorites

Soap Hope customers prefer these hair conditioners:

Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Conditioner. This conditioner is especially good for dry or curly hair. Acure knows how to select top quality ingredients for hair: here they use organic argan oil and argan plant stem cells for moisture and repair, and organic pumpkin seed oil for layers of shine.

Seaweed Bath Co.’s Lavender Volumizing Argan Conditioner. This amazingly engineered natural conditioner includes bladderwrack seaweed extract, avocado, coconut and olive oils, pro-vitamin B5 and three types of keratin.

Acure Organics Deep Conditioning Root Repair Hair Mask. This hair mask is a special treat: a deep conditioning treatment that restores moisture, manageability, luster, and shine to hair. Many customers use a face mask and hair mask once a week as a gift to themselves.

Luscious Lips

We’ve all been there: dry, chapped lips.

It happens in the winter when the air is dry. It happens in the summer when allergies come around.

So how do you keep your lips luscious and looking great? Many of us have turned to lip products without realizing that the very product that is supposed to help, actually harms. Read on!

Lips are Special

The very top layer of your skin, called the stratum corneum, has special protective properties to keep your skin moist and to protect you from light, heat and bacteria.

But your lips have a different makeup than most of your skin. The stratum corneum is just one-fifth as thick as your facial skin. There are no hair follicles or sweat glands either to provide moisture and protection. That makes lips a very sensitive, vulnerable area.

Do No Harm!

It’s shameful that many lip products use ingredients that provide very short-term relief, but damage the lips further – requiring you to reapply over and over. If you’ve ever had the feeling of being “addicted” to a lip product, that’s what is happening.

If you see any of these ingredients in a product that supposedly protects or heals lips, run! These ingredients may make your lips feel softer very temporarily, but you’ll find yourself in a never-ending cycle of applying more product to keep getting short-term relief.


Lip Product No-No’s 

Camphor

Phenol

Menthol

Alcohol

Salicylic acid


Heal Thyself

Sometimes we get caught up looking for miracles when it’s really the basics that will solve our problems. Before you even think about what products to use on your lips, take these common-sense measures:

Drink enough water. Your lips are among the first parts of your body that are affected when you fail to drink enough water. Keep your body hydrated!

Get proper nutrition. Your skin’s resiliency, including lips, depends on a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. A well rounded diet rich in nutrients and free of artificial chemicals will help your lips stay healthy and beautiful.

Don’t lick or bite your lips. Saliva contains elements that your body has designed to break down foods. It’s rough on your lips! Biting damages already delicate lips. Become aware if you have these habits.

Use a good lip balm. Apply a top quality natural lip balm and allow it to absorb before applying lipstick. The lip balm will serve to moisturize and protect your lips, and will not affect the look or staying power of your lipstick.

Ingredients! Look at the ingredients in every lip balm, lip gloss or lipstick that you apply. Avoid anything with the five no-no’s above, and any artificial flavors or colors. But also look for nourishing ingredients. Acure Organics’ Lip Lush lip glosses for example contain many nourishing ingredients like argan oil, echinacea, and edelweiss plant stem cells.

Back to Basics

Acure Organics' Lip Lush lip glosses at Soap Hope are organic and filled with healing ingredients.
Acure Organics’ Lip Lush lip glosses at Soap Hope are organic and filled with healing ingredients.

In the end, it boils down to the basics: lots of water, great healthy foods, and clean lip care ingredients are the fundamentals. If your lips aren’t feeling healthy, it’s a sign to look at the fundamentals of health in your life.

Share

Share your thoughts and experiences with us about lip care: leave a comment below. And share this blog with friends using the sharing buttons below (click the Facebook button, for example).

USDA Organic – The Basics

Soap Hope is about to launch a new product line called Nourish Organic with the unique claim to fame that the entire company is Certified USDA Organic.

But just what does Organic mean? What’s the difference between Organic and USDA Organic? And does organic matter for skin care?

The Meaning of Organic and the USDA Seal

If a product is labeled 100% Organic, by law every single ingredient in the product must be 100% USDA certified organic (except water and salt). Since 100% organic ingredients are not allowed to contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms), 100% Organic products are also automatically non-GMO.

If a product is labeled Organic, it can contain up to 5% non-organic ingredients. But those non-organic ingredients must adhere to strict guidelines – for example, no synthetic preservatives or petrochemicals are allowed in the final product.

Watch out for products labeled Made With Organic Ingredients. They are allowed to contain up to 30% non-organic ingredients, and there are no restrictions on what’s in those 30%.

Only products in the first two categories – Organic and 100% Organic – are allowed to display the USDA Organic seal. That means when you see the seal, you know the product has 95% or more organic ingredients, produced without toxic pesticides or herbicides, artificial preservatives or colors.

Is Organic Important for Body Care?

Most people who are seeking to live a natural life don’t want pesticides on their skin – but if the product isn’t organic, how do you know if there are pesticides in it? That’s why so many of the products at Soap Hope are certified organic: we know many folks like you want the guarantee of purity that comes with certified organic products.

Later this week you’ll learn more about Nourish Organic, the first beauty company in the world to receive 100% USDA-organic certification from the government. You can also look for organic products from our top makers like Leap Organics, A Wild Soap Bar, Badger, and By The Grace of Tea.

Here’s a link to organic labeling rules for body care products on the USDA website.