Tag Archives: organic

Skin food; oatmeal floral mask & peeling

Oatmeal & floral powder

Oatmeal & floral powder

I get so many questions about natural skin care and how to find stuff that is not full of chemicals. Some raw materials take some studying up on to understand how to use and blend, or they are not always so easy to find, but there is plenty of stuff you can make yourself with really simple ingredients that you either already have in your home or that are easy to find in your local health food store. Here is one wonderful product that I use. It is very mild and can be used 1-2 times per week. You can make up the powder and store it cool and dark in a jar with tight-fitting lid which will save you a lot of work. When it’s time to use, you just add the other ingredients to make a paste. Easy!

What you need for the powder:

  • 1 dl Organic oatmeal
  • 2-5 teaspoons dried lavender flowers or rose petals. If you use rose petals, add the larger amount to get a nice scent. For my blend I use 2-3 tsp lavender flowers. I prefer the lavender during the summer as it is really soothing and has a wonderful scent.

What you need for the paste:

  • Coldpressed vegetable oil, I use sunflower
  • Hydrosol of lavender, rose or witch hazel. If you don’t have hydrosol, you can use a herbal infusion or water.
  • Organic lemon
  • A bit of honey (optional)
  • If you like, you can add a drop or two of essential oil to the finished paste (optional), I don’t because I want it really mild and the floral scent is gorgeous on its own.
Really simple and easy-to-find ingredients

Really simple and easy-to-find ingredients

Step one:

In a mixer or a mortar, crush oatmeal and dried flowers to a powder, the finer it is, the better it will spread.

Step two:

When it’s time for a scrub, peeling or a mask: For a facial, mix 1 tsp of the powder with 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp hydrosol, infusion or water, a few drops of lemon juice and a dash of honey. Mix it all together to a paste. If you want to use it on your whole body you need to make about 4-5 times the amount of paste.

On clean, moist skin apply the paste with circular massage movements, you want to get the circulation going. This is the peeling effect. Now you can wash it off or leave the paste on for about 15 min to get a deeply moisturizing mask before you wash it off with lukewarm water. Pat dry and apply a light oil to your face to add more yummy nourishing food for your skin (sunflower, thistle, jojoba, grape seed oils are easy to get and fine for your skin).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dried rose petals

One last point; When you make stuff at home for your skin care, always use organic products. If you want your powder to look more beautiful, add some whole flowers or petals to get some colour in there.

Cosmetics; true claims or publicity?

Though the skin acts as a barrier to the “outside world”, a lot of the stuff we put on it will pass through and enter the bloodstream, influencing every cell of your body. In this day of enlightenment with information and knowledge, literally at your fingertips, more and more people are growing aware of the importance of what you put on, and in, your body. Later years there has been a great wave of new awareness of “the bad stuff”; chemicals, artificial flavorings, synthetic perfumes and manipulated foods. People stay clear of that which they know to be bad and try to make informed choices, especially when it comes to food. BUT when it comes to skin care, only the tip of the ice-berg has been scraped.

Catchy, but is it true?

Catchy, but is it true?

The cosmetic market is one of the largest in the world, turning over more money than we can even imagine and there have been almost no regulations whatsoever. Over the past few years new bodies of regulation have been formed and guide-lines are being set up. This is all good and well, but in reality it means nothing because the only regulations we are seeing are about certain (a very small percent) ingredients which have shown to be harmful to human health. There are still no guidelines in place about what you are allowed to say in terms of publicity. A producer can say anything he likes, even if it is a blatant lie. (see earlier post)

As a producer and manufacturer of botanical organic products, I have spent much time doing research among people and shops; How informed are people and what do they ask for? How informed are the staff in cosmetic sections? I have spent hours browsing cosmetic departments in many different countries and the picture is the same everywhere…The answer is; NOTHING! More people than ever are asking for “clean” cosmetics; no chemicals, no animal-testing, organic and natural. They trust the staff in the shop to know these things and help them, but the staff only knows that which they have been told when trained to sell specific brands. This is no knowledge at all, it is publicity. Staff as well as the common person don’t know how to read inci-list (ingredients) nor do they know what the words mean. On top of that the inci-list is printed on some obscure part of the packaging that you have to search for and in such tiny letters that I need both my glasses and a magnifying glass to read it. (see this post on inci) If you buy cosmetics over the internet, the inci is not always listed on the site, only on the physical product.

Clinically? I doubt it. Spread on that botox, no more shots...Seriously?

Clinically? I doubt it. Spread on that botox, no more shots…Seriously?

Animal testing is a huge arena and the world is beginning to understand the impact such testing has on millions, billions of animals. Most people are horrified and would never want to use any product that has been tested on animals. The majority of products on the market today claim that they have not been tested on animals which is probably true. BUT many of the different ingredients have been tested on animals, even though the finished product hasn’t been tested. Claims on skin care are seldom true, they are publicity.

With this I will leave you to inform yourself; what do you actually need for your personal hygiene and cosmetics? What is acceptable to you? If you want to know more and inform yourself so that you can make better choices, there are loads of sites on the internet where you can find this information very easily, I have put a few links on the right under “information & resources”. When you go shopping, ask questions and demand informed answers.

INCI revealed

I have a cream in my hand; “regenerating night cream, all skin types“.The cost of it is ca €20 for 50ml. It is ecologically certified by eco cert. The label states:” 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin / 28% of the total ingredients are from organic farming.” Here is the inci-list: (I will break it down for you)

Aqua (water), Simmondsia chinensis oil* (jojoba oil), Alcohol, Glycerin* (moisturizer), Persea gratissima oil *(avocado oil), Rosa damascena distillate* (rose-water), Cetearyl alcohol (emulsifier), Theobroma cacao seed* (cocoa butter), Hippophae rhamnoides extract* (seabuckthorn), Lycopersicum esculentum extract* (tomato), Glycine soja oil and Tocopherol (soy bean oil and vitamin E), Hordeum vulgare extract* (barley germ), Algae extract (seaweed), Humulus lupulus extract* (hops), Cetearyl glucoside (emulsifier), Plantago major extract* (plantain), Calendula officinalis extract* (marigold), Chamomilla recutita extract* (chamomile), Stearic acid (emulsifier, stabilizer), Sodium hyaluronate (skin conditioning agent), Xanthan gum (stabilizer, emulsifier), Potassium hydroxide*** (pH-regulator), Aroma**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Geranio**l, Limonene**, Linalool**  (there is no indication if the whole essential oil is used or just isolated chemicals)

*ingredients from organic farming. **natural essential oils. ***inorganic substances.

Remember, water is about 50-60%, and all the other ingredients will make up the rest; 40-50% of the cream. They are listed in percentual order; highest first. I have put the questionable ingredients in bold, these are the ones we are going to look at first. Let’s start at the top:

  • Alcohol: Moisturizers that contain a low molecular weight of alcohol fail to be effective because they quickly evaporate from the skin surface. In a cream alcohol speeds up absorption rate (how fast it goes into the skin.) Considering that this ingredient is in 3rd place, indicates a rather high %.
  • Stearic acid: This ingredient may be derived from animals. From PETA’s Caring Consumer: Fat from cows and sheep and from dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters, etc. Most often refers to a fatty substance taken from the stomachs of pigs. Can be harsh, irritating. Used in cosmetics, soaps, lubricants, candles, hairspray, conditioners, deodorants, creams, chewing gum, food flavoring.   Stearic acid can be found in many vegetable fats, coconut. (Skin deep)
  • Sodium hyaluronate: Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in connective tissues such as cartilage. This ingredient is listed in the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide as derived from animal sources. (Skin deep)
  • Potassium hydroxide: Potassium Hydroxide is a caustic inorganic base. Classified as medium human health priority. Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful. Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel. (Skin deep)
  • Cetearyl alcohol & Cetearyl glucoside are commonly used emulsifiers. Cetearyl Alcohol is a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols that can come from vegetable or synthetic sources. Cetearyl glucoside is a surfactant and emulsifier produced from natural or synthetic ingredients. (Skin deep)

Now, let’s do the math: 28% of the ingredients come from organic farming; that’s the oils, fats, moisturizer and herbal extracts. Leaves 72% of other stuff; 50-60 % is water which leaves us with ca 10-20% for vitamins, some herbals and emulsifiers. 99% of the ingredients come from natural sources; animal or vegetable? And the last 1% is the Potassium hydroxide which is more or less the same thing as caustic soda – a highly corrosive agent. It is even higher in percentage than the perfume.

Another concern I have are the many different herbal extracts; how do they react with each-other? See my earlier post on blending too many ingredients together here. “All natural substances are alive, they react with each-other; sometimes they create a synergy that will do great things. Other times they enhance more negative aspects.

Source: Skin Deep

MACERATION or HERBAL OIL

There are many ways of using herbs; fresh, dried, boiled (tisane), distilled (essential oil), in alcohol (tincture) and in vegetable oil (maceration/herbal oil). Herbs are full of active chemicals that can be drawn out in different solvents such as alcohol, vegetable oil or glycerine. A maceration or herbal oil is when vegetable oil is used (oil extraction). Some well-known macerations are easily found in the market-place, such as Arnica (Arnica montana), Marigold (Calendula officinalis) and St Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum), but there are many others. Extracting herbs in oil is a simple process that easily can be done at home.

As always, quality plays a great role in the final product; you need to use the very best herbs and vegetable oil. One of the easiest vegetable oils to find for the purpose is organic sunflower oil which is most often used. The finished herbal oil has its own specific properties and in ancient time they were used as medicines and unguents for perfumery. The macerated oils carry some color from the plant, St Johns wort is red, and have their specific therapeutic properties.

Macerations can be used in all kind of products that are fatty; creams, oils, liniments and can help with a wide variety of problems; muscular aches, sprains, cramps, depression and skin-problems. Some are anti-inflammatory and promote wound healing. Since they are active substances, use 5-30% in a blend for desired effect. In large dosages they can be slightly drying or even irritating to the skin. Macerations are excellent to use for people who are very sensitive to essential oils as they are milder in their action on the skin.

I have made many macerations through the years, trying different plants and vegetable oils. I found Jojoba oil to be excellent for flowers, now Jojoba has become so expensive it’s not really possible anymore, so I use Sunflower oil. I have used Olive oil for St Johns Wort since there is a true affinity between them. Today I find it easier to buy the macerations I use the most; arnica, calendula, hypericum, comfrey and some others. But there is one maceration I make every year for my own luxury, and that is with roses. In the early days I always used Jojoba for the roses but today I use a very fine organic cold pressed sunflower oil. It gives me a beautiful oil that I use in my facial products. The scent is rather faint and a bit greenish, the texture is absolutely wonderful. I use this in a dosage of 20% in any given product.

What is interesting about macerations is the fact that they don’t go rancid sitting in the sun. Normally sun, heat and light is the worst environment for a vegetable oil. I believe that the active substances in herbs and plants actually help to conserve the vegetable oil. Their shelf-life depends on what vegetable oil was used and how it is stored. Better to make smaller quantities so they are used up during the season and more can be made the next year. In this way you also find your favorites and you learn to “better” the process each time.

HOW-TO:

Pick your chosen herb at the right time of day and season and fill a glass jar, cover the herbs with cold-pressed organic vegetable oil, cover and set in the sun. The jar should be turned regularly and left in the sun for 2-3 weeks. When macerating flowers you need to exchange the flowers in your jar every so often, usually 1-2 times/week, depending on what flower you are using. For roses I exchange the petals every 3 days. Once the oil is saturated you strain, filter and bottle it. Store in a cool and dark place.

ORGANIC SKIN-CARE?

(Sorry about the bad picture, took it with photo booth and I don’t want to point at any brand in particular)

I have studied and formulated skin-care for almost 20 years; first for my own pleasure and then professionally.  I have always wanted to keep my products as natural and pure as possible which is quite easily done, but the “shelf-life” of the product is very short and it has to be kept in the fridge. Natural skin care is like fresh food – you need to use it within a certain time, depending on what you have put in there; Herbs, for example, naturally makes the product more sensitive to mold….you get the picture.

To make a creme or a lotion an emulsifier is needed to mix the fatty substances (oil) and water. The only purely natural emulsifiers are eggs and cream (compare it to cooking) which go off quickly…wouldn’t want that in your cream… All emulsifiers used are chemically changed to be able to combine oil and water. The ones I use are the same that are used by the food-industry for making ice-cream and bread. I figure, if you can eat it, you can put it on your skin.

Almost everything is natural; poo is natural, as is mineral oil (derived from the petroleum industry). That doesn’t mean it’s good for us. So the labeling of purely natural is misleading on 2 points: Natural does not necessarily mean good. If it is emulsified (oil + water) it is not natural, even if the original product for the emulsifier comes from a natural source.

BIO or organic is also interesting to find on products. I picked up a hand-creme (oil+water)  the other day which says: 95% of the plant ingredients come from organic farming (and how many % of the total product is plant material?) 17% of the total ingredients come from organic farming (so maybe that means that there is 17% of plant material in the product?) 100% of the total ingredients come from a natural origin (can be absolutely true – remember what I said about natural…?)

CALL FOR ATTENTION

Please watch this short movie. The goal is over the next 3 days to have as many watchers as possible. It is well worth your time.

Pour que ce film soit en salle (film qui dénonce les méfaits de la mauvaise alimentation et des pesticides), il faut qu’un maximum de personnes regarde la bande-annonce dans les 3 jours à venir. Faites passer, même si vous ne le
visionnez pas complètement :  c’est le nombre de visites dans les 3 jours qui fera le poids… Le voir est encore mieux. Faites suivre à tous vos contacts !

Merci.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k7hNn292T6XV3RP2bC

CRIMINALIZING ORGANIC FARMING IN USA

spraying I said I would write about natural scenting, but this came to my attention today and it is shocking beyond belief, so I will share this with you:

US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875).  There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is happening. Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related agri-giants). This bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to “make sure there is no danger to the public food supply”. This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales. If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseases in humans.

The name of this outrageous food plan is: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).


Farming_rest

BUT this is not all. This all derives from something called the Codex Alimentarius that was launched in 1962 and since then has grown to be a multiheaded power of its own – concerning the whole world – not only the countries that are members.

Industrial pig

I have been researching all morning and this is some scary business. Take  a look at this video, it is part 1 of 5, the rest you will find on youtube. This lady, Dr. Rima Laibouw, explains the Codex Alimentarius very well, but please do your own research on the internet.

Also you can check out this site:

http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/

It might look like it’s just the USA, but it isn’t. Big parts of the world are involved in this. Maybe it is time to stop being complacent and start asking some serious questions.

organic cow