Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Know Your Label - Ingredients to look for

Today I wanted to share with you natural alternative to the chemical offenders I mentioned in my previous post, click here to read it. I think there is no excuse for any manufacturer to use toxic chemicals when natural alternatives exist. Leading natural brands prove that you don't have to compromise your health in order to be beautiful.

Natural alternative:

- to Parabens are vitamins E (Alpha Tocopherol) and C (L Ascorbic Acid), citric acid, propolis and rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis).

- to Paraffinum Liquidum and Petrolatum are coconut oil (Cocos Nucifera), apricot seed oil (Prunus Armeniaca), almond oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis). Plant oils and butters, such as jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis), avocado (Persea Gratissima), rosehip seed (Rosa Canina) and shea butter (Shea Butyrospermum Parkii).

- to Propylene Glycol, PEG and PPG are vegetable glycerine, lecitin and panthenol (pro-vitamin B5).

- to Emulsifiers, such as PEG compounds are Xanthan Gum, Cetearyl Oliva, quince seed (Pyrus Cydonia), rice bran and plant waxes, such as candelilla (Euphorbia Antisyphillitica), carnauba (Copernica Cerefera), jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis).

- to synthetic colours are mineral-based colours (denoted on the label as CI 75 or CI 77, indicating mineral or other naturally derived colours).

- to Parfum are essential oils or herbal and floral extracts.

Now you know what to look for when you shop for your toiletries. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is your decision what you buy and use. From my personal experience I know that not all natural products are good and not all of them work well, but it is important to choose right. Find natural beauty products which suit and work for you and try to reduce amount of artificial chemicals in your personal care.

I am looking forward to your comments on the matter. Share with me what do you think about natural alternatives and natural toiletries?

PS: this post was inspired by Beauty Book from Neal's Yard Remedies. A great source of natural beauty tips and DIY beauty recipes.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Know Your Label - Ingredients to Avoid

I mentioned few times my preference for the natural beauty products and I try always share the ingredient list with you in my reviews. I think it is important to know what you are paying for and what you are putting onto your skin. At first it might be difficult to find what is good and what isn't, but I can tell you, if you can't read and understand the ingredient list it is most likely not a good sign.

So here are some ingredients you should to watch out when you buy your beauty products or at least know what are they and make knowledgeable decision to buy or to avoid. It may surprise you to find out what goes into your toiletries and cosmetics. Certain ingredients should always ring alarm bells - especially those that are carcinogenic, which means they are linked to cancer; or neurotoxic, meaning that they are capable of causing damage to the body's nervous system.

Image result for cosmetic ingredients

Ingredients to avoid

Parabens such as Methyl-, Propyl-, and Ethyl-Paraben. These are the most widely used preservatives in the cosmetics industry. Parabens are found in shampoos, shower gels, make-up, body lotions, scrubs and facial toners. Parabens can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. Parabens easily absorb into the skin; studies show they are oestrogen mimics that have been found in samples of breast tumours.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives such as MDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. These artificial preservatives are used to help prolong the shelf life of products and cosmetics. In low doses, these preservatives can cause eye and skin irritations and can trigger allergies. In larger doses, formaldehyde fumes are carcinogenic.

BHA and BHT Preservatives. These artificial preservatives are commonly found in cosmetics to extend shelf life, such as in make-up, body lotions and soaps. BHA and BHT can cause allergic skin reaction. BHA is also a hormone disrupter - it mimics the natural action of hormones in the body (in the case of oestrogen). This can raise the risk of oestrogen-dependent cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer. As such BHA and BHT are potential carcinogens.

Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral oil). A cheap and abundant ingredient, paraffinum liquidum is found in face creams, make-up, body lotions and baby oils. It makes the products easy to apply and forms a film on the skin to prevent water loss. Research suggests that it can interfere with body's own natural moisturising mechanism, which over time leads to dryness and chapping.

Petrolatum (Petrileum jelly). This mineral-oil derivative is used for its emollient (film-forming) properties. It is found in lipsticks and balms, hair-care products, moisturisers, depilatories and deodorants. Studies show that, like paraffinum liquidum, it can interfere with the body's own natural moisturising mechanism, which over time leads to dryness and chapping.

Sodium Lauryl or Sodium Laureth Sulfate Detergents. These are detergents and foaming agents found in shampoos, body washes and toothpastes. These detergents can cause eye irritation, scalp "scurf" (similar to dandruff), skin rashes and allergic reactions. Sodium Laureth Sulphate may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.

Propylene Glycol, PEG (Polyethylene Glycol), and PPG (Polypropylene Glycol). These combinations of syntetic petrochemicals are found in moisturisers, deodorants, make-up, depilatories and soaps to keep product moist and drive other ingredients deeper into the skin. Studies have linked these to allergic reactions, hives and eczema. Propylene Glycol can be derived from natural sources, I will share them in my next post as a natural alternative. PEG compounds may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.

Synthetic Colours ( numbers with the prefix CI). These add colours to most toiletories and cosmetics but add nothing to the effectiveness of some products, such as shampoos and cleansers. Many synthetic colours are carcinogenic. Exceptions are mineral-based colours, watch out for my next post on the matter.

There are many more ingredients, but I don't want to make this post a very long one. I found one useful website online, you just need to type the ingredient in the search bar and it will give you information about it. Just click here to go onto the website. I tried to share with you the most common ingredients you can find in your toiletries and you should try to avoid.

Personally, I try to use more natural products, but sometime I find some of them don't work as I want them to. I am not promoting to buy only natural and organic, I would like you to know what is in your bottle and that tube. I think it is important to have a choice and I try to reduce the amount of products with toxic ingredients I use.

What ever your philosophy on the matter, knowledge is the power! Make the best use of it!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Recent Reads - And the Mountains Echoed

Here is another recent read of mine I would like to share with you - And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. 

Hosseini is one of the authors I find consistent in making an impression on my mind. And the Mountains Echoed is his recent book, third I read and as the two before it left a mark. I were wondering what I like so much in Khaled Hosseini novels, they are not "rosy and light" as most of novels I enjoy reading. I think what grasps and holds me is bland truth of life, personality and the way author narrates his stories in all possible colours. 

And the Mountains Echoed is a story about Saboor and his children Abdullah and Pari, and the shocking, heartbreaking event that divides them. From there, the book branches off to include multiple other characters and story lines before circling back to Abdullah and Pari. 

Here some phrases from And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: 

"So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one..."

" It's a funny thing... but people mostly have it backwards. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they're afraid of. What they don't want."

" Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly."

"A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop on board, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later"

"Kabul is... a thousand tragedies per square mile."

"He said that if culture is a house, then language was the key to the front door; to all the rooms inside. Without it, he said, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or a legitimate identity."

" I found a sad little fairy
Beneath the shade of a paper tree.
I know a sad little fairy
Who was blown away by the wind one night."

This novel is about how we love, how we take care of one another and how the choices we make resonate through generations. This story is not just about parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers. Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honour and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. This novel takes you not just through time, but from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos. And the Mountains Echoed expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page. Everything gets exposed, nothing is left hidden from your eye.

I am on my last few pages and about to close this amazing story. Have you read it yet?

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Lavera Cosmetics Review and Swatches

Last month I bought some Lavera cosmetics to have a more natural make-up option for my day-to-day look. I love Lavera's eye pencil in grey - it is my all time favourite, so I had a high hope for the cosmetics I bought. 

1. Lavera Natural Concealer - Ivory 01 - 6.5ml. It has a very good ingredient list for a cosmetic item, lots of oils and extracts to look after gentle under eye area. I told you before that I would like to try a concealer which will not just conceal, but will look after the skin.

Here is the ingredient list for you to have a look:

Water (Aqua), Alcohol*, Lauryl Laurate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Myristyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Fragrance (Parfum)**, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Tricaprylin, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Liquorice) Root Extract*, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract*, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract*, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract*, Silica, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Algin, Vegetable Oil (Olus Oil), Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Limonene**, Benzyl Salicylate**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Benzyl Alcohol**, [+/- Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica (CI 77019), Iron Oxide (CI 77492), Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Iron Oxide (CI 77499), Tin Oxide (CI 77861)

It is a right shade this time, but sadly concealer didn't suit all my needs.

I will give Lavera Natural Concealer - Ivory 01 2 stars out of 5, because it dries quickly, so it is hard to blend it well and it looks very caky and uneven under the eyes. I tried it for a week and just couldn't bond with it at all, very sad indeed. I think it deserves 2 stars for the ingredients and packaging and I think experienced make-up person can make it work the right way.

2. Twin Pack - Lavera Natural Beautiful Mineral Eyeshadow 1.6g - 07 Magic Grey. I was looking for a natural grey eye shadow to complete my daily make-up routine. Magic Grey is much darker shade than on the website and it has a greeny-blue shimmer in it. Overall it lays on eyelids in spots and again I found it hard to blend or layer. I will give Lavera Natural Beautiful Eyeshadow Magic Grey 2 stars out of 5. It deserves two stars for the ingredient list and lovely packaging. I think if you like more intense shade of grey you will like this eye shadow and again you need a good blending skill.

Here is the ingredient list:

Mica, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Powder*, Magnesium Stearate, Carthamus, Tinctorius (Saffl Ower) Seed Oil*, Silica, Tricaprylin, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, HippopHae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, TocopHerol, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Vegetable Oil,(Olus Oil), Alcohol*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Liquorice) Root Extract*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract*, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Ascorbyl Pamitate, Water (Aqua), Fragrance (Parfum)**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Geraniol**, Limonene**, Linalool**, [+/- Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Iron Oxide (Ci77499), Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Iron Oxide (Ci 77492), Carmine (75470), Tin Oxide (77861), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Silver Oxide]

3. Lavera Naturals Eye Shadow Base. This is only product I liked from my Lavera order and I enjoy using it. You just need a tiny drop of this base, it glides and dries on eyelids fast and holds make-up for a day. I am glad to find a natural eye shadow base I actually like.

Here is the ingredient list for you to check out:

Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Alcohol*, Glycerin, Lauroyl Lysine, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)**, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract*, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract*, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract*, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract*, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Vegetable Oil (Olus Oil), Algae, Magnesium Gluconate, Maltose, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Tin Oxide (CI 77861), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Limonene**, Benzyl Salicylate**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**, Citronellol**, Benzyl Alcohol**

I will give Lavera Naturals Eye Shadow Base 5 stars out of 5, I think it is just right and deserves it.

Here are the swatches for all the products I bought.

I sent the concealer and eye shadows for the refund, hope it all goes well and I can move on.

I feel a tiny bit disappointed with natural cosmetics overall. I always feel like I excuse their faults due to them being a natural products. I hope one day to complete my make-up bag with natural cosmetics which work well and worth each penny. Can you recommend any?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Glossybox - February 2015

My Glossybox is here and it is such a delight this month. 

Box itself is cute and I am looking forward to keep some goodies in it. This month Love box comes with four full sized products, but I wonder if all five I got actually are full size. Sneak Peek alert for the next month is a very exciting one - Naobay Moisturising Peeling. It is a natural and organic brand and I will love to try it. But let's carry on with this month's box.

1. Wilkinson Sword Hydro Silk. With a water activated bar of moisturising serum infused with marine extracts and Shea butter. This razor leaves your skin soft and hydrated. I got a full size product worth £9.99.

2. So Susan Rose Quartet Lip & Cheek Palette. Pretty pinks or bold Crimson, this versatile palettes has a match for either mood. My second product to try from So Susan, I am looking forward to glam up. It doesn't state that my palette is a full size, but it says £8 for 4g. That is exactly what I got. Cute little thing for a hand bag, comes with a lip brush. 

3. MARSK Mineral Eyeshadow - Fifty Shades. With a colour palette inspired by that book and now that film. This mineral powder-based eye shadow is 100% natural what is just great for me, I hope it is highly pigmented as they claim it to be. I got a full size product 1.2g worth £14.49.
4. B. Cosmetics Mascara. This mascara lengthens, defines, volumises and conditions with Lash Active.  I will keep it closed for now, because I have already few mascaras in use now. Will review it for you later on. I do beleive I have a full size product, 8ml worth £9.99

5. Royal Apothic Tinties. This lip butter was last month sneak peek and I just love it. It looks great, perfect for the vanity table; has a good ingredients; sexy colour and delicious scent. I got a full size 3.4g worth $14.

I got as well cute candies Love Hearts to enjoy. Thank you, Glossybox I felt much loved. Have you had a Glossybox yet?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Super-eating for Healthy Skin

Recently I court myself on trying to believe that the skin care products I use or want to buy will do magic to the way I look. 

I would like to buy a face cream and a serum to make me look flawless and to erase my fine lines. Oh, that would be so lovely! Mind you, a good cream and a serum can do a lot to make you look better, but they can't do all that you want. I noticed that products I want to buy become more and more expensive, like price can give me more security and assurance.

But if I come to my senses like today, I know that mostly it is in what we eat. All our wellbeing is depends on nutrients and healthy life style. Well established skin care can help, but it can't deliver everything on its own. 

I would like to focus this month on what I eat and see if it will make a true difference. I would like to start with the most important and the most visible part of me - my skin. When I started this blog, I did a water drinking challenge and it was a revelation how water intake can change how you feel and look. I want to try and see if I can improve my skin with a healthier diet.

Nutrients for fighting ageing:

Some time ago I posted about what to look for when you choosing a skin care product and 10 anti-ageing ingredients which can help to improve your skin appearance.. Today I would like to share with you nutrients which can help to fight ageing process from the inside.

Vitamin A, C and E for its own antioxidant properties. You will find vitamin A in eggs, liver, cheese, apricots, sweet potato, butternut squash, peppers (especially red and orange); vitamin C in citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, sweet potato and peppers; vitamin E in avocados, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, eggs and tuna.

Copper, Zinc, Manganese are involved with the body's production of antioxidant enzymes. You will find copper in liver, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and soya beans; zinc in seafood, chicken, oats, brown rice, pumpkin seeds; manganese in pineapple, pecan nuts, pine nuts, soya nuts, sweet potato, spinach.

Selenium is involved in production of enzymes to fight free radicals in your body. Selenium rich food are liver, cod, tuna, salmon, prawns, mushrooms, mackerel, brown rice, onions, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds and cashew nuts.

Note that is good to avoid excess of fructose (limit fruit to 2 pieces a day), low-fat versions of regular foods, raw food ( eat vegetables steamed and not boiled).

Nutrients for skin health:

Vitamin E and essential fats are required to help plump up skin. Zinc is also vital skin nutrient as it is involved in healing after skin has been damaged, but it also has antioxidant properties. I would note all above plus:

- Biotin helps derive essential fatty acids from food for use in the skin cells. You will find it in liver, fish, egg yolk, soya products, nuts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and avocados.

- Carotenoids such as beta-carotene and others are noted for their antioxidant properties. The best source of carotenoids are carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, peaches, apricots, pumpkins, tomatoes, leafy greens, peas, corn, salmon and prawns.

- Probiotics help the creation of B vitamins from other foods, but also make a small amount themselves. You will find probiotics in Kefir, yoghurt, tomatoes, onions, garlic and bananas.

Note that is good to avoid low-fat diets, artificial fats, such as in cholesterol-lowering functional foods, raw eggs and raw vegetables (steamed is preferable). 

You probably notices that some fruits and vegetables are repeated here few times I will call them super-food. They are liver, tuna, salmon, sweet potatoes, avocados, peppers, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, onions, garlic, almonds, sesame seeds, apricots.

I would like to focus on these nutrients and will try to share any meal ideas I think worth sharing, keep tuned into my blog for those.

What is your favourite super-food to keep your skin healthy?

PS: this post is inspired by The Food Doctor, Ian Matber Super eating a revolutionary way to get more from the foods you eat.

Monday, 2 February 2015

10 Random Things That Make Me Happy

February is here and I thought the best way to start this month is to reflect on things that make me happy. If January blues still linger with you and my previous post on the matter didn't help, try to think what makes you happy and enjoy this month of love, friendship and happiness.

10 random things that make me happy

1. Family. My little family always makes me happy. Who else can understand and accept me for what I really am and cheer me up when I need it. My husband and my little son are my two best people to bring a lost smile back to my face. Find those precious people in your family and show them some love in return!

2. Sweet stuff. 

We all have something we really love and as we know in moderation we can enjoy anything we fancy. At least that is what I do. My favourites are shortbread biscuits, waffles and Swiss rolls. If nothing can cheer me up, they always will deliver a "bite" of happiness.

3. Books. I love reading! Now I have less free time to read as often as I used to, but books always helped me to loose myself in the world of fantasy. I post my recent reads on this blog, just check with the search engine in the top right corner. I think anyone can find a book to enjoy and it is a great way to change the mood.

4. Music. I am not a music person, as I say! Sometimes I even don't know who sings the song I like, but music is another thing that makes me happy. It is amazing how it can change my mood with a joyful bit.

5. Sunshine. 

That could be a vitamin D, but sun makes me a very happy girl indeed. I don't like to sunbath, but I love feeling warmth of the sun on my skin. 

6. Blogging. I can't forget to mention this one, can I? Writing my posts and sharing my thoughts and experiences with you brings me happiness. I do believe that any creative past time will lift up your mood and will inspire you on something great in life. At this moment blogging is my main hobby and I am enjoying it, what is yours?

7. Christmas lights and decoration. I know this one is not a relevant for now, but each year when festive season starts and I see or put up Christmas light or decoration I feel so good. 

8. Animals. 

I love watching animal shows on TV or play with them. I don't have pets, so watching is what I mostly do right now. I love going to the park with my boys and I enjoy feeding ducks or just do a bird-watching (Robin is my favourite bird to spot).

9. A clean room. I do like my house clean and it gives me pleasure to see everything in the right place and tidy. 

10. To see my plan flower. This is such a reward! I have few plants in my house and I enjoy to see them thrive and flower. 

I have few orchids I would like to see flower again, but at the moment they just grow leaves. If you know any secrets or care tricks to get them flower, please leave a comment below.

Here are in no particular order, completely random ten things that make me happy. What are yours?