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Creator of cruelty free, plant based natural skin care, aromatherapist, health professional, educator, researcher, vegan

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cosmetic Ingredients demystified and more!

The skin care industry is a global powerhouse with markets which are highly controlled and regulated to markets which have no restrictions on what can claimed. Here in skincare products must conform to various legislations as no medical ingredients or claims can be made unless the product is a licensed medicine. There are also requirements that all ingredients must be included (believe it or not it was only a few years ago this was not the case!), and ingredients must be listed in decreasing order of volume using INCI terms.

Basically all creams are a mix of water type ingredients and oil based ingredients mixed with an emulsifier to form a cream (rather like mayonnaise. Within that base is any number of 'active' additives  as well as inert fillers (to give bulk but no function) as well as a preservative or two, stabilisers and pH adjusters.

Here are some common terms and what they mean:
  • Active ingredient (s)- means it has a beneficial function for the skin, however a medical claim can't be made unless it is a medicine. Sometimes more a marketing term implying the product has something extra special in it.
  • Anti-oxidant- means the ingredient or product can slow down or stop oxidation by free radical activity. Things that increase free radical activity include UV damage and smoking
  • Astringent- means the tissues will tighten and large pores will shrink. May make the skin feel tight and dry
  • Botanical- derived from plants-may be whole plant, fraction  or a constituent which has been extracted)
  • Comedogenic- will increase keratinocytes clumping together in the follicles so blocking them
  • Emollient- a fatty product which softens the skin- they will also hydrate the skin be minimising water evaporation
  • Essential Fatty Acids -building blocks of cellular membranes- loss of EFAs increases skin roughness
  • Ester- an organic acid and alcohol--help give smoothing and emollient action to the skin
  • Fragrance- can be natural or synthetic (on labels word can be either according to INCI)
  • Humectant- bind water and increase the moisture content (e.g. glycerine, squalene)
  • Skin Conditioner- a generic terms which helps keep skin it its optimal state and improving overall tone and texture. 
How to use bases to create your own products.
At www.fromnature.biz there is a number of wholesale bases to start creating your own products. As all bases are fresh made you are secure in knowing you will have at least 18 months to use them. here are some tips
  •  All bases carry a preservative however if you are adding more water based ingredients then you will need extra preservative
  • Limit handing of your bases with fingers- ALWAYS wash hands and use hand sanitiser. Wipe around the lid or top with a peper towle and some meths or alcohol after using to reduce contamination
  • use a sterile spoon to remove product. Store product in a cool dark place away from dust and light

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Purple Pesto With Hempseed oil-feed your face from within!

Healthy skin starts from a healthy diet. Here I explain our an every day food item, pesto, can be supercharged to maximise the health benefits without compromising flavour. this is a vegan version, however if you wanted to use parmesan cheese then that is your choice.



Purple basil leaves (why purple?) Well scientists recommend we eat a ‘rainbow’ of foods and those in the purple and blue spectrum are full of constituents  called Anthocyanins and ellagic acid which have a number of health befits such as reducing cholesterol, reducing risk of urinary track infections and maybe even preventing cancer cellular growth. Adding something blue or purple to your daily diet is a good place to start. Also purple is much more exciting than green. Nutritionally basil packs a good punch as well which it is so widely used in many global cuisines. From a vegetarian and vegan point of view it contains calcium, iron, thiamine, niacin and folate along with at least 14 other micro-nutrients and minerals. The full analysis can be found here
Hempseed Oil-I used a organic NZ grown one which is a rich dark green. Hemp seed oil is one of the most valuable nutritional oils as well as giving a pleasant nutty taste. And no-it does not contain THC so this pesto will keep you firmly on the ground! Hemp seed is another plant power house with a perfect profile of omega 3,6,9 which are essential fatty acids our body needs. Leave the poor salmon and krill alone- grow more hemp I say! this site here compares the profile of hemp seed with other common sources of EFA's. A quality NZ hemp seed oil can be obtained from New Hemisphere  (I am not affiliated in any way with this company)
Toasted sunflower seeds (yes pine nuts are usually used but here in NZ you need have bag of gold to buy a decent amount!). Sunflowers are another nutritional friend of vegans and vegetarians and also contain valuable minerals to improve skin health. Toasting them releases more zinc and selenium which is important here in NZ as our soils are naturally depleted of selenium. I usually sprinkle a handful of toasted seeds on whatever I can. A detailed analysis is here
Garlic- slightly fried to soften and take away the bitterness. Garlic helps boost immunity, reduces the risk of an attack by vampires (always a concern for us veg*ns)
I used some olive oil and a slight amount of lemon juice to make it smooth.
for my ‘pesto’ flavour I used vegan parmesan (non dairy) made by Angel Foods in NZ. this is optional as you can still have a perfectly nice pesto with the cheese flavour. I like it as if gives a nice ‘bite’

Pop them all in your blender and blitz away to your hearts content- time depends on whether you like it chunky or smooth! No rules with pesto.
use anywhere! Wendy

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Coconut oil- the travel essential

This time last year I wrote about how you can create lots of beauty products using hotel amenities to help you out if you are caught short when travelling. Pretty much every little sachet has an alternative use as a face or body treat. The 10 top tips are detailed here.
I would like to add a small pot of organic virgin coconut oil as the travel 'must have'. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature but of course if you are travelling in the tropics it will be liquid so a container with a tight seal is essential.
What can coconut oil do for you....

  • Body Moisturiser- a small amount applied after showering is the perfect all over body mosituriser especially if you have been out in the sun. You don't need to use too much as it can feel quite greasy. Adding a small amout to a hotel Moisturiser plumps up that product and makes it more hydrating
  • Face Moisturiser- maybe you forgot yours so a a small dab applied to the face and rubbed in will be a perfect replacement. If you don't want a greasy face gently apply a tissue to the face to  remove any excess
  • Facial cleanser- soften in your hands first and rub liberally over the face and remove with a warm facecloth or tissue to remove make up.
  • Hair conditioner- massage into your dry hair and leave for a few minutes and shampoo out.
  • Mix with sugar to make a body or foot scrub
  • Make an emergency toothpaste with a little salt and coconut oil. For a more permanent option there are some great ideas Here
So next time you are travelling and space is at a premium then pop in some coconut oil! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holiday Health planning- how much is too much??

I was chatting with family recently about an up and coming holiday I am going on with my teenager and I
was telling them of all the health related products I was packing- and they laughed at me for going over the top. It got me thinking- how much is too much?? Especially if space is limited. As a nurse I don't want to be caught short and waste my precious holiday time hunting down products, in a country where I may not speak the language. Last year I wrote about how to adapt hotel amenities to make emergency skin and beauty products- this is still a stable habit for me I must confess!

My next trip is purely for relaxation to an island resort -I don't have any particular medical conditions ,neither does my son apart from hayfever and occasional asthma.
So this is what I packed
  • Home made Insect repellent - recipes here If you can't take your own then I recommend Goodbye Sandfly products. However * if you are going to an area where Dengue fever, malaria and other insect borne disease are then please follow the travel advisories as supplied by the government. if you are in Singapore or Malaysia I recommend this brand from Organic Basic.
  •  An all purpose healing gel with organic teatree oil and lavandin oil and fragonia oil which has antiseptic properties, will help with any itching and minor cuts and bites. if you would like to make your own then this gel base is the perfect place to start!
  • Sun block factors 30-100 water resistant including a sports spray water resistant for the teenager
  • Bottle of mixed teatree and lavandin oil to dap on any spots
  • After sun spray
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti diarrhoea and Anti nausea tabs
  • Asthma meds + hayfever tabs
  • Bandaids
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Indigestion tablets
  • Hand sanitiser + mini sanitiser wipes ( made with lavandin hydrosol, teatree, fragonia) and sealed in a sterile sachet)
So is that an over kill? On previous (longer) trips I have also take a full course of anti biotics and an antiviral cream (cold sores) and various other things like blister plasters.

So what about holiday skincare- do you use as many products as home or do you tend to go more au naturale? Apart from sunblock which is a holiday must I tend to go very low key preferring lip glosses over lipsticks, maybe a primer with a touch of light powder foundation highlighter.I try and use products that have more than one function. A travel essential for my is a toner spritzer  which is great to refresh on the plane and rehydrate your kin or spritz on your hands. I usually decant into a small 50 l spray bottle and carry on board.
This blog has some other great travel tips for those in the business who do a lot of it!
And at the end of the day - a holiday is for realxing and what can be getter for the skin (and the mind and the body) than relaxation!

Monday, September 1, 2014