Understanding ‘All Natural’

In relation to skin care products, there are no standards for what “natural” actually means. A company can wave a sprig of lavender over a jar of cream and then call it “natural”. What it really means to you will depend on your own values. Typically a “natural” ingredient is defined as having its origins in nature, thus everything of animal, vegetable or mineral origin could be said to be natural – including things like lanolin, beeswax, placenta, emu oil, shark squalene, mineral oil, and petroleum derivatives. A popular marketing blurb…

Understanding Parabens

Parabens are a group of broad-spectrum preservatives (meaning they kill a variety of microbes) used to prevent the growth of harmful micro-organisms, especially molds and yeast in thousands of personal care products from shampoo to personal lubricants. Parabens have been used extensively for over 50 years and have been researched thoroughly. They have been recognized as safe by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association. Parabens are used in very small concentrations causing absolutely no reason for concern for most people. It has been…

Understanding Sulfates

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a surfactant (foaming and cleansing agent) used in shampoos, toothpastes and liquid soaps. SLS is made by joining sulfate and lauric acid, two substances which are both abundant throughout the body. It is a good solubilizing agent and is also used in acrylamide gel electrophoresis. “Laureth” indicates ethoxylation (“lauryl” on one side of the sulfate group, an ethyl ether on another). You’ll often find SLS or its derivatives even in “all natural” products. After all, SLS is derived from coconut, a natural source. So, some people…

Will Cosmetics One Day Be Treated Like A Drug?

In many parts of the world, countries are now starting to treat cosmetic products as if they were a consumer drug (paperwork, approvals, certificates, etc.). Here in the United States, the FDA doesn’t have a direct hold or regulation on what “cosmetics” are being sold to the public. Do note, the FDA defines “cosmetics” as… “Articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” (FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)) But, if the product is intended…

Work and Stress

No matter whether you’re the most easy-going individual or a workaholic, stress can get to all of us. You may have individuals in your workplace that stress you out or things in an specific project isn’t going the way you like it to go. Perhaps a colleague is taking all the credit for all the work you put in or you’re working overtime/outside of work to please your superiors. Your back tenses up, your toes cringe, and your work computer is about ready to be launched out of a…

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Vitamin E: A Vitamin in Cosmetic Products

You’re browsing down the cosmetic isle and you pick up a product that interests you. Before buying the product, have you ever considered looking at the ingredient label and see what’s in these products? Have you ever wondered if these lotions can actually provide vitamins to your body? Next time you go shopping for cosmetics, look for a product that has an ingredient called Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate). Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can damage…

My Accutane Journey: Is the cosmetic industry ready for drugs?

They say “beauty is about enhancing what you have”. Going through high school, I suffered a major case of acne. It wasn’t a few pimples, it was an overwhelming number of pimples where people pointed it out to me. I ended up growing my bangs to cover my forehead so no one can see the tons of pimples on my forehead. All of this led me to having low self-confidence. Of course, I started using anti-acne creams, lotions, and even masks, but none helped my acne (some of them actually…

Finding The Right Shampoo

Buying the right shampoos can be confusing. Hydrating shampoo, moisturizing shampoo, curling shampoo, the list keeps going on and on. But, how do you match the lingo on the bottle with your hair? Let me guide you on how to accomplish this. First you need to start off understanding what shampoo exactly is and its purpose. Shampoo is a hair care product, typically in the form of a viscous liquid, which is used for cleansing hair. Shampoo is used by applying it to wet hair, massaging the product into the…

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What is a surfactant?

  A surfactant or surface active agent is one that possesses one distinct portion of the molecule that is polar and hydrophilic (water-loving), and one portion that is non-polar and hydrophobic (water-fearing). This dual nature enables these molecules to interact favorably with water and water-soluble molecules as well water-insoluble molecules. In many surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate, the hydrophilic portion is found to exist on a terminal end of the molecule, and for this reason it is often referred to as the head group. The hydrophobic portion of these linear…

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Mindful Practices – Clean House, Clear Mind

“Cleanliness refers not only to the way we tend to our hygiene, but also to the care we take to maintain and cherish all aspects of our environments (inner and outer) within our control.” I just finished a project that I have been putting off for years. Taking advantage of a burst of energy and some available helping hands, I set out to clean my garage. There were things in there that haven’t been touched in decades and the thought of moving them now started to look more like an…