10 Healthy Beauty Products I Swear By!

Written by: on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Natural Beauty

Use natural products, and you’ll feel (and be) healthier—and look gorgeously radiant!

I’m always on the lookout for healthy beauty products—ones that are super effective and don’t contain things like parabens and other chemicals. If they can be cruelty-free too…that’s even better! (Because why do we need to test on animals just so we can look better?!)

So, with that said, here’s a roundup of products that I’ve come across and come to love—and declared the best (for now, at least)!

Natural Shampoo

With ingredients like zinc, sage, and papaya, this shampoo gets your hair clean—and leaves it healthy.

1) BEST SHAMPOO: John Masters Haircare Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner ($20; johnmasters.com). I cannot say enough about this shampoo, which contains 12 certified-organic extracts and oils. I swim a lot and this shampoo, which smells amazing, leaves my hair  shiny and soft (which is not the case with a lot of more natural shampoos). It also doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, or GMOs—or artificial colors, fragrances, or fillers. It’s also not tested on animals.

I love John Masters’ philosophy: “Why use harsh chemicals in shampoos, styling gels, skin moisturizers and soaps? They were created as cheap substitutes for organic compounds that do a better job. It’s better for the body and the earth to simply return to the source: super natural botanicals.” Agree! (Also amazing: the John Masters Citrus & Neroli Detangler ($16);

Alba Botanica Body Wash

Contains botanicals like aloe, calendula, chamomile, and lavender.

your shower smells like a spa when you use it…not to mention your hair is shinier and healthier afterward.)

Also a tip: while I love Whole Foods and shop there all the time, don’t buy these products there. You’ll pay about $7 more per bottle than if you buy it direct from the John Masters’ website.

2) BEST BODY WASH: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Bath & Shower Gel in Midnight Tuberose ($7.16; drugstore.com). This is probably the best smelling body wash I’ve ever used (and I’ve tried, and used, a lot!)—and leaves your skin feeling hydrated, not stripped. Plus, it makes you feel good to use it as it  is: 100% vegetarian and has no artificial colors, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl

Replere Protect & Rejuvenate Day Lotion

Helps even out skin tone, redness, and reduce wrinkles—and is good for all skin types!

sulfate or sodium myreth sulfate. It’s also not tested on animals. And, it’s hypo allergenic and pH balanced—which makes it great for all skin types.

3) BEST DAY LOTION: Replere Protect & Rejuvenate Day Lotion ($90; replere.com). I’m a huge fan of this entire line of antioxidant-rich products, which were created by a dermatologist and osteopath (a doctor that looks at health problems from the inside out) Dr. Debbie Palmer. The products are paraben, fragrance, and dye-free and are not tested on animals. Plus, this lotion (as well as other products in the line like the Repair & Replenish Night Creme) contains some

Skin Authority Oil Nutrient

Just a few drops of this not-so-greasy oil go a long way.

of the highest amount of antioxidants in skin-care products. The main source of these antioxidants: Coffea Arabica, which is essentially the berry of the coffee plant. Bottom line: they work; my skin has never looked better!

4) BEST CUTICLE OIL: SkinAuthority Oil Nutrient for Face, Hair & Nails ($29; skinauthority.com). This blend of avocado, rosehip, grapeseed, and sunflower oils has singlehandedly kept my cuticles from being dry. I rub into my nails every night before bed—and have had really amazing results. I haven’t tried it yet on my face or my hair (it can be used on both to reduce dryness)—but I can only imagine that it would get great results there too! I’ve tried many other SkinAuthority products and all are just as good as this one.

Why I love this company, though: Skin Authority was

EcoTools

Use warm water and a mild cleanser to wash your brushes weekly.

one of the first full-line brands to eliminate parabens, dyes, fragrances, and animal testing, without sacrificing results or shelf life. In 2009, Organic Spa Magazine said, “Skin Authority is one of the companies making strides, both big and small, in the ever changing world of natural and organic beauty.” Now if all big skincare companies can follow suit!

5) BEST MAKEUP BRUSH: EcoTools Bamboo Eye Shadow Brush ($3.99; ecotools.com). I love this soft brush for applying eye makeup. Does it really apply makeup any better than a synthetic brush? Probably not. But it comforts me in a way to know that a brand is good, cruelty-free, and made of natural materials…why I like EcoTools.

6) BEST TOOTHPASTE: Supersmile Professional Whitening Toothpaste, Fluoride Free ($21;

Fluoride Free Whitening Toothpaste

Contains a combination of calcium, phosphates, and magnesium to re-mineralize the tooth enamel.

supersmile.com). I’ve been taking a seriously close look at toothpastes lately—and I haven’t been happy with what I’m finding. 100% natural toothpastes (even the whitening ones) leave my teeth yellow and not feeling so clean. Other toothpastes have dyes, harsh enamel-damaging silica (sometimes called “hydrated silica” on the ingredients label), a completely unnecessary anti-bacterial called triclosan, and something called microbeads. These are tiny plastic balls that give people a sense of a better clean, but actually are ending up in our waterways (after people spit into the sink, it goes down the drain), causing potential damage to fish and other aquatic wildlife. And I know it’s controversial, but I don’t believe in fluoride either…which brings me to Supersmile Professional Whitening Toothpaste.

This is hands down the best toothpaste for getting your teeth clean and white. It not only gets rid of tea stains (I drink a lot of tea!), using it daily also seems to prevent stains. And the best part: it doesn’t contain all the bad stuff: sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, triclosan, microbeads, you name it. Plus, it’s not tested on animals, ever. And now, they’ve just launched fluoride free…which means now they’ve hooked me for life! Seriously, your teeth will thank you for this toothpaste.

Kevin Murphy Sticky Business

Controls frizz and adds shape to damp or freshly dried hair.

7) BEST HAIR STYLER: Kevin.Murphy Sticky.Business Low-Shine Paste ($39.99; amazon.com). I started using this product over a year ago—and I still have plenty left…so it lasts a long time. But I love it because it uses amazing smelling pure essential oils, plant extracts, and antioxidants. Add to that: it’s sulfate and paraben free. This styler gives my hair the little bit of flip that I need to look “done” without a greasy or overdone feel.

ilikeMineralExfoliatingWash

This cleanser works best for oily skin and sensitive skin.

8) BEST FACE WASH: Ilike Mineral Exfoliating Wash ($68; dermstore.com). This is another product that literally seems to last forever. A tiny drop of this cleanser—which contains organic lavender oil, flaxseed oil, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and more good stuff— is all you need to get your skin clean…organically. It helps to balance oiliness and skin discoloration. Tip: when you start using this, do so gradually because of all the active ingredients. I started using once a day, then worked my way up to every day…and now twice a day.

MineralFusionMakeup

Adds natural color to cheeks, lips and eyes (although I don’t use it here).

9) BEST NATURAL MAKEUP: Mineral Fusion (mineralfusion.com). I came across this brand while I was shopping at Whole Foods and they were having a 35% off sale. I bought a few key items—and fell in love. They’re paraben free, gluten free, cruelty free, phthalate free, artificial color and fragrance free, and hypo-allergenic. Plus, they’re chockfull of minerals (hence the name!) and are rich in healthy skin antioxidants like vitamins C and E, white tea, and pomegranate. The big question: how do they work—and how do they look? They go on nicely (I’m particularly loving the Sheer Moisture Lip Tint in Smolder and the 3-in-1 Color Stick in Rosette)—and they look incredibly natural when on. The prices are reasonable, averaging about $18 per product, depending on what you get. But I’m definitely going to buy more when this stuff runs out—sale or not!

Naturopathica Alpine Arnica Bath & Body Oil

This oil is good for any skin type and contains arnica, an anti-inflammatory botanical that helps treat bruises and muscle pain.

10) BEST BODY OIL: Naturopathica Alpine Arnica Bath & Body Oil ($32; naturopathica.com). I love, love, love this oil—which blends arnica for muscle soreness (something that’s needed after a week of tough workouts) with an herbal blend of rosemary, basil, and bay laurel (which are said to help warm skin and increase circulation). Grapeseed, sunflower, and apricot oil are rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. I use this after showering (I mix with a moisturizer if my skin is feeling very dry…as after swimming)—and before bed to help me relax. I even use it sometimes to give my kids an after-bath massage to help them sleep better!

Hope that these tried-and-tested reviews help you pick the right healthy beauty product for you! And if you’ve found a natural, cruelty-free product you love, please share!

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The Best—and Worst—Cities for Your Skin

Written by: on Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Woman with beautiful skin

Want beautiful, healthy skin? The environment you live in plays a role.

You diligently take care of your skin morning and night…but it may not be enough if you live in one of the 10 cities ranked the “worst” for your skin by the website, dailyglow.com (below).

 

daily glow's best-worst-cities-for-skinBut rather than getting depressed about where you live, or packing up and heading to a “healthier” city, follow these tips to keep your complexion healthy—no matter what zip code you call home.

1. Examine your moles…regularly. Skin cancer rates were used by dailyglow to rate cities. The best way to prevent skin cancer (which is the most preventable cancer when caught early) is to know your ABCDs:

A (Asymmetry): One half of your mole is unlike the other half

B (Border): Your mole has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border

C (Color): Your mole is varied in color from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or even bluish

D (Diameter): Your mole has a diameter greater than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser).

If your mole has one of these characteristics, book a visit with your dermatologist asap…which brings me to the next point.

 2. Find a good dermatologist—and keep him/her on speed dial. The number of dermatologists per capita was another of the criteria used by dailyglow to rate cities. If you need to locate a good derm in your area, click on aad.org/find-a-derm/. You should see your dermatologist for mole checks every six months (if you’re at high risk) or 12 months (if you’re at lower risk). Dermatologists can also diagnose and treat other conditions to keep your skin at its healthy best.
3. Eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein (like legumes, chicken, and fish), omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, chia and flaxseeds, and walnuts…to name just a few foods), and plenty of water will keep your body—and your skin—healthy, no matter where you live. A poor diet that’s devoid of key vitamins and minerals (think: fast food, fried foods, processed foods, and soda) will result in pale, lackluster skin (and hair).

 

4. Make antioxidants part of your daily life. Dailyglow rated cities partly based on the amount of pollution. Car exhaust, factory pollution, pesticides, and other environmental pollutants are one of the top sources of free radicals, unstable molecules that can change the function and structure of cells (including skin cells) in the body. Experts believe that, unchecked, free radicals in the body can trigger premature aging of the skin, as well as many diseases, including cancer.

Antioxidants are the body’s main defense against free radicals. You should be eating them (they’re found in brightly colored fruits and veggies) and slathering them on your skin (I’m a huge fan of the antioxidant line, Replere, created by dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer; each of the products in this line has one of the highest documented amounts of antioxidants of any skin-care products.)

5. Always apply sunscreen when you’re headed outdoors. Even incidental sun exposure (e.g. when you’re walking to/from your car) can trigger premature aging—and skin cancer. That’s why I like to use a body moisturizer with SPF every day. (Aveeno and Lubriderm make good ones.) Also, important to note: most car side windows protect you from UVB rays but not UVA rays (the kind that cause premature aging and skin cancer). That means you’ll need to apply that SPF moisturizer before road trips too.

The bottom line: even if your city is ranked one of the best, you’ve still got to take the necessary steps to care of your skin every day!

 

 

 

 

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These Skincare Products Work! Chance to Win!

Written by: on Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Replere skin-care products created by Dr. Debbie Palmer

I use these products religiously!

Sure, you already know to slather on sunscreen to protect your skin from aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays (and if you don’t, you need to start today!). But what you may not know is that you also need antioxidants to protect your skin. UV rays create something called free radicals in the body (and the skin) that can trigger premature aging—and may even contribute to cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals. We get antioxidants through fruits and vegetables (and even our vitamins), but applying directly to the skin can help, too.

And that’s why I love these Replere skin-care products (replere.com) created by a mom and dermatologist, Dr. Debbie Palmer. They contain some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in skin-care products—and I trust them because I trust Dr. Palmer. I’ve noticed that my skin has never looked better so far this summer: it’s clear, radiant, and looks healthy.

Don’t expect any fluffy, sweet-smelling creams with these products; they’re meant to be medicinal and repair your skin. They’re brown in color and a bit tacky in feel, but they absorb quickly and get the job done.

And I slather them on my eight-year-old son’s skin at night; he’s gotten a little too much sun lately being outdoors all day (even with sunscreen on), so I feel confident when I put these products on his skin before he goes to sleep. (They’re paraben-, fragrance-, and dye-free.)

Replere Deep Clean & Clarify Face Wash created by Dr. Debbie Palmer

You can win this foaming face wash if you vote now!

If you’re willing to take a shot at these products, go to this link by tomorrow (Friday, June 29)  http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/app.html/params.file.|sprouts|sprouts,html and vote for the Replere Deep Clean & Clarify face wash (it’s a super exfoliating face wash); the first 5 people to do this and e-mail me to valerie@valerielatona.com will win the face wash (be sure to send me your address). Dr. Palmer is trying to have her products featured on QVC and I want to help her spread the word about these amazing products!

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