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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3 Skin-Care Products I Swear By (and Why I Love Them)

Written by: on Monday, November 18th, 2013
BeautifulFacialSkin

Skip harsh, drying toners with alcohol during the fall and winter months.

 

It’s that time of the year: when the weather gets cooler and my skin gets duller and drier. And it got me thinking: I wish I could hire a personal trainer for my skin like I can for my body. Then I could find out exactly how to switch up my skincare by the season—and ask all sorts of little nagging questions like why I always seem to get tiny blackheads around my nose.

I’ve got a dermatologist (a great one at that), but with my out-of-pocket costs rising, I have to save up my visits up for when

Woman'sNeck

I use the SkinAuthority products on my face, as well as on my neck and upper chest—also where you see the signs of aging.

I really need it (like my twice-yearly mole checks).

But then I found out about the free skin coaching at SkinAuthority, a skin-care line that has zero parabens, dyes, fragrances,

and does not test on animals (just a few reasons that I’ve fallen in love with the line; see my earlier post on the importance of vitamin D, which mentions their great vitamin D product). Sure, these skin-care experts—available to you 24/7—are hoping to get you to buy products, but there’s something different about getting skin-care advice from a trained skin aesthetician than from a department store beauty salesperson or from no one at all (as is the case in a drugstore beauty aisle).

SkinAuthority'sCelesteHilling

Celeste Hilling, CEO and founder of SkinAuthority

I got a chance to speak with Celeste Hilling, founder and CEO of SkinAuthority, about skin care and the brand—and here’s what she had to say: “We’re about education,” says Hilling. “The average phone call with consumers is 30 minutes, but at the end of the day, you make the choice about what’s right for you.” But skin coaches aren’t just on the phone; Skyping is one of the most common ways to speak with the skin coaches. “Last year, we did half a million Skype sessions,” says Hilling, adding that: “People want to show us their skin.”

SkinAuthorityCleanser

Contains glycolic acid and sugar-cane derived exfoliators to remove dead skin cells—and blackheads!

Here are the products that were recommended* for my skin—and that I’ve been loving:

SkinAuthority Exfoliating Cleanser: I used to have tiny (barely visible, except to my eye) little blackheads around my nose and on my chin. Just one week of using this cleanser and every single one is gone. My skin is smoother and more radiant. No joke. This cleanser is like a pore-extracting facial without the painful pore extractions. What I also love: the scent or lack of it. This smell of this product is just … clean. ($42; skinauthority.com)

SkinAuthority Super C Serum: I’m a big believer in what antioxidants can do for the skin (they can reduce the signs of aging, even out

SkinAuthorityVitaminCSerum

You need to use this within 4 months of opening for maximum benefit (not hard, since it’s so great!).

skin tone, and make skin brighter and more radiant), so when I tried this product, I was already a believer. But I loved the fact that this product was literally absorbed right into the skin—with no greasy feel (a must when you’re wearing under sunscreen to help boost UV protection). What I also love: the dropper comes with measurements on it so you know exactly how much to use—and don’t use too much, as I’ve always done in the past. ($99…pricey, but it lasts several months; skinauthority.com).

SkinAuthority Age Defying Moisturizer: Even though I’m in my 40s, I still have oily skin, so I’m always looking for a moisturizer that won’t leave a grease slick on

SkinAuthorityMoisturizer

This daily moisturizer is rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

my face. This moisturizer fits the bill—and does much more. It absorbs fast—and leaves skin feeling soft and supple, sans the grease. I also love that it has an SPF of 18. ($60.50; skinauthority.com)

So you’re probably thinking: if these products are so good, why haven’t I heard about them before. SkinAuthority doesn’t spend money on advertising; it’s all word of mouth and posts by people like me who have fallen in love with their products. Kerri Walsh Jennings, who has been a SkinAuthority consumer for years, just became the face of SkinAuthority….so you’ll be seeing her around more too! (Turns out Kerri—like me—loves the Super C serum, too!)

OlympicVolleyballPlayerKerriWalsh

Olympic volleyball champion Kerri Walsh Jennings is the new face of SkinAuthority. Love that they chose an athlete to be the face of their brand!

Bottom line: these are great products—and you get access to a skin-care expert to ask (and show, via Skype) all those little nagging problems—from blackheads and breakouts to rough skin and wrinkles—you’ve been dying to ask someone. You’ll definitely get results, whether you use one product or completely overall your regime and use only SkinAuthority products.

* SkinAuthority sent these products to me; I did not pay for them, but I also do not endorse any products that I don’t like. And I’ll be paying full price for my refills, as I’m just about out!

 

 

 

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5 Healthy Skin Secrets of a Celebrity Dermatologist

Written by: on Monday, January 30th, 2012
Dermatologist Debra Jaliman

With youthful skin like this, you'd never know that Debra Jaliman has a 20-year-old daughter!

So many women I’ve spoken with are overwhelmed by skin care: which products to use, what to do about the little lines here and there, how to treat a certain condition, and more. Typically you’d have to book an appointment with a dermatologist to get answers to all your questions (or chance it with Internet answers). But not so anymore.

Celebrity dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., has written a book (out March 13; preorder for $15.34 from barnesandnoble.com) that demystifies everything about skincare. Called Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, the book features seven-seven rules about skin care. Sounds like a lot, right? That’s exactly what I thought when I picked up this book. BUT, the way Jaliman writes (each rule is short, sweet and super easy for everyone to understand), I actually enjoyed reading every single rule—and page. A few of her secrets that resonated with me (I’ve dog-eared the pages on these):

1) Don’t waste money on expensive cleansers. Spend it on moisturizers, sunscreens, and anti-aging products instead. Otherwise, “you’re just washing money down the drain,” says Jaliman. This is one rule that I myself follow—and was happy to see it in Jaliman’s book: I buy drugstore cleansers (despite trying to be persuaded otherwise by department/specialty store salespeople). My favorite cleanser is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash because it keeps adult breakouts at bay. (I also use Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover to take off mascaras, shadow, and liner.) Then I splurge on serums: one for day (I love SkinAuthority’s Wrinkle Reversing Serum,

Wrinkle Reversing Serum from SkinAuthority

My favorite serum for day—in an airtight pump container.

which absorbs quickly and makes my skin healthy and radiant; $125, skinauthority.com) and one for night (I’m addicted to Skinceuticals Phloretin CF antioxidant serum; $162, skinceuticals.com); both are pricey, but are worth the smooth-skin results you get. Just use sparingly so you don’t go through the containers too quickly.

2) Buy physical sunscreens that are white, not clear. Despite all my years of working in health and beauty, I had never heard this advice before. According to Jaliman, the whitish part of the sunscreen is what “makes these products safe to use. They appear white because the particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide [the protective ingredients] are too big for the skin to absorb”.  Jaliman goes on to say that “particle size matters…and this is one area where big truly is better”. But “when [the sunscreen] comes out clear from the tube, the manufacturer has used nanoparticles that are many times smaller. And scientists are growing increasingly concerned about nanoparticles and their possible effects. Recent studies have shown that people whose sunscreens contain zinc nanoparticles have increased levels of zinc in their blood.” Hmm…a bit disturbing, but good advice that I’ll be putting into practice ASAP. One sunscreen I do love—and feel comfortable using on me and my kids: Soléo Organics All-Natural Sunscreen ($19.96; amazon.com).

3) Take it nice and slow.“I always tell my patients to approach skin treatment the way they would approach exercise. Nobody should run a marathon the first day out on the track: by the same token, you should gradually build up a tolerance to any skin treatment.” I just love this analogy. People expect miracles when it comes to skin care (just as they do with weight loss or exercise regimens)— but slow and

Skin Rules Book

The new beauty bible: every woman should read it!

steady wins the race when it comes to keeping your skin healthy.

4) Good things come in tubes and pumps. Anything else, says Jaliman, “deteriorates quickly when exposed to air and sunlight, which happens every time a jar is opened”. If you want to use a product in a jar, use a cotton swab (or the little spatula that sometimes comes with it) instead of your fingers to get the product out. “Every time you stick your finger into a jar, you are introducing bacteria into it,” she explains.

5) Take biotin for cracked, brittle nails. “Far more effective than those ‘nail-strengthening’ polishes is a daily dose of biotin (vitamin B-7),” says Jaliman. “Most recent studies recommend 2.5 milligrams a day.” I’ve started taking biotin after reading this! But Jaliman also adds:

Avoid the UV heating lamps used in salons to speed drying of nail polishes “because those UV rays age your hands”.

Stay away from nail gels; “more and more salons are offering them, but there are increasing reports of serious side effects, including neurological damage (they’re so hard to get off that nails can be damaged in

woman with smooth skin smiling outdoors

You'll look more youthful with this advice from dermatologist Debra Jaliman.

the process),” explains Jaliman.

Ban nail extensions. “People don’t realize that the space between the fake nail and the real nail is the ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow,” says Jaliman, who adds: “Sooner or later, people who use nail extensions are going to get an infection…If you like long nails, take biotin and grow your own instead.”

Just a few of the helpful tips she includes…

What I also love about this book: despite the fact that Jaliman has her own line of great products, she never mentions them once in this book and actually goes out of her way to recommend other products—drugstore brands and pricier options—to go along with each rule. So you know exactly what to buy to get results. In my mind, this gives her even more credibility as a smart, objective dermatologist.

I’m not one for casually reading skin-care books, but this one is a keeper: it’s the new “bible” of skin-care for every woman. I highly recommend reading this…and putting Jaliman’s advice into practice. Your skin will thank you for it! (And just so you know, I’m not even a patient of Jaliman’s…I just love the book!)

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