The Best Lip Balms: Honey-Based Goodness

 

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I love using kitchen ingredients as personal care and beauty products—corn starch as dry shampoo, diluted apple cider vinegar as a facial toner or hair conditioner, coconut oil as a moisturizer or makeup remover, coffee combined with honey for a face scrub. In the kitchen, I use honey as a healthier alternative to sugar; in the bathroom, I use the coffee and honey scrub every week or two and regularly wash my face with it—just honey and warm water for a gentle cleansing.  As it’s antimicrobial, I also apply it to minor burns and cuts.

I stock up on honey from the local farmers’ market and favor it raw and unprocessed. Recently I tried a couple of lip balms offered by two honey vendors and—bingo!—they’re the best. Each is beeswax-based with healthy oils and honey and they’re super-moisturizing. Because I like a bit of color on my lips, I took some of the balm from the one in the pot and blended it with two of my favorite lip colors—Illusive lip2cheek by RMS Beauty and Strawberry Lipstick by Logona—for my own DIY tinted lip balms.

Covering Up for Sun Protection: Safe Sunscreen Picks

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Cross-posted on Surf Like a Girl

There’s so much to love about being in the great outdoors—paddling out for a surf or swimming in the ocean, relaxing on a sandy beach, hiking in a park or strolling along the shore, eating al fresco, reading a book in the front yard. For all of these activities, the warmth and light from the sun can seem magical.

So here’s the “but.” The sun can warm you, give you light, and provide good-for-you vitamin D, but too much exposure can be damaging and cause skin cancer.

Happily, you can still enjoy the sun while protecting yourself with non-toxic products that block the damaging rays. The best way to start is by consulting the Environmental Working Group’s guide to safe sunscreens, which includes recommendations for safe products that contain zinc oxide and other better-for-you ingredients. My safe sunscreen favorites:

Face: The Organic Wear line from Physicians Formula makes a lightweight tinted moisturizer with SPF 15. For more coverage, I use the Supergoop! CC Cream with SPF 35 or Jane Iredale’s PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation with SPF 20. Tip: after applying product to your face, wipe excess on the tops of your hands.

Lips: Badger has a lip balm stick with SPF 15 that I use alone or blended with a lip color product. My favorite tinted lip balms with SPF: Alba Botanica’s Terratints with SPF 15 and the All Good Lips line with SPF 18 from Elemental Herbs.

Body: I like sunscreens from Badger, California Baby, and Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient sunscreen line, which is especially gentle and effective.

For protection that doesn’t come in a bottle, compact, or tube, you can count on hats, sunglasses, and clothing—sarongs and thin cotton tunics are great for covering up at the beach, even when it’s hot.

This & That: Strawberry Picking

This & That (& Green): New finds or old favorites I’m loving right now—vintage or second-hand items, plus beauty products and other goods made responsibly with better-for-you, non-toxic ingredients.

The strawberry plants in our yard are flowering and the gaviota strawberry variety is available from at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. Sweet!

Top row:

Harry’s Berries at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.

Second row:

Our flowering strawberry plant.

My new spring kicks: A pair of Converse Jack Purcell sneakers with a Marimekko strawberry print. I liked seeing the sneaker recycling bin at the front of the Converse store, with information on the ReUSE A SHOE recycling program with Nike.

A Ball Mason jar filled with filtered water, lemon slices, and frozen organic strawberries from Whole Foods. This idea came from the lovely Elisha Reverby, founder of the Elique Organics skin care line. I met up with Elisha at the Natural Products Expo this month on a hot day and she was sipping water from a jar just like this. She said she adds the frozen strawberries so they’ll act like ice cubes and keep the water cool—as well as sweet-tasting.

Bottom row:

Two dried strawberry snacks, both made using organic strawberries and nothing else. The first are freeze-dried and crunchy and come from Nature’s All Foods (available at Whole Foods); the second are chewy and dried using a dehydrator from a farmers’ market vendor. I’ve been reducing the amount of refined sugar in my diet and find that healthier treats like these satisfy my sweet tooth.

Strawberry-red for lips and nails from companies that use better-for-you ingredients in their beauty products: Primitive Makeup’s lip gloss in Rio, the creamiest and softest red lip gloss I’ve found; and Mineral Fusion nail polish in Fiery Lava.

Update: our strawberry plant is now in bloom—and I found my new perfect, everyday red lipstick. Logona’s lipstick is made without any synthetic colors or preservatives—and the color I chose is actually named strawberry. It’s creamy, warm, and looks like a red I wore years ago. Perfect.

This & That: She Sells Seashells

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This & That (& Green): New finds or old favorites I’m loving right now—vintage or second-hand items, plus beauty products and other goods made responsibly with better-for-you, non-toxic ingredients.

While winter in Los Angeles is mild and often lovely, it’s been grey and rainy and I’m longing for summer and leisurely beach days.

Vintage seashell book: A recent gift from my love.

Shell ring and earrings: Both were purchased from a local thrift shop ($3 for the ring, $1 for the earrings!).

Bronzer: My go-to bronzer is Alima Pure’s Maracaibo. Just a swipe across my cheeks and I feel kissed by the sun.

Tinted lip balms: I try every naturally tinted lip balm that’s out there and I’m currently loving the super-creamy and sweet HibisKiss lip balms by Crazy Rumors. Pictured, Sunset and Coral.

2013 Green Beauty Picks

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I’ve loved makeup since my days of playing dress-up as a kid. The big difference now is that my grown-up choices are more responsible—less toxic, but just as fun. After two friends recently asked about items to buy that are better for you—green, eco, clean, less toxic—and another complimented me on my lip color, I put together some notes on my current favorites. It’s my “what’s in my makeup bag” edition for 2013—with selections by brands taking steps to make products that are safer and less damaging to you and the environment. (Find out more from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. Also check out The Green Beauty Team for more recommendations from colleagues.) 

FOR EVERYDAY:

RMS Beauty – Lip2Cheek

I wear Illusive on cheeks and also patted on lips. It’s a brownish pink with some plum to it that adds a hint of color when it’s dabbed on—with a bit more, you have a bold but neutral lip. 

RMS Beauty – Lip Shine

Sublime is a bright bubble gum pink that provides a light pink pop when very gently patted on lips. (I blend it with Lip2Cheek in Illusive for a plummy pink.)

Yes to Carrots – Lip Color Balms

I like that it’s moisturizing and has barely-there color without any shimmer.

RMS Beauty – Living Luminzer

Magic in a jar. This is creamy and provides a glow that really does look like it’s coming from your skin. 

Jane Iredale – PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation

For full coverage on my face, I apply this just after moisturizing. Bonus: It’s SPF 20.

RMS Beauty – Un Cover-up

When I don’t wear makeup all over, this is great to pat on sunspots, any red areas, and around the nose.

Alima Pure – Bronzer

Just a brush on the cheekbones and down the nose and you get a faux sun-kissed look.

Vapour Beauty – Illusionist Concealer

Dab it on lightly and it does wonders to conceal dark under-eye circles.

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear – FakeOut Mascara

From the only brand I’ll buy in a drug store, this mascara adds serious length and thickness to lashes.

Vapour Beauty – Mesmerize Eyeliner

It’s easy to apply, has solid staying power, and wakes up my eyes with a clear line across lids or simply dotted on at the lash line.

FOR GOING OUT AND AND GETTING GLAM:

Vapour Beauty – Aura Multi-Use Blush

Spark gives my cheeks a great where-have-you-been? pink flush.

Alima Pure – Satin Matte Eyeliner

When going for drama, I use a wet brush to apply this power eyeliner.

Alima Pure – Luminous Shimmer Eye Shadow

 I like Meringue for a dreamy light eye or Smoke for a sultry look.

Jane Iredale – 24-Karat Gold Dust

This comes out for special occasions—brushed on cheekbones and neck/cheeks/shoulders.

Primitive Natural Makeup – Lip Gloss

Creamy and shiny—and not sticky. I wear Rio alone for a soft red or apply it over red lipstick.

Primitive Natural Makeup – Lipstick

My red of choice is Belize, which has  a touch of berry and feels bold but not severe.

DIY Face Scrub: Another Kind of Coffee Pick-Me-Up

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I like to reuse and repurpose as much as possible, which makes this DIY coffee and honey facial even better. I simply take used coffee grounds and add honey, then gently pat the sticky mixture on my face and let it sit for about five minutes. Over the kitchen sink, I then gently massage with two fingers using a circular motion on my cheeks, chin, and forehead, avoiding the delicate eye area. When washed off, skin is soft and glowy.

No ‘Poo Rules: On Breaking Up With My Shampoo

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Originally published on The Green Beauty Team

I have long been a user of toxin-free, better-for-you cosmetics and personal care products—and routinely check Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database before making new purchases. I learned to read labels and avoid chemicals that are known to cause harm and are linked to a range of health issues, from allergies to cancer. But I had never considered actually giving up shampoo until I read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. The rule that stuck with me most: Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Have you seen the ingredients label on a bottle of shampoo? Even the purported good-for-you ones aren’t that great.

Yes, I know there are shampoos available that are non-toxic, but I was also interested in scaling back on the product front. You know, minimizing all the stuff. I am nowhere near giving up my lip gloss or mascara, but shampoo? Why not?

How natural could I go?

I had already heard about the “no ‘poo” movement—yes, it’s a bit of a movement. Go ahead and Google it and you’ll find lots of greenies out there doing it, not all of them granola-hippie types (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I read about how it takes weeks for your scalp to adjust to the process and that it gets worse (oily, listless, dirty) before it gets better (no need for shampoo).

I decided to go for it and prepared myself for non-glam days with greasy hair. Because I suffer the fate of fine-haired girls everywhere, my hair can look oily after just one day without washing. Conditioner? Never an option. I reasoned that it would be similar to dealing with the awkward in-between phase you face when growing out bangs or that short haircut you regret the second you cut it.

Well, I have grown out bangs countless times and even pretty gracefully grew out a pixie haircut with the creative use of hair bands and scarves. Each time I tried going “no ‘poo,” I found that no hair band or scarf could hide my oily locks. My hair was heavy and slick. There were unplanned pleats. My pillowcase was disgusting.

The first time I gave up

It was for a vacation—because did I really want to look dirty in my vacation photos?

Still, I was determined. Or maybe not.

The second time I feel off the no ‘poo wageon

I was two weeks in and simply forgot, reaching for the bottle of shampoo that remained in the shower. (Lesson learned: Drink coffee before taking showers.)

I resolved to give it another try. Again, I felt a little dirty after two weeks but carried on.

Third time’s a charm, right?

This last attempt was thwarted when I began a new job search and was called for a job interview. Could I show up for an interview with oily hair? I asked a friend about it. “Do you want them to think you’re a dirtbag?” she asked. “Go wash your hair.” She spoke with authority. (Dirtbag?)

I decided to wait until the morning of the interview, but looked back at myself in the mirror and knew I didn’t want a first impression to look like this. So I washed it. (And I got the job.)

It seemed like it was time to rethink this no ‘poo thing. I realized I wasn’t opposed to washing my hair—I was simply opposed to using shampoo to do it. I didn’t want to use anything on my head that was chemical-based and I wanted to cut back on products. Why not try a shampoo alternative? And why not look right in the kitchen?

It made perfect sense. I had already started using my own homemade beach hair spray using ingredients from my pantry (see my post on DIY beauty products and treatments using kitchen items).

The solution seemed so simple: I already used baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and honey on my face—to exfoliate, tone, and wash—so I tried using them on my head in the shower.

Like a mad greasy-haired scientist, I took to experimenting each separately to see what worked best.

A baking soda paste made with water worked well when rubbed gently into the scalp, but felt a little drying on my hair. But a bottle filled with equal parts baking soda and water felt better to rinse through hair. I found the apple cider vinegar to clean hair, but it left my roots looking too slick. Honey gently rubbed on my scalp and through hair also felt cleansing and gentle.

My easy, all-natural formula

Now, I use the baking soda or honey to gently massage into my scalp and hair.

I also started using a homemade dry shampoo composed of equal parts corn starch, baking soda, and cocoa powder, applied to my roots with a makeup brush. (Mmmm, chocolate.)

I still find I need to wash my hair most days—and to count on the dry shampoo—but I don’t think anyone would know I broke up with my shampoo. In a happy twist, my fine hair actually looks like it has more body and bounce.