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Au Naturale Life

AuNaturale Life - Blog

  • Pantone Inspired

    Posted on January 13 2016

    As per usual, Pantone’s 2016 color reveal was a highly anticipated event in the Au Naturale office….and the hype only escalated once we read up on the values behind the Rose Quartz & Serenity selection.  Not only are we in love with the visual components of the colors, but we also embrace and embody the ethical elements that they represent. 

  • 2016 Cleanse: Mind, Body & Makeup Bag

    Posted on January 06 2016

    It’s week one of the new year and odds are your newsfeed is cluttered with articles advising you on ways to kick off 2016.  New and improved juice cleanses, the perks of Dry January, discounted gym membership ads and articles about the latest must-have gym accessories to go with your new membership…
  • 5 Natural Ways to Do Away With Under Eye Circles

    Posted on December 11 2015

    Because last we checked, under eye bags aren’t anywhere on the trending bag list for 2016…

    The holiday season always marks a period of increased frenzy around the AN office.  We love to see the orders pile up, but we don’t love when dark circles appear under our eyes after late nights in the lab. So…I’ve been doing my research and I’ve found a few natural ways to dodge this baggy-eye-bullet…

    Here are my 5 favorite fixes:

     Amp up your water intake! 

    agua
    Your body holds onto water if you aren’t drinking enough, and this water retention is likely to make an appearance under your eyes if you’re run-down.  Staying hydrated will both alleviate water retention and flush toxins from your system.  A number of us are obsessed with the app Plant Nanny which tells you how much water you should be drinking in order to keep both you and your virtual plant healthy…you wind up with a slew of adorable pet plants & a nourished bod!
     
     

    Tea Bags

    TeaBags
    Once all of the emails have all been read, I give my eyes a tea break. All you have to do is cool two water-soaked tea bags in the fridge for about a half hour before you kick back and set them over your eyes for a ten-minute break. I've found that this ten minutes free of screen time serves to relieve both puffiness and stress.
     
     

     Dulse 

    dulse

    One of my favorite health bloggers recommends adding Dulse to your diet, as it has a salty taste but is actually very low in sodium.  Dulse is a type of seaweed that is loaded with Iodine...and it doesn’t lose its nutritional value when dried! Sometimes I’ll buy it in flakes, and sprinkle it on my popcorn and other times I crisp it into Dulse chips to snack on at my desk!

     

    Essential Oil

    Before bed, I like to mix a drop of lavender oil with a drop of lemon oil and a teaspoon of distilled water…and then massage it under my eyes.  Then in the morning, I massage pure almond oil under my eyes as it helps to balance the water loss in your skin…ultimately reducing inflammation! My routine is a shortened version of the one I found here…there are a number of essential oils that can be use to reduce inflammation if these ones don’t work for you!
     

     Lemon Water

    lemon water mug
    I shoot for 1-2 mugs of warm lemon water a day when I'm on the anti-eye-circle grind. Lemons have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing swelling. And water is fabulous because well…refer to bullet #1. Not to mention lemon water gives you a nice burst of energy as soon as it enters your digestive system…which makes reducing caffeine a more feasible task [also a huge help in being rid of eye circles].  

       

    1. The Dirty Details About the DARK Act

      Posted on November 24 2015

      As of July, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill referred to as the DARK Act, or the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” Act.  It is as dismal as it sounds, as it would render states powerless in terms of legislation over labeling food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  As of now, there are a handful of states exercising their ability to create such legislation, demanding that any foods containing GMOs be labeled as such.  The DARK Act would reverse the laws already in place, and make it next to impossible for the FDA to devise any sort of uniform system for requiring the labeling of GMOs. 

      Why is this important?

      Odds are you have caught wind of an array of arguments on either side of the GMO labeling debate.  In a perfect world, GMOs would be the solution to world hunger, increasing the production of healthy crops without any negative repercussions. However, the more we learn about the way that GMOs are grown, the more negative repercussions we seem to uncover. 

      For instance, corn and soybeans, the most abundantly planted GMO crops have been reported to require increasing amounts of toxic herbicides.  Said herbicides are concerning because the WHO has dubbed some of them probable carcinogens and others have been linked to particular diseases.

      Beyond that, the increase in herbicides kills off weeds that are necessary for pollinators to do their thing.  This may not sound earth shattering on the surface, but bees alone are said to be responsible for a huge percentage of America’s diet. According to the US Department of Agriculture, bees play a crucial role in more than a quarter of our food supply, as they are key components in the production of apples, cherries, onions, celery, cabbage, blueberries, almonds, and the list goes on…

      Why does Au Naturale Care about the DARK Act?

      When we make our makeup, we use ingredients that are organic and non-GMO.  We know this because we are very careful about where we get each and every one of our ingredients.  We place tremendous value on creating products with healthy ingredients and on being transparent when we label our makeup.  We are strong advocates for the consumer's right to making informed decisions, and thus we are strongly opposed to the passing of the DARK Act. 

      What should you do?

      So, if you support the right to know when GMOs make an appearance in your food, now is a crucial time to speak up.  It is up to the Senate to keep the DARK Act from passing further, so it is up to you to let the Senate know where you stand.  According to the Environmental Working Group, nine out of 10 Americans would prefer to know what is in their food, yet the House voted contrarily.

      We encourage you to make your voice heard. One way to do this is calling US Senator Debbie Stabenow directly at (202)224-4822, as she is the Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Let her know that you are part of the 90% of Americans that enjoys their right to know whether or not their food contains GMOs. 

    2. Castor Oil & Thicker Eyebrows

      Posted on November 16 2015

      I’ve spent the last few weeks on the road mingling with a number of magnificent minds in the world of natural cosmetics.  I see these trips as opportunities to swap beauty hacks and ideas and this time I return home particularly enthused and curious about the use of Castor Oil for eyebrow growth. I’m an avid practitioner of oil therapy and a firm believer in living holistically through the aid of essential oils…so you can imagine my peak in interest when I got hold of this idea. 

      A strong eye brow game has never not been desirable.  Right now, thick, well-shaped brows are trending and when done well, they can drastically sharpen your look.  Though it would be nice, we aren’t all born with the fierce brows of Cara Delevingne, but fortunately nature provides us with a beauty loop hole in the form of Castor Oil.

      Castor Oil has been used for centuries both medically and therapeutically, as it has both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Depending on how you go about using it, this carrier oil has been said to remedy or nullify gastrointestinal problems, sunburn, migraines, dry, burnt, or wrinkled skin and more.  Its powers are said to be the result of a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acid, Vitamin E and various proteins. 

      In terms of your brows, it is the high penetrative power of the oil that does the trick, working by either preventing additional loss of hair, or accelerating the growth of new hair.  For some, the Castor Oil will serve primarily as a protective element that keeps hair follicles from breaking.  For others, its primary effect will be an increase in circulation to the skin beneath the brow, stimulating hair growth.  So what do you need to do?

      A Step-By-Step:  

      1. Wash your face with warm water, removing any extra oils from your skin and brows…this will prep your skin to be maximally absorbent.
      2. Dip a Q-tip into the Castor Oil, and let the excess oil drip off so that there is just enough oil to coat each brow.
      3. Paint over your brows, using a dry Q-tip to soak up any extra oil.
      4. Optional: some argue that adding glycerin to the mix will increase the effectiveness of the Castor Oil, so you may choose to rub one drop of glycerin into each brow as well.
      5. Leave your brows be over night, or for several minutes so that the oils can work their magic.
      6. Wash your face once more with warm water!
      7. Repeat this process as often as you like. Some will treat their brows as often as twice a day, some a few times a week. Either way is fine, as the oils are all natural and healthy to use. 

      Your results are largely contingent on the frequency of your treatments and your body’s reception of Castor Oil, but it is often said to take about 3-4 weeks before you notice a change in your brows according to the Good Health Academy.  Castor Oil is inexpensive and easy to get your hands on…I nabbed mine for $8.00 at Walgreens.  So what’s not to love? While medication is a synthetic replication of nature, Castor Oil is derived directly from nature, rendering them invaluable alternatives. So grab some, and volumize those brows!

       
      References:
       
       
    3. Call to All: Join the Clean Beauty Revolution!

      Posted on November 10 2015

      It is an exciting week here at Au Naturale Cosmetics, and we want you to be in on the action! Today we launch Clean Beauty Lobby in hopes of generating a conversation with Congress about the regulation of all cosmetic products. This is where you come in. 

      If you’re familiar with our product and our story, you probably already know that I started making makeup in my basement because I was over putting harmful products on my skin. I began Au Naturale Cosmetics because I realized that I was far from alone. And now my team and I are headed to the hill to take our passion for ethically responsible cosmetics to the next level. 

      We’re on a mission to bring integrity, honesty and transparency into the cosmetic industry. Aren’t you tired of seeing organic and all natural products on the shelves only to read the labeling and find a very different and or confusing story? That’s why we are starting the clean beauty revolution and we’re taking right up the hill, that’s Capitol Hill, and we want you to come with us…

      Right now, there is very limited legislation in place in the US to regulate the chemicals that are used in cosmetic products.  It is crucial to note that when we say cosmetic products we are referring to anything from make up to deodorant, to soap, to sunscreen, and so on.  To say a slew of concerning ingredients have been identified in these everyday products would be a vast understatement.

      Just to put things into perspective, the European Union (EU) has banned 1,400 ingredients from uses in cosmetics, while but the United States has banned a mere 10.  Amongst the 1,400 banned ingredients in the EU are known carcinogens and various chemicals believed to increase risks of birth defects and genetic mutations.

      Some will try to debunk this statistic claiming that a number of these ingredients aren’t typically found in cosmetics to begin with. But this only highlights another hugely concerning reality in the US: we as consumers wouldn’t be able to speak to what is typically found in the products we’re using because they tend to be deceptively or ambiguously labeled....there is no standardized practice for labeling ingredients! As you can see in our last blog post even the terms 'organic' and 'natural' can be misleading.

      That’s why we are championing the Clean Beauty Revolution to demand clear, transparent and accountable labeling of all products.  Like anything else, we all have different opinions and priorities regarding our ethics and therefore the products we want to steer clear from. It is everyone’s right to make your own decisions about your health, what is not right is making these decisions based on misinformation. I passionately believe that all consumers have the right to make a conscious choice...so whether you are looking for cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, organic products or or not, the lack of cosmetic ingredient transparency in the US affects everyone’s ability to make an informed decision.

      So join us in the Clean Beauty Revolution and sign the Clean Beauty Lobby so that we can work with Congress to set these changes into motion.  We want to work towards creating a Clean Beauty Standard and mandatory, standardized ingredients labeling (similar to food) for all beauty products in the USA. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it a million times over…no one should have to sacrifice their health for their beauty.

      So all we are asking you to do is: sign the petition and get talking about it on you social media channels using the hashtag #CleanBeautyLobby

       

       

    4. What's the Difference Between Natural and Organic and Why Does It Matter

      Posted on November 05 2015

       

      Labelling loopholes in the USA

      This week I want to talk about a topic I’m pretty passionate about: the difference between organic and natural beauty products. Wait. Before you roll your eyes and click to the next article, this is not petty word play. It directly affects your health and the information you are given about the products you choose. So please bear with me…

      Have you ever bought a product labelled ‘natural’ or even ‘organic’ and then read the labelling in microscopic detail only to find that it contains harmful unnatural ingredients? Have you wondered how that's possible or even legal? Well there are a few handy labelling loop holes that manufacturers use to confuse even the most savvy consumers! This article will try to explain what is meant by 'organic' and 'natural' by identifying key differences, helping you to understand ingredient labelling more clearly.

      Organic  Labels

      The term 'organic' is not defined by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), rather it is the NOP (National Organic Program) that decides what an organic label means. The NOP requires all organic products to meet the USDA’s (US Department of Agriculture) standards to be produced without the use of prohibitive methods such as sewage sludge, genetic engineering or radiation. All ingredients must also be allowed substances on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited substances.

      Organic products must be overseen by a USDA certified agent to ensure all regulations are being followed. Organic certification allows products to claim 'organic' on their primary label (the big catchy one right on the product itself), or place an organic seal anywhere on the product.

      However, if not certified, products can list organic ingredients on their information panel, along with the percentage of the organic ingredient therein. Therefore, there are different levels of organic labels, hence the confusion…are you still with me?

      • "100 percent organic"This can be used to label any product that contains 100% organic ingredients...i.e., raw, unprocessed farm products. 
      • "Organic" - This can be any products that contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. 
      • "Made with Organic" - This can be used to label a product that contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients. 
      • "Specific Ingredients Listed" - Organic ingredients may be listed in the ingredient statement of products containing less than 70% organic contents - for example, "Ingredients: barley, water, beans, tomatoes, salt" 

              But what about natural?

              Neither the FDA or any other organisation has defined the term ‘natural’, therefore it is left to the consumers imagination to interpret the relative virtue of the product. If a cosmetic you buy says 'natural', it really means nothing with regard to what kind of ingredients it contains.

              Difference between organic and natural

              Definitions complete, the difference between ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ labels is clear cut. Organic labels are regulated by the USDA and natural labels are not. Therefore organic labelled products are more reliable than those labelled natural, as they are regulated to some degree.

              However, neither organic nor natural products are 100% transparent. But why does it matter you ask? Let’s examine why the lack of transparency in labelling is so concerning: 

              • The US government regulations do not require pre-market testing on personal care products. According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), 89% of the 10,500 ingredients used in common cosmetic products have not been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution.
              • The EWG also reported that 1 in every 13 women and 1 in every 23 men are exposed to dangerous human carcinogens on a daily basis through their use of cosmetic and personal care products. In most cases people are not even aware of this exposure because it is not clearly explained on the label and it is not required to be!
              • Phthalates, linked to birth defects, and parabens, linked to breast cancer, have also been found in various cosmetic products ranging from nail polish to deodorant.

              The Clean Beauty Revolution

              But fortunately times are changing and major companies have phased out the use of phthalates and warning labels are being placed on products that have not been tested for safety.

              The state of California supports the European Union with regards to eliminating toxins in personal care products. And ethical beauty companies are springing up to give the conscious consumer options.

              What does Au Naturale Cosmetics mean when we use the terms organic and natural?

              So to clarify what we at Au Naturale Cosmetics mean in our usage of the terms natural and organic, we source all of our raw ingredients from local farms and handcraft our cosmetics from fresh, high quality products. Whenever possible, we use certified organic materials. At Au Naturale cosmetics we know all of our suppliers personally and we stand 100% behind our supply chain and their farming and ethical practices.  Absolutely no parabens, additives, or artificial preservatives go into the manufacture of our makeup.

              We are passionate about honesty and transparency in the beauty industry. For us, and we hope for you too, the difference between organic and natural is not merely semantic! That is why we are leading the Clean Beauty Lobby on Capital Hill advocating for transparency and stricter labelling regulation in the beauty industry. Join us, be heard and be part of the clean beauty revolution. Find out more and sign the petition at: www.aunaturalecosmetics.com/pages/lobbying  

               

                

              References:
              http://www.greenamerica.org/livinggreen/cosmetics.cfm
              http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Claims/ucm203078.htm
              http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/labeling
              http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ResourcesForYou/Industry/ucm388736.htm#7

            • Know What Your Makeup Brushes Are Made of

              Posted on November 05 2015

              Did you know that most makeup brushes still use animal hair? And did you know that this hair is extracted using barbaric, cruel techniques where animals are often skinned alive?

              The Facts:

              Makeup brushes have traditionally been made of animal fur. This is because the texture of the natural fiber provides a luxurious, even distribution of product and grips color. Brushes are made from squirrels, goats, horses and mink fur. These animals are usually raised in labs or bred specifically to provide fur for cosmetic brushes. They are often drowned, electrocuted or skinned alive to preserve the integrity and softness of their fur.

              Recently many companies have started selling ‘cruelty free animal brushes’ to address consumers’ concerns about these practices. However, when you dig a little deeper even these brushes are not what I’d call cruelty free. In many instances manufacturers collect their fur through 3rd parties, thereby distancing themselves from the inhumane activity and giving them plausible deniability. Others use scraps or off-cuts of fur from the fur industry and justify it by saying that the animal was killed for other purposes. Many ‘cruelty-free animal hair brushes’ are made from horsehair obtained at slaughterhouses that use horse parts for other products. The rationale is that the horse isn’t being killed for its hair but rather it is a by-product. While technically this counts as being cruelty-free, many vegan advocates (me included!) are enraged at these loop holes and misinformation to consumers!

              The misinformation continues on the packaging of makeup brushes as the materials used are generally not listed, so it can be hard to ascertain if a brush is truly cruelty free or not. A rule of thumb is that if it has animal hair in it, something was hurt in its making. But do not disappear, you are in good company! Most ethically minded individuals have at least one makeup brush that does not meet their standards.  I’ll admit, when I went through my own brushes while writing this article I found an old animal hair brush in my own collection! This is just another reason why I am so passionate about the Clean Beauty Lobby on Capitol Hill…we desperately need transparency within the beauty industry!

              The solution:

              But fear not, living a cruelty free life does not mean you have to resort to applying makeup with your fingers! There are many excellent synthetic hair makeup brushes on the market that work just as well, if not better than their animal hair counter parts. Plus, synthetic brushes are more hygienic and easier to clean.

              Synthetic, vegan brushes have had a lackluster reputation, but there are several excellent lines of brushes designed to mimic natural fibers providing an even color grab and distribution of product. Of course all of our brushes in the Au Naturale Cosmetics range are 100% vegan and cruelty free. They are made from high quality synthetic fibers and provide professional, even coverage. As always, at Au Naturale you never have to sacrifice your ethics for your makeup regime!

              If you want to find out more about the Clean Beauty Lobby, read and sign our petition here and if you want to learn more about our vegan, cruelty free brushes navigate this way!

               

              Au Naturale Cosmetics is organic, fresh, beauty

               

               

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