I would look at the labels of lotions, shampoos, mascaras, even cleaning products and wondered what were all of those scientific words and if they were good for me to be around.
After I started using more “natural” products, I still had to wonder what some of the ingredients were.
Even though most ingredients were obvious, there were some “scientific” items listed on the bottom.
I would recognize some ingredients listed but what about the others?
Here is a list of common ingredients in beauty products and what they are used for.
Glycerin - skin moisturizing agent, natural byproduct of soap making process (often used with vegetable and animal fat).
Petrolatum - commonly known as petroleum jelly, is a byproduct of petroleum.
Petrolatum is a soft paraffin or wax mixture sold as a topical skin ointment.
It is an over-the-counter skin protectant and is used in the manufacturing of cosmetic skin care.
Cetyl Alcohol - a long chain fatty alcohol, used in the cosmetic industry as an emollient, emulsifier or thickening agent in the manufacture of skin creams and lotions.
It is also employed as a lubricant for nuts and bolts, and is the active ingredient in some "liquid pool covers" (forming a surface layer to reduce evaporation and retain heat).
Cetearyl Alcohol - is a mixture of fatty alcohols, consisting predominantly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols and is classified as a fatty alcohol.
It is used as an emulsion stabilizer, opacifying agent, and foam boosting surfactant, as well as an aqueous and nonaqueous viscosity-increasing agent.
It imparts an emollient feel to the skin and can be used in water-in-oil emulsions, oil-in-water emulsions, and anhydrous formulations.
It is commonly used in hair conditioners and other hair products.
Fragrance (Parfum) - is a mixture of fragrant essential oils or aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents - used to give the human body, animals, food, objects, and living-spaces "a pleasant scent".
Although some companies use fragrance mixed with benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a slew of other known toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies—some of which are cited on the EPA's hazardous waste list.
Dimethicone - is technically called a silicone-based polymer. Basically it’s a silicone oil with certain properties that make it extremely popular in skincare products.
Prolonged exposure can increase skin irritation and create a dependency on the product. Just like petroleum jelly, dimethicone can actually end up drying your skin the more you use it, as it interferes with the natural hydrating processes, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.
Ceteareth - are liquids to waxy solids and help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified.
It is also used to decrease the thickness of liquid cosmetics and personal care products.
It helps other ingredients to dissolve in a solvent in which they would not normally dissolve.
It cleans the skin and hair by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that these substances can be rinsed away.
Shea butter – is a vegetable fat from fruit of an African tree.
Jojoba oil – is an oil extracted from seeds of a desert shrub native to California, Arizona, and Mexico.
Tocopheryl Acetate – a common vitamin supplement that combines Vitamin E with acetic acid. It is often used in dermatological products such as skin creams.
It is not oxidized and can penetrate through the skin to the living cells, about 5% is converted to free tocopherol and provides beneficial antioxidant effects.
It is used as an alternative to tocopherol itself providing a less acidic product with a longer shelf life.
It is believed that the acetate is slowly hydrolyzed once it is absorbed into the skin, regenerating tocopherol and providing protection against the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Isododecan - an emollient and is often added to beauty products to help make your skin feel smooth and comfortable.
Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate - skin conditioning agent and thickener. It is used in the synthesis of polyesters, paints, lubricants, and plasticizers.
Carbomer – a group of synthetic texture enhancers used primarily to create gel-like formulations. High amounts of carbomer in a gel may result in the product rolling or balling up of cosmetic products on skin.
Sodium Hydroxide – is a white crystalline odorless solid that absorbs moisture from the air. It is a manufactured substance.
It is very corrosive. It is generally used as a solid or a 50% solution. Other common names include caustic soda and lye.
Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture soaps, rayon, paper, explosives, dyestuffs, and petroleum products.
It is also used in processing cotton fabric, laundering and bleaching, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extracting. It is commonly present in commercial drain and oven cleaners.
Disodium EDTA - primarily works as a preservative, chelator and stabilizer, but has also been shown to enhance the foaming and cleaning capabilities of a cosmetic solution.
As a metal chelator, it counteracts the adverse effects of hard water by binding with heavy metal ions contained in tap water, which in turn prevents the metals from being deposited onto the skin, hair and scalp.
This makes it a particularly useful ingredient for rinse-off products that inherently require water to come into contact with the skin.
Essentially, this ingredient deactivates the metal ions through bonding with them, which inturn prevents cosmetic products from deteriorating, maintains its clarity and prevents it from smelling rancid.
You can find this ingredient in virtually every personal care product including facial moisturizer/lotion, sunscreen, anti-aging treatment, cleanser, shampoo/conditioner, hair dye, body wash and eye cream.
Tetrasodium EDTA - a water-soluble ingredient used as a chelating agent in cosmetics and personal care products because of its ability to sequester metal ions and allow them to remain in formulas but lose their ability to react with other ingredients.
This ability allows it to not only soften water, but preserve formulas as well by improving its stability when it is exposed to air and prevent microbial growth.
BHT - BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are closely related synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other cosmetics.
They are also widely used as food preservatives.
Diazolidinyl Urea - is an antimicrobial preservative that works by forming formaldehyde in cosmetic products.
People exposed to such formaldehyde-releasing ingredients may develop a formaldehyde allergy or an allergy to the ingredient itself.
Approximately 20% of cosmetics and personal care products contain a formaldehyde-releaser and the frequency of contact allergy to these ingredients is much higher among North Americans compared to studies in Europe.
Methylparaben - is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries.
Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
Benzyl Alcohol - solvent and preservative, associated with immunotoxicity and contact allergies, toxic when used around mouth or airborne.
Propylparaben - occurs as a natural substance found in many plants and some insects, although it is manufactured synthetically for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and foods, according to Wikipedia.
It is used as a preservative for its anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties to extend the shelf life of beauty and cosmetic products. It is considered non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating at .05 to 1% concentrations.
Benzyl Salicylate - is a clear colorless liquid with a sweet floral aroma.
In cosmetics and personal care products, it is used in the formulation of bath products, bubble baths, cleansing products, hair care products, makeup, moisturizers, perfumes and colognes, shampoos, skin care products and suntan products.
Butylphenyl Methylpropional – is a Synthetic fragrance ingredient with a strong floral scent. Also goes by the name 2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl) propionaldehyde or lilial.
Its use in cosmetics is restricted due to concerns over sensitivity.
Citral - is found in apricot, occurs in lemon grass oil, lemon, orange and many other essential oils. It has been shown to exhibit anti-microbial function.
Citronellol - naturally occurring scent found in geranium, rose and lemongrass.
Limonene - is a scent ingredient and solvent naturally ocurring in the rind of citrus fruit.
Upon storage and exposure to sunlight and air, limonene degrades to various oxidation products which act as skin and respiratory irritants and sensitizers.
There you have it!
Some ingredients may be harmful and some may not.
Did this list surprise you? Have you seen these chemicals on your lotion label? Please, tell me about it in the comments!
**Most Information was found on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
If you have any allergic reaction to any products at any time,
please consult a doctor**
Luckily as I’ve gotten older, I've learned to appreciate my hair for what it is.
I've figured out some great tricks to straighten hair, because even if I don’t wear my hair straight every day it’s great to have styling options!
The best start is to make sure you have the correct tools to perfectly straighten your hair. I like to call it my hair straightening kit.
Hair Flat Iron
The most important tool to consider in a hair straightening kit is the flat iron!
It does not matter if you go for an expensive or inexpensive price range.
The most important feature that you must look for is the temperature control. If you can control the temperature, you can easily style your hair straight.
Try to purchase an iron with an adjustable heat setting, less likely you will damage your hair by using settings that are too cool or too hot for your hair.
- For fine or damaged hair: 250-300 degrees
- For medium/average hair: 300-350 degrees
- For thick or coarse hair: 350-400 degrees
**These temperatures are only an estimate. Your hair texture and type will also determine which heat setting is best for you**
Clips for Sectioning
When dividing your hair into different sections use crease free clips, I personally like duck bill clips. This way you won’t end up with a bumpy finish to your style.
Try different clips to see what works best for you and make them a part of your Hair straightening kit.
Try different clips to see what works best for you and make them a part of your Hair straightening kit.
Another component that is a must in your hair straightening kit is the right hair brush.
The metal core round brush is one of the best hair brushes. It is great for giving some bend at the ends and giving hair some volume instead of being flat and poker straight.
Try to get a brush with soft bristles. It will also help straighten as you slide down the hair with flat iron use the brush to brush down the hair after the flat iron.
Use can also use a comb for this.
Now that we have the tools, here are some tips to having straight locks:
Never start straightening before your flat iron is fully hot. Always make sure that your hair tools are at the right temperature.
I know I always wait half a minute after turning on the flat iron and am frustrated when the section isn’t straightening… Patience Jennifer…
A flat iron will do its job well when it properly heated, otherwise you will end up with frizzy hair and waves will start to appear after a few hours.
Clean and Maintain
Make sure your flat iron is clean and well-maintained. Dust can obstruct the heat and affect the results. If not cleaned well, dust, grime, and grease will stick to your hair – making hair damage easier.
Comb It Right
Brush or comb your hair well before you begin ironing. If your hair is curly or hard to straighten, it is a good idea to comb in between straightening. This helps get the shape right and holds it for longer.
For me, the back of head has the stubborn hair that doesn’t cooperate. I have started straightening the sections in the back of the head first and once that is straightened, I continue to the easier front and side sections of hair.
One Inch at a Time
Each time you divide your hair into different sections, go for one-inch sections of hair. Be patient, it is okay to go slow – this will let you have perfect and long lasting straight hair.
If you find using a flat iron often is damaging the hair, take a break from straightening, change the heat settings and/ or use hydrating shampoo and / or conditioner, it is always important to keep your hair healthy.
The best style you can give your hair is by taking care of it.
I hope these tips help with next time you straighten your hair.
Share tips you have for straightening hair and let me know if you liked this post
in the comments below!
I recently found out about FixYourSkin.com.
The site was started in November of 2015 to provide health and beauty advice, accessible skin care, as well as to create a sense of community to listen and help others with their health and beauty issues.
Hannah, from FixYourSkin.com, contacted me in regards to a skin care roundup she was creating, which consisted of 200+ bloggers and skin care experts providing their Top Three Best Tips for organic skin care.
I can’t believe they asked me to take part in this awesome project. It was such an honor!
The website is super cool and reading through these tips was great - I found so much great advice!
The site has "The Top Best" lists, pros and cons as well as how to use the products and what to look for when purchasing them.
Not only do they have bloggers like myself giving advice but they also include factual information and resources.
To see my contribution to the Roundup, visit
For more skincare advice definitely visit their website at http://fixyourskin.com/
Mascara wands come in different shapes - hourglass, spherical and wavy, does it really matter which one you choose?
Wand shapes do make a difference, you can take the same mascara and apply it with different brushes and get completely different looks.
The formula has a huge impact as well because the formula and the brush have to work together, you wouldn’t want a formula that lengthens but a brush that gives volume.
If you want a quick easy basic application of only using one or two coats of mascara, use a wand that deposits a lot product so that those few swipes will completely coat your lashes.
Choose a wand with a wide core this will pick up a lot of mascara and delivers it to the base of the lashes.
CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara is great for a quick application.
The tight spacing between bristles is smaller than the usual clump size - so clumps won’t start forming on the brush, giving a nice even application!
Next time you are looking deciding which wand to try, here is a neat trick to remember - how the wand looks is how it's going to apply. For example: A thick and fluffy brush will give voluminous, fluffy lashes.
Long, voluminous and thick lashes are what almost all women want from mascara.
To pump up lashes, choose a wand that is big and fluffy.
Physician's Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara is not only Eco-friendly but also maximizes and intensifies lash volume.
Pixi Beauty Large Lash Mascara uses Vitamin E to strengthen and condition lashes. Its large brush defines and separates for a clump-free finish that won't smudge.
Fluttery, Defined Lashes
For definition, separation and length, smaller brushes - ones with closely spaced bristles are the best tool.
Ball tipped brushes also allow you to get extreme definition because the smaller shape allows you to get from root to tip, and to evenly coat each and every lash individually.
It Cosmetics Hello Lashes Mascara - is formulated with peptides, proteins and jojoba to keep lashes soft and healthy.
L'Oréal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara extends and lifts outer corner lashes to give you a winged-out effect.
Curl and Lift
Choose a brush that mirrors the effect you're looking for – if you want curl, curved brushes are what you want or you can also try one that looks like an hourglass - the shape gives you the lift and curl of a curved brush while also getting to every lash.
Flower Beauty Zoom-In Twist 3 in 1 Ultimate Mascara - Lengthens, Curls & Thickens with a twist of the wand cap. My absolute favorite!
Benefit Roller Lash Mascara – this mascara was inspired by hair rollers, it curls and lifts lasjes without clumping.
Sometimes I like to make my own mascara cocktail by using two or more mascaras to achieve the look I want. Other times I find mascaras that have done the work for me!
CoverGirl's Bombshell Volume mascara was inspired by women who like to combine mascaras.
One side of the mascara is a volumizing formula and brush and the other side is a thinner formula that, through the use of a different brush, adds intensity and depth of color, One side volume – other side lengthens!
L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara has a unique brush designed to amplify and separate lashes while building volume and the built-in Clean Sweep Wiping System wipes the brush free of clumps leaving the perfect amount of mascara for a volumized lash look.
I hope you found this look at Mascara wands helpful!
What is your favorite wand to use?
When the weather turns cold and blustery, our skin becomes cracked, flaky and irritated.
Today I’m going to address some winter skin problems, share solutions and share key ingredients we should look for in skin care.
Do you have Dry Skin?
You can do a patch test by taking a piece of tissue and pressing it on cleansed skin for a few seconds.
If the tissue comes away clean, you are lacking some necessary oils that protect skin from dehydration.
If your skin starts feeling tight or looks flaky then you need to change up your lotion or moisturizer to a heavier formula.
If your skin becomes shiny a few hours after applying your moisturizer or if you've become more prone to breakouts, then you're most likely using a moisturizer that is too rich for your skin type.
Ingredients to look for
When it comes to buying a moisturizer, there are two things to look for - glycerin and/ or hyaluronic acid and plant oils like Jojoba, rosehip, avocado and hazelnut.
Glycerin pulls water molecules from the environment and holds it close to your skin and Hyaluronic acid can enhance moisture content, and at the same time revitalize skin’s outer layers so they look and feel softer, smoother and hydrated.
Products that have ingredients like plant oils that will help seal in moisture.
Some products that can also help the skin’s hydration levels are a nice creamy cleanser like Derma E Natural Bodycare Hyaluronic Hydrating Cleanser.
It rinses away dirt, makeup, helps to unclog pores and uses Vitamin E to leave skin feeling hydrated and refreshed.
Burts Bees Renewal Cleanser uses a soap free formula to remove dirt, oil and makeup while gently exfoliating.
When you have dry flaky skin that doesn’t seem to get any better, the only way to heal it is to do a combination of gentle exfoliation and moisturizing.
There are two options when it comes to exfoliation: you can use a gentle microbead scrub like Yes to Grapefruit Exfoliating Body Wash or a skin care brush like Vanity Planet “Spin for Perfect Skin” Cleansing Brush.
Both are gentle enough to use on sensitive skin and remove dead skin cells on face and body to promote cellular rejuvenation at the same time.
With dry, irritated skin use an oil-based moisturizer, this will help restore the lipid balance to your skin.
I love using Jojoba Oil as a moisturizer in the winter, try Eden Semilla 100% Pure Jojoba Oil.
Apply immediately after a bath or shower. Lightly pat your skin dry – skin still a bit damp - then apply the moisturizer.
You can easily remove dry skin flakes from your lips by gently buffing them with your own gentle Lip Scrub by combining Honey, Coconut Oil and Sugar together.
Follow that with a generous amount of moisturizing lip balm, preferably one with natural waxes, shea butter and plant oils like my favorite Honey Trap Lip Balm by LUSH Cosmetics.
Cracked skin may be inflamed, itchy and irritated using cortisone cream can help to soothe skin.
Aveeno 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream uses finely ground oats to lock in moisture and retain the soothing effects of the whole oat grain, relieving dry or irritated skin.
If your skin is severely cracked and irritated, you probably will need a prescription cortisone cream to find true relief.
You’ll need to seal the cracks with a thick ointment like Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly or Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment.
Apply immediately after bathing, then if the cracks are on your hands or feet, put socks or gloves on to trap in moisture.
Keeping Skin Hydrated
Increased water intake can help hydrate skin - drinking six to eight glasses a day.
Vitamin E is very effective at supporting and repairing your skin from within. Using products with Vitamin E is helpful but you can also take capsules, look for capsules labeled "natural source" -they are about three times more potent than synthetic versions.
Omega-3 fish oils and Gamma linolenic acid (found in evening primrose and black currant oils) also benefit in the treatment of various skin conditions, including dry skin, eczema, inflammation, wounds, and dermatitis.
I hope you find some skincare relief for the winter season :)
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