Cruelty-free Guide to Essential Oils

Disclaimer: I am not a certified dermatologist. This article is based on personal experience and asking others what essential oils have worked for them. Of course, I will link the appropriate information to each oil, but nonetheless, please approach your skin issue with a plan! Consult with a certified dermatologist and conduct your own research if the problem continues.

With that said: here are the essential oils that could help most minor skin issues.

*Buy Organic When Possible*

**Use a Carrier Oil, such as Jojoba**

**ALWAYS do a test area before application***

Acne/Blemishes

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Tea Tree Oil, or Melaleuca oil, is the distilled product from the Tea Tree. Native to Australia and New Zealand, this oil has been used in traditional Aboriginal medicine for thousands of years to treat all kinds of skin issues. It has strong antiseptic properties to help heal wounds, suppress inflammation, and keep infection at bay. It was not until the 1920s, did modern medicine bring this oil to the rest of the world.  The main component of Tea Tree Oil, Terpinen-4-ol, has been shown to fix most skin problems. Perfect since pimples and other blemishes are tiny wounds that can cause minor inflammation on the face. Try Desert Essence Organic Tea Tree Oil ($9.99) to diminish those pimples. But be careful! This oil should be diluted. Use a carrier oil, such as Jojoba, to lessen the burning sensation.

Dark Spots/Hyperpigmentation/Skin Discoloration

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Rosehip Seed Oil, or the oil from pressed Wild Rose Brush seeds, is a miracle in a bottle. Found in the southern parts of the Andes, this oil has an amazing mixture of essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help all kinds of skin conditions. However, what it is best known for is replenishing and restoring cells. With a high level of Linoleic Acid, a unsaturated fat, this healthy acid has been shown to remove (lighten) the melanin pigment that can cause hyperpigmention in a safe and effective manner. Try Triology Certified Organic Rosehip Oil ($44.00) to help even out skintone or fade those dark spots. Great thing about Rosehip Seed Oil–does NOT need to be diluted!

Dry/Flaky Skin

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When it comes to dry skin, there is a chain reaction. Deep within your skin, the sebaceous gland does not produce enough sebum (also known as oil) to lubricate the epidermis (outer skin layer). When this occurs, the skin is jagged due to lack of hydration. A common side effect of dry skin can be flakiness. This happens when the dry skin cells cannot shed effectively. They stick to one another thus causing flaky, dead skin patches. But Argan oil is here to the rescue.

Argan oil comes from the kernels from the Argan Tree, an indigenous tree found in Algeria and Morocco. Used mostly as a dipping oil for bread, Argan oil in the “Western” world has been used mostly in the cosmetic industry–particularly in hair products for its softening and hydrating effects. So why not use Argan Oil to hydrate dry skin?

What makes it so hydrating is the high percentage of naturally-occuring Vitamin E. Specifically, gamma-tocopherol. This creates a protective barrier between your skin and the elements. Like Rosehip Seed Oil, Argan Oil does NOT need to be diluted. To keep flakiness away use Acure Certified Argan Oil ($12.99).

Eczema

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Many of us have heard of Chamomile. It is usually seen in tea form–used to calm down nervous souls  (like myself!). But surprisingly, Chamomile can be used to treat eczema. Seen in the article from the University of Maryland Medical Center, Chamomile, along with other topical options, can prevent eczema.

This little daisy-like flower, is found in many parts of Europe and even Northern Africa. But don’t let this little flower fool you! Its oil has a component called Alpha-Bisabolol. This is non-toxic, strong penetration ingredient. It has been known for hundreds of years how well this  factor can heal both internal and external damage. Young Living’s German Chamomile Oil($48.03) is expensive but worth a try for a more natural approach to healing eczema.

Excess Oil/Blackheads

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Many people believe oily skin should not use ANYTHING with oil written on the product. While this is true for some things, essential oils are safe to use on the body and face (if used correctly!). So for my oily skin individuals don’t shy away from using oils to help control your skin.

Geranium oil, known also as the “poor man’s rose oil”, is distilled from the Geranium leaf. Found in parts of Africa and Europe, Geranium has over 700 species to choose from.  The most important feature of this oil is its astringent properties. With tiny amounts of Menthone, a minty chemical, Geranium can shrink those large pores to keep dirt and oil away. Thus hopefully preventing blackheads from forming.  Aura Cacia ($20.79) Certified Organic Geranium Oil is the way to go! 🙂

Psoriasis

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There seems to be some confusion between eczema and psoriasis. Eczema is a long-term skin reaction. Extreme itchiness is the main issue, while psoriasis is chronic autoimmune condition that results in the overproduction of skin cells. Burning, itching, extreme inflammation makes psoriasis by far more painful. As chamomile may help some people with psoriasis, it has been shown Helichrysum works wonders! The name, in Greek, translates to “turning around in gold”. This underrated plant is related to the sunflower family and comes in 600 different species–over 200 of them found in South Africa alone!

What makes Helichrysum have a high approval rate among psoriasis patients is the  high amount of monoterpenes , an antioxidant component to stop inflammation. Most of the Helichrysum produced is carried with Jojoba oil for a better soaking effect. Aura Cacia ($11.50)just released this oil for the market!

Conclusion

As I mentioned before, please do your own research for these suggestions. They are MY opinions and are NOT fact–though I did  provide useful information for you.

Also, consult a dermatologist!

If you choose to use oils, please perform a skin patch test before facial usage. Usually the inside of the elbow is best.

Vegan and Cruelty-Free Subscription Boxes

Whether you are a reviewer, someone who wants to try something different,  or buying a gift for a family member or friend, subscription boxes are here to fit everyone’s needs and desires. Even for the vegan and cruelty-free beauties are out there.

I have created a chart to compare the three top subscription boxes:

Vegan Beauty Sub BoxesPersonally, when I return home, I am going to sign up for the Nourish Beauty Box. With full size products, this will give me a chance to really appreciate the product without rationing samples to review.

What other beauty boxes or subscription boxes are out there for vegan and cruelty-free folk? 🙂

November: National Novel Writing Month

November 1st begins the National Novel Writing Challenge. This annual challenge pushes people to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days!

In my personal time, I will write a novel…well, at least try! But in the digit world, I will write a new article each day!

  • November 1: Facial Moisturizers for Your Skintype
  • November 2: What’s the Differences? Tinted Moisturizers/BB/CC/DD Creams
  • November 3: Serums 101
  • November 4: Oil Blotting Papers
  • November 5: Makeup Removers for Your Skintype
  • November 6: Lip Care 101
  • November 7: Best Red Lip Color For Your Skin Tone
  • November 8: Best Nude Lip Color for Your Skin Tone
  • November 9: Best Peach/ Coral Lip Color for Your Skin Tone
  • November 10: Best Pink Lip Color for Your Skin Tone
  • November 11: Top Eyeshadow Palettes
  • November 12: Fall Trend: Graphic Eyeliners
  • November 13: Best Eyeshadow Primers
  • November 14: Undereye Concealers
  • November 15: Can I Wear Colored Eyeshadows?
  • November 16: ROY G. BIV Nail Polish For Medium Skintones
  • November 17: ROY G. BIV Nail Polish For Deeper Skintones
  • November 18: How to Find the Right Nude Nail Color
  • November 19: Step-by-Step Guide for Better Nails
  • November 20: Match made in Heaven: Pedi & Medi
  • November 21: How to Build an Essential Makeup Brush Kit
  • November 22: Pre-pre Skincare: Making Over the Inside
  • November 23: GET THE LOOK: Ava Duvernay in Elle
  • November 24: Trash it! When To Throw Out Makeup!
  • November 25: Black Feminism and Cosmetics
  • November 26: Which Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics
  • November 27: Common Mistakes Black Women Make!
  • November 28: What’s your undertone?
  • November 29: Facial Moisturizers for Men
  • November 30: Fall & Winter Fragrances  for Men

Continue reading “November: National Novel Writing Month”

Happy (and Ethical) Halloween!

Hands down, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday! And yes, it beats gift-giving Christmas. I enjoy the whole idea of mixing the scary with the happy moments with candy. But what I love most about Halloween is the chance to transform yourself into anything you want.

Here are some awesome companies that have a large array of colors and shades to pull together your costume! Happy HALLOWEEN!

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  • Blush: Silk Naturals Blush $4.50-$6.50
    • With options for vegans, Silk Naturals offer both powder and cream blushes for all skintones and skin types–a total of 65 different colors!

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  • Lipsticks: KA’OIR Cosmetics $16.99-$18.99
    • These lipsticks are B-O-L-D. From bright sky blue to mellow yellow, Ka’oir cosmetics are definitely going to make you stand out.  Her lipsticks ARE NOT vegan, however.
NOT MY COLLECTION! I wish...but credit to Vampy Varnish
NOT MY COLLECTION! I wish…but credit to Vampy Varnish
  • Nail Polish: ZOYA $9-$10
    • With about 400 colors to choice from, I bet you will find the perfect shade and texture to match your costume.

 

TOP 5 Vegan & Cruelty-Free Nail Polish Removers

It’s has been about a week now and it’s time to remove that old polish! But before you grab your conventional nail polish remover; let’s learn what acetone is. Acetone, a common ingredient found in nail polish removers, is a colorless, volatile, flammable organic solvent. That’s right! It’s naturally occurring. It is found in small amount in plants,trees, or even blood. So why do people avoid it? Well, acetone is still a harsh chemical, especially when directly applied onto your nail. This can lead to drier, more brittle nails over time.

But you don’t need acetone to remove the polish. All you need is some alternative ingredients, such as different oils, to help lift the color from your nail, while still moisturizing your digits. Here are some vegan and cruelty-free nail polish removers to try!

Vegan or Cruelty-Free Nail Polish remover

  • Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish Remover $9.99
    • Enriched with horsetail extract to strengthen nails
    • Fortified with vitamin E
    • Fortified with aloe to soothe and protect cuticles
    • Removes water-based and conventional nail polishes
    • Gluten-Free
    • Vegan & Cruelty-Free
    • Child safety cap
  • Karma Naturals Soybean Oil Nail Polish Removers $12.00
    • Vegan & Cruelty-free
    • Comes in three scents (Lavendar, Tea Tree, and Unscented)
    • Free of any petroleum ingredients
    • Derived from farm crops (supporting American farmers)
    • Packaged in 100% recyclable glass bottle
  • SUNCOAT™ Plant Based Nail Polish Remover $12.00
    • Vegan & Cruelty-free
    • Plant-based–made from corn stock fermentation
    • Enriched with vitamin E
    • Removes water-based and conventional nail polishes
    • Oil like consistency, will not dry or discolour nails
    • Biodegradable
    • Spill-Free
  • EXO Pure Remover™ $15.95
    • Cruelty-free
    • Organic
    • Plant-based
    • Designed to condition and repair your nails while it removes polish!
    • Available in four natural scent (Lavendar, Mint, Orange, Unscented)
    • Safe for natural nails, acrylic nails, and removes most gel polishes
  • PRITI NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover $22.00
    • 100% Biodegradable
    • Derived from farm crops
    • Comes in two scents (Lemongrass, Unscented)
    • Can remove water-based or solvent-based nail polishes
    • Has 2 oz. options ($13.00)

Face Off: COVER FX Contour Kit VS Anastasia Beverly Hills

Highlighting and contouring tutorials are everywhere on the web. Women of all shades have put their contouring skills to the test to help women bring out their best features. Nonetheless, I believe women with darker or deep skintones have a harder time finding the right contouring palette because most contouring shades either match their skin tone or are too light.

After searching and searching, I have found two palettes that seem promising to help women of bronzy skintones achieve the contour look.

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  1. COVER FX Contour Kit $48
    1. Positives
      1. Comes in 6 shades to fit women of all shades and undertones
      2. Great for dry Skin, but other skin types could use this (cream formula)
      3. Blendable
      4. Does not contain parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, triclosan
      5. Great for beginner to intermediate contour artists
      6. Travel-friendly
      7. Comes with a nice guide to help learn about highlighting and contouring
    2. Negatives
      1. Expensive
      2. Only comes with 4 color pans
      3. May not be the best for oily skin or combination skin
      4. Does not has an option of refilling pans

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  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills The Original Contour Kit $40.00
    1. Positives
      1. Great for oily skin types
      2. Has an option for cream formula
      3. Builable-coverage
      4. Great for beginners
      5. Travel-friendly
      6. Comes with refilling pans
      7. Has three highlighters and three contouring colors
    2. Negatives
      1. Color options are limited to shades and not undertones (light-medium/medium-tan/tan-deep or fair, light, deep for the cream formula)
      2. Might be overwhelming with the 6 different color options–however can refill your palette for a more customed kit.
      3. Does not appear to have a guide

FINAL THOUGHTS

I personally think the COVER FX Contour Kit will be better choice. This kit has the option to better match your skintone and undertone something most contour kit lack for darker, deeper women and men.

Color of the Year: Marsala Blush

I have been waiting to write this article because I am addicted to blushes! I have found 2 cream blushes and 5 powder blushes in the shade: Marsala.Marsala Blush

Budget to Splurge:

Fall/Winter 2015-2016 Pantone Eyes

Pantone Inc. releases each season 10 colors to reflect the changes within the fashion industry for both men and women! Add one (or all!) of these colors to your cosmetic bag!

Fall-Winter Colors 2015 Eyeshadow Shades (2)

 

Just for MEN: How to Prevent Razor Bumps

Ingrown hair happen to everyone. All races of men and women can experience them. However, men with African heritage can experience a higher risk of ingrowns because the hair shaft is curved, not straight. After a close shave, the hair can grow in a curly pattern into the skin. This can lead to inflamed hair follicles!

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To prevent these razor bumps, certain steps are important to keep them at bay! Purchasing a good shaving cream or gel and after shave (post-shave) for your skin type can help heal your skin after a close shave.

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Continue reading “Just for MEN: How to Prevent Razor Bumps”

Say No to Hydroquinone: How to Safely Remove Dark Spots

Hydroquinone is a common skin lightening agent. When used correctly, under a doctor’s care, hydroquinone can help individuals with extreme discoloration or dark spots achieve even skin tone. However, this technique is usually used on patients with lighter skin. When used on darker, deeper skin, hydroquinone can cause ochronosis, a bluish-black discoloration WORSE than the discoloration previously.  So instead of buying products with this ingredient, there are safer options to remove those lingering dark spots! Remember– be constant with applying these products and wear sunscreen daily to help with the fading process. It will take time; be patient!

Dark Spots Removal

Here are the Top 5 dark spot removals on the market:

1. 100% Pure Dark Spot Remover $38.00

2. Burt’s Bee Brightening Dark Spot Corrector $20.00

3. NOW Solutions Dark Spot Serum $15.99

4. Reviva Labs, Lighten & Brighten, Dark Spot Serum $19.00

5. Shea Moisture Spot Correcting Serum with Songyi Mushroom $14.99 Continue reading “Say No to Hydroquinone: How to Safely Remove Dark Spots”