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5 Ways To Incorporate Turmeric Into Your #TRUTHBEAUTY Routine

Alexis Krauss

Natural beauty wizard Kristin Collins Jackson is back, this time with some unexpected and incredibly effective uses for turmeric. Turmeric possesses numerous health benefits but can often be tricky to use in DIY skincare recipes. I personally use it almost everyday in food and beverages, but I've always been a bit confused by how to use it in skincare recipes given how badly it stains my fingers when I'm preparing it. Thankfully Kristin has spent a lot of time experimenting with this potent plant and has shared her favorite recipes below. Enjoy! Xoxo Alexis

Freshly grated tumeric root.

Freshly grated tumeric root.

There are plenty of trends in natural skincare that come and go, but there is one ingredient that has a safe, permanent home in my beauty regimen: turmeric has prevented acne, relieved painful cystic acne, and improved my complexion. This popularity of turmeric would be annoying if it weren't continuously saving more faces through at home recipes than botched at home curry recipes. Turmeric never had a bad rap, but turning everything it touches orange often leads people to shy away from this herb without a full understanding of what you could be missing out on. 

You may know turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, but the main component used to reduce swelling is a unique antioxidant called curcumin. Since it's also naturally antiseptic and antibacterial, you can count on turmeric being able to naturally take care of severe acne and moderate eczema. The naturally brightening properties are ideal for those with pigmented skin that suffer from hyper-pigmentation and acne scars and anyone can find benefits from using turmeric as an exfoliate or reduces wrinkles and promoting a glowing complexion.  

The most common way to use turmeric is in its powdered form, though the potency of the curcumin can be lost through the process of making turmeric powder, it's still got a bunch of healthy nutrients. The way you use turmeric powder, root, and oil depends on the recipe your making and the intention behind the recipe. Allow me to serve as your turmeric tour guide by sharing some of my favorite recipes! Don't worry, using turmeric doesn't have to result in an orange face. 

1. Turmeric For A Body Wash

Since I've been soap-free for some years now, I've got lots of practice finding a daily body wash that removes dirt without stripping my bod of its natural oils. Adding turmeric to my favorite homemade body wash has also kept body acne to a minimum. For this recipe, I used 1 heaping tablespoon of raw honey, 1 tablespoon of calendula, 2 tablespoons of chamomile, and a teaspoon of turmeric. Put the calendula, chamomile, and turmeric in a disposable tea bag, and place in 4 ounces of hot filtered water, adding the honey directly to tea. Remove the tea bag after 5 minutes and allow to cool naturally. Store your cleanser in a sealable container with a pump and store in the fridge for future use. Discard after 2 weeks. 

2. Turmeric For A Stimulating Exfoliate

I'm no stranger to needing coffee in the mornings, most of the time I find when I need a cup of coffee? My face needs a coffee scrub that will erase the appearance of poor sleeping habits displayed all over my face. For this mask, I blended 2 tablespoons of brewed coffee grounds, 1 tablespoon of oatmeal, and added a teaspoon of turmeric. After you make your coffee scrub base, add balancing ingredients like milk, brewed herbs, or honey to loosen the consistency of the scrub, you don't want a harsh exfoliate that will irritate your skin. Apply your mask on makeup free skin and rinse with lukewarm water. 

3. Turmeric To Fight Cystic Acne

I like to believe that cystic acne is in my past, but those hormonal outbreaks will creep up if I'm overindulging in sugar or dairy. One of my accomplices for these outbreaks is this turmeric mask because it's antibacterial, sloths off dead skin cells, and can stop the cyst before it becomes painfully inflamed and scarred. For this mask, I use a combination of baking soda, raw honey, turmeric, and apple cider vinegar. For my 5oz container, I used a tablespoon of ACV, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, 2 ounces of raw honey. I add enough baking soda to make a thick paste, which was about 2 ounces. Since baking soda is very alkalizing, start with an ounce and test it out first. This recipe is to control oil build-up and combat cysts, those with dry skin may want to use only 1 tablespoon of baking soda.  

4. Turmeric To Brighten Teeth

It may seem odd that something notorious for turning your hands orange could brighten your teeth, but trust me, turmeric is even recommended by some dentists as a natural remedy for your pearly whites. I made a toothpaste with turmeric recently and my roomie and I couldn't believe how slick and white our teeth felt, it actually made our teeth feel even cleaner than the natural brands we had been purchasing. You can incorporate it in your favorite natural toothpaste recipe or use it solely for its whitening properties using equal parts coconut oil and baking soda and 2 parts turmeric.  

5. Turmeric Body Butter For Dry Skin

Having a few clients with eczema means I'm always on the look-out for natural ingredients that can moisturize the skin while alleviating painful inflammation. This simple body butter only involves 2 ingredients: turmeric oil and shea butter. As I mentioned above, turmeric root preserves many of the important antioxidants and turmeric oil gets bonus points for not being as messy or as staining as its powdered counterpart. Add 3 ounces of shea butter and 1 ounce of turmeric oil in a blender and you've got yourself a homemade butter that lasts. 

Made Safe: Product Safety Made Simple

Alexis Krauss

Since starting Beauty Lies Truth, Jess and I have been discussing the need for a safety seal that helps consumers quickly and easily spot products that meet a set of rigorous non-toxic safety standards. Finally, thanks to the work of Amy Ziff, Founder and Executive Director of Made Safe, that safety seal is here. Made Safe is America’s first nontoxic certification program that applies widely to products from baby to personal care to household and beyond. They ensure that items we use every day are made with ingredients that aren’t known or suspected to cause human health harm. Made Safe's goal is to change the way products are made in the United States to ultimately eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. Learn more about Made Safe below in our exclusive interview with Amy. Xoxo Alexis

1. The Made Safe seal means that a product is made with safe ingredients. How does Made Safe work with companies to guarantee that ingredients are in fact safe? 

When a brand earns the MADE SAFE™ seal it is a real honor. It's very hard to get to MADE SAFE because our process is so different from what is required in this country.  Most people presume that because a product has been sold on a shelf there has been some sort of governmental or agency approval that would mandate that the product isn't harmful to humans. But alas, that's not the way it works in America. Other countries like Japan, Russia, even China and across Europe do a better job than us. But MADE SAFE sets out to fix that. Our approach presumes ingredients are guilty until proven innocent. We work with brands under NDA in order to have full disclosure about what goes into their products, how they are sourcing ingredients as well as where and how they are made. We use a chemist to model each and every ingredient in a mixture. We screen out known toxicants and don't permit known behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, Endocrine disruptors, fire retardants, GMOs, heavy metals, neurotoxins, pesticides, reproductive toxins, toxic solvents or harmful VOCs in products.  But we go beyond “red lists” and known toxicants to attempt to close data gaps by scientifically screening ingredients that have little to no publicly available data. We follow the Precautionary Principle: in cases where we can’t obtain enough data to determine that an ingredient won’t cause harm to human health, we don’t allow it in certified products. We also evaluate ingredients for concern for bioaccumulation, persistence, as well as general and aquatic toxicity. This is what we call our 360 degree approach which takes into account human health, animals and the environment. 

Our gold-standard MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified is the only certification that lab tests products in totality, testing products to ensure that the mixture as a whole will not cause harm to human health.

2. What are the biggest obstacles to getting more brands Made Safe certified? Time! 

3. Made Safe assesses ingredients based on Biological Accumulation, Environmental Persistence and Aquatic Toxicity. Can you give a few examples of common unregulated cosmetic ingredients that don't meet the Made Safe standards?

You need to be very careful when you take ingredients out of context, without CAS #s and proper support information to simply say they don't work. We look at every ingredient in a product and look at supply chain, sourcing and more when we are putting it through our process so these questions can really confuse people. That said, we don't allow known endocrine disruptors so if you've heard of the toxicant BPA (Bisphenol A) that is totally unregulated and found in products ranging from cosmetics to food can lining to fem care. While it is widely used, we don't allow it. Nor do we allow any of the other bisphenol alternatives that BPA is being replaced with as consumer awareness around the dangers of BPA grow.  The problem is BPS, BPE, BPF (and the list goes on) aren't necessarily any better and they just might be worse. We also wouldn't permit an ingredient such as diazolidinyl urea, a formaldehyde releaser (as formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen according to the EPA), in products we certify. Those are a couple of examples that might seem obvious because there are concerns about each of them and yet they can be widely used. 

4. Do you think the FDA will ever adopt a set of standards as unique and rigorous as Made Safe?

I'd love to see the day it does! Alas, right now, in America, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty which forces every single person to take on the role of toxicologist to try and vet their own products. That's why MADE SAFE was created. To give people a way to vote with their dollars for better, safer products to show that there is demand for these kinds of consciously crafted products.  

5. What is Made Safe most excited about right now? We are so excited that just five months after launch we get emails and inquiries everyday from interested brands who want to become MADE SAFE certified. We are changing the way products are made and that is pretty awesome. 

-Amy

Keep an eye out for the Made Safe seal and see which products you love are made safe here.

 

The Witchy Wonders of The Sphinx and the Priestess

Alexis Krauss

Based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Hayley Elisabeth Kaufman works as a writer by day and an occultist by night. After studying with renowned reader and teacher Ellen Goldberg for several years, Hayley is an intuitive and trained Tarot practitioner and Palmist. Recently, Hayley decided to take her love of all things witchy to the next level and launch The Sphinx and the Priestess with her friend Whitney Huhmann. The Sphinx and the Priestess is a one-of-a-kind luxury occult lifestyle brand featuring handcrafted ritual Tarot candles, accouterments for spiritual reverence and worship, as well as curated vintage and ephemera. I was eager to learn more about Hayley's new company and their enchanting ritual Tarot candles. Each candle is handcrafted in Brooklyn using premium soy wax and natural, evocative scent blends. More than just a typical ritual flame, Hayley's candles align with the phases of the moon, each with a charged quartz crystal and personal handwritten mantra to aid in manifestation. Sounds magical, right? Check out our interview with Hayley below and peep our Instagram to learn more about our exclusive The Sphinx and the Priestess Ritual Kit giveway. Xoxo Alexis

1. Tell us a bit more about the scent blends for each candle and what the process of developing them was like.

So, because each Ritual candle is inspired by an iconic card or symbol of the Tarot’s Major and Minor Arcana, we took scent inspiration from what is called the Table of Correspondence. It’s a link between the cards of the Tarot and things like the Astrological sign, color, musical note, and scent profile it corresponds to. This makes the burning of the candle a really divine experience—whether it’s used for ornamentation and ambiance in your home or for manifestation rituals or meditation. Each scent blend is tailored to the specific Tarot archetype and the essence of the card. For example, The Lovers candle is a lush floral blend with bitter citrus and dark wood and it helps to manifest all facets of love and attraction. All of the scented oils we use are holistic grade and all organic. Crafting all-natural candles was super important to us. We also use natural soy wax and non-toxic wicks!

2. How have your personal discoveries in non-toxic and natural beauty influenced the creation of your ritual tarot candles and other The Sphinx and Priestess products?

I personally first got inspired to completely dump ALL of my toxic beauty products after being introduced to the Beauty Lies #TruthBeauty Bag! Talk about a total game-changer! It was such a revelation to really think about what we as women put on and in our body without really questioning the ingredients. Both my partner Whitney and myself are always on the search for ways to make our candles and products all natural as well as leaving a very small environmental footprint—even our packaging and our mailing materials are recyclable and reusable. 

3. What's next for The Sphinx and Priestess?

Gosh, a lot! The Sphinx and the Priestess headquarters is moving into a new studio space where we’ll be working on a whole new exciting candle concept in addition to some really exciting design collaborations with brands we absolutely love. Until then, you can find me at Jill Lindsey Store in Fort Greene, Brooklyn doing Tarot and Palmistry readings and really exciting events like moon rituals, manifestation events, and an awesome event on Tarot archetypes and female magic! 

-Hayley

Hayley currently does Tarot and Palmistry readings on Sunday afternoons from 1:30 - 5:30 at Jill Lindsey in Brooklyn - 370 Myrtle Av, (347) 987-4538 (@jilllindseystore) and by appointment. 

6 Summer Skincare Obsessions

Jessica Assaf

These are 6 beauty products I'm obsessed with this summer: 

Primal Pit Paste, $8.95
Let's be honest... Everyone is sweatier in the summer. Since switching to completely natural products, I definitely haven't smelled my best. I have been searching for a totally natural deodorant that really works for years, and this is it. The first thing that impressed me was the ingredients in Primal Paste. The product has a base of rich, organic Shea butter and includes organic arrowroot powder, non-aluminum baking soda, organic coconut oil, essential oils, and non-GMO vitamin E derived 100% from sunflowers. I love the lavender for a fresh, feminine scent, but there are many other options. My only critique is that my armpits are more sensitive to the ingredients immediately after I shave, so sometimes my skin burns for a few minutes. But other than that, I am very impressed by this deodorant. To be honest I think it has actually made my body smell better naturally. 

RAW IS EVERYTHING Antioxidant Treatment, $45
(Yes, I am promoting my own company.) I launched a line of single-ingredient skincare called RAW IS EVERYTHING because I want people to experience and appreciate ingredients extracted from plants in their purest form. We searched the globe and found facial oils that stand alone, without any additives or preservatives. Our oils are cold pressed, unrefined, protected in custom-coated dark glass, and sourced sustainably from communities around the world. This summer I have been using our Antioxidant Treatment, 100% cold pressed, unrefined raspberry seed oil. Raspberry seed oil is the perfect summer facial oil because it has extremely high levels of antioxidants and natural UV protectant properties. It is a dry oil so it absorbs quickly and it makes my skin feel hydrated all day. Oils are much more concentrated than cream-based facial moisturizers, and they are highly effective for all skin types. Oil actually balances the skin's natural oil production, meaning oil fights oil. I hope everyone finds the best oil for their skin! If you want to try my RAW oils, use the promo code BEAUTYLIESTRUTH at checkout for an exclusive discount. 

Global Mamas + Alexis Krauss Global Beauty Butter, $14
I love this body butter for so many reasons. Firstly, Alexis was inspired to develop the product after her recent trip to Ghana with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast. Alexis and Bethany visited Ghana with Live Nation TV to share the stories of women leading the shea butter industry in West Africa. After meeting the leaders of the women's cooperatives harvesting shea butter, Alexis partnered with Global Mamas to create a product that would directly support the communities of women producing shea butter. Alexis worked tirelessly to ensure that every single part of the product was produced in Ghana. Over 70% of the sale of each Global Beauty Butter directly empowers the women in Ghana who harvested, processed and packaged the shea butter. Global Beauty Butter is an exceptionally rich and totally natural moisturizer that will heal your skin. This product represents a powerful force of women helping women globally. Read Alexis' blog post to learn more about this magical product.

S.W. Basics Organic Lip Balm Flight, $15
Lip balm is so underrated, but it is a summer necessity especially in the heat. Why choose one lip balm scent when you can get organic peppermint, cinnamon, cocoa and citrus all in one reusable, adorable tin box? S.W. Basics' lip balm flight has been one of my favorite products since the beginning, and it is still by far the best lip balm set and *affordable* organic skincare gift out there. The cocoa-butter base gives the balms a delicious chocolate-like aftertaste that is addicting, and you will find yourself switching from cocoa to peppermint to cinnamon to citrus all in one day. If you want to buy online, use the promo code TRUTHBEAUTY for an exclusive discount from S.W. Basics. 

OSEA Sea Vitamin Boost, $38
Have you ever seen a face mist this color? OSEA's refreshing spray provides instant hydration to dry, sun-damaged skin. The beautiful color is due to a powerful combination of pomegranate and red wine extracts, both containing anti-aging properties. OSEA sources certified organic Patagonian Gigartina algae for all of their products, including this one. The mist is the perfect beach companion to hydrate, soothe, and protect your skin all summer long. 

Pomega5 Lemongrass Clarifying Cleansing Bar, $35
This has been my favorite cleansing bar for years, and I especially love it in the summer. Not only does the bar cleanse my face, but the outer rough edge of the bar also exfoliates my skin and leaves me moisturized. The ingredients are sourced from the Mediterranean, and the olive oil base creates a rich, almost foamy cleanser. Luckily the bar is easy to travel with, because I literally take it everywhere. While the price might seem high for a cleanser, I promise it will last you for months and will keep your skin clear, clean and hydrated. 

 

Introducing Global Beauty Butter

Alexis Krauss

Big smiles at the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative production facility in Ghana.

Big smiles at the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative production facility in Ghana.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Global Beauty Butter. Global Beauty Butter is much more than just another shea butter based skin care product. It is created by women, for women, with 70% of the sales of each Global Beauty Butter directly empowering the workers who harvest the nuts, process the butter, and package the product.

The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative working hard to produce their shea butter.

The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative working hard to produce their shea butter.

Global Beauty Butter starts in the hands of the women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative, a group of shea producers in Northern Ghana. The CMA Shea Butter Cooperative has been producing shea butter from wild harvested shea nuts for years, despite numerous obstacles. While they have been able to sell their shea butter at competitive market rates, doing so has meant that they have consistently earned less than Ghana’s minimum wage. As a result, these 25 hard-working women have struggled to pay their children’s school fees, improve the safety and efficiency of their cooperative’s production facility, and raise their families out of poverty. 

Bethany stirring the shea butter. Just one of many labor intensive steps in creating Global Beauty Butter.

Bethany stirring the shea butter. Just one of many labor intensive steps in creating Global Beauty Butter.

After visiting the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative and meeting with several of the women, Alexis and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, decided they needed to take action and began brainstorming ways they could directly support this hardworking and inspiring community of women. Alexis and Bethany in collaboration with Beauty Lies Truth, partnered with Global Mamas, a fair trade organization working to create prosperity for African women and their families. Global Mamas recognizes that fair wages are the key to creating sustainable livelihoods. They also believe that as consumers we have an obligation not only to LOVE our products, but to KNOW the stories of the women who produce them and to use the power of our purchases to CHANGE their lives. With the support of Ghanaian entrepreneur Comfort Adjahoe-Jennings and her company Ele Agbe, Global Beauty Butter was born.

Founder of Ele Agbe, Comfort Adjahoe-Jennings.

Founder of Ele Agbe, Comfort Adjahoe-Jennings.

Here’s how it works: Every time you purchase a container of Global Beauty Butter you are ensuring that a living wage is paid to the women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative. To promote transparency and accountability Global Mamas has launched the Shea Helps Empower (SHE) Fund, which supports specific, group-driven projects to improve the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative’s workplace and local community. The SHE Fund sources its funding from the profits of Global Beauty Butter. More than 70% of the retail price of each Global Beauty Butter goes to empowering the women at the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative, in addition to the women of Ele Agbe and Global Mamas.

Georgina explains how shea nuts are harvested in the bush.

Georgina explains how shea nuts are harvested in the bush.

Global Mamas will administer the fund, leveraging more than a decade of experience as a fair trade nonprofit empowering women in Ghana. The women of CMA have already identified their priorities: improving their shea production center by adding access to electricity, conducting roof repairs, and building a security wall.

Global Beauty Butter comes in Unscented and Moringa & Lemongrass.

Global Beauty Butter comes in Unscented and Moringa & Lemongrass.

By buying Global Beauty Butter you are also supporting a product that is 100% made in Africa. Once the butter is produced by the women in Northern Ghana it is shipped to Accra, where it is processed and packaged by the women of the Ele Agbe Shea Shop. Global Beauty Butter meets the Beauty Lies Truth standards of clean beauty and is free of chemicals and preservatives. In addition to Unscented Shea Butter we offer a Moringa and Lemongrass Shea Butter that is made with ethically cultivated, sourced and processed True Moringa oil and locally produced lemongrass oil. Our containers of made from plastic produced in Ghana that can be reused and recycled.

All good stuff. No bad stuff.

All good stuff. No bad stuff.

Global Beauty Butter brings you the moisturizing and healing benefits of shea butter while empowering the hardworking women who have made it. Join us on our journey to create meaningful change in African women’s lives by spreading the word about our product. Every new Global Beauty Butter customer means that the women we work with are producing butter more often and earning fair wages on a more consistent basis. 

The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative proudly posing with Global Beauty Butter.

The women of the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative proudly posing with Global Beauty Butter.

Visit GlobalMamas.org for more information and watch the Live Nation TV documentary here.

Lots of love! Alexis, Bethany, Renae, Comfort, Georgina, Patience and the entire GBB team.

Get Your Clay On

Alexis Krauss

Bustle's DIY beauty maven Kristin Collins Jackson is back, and this time she's really excited to tell you about clay. We've all heard of clay face masks, but they are often pricey and full of filler ingredients. Lucky for us Kristin has gotten her hands dirty experimenting with a variety of DIY clay concoctions and we're thrilled to report that clay can be an easy, effective, affordable and fun new addition to your skincare routine. Enjoy! Xoxo Alexis

Clay is found nearly everywhere on earth, the United States naturally produces several types including some particularly beneficial for mild skin problems like kaolin, bentonite, and Fuller's earth clay which makes it relatively inexpensive and unless you plan on personally digging up clay to make your own clay mask, it's easy to find. Because of this, I couldn't continue to pay upwards of $60 on a clay mask — instead I spent the last years playing in clay to become, if not a clay genius, then a person who could whip up a clay mask in 5 minutes for merely a few dollars.

Since skincare, particularly natural, can be pricy, there is no shame in researching ingredients in the beauty aisle, but you can save yourself money and your phone's data by trading in the public research for a fun DIY clay mask at home. I purchase a few different clays in bulk to make masks depending on my skin's needs and trust me, a bag of clay goes a long way.  You don't need a lab, you don't need a doctorate, in fact, you don't even need an apron — a little inspiration will have you ready to book a play-date with clay.   

French Green Clay

I am a huge fan of green clay, particularly when the temperature is rising and my skin starts acting like it needs to produce enough oil for me to repurpose for the apocalypse; green clay is very cleansing and while it's drying properties are great for oily skin types, it still doesn't keep your skin from naturally producing oil on its own, it merely controls the oil production. This clay mask is for just that: with grapefruit essential oil to further promote astringent properties and lavender to calm and balance the stimulating effects of the clay and grapefruit essential oil.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has a huge fan base because it works well with oily, combination, and dry skin. Just like its clay cousins, bentonite absorbs impurities and gently exfoliates the skin. During your menstrual cycle, bentonite is a great way to release toxins and I especially recommend it at the onset of menstrual cycle; this is a great time for women to get rid of toxins. Pair it with hormone balancing essential oils like geranium to control those dreaded period breakouts.  

White Kaolin Clay

This clay is great for sensitive skin and not just the ones prone to breakouts or dryness. As the skin ages it becomes thinner and things are absorbed faster through the blood stream, white kaolin clay is gentle enough for mature skin while removing dead skin cells, calming and soothing lines, wrinkles, and overall stressed out skin. I love this mask in the dead of winter when my skin doesn't know if it's dry or breaking out or both: I infuse my clay with hibiscus tea which speeds up cell regeneration and improves the elasticity of skin and to support of the kaolin clay.  

Black Clay

I'll start by saying there are a different forms of black clay; this one by Fig + Yarrow is infused with activated charcoal and kaolin black clay, the combination makes it an exceptionally detoxifying mask that controls oil and breakouts while giving your skin a deep clean. This mask is ideal for oily skin, stressed out skin. To balance the detoxing effects of the clay, I infused it with chamomile tea to keep my skin from getting too excited.

-Kristin

Not Just Another Beauty Box...

Alexis Krauss

Here at Beauty Lies Truth we love supporting innovative and entrepreneurial women who are changing perceptions about the efficacy and luxury of clean beauty brands. Sandy Siu, founder of EsthoriaBox is determined to spread the word about her favorite products by offering them to women in a new bi-monthly, carefully curated subscription box. We spoke to Sandy about what makes EsthoriaBox stand out and what she hopes to accomplish with her new company. Enjoy! Xoxo Alexis

There are a lot of beauty boxes out there. What makes EsthoriaBox different?

First off, EsthoriaBox is a bi-monthly subscription that offers 2-3 full- size of only natural/organic beauty products. I chose to offer bi-monthly because with 2-3 full size products, it takes some time for you to really discover what the product is doing for your skin, whether your skin is really benefiting from it or the color lipstick or blush you chose might not suit you at first, but later on after a few more applications, it grows on you and you love it! I find the only way you can discover what works for you is with time and full size products. I also want to give subscribers a choice of what products they want in their box. So they get to choose 1 to 2 products that are being featured that month.

EsthoriaBox puts a spotlight on one brand for each box. Celebrating a maker that is dedicated to creating all natural/organic products, green beauty lovers can enjoy the products they love or discover new products. I definitely want to emphasize that green beauty doesn't have to smell earthy or offer mediocre performance, but can be luxurious, high performing, look gorgeous on women, and provide beauty that is better for our health.

Tell us a bit about the process of choosing brands for EsthoriaBox. What clean/green standards must the companies meet?

 I read and follow a handful of very reputable green beauty bloggers, such as, BeautyLiesTruth, The Green Product Junkie, Edible Facial and a few more that review and share to their readers the best in green beauty. Bloggers that will tell you what creators are truly using clean ingredients, have ethical practices and try the best they can to use sustainable packaging. These bloggers are not afraid to expose the ones that are just green washing. That’s why whatever products they recommend, I will trust and go research more about the brand and try out the collection myself.

So when choosing a company to be featured in EsthoriaBox, the ingredients they use must be natural and organic with no hidden toxic chemicals, offer high quality performance and maintain consumer trust.

Sandy Siu, Founder of EsthoriaBox

Sandy Siu, Founder of EsthoriaBox

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to jump into the world of natural beauty.

 I struggled with acne for years and have very sensitive skin. I tried many different products to help treat my breakouts. From using drug store acne creams and cleansers, to going to beauty clinics to get chemical peels. All those things did work, but only temporarily.

I was fed up with my constant acne break outs, until my mom introduced me to organic coconut oil. It led me to do some research and I couldn’t believe the products I was using had all these harsh and harmful chemicals that could be affecting my health, contributing to my acne and even harming the environment. So I tossed out my conventional beauty products, which were filled with toxic ingredients and slowly started replacing them with all natural, organic products. When I noticed my skin was drastically improving, I then switched all my personal care and household items to all natural.

What's next for EsthoriaBox?

Right now I’m preparing for the next box, which will be shipping out in July, so subscriptions will be open in June. I’m so excited to be collaborating with a very well trusted, luxurious skincare brand that considers themselves the next generation beauty. So look out for that!

-Sandy

Everything You Need to Know About Indie Beauty Expo

Alexis Krauss

A few months back I had the pleasure of meeting Jillian Wright co-Founder of Indie Beauty Expo (iBE), the largest professionally-curated exhibition of independent beauty brands. Jillian and her team have grown iBE into a bi-coastal event that showcases the best of independent beauty with a special focus on companies committed to formulating with safe and sustainable ingredients. Jillian has worked closely with Jeannie Jarnot of Beauty Heroes to ensure that all clean and green beauty brands are easily identifiable and that none of the nasty ingredients listed here are included in their formulations. iBE is taking place in May in LA and in NYC in August. Learn more about attending here. Xoxo Alexis

For our followers who don't know, tell us a bit about how iBE is different from other conventional beauty shows?   

iBE is differentiated in three ways--all of which are designed to make iBE the most well-targeted and efficient platform to discover and experience the best indie brands:

First, instead of trying to do all of “beauty” or all of “natural” products, we are laser-focused on a specific type of company--independent ones--that offer products in a three specific and contiguous categories: beauty, wellness and lifestyle. This makes it a lot easier for brands, buyers, press and consumers to know what they can expect at our event. In that regard, we are super-targeted. You can access the best, all under one roof, in one day. The key advantage of iBE from a buyer standpoint is around choice and efficiency. iBE’s selection is large enough to provide plenty of choice and room for discovery, but manageable enough so that they can cover it in one day.  

Second, we are also one of a very few true multichannel events in that we bring brands, buyers, press and consumers into the same event. While trade and consumer events are held on separate days and have a different agenda and tempo, there is a clear sense of continuity. We think this is key. As an indie brand, it is essential to leverage all channels to build your brand. Consumer advocacy, in particular, is crucial, as indie consumers tend to be highly involved and vocal, and their support can definitely put a brand on the buyer and press radar. By bringing all the key audiences to our exhibitors, we enable them to maximize the opportunities they can generate by exhibiting at iBE.

Third, since we are not solely an “expo company,” we challenge all conventional rules around a show and take a more personalized approach in everything we do. For example, iBE brings our event to major markets where there is a ready and massive concentration of buyers, press and consumers. We want to make it easy for people to discover indie brands. We also spend a lot of time picking the right venues--this is key for us. As any retailer will tell you, how you present your collection makes a huge difference as to how your audience perceives and values your offering. That is why we avoid big “white-box” convention centers and instead pick venues that are historical, naturally beautiful and with an aesthetic that is simple, elegant and authentic.

Do you find that most of the independent beauty brands you work with are prioritizing sustainability and formulating with safer ingredients?

Absolutely.  Take this amazing new cosmetic line launching at iBE LA, A Pinch of Colour.  Linda Treska, an 18 year veteran in the beauty industry and CEO of Vincent Longo, and teacher at FIT, has developed waterless color cosmetics and packaging.  This is the first of it’s kind.  She is taking sustainability one step further. Loli Beauty, also exhibiting in LA, is a monthly subscription DIY box that sources all of her ingredients from sustainable vendors and her ingredients are organic and natural. Jasmina Aganovic, founder of Mother Dirt  who received her degree in chemical and biological engineering from MIT features “good” bacteria and teaches consumers not to be afraid of being “dirty” by educating them on beneficial bacteria which will positively affects our ecosystem. Ashley Prange of Au Naturale Cosmetics is taking her message to Congress through a petition for safer ingredients.  You can sign it here.  INUF Skincare exhibiting in LA and NY, from Hong Kong uses recycled, repurposed and compostable materials in their packaging and all their formulas are green and sustainable.  And finally, Anju Rupal,  founder Abhati is launching a product line that will help educate girls globally. She might be speaking at iBE.  You can see her TEDx here.

Independent brands have a voice and are exercising their freedom to help better the world in their own way whether is is through sustainability, clean ingredients, helping others and changing laws through congress.  

Tell us about some of your favorite trends in clean and/or green beauty right now.

We see a lot of brands using unique ingredients such as cedar nut oil (Lyeska), and in Lalun Naturals, coconut crystals and coconut vinegar in her toners. There are brands that offer products that are skin issue specific for example, Native Atlas has a muscle rub which was inspired by her husband’s native Ghana where she sources her Shea Butter and Emmaus who has a three step solution to hyperkeratosis and rough body skin.  We are also seeing collaborations between brands like Java Skincare and Fit Glow Beauty.

Why should real women who aren't buyers attend iBE? Talk us through what a consumer can expect at iBE LA.

Consumers are very important to indie brands.  We want the public to learn about independent beauty, lifestyle and wellness brands and their commitment to bringing better beauty to every household.  They will be able to meet the founders, learn about their products and their missions which will hopefully bring enlightenment to their personal care routines.  Not only will they be able to shop the brands on sight, we are also offering speakers, demos, panels and workshops including in the entry price, which we lowered from last year.  This year general entry is $30 and VIP (you get a stellar gift bag is $99)  We want consumers to feel a connection to indie beauty brands, learn and take away something real.   We want everyone to have a fantastic time but leave feeling enlightened and that they have learned something to enrich their lives.

In your opinion what are the biggest challenges independent beauty companies face and what is iBE doing to help them overcome those challenges?

It is one thing to have a nice idea and launch a brand.  It is another thing to promote it successfully and execute distribution.  The business landscape has changed dramatically with social media and the competition is fierce.  This is a process that has to be thought through with conviction and seriousness.  If you build it, they will come doesn’t work anymore.  You have to think through why you are doing it and how you are going to distribute your brand.  Where do you fit in?  What is your mission?  Who is your audience?     We are here to help the brands with that entire process from execution, to marketing and distribution through our resources.  So for the brands, we are offering them support from a business standpoint to get their ideas and passion to market.  Distribution is very important to an indie brand and we want to connect buyers with brands so they can successfully bring their products to more people.

-Jillian

For The Love Of Lemongrass

Alexis Krauss

It's DIY Friday and guest blogger Kristin Collins Jackson is back, this time to tell us all about the many benefits of lemongrass essential oil. Kristin shares her favorite DIY recipes incorporating lemongrass essential oil just in time for you to try them this weekend. Enjoy! Xoxo Alexis

Lemongrass essential oil is one of the many essentials in my beauty routine. While many folks may be used to seeing this ingredient in a delicious stir-fry, the healthy benefits of this tropical grass can be applied on your bod to solve your beauty woes. I'm a huge fan of using fresh lemons on my face after cleansing to get rid of pesky scars that blemishes leave behind, but squeezing a fresh lemon by hand everyday gets old real fast. Fortunately, lemongrass essential oil is just as versatile and when mixed with the right ingredients it handles dark spots like a boss!

Lemongrass is native to tropical climates like Africa, Sri Lanka and India. The essential oil is an astringent with natural brightening qualities, so you can say goodbye to lightening dark spots with harmful chemicals or hand-squeezing lemons. According to sources at Livestrong, the anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties make it excellent at warding off infections. Lemongrass is cleansing because of its antiseptic qualities — which is exactly what you want when incorporating a new ingredient into your cleansing routine.

A little bit of lemongrass goes a long way, because of those potent antiseptic and astringent properties, it can be an irritant on your skin, so be sure to mix your lemongrass with your favorite carrier oil and use in small doses.

Here are a handful of ways you can use lemongrass to brighten your day...and your skin.

1. Deodorant

It took me a while to nail down my essential oils to make a deodorant that would control sweat and odor, adding lemongrass to my natural deodorant has become, well, as essential as the oil itself.

2. Toner

Lemongrass acts as a natural preservative and lightener in my go-to homemade toner. This toner can be used after cleansing, before you moisturize, by using rose water, aloe vera, and a few drops of lemongrass essential oil. As with any new recipe, do a test patch on the inside of your arm to make sure your skin reacts well to lemongrass.

3. Brightening Body Lotion

I'm all about brightening my skin throughout my skin regimen, as long as it doesn't require any harmful chemicals. I use a combination of mango, shea, and kokum butter with my favorite carrier oils, then I add frankincense and lemongrass essential oil to keep my lotion healing my body throughout the day.

-Kristin