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Understanding the Difference between Organic and Natural

organic skincare

What is the difference between organic and natural skincare products? The beauty industry is always bringing forth newer and more advanced products for people to use. The fanciful wordings and catchy phrases on these products lure in people to buy their products but they are not always clear about the types of ingredients that are used. In many cases, companies call their products “natural” but what does that really mean?

Two of the most common words found on numerous beauty products are “natural” and “organic.” Not being aware of the exact meaning of these two words, individuals are thrown off as to what percentage of purity may be in each product. While one of these terms is known to be legally regulated, the other is vague.

Since associating each term with a designated definition is hard, it is important to understand the exact meaning of these words. This way, it will be easier for you to determine if you want to go for a natural solution or an organic.

Organic– of, relating to, or derived from living matter

Natural– existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind

What Is Organic?

Although, the two dictionary definitions above are along the same lines, if you do thorough research, you will come to a solid conclusion. The conclusion would be that the term ‘organic’ is one that is strictly regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The official website of U.S. Department of Agriculture states that any organic operations done must show off that they are protecting the natural resources, providing conservation to biodiversity, and only the usage of approved substances is occurring.

The only way a product can be organic is if the farming operation or its facility is meeting all the standards that have been approved and set by the National Organic Program. The job of the National Organic Program is to create, produce, handle, label, and enforce all the certified organic products of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In other words, it is safe to say that products that are classified as organic do not get that label easily. Anything with the organic label (including food and other products) have to undergo strict regulatory processes and anything you get will not have even the smallest percentage of pesticides, or additives.

What Is Natural?

The term natural does not have strict regulations and it can be used more freely as compared to organic. When it is used in products, it typically means that this specific product was formulated without the help of any synthetic oils, fragrances, or dyes. In addition, the term ‘natural’ can be attached to any product that is mostly made up of the elements that are provided by nature. There are no legal processes the product will need to go through before it can hit the market. Also, a “natural” product could contain plant based ingredients that have been treated with pesticides.

Now that you have the basic understanding of organic and natural, it will be easier to determine what your choice will be. Either way, both the products will be good to use, but if you are the type of person that likes proof, then going for organic products will be better.

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Benefits of Applying Vegetable Oils and Butters to Your Skin

vegetable butter

Vegetable butters and oils help protect skin, are moisturizing, and rich in skin-loving nutrients. Vegetable oils are liquid at room temperature and vegetable butters are solid at room temperature.

These are the butters and oils that I use in making my sugar scrubs and daily face cream:

Coconut Oil

The intoxicating smell of coconut oil is one reason why it is so popular, but also it has incredible moisturizing properties because it softens and soothes the skin. The skin absorbs the fatty acids of this oil and it uses them to energize the skin so it can heal naturally.

Coconut oil is an anti-microbial and antiseptic that contains capric acids, caprylic acid, and lauric acid, and it has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties as well. It is a natural treatment for acne and it prevents premature aging and wrinkles.

Olive Oil

Made by pressing multiple olives and taking their oil, olive oil is a great oil that can be used to achieve healthy skin. Apart from having health benefits, olive oil is great for the skin as it makes it clear, hydrated, and gives it a natural glow. Olive oil contains important vitamins like vitamin A, D, K, and vitamin E. This oil has antioxidant properties that can prevent “cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.”

The important ingredient of this oil is squalene, which gives the antioxidant boost. People that are prone to getting acne can use a soap made of olive oil so it can kill bacteria that causes acne while also hydrating the skin.

Avocado Butter

Avocado butter has the ability to make your skin glow so it looks healthier and more alive. The reason is that this body butter contains antioxidant vitamins (vitamin A, D, and E) that kill free radicals from your skin that cause premature aging, wrinkles, and fine lines. Avocado butter has natural properties that protect your skin and hair from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun. While doing so, it moisturizes the skin and makes it clear as it removes bacteria from the surface of your skin.

Mango Butter

Mango butter has natural wound healing, regenerative activity and emollient properties. Traditionally, it is used to make the skin softer and smoother while it protects it, restores its flexibility, and lessens the degeneration of skin cells. It also protects the skin from UV radiation. Mango butter is recommended to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Mango butter treats dry skin, heals rashes and peeling, relieves itching, treats sunburns, clear wrinkles and blemishes, and rejuvenates the skin.

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil is a nutrient and it has antioxidant properties. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements claims that this oil can neutralize free radicals that contribute to damaged cells, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other ailments. It is considered a “powerful fat-soluble antioxidant: that can revive the skin. It is made with a group of 8 different compounds; all of which are beneficial to the skin.

It nourishes the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, treats dark circles and sunburns, and it is known as a cleansing agent.

Carrot Powder

If you are looking for a natural way of toning and repairing the skin, reducing scars and wrinkles while improving the blood circulation of your skin and providing your skin with beta carotene, then the best option would be carrot powder. Although, the consistency of this powder is different from the other powder, it is one that has endless benefits.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable glycerin is a “natural triglyceride” that is extracted from palm, coconut, and soy oils. It is composed of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen making it an organic compound. This natural product is a great moisturizer as it makes the skin soft and smooth. It has humectants properties that attract water so the skin can stay radiant and hydrated for longer periods.

Moreover, it can be used as a toner and cleanser. Even people that have oily skin can use vegetable glycerin because it regulates the production of natural oils.

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Eczema – What Is It and What Causes It?


I hear from many people looking for natural and cruelty-free skin care products who are dealing with eczema. This skin condition features dry, red, and itchy patches that leads to sores, blisters, and peeling. In researching this condition, I’ve found that is very wide spread. There is also no “cure”, however, there are ways to manage this condition.

What is Eczema?

As mentioned before, this skin condition causes itchy, dry patches that result in sores, blisters, and peeling. The National Eczema Association states that eczema affects more than 30 million Americans. The signs of this condition begin to show during childhood, mostly on the chin, knees, elbows, or cheeks and they tend to alleviate as time goes on. However, some people develop it as adults and live with these painful and itchy symptoms.

Narrowing down the causes is a little difficult because there are different forms of this condition. What researchers do know is that the most common kind of eczema is atopic dermatitis (AD), and it is usually passed down through family members. There are three conditions linked to each other: AD, hay fever, and asthma. This means if these conditions run in your family, there is a chance for you to develop AD.

What Causes Eczema?

At the moment, doctors do not know the exact cause of eczema. However, researchers have come up with analysis showing specific genes that are involved in forming eczema.

Those affected by eczema have over-reactive immune systems. When triggered by any substances internally or externally, it responds by causing inflammation. This inflammation causes the skin to get itchy, painful, and red which is the most common symptom of eczema.

Recently, researchers have found that those who have eczema have a gene mutation that prevents the body from creating a sufficient amount of filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that aids in shaping skin cells and is helpful to our skin’s barrier function. When deficient in filaggrin, people can develop eczema, where skin cells tend to build up on the surface and don’t naturally shed leaving scaly looking patches of skin.

Eczema is not a contagious skin infection. If you come into contact with an affected individual, there is no chance of it passing to you. In addition, children are more prone to eczema, especially those living in areas where there is more pollution or cold climates.

Different Types

Apart from AD, these are some less common types:

  • Dyshidrotic eczema– blisters on your feet and hands triggered by allergies, damp hands and feet, and stress
  • Neurodermatitis– identified by the thick, rough, and dry patches of skin exacerbated by bug bites or stress
  • Contact dermatitis– produced because of harsh/irritating substances like detergents, skin care products, and harsh chemicals
  • Nummular eczema– classified by the itchy, small spots caused by bug bites, inflammation, or dry winter skin

What Can Help

While there is currently no cure, there are some known ways to alleviate symptoms and minimize breakouts. Here are some things that you can do:

  • Use soap and skin care products that do not contain detergents or synthetic fragrances as these can both irritate and dry out skin.
  • Avoid typical allergens (dust mites, pollen, pet dander)
  • Avoid hot and long showers. Keep your showers luke warm and short in order to retain moisture and your natural skin oils. Moisturize your skin as soon as you have finished.
  • Try your best to avoid stress as this can be a trigger. Exercise and meditation are excellent stress relievers.
  • Wear soft and comfortable clothing as irritating and scratchy fabrics can exacerbate symptoms.



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The Difference Between and Benefits of Sugar Scrub and Salt Scrub

I’m often asked about the difference between and benefits of sugar scrub and salt scrub. Surprisingly, they are quite different, however, there are benefits to using both.

Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrub can be used on most all types of skin. Here are some of their benefits:

  • Sugar granules are smaller and softer than salt granules and not as harsh on skin.
  • Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid that, when used on skin, breaks down the bonding agents that hold skin cells together, spurring cell turnover and creating younger looking, softer skin. Glycolic acid is also used to treat sun damaged skin.
  • Sugar is a humectant, meaning it pulls moisture into the skin from the air. When applying products with sugar to your skin, they help moisturize and preserve hydration within.
  • Sugar will slowly dissolve with warm water, so when used in a scrub, your skin is left only with the nourishing base oil. In my sugar scrubs, I use organic coconut oil and organic vitamin E oil as base oils. So after the sugar exfoliates rough, dead skin, it then dissolves leaving moisturized silky smooth skin.

Salt Scrub

Salt scrub is best not used on the face or on sensitive skin. However, they offer some benefits as well:

  • Salt contains magnesium which helps to reduce inflammation and flush away toxins. Sea salt, derived from seawater, contains many skin loving minerals which can improve blood circulation to your skin.
  • The large, tough salt granules in salt scrubs can remove dead and hardened skin when rubbed on the skin. The longer dead skin cells remain on the surface of the skin, the thicker they become making skin look dull and dry.
  • Salt scrubs can cause scarring by creating micro tears in the skin. When overused, they can leave skin dry and irritated. They are best used on tough patches of skin like the bottom of feet or elbows.

Out of the two types of scrubs, I like using sugar scrubs because they are gentle enough for the whole body while also providing excellent exfoliation and skin cell turnover. After use, I’m always left with fresh and radiant looking skin!

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How Farm Sanctuaries Are Changing People’s Views

farm sanctuary

Imagine going to a large factory farm and seeing chickens crowded in small cages, pigs living in gestation crates, cows hooked onto machinery that extracts milk from them or living in overcrowded barns. Although we enjoy indulging meat and dairy products, many of us are ignorant to think about how it got to us.

Did you know that almost every farm animal suffers more than half of their life because their goal in life is to satisfy our needs? Imagine being in an animals’ position and think about how it would feel if your life goal was to produce for others.

Luckily, many people are realizing the suffering that is taking place, which is leading them to create a safe environment for animals at farm sanctuaries. Moreover, this farm sanctuary initiative has changed the views of many people and here is how.

Promoting Compassion towards Animals

Farm sanctuaries work hard to reduce animal suffering, which is why they invite people to come in and learn the importance of compassion for these living beings. The goal of farm sanctuaries is to help animals that have been abandoned, neglected, and abused. The animals are not exploited in any way, instead, there are measures taken to restore their physical and emotional health.

These animals spend their life in open pastures rather than being in small barns. They get to enjoy the sun and visitors spend time with them in their natural habitat. Animals roam freely and the visitors can connect with every animal on their own terms.

Animals are Friends, Not Food

We do not realize this, but animals are much like humans because every animal has their own unique quirk. Just like us, animals tend to put their emotions on display like when a calf is taken away from its mother, the mother cow makes crying sounds, and animals become sad if they have been separated from their partner. They can develop deep bonds with each other.

With tours and tireless work from volunteers, farm sanctuaries have drawn visitors to come in so they can connect with the different animals. It is eye opening when you can actually interact with another being and realize that they have a personality and can feel not only physical but emotional pain as well.

Safe Lifestyle and Raising Awareness

Farm sanctuaries disclose the atrocities at farm factories and the brutal conditions that animals endure. Moreover, they expose how these factories negatively affect our communities and the world. Farm sanctuaries encourage you to live a healthier life while becoming empathic of our fellow beings.

Now that you are aware of the difference made by farm sanctuaries, it is time you visit your nearest one and join the movement!

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How to Make Your Own Handmade Soap

handmade soap

Handmade soap making is becoming an art that is fun, frugal, and practical. Handmade soap is a superior alternative to manufactured soap.  It is more moisturizing, longer lasting and contains all-natural ingredients that are healing instead of harsh and drying.

More and more people have been enjoying taking part in this fun and rewarding hobby. Many times while selling at a market or talking to friends I’m asked how I make the soap that I sell.  I thought I would share an easy recipe with you so you can try your hand at making your own high quality soap at home!

Supplies Needed

Immersion blender

Large glass bowl

1 pint glass jar

Goggles and gloves

Mold (this can be a shoe box or any rectangular plastic container)


10oz of coconut oil – this will help produce lather

20oz of olive oil – this will make the soap moisturizing and mild

1oz lavender essential oil (or any essential oil you choose!)

4oz of lye – this is also called sodium hydroxide and can usually be found at your local hardware store or Home Depot

9oz of cool distilled water


*Before you begin, it is very important to remember that you have to be careful with lye. Lye is a strong, caustic base that can cause chemical burns to your skin. To prevent this, be sure to wear glasses and gloves throughout the process.  Mix your lye and water in a ventilated area, preferably outside. If you happen to get lye on your skin, rinse it off with cool water.

Now to our recipe!

  1. Cover your work area with newspaper and put your gloves and other protective gear on. Measure the water into a large glass bowl. In a well-ventilated area, slowly add the lye to the water while stirring.  (Note: Always add the lye TO the water, never the other way around to avoid splashing). When stirring, stand at a distance to avoid fumes. When the water returns to its original color, you can let it sit and proceed.  Mixing lye with water causes an exothermic reaction, meaning that the solution will get very hot.
  2. In a glass jar, add the oils together. Heat the oils until they are in liquid form (in a microwave or in a double boiler). The temperature of the oil should be 120° or so. The lye mixture should be close to this temperature as well. Monitor the temperature of the lye mixture as well as your oil and let both of these mixtures come down to between 95°F and 105°F.
  3. When both mixtures have reached the correct temperature range, pour the oil into a bowl. Slowly add the lye mixture to the oil. Stir the mixture using an immersion blender until the soap becomes light and gets thick, resembling vanilla pudding.
  4. Add the essential oil and stir once again with the immersion blender just enough for the essential oil to be evenly dispersed. Pour the mixture into a mold and wrap an old towel around the base of the mold. This way the residual heat will stay in and the saponification (process of the base ingredients becoming soap) will begin.
  5. Check your soap after 24 hours, if it is warm and soft then let it sit for another 24 hours. When it becomes firm and cool, remove it from the mold and then cut it into bars. Let the soap cure for 4 weeks (keep switching the sides so it can be exposed to air on all sides).
  6. Once the soap has cured fully and the bars are hard you then have your very own soap that you can use!

This is the way to make soap at home! It is not only easy, but it will also give you all the benefits of natural handmade soap.