Affordable Organic Skincare That ROCKS!

Acure

My poor skin has been through a number the past year while I have been trying various creams and oils in search of a cheap and easy skin care regimen that works.  I’ve tried coconut oil which made me break out.  I’ve tried Argan oil which did not leave my skin moisturized.  I even tried an “organic” brand which ended up not being organic.  Read about that here.  I ended up returning to an expensive brand which performed well in the past, but I was unhappy about chemicals like dimethicone and other undesirables.  Not to mention the costly price!

A few months ago, I decided to search for another organic skin care line on my favorite website, Vitacost.com.  I found Acure Organics.  Check out the ingredient lists:

2015-05-15 09_43_16-Acure Organics Day Cream Gotu Kola Stem Cell -- 1.75 oz - Vitacost

Acure Organics Day Cream, $16.19*

Ingredients: Organic curoxidant blend (organic euterpe oleracea [acai] berry, organic rubus fruticosus [blackberry], organic rosa canina [rosehips], organic punica granatum [pomegranate], organic calendula officinalis [calendula], organic matricaria recutita [chamomile], Fair Trade Certified™ organic aspalanthus linearis [rooibos], organic aloe barbadensis [aloe vera] leaf juice, cetearyl alcohol, Fair Trade Certified™ organic theobroma cacao [cocoa] seed butter, organic carthamus tinctorius [safflower] seed oil, glyceryl stearate SE [vegetable derived], vegetable glycerin, organic helianthus annuus [sunflower] oil, infusion of organic calendula officinalis flower in Fair Trade Certified™ organic olea europaea [olive] oil, glucono delta lactone [fermented sugar], centella asiatica [gotu kola] stem cell ceulture, marrubium vulgare [white horehound] stem cell culture, echinacea stem cell culture, lactobacillus/fermented resveratrol extract, organic argan oil, CoQ10, olive leaf extract, organic chlorella pyrenoidosa [chlorella growth factor], citrus reticulata [red mandarin] oil, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate [vitamin E], organic oenothera biennis [evening primrose] oil, potassium sorbate, eugenia caryophyllus [clove] bud oil.

2015-05-15 09_44_25-Acure Organics Night Cream Chlorella Growth Factor -- 1.75 oz - Vitacost

Acure Organics Night Cream, $16.99*

Ingredients: Organic Curoxidant Blend (organic euterpe oleracea (acai) berry, organic rubus fruticosus (blackberry), organic rosa canina (rosehips), organic sambucus nigra (elderberry), organic urtica dioica (nettle) leaf, organic vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry), organic lycium chinese (goji) berry, organic rubus idaeus (raspberry), organic punica granatum (pomegranate), organic vaccinium myrtillis (blueberry), organic calendula officinalis (calendula), organic matricaria recutita (chamomile), fair trade certified™ organic llex paraguariensis (yerba mate), prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel) oil, persea americana (avocado) oil, vegetable glycerine, prunus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, glyceryl stearate (vegetable derived), cetyl alcohol, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, glucose (sugar), glucose oxidase & lactoperoxidase (milk & sugar enzymes), organic chlorella pyrenoidosa (chlorella growth factor), organic oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, hypericum perforatum (st johswort) oil, lavandula officinalis (lavender) (essential) oil, citrus limonium (lemon) oil, xanthan gum.

2015-05-15 09_43_59-Acure Organics Eye Cream Chlorella & Edelweiss Stem Cell -- 1 oz - Vitacost

Acure Organics Eye Cream Chlorella & Edelweiss Stem Cell, $14.39*

Ingredients: Organic acai, organic blackberry, organic rosehips, organic pomegranate, organic calendula officinalis, organic chamomile, Fair Trade Certified organic rooibos, organic aloe barbadensis leaf juice, fair trade certified organic theobroma cocoa (cocoa seed) butter, organic carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oil, organic cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, glyceryl stearate SE (vegetable derived), vegetable glycerin, organic helianthus annus (sunflower) oil, infusion of organic calendula in fair trade certified olea europea (olive) oil, organic chlorella pyrenoidosa (chlorella growth factor) extract, leontopodium alpinum (edelweiss) stem cell, ubiquinone (CoQ10), organic argania spinosa (argan) oil, glucono delta lactone (fermented sugar), 100% natural vitamin E, organic oenithera biennis (evening primrose) oil, potassium sorbate (food grade preservative).

*Prices listed at the time of publishing.

Honestly, those ingredient lists along with those prices make me giddy.  Looks pretty good, right?

How Acure Organics Performs

I have been using this line for over a month.  It is safe to say that I LOVE IT, for many reasons.

  1. I did not break out.  That is very important.
  2. My skin did not dry out.  It stays soft and moisturized.  I have combination dry and oily skin and somehow this product line manages it.  When it was still cold out, sometimes I would use the night cream in the day on areas like my forehead where I tend to get wrinkles if my skin is dry.  Now that it is warming up, the day cream is just fine.
  3. The eye cream seems to have helped with my fine lines in the crow’s-feet area.  I can’t say that they have decreased, but the cream keeps the area moisturized enough to keep the lines from looking prominent.
  4. The price.  The ingredients.  C’mon, I really don’t think you can beat this.  I had to share it with you all!

Ditch the soap – oil cleansing is better!

Another important part of my skin care regimen is that I do not use face wash.  For the last six months, I have been oil cleansing.  I know it sounds all wrong, but I must say that my skin has never been softer and clearer.  (As long as I keep my diet clean, of course.)

Almost every natural living blogger has written about it, so I will save you the details because you probably already know.  One natural beauty blog I really enjoy and recommend, Almost Exactly, wrote a great summary about oil cleansing you can read here if you want to know more.

I use a combination of 20% castor oil and 80% extra virgin olive oil.  I have heard that olive oil is comedogenic, i.e. clogs pores, but I have not noticed any problems from using it.

I highly recommend you try out the oil cleansing method to maximize benefits from a natural skin care regimen.  My skin feels soft, nourished and glows when I can keep my diet straight.

Let me know if you try out Acure Organics!  FYI, this is not a sponsored post, I just really liked this find and wanted to share.

Do you currently use the oil cleansing method?  What kinds of oils do you use and what has been your experience?  Please share in the comments below!

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DIY Easy Clay Detox Face Mask

ClayMask

Have you ever heard of bentonite clay?  I recently picked up a jar after walking by it at my local supermarket.  I had listened to an interview about it earlier that day and thought it was too big of a coincidence not to buy it.  Boy am I glad I did!  I’ve used it for a few things already and I consider it a great buy.

Previously, I bought skin care products from a company that appears to have natural products, but they aren’t really.  The products work really well, but they are expensive and have some chemicals which I would rather not be putting on my skin.  With one of my purchases, this company sent me a sample of a clay mask which was called “Out of Trouble.”  IT WAS AWESOME.  I used this little sample five times over the course of a year – usually before a wedding or some event where I wanted to try to look put together – and every time my skin was left silky smooth and the next day it was clear and even complected.  I really, really wanted to buy more of this stuff.  But having no income makes you think a little more frugal and creatively.  I ended up making my own clay mask!

That’s giving myself a little too much credit.  I actually just followed the instructions on the side of the jar of clay.

Mix equal parts raw apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay.  Put on your skin, avoiding sensitive around the eye areas.  Feel it pulsate.  (They say pulsate, I say tighten on your face like a boa constrictor.)  Wash it off.  Feel a little like Joan Rivers for the next few hours.  (My skin felt tight, in a good way.)  I don’t know what it is, but something in this mask tightens my face long after I washed it off.  It also left my skin clearer and softer.  I think my pores were even a little smaller.

Bentonite clay is full of trace minerals, and also contains negatively charged particles which bind to toxins and pathogens such as heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides, etc.  (Source)  When applied topically, it can pull toxins out of your skin.  The raw apple cider vinegar alkalizes the skin and because it contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids, dead skin cells are removed and skin is rejuvenated.

I should mention that this mask will make your skin red for an hour or two after you use it, so don’t do it right before you have somewhere important to be.  Also make sure you moisturize right after.  Clay can be a little drying.

The amount of clay I use for one mask is so insanely small that the cost must be just pennies.  This jar will last me a very long time and it was only $6… and you can find it even cheaper online here.

Moral of the story – DIY beauty is a lot more easy, cheap and awesome than I expected.  Get the stuff and try it for yourself!

This clay is recommended for external use only and therefore I will have a lot more clay based DIY ideas coming.  A few of them are sure to be awesome, so pick up a jar of clay and try them out with me!

Easy bentonite clay DIY face mask for detoxification and beauty!

Do you have any experience using bentonite clay?  Please share in the comments below!

Linking up with Natural Family Friday!

The Danger of Sodium Benzoate in Natural Products

Beware of cancer causing ingredients in your "organic" personal care products!  The regulation is not the same as with food.

Over the last few months, I began using personal care products from a company called Avalon Organics.  I found their Vitamin C skin care line on Vitacost.com and it was relatively inexpensive.  At the time I was using coconut oil for a facial moisturizer and it was not working for me at all.  I gladly bought the cleanser and moisturizer and actually liked it.  (Until I tried this, but that’s another story.)  When I was searching for a new natural shampoo and conditioner, I saw Avalon Organics Lavender line at Target and purchased without thought.    Because the name has “Organic” in it I thought it would be completely natural and harm-free.  I never even read the ingredients.

In my shower, the conditioner bottle sat on the shelf with the label facing out.  Over the course of days, I was repeatedly noticing the large, bolded font reading, “Product is preserved with Sodium Benzoate.”  Why would they be required to state that, outside of the ingredient list, I wondered, again thinking it was organic and all natural ingredients.  I checked my Vitamin C skin care line, also from Avalon Organics.  The same sodium benzoate notice was printed on the face washes.

I soon got to looking up sodium benzoate online.  I found that preservatives which are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. FDA are allowed to be used in products, as long as they are listed on the label.  Sodium benzoate is classed as GRAS and under acidic conditions can prevent the growth of bacteria, mold or yeast.  Please note that preservatives do not keep foods fresh, rather they provide a toxic enough environment to prevent life (bacteria, molds and yeast) from proliferating.  The primary concern with sodium benzoate as a preservative stems from its ability to react with ascorbic acid or vitamin C, which is commonly found in food as well as cosmetics.  A chemical called benzene is formed via this reaction, which is a known carcinogen.  It is widely reported that benzene is formed due to the combination of these two ingredients, as well as it is widely reported that benzene is a dangerous carcinogen.  When checking the Skindeep Cosmetics Database, sodium benzoate receives a safety rating of 3 which is low-moderate, while benzene receives a 10 which is the highest hazard possible.  Avalon Organics must be aware of this.

Because of the known potential danger of sodium benzoate, it is not permitted to be used in organic foods or beverages due to government regulation of the organic label on foods.  In fact, the Skinnygirl Margarita line was once carried by Whole Foods, however in 2011 it was found to contain sodium benzoate and Whole Foods pulled the product from the shelves.  It is unfortunate that personal care items do not carry the same strict organic labeling requirements that food products do.  Our skin is absorbing everything we put on it, after all.  According to the Organic Consumer’s Association,

“Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government doesn’t regulate cosmetics for safety, long-term health impacts or environmental damage. Many common cosmetics ingredients are harmful to people and the environment… On cosmetics labels, words like ‘herbal,’ ‘natural,’ even ‘organic’, have no legal definition. That means that anybody can put anything in a bottle and call it ‘natural.’ And they do!”

Beware of cancer causing ingredients in your "organic" personal care products!  The regulation is not the same as with food.

After checking the labels on my Avalon Organics, I found that ALL of them contain both sodium benzoate and some form of Vitamin C.   According to Healthwyze.org, “Benzene content increases in correlation with shelf-life, heat, and light exposure.”  This means the longer these products sit, the more benzene is contained within.  My seemingly organic products are becoming more toxic with time!

Avalon Organics products all contain the “NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients” certification.  According to their website:

To be certified, all formulas must contain a minimum of 70% organic content. All other ingredients may not be available in organic form and must be evaluated and approved by an independent scientific panel to minimize environmental impact during production and ensure safety for the product user.

This commitment to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard is the next chapter in our journey to provide you with personal care products that are inherently pure, safe, effective and conscious of the greater good. We hope you will join us on our journey.

Benzene.  Carcinogen.  Inherently pure?

On July 23rd, 2014, I emailed Avalon Organics regarding the information above.  To date, I have received no response.  Here is a copy of the email I sent:

Hello, I use several of your products including the Lavender Conditioner and the Vitamin C skin care line.  I noticed that Sodium Benzoate is included as a preservative in all of these products.  After further research, I found that when sodium benzoate is combined with ascorbic acid, another ingredient in the Vitamin C skin care line, it creates a chemical called benzene, which is a documented carcinogen.  I found this information in several locations across the web, so it must be common knowledge among people in the food and cosmetic industries.  For a company that markets themselves as safe and organic, I find this extremely alarming!  People pay more to use your products expecting them to be toxin free and safe.  If someone would please respond to this inquiry regarding this issue, it would be greatly appreciated.

Beware of cancer causing ingredients in your "organic" personal care products!  The regulation is not the same as with food.

I really don’t want to point fingers, but I am sincerely alarmed and disappointed that a company can pose as organic and pure while they are actually selling products containing the most dangerous type of carcinogen.  While I understand that commercially produced products must have some type of preservative to prevent spoilage, I would hope a company touting it’s consciousness of the greater good would choose a safer combination of ingredients.  I honestly think this company is playing into the organic market, talking the talk, providing a harmful product in a nice package with fancy language and collecting the dollars.  Many, many dollars of people who are not getting the product they think they are.  I am disheartened in the commercial body care industry.  As I mentioned above, people pay more to use the products and they are probably none the more safe than the cheap counterparts.  I understand that

I have come to the conclusion that the only safe and toxin free way to care for myself and my family is to begin making my own products. Thankfully the internet has more than enough great resources.  I am excited to embark on a DIY natural beauty adventure!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be trying several new recipes from some of my favorite bloggers.  Everything from shampoo to deoderant, I’m trying it all.  It will take me some time to order ingredients and prepare the recipes, so I will be planning in advance.  I hope you will join in!

Do you have any great DIY recipes for body care or beauty?  Please share your links in the comments below!

Sources:

http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/204-are-you-getting-enough-sodium-benzoate-in-your-diet.html

http://doc.ccc-group.com/spec/800910.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24419445

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-sodium-benzoate.htm

This post was a part of Gingerly Made’s Show and Tell and Jill Conyer’s Blog Hop.