Hello greenies! You’ve been keeping me busy with your questions, so I thought it would be a good time to do another edition from the Readers Questions series. I’ve collected a few questions, varying from my first natural beauty brands, hauls – or not, carrier oils going rancid, frequency of posting, and a few suggestions for a reader who has sensitive skin.
I enjoy reading your emails, Facebook messages etc. – about anything, actually, so don’t be shy and drop me a note
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The first question comes from Spain:
“Which were first natural brands you used when you started using natural cosmetics?”
Even though it’s been many moons since I switched to green beauty, I still use more or less the same brands as I did when I first started using natural beauty, but now I use less of some of these brands, and given it’s been a while since I started using natural beauty products as well as given how many natural beauty brands are out there now, I’ve added quite a lot of them to my “green beauty brands resume”.
Back then I started with, mostly, German natural beauty brands, which were being sold in local beauty stores such as DM and Muller. The brands which I started with were Dr Scheller, Alverde, Lavera, Dr Hauschka, Terra Naturi, Logona, Weleda, then followed by Sante. Then, very soon after, came Akamuti and all the joys of various carrier oils, green clay, and of course – hydrolates. More or less while discovering Akamuti, came difficult to come across and even more expensive brands, not just in regards to products’ prices, but more-so shipping and customs costs: Suki, John Masters Organics, as well as Aubrey Organics, Burt’s Bees.
Usually, products from the German brands mentioned above fall into a cheaper category, also due to cheaper ingredients they use; their products also tend to be more heavy on the skin, and too many products are an alcohol bomb (those, who have tried Alverde wildrose toner, know what I’m talking about)! I still occasionally use Alverde’s shampoos, Terra Naturi chamomile lip balm is always in my cosmetic drawer. From Lavera, I still use their Rose rose roll-on and deodorant spray (yes, I’ll review it) and Lavera Basis lip balm. I had used their Rose perfume, for many years, but then all of the sudden they stopped selling it. Ugh!
I’ve got recently re-acquainted by Akamuti and remembered why I liked it so much many many years ago. Suki is one of those brands, which after all these years I still use, especially their foaming exfoliator. I may occasionally still buy Aubrey Organics shampoo and/or conditioner, but since they’ve changed their formulations, I am not that fond of their hair products anymore (will post a review in the near future).
John Masters Organics, especially their hair products, have found their way to my bathroom, on and off, for about 8 years now; I also liked John Masters Organics Green Tea & Rose serum. I use Burt’s Bees lip balms on and off.
And of course – Everyday Minerals; back then, they would send samples all over the world, and if I was used to complaining about there not being enough colors when it comes to foundation, with Everyday Minerals, there were so many I did not know which one to choose. With samples being so available, it was easy, even if I had to mix several foundations. Back then, trying mineral foundation was really something exciting. Everyday Minerals then changed their formulations (they added comedogenic lauroyl lysine – but not to worry, they’ve removed this ingredient after customers complained), and for a while, I had to rely on my old stack of their foundation. I think I tried Everyday Minerals back in 2007, if I recall correctly. Yep, it’s been a while.
Living Nature Foundation is one of the best natural foundations I’ve tried, and I’ve tried it first many years ago and will keep on using in the future. Also, their tinted moisturizer is also great (review soon!).
Since I cannot go without nail polish, Zoya had been quite a discovery for me many years ago; using a nail polish which does not contain formaldehyde, for starters.
But since I started using natural beauty products, so much had changed! First – the amount of on-line stores selling green beauty, and shipping all over the world. Boy, if I recall the hassle of trying to find a store which would ship internationally, the shipping costs, the customs tax! Yep, back then I paid a top dollar for my green beauty.
And the amount of green beauty brands popping up daily, expanding the offer to a green beauty costumer. Then there are brands which are really creating luxurious ingredients – wise products, though I still claim that Suki was a pioneer when it comes to creating really something new with really great ingredients, and many followed in their footsteps. Their facial oils are great, the above and many times mentioned foaming exfoliator is one of the best green beauty products in my opinion, their Clay facial mask and of course their tinted moisturizer …
So, yeah, I’m the chip off the old block when it comes to green beauty brands.
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I’ll combine these two questions into one answer; one question came from Finland, one from Austria:
“I read you mention green stores selling brands that are not natural. Can you list some of the brands?”
“Are Nuxe and Glamglow organic?”
I’ve received quite a lot of emails asking me about these two brands: Nuxe and Glamglow, so instead of answering each of the emails (and I know there will be more emails about these brands), I’ll explain here.
No. Neither of these two brands are natural, much less organic. They do contain some natural ingredients, but they also contain many ingredients which make them anything but natural. Even I was, for a brief moment, bamboozeled, by these brands, especially Glamglow, as they were and still are, sold in stores which are (suppose and allegedly) dedicated to catering to the customers buying natural beauty.
Glamglow, not too long ago, even had parabens in their formulations. Hoping to hop on a green beauty bandwagon (and given the brand is sold in some green beauty stores), they took parabens out of their formulations, yet more questionable, to say the least, ingredients remain in their formulation, such as PEGs, to name just one.
Another thing with Glamglow is their marketing claim of Hollywood massively using their products, and since so many people are obsessed with celebrities, they think that if (allegedly) some celebrity is using something, it must be good.
Pretty much the same goes for Nuxe. I know they are selling themselves as some kind of bio-beaute, but their ingredients tell another story.
So, why are brands like this available from green beauty stores? I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous articles, where I was polemicizing what is truly natural when it comes to natural beauty. In short – such brands, whose products contain a few natural ingredients, are trying to to cash in on the green beauty movement and are obviously offering the stores high commissions. Customers, who have put the trust in these stores, expect when they buy the products from such stores, that the stores have vetted the products; I guess in some cases, the only green for some businesses is the color of money, unfortunately.
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I’m having an on-going conversation with a lovely reader from Bosnia, about various topics; I will extract several of the issues: she mentioned she bought various carrier oils, which went rancid pretty fast, as well as mentioned she has sensitive skin and is looking for products, which would suit her skin (she said she likes cucumber and may wish to find products which would have skin-brightening properties).
Carrier oils contain various antioxidants, which are skin-beneficial, but at the same time, they keep the carrier oils from going rancid. If carrier oils are exposed to sun and warmth, the antioxidants will oxidase, and carrier oils won’t have their protection anymore; this will also open them to being contaminated with various bacteria sooner. So, carrier oils should, firstly, be packaged appropriately – in dark glass bottles, preferably with a dropper and kept in a dark and cool place.
Another reason why carrier oils could go rancid soon after opening them – they may have been rancid to begin with. The shelf date may not be correct, for various reasons, maybe the carrier oils were not stocked properly either by the producer or the store selling them. They could also have been contaminated while being produced or packaged.
And lastly – the reason why carrier oils could go rancid quickly is the questionable quality of the carrier oils, mainly – when the oils are not cold pressed, when they are refined (thus losing the precious antioxidants and minerals), and when they are deluded with oils from second extraction or less expensive oils. I’ve touched on this subject when talking about Olive oil.
One of the ways to mask any potential dishonest practice is to either use artificial colors or fragrance, so that a consumer won’t notice there’s something wrong with the color and scent of the carrier oil.
Most carrier oils have a shelf life of 12 months, provided you store them appropriately; essential oils even longer.
Most carrier oils will be quickly absorbed by the skin; if you find a carrier oil lingering on the skin for a long time, the carrier oil is not of a good quality for any of the reasons mentioned above. Unfortunately, this, too is the case where money plays a huge part, and people will sell anything under any claim and name.
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The other part of the question above is about the non-greasy, hydrating and calming beauty products for sensitive skin, which also contain cucumber and potentially products which have brightening properties. I’ve selected mostly gel-based products:
PHB Ethical Beauty brightening gel serum | Beyond Organic Skincare cooling eye gel | PHB Ethical Beauty hydrating gel serum | PHB Ethical Beauty hydrating eye gel with cucumber | Living Nature firming flax serum | PHB Ethical Beauty skin brightening gel | Ilcsi pumpkin and orange gel mask | Living Nature extra hydrating toning gel | PHB Ethical Beauty eye gel | John Masters Organics firming eye gel | Willow Organic Beauty brightening and balancing toner | John Masters Organics green tea&rose hydrating serum
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The last two questions I’ll include in my Readers Questions series come one from France and one from Croatia:
“I like reading your blog, but could you post more often, like daily?”
“Other beauty bloggers do posts and videos of beauty hauls. Will you post beauty hauls?”
No. Aside from not being a sucker for trendy stuff, in any walk of life, there’s a myriad of reasons why I do not and will not do a “beauty haul” and the reasons I will touch upon again, have been emphasized by me in relation to other topics as well earlier.
Before I started using natural beauty products, and I ascribe this practice to my then-age as well, I used to buy beauty products left and right. I had up to 5 foundations laying around, numerous creams, lotions, mascaras, you name it. None of them ever fully used.
When I started using natural beauty products, and since they were, even back then, more expensive than conventional products (though I was buying high-end beauty brands as well, not knowing, at that time, I was paying for the brand name only, and thinking that since they were high end brands, they must be of a better quality), and if not the products themselves, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, I paid a lot of shipping and customs. That’s one reason.
The second and even bigger reason was the fact that natural beauty products, due to containing natural ingredients and not containing conventional preservatives, have a shorter shelf life, so all of the sudden stocking up on natural beauty products came to a halt. Yes, it was, and – still is – hard to develop this discipline, but I’ve managed. That does not mean I do not buy one lipstick more than I need it, or before I’ve used up all the ones I already have. But – I do make sure I use up as much and as many products before I buy new ones.
Balance. Moderation. Mindfulness.
If I didn’t have that much of a problem throwing away expired conventional beauty products, I have a big problem with this now, when I use only natural ones. Imagine, having a great natural serum, full of potent and expensive ingredients over its expiration date and you have to throw it away! And with natural beauty products, you don’t have as much room to hold on to the products past their expiration day.
And here’s why I combined these two questions.
First of all – thank you for reading my blog. I’ll take it as a compliment, you wishing for me to post daily. But it’s just not feasible. Here’s why.
I tend to write as detailed and analytical posts as possible, include as many pertinent information that my readers will find useful. As in all walks of life, I prefer quality over quantity, so this applies to my blog posts as well. It takes a lot of time before I put together a post I am comfortable with presenting it to my readers; I write a blog post I wish I had read it had it been written by someone else. Then there’s also editing of the photos, not to mention the correspondence with brands and stores.
So for me to post daily would mean I’d barely have any time in the day left, or would post articles which would not be up to par for my liking and standards, and that’s not acceptable. Posting, for the sake of posting, to brag about the amount of posts – no, thanks. So, 2 or maximum 3 posts weekly is what you can expect from me.
That’s one of the reasons why I do not post daily. Then there’s another.
I cannot succumb to the pressure of blogging, more specifically – posting reviews several times weekly, much less on a daily basis as it would take too much time and – due to being mindful when it comes to the quantity of the products I either buy or accept by brands and stores to be reviewed. If I were to post several reviews weekly, that would mean I’d have to have opened many products at once, go quickly through them in order to partially review them (you cannot adequately test and review a product based on using it only several times). And so on and so forth week in and week out.
I know there are beauty bloggers out there who do this – there’s the pressure of constantly putting out reviews of new products, whether it’s by their readers, sponsors or trying to be ahead of other bloggers. I, myself, will not fall for this pressure. Stocking up products, opening them up, quickly doing a test and then even quicker posting a sub-par review just so I can quickly put the review out there.
There are products which have been my favorite for many years and I repurchase them on a regular basis, yet, I can review these products only once, so I know many bloggers are faced with a dilemma whether to spend money on a product they like but have already reviewed it, or spend the money on a product they haven’t reviewed yet. When that becomes to guide you, how you live your life and how you blog…
I had to slow down buying the products myself even more as well as accepting the products from brands and stores for reviews because I simply could not keep up anymore; not until I use up the products I have. I cannot have 4 foundations opened, sitting on my desk, in order to review one each week.
So, me buying, say, 7 products at once and doing a haul post? Not happening. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason behind hauls, aside from trying to keep up with other bloggers doing them, only to see nearly full products expiring – but hey, at least there were haul posts, right?
And while we’re at it – no, I won’t be doing the “this month’s empties” posts either. Come to think, I don’t think a “this day’s empties” posts/videos are far behind, if you ask me. All it takes is one beauty blogger to start it, and…
Just imagine – how much waste there is by buying up all the stuff all the time, not even using it fully. Especially when you think of the precious ingredients being thrown away. That’s not very green, is it now?
So while I’m thankful to all of you, who like to read my blog and may wish for me to post more often – this is pretty much how it will stay.
Please, keep your emails coming; I do my very best to reply to you all as soon as I can. Believe me, your emails work as an inspiration to me as well; to see what interests you, what you wish for me to point out to in my blog etc. I cannot give you a first hand experience for each and every brand/product you ask me for, and I think you understand why, but I can, based on the ingredients, suggest and advise.