04 3 / 2014

Some time ago I learned about the many benefits of coconut Oil including having antioxidant and antibacterial properties. I finally got some from a local health food store (about $8 for a jar) and started experimenting. I learned that it can be used for many other purposes beyond cooking. Looking for a chemical free moisturizer I decided to give coconut oil a try. Although there are many natural, organic, and paraben-free alternatives, none of them compared to a product that only had ONE ingredient and one that I could consume.

Remember to get 100% pure coconut oil, and organic if possible, so that it is in its most natural state. At room temperature the consistency is hard but once you put some in your hand and rub it between your palms it becomes a liquid consistency. For the summer months, you can keep it in the fridge if you want it to remain hard because the heat will naturally melt it, becoming a liquid. Here are some ways I have been using coconut oil in the past few months.

1. Facial Moisturizer

Rubbing some in my hands I dab it over my face as I would any other moisturizer. Since I have combination skin, I prefer using it when I need extra moisture or just on the dryer areas of my face.

2. Eye Cream

I use it only at night time, dabbing some under the eye area.

3. Lip Conditioner

When I first started using coconut oil on my face and body I was also using it as a lip balm. However, I stopped because I believe it lead to a cold sore outbreak (not my first cold sore). I realized that coconut has a high Arginine to Lysine ratio and high Arginine foods are known to be a factor is occurrence of cold sores. So if you do get cold sores, I would suggest not using it around the area you get sores. 

4.. Body Lotion

Initially I thought it would be too sticky or messy as a body lotion but to my surprise it’s one of my favourite uses. I’ve put mine in a pump bottle so its very easy to use. It absorbs quickly and I’ve been using it in the colder and warmer months. I also learned that coconut oil used on the body can act as a shield against damage from the sun.

5. Makeup Remover

It’s a very inexpensive and effective makeup remover, with no chemicals! I put some on a cotton pad and wipe over the eyes, face, or lips. It removes the makeup and also moisturizes at the same time. This would be great for dry skin, although I’ve had no issues using it with my combination skin.

6. Hair Treatment

I have been using it as a leave-in hair conditioner in dry/damp hair. I use very little because I don’t want the shine to turn into a greasy look. It’s also great for taming frizzy hair. Another way you can use it is as a hair mask, by saturating your hair in coconut oil and leaving it in for a few hours and shampooing. A great treatment for dry or damaged hair.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of the above and what your experience has been.

xoxo

03 3 / 2014

After much much… and some more procrastination, I am finally writing this post about parabens. Here it goes…

According to google parabens are, “any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and in the food industry.” On product lables they can be seen as Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Heptylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben. They are there to increase the shelf life of a product. You will find them in products like lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, shampoo, soap, and even baby lotion, among numerous other things. 

There has been increasing research on the interaction of parabens with the human body. Parabens have been linked to cancer in several research studies. One study found large amounts of parabens, particularly methylparaben, in samples of cancerous breast tissue(1). Other studies also show that parabens can mimic estrogen, which has been linked to cancer. There is not extensive research that directly indicates parabens are carcinogenic. However, clearly there is a correlation between the two, and this needs to be further investigated at the biochemical level. Regardless, there is enough evidence to show that it is best to avoid parabens and other harsh chemicals found in various skin care products. Being proactive, rather than reactive as I would like to call it. Using paraben-free products is the obvious choice.

Skin is the largest organ on the body and everything we put on it is absorbed inside, interacting with the other systems in our body. Similar to how we feed our body, by our food and drink choices, impacts our internal and external health, what we feed our skin impacts us on the surface layer and deep inside. An allergic reaction to a product might appear instantly with your skin turning red or feeling a burning sensation, but the effect of parabens is not immediate nor visible to the naked eye. That makes it harder to be aware of it in the moment. If any of this has struck a chord with you I ask you to look into it for yourself and for the sake of your body. After all, "your body is the greatest instrument you will ever own" (Mary Schmich).

 

For further reading, click here and here.

1. Darbre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, Coldham NG, Sauer MJ, Pope GS (2004 Jan-Feb). “Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours”. J Appl Toxicol 24 (1): 5–13. doi:10.1002/jat.958.PMID 14745841.

02 3 / 2014

I have always had an interest in “other” ways of knowing and being. The reasons and causes behind how we act and think. That led me to an education and career path examining human behaviour in great detail. Due to what I choose to study, I have been more conscious of the decisions and choices I make and the people around me. Wether it’s examining my own relationships, communication style in someone else’s relationship, differential gender treatment and expectations in families, media, and different sub-cultures, or biases and stereotypes we hold. The truth is I often try to see things beyond the surface and that is part of consuming consciously for me.

Another area where I have become a much more conscious consumer than I was before is in regards to what I put in/on my body and how I use my body for various activities. I’ve tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a long time, but I became serious about eating better and staying active about a year ago. I became more aware of the types of foods I was eating and what was in them. Initially motivated by wanting to loose weight, but later just wanting to feed my body and mind nutritious food and stay active. Knowing I was putting good fuel into my body and seeing it perform made me appreciate and love my body more than ever before. Only by being more conscious I was able to do this.

Through this process, I also learned about the infinite number of unnecessary harsh chemicals I was consuming through hygiene and beauty products. Becoming aware of the potential consequences led me to change what I consumed instantly. I prefer a pro-active stance rather than reactive, knowing that there is controversy around these issues I rather not participate in something that could be dangerous for me than to wait for more evidence for either side. I went back to the basics, looking towards nature for solutions as I had done so many times when I was growing up, especially around skin remedies. This was an important part of my journey that made me think more about the types of products I thought I should be buying and using. I became more conscious about what had become normal in terms of beauty products in popular culture and in my life, and that I did not have to do what was normal anymore.

You may still have a lot of questions and I have a lot to tell, I invite you to ask those questions. I invite you to join me on this journey to discover new ideas, solutions, inspiration, ways of being and see where it leads.

Peace and Love.