“Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A B C
When you sing you begin with Do Re Me”
– Do Re Me, The Sound of Music
Literally the most important part of looking healthy, and feeling great is taking care of your largest integumentary organ: your skin. It covers you body, keeping all your important parts in place and keeping your temperature regulated. Your skin is composed of many layers, each with specific jobs and needs. All of your layers of skin are considered semi permeable which means there is selective passage permitted between layers. The most important particle that transfers between the layers of your skin is water. Water acts as the uber driver for the vitamins and minerals your skin receives, taking it where it is needed. This is why a huge part of skincare is to be adequately hydrated. If your body does not have the optimal amount of hydration, nothing will get where it needs to go. Your cells then become malnourished and no matter how much product you apply if there is no water to transport, you won’t see any results/improvement.
The layers of the skin contains various different types of cells, all with specific jobs. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up:
1. The Hypodermis – If we are going to be completely correct and technical, this is not actually part of the skin. It is the layer that unites our skin, a major organ, with blood supply as fells as muscle and tendons. This layer is approximately 50% fat. So. I’m going to tell you one of the biggest points of having great skin: have a healthy supply of body fat. Optimal blood supply to the outer, more visible layers of skin ensures a beautiful glowing complexion as well as adequate nutrition to all the cells within the skin. Without a healthy hypodermis all the vitamins you ingest have a lower rate of absorption into the skin cells.
2. The Dermis – The dermis is our hardworking middle man. The dermis is vital to reducing the physical stress the body may incurr. It cushions the more delicate hypodermis and provides flexibility to the skin. In this skin layer we find many of our glands, lymphatic vessels, and hair follicles. This layer is also where we find the all too important collagen and elastin fibres. A healthy dermis, with optimal blood supply, ensures the health of surround cells as well as great waste removal for both the dermis and the epidermis.
3. The Epidermis – Technically not one single layer…the epidermis is a complicated lady, full of many sections and layers. They all work together to protect the body. The epidermis regulates temperature, keep water in the body, and keep pathogens out. 95% of the epidermis is made up of keratinocytes. Healthy keratinocytes ensure the skins ability to resist UV radiation, dehydration, and disease. They are also the majority of the cells that reproduce through mitosis, a process which produces a daughter cell which is an exact copy of the original, and then they original is sloughed off or is exfoliated off.
We are cells. That is what our bodies are built with. In order to respect our bodies and organs we must adequately supply our body with the essential vitamins necessary for proper cell function. The cells in our body are continually reproducing, copying themselves to make sure that the body is working properly. If our cells become malnourished and weak, the newly copied cells will be replica of inadequate cells. It then becomes like continually photocopying a photo copy. The quality continues to deteriorate. You need to nourish yourself from the cell level up! Remember to fill your diet with foods high in essential vitamins and choose skincare with essential vitamins in it.
There are 13 you need to be concerned about:
a. Vitamin A – helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.
b. Vitamin B6 – is also called pyridoxine. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of many chemical reactions in the body. Eating larger amounts of protein may reduce vitamin B6 levels in the body.
c. Vitamin B12 – like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
d. Vitamin C – also called ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It also promotes wound healing.
e. Vitamin D – is also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” since it is made by the body after being in the sun. Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week is enough to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D. People who do not live in sunny places may not make enough vitamin D. It is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which you need for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
f. Vitamin E – is an antioxidant also known as tocopherol. It plays a role in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K.
g. Vitamin K – without it blood would not stick together (coagulate). Some studies suggest that it is important for promoting bone health.
h. Biotin – is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
i. Niacin – is a B vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It is also has cholesterol-lowering effects.
j. Folate – works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. Any woman who is pregnant should be sure to get enough folate. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects such as spina bifida. Many foods are now fortified with folic acid.
k. Pantothenic Acid – is essential for the metabolism of food. It is also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
l. Riboflavin – (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and the production of red blood cells.
m. Thiamine – (vitamin B1) helps the body cells change carbohydrates into energy. Getting plenty of carbohydrates is very important during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells.
So! It is important to select nourishing, vitamin rich foods, as well as skincare to ensure we are happy and healthy from the inside out.
Here are a few of my favourite cruelty free skincare companies and the products that made me fall in love:
**for reference: My skin type is dry (generally dry to the touch, sometimes flaky in areas – in extreme cases cracking or extreme irritation on the cheeks and forehead). It also tends to be dehydrated (appearance can often be lacklustre or dull, and prone to congestion. This tends to be a condition related to lack of water consumption) and sensitive (due to the combination of my skin type and the dehydration, my skin tends to be tight and itchy in areas, reacting with redness and irritation to non moisture rich products), which are both CONDITIONS of the skin, not skin types.**
Eminence Organics Skincare – There is not enough time in the world to describe why I love this company. It is completely organic, based on the idea that beauty should be natural, fur baby friendly, and ecologically responsible. The strength of natural ingredients are to be celebrated, not hidden amongst chemicals and additives. Their line of skin care is all encompassing, including solutions for individuals with painful active acne to corrective products for aged skin. Want to know what I love?
1. STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MASQUE: Replenish your skin’s youthful appearance with our Strawberry Rhubarb Masque. The strawberries gently exfoliate while the rhubarb and vegan-friendly hyaluronic acid calm and plump, for a refreshed appearance.
2. LINDEN CALENDULA TREATMENT: The extracts derived from fresh linden and calendula plants deeply nourish and refresh the skin’s appearance, and fine herbal oils and honey restore the look of youthfulness and elasticity.
3. LEMON CLEANSER: Find your moisture balance and gently clean your skin with our Lemon Cleanser. Lemon and herb oils hydrate to leave normal-to-dry skin soft and velvety. Cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, animal by-products, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan.
Skin Dressing – This company, based in Pasadena, CA, uses the most beautiful floral essences and oils to create a great cruelty free, healthy alternative without skimping on luxury. The recyclable gold and white packaging is fit for a princess which the treasures inside are just as beautiful. The price point for the quality if phenomenal and if you are a rose lover like I am, there is lots of good stuff for you to choose from.
1. REALLY GOOD™ ULTIMATE ROSE BUTTER: Designed to provide a naturally fragrant and nourishing skin care experience, our Really Good™ Ultimate Rose Butter* will soften and rejuvenate your skin in the most luxurious way. It’s made naturally fragrant with 100% USDA certified organic rose essential oil——and it takes TWENTY DOZEN organic roses to distill enough oil for just one jar! The scent is purely of roses and the skin benefits are extraordinary. (Not to mention the gold jar is suitable for royalty.) Once you try our Über-nourishing rose formula you’ll know why fresh is best!
2. REALLY GOOD™ SKIN REFRESHER / ROSE BLEND WITH EXOTIC PLANT ESSENCES: Really Good™ Skin Refresher: Über-Nourishing Rose Blend With Exotic Plant Essences Really Good™ Skin Refresher — Rose Blend — is a hyaluronic acid spray made naturally fragrant with a bouquet of floral distillates.* We infuse it with our signature combination of exotic plant essences——rose, lotus, passionflower and tropical hibiscus——to use with or without, our Really Good™ natural skin butters for a truly hydrating skin care regimen. Designed to do more than just maintain——it rejuvenates your skin while imparting a dewy glow.
3. REALLY GOOD™ SKIN SERUM / ROSE & CUCUMBER WITH EXOTIC PLANT ESSENCES: Meticulously designed with organic rose oil and organic cucumber extract, and infused with our signature combination of exotic plant essences, Really Good™ Skin Serum will provide long-lasting hydration———softening and replenishing even the most sensitive skin. Vegan sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid)———known for its unique ability to dramatically aid in hydration———is another from the stellar list of ingredients in Really Good™ Skin Serum resulting in a highly effective product. Use it alone or with any of our Really Good™ skin butters. When applying a skin butter this serum will aid in the most smooth and silky application of the butter——especially when a lighter application is necessary. (Please refer to “Your Skin Type/Our Products” or click on the icon below: “…for more information”.) And, once you try our Über-nourishing formula you’ll know why fresh is best! Our serum will last approximately 3-4 weeks when used twice a day on face & decolletage.
4. REALLY GOOD™ SKIN REFRESHER / WILDFLOWER BLEND WITH EXOTIC PLANT ESSENCES: Really Good™ Skin Refresher — Wildflower Blend — is a hyaluronic acid spray made with a bouquet of wildflower distillates.* We infuse it with our signature combination of exotic plant essences——rose, lotus, passionflower and tropical hibiscus——to use with or without, our Really Good™ natural skin butters for a truly hydrating skin care regimen. Designed to do more than just maintain——it rejuvenates your skin while imparting a dewy glow.
Caru Skincare – Caru Skincare is based in NYC and is a small company that has devoted itself to creating high quality, conscious soap and skincare. They are not made with any “mysterious” ingredients or chemicals! Making taking care of your skin really straightforward and simply beautiful!
1. FRANKINCENSE FACIAL SERUM: Formulated to balance + hydrate your skin. Made with potent botanical oils of frankincense, geranium, pomegranate, evening primrose, and hempseed (just to name a few!), this serum will take seriously good care of your skin. When applied in the morning and night, this serum will help balance your skin and liven a dull complexion. It will leave skin feeling smooth, supple, and may help increase elasticity and decrease the visibility of fine lines. This serum is a perfect choice for those with dry, mature, or combination skin.
2. ROSE FACIAL OIL: Formulated to hydrate + nourish your skin. Made with potent botanical oils of rose, geranium, carrot seed, evening primrose, pomegranate, and rosehip (just to name a few!), this serum will take seriously good care of your skin. When applied in the morning and night, this serum will help keep your skin looking fresh and vibrant and will help liven a dull complexion. It will leave skin feeling smooth, supple, and may help increase elasticity and decrease the visibility of fine lines. This serum is a perfect choice for those with dry or mature skin but also a great option for anyone that needs extra nourishment for their skin.
3. DRY SKIN FACIAL KIT: The 3 piece kit includes the (a) Rock + Rose Facial Toner -This toner is a great option for combination skin that tends to be on the drier side. It is balancing, hydrating, and will leave your skin feeling cool and refreshed. Damascus rose hydrates and clarifies, geranium rose calms and balances, and rock rose rejuvenates your skin. All our toners are formulated to restore the PH balance of your skin and are suitable for sensitive skin. (b) French Green Clay Face Soap –
French Green Clay is an all natural gentle yet detoxifying clay. It will leave your skin feeling soft and clean. This soap also contains lavender and cedar essential oils which help keep skin nourished and free of blemishes. (c) Either the Rose Facial oil or the Jojoba Facial oil
Juice Beauty – A Californian company that is USDA organic certified and purchases their ingredients from locally sourced West Coast farms, minimizing their fuels expenses. They offer skincare, make up, and hair care, and are continually expanding their product range. The quality of their ingredients are uncompromised, making them extremely potent and delicious.
1. CLEANING ORGANIC MILK: This creamy formula deeply cleanses and removes makeup with organic grape seed and sunflower oils, while soothing normal, aging, or sensitive skin with organic chamomile and calendula. A Daily Essential perfect for cleansing and removing makeup.
2. GREEN APPLE ORGANIC PEEL SENSITIVE: The Juice Beauty bestselling, patented GREEN APPLE™ Peel with alpha hydroxy acids exfoliates and refines to reduce the appearance of dark spots and discoloration, and visibly brighten hyperpigmentation. Delivers spa grade exfoliation revealing a brighter looking complexion.
Pangea Organics – This company creates their products with both the consumer and the environment in mind. They strive to create effective fur baby friendly products that celebrate the beauty of simplicity, as well as build the products on a base of arometherapeutic principles.
1. EGYPTIAN CALENDULA & BLOOD ORANGE CLEANSER: When it comes to delicate facial skin, Pangea’s number one goal is to bring your skin into balance. We start with a bounty of organic compounds that are rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids to support a healthy, radiant complexion. Optimal amounts of organic essential oils and herbal extracts help to soothe irritation, balance oil production and rejuvenate the skin. Our gentle yet effective Facial Cleanser removes excess oil, dirt and most makeup. It nurtures the skin with vital plant-based nutrients that nourish, protect, soften and soothe. Natural cleansing agents bind with existing dirt and oil molecules, break them down and loosen them up, allowing them to be rinsed away. The best part? This Facial Cleanser leaves your face fresh, soft and lightly moisturized without stripping your skin.
2. ITALIAN RED MANDARIN WITH ROSE FACIAL CREAM: Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Oils deeply hydrate while offering an array of skin-beneficial nutrients. Argan and Evening Primrose Oils balance and restore mature, sun-damaged skin. Shea Butter and Sunflower Seed Oil amplify moisture with rich, essential fatty acids while working overtime as skin-protectors. Beneficial both morning and night, this concentrated cream offers robust moisture and thirsty-skin-specific essential oils and extracts. Hydrate and nourish your precious face with the highest quality organic nutrients and botanicals that nature has to offer.
3. TURKISH ROSE AND WHITE TEA EYE CREAM: Crème de la Crème: A rose a day helps keep fine lines away. A vital component to your daily skincare routine, this eye cream contains the essential nutrients needed to protect, soften and nourish your delicate eye area. Skin is the body’s first line of defense. Day in and day out it battles environmental toxins, UV rays and, for many of us, recycled air that often leaves it high and dry. This eye cream was designed to work with the daily cycles of your skin – prevention and protection by day while soothing and regenerating at night. Packed with antioxidants and potent natural hydrators to help you combat signs of aging while providing much needed nourishment to this unique and oh-so-delicate area. A softer, smoother, more youthful appearance awaits you. And that’s a beautiful thing.
4. JAPANESE MATCHA TEA WITH ACAI AND GOJI BERRY FACIAL MASK: Synergy of Land and Sea. This multi-award-winning mask embodies the essence of our approach to Ecocentric Skincare. Green and white clays work together to restore, balance, cleanse and detoxify; four sea vegetables re-mineralize, hydrate and oxygenate; sugarcane serves to exfoliate, unclog pores and support the skin’s natural production of elastin and collagen; acai and goji berry extracts lend their extraordinary super-powers as antioxidants, functioning as revitalizing super-foods; jojoba and sunflower seed oils nourish and moisturize; three teas are employed in both whole leaf and extract forms to ensure maximum potency for antioxidant, restorative and energizing effects; and a harmonious blend of extremely concentrated herbal extracts and essential oils further nurture the skin and senses.
5. HIMALAYAN GERANIUM AND POMEGRANATE BALANCING OIL: We’re all looking for a little more balance in our lives. It’s the key to being at our best. Same holds true for our skin. It’s in this spirit that we created this Balancing Oil a truly unique combination of beneficial oils derived from whole, organic, cold-pressed vegetables, seeds and nuts. Rich in naturally occurring antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamins, it nourishes, protects and combats the signs of aging. Beneficial for all skin types and an absolute MUST for dry to mature skin, this treatment absorbs deeply to preserve intrinsic moisture and bring your skin into sweet harmony.
(All product descriptions and images are available at the company websites which are accessible by clicking the company name)
This post concludes my cruelty free 4 part series! I loved doing the research for these posts, I have learned a lot and it has made me more knowledgable about what exactly is available to those of us who want to be more fur baby and ecologically friendly. There is so much available for the conscious consumer and I can’t wait to use my money to support companies with such beautiful business and product philosophies!
Thanks for reading!
Til’ next time,
le grá go deo