Are sheet masks worth the hype

Are Sheet Masks Worth The Hype?

Are sheet masks worth the hype? We’ve been asking ourselves that question lately, since everywhere you look companies are creating sheet masks for all skin types. While they’ve been used in Korea for some time, their popularity in the United States has grown tremendously over the past few years. So you may be asking yourself what the benefits are – as well as the downsides – before considering a purchase.

Benefits of Using Sheet Masks

  • They travel well
  • They are hydrating
  • They can be less messy than jar masks
  • They are single-use, which prevents the introduction of bacteria

Downsides of Using Sheet Masks

  • They can be expensive – you only use it once!
  • They produce a lot of waste – much of not recyclable or biodegradable
  • They usually require that you be lying down
  • They can cause irritation and being left on for prolonged periods of time
  • The masks don’t always fit perfectly

There you have it. Regardless of the celebrity endorsement, consumers must decide if these masks are worth the expense. And there’s also the question of what to do with all of those little empty plastic packs. Perhaps they’re fine as an occasional indulgence before a special event, which won’t put too big a dent in your pocketbook. Whatever you decide to do, before to read the ingredient labels and know what it is that you’re putting on your face.

Refinery 29 article on sheet masks and sustainability

New Year's Resolutions You Can Really Keep

Making New Year’s Resolutions?

Don’t we all? This time-honored tradition is a rite of passage at the end of every year. It’s an opportunity for us to begin fresh and be inspired to make much-needed changes. What’s particularly daunting, however, is where to begin.

Why Do We Often Fail to Keep Our Resolutions?

Studies have shown that only about 10% of adults who make resolutions manage to keep them. There may be many reasons why we don’t often take New Year’s resolutions seriously:
  • Resolutions that are too ambitious; we may be setting ourselves up for failure by aiming too high. If a resolution takes more than 6 months to achieve, there’s a good chance that we won’t follow it through.
  • Making a long, complicated list of resolutions; if we overwhelm ourselves with too many goals, it’s easier to rationalize why we couldn’t reach our goals.

Starting the New Year off on the Right Foot

The secret to winning at New Year’s resolutions is knowing what to work on. After all, we’re less likely to succeed if we make drastic changes all at once. The secret is in knowing which challenges you want to tackle. Here are a few ideas;

  • Work on one resolution at a time. It’s hard enough quitting smoking, but if you add going to the gym and changing your diet, there’s a good chance that you’ll be discouraged and give up.
  • Choose a goal that can be accomplished quickly – say, within 2-4 weeks. That way, you’ll have instant gratification which will spur you on to complete more difficult goals.
  • Similarly, begin with a goal that is relatively easy to accomplish. They are no less significant for being relatively easy.
  • Choose a goal that can be broken down into smaller parts and list specific behaviors. Then repeat that behavior over and over.
  • Put your goals on paper. Better yet, add them to your monthly calendar. You’re more likely to stay on target if you can see your plan. A journal can be a helpful tool for this purpose.

Some Of The Most Popular Resolutions And How To Keep Them

  • Exercising more – this is by far one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, and one of the most difficult to stick to. Without a Personal Trainer, it can be hard to stay motivated. By following the suggestions above, you can make it easier. For example, commit to a 30-Day Challenge, place exercise equipment where you will see it every day, and add specific behaviors like taking the stairs or parking your car further away when shopping. Reward yourself for a job well done with a favorite movie, massage, or night out with friends. Remind yourself why exercise is important. And be patient. Results don’t come overnight.
  • Not stressing the small stuff – this attitude change could actually lengthen your life. Optimists tend to live longer than pessimists, and they have more fun! Practice making lists – listing your blessings, pros vs cons, and post inspirational quotes. Keep them in your wallet and read them regularly. Find someone who is going through difficult times and cheer them up. Keep a diary in order to pinpoint your negative self-talk. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” Any or all of these exercises can help you change your outlook from glass-half-empty to glass-half-full.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep – this seems to be more and more elusive, perhaps in part due to our over-dependence on electronic devices. Exposure to these devices can affect our sleep cycle, leading to restless sleep. Try watching the news in the morning instead of just before bead. Keep your bedroom cool and free of electronics. Use essential oils like Lavender or supplements like Melatonin according to instructions. Maintain a regular bedtime ritual that helps to relax you. And see a doctor if your insomnia is severe.
  • Eating a healthier diet – this one is often on the top of everyone’s list, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Begin by eliminating one food at a time. Do not skip meals or cut too many calories; it doesn’t work and it can cause illness. Replace an unhealthy snack with a healthy, tasty alternative. Keep a food diary or use a smartphone app – but only if you can stick with it! Keeping things simple and taking it slow can help you stay on track and avoid disappointment.

So now that you know how to do New Year’s resolutions right, what are you waiting for? Good luck!

The psychology of New Year's resolutions
Huffington Post article on New Year's resolutions
Johns Hopkins article about making healthy New Year's resolutions

Silicones in skincare and haircare

Why Silicones in Skincare and Haircare?

You may have noticed that many different silicones can be found in skincare and haircare products today. There are a number of reasons why formulators – and customers – like products containing silicone. With many names, some ending in “oxane”, they are in cosmetics, as well. There are also reasons to be cautious when using skincare and haircare products containing silicone. It’s important to know, first of all, what silicone is and how they are used in skincare and haircare products.

What Is Silicone?

Silicone – also called polysiloxane – is a synthetic polymer derived from the element silicon and oxygen atoms. Silicon is extracted from common sand with a variety of chemicals, most of which are recycled or inert (e.g. water). It’s been used in personal care products for more than 30 years, which comprises about 15% of all uses for silicones. It is now used in everything from breast implants and beauty blenders to products found at Home Depot. Because it repels water, it’s useful for projects that require a waterproofing substance. Two types of silicone are commonly used; water soluble and non-water soluble.

Silicones In Skincare

If you look at the labels on most skincare and cosmetic products, you’ll find ingredients like Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane and Cyclohexasiloxane. These silicones are not water soluble. Silicones are popular in primers for their ability to leave skin feeling silky smooth, and they tend to reflect light. Most recently, polymers like Polybutene and Polyisobutene may appear on your product labels. It’s becoming more difficult to identify silicones in beauty products. For those of us who are looking to avoid synthetics, it’s becoming almost impossible to avoid them in skincare products. That, in and of itself, is troubling. Consumers should be able to choose whether or not to use products containing synthetic polymers that don’t benefit the skin in any long-lasting way.

So what’s so wrong about silicone in skincare? The answer often depends on your skin type and personal preferences. The moisture-trapping nature of silicone may mean that it also traps other substances (like dirt and oils) that may cause breakouts. And while everyone loves smooth-looking skin, it’s a short-lived effect rather than the result of a product’s impact on the skin. Their water-repellent nature can also make them more difficult to remove, which requires more intense cleansing at the end of the day.

We’ve decided to avoid using silicones in our Whole Earth Body Actives Vitamin C Face Cream. Instead, we’ve incorporated isoflavones derived from bamboo to smooth and enhance the skin’s appearance.

Silicones in Haircare

At first, the benefits of using silicones in haircare may seem obvious. They serve to smooth our frizzines, and who doesn’t love that? However, the water-repellent nature of most silicones can cause them to accumulate in their hair, making it heavy. Removing this product from their hair then requires the use of a deep-cleaning (e.g. harsher) clarifying shampoo. For dry, curly hair, this can do more harm than good. For many, the use of a nourishing oil like coconut or argan would be preferable to smoothing a synthetic all over the hair. Recently, some products formulate with water-soluble silicones that are easier to wash out. Examples are hydrolyzed wheat protein and ingredients that begin with PEG.

Finally, there’s a question of sustainability and eco-friendliness with this ingredient. Petroleum by-products are used to create silicones, which begs the question: do we want such a by-product in our skincare and haircare products? There may also be a question of bioaccumulation in the environment and what this means for wildlife. Given the furor over the use of plastic beads, it’s something to think about.


Silicone discussion in Wikipedia
Dow Corning Information about Silicone
Health Canada’s webpage on the safety of cosmetic ingredients

A New Collaboration with Natural Me Beauty

Who Is Natural Me Beauty?

We’re happy to announce a new collaboration with online clean beauty marketplace Natural Me Beauty to bring our natural and sustainable skincare products to a new group of customers. The Chicago company founded by a two-time cancer survivor to bring the cleanest luxury beauty brands to discerning customers.

Beauty Box Promotion

The lifestyle brand and marketplace will be providing Beauty Subscription Boxes at reasonable cost. This month’s beauty box will feature our Lavender/Tea Tree Body Balm, an all-purpose salve with nourishing olive, shea, mango and other oils to nourish skin and hair.

You can learn more about this promotion by reading Natural Me Beauty’s promotional e-mail. It’s available for only $19.99 and contains full and sample size beauty products with skin-nourishing natural ingredients.

A New Sales Channel

We hope to make our products available to Natural Me Beauty customers on an ongoing basis with this new collaboration. For us, it’s a win-win. Spreading the message about the importance of living clean and reading labels is something that we’re both passionate about.