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Okay, this is going to get kind of gross but stay with me because this is just so important. TONGUE SCRAPING. You need to be doing it because it’s just as important as brushing your teeth.

I first heard about tongue scraping a couple of years ago from Sahara Rose – LOVE her podcast. It’s a must listen if you haven’t tuned in yet.

Anyway, if you’ve experienced bad breath or have seen a white cast on your tongue, it’s from toxins that are sitting in your mouth. Yes, you can (and should) brush your teeth, but scraping those toxins off of your tongue is so important for your health (and for the sake of whoever you’re in close quarters with). And not with a toothbrush – I’m saying this because I used to brush my tongue with a toothbrush. Not gonna cut it, sorry.

If we let the toxins sit in our mouths without removing them, they get reabsorbed by the body and can cause digestive issues, a weak immune system and a host of other imbalances. {source}.

♡ Benefits of tongue scraping:

♡ Enhanced taste buds

♡ Improved digestion

♡ Increased immunity

♡ Improved dental health

♡ Less gum infections and recessions

♡ Enhanced salvia production to break down foods

Now that we have the why and the benefits covered, let’s talk about what kind of tongue scraper to use. Backing up for a sec: I used to use a stainless steel scraper, but switched to copper simply because it’s an Ayurvedic classic. Copper has been used for medicinal practices back to the 5th and 6th millennia B.C. The Egyptians used copper for their water pipes because water stored in copper gave health benefits for those who drank the water. Copper is also antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal, making it used for everything from IUD’s to tongue scrapers. HERE is the one that I use and love.

How to use a tongue scraper:

  1. Use it first thing in the morning – I try to use mine before I even have a sip of water or coffee in the AM because I don’t want to be downing toxins.
  2. Take the scraper as far back on your tongue as possible, without gagging and use gentle pressure to scrape the surface of your tongue.
  3. Rinse the scraper with warm water – you will see white stuff on it. Keep repeating the process until your tongue is clean. At first, you might need to repeat 5-10 times.

So, do you tongue scrape?

Double cleansing is such a THING right now, and before I knew what it meant, I thought…okay? Big deal. Not really. It honestly sounded like a big waste of products.

What it actually means is that you’re using two different types of cleansers to properly remove impurities and cleanse your skin. The term is a Korean skincare term – not at all surprised by this – and it means that you’re using an oil based cleanser and a water based cleanser.

Ok, so why the f would you double cleanse your face? And why use an oil if you already have oily or acne prone skin? Because oil is a lot more effective than any water based product to lift away sebum, sunscreen, and makeup. So cleansing with oil actually helps to PREVENT you from breaking out.

I always use an oil based cleanser first, and then follow it up with a water based cleanser.

Following the oil cleanse with a water based cleanser allows the surfactants (cleansing agents) to more penetrate the layers of skin a lot easier had you not used oil. This is because you have cleared away the oil barrier that otherwise would prevent this from happening. Water based cleansers get rid of water based impurities such as sweat and environmental pollutants.

I’ve tried and tested what feels like a 8 million cleansers, oils, and balms by now, but these are my top 4…

OIL BASED CLEANSERS

1.} Farmacy Green Clean: Omggg this stuff is seriously the best makeup remover of all time. You need it now, regardless of your skin type. And yes, it can absolutely be used if you did not wear makeup today. If you wore sunscreen and other oils on your face, please use this before using a water based cleanser. The consistency is so luxe and it makes removing makeup and other impurities on your face just SO easy. I use a damp white washcloth and there is no pulling involved at all.

2.} BOSCIA Makeup Breakup Cleanser: I used this stuff for a good 6 years and I can’t really remember why I stopped, but it is damn good at removing your makeup. If you’re looking for something that comes in a pump bottle (vs. the Green Clean that comes in a tub), this is your product. It’s really just effortless to use and you’ll have zero excuses to be lazy when it comes to makeup removal.

WATER BASED CLEANSERS

1.} Acure Brightening Cleansing Gel: Acure is KILLING IT with their skincare products. Pretty soon I think my entire skincare routine will be filled with Acure products. This cleanser is fabulous for keeping your skin feeling fresh. Plus it’s so inexpensive…yet it WORKS, as do all of the other Acure products I have used.

2.} Saturday Skin Rise + Shine Purifying Cleanser: Not only is the packaging so fun and Instagrammy (you know I live for some beautiful packaging), but the product is just as good. Saturday Skin’s cleanser contains apple and peach extracts whisk away impurities without stripping the skin for a fresh, revitalized complexion.

xo,

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what skin type you have….you NEED to be using a Vitamin C product on your skin because it has so many amazing benefits.

I am your trusty guinea pig, and I have tried 6 Vitamin C products over the last 2 years, and can confidently say that Kakadu Vitamin C is my favorite. Reason being: I can SEE and FEEL the difference in my skin when using this product every morning. The benefits of using a Vitamin C on your skin are numerous, beginning with the most popular – it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

You might be wondering what Kakadu is? I did, too.

Wild harvested in the remote Australian Kimberley and NW Territory, Kakadu Plum puts the SUPER in super fruit.

Ounce per ounce, Kakadu plums contain on average 55 times the vitamin C of Florida oranges.*

Vitamin C helps protect against pollutants, oxidative stress and free radical damage, and may help improve skin elasticity, firmness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The Kakadu Plum grows in the remote bush of the Australian Kimberley and Northwest Territory.  It is here that the Kakadu Plum is sustainably wild harvested during the monsoonal season of the hot, inhospitable Australian summer.  Hand picked by the Aboriginal people, each tiny fruit is gathered from trees found at random.

The Kakadu Plum is considered a gift of the Dreamtime, the sacred Aboriginal era during which ancestral spirit beings created the world. Aboriginal legend teaches generation after generation the secrets of this extraordinary fruit.

The Kakadu Plum grows in the remote bush of the Australian Kimberley and Northwest Territory.  It is here that the Kakadu Plum is sustainably wild harvested during the monsoonal season of the hot, inhospitable Australian summer.  Hand picked by the Aboriginal people, each tiny fruit is gathered from trees found at random.

The Kakadu Plum is considered a gift of the Dreamtime, the sacred Aboriginal era during which ancestral spirit beings created the world. Aboriginal legend teaches generation after generation the secrets of this extraordinary fruit. {Source}.

What initially drew me to Kakadu C was its high potency (it is 20% stabilized vitamin C), it’s cruelty-free, dermatologist tested and approved, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic. It is also formulated without dye, fragrance, and gluten.

Now for the full list of benefits of using a Vitamin C on your skin:

♡ Promotes Collagen Production

Vitamin C boosts collagen production, which fills in lines and wrinkles. With a concentrated product like Kakadu C, MAJOR prevention takes place as far as aging goes. Can you say saving money on botox?!

♡ Protects skin from the sun

Since Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it naturally strengthens your skin and repels damage. It shouldn’t be an alternative for sunscreen, but it does protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

♡ Speeds up healing

Studies have also found that high levels of Vitamin C can help to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. It can help to heal small cuts, acne scars, and other blemishes more quickly and effectively.

♡ Helps with discoloration

If you suffer from skin redness or other discoloration of the skin, then a a vitamin C serum may also be able to help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and better complexion. Specifically, vitamin C is great for reducing embarrassing redness. This has been very true for me, as I deal with rosacea and have dealt with it since I was 10 years old. Vitamin C reduces my redness by about 30%. This also goes for reducing the appearance of under-eye circles! This stuff is seriously magic when it comes to discoloration.

♡ Reduces inflammation

Vitamin C is known to reduce inflammation, which is incredible for reducing puffiness in the face. I’m all about facial massage to reduce puffiness, and the combination with the use of a vitamin C serum is life-changing. I feel like I lost 5 pounds after massaging my face with Kakadu C!

How I use Vitamin C

I like to apply vitamin C serum once per day, in the morning, to my face and neck (massaging for a few minutes) after using toner. After the massage is done, I apply the rest of my skincare and makeup.

I’m embarrassed to blog about beauty and not be super knowledgeable about non-toxic beauty. Yikes! It is something that I care about and try to pay attention to when I shop for all products, actually, but there is a difference between non-toxic and cruelty free, for example.

I’m proud to say that all of the beauty products I currently use and shop for are cruelty free, meaning that no animals were tested on during the manufacturing process.

But non-toxic beauty is another ballgame. And I’ve been on auto-pilot when it comes to buying beauty products because it’s what’s mainstream, unfortunately. Looking at ingredients when buying food is one thing, but beauty products? I rarely did this until very recently.

I knew that some of the items in my stash were potentially hazardous…and to put things into perspective, the E.U. has banned around 1400 ingredients from personal care products, and the U.S. has banned a measly 30). The logic of combining NARS Blush (which I have not repurchased since they started testing on animals) with my non-toxic foundation just didn’t make sense.

I am now slowly but surely adding in staple beauty products to replace the toxic ones.

Before we get into my favorite non-toxic beauty staples, here are the 10 most commonly used ingredients to avoid:

Parabens: Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. Sounds good, right? Not so fast, they do more than that. Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers. You can also find them in food and pharmaceutical products. {Source}

Synthetic colors. If you take a look at your product label and notice FD&C or D&C, they represent artificial colors. F — representing food and D&C representing drug and cosmetics. These letters precede a color and number (e.g., D&C Red 27 or FD&C blue 1). These synthetic colors are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. Synthetic colors are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children. The European Classification and Labeling considers it a human carcinogen and the European Union has banned it. {Source}

Fragrance. This particular category is pretty scary, because what does “fragrance” mean anyway? This term was created to protect a company’s “secret formula.” But as the consumer you could be putting on a concoction that contains tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system. It can be found in many products such as perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers. {Source}

Phthalates. A group of chemicals used in hundreds of products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. The main phthalates in cosmetics and personal care products are dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in perfumes and lotions, and dimethyl phthalate in hair spray. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females. Unfortunately, it is not disclosed on every product as it’s added to fragrances (remember the “secret formula” not listed), a major loophole in the law. They can be found in deodorants, perfumes/colognes, hair sprays and moisturizers. {Source}

Triclosan. Tricolson is widely used antimicrobial chemical that’s a known endocrine disruptor — especially thyroid and reproductive hormones, and a skin irritant. Studies raise concerns that triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. There also wasn’t enough supporting evidence that washing with antibacterial soaps containing triclosan provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Tricolson can be found in toothpastes, antibacterial soaps and deodorants. {Source}

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products). SLS’s are known to be skin, lung, and eye irritants. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage. They can be found in shampoo, body wash/cleanser, mascara and acne treatment. {Source}

Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s) preservatives are used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. This chemical was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC) and has been linked to occupational related cancers: nasal and nasopharyngeal. It is known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments. {Source}

Toluene. A petrochemical derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. You may see it on labels listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene. Toluene is a potent solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner. It can affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate your skin. Expecting mothers should avoid exposure to toluene vapors as it may cause developmental damage in the fetus. Toluene has also been linked to immune system toxicity. It can be found in nail polish, nail treatments and hair color/bleaching products. {Source}

Propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It’s classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. It has been associated with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans — these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2 percent. It can be found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays. {Source}

Sunscreen chemicals. These chemicals function as a sunscreen agent, to absorb ultraviolet light. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and are believed to be easily absorbed into the body. They may also cause cellular damage and cancer in the body. Common names are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate. They can be found in sunscreen products. {Source}

SCARY SHIT, RIGHT?!

♡ FACIAL OIL

ACURE MARULA OIL

If I had to choose one oil and only one to use on my face everyday, morning and night, I’d choose Marula oil. Acure’s Marula oil is rich in proteins and omega fatty acids and is amazing for treating dry skin, healing wounds & scars and reducing redness. “Marula oil packs a huge anti-oxidant power punch to help with anti-aging along with essential fatty acids and proteins to help with firming, anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling support.” Marula is naturally lightweight, meaning it will absorb readily into the skin, leaving it feeling hydrated and smooth.  What’s also cool? Acure’s Marula oil is 100% pure and wildcrafted without pesticides by South African Women as part of an economic empowerment program. I buy mine at Whole Foods (BTW – the Whole Foods Beauty department is pretty amazing if you haven’t checked it out).

♡ BODY EXFOLIATOR

HERBIVORE BOTANICALS COCO ROSE BODY POLISH

Herbivore products are ALL truly natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. They contain no synthetic ingredients— this includes no dyes, no fragrances, and no synthetic preservatives. Additionally, they are concentrated blends containing no fillers and using the minimum amount of ingredients necessary to achieve the maximum results. My Holy Grail Herbivore product is the Body Polish. It smells SO good (no fragrances used, BTW, just Moroccan Roses) and it does the job well to exfoliate the body. I have KP (Keratosis Pilaris) on my arms, and I love how well the Body Polish helps maintain smoothness.

A HUGE plus is that the packaging is so Instagrammy and pretty! If you’re stumped on a gift for a friend, you can’t go wrong with this stuff.

♡ DEODERANT

KOPARI COCONUT DEO

First, do you know the difference between deodorant and antiperspirants? If you check your product, you might be wearing an antiperspirant – which is not good. The difference is, antiperspirants are built to clog and block your sweat glands/pores, and to essentially keep the toxins of your body in…the ones that make you smell like B.O. Antiperspirants are also usually made with aluminum – more not so great news. Not only are the toxins in your body getting stuck (they’re trying to release themselves via sweat, but we don’t let them), but aluminum has been linked to scary AF things like breast cancer and can even accumulate in your brain! UM… WHAT?! Deodorants on the other hand, work to neutralize the smell, but actually still allow the toxins in your system (aka sweat) to release. Which is why you will still sweat wearing natural deodorants. I’d rather sweat than deal with all of the scary shit.

Enter Kopari’s Coconut Deo. It is my favorite non-toxic deodorant, and this is saying A LOT because I have been testing non-toxic deodarants out for about 10 years (the first place I went non-toxic)…and they pretty much all suck. Not this one, though. It is 100% plant derived and non-toxic. Like the name suggests, it’s a coconut-powered product, and the whole line is actually made from coconut. The biggest bonus is that is smells like you’re on a vacay in Hawaii 24/7.

SUNSCREEN

ELTA MD SUNSCREEN

We know sunscreen’s purpose is to help prevent skin cancer, but paradoxically chemical sunscreens use ingredients with links to cancer. 

The easiest way to differentiate between which sunscreens are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad’ is to know the two different types: chemical (BAD) because it penetrates your skin to filter and absorb UV rays. And physical, also known as mineral, which is a physical barrier between your skin and the sun.

Oxybenzone is one of the ingredients used in some chemical sunscreens that causes issues. In 2012, California listed benzophenone as a known carcinogen. Guess what oxybenzone’s other name is? Benzophenone-3. Yes, the ingredient in many sunscreens is a derivative of a carcinogen. That doesn’t necessarily mean oxybenzone is a carcinogen, but it’s close enough to stay the hell away.

Mineral sunscreens are usually formulated with zinc oxide which white in color. But that’s not the case with Elta MD’s Facial SPF. It absorbs right away and is free of parabens, chemicals, fragrance, and the notorious oxybenzone.

♡ FOUNDATION

LAWLESS WOKE UP LIKE THIS FOUNDATION

Where has Lawless been all my life?! I fell in love with the brand after reading about Annie Lawless’ story and her drive to develop cosmetics that are both glamorous, high quality, AND clean. The noncomedogenic, foundation doesn’t clog pores, and it is so comfortable to wear all day. It’s lightweight yet full coverage which is JUST what I like. It’s also rich in antioxidants and has balancing oils—including abyssinica and camellia oils, and hydrating shea butter. I love this foundation so much that I wore it on my wedding day. And it is one that I wear pretty much every single day that I do wear makeup.

Ok, your turn: what are your favorite non-toxic beauty products?

xo, Lynn

Awhile back, I’d heard a medical professional say that sunscreen loses its effectiveness after a few hours of wear time. I am being vague because I honestly do not remember who said it, but when I went on to research the matter, this information is in fact correct.

Well, shit! For YEARS, I had been wearing lotion sunscreen and only lotion sunscreen under my makeup. And most of that time, I had no idea that it wasn’t doing much for me after several hours of wear.

You sunscreen’s SPF is only 100% guaranteed for two hours after you put it on.

“When we talk about reapplying sunscreen every two hours, that number comes from how SPF is tested,” John Zampella, a dermatologist at NYU Langone Health, said. He explained that SPF numbers are based on how much protection a certain sunscreen will give you against the sun for two hours. {source}

Enter Supergoop! 100% Mineral Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45.

This setting powder has a sheer, silky, non-drying texture…which is great for me since I have very dry skin, and sometimes powders can make me look even dryer. With 24.5 percent zinc oxide (and no silicones!), it offers an SPF 45 and full broad-spectrum protection. An extra bonus: there is no flashback in photos when wearing the powder.

The setting powder is ideal for touching up throughout the day – I usually reapply if I am outside all day mid-day, on top of makeup. It’s so easy to just throw it in your bag & GO. Also: do not forget your neck, chest, and shoulders, and anywhere else you’re exposed to the sun. I do it all: arms, boobs, legs…

Protecting your skin is so, so important, and I wish someone had beaten this into me when I was younger. But it’s never too late to start taking good care of your skin.

xo,

Lynn