Inspired by Maria

New year, new beginnings. But how did everything start? Who has been that inspiring catalyst? One day, a friend of mine, seeing my excited return to all-things nature, mentioned Maria Hannaford’s blog Econest, now The Society Co. It was a godsend! I got so enthusiastic with Maria’s recipes for glorious natural skin care, that I started infusing my first herbal oils. There on, everything happened so naturally.

I now wish to introduce Maria to you. She has been a wonderful inspiration to me. Not only as a skin-care maker, but as a person too.

I invited Maria to share her views with my readers and here is our interview:
Where does your passion for natural skincare come from?
My mum. She never wore makeup apart from red lipstick on special occasions and always chose the most natural, organic ingredients she could find to care for her skin and hair. She was doing this in the 80s – she was very ahead of the times.

How do you get flawless skin? What are your do’s and don’ts when it comes to healthy skin?
Oh dear god, does ANYONE have flawless skin? My skin is as moody as the next person’s, but I do have a few tips to ensure you’re giving your skin the best chance at being healthy and looking good:
1. Always cleanse, every day, morning and night. Use a gentle cleanser such as an olive oil soap or even honey or natural yoghurt. Sounds odd, but they do work!
2. Eat clean food.
3. Wear less makeup.
4. Don’t touch your face if you can help it. Your hands transfer a lot of bacteria onto your face and they tend to have parties on your skin and cause breakouts.

What is your skincare routine?
I cleanse with either an olive oil soap or honey or jojoba oil, then I moisturise with jojoba oil or an organic skin cream. I don’t ever wear foundation. I like to wear a natural almond-oil mascara but that’s about it. And I try not to touch my face a lot.

I know you like botanical oils on your skin. Why and how do you use them? (see Maria’s extended post on plant-based oils)
I apply them as moisturiser but also as a cleanser using the deep oil cleansing method, once a week or so. If my hair is feeling particularly dry, I also apply oil to the ends overnight as treatment. My favourite oil is jojoba. My husband used coconut oil to condition his face, after shaving and to soften his beard! I use it to shave, instead of shaving cream for instance.

If you were to give one piece of advice to someone seeking glowing skin what would that be?
Look after yourself emotionally and psychologically, because stress is you and your skin’s worst enemy. Laugh, go for a long walk, do something you love, try to calm yourself and feel a little joy. You’re allowed to. Your skin will thank you for it.

You are about to launch a business, please introduce me to your business. Why did you start this business? What do you like most about it? 

My business is just in its infancy – I’m still in development stage. It’s a lifestyle brand inspired by Greece, made in Australia (like me really, since my parents are both Greek and I was raised in a very ‘greek way’ but I was born here!). My first range of products is going to be a collection of perfumed candles inspired by memories of Greece. It’s always been my dream to run my own brand and a couple of years ago when I started working on this, I just thought, ‘it’s now or never… what am I waiting for?’.

All my products (there will be more to come after the candles) will be made with the utmost attention to detail, care and craftsmanship. I haven’t done anything off the shelf with these candles. Everything is bespoke. I really want to produce something that is about quality and skill, not something made on a production line for as cheap as possible.

What I love most about it? The ability to be as creative as I want.

 

Keep an eye on Maria’s fragrant webpresence, she’ll delight your senses!

Thank you so much, Maria!!!

 

Dry skin? Moisturise in the morning

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Have you got dry skin?

Then put your moisturiser on in the morning, instead of at night. The reason why? Because the body is busy producing all the natural oils during the night. So if you moisturise before going to bed you are sending a message to your body that it got enough oils, and it will produce less.

No doubt the natural sebum is best and you want to keep your body producing this wonder, so no point in competing with your own body. Rather help replenish the missing oils in the morning.

And remember, best is to put your moisturising facial oil on damp skin – it will sink into your skin in no time and all the nutrients will reach the deeper layers.

Make the most of your facial oil

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While I don’t like water in my products (think bacteria and preserving issues), water is the best companion when using my products. As they are oil based, the water helps with the absorption of the beautiful oils into the skin and, bonus, leaves an awesomely velvety feel.

Water + oil = love for skin

So before applying your facial oil or hand/body butter, give your skin a splash of water and then massage oil or butter onto skin for a couple of minutes. All the nice nutrients will penetrate deeply into the skin instead of just sitting on top. Plus, a vigorous massage will increase the bloodflow, facilitating nutrient absorption further. So don’t be too shy when dancing your fingers onto your skin.

Love,
Stefania

 

How much science?

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Many times when I get to talk in more detail about my products, people wonder about the science behind mixing various natural ingredients into a smooth butter or mousse. Without over-simplifying things I must say I don’t actually employ a lot of science. Just because when you are mixing oils and butters, they simply bind to each other naturally. There is absolutely no need for emulsifiers, slide-on agents, preservatives, emollients, humectants or who-knows-what. Lucky me!!!

My process is fairly simple: melt the beeswax, butters and coconut oil, add the liquid plants oils, mix well with a kitchen spoon, wait for the mixture to cool down a bit and then add the essential oils and mix again vigorously. That’s it! Nothing else added. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?

The problem is when you mix oils / butters with water. That’s when you need to add, at a very minimum, an emulsifier and a preservative. Because oils don’t mix with water and because water is the perfect environment for bacteria, fungi and mold. So just by adding a drop of water, you get at least these 2 problems. And from here on it gets complicated. Preservatives don’t smell nice, problem no 3, and so you now need to add some sort of fragrance. Given essential oils are expensive, the big manufacturers prefer synthetic ‘perfume’ which comes at a fraction of the cost.
Speaking of essential oils, I should say I totally love them not only for their scents but even more so for their therapeutic properties. Double awesomeness!

I won’t delve any further into the science of synthetic cosmetics as my interest doesn’t lay there.
If the ingredients listing on a product starts with water, then pay more attention to what follows.
Besides, why paying big bucks for water?!?

Love,

Stefania

I skin care. Do you skin care?

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We all care about something – be it the family, the environment, the job that makes us happy, the free access to education, the peace in the middle east (or west, looking from Australia) or what we put on the table, where it comes from, how natural and tasty it is, etc… We care. And we also care a lot about how we look or, simply put, we skin care. Who doesn’t want to always look young, glowing, healthy, radiant?!…
I skin care because what I put on my skin goes straight into the bloodstream. And I’ve learned that what I put in my body is what I get from my body.

So I put in nourishing foods like calendula, green tea, cocoa, coffee, sage, coconut, macadamia, aloe vera, avocado, lemon. And many other yummy skin foods. Practically most of the foods I eat can go onto my skin too. They truly work their magic for a radiant skin. They are amazingly effective!

Do you skin care? What’s your favourite skin food?

(image credit: http://livelifewell.gr/)

Beauty from within

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Using natural and pure beauty products is only one side of the card. Of the winning card that is! The other side is what we eat. No one can expect to have flawless skin while having sugary coated ‘treats’ or fast-food chemical bombs such as msg, trans fats, artificial flavourings, processed table salt and glyphosate-rich vegetables and meats. To name just a few.

For a naturally glowing skin from within, you can do a few simple things such as:
* drink plenty of pure, filtered water
* eat as many fresh, organic or bio-dynamic, vegetables and fruits as possible. Vitamin C, abundant in tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits and parsley, aids in collagen formation. Brightly coloured red and orange vegetables such as carrots, peppers, pumpkins and tomatoes, are loaded with beta-carotene which helps protect your skin from sun damage. The green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and silverbeets, contain vitamin A which has anti-aging activity.
* flavour and garnish your meals with antioxidant powerhouses such as herbs and spices, particularly turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, parsley, garlic, onion, chilli, as well as berries, lemon juice and nuts. Curcuminoids found in turmeric protect cells from oxidative stress
* get enough quality omega-3 fats. They keep skin cells strong and full of moisture, which can help to decrease the appearance of fine lines
* enjoy a couple of spoons of raw, virgin coconut oil every day. It protects skin from the aging effects of free radicals. Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with a tablespoon of raw cocoa powder for a healthy treat.
* eat plenty of naturally fermented foods, including vegetables and dairy
* drink organic green tea, rooibos, herbal and spiced tea
* get enough sleep
* polyphenols such as resveratrol in grapes, cranberries, blueberries and peanuts, help to reverse some DNA damage in the body and skin cells
* avoid drinking alcohol and soft drinks
* stay away from any sugar and limit your grains intake
* exercise regularly
As a general rule, include plenty of raw, whole foods in your diet and steer away from toxin loaded foods.
Enjoy life and be beautiful!

Love,
Stefania

Less known beauty champions – Palmarosa

Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) is one of the essential oils I love, as it is suited to different skin types and helps with many skin conditions. With its sweet, light, floral aroma and a hint of rose, it is also great for senses. In skin care palmarosa essential oil is particularly beneficial for its moisturising, calming and age-defying properties as it stimulates cell regeneration and promotes skin’s elasticity.

Palmarosa is a skin tonic and regulates sebum production, and due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties it effectively combats acne, dermatitis, eczema, and helps healing cuts, bites, scars and rashes.

Palmarosa has a calming, comforting yet refreshing and uplifting effect on the mind. Palmarosa essential oil blends beautifully with ylang ylang, lavender, sweet orange and lemon. This fantastic blend can be found in all TLBD facial oils.
Enjoy and be beautiful! From inside out.

Love,
Stefania

How natural is natural?

Now that I carefully look at ingredients list on the packaging, I must admit I sometimes get confused when reading product labels. What is natural? And what is safe?

Unfortunately the use of “natural” on many products is so misleading that discerning between truly natural and so-called natural becomes quite difficult. Would you call Phenoxyethanol natural? How about PEG 120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate? Or Sodium Laureth Sulfate aka SLS? Or Tetrasodium EDTA?

If you see these ingredients along with other synthetic preservatives on a skin-care product labelled “95% ingredients of natural origin” and called Organic Argan oil Facial Mousse, how would you feel?!?

Take a look at the full snapshot of the ingredients list:

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If on the front label you see “95% ingredients of natural origin” and “organic argan oil” without reading the full ingredients list, you would think it is actually a safe skin-care product.

It’s misleading and it makes consumers think synthetic compounds are okay. I beg to differ!

Don’t let the marketing fool you – always read the full ingredients list before you make your decision to buy.  If an ingredient doesn’t sound right to you, then most likely it isn’t safe. And remember whatever you put on your skin will get into your bloodstream straight away.

To be sure, you can check the safety of different ingredients here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/search.php

 

Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Thank you.