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What’s the right time in our lives to change our hair style?  What styles age us vs. what looks say, ” No way! You’re not possibly that age!”

Having just turned 50 and having long-time clients who are aging with me, has made this issue a hot topic of concern.  Remember, we want Father Time to be very, very kind!

Here are 3 tips that I share with my clients:

1. Your hair cut should reflect your lifestyle.  Are you a retired, empty nester who is expanding her yogic training, pruning the Community Garden or volunteering at the local shelter?  A former polished Corporate ‘do’ will no longer work for new found endeavors on the mat, pulling weeds or walking the pups. Switch out the polished put-together style with something more textured and less structured. Most times, long locks, though easy to throw in a pony tail, signify youth and everything that goes with it!

2. Calm down your color.  If you were a ‘dye’ hard highlighter, try softening your look with an all over softer blonde adding just a few highlights. Dark raven locks are too harsh and it makes it very hard to go too long between root touch-ups.  The skunk stripe down your part is not an ageless look.  Start transitioning to a medium or lighter brown and switching to a demi-permanant dye which will add dimension. Bold reds will now look fake and take on a garish tone.  Redheads should consider adding a touch of golden brown to achieve a much more realistic look.

3. Show off your gray. There are a few lucky ladies with the perfect, enviable silver.  Talk to your stylist about how you can show off your gray with panache.  Silver glosses, adding ‘pepper’ lowlights, wearing a cut that accentuates the grey will move you into the Silver Fox category.

 

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Only 3?  It was hard narrowing down my list of Why You Should Be Using Organic & Natural Hair Care Products Exclusively.  I talk to all of my clients about the benefits of making the organic switch.  In a nutshell: it’s safer, it’s healthier and it’s sexier!

1. Organic Hair Styling Products can correct, fight and fix dry, frizzy hair.  Look for products that contain SHEA BUTTER, ALOE and JOJOBA. Did you know that many smoothing and anti-frizz products actually contain ingredients that over time will cause dryness and frizz?  It’s true. Watch out for -TOLUENOL; BENZENEMETHANOL; PETROLEUM; BENZYLIC ALCOHOL; PHENYLCARBINOL; PHENYLMETHANOL; PHENYLMETHYL ALCOHOL; ALPHA-HYDROXYTOLUENE; ALPHA-TOLUENOL, BENZAL ALCOHOL and BENZENECARBINOL

John masters at juju salon2. Cost Effective.  Natural, Organic Hair Care Product costs are comparable to conventional salon exclusive products. The Organic Win?  Quality natural hair care shampoos, conditioners and styling products are packed with plant based ingredients and are light on water.  Therefore, less product is needed!  Conventional salon products are loaded with cheap, synthetic additives that literally fill the bottle and offer no utilitarian value. Some of the synthetic fillers to steer clear of: petroleum derived PROPYLENE GLYCOL and PARAFFIN.

juju salon beauty products3. The Scents are Safe & Sound.  Certified Organic products cannot legally contain dangerous synthetic fragrances.  Steer clear of any product that lists ‘Fragrance’ as one of the ingredients.  The chemical cocktail of synthetic fragrances is usually made from petroleum and hormone disrupting Phthalates.  Look instead for scents that are naturally derived or plant-based.

hamadi juju salon products

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I cannot tell you how many At-Home Color Mistakes we fix and tweak at the salon.  Though there’s a few that can get it right at home, most clients’ results are undermined by lack of knowing the in’s and out’s of color selection and application.

Here are 5 Common Mistakes When Coloring Your Hair At Home:

If anything on this list resonates with you, talk to us!  Everyone is cost conscious, we get it.  However, the average client who colors his or her hair professionally spends no more than $1.75 to $2.25 a day! That’s less than your morning take-out latte.  (Yes, I did the math!)

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Color perfect at juju!

Having your hair professionally dyed assures that your hair and hair color will be beautiful, radiant and healthy!

1. Thinking that  ‘semi-permanent’ hair dye is ‘non-permanent’. For the most part, all hair dyes are permanent. Even though the color may fade with this color and the gray may become translucent, the color itself continues to coat the shaft of the hair. This effects the outcome of the next color application because the residual color is literally still ‘on’ the hair.


2. Dying all of the hair with every application. Many women think that in
addition to dying their gray roots, they need to ‘pull’ the color through
to the hair’s ends. Over time, the hair gets darker and darker with each
layer of application making the overall effect uneven: light and bright at
the roots and dark and ‘fake’ looking from mid-shaft to ends.

3. Selecting the wrong tone. So many of the advertised tones in boxed dyes
are extreme. Women select ‘gold’ and end up with orange casts; ‘ash’ makes
the color too dark; ‘neutral’ just doesn’t exist. Professional colorists
know that the desired end-result tone is usually a combination of tones and
colors. To achieve this at home, one would have to buy a few boxes and
know just how to mix correctly.

4. Missing spots. Applying color to your own hair with a bottle
practically guarantees uneven coverage. This usually occurs at the crown
an below the occipital bone. This is most noticeable on women who are trying to go lighter
in shade and/or blonde.

5. Choosing boxed color that contains ammonia or worse. The ingredients in over-the-counter are questionable and harsh, and leave the hair in a compromised condition. Most contain ammonia, resorcinol, PPD’s and produce noxious fumes.  Salons like ours only offer color services with dyes that contain none of these toxic ingredients.  Have you visited our fume-free salon? 

Really think about it before you buy the box.  It’s a mess, it’s a hassle and most likely, it won’t make you look your best!

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Here’s the WHAT, WHEN and WHY for hat wearing this season. 

frannyWhen  When your Bed Head isn’t tousled and cute…when you’re in a rush and your hair is a fright… when you’re sunbathing…when you’re gardening…when your frizz is intolerable…when you want to look more ladylike…when you’re at The Preakness..when you want to look more stylish than anyone else!

 Why  Oh, I don’t know….skin cancer….wrinklesage spots

What  Wide-brimmed Straw Hats will make you a beach beauty.  They are flattering for all hairstyles and give you an extra layer of sun protection. Beanies bring out the Boho in all of us. Small and sexy, these chapeau’s are perfect for bringing attention to shorter styles.  Dick Tracy Toppers say “cool”, “suave” and “debonnaire.”

 

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haircutmaColor fact: Stylists refer to ‘Champagne’ as a pale, straw-colored hue because of the light blonde color of today’s brut. But in fact, the original color of ‘vin mousseux’ or sparkling wine was brownish pink from the brandy and sugar syrup added to the wine. Salut! Veuve Clicquot is my favorite for celebrating with friends and for quiet nights with my husband.


facebookAnother Color Fact: Veuve Cliquot’s famous orange, or is it yellow (a controversial back and forth) label is legendary.  The Maison Veuve Cliquot has attempted to trademark its signature label color and has sued an Italian Sparkling Wine maker for using a similar label color.  It is rumored that the color of VC’s label was meant to be the same color as an egg yolk!

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SUNWARRIOR, A HAND’S DOWN, PROTEIN SHAKE WINNER!

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A few weeks ago, Sunwarrior sent me a collection of its raw, all natural, vegan protein shakes and ‘boosters*” to try out.  Here’s what I found.


I am a seasoned veteran of protein shakes, smoothies and juicing.  My considerations when putting together the perfect shake in order of importance are: taste, ingredients and performance.  No, scratch that, it’s nutrition, low carb and quick prep time.  Or is it low-carb, quick prep time and high protein?

warrior-blendEqually important is the need for a shake that can fuel a workout, a packed work schedule and a very, very long day.  When I’m crunched for time, protein smoothies are a boon.

I exercise 5 days a week, I’m Vegan, and I’m over scheduled: kids, own a business, and manage a  busy household.  I’m also creeping toward 50 with a slowed-down metabolism and a penchant for insulin resistance.  After some recent blood work, my doctor recommended lower carb meals. Meals with high protein and low-carbs can be tricky for Vegans.

The protein in Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend is derived from peas, raw cranberry and raw hemp and with a low carb count of 2g’s and 19g’s of protein per serving. Sunwarrior has a system of products that can be used alone or can be added to one another to create your perfect nutritional cocktail*. Their full line of offerings are also gluten free, non GMO and soy free.  Worth noting, raw cranberry is known to reduce cellulite.  Just saying!


 

maxresdefaultI started this morning, post-workout, with a Vanilla Warrior Blend shake with unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, frozen blackberries and a hit of the Activated Sprouted Bio-Fermented Barley Powder Booster.  I was staring down a 7 hour stretch of back to back clients and knew that lunch may or may not be on the horizon.  I wanted to see if Sunwarrior’s Barley powder was in fact, “The Ultimate Slow Burning Carb.”


 

Happy to say, my energy and mood remained high, and I didn’t feel hungry, even though I wasn’t able to stop for lunch until a good 6 hours later.

I’m giving it a high mark for taste: not chalky but smooth, like an actual milk-shake.  It’s quite yummy AND my 2 girls loved the chocolate shake even though it’s ‘healthy,’ God forbid!

* Sunwarrior’s Boosters include: Liquid Light – Pulvic Acid; Immune Shield; Activated Barley and Vitamin Mineral Rush

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move2(b&w)[2]We all want to look and feel out best, right?  We exercise, primp and polish, but often fall short of the mark.  Are ‘bad habits’ getting our way?  Do we avoid ‘good habits’ because they seem boring or just a pain in the ass to do?  I love this sentiment by Seth Godin:

“Habits are great when they help us get what we want. Bad habits, on the other hand, are bad because the shortcut that satisfies us in the moment gets in the way of our long term goals.”

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years as I get older.  There are a dozen things I should be doing daily to help me feel and look my best, but bad habits are hard to break and good habits are easily forgotten or set aside. Like Seth says, it’s easy to be bad and seemingly hard to be good.

It’s much easier to tackle a few items at a time, so I thought it a good idea to put forth 4 Good Habits  that  I believe are easy to remember, easy to start doing right away and easy to stick to.

1. Moisturize your skin always, no matter what.  After your morning shower and before bed are the easiest time to perform this ritual.  Legs, arms, face and all over.  There are so many benefits to massaging in a moisturizer suitable for your skin type, body area and season.  For summer I’m using Starflower Essential’s rich and nourishing Rose Chamomile Intensive Moisturizer on my face for day and night coverage.

2. Find an exercise routine you like and stick to it.  Religiously, purposefully, moderately, frequently.  I go to an exercise class, the Lithe Method,  4-5 times a week, yoga once a week and walk my dog 2-3 times a day.  I can’t imagine how lousy I would feel if I didn’t.  For me, I usually look forward to sweating it out, jumping around, and getting outside.  I know I’ll feel better when it’s over.  But, when I’m dreading the thought of getting on that mat, I remember that it’s only an hour or two long, it WILL end, and by then, I’ll feel terrific! Classes with great music, great instructors and friendly people motivate me, not to mention the money spent on monthly memberships.  What motivates you?  Find out and act on your findings.

3. Meditate and Journal. I’m lumping these together because I’ve found that their practice and benefits are so similar. And no, as I promised earlier that I would put forth ‘easy’ habits to start, these 2 may seem to be hard habits to form.  Every person I know who tells me they meditate and/or journal regularly, is adamant that the changes brought by these practices are overwhelmingly positive.  First, get some props together: a beautiful journaling notebook, a comfy meditation cushion, a guided meditation CD, a space you create with flowers and pictures of inspiring persons or places, then get on it.  Carve out a regular time in your day to perform this ritual and get to know yourself.  Try Louise Hays’ Meditations for Loving Yourself to Good Health.

4. Eat, buy and use organic.  Surround yourself with nurturing and non-toxic foods, cleaning products, bath and body goods and you’ll notice a change.  It’s good medicine, it’s preventative, it’s good for the Earth, it’s interesting, it’s tastier, it’s expanding, and it brings forth a more beautiful and sensitive you!

 

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27741_435815352904_4718206_nYou think you’re ok: you apply a a facial moisturizer with SPF, put on your make-up and go!  No brainer, you’re covered right?

Guess what?

 

For proper skin protection, you need to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours!  How’s that going to happen when you’re wearing a full face of make-up?

Here’s How in 3 Steps:

Start with a tinted moisturizer with SPF protection, like 100% Pure’s Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30; http://www.100percentpure.com/products/fruit-pigmented-tinted-moisturizer-golden-peach

Finish with a loose or pressed powder with SPF like bareMinerals’ Mineral Veil Finishing Powder Broad Spectrum SPF 25.  This powder can be re-applied repeatedly throughout the day to not only protect against sun damage but also to correct shine and ensure an enduring polished look. http://www.bareescentuals.com/bareMinerals-Original-SPF-25-Mineral-Veil/USmastermineralveilSPF,en_US,pd.html

Finally, carry with you an SPF Facial Spritzer that can be used throughout the day.  Supergoop’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 should be used right after make-up application and can be reapplied throughout the day. Don’t worry, it won’t mess with your work of facial art! http://www.supergoop.com/shop/defense-refresh-setting-mist-spf-50

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One of our favorite guests proves that feeling good and looking good go hand in hand:

“Born a brunette, I had gone all gray.  Coloring my hair for years was the norm, until I became dangerously allergic to hair dye. [Terri is allergic to the PPDs found in most professional and over the counter hair dyes.]  My head, feet and hands would swell up after my salon visits.  My dermatologist put me on steroids.  It was frightening.  No more hair dye for me, so I thought.

Then I found juju salon & organics and stylist/owner Julie Featherman.  I was confident that if there was a solution to my problem, she’d find it.  And she did!  She was able to find a non-toxic hair dye that did not cause a single reaction! I  look and feel better than ever before.

p.s.  She gives a great haircut too!”

Thank you Terri for sharing your happy experience at juju.

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3 Best Practices For A Mid-Winter Detox

1. Get Organic Coconut Oil Buy, use, repeat. Best winter related uses include hair care and skin care – just slather it on liberally for instant, super-charged moisturizing;  boosted immune system – its lauric acid fights viruses and bacterias;  proper digestion and regulated metabolism – Holidays, VDay, Fat Tuesday, enough said. A teaspoon or two a day taken orally is an overall health booster.

2. Eat Maitake Mushrooms In short winter days, less sun exposure equals less vitamin D.  Though a vitamin D supplement helps, a tastier way to get your D is by eating some ‘hen of the woods’ or Maitake mushrooms.  1 cup of raw maitake mushrooms contains 786 international units of vitamin D, which is more than the daily intake recommendation for healthy adult men and women. Fyi, mushrooms are the only vegetable that contains Vitamin D. Bonus Points for sauteing in Coconut Oil!

3. Meditate Considering a Meditation Practice? Now’s the time to start.  The benefits of a regular meditation practice can include lessened anxiety, better sleep, mental clarity, more energy and yes, it can beat back those Winter Blues. Check out our First Spring Wellness Workshop on Mindfulness Meditation on March 2nd to learn more about starting or strengthening your personal Practice.  Space is limited, call 215-238-6080 to register.

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You’ve heard about it, maybe you’ve even tried it:  Dry Shampoo.  Many of my clients give me a vague and noncomittal response when I ask them if they’ve tried dry shampoo yet.  Surprisingly, not many have.  What’s more, they don’t have a clear understanding of how versatile Dry Shampoo can be! This product has been trending for the past few years.  Here’s the lowdown:

shampooB1. Quick & Easy Hair Cleanser  No time for shampooing, drying and styling, but you really need to do something to your hair? Shake it on your roots and finger or brush it through your hair.  Neutralizes oily roots and leaves hair smelling fresh.

2. Too Much Shampooing Has Left Your Hair Dry, Frizzy and Jacked Up  Cut back on your wet shampooing to once or twice a week and use Dry Shampoo on off days. Taking a break is transformative.

3. Dry Shampoo Speaks Volumes  Get fullness in 5 seconds flat! I like to carry Sevi’s mini-sized dry shampoo with me so I can refresh my style on the go.   Not to worry, this stuff is light and won’t weigh down your hair.

4. Pets, Children & Other Stinky Creatures will love you for not tossing them in the bathtub! Enough said.

5. This One is the Best – Mask Your Grey Roots Between Color Touch-Ups  A sprinkle of Tinted Dry Shampoo at your part and hair line can fool the eye.  Try Sevi’s Coffee or Cocoa formula for best results.

 

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imageI can’t tell you how many times a client enters our doors at juju and proclaims, “it smells sooooo good in here!” And she’s right: wafting through the air are overtones of ylang ylang, fresh lavender, lemongrass and, over the past holiday season, ginger, pine and cinnamon.  I’m lucky to work in such a smell-good joint, in fact, I take it for granted.  The scents from our pure, clean, organic hair products, soy candles and bath soaks never take backseat to nasty, noxious hair dye fumes.

The Scary Dangers of Ammonia.  Hair dressers and clients alike are still drinking the Kool Aid: hair dye must have stinky, over-powering ammonia in it or it won’t work.  I hear it all the time.  “It won’t cover the gray,” “it will wash out next week” and so on.  Let’s face facts, we want to look good and often that wish will take back seat to health concerns.  What harm could occur? What’s a little ammonia now and then?

Well, to a client, it’s just an hour or two of gasping, take-your-breath-away chemical air pollution.  But to us stylists and salon workers, it’s our everyday air.  It’s the beauty industry’s Love Canal.  And, Federal regulations have yet to address this issue in any meaningful way.  I predict future class actions from workers, manufacturers and yes, the millions of us who dye our hair.

The beauty industry continues to use ammonia in its products because it’s cheap and abundant.  Non-ammonia color lines, like Mastey, Organic Color Systems, and Chi Ionic used at juju, contain more expensive natural oils and extracts of aloe vera, comfrey, orange and grapefruit instead of ammonia to do the job. It’s money over health concerns, it’s as simple as that.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology in Atlanta, Georgia, ammonia is listed as a hazardous substance which has related negative health effects. Ammonia is irritating to the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Nearly all professional salon and “box” hair color contain ammonia. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in the air may cause severe burns in your skin, eyes, throat, and lungs. In extreme cases, blindness, lung damage, or death could occur. Breathing lower concentrations will cause coughing and nose and throat irritation.

Ok….yikes!

I know that hair colored with non-ammonia dyes at juju are even more silky, soft, and vibrant than conventional colors.  We wouldn’t still be in business if our color services (sucked!) weren’t top notch.  We give you permission to be vain, demand great color, cover your gray, highlight that hair and be healthy and awesome at the same time!

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_4006I. Love. Summer, 2014. The pool, beaches and sunshine are what I live for during those long winter months.  When I’m out this summer, I’m bringing along these sunny finds:

  • Mar Y Sol ‘Caracas’ Tote.  Let’s face facts, this makes you look like a Venezualan Hottie!
  • Comfy, stylish Sanuk Sandles, from their recycled Yoga Mat Collection
  • Beauty Without Cruelty’s Waterproof Mascara. Great for pool time, wave riding and tear-jerkers like The Fault in Our Stars!
  • Supergoop’s Natural Mist Sunscreen SPF 50, and
  • BPA Free Nau’s water bottle.  Fill with ice and keep cool all afternoon.  Enjoy!

 

 

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my Sunday kitchen stretch
Sunday stretch selfies

Finding time for a good stretch seems impossible when you’re over-stretched. The benefits of daily stretching exercises are not only proven, they’re a given.  Michael Jordan credits  stretching, as part of his overall fitness routine,  for promoting his long and successful NBA career.

Though I know I need a daily stretching routine, I often back-burner this activity in the pursuit of more pressing concerns: cleaning the kitchen, sorting through laundry, answering email, etc.  There’s only so much time, right?

Presently, I’m in the throws of a plantar fasciitis flare-up coupled with an inflammed piriformis.  All the result of my regular workouts and LACK of stretching.  Surely, a few stretches after my exercise class should suffice?  As I literally hobble out of the studio, I can’t deny that things are out of control.

Stretches, my PT insists, are my only hope.  Three PT sessions and a half a dozen carefully chosen stretches were my Rx.  Stretching, when done at home, on a regular basis, will be the only thing to heal me short of surgery.

I am challenging myself to stretch two times a day, every day, for the next week.  I will hold each stretch for 20 seconds, no more no less, as per the sage advice of my PT.   Of course, you’re all committed to some stretching routine already that honors each ligament and muscle.  But if you’re not, you’re probably like me and think that …

Creating this habit, seems like a stretch…..

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I have a brain ‘hiccup’ every time I’m asked when I opened  juju salon & organics.  2005.  What?  How is it possible?

I remember preparing the space for its opening, with my youngest daughter toddling around in diapers and getting into every last dangerous-looking pile of unpacked supplies. She’s now 10, but just as mischievous and adorable as she was then.  And juju is almost 9.

In all of the tim20120213_juju_0276e that has passed, my goals and juju’s Mission remains exactly the same: non-toxic beauty is attainable.  juju’s growing up.  And like my daughter Frances, with her never-changing cuteness and wily-will, I hope it never loses the ethos, goals, warmth & style that it was born with.

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John masters at juju salonAs the beauty industry becomes inundated with organic and all natural products, what is the best way to financially navigate through all of the choices presented?  How do you know what the best value is out there?  There are $8 bottles and $28 bottles of shampoo on the proverbial shelf, what’s the difference?

Much of the price differential is Products Marketing 101: are the products recognizable because of an extensive and expensive marketing campaign?  Often, organic beauty product lines that grace the opening, full-page spots in Organic Spa magazine are probably the priciest.  I mean, what does your gut tell you about Origins’ Dr. Weil organic product line?  Origin stores are firmly planted on the priciest retail real estate available…could that influence the price of their products?

That’s not to say that smaller, less known brands, are necessarily less expensive. Confusing!

In other words, “who knows?!”  I know.  And here’s how you can know too.  Read the label.  It’s that easy.  If a company selling organic beauty products fails to list ALL of the ingredients on its label, don’t even consider buying it.  Here’s some tips for understanding the ingredients and consequently, what the true value of the product may be.

What’s the ordering of the ingredients?  Having “water” as the first ingredient listed may explain why it’s price tag isn’t too high. And if it is high, ask yourself why.  How much of the total product is derived from organically, bio-dynamically and/or wild harvested plants and herbs? If there’s a long list of “chemically” sounding ingredients following “water” and preceding rose hips, don’t bother tossing it in your shopping cart.  It needs to be clearly indicated that the plant/herbal ingredient is organic, bio-dynamically grown and/or wild harvested plants.

USDA Certified Organic, Oregon Tilth – Certified Organic, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are all important monikers for your product to wear. But know that getting a product “Certified Organic” is an expensive and lengthy process.  Some smaller companies haven’t secured the seal and can’t place it on their labels, even though the ingredients are as organically white as the driven snow.  Again, look to the label and make your decision from there.

Making a change in your beauty regime is as important to making a change from synthetic to organic beauty products.  Read labels, use less, use wisely and if on a budget, buy only what you truly need to use on a daily basis.

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Missed our latest workshop? What a shame!  On October 4th, national health and beauty expert Jolene Hart, graced juju organics with a bounty of natural beauty tips.  Of course we all know to avoid SLSs and parabens, but Ms. Hart drew deeper and provided us with the why’s what’s and how’s of combining good diet and de-stressors to really bring out the best in our own Natural Beauty!

Check out her beauty blog, Beauty is Wellness, and see for yourself what a difference a natural approach to beauty makes!  Here’s an easy recipe from Jolene for at home beauty…great for facial re-hydration and a luminescent glow!

Oatmeal & Raw Honey Mask

1 cup organic oatmeal
1 cup filtered warm water
1/2 cup raw honey (go raw or miss out on natural enzymes that hydrate and gently exfoliate)

Combine the oatmeal and warm water in a small bowl and allow the oatmeal to absorb the water. Add the honey and mix well. Apply the mask to a clean face, leave on for 30 minutes and rinse with warm water. This mask is moisturizing, soothing and exfoliating-and great for dry skin!

Enjoy!

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The end of an op-ed this weekend in the Times states, “The precautionary principle suggests that we should be wary of personal products like fragrances unless they are marked phthalate-free. And it makes sense — particularly for children and pregnant women…” This principle has been toted by many in my field as a necessary avoidance. In fact, no phthalate-containing nail polishes, shampoos, perfumes and body lotions can be found at juju or many other forward minded locations peddling safer beauty products.  Now, peer-reviewed medical science articles are being written about the absolute link between autism, for example, and exposure to environmental toxins. A wonderful fact-driven migration: from granola crunching health food stores to the JAMA!

The science community knows that Phthalate exposure to pregnant women can lead to their children displaying behavioral issues. So why is this toxic ingredient still being added to hair sprays, shampoos and conditioners? A quick search on “phtalate” in the Environmental Working Group’s website, Skin Deep database, found almost 23,000 products containing phtalates!  Sure, I wasn’t surprised to find Versace’s Red Jeans perfume listed, but Aveda’s Detoxifying Shampoo (detoxifying? what a misnomer!) and cleansers from Kiss My Face?!!

My advice for now: avoid buying any product with “phtalate” listed in its ingredients. Moreover, avoid buying any beauty product that lists “fragrance” in its ingredients, unless, there is an asterisk explaining that the fragrance is an unadulterated essential oil. Scary.

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I’d love to title this post, “My Top-5 Must Have List”, but…how can I limit my organic beauty product must-haves to just. Not to mention, I’m no natural beauty, and well frankly, I have some needs!

1. Dr. Alkaitis Face Cleanser: it’s raw, it’s great, it’s family friendly, good for all skin types, though I don’t easily share this one!  Every ingredient in this 4 oz. wonder has a unique property and specific purpose.  And, it lasts forever.

2. Suki Eye Balm: it plumps, it protects, it works morning, noon or night.  Another miraculous ‘fish & loaves’ product…never seems to run out!

3. USPA’s Wheatgrass Shampoo: Wheatgrass offers unique UV filter properties which can reduce damage to the hair- the perfect choice for color-treated hair – yep, there are more than one silver strands on my head;

4. USPA’s Wheatgrass Conditioner:  ditto!  Super-conditioning for my baby-fine hair – not too heavy, but just right!

5. Starflower Essential’s Seaflower SPF Moisturizer: contains borage (see previous post re: Top 5 Anti-Aging ingredients) and jojoba oil. This nutrient-rich sunscreen moisturizer for is light enough to use under make-up and provides long-lasting moisture too!

6. Suki Spa’s Renewal Bio-resurfacing Facial Peel:  Um….guess who’s 43 and is coveting a, let’s say, a ‘dewier’ more youthful complexion?  Your’s truly uses this magic serum once a week to get my glow back.  People have noticed! Comments are good! ‘nough said!

7. Innersense’s Inner Reflection Finishing Polish: Keeps the ‘do in place and looking fresh all day. Trust me, I work in front of mirrors all day, it’s nice to see my hair looking styled and shiny without having to fuss between clients.  This makes me happy!

Check out my finds now!  And keep me posted as to what’s behind your cabinet!

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Though there are dozens of organic herbal and plant-based infusions that should be listed as an ingredient in your anti-wrinkle creme, here are my top picks:

1. White Willow Bark, also known as Pussy Willow.  The inside bark of this plant is rich in naturally occurring salicylic acid, a marvelously gentle tool for cellular turnover when applied to the skin. White Willow Bark is also an anti-imflammatory for oily, combination, acne or blemished skin and scalp. Great relief for rosacea, psriasis, eczema, dandruff and any skin or scalp condition that produces redness and/or inflammation.

2. Retinol liposomes from Vitamin A.  The ultimate source of the vitamin A is carotene. Look for the listing of organic yellow vegetables (carrots, tomatoes) and yellow fruits (papaya, mangoes) in your brightening creme.  Reduce fine lines, clear your pores and (again!) speed up cell turnover with these essential vitamin A carriers.

3. Rosa Centifolia is known for its anti aging components when applied to skin.  Packed with antioxidant for keeping those free radicals at bay, tannins, which have a toning effect on skin, emolient (moisturizing) ingredients, as well as anti-viral and anti-bacterial ingredients. Think roses for dry, weather-beaten skin too.  Really! We’re all, young and old, in need of some skin protection in this extremely cold winter weather.  Add to this blasting furnaces and dry indoors, and anyone’s skin can look grim no matter what the age.  Roses to the rescue!

4. Vitamin C Glucoside.  Think tart refreshing citrus!  Its brightening power and collagen stimulator are just two of its charms.  Another great provider of antioxidants (we need these internally and externally!) Vitamin C Skin Care is an important component of most anti-aging skin care regimens. Topically applied Vitamin C is proven to help protect the skin from photo-damage from sun exposure. Vitamin C taken orally does not have the same skin care benefit – it must be applied directly to the skin.

One more, one more…what to choose… Carrageenan/Irish Moss is an all natural anti-wrinkle miracle ingredient …what about green tea with its above-average antioxidant power?  burdock…..Nope I’m choosing….

5. Borage…don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing boring about its aid in the pursuit of youthful skin. Borage Oil was used in ancient Rome to enhance natural beauty. It was even used by ancient beauties like Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Borage’s composition contains omega acids that are not only beneficial for the skin but are very effective in skin repair. Consider this a green beauty tip via antiquity!

Once again you’re reminded to READ YOUR LABEL! Before you spend a dime, read the listed ingredients and watch for these top 5 to appear. If they don’t, keep looking!  What are your top 5?  Creative criticism and helpful insight wanted!

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