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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 always feel like Fall is the start of the New Year because big changes occur: hot to cold weather, our color palette goes from light and bright to warm and cozy, sandals move to the back of the closet, you get the idea.  The January New Year just doesn’t make sense to me because it lacks the sensory transition that is the hallmark of Fall.

My style and beauty regimes also do a 360 starting in September.  I am saying goodbye to pastel nail polishes, suntans and beachy hair styles.  It’s time for the richness of the season!

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NAILS Zoya’s Fall Collection is all about deep pigments and color saturation that make a dramatic statement. Sage, slate gray and purple and turmeric are the hot colors for Fall/Winter.  Look like you own this new trend when you pull your hands from your gloves this season. Zoya is the only polish we stock at juju: 5-free, non-toxic, low fumes and great colors.


 

 

HAIR Fall/Winter 2015’s “it” color is Turmeric. Turmeric’s autumn tones for hair color are great because you can turn up the tone or blend in its hues to your hair depending on the look you’re going for.

50 Shades of Red by JulieTurmeric hair color could be a golden, copper, chestnut or henna’d tone.  Try an all over color or a turmeric tinged balyage.

Laurie, on the left, has a coppery base with golden hi-lites.  Voila! On trend and beautiful.


whipped_eucalyptus_grandeBODY Here’s what Fall and Winter try to do to undermine your skin: Dry indoor heating, cold windy weather and dark dreary days equals scaly, dry and lack-luster.  100% Pure’s Body Butters to the rescue.  Start using them now so you never miss a beat when the cold weather hits.   I love 100% Pure’s rich and creamy Eucalyptus Body Butter: warming, moisturizing and healing.

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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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So many of our clients at juju are vexed by the frizz. The key to de-frizzing is two-fold, nourishing and re-hydrating the hair coupled with the right products.

HERE ARE MY GO-TO PRODUCTS THAT REALLY WORK!

Start with a DRY SHAMPOO. Over shampooing will dry out the hair, and dry hair, especially on curly girls, will cause The Dreaded Frizz.

I recommend shampooing no more than 3 times a week and using a dry shampoo on off days.  Just sprinkle if it’s in powder form or spray for liquid form, a small amount at the hairline and crown, and work through from roots to ends.  Cocoa Tinted Dry Shampoo by Sevi is a best seller at my salon.

 

hamadiLEAVE-IN CONDITIONERS are great for long lasting frizz and fly-away control and can also act as a styling product. Apply leave-in conditioner on towel dried hair, mid-shaft to ends. My clients and I love Hamadi’s Shea Leave-in Conditioner. It’s perfect for those who like to air-dry their hair.

Note: watch out for de-frizzing curl cremes that contain petroleum derived silicones for shine.  After time, this ingredient will dry out the hair and make your frizz worse!

mgaALOE BASED STYLING GELS

Aloe not only moisturizes the hair, reducing frizz potential, it provides hold and style.  Apply to towel dried hair, midshaft to ends. Try mixing it with your leave-in conditioner for extra thick or frizz-prone hair. I like MGA’s Styling Gel because of its lightness and versatility.

Pure Aloe helps the hair retain water and moisture, re-balances pH levels in the hair and scalp and promotes hair growth!

 

 

pomadeFINISHING POMADE  Dab a very small amount of a finishing paste or pomade on dried and styled hair to reduce frizz’s ‘Halo effect.’ John Masters Organics’ Pomade with olive and castor oils, really fights frizz and can be used on all hair types.

Make sure you look for the USDA Certified Organic Label and show your support for organic farms and processors.

 

All photos juju salon & organics

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20120213_juju_0276I for one am tired of the hard-line, all or nothing approach to losing weight.  It can be so restrictive and painful.  It’s easy to give up when all you’re hearing about is another fruit you should never eat, or a new superfood you must eat, or calorie restriction, or insulin resistance, etc.  The maxims of this regime suck!

Try these easy, simple and unique things that may just give you a gentle nudge in your weight loss journey:


 Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint Oil has been shown to suppress cravings and reduce appetite.  Before a meal, drink a tall glass of water with a few drops of peppermint oil.  My pick is peppermint oil infused seltzer water with a meal to help me feel full and avoid the temptation to overeat.


 Meditate

Meditation can positively affect your body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR), can help with hormonal re-balancing and can create a healthy awareness of your food intake,  food choices and food habits.  Sattva is a great app that helps you get and stay on track with a daily meditation practice.


 Morning Sunlight 

A study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that three-quarters of Americans are vitamin-D deficient. D deficiency can cause weight gain. It’s nearly impossible to get enough of this vitamin from food alone.  Sunshine and Supplements are in order!  Enjoy the sun with a quick paced 10 minute early morning walk.  UV rays are lowest when the sun is rising, so this may be the safest time of the day for your ‘sun bath.’  But remember that aside from these few minutes a day, sunscreen should be worn whenever you’re going to be in the sun.   I use Thorne FX’s Vitamin D Supplement for additional protection.


 

 

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juju salon hair 23
Happy, Healthy and Dandruff Free!

I guarantee that you’ve had dandruff at least once in your life.  Sadly, many of us have had it more that once and seem to battle it on and off. Get to the root of the problem and stop dandruff from ever coming back again!

Seborrheic dermatitis, or dandruff is a very common affliction.  The brunt of the blame lies squarely on the harsh synthetic ingredients found in most conventional hair care products AND our obsession with over-shampooing our hair.

An overly-dry or oily scalp provides the perfect environment for dandruff to thrive. This is often caused by over-shampooing with cleansers containing Sodium Laural/Laureth Sulphates, PEGs, artificial fragrances and parabens.  These synthetic, cheap and potentially harmful ingredients* contribute to inflammatory and compromised skin conditions which in turn can lead to dandruff.

Poor diet and hygiene can also cause dandruff by encouraging fungal and bacteria growth on our scalp.

Fight off the flakes with these 4 easy and natural steps:

Shampoo less.  Our obsession with squeaky clean hair has become a bad habit for many of us.  Try using a dry shampoo between washings or ‘shampoo’ your hair with only conditioner.  Make sure to rinse thoroughly with this practice.
Only use natural and organic shampoos and hair care products.  Look for shampoos that contains tea tree oil, lavender oil, zinc, sage and aloe. DIY: add a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil to your favorite organic shampoo .  And remember, steer clear of synthetic, chemically laden ingredients will only worsen the problem.
Try a natural pre-shampoo treatment.  Massage your scalp with coconut oil for 5 minutes before you shampoo your hair.  Coconut oil contains naturally occurring antimicrobials and fungicides that help quash fungal and yeast growth.
Rinse your hair with Apple Cider Vinegar.  ACV naturally balances your scalp and hair’s pH.  Shampoos and soaps make the skin and scalp more alkaline which can compromise its ability to fight off fungus, a leading cause of dandruff.  ACV’s pH of 2.5-3 can rebalance the scalp.  Mix one part ACV with 2 parts distilled water.  In the shower, pour the mixture all over  wet hair and massage in for a few minutes.  Rinse well and condition  Added Bonus: ACV removes excess oil, water contaminants and product build-up leaving your hair soft and silky.

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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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dtmRcb6GK6r41BmZZHnOcuELess0TfrbkWgAo6tNefkIt’s spring, soon to be summer, and that means we’re outdoors again with fresh air and sunshine!  Though we should be wearing sunscreen all year long (ahem), many of us only think about it when the sun is out and the weather is warm.

Before you slather and go, consider this: many members of the medical community believe that  ingredients found in conventional sunscreens are causing hormonal disruption, thyroid alteration, endometiosis in women and may in fact contribute to cancerous tumor growth.*  There is an active debate among researchers as to whether or not these ingredients, specifically Oxybenzone and Octinoxat, are highly toxic or innocuous.  Why wait for the results?  There over 100 effective sunscreens out there that do not contain these ingredients.

And remember, your skin is your largest organ and capable of absorbing a percentage of what we put on it.  Follow these tips and you’ll be able to make the healthy choice when it comes to skin protection:

DO choose a natural, mineral based sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide because they provide strong sun protection with few health concerns.

DO use a sunscreen that gives both UVB and UVA protection. Did you know that the term SPF only refers to protection from UVB rays, the rays that cause sunburns? Make sure your sunscreen also protects you from the harmful UVA rays that penetrate deep into our skin causing all sorts of mischief!

DO apply sunscreen liberally and repeatedly during sun exposure to achieve the product’s SPF rating.

DO add tinted UV-protective film to your car’s side and rear windows since UVA penetrates glass.

DON’T buy or use any sunscreen containing Oxybenzone, Octinoxate or artificial fragrances.  Stay clear of retinyl palmitate too, a form of Vitamin A, which may speed up the growth of skin tumors and lesions, according to FDA studies.

DON’T rely solely on sunscreen.  DO wear a hat, UV blocking sunglasses and a ‘Rashguard.’ Sun Protection clothes provide greater total UVA/UVB sun protection than typical summer clothing or a typical 30 SPF sunscreen.

DON’T use sunscreen powders or wipes.  These delivery methods have been proven to be ineffective.

DON’T use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 50.  Sky-high SPFs give a false sense of greater sun protection and can tempt you to stay in the sun too long.

My Picks for Best and Safest Sunscreens: All Terrain TerraSport SPF 30, Badger Sunscreen SPF 30, Kiss My Face Kids’ Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, Juice Beauty SPF 30 and Supergoop Everyday SPF 30.

* See The Environmental Working Group’s The Trouble with Sunscreens, 2014, www.ewg.org

 

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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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noanimaltestingNovember 1st is World Vegan Day.  I celebrated by presenting a talk about Animal Testing and how difficult it is to avoid, in my opinion, this cruel and unnecessary practice.

Many people who are vegan or become vegan do so because they’ve made the connection between eating animals and factory farm cruelty, but often, we vegans forget about or overlook, or don’t want to know about things we do, things we wear and things we NEED that exist because of animal suffering of some sort.

Snuggling under that down blanket, a new pair of Jimmie Choo’s and yes, your new bottle of volumizing shampoo. Here’s where it gets tricky. In the beauty biz, the problem is animal testing.

Animal testing, and its relation to the cosmetics, personal products and household cleaning products is hardly “OBVIOUS’.

Everyone agrees – animal testing “BAD”  Cruelty free Companies and Products “GOOD”  but it isn’t that simple.  How hard could it be to stock my shelves at juju in a cruelty-free way? Let’s keep in mind that I have an organic and natural salon and that I need to supply products that actually deliver salon-worthy results!  Sticks, mud and a few herbs and plants are not enough!

My friend Sevi Kay, founder of Eco-Sevi body and Hair products, a vegan and animal activist, creates honest,  cruelty free products.  And she says about her products or any beauty and personal care products “we are aware that these very ingredients all have been tested by other companies — we cannot change the past, but hope that we can all unite to find alternatives to animal testing in the future.”

Can we call that an “Ethical Statute of Limitations?”
Because, really, we need a starting point, and something to stand on if we want to truly look at and work toward a future of total cruelty free living.

I am NOT an expert in Animal Testing and Experimenting.  I’m a hair stylist with a Philosophy degree, please keep this in mind.  There is so much information out there.  In researching for this presentation, I became overwhelmed with the amount of history, data, research, organizations, movements, theories, regulations, arguments, international edicts, rules and ethics out there that encompass this nebulous issue.  Again, as a non-expert, trying to put all of this together into a succinct, informative and moving presentation seemed impossible!  BUT…..here are some of some thoughts and findings as they pertain to me, the Vegan, the Animal Lover and the Sustainable Business Owner.

Many of the chemical concoctions tested for industrial, medicinal and pharmaceutical reasons, once approved, find themselves useful in personal care products, cleaning products and some such.  It’s the little, tiny, individual ingredients that are tested on animals, NOT the finished product.

These chemical concoctions, known as Intermediary Ingredients, are developed continually, because Industry demands newer, more efficient and cheaper chemical “things” to use in their products.  So these things are concocted, tested and let out on the Market.

Wondering if your mascara was tested on animals? Who the hell knows for sure, probably!

For example.  I’m L’Oreal and some company comes to me and says we have this new binding chemical substance…and it can do all these things that no other thing can do: it can bind, waterproof, congeal, stabilize etc.   This new product has probably been developed for the Paints and Pigments Departments at Dow chemical, but….I could use it for our mascara lines and save $$$!

So, it’s on the INGREDIENT LEVEL that the testing occurs.  An estimated 100,000 chemicals are marketed globally, with hundreds more new chemicals being introduced each year. Most are plastics and related polymers, while a smaller proportion include cleansers, paints, adhesives, lubricants, industrial solvents and a variety of short-lived by-products or “intermediates.” while others may be marketed in high volumes and/or used as ingredients in products to which human beings and the environment may be exposed – like cosmetics and household cleaning products, plastic packaging, and gasoline. Recently implemented laws in Europe, China and elsewhere are requiring companies to produce large quantities of test data, which could mean suffering and death for tens of millions of animals.

Big name cosmetic conglomerates like Estee Lauder, Revlon, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble are trying to convince us that their mission is “committed to the elimination of animal testing,” BUT in able to sell to one of the biggest consumer markets in the world, China, they are required by the Chinese government to be tested – on animals – in China – before being sold in that huge country.  Domestic Chinese countries are exempt from this ‘law’ but, let’s face facts, are any of the big companies incorporated in China!!

Beware:
of hidden Parent Companies.  Often, smaller companies and manufacturers that insist that they are cruelty free and have received Leaping Bunny verification, can be owned by larger Corporations that do not support the Leaping Bunny, i.e. Urban Decay Cosmetics who are owned by L’Oreal and Burt’s Bees, acquired recently by Clorox. To maintain their Leaping Bunny status, these companies must operate as ‘independent subsidiaries.’ We consumers know the connection and have to make the decision whether or not to spend out dollars here.

In the end, remember this: The FDA does not regulate product labeling for cosmetic and personal care products in the US.  A company can literally put just about anything on its label.  “Vegan Friendly” and “Cruelty-free” may or may not be the whole store.  To be sure, look for CCIC’s Leaping Bunny and a PETA rated: V, CF (Companies that don’t test).

Delve deeper, Google your favorite brands or even call the company!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed “Is such and such a product Cruelty-free?” in my search bar.

Empower yourself with awareness and a little effort in order to buy cruelty free.  Spread the word!

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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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Hand Made in Philly!
Hand Made in Philly!

Yes, right here in my row home in the heart of Philadelphia, I have the sweetest backyard garden.  Not too big, not too small, just green and lush, with flora and fauna changing with every season.

My hardy Boxwoods and Evergreens are making way for the Tulips and budding Japanese Wisteria.  The bulbs and bushes are always there, but never dominate.  They are nonetheless, an irreplaceable part of mon jardin beau!

juju is my work garden so to speak.  It dawned on me that the products I stock for the salon and the way I procure them reminds me a lot of my sweet home garden.  Oh, and both gardens smell terrific!

This spring, I’ve ‘planted’ some Locally Made in Philly Products from 2 great companies in my work garden: Stinky Girl Beauty Co. and gracefullyNoted.   In common: these small businesses make beautiful home-made goodies.  Yes, hand crafted, natural deodorants and hand-cut greeting cards need to live side by side!

Locally made, means I get to know the artists and artisans who make their goods.  Meghan H.  designs, cuts, and assembles her stationery, prints and other paper products in Olde City.  She is as sweet as her designs that spread love and joy.

Carly D., from Stinky Girl discovered that she could make a deodorant that was safe, natural and the clincher……actually works!  Yes, it does.  period.  Oh, and her Sauerkraut rocks too!  West Philly, be proud of this little gem of a company.

Come see my work garden, and pick some locally made ‘flowers.’ There’s so many good reasons to support our local artists, businesses and garden!

Hand Made in Philly!

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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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Whether it’s “functional food” or “natural beauty products,” we consumers are asked to navigate through hundreds of products that claim to promote health and wellness. These claims live on the front of the product, in big eye-catching fonts, reminding us that we’re not getting enough: oat bran, hemp seed, goji berries, Omega 3’s…AND that our skin is blemished and our hair is dry because we slather on paraben-laced chemical sludge. Ever leave the Whole Foods with a bunch of new supplements, protein powders, probiotics and the like, in desperate hopes of warding off the big “C”?

In the beauty biz, it seems that all of the new professional hair lines are touting new products that are Ammonia-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and full of unadulterated god-given argan oil.  Here’s what their not telling us, as loudly that is.  If you simply turn the product around, put on your readers and give yourself a minute or two, you yourself can determine if said new product is really healthy and really worth your money.  So what if the shampoo is sulfate free and contains organic burdock root? If there’s ‘fragrance’ listed, you’re exposing yourself to pthalates…endocrine disrupting chemicals.  Or if a Nonylphenol compound is present (a chemical which helps dissolve oily grime into water in cleaning products) you should be equally horrified.

In today’s Health section of the New York Times, an article about the “slick marketing” of healthy foods, inspired this post. “[s]hoppers are being bamboozled by slick marketing. Many people grab products with healthy claims on the front of the package and overlook crucial nutritional information, like calorie counts, in the small print on the back.”  Bravo.  But, What The Cuss?

Federal Regulators are only now investigating outlandish health claims.  Do I trust that they’ll mind the  hen house? Emphatically ‘No.’  Both the cosmetic and the food industries are sorely lacking in marketing claims’ oversight.  Bottom line:  read the labels. Google an ingredient a week to discover what really is in your Tinted Aveeno Moisturizer with SPF.

Best source ever?  The Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database.

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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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If I had a penny for each time I heard someone say, “It smells so good in here” referring to our salon and spa, of course, I’d be in financial heaven.  I know that what the clients are actually experiencing, olfactorially that is, is the Lack of a Toxic Scent or Artificial Odor in our stores. No usual toxic voc’s from hair coloring agents, no artificial or synthetic fragrances of any kind can be found at our salon or spa. Synthetic, artificial fragrances can contain toxic chemicals linked to not only allergic reactions but to cancer, birth defects and central nervous system disorders.

That’s why is this so important. Synthetic fragrances are one of the most common environmental toxins around…soaps, shampoos, cleaning products… all of these common household items are loaded with artificial fragrances containing synthetic compounds derived from petroleum including benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxins.  Yuck! watch out too for ‘fragrance-free’ items such as shampoos and conditioners, which may contain chemical fragrance ‘maskers.’

Put your pennies in cosmetics, cleaning products and such that contain naturally derived fragrances from pure plant essences.

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I cannot forget that I am 43…43…43…over 40, by a landslide!  Today’s NY Times health blog featured results of a new study, proving that flexible middle-aged bodies may be less prone to cardiac disease than stiff computer potatoes…”In short, the study concluded that ‘a less flexible body indicates arterial stiffening, especially in middle-aged and older adults.’ ”  more Aha! my New Year’s Resolution Solidified – albeit, in a flexible way!  More yoga, more yoga more yoga more yoga more yoga….I internally chant.  Here’s where I love to practice in Philly:Wake Up Yoga,  friendly, knowledgeable, grateful yogis abound here!  Shankya Yoga in Northern Liberties – a loving and  peaceful oasis,  and my new favorite for authentic Jivamukti (and Ashtanga when I’m daring!) Shanti Yoga Shala, newly opened in Old City by the beautifully souled Shiya.  For 2010, I’m making my home away from home these three beautiful studios.

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