Hello Earth Warriors!
For this post I wanted to approach a topic a little heavier than just luscious skin care, I want to talk about conscious consumerism, and what exactly that means to us.
Here at Skinchantment we strive to be better every day. We are a conscious company that wants to show you how effective and luxurious simple, natural, plant based skincare can be. We are committed to the ethical production of our body treats, and for us that means causing the least amount of harm possible to all three facets of the natural world as we know them; Animals, Humans, and the earth. We are driven by our compassion for life in all of its forms, therefore we commit to the highest standards available to us. We are completely vegan, palm free and gluten free and the majority of our ingredients are certified organic and/or fair-trade, with the intention of being 100% organic and fair-trade in the future. Our vision is to be able to source our ingredients directly from the producers so we are able to have full access to exactly how our ingredients are being manufactured on all levels, and subsequently offer that transparency back to our customers. We also strive for this so that we can feel comfortable that our high ethical standards are being met.
It is virtually impossible to be 100% harmless, so if none of us can ever be perfectly compassionate in our actions, what is the point?
Well, in our opinion, it is better to do something than nothing at all. Every compassionate choice made everyday makes our world just a little bit better. But you cannot fully act on your compassion until you are aware of the awful truths that exist because of Human impact. In contrast ignorance, as a choice, is one of the most destructive (if not THE most destructive) mindsets that we can choose to adhere to. When we consciously decide to blind ourselves to the dark sides of different industries for the sake of convenience, fashion choice or flavour we allow every abusive, grotesque industrial behaviour to continue. But, if we actually decided to open our eyes and bear witness to these horrors, the vast majority of us would be making different choices.
It is not about being ‘vegan’, ‘paleo’, an ‘environmental activist’, or a ‘green consumer’; these are all labels we place on ourselves based on certain decisions we make once we realize something needs to be better. If you can immerse yourself in the knowledge that surrounds our daily consumption habits, and feel perfectly alright about the choices you have made, with no inclination to change, than that is your prerogative. However, this is rarely the case.
The question is, once you remove the safety blinders, how will your choices alter?
As part of an ever-consuming society, we owe it to the world to ask this question, and to discover its answer.
If you are ready to change, and even if you are not sure you are, here are some links to help kick start your conscious evolution. Do your own research, be open to all sides, and you will find your own form of conscious consumerism.
Here is a great article with tips and tricks on how to shop consciously:
vegan/ factory farm links
Palm oil Links
Fair trade links
Hello snow faeries!
Winter has officially shown her colors (or color to be more precise), here in our home town. Being Canadian, we are supposed to be winter warriors, immune to the cold and lovers of ice and snow. As much as we try and uphold our strong Canadian culture by gritting our teeth and facing her force with a resolve that Elsa herself would be envious of, Mother Nature can take a huge toll- even on our weathered and tough canuck-born skin. We want to help you fight those cracked hands, chapped lips, scaly elbows and dry patches that Winter loves to pester us with. So here are a few tips and tricks to get you through this ethereal season of white.
Gentle exfoliation will help to smooth out those rough patches that exposure to the elements can create and exacerbate. This can be as simple as using ingredients found in your kitchen, or purchasing a product that is fully prepared to do the job. Here is a link to some home made vegan exfoliants that you may enjoy.
Finding a good lip exfoliant can be a godsend when it comes to dealing with peeling, cracked winter lips. DIY lip exfoliants are easy to make and effective. Applying your favourite lip balm after exfoliation and throughout the rest of your day will help in keeping your smoochers primed and ready for any surprise mistletoe encounters you may experience.
For your body, using a dry brush to combat your dry skin is a wonderful way to loosen and remove all of those unwanted dead cells. We have more info on dry brushing here. Using sugar or salt scrubs in the shower can also be an incredibly luxurious and nourishing way to expose your healthy, incandescent skin. Here are a few homemade sugar scrubs for you to try.
Moisturizing is key to surviving the winter months and emerging out of it with a glowing, healthy complexion. If you have a holy grail moisturizer that you love, but seems to become less effective during the cold months, adding a couple of drops of skin loving oils before application can really pump up the effects of your moisturizer. Adding, Jojoba oil, olive oil, or a gorgeous facial oil to your daily moisturizer are all wonderful options.
If you are a bath lover, adding oils, or bath treats with moisturizing benefits to your bath can help to protect and nourish your skin. If you are too impatient to partake in bath-time and enjoy showers only, moisturizing sugar scrubs or body washes can help you maintain your luminous skin.
After indulging in a shower or bath, nourishing your body using creams, oils and/or butters will ensure that your skin stays hydrated whilst enduring (or enjoying) the cold weather.
Tip: when Moisturizing make sure that your skin is still slightly damp before applying to your face or body, this will ensure that your moisturizer absorbs easier and faster. If your face is dry and you do not have the time or will to wet it or wash it, applying a hydrating toner or facial spray can be a great way to make sure your face is primed and ready for moisturizing.
These are a few ways we maintain the glow of our winter skin, how do you find your winter glow? Let us know in the comments!
Enjoy this white, shimmering season
because although the sun may slumber
fires ignite in hearths and hearts
and we are never warmer.
Ahhhhhh baths. In our opinion bathing is the most luxurious, relaxing and indulgent thing you can partake of within the comfort of your own home, especially if done right with some spa-worthy additions. We happen to take them almost everyday. On that note, let's dive headfirst into this delicious topic- how to bathe like a queen.
Before the bath
Lighting: I find that lighting is one of, if not THE best way to enhance a bathing experience. I personally like it best when I have a source of natural light available. The most serene, relaxing times for me are around dawn and dusk. If I have to bathe where there are no windows, or it is nighttime, and I don't want to bathe in the dark, then some stable and safely placed candles or a small wireless light will do the job quite nicely. I find the actual bathroom lighting is often too harsh for me and takes something away from the experience.
Dry Brushing: you may or may not have heard of dry brushing, but essentially it is where you take a brush like the one pictured above and you gently massage your skin in clockwise motions, starting from your feet and working your way up all the way to your shoulders. It is recommended to always work the motions in towards the heart to promote flushing and stimulation. This method not only exfoliates the skin (many people with body acne finds this helps immensely, myself included), it also stimulates lymphatic drainage among other benefits- here is a great article on the benefits of dry brushing you can check out if you would like to learn more.
Masques: using a facial masque and letting it sit while you bathe is a beautiful way to amplify the spa vibes of your bath while doing some multi-tasking for your skin. When you get out you'll be prepped, primed and ready to do a quick follow up face routine before finishing whatever pampering you need.
Pick and choose- Bath additions
Oils: it is widely documented that our legendarily beautiful queen Cleopatra often bathed in oil, along with milk and honey. She partly credited the wonderful condition of her skin to this habit, and once you start adding oil to your baths you will understand why. We personally do the same. Not only does it negate the need to moisturize after you get out, it makes you full out glow. To utilize, add a quarter cup of any CARRIER oil (I recommend against coconut just because it is a pain to clean out after wards; I myself use extra virgin Olive) to your bath water and soak. When you get out you will notice some oil build up on your skin, but just use a towel (preferably an old one) to pat off any excess, and whatever is left behind will continue to nourish and hydrate your skin. Make sure you are careful not to slip as oil can make the tub a little slick though taking caution when getting in and out of the tun is always a good idea anyways.
Salts: Bath salts- which are typically any combination of sea salts, epsom salts and any number of other added ingredients- stimulate your skin, helps relieve sore muscles and may increase your uptake of certain minerals, like magnesium, that many people tend to be low on. Therapeutically, a cup or two per bath is recommended, however if you are using more expensive artisinal bath salts, to make them go farther I would add 1/4 cup of your fancy salts and mix with 3/4 cup regular epsom salts, which are fairly cheap.
Bath teas- bath teas are essentially loose herbs added to bath water, which literally creates a tea for your skin. They can be placed in little mesh baggies or tea balls if you are worried about leftover mess. Bath teas can be utilized in a number of ways and for a number of different skin conditions depending on the herbs you use. I will post a separate blog on some examples and ideas for different kinds of bath teas within the next week.
Milk baths: milk or milk powders are often added to baths to soften the skin. Being vegan, we don't use dairy milk powder, instead we use a pure coconut milk powder which also has amazing skin softening properties, and smells absolutely divine.
Scrubs: sugar scrubs, salt scrubs, coffee grind scrubs, scrubbing mitts and brushes. These are all good ways to slough off dead skin. Now, if you dry brush before you get in you may not want to use a scrub, as over exfoliation can also be damaging to the dermis. If you plan on doing some shaving, prepping the area with a scrub is helpful, especially if it too is oil based. I guarantee you will have no need for shaving cream, the razor will glide effortlessly over those glorious legs of yours.
Soap: who could forget about soap in a bathing routine? I think this category speaks for itself, if you gotta lather, you gotta lather.
Bubbles- bubbles, bubbles everywhere. Decadent, beautiful and magickal. Most bubble bath formulations don't typically supply many beauty benefits. But they are hella fun. And we all just want to have some fun right?
Face routine- slip on out of your tub feeling clean, relaxed and ready for whatever the world tosses at you. If you have on a masque, wash it off and follow up with the rest of your skin healthy face routine. You will feel like you just treated yourself to a luxurious hour at the spa.
Moisturize: if there were no moisturizing components added to your bath (oil, scrubs) than it is highly recommended you moisturize afterwards, whether with lotion, body oil, etc. This will help your skin retain the moisture, because non-supplemented baths and showers can actually dry out your skin.
Robe and Slippers: if you have nowhere to head out after you bathe, then why not? Slip on that sumptuous robe and comfy pair of slippers, curl up by the fireplace with a warm cup of herbal tea and read a good book or watch some tv. That sounds like heaven to me
Note on Clean up- if oils or loose herbs were used, a quick rinse of the tub may be in order. Herbs can eventually clog the drain so tea balls or tea bags are recommended when using them
In conclusion- go forth and bathe your highnesses. You well deserve it.
Over the last couple of days we have been receiving many questions regarding the treatment of acne, and how we went about/would go about treating it now. First of all, focusing on the external treatment of acne does not get to the root of the problem. This is also one of the major differences between holistic and conventional medicine. Conventional medicine treats the symptoms, while Holistic medicine looks at the whole and attempts to fix the “why” when an issue is occurring. Both branches of medicine are useful, but I find it is best to have a balance of each.
Acne is almost always a sign of imbalance within the body, (there are exceptions) and there is usually one of four main factors that come into play here.
Food sensitivity: Food sensitivities are a very common culprit when it comes to acne. Dairy and/or gluten are especially notorious for aggravating acne in people with sensitivities, and it is often the only observable symptom. If you suspect a food sensitivity may be the cause, cutting suspected foods out one at a time and observing if you notice any improvement in your skin is a good way to go about testing that theory. Most people who have food-related acne should start seeing a significant difference within a few days of cutting the responsible food out. Although dairy and gluten are the most common food-related causes of acne, other foods may be responsible as well.
Hormonal Imbalance: Some of you now know that a hormone imbalance was the cause of mine and my sister’s cystic acne out-breaks. Our testosterone levels were higher than they should have been, and unbalanced androgen levels (male dominant hormones) are notorious for causing acne. This is the reason why many boys experiencing puberty tend to develop fairly serious acne. You have probably also heard of (or experienced) birth control pills being used to control acne in women, or teenaged girls. My sister and I took a type of birth control during our late teenaged years specifically for this reason- to treat our mild teenage acne. However, when we stopped taking the synthetic hormones our bodies didn’t know how to balance themselves out, and so began- much to our dismay- our battle with cystic acne. In terms of balancing hormones in a natural or herbal sense, there are many ways to go about it. There are a number of herbs whose constituents help the body ease back into hormonal homeostasis. The one we personally used was called “Saw Palmetto” which worked by gradually lowering and balancing our androgen levels. There are also other herbs, such as red clover and vitex that help maintain the balance of female hormones. Taking these herbs as a tea or tincture can help your acne immensely, but it will take time. Herbs are not a quick fix, but they are effective if used correctly. Keep in mind some herbs can interact with medications or are not suitable for those with certain conditions. Therefore you should always talk to a knowledgeable source before taking any herbs for medicinal purposes.
One last thing to note when it comes to hormonal imbalances; there are conditions, such as PCOS (Poly cystic ovarian syndrome), that throw the system out of balance and can cause severe cystic acne- so getting checked for underlying conditions by your doctor or healthcare practitioner is very important in treating your skin as well.
Congestion of Kidneys and/or digestive tract: along with our bowels, our skin can also be used as an exit point for toxins and waste. If one elimination route is backed up, the body needs to find other ways to remove the waste. This can result in the formation of acne as the skin tries to push waste material out through the skin. This is one of the reasons drinking a lot of water is so important when it comes to your skins health, it helps to keep your digestive system moving. Other ways to make sure you maintain optimum digestive health is by eating lots of fibre (fruits, veggies, whole grains) and drinking teas made with herbs that are gently cleansing (burdock, dandelion) and/or that gently stimulate peristalsis of the intestines and optimize digestion (ginger,yarrow).
Sluggish Lymphatic system: Ah our good ol’ lymph nodes. This is a seriously under rated body system, not only is it responsible for proper immune function, it also plays a part in removing waste from the body. The lymphatic system is essentially the transport system for white blood cells- our biggest baddest immune warriors. If the lymphatic system becomes sluggish our immune system becomes impaired, and once again waste needs to find another route out of the body. Both of these problems can result in, or worsen, acne. Some ways to help get your lymphatic system circulating properly include increasing water intake, increasing your consumption of fruits and veggies and decreasing processed white foods, dry-brushing before showering, and massages. Some herbs that are tonic for the lymphatic system include astragalus, golden seal and Echinacea, and they can be taken in tea or tincture form. If your lymph system isn’t functioning at its peak some other symptoms you may experience include fatigue, weight gain, chronic colds or flu, etc.
Other notes on treating acne:
Acne can be aggravated by dry skin, so the more stripping cleansers and “oil free’ products you use on your skin, the worse it can get. Healthy skin is moisture rich, so applying cold pressed oils topically can actually help alleviate acne. They are anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and highly adored by your skin. Water, as mentioned above, is also essential. The more water/tea we drink in a day the more radiant our skin looks.
With all of this being said, everyone is different and what worked for us may not for others. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions to every rule and our goal here is to encourage anyone suffering with acne to look past the surface as you travel your own path to healing.
With love, light and plenty of wonder
Sam and Meg
Our perspective on cleansing with oil
If you decide to take a look at the internet to find ways to cleanse your face naturally you are sure to find a lot of information surrounding oil cleansing. To spare you some time and effort though we have decided to write about it here for a quick reference. For those of you that have read our introduction blog, you will be aware that both of us suffered from severe cystic acne when we were twenty years old. We started trying a lot of different natural alternatives to try and help our skin clear up. Because the root of it was so deep, and we had to balance our insides before our outsides could heal, it took a long time before anything seemed to measurably improve our skins appearance. However, once it finally did start clearing up, there was a very noticeable difference. The healing process was slow, and sometimes aggravating but in time it ended. The magic ingredient -outside of the hormone balancing herbs and increased fluid intake- seemed, for our skin, to be oil. There are many ways to use the the oil cleansing method (OCM), and many of these methods involve steaming with a hot cloth. I (Sam), personally found that the addition of a warm wash cloth actually dried out my skin a little bit too much. I eventually figured out that the more moisturized my skin was, the less prone it was to breaking out. This revelation also took place after realizing (for the third time) that my skin did not like being exfoliated more than once a week. This does happen to be quite typical for acne prone skin in general. The more gentle you are with your skin and the more hydrated it is, the better.
My personal 'Skin never looked better' facial routine is as follows
Morning and night
-Splash water on face to dampen, pat excess water off with a clean towel
-Massage dime sized amount of Oil into face and use a dry face cloth to pat off excess oil
-Spritz with Hydrosol toner
-Seal with a small amount of shea butter based moisturizer
Drink LOTS of water
This keeps my face super hydrated and clear.
Why oil cleansing is beneficial:
The beauty industry traditionally has made us believe that oil is not good for your skin, especially if you are acne prone. They market 'Oil free' this and 'Oil free' that and 'keeps you oil free'. What they don't tell you is that the oil your skin is producing is actually necessary for your skin to function at a healthy level. It protects and nourishes it. Essentially, when you use oil free and stripping cleansers, you are depriving your skin of its most important protection, and so it will actually begin to produce more oil to make up for what it has lost. In contrast, when cleansing your face with oil, not only are you supplementing your skins protective barrier, moisturizing your skin, and feeding it what it craves, you are also allowing your skin to regulate. Thus most people will find that they actually produce far less oil when using the OCM as opposed to using conventional cleansers. Many people will also find that it helps to clear up their skin.
Why oil cleansing may not have worked for you in the past:
Some people have testified that oil cleansing has actually made them break out. In my mind I can chalk this up to one of three reasons:
1: they are using oils with a high oleic:linoleic acid ratio. This profile, while good for aging skin, can be detrimental to the acne prone. Therefore it is important to use a combination of oils with a higher linoleic acid profile in the treatment of acne. Oils such as apricot seed, jojoba and avocado oils are high in oleic acids where oils like rose hip, raspberry seed and borage are linoleic. That being said, there are some oils like jojoba and castor that are high in oleic acids that are very beneficial for acne when used in combination with other oils correctly.
2: they have a sensitivity to the fruit or plant that the oil came from and react to it superficially.
3: their skin is detoxing. Realistically, especially if chemicals have been a part of your skin care routine up until recently and you have decided to make a switch, a detox is a very possible occurrence. I have no idea if I even went through detox because my skin was already so bad but I have heard of it happening. When using a new product, you should always give it at least 1-3 months of trial before declaring it a lost cause. Although, I know, this is much easier said than done when it comes to sacrificing the condition of your skin for that long. In this case my advice is you do you. If you think you can stick it out for that long and it still isn't working, try something new. But if it does end up working in the end after you weren't sure it would, then you are a trooper with a whole new skin care arsenal. If you think you are detoxing and don't think you can possibly wait out three months before scrapping whatever you are now doing in your skincare routine that you think is the cause, then don't. In the end it's all about what you can deal with comfortably while keeping your sanity and self esteem intact as much as possible. You can always ease the effects of a detox by drinking a ton of water, fresh ginger tea (for inflammation) or other herbal teas (like dandelion and burdock) to help cleanse the system faster, eating lots of greens and healthy fats like avocados and nuts as well as making sure to get sources of b-vitamin, zinc, iron, etc can be helpful as well.
Remember acne is a reflection of an internal imbalance so no matter what you do on the surface, you must achieve balance on your insides as well. Most times acne is related to hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities so those are always good places to start looking in regards to treatment, and after you have regulated your internal body the external part becomes much easier to manage.
Skinchantment is a concept that bloomed from out of the minds and souls of my sister Meaghan and myself, Samara (more widely referred to as Sam and Meg). Together we have been on a journey which, eventually, led us to the conception of this company; it is the manifestation of our well travelled road. In 2010, while in the midst of our long and successful competitive journey in the world of synchronized swimming (aka professional mermaiding) we both began to suffer from severe acne breakouts. Presumably, this was due to a medication we had both been on previously to treat a mild case of teenaged acne; a medication we had discontinued using a few months earlier. After doing some reading on the causation of our sudden breakouts we swiftly came to the conclusion that healing our skin naturally was a process that resonated within us, and so began our extensive path of research. After what felt like a millennia's worth of experimentation (in the process of which we began our vegan journey as well) we learned that externally, oils especially were a huge benefit to our skin, and so we began to learn even more about the healing abilities of the earth. Years passed and we continued to learn and educate ourselves on the world of natural skincare and natural healing in general- currently we are both in the midst of studying as herbalists. This venture comes as a natural progression for us, and is essentially a light borne out of a very dark time in our lives. It is part of our rebuilding, our rediscovery, and our conquering of our fears and doubts still lingering from the past. It is also an expression of who we are and what we value deeply in our hearts. The concept of this company emerges from our love of all things magickal and wonderful and our adoration of fantasy literature and mythology. As a whole entity, this company is an embodiment of ourselves, and we strive to do it justice, both in quality and in servitude. There is nothing else in this world that would make us happier than to help people believe in their inherent beauty and feel wonderful enough to show their inner radiance to the world. We sincerely hope you are able find your own form of enchantment in this crazy beautiful world of ours.