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July 25th, 2012

Bought this amazing travel-friendly body oil in NYC. Now I see it at the Drake General Store. #beauty #travel @rockitpromo (Taken with Instagram)

May 24th, 2012
Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these ubiquitous creams and sprays.
May 15th, 2012

Try-it Tuesday: 100% Pure Blood Orange Nourishing Body Cream

I’m on a quick trip to New York, and popped into Duane Read the other day only to discover to my delight that they carried a full range of products by natural beauty line 100% Pure.

I discovered 100% Pure thanks to Gillian Deacon’s book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick (you should read it) and had ordered a few items online at one point but didn’t find any I loved, partly because some of their scents can be too strong for me. So I came back to the hotel with a selection of new products to try, including the blood orange-scented body lotion (key as I’d forgotten to pack any. There’s always one thing.).

And I’m in love. It’s a nice summer-friendly lotion that moisturizes well without feeling greasy, and the fragrance is pleasant and not overpowering. And it’s got an ingredient list I’m happy to rub all over my body. (See their FAQ for more information.)

April 26th, 2012

Cool offer for Canadians: Sierra Club Healthy Beauty for Life Kit

A very cool offer straight from my inbox: a group of Sierra Club volunteers in Ottawa have put together a green beauty starter kit in two sizes to let you sample a variety of brands and products. At $20 or $50 (plus $15 shipping if you can’t pick it up in Ottawa) you’ll get $100 or $250 worth of goodies from companies including Dr. Hauscka and Weleda (two of my favourites) as well as Elle Botanicals, Bare Organics, Lilou Organics and more. Order online or call 1-888-810-4204.

April 18th, 2012
I covered Adria Vasil’s new book, out this week! (via green queen)

I covered Adria Vasil’s new book, out this week! (via green queen)

April 17th, 2012
My piece on new Montreal all-natural skincare line Stark. (via Nice and Natural | Vitamin Daily)

My piece on new Montreal all-natural skincare line Stark. (via Nice and Natural | Vitamin Daily)

January 26th, 2012
Many people who’ve battled acne attest that certain foods aggravate their skin. Yet most dermatologists contend there’s no scientific link between diet and acne. The prevailing view is that the food-acne connection is a myth. Recent studies are, however, challenging this stance. Dairy products and high glycemic foods (e.g. sugary foods and those made from refined flour) have been shown to worsen acne, while omega-3 fats may alleviate it.
January 21st, 2012
This is useful if you’re trying to avoid toxic ingredients in your beauty products (and you should be!). Click through, download and take with you when you go shopping. (via The Just Beautiful Personal Care Products Pocket Shopping Guide | - Environmental Defence)

This is useful if you’re trying to avoid toxic ingredients in your beauty products (and you should be!). Click through, download and take with you when you go shopping. (via The Just Beautiful Personal Care Products Pocket Shopping Guide | - Environmental Defence)

January 21st, 2012

Love this video, “How to look pretty without poisoning yourself”. (It’s not easy!) Find out more at environmentaldefence.ca.

January 20th, 2012

This recipe for homemade natural body butter looks amazing. (via Body Butter Recipe —Raw Food Rawmazing Raw Food)

January 17th, 2012
A new study led by the University of Reading in the UK that examined breast tissue samples from 40 women who underwent mastectomies for breast cancer, found they contained widespread traces of parabens, preservatives commonly used in deodorants, make-up, body lotions, moisturisers and many other cosmetic products. Although the study does not prove that parabens cause or even contribute to the development of breast cancer, it raises questions about their use.
Gross. Do you really want to be using beauty products that leave chemicals behind in your body? (Deodorant Preservative Found In Breast Tissue From Cancer Patients)
December 9th, 2011

Favourite Friday: Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream

I’ve spent the past year trying to phase out nasty ingredients in beauty products, to a large extent thanks to Gillian Deacon's excellent book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick (you should read it). And while Deacon wisely recommends learning to read labels rather than just blindly trusting brands and marketing, that can be a lot of work, so I’ve been relying a lot on two of her recommended brands, German companies Weleda and Dr. Hauschka.

Better-for-you beauty products are generally not cheaper (though the exception would be moisturizing your body with sweet almond oil from the health food store – it lasts forever – and some kitchen ingredients like using brown sugar as a scrub), so my feeling is that it’s most important to switch the products that you come in contact with most. So body moisturizer, for instance, gets rubbed all over your skin and absorbs and stays there. Hand lotion? Well, let’s be honest – beyond frequency of use and absorption, if you lick your fingers after eating something, you’re ingesting it.

I’ve been trying a lot of lotions, and the one I keep coming back to is Weleda’s Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream. For one thing, I love the smell – it’s bright and almost citrusy and not too strong. For another, it feels good going on and actually works. And as a bonus, it comes in a pretty orange metal tube that looks good when you pull it out of your purse. On the eco scale, metal probably scores lower than plastic, but at least the lotion isn’t absorbing any chemicals from a plastic tube.

At an MSRP of $16, this one ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it for your health, right? It’s also a great gift idea, and for the holidays it and its sister lotions Pomegranate Regenerating (a very Christmasy scent, though a bit strong for me for everyday use) and Skin Food (intensive moisture for those with very dry skin) come packaged with cotton gloves to wear over the lotion overnight and really moisturize.

November 28th, 2011

5 steps to better beauty sleep

It’s no secret that when we’re tired, we look, well, tired. One major reason is that a good night’s sleep helps our skin regenerate – so when we don’t get enough, it shows. (I for one always break out when I’ve missed too much shut-eye.) “During sleep, the skin’s metabolic rate speeds up and many of the body’s cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins,” says Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, medical director of Bay Dermatology Centre, assistant professor at the University of Toronto and a spokesperson for Jergens. “Therefore cell regeneration is enhanced and blood flow is increased, and this allows for better assimilation of cosmetic active ingredients.”

For your best skin, Skotnicki recommends at least eight hours of sleep a night, and suggests the following tips for better rest:

1. Go to bed at the same time each night if possible. 

2. Don’t exercise before bedtime.

3. In winter, run a cool mist humidifier or increase the central humidity on your heating. 

4. Moisturize your face and body at night as the skin is more receptive to cosmetic ingredients due to increase regeneration and blood flow. (Skotnicki recommends the new Jergens Overnight Fix Nightly Restoring Moisturizer on your body.)

5. Do not drink alcohol before bedtime.

How much sleep do you get every night, and is it enough? What do you do when you need more sleep?

Lacy sleep mask by Canadian company Cilque

November 19th, 2011

Travel beauty: Dr. Hauschka Eye Solace and Moisturizing Mask

I’m in Calgary for business, and my arrival was very much a sudden jump into winter – from above-freezing temps in Toronto to highs of minus 20 here. Between the flight and the extra-dry Calgary air, plus a late night and not enough sleep, my skin has been screaming for moisture – think applying hand cream three times in a row – and my eyes have been red and tired.

So I’m thrilled I remembered to pack two new-to-me travel-friendly products from Dr. Hauschka. The Moisturizing Mask is a blend of protective beeswax and rose wax with almond, olive, avocado and jojoba oils to soothe and nourish – and the small tube with screw-on lid can easily be carried on the plane in your liquids bag. Eye Solace is a cooling and soothing oil-free eye compress – just soak two halves of a cotton pad with the herbal treatment and place on closed eyelids – that comes in handy single-use and easy-to-pack containers.

Last night I applied the mask and eye compresses before curling up under a blanket on my couch at the Hotel Arts. The mask was instantly soothing, and my eyes felt relieved after a long day of staring at screens. After about 10 minutes (the recommended time for the eye compresses to be applied – though the mask should strictly go on for 20) I removed both and curled up for a lovely night’s sleep free of irritated eyes and itchy, dry skin. These two are staying in my travel bag from now on.

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Travelling the world (and especially Toronto) with writer and editor Kat Tancock. Also drop by my silly cat Tumblr, Cats I have met while travelling.

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Why Diets Don’t Work is a criticism of conflicting dieting messages, but it’s also a story of health. Kat Tancock teaches readers why it's okay to let go of "fat guilt" and a deprivation mindset, and she shows them how to focus instead on choosing and controlling their environments and being aware of external and internal eating cues.

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