DIY Toothpaste!

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DIY Toothpaste!

( Disclaimer: I am not a dentist. Nor am I a dental care expert – although 2 teenage years in braces to get these perly whites to straighten did make me a wee bit obsessive about teeth cleaning, but I digress… The information contained in this article is for fun anecdotal entertainment only. If you decide to try this, do so at your own risk. And always remember to floss 😉 )

Full disclosure…. I make my own toothpaste!

Why DIY when the shelves are overflowing with every type of toothpaste imaginable? I first stopped using commercial brands years ago, switching to the natural brands to avoid certain ingredients I was not fond of. We all know what those are wink wink 😉

I was very honest with my dentist, telling her exactly what I was using in the way of alternative brands, and I was always “one of her best patients, with exemplary dental hygiene” as she put it.

One day after running out of toothpaste, I didn’t want to leave the house without brushing my teeth so I decided to go to my kitchen to see what I could whip up.

Hmm, lets see… aluminum-free baking soda, check. Organic coconut oil, check. Essential oils… goes without saying, check.

A bit of mixing, testing and… YUCK!!

The baking soda taste was horrible…!

I needed a little something to sweeten and soften the mix… I added some organic liquid stevia and…. voilà!

I love this so much that I actually don’t buy toothpaste anymore. I love how my teeth feel afterwards, so smooth and clean! I’m also switching to a biological dentist but that’s a whole other topic 😉

 

My DIY toothpaste recipe:

1 tbs organic non-processed coconut oil
1 tbs aluminum-free baking soda
8 drops organic spearmint essential oil*
1 squirt liquid Stevia

* I use spearmint rather that peppermint because peppermint is a contraindication to homeopathic remedies. (That’s just a fancy way of saying your homeopathic remedies won’t work if you use peppermint).

 

(NOTE: Essential oils are for external use only. So spit it out & rinse well. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, vegan for the last 3 years, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion. She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found on michelesorganics.com.

My top 10 picks for your skin’s winter survival kit

oils[1]

         So we’ve survived the first month of winter. Barely. Between the snowstorms, weather extremes, and indoor heating, are you finding that your skin is now dry no matter what you do?

Want to know an effective way to keep your skin well hydrated during our harsh Canadian winters?

Oil. Yep, oil.

A few years ago, while working for a few weeks in Banff, I experienced some of the harshest and driest climate I’ve ever been exposed to. No matter how much water I drank and organic creams & lotions I used, my skin was still dry.

Thankfully I brought my favorite oils with me (along with my parka!) in case my skin needed extra help against the -40°C temperatures and the extreme dryness the region is well known for. I mixed some of the carrier oils with a blend of essential oils and lavished this on my face and body as often as I could. And it worked!

Using oils on your skin, especially on your face may seem like a recipe for breakouts, particularly for those with oily or mixed skins, but if you use the right oil combinations and blends, you can survive winter with beautiful, glowing skin.

 

Here are my picks of the top 10 oils for skin hydration: 5 carrier oils & 5 essential oils.

For easy do-it-yourself home remedies, use any of the oils on the following list in combination, by mixing the carrier oils with your choice of essential oils.

Use a ratio of 10 drops of essential oils for every 50 ml of the carrier oils.

 

CARRIER OILS:

  1. Jojoba carrier oil:

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax, extracted from the beans of the jojoba plant. It mimics and dissolves sebum, the fatty substance produced by the body to protect the skin.

This is important because acne is caused by the over production of sebum. Adding Jojoba to the mix will not only hydrate the skin, but also help prevent breakouts. It is very stable, which is ideal if you want your mix to have a longer shelf life.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Apricot Kernel carrier oil:

If you are looking for a silky-smooth carrier oil that is easily absorbed by the skin without leaving it feeling oily, look no further.

Apricot oil has a lovely light texture and is wonderful for mature skin, prematurely aging skin, and dry or sensitive skin. I find it leaves my skin feeling silky and well hydrated. It is mostly used as a facial oil and has a long shelf life.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Sweet Almond carrier oil:

Sweet almond is a lovely oil to work with. It penetrates well into the skin while softening, soothing, and re-conditioning. It contains mono & polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2 & B6, as well as a small amount of vitamin E, which will help it from going rancid too quickly.

Sweet almond oil is a wonderful choice for dry and itchy skin.

Can be used at a 100% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Macadamia Nut carrier oil:

Macadamia nut oil is one of my favorite anti-aging oils. It is to be used as an addition only, but well worth adding it to the mix because it contains palmitoleic acid, an essential fatty acid found in sebum (the fatty substance produced by the body to protect the skin), especially the sebum of infants, children and teenagers. Because its presence diminishes as we age, adding macadamia nut oil becomes very beneficial for mature skins. It doesn’t clog the pores while also providing a barrier against moisture loss.

Can be used at a 5-10% ratio in your mix.

 

  1. Calendula carrier oil:

Calendula oil is known as “pot of marigold”, and is extracted from the flower heads of the plant. It has a reputation as a wonderful skin-healing oil, and has been used in ointments and tinctures for centuries. It is well known for its ability to protect against dry, chapped and cracked skin. It is to be used as an addition only.

Can be used at a 25% ratio in your mix.

 

ESSENTIAL OILS:

(Important note: Please consult a health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oils).

 

  1. Rose Otto essential oil (For the face – high-end):

Known as the queen of essential oils, Rose Otto is soothing to all skin types. It is highly regarded as being especially effective with acne, dry sensitive skin, mature skin, wrinkles, and broken capillaries. Its toning and soothing effects make this essential oil a wonderful skin healer as Rose Otto is regarded as a powerful skin rejuvenator.

Because it is so expensive, it is often sold at a 10% dilution (10% Rose Otto, 90% Jojoba). This is a good option and can be used in your oils at the same ratio even if you buy it diluted

 

  1. Neroli essential oil (For the face – high-end):

Neroli is renowned for its cytophylactic (cell-regenerative) properties. It is excellent for stimulating cell growth and cellular activity, and is therefore very helpful in rejuvenating and regenerating the skin. Neroli is also considered to be wonderful for treating acne, dry, devitalized, oily, and mature skins. It is also highly sought-after for improving elasticity, fighting broken capillaries on the skin and preventing permanent scarring, making this essential oil ideal for both young and mature skins alike. If you’ve never heard of Neroli, it is produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree.

Neroli is also sold at a 10% dilution because of its high cost.

 

  1. Carrot seed essential oil (For the face & body – mid-range cost):

Carrot seed oil is one of my favorite oils for anti-aging and skin healing. It is known for reducing or preventing wrinkles and for its regenerative powers, particularly after severe burns. It is a good addition to a blend for treating and healing scars.

 

  1. Lavender essential oil (For the face & body – more affordable):

Lavender not only has a wonderfully soothing scent but it is also known as a remarkable healer & balancer. It is considered to be incredibly versatile & adaptable for all skin types and skin problems. It is highly regarded for possessing cell-regenerating properties and is well known for healing sunburns or burns of any kind. This is a wonderful oil to use for all ages and skin types.

 

  1. Sweet-Orange essential oil (For the face & body – most affordable):

Sweet-Orange essential oil is regarded as useful for dull and oily skin, while its renowned cell-regenerating and hydrating properties work well on wrinkles & dry skin. It is also considered helpful with puffiness, strengthening to the epidermis, stimulating to circulation and melanocyte development (the cells capable of producing melanin) and calming to skin gland function. This is another wonderful oil to use for all ages and skin types.

 

TIPS on how to oil the skin:

Face:  

Massage the oils gently, until they start to penetrate. Let this settle in the skin for 30 minutes before applying your favorite organic facial creams.

Body:

Dermatologists warn against the use of hot water because of its drying effect on the skin, but I’ve always failed miserably at my attempts to bathe or shower in lukewarm water. When I’m freezing, I want hot water. So while it is excellent advice, I can’t very well expect anyone to follow it if I can’t.

Here’s a compromise: take shorter showers and baths, and follow the methods listed below. They work!

(1) Baths:

In a bath, add 2 tablespoons of the oil mix to your bath water. A lovely residue will cover your skin and it will look radiant. If you find you need even more hydration, either add more oil next time, or apply the oil mix prior to entering the bath, massaging lightly to help its absorption. When toweling off, dab, don’t rub.

(2) Showers:

Try both of these methods to see which suits you best:

(a) Apply the oil mix before entering the shower, massaging lightly to help its absorption.

(b) Slather on the oil mix after washing, away from the water flow. Either stop the water or turn the showerhead away. Massage briefly and then rinse lightly. When toweling off, dab, don’t rub.

I highly recommend attaching a shower filter to the showerhead. There are quite a few affordable ones available now. The one I use is from Santevia.ca and was under $40.

 

Always choose organic oils and soaps. Harsh chemicals in soaps can strip the natural oils from the outer protective layer of your skin and dry it out more than any hot shower can.

Essential oils should be therapeutic grade. Make sure to look for the following on the labels: the Latin name, country of origin and whether it is classified as certified organic, organic, wildcrafted, or unsprayed, otherwise it is not therapeutic grade, and could be a false chemical replica.

A final note on skin hydration: when applying the oils, if they are absorbed too quickly, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you are dehydrated. Your body is literally drinking in the oils.

In the winter I find it difficult to drink water, so I hydrate with organic herbal teas or soups, juicing and smoothies. I dilute the juices & smoothies with water and that does the trick for me!

Wising everyone happy, well hydrated skin!

 

(NOTE: Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, vegan for the last 3 years, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion.  She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found  on michelesorganics.com.

5 amazing things you may not know about Rose essential oil

 

By Michèle Duquet

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Rosa Damascena

Photo credit: By Kurt Stüber [1] [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
William Shakespeare

 

Ah the rose… There are so many breathtaking aspects to this dazzling flower. As an aromatologist, I feel very fortunate to be able to work with this elegant aromatic essential oil.

I was thinking lately of the many aspects of the rose oil that are perhaps less well known, and thought it might be fun to talk about them today.

So here are but a few…

 

1. It takes 10,000 roses to fill a single 5ml bottle (about the size of your thumb)!

– It also takes 60 roses to create a single drop of Rose Otto oil. That’s just under 5 dozen roses!

It is extraordinary to think of how many roses it takes to make a single drop of this magnificent oil. Imagine receiving 5 dozen roses from your beloved, can you visualize the space it would take up in your living room? Now imagine all of those gorgeous bouquets being steam distilled to create a single drop of Rose Otto oil!

Here are some more astonishing visuals…

– 10,000 roses is equal to 833 dozen roses.

Can you visualize that in your living room? Oh the fragrance! It would be much simpler to buy a 5ml bottle of Rose Otto essential oil, but as you can imagine, it will cost you. The sheer number of roses needed, along with the intricate nature of cultivating the rose crops, make this an expensive oil to produce.

Ever wonder why rose essential oil is so expensive? Now you know!

A 5ml bottle of distilled high quality organic Rose Otto should cost between $110 and $160 in today’s world market. Prices fluctuate depending on the climate, crop conditions and availability, but if you pay a lot less, it’s not the real deal.

At 60 roses per drop, no wonder Rose Otto oil is so fragrant… and moves my soul to its core!

 

2. Rose oil is known as The Queen of essential oils

Rose oil (or Rosa Damascena, its Latin name), is exquisite, feminine, powerful and seductive, an oil truly fit for a queen. And ladies, you will feel like a queen when you let your senses become spellbind by its spirit.

Cleopatra used roses not only as an ingredient in her cosmetics, but also as an instrument of seduction. It is claimed that she used both the rose and the Jasmine scents to seduce Marc Anthony from the Roman Empire. It is interesting then, that Jasmine is referred to as the king of essential oils and that both oils are well known aphrodisiacs. Cleopatra, it would seem, was quite the clever enchantress!

 

3. Rose Otto oil solidifies at slightly cooler temperatures

Did you know that Rose Otto essential oil becomes solid at temperatures below 21 °C (69.8 °F)? This happens because the waxes in the oil begin to set below a certain temperature.

You might say that Rose Otto is a wax and not a liquid, but that is not entirely accurate. The parts of the rose used for distillation are the rose petals. The steam pushes its way through the petals during the steam distillation process until the wax and the oils become separated from the water during cooling and condensation. What is left is the stunning rose water in one part, and the oil and its waxes in another.

My favorite Rose Otto oil is from Bulgaria precisely because of its moderate wax content. The Bulgarian climate is perfect for the rose oil production since the petals don’t over-produce the wax. In less favorable climates, the petals need to produce more wax for protection. When the climate is too harsh, or has too little sun, the rose petals will not have the optimum amount of wax as they adapt to their less than optimum climate by producing too much, or too little wax.

 

4. Rose Otto vs Rose Absolute

I’m often asked what is the difference between Rose Otto and Rose Absolute. The simple answer is the different processes used to produce both oils, where Rose Otto is produced using the steam distillation method, and Rose Absolute is produced using a solvent extraction method.

While both methods produce beautifully fragrant oils, the extraction method produces more oil and the resulting scent is stronger, which is why Rose Absolute is mostly used by the perfume industry, while Rose Otto is mostly used in Aromatherapy since the steam distillation process keeps its therapeutic grade intact.

The name “Rose Otto” comes from the Persian term “attar of roses” and dates as far back as the 17th century. It originates from the Persian word ‘atar-gul, meaning “essence of roses” and from the Arabic word ‘utur, meaning “perfumes” or “aromas”.

Rose Otto’s scent is lighter than Rose Absolute, and is said not to be a true rose fragrance, but it is far richer in my opinion, immensely more alluring and truly entrancing!

 

5. Rose fragrance legend in the ethereal/spiritual realm

One of my favorite books on healing the spirit with essential oils is “Aromatherapy for the Soul” by Valerie Ann Wordwood.

In her book she describes angelic fragrances and their properties, and it is no surprise that her description of the rose fragrance is as lovely as the rose itself:

“Rose can be used to bring our consciousness closer to our angels and to the angelic self that dwells within us. To inhale rose is to inhale the love and kisses of angels.” (Aromatherapy for the Soul, P.79)

Judging by the bliss I feel every time I smell my beloved Rose Otto oil, I can say that I am indeed a believer of angelic love and kisses!

Roses are also said to have powerful energy fields that vibrate at a high electrical frequency.

“Rose Otto vibrates with the energy of universal love, operating in the light of unconditional love and giving… [It] eases the sorrow of the soul, bringing harmony and comfort. It is gentle, yet euphoric.” (Aromatherapy for the Soul, P.273)

In aromatherapy, when working with this delicate oil, I have witnessed my clients experience healing and an uplifting of their spirit. Working with essential oils at the more subtle energy levels is perhaps less tangible than, say, healing a skin rash, and it is certainly quite subjective. But being that every thing in our world is energy, believing in the vibrational frequencies of essential oils and their potential healing benefits to the soul isn’t so far fetched. Adopting an open-spirited attitude towards these glorious flowers feels natural to me, and working with clients at that more subtle level is one of the daily delights of my work.

Have you stopped to smell the roses lately?

 

(DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for information purposes only and is not meant to be taken as any form of healing advice. Always do your own research or consult your health care professional before using any products you are not familiar with. Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion. She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and facebook. Her products can be found on her website and online store, at michelesorganics.com.

My 5-Point Guide to Reading Cosmetics Labels at a Glance

By Michèle Duquet

Read any good labels lately?

Did you know that… formaldehyde and thousands of other toxic chemicals can be hidden from the ingredients list if included in ‘Fragrance’?

Yesterday while filling out a Health Canada form for a new product, I had to refer to the hotlist where all the ingredients not permitted by Health Canada are listed.

Formaldehyde is listed in Health Canada’s hotlist as permissible in certain concentrations.

It is incomprehensible to me that formaldehyde is even permitted, let alone that it exists as a preservative for living beings.

While most consumers know by now that many products contain toxic ingredients, an average person can easily become overwhelmed when looking at a label.  Heck, even a savvy label reader needs help. Who has time these days to stand in the aisles and decipher the good from the bad in teeny tiny print at the end of a long day.

So here’s my 5-point guide for reading labels and what to look for at a glance:

(1) Certified Organic / Organic:

images-1 images images-3

Look for a Canadian, USDA or International organic certification logo on the front label, or, on the  back label look for markers beside each ingredients indicating which are certified organic or organic.

This gives you a good indication of the percentage organic content, or if it is a small company not yet certified, it tells you that their suppliers’ organic certificates are valid & verifiable.

(2) Parfum / Perfume / Fragrance:

In one word, avoid.

Many products that claim to be ‘Natural’ or ‘Made from Botanicals’ are not trustworthy if they include this in their list of ingredients.

The reason is that perfumes are considered to be trade secrets, and companies are under no obligation to divulge their perfume or fragrance ingredient content. That is how a preservative like formaldehyde can end up in your product without your knowledge.

(3) Ksllsmfoiujwlkdlkfjroitjlkdjfslsikhdfkd:

If you see too many ingredients that look like this, AVOID!  (Or run out of the store!)

(4) BIG capital LETTERS + numbers:

AVOID!

They are made to fool you by looking innocuous, but they are anything but that. Here’s what a few look like so you can recognize them at a glance:

PEG

1,4-something

MEA/DEA/TEA

EDTA

FD&C

ALS/ALES/SLS/SLES

BHA/BHT

(5) Look for (layman terms) in parentheses:

All ingredients for cosmetics must be listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI), which can turn a simple ingredient like olive oil into Olea Europaea oil.

An honest company wants their customers to be knowledgeable about ingredients but it also understands that most people won’t know that Lavandula Angustifolia  is the Latin name for Lavender essential oil and will therefore include the easy-to-read version on the labels. So look for the layman term in parenthesis that helps you understand what you are putting into your body.

An easy to read label should look like this:

Olea Europaea (olive) oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender) oil**, Tocopherol (vitamin E).

*Certified Organic   **Organic

This is by no means a comprehensive guide to reading labels, but at the very least it can help you recognize a questionable product by its highly questionable ingredients.

On the brighter side, you’ll now be able to recognize at a glance a good product label when you read one!

Michèle

Michèle is a passionate advocate for healthy living and organics. A lifelong vegetarian, organics enthusiast and environmentalist, she loves sharing with others her knowledge of all that is good for humans and the planet. Empowering people to make the best health choices for themselves is her passion.  She developed her own line of organic skincare and founded Michèle’s Organics, a company for those who, like her, needed more transparency, honesty and integrity when buying products. Michèle is a certified aromatologist, actor and a self-proclaimed ingredients list expert!
You can follow Michèle on twitter and Facebook. Her products can be found  on michelesorganics.com.