Do You DIY? Easy Lip Balm Recipe from an ASC Team Member

We love to find fun ways to engage with our community. Of course, our lovely customer support team is always there to help if you have any questions or concerns, but with our continuous focus on customer love—not only do they totally take care of any issues that arise, the CS team sends gifts every month to people they loved interacting with—and our dedication to bringing you relevant information about the health industry, we are a lot more than your run-of-the-mill skincare company.

A few weeks ago it dawned on us, we could have so much fun getting to know our customers by using our newsletter list to ask them questions! One of the questions we asked is “what beauty DIY do you want to see on the blog?” and we promised to share the recipe. Well, we got A LOT of responses; everything from deodorant to toothpaste came across our screens and we had a really hard time choosing just one. So we looked at what DIYs we have on our blog already and compared it to our top responses. We noticed that there was one type of oft-requested recipe that’s missing from our team recipe book, lip balm!

Now, I don’t personally believe in coincidence, but I have a homemade lip balm sitting on my desk from Jasmine’s first week at ASC. Seriously, I love it and I use it every. single. day.

So I moseyed my way over to her desk and asked her as sweetly as possible if she would share the recipe with you guys, and of course she said yes. I would be lying if I said I’m not super excited to know her recipe too, this lip balm is unbeatable.

Jasmine’s Organic Lip Balm

This recipe makes about 15 lip balm tubes but you can use any kind of small container that works for you. Jasmine has even put it in a Mason jar before and it seems to last forever.

Ingredients:

1.5 TBSP beeswax (or 1.5 parts)
2 TBSP organic cold pressed coconut oil (or 2 parts)
2 TBSP organic shea butter (or 2 parts)
10-30 drops essential oils of your choosing (optional)

Directions:

Melt the first three ingredients in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a glass jar inside of a saucepan filled halfway with water. Heat it up slowly, stirring occasionally. When everything is melted and transparent, remove from heat.

Add essential oils and pour immediately into whatever containers you’re using. It starts to solidify fairly quickly (within 5 minutes), so you don’t want to take too much time pouring.

You can let it solidify completely outside, or put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process. Then, enjoy this lip balm as it quenches your lips naturally and effectively!

Notes from Jasmine; How to make your lip balm perfect for you

Filling—If you use lip chap tubes, you’ll want to get some plastic pipettes to make filling the tubes easier.

Consistency—If you like your lip balm smooth and juicy, you’ll want to put less beeswax (as low as 1 part – see recipe). If you like it harder, you’ll want to use more beeswax (as much as 2 parts – see recipe). The harder version also lasts longer, because you use less product each time you apply it. I tend to prefer using somewhere between 1.5 to 2 parts beeswax.

Wax—The least processed and most local the better. The easiest and cleanest is beeswax pastilles, which are small pieces that melt evenly and quickly. If you have a block of beeswax, you can use a cheese grater to get it into smaller pieces like the pastilles. I’ve even grated a beeswax candle before! If you’re not into using beeswax, try working with soy or sustainably sourced palm wax instead.

Scent—Some work better than others. An obvious one is peppermint, and most people are used to this scent in lip balms. I’ve also done rose and liked it but when I tried lavender it felt too aromatic for my liking. It’s all about playing around with the scents you love.

Color—If you have some organic powder makeup on hand that you like the color of (I used a powder blush for the color in the photo), mix in 1/8 of a teaspoon after removing from heat, to add a tint to your lip balm.

Try this recipe and let us know how it turns out for you in the comments below!

The following post Do You DIY? Easy Lip Balm Recipe from an ASC Team Member was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Are Your Cosmetics FDA Approved?

We’re obviously dedicated to bringing you cosmetic products that are safe and effective but we also strive to offer reliable information about the health and cosmetic industries. This month’s question from the FDA cosmetics quiz is a little more nitty-gritty than we’ve written about before—this time, the laws surrounding the industry are involved.
The FDA is dedicated to making sure that what we put in and on our bodies is safe for consumption. This is a great objective, but they can only go so far, so today we want to talk a little about that. Here’s the first question on the quiz; True or False: FDA must approve all cosmetics before they go on the market?

Here’s their answer:

The law treats cosmetics differently from drugs. Unlike drug companies, cosmetic companies may use almost any ingredient they choose, with these exceptions:

1. There are a few substances that are not allowed to be used in cosmetics, and there are limits on using some others.

2. Color additives must be approved for their intended use. For example, a particular color additive may only be used in an eye shadow if it is approved for cosmetic use, including the area of the eyes. Many colors even have to be “certified” by FDA. That means that samples from each batch must pass special testing for purity in FDA’s own labs before they may be used.

3. Cosmetic products and ingredients must be safe when used as intended. Cosmetic companies are responsible for making sure their products and ingredients are safe when people use them as intended. FDA can take action against unsafe cosmetics on the market.

What does FDA approval mean?

The FDA has a two-fold operation when it comes to cosmetics. The first is making sure that the cosmetic ingredients that companies are using are safe—that’s why they have to approve the color additives, not everything that creates pigment is safe—and the other is to distinguish between what is a cosmetic product and what is a drug. Since they have more authority over drug regulation, they have to make sure that manufacturers aren’t selling drugs under the guise of cosmetics.

This is because when it comes to anything classified as a cosmetic, the FDA doesn’t require approval before a product goes on the market but when it comes to anything classified as a drug, it does—which makes the distinction between a cosmetic and a drug very important. To muddy the matter just a little more, the definitions of both ‘cosmetics’ and ‘drugs’ are entirely use and intent dependent so the language around a product is at the very crux of this issue.

What is a cosmetic; What is a drug?

The law defines a cosmetic product as something for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering appearance. This means that it doesn’t affect the structure or the function of the body and it is meant solely for the purposes of vanity. This definition applies to finished products and all of the ingredients in it.

A drug is considered anything that is created with the intent to mitigate or cure disease. That means if a product is used to change the structure or function of the physical body, the finished product and the active ingredients do have to be approved by the FDA.

Some products, (like dandruff shampoo or fluoride toothpaste) are considered both cosmetics and drugs because they’re meant to beautify but they are formulated to create structural changes or to solve an ailment. These types of products have to meet the standards for both drugs and cosmetics.

How the FDA tells them apart

In most cases it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a drug and cosmetic (ie. lipstick is for making your lips a different color and aspirin is for a headache) but there are a lot of products that fall into the grey area. That’s where language and intent comes to play—and a lot of it has to do with marketing.

A product, like a moisturizer, that is marketed to make your skin more radiant and beautiful is a cosmetic but if that same moisturizer is marketed to soothe irritation from rosacea, it crosses into the territory of being a drug because of the claim that it can heal. See the distinction? Anything that heals is a considered a ‘drug’ and therefore has to go through a much more rigorous certification and approval process from the FDA.

Another thing that the FDA looks at is the customers’ perception of how a product works. If the overwhelming amount of reviews or comments on a cosmetic product’s page have claims of amazing structural or function changes, the FDA may investigate it to see if people treat it like a drug or believe that it acts like one.

Because cosmetics are only created to help with appearance and they don’t change or heal the body, cosmetic companies have to be FDA compliant rather than FDA approved. That distinction makes all the difference.

So how does the FDA find companies to investigate?

Here’s something that I wondered about when I started researching the FDA guidelines for cosmetics: if a company can just put a new product on the market without approval from the government agency that dictates the safety of what we put in and on our bodies, how does the FDA know who to investigate? Luckily, they have awesome resources on their website so I was able to find out that there are several different ways:

Voluntary registration—a company can register their own products and ingredients on the FDA database.
Random Inspections—this applies more often with products coming in from other countries. The FDA works with customs or border protection to make sure that the products coming into the USA are safe. They also have random inspections of USA based manufacturers but it’s less frequent because they do have limited resources.
Surveys—Sometimes the FDA actually purchases products and runs their own analysis on them to make sure that all of their ingredients are listed and compliant.
Independent panels—the larger cosmetic industry funds a series of third-party panels that purchase products and run analysis on them.
Consumer reviews—this is where a consumer, like you or I, writes in to the FDA with information about a company for them to look into. Typically this happens when someone buys a product, has an adverse reaction, and is concerned that the ingredients in the formula are unsafe.

Although there are a lot of avenues for the FDA to find potentially hazardous cosmetics, they are always found after these products are already on the market. The FDA can take legal action against companies that are using hazardous ingredients or making claims about what they sell, but they do have to give notice—like asking the company to recall a product or sending a letter suggesting changes to the marketing language.

What does this mean for us?

We are dedicated to being FDA compliant but because there isn’t an approval process for cosmetics that we can adhere to, our products are not “FDA approved.” Our products are wonderful but they certainly aren’t drugs and we don’t claim that they can be used for healing anything. Since adhering to the FDA’s rules we have had to change some of our product names and enhance some of our language, but we’re on board and glad to know that the FDA is watching out for consumers in our country.

What does worry us is that because the FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetic products before they go onto the market, they have to trust the manufacturer until they hear otherwise. This means that there isn’t a solid way to know exactly how much of a preservative or filler chemical is in the products on the shelves. Yikes! We don’t love having to assume that typical manufacturers are listing every ingredient, testing those ingredients (hopefully not on animals), and using safe levels of those ingredients in their products. We happen to know that when it comes to companies that use synthetic ingredients and are solely focused on the bottom line, that’s a pretty tall order.

Of course this unregulated chemical concern is a driving factor about why Annmarie Skin Care was created to begin with. That’s where the “Honest” in our Honest. Wild. Beautiful. Mantra comes from, why we write articles like this one, and why we research potential harmful effects of chemicals for our ingredient watch list. Our ingredients come from our Earth and have been tried and tested over time to be safe and effective. We list everything we use right on our labels (and on the website, and the boxes, and the brochures—if there’s blank space, we’re listing ingredients), it’s what we were founded on and that will never change.

What FDA questions would you like to read about? Let us know in the comments!

References:

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Consumers – Cosmetics Safety Q&A: Personal Care Products.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2017.

The following post Are Your Cosmetics FDA Approved? was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Bacon Avocado Sweet Potato Toast; A New Recipe from PaleoHacks

Guest Post by PaleoHacks

Sweet Potato Toast

Waking up to a delicious breakfast is simple with the help of sweet potato toast. This convenient method of toasting sweet potato slices results in an oh-so-satisfying breakfast that is healthy to boot.

There is no better way to wake up than with the smell of sizzling bacon. To keep this recipe extra healthy and Paleo-friendly, bacon, creamy avocado and fresh tomatoes get served on top of slices of sweet potato “toast.”

Start with a large thick sweet potato and slice to ¼ inch thickness. Using a thick sweet potato allows for more slices of toast and more room to pile on the toppings. One large potato typically yields 4 slices. Place slices in toaster and toast on the highest setting. I find that 2 rounds of toasting on the 6 minute setting gets the job done. You can also pierce slices with a fork in the center to help them cook all the way through. Be sure to flip sweet potato slices over between cooking cycles to ensure that they are cooked from top to bottom.

In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients. You can go sweet or savory when it comes to your toppings for sweet potato toast because it is so darn versatile. For this recipe I went the savory route using crumbled bacon, smashed avocado and sliced cherry tomatoes. This combination reminds me of a BLT sandwich, but much healthier. You can take it one step further and add a sunny side up egg for extra protein.

If you love sweet potatoes as much as I do, this is a recipe you have to try. It also happens to be a fun and creative way to get kids to eat more veggies because you can slather the toast with their favorite flavors, from pizza toppings to almond butter.

Sweet Potato Toast PaleoHacks

Prep time- 10 minutes
Cook time- 12 minutes
Yield- 4 slices

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato, ends cut off and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 ripe avocado, mashed
2 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

How to Make It:
1. Cut ends off sweet potatoes and slice into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Place sweet potato slices in toaster. Toast for 6 minutes. Flip over and toast once more. Some toasters may require additional toasting time.

3. Spread avocado over sweet potato slices. Top with crumbled bacon and tomato. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

The following post Bacon Avocado Sweet Potato Toast; A New Recipe from PaleoHacks was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Introducing: Kaolin Micro Exfoliant

Exfoliating is an essential part of any beauty routine and a ritual that should be incorporated weekly. It is the process of removing buildup from the surface of the skin, minimizing the appearance of pores, refining the skin’s texture and creating an overall smoothness and suppleness.

An even greater benefit of exfoliating is that all of your wonderful toners, serums and moisturizers can penetrate more deeply once you’ve prepped the skin for optimal absorption. Sounds like a pretty important step to include, would you agree?

While some exfoliators on the market contain harsh ingredients that can be too rough on the skin—leading to dryness or sensitivity—others have the perfect combination of gentle ingredients to help revive dull skin, revealing a more smooth, even-textured and radiant complexion. We’re excited to announce that our new exfoliating scrub fits this gentle category!

Meet: Kaolin Micro Exfoliant, a creamy exfoliating facial scrub formulated with hydrating aloe vera, gentle surfactants from saponified oils, detoxifying green kaolin clay, silica-rich diatomaceous earth crystals, antioxidant-rich green tea extract and a wonderful blend of invigorating essential oils.

Not only does this facial scrub cleanse and detoxify impurities from the skin, it creates a rich exfoliating experience that replenishes minerals, stimulates for a healthy glow, and instantly leaves skin feeling flawless and restored.

Let’s explore some of the key ingredients in our new Kaolin Micro Exfoliant and how they beautifully renew the look of your skin:

Aloe Vera Juice

Many of our products contain a base of aloe vera juice and for good purpose. Aloe contains over 75 nutrients alone including: amino acids, which support the skin’s integrity, vitamins like A, C and E which are all powerful antioxidants, and beautifying minerals calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc and polysaccharides, which have deep hydrating effects on the skin. The naturally occurring ‘saponins’ in aloe also deliver a mild, cleansing action helping to remove impurities from the skin even more effectively.

Saponified Oils

Our gentle, pH balanced surfactant derived from coconut oil and plant starches/ sugars (also known as Sodium Lauryl Glucoside Carboxylate) enhances the exfoliating experience of this facial scrub, transforming it into a powerful cleanser and exfoliator in one. This natural plant-based surfactant contains excellent hydrating and moisture-binding properties. Like all of our cleansers, this scrub will not strip the skin’s natural oils and will not leave the skin feeling dry, tight or sensitive.

Diatomaceous Earth

What could be more earthy than Diatomaceous Earth? Made from fossilized “diatoms” (microscopic algae-like organisms from over 30 million years ago) this naturally formed sedimentary mineral rock is derived from rivers, lakes and oceans around the world. It’s chalky, micro-crystalline substance is 85% silica, which plays a vital role in promoting beauty and resilience within the skin. It gives a unique feel to our Kaolin Micro Exfoliant formula, with just enough granular texture to remove buildup from the skin, without being aggravating or potentially causing micro-tears (like other manual exfoliants can). In addition, silica improves the appearance of firmness and tightness in aging skin.

Green Kaolin Clay

Like all clays, kaolin remineralizes the skin, helping to soften, condition and rejuvenate its appearance. It also helps to absorb excess oils and toxins, while refining the look of enlarged pores. Kaolin makes a great addition to this formula, because what is an exfoliating scrub without deep cleansing and purifying benefits? Learn more about this incredibly versatile ingredient here.

Green Tea Extract

We’ve all heard about green tea and it’s potent antioxidant activity, so it only made sense to add our in-house extract of green tea leaves into this formula to help neutralize harmful free radicals, which can accelerate the aging process in the skin. Rich in polyphenols, green tea helps protect the skin from environmental stressors, resulting in reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Green tea has a profound impact on the skin!

Essential Oils: Lavender, Sage and Lemongrass

Aroma makes a formula go round. It’s true though, if you’re going to make exfoliating a skin care ritual, the scent has got to agree with you! We carefully selected our favorite essential oils of lavender, sage and lemongrass to give this scrub with a fresh, earthy and invigorating touch.

Essential oils are concentrated organic compounds extracted from plants that harness amazing healing properties. Lavender provides a calming effect on the skin, relieving any temporary discomfort. Sage stimulates the skin (and mood) and also delivers antioxidants. Lemongrass, with it’s uplifting scent, acts as a defense for the skin by eliminating impurities, keeping it clear and glowing.

While the Dead Sea Scrub may officially be discontinued (yes, we miss it too!), we are super excited to offer an even more sustainable and impressive formula to our line. This is a tried and true product by our entire team, with morning exfoliation gatherings in our office bathroom. We absolutely love the immediate results, but more importantly, the longer term ones.

Do you love the Kaolin Micro Exfoliant? Let us know in the comments below!

The following post Introducing: Kaolin Micro Exfoliant was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Discover the Secrets of the World’s Healthiest, Longest Living People

By Our Friends at Food Revolution

Why do people in some regions live longer — and healthier — than others? This is a question upcoming Food Revolution Summit speaker and National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner wanted to answer.

Buettner identified five geographic areas where people live the longest. He named these areas “The Blue Zones,” and found that even though residents of these areas live in very different parts of the world, their diets and lifestyles have many things in common.

If you want to add years to your life, and also life to your years, then this is information you need to pay attention to and apply in your life.

What are the most effective ways to achieve longevity?

Science tells us that most of us have the capacity to make it well into our 90’s, largely free from chronic disease. But life expectancy in the U.S. is only 78 years, and recently it’s been going down.

Meanwhile, many of us fear aging because our elders often live in chronic pain and suffering. But the people in the Blue Zones show us that it doesn’t have to be this way. For many of them, it’s normal to live vibrant and full lives into their 90’s and beyond.

In this inspiring 20-minute video, you’ll hear Dan Buettner debunk common myths about longevity. You’ll also learn where the Blue Zones are, what and how the people eat and live, and the most significant thing you can do to apply their principles in your life.

9 things you can learn from people living in Blue Zones

A team of researchers and scientists worked together to search for evidence-based commonalities among all the places with the highest life expectancies.

Here are the nine things they found in common. These lessons can help you — and those you love — live longer, healthier, and happier lives:

Move naturally. People in Blue Zones move throughout their day. They walk, grow gardens, and are active without thinking about it.

Have a purpose. According to research, knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to 7 years of extra life expectancy.

Finds ways to slow down and deal with stress. Everyone deals with stress, but people in Blue Zones have routine ways of dealing with it, including napping and getting together with friends.

Eat less. The Okinawans have a saying to remind them to stop eating when they are 80% full. This 20% gap can make a difference between losing weight or gaining it.

Eat plant-strong. The vast majority of the food eaten in Blue Zones is derived from plants. They eat what we would call “whole foods” rather than processed foods. Buettner says beans are a cornerstone of many of their diets.

Drink in moderation or not at all. People in all Blue Zones, except Seventh-day Adventists in California, drink 1 to 2 glasses of red wine per day, often with a meal and with friends. But they never drink to excess. (And the Seventh-day Adventists generally don’t drink alcohol at all.)

Have faith. Almost all centenarians interviewed belonged to some faith-based community.

Put loved ones first. People in Blue Zones put their families first. They keep aging parent and grandparents nearby and invest in their children with time and love.

Be social. Join or create social circles that support healthy behaviors.

Want to learn how to implement these Blue Zone principles to improve your life?

Dan Buettner is a speaker in the 2017 Food Revolution Summit. He and 23 of the world’s top food and health experts are sharing their latest, breaking insights about food, health, and the future of life on Earth.

The Summit is Coming Soon! Learn More and Claim Your spot for this FREE, Online, Global Event by Clicking Here.

Join the 2017 Food Revolution Summit Here.

The Food Revolution Network is committed to healthy, sustainable, humane, and delicious food for all. Guided by John and Ocean Robbins, with more than 350,000 members and with the collaboration of many of the top food revolutionary leaders of our times, the Food Revolution Network aims to empower individuals, build community, and transform food systems to support healthy people and a healthy planet.

If you’re inspired, share this article with your friends and family and your networks. Together, we can change the world for the better!

The following post Discover the Secrets of the World’s Healthiest, Longest Living People was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

The 6 Best Face Masks of 2017

When you walk into the Annmarie Skin Care bathroom, you’ll see our entire line of skincare products—this is so great because many of us workout at lunch or get ready for our evenings before we leave so it’s comforting to know that we have access to our regular routine—but you’ll also see a bunch of products from other companies.

Now, we like to call this “research” when we’re wearing face masks from other organic and non-organic companies around the office but if there’s one thing about me you should know it’s this: I tell it like it is. And the truth of it is that we’re skincare junkies.

Most skincare companies wouldn’t dare write an article about amazing facial masks from other companies, but as you know we’re not most skincare companies. When it comes to products, we obviously love what our products do and we use them on a consistent basis but our line is small and we don’t live in an organic skincare vacuum. We know there are other great lines out there and sometimes we want to play with those too. Here are our top facial masks!

Dr. Alkaitis – Organic Beautifying Mask

Like most powder to paste masks, the consistency is a bit tricky to get just right. Since oats are the base of this face mask (rather than the usual clay) it went on to the skin kind of thick and goopy. We recommend adding a bit water to the mix once the mask is on the skin to help with the spreadability.

It did not feel super tight once it dried (a characteristic of most powdered masks) and was not messy or flakey. Interestingly, there was no special sensation while wearing the mask. It isn’t super stimulating and it doesn’t feel immediately tightening or cooling.

However, once it’s rinsed away the skin is left feeling soft and nourished, which makes sense to us because this mask is made with incredibly nutritive ingredients. It leaves you with a fresh face—looking how you feel when you eat something delicious, nutritious and healthy!

May Lindstrom – The Problem Solver

There was a little bit of back and forth about this one in the team and we settled it by saying that it’s for people with sensitive and blemish-prone skin. For people that have other issues this facial mask is still lovely, but it’s definitely targeted for those of us with oily skin and sensitivity to over exfoliation.

First off, this mask smells divine. The clove, nutmeg, cinnamon concoction is invigorating and stimulating to the senses. This mask is warming and cleansing, and certainly pulls out extra oils—this is one of those where you can see the sebum spots as the mask dries.

Making this mask is really easy, it only takes a little bit of water to get the perfect consistency and even though the powder is super fine it has a wonderful micro-exfoliating property as you scrub it away.

Josh Rosebrook – Cacao Antioxidant Mask

This is one of our all-time favorite antioxidant masks. It came to us directly from a visit with an esthetician so we knew it was great before we tried it.
It smells of velvety, rich chocolate and its texture was a bit thick so putting it on dry is a challenge. Pro tip: add a bit of water to the skin and put the mask on your fingertips and the slip is great! It dries quickly and evenly without an intense tightening effect and leaves the skin feeling super clean and rejuvenated.

It does flake off if you leave it to dry completely and it can certainly stain so this face mask is best used before a shower.

Leahlani – Honey Love (Three in One)

Hands down a favorite facial mask! The consistency is a bit gritty, gooey and thick, like any crystallised honey, but once applied with a little water to dilute it, it goes on really smooth. We leave this on for at least 20 minutes (usually longer). The honey and noni make this formula into some nourishing magic!

The best part, is that it can be used 3 ways. So, you can use it as a cleanser, an exfoliator and a mask. Abby uses this mask on a regular basis and says that she typically applies it as a mask, gently exfoliates it off, washes thoroughly and pats her skin dry.

The results: beaming, glowing skin. Our skin shines after this exfoliating mask. Skin is left soft, supple and very hydrated!

Mahalo – The Petal Mask

Of all of the face masks on this list, this one goes on the smoothest and easiest. The smell is amazing, with a name like ‘petal mask’ and the soft pink color you’d expect something really flowery and light but this is much more herbal than we expected—in a good way.

It feels really delicate and nourishing when it’s on and totally detoxifying. Afterwards our skin felt as silky and smooth as a flower petal. The name really captures the essence and beauty of this mask and we could absolutely experience its handmade integrity 🙂

Annmarie Skin Care – Purifying Mud Mask

Okay, I know that we’re here to talk about other companies’ masks but as I’m writing this, I can’t stop thinking about the Purifying Mud Mask (I think that’s a pretty good sign). Our mud mask is amazing because it’s so simple. It can be used on its own or added to other ingredients.

It doesn’t get too tight on the skin while it dries but it’s super effective in pulling out impurities. We like mixing it with raw honey instead of water, it’s a little messy but it goes on easily and adds an extra level of hydration and when you wash it off it, it leaves your skin feeling clean and soft.

What’s your favorite mask? Let us know in the comments!

The following post The 6 Best Face Masks of 2017 was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Kaolin, What it is and How You Can Benefit from this Versatile Ingredient

White clay, Kaolinite, China clay, French Green clay—this ingredient has such a long history of use in so many different industries that it has a whole slew of common names.

The main component of kaolin, as we call it, is the mineral kaolinite. It is mined all over the planet from China to Europe to the US. Pure kaolinite is bright white, though kaolin clay often has other minerals present that add slight coloration to the clay, most often it has a pinkish hue from iron oxide or a greenish color from decomposing plant material. In general, the brighter white the kaolin clay, the better quality it is considered.

Because of its abundance as a mineral all over the world and it’s beautiful bright quality, kaolin is thought to have been used as one of the first clays used to make pottery by our ancestors. The other historical uses of this clay involve health and beauty.

In fact, kaolin clay has proven itself to be useful for every part of our evolution. We still use it in pottery, health, and beauty but it’s even found its way into the paper industry. A thin layer is often brushed on as a final coating for paper to give it a smooth texture and bright white color.

We’re not sure how it’s possible that such a versatile and safe ingredient exists, and in such abundance at that, but it does and we’re thrilled that we’ll be introducing it in our up and coming product!

Internal uses of kaolin

Kaolin has been used internally to help with the digestive system. Because the clay doesn’t breakdown and isn’t absorbed into the body, it’s very useful in issues like ulcers, sores, and swelling because it coats the inside of the whole digestive tract. The digestive tract has natural acids and bacterias that can exacerbate these types of issues and the kaolin coating helps protect the epithelial lining and allows the body space to heal itself.

Although it is considered safe to consume, this ingredient is all about the dosage. The clay is absorbent so it’s helpful with issues like diarrhea and has the potential to improve conditions like IBS and leaky gut. Pharmaceutical companies even use it in their medications to make the chemical constituents easier on the stomach and to control absorption rates.

On the flip side, eating too much kaolin can cause constipation and long term internal use can make it difficult for the body to absorb certain nonessential minerals (minerals that we have to consume) from food because of how well it coats the lining of the digestive system.

People exposed to the powder in large quantities long term, like mine workers, can develop lung issues because the powder can get into the air and get stuck in the lungs when it’s breathed in.

External uses of kaolin

When we find pure elements that we know were used by the ancients, we always wonder, “how did they figure out to use that?” This time, we imagine a potter, hands covered in the wet clay—maybe even mixing up some working clay from the dry mineral and adding a bit too much water. A little bug lands on her cheek and she reaches up instinctively to brush it away, spreading some of the clay across her face. Later on, she scrubs it off and her face is soft and beautiful in that spot. Tah-da! A new beauty ingredient was discovered. Since then, it has been used in cleansers, shampoos, toothpastes, and beauty products abound. Here are just some of the benefits:

Cleansing and detoxifying. Kaolin gently cleanses and pulls impurities from the pores without causing redness.

Helps with oily skin. Kaolin is absorbent so it absorbs excess oils and it can help balance the oil production when it’s used over time.

Exfoliating. Because it doesn’t completely dissolve in water and makes a really nice paste, the crystals in the clay make a really great exfoliant.

Stimulating. Kaolin is stimulating to the skin and with long term use, can offer a toned and tightened appearance.

Gentle. Kaolin is a really gentle clay that can be used with any skin type, including those people with sensitivities to scrubs and cleansers.

Do you use Kaolin? Let us know how in the comments!

References:
Aspen. “10 Beauty Benefits of Kaolin Clay for Skin, Hair and More.” Beautymunsta. N.p., 20 Dec. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

Charl. “What is Kaolin Clay? Benefits, Powder, Skin, Side Effects, Properties of China /White Clay.” DurableHealth. N.p., 19 May 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

“KAOLIN: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

“Minerals.net.” Kaolinite: The clay mineral kaolinite information and pictures. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017.

The following post Kaolin, What it is and How You Can Benefit from this Versatile Ingredient was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.