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Minimalist. Herbal-infused. Zero Waste.

19 Jun '15

Which is more moisturizing for your skin? A butter, a cream, salve, oil, or a lotion?

I used to think the richest product for our skin was a lotion, but surprisingly it's not and I'm about to tell you why. Lotions have a high concentration of water (generally 50% of the content), which makes them cheap to produce, but also hard to keep shelf stable without spoiling, hence they have lots of emulsifiers, preservatives, and stabilizers, many of which are toxic substances and known carcinogens. Yuck. 

Our bodies are 80%+ water, so wouldn't a water-based product be nourishing? Surprisingly the answer is no. The reason is, our bodies were meant to be hydrated from the INSIDE out through drinking fluids and consuming healthy, juicy foods. Our skin doesn't really like water. In fact, our skin has a layer of oil that our own body produces to protect us from the environment. It's called sebum. Without it, our skin cracks, and dried out from exposure to wind and water. Think of professionals who have their hands in water all day or must wash them several times a day such as health professionals, cooking staff, etc. If water were nourishing to our hands, they should have the softest skin of anyone! But they don't, not without slathering on lots of creams, all day long etc.

So, if lotion isn't the most nourishing for our skin, what is? Products that contain mostly oils, plant butters, and waxes are the best for our skin as they mimic the action of the sebum. e.g's being salves, body butters, body oils, creams (with a low water content). Body butters are excellent moisturizers that work hard and provide lasting protection throughout the day. Check out our rich moisturizers in our online shop such as our Whipped Cocolicious Body Butter. It smells like chocolate heaven! 

 

05 Apr '15

Microbeads - what are they and how to avoid them!

Microbeads are becoming an increasing concern for environmentalists and conservationists around the worldScreen Shot 2015-04-02 at 10.39.48 AM. Why? They account for nearly 20% of plastic pollution in some of our water systems such as the Great Lakes. Yikes! This means our oceans and waterways are become a plastic soup which affects wildlife and their habitat. That fish you are eating, well they may have swallowed lots of plastic microbeads before being caught. yuck, right?! So, what are they and how are they getting into our water? They are tiny balls of plastic added to many cosmetic and personal care products marketed as exfolliators. They can be found in facial and body scrubs, toothpaste, and more!  Problem is once, you are finished with the product, it washes down the drain and into our water systems because they are often too tiny to filter out! We all love to exfolliate. It's healthy for the skin, helping to improve our circulation, slough off the dry skin we shed naturally, and it just feels good! This past week the CBC did an excellent interview on the topic. Pressure is mounting to have them banned as a toxic substance in Canada. Some cities in the USA have already banned the use of microbeads in products. So what can YOU do about it?
  • Don't buy products with microbeads in them!
  • If you already have products at home, consider mailing them back to the company explaining you no longer want to use them. Here is a link to a non-profit organization called Beat the Microbead that is helping people do just that!
  • Look for products made with natural exfolliators! Eg. sugars, salts, cornmeal, seeds, ground oats, flowers, and more make excellent biodegradable exfolliators, that actually help nourish your skin at the same time AND won't harm the waterways, or animals in them.
  • Make your own at home using DIY recipes!
What are WE doing about microbeads?
  • Creating products with natural, biodegradable exfolliators! We have never ever used microbeads and NEVER will! We build ALL our products with downsteam in mind. We want to ensure it's both healthy for your skin and won't harm the environment either! Mother nature provides so many choices that are both nourishing and gentle on the skin as well as biodegradable ensuring the won't harm the habitat of other animals downstream.
  • Helping raise awareness about the issue and give voice to those working hard to inform and educate the public about issues such as this.
  • Teaching DIY skincare workshops to help people learn to make their own skincare products including at home with ingredients often found in the home and garden!
13 Oct '14

Being thankful and paying it forward

tegan & irisHappy thanksgiving! apple pickThis year has been an amazing year in so many ways. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Iris in February on a very cold day and got to experience the joy of motherhood for the first time, I spent another season volunteering with Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE), picking fruit and helping people get registered as fruit pick volunteers and fruit growers, and I have begun to shift my business in a way that more greatly reflects what I am about and what I want to share with the world. For all of these things I am very thankful and joyful, so I have something special to share with you. Keep-Calm-Pay-It-ForwardFrom now on, I am going to do something to pay it forward to spread the joy I have felt all year. How will I do this? Starting this fall, I will be sharing my recipes with my products! Why? I want to pay it forward and encourage you all to make easy herbal medicine recipes at home with local ingredients from your gardens, river valleys, etc. I have learned from so many other people who were generous enough to share their knowledge, expertise, and skills with me, which has helped me to get to where I am today. So, it's time for me to pass on some of that knowledge along with some joy and hopefully inspire you. What are you thankful for this year? 
06 Oct '14

Ameya Studio 'no poo' & soap-free skincare alternatives

IMG_6278This may sound strange to many of you, but I really don't use much soap anymore. Your thinking gross, right? Relax, I still use soap to wash my hands, so don't worry! That is a good idea as it helps prevent the spread of germs around the house and with friends. We all want to keep our friends, right? My inspiration When I was growing up, I worked at a corn stand in the summers. It was run by a Dutch family and the owner's parents who lived on the property, insisted I called them Oma and Opa, which is Grandma and Grandpa. I thought this was sweet, so I complied and went along with it. They were both in their late 70s and I noticed one day we were having tea at break time, that Oma and her sister, who was visiting from Amsterdam, had super soft looking skin. I asked them what their secret was to soft skin in their old age and they said don't wash your face with soap, use oil, and drink lots of water. At the time, I'm not sure I really thought much of this advice as I still kept using facial products and anything I could find to help keep my acne under control including harsh drugs like Accutane. Eek, that was a bad idea! But now, I really appreciate and understand this advice. They were bang on! In recent years, I have developed many soap free alternatives for my skincare line. oilsSo how do I stay clean, soft, and soap -free?
  • Wash my hair with the no poo method. Read about it on my previous blog post.
  • Use body scrubs to clean my skin. Scrubs made with salt, sugar, grains, and moisturizing herbal infused oils are the best for cleaning by exfolliating. They work by brushing the dirt and dead skin off, letting the oils soak in and moisturize.
  • Wash my face with water, cleansing grains daily or as needed, cleansing oil in the evenings or as needed, and applying an Apple Cider Vinegar toner a few times a week.  I've never had softer, smoother, and blemish-free skin in my lifetime!
Some new additions you will see this fall for my natural soapfree skincare include:
  • Cleansing oil
  • Herbal infused facial tonic
  • Cleansing grains - blends for normal, oily/acne prone, and dry/mature skin
  • Moisturizing facial oil serum
04 Oct '14

The 'No Poo' Movement

People everywhere are starting to ditch 'Shampoo", which is the poo in the 'no poo' movement!

 

 Why go 'no poo'? It's no secret that shampoos as well as many cosmetics are laced with lots of synthetic ingredients which have been found to be hormone disruptors, harsh on the environment with ingredients such as surfuctants, SLS, triclosan to name a few, and some products even have known carcinogens in some cases. If you are wondering what's lurking in your shampoo, check out the Environmental Working Groups SkinDeep database. It's pretty thorough and is backed by top notch independent research. You can also check out David Suzuki's Dirty Dozen for a quick checklist to take shopping with you. In summary most people go no poo for the following reasons.

  • Reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Better for the environment
  • Cost savings $$$
History of shampoo industry: The first synthetic shampoos were introduced in the 1930s, but it wasn't until the 1970s that people really started a daily shampoo ritual with advertising encouraging us to do so or we would be 'unclean'. Today, it's a multibillion dollar industry, that is self regulated (e.g. disclosing ingredients on products isn't mandatory) for the most part. Nice eh? From the 1800s until the 1970s it was much more common to wash your hair only once a month. Daily shampooing can strip your hair of natural oils called sebum that the scalp makes to protect your hair shafts. By constantly stripping the hair, you encourage the sebaceous glands to over produce sebum, which leads to greasy hair as well as stripping damages the hair shaft, creating the need for more hair products to repair damaged hair. See where I am going with this? It's a cycle! Breaking the cycle. So how do you go 'no poo'? Steps: Shampoo once a week or less with baking soda and follow with a rinse of apple cider vinegar.
  • I advocate either rinsing with water, or trying the baking soda wash method. For the baking soda method, take 1 tbsp. baking soda and dissolving it in a cup or two of water, then pour onto hair and rub in. Avoid contact with your eyes, as baking soda is a salt, so it will sting. Think of opening your eyes in the salty water of the ocean. Ouch.
  • Next, dilute 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (ACV) in 2 cups water and pour over hair to rinse off the baking soda and it helps close the hair follicles, making the hair shiny.
  • If you have naturally dry hair, you may find the baking soda too harsh for you and just rinsing with water and then ACV, may work for you. You can also try rubbing in coconut oil or olive oil into the very tips of your hair to soften them up about once a week or so.
  • The most common mistake is over washing and over rinsing. i.e. still washing your hair every 2-3 days or more, but following the no poo method.
  • On average, it takes between 2-6 weeks to break the cycle.

My personal no poo journey: I have been going no poo for about 10 months now and really like it. The trick I found worked for me was getting used to washing less. If I wanted to wash my hair more than once a week, to only wash it with water and that kept my hair from drying out. The first couple of weeks were hard and my hair felt oily, but after that, it was fairly easy peasy. I wouldn't go back to shampooing. Surprisingly, I just really like the scent of my hair the way it is! I have to say the best benefit has been to see my husband's hair go for greasy to shiny and manageable. I couldn't believe the change for him, and I'm excited about no more oily residue on our pillowcases! Awesome!

 

So where can you learn more about the no poo movement?