College O'Natural

My life as an earth-wise health-conscious college student. DIY, budgets, and the occasional rant!


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DIY Make-up Remover and Facial Cleansers

Hey guys!

I wanted to write today about facial cleansers and make-up removers.

Earlier I posted my own Facial Scrub recipe that I use in the shower.

However, what about the daily light cleansing and make-up removing task?

In the past I’ve spent a fortune buying the brand name make-up removers and loved them. However, there are better ways. Have you ever looked at the back of the bottles at the ingredients? I have and it is daunting. First, most of the time the ingredients are in french. Second, even if they aren’t in French, they may as well be because I have no idea what they are.

So I’ve decided to list my inexpensive and easy facial cleansing solutions and make-up removers.

Make-up Removers

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Coconut oil– I swear this is just the number one product to have in your house at all times!

(if you need proof check this list of 101 coconut oil uses)

Above is the brand I use. I love it! It’s simple and easy to use.

Step 1: Open Coconut Oil Jar

Step 2: Stick fingers in and wipe

Step 3:Rub oil on make-up covered area

Step 4: Wipe off gently with warm wet towel

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Coconut Lotion Bars- I use these when I need something a little heavier to remove my make up.

Here is my recipe.

I keep one in my shower and one on my sink ledge at all times. These are great for nights where I put a little more mascara on.

The best thing to do is take it in steps. Get some on your fingers, apply to eyelashes and gently rub with warm wet towel and repeat.  Now its not perfect and there is sometimes left over residue, this I take care of in the shower in the morning, same process.

All in all, no raccoon eyes and no harsh chemicals.

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Baby Lotion- I used this before I realized the wonders of coconut oil. However, beware! Read the ingredients people!

Unfortunately a lot of baby lotions are laced with iffy chemicals, and we only want plant derived and not modified. The brand above is a great brand and unfortunately Johnson’s is not. I know this because I used to use it.  I really like it because it was gentle on my skin, but then I looked at the ingredients. 😦

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Lesson learned, ALWAYS LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS!

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Also, checkout this great make-up remover recipe!

Easy Facial Cleansers

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Thayer’s Witch Hazel Formulas- I use this before going to bed. Squirt it onto a cloth and wipe my face, dirt comes right off. Just remember witch hazel is a natural astringent so moisturize afterwards.

The best thing about this particular brand, is that there is a ton of different options. This is the most basic witch hazel aloe combinations. Some of the others have rose hips, cucumber, lemon, etc.. It’s awesome. So do your homework and pick your favorite.

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Oatmeal- Oatmeal is a wonderful cleanser, really loosens and grabs the dirt. Just mix with water.

Yoghurt

Yogurt- Yogurt has tons of protein, lactic acid, and fat; all of which are great for your skin and great for cleaning. Just use it plain or add lemon, your choice.

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Honey- Another super multi-purpose ingredient. Honey is my favorite cleanser of all time. The quality of clean as well as the feel of your skin afterwards is amazing. Its easy to use too, just squirt some on your hand and wash.

And I always encourage buying honey from your local beekeepers! We do!

Of course there are tons of other complicated recipes and products out there that are natural and safe. However, I prefer simple and cheap. Hopefully this was helpful!

A really well written and informative post!

Nature's Pulchritude

Cinnamon burmannii, Indonesia

Cinnamon is a well known spice that is frequently added to cakes, cookies, and various foods for a savory burst of flavor and fragrant scent. Cinnamon is commercially found ground or as sticks, however, before it has been packaged for your use it was contained in the inner bark of various trees in the Cinnamomum genus. There are four species of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum burmannii, Cinnamomum loureiroi, Cinnamomum cassia), however, “true cinnamon” is native to Sri Lanka (Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylancium) and accounts for approximately a quarter of all cinnamon production. Cinnamon has been used and lauded since ancient times, being mentioned several times in religious texts, and was  imported into Egypt by 2000 BC (likely cassia). Some ancient cultures revered Cinnamon so much that it was given as a gift to royals and used for offerings.

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Tea! What you should know!

Hey!

As we all know, allergy season is well on its way. If you’re on the East Coast like me it has come and gone more than once; making life difficult for the allergy prone, like me!

Being someone who has had allergies all my life, I’ve become intimately acquainted with the plethora of allergy medicines that are offered. They’re great sometimes, but I hate relying on any medicine; so I stopped.

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Now, I control all my allergies and sicknesses with food.

Tea is always my first step when I feel like I am getting sick, because it’s AMAZING!

But why does it work so well? I’ll tell you 🙂

According to WebMD, some teas:

  • can help with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
  • encourage weight loss
  • lower cholesterol
  • bring about mental awareness
  • are antimicrobial

Purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. However, no matter the type (with the exception of herbal tea) they all come from the same plant; the tea plant or camellia sinensis.

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The tea plant is full of flavonoids and tannins, which have significant anti-inflammatory properties as well as high antioxidant power.  The most powerful of these antioxidants is ECGC which can help against free radicals. These free radicals contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries. The more processed tea leaves are, means the have less of the flavonoids and tannins. An example would be Black and Oolong teas which are oxidized and fermented. This doesn’t mean they are bad for you, in fact they still have high anti oxidizing powers. Also, if you have any sensitivities to tannins, these may be the tea types you want to try.

Here is WebMD’s info on Tea

  • Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
  • Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
  • Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

WebMD info on Herbal teas-

  • Chamomile tea: Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
  • Echinacea: Often touted as a way to fight the common cold, the research on echinacea has been inconclusive.
  • Hibiscus: A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.
  • Rooibos (red tea): A South African herb that is fermented. Although it has flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited

It is important to note that there is a lack of concrete research on many herbal remedies. However, this is not because they don’t work. Most of the time, pharmaceutical companies are the ones who fund research, and they won’t want to fund something they can’t sell.

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Now, not everyone has a tea plant in the backyard so we have to buy our teas. This seems simple enough right?

Wrong.

This is where the consumer faces problems. Unfortunately due to the large demand of tea, more tea crops are needed. And how do they keep the tea plants from being eaten? Pesticides. These pesticides find their way into our tea, sometimes at levels that far exceed the regulations. Food Babe did an article not too long ago that investigated what exactly was in our tea and which brands to buy. These were her results:

Numi, Rishi, and Traditional Medicinals are the best brands to buy.

 To see the full chart and the worst offenders click here.

So what are the different types of tea packaging?

Loose leaf tea

Loose leaf tea is just like it sounds, loose. No bag or anything. There are multiple steeping methods.

Click on the photo below to go to a review of the best steeping methods for loose leaf tea.

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Silk Bags

TOXIC!

In Food Babe’s article, she also refers to an article in The Atlantic that covers the toxicity of silk bags and how when steeped, the plastic in the bags in being broken down by the high temperature. So while these bags may seem cool or pretty, they’re also poisonous.

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Paper Bag

This is the most commonly used and well known form of steeping tea. I have yet to find any problems with this form of tea and it is the form I use. However, always read the labels and do your homework! Never assume anything.

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So now you know!

Brew and Enjoy!


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Cosmetic Ingredients

 

Everyday we hear about new things that aren’t safe, but still managed to get into our products.

So what do you do?

Read the labels!!

However, unless you’re in college level chemistry and biology classes, half the stuff on the back of the labels mean squat to you. It’s like they’re in a different language.

That’s because they are!

Oh great, now what? Do I have to enroll in a chemistry class just to understand what is in my product?

NOPE!

Because we on the blogger-sphere and world wide web are here to help!

Nature’s Pulchritude, one of my favorite blogs, has been posting about how to read the pesky labels and understand what you’re buying.

Here they give a comprehensive list of safe, beware, and avoid ingredients.

CHECK IT OUT!

Answer to poll here!


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Stevia

Hey guys it’s been awhile. Sorry I haven’t posted anything, the weather has been crazy making school crazy as well. Not to mention I’ve been sick and am now again. But I’m finally back! Woohoo.

Now let’s talk Stevia.

As far as I’m concerned, stevia is GOD. An all natural, zero calorie, low glycemic index sweetener, HECK YES!!

But with all foods, you still need to be careful. Just because a package says stevia doesn’t mean it’s 100% stevia.

Food babe, did this article not too long ago that I recommend everyone read. At the bottom she tells what brands are good and bad.

http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/25/stevia-good-or-bad/


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Poll Answer


Ascorbyl Glucoside is the correct answer. It is a stable form of Vitamin C made by combining with glucose.

 

Mineral Oil is on Nature’s Pulchritude’s Beware list.

Mineral Oil aka Parrafinium Liquidium – This is a petrochemical typically derived from crude oil.  It can be found in high concentrations (one of the first 5 ingredients, more on this later) in a variety of lotions, hair lotions, ‘grease’ and conditioners (deep, leave-in, and rinse out), however it appears in highest concentrations to products marketed toward African-Americans.  Mineral Oil prevents moisture from entering or leaving the hair shaft.  This can often lead to hair breakage and clogged pores on the scalp.

Toluene is the Avoid list.

Toluene – Commonly found in nail polish.  Toluene is an extremely volatile chemical (it likes to vaporize and mix with air) therefore its greatest threat is through inhalation exposure (the fumes you smell when you paint your nails).  Inhalation of toluene can cause dizziness, nausea, or even death at high doses.  This ingredient has been phased out of many nail polish formulas, but not all.

Nature’s Pulchritude


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Anti-wrinkle/aging cream

Hey guys!

Here early this morning as per request of my mom.  She’s been buying Orgin’s Plantscription creams and serums for some time now and liked them.  However, recently she’d been having allergic reactions and didn’t understand why. Being the diligent and wonderful daughter I am *cough, cough* I looked into the ingredients to these products seeing as she has had sensitivities in the past.

The main ingredient in these products is a plant called Anogeissus.

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This is an African tree that has actually been considered sacred among different African cultures. If you want to learn more about the science behind this tree I invite you to read the Environmental Journal article I read.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this plant or Orgins, in fact I like Origin’s products. The problem arises if you have sensitivities to tannins. Anogeissus’s leaves are very rich in tannins.  Tannins, are astringent compounds found within plants that often give a bitter taste. This blog does a great job in outlining where you can find tannins and more about sensitivity.

Now Mom hadn’t known for certain if she had a sensitivity to tannins, but I had suggested to her that it might be a possibility because she would sometimes react to red wine. A lot of red wine is heavy in tannins because they help with the ripening process. She has also had reactions to tea, another source of tannins.  However, all of these were minor reactions where she just cut out whatever it was that she was drinking before.

You may be thinking, but she had been using that serum and cream for years without any reactions. You’re right, she had zero problems before now. But allergies are funny that way. Everyone always assumed if you’re allergic, you’re allergic all your life. WRONG. While it is most common to develop them as a child, it is a definite possibility to develop them later in life as well.Why does this happen?

Most likely, you were always a bit sensitive to these foods but never knew it. With allergies, the usual problem is the proteins within the food. These proteins, your body cannot process properly, there aren’t enough or any of the enzymes needed to breakdown the incoming proteins. Because of this there is a build up in your system. As long as these levels remain relatively low, your body doesn’t usually react in an obvious way. Over time though, you eat more and more of these foods and eventually hit the threshold. Once that threshold is hit, histamines are produced and sent out causing reactions. Now you’re overly sensitive to this food. Each time you expose your body to this food, the sensitivity increases and histamines are sent out more rapidly.

With mom, she’d just started drinking wine. She had never liked it before but realized this may have been because she had only ever tried cheaper wine. And, she prefers red wine, high in tannins. So this face cream she had been using for years with the addition of the tannins from the wine = reaction. Her tannin threshold had been met.

(by the way this is my personal theory developed through research and what I already know, not a doctor’s opinion)

Now what?

  1. Stop using cream
  2. Stop drinking wine for a little while

Once the reaction has gone down she can slowly add the wine back.

I told her all of this as well as gave her a list of ingredients that were astringents, high in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory.

“To mix how?” she asked.

Well, I don’t know. I’ve never made a cream before. So I researched and found these two.  Of course there are tons more on the internet, but these have the ingredients I’ve found to work best and the first one even has scientific evidence posted in it!! YAY!! So take a look.

Anti-aging organic cream

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Anti-aging salve

Now, these are the most convenient forms of anti-aging steps. However, if you truly want results you’ll use masks. At least once a week if not more.

You can make a mask with any of these ingredients:

honey

egg whites

tea (black, white, or green)

aloe

vanilla extract

peppermint

coffee

Vitamin C powder

Vitamin E oil

Cucumber

**It is best to make this mask cold if you can**

The ratios really don’t matter, do what you like best. Leave on for 10-20 min and rinse.

GOOD LUCK!!